Destiny 2 Best PvE Weapons right now: Season 18 Edition

by | Oct 15, 2022

As you get more involved with Destiny 2, one of the first questions you’ll have is: What are the best weapons in the game?

That question is not as easy to answer, as it all depends on whether you’re looking for the top weapons for PvP, PvE, casual, or endgame content. Today, we’ll focus on the best PvE weapons in 2022. We’ll cover both Exotic and Legendary weapons (including their PvE god rolls), and give you an overview of the current PvE meta.

Best PvE Primary weapons

Checkmark icon V3Updated as of Season of Plunder’s release (S18)

Destiny 2 Primary ammoIn this section, we cover the best Primary PvE weapons. And by Primary, we mean either Kinetic or Energy weapons that use Primary ammo. Just remember Primary weapons use “normal” ammo, aka, white ammo boxes:

WeaponsTypeAmmoElementSlotRequirementsIn loot pool?SourceSource ❘ DLCVerdictPart of?
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Night Watch
Scout RiflePrimaryKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesWorld loot poolWorld loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Subsistence) + Explosive Payload (also good: Multikill Clip)

► Night Watch is an excellent option, it is part of one of the best PvE archetypes right now, and it also comes with some fantastic perks such as Rapid Hit and Explosive Payload. Night Watch is always a weapon that I seriously consider when tackling challenging piece of PvE content.
Gambit,PVE
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art
Trinity Ghoul
Combat BowPrimaryArcEnergyFree-to-PlayYesExotic EngramExotic Engram

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires an arrow that splits when released. Aiming down sights and fully drawing the bow both decrease the spread. Precision kills grant the next shot chain-lightning capabilities."

► Able to deal insane chain-lighting damage, Trinity Ghouls has always been a favorite when it comes to taking care of red bar enemies. And now that it received a +40% damage in PVE against ads, it became insanely powerful this season.
PVE
Destiny 2 Outbreak Perfected art
Outbreak Perfected
Pulse RiflePrimaryKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesExotic KioskExotic Kiosk

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "This weapon creates SIVA nanite swarms on rapid hits and precision kills and does more damage to enemies based on the number of SIVA nanites that attach to them."

► Outbreak Perfected is making a comeback, partly because it has always been a good weapon, able to deal considerable damage to single targets, but mostly because it received major buffs against PVE enemies. With a +44% damage against red bar enemies, Outbreak Perfected is finally meta again.
PVE
Destiny 2 The Huckleberry art
The Huckleberry
Submachine GunPrimaryKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesExotic EngramExotic Engram

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Increased rate of fire and recoil while you're holding down the trigger. Kills with this weapon temporarily grant increased damage and partially reload the magazine."

► A powerhouse of a weapon, The Huckleberry isn't flashy but can clear ads like nothing else. Without the need to reload and pre-nerf Rampage on your side, nothing will be able to stand in your way. The recent buff to Exotic primary weapons further cemented it as one of the best Exotics in the game.
PVE
Fatebringer art
Fatebringer
Hand CannonPrimaryKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesVault of Glass RaidVault of Glass Raid

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Explosive Payload + Firefly
PvP God Roll: Killing Wind + Opening Shot

► One of the most iconic legendary weapons in the game, Fatebringer comes with insane stats and great perks. While it does have some competition, namely Eyasluna, this almost-perfect Hand Cannon holds its ground as an all-time community favorite.
PVE
Osteo Striga art
Osteo Striga
Submachine GunPrimaryKineticKineticThe Witch QueenYesDeluxe EditionDeluxe Edition

The Witch Queen
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires a stream of sentient, toxic projectiles that track the targeted enemy. Landing a final blow or multiple precision hits triggers a burst that poisons nearby targets."

► Feeling extremely nice to use in both PVE and PVP, Osteo Striga became an instant favorite for many. Its poison-spreading effect makes it one of the best ad-clear primaries in PVE, and its enemy-tracking bullets make it an easy-to-use option in PVP. Plus, you can craft your own Osteo Striga God roll. What's not to love?
PVE
Insidious art v2
Insidious
Pulse RiflePrimaryArcEnergyThe Witch QueenYesVow of the Disciple RaidVow of the Disciple Raid

The Witch Queen
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Aggressive Burst

PvE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Dragonfly) + Rampage
PvP God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Heating Up) + Rampage

► The only 4-burst pulse rifle to be released in over two years, people had big expectations for this weapon. And with outstanding perk combinations for both PVE and PVP, Insidious blew those out of the water. With an S-Tier Origin Trait and no terrible perks in its pool, there's not much to hate about this pulse rifle. For PVP in particular, Aggressive Burst Pulses hit like a truck, flinching opponents with ease.
PVE
CALUS Mini-Tool art
CALUS Mini-Tool
Submachine GunPrimarySolarEnergySeason 17YesDerelict LeviathanDerelict Leviathan
Season 17 Destiny 2 icon
Season 17
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: MIDA Synergy

