Monster Hunter Rise Weapons Explainer – Which Weapon Is Right For You?


One of the most important decisions you’ll make in Monster Hunter Rise is which weapon you’ll use. While you can switch between weapon types at any point in the game via your item box, you ideally want to only brandish and invest your time into one, and that choice can be somewhat intimidating. After all, there are 14 weapon types in total, each with unique attacks and mechanics.

Part of what makes Monster Hunter Rise such a complex game is the rich nuance of each weapon type’s capabilities, so locking in on the weapon type that best suits your playstyle takes some time. Fortunately, we’ve experimented enough with the game’s weapons to give you a general overview of what to expect. Below, you can find essential details about each weapon to help you decide which one is right for you.

Close-Range Weapons

If you prefer being up close and personal with your prey, then you’ll want to look to the weaponry below. Close-range weapons make up most of Monster Hunter Rise’s armaments, but what makes them fun to use is just how diverse they are in their mechanics and capabilities.

Sword & ShieldSword & Shield

The Sword & Shield combo is easy to recommend for newcomers. While it may seem like a bore compared to the other, flashier weaponry available, you can’t go wrong with the Sword & Shield. As one of the most reliable and balanced weapons in the game, it’s capable of quick, decisive attacks that don’t require too much precise timing to land effectively. The shield as a side-arm is also an added benefit, making it easy to bash enemies or pop into a defensive posture to mitigate the damage inflicted by the monsters you’re hunting. And since the Sword & Shield is a light weapon, you don’t have to worry too much about your movement speed being hindered, allowing you to dodge out of the way of an incoming charge with relative ease.

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Dual BladesDual Blades

Dual Blades are for hunters who want high mobility and like getting very close to their prey. The nuances of the weapons are easy enough to pick up on, making them great for beginners.

The Dual Blades’ main mechanic is a unique state called demon mode. At any point, you can press block to activate demon mode, which gives you greater attack damage and a chainable quick dash. While in demon mode, you can continue to build up your meter and eventually activate archdemon mode, which allows you to perform even more special attacks.

The key to Dual Blades is to always be on the offensive. The individual damage of each swing may be on the low side, but a well-trained Dual Blade user can pump out high DPS if they can maintain their attacks. The major downside is you have no way to block or counter and must rely purely on speed and dodging.

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Great SwordGreat Sword

Of all the different swords in Monster Hunter, the Great Sword is perhaps the most powerful in terms of sheer strength. This heavy blade is capable of dishing out devastating damage to monsters and can even hack off a beast’s tail, which you can then carve up for extra material. This raw power comes with some pretty notable drawbacks, however. As you’d likely expect, the Great Sword is slow and unwieldy; you can’t cancel out of swings, and your movement is seriously impeded when you have the weapon drawn.

Fortunately, the Wirebug helps offset some of these drawbacks. You can make a quick retreat by unleashing the Power Sheathe Silkbind move, which also has the added benefit of temporarily boosting your attack power. You can also press the ZR button when you have the Great Sword drawn to block with the weapon, which often comes in handy since you’ll need to be up close and personal when battling monsters. Although it’s not very beginner-friendly, the Great Sword is a satisfying weapon to master.

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Long SwordLong Sword

Next to the Sword & Shield, the Long Sword is one of the most balanced weapons in the game. It offers decent swing speed, great range for a melee weapon, and simple combos that make it an excellent choice for beginners. Its main hook revolves around the spirit gauge. The key is to build up enough of the meter through the use of combos so you can pull off the Spirit Roundslash. Each time you hit a foe with this move, you’ll increase the spirit gauge to the next level, with a total of three boosts.

With each level boost you achieve, the Long Sword’s attack power will increase. Your goal is to stay at level three (red) spirit gauge as long as possible. Learning moves you can use to combo into Spirit Roundslash is the best way to keep up the damage and your spirit gauge high. This rhythm is actually pretty easy to pick up and pull off, and once you master it, you can begin adding in more advanced moves and combos.

