Resident Evil 4 – Firearms Tier List

The game throws a lot of weapons at you. Which ones to upgrade? Which ones to sell? The choice is overwhelming. Let’s find out.

Guide to Upgrade Weapons


  • This tier list is entirely subjective (hence the name), you’re more than welcome to correct me where you feel it’s wrong.
  • This tier list deals only with guns – knives and grenades are not covered since it’s something you’ll ideally always want to have and use.
  • This tier list assumes all guns are at their full potential – upgraded, and with infinite ammo in case of bonus weapons where applicable.
  • This tier list is based around playing the main story up to and including the Professional difficulty – a separate tier with endgame changes (infinite ammo with Cat Ears) is provided at the end.
  • If you haven’t unlocked the bonus stuff yet you’re welcome to check out my “How to Casually Unlock Everything…” guide nearby as well!

B Tier

This guns are okay – they are not necessarily bad, they can get the job done for you, that said there are much better alternatives. You’re probably better off selling these or just not getting them in the first place.

CQBR Assault Rifle – unlike RE3 where it plays more like an smg, in the remake it’s actually a battle rifle aka it uses the rifle ammo. And this is where its main problem lies – it is not sustainable due to ammo inefficiency, being rare and expensive to craft, but offers damage compared to pistols unless you aim at weak points. Just use the ammo it comes with and sell it afterwards.

Bolt Thrower comes across as a promising weapon that allows us to save ammo. In reality, however, it is only viable in the early game against single enemies, being ineffective against swarms. Even though you can collect bolts and even craft proximity mines, both consume quite a lot of resources you could dedicate to creating ammo for other weapons or grenades, with both being arguably a better investment. Best just skip this.

Striker – this expensive late game shotgun’s main selling point is its huge clip capacity, which unfortunately is neither here nor there because shotgun ammo is pretty rare in the game to begin with. While this shotgun can be pretty good against groups of trash mobs, a shotgun is arguably too valuable to be used in such manner. And there are much better shotguns to be used against tougher enemies.

Matilda – What I said about Striker applies to this iconic pistol. While the ability to fire in bursts of three turns it into a bootleg submachine gun, ammo efficiency is too low to be sustainable. To make matters worse, both the gun and its stock can only be traded for the side quest currency, spinels – and there’s arguably better ways to spend them.

LE5 is a returning submachine gun from RE2 remake. The problem with it is you get it very late in the game, when you already have a number of core guns upgraded to the point there’s no need to use this – while the penetrating shots ability is useless against metal shields the enemies get by then. Meanwhile the need to make a fresh save to get most of the unlocks makes this a weird gun you never get to really play with. Even if you do – its low damage and long reload times certainly limit its usefulness.

A Tier

The guns in this tier are good, if perhaps not the best nor overpowered.

TMP is a submachine gun you can get very early in the game. It gets the job done, however the recoil and spread are quite demanding, so you’ll be needing to buy a stock for it with spinels, which you could spend elsewhere. The final outcome is the gun that takes quite a lot of space in your inventory while doing nothing especially useful that other guns couldn’t accomplish.

Rocket Launcher is great, allowing you to wipe enemies and bosses with a single shot. However, a single shot is all you got with it and the launcher is overwhelmingly expensive, especially on higher difficulties. Moreover, unlike the original there are no bosses whose loot would ever justify using this. So only buy it if you’re swimming in pesetas – though if you do, you likely don’t need this in the first place.

Broken Butterfly is a magnum that got a few problems. First of all, its ammo is rare and it competes for crafting resources with pistols and shotguns, which will be of much more common use and are more justified to spend money on upgrades for. Second it’s pretty hard to aim with this thing unless point blank. Overall leading to a niche weapon that a good shotgun could well replace.

Skull Shaker is an okay shotgun you get with Deluxe edition. Unlike the other Deluxe gun this shotgun is nothing to write home about – it’s pretty similar stat-wise to W-870 you start with, and is also a shotgun best used for groups rather than single enemies. You might as well sell this one for some early money and focus on better shotguns.

W-870 is the first shotgun you’ll find and the one that’ll work well for you in the early game. However, its low rate of fire and large spread and early availability of the Riot Gun means there’s not really much point to upgrading (or, indeed, sticking to) this one.

SR M1903 is your first rifle option. It trades rate of fire for strong fire power with upgrades. While you might as well stick to this one, Stingray which you can buy in the castle area offers an overall better quality of life, being more tolerant to you missing a shot and allowing you deal with pesky crossbowmen that much faster.