PvE God Roll: Unrelenting (also good: Moving Target) + Incandescent

► Able to roll with the excellent perk Incandescent, CALUS Mini-Tool immediately cemented itself as a top-tier pick with the release of Solar 3.0. Plus, it's one of the few craftable SMGs currently in the game, meaning it's one of the easiest to get as well.
PVE
Tarnished Mettle art
Tarnished Mettle
Scout RiflePrimaryArcEnergySeason 18YesSeasonal activitySeasonal activity
Season 18 icon
Season 18
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Rapid Hit + Voltshot (also good: Shoot to Loot + Explosive Payload)

► Tarnished Mettle Scout Rifle is one of the first two weapons to roll with the perk 'Voltshot'. Voltshot is one of the strongest perks in the game right now, as it turns your gun into a mini Trinity Ghoul. Ignoring Voltshot, though, Tarnished Mettle comes with S-tier perks and is the best Arc Scout Rifle in the game right now.
PVE
Zaouli’s Bane
Zaouli’s Bane
Hand CannonPrimarySolarEnergyFree-to-PlayYesKing's Fall RaidKing's Fall Raid

Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Explosive Payload + Incandescent

► On top of offering excellent base stats (which can only be expected from a raid weapon), the Zaouli's Bane can also roll with an extremely lethal and unique perk combination: Explosive Payload + Incandescent. With a strong Solar 3.0 Build, a Zaouli's Bane with Incandescent can be a monster in mid to high-end PvE content.
PVE

Best PvE Special weapons

Destiny 2 special ammoIn this section, we cover the best Special PvE weapons. And by Special, we mean either kinetic or Energy weapons that use Special ammo. Just remember, Special weapons use “Special” ammo, aka, green ammo boxes:

WeaponsTypeAmmoElementSlotRequirementsIn loot pool?SourceSource ❘ DLCVerdictPart of?
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Heritage
ShotgunSpecialKineticKineticBeyond LightYesDeep Stone Crypt RaidDeep Stone Crypt Raid

Beyond Light
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Pinpoint Slug

PvE God Roll: Reconstruction (also good: Auto-Loading Holster) + Recombination

► Heritage is an absolute staple in the Kinetic Slot and will forever hold a place as a go-to option in my loadouts. It can hit like a truck with Recombination and can get up to double its regular magazine size. It wastes majors and bosses alike and is an option that we 100% recommend you grind for.
PVE
Destiny 2 Divinity art
Divinity
Trace RifleSpecialArcEnergyShadowkeepYesExotic QuestExotic Quest

Shadowkeep
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Sustained damage with this weapon envelops the target in a field that weakens and disrupts them."

► Divinity might be the strongest weapon Destiny has ever seen. It is the quintessential 'support' weapon as it provides a debuff, can stun Champions intrinsically, and also creates a massive crit spot for your teammates to shoot. If you are looking for optimal damage within your Fireteam, you should always have someone running Divinity.
PVE
Destiny 2 Arbalest art
Arbalest
Linear Fusion RifleSpecialKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesExotic EngramExotic Engram

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires slugs that cause massive damage to enemy shields. Strong against Barrier Champions. Breaking an enemy's shield with this weapon makes them more vulnerable to Kinetic damage."

► Able to deal with Anti-barrier champions and shielded enemies with ease (regardless of their elemental affinities), Arbalest is one of the best weapons for endgame content right now. It is so good, expect every Fireteam to have at least one Arbalest equipped.
PVE,PVP
Destiny 2 Izanagi's Burden
Izanagi's Burden
Sniper RifleSpecialKineticKineticForsaken PackYesExotic KioskExotic Kiosk

Forsaken Pack
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Holding reload consumes the magazine and loads a round with additional range and damage."

► A powerhouse of a weapon, Izanagi's Burden can reach some incredible DPS numbers, especially when combined with an Auto-Loading Holster Rocket Launcher. While this combo is slightly more demanding than some other DPS options, it is well worth the effort to unlock this beast's potential.
PVE
Witherhoard art Destiny 2
Witherhoard
Grenade LauncherSpecialKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesExotic KioskExotic Kiosk

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Projectiles fired blight the target or nearby area on impact. Blighted targets take damage over time and blight the nearby area on death."

