Resident Evil 4 Best Shotguns (All Shotguns In The Game Ranked)

Maybe I should have grabbed that free Shotgun just lying there on the wall.

Three Shotguns to choose from and all of them can split wigs.

Shotguns in the Resident Evil series have always been perceived as a middle ground. Not on the same destructive level as the magnums and launchers, but much better than the Handguns. I would rather use my Handgun ammo on the common weaker enemies than waste my shotgun shells, they’ll be useful later on.

Shotguns have serious stopping power and usually knock most enemies to the floor. Even the mini bosses. Plus, we all remember aiming up in the old RE games to get that headshot and subsequent head explosion.

Although the headshot has now become less than ideal with the plagas, a shotgun is vital for shooting ganados. So, join me as I rank the best shotguns for RE4.


3. Shotgun

The old fashioned. 

Usually in Resident Evil games, the shotgun becomes available some way into the game. You’ve already fought off some bad guys and you might’ve solved a puzzle or two. Not in RE4. The first time you get to the village, the Shotgun is there waiting for you. And you need it as well. The chainsaw-wielding Dr. Salvador is on your tail and the pistol does next to nothing to stop him.

At the start of the game, the Shotgun is the best weapon for the more durable enemies. So, save your ammo for the Salvadors and the Colmillos, or if a ton of Ganados are swarming you. 

On easy mode, this gun is already in your inventory and there won’t be another one in the village. It costs 257,000 pesetas to fully upgrade the shotgun and while there are better guns later on, I would upgrade the power just to give you enough damage output to help with the Mendez fight.  

When the next shotgun becomes available, sell it, and use that money to help with the purchase. 


Fun Fact: Leon can find Ada’s Shotgun using the Ditman glitch at the merchant’s lake hideout. Disappointingly though, it behaves like this shotgun, and not like Ada’s.


Shotgun full details:



  • Cost – It’s free
  • Usefulness – Effective at dealing with the stronger enemies at the start of the game



  • Rudimentary – Slow aiming
  • Viability – Quickly gets replaced


2. Riot Gun

The newer model.

Once you arrive at the castle, you get the Riot Gun. It’s faster to aim than the Shotgun and has a tighter spread, which means you can knockdown and kill enemies at a greater distance than any other shotgun in game. Those pesky plaga heads can be killed by the Riot Gun from a safe distance. 

The Riot Gun’s exclusive upgrade gives it stronger firepower than the OG Shotgun and it has a higher capacity as well.

On the downside, it is the most expensive shotgun to upgrade, costing a tear-inducing 415,000 pesetas. It is found once you reach the castle in Chapter 3-1.

The Riot Gun is only a small upgrade on the Shotgun if we look at the stats. The hidden values of the ability to shoot things at range and the quicker aiming means it’s a much better gun to play with.


Riot Gun full details:



  • Range – Deadly at distance
  • Usability – Quicker aiming
  • Power – Exclusive upgrade 



  • Expensive – Costs a pretty penny
  • Viability – Outstripped by the Striker


1. Striker

Tap-in merchant. Image from IGN.

The final shotgun can be first purchased from the merchant in the spike trap pit, just before the Verdugo fight. As you would expect, it’s the best stat-wise. It’s got the strongest firepower, the fastest reloading and firing and its exclusive upgrade gives it a capacity of 100. 

There are two drawbacks to the Striker though. Firstly, its range is atrocious. At distances where the Riot Gun is still doing full damage and knocking enemies down, the Striker might as well be a handgun. Bear this in mind when you are firing away.

Secondly, Leon fires the Striker from the hip, not from the shoulder like the other two shotguns. This means that headshots are more difficult, and the environment can get in the way of some of your shots. 

This isn’t a gun meant for precision. If you find yourself being swarmed, fire this at chest level and watch your enemies fly back and die or sprout plaga heads. 

The issue is letting your enemies get so close that the Striker can be used to its full potential. On the other hand, shotguns are meant for crowd control. They are meant to be used up close. 


Striker full details:



  • Stats – Best in every category



  • Distance – Damage drop-off at range is extreme
  • Headshots – Fires from the hip


There aren’t many things more satisfactory than blowing away a load of enemies via shotgun. In summary, the Striker is the best in every category, you’re just going to have to take some hits to get your punches off. If you prefer playing smarter/safer, buy the Riot Gun.


You may also be interested in:

Best Handguns in RE4

Best Rifles in RE4

Best Magnums in RE4

Best Weapons in RE4



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A lowly tarnished with but a quill for a weapon, I have spun many a yarn and weaved tall tales.
Gamer Since: 1995
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