Destiny 2 Weapons Guide

Latest posts by Eoin Black (see all)

I’ve been playing Destiny for over seven years. Wow. That’s actually a scary-long time to think about. While the 1000s of hours I’ve spent between Destiny 1 and 2 might be depressing to think about, it means I’ve got a ludicrous amount of experience and knowledge that New Lights can take advantage of. While I can’t sherpa you through any of D2’s hardest content. I can provide you with guides like this to help ease you into some of the more expansive and complicated topics that the game offers. In the case of this guide, I’ll be talking about Destiny 2’s weapons.

Bottom Line Up Front

I’ve divided each of the weapon types in Destiny 2 into their relevant Primary, Special, and Heavy slots below. I’ll run you through each one, give you the pros and cons, and try to help you understand what makes something good or bad. By the end of this pretty comprehensive guide, you’ll have a solid foundation of knowledge to make the most of the 100s of guns that D2 throws at you during your time playing. The only thing I don’t talk about is weapon rarity because all you need to know is that purple and yellow are good. Everything else is terrible.

I’ll run you through each weapon type first and then talk about some of the extra pieces of information you’ll need to know. Things like how ammo works, the difference between Primary and Special weapons, and why weapon perks are such a big deal.

So, with all that being said, here is my Destiny 2 weapon guide. Read this, and you’ll be raiding in no time.

Types of Weapons in Destiny 2

Destiny 2

Primary Weapons:

  • Auto Rifles. 
  • Submachine Guns. 
  • Hand Cannons. 
  • Scout Rifles.
  • Pulse Rifles. 
  • Bows. 
  • Sidearms. 

Special Weapons:

  • Fusion Rifles. 
  • Sniper Rifles. 
  • Shotguns. 
  • Trace Rifles. 
  • Grenade Launchers. 
  • Glaives. 

Heavy Weapons:

  • Rocket Launcher. 
  • Swords. 
  • Machine Guns. 
  • Linear Fusion Rifles. 

Destiny 2 Weapons Guide

Primary Weapons

Auto Rifles

Auto Rifles

Auto Rifles are your basic, bread-and-butter assault rifles. They’re the most accessible weapon class in Destiny 2 because you’ve used one a thousand times before. Every shooter from Doom to Call of Duty has an assault rifle of some kind. Auto Rifles are just the Destiny versions.

As you might expect, these guys are fully automatic. Holding down your fire button will empty the mag fairly quickly. The general high rate of fire combined with being automatic means that Auto Rifles have some nasty recoil compared to the other weapon types, but it’s nothing you shouldn’t be able to manage. They do have another trade-off, though, in the form of damage per shot. Being able to shoot 50+ bullets in a handful of seconds means that each bullet does pretty negligible damage. For this reason, you generally don’t see Auto Rifles (ARs) in high-level Destiny content when they don’t have a Champion Perk for the season (see “Importance of Weapon Perks” for more info on that).

In the Crucible (PvP), Auto Rifles fill that same beginner roll. They’re comfortable, familiar, and capable of pretty quick kills if you’re hitting your headshots. However, as you get more experienced with Destiny, you’ll want to move on to META PvP options like Hand Cannons.

In short, ARs are a great jumping-in point for anyone new to Destiny 2, both for PvE and PvP, but you should think of them like training wheels that you’ll eventually grow out of.

Advantages

  • Large magazines make dealing with additional enemies (ADs) easy, even without AD-clearing perks. 
  • They’re a common safe weapon choice across shooters of multiple genres. 

Problems

  • They have low damage, making them relatively unviable in high-end Destiny 2 content. 
  • Auto Rifles tend to have a lackluster perk pool compared to other weapon types. 

Submachine Guns

Submachine Guns

SMGs occupy a peculiar spot in the wider Destiny 2 weapon META. They have a tendency to come and go, seemingly based on whether or not they have a Champion perk, even though SMGs are one of the worst Champion archetypes in the entire game. It’s not like they’re just used in regular content when they’re popular, either. As of writing, the new Funnelweb SMG is being used in everything from story missions to Raids to Grandmaster Nightfalls.

Unlike Auto Rifles, which occupy the middle of the good-to-bad weapon curve, SMGs occupy both ends in equal measure. You’ll either have a phenomenal Submachine Gun or a terrible one. There isn’t much of an in-between, and it’s generally based on what perks the weapon can roll with.