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The Hammer is a good choice for hunters who like to be in the thick of the action. While its reach is incredibly short, it packs a powerful punch and is particularly useful for staggering foes. Focus on hitting a monster in the head, and you’ll have a chance to stun it, which will allow the other hunters in your party to move in and attack. This raw power comes with some drawbacks, however. While wielding a Hammer, you’re unable to block–and since you’ll frequently need to be right in a monster’s face when attacking, you’ll be in the line of fire. Fortunately, unlike the Great Sword, you can move around while charging up your Hammer attacks, so you’re not completely immobile.

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Switch AxeSwitch Axe

The Switch Axe is another powerful two-handed weapon that provides a nice mix of strength and speed, thanks to its namesake trick: the weapon can transform between an axe and a sword with a press of the ZR button. Each form has different attributes and attack patterns, effectively making the Switch Axe two weapons in one.

The trick to using the Switch Axe is to know when to transform it. Attack while the weapon is in its axe form, and you’ll gradually build up your blade meter, powering up the strength of your sword attacks. You can also swing the weapon much more quickly while it’s in sword form, although you won’t have as much mobility in this state. The blade meter will also drain as you attack in sword form, and once it’s depleted, you’ll need to revert to axe mode, so regularly switching between the two forms is key to effectively wielding the Switch Axe.

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Charge BladeCharge Blade

The Charge Blade is a heavy damage dealer, and when used in the hands of a master, it can take down monsters in no time at all. However, it’s also a slow weapon that can be tricky to wield and takes time to learn, making it more ideal for advanced players.

The goal of the Charge Blade is to fill up a series of phials by doing basic damage. Once filled, you can then store the charged phials into your shield. A charged-up shield can send damage back when blocking, making for a useful defensive tactic, but the real benefit is when you switch to axe form, which combines your sword and shield into one powerful weapon. Thanks to the charged phials, you can unleash elemental discharge attacks, which do massive damage. The Charge Blade is a complex weapon that takes time to master, but those who come to understand its many intricacies will be well-rewarded with one of the game’s strongest weapons.

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If you’re the type who gets a big thrill from keeping your distance and poking at enemies, the Lance is the weapon for you. It’s relatively slow, offering decent damage, yet is hampered by limited mobility as you brandish it. Still, if you can learn to effectively stay within arm’s reach from a foe and time your attacks accordingly, then the Lance’s strengths will quickly reveal themselves to you.

As one of the longer-ranged melee weapons in the game, the Lance emphasizes distance management and intelligent counter-attacking. It’s all about judging the best opportunities to attack, quickly thrusting forward, and then hopping away or defending should the situation call for it. Intentionality is key with the Lance, but it is worth noting that it does come with a shield, so any misjudgments you make can be somewhat padded from punishment. As an added bonus, the Lance has high sharpness, which makes it all the more useful against monsters with thick skin. Regardless, the Lance is a weapon best-suited for more intermediate-to-experienced hunters.

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The Gunlance is a much more explosive version of the standard Lance. It’s functionally similar, offering identical mobility and defensive capability. And though you might think that the Gunlance is a ranged weapon based on its name, it actually isn’t. Aside from a standard suite of lunging attacks, the Gunlance comes equipped with the ability to fire short-ranged explosive bursts, which can build up some great damage when used effectively. This particular attack is known as Shelling, and it can have greater potency in a combo depending on whether you press or hold the A button to execute it.

All that destructive capability, however, doesn’t come without a cost. You have to be mindful of reloading, which doesn’t take too long but is something you’ll often need to do as you continue to expend shells. It’s also important to note that Shelling chews through your weapon’s sharpness, so expect to have to use your Whetstone during a battle frequently. Lastly, its special attack, Wyvern’s Fire, must be incorporated into combos intelligently to decimate your foes. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for the Gunlance to cool down before you can use it again.

The key to successfully using the Gunlance is mixing up your combinations, knowing when to use its firepower to rack up tons of damage. It’s highly recommended for folks who prefer weapons that are more involved in the moment-to-moment.

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Long-Range Weapons

If you’re reading this, then you probably think close-range weapons are overrated and are more intrigued by Monster Hunter’s other offerings. Fortunately for you, the game does have a few long-range weapons, some of which are useful in damaging monsters in practical and creative ways from afar.

