There is a variety of weapons featured in Red Dead Redemption. They are essential to survival, as well as an integral part of everyday life in the American West. The player is able to use a range of weapons ranging from Civil War-era, manually-operated weapons, all the way to the cutting-edge, semi-automatic weapons of the time.
The player can carry every weapon that is acquired in inventory, but only eight are active for selection at once. Each weapon occupies a slot on the weapon inventory wheel. The player can switch between guns of the same slot.
Only one side-arm and one long-arm (the Sawed-off Shotgun counts as a long-arm) are visible on Marston at any one time. When dueling or in certain cutscenes, John and Jack will use whichever pistol or revolver is currently equipped. The weapon wheel sorts weapons (clockwise, from the top) by:
- Revolvers and Pistols
- Melee (Hunting Knife in Redemption, Torch in Undead Nightmare)
- Shotguns (includes Blunderbuss in Undead Nightmare)
- Scoped Rifles (includes Explosive Rifle added by Liars and Cheats DLC)
- Rifles and Repeaters
- Projectiles (includes the Tomahawk added by Legends and Killers DLC, and the Undead Bait, Boom Bait, and Holy Water added in Undead Nightmare)
Marston can also buy a Bandolier to hold twice as much ammunition for repeaters and rifles, as well as adding to his appearance on some outfits. The bandolier has rifle rounds on it, while pistol rounds are attached to the belt.
Ammunition for the weapons of Red Dead Redemption are split into seven distinct categories and two special categories exclusive to the Undead Nightmare DLC. Each type of ammunition is used in all of the weapons within that category.
- Revolver Ammo
- Pistol Ammo
- Repeater Ammo
- Rifle Ammo
- Shotgun Ammo
- Sniper Rifle Ammo
- Explosive Rounds (added by Liars and Cheats)
- Blunderbuss Ammo (exclusive to Undead Nightmare)
- Phosphorus Coating (exclusive to Undead Nightmare)
In single-player, ammunition can be obtained from the dropped guns of fallen enemies. Dropped guns shine to indicate that they can be walked over and collected for ammo. Ammunition can also be looted from the body of a killed enemy or be taken automatically after hogtying an enemy. Chests found throughout the world may also contain varying quantities of ammo along with other loot (such as money) as well as killed enemies.
One of the easiest ways to obtain ammunition is from a Safehouse; each bedroom (except rented ones) contains a chest with a quantity of ammunition, but types and amounts are determined randomly (the amount of money in them is determined randomly as well). The Improved Campsite has the same function, but instead, the ammo goes into the satchel without player action. To maximize the amount of ammunition the player obtains from the Safehouse chests and the Improved Campsite, it is best to complete Rank 5 of the Sharpshooter Challenges.
In Multiplayer, boxes can be found on the map (both in Free Roam and in the various game modes) which contain ammunition for all weapons except for the Explosive Rifle. Ammo can also be obtained in the same manner in Single Player by walking over the guns of killed enemies.
Ammunition can also be purchased from gunsmiths which are located in certain towns. The price of ammunition depends on the map location, type of ammunition, and the number of boxes purchased.
The lasso and hunting knife can be used infinitely.
All of the firearms featured in Red Dead Redemption are modelled after real world weapons. Weapon details are simplified, however. For example, all revolvers use revolver ammo - there is no distinction between different calibres. In the charts below, links are provided to the closest approximations of the real world inspiration for each in-game firearm.
Pistols and Revolvers
Pistols and revolvers are located at the top of weapon selection menu. In most cases, they have less range and firepower than long firearms, but they have the benefit of being able to be handled with just one hand. Because of that, they are very useful when steering a carriage or when pursuing enemies on horseback. You can fire while losing less control of your carriage than when using a long firearm. They also have a good amount of max ammo and are quick to reload. They can be used in close and medium ranges, but because of the lack of long range, they are not made for hunting big or dangerous animals.
Rifles and Repeaters
Rifles and repeaters are located at the bottom of the weapon selection menu. They have both a longer range and more firepower than most pistols. Rifles are often more powerful than repeaters and are great on long distances. But because of this, they are not made for hunting small preys, since they will obliterate birds and other small animals, leaving nothing to skin. Repeaters often contain more bullets and can fire a little faster, but are less powerful. However, because of this they are well used for hunting, not only on the ground but on horseback as well.
