Few tips that I picked up (and remember) that made my life easier
-If you want to talk first, shoot later, make sure that there is no reticle on screen when you press L2 to focus on people.(and there will be an on screen R2 prompt IF you want to bring out the guns)
-Never, EVER press o on it's own around people/horse unless you want to sock'em down.
-You can hold down o to quit a menu without going through multiple tap of o
-You can hold down square/triangle to search/pickup multiple items/loots
And I agree rifle cocking is kinda dumb. You don't cock your pistol to shoot again now, do you?