SMGs tend to have smaller magazines and higher rates of fire when compared to Auto Rifles, but they are still automatic. You’ll go through your magazine ridiculously quickly, making a reload perk like Subsistence mandatory for a META-viable SMG. Like ARs, they have some nasty recoil, but nothing that you shouldn’t be able to manage. In general, SMGs have higher damage than ARs, which is why you see them in the higher ends of the META for dealing with ADs. You won’t be killing anything big with them. Still, a good Submachine Gun with something like a Subsistence/Frenzy roll will cut throw red-bar enemies like they’re nothing.

The same can be said for PvP. Aside from Hand Cannons, SMGs sit comfortably at the top of the primary weapon PvP META. If you can hit your shots and have good movement, you’ll dominate any close-range gunfight you take by using one.

So, SMGs are a META-viable option for anyone who wants an automatic weapon’s comfortability. Still, you’ll have to deal with your ammo management as a trade-off. After over seven years of playing Destiny, they’re my primary weapon of choice, so that should tell you just how good they can be. Just make sure you’re using one with a good perk roll.

Advantages

  • SMGs are capable of fantastic AD-clear.
  • They’re solid automatic weapons capable of holding their own in Destiny 2’s hardest content. 

Problems

  • You need a good perk roll to use them in high-end content. 
  • Your lack of ammo means you need to hit your shots. 

Hand Cannons

Hand Cannons

Oh boy. Hand Cannons. They’re the king of both the PvP and PvE META at all levels. I’ve always disliked the weapon type, but I’ve been using one almost exclusively as my primary in PvE for the last year and a half (Timelost Faithbringer).

Hand Cannons are the pinnacle of Destiny weaponry. Capable of massive damage, these are the weapons you’ll see most of your raid teammates using at any given point in time. They don’t even need Champion Mods to be META; they just need to exist.

This might come as a surprise to anyone not intimately familiar with Destiny 2’s high-end content. After all, you generally have less than 10 bullets in a Hand Cannon magazine. They’re primary, meaning you won’t be using them against bosses, so how are they suitable for AD-clear. Well, each one of those 10 bullets is capable of one-shotting a regular red bar, meaning 10 kills per mag in regular content and maybe one-to-three pushing towards GM Nightfalls. Even an AR with a magazine of 50+ bullets isn’t getting anywhere close to that kill count.

The downside to this incredible damage is three-fold. First, Hand Cannons have a pretty low range. Then, they tend to be slow and clunky to reload. Lastly, each shot is slow, meaning it takes fewer bullets but more time to kill a group of enemies.

That sounds damning, but it just so happens that the best Hand Cannons in Destiny 2 are capable of off-setting all three of those weaknesses with no trade-offs whatsoever. I’ll use my own Hand Cannon, the Timelost Faithbringer, as an example.

My Timelost Faithbringer has Explosive Rounds on it. This makes my bullets explode on impact and deal a set amount of damage with no range drop-off. So, it doesn’t matter how far away from an enemy I am; I’ll still do good damage. That takes care of the range issue. Secondly, I have a Handling Masterwork on my Faithbring and an Adept Handling Mod. Handling is the stat that controls your reload speed, so the combination of both these makes my Hand Cannon reload insanely quick, dealing with the clunkiness problem.

Lastly, it also has Firefly. Firefly makes any enemy I kill with a precision hit explode, dealing massive damage to other nearby enemies. Even in raids, one Firefly kill on a group of ADs is enough to take out the whole lot of them. Meaning I can kill four or five enemies in one shot, so shooting slow is no longer a problem.

Getting a Hand Cannon with perks like this is difficult and time-consuming, but they’re at the top of the META for a reason.

The same thing goes for PvP. A Handcannon with the right rolls and archetype (140/160/180 RPM) can, at worst, three-shot kill and at best two-shot kill opponents, giving them the fastest TTK in the game.

Hand Cannons are the best weapons in Destiny 2, but the effort required to get a good one reflects that. Don’t expect to be using Hand Cannons too often until you’re into your end-game activities.

Advantages

  • They are the strongest weapons in both PvP and PvE. 
  • All of a Hand Cannon’s downsides can be negated by perks. 

Problems

  • To get a META Hand Cannon, you’ll need to spend a lot of time completing some of the hardest activities Destiny 2 has to offer. 
  • They can be very difficult to get used to if you’re coming from an automatic weapon type. 

