[Top 10] Resident Evil 2 Best Weapons (From Early To Late Game)

Best Resident Evil 2 Weapons
Don't worry, this remake's arsenal is just as satisfying as it was back in 1998!

Capcom’s Resident Evil 2, the modern-day remake to the insanely popular 1998 survival horror classic that shares the same name, offers us players an incredibly satisfying arsenal of weapons that are still somehow just as interesting, fun and diverse as we remember them being back in the good ol’ days on the original Playstation.

Whether you end up choosing to play as Raccoon City’s newest police recruit Leon Kennedy or the legendary Chris Redfield’s younger sister Claire, by the time that you finally hit late game, you’ll have more than enough utility to face even the most frightening of Umbrella’s array of hideous zombies. 

Maybe you’re reading this because you’re struggling to make decent progress, or maybe you’re just a bit curious. In either case, join us as we explore Resident Evil 2’s best weapons, starting from the very beginning of the game all the way through to the final sequence.

1. Claire’s SLS 60

Weapon Statistics:

Even this simple handgun goes a long way in Raccoon City!

  • Damage: Low
  • Fire Rate: Quick
  • Clip Capacity: 5

Don’t let the fact that the SLS 60 happens to be Claire’s default weapon fool you… this simple pistol will prove to be deceptively versatile, making it an incredibly handy gun to keep in your admittedly annoyingly limited inventory at all times. 

The always reliable SLS transforms itself from great to downight exceptional when the player is finally able to upgrade it with both the Speed Loader (which greatly decreased reload times) and the Reinforced Frame (which allows us to finally make use of our special high-powered rounds).

Now, I know that It goes without saying that ammunition can be extremely hard to come by in the RE2 universe, especially if you’re masochistic enough to be playing the game on handcore (the hardest difficulty). The simple fact that the SLS fires 9mm rounds, the most common form of ammo by far, means that we’re never forced to sacrifice our comparatively rare types of ammo.

The SLS is one of the very few guns that boasts a secondary form of ammunition along with the standard 9mm rounds. Despite being admittedly scarce, the SLS’s high-powered rounds are an extremely powerful resource for Claire Redfield.

The SLS is the only pistol game that can be upgraded not once but twice, making it the best standard pistol between both of the game’s playable characters.

What the SLS 60 Excels at:

  • To echo the above sentiment, the SLS is a powerful tool against every single enemy type. 
  • It’s long-range, meaning that we have the luxury of shooting these horrifying enemies from the furthest distance possible… Suffice it to say, at least for those of us who scare easily, range could be the most highly valued qualities that a weapon can have.
  • Unlike plenty of other guns that feature on this very list, there is never a point in the game where the SLS is rendered completely ineffective.

How To Get the SLS 60:

Lucky for us, this unbelievably versatile pistol is Claire’s default weapon, so it’ll be right by your side right from the game’s very first sequence.

2. Matilda

Weapon Statistics:Matilda might as well be Leon Kennedy's best friend at this point!

  • Damage: Low
  • Fire Rate: Average
  • Clip Capacity: 24

Affectionately nicknamed the “Matilda” for reasons that we’ll probably never find out, Leon’s own default handgun fights to remain relevant with the help of its own set of unique upgrades that are made available to us at three separate intervals  throughout the game.

In a similar spirit to Claire’s SLS 60, the sheer fact that the Matilda utilises the most common form of ammo in the whole game gives it immediate value… it is a survival horror game after all!

What the Matilda Excels at:

  • Once upgraded with the high-capacity mag, the Matilda’s clip holds an impressive 24 bullets… and trust me, when you find yourself surrounded by multiple enemies with nowhere to turn, you’ll learn just how valuable not having to reload can truly be.
  • The gun stock, an upgrade that allows the player to fire 3-round bursts, is a clever way to utilise the large amounts of 9mm ammo that’s probably just wasting space in your inventory box.
  • The muzzle brake will make your Matilda even more accurate by lessening the gun’s recoil significantly… it goes without saying that, when we’re up against specific enemy types or bosses with obvious weak spots, accuracy is everything. 

How to get the Matilda:

The Matilda can be found in Leon’s inventory at the very beginning of the game. 

3. Grenade Launcher (GM 79)

Weapon Statistics:

  • Damage: High
  • Fire Rate: Slow
  • Clip Capacity: 1

If you’re in the minority of first-\time players that chose to experience the story of Resident Evil 2 through the eyes of Claire rather than Leon, you’d be forgiven for feeling just a little bit resentful of the fact that you’ll never get the chance to experience the power of Leon’s famous shotgun… but what if I told you that Claire’s equivalent weapon, the Grenade Launcher, is widely considered to be the stronger of the two?

