Who doesn't love the feeling of finding the ultimate weapon in a video game? You work hard, exploring and crafting and following walkthroughs to find hidden gems, then finally, you get it: a rifle, sword, or magic upgrade. You know the game is nearing its end and you have the ultimate weapon to win it. Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 is certainly the kind of game to warrant this feeling as you near its ultimate end, and just like pretty much any other game out there, you've probably had to go through a handful of completely useless dud weapons to get there, but in Rockstar's defense, there are few weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2 that are complete and total trash.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is also known for having a relatively small inventory of possible weapons, so duds are few and far between. It can be fairly easy to acquire new and improved weapons, as well as customize and upgrade weapons already in your inventory. Still, no game is perfect, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is certainly no exception despite being a genuinely awesome game. We've put together a list of the best of the best weaponry you can get in Red Dead Redemption 2, as well as a few weapons that serve little to no purpose. Spoilers from the game may lurk below, so read with caution if you haven't finished the game yet!
Check out our list of the 20 Strongest Weapons (And 10 That Are Worthless) Ranked.
30 Strongest: Rolling Block Rifle
The Rolling Block Rifle sits at a particular spot on our list designated as not too great, but not too bad. This rifle is one of only two sniper rifles in Red Dead Redemption 2 and it is certainly bested by its Carcano Rifle counterpart.
You would expect a sniper rifle to have some semblance of accuracy, but the Rolling Block Rifle leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to aim and precision. The scope, though designed to look realistic, is virtually useless. However, as an overall firearm, it is significantly better than some of the weapons you pick up at the start of the game.
29 Strongest: Double-Action Revolver
This gun is definitely the revolver to pick out if you need rapid fire speed in a particular situation. The good old Double Action has the most lightning fast firing speed of any other revolver in the game, but unfortunately, isn't the best revolver in the game. It's virtually worthless in distant-range gunfights and only proves its worth in extremely close-range combat.
Still, it's a great revolver to use when you're dual wielding, but we'd suggest pairing it with a decent rifle as opposed to another similar revolver.
28 Worthless: Maxim Gun
The Maxim Gun, also known as the “Cowboy Minigun,” is actually a pretty fun weapon to use. It's like Red Dead Redemption 2's version of a Gatling gun and a powerful fight-dominating weapon to have on your side.
However, you barely have the opportunity to use this weapon. If you're dedicated to following the main storyline without deviation, you're only going to get to use this old-time stationary gun twice. This lands the Maxim Gun with the label of “brief and elusive novelty weapon” in the Red Dead universe.
27 Strongest: Stone Hatchet
In a game like Red Dead Redemption 2, where melee weapons tend to be on the lackluster side (for obvious reasons, it's a gunslinging game), the Stone Hatchet manages to be on the slightly better side, but it's certainly far from the best weapon you'll encounter in the game.
Still, the throwable Stone Hatcher has decent damage and looks pretty cool. However, we would suggest using this handheld weapon for hunting animals as opposed to battles that will most likely involve guns. Who brings a hatchet to a gunfight anyway?
26 Strongest: Rare Double-Barreled Shotgun
Who else got giddy when they got the powerful Double-Barreled Shotgun in Red Dead Redemption 2? Just me? Well, to each their own.
The rare Double-Barreled Shotgun is great for taking out sparse enemies who cross into close range. Even though you get this shotgun earlier in the game, and it doesn't have the bells and whistles of more sophisticated firearms you find or purchase later on, it looks awesome rolling off your shoulder in a gunfight and delivers some serious damage, albeit only twice at a time.
25 Worthless: Varmint Rifle
Who would have thought a gun designed for hunting rabbits could not possibly be stellar at combative gunslinging? The Varmint Rifle is far from the worst weapon you can get your hands on in Red Dead Redemption 2, but it has such a basic feel to it and less than stellar stats that boast low power, moderate range, and a painfully slow reload speed. It may have high accuracy, but there are way better rifles out there that warrant leaving the Varmint Rifle in the trash where it belongs.
