The Lightning Hawk is a magnum, and as such is counted as one of the most powerful weapons in the game. As it has always been for magnums in Resident Evil, it can take down any standard enemy with a single well-placed shot, but has rare ammunition and should be used sparingly. That being said, its primary use is for dealing with advanced mutations such as Whoppers, Lepotica, Rasklapanje, and Simmons' dinosaur and mega-insect mutations.
When compared to its .500 SW counterpart, the Elephant Killer, its damage is lower, but it has a seven-round capacity (as opposed to a five-round capacity for the Elephant Killer), a faster reload and a faster firing speed. The drop in recoil makes the Lightning Hawk more forgiving of missed shots, and the capacity makes it a generally more versatile weapon. However, the Elephant Killer is usually capable of putting down with one shot what the Lightning Hawk could not. This is especially noticeable with Whoppers and Raskalapanje.