Boasting both fire and acid rounds, the Grenade Launcher packs a punch that rivals even the likes of the shotgun without having to solely rely on close-quarters combat.

The Grenade Launcher is in contention for the title of ‘best weapon’ for good reason. If we consider the weapon through the specific lens of how powerful it is relative to the game’s difficulty when we first obtain it, I would argue that the Grenade Launcher solves several early game obstacles (such as lickers) better than any other weapon available to us in the base game can. 

Not only is the grenade launcher incredibly fun and powerful… Much like the shotgun, it’s very easy to use.

What the Grenade Launcher Excels at:

  • The Grenade Launcher’s fire rounds are an incredible answer to not just ordinary zombies but to perhaps the biggest early game obstacle that’s thrown our way… you guessed it…, Lickers! It takes only one flame round to bring these terrifying monsters down.
  • The acid rounds might feel a little bit underwhelming to you at first, but don’t write them off too quickly! Acid rounds are an extremely powerful tool against all of ‘G’s’ (Dr. Birkin’s) forms. 
  • Similar to Leon’s Chemical Flamethrower, the Grenade Launcher’s fire rounds gives Claire a solid answer to the otherwise difficult to dispatch ivy-type zombies within the Umbrella Research Lab. 

How to get the Grenade Launcher

Once you’ve obtained the Weapon Storage Key, head to the Safety Deposit Room and simply open the cabinet.

4. Shotgun (W- 870)

Weapon Statistics:

Remember, a zombie's only really dead when they're headless! 

  • Damage: High
  • Fire Rate: Average
  • Clip Capacity: 8

When we think about survival horror as a genre, there’s a good reason why the good ol’ fashioned shotgun always comes to mind. If you’re about to get jumped by a zombie there’s no better weapon to have at the ready, and the Resident Evil franchise is certainly no exception to this golden rule. 

After you’ve spent the last several hours either sneaking or straight-up running past the insane amount of zombies and lickers infesting Racoon city’s police station, there’s no better feeling than finally killing these monsters for good… with one single shot to the head.

A weapon exclusive to Leon, Resident Evil 2’s shotgun lives up to everything that a fan of the series would expect from such an iconic weapon. With the only real drawbacks being its incredibly short range and the scarcity of shotgun shells in general, the gun boasts incredible fire power, impressive versatility and enough spray to make it an incredibly user-friendly weapon for new and seasoned players alike.

What the Shotgun Excels at:

  • As you can imagine, the shogun’s close-range damage truly is second to none.
  • In a world where zombies that you’ve already shot could, at literally any point, suddenly spring back to life and attack you again without warning, it sure is nice to be able to blow their heads off one and for all.
  • The shotgun’s spread is generous enough to allow you to hit multiple enemies if they’re grouped up fairly close together… if you’re patient enough to take full advantage of this, you’ll be rewarded with an ample supply of shotgun shells in turn. 

How to get the Shotgun:

The shotgun can be found in a cabinet in the Safety Deposit Room, but ensure that you’ve already found the Weapon Storage Key first!

5. Ada’s Broom Hc

Weapon Statistics:

The speedist handgun in all of Raccoon City!

  • Damage: Low
  • Fire Rate: High
  • Clip Capacity: 9

Despite the fact that we only play as Ada Wong for a fairly short sequence, her personal handgun referred to as the “Broom Hc” is refreshingly distinctive. 

Now, I know that it might seem like one of the weaker handguns at first glance, but it’s important for us to remember that Ada’s gun boasts one of the highest crit-rates alongside its equally impressive aim and focus speeds. The Broom Hc compliments the spirit of Ada’s character remarkably well. What it lacks in physical strength, it makes up for with impressive speed and general scrappiness!

What the Broom Hc Excels at:

  • The Broom Hc’s speed makes it a formidable weapon against one of Resident Evil’s most hated trademark enemies… that’s right, zombie dogs!
  • Its super high crit-rate rewards those of us that spend way too much time scrounging for every last bit of ammo.

  • The Broom Hc’s quick aim and focus speed both work to encourage players to focus on their own reaction speed if they want to survive as Ada. 

​How to get the Broom Hc: 

Because the Broom Hc is Ada’s default weapon, it’ll already be in her inventory when her campaign begins. 

