PUBG 101: Looting, Guns, and Items

Once you’ve landed and your parachute has disappeared, you’ll need to find loot quickly. Knowing how and where to look for loot will often be the difference between life and death in the beginning of a match. In this section we’ll be looking at looting efficiently in PUBG.

Looting in Erangel

Although loot in PUBG is randomly generated, the places it spawns for the most part is not. Learning the specific spots that loot spawns will vastly improve your efficiency in looting and increase your survival rate in the early game. Every city on the island is comprised of a handful of different key buildings that are reorganized and strung together in a different layout. This means you don’t need to worry too much about memorizing every loot spawn on the island, just focus on learning how to loot specific buildings because you’ll run into them consistently no matter where you land.

Once you touch down almost any building you can quickly access is going to be your best bet for finding a weapon to defend yourself with. However when landing in a fairly populated area you should try to focus on getting to buildings with either multiple stories, or multiple entrances and exits. This way you can maximize looting while lowering your overall footprint in the city, and if you do have to leave rapidly you can do so safely.

Almost every room in a building has a chance to spawn loot, most often in a pile in the center of the room. From bathroom to balcony you should be opening every door and checking to see if anything has spawned. Don’t worry about actually moving into every individual room and looking around searching high and low, you won’t find a suppressor hiding under a bed or on a bookshelf, loot will most often be in plain sight. 

As you open doors and see clusters of loot here and there, the fastest way to tell what’s actually in a pile of loot is to stand on it and open your inventory. Pressing tab by default will open your inventory and show you a list of items on the far left of your screen that you can pick up by dragging to the right and dropping them into your backpack. This method of looting is the fastest way to diagnose what loot is available in a room, without having to look at the floor and try to pick one item out from the rest. Looking at an individual item and pressing your use key (F by default) is acceptable, but this method is generally slower and requires more precision.

Notice how pressing F (bottom gif) took longer to just loot one spot. There are even times where the hand grabbing animation is played but nothing is picked up. Extremely inefficient. The click and drag method (top gif) is preferred.
  • Familiarize yourself with building layouts, the same buildings are used all over the map.
  • Focus on learning where in the specific buildings loot clusters spawn.
  • Use the inventory menu (tab) to loot quickly.
  • Using F to pick up items requires more precision.
  • Loot generally spawns in the middle of a room, or in easy to access spots.

Learn your buildings

Large apartment buildings generally house a lot of basic loot, but with many doors and large flights of stairs they take a long time to search alone. Often you'll spend more time running from one room to the next than you will picking up anything of value. These apartment buildings can quickly leave you undergeared, and trapped if an enemy enters behind you while you're looting. A much safer alternative is the two story housing complex.

Two story buildings are very common and offer a solid amount of loot both on the top and bottom floor, while leaving you multiple entrances and exits in case other players attempt to rush you. The balconies these buildings have also have a chance to spawn loot, while being a great escape route or firing platform to engage people below you.

Single story buildings with more than one entrance offer you the ability to clear with speed while staying on the bottom floor, and moving out a separate doorway than the one you came in. This will allow you to chain buildings together and move through sections of town quickly, but if there are other players in the town with you it will increase your odds of running into them.

Warehouses often have higher tier loot, but only a few spawn locations. With big doorways on either side of the building and a lot of cover inside, they offer a great “one time pass” through. Try not to spend too much time in warehouses as they attract a lot of attention in the early game.

Restaurant buildings can be found in larger towns and cities across the island and they generally house a great range of loot. The front entrance of the building has many loot spawns littered across the floor and on the tables, and has a high chance to offer a great starting weapon, but with its large broken windows you’re very susceptible to being shot while looting here. Try to move through the main area quickly before checking the rooms in the back and leaving out the rear exit.

  • Try to loot buildings that have multiple entrances and exits.
  • Large apartment buildings take a lot of time to search, focus on looting multiple sets of smaller buildings instead.
  • Two story buildings generally have good early game loot, while offering many exits.
  • Single story buildings can be looted quickly.
  • Warehouses should be looted in a single pass.
  • Restaurants are great starter buildings, but the main room is very exposed.

Looting safely

Nowhere in Erangel is ever truly safe, but that doesn't mean you can't buy yourself some peace of mind in the early game. In every match you play, whether it's squad, duo, or solo, the plane's trajectory will dictate what becomes a high-population zone, and what's barren. You can use this to your advantage by picking locations to loot that are far from the plane's trajectory.

Given that the plane normally passes the centerpoint of the map each game, areas such as the school, apartments, Pochinki, and Rozhok are always going to be heavily populated. While areas around the outskirts of the map such as Mylta, Lipovka, Primorsk, Stalber, Zharki, and Severny are often empty in the early game.

Depending on the angle of the plane’s path, try to pick areas to loot that are just outside of your parachuting range. The vast majority of other players in the plane with you will believe that because they can’t make it to a decently sized city by the time they touch down; they won’t be able to loot and survive, and they won’t follow you. 

Don’t be afraid to land in smaller patches of buildings on the outskirts of  a city in the early game, as long as you have a plan to head to a larger town nearby. Even if you don’t get a great assault-rifle or sniper rifle right off the bat, you won’t be needing it for a little while anyway. Loot quickly, and keep moving towards the real prize, a city to yourself.

