Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a battle royale game where players fight to be the last person standing. It can be overwhelming for new players, full of different weapons to choose and smaller mechanics that aren’t readily apparent. These tips will help you survive the battle royale and win yourself a glorious chicken dinner.

This piece has been updated since first publication to reflect new content and changes following the game’s official release.

Prepare to lose

While you should always play to win, the most important thing to know about Battlegrounds is that you will lose more rounds that you’ll ever win. You will get flashbanged, sniped, shotgunned, and beaten with frying pans. Don’t worry about it; it’s all part of the process.

You can play alone or in squads

Battlegrounds offers three games modes: a solo mode with 100 players, a mode that pairs everyone up into duos, and a final mode that tosses folks into four person squads. You can queue up for any of these, but unless you have some buddies to play with, I’d suggest solo-play for learning the basics. If you can survive on your own, you’ll be able to contribute well to a group too.

Mute voice chat

The game turns on proximity voice chat by default which means a lot of yelling, trash talk, and slurs that you probably don’t want to hear. While keeping the comms open can help you know if a mouthy enemy is nearby, it’s best to mute it by pressing Control+T.

Choose a smart dropzone

Every match starts with a freefall jump from a plane high above the playing field. Hit M to open up your map and survey where you want to drop. Mark it by right clicking. Major towns will offer a lot of loot, but that also means other players will be heading there too. For beginners, it’s wiser to find smaller villages or homesteads at first. As you get more confident, you can get more audacious with your dropzones.

The new desert map, Miramar, is larger than the default forest map of Erangel. To cut down on drop zone confusion, refer to this list of strong drop locations. In general, you’re looking for drops that are low risk and offer strong loot. In solos and duos, you can choose more isolated locations. In squads, you’ll need to find spots with enough supplies for a full team. Major cities work well but are dangerous. Keep to the outskirts if possible or experiment with smaller towns. They tend to have plenty of loot and draw less competition.

Dive straight down

If you’re directly above your dropzone, it’s essential to angle yourself straight towards the ground and press W. Done properly, your character will pick up a great deal of speed and pull their parachute a little closer to the ground as well. These extra seconds could mean the difference between snatching loot or getting ambushed by anyone else near your dropzone.

Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsGrabbing loot quickly is essential. Scoop it up fast and then get out of there.

Grabbing loot quickly is essential. Scoop it up fast and then get out of there.

Gear up

It is crucial to get your hands on a gear as fast as possible. Search every room in nearby buildings. You’re looking for a few essentials: weapons, ammo, medical supplies, armour, and backpacks. Even if you’re not a fan of a weapon at first, pick it up. Something is better than nothing in the early game and you’ll earn plenty of loot robbing the corpse of fallen enemies.

Pick things up quickly

The default keybind for grabbing supplies is F, but this is slow and your risk picking the wrong item if you’re in a hurry. It’s much faster to open your inventory with either the I or TAB key and right click on the supplies on the left side of your menu. I prefer to click and drag, which also works if you’re fast.

Share with your teammates

When playing in duos or with a squad, item management is essential. If you have a surplus of ammo or medical supplies that a teammate can make use of, drop the extra on the ground for them. If you want to designate the amount you drop Crtl+Right Click on the item in your inventory.

Increase inventory capacity with backpacks and armour

Among the most important things to grab are backpacks and armour vests. Each of these will increase your inventory capacity by various amounts, which is crucial for stockpiling ammo, medkits, and gun attachments.

There is also a gun holster that you can equip before a match that grants a small inventory space boost. It’s found alongside any other clothing items by clicking the Customisation in the upper left side of the menu.

Understand the value of armour

Vests and helmets come in tiers one to three. The higher the level, the more resilient the gear. However, there’s some things you need to know about armour:

  • Wearing a ballistic mask does not provide armour.
  • At close range, there is virtually no difference between Level One and Level Two helmets. You’ll die in two shots to the head no matter what level you are wearing, although a Level Two does protect for more shots at long distances.
  • Body armour tends to protect you from one extra body shot for each level starting at Level One armour, which will allow you to survive around four rifle shots to the chest from close range.
  • If your armour has taken damage in a previous fight, don’t be afraid to switch it out for a fresh set. Level Three armour one the verge of breaking might look cool but it’s better in the long run to replace if you come across some fresh Level Two armour.

You can watch a break down of damage statistics in this video by jackfrags.

Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsFull auto firing modes are a good choice for close quarters combat.

Full auto firing modes are a good choice for close quarters combat.

“Guns. Lots of guns.”

Battlegrounds has a lot of weapons, each which take specific ammo and can use certain attachments. Knowing their various strengths and weaknesses will help you go far. Here’s a breakdown:

Assault Rifles 

Assault rifles are medium/long range weapons that are the backbone of your arsenal. If you find one, I highly recommend picking one up.

  • The AKM is a reliable rifles that fires 7.62 rounds. This ammo type is one of the punchiest in the game and help turn the AKM into a very useful weapon. These rounds also travel a bit slower although it’s hard to notice, which means that long range shots can be tricky because bullets will drop sooner. It’s a beast a close to medium range and always a great choice.
  • The M16A4 is another hard hitting rifle that uses 5.56 ammo although I advise using it with some caution. The secondary burst fire mode is can be tricky to master and makes it trickier to use in close quarters. A recent patch also removed the ability to equip an 8x scope, as players were using it as an ad-hoc sniper rifle thanks to how straight and fast 5.56 ammo shoots. It’s still useful but can require some practice to master.
  • The M416 is a miniaturized M16 that is highly customisable. It can equip a variety of scopes and attachments, turning it into one of the most useful rifles in the game. I highly recommend it.
  • The SCAR-L is an all-purpose rifle that uses 5.56 ammo. It’s something of an all-rounder although I find it a bit hard to aim down the rail without an scope. Besides that, it’s comparable to the M416 as a highly customisable and useful assault rifle
  • The Groza is a special rifle only found in airdrops. It fires 7.62 rounds and has an amazingly high fire-rate. It doesn’t always work as a long range weapon but if you want something that will eat up enemies at close range, you won’t find anything better.
  • The AUG A3 is another airdrop exclusive. It fires 5.56 ammo and can be considered a flat upgrade from other rifles that use the same ammo. It hits a little bit harder, which can help in late game gunfights. If you see one in a crate, snap it up.

Marksman Rifles

Designated Marksman Rifles (DMRs) are accurate weapons that you should give to whoever in your squad shoots the most accurately. With the right scope, they will turn into headshot machines perfect for quick kills in the late game.

  • The Mini-14 is a teeny tiny marksman rifle that fires 5.56 ammo. It boasts a very high initial bullet velocity that hit enemies quickly. Some people call it a “laser beam” because of that increased speed. It’s fairly common and a great choice for anyone looking to tag enemies on the run.
  • The SKS is another useful marksman rifle that uses 7.62 ammo. It’s very strong but has a slightly higher than average recoil that makes it a bit difficult to do follow up shots. The magazine’s a bit small, only holding 10 rounds. It’s a skill dependent rifle that hits like a truck if you land your shots.
  • The Mk14 EBR is an airdrop exclusive rifle that uses 7.62 ammo. It’s a flat upgrade to the SKS and has a bipod for extra stability. You can also fire in full auto with the Mk14 which can be useful for close ranges or damaging vehicles.
Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds


They’re big, they’re loud, they barf up bullets in big arse bursts. Shotguns are an essential part of any loadout that are great for sweeping houses or dealing with enemies in close ranges such as when the play area shrinks. All shotguns use 12 gauge ammo.

  • The S12K is a semi-automatic shotgun that’s particularly good for clearing out small houses and hideouts. The recoil is very hard to control but the increases fire rate is great for disposing multiple enemies quickly. Highly situational, the S12K should be replaced with a different shotgun once found.
  • The S1897, a pump action that fires a little bit slower but still hits hard. Think of it as the “normal” shotgun. It’s very useful as secondary weapon complementing rifles and submachine guns.
  • The S686 double barrel shotgun is my personal recommendation if you can find it. It only holds two shells at a time but if you equip it with a shotgun choke it is a highly accurate and power weapon that will knock out most enemies in one shot.
  • The sawed-off is technically a sidearm that takes up the same slot as a pistol. It’s difficult to use outside of extreme close range and only useful in the early game when players are scrambling for weapons. Avoid it unless you’re desperate.

Submachine Guns 

Submachine Guns split the difference close and mid-range combat. The fire fast but lack the punch of a rifle or DMR. Submachine guns work best as secondary weapons but are still a solid primary choice in the early game.