24 Strongest: Carbine Repeater
This fancy little gun won't send enemies away like a good ol' shotgun will, but the Carbine repeater is fantastic for gunfights with many enemies involved. When you find yourself in the thick of a big gunfight, this repeater is great for attacking enemies when you're blind.
The Carbine repeater has lightning fast fire, excellent range, and pretty acceptable damage rates. Though the Carbine repeater is unfortunately the weakest of Red Dead Redemption 2's repeaters, it's still a dependable firearm worth keeping in your inventory until you can upgrade to a Litchfield or Lancaster.
23 Strongest: Volcanic Pistol
Aesthetically, the Volcanic Pistol is a beautiful gun, and when it comes to its practicality, it's also fairly impressive. While you can certainly place other pistols above or below it, with a bit of familiarity and practice, this gun can take out any other sidearm with ease.
The firing kickback is satisfying, too. The only real downside to the Volcanic Pistol is its less than elegant firing rate and its not-so-great range. But, if you're looking for pure power condensed into a sidearm, this is the pistol for you!
22 Worthless: Cattleman Revolver
While this gun is the pinnacle of what you'd imagine an authentic cowboy rootin' tootin' revolver would look like, it leaves a lot to be desired in power. Arguably, the Cattleman Revolver is probably the worst sidearm you'll find in Red Dead Redemption 2.
Sure, there are a ton of other guns that are at the bottom tier, but the Cattleman Revolver is weak in just about every category, only being forgivable in the rate of fire. It may be based on the classic Colt Single Action Army or “The Gun That Won The West” in real life, but the Red Dead version is far from legendary.
21 Strongest: Repeating Shotgun
The Repeating Shotgun does away with Red Dead Redemption 2's shotguns' painfully slow reloading speeds. No more two shell capacity, dear player! You get all the perks of a shotgun with a substantially more impressive reloading speed. What's better than that?
The Repeating Shotgun is great for barreling down enemies in close contact. Unfortunately, this shotgun's firing speed leaves a lot to be desired and many other shotguns in the game, even earlier ones that appear, outdo it in this respect.
20 Strongest: Dynamite
Red Dead Redemption 2's brand of dynamite explosives is perfect for catastrophic excitement. And what is a Rockstar game without a few kabooms? This weapon has quite the resume, from eliminating group members to dealing with bounty hunters in the most debilitating way possible.
Outside of the combat elements, dynamite is super handy for opening locked boxes, and overall, if you need to blast open a bank vault or eliminate dozens of enemies, dynamite's got your back.
19 Worthless: Poison Throwing Knives
Don't worry, we're definitely including the un-customized Throwing Knives in this list of worthless Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons, but we just had to mention the uselessness that is the Poison Throwing Knives.
The range and accuracy of this weapon are laughable, with forgivable damage if you can manage to hit anything other than tree trunks with them. Plus, rooting around for Oleander sage and hunting for eagle or hawk feathers is a pain. Ain't nobody got time for that! The only thing worse than Poison Throwing Knives is regular, plain old Throwing Knives.
18 Strongest: Pump-Action Shotgun
This has to be one of the most satisfying shotguns you can use in Red Dead Redemption 2, and it has the stats to back it up as a formidable weapon. The Pump-action Shotgun has an impeccable accuracy rate and powerful damage rate. The only downside to this gun is the firing rate, as you (obviously) need to pump between shots.
Still, the Pump-action Shotgun is acceptable even for its lackluster firing speed, making it ideal for situations in which you need to deal a lot of damage in a short amount of time. A great gun for brother hunting and gunslinging.
17 Strongest: Litchfield Repeater
We get it. It's a constant debate among fans on whether the Lancaster or Litchfield repeater is better, but to play it safe, we kept these two powerhouses close together on the list. When it comes down to it, they're both incredible guns in Red Dead Redemption 2.
The Litchfield Repeater, in particular, is great in unpredictable gunfights, sporting an awesome firing rate, and incredible damage. The reload rate is annoying and its accuracy isn't great by any means, but this is a great repeater to use in massive gunfights when you're solo.
