If we’re talking about the Old West, it’s hard not to mention the Colt Single Action Army Revolver. It was the most popular and iconic weapon of the period, and it serves as the real-life inspiration for the Cattleman Revolver, the workhorse weapon of the Red Dead Redemption games. In fact, when I was younger and playing the first Red Dead Redemption as ol’ John Marston, it was my preference to eschew the most modern firearms 1911 could offer in favor of the ubiquitous Cattleman.
That said, we’re not here to discuss guns as symbols or icons, we’re here to discuss them as hunks of metal you can use to put holes in people, and we’re here to find out which ones do it best. Accordingly, we’re going over the RDR2 best pistols and revolvers, both in the Online and the singleplayer modes. It’s also going to double as a guide for the gunslinger duels throughout the Stranger mission “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman,” in which Arthur must (usually unsuccessfully) attempt to interview old shootists about Jim “Boy” Calloway, a legendary gunfighter and the subject of a biography by one Theodore Levin. Let’s crack on with it.
12 Best Pistols in Red Dead Redemption 2
While this list goes from #12 to #1 in terms of overall power, make no mistake — these are all the real deal, and none should be approached foolheartedly.
Location: a pig farm near Flatneck Station, as part of the Stranger mission “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman.”
By no means the top RDR2 revolver, the Granger’s Revolver is still a respectable option to start.
But you’ll need to get ready to shovel some shit. No, I mean literally. Emmet Granger, contemptible old bastard that he is, only agrees to be interviewed concerning Jim “Boy” Calloway after Arthur shovels manure for him and wheels it over to the pile. Even then, he merely takes the opportunity to boast about various shootings and scalpings he committed years previously, saying hardly a word about Calloway. An increasingly annoyed Arthur takes matters (and a stick or two of dynamite) into his own hands, and long story short, a duel ensues.
Granger prefers to throw a knife instead of drawing his gun, turning to the side as he does so and presenting a smaller target. Luckily, you can fill your meter even to one-third full and still shoot him before he clears the knife from its sheath and gets into position. Once the old devil’s been dispatched, you can collect his engraved Cattleman Revolver for a slight upgrade from the default, with happy memories to boot.
Location: a camp on the shore of Cairn Lake, east-southeast of Colter, Ambarino, as part of the Stranger mission “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman.”
You will need to duel Flaco Hernández in order to acquire his custom Cattleman revolver. Approaching his camp prompts a confrontation with his men, where you have the option to Defuse or Threaten them — the former will only result in an attempt on your life and combat, whereas the latter will make them back off. Either way, forget interviewing Flaco about Jim “Boy” Calloway, ‘cause it’s just about High Noon.
During the gunfight, Flaco will attempt to leap to the player’s right as he’s drawing his revolver. You really only need to fill your meter about a quarter of the way in order to outdraw and shoot Flaco, after which you can collect his weapon. It’s a slightly better verson of the Cattleman Revolver, and it’s superior to Emmet Granger’s, so it’s RDR2’s best revolver for early game.
Location: The doctor at Valentine, while robbing his side business | Rank Unlock: 9 | Price (Story): $42 | Price (Online): $192
While the Schofield Revolver is not an absolute upgrade compared to the Cattleman, which boasts a higher rate of fire, its superior accuracy wins out as far as this list is concerned. It’s available for purchase after completing the mission “Blessed Are the Meek?” Additionally, it can be acquired either from Leviticus Cornwall’s men at the Central Union Railroad Camp or from the doctor in Valentine whilst robbing his side business.
Location: Brandywine Drop, during the Stranger mission “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman.” Calloway must be duelled and killed in order to retrieve his engraved Schofield Revolver.
Duelling Jim “Boy” Calloway is a bit of a tricky proposition. The slippery southpaw is quick on the draw, so you can’t waste any time clearing leather and drawing a bead. Give yourself enough time to level your pistol with center mass and shoot the sorry son of a bitch, and not a split-second more. He doesn’t bust out any fancy tricks — this duel is purely about the quickdraw and the killshot.
Upon putting the old drunkard gunslinger to rest, you may collect his custom-engraved Schofield Revolver. It bears the words “Canis Canem Edit” (“Dog Eat Dog”), a fitting motto for the late scoundrel. If you want a Schofield that’s just a small cut above the rest, and which doubles as a trophy demonstrating your gunslinging prowess, look no further.
Location: Lonnie’s Shack, in a gun case hidden under one of the bunk beds while robbing the homestead with Sean MacGuire | Rank Unlock: 17 | Price (Story): $65 | Price (Online): $127
Now we’re really getting into a different class of weapon. In the early game, semi-automatic weapons are quite rare. Even the late game confines such capabilities to pistols and the lone Semi-Automatic Shotgun. This is what makes the Double-Action Revolver so appealing early on. There’s no better revolver for drastically increasing the lead content of a bad guy’s torso in no time at all.