Light BowgunLight Bowgun

If you’re a fan of shooting things, you’ll likely gravitate toward the Light Bowgun. Although it’s not as powerful as its heavier counterpart, the Light Bowgun is the closest you’ll get to turning Monster Hunter into a third-person shooter. Once your weapon is drawn, hold ZL to pan the camera behind you, letting you move around and aim with dual analog controls. While it’s not particularly strong, the Light Bowgun fires and reloads quickly, making it more mobile and beginner-friendly than the game’s other ranged weapons. Keep in mind, however, that the Light Bowgun requires ammo, so make sure you’re stocked up before you set off on a hunt.

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Heavy BowgunHeavy Bowgun

As its name suggests, the Heavy Bowgun packs a mightier punch than its lighter counterpart. Although the weapon fundamentally controls similarly to the Light Bowgun, it looks and feels closer to a rocket launcher, making it the better option if you prefer raw firepower. The drawback to this extra strength is that it isn’t as speedy to use as the Light Bowgun; you’ll move around slowly when the weapon is drawn, and reloading takes longer. That said, the shots it fires are much more powerful, and you can use the Wirebug to compensate somewhat for the weapon’s poorer mobility. These nuances make the Heavy Bowgun more suitable for advanced players.

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Although it looks more traditional than the other ranged weapons, the Bow is arguably even trickier to wield because it requires precision and timing. That said, it has a few benefits over the bowguns. Not only can you charge shots by holding down on the ZR button, but you can also fire restorative arrows into the air for you and your teammates. Unlike the bowguns, you also have unlimited arrows at your disposal, so you don’t need to worry about stocking up on ammo. To make the most of the weapon, however, you’ll need to apply coatings to your arrows, which will imbue them with different properties to help you take down monsters.

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Some of Monster Hunter Rise’s most advanced and functional weapons don’t fall under the standard categories. If you’re going to use any of the ones we mention below, know that you’ll need to either be an experienced player or frequently hunt with friends to get the most out of them.

Hunting HornHunting Horn

At a glance, the Hunting Horn functions much like any of the other close-ranged blunt weapons in the game, sporting a remarkably acrobatic array of powerful combos and setups that are easy to execute. But its biggest strengths come from its ability to play “songs,” which unleash different chains of attacks, and, in turn, amplify your abilities and buff your teammates. This feature makes the Hunting Horn ideal as a support weapon, as you can use it to buff up your teammates’ attack and defense stats, and even restore the group’s health (while still being able to dish out damage as needed). However, this also makes the Hunting Horn tricky to learn, and it’s best suited only if you’re playing with others.

If you’re inclined to tackle using the Hunting Horn, be aware that they’re not all built the same. When you’re crafting new Hunting Horns at the Smithy, you’ll notice that other ones have different buffs and songs they can use. Hone in on the buffs that best serve you and your friends, and you should be able to get plenty out of the Hunting Horn.

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Insect GlaiveInsect Glaive

The Insect Glaive is one of the most advanced weapons in Monster Hunter Rise, not because it’s hard to use, but because it’s difficult to master. It’s an agile weapon, offering many swift attacks that can get in quick damage during the smaller openings of a fight. You can also use the Insect Glaive to vault yourself into the air to unleash attacks upon your foe from above or even dodge–something that no other weapon in the game can inherently do.

However, what makes the Insect Glaive so complex is the ability to summon and control a Kinsect, a bug that can support you in battle in numerous ways. Aside from inflicting damage, a Kinsect can harvest Extracts from monsters to amplify your combat abilities. It gets even more complicated when you consider how the Extracts a Kinsect can harvest vary depending on which part of a monster’s body it attacks, which you must manually mark for it beforehand. With the Insect Glaive, you constantly have to consider an array of factors to unlock its full damage potential.

The Insect Glaive is a weapon that requires precision, intentionality, and a great deal of multi-tasking to execute its best setups. An intelligent wielder will also take advantage of numerous ways to customize the Kinsect at the Smithy, which only extends the possibilities available to those inclined to learn this exceptional yet tricky to handle weapon.

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For more Monster Hunter Rise guides, be sure to check out the list below.

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