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Is there any advantage the revolver/pistols hand guns have over the rifles/repeaters in Red Dead Redemption?

The only advantage I know is that the standard revolver is so weak it lowers the chance of killing someone (if you want him/her alive).

While writing the question it entered my mind that the high fire rate might be useful while free aiming.

In single play auto-aim I never find them useful for anything.

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    I found that, in multiplayer, the higher fire rate and handling seemed to make them a viable alternative, because efficiency and enemy health weigh differently there vs. single-player. – NiteCyper Sep 14 '14 at 12:08
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The advantages to handguns in Red Dead Redemption and other games is the close-mid range, accurate and high fire rate of the pistols allowing the player to maneuver and reload faster.
In hardcore or free-aim, strafing around close range areas with a handgun or shotgun will give you the advantage to let loose at a higher and smoother rate.

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In the beginning of the single player campaign I found them indeed useless. Later you get better handguns with reasonable range and damage.

And once in the last Dead Eye Level (the only really useful one), you will also enjoy the high fire rate of handguns after marking your targets. During Dead Eye range and damage increase anyway and head shots are easy to place, so fire rate and magazine/drum capacity get more important. Rifles (low on both) are bad choices for Dead Eye and repeaters (low in fire rate) at least less fun to use.

PD: You are forced to use handguns in duels and while carrying a hogtied person. And you can switch to them when out of ammunition for your other weapons of choice, obviously.

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