Another method for reaching a looting zone that is devoid of players is to get to a vehicle as soon as possible. Racing for a vehicle right off the bat can be dangerous, but also rewarding. Vehicles spawn primarily alongside the asphalt roads that litter the island, keep a keen eye alongside the roads as you’re parachuting in, and don’t be afraid to dive for a car or bike even if it’s not near any lootable areas. Having access to a fast moving vehicle will allow you to beat almost all other players to untouched cities.

  • The plane’s trajectory will dictate the map’s hotspots.
  • The closer you are to the plane, the more players will be around you.
  • Safe to loot areas are generally found further from the plane’s trajectory.
  • Pick areas to loot that are just outside of your parachuting range.
  • Don’t be afraid to loot small settlements on the way to bigger ones, but be quick.
  • If you can find a car on your flight path in, use it to get far away from the plane’s path.
  • Try to plan your jump, route, and looting areas ahead of time if possible.

Looting efficiently

If you find yourself with a city to your own, relish in the glory of fear free looting; but don’t take too long because whether it's the circle- or other players, you’ll be forced to move on shortly. In the brief window of opportunity you’ve forged for yourself, try to focus on clearing as many buildings as possible. Quantity will provide quality, the more buildings you can clear, the more opportunities at higher end gear you’ll be compassing.

It goes without saying, but first and foremost you need to be focused on finding a weapon, as other players can show up to your vacant city at any time and try to take it from you. Shotguns and SMGs are great for the early fight. You should try to stay away from handguns and crossbows as they can be easily overpowered by almost any other weapon in the game.

Helmets, vests, and backpacks, should always be at the top of your priority list.While Backpacks don’t provide any armor, they allow you to loot continuously without having to leave behind meds or ammo. Vests provide damage mitigation, and carry capacity, allowing you to last longer in any firefight both in terms of health, and ammunition. And helmets will save you from catching a stray in the head and ending your game. Regardless of if you’re the only player in the city, you should equip a helmet and a vest the first chance you get and continue to upgrade as you progress through your looting phase. The more damage you can mitigate, the less amount of meds you’ll need to recover afterwards.

When it comes to medical supplies, you’ll generally want as much as you can find, with the only exception being bandages. Bandages take both time to apply, and heal, because of this it’s generally rare that you’ll have time to use bandages in the late game. However if you can only find a few First Aid Kits, bandages can help keep your health high while maintaining your stock. 

First Aid Kits are a must and will be the primary healing method used in the late game, you should aim to find at least three to five depending on what you can carry. With first aid kits, more is almost always better. The same applies for boosters, Painkillers and Energy-Drinks aren’t easy to find and going into the late game you’ll want a steady supply so you can keep yourself well topped off, so keep an eye out for these and grab as many as you can find.

  • Focus on clearing as many buildings as you can, as quickly as you can.
  • Find a starter weapon, don’t hold out for higher tier weapons early on.
  • Shotguns and SMGs are great early game weapons.
  • Always equip a helmet as soon as you can, regardless of its level.
  • Utilize bigger backpacks and higher tier vests as soon as you can to avoid backtracking.
  • Avoid bandages, if you can find a steady supply of First Aid Kits and Boosters.

Defending your haul

From the moment you land you’ll need to protect yourself. Finding a weapon early and being able to take down other players who landed nearby is your best bet to ensure that you don’t become a walking a pile of loot for someone else to search through. Try not to focus on finding a high tier assault rifle right out the gates, most players don’t have great body armor or helmets early on so you should be able to protect yourself with almost any weapon.

Shotguns are a great first weapon, and can often be found very easily. Though they lack in long range capabilities they’re great for defending against an aggressive enemy, or holding up inside a building. They also allow you to quickly dispatch multiple foes at close range, provided you land your shots. Submachine guns such as the Uzi, Vector, or UMP, are also great for close to medium range engagements. SMG’s lack precision, but in a close range urban environment they’ll allow you to hold your own in a firefight against players with assault rifles.

The UMP in specific is one of the best starter weapons you can find. Even though its an SMG, it's extremely versatile.  Not only does it have access to full auto, but it can also house all of the same attachments as an M416 (minus the stock) and it’s ammo can be found almost anywhere. Because of this the UMP can be utilized as a placeholder for the M4 or SCAR, allowing you to build up all of the mods necessary for a powerful assault rifle, without actually having it. This method will also save you inventory capacity as attachments that are equipped to weapons don’t take up bag-space. 

Once you find an assault rifle you can begin building your loadout and gearing towards reaching the endgame. Shotguns generally serve very little purpose in the mid to late stages of the game because most engagements will be happening at medium to long range. Ditch your shotgun for an assault-rifle and keep your SMG handy incase you start running low on AR ammo. From this point forward almost all weapon choices become preference. 

Most often you’ll see players running around with an assault rifle and a sniper rifle. This combination is extremely powerful as it allows you to reach out and touch players who are far away, while also being able defend yourself at medium and close ranges. If you prefer to stay away from long range scopes, utilizing two assault rifles is never a bad idea. Although it takes more ammo to sustain, having a fully loaded assault rifle one weapon-swap away can save your life in extended firefights or when trying to take out a car full of players.

  • Shotguns can be extremely deadly early on.
  • SMGs can take down fully geared players in close range situations.
  • The UMP can act as a platform to build out an M4 or Scar before you have it.
  • SMGs are more versatile than shotguns, drop your shotgun once you start finding ARs.
  • Pairing an assault rifle with a sniper rifle is an extremely deadly combination.
  • Don’t be afraid to run with two assault rifles if you have the ammo to sustain the setup.

By Harrison Silverstein and Vincent Cameron