16 Worthless: Throwing Knives
If you thought the Poison Throwing Knives were dumb, wait until you get a load of the... non-Poison Throwing Knives? There aren't many melee weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2, and for the most part, they are low-tier and substantially less effective than firepower. Plus, who uses throwing knives in the Wild West? Will there be DLC involving ninja stars at some point as well?
Despite seeming decent for stealthy assassinations, the basic throwing knives lack accuracy, range, or anything even remotely interesting that would make someone want to use these regularly.
15 Strongest: Lancaster Repeater
Truly the yin to the Litchfield Repeater's yang, the Lancaster Repeater has its own benefits that are hard to ignore when it comes to repeaters. The Lancaster Repeater has lackluster damage and a frustrating reload time, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes to fire rate.
If you're in a tight-knit fight and need to cover an NPC, this is a great little gun to use. If gangs need to be taken out or robbed, this is a great gun to use for thinning out numbers of hidden and covered enemies.
14 Strongest: Rare Rolling Block Rifle
This ornate and attractive rifle is one of the best rifles in Red Dead Redemption 2, though it isn't without its flaws. It has extremely high power and range, but it is fairly lackluster when it comes to rate of fire and reload speed. After all, it only has an ammo capacity of... one.
Still, this rifle can use a ton of different types of ammo available in the game and it has impeccable accuracy. The Rare Rolling Block Rifle certainly gives the game's sniper rifles a run for their money.
13 Worthless: Bow
As a tool for hunting animals of all sizes, the bow is a pretty useful weapon. As an actual weapon for barreling down enemies, the bow leaves quite a bit to be desired.
You can get different types of arrows throughout the game that change damage, skills, or effects, but even then, the bow doesn't do anything to write home about. The accuracy is pretty impressive, but the slow fire rate and poor range leave the bow at the bottle of the barrel for decent Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons.
12 Strongest: Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Now, this is a classic gun if we've ever seen one! If you need the unrestrained damage-inducing power of a shotgun, this one may just be your best bet. It's a good “last resort” gun to have if you need to eliminate closing-in enemies and don't have the time to properly cover for precise aiming.
It's fast, accurate, and has a great damage rate. Still, it is a shotgun, so you're going to have to sacrifice precision and range. We suggest upgrading the Bandolier to maximize your ammo for this shotgun.
11 Strongest: Micah's Revolver
Micah Bell is the main antagonist of Red Dead Redemption 2, so it's no wonder that his gun is on the powerful side of revolvers. Micah's Revolver, which has the trademark “VENGEANCE IS HEREBY MINE” etched into the barrel, becomes available if you make certain choices in the game. We don't want to spoil anything, though!
This revolver boasts a staggering rate of fire and decent accuracy, range, and reload speed (it can also take several different types of Revolver ammo). It's a powerful little gun, but it ends up on our list for the strength of its implications within the game.
10 Worthless: Hunting Knife
Oh, this dumb little knife. Have we talked enough smack about Red Dead Redemption 2's melee weapons yet? Don't get us wrong, it's a decent knife for a few things within Red Dead Redemption 2, but mainly hunting.
Early on in the game, it can be useful for silent takedowns and sneaky attacks. However, the lousy range and laughable power this knife packs reserves it solely for getting animal furs and meat. You can customize it, too, which is kind of cool we guess? Still, it's one of the first weapons introduced in the game, so it's no wonder it isn't the greatest.
9 Strongest: Semi-Automatic Pistol
First of all, this is just a cool-looking gun and has that Wild West industrial sort of look to it. The Semi-Automatic Pistol is luckily both attractive and powerful when it comes to dual wielding.
Arguably the best pistol in the entirety of Red Dead Redemption 2, the Semi-Automatic Pistol is great for fighting in close- or mid-range situations. The attractive sixteen bullet capacity and impressively fast firing speed make it great for duels, hunting, and massive gunfights, but it's even better when paired with another firearm.