Scoped Rifles are located at the bottom-right of weapon selection menu. Like the name, these rifles contain a scope and are also known as sniper rifles. They have a lot of firepower and an extremely long range. Instead of a regular aiming mark, they will be scoped automatically when aiming. This can both be an advantage and a disadvantage as they are perfect for long ranges, but are not made for medium and close combat. They are best used when engaging enemies at long ranges, since you can kill a couple if not more enemies while they can't hit you (unless they also have sniper rifles). It should be noticed that these are the only firearms without auto-aim, therefore they are useless on horseback as you have to be stationary to place a good shot. These rifles also have low max ammo and low fire rate. Enemy snipers will be marked with a scope glint while they are aiming.
|Rolling Block Rifle||Remington Rolling Block Rifle|
|Carcano Rifle*||Carcano Model 91/38 Short Rifle|
|Explosive Rifle||Mauser Model 1918 Anti-Tank Rifle|
Shotguns are located at the right of the weapon selection menu. Shotguns are very good for close range since they do not fire a single bullet, but rather a large number of pellets. They have a quick rate of fire and also good reload speed and firepower. However, they do not contain a large magazine.
|Double-barreled Shotgun||Colt Model 1878 Hammer Shotgun|
|Sawed-off Shotgun||Colt Model 1883 Hammerless Shotgun|
|Pump-action Shotgun||Winchester Model 1897 Shotgun|
|Semi-auto Shotgun*||Browning Auto-5 Shotgun|
* Indicates rare weapon needed for the Exquisite Taste achievement/trophy.
Thrown weapons are found in the top left of the weapon selection menu. As the name suggests, these weapons have to be thrown and are not shot like most weapons in the game. Fire bottles and dynamite are efficient for killing groups of enemies, and throwing knives are useful for silent kills.
In addition to firearms, the player can obtain various thrown weapons:
- Fire Bottle
- Throwing Knives
- Tomahawk (added by Legends and Killers)
- Holy Water (exclusive to Undead Nightmare)
- Undead Bait (exclusive to Undead Nightmare)
- Boom Bait (exclusive to Undead Nightmare)
These weapons are stationary and cannot be directly moved by the player from the location of deployment. They are superior to regular weapons and have unlimited ammo. They are found on very specific places, mostly when the mission requires them.
Other than the above, there are other types of weapons and equipment the player can select from the weapon wheel. However the Hunting Knife can be used to kill enemies on very close range without alerting others, they are not particulary for killing enemies. The lasso is used for taking people out without killing them. It is also necessary for horsebreaking jobs and to take a wild horse. The knife is automaticly selected when skinning animals or cutting someone free.
The following weapons are added by DLCs. The Tomahawk and Explosive Rifle are added to single player, multiplayer, and Undead Nightmare while the remaining weapons are available within Undead Nightmare only.
- Main article: Weapons in Redemption/stats
PVP Weapon Locations
- Main article: Weapon Locations in PVP
Each map location and game mode in multiplayer provides a different set of weapons to players. See the main article for details.
- Main article: Multiplayer Challenges/Weapon Challenges
When using most guns, aiming needs to be precise. Sometimes this may be tricky but there are some ways that may improve your accuracy and precision. First of all, by taking advantage of the aim assist in the game, it's easy to take out multiple enemies in seconds. When the enemy is near the center of your screen, holding down the aim button will lock on to the enemy, depending on how close they are; this snap provides good accuracy. To better utilize the aim assist, after firing multiple shots or killing an enemy, briefly stop aiming and aim again quickly to lock on to the next enemy. However, this still may take a long time to kill the enemy. After having mastered the technique, practice aiming up slightly after locking on until successfully obtaining a perfect headshot. However, you may not need to use this technique depending on the weapon being used.
Experienced players often utilise a technique of rolling, then locking onto an enemy, tapping the thumbstick up and then immediately firing, as a way of simultaneously dodging fire and also pulling off a headshot. This technique is difficult to master, as it requires precise knowledge of how far to tap the thumbstick for the headshot. This technique is best used with a rifle or revolver from medium to close range. It also can be used for long range, as experienced players can use a Henry Repeater or a Bolt Action Rifle and get a headshot from more than 100 yards away.
Remember that players using Dead Eye can always outshoot you if you let them, so aiming for the head is the best option. If they do use Dead Eye, find some cover and shoot them when they reload. Use shotguns only at very close range and pistols at no further than mid-range. Repeaters are accurate at most ranges, although sniper rifles are better if the target is very far away.
Players with the Golden Guns Weapon Pack will get extra fame for killing people. Despite the fact that thrown weapons, the knife, the explosive rifle and the tomahawk don't turn gold the extra fame still applies.
Marston will automatically reload all of his firearms without any input from the player once the ammo in any of them has been depleted.
- In Undead Nightmare, the player cannot free hogtied victims due to the absence of the knife.
- Red Dead Redemption is the only game where the weapons do not include a bow.
There are a number of achievements/trophies related to the use and ownership of weapons. Unlike the challenges listed above, these achievements are not limited to Multiplayer sessions and can be unlocked during the single-player campaign.
Purchase a rare weapon from a gunsmith.
Get 250 headshots in any game mode.
Kill 500 enemies with any pistol or revolver in any game mode.
Kill 500 enemies with any rifle, repeater, or shotgun in any game mode.
Kill 500 enemies with a mounted weapon in any game mode.
Get a headshot while in Expert Mode in Singleplayer.