  • The UMP9 is the cream of the crop for submachine guns. It uses 9mm rounds, which are plentiful and has three fire modes: auto, semi-auto, and burst fire. It’s not the hardest hitter but is a very versitile weapon that’s worth grabbing if you find it.
  • The Vector is an extremely compact submachine gun that fires .45 ACP. It has a high rate of fire and is very easy to control but comes with a tiny 13 round magazine. You’ll want to grab an extended magazine modification to make this work. It’s good early on but quickly eclipsed by other options.
  • The Micro-Uzi is an itty-bitty gun that fires 9mm rounds. It spews out bullets fast but kicks a lot. It’s a close range weapon that, like the Vector, works best in the early game. Fun to use but not very practical.
  • The Tommy Gun used to be an airdrop exclusive before everyone realised it sucked. It fires .45 ACP at a fast rate and can be useful in a pinch. Pick it up if you’re desperate and ditch it once you can upgrade.

Sniper Rifles

These long range beauties are worth their weight in gold. Find them, toss some optics on them, and love them. Shooting an enemy from extreme range reduces risk of retaliation and, with some practice and experience, will help you rise above the competition.

  • The Kar98k is bolt action sniper rifle that uses 7.62 ammo. It’s awesome and tons a ton of damage. Bullet drop can be a problem but you’ll quickly learn to adjust. If you’re worried about accuracy, aim for center mass. Unless the enemy is wearing heavy armour, you’ll down them in about two hits.
  • The VSS is light sniper rifle that fires 9mm ammo. It has a built in suppressor and fires subsonically which means it’s pretty quiet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hit that hard or shoot as far as other sniper rifles. It does have a full auto mode for when enemies get close but you’ll probably want to pick up a normal rifle before considering the VSS
  • The AWM is an airdrop exclusive rifle that fires .300 Magnum rounds. If you find one in a drop, the ammo will be there as well. The AWM is a beast and has the highest hit damage in the game. It is a cannon that will knock down whatever gets in the way. Paired with a good scope, the AWM dominates. It’s loud as a bomb though, so expect to draw some attention when firing.
  • The M24 is also an airdrop exclusive and used 7.62 ammo. Consider it a flat upgrade to the Kar98k. It hits harder and can be modified with quickdraw mags that speed up reload times as well as a few muzzle modifications. Snag it, customise, and then start deleting the opposition.

What about pistols? Are those good?

Pistols matter mostly in the opening moments of a round, when you might need to kill someone who dropped near you but can save you in a pinch later on as well. Here’s some suggestions:

If you’re just starting, grab the P92 or P18C over anything else. They have the largest magazines and the P18C even has a full auto mode for tight spots. The P1911 is stronger but only has seven rounds to a clip, so be careful with it. Grab it once you’re more comfortable with your aim. Avoid the R1895 and R45 unless desperate; the long reload time isn’t worth it.

Heather, did you just spend hours writing about guns?

Yeah. It was weird.

Modify your weapons

If you can find a scope for your gun, pick it up and toss it on there. A basic red dot sight can work wonders for submachine guns and if you’re able to grab a 4x or even 8x scope for your rifle, that’s a major edge on the competition. Carry multiple scopes and slot them in as the situation needs. Grab stocks to control recoil and look out for silencers. They’re exceedingly rare and can turn you into an absolute monster in the field.

Keep in mind that some weapons won’t take certain modifications. For instance, the M16A4 isn’t able to equip 8x scopes or foregrips. You can take a look at this chart to see what each gun can and can’t equip.

“I need healing”

There are a few healing items in Battlegrounds. Bandages are the most basic health item and only restore a small amount of health but won’t heal above 75% of your health. First aid kits will top you off to that 75% point immediately, and med kits will completely heal you. You have to stay still to use a kit, although you can still bob back and forth a bit if you’re afraid a sniper’s headshot.

Do the Dew

Boost items like energy drinks and painkillers heal over time and will even heal over that 75% threshold that bandages and first aid kits. Quickly consume two of these in any combination for increased movement speed.

“I’m one with the pan and the pan is with me…”

If you find a frying pan, pick it up. It can be used as a melee weapon but also deflects bullets. It covers your player character’s butt and will occasionally save you if someone is attacking from behind.