► Witherhoard is the quintessential Grenade Launcher. It can deal good damage, lock down an area, stagger an enemy, deal with ads, and all that while being super easy to use. Witherhoard is also a counter to some 'meta' playstyles in PvP due to its AoE effect, hard countering a Ward of Dawn, or a Lorley Splendor Shield.
PVE
Pardon Our Dust art
Pardon Our Dust
Grenade LauncherSpecialKineticKineticFree-to-PlayYesDares of EternityDares of Eternity

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Lightweight

PvE God Roll: Auto-Loading Holster (also good: Ambitious Assassin) + Vorpal Weapon

► Pardon Our Dust might be one of the most versatile weapons in the game. It can provide menacing add clear with Ambitious Assassin, strong backup DPS with Auto-Loading Holster and Vorpal Weapon, or work in ability-focused builds with Demolitionist or Wellspring. Pardon Our Dust is simply an excellent weapon all around.
PVE
Dead Messenger art
Dead Messenger
Grenade LauncherSpecialVoidEnergyDeluxe EditionYesExotic QuestExotic Quest

Deluxe Edition
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "One-shot handheld Grenade Launcher. Projectiles release a fan of three energy waves on contact with the ground. You can change damage type, cycling between Solar, Arc, and Void."

► Dead Messenger is one of the most potent weapons in the game. Excelling in both PvP and PvE, this Wave Frame Grenade Launcher is not only remarkably easy to use, but it can also completely nullify the Match Game modifier with its ability to change elements.
PVE,PVP
The Enigma art
The Enigma
GlaiveSpecialVoidEnergyThe Witch QueenYesThrone WorldThrone World

The Witch Queen
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Grave Robber (also good: Impulse Amplifier) + Unrelenting (also good: Frenzy)

► With its well-rounded perk pool and great availability, The Enigma is currently the strongest glaive. While it does contain some great PvE perks, it's in PvP is where it shines. Because it's simply the 'tutorial glaive,' The Enigma could be quickly overtaken on this list soon enough; however, for now, this glaive is the best option.
PVE
Deliverance art v2
Deliverance
Fusion RifleSpecialStasisKineticThe Witch QueenYesVow of the Disciple RaidVow of the Disciple Raid

The Witch Queen
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Rolls: Demolitionist (also good: Perpetual Motion) + Chill Klip

► Being the first kinetic (and Stasis!) legendary Fusion makes Deliverance already worth grabbing. Plus, with the great perk combos for PVE and PVP, you can't go wrong with this one-of-a-kind weapon.
PVE
Forbearance art v2
Forbearance
Grenade LauncherSpecialArcEnergyThe Witch QueenYesVow of the Disciple RaidVow of the Disciple Raid

The Witch Queen
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Special ammo Destiny 2 Special | Archetype: Wave

PvE God Roll: Ambitious Assassin (also good: Unrelenting) + Chain Reaction

► The first Wave Frame Grenade Launcher to come from a raid, Forbearance is widely regarded as the best Wave Frame we've gotten thus far. With the ability to roll the combo that made Salvager's Salvo famous, this weapon is an ad-clear machine. Not to mention, Wave Frames are extremely fun to use, and the Origin Trait is a nice cherry on top!
PVE

Destiny 2 Best PvE Heavy weapons

Destiny 2 Heavy ammoIn this section, we cover the best Heavy weapons for PvE. In other words, weapons that use “heavy” ammo, aka, purple ammo boxes:

WeaponsTypeAmmoElementSlotRequirementsIn loot pool?SourceSource ❘ DLCVerdictPart of?
Reed's Regret art
Reed's Regret
Linear Fusion RifleHeavyStasisHeavyThe Witch QueenYesTrials of OsirisTrials of Osiris

The Witch Queen
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Triple Tap (also good: Clown Cartridge) + Firing Line (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

► With best-in-class base stats, superior to my previous favorite legendary, Threaded Needle, Reed's Regret is the best legendary Linear Fusion in the game. It also offers an excellent PVE perk combination that no other Linear Fusion can offer: Triple Tap with Firing Line.
PVE
Gjallarhorn art
Gjallarhorn
Rocket LauncherHeavySolarHeavy30th AnniversaryYesGrasp of Avarice DungeonGrasp of Avarice Dungeon

30th Anniversary
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Rounds fired split into tracking cluster missiles upon detonation. Gain increased handling and reload speed when standing near allies. Firing this weapon also grants Wolfpack Rounds to nearby allies wielding non-Exotic Rocket Launchers."

