RE4 Remake Skull Shaker Vs W-870

Resident Evil 4 Remake features two special shotguns: the W-870 and Skull Shaker. Both are highly powerful with their own perks and drawbacks. In this guide, we go over the differences between each weapon and which one you should choose.

Resident Evil 4 Remake Skull Shaker Vs. W-870
Here's our full Skull Shaker vs. W-870 comparison.

The Skull Shaker and W-870 are both powerful shotguns featured in Resident Evil4 Remake. To help you decide which one to choose, here is our complete Resident Evil 4 Remake Skull Shaker Vs. W-870 comparison.

Key Takeaways

  • Resident Evil 4 Remake features 2 powerful shotguns: the W-870 and Skull Shaker.
  • The W-870 can be acquired in Chapter 1 whereas the Skull Shaker can be bought for $1.99.
  • In terms of precision, power, ammo capacity, and repurchasing price, the W-870 is better.
  • However, for reload speed, firing rate, and space saving, you’ll prefer the Skull Shaker.
  • Additionally, the Skull Shaker has an exclusive Terminator Reload animation.


Resident Evil 4 Remake features a diverse roster of weapons to choose from, including shotguns that deal more damage in lesser rounds. Two of these, the W-870 and Skull Shaker, have caught the attention of professionals and amateurs alike.

The W-870 is one of the earliest shotguns you get in the game, with high precision and a large magazine. It deals incredible amounts of power (at least incredible for an early-game weapon). And if you get the Exclusive Upgrade, you can even double the power. For a shotgun like the W-870, double power means a bad day for the enemies.

On the same note, the Skull Shaker is similar in many aspects but contrasts the W-870 in others. This is a DLC-exclusive gun that can also be bought for $1.99. It features a faster firing rate and reload speed coupled with 70% less space consumption in your attache case. It doesn’t feature the same power output level that the W-870 provides. But it’s a strong contender, especially for an early-game weapon.

Skull Shaker Vs. W-870

With all that being said, here is our complete Resident Evil 4 Remake Skull Shaker Vs. W-870 comparison.


Precision is crucial when selecting the right gun. It refers to how well your weapon can land successive shots within a precise and confined area. Although several items in your loadout can impact the precision heavily, a weapon that already features good precision is a must.

With that being said, you’ll notice that the Skull Shaker lags in this regard as compared to the W-870. Despite being an upgrade to the W-870, the Skull Shaker only has a precision of 2.30. Compared to that, the W-870 has a precision of 2.80.

You may argue that such a minuscule difference in precision won’t affect your overall performance in the game. But if you’re using the guns on their own without any supporting loadout, the difference in precision will be noticeable. You can easily overcome this by predicting where your shot will land and changing your aim accordingly.

Rate of Fire

Resident Evil 4 Remake W-870.
The W-870 is an early-game shotgun in Resident Evil 4 Remake. (Image captured by us)

The rate of fire is the frequency at which your weapon can land shots. A higher rate of fire generally means that the gun is faster. For a shotgun, the rate of fire is typically low (though not as low as that of a sniper).

In Resident Evil 4 Remake, the W-870 has a base rate of fire of 0.45. However, you can upgrade the rate of fire to 0.51, 0.56, 0.63, and finally 0.85. This means that your shotgun will shoot bullets more often and you have a better chance of getting a hit on your enemies.

In contrast to that, the Skull Shaker has a base rate of fire of 0.49. This can be upgraded to 0.56, 0.66, 0.79, and finally 0.96. As you can see, the Skull Shaker does not have a significant difference when it comes to the base rate of fire (at Level 1). However, once you start upgrading the gun, you’ll notice that it’s increasing faster than the W-870. This is one of the many factors that make the Skull Shaker so much better than the W-870.


Power is, as the name suggests, a measure of the hit points that one bullet from the gun deals. It translates to raw power and, when paired with upgrades and other loadouts, can make your gun stronger than most.

When it comes to the W-870, it has a base (Level 1) power of 5.8. At Level 2, the power increases to 6.72. Then, at Levels 3 and 4 the power rises to 7.84 and 8.96 respectively. Finally, Level 5 sees the W-870 having a total power of 10.1.

Comparing that with the Skull Shaker, there is a stark contrast. For one thing, the base power is 5.4 in this gun. And this can be upgraded to 6.32, 7.24, 8.15, and finally 9.07 at Level 5.

With each upgrade, there is a minute difference in power between the Skull Shaker and the W-870. Most people wouldn’t pay much attention to this as the power difference isn’t as striking. However, when applying the Exclusive Upgrade, you’ll notice the biggest difference. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Reload Speed

Reload speed means how fast the gun can be reloaded. A faster reload speed means you’re not wasting time loading bullets and spending more time in the actual action. For guns with a lower ammo capacity like the Skull Shaker and W-870, reload speed is the difference between life and death.

In that regard, the Skull Shaker is the clear winner in our Resident Evil 4 Remake Skull Shaker vs. W-870 comparison. The reload speed is measured as the number of rounds the gun can land before it needs to reload. At Level 1, both the Skull Shaker and W-870 need to reload after 1 round. The same is true for Levels 2, 3, and 4, with a reload speed of 2, 3, and 4 rounds respectively.

However, the real difference is felt at Level 5. The W-870 has a reload speed of 5 rounds at Level 5. But at that same level, the Skull Shaker has a speed of 6 rounds. One round makes all the difference in battle.

Overall, the Skull Shaker having a much better reload speed than the W-870 makes you a stronger fighter in the game. However, the fact that you need to fully upgrade the weapon to get this perk throws the experience off.

