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Monster Hunter Rise best weapons: How to choose your starting weapon

Tips on picking your starting weapon from the line-up of 14 possibilities in Monster Hunter Rise

What is the best weapon in Monster Hunter Rise? Monster Hunter Rise features 14 weapon types, all of which you have access to from the very start of the game. Within each weapon type there are multiple model sets and variants, however, including some new ones added with the Sunbreak DLC; so in truth, you'll have dozens if not hundreds of weapons to choose from by the end of the game. As you progress you'll be able to upgrade and customise them all in a dazzling (some might say overwhelming) array of ways.

On this page you'll find an overview of the weapon types in Monster Hunter Rise and an idea of how they handle. There's no single definitive best weapon in the game, but there are a number of strong contenders based on your playstyle, so read on for our notes on how each weapon performs.

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Monster Hunter Rise weapons list

All weapon types in Monster Hunter Rise are wielded two-handed, whether it's a complementary duo or one big piece of equipment. There are no sub-categories grouping weapons by type, though you'll notice a few run along similar themes. Below is a list of all 14 weapons in Monster Hunter Rise, and an overview of how they work:

  • Sword and Shield: A great starter weapon, especially if you're new to Monster Hunter. The shield can be used to guard against many (but not all) forms of incoming damage, while the sword is light and capable of fast combo attacks.
  • Dual Blades: Similar to the Sword and Shield, but lacking that duo's blocking capability. However, the trade-off is an ability to unleash an extremely quick flurry of light attacks which adds up to a lot of extra damage over time.
  • Long Sword: The lighter of the two-handed swords, which still allows for a similar speed and agility to the smaller weapon types, but with significantly increased attack range. However, like the Dual Blades, it cannot be used to block.
  • Great Sword: A hugely powerful two-handed sword capable of dealing heavy melee damage and which can be used to block some attacks. However, it's extremely heavy, meaning your character's movement speed is slower when wielding it, and attacks against smaller and faster foes are harder to land.
  • Switch Axe: Named for its ability to switch between "axe mode" and "sword mode", the Switch Axe can perform weighty single hits or faster strikes depending on how it's wielded. It can also be used to deal elemental damage that persists between its different forms.
  • Charge Blade: Like the Switch Axe, this weapon features both sword and axe "modes". Performing attacks with the separate sword-and-shield mode charges the weapon, and the two items can then be combined into a two-handed axe which discharges the built-up energy for a secondary source of damage.
  • Hammer: Similar to the Great Sword in that its attacks are powerful yet slow; however, unlike the Great Sword, the Hammer doesn't hamper your movement speed while wielding it. While it's weaker than the Great Sword in terms of pure damage, it's the most highly effective weapon in the game for stunning monsters, something that can be hugely useful when setting up a target for your party in multiplayer.
  • Insect Glaive: This weapon gives you the ability to launch yourself into the air and attack from above as well as on the ground. You can also summon insects which buff you while aiding in attacking your prey.
  • Lance: A weapon that's strong on the defensive, allowing you to deflect attacks before quickly turning back on your prey for an offensive combo. Also features a strong shield worn across one arm to keep both hands free for lance-wielding.
  • Gunlance: A lance with a cannon affixed to it, this mixed-mode weapon does away with the regular lance's defensive capabilities to focus all the way on offense (and then some). Note that despite appearances its range isn't all that long, meaning you should ideally stay at lancing-distance even when shooting.
  • Bow: The bow is this game's most basic ranged weapon, allowing for maximum mobility as you flit about the field. This is a good supporting weapon for providing covering fire in multiplayer, though if you're a big ranged combat fan you can perform heavy-damage shots as well. You can also coat your arrows with various debuffing substances. It also interacts with Wirebugs for added evasion options, including high stamina regenration and improved directional control for attacks.
  • Light Bowgun: This one is functionally quite similar to the Bow but with added rapid-fire ability and a longer range for use in active combat (thanks to the "gun" part). It shares the debuffing powers of its simpler cousin, with different ammo types providing the different statuses. However, it leaves you a lot less nimble than the regular Bow, and doesn't have nearly the same impressive suite of Wirebug evasions.
  • Heavy Bowgun: Another slow yet powerful weapon, but this time with the focus on ranged rather than melee combat. Loading different ammo types allows you to switch between cannon-style (single heavy shot) and machine gun-style (rapid burst) firing modes.
  • Hunting Horn: A support weapon best deployed in multiplayer. It can be wielded to deal blunt melee damage, but its main use is to perform melodies that buff the team in various different ways.
The Monster Hunter Rise item box, open to the starter weapon selection.

Best weapons in Monster Hunter Rise: our recommended starting weapons

As we mentioned at the top of this guide, you have the most basic model of all 14 weapon types on hand from the very beginning. Furthermore, you can swap your equipped weapon any time you enter a camp, so you're not locked in to any choice for very long. The safest starting selection is the Sword and Shield — but, if you're a fairly experienced melee player, that can get boring quite quickly.

My top recommendation when getting a feel for the game's combat is to try the Dual Blades on for size. If, like me, you'd rather dodge than block then you don't really lose all that much in terms of protection; and having that second blade equipped in your off-hand really speeds up combat. This is no small matter in a game series that's somewhat notorious for featuring fights that drag on a bit; though of course if you enjoy that slower-paced combat, the Long Sword might fit the bill as a worthy substitute.

More generally, if you know what sort of weapon you like, I'd advise going for the most vanilla option of that type for your first few hunts while you get a feel for the combat, then branching out a little. If you're a fan of swordplay, I've already recommended the Dual Blades (or Sword and Shield if you consider yourself a complete beginner). Fans of ranged combat might like to try the Bow, while players who prefer a defensive-first approach to combat could start with the Lance and work from there.

There's a mind-boggling amount of stuff to get to grips with in Monster Hunter Rise, but why not start by reading our Monster Hunter Rise review? Elsewhere on the site, our Hardware Editor has put together a comprehensive guide to the Monster Hunter Rise system requirements, performance, and best settings for PC.

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