Find your bearings

After you’ve grabbed your weapons, you need to know where to go. If you open your map, you’ll see a large white circle. This is the playzone, and you’re going to want to eventually move inside it. As the match goes on, that zone gets smaller and a second, blue circle will appear. If you’re outside the blue circle, you’ll take damage. The blue circle moves faster and does increased damage over the course of the match, so you want to always be aware of it.

Be aware of your surroundings

If you’re travelling in the open, hold down the alt key and move your mouse to rotate the camera without changing the direction your character is moving. This way, you can keep an eye out for enemies and trouble spots. Additionally, there is a compass at the top of the screen that can be used to call out enemy position to teammates. If you placed a marker on your map, it will show up on the compass.

Look out for red zones

Just to spice things up, the game will periodically drop a red circle on the map and begin bombarding that area with artillery fire. If you are in that zone, either rush out of the radius or hide in a building until the coast is clear.

Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsAs the play area gets smaller, the blue circle will do more and more damageBe wary of supply drops

As the play area gets smaller, the blue circle will do more and more damageBe wary of supply drops

Be wary of supply drops

Much more benevolently, the game will sometimes decide to drop a crate of supplies into the area from a passing plane. These contain special weapons like the powerful AWM sniper rifle or the ridiculous Tommy Gun. Gear from supply drops can help turn the tide of battle, but the drops are initially marked by a puff of fluorescent smoke. If you can see it, someone else can too. Be prepared for a firefight if you want to grab the loot.

Turn down your foliage setting

If there is one graphic option to set as low as possible, it is foliage. Many players who think they are safe in grassy fields or wild forests are actually at the mercy of enemies who’ve turned this setting down. If you want to find folks in the open, adjust your settings. The game will look uglier but that’s a small price to pay for victory.

[Update: This has been mostly fixed with patches. I recommend it anyway for better performance and smoother gameplay.] 

“So you’ve spotted an enemy…”

Battlegrounds is all about killing other people, and it can be tempting to open fire on whoever you see. If you spot an enemy, take time to assess if you can land your shot and fire only if you’re confident that you can take them down.

Take aim

Holding right click will aim your weapon in third person, while tapping right click will aim down your sights. If you’re doing the latter, you can even press shift to hold your breath for more accuracy. Aim carefully and you can drop enemies with only a few shots.

Listen carefully

Even if you don’t see an enemy, you might hear them moving around in the grass or catch some gunfire in the distance. If you’re being shot at, you’ll often hear the impact on the ground before the whizzing of the bullet. Keep your ears alert and bear in mind that the direction of the sound you hear is relative to where the camera is facing, not where your character is looking.

It’s ok to run

You can’t win if you’re dead, which means that it’s absolutely fine to hightail it from dangerous situations. If two groups of foes are fighting, let them fight. If a would-be killer is trying to sweep your house, leap off the balcony, steal their car, and ride to safety.

You don’t need to stay put to win a match. Loot some house and take off. Head for the hills and hide in some tree shade before moving to a new location. Think of it as a giant game of leapfrog. Stay active and aware.

It’s also ok to camp

I prefer to play Battlegrounds quickly moving from point to point, but if you find a strong position to hole up in and the circle isn’t going to close in just yet, consider taking time to hunker down and plot out an ambush. If you’re camping outside look for foliage or shade that can hide you. If you’re on the desert map of Miramar, consider resting in enfilade behind the crest of a hill or ridge.

To help with camping in Third Person matches, press the ALT key to free up the camera and rotate it behind you from time to time. It will help you spot enemies approaching from behind.

Pay attention to doors

The game starts with all the doors closed; an open door means a player has been in the house. If an open door is pushed in, they might be in the house, and if it is pushed out it is probable that they left. An open house that has a single room with a closed door is a red flag: assume someone is camping in there.

Be careful with vehicles

Battlegrounds offers cars, buggies, and motorcycles to traverse long distances, but I suggest using them sparingly. They make a lot of noise and give away your position. They can also run out of gas, explode if shot too much, or flip over and kill you. If you are using a vehicle, make sure you come to a stop before exiting or else you might run yourself over.

Look where cars are parked

A car outside a house all but assures someone is inside. Freshly spawned cars only ever face east; if it’s angled elsewhere, someone’s been driving it.

[Update: This has been fixed with a patch. Being aware of cars close to buildings will still provide clues as to enemy position. Freshly parked cars’ brakelights will still be on. If you see a car with lights on, the enemy is probably nearby.]

