The only real alternative to that would have been to stop telling Borg stories, though.
One thing to consider regarding ranged weapons on individual Drones is that we have never seen the Drones in a situation where they would need those! Drones are only ever tackled at extreme close quarters, typically inside their own ships or installations. The heroes have ranged weapons there, but those do them no good, because there is no range - a sidearm can be wrestled out of their hands in no time flat.
If one were ever to encounter Drones in open country, perhaps one would witness their "infantry weapons" in action... Funnily enough, Lore's rogue Borg with ranged weapons were
operating in open country! Although they also used their weapons in an indoors situation where impenetrable armor combined with zombie walk would actually have been tactically more effective.
Sometimes I think people simply fail to grasp exactly how vast the Borg Collective is and, given their mentality, how little even thousands of lives mean to them.
This, and also how much time they have for doing things. They are supposedly hundreds of thousands of years old. If they upped their response to the Federation all the way to lethal levels within the mere twenty years they have been openly dealing with the hero culture, it would necessarily follow that they would have assimilated the entire galaxy already a million times over. But there's no hurry - and no need to go for 100% assimilation anyway, as that would present them with the Alexander Problem of there being no more knowledge to conquer.