Scout Rifles

Scout Rifles

Scout Rifles are weird. They’re useless in almost every aspect of Destiny 2 except for the hardest end-game activity: Grandmaster Nightfalls.

That sounds oxymoronic, but there is one major reason for it. Compared to every other primary weapon in the game, Scout Rifles have one massive advantage: range. Even with Explosive Rounds, Hand Cannons don’t have the same damage over range that Scout Rifles do. In GMs (Grandmasters), even a regular Thrall can kill you in one or two hits. So, you must keep enemies at a distance and stay behind cover. Scout Rifles let you do that while still being able to kill things.

This range advantage combined with no recoil given that Scouts are semi-automatic means that they’re like primary-ammo Sniper Rifles without the damage, making them perfect for D2’s hardest activities. They’re pretty much useless for everything else, though, including Master Raids. These activities either don’t afford you the range that a Grandmaster Strike does or simply aren’t dangerous to warrant it. Scout Rifles are painfully unoptimized in almost all of these activities. You’ll be wanting a Hand Cannon, Bow, or SMG.

In PvP, Scouts are just as weird. Some players love them and dominate the Crucible and Trials, but those players are few and far between. On top of that, even the best Scout Rifle players will be outgunned in close to medium range by a mediocre Hand Cannon or SMG main.

So, I would recommend you steer clear of Scout Rifles until you’re doing content difficult enough to justify sitting in the back of the map while picking enemies off. That’s my META opinion, though. Destiny 2’s lower-tier content is flexible and easy enough to allow you to use whatever you want. If you like Scout Rifles, don’t let me stop you from using them until you start raiding. That’s when you need to start thinking about what’s META.

Advantages

  • They have better range than any other primary weapon, making them ideal for Grandmaster Nightfalls. 

Problems

  • They do mediocre damage that is unoptimized for lower-tier content. 
  • Scout Rifles with good perk pools are few and far between. 

Pulse Rifles

Pulse Rifles

Pulse Rifles are right up there with Hand Cannons for Destiny 2’s PvP META, but they’re right down at the bottom with Scout Rifles when it comes to PvE activities. Pulse Rifles are clearly designed by Bungie to be PvP-oriented weapons. That approach is visible in each new one that’s released.

For all intents and purposes, Pulse Rifles can be treated like burst-fire rifles from any other shooter. Each trigger pull fires a collection of three-to-four shots with little to no recoil. They allow you to quickly put a group of shots downrange in the same spot, hence why they’re so popular in the Crucible. They’re the kings of the PvP mid-range, at which point they’ll outgun pretty much every other weapon type, including Hand Cannons. It’s not uncommon to kill someone in two or three quick bursts, a TTK comparable to that of the best Hand Cannons.

On top of that, you’ve got Pulse Rifles like the Messenger that come with perks like Desperado. Any Pulse perk that increases the rate of fire or damage will turn your weapon into a monster and should be prioritized.

In PvE, you pretty much never see Pulse Rifles at all. I don’t think I’ve seen a single one in the dozens of raids and GMs I’ve done in the last two years, except for when they have a Champion Mod. They’re pretty useful when they have Champ Mods, especially in GMs, as they let you keep your distance as Scouts do.

There’s just no point in using one over an Auto Rifles for every other use-case scenario. ARs do everything Pulse Rifles do, but better, except for range, in which case a Scout will still do a better job.

If you’re a PvP main, a good Pulse Rifle is worth its weight in gold. You’ll pretty much never use it outside of the Crucible, Iron Banner, or Trials of Osiris, though.

Advantages

  • It’s one of the best weapon types in PvP and dominates the mid-range. 
  • There have been several Pulse Rifles over the years with phenomenal perk pools. 

Problems

  • Like Hand Cannons, they’re subject to an RPM-based archetype META.
  • They’re next-to-useless in PvE content. 

Bows

Bows

Bows are cool. That more or less sums up how I feel about them as a weapon and where they fit into the META. They’re not incredible, but they’re not bad. Bows are just… cool.

You don’t see them in PvP except for the exotic Le Monarque, although there are a handful of Bow mains out there that are inhuman with them. A good Bow player will ruin your day, and I’m speaking from experience when I say that.

In PvE, you definitely see them from time to time. They’re niche and not as good as the META options, but they are good enough to be passable in high-end content. GMs, specifically, see a decent amount of bow use. Although, again, generally in the form of exotic variants, be that Le Monarque or Ticuu’s Divination. Although, you will see some legendary ones whenever Bows have a Champion Mod active.

