Learn about the best weapon upgrades to obtain in The Last of Us Part 1.

Having the best weapon upgrades in The Last of Us Part 1 will help you survive the raiders and infected standing in your way of getting Ellie to the Fireflies. Indeed, it’s imperative to have the right tools for the job when facing a Clicker or Bloater.

But before we discuss The Last of Us Part 1 best weapon upgrades, we have to talk about the resource you need to enhance them: Parts. Denoted by a screw icon, this crafting resource represents gears, nuts, bolts, and other materials used to enhance the weapons that you’ll discover.

The Parts you’ve acquired can be used at Workbenches to upgrade weapons. However, not all enhancements will be available from the beginning. You’ll still need to increase Workbench Tool Levels by finding Red Toolboxes in the world.

Likewise, it’s worth noting that most weapon upgrade categories have multiple tiers or levels with varying Part costs. Moreover, if you manage to fully upgrade a single weapon, you’ll obtain the "Combat Ready" achievement.

Holsters and Weapon Classifications

Weapons in The Last of Us Part 1 are classified depending on their size or length:

  • Short Guns: These refer to sidearms like the Pistol, Revolver, Shorty (sawed-off shotgun), and El Diablo (scoped revolver).
  • Long Guns: These are the Hunting Rifle, Bow, Pump-Action Shotgun, Flamethrower, and Assault Rifle.

The first weapon upgrades you’ll want to consider in The Last of Us Part 1 are those related to equipment: Short Gun Holsters and Long Gun Holsters.

These will provide an additional slot for the two weapon classifications, allowing you to swap between your armaments faster when necessary.

Best Upgrades for Short Guns


  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Fire Rate, and Clip Capacity.
  • Ideal upgrade: Clip Capacity — The Pistol will be a handy weapon throughout the campaign. As such, having enough bullets in the clip is a good thing.


  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed and Fire Rate.
  • Ideal upgrade: N/A — The Revolver packs a punch already, so it won’t need a lot of upgrades. Moreover, since ammo tends to be scarcer compared to the Pistol, you’ll line up your shots more often, and thus, the increased rate-of-fire won’t be necessary. You can use Parts elsewhere.


  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Fire Rate, Clip Capacity, Recoil, and Pellet Spread.
  • Ideal upgrade: Clip Capacity — When talking about The Last of Us Part 1 best weapon upgrades, you can’t go wrong with boosting the clip capacity of this mini-shotgun. When maxed out, it will have 6 shells, helping you make quick work of foes that get too close.

El Diablo

  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Fire Rate, Clip Capacity, and Armor-Piercing.
  • Ideal upgrade: Armor-Piercing — You’ll encounter very few enemies wearing body armor. However, this perk becomes most important upon reaching the final chapters. When you’re going up against FEDRA troops wearing tactical gear, having something that can pierce through their defenses is a plus.

Best Upgrades for Long Guns

Hunting Rifle

  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Clip Capacity, Scope, Armor-Piercing, and Power.
  • Ideal upgrade: Scope and Clip Capacity; Optional: Armor-Piercing — By default, the Hunting Rifle is a laughably bad weapon. However, once you upgrade its Scope and Clip Capacity, it will become integral to your survival. You may also consider getting the Armor-Piercing upgrade, unless you plan on grabbing that for El Diablo.


  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Range, and Draw Speed.
  • Ideal upgrade: N/A — The Bow is a stealth weapon that can easily kill foes with headshots, and, in some cases, you could still pick up the fired arrows. It doesn’t really need an upgrade.

Pump-action Shotgun

  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Fire Rate, Clip Capacity, Recoil, and Range.
  • Ideal upgrade: Clip Capacity — When we discuss The Last of Us Part 1 best weapon upgrades, few can hold a candle to a Shotgun with maxed-out Clip Capacity. This is due to the weapon’s overall usefulness throughout the campaign. A single blast will kill most human and infected hostiles at close range and, as such, all you need are extra shells for prolonged encounters.


  • Available upgrades: Reload Speed, Range, and Power.
  • Ideal upgrade: Power — Simply put, this increases the overall damage of the weapon. The Range upgrade might also be viable so you can hit foes with scorching flames from further away, though it’s often used in close- to medium-range engagements.

Assault Rifle

  • Available upgrades: N/A
  • Ideal upgrade: N/A — Unfortunately, the Assault Rifle is obtained very late in the campaign (i.e., the penultimate chapter). As such, there’s no way to upgrade it at all.

Weapon Acquisition and Upgrades for New Game+

Now that you know The Last of Us Part 1 best weapon upgrades, what can you expect if you start a New Game+ run after clearing the campaign? Well, you won’t have access to every single weapon just yet once again. You still need to acquire them in various chapters as you progress.

However, you’ll retain all the Parts and Workbench Tools Levels, as well as all previous upgrades you’ve unlocked per weapon. As such, once you’ve rediscovered them, you can max them out if need be.

In any case, these are the best weapon upgrades for you first time through The Last of Us Part 1. Don’t forget to check out our best and worst skills guide as well, where we discuss the ideal perks for Joel.