Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 offers players no shortage of choices – and that extends to the weapons available in the game’s Wild West open world environment. All told, there are 59 lethal implements up for grabs in the game, and each of these firearms, blades, and explosives has its own benefits and drawbacks.
To make life easier for you – and give your avatar character, Arthur Morgan, a fighting chance of riding off into the sunset – we’ve decided to pull together this list of the most powerful weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2. Arm yourself with one of these suckers, and if you do bite the dust, it won’t be because you weren’t properly equipped.
Better still, we’ve also made sure to include each weapon’s location on the map, to spare you from wandering aimlessly around Red Dead Redemption 2’s 29 square miles of virtual wilderness in search of the right tool for the (dirty) job at hand.
And if there are mission-specific requirements you need to complete before a particular weapon is unlocked? Don’t worry – we’ve thought of that, too. We’ve even covered instances where a weapon can only be accessed by playing Rockstar’s other major title, Grand Theft Auto V, so rest assured that no stone has been left unturned.
So pull up a stool in your favorite saloon and dive straight into this list of Red Dead Redemption’s 25 Most Powerful Weapons (And Where To Find Them All) – by the time you’re finished reading it, you’ll be the best-armed outlaw ever to ride with the Van der Linde gang!
25 Stone Hatchet
Many gamers who own Red Dead Redemption 2 avidly play GTA Online, as well – which is handy, as completion of a secret Treasure Hunt in the latter unlocks the Stone Hatchet in the former. Available to those who downloaded GTA Online’s “After Hours” content update, this hidden mission requires players to try their hand at a spot of bounty hunting.
Once you’ve eliminated all of your targets, booting up Red Dead Redemption 2 will reveal that the Stone Hatchet has miraculously been added to your inventory. Alternatively, this unique hand-axe litters a Native American burial ground north of Owanjila.
24 Semi-Automatic Pistol
While the Semi-Automatic Pistol may not boast a revolver’s power, it can still take down enemy NPCs in as little as two shots. But what really stands out about the Semi-Automatic Pistol is its incredible rate of fire, which – coupled with its speedy reload time – make it the fastest firing handgun in Red Dead Redemption 2.
To holster one of these bad boys on your hip, you first need to clear Chapter 4 mission “The Joys of Civilization.” Once that’s out of the way, the Semi-Automatic Pistol becomes available for purchase from the gunsmiths in Valentine or Saint Denis.
23 Rare Shotgun
Fittingly, the most uncommon shotgun in Red Dead Redemption 2 just so happens to be the most powerful the game has to offer, too. Getting your hands on one of these isn’t as easy as simply swinging by your nearest gunsmith or even ticking off another mission.
No, you’re going to have to really work if you want the Rare Shotgun. Head out to Hanging Dog Ranch and continue west until you come across a cave, where an eccentric hermit dwells. If you can stomach gunning down the old coot, the Rare Shotgun in his possession will be all yours.
22 Midnight's Pistol
Red Dead Redemption 2’s Gunslinger side missions aren’t just a great way for players to hone their reflexes – they’re also the gateway to owning several of the game’s finest pistols. For example, if you outdraw famed gunfighter Billy Midnight in “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman”, his weapon becomes yours.
Now, Midnight’s Pistol doesn’t pack much firepower. But what this beauty lacks in power, it more than makes up for in the rate of fire department, and any desperado would be lucky to have one.
21 Litchfield Repeater
There are several worthy candidates for the title of “Best Commonly Available Rifle in Red Dead Redemption 2”, but our vote goes to the Litchfield Repeater.
Stocked by every gunsmith map-wide from the moment you complete “Goodbye, Dear Friend” in Chapter 2, the Litchfield Repeater’s ubiquity doesn’t mean that its efficacy should be underestimated.
After all, not only does the Litchfield Repeater dish out substantial damage from a considerable range, it has a faster rate of fire than any other rifle in the game, too!
20 Homing Tomahawk
The run-of-the-mill Tomahawk – which any of Red Dead Redemption 2’s fences will be willing to sell you after you’ve crossed the “Americans At Rest” mission off your list – isn’t anything special. But the Homing Tomahawk? Now that is top-tier melee weapon.
All you have to do to dramatically improve your Tomahawk’s accuracy is to grab a copy of the Homing Tomahawk Pamphlet. To do that, you’ll need to visit the Flattened Cabin in Grizzlies East and sift through the junk inside until you find the lockbox that stores this invaluable leaflet.
19 Algernon's Revolver
Quirky milliner Algernon Wasp isn’t an easy taskmaster, but at least he appreciates the hard work of others.
Gamers who have passed all of the “Dutchesses and Other Animals” challenges will already know what a good employer Algernon is, as he should have already acknowledged their troubles by handing over his own ornate revolver (and a natty hat) as payment.
Admittedly, this pearl-handled rod is hardly the best revolver in Red Dead Redemption 2 – however, it’s got decent range, doesn’t take long to reload, and spits out bullets at a ludicrous rate!