Given that each shot requires you to drawback, and arrows have travel time, missing shots is incredibly punishing, so I generally don’t recommend Bows to beginners. If you’re confident with your aim, there’s no harm in using them. They’re an off-META option that can break up the monotony of just using Hand Cannons and Submachine Guns.

Advantages

  • Bows have great range, making them very usable in GM Nightfalls. 
  •  They’re viable in high-end content, albeit in an off-META capacity. 

Problems

  • The perk META for Bows looks strange compared to ARs, SMGs, or Hand Cannons. 
  • Missing your shots with a Bow is extremely punishing. 

Sidearms

Sidearms

Sidearms are something of a nothing weapon class in Destiny 2. They’re bad, and they always have been, both in PvE and PvP.

They’re just pistols. Sometimes they’re burst fire; other times they’re not, but it doesn’t matter either way. There has never been a META Sidearm that wasn’t Traveller’s Chosen, and I doubt there ever will be.

They don’t have the damage, range, or rate of fire to have any use case whatsoever. The only reason I ever see anyone using a Sidearm is to complete bounties or challenges.

Pick one up and try it out for yourself if you want, but Sidearms are easily the least noteworthy out of every weapon type in Destiny 2. They have no redeeming qualities or uses. They’re just bad.

I’m going to sound like a hypocrite now, but there was one legendary Sidearm that, for a time, got a bit of attention. The Peacebond Sidearm was a burst-fire Iron Banner weapon that a few of Twitch’s best D2 PvPers were using in Trials, to great success. Granted, they could use any weapon and make it look good. While that inspired a bit of use, it quickly fell off, which tells you everything you really need to know about it.

Advantages

  • They can be fun. I guess. 

Problems

  • They fall short in every conceivable way compared to other weapon types. 
  • There are no good legendary Sidearms. 

Special Weapons

Fusion Rifles

Fusion Rifles

We’ve just come out of a Fusion Rifle META as of writing this. Season of the Lost had a perk that made Fusion Rifles insanely good. That perk is gone now, and most PvE Fusion Rifles have gone with it.

From a beginner’s perspective, Fusion Rifles are a bit weird. You hold down the trigger to charge the weapon, then shoot several beams almost like a scatter-shot Shotgun, except without the tiny range. These beams go through enemies, making Fusions deceptively good at clearing a group of bunched ADs.

Even without the perk, they’re still usable in all levels of PvE. If you match your elemental types correctly, you can melt majors with them, making them a great alternative to wasting Heavy on non-boss targets. They sit comfortably in the middle of the pile, in my opinion. Personally, I use a Fusion Rifle as my Special Weapon more often than not. Granted, I’m using Null Composure, a pinnacle weapon that is incredible both with and without any relevant perks.

In PvP, Fusions are quite a bit better. You’ll stumble across at least one of them in every single game you play. A good player can decimate you with one before you even have a chance to shoot back, given the weapon type’s one-shot capabilities, but there is a big skill curve that comes with that.

Whether you’re a veteran or a beginner, you can’t really go wrong with Fusion Rifles. They deal good damage to everything, are decent at AD-clear, and are fun to use. I would recommend all players to keep one or two of them in their back pocket.

Advantages

  • Fusion Rifles can output serious damage in both PvE and PvP. 
  • Fusion Rifle shots go through targets, meaning you can use them for AD-clear. 

Problems

  • Fusion Rifles have a big skill curve. 
  • There are no regular Kinetic/Primary Fusion Rifles. 

Sniper Rifles

Sniper Rifles

What can I say about Sniper Rifles that you don’t already know? Even if you’re brand new to Destiny, you should come into the game knowing what to expect from these guys. They have incredible range, deal phenomenal damage but have a slow fire rate and low ammo counts. They’re the safe Special Weapon choice, and that’s why they’ve always been, and will always be, META.

Even in Destiny 1, Sniper Rifles ruled the end-game PvE and PvP META. That’s no different in Destiny 2. Both Kinetic and Elemental Sniper Rifles can roll with great perks, deal significant damage to bosses, and are a comfortable choice that affords you a lot of survivability.