Remain calm near the end

When you’re down to the last ten players or handful of squads, finding suitable cover will be essential. Reduce the possible angles of attack by as much as you can and try not to panic. Leave cover and push enemy positions only if you have to, and make use of tools like smoke and flash grenades to gain an advantage.

Tips For Playing PlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsWhen it’s just you and another player, attack only when you know you can win.

When it’s just you and another player, attack only when you know you can win.

“I actually won!”

Good job. I’m proud of you.

Have fun

Battlegrounds is a tense game, and if you get far, your heart is going to be pounding. Try not to get frustrated, even if you miss your shot at victory by a hair’s length. It’s just a game, and there’s always a new round to play. Take it easy and enjoy the mayhem.


  • Few of these tips need to be updated or made clearer.

    1. DONT mute chat, this comes in very handy when players in game use it as its proximity based so you can hear enemies when you get close (CTRL+T will allow you to mute/unmute to avoid the lobby and plane ride squealers)
    2. AR’s the M416 is currently considered one of the worst AR’s due to the fact that in order to make it as useful as the stock SCARL or the AK it needs to be fully kitted out.
    3. RED zones, these can suck or be completely underwhelming, if you decide to camp one out in a building, stay away from the walls and stay on the ground floor of 2 story buildings as sometimes the explosion will come through walls and roofs.
    4. Turning off foliage does nothing, as the devs set the foliage to be a server side SET minimum so that people couldn’t actually turn it off to cheat.
    Something else to keep in mind Shadows are a good help, so dont turn them off if yoru PC cant handle them just have them low, as they help with positional tracking other players.

  • I wouldn’t include half of those for people yet to buy the game or just starting out, there’s different levels to the game and to tell someone all of those at once would send them running for the bloody hills.

    I’ve done about a month of solo and then a month of squadding:

    Solo: fail fail fail. Drop in areas where you *think* are good. Your ‘gaming’ brain will adapt and understand the landscape and you’ll grasp a better understanding of the map overall the more rounds you play, short as they are.

    Travel far away from where everybody is/where you think everybody is if you want to have a ‘training’ session with weapons or vehicles. I still can’t aim worth a damn and when the heat is on I can never remember what bullets go with what guns.

    The pace of the game can change, and you have to change with it. The late-game is especially sketchy, it’s almost always your fault if you lose. Whereas at the beginning of a match, there are glitches/lag issues which could sometimes go your way, sometimes not.

    As for squadding up:

    There are always going to be one of the two scenarios during the start (when you are riding in the plane):

    One of your team marks out a destination on the map, and the other three – for this short time at least – treats that person as the de facto commander. Parachute out and try and land in a group following that marker’s lead.

    Two or more markers are on the map and it’s anybody’s guess where people on your team are going to go. One funny guy randomly moves his marker all over the map thinking he’s original.

    The article is correct in saying when you feel proficient enough in solo, giving squads (with randoms, with friends, being silent or chatty) is recommended.

    A lot of my matches involve me being last to each loot spawn and only getting the dregs while my team-mates are kitted out in their Rambo cosplays. If this happens to you, focus and adapt. Look for vehicles, be the driver, keep up with them as they progress, you’ll be able to loot dead players soon enough.

    Also, a Kotaku AU Plays Battlegrounds is long over-due.

    Just sayin’.

  • Re: Red Zones.

    I’ve sunk just over 100 hours into this particular rabbit hole (don’t judge me), and I’ve never run or hid from a red zone and I’m yet to take a single point of damage. In fact I often use Red Zones and an opportunity to get in close to people as they generally have their heads down and the noise covers the sound of your footfalls.

    • At someone who is now at 220 hours, i wont judge…. and i once thought like you 😛
      Untill the day my squad got rekt while driving through a field after me very specifically saying “Nah dont stress guys these things never get me”………………BOOOM game over

  • Playing with others you play with often is also a good thing. Don’t give up! Learn together. There’s about 60 of us who all play together every day because of just how much fun we have and how different our playstyles translate to the action.

    Some of us go tactical and stealthy, others go loud and fast preferring to go ‘punch on’ or have a massive firefight, either one and everything in between can go the distance.

    Come play with us if you need to get started. We all started not knowing anything! In fact, one of the tips here should be about how to do a ‘Superman punch’… land two of those one an opponent and they go down, much faster than using a melee weapon and a critical thing to know when landing at the start in case you got to ‘punch on’…

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