8 Strongest: Springfield Rifle
While you do get this rifle early on in the game, that doesn't mean it lacks in power and can't rival higher-tier weaponry. The Springfield Rifle definitely beats out a lot of the other more “sophisticated” rifles and shotguns in Red Dead Redemption 2 by excelling in both excellent range and overall power. Even though the firing rate is lackluster and can be a deal breaker for some players, this rifle is still definitely worth having in your inventory for hunting bears and wolves, as well as fighting small groups of enemies.
7 Worthless: Hatchet
Wow, how surprising! Another lame, useless melee weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2! Sorry to all you melee fighters out there!
This basic hand axe is just that: basic. It has poor power, range, and accuracy. It is designed for chopping wood, so maybe it should remain stuck to a log somewhere. While you can significantly damage a single unarmed opponent with a slow swing of this axe, it is completely worthless throughout the rest of the game. The Hatchet isn't even worth the $4.25 you pay for it in the game.
6 Strongest: Schofield Revolver
This is an incredible little gun, no doubt about it. The Schofield Revolver is one of the most legendary guns in the game and real life, and all for good reason. It has a faster firing speed, impressive accuracy, and a high damage rate than any other revolver in the game.
Once you get your hands on a Schofield, you may find yourself shelving the rest of your sidearms until the time comes to dual wield. It's shiny, too. Just in case you were wondering.
5 Strongest: Bolt Action Rifle
The sharp Bolt Action Rifle is a fantastic weapon to have on hand for fast firing situations and long-range shooting.
It's rare to find a weapon that just about every kind of player would enjoy, but the Bolt Action Rifle seems to be just that. Its damage, firing rate, speed, and accuracy is nearly the best in the entire game. It's highly customizable, allowing players to add scopes and other bells and whistles to an already powerful firearm, and when you get your hands on a Bolt Action Rifle, keep it for as long as you can.
4 Worthless: John's Knife
Like the bow, the hunting knife is ideal for, surprise, hunting animals, and not so much for battling enemies in a fight. The range for the hunting knife is bad even for a melee weapon, and the unpredictable and unreliable damage likelihood makes this one of the riskiest weapons to use as an actual weapon.
But, it is free, so, yay for that? We suggest keeping the hunting knife handy for getting pelts and meat, but when a fighting situation finds its way to you, ditch this knife for something less useless.
3 Strongest: Carcano Rifle
The Carcano Rifle is hands down the best sniper rifle in the game, leaving the okay, but not great, Rolling Block rifle in the dust. While you should definitely rely more on the deadeye system and play around with the more “fun” weapons in the game, the Carcano sniper is great to have on hand when the situation calls for it. It has fantastic reload speed, range, and fairly decent damage and accuracy to boot.
However, the weapon feedback is almost nonexistent, making it difficult to confirm shots.
2 Strongest: (Dual Wielding) Sawed-Off Shotgun
Maybe the Sawed-Off Shotgun isn't super fast or super accurate, in that case, you could argue that it doesn't deserve the #1 spot on our list.
However, there's more to this weapon than meets the eye. On top of being the most iconic weapon of the entire Red Dead franchise, it's also amazing when paired with another Sawed-Off Shotgun for duel wielding action. Enemies don't stand a chance and it's just so satisfying to use, especially with one in each hand. It's a cheap weapon with decent damage and firing rates, but it's more of the legend behind this gun that makes it so iconic and worthy of being the best on our list.
1 Worthless: Molotov Cocktail
This is it. This is the worst weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2. With pretty okay damage and pathetic range and accuracy, you may be thinking that there are weaker weapons out there. However, when you have the infinitely better Dynamite readily available, why bother with the molotov cocktail, a.k.a. the fire bottle? It is extremely rare for a fire bottle to end an enemy, and it isn't even that reliable for scaring animals away.
It's pretty disappointing, though, because what isn't rad about a molotov cocktail? It goes kaboom on impact! Unfortunately, for Red Dead players, it's the most useless thing you could get your hands on.
Do you know any other notable weapons from RDR2 that should have made our list? Let us know in the comments below!