That’s legendary Sniper Rifles. On the other hand, Exotic Sniper Rifles are extremely META in PvE for a variety of different reasons. In the current Season, Izanagi’s Burden is thego-to boss DPS weapon. In Destiny 1, Black Spindle held that roll. While these are both exotics with specific perks that make them so good, they’re clear examples of how powerful Snipers are as an archetype.

In PvP, there’s not much difference. Snipers can one-shot kill from across the map if you hit a headshot, and they’re an excellent option for killing enemies out of their supers. Any time Trials is on a long-range map, you will see Snipers.

They’re easy to use, making them great for beginners, too. You’ve probably used a Sniper Rifle before, so you’ll be more comfortable with one compared to something like a Fusion Rifle.

Advantages

  • Incredible damage at long ranges. 
  • A variety of element types and perks allows Snipers to fit various use cases. 

Problems

  • The best Sniper Rifles are all exotic. 
  • Farming for a high-end META Sniper is an absolute pain. Trust me. 

Shotguns

Shotguns

I hate Shotguns. I hate Shotguns because they’re great in PvP, and I suck with them. When any Trials map isn’t long-range, you’ll be seeing Shotguns instead of Sniper Rifles. Exclusively. And you will die to them. A lot.

Shotguns could get their own guide, and it would probably be longer than this Destiny 2 weapons guide that covers everything. They’re META in PvE and PvP for entirely different reasons and are effective based on your class and what build you’re using. The same cannot be said for every other type of weapon.

In PvP terms, Shotguns can, and will, consistently one-shot you. With how movement-based Destiny is, you should expect to be constantly in close-quarters engagements. There are plenty of abilities in the game that make closing the distance between you and an opponent incredibly easy, hence why you’ll often see enemies running at you with their Shotgun.

Plus, a Shotgun shot followed up with a melee attack will almost always kill you. People abuse this fact, and they have been since Destiny 1. Jump in the Crucible for an hour and count how many times an enemy uses their abilities to get up in your face and shotgun-melees you. It’ll be a lot.

That’s why Shotguns dominate the PvP META, but their use in PvE is a little strange. Usually, you want to keep your distance from bosses. Shotguns take that convention and throws it out the window. That’s all thanks to a little perk called One-Two Punch. One-Two Punch applies a debuff that makes your next melee attack to the target deal massive damage. If you stack this with other melee buffing abilities, mainly on Solar Titan with the right exotic armor, it’s actually possible to one-shot a lot of the bosses in the game.

This is so broken that Bungie is constantly disabling things related to the build. It’s only one specific use case, but it’s important to mention. For anyone not looking to use this one Titan style of gameplay, you don’t need to worry about Shotties in PvE. They’re essentially worse Fusion Rifles (although I like using them with invisibility Hunter builds).

Advantages

  • They can kill you almost instantly in PvP. 
  • A proper Shotgun build will one-shot a lot of PvE bosses. 

Problems

  • They’re hard to use correctly, especially on console. 
  • Only Titans can use them to their full potential in PvE. 

Trace Rifles

Trace Rifles

Trace Rifles shoot laser beams. So, they’re pretty awesome. The problem is that there aren’t many of them. The weapon type has been in D2 since launch. In fact, one of the game’s pre-order bonuses was an exotic Trace Rifle. Despite that, we only got a legendary one with the 30th Anniversary Edition for the first time. So, there’s not a lot to go off of.

What we do know, though, is that they aren’t very good. In PvP, they have a terrible time to kill, so much so that even the exotic Traces aren’t worth using. In PvE, it’s sort of the same thing. They might be a lot of fun, but they’re not good in anything beyond regular low-level content. It’s a shame, but that’s just the state of the weapons.

Rather than viewing Trace Rifles as an entire weapon class, I recommend you look at the exotics individually. For example, despite the Trace Rifles generally being no good, there are two exotic Trace Rifles that are up at the top of the PvE META. Ager’s Scepter is a Stasis Trace that freezes enemies and synergizes stupidly well with Stasis builds, and Divinity is an exotic that makes all your teammate’s attacks do more damage to the target you’re shooting with it. The latter is actually a staple in raids, regardless of what raid it is.

This is high-level stuff that you’ll learn as you play more, though. For a beginner, feel free to have some fun with them, but don’t expect to take them beyond strikes and missions.

Advantages

  • They’re a lot of fun. 
  • Some exotic Trace Rifles are the best weapons in the game.

Problems

  • The best Trace Rifles are hard to get, with one of them requiring you to complete a complex puzzle in the Garden of Salvation raid. 
  • Aside from a few unique cases, Trace Rifles are pretty bad at, well, everything. 