Location: Gunsmiths in Valentine and Saint Denis | Rank Unlock: 22 | Price (Story): $210 | Price (Online): $537
One might think of the Semi-Automatic Pistol as a straight upgrade from the Double-Action Revolver. While its appearance is an… acquired taste, its ammo capacity of eight rounds and its incredibly high rate of fire and reload speed make it one of the RDR2 best pistols for those who want to perforate a target in record time. It is weak in terms of power, however, which makes it somewhat anemic and awkward when compared to the other non-revolver pistols on the list.
Location: Gunsmith | Rank Unlock: Any | Price (Online): $275
The Navy Revolver, only available in the Online, is a highly accurate high-powered revolver. It’s not quite as accurate as the LeMat, nor does it have its high capacity or buckshot barrel, but each bullet in its six-round chamber packs a hell of a whallop, and using the two together is a great way to get the best of both worlds. This is one of RDR2’s best revolvers to check out in the mid-game.
Location: Central Union Railroad Camp, possessed by Leviticus Cornwall’s men | Rank Unlock: 21 | Price (Story): $75 | Price (Online): $270
The Volcanic Pistol is a weapon that lives up to its name. It packs a considerable punch, and with eight rounds to work with, few are the men who will stand up to a salvo from its smoke-belching muzzle. Unfortunately, its rate of fire is relatively slow, holging it back from higher on this list of RDR2’s best pistols.
Still, there’s no better option for when you want something to punch a fist-sized hole through someone’s skull. You could certainly do worse.
Location: Gunsmith | Rank Unlock: Any | Price (Story): $172 | Price (Online): $317
Here we come to an important item. What’s RDR2’s best revolver? The LeMat Revolver, although slightly hampered by its slow rate of fire, is not only the best revolver in RDR2, it’s one of the most fun weapons in the game. With nine powerful shots in the chamber and a surprise second barrel loaded with buckshot, you’ll rarely be out of options with one (or two) of these in hand.
Location: Angelo Bronte’s mansion during the mission “Revenge is a Dish Best Eaten.” | Rank Unlock: 34 | Price (Story): $250 | Price (Online): $600
This is easily one of RDR2 Online’s best pistols, if not one of the best weapons in the game. The Mauser has the highest ammo capacity of any pistol, an excellent rate of fire, and a pair of them at close or medium range will mow down entire squads of enemies without the need to reload. It’s relatively low-powered compared to the revolvers in the game, but its hard to argue with the cold efficiency of this German killing machine. Additionally, given the unique nature of the singleplayer guns further on in this list, the Mauser is Red Dead Redemption 2 Online’s best pistol available.
Location: Billy Midnight’s corpse, found atop a moving train out of Rhodes as part of the Stranger mission “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman.”
Billy Midnight’s Pistol is a custom Mauser available only in singleplayer, during the Stranger mission “The Noblest of Men, and a Woman.” You need to duel Midnight in order to acquire his pistol (while this isn’t entirely necessary — the Red Dead Wiki cites a number of workarounds — it’s still fun), and said duel takes place atop a moving train headed out of Rhodes.
When duelling Midnight, watch out for the fact that he will kneel just prior to shooting, presenting a smaller target. Torso shots are recommended, as just one will drop the guilt-riddled gunslinger. When guns are drawn, shots fired, and the dust is settled, go to Midnight’s corpse and retrieve his pistol and Bob’s your uncle.
If it wasn’t for the next option on our list, this would be far and away Red Dead Redemption 2’s best pistol.
Location: Gunsmith in Saint Denis, and it’s also one of the options you can get from the boastful dueller in Rhodes (it’s worth noting that this weapon is only available in the singleplayer) | Price: $350
Here we are, the gold standard. For my money, the M1899 is the best of RDR2’s best pistols. Considering the fact that it’s only available in the singleplayer, it’s also become my Arthur’s signature sidearm for the late game. Billy Midnight, Emmet Granger, Flaco Hernández, and Jim “Boy” Calloway all met their demise on the wrong side of an M1899.
Now, all that is well and good, but what is it that makes the M1899 stand just a little higher than its competitors? Let’s compare it to the other major contender, the Mauser. The Mauser initially seems to win out, sporting similar power, range, and rate of fire to its counterpart while winning out in terms of ammo capacity.
However, the M1899 is faster on the reload, offsetting the capacity issue somewhat (a second pistol also helps in that category), and it’s also more accurate than the Mauser, meaning that each bullet counts just that little bit more. A nice, compact all-rounder, the M1899 will be your best friend, so long as you ignore it standing as a sign for the inexorable modernity destined to ultimately efface the Wild West.
Become a High Grounder
Now you know which revolvers and pistols are most worth your time in Red Dead Redemption 2. More than that, you know how to make sure that you’re the deadliest duelist out wielding them. Before you go, a few tips: one, it’s good to get in the habit of either stocking up on gun oil and regularly cleaning your guns, or to visit a gunsmith every now and then for a deep clean. Furthermore, you should use higher-end ammo as soon as you can purchase/craft it. The added stopping power afforded by the likes of Express and High Velocity rounds allows you to hit body shots more confidently, as they’re much more likely to be fatal.
That’s it for our RDR2 best pistols guide! If you found this guide helpful/interesting, stick around at High Ground Gaming for similar content.