18 Flaco's Revolver
If you’re the kind of gunfighter who likes to pick off your targets from a safe distance, then Flaco’s Revolver is going to be your Red Dead Redemption 2 six-shooter of choice. Don’t expect obtaining this piece to be a cakewalk, though.
First, you’ll need to track down Flaco Hernández in the Grizzlies (as part of the “Noblest of Men, and A Woman” side mission). Then you’ll have to blast your way through Flaco’s entire posse, before engaging the man himself in a one-on-one showdown! Survive this gruelling gauntlet, and Flaco’s Revolver will be yours to keep.
17 Carcano Rifle
The Carcano Rifle is the kind of precision long-range firearm you’re desperately craving from the moment you first start playing Red Dead Redemption 2.
Unfortunately, the team at Rockstar clearly weren’t in the mood to indulge gamers’ need for instant gratification – to add the Carcano Rifle to your arsenal, you have to pass the “Goodbye, Dear Friend” mission first.
However, the wait is worth it: the Carcano Rifle has tremendous range, commendable firepower and relatively quick reload speeds (at least, by sniper rifle standards!).
16 Double-Action Revolver
Another weapon that can be unlocked by putting in a few hours on GTA Online, you win a special, gold-plated Double-Action Revolver by blitzing through that game’s head-shot challenges. Alternatively, you can buy a less flashy model from your local gunsmith after you’ve knocked Chapter 2 mission “A Strange Kindness” on the head.
It doesn’t really matter which route you opt to go down – just so long as the outcome is that you have access to this lightning-quick shooting iron, one of Red Dead Redemption 2’s best.
15 Rare Double-Barrel Shotgun
What is it with the shotguns in Red Dead Redemption 2? Not only do you have to adopt unsavory methods to acquire the Rare Shotgun, but you need to resort to similarly dastardly behavior to claim ownership of the Rare Double-Barrel Shotgun, too!
Provided that’s not an issue for you (and we’re guessing it isn’t), collecting the Rare Double-Barrel Shotgun is a cinch. All you have to do is find the cabin near the first “A” in Manito Glade on the map, bump off the settler who lives there, and make off with his unique firearm.
All of the melee weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2 do roughly the same amount of damage to your enemies – except for the Machete, which doles out a teensy bit more. So, if you’re in the market for a close quarters cleaver, this one more than fits the bill.
To purchase a Machete, complete the “Dear Uncle Tacitus” mission – once that’s out of the way, every fence in the game will add it to their wares. Otherwise, would-be Machete owners can try their luck looting a Night Folk faction member’s body or finish the “A Fine Night For It” side mission.
13 Bolt Action Rifle
Full disclosure: the Bolt Action Rifle is hampered by a predictably sluggish rate of fire. On the plus side, it deals out phenomenal amounts of pain, is freakishly accurate and – since it’s customizable – supports the addition of a scope, boosting its range.
The Bolt Action Rifle is bestowed upon players who finish “Preaching Forgiveness As He Went” in Chapter 3. From then on, every single Red Dead Redemption 2 gunsmith will sell you a Bolt Action Rifle (if you somehow find yourself needing to replace yours).
12 Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Eschewing the slow rate of fire traditionally associated with shotguns, the Semi-Automatic Shotgun spews destruction at blistering speed. Throw in a relatively brief reload time, and this baby starts to look very attractive indeed!
To ensure every gunsmith on the Red Dead Redemption 2 map adds the Semi-Automatic Shotgun to their supplies, finish the “A Fine Night For Debauchery” mission. That said, those looking to save 225 bucks could always break into Watson’s Cabin near Watson’s Station, where they’ll be able to pick up a Semi-Automatic Shotgun free of charge.
11 Volcanic Pistol
We’re going to be totally honest here: we’ve never really rated the Volcanic Pistol. Yet this overpowered handgun has its fans, who are happy to overlook its glacial rate of fire and dismal clip capacity due to its formidable firepower.
So, if you’re the kind of outlaw who prizes power over pace, then you should definitely consider shelling out for the Volcanic Pistol. You’ll just need to wrap-up the “Eastward Bound” mission first – unless you own the Special or Ultimate Edition of Red Dead Redemption 2, in which case, it’s yours already!
10 The Ancient Tomahawk
Proving that good design and craftsmanship never go out of fashion, the Ancient Tomahawk is one of the most lethal throwing weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2. What’s more, you won’t need to part with a single cent to buy one of these throwing axes, either.
Trek out to the Calumet Ravine east of the Waipiti Indian Reservation, then explore the ravine’s eastern side. Eventually, you should come upon a busted target leaning up against a post – pry the Ancient Tomahawk lodged in the target loose, and it’s yours forever under “finders, keepers” rules!