Grenade Launchers

Grenade Launchers

Grenade Launchers are defined by their perks. Perks are beyond important, yes, but you can use a Sniper Rifle effectively regardless of what perks it has. Same thing for a bunch of the other weapon types in the game. On their own, they aren’t great, which is why you never see them in PvP. However, a few of them have perks that make them possibly the best weapons in all of PvE for everything from strikes to Grandmaster Nightfalls.

There are two that come to mind. The first is Ignition Code. It’s Kinetic, meaning your elemental slot is still free. Ignition Code rolls with Blinding Grenades. This perk makes enemies hit by the explosion unable to shoot or use abilities for a few seconds afterward. This can mean the difference between life and death in a Grandmaster. The ability to completely neutralize a group of enemies is invaluable.

The second GL is Witherhoard. This is exotic, sure, but it’s also the single best weapon in the entire game. It leaves a pool on the ground that deals damage over time when you fire it. It’s also Kinetic, meaning you can switch to a Special or Heavy to continue doing damage to a boss while Witherhoard works in the background. It helps you reach damage numbers otherwise unobtainable.

Aside from those, you’ve got GLs like Salvagers Silo, which has Chain Reaction, so one-shot will blow everything in the area sky high.

These are examples of great grenade launchers, and I have to point them out because otherwise, GLs aren’t all that. They are defined by their perks, so always check your rolls before you dismantle them.

Advantages

  • Some Grenade Launchers are the best weapons in the game. 
  • They tend to be easy to farm for. 

Problems

  • A good Grenade Launcher is all about its perk rather than the weapon type itself. 
  • As a result, wanting a good Grenade Launcher means being prepared to do a bunch of grinding. 

Glaives

Glaives

Glaives are the new kid on the block, so we don’t know where they’ll fit in the META, and we won’t for a long while. However, as things stand, they’re possibly the most fun I’ve ever had with a weapon, provided you’re using the right build for them.

For anyone who hasn’t used one yet, they’re essentially spears with a melee attack, shield, and let you shoot ranged attacks with them. That’s a lot of versatility, but you’ll be relying on the melee attack most of the time you’re using one.

Without the relevant perks from Season of the Risen, I can’t see Glaives being at all effective. They suffer from the same downsides that Swords do. You need to get close with them to use them, even though Glaives have a ranged attack which is fairly mediocre in my experience. This is why you should probably stay away from them in Crucible.

In PvE, they’re capable of taking down a lot of enemies in one or two hits, including Majors. However, you need to get up close and personal with them to do that. Thanks to Invisibility, hunters have no issue with this, but other classes will struggle. Therefore, I can’t really recommend Glaives for any high-level content.

You should take one out for a spin for low-level stuff, though. It’s enjoyable, especially if you’re running a Void Hunter.

Advantages

  • They’re a lot of fun. 
  • The weapon type is new, so we might see some powerful exotic variants down the line. 

Problems

  • You have to get close to enemies to make the most of a Glaive. 

Heavy Weapons

Rocket Launchers

Rocket Launchers

Rocket Launchers will always be a solid pick for every activity regardless of what you’re doing or when you’re doing it. I mean, what’s not good about a massive explosion that deals tons of damage?

In PvP, Heavies don’t matter too much. Still, a Rocket Launcher with Tracking will almost guarantee you a kill on anyone you aim it at, making it a solid choice for all activities.

In PvE, Rockets are great for dealing with the little guys and the big guys. While some launchers are better than others (cough, Gjallarhorn, cough), all of them will do good damage to bosses and kill plenty of regular ADs. You only get a handful of Rockets to make up for that, and you can easily kill yourself with them. Still, team damage isn’t a thing in Destiny, so that’s all you have to worry about.

While they’re always a solid pick, a handful of perks make certain Rocket Launchers META. Most notably, anything with Auto-Loading Holster, Cluster, or Explosive Light will be able to hold its own in any raid or GM.

You know what Rocket Launchers do and why they’re good like Snipers. If you manage to get one with some decent perks early, make sure you hold onto it.

Advantages

  • Rocket Launchers are great for dealing damage to bosses. 
  • With Auto-Loading Holster and a good Sniper, you can output a ludicrous amount of damage by constantly switching between the two, negating Rocket Launcher’s naturally long reload times. 

