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Rise of the Tomb Raider – Best Weapons, Assault Rifle, Shotgun, Recurve Bow

Lara Croft has an array of weaponry at her disposal, but some weapons may be better than others!
This article is over 8 years old and may contain outdated information

Lara Croft comes across a wide variety of weaponry in Rise of the Tomb Raider. She can use her bow with multiple arrows, handguns, assault rifles, shotguns and her trusty axe. You start with the bow and axe, but as you location strongboxes you can piece together more powerful weapons. While some weapons are better than others, every weapon is lethal. Your weapon choice should depend more on the situation at hand and less on the stats of each weapon.

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The bow and arrow should be your go-to weapon early in the game. Lara starts with a regular makeshift bow, but you’ll quickly come across the Recurve Bow and eventually the Compound Bow. You should be netting head shots if you’re using the bow as your primary weapon, which means the extra damage of the Compound Bow won’t be necessary.

If you are having trouble hitting head shots consistently, you should switch to the Recurve Bow for better draw speed, hold time and rate of fire. However, if you still can’t hit head shots more often than not, you shouldn’t be using the bow as your primary weapon of choice unless you need stealth kills. In every other situation you should switch to one of Lara’s guns as they’re generally the better option if you can’t score consistent head shots.

Assault Rifle

You’ll find the SMG first, but as you progress through the game you’ll come across the Assault Rifle and Bolt Action Rifle. Once again, if you’re hitting head shots, all of these options are lethal. However, if you’re not, damage will be important as ammo may be limited. The Assault Rifle holds the most ammo by default, which is a good choice if you’re not great with accuracy. You can miss quite a bit and still have ammo to burn.

The Bolt Action has the least amount of ammo, reloads the slowest and has the slowest rate of fire, but if you’re exception at head shots, it has the highest accuracy and inflicts the most damage. Meanwhile the SMG offers a nice median between the two and should be used for experience shooters until you find the Bolt Action Rifle.


Depending on how many optional tombs you raid, you may not have more than one shotgun on your first play through of the game. Fear not, because the shotgun has one primary use, and that’s big damage at close range. You don’t want to use the shotgun from even a moderate distance, as virtually every other gun is superior. However, at close range you can knock an enemy off their feet in an instance with the shotgun. This is especially true if you upgrade the damage on the shotgun. With high damage, even a shot to the chest or legs can potentially one-shot an enemy. You shouldn’t be worried about running right up to an enemy and opening fire with the shotgun, knowing you can down them before you take too much damage.


You may be wondering why the axe is listed as one of Lara Croft’s best weapons. Until you have the shotgun, this is one of the best close-range weapons Lara can use. It’s not overly powerful, but if you’re only facing off against one of two enemies, it’s still just as lethal as any of Lara’s guns. It may take two or three attacks, but you can finish off almost any enemy at close range with the axe.

It should also be noted that the axe is the only weapon in Lara’s arsenal that doesn’t run out of ammunition. Depending on your skill with the other weapons, you may be running out of ammo more often than you’d like. In these situations, relying on the axe for close-range kills will not only save your ammunition, but potentially provide faster kills if your aim is really that bad.

If you’re having trouble finding Lara’s vast array of weaponry, be sure to check out our complete walkthrough of Rise of the Tomb Raider, pinpointing the location of the weapons listed in this article. You can also check out our relic location guide or general tips on surviving Lara’s latest adventure!

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Bryan Dawson
Bryan Dawson has an extensive background in the gaming industry, having worked as a journalist for various publications for nearly 20 years and participating in a multitude of competitive fighting game events. He has authored over a dozen strategy guides for Prima Games, worked as a consultant on numerous gaming-related TV and web shows and was the Operations Manager for the fighting game division of the IGN Pro League.