6. Lightning Hawk

Weapon Statistics:

​The Lightning Hawk is as insanely strong in RE2 as it is in literally every other Resident Evil title

  • Damage: High
  • Fire Rate: Average
  • Clip Capacity: 7

The strongest weapon in the base game by a noticeable degree, this semi-automatic magnum pistol aptly named the ‘Lightning Hawk’ is worlds away from your average handgun. To say that the Lightning Hawk serves as a welcomed addition to Leon’s already impressive arsenal would be an understatement if anything… for what the shotgun lacks in range and the Matilda lacks in raw firepower, the Lightning Hawk is here to make up the difference and then some. 

The fact that Leon’s incredible shotgun can even be bested might come as a bit of a surprise to some of you, but this wouldn't be anything short of an expectation in the minds of all of the diehard Resident Evil fans out there. Make sure to save your precious MAG ammo for upcoming boss battles or particularly difficult obstacles, trust me… you really don’t want to waste even a single MAG bullet.

What the Lightning Hawk Excels at:

  • The Lightning Hawk is so incredibly strong that it can even piece straight through the bodies of multiple enemies.
  • The Lightning Hawk can be upgraded with a red dot sight, allowing further accuracy and precision whilst wielding this beast of a gun… because, like I said, you really don’t want to waste a bullet. 
  • The Long Barrel Upgrade will do the impossible for your Lightning Hawk… it’ll both reduce the gun’s recoil while increasing its damage output to an even greater degree.

How to get the Lightning Hawk:

Leon can find the Lightning Hawk inside of a locked weapon case in the Underground Facility… you’ll need to convert your USB back into the S.T.A.R.S badge before opening it. 

7. MQ11 Submachine Gun

Weapon Statistics:

There's no better feeling in the world than ripping these zombies to shreds with a submachine gun!

  • Damage: High
  • Fire Rate: High
  • Clip Capacity: 50

Claire’s Submachine Gun keeps to the general theme of her unique weapon collection perfectly. Similar to her Grenade Launcher and her Spark Shot, the MQ11 Submachine Gun is not known for its adaptability… rather, you’ll only realise its merit when you uncover its very specific utility. 

In retrospect, the fact that the unupgraded Submachine Gun is just so difficult to handle when you first find it might have been a blessing in disguise. I’ll admit that I was pretty disappointed with the gun’s lack of precision myself, but as fate would have it, the bullets that I managed to save because of this general lack of enthusiasm ended up being my answer to beating a late-game boss that was giving me a lot of grief on hardcore difficulty. 

What the Submachine Gun Excels at:

  • When you’re up against a boss with a specific weak spot (such as Birkin’s eyes), the MQ11’s insane speed will allow you to defeat difficult bosses like no other weapon of Claire’s can. 
  • If you need a fast way to stop a swarm of zombies from getting to you, the submachine gun’s impressive fire rate comes in handy yet again… simply shoot the swarm’s legs, effectively disabling them before they can even become a problem for you.
  • Finding even more utility in the MQ11’s speed, when it comes to enemies that are fairly weak yet rather fast like the infamous zombie dogs, the submachine gun is your antidote to getting jumped by these annoying, incessant pests. 

How to get the Submachine Gun:

Claire can find the MQ11 inside of the locked weapons case in the Underground Facility… if you’ve already played Leon’s campaign, head back to the place where you initially found the Lightning Hawk. Remember to bring your S.T.A.R.S badge with you, though!

8. Claire’s JMB Hp3

Weapon Statistics:

If your fear is holding you back, this gun's laser sight will be invaluable to you... trust me

  • Damage: Low
  • Fire Rate: Average
  • Clip Capacity: 23

Look, I’m not saying that finding the JMB Hp3 is one of the most thrilling or memorable moments in Claire’s campaign, but you gotta admit that this seemingly unremarkable handgun does offer us some much needed versatility to an otherwise incredibly distinctive, hyper-specified set of guns.

If you’re about to make your way through a highly populated area of zombies or you’re having a hard time avoiding those pesky dogs out by the parking garage, sometimes we simply don’t have enough time to stop and reload… or, at the very least, sometimes we’re a little bit too freaked out to want to stop for even a second! 

When it comes to clip capacity, the JMB starts off with an impressive magazine capacity of 13 which actually doubles with a later upgrade. The handgun also comes with a nice little quality of life adjustment in the form of a laser (or red dot) sight.

What the JMB Excels at:

  • For a lot of people out there , the red dot sight allowed them to shoot with far more accuracy than they could otherwise.
  • The JMB boasts a slightly higher crit-rate in comparison to Claire’s default handgun, the SLS 60. 
  • The JMB only takes up one inventory slot, meaning that Claire can take both of her simple handguns without them taking up too much space.

​How to get the JMB:

Exclusive to Claire’s story, the JMB Hp3 can be found in the trunk of a police car inside of the Parking Garage, but you’ll need the Car Key first! 