Problems

  • Most Rocket Launchers are mediocre, with only the creme of the crop being META contenders. 
  • You will blow yourself up with them. 

Swords

Swords

As cool as Swords are, they just aren’t perfect, and they have never been, except for two particular ones.

As a weapon type, they fall short in PvE and PvP. Crucible-wise, they’re too unreliable. You don’t want your limited Heavy ammo going towards a weapon that you need to run at enemies with. They have to shoot you, and you’re done; plus a Sword will almost always lose to a Shotgun at close range if you miss your first swing. I don’t recommend them for PvP at all.

In PvE, it’s sort of the same thing. Your Heavy weapon needs to be your damage dealer, not your AD-clear, and Swords require you to get way too close to bosses to do what is ultimately mediocre damage. Even though every sword attacks differently, most are simply too high risk for too little reward.

The exceptions to this rule are the exotic Lament and legendary Falling Guillotine, even though the latter has been nerfed recently. The Lament is capable of crazy damage numbers and is META for the Deep Stone Crypt raid. On the other hand, Falling Guillotine was META for any activity that let you get close to the boss for DPS. At least, it was for a while, thanks to Relentless Strikes and Whirlwind Blade giving your strikes a massive damage buff.

Aside from those Swords, the weapon type isn’t worth using if you want your loadout optimized. They’re a hell of a lot of fun, though.

Advantages

  • Certain Swords are META for very specific raid encounters. 
  • They’re very fun to use.

Problems

  • 99% of them aren’t worth using.
  • If a boss has a stomp mechanic, a Sword is unusable against them. 

Machine Guns

Machine Guns

Oh Machine Guns, you break my heart. You would think carrying a massive, heavy automatic weapon that fires slugs incredibly fast would be great, but they aren’t. In PvP, they’re passable. They kill very quickly and are just Auto Rifles on steroids.

In PvE, though, they suffer from just not dealing very much damage. As I’ve said, you need your Heavy to be dealing damage. Machine Guns just can’t put out the numbers that a Rocket Launcher can, nor can it clear ADs like some of your better Primary options.

I rarely see these weapons in any activity regardless of difficulty, so that tells you something. Although, if you’re an Auto Rifle fanatic, you’ll probably have a blast using them.

Advantages

  • They can shred enemies in PvP. 
  • They’re essentially just super Auto Rifles. 

Problems

  • They can’t keep up with Rocket Launchers for boss damage. 
  • There’s a distinct lack of good Machine Guns in the game right now. 

Linear Fusion Rifles

Linear Fusion Rifles

Linear Fusion Rifles have gone from being the best weapon type in the game to being more or less useless.

For anyone that hasn’t used them before, they’re like Fusion Rifles, as in they have a charge time. However, instead of firing a scatter of beams, they fire one high damaging shot. This shot is capable of solid damage for sure, but like Machine Guns, they can’t hit a boss as a Rocket can.

In the Crucible, they’re great. If you can hit someone’s head, you’ll one-shot them. Although, Snipers also do that, and they don’t require Heavy ammo, taking away any PvP use-case a Linear Fusion might have.

That being said, a lot of newer Destiny players I play with tend to use them because they’re quick, easy, and effective. You don’t need a certain build or roll to make a Linear Fusion Rifle moderately powerful; you just need to hit your shots.

Advantages

  • They’re simple and effective. 
  • You tend to get a lot of ammo for them each time you pick up a Heavy brick. 

Problems

  • They’re outclassed in high-end content by Rocket Launchers. 
  • Only firing one shot means you can’t use Linears for AD-clear. 

Key Features and Extra Bits

How Weapons are Categorized in Destiny 2

Weapons in Destiny 2 are split into three different slots. You can have one weapon equipped in each slot at any given time.

  • Kinetic Weapons – Weapons that deal either Stasis damage or fire plain old lead bullets.
  • Elemental Weapons – Weapons that deal Void, Solar, or Arc damage. 
  • Heavy Weapons – Large weapons with limited ammo that can fire Stasis, Solar, Arc, or Void shots. 

As well as those three weapon slots, there are two different main types of weapons:

  • Primary Weapons. 
  • Special Weapons.

There are Primary Weapons and Special Weapons for both the Kinetic and Elemental slots, so you can mix and match however you like. For example, you could have a Shotgun Special Weapon in your Kinetic slot and a Void Submachine Gun in your Elemental slot.

