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Red Dead Redemption 2: How to Refill Your Dead Eye Meter

Here's our complete beginner's guide to Red Dead Redemption 2, detailing all the essential tips and more that you need to know going into the huge game.

Dead Eye was definitely one of the best things about the original Red Dead Redemption 2, and it's back once again in this sequel/prequel. In our Red Dead Redemption 2 Dead Eye guide, we'll be taking you through everything you need to know about the system, including how to upgrade Dead Eye in Red Dead Redemption 2, and much more.

On this page:

Dead Eye System Explained

Dead Eye in Red Dead Redemption 2 is unlocked very early in the game, and essentially lets you paint targets while time slows down. Once you're ready you can unleash a wave of bullets, taking out all the targets you've locked onto. In the heat of the moment it's easy to forget Dead Eye is an option, so we've got all the details on what button you need to press in our guide just below.

Dead Eye Controls - What Button Activates Dead Eye?

If you played Red Dead Redemption back in 2011 (or since then), then you’ll be somewhat familiar with Dead Eye. To activate the system, aim with your weapon using the left trigger, and press the right analog stick in, whereby you’ll go into Dead Eye mode.

We've put together a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2 guides since launch. You can find them all in our RDR2 Walkthrough Hub

Time slows to a near halt while you’re in Deadeye mode, but only for a limited time. Until the Dead Eye meter right above your mini map is fully drained, or until you press the right trigger, you can pass your cursor over any enemies that you wish to unleash a bullet at. You can even aim at specific limbs on enemies, so if you want to deal with bandits quickly, pass your cursor over their head to tag them for a shot.

How to Refill Dead Eye

While your Dead Eye meter in Red Dead Redemption 2 will gradually refill every time you kill an enemy, there are quicker ways to replenish the meter. You can consume either Chewing Tobacco or Miracle Tonic to completely refill your Deadeye meter, both of which can be accessed from the item wheel by holding down the left bumper.

If you ever need to refill your supplies of consumables, then you’ll need to find the nearest town on your map, and head to either the general store, or the local doctor. The former sells Chewing Tobacco, while the latter sells the Miracle Tonic.

How to Upgrade Your Dead Eye

Over the course of Red Dead Redemption 2, you're going to be using Dead Eye a lot. Whenever you use the special ability, you're actually upgrading it at the same time, much as you would with the health and stamina meters in the game.

There's no kind of indicator for your progress in upgrading Dead Eye, and you'll only get a notification when you've increased its potential. We've got details on these Dead Eye upgrades just below:

  • Your first upgrade for the ability is to manually place shots using the right bumper, which you can do by simply passing over an enemy, and placing shots with the button.
  • Your second upgrade for Dead Eye is the ability to fire off shots whenever you please with the right trigger. This is perfect for when you're looking to snipe someone from a far off distance with a rifle that lacks a scope, since you have time on your hands to aim and fire.
  • The third and final upgrade for the Dead Eye meter in Red Dead Redemption 2 is to highlight critical points in enemies. When you're in Dead Eye mode, critical points on the bodies of enemies will be highlighted in red, so you know exactly where to place shots to guarantee a kill in one hit.

We’re now all done with this particular guide on Red Dead Redemption 2's Dead Eye aiming system, but there’s plenty left to cover on the game just yet. You can find out how to retrieve your hat in Red Dead Redemption 2 should you ever lose it, or check out our Red Dead Redemption 2 Wanted guide, for a complete explainer on the Wanted system.

If you're looking for more on RDR2 keep it tuned to USG. First off there's our story on the real-life cowboys that play the game. Next up, check out our full review.

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