[Top 5] The Last of Us Best Weapon Upgrades (And How To Get Them)

Joel and Ellie hide behind a wall as a hunter, holding a gun, approaches from around the corner.
What upgrades are most helpful for Joel and Ellie in their battles against the infected and hunters alike?

Although The Last of Us is known for its tear-jerking storytelling and immersive gameplay, it’s also a game that challenges even the most proficient of gamers, especially at higher levels such as Grounded and Survivor modes. 


Weapon upgrades are an important part of TLOU’s gameplay and can be acquired through finding weapon parts and toolboxes throughout the game at workbenches dotted along Joel and Ellie’s route: 

Source: IGN

To help you out in your battles against the infected, we’ve put together a guide to the weapon upgrades you should prioritise in your playthrough of The Last of Us. 

5. 9mm Pistol - Reload Speed

Joel’s trusty 9mm pistol, acquired right at the beginning of the game in Boston, whilst simple, proves to be one of the most effective weapons in the game. Besides having some of the most easily available ammunition in the game, even in harder modes, the 9mm becomes one of the more powerful weapons in Joel’s arsenal - with the right upgrades. Here’s why you should start out with reload speed:

  • With more plentiful ammo, the 9mm is useful in firefights where speed and frequency are key.
  • Faster reloading means more damage in a shorter amount of time, vital in a weapon with one of the lowest damage ratings.
  • Reload speed often comes in clutch when caught off guard by a rogue clicker, and the 9mm can easily take these suckers out with an accurate headshot.

4. Pump Shotgun - Recoil

Given to the player by Bill during the fourth chapter of the game, the shotgun is a powerful weapon that is sure to cause some pretty gnarly damage to anyone unlucky enough to find themselves at the end of it.

However, the shotgun suffers from its poor range and reload speed, making it less effective during some of the more intense encounters you can find yourself in as you play against infected and hunters alike. The recoil upgrade proves to be one of the most effective for this killer weapon for these reasons:

  • Recoil kills two birds with one stone - not only can you reload faster, but Joel maintains more of his stance allowing better shot accuracy between reloads.
  • Improved reloading speed is key in a weapon with only 2 base capacity. 
  • Maximised control over the shotgun allows for more accuracy in where your shotgun spread lands and can allow for more coverage in attacks on multiple enemies. 

3. Melee Weapons - Sharps Upgrade

Whilst not technically a weapons upgrade in the traditional sense of the game (melee upgrades can be crafted at any time with a binding and sharps item and have limited durability), these upgrades can prove incredibly important even for players who prefer the reliability of a gun - not to mention the infamous ‘shiv glitch’ that can be achieved with the availability of an upgraded and base melee weapon. 

There are a variety of melee weapons available throughout the game, with the higher durability weapons (such as the baseball bat or, a personal favourite, the pipe) being the most worthwhile to upgrade. Here are a few reasons it’s worth choosing that melee upgrade over the shiv I see you hovering over:

  • An upgraded melee weapon can take out at least one or two enemies in one hit, useful when you don’t have a machete to hand (an example of a sharp melee weapon, a rarer variant of melees).
  • Melee weapon upgrades are one of the more useful uses of sharps items in the games, with nail bombs as a close second.
  • Let’s face it - taking out a runner with a nail-covered baseball bat looks pretty badass.

2. Hunting Rifle - Scope

Found by Joel after the first majorly tear-jerking loss of the game (no spoilers here, I’ve got you), the rifle is the most powerful weapon found in The Last of Us - at least at the beginning of the game.

There’s not much point upgrading the power or armour piercing properties of this OP weapon, and whilst the clip capacity and reload speed upgrades are nice to have, there’s one upgrade that makes this weapon the perfect sidekick for anyone wanting to take full advantage of the range of this weapon: the scope. Here’s why this nifty little attachment is the most important upgrade you can get for your rifle:

  • Increased accuracy in headshots ensures that you don’t waste a single bullet in killing your enemies with this weapon that promises to get the job done in one shot.
  • The scope is one of the cheaper upgrades for this weapon, making it a no-brainer.

1. Weapon Holster

And, finally, the most valuable upgrade you can get in The Last of Us: the weapon holster. Again, whilst technically not a specific weapon upgrade (although it is purchased in much the same way), the weapon holster is invaluable in its importance to Joel’s fighting capabilities.

Not only does it help all play styles, allowing you to configure your hot-key layout in whatever is most efficient for you and your weapon preferences, it makes battles that much more accessible, allowing you to switch between your weapons of choice with ease. The weapon holster is an underrated hero in your battles against your foes in The Last of Us, and by far the most utilisable upgrade of them all.

You may also be interested in:

Equipped with potion bottles of coffee and a notebook that's seen better days, Henry can often be found making friends with local animals (when he's not taming them in-game...)
Gamer Since: 2007
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:Undertale, Portal 2, The Walking Dead

More Top Stories