Firstly: you don’t necessarily need to use weapons in Death Stranding. They’re useful to get out of a tight spot, and it’s definitely worth carrying one at all times, just in case. But there are very few sections in the game where there isn’t an alternative, pacifist avenue available.
That being said, it’s essential that you know what each weapon does, and, more importantly, which ones are rubbish (see: most of them).
Here’s a guide to the weapons actually worth crafting in Death Stranding, and when to use each individual one.
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While there are several types of grenades in Death Stranding, these are the best ones. Containing Sam’s blood, they have no effect on human enemies, but can absolutely annihilate BTs. They’re your absolute best bet against Death Stranding’s Beached Things until you unlock your umbilical cord snipper later on.
Good against BT enemies, as Sam can infuse the bullets with his blood, which is lethal to them. Although there are certain dream sequences later in the game where ordinary assault rifles are necessary, which we won’t go into in the interest of refraining from spoiling anything, you should never use them against standard human enemies.
If you kill a MULE, their body will begin to necrotize and will eventually explode unless you dispose of the body, which is a lot of unnecessary effort. You don’t want to be leaving craters all across America when you’re supposed to be reconnecting it, and you should be delivering packages to people in need, not half-decomposed bodies to incinerators.
Non-lethal assault rifle
Exact same as the standard assault rifle, except it only knocks MULEs out, meaning you don’t need to clean up the mess afterwards. Also decent against BTs once you infuse the bullets with blood.
Same as both of the above, except much, much better at close range, Remember: not for use on ordinary humans. If you ignore this advice, you will regret it. Trust us.
Only for use on MULEs. Excellent non-lethal weapon that ties enemies up and renders them helpless on the floor. It is quite entertaining to watch them fall to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
Late-game weapon that’s absolutely necessary for taking down bigger non-human enemies later in the game. No spoilers.
Same as above, but even better. The rocket launcher is the most powerful gun in the game.
They aren't all winners
Sadly, any weapon not mentioned above likely won’t prove to be much use to you. There are other grenades that you can use to stun, blind, or distract enemies, but usually you’re better off either entirely avoiding them or making sure to knock them out (or kill them in the case of BTs).
Generally, eschewing weapons for stealth tactics yields far better results, and often ends up being quicker, despite having to take the scenic route. However, if you want to go in guns blazing, or find yourself caught in the middle of enemy lines, having access to the above weapons will get you back on track in a pinch.