Reload Animation

There is another aspect of reloading that we haven’t touched upon: the reload animation. There isn’t anything specifically interesting about the W-870’s reload animation. It’s pretty much your standard shotgun reload animation.

However, the Skull Shaker’s reload animation is what’s got the community overwhelmed. In this, Leon spins the gun around in one hand while holding down the lever. This is what’s known as the classic Terminator Reload. It’s named after the way Arnold Schwarzenegger reloads his shotgun in Terminator 2. It’s an aesthetic touch that makes the upgrade feel rewarding.

Ammo Capacity

Resident Evil 4 Remake Skull Shaker.
The Skull Shaker is a DLC-exclusive shotgun with decent ammo capacity. (Credit: Yoji Plays on YouTube)

Ammo capacity is a measure of how many bullets a shotgun can hold before the magazine needs to be reloaded. A higher ammo capacity means you’re wasting less time inserting bullets into your gun’s magazine.

For the W-870, the ammo capacity couldn’t have been better. At Level 1, the ammo capacity of the gun is 5 rounds. However, this increases to 6, 7, 8, and then 10 at subsequent levels. For a shotgun, it’s quite a high ammo capacity considering the low firing rate.

If you compare that with the ammo capacity of the Skull Shaker, you might reconsider using it. Firstly, the ammo capacity of the Skull Shaker is 2 at Level 1. This is very low. And it only increases linearly to 3, 4, 5, and 6 at higher levels. It’s very low compared to what the W-870 has to offer. And you’ll have to insert bullets into the weapon more often.

Space Consumption

This is one of the very areas where the Skull Shaker excels. The Skull Shaker takes up less space than the W-870. Specifically, it takes up around 70% less space. In the early game, this feature is crucial since you’ll be having a much smaller attache case. However, once you can upgrade your case, the benefit won’t be as evident.

Exclusive Upgrades

Besides the normal stats, there are Exclusive Upgrades for each weapon. The W-870 and Skull Shaker both have the same Exclusive Upgrade. This upgrade doubles the power of your shotgun.

There are two conditions to be met to acquire the Exclusive Upgrade. First, you must either fully upgrade the weapon or acquire an Exclusive Upgrade Ticket. The Ticket can be acquired through the Merchant. Second, you must spend 80,000 Pesetas to get the Exclusive Upgrade.

Double damage is a pretty insane perk to have. However, it only doubles the power you already have. Since the Skull Shaker has a slight difference in power when compared with the W-870, it benefits less from the double damage. However, the difference is still not enough to impact your decision.

Buying And Selling Prices

Although both weapons can be acquired for free throughout the game, you can still sell your weapons for a medium amount of Pesetas. The W-870 shotgun can be sold for 6,000 Pesetas, which is a good amount of money to have on hand. However, when you buy it back, you’ll need to buy it back for double the price, at 12,000 Pesetas. Hence, if you choose to sell your W-870, be sure you’re ready to pay double to get it back.

As for the Skull Shaker, you can sell it for 7,500 Pesetas. It sells for higher than the W-870, letting you make more money for it if you no longer want it. However, if you change your mind, you’ll need to repurchase it for 15,000 Pesetas, double the price.

Acquiring The Weapons

So, how do you get the W-870 and Skull Shaker? Well, the W-870 shotgun can be acquired at the very start of the game. During Chapter 1, you’ll need to enter a house within the village to find the W-870. It can be found on a wall plaque inside one of the rooms in the house.

As for the Skull Shaker, you can get it without having to do anything. It’s a DLC-exclusive weapon that you can only get if you buy either the Collector’s Edition or the Deluxe version of Resident Evil 4 Remake. These are not available for free and must be purchased to acquire the Skull Shaker as well as a few other souvenirs.

However, if you didn’t buy the DLC packs, don’t worry. You can still buy the Skull Shaker separately for $1.99. Hence, you can still buy the gun without having to get the entire DLC.

Skull Shaker Vs. W-870: Which Is Better?

So it all comes down to this. Which shotgun is better: the Skull Shaker or the W-870? The answer depends on your requirements.

The Skull Shaker is an exclusive gun that not only costs real-world money but also has an exclusive reloading animation. But pure aesthetics is not the only thing it’s got going for itself.

For one thing, the Skull Shaker has slightly better firing speed, which makes it all the more suitable for when you need a faster weapon. Shotguns are slower than automatic rifles and hence, are not preferred by many players for individual combat. However, with the Skull Shaker’s faster firing rate, you’ll tank down enemies in an instant.

And to add to that, the Skull Shaker takes up less space in your attache case. Considering it’s an early-game weapon, this will save you space for other items. Think of the possibilities. You’ll have plenty of space for extra ammo and healing equipment.

However, the Skull Shaker has its flaws. Firstly, it has a very low ammo capacity, which is somewhat compensated by the faster reloading speed. Additionally, it lacks power, though only slightly. It’s essentially a trade-off between power and speed when it comes down to it.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it for our Resident Evil 4 Remake Skull Shaker vs. W-870 comparison. To conclude, the Skull Shaker trades power and precision for speed and less space consumption. If those are your priorities and you’re not bothered by the slight power downgrade, then the Skull Shaker is for you.

If, however, you prefer raw power coupled with a decent ammo capacity, then you should opt for the W-870. It’s a strong early-game weapon that can even deal twice the damage if you get the Exclusive Upgrade.

Need a full guide for the W-870 shotgun? Check out our official Resident Evil 4 Remake W-870 shotgun guide.

Want to know more about the ranking system in the game? Take a look at our Resident Evil 4 Remake ranking system guide.

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