Heavy Weapons are a bit different. There are only a few types of Heavy Weapons in the game, and they’re all associated with dealing high damage. Think of things like Rocket Launchers, for example.

How Ammo Works in Destiny 2

ammo

Ammo in Destiny 2 was overhauled since launch. Now, your Primary weapons have infinite ammo. So, you don’t have to worry about your main AD-clearing weapon ever running out of ammo. This is a massive quality of life improvement that makes weapons like Submachine Guns viable, as you don’t need to micromanage your ammo economy.

However, Special Weapons and Heavy Weapons still have limited ammo. You want to reserve those slots for your big damage-dealers.

Weapon Archetypes

There are a bunch of different archetypes of weapons in Destiny 2. I’ve only gone over the types of weapons in this guide: Auto Rifles, Hand Cannons, etc. However, each of those types can be broken down into different frames. Each weapon has several different possible “frames.” However, a weapon’s frame is static, so every version of that particular weapon will have the same one.

A frame generally determines a weapon’s fire rate or RPM(rounds per minute). This is only important for high-end PvP. Mainly, you might hear people discussing the difference between 160 and 180 RPM Hand Cannons. This is in reference to a Hand Cannons rate of fire and damage by extension. If you’re a PvE player or new to PvP, you don’t need to worry about this quite yet. Instead, focus on learning how to use weapon types first.

Importance of Weapon Perks

perks

Before I let you off school, I want to talk a little bit about weapon perks.

In general, a weapon can roll with four different perks:

  • Barrel Perk. 
  • Mag Perk. 
  • Perk Column One. 
  • Perk Column Two.

Your barrel and mag perks change things like the weapon’s range and reload speed. Unless you’re min-maxing like the top 0.1% of Destiny players, you can disregard these two. On the other hand, perk columns one and two are where all the juicy stuff is kept.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but just know that the perks you get in these two columns generally determine whether or not a weapon is good regardless of what type of weapon it is. Just because something is a Hand Cannon doesn’t mean it’s a great weapon.

When a weapon drops for you, it comes with a set of perks. We call those perks the weapon’s roll. We say that because each perk is randomized from a perk pool. Each weapon has its own perk pool with possible perks. A good combination of these perks is where we get the phrase god roll.

As a rule of thumb, you want a weapon with a perk that lets it fire longer, so something like Subsistencewhich refills your mag for every kill you get, and a perk that increases damage, like Frenzy, which increases your damage the longer you’re in combat. The combination of those two perks means you’re firing more bullets that deal more damage, turning a mediocre weapon into a god roll.

Otherwise, look out for perks that make your bullets explode. Either Explosive Roundsor Firefly is good option. As you’re leveling up in Destiny 2, try to hold on to any weapons with a combination of perks like that. You’ll be thankful for them once you’re doing raids and nightfalls activities.

FAQ

Question: What are the best weapons in Destiny 2?

Answer: The best weapons in Destiny 2 tend to be specific rolls of Hand Cannons, Grenade Launchers, or are exotic weapons. The best weapons in Destiny 2 right now are:
Faithbringer. 
Izanagi’s Burden. 
Witherhoard. 
Gjallarhorn. 
 

Question: What is the rarest type of weapon in Destiny 2?

Answer: The rarest type of weapon in Destiny 2 is called exotic. These weapons have a yellow border. You can only have one exotic weapon equipped at any given time.

Question: What does sunsetting weapons mean in Destiny 2?

Answer: Sunsetting refers to when Bungie raises the level cap in Destiny without increasing the level cap of old weapons. Due to this, certain weapons are left under-leveled and cannot be upgraded, making them unusable.

Destiny 2 Weapon Guide Conclusion

Phew, that’s a lot of information. Don’t worry about taking it all in at once; just keep this guide in your back pocket to refer to whenever you need it. While the Destiny META is always shifting and changing, the general opinions I’ve included here tend to hold true, regardless of what’s in fashion between seasons.

At the end of the day, though, Destiny 2 is a game, and games are meant to be fun. So, use whatever you damn well feel like and enjoy it. At least do until you start doing raids. You should start thinking about what’s good and what isn’t.

I hope you’ve managed to glean something of value from this Destiny 2 weapon guide. I’ve been playing Destiny since day one of Destiny 1, so there’s over seven years’ worth of experience condensed into this article. I’ve done the hard part for you, so heed my words and play accordingly.

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