Red9 is SR M1903 of pistols and the entire opposite of Matilda – it got the highest per-shot damage in class, paying for it with low rate of fire as well as pretty bad spread and recoil. While you could get a stock for it to somewhat alleviate the issue – prepare to pay for it with spinels and inventory space. To be honest pistol ammo isn’t really scarce enough to make Red9 an optimal choice.

Blacktail is the jack of all trades – master of none kind of pistol. While it gets pretty good across the board with upgrades, it becomes available fairly late and can’t be equipped with a laser sight, making you aim your shots longer, which slows you down in a fight.

Punisher is another strong contender for an all-rounder kind of pistol. It has low recoil, can be equipped with a laser sight (both have to be purchased with spinels though) and is able to penetrate 2 bodies or a shield, and up to 5 bodies fully upgraded. This ability is situationally useful and arguably shines the most in the castle, while falling off during the island due to enemies’ metal shields.

S Tier

This guns are great, and are recommended for pretty much any playthrough.

Silver Ghost is your first pistol that might as well be your last – if you didn’t buy Deluxe anyway. It is one of the three pistols that can be equipped with a laser sight, nullifying the need to wait for the reticle to close after every shot. Its exclusive ability to score more frequent critical hits is very useful on higher difficulties where enemies can take up to 4 headshots – one of them might as well be a crit, saving you ammo.

Sentinel Nine is a Deluxe pistol that is a straight upgrade over Silver Ghost in every regard othen than reload speed – it fires much faster, it got more damage, it got about double clip size, it can be equipped with laser sight, it can also be upgraded with increased critical hit chance. A true Mary Sue of pistols!

Killer7 is a magnum that comes with a laser sight. It only becomes available for purchase in the last third of the game, and the ammo is scarce even if you craft it – which made me wonder if I should perhaps place it lower. But the sheer power of high damage and pinpoint accuracy at the same time led it here. Best part is you don’t even need to invest in upgrades – just buy it and keep it around for a rainy day.

Riot Gun is your trusted workhorse and a Swiss multitool all in one – a combination of high damage and high rate of fire allows you to tackle tougher foes like minibosses, while its nature as a shotgun albeit with a lower spread allows you to still use it against groups if need be. It also becomes available fairly early and can be used for the better part of the game.

Stingray is a reasonable middle ground between weaker and rapid-firing CQBR and slow but hard-hitting M1903. High rate of fire and fast reload time together with respectable damage makes this rifle fun and comfortable to use, fit for all your Regenerador-killing needs.

S+ Tier

This guns are godly. Use them. Love them.

Infinite Rocket Launcher – this is only available in the New Game+ and will cost you a pretty penny. However, it’s a wonderful weapon that will wreck any and all enemies and bosses, and even allow you to skip a few areas throughout the game. The only drawback (besides the price, of course) is the fact you can’t possibly obtain it on a fresh save and tackle S+ ranks with it.

Chicago Sweeper – you get this submachine gun for completing a Professional mode under 7 hours. Even though the damage is not that great and the spread is all over the place – its exclusive upgrade of infinite ammo sets its leagues above other weapons on this list. Strongly recommended for S+ playthroughs on Assisted/Standard difficulties.

Handcannon – this magnum is arguably the hardest thing to unlock in the whole game, requiring completing a Professional run on a fresh save without bonus weapons. Even though aiming with this beast is a challenge (perhaps the bosses aside), it sports high damage even without upgrades, and upgraded with infinite ammo it even surpasses the Sweeper in its wrecking potential. Strongly recommended for S+ playthroughs on Hardcore/Professional difficulties.

Cat Ears Tier

After completing the Professional mode with S+ rank you get Cat Ears accessory, which gives you infinite ammo with every weapon (technically – infinite reloads without consuming ammo). This radically changes things for some of the guns on this list, since sustainability is no longer a concern. This are the guns that work best with Cat Ears. One thing to note is even though some of this guns technically become stronger than even bonus weapons – Chicago and Handcannon still win in certain situations due to their ability to be fired indefinitely with no need to ever reload.

Matilda – a pistol that’s essentially a submachine gun, this gun with infinite ammo will allow you to cheese through your Minimalist playhrough and have a lot of fun in the process!

CQBR Assault Rifle – one of the worst guns in the game becomes hands down the best with infinite ammo, giving you damage of a rifle combined with fire rate and clip size of a submachine gun; while also offering many other goodies – penetration, 3x damage against weak spots as well as the ability to engage at any distance with a variety of scopes. With the need to reload as its only drawback, it might become the only gun you ever need!

Killer7 – with high damage and accuracy it was already very good, while with infinite ammo it arguably becomes the most well rounded weapon in the game.