9. Spark Shot

Weapon Statistics:

​The Spark Shot might be a bit hard to learn, but trust me when I tell you that it goes hard too!

  • Damage: High
  • Fire Rate: Slow
  • Clip Capacity: 1

Just like it was back in ‘98, the Spark Shot is still the single most divisive weapon that exists in Resident Evil 2’s base game. However, similar to almost all of Claire’s weapons, the Spark Shot is only situationally helpful. 

This undeniably unique gun proves its worth when you’re up against those frustrating G-Adults down in the sewer, or if you’re actually game to use it against one of G’s many forms Otherwise, the risk tends to outweigh the reward when it comes to this particularly difficult to use weapon. 

It’s difficult to appreciate the Spark Shot’s peak potential when the skill level that’s required of us to actually untap it is as high as it is; the Spark Shot really does embody the concept of “high risk, high reward”. To make the most out of this weapon, the player needs to be confident in not just their aim but in their positioning and situational awareness too.

Since the player is put into such a vulnerable position whilst using it, and because ammunition for the Spark Shot is incredibly rare, the player simply isn’t incentivised to practise with this difficult to use weapon for long enough to actually master it. 

I might not be the biggest fan of the Spark Shot personally speaking, but even I can admit that the weapon embodies everything that I love about Claire’s specific collection of weapons… It's incredibly unique. Game developers could choose to stay on the safe side and give us the same selection of weapons that we all like and have come to expect, or they could take some risks and give us some uncommon and even eccentric choices like this. 

Just like the Spark Shot itself, there’s inherent risk when we work towards the ultimate reward of developing unconventional weapons. Even though I wasn’t drawn to this particular gun myself, I know that it was an unforgettable edition for a lot of players out there.

What the Spark Shot Excels at:

  • The Spark Shot is your best bet against the G-Adults that litter the sewers… if you’re able to hit them in the eye, that is! 
  • As well as dealing ample damage, the Spark Shot also stuns enemies. This might not sound all that useful at first, but think about it this way… you’re low on health and ammo, and only one or two enemies separate you from your safe room… you don’t need to kill them to make it back in one piece, you just need to get past them.
  • Along with Leon’s Chemical Flamethrower and Claire’s fire rounds, a lot of players don’t realise that the Spark Shot provides us with a third way to defeat the ivy zombies without having to resort to the much slower option of disabling them one tedious bulb at a time.

How to get the Spark Shot:

The Spark Shot can be found by Claire on the wall at the very back of the Supplies Storage Room in the Sewers (lower section).

10. Chemical Flamethrower (best)

Weapon Stats:

​When in doubt, burn those fuckers to shreds!

  • Damage: High
  • Fire Rate: Average
  • Range: Short

Leon’s Chemical Flamethrower is hands-down one of the most exhilarating and uniquely valuable weapons that Resident Evil 2 has to offer. Even though his iconic shotgun is considered to be marginally more flexible by comparison, the Chemical Flamethrower stands out as due to its undeniable utility in not just one, but in many of the game’s most challenging encounters.

Now, I know that we’re all drawn to different weapons depending on our specific playstyles, but it’s worth knowing that this weapon is your best option against both lickers and most boss stages objectively speaking. Hey, the numbers don’t lie!

The Chemical Flamethrower is incredibly easy to use, and we all know that this specific quality is rendered even more valuable in a horror game than it is ordinarily. Some of us might be too proud to admit it, but it’s hard to play at your peak potential when you’re scared out of your mind. 

Not only does Leon’s exclusive late-game weapon deal massive amounts of damage as is, it doubles as a rare example of a weapon that deals damage over time with its distinctive fire effect. For those of us that are actually able to keep our cool in the midst of these ridiculously high-pressure situations, The Flamethrower will reward players who are patient enough to wait until enemies are grouped together. 

What the Chemical Flamethrower Excels at:

  • Naturally, Leon’s Flamethrower outshines Claire’s entire arsenal when it comes to the onslaught of plant-type enemies that plague Resident Evil 2’s late-game sequences.
  • When ammunition is this hard to come by, it’s nice to know that you’re pretty much guaranteed to never miss your shot with this weapon.
  • When combined with the Regulator upgrader, your fuel will last much, much longer.

How to Get the Chemical Flamethrower:

Sadly, you won’t be able to wield The Chemical Flamethrower until you’ve made your way to the Nap Room, found in the northern section of The Lab.

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After years of immersing herself in countless games, Kate has managed to utilise her hobby to become a better writer while somehow managing to remain only average at actually playing them.
Gamer Since: 2007
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Disco Elysium
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Resident Evil HD Remaster

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