From revolvers to sniper rifles to double-barreled shotguns, opportunities for gun slinging around in Red Dead Redemption 2 are in no short supply. But which guns are most worth the time of a discerning cowboy?
When it comes to guns in Red Dead 2, it's all about preference. Some guns might be considered “best”, but all that really means is they're best in some areas and lackluster in others. For example, a gun with high stopping power might have a very slow reload time. Players should try out the various options and see what works for them, but consider starting their search with these, the overall best guns in the game.
10 Sawed-Off Shotgun
A Sawed-Off Shotgun is a Double-Barreled Shotgun with slightly worse stats. Just like real life! Contrary to popular belief, sawed-offs are not somehow “more powerful” than normal double-barreled shotguns, but they are less accurate. Sawed-offs are used by criminals because they're concealable. In Red Dead, they're used for dual-wielding.
A Sawed-Off Shotgun on its own isn't great, but dual-wielding them does increase their meager ammo capacity, effectively from two to four. Plus, firing off salvos of shot to absolutely destroy targets at close range is just fun. Alternatively, a sawed-off can pair very well with a pistol or revolver for extra range and versatility.
9 Carbine Repeater
Repeaters are great at a medium range. They have a high rate of fire thanks to their using cartridges rather than firing off individual rounds. This change effectively trades long-range accuracy for versatility and sheer DPS.
So when grabbing a repeater, players should look for something that takes advantage of its ammo capacity and rate of fire. Well, look no further than the Carbine Repeater. It ties the Lancaster Repeater in terms of range and firing rates, but has better reload times and a higher overall damage output. Players can grab this balanced weapon from any gunsmith in the game for $90.
8 Bolt Action Rifle
Choosing a rifle in Red Dead 2 can be tricky. Two enticing options are the Bolt Action and the Rolling Block Rifle. At first glance, the Rolling Block is the better choice. But actually, the Bolt Action is the better overall rifle, and here's why:
In terms of base stats, the Rolling Block does more damage and has a higher range. However, as the player gains affinity with a gun, its stats improve. Because rifles start so close to the ceiling for damage and range, at max affinity, all rifles have virtually identical damage and range stats. Therefore, rate of fire and reload times are more important considerations for rifles, and the Bolt Action is better for these. It can be obtained from any gunsmith after the mission “Preaching Forgiveness as He Went”.
7 LeMat Revolver
The LeMat is a weird, almost experimental gun. It's the most expensive revolver in the game, coming in at a price of $172. It's also the most powerful revolvercapable of dropping most enemies with a single headshot. Its main drawbacks are its extremely slow reload and rate of fire stats. To make up for this, the LeMat Revolver has a unique cylinder that can hold 9 shots instead of just six. It can also switch to shotgun ammunition at any time, functioning like a sawed-off.
Catching enemies off guard with a shotgun blast never gets old, and dual-wielding the LeMat with an actual sawed-off is a literal blast. The LeMat Revolver can be purchased from the gunsmith in Saint Denise after the Chapter 4 mission “The Gilded Cage”.
6 Semi-Automatic Shotgun
The Semi-Auto is a great all-around shotgun with excellent rate of fire, solid stopping power, good reload times, and a high ammo capacity. Other shotguns edge it out in terms of raw damage output, but it's still an incredibly versatile option, second only to the Repeating Shotgun. Stuck in close quarters with a group of enemies, no one wants to be stuck constantly reloading a slow, awkward Double-Barreled Shotgun.
Unfortunately, the Semi-Automatic Shotgun isn't available until after the Chapter 4 mission “A Fine Night of Debauchery”. However, players can also find one in the basement of Watson's Cabin. This isolated spot is down a side path off the trail that runs along Little Creek River, northwest of Wallace Station.
5 Carcano Rifle
The Bolt Action is great, but the Carcano Rifle is the actual best rifle in the game. At max affinity, its stats are virtually identical to those of the Bolt Action. However, when it comes to reload times, the Carcano Rifle is the clear winner. That's pretty important for a rifle; especially considering how slow to reload they normally are. It's the best option in the game for taking down enemies at a long range. Plus, it's a cool-looking weapon with a more modern feel.
The Carcano Rifle can't be obtained until a bit later in the game. There are a couple of missions in Chapter 6 where it can be grabbed for free—after this it's purchasable from any gunsmith for $190.
4 Midnight's Pistol
At first glance, this modified Mauser pistol may not seem like much. Its base stats are mediocre at best. However, as the player gains affinity with the gun, its stats balloon until it's the best pistol in the entire game. With incredible accuracy, solid damage, and quick reload times, Midnight's Pistol is a gold-engraved killing machine.
To get Midnight's Pistol, the player needs to defeat Billy Midnight in a duel at the end of “The Noblest Men & A Woman”a stranger mission that begins in the small saloon in Valentine. Make sure to actually grab the pistol after the duel, or it'll be gone forever.
3 Repeating Shotgun
With good damage, a solid rate of fire, and the fastest reload time of any shotgun, the Lancaster Repeating Shotgun is a clear winner in close quarters. It beats the Semi-Automatic Shotgun in terms of accuracy, reload times, and ammo capacity. That translates to more time spent hurting bad guys and less time spent standing around reloading.
The Repeating Shotgun becomes available from all gunsmiths for $185 after the mission “Visiting Hours“ in Chapter 6. At this point, it quickly becomes our shotgun of choice, unless dual-wielding is what we're after. No other shotgun can compare to its great stats and modern feel.
2 M1899 Pistol
This handgun was added to Red Dead 2 in an update. It's available from gunsmiths in Saint Denis. While it may not be the greatest in terms of power, its excellent ammo capacity and smooth, quick rate of fire make it an absolute joy to usejust what one would expect from a modern weapon.
The M1899 is capable of dishing out extreme punishment in rapid fashion to anyone in short or medium range. It may be the most forgiving weapon in a game filled with old, clunky guns. We recommend dual-wielding it with a LeMat Revolver, as any mistakes made by the LeMat can be quickly covered by the M1899.
1 Micah's Revolver
Similar to Midnight's Pistol, Micah's Revolver starts out as a fairly average gun. However, at full affinity, it has the highest damage rating of any revolver. It also boasts a decent range, and it ties with the Double-Action for the highest rate of fire among revolvers. For those who like to “fan the hammer” and fire off lots of shots in quick succession, this is the gun to do it with.
Micah's Revolver also has a cool design, with the phrase “VENGEANCE IS HEREBY MINE” engraved on the barrel. Unfortunately, the only way to obtain the revolver without cheating is to wait until after the epilogue mission “American Venom“. It's not something players can use throughout the entire game.
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