Broken Butterfly – okay, this is unexpected one, but its damage and rate of fire are both higher than Killer7, and accuracy is still not as bad as the Handcannon, leading to very good overall performance.


  1. >CQBR most of the time even not fully upgraded is better version of stingray, its just become boss slaying machine that you hoard ammo for, and with it you can just drop magnum from your inventory since it has more DPS than all of them.
    >Skull shaker is arguably some F tier weapon and before getting ticket upgrade is just a shotgun ammo dump, shotgun isnt a weapon you save space on too.
    >Matilda is only usefull on minimalist runs to kill some verdugo, even with insane RPM it fails to kill enemies as fast as SG
    >Punisher – flat 2 max damage with no crit make it struggle hard on hardcore and above, tho i like to buy it just as utility just to inflict stun on shield guys.
    >SG/SN – S+ tier since crit chance affect all kicks while they are equiped, resulting in a massacre.
    >Stingray – worse version of CQBR in every stats and only viable for 2 reasons: you dont need to upgrade it almost at all, and you find it earlier than CQBR

  2. I don’t know, the CQRB is just ammo efficent as the stingray while dealing slightly more damage.
    Just because it’s full auto you don’t have to fire full auto

    • For me, CQBR sits where it sits. In my view, an argument you can fire a full auto rifle not full auto is not really an argument. Stingray exists for that. The damage difference of 4.9 vs 5.1 is negligible for all ends and purposes. CQBR just has no place in the reality of the game about resource management, which is probably the reason why the original didn’t have it. It was simply a choice between better damage and better rate of fire. CQBR meanwhile just begs to be used as an smg so it’s stuck in the endgame Cat Ears tier where it actually dominates.

  3. broken butterfly with exlusive ticket is better then killer 7 with exlusive ticket beacause the broken butter fly has 40 power with the ticket

    • Broken butterfly also fires faster than killer7, leading to a higher overall dps. Though to be fair, magnums aren’t necessary in this game, and with Cat Ears it all boils down to preference.

      I’ve read a lot of nice things about CQBR here, but between how ammo hungry it is and the fact you likely have an upgraded Singray by that point in the game – I just don’t see it.

      Matilda I wouldn’t even bother outside of Cat Ears, Punisher I found okay on Hardcore just for the sake of those shield guys, Professional and I’ll be taking Sentinel Nine for crit headshots.

    • >Broken butterfly is unaccurate
      >Killer 7 is only magnum that consistenly oneshots Salvador on Pro (because crits do deal insane damage)

      If there would be any DPS meter in the game, Killer 7 due to crit would win against every weapon in the game with huge lead (and only CQBR headshots can be close due to firerate)

      You can also just sell Stingray as its inferior riffle and fully upgrade CQBR

  4. I think Matilda, CQBR and LE 5 are a bit underrated.

    I used Matilda with stock for hardcore and professional run. Actually there is no need to worry about ammo because the game has dynamic balance. For many times I was gonna run out ammo, but I always got enough to get by. It is also the upper replacement of TMP imo, because it has high DPS but consumes handgun ammo which is easier to acquire.

  5. Solid List and I’ve got to agree with you. Had a plan for a Minimalist run with 4 different pistols and just ended up using the upgraded Matilda the entire run

    However, not that I used it much in the original but the P.R.L-412 missing from the game is sad.

  6. You’re rated The Silver Ghost higher than the Red9! Finally, someone with good taste! However, I must admit that The Silver Ghost in the REmake is inferior to the one in the original game. In the REmake, I can see why the Red9 is considered better, especially during a new game – minimalist playthrough.

    In my opinion, Bolt Thrower is an F-tier weapon. You need to upgrade its power quite a lot to make it worth using, and the main selling point of the weapon is to save ammunition. However, the game constantly throws a lot of ammo at you, even on Professional mode.

    Those who haven’t played the original game won’t know what the Remake took away from us – the homing mine thrower. It was such a cool weapon with a unique scope HUD as well.

    • Yup. To be fair, remake’s Red9 is also worse than the original. No laser sight, oh and the fire rate is especially painful. Something I realized over time that fire rate is pretty important to a pistol – during cabin siege your ammo is effectively infinite thanks to Luis, so it becomes all about how fast you can shoot.

      For Minimalist, I just went with infinite Matilda and didn’t make things more difficult than they need to be 🙂

      My tiers follow the ranks you can get in the remake, so B tier is essentially F. On the other hand, you can make pretty much any gun work, and many guns in A tier are there not because they’re bad, but just because better guns exist.

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