9 Schofield Revolver
Red Dead Redemption 2’s Schofield Revolver is nothing special “out of the box”. Sure, it’s extremely accurate and reasonably powerful, but that’s about all the Schofield Revolver has going for it…until you go down the customization route. Do that, and you’ll realize just how devastating this six-shooter can be once it’s been fully tricked out!
Before you reach that point, you’ll need to buy one first. Either get one from any gunsmith after completing Chapter 2 mission “Blessed Are The Meek?” – or if you’re skint, redeem a five-finger discount by burgling the doctor’s office in Valentine, instead.
8 Viking Hatchet
We’ve covered already that the ranged melee weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2 all inflict about the same amount of damage, so it’s down to personal preference which you use. In other words: you’re going to pick the one that looks the coolest. And that’s why you’ll want to go with the Viking Hatchet.
It won’t come as a shock that the Viking Hatchet is located in the Viking ruins (aka the Old Tomb) in New Hanover. The Viking Helmet and Ancient Viking Comb can also be found here, for those keen to indulge in a spot of digital cosplay.
7 Calloway’s Revolver
Calloway’s Revolver is the last handgun that Red Dead Redemption 2’s Gunslinger side missions have to offer. Funnily enough, though, it’s only a middle of the range shooter in most respects – which is kinda galling, considering how hard it is to beat Calloway in a duel (fairly, at least).
Yet Calloway’s Revolver does shine in one regard: accuracy, where it ranks among the very best in class. Pair this precision sidearm with Explosive rounds, and you’ll quickly learn to overlook its more mediocre qualities!
6 Springfield Rifle
The Springfield Rifle is unlocked after you clear “Eastward Bound”, the final mission in Chapter 1 of Red Dead Redemption 2. From this point on, walk into any gunsmith on the map and one of these rifles will be sitting on the shelf waiting for you.
You should definitely purchase the Springfield Rifle early on, as it’s arguably the only long-range firearm you’ll need. Not only is it absurdly accurate, but it packs a real punch and – once you’ve bolted on a scope – can double as a sniper rifle, as well!
5 Mauser Pistol
Some Red Dead Redemption 2 players pride themselves on their pinpoint marksmanship, while others are more than happy just to spray bullets in front of them until they hit their target. If you find yourself falling under the latter umbrella, boy, do we have the handgun for you!
The Mauser Pistol is quick to reload and even quicker to fire – which compensates for its weak amount of firepower. If you’re sure you want a Mauser Pistol of your own, this weapon is sold at gunsmiths in Valentine and Saint Denis as soon as you’ve completed Chapter 5.
4 Broken Pirate Sword
True, this beat-up cutlass isn’t much to look at, but make no mistake: the Broken Pirate Sword can take care of business at close quarters! Another exotic weapon unlike what you’d expect to see in a Wild West game, this battered blade boasts greater range than virtually any other edge weapon in Red Dead Redemption 2.
To nab the Broken Pirate Sword, you’ll have to navigate the alligator-infested swamps near Saint Denis, keeping your eyes peeled for an abandoned boat on one of the small islands. Inside the boat, you’ll find this second-hand sword waiting.
3 Hunter Hatchet
It may not be as flashy as the other hand-axes in Red Dead Redemption 2, but the Hunter Hatchet is as good as any the game provides. Certainly, it deserves kudos for its long-bearded bit, which – whilst intended for shaving wood – is perfectly suited for hacking flesh, too.
The Hunter Hatchet is one of the rarest melee weapons in Red Dead Redemption 2 – in fact, to the best of our knowledge, there’s only one of these beauties dotting the entire map! To collect it, you’ll need to locate a specific tree stump in the Grizzlies, south of Window Rock.
2 Sawed-Off Shotgun
Taken in isolation, Red Dead Redemption 2’s Sawed-Off Shotgun isn’t anything to write home about. However, it can be dual-wielded, which allows you to mitigate any problems related to poor range and accuracy with double the firepower.
You can pick up the Sawed-Off Shotgun from any gunsmith in the game world, so the moment you’ve saved $160.00, you should pop to the shops and pick up a pair. Or if you want to be particularly thrifty, complete Chapter 1 mission “Enter, Pursued By A Memory,” which will provide you with one Sawed-Off Shotgun, meaning you only need to purchase another!
1 Rare Rolling Block Rifle
The Rare Rolling Block Rifle is the good kind of “one-hit wonder” – it can take down any quarry with a single shot fired miles away. Obviously, a ranged weapon like this can make life in Red Dead Redemption 2’s virtual environment a lot easier, so make sure you don’t miss your chance at acquiring one.
You’ll only have a lone opportunity to bag the Rare Rolling Block Rifle. During Chapter 3 mission “Magicians for Sport”, make sure you thoroughly loot the barn occupied by the sniper. Keep searching, and you’ll find this high-powered sniper rifle ripe for the taking.
Did we leave out any other powerful Red Dead Redemption 2 weapons? Let us know in the comments!