► Gjallarhorn is nowhere as overpowered as it once was but still offers excellent stats and a great exotic perk (especially with the catalyst) that gives it that extra oomph to excel and become the meta option for rocket launcher users.
PVE,PVP
Cataclysmic art v2
Cataclysmic
Linear Fusion RifleHeavySolarHeavyThe Witch QueenYesVow of the Disciple RaidVow of the Disciple Raid

The Witch Queen
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Fourth Time's The Charm + Focused Fury (also good: High-Impact Reserves)

► Cataclysmic is the first raid Linear Fusion we've gotten, and it wears that title with pride. Containing some of the best damage perks in the game, this weapon can pump out tons of total damage. That said, it is still simply outclassed by Reed's Regret.
PVE
Stormchaser art
Stormchaser
Linear Fusion RifleHeavyArcHeavyDeluxe EditionYesDuality DungeonDuality Dungeon

Deluxe Edition
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Aggressive

PvP God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Clown Cartridge) + Firing Line (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

► The first linear fusion rifle to not be a Precision Frame, Stormchaser and its three-round burst is as unique as they are fun. And with S-Tier perk combinations like Rapid Hit + Firing Line, this already-strong linear fusion rifle easily competes with top picks like Reed's Regret.
PVE
Taipan-4fr art
Taipan-4fr
Linear Fusion RifleHeavyVoidHeavyFree-to-PlayYesWorld loot poolWorld loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Triple Tap + Firing Line

► Able to roll with the insane Triple Tap + Firing Line combo, the Taipan-4fr is a one-of-a-kind linear fusion. On top of its stellar perks, the Taipan also happens to be the only craftable linear fusion available, which means anyone can get this top-tier weapon provided they're willing to put in the work and level it up.
PVE

Destiny 2 PvE Meta

Every sandbox change comes with a new meta. And while we love to criticize Bungie for not changing the meta often enough, the last few seasons have significantly altered the hierarchy of PvE weapon types in Destiny 2.

Alert iconAbout DPS: DPS, or damage per second, is important for PvE, because the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss or Major. You can read all about it in our DPS guide.

PS: If you’re looking for the complete rundown of the state of the current Meta for PvE and PvP, check out our Destiny 2 Meta weapons guide.

We now covered the absolute best PvE weapons this season, but it’s still important to understand how the different weapon types compare with each other.

Alert iconDestiny 2 Meta refers to the most used weapons for a particular activity. Generally, these weapons are the most used because they are the most powerful/efficient.

These are the different Tier levels used for these Tier lists:

  • S Tier – Best: Highest ranking weapon types.
  • A Tier – Strong: Very strong weapon types, but not on the same level as S Tier Choices.
  • B Tier – Average: Decent choices that can be lethal in the hands of a skilled player.
  • C Tier – Weak: The middle of the pack, somewhat mediocre.
  • D Tier – Worst: Lagging behind the competition, these don’t have much to offer.

The list starts with S Tier and moves down until it reaches the bottom Tier:

PvE Primary weapons meta

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
S › Best
Best

S

-► SMGs are doing very well right now. They have good DPS to tear through ads and beefier orange bar enemies, but also come with excellent perks. There are a plethora of good SMGs you can go for right now, like Funnelweb, Unforgiven, Every Waking Moment, or Extraordinary Rendition, the choice is completely yours. They may struggle slightly in super high-end content, but they are still definitely usable.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (750 RPM) - Example: Unforgiven
PVE Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Auto Rifles currently feel like a worse version of SMGs. They have a bit more range, but outside of the absolute top-shelf content such as Grandmaster Nightfalls, range isn't too much of a factor. And if you are actively tackling difficult content, Auto Rifles aren't exactly the best pick either, making Autos a decent, but outclassed option right now.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (600 RPM) - Example: Gnawing Hunger
PVE Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Aside from a few select sidearms with certain perks, there really isn't much of a reason to use Sidearms. They have slightly higher damage numbers than SMGs, but typically come with significantly less range. Outside of top-tier weapons like a god-roll Brigand's Law or High Albedo, there is no real reason to run a sidearm.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (491 RPM) - Example: High Albedo
PVE Primaries
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
B › Average
Average

B

-► While Hand Cannons routinely dominate the PvP meta, they are often outclassed by weapon types that can either offer better DPS or better range. There are a couple of solid options, such as Fatebringer or Zaouli's Bane, but putting those aside, you'll be better off using something else.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Fatebringer
PVE Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Pulse Rifles are in a great place right now. They offer good range and pretty decent damage, allowing you to take down some beefier targets nicely. There are also some excellent pulses in the game right now, like Insidious, Sacred Provenance, or New Purpose. Unfortunately, High-Impact and Aggressive frames are the only archetypes worth your time, as the others rely on Exotic Perks or god rolls to compete.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (450 RPM) - Example: Insidious
PVE Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Scout Rifles have come a long way. They are a solid and consistent option for anyone that prefers a safer and slower playstyle. They also shine in high-level content due to their excellent range. The best part about Scout Rifles, however, is their versatility across archetypes. Basically, every type of Scout Rifle is viable and can be used anywhere in the game.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (72 RPM) - Example: Tarnished Mettle
PVE Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend up► Bows are a high-damage, high-range option for players who prefer to keep their distance. The main issue with bows is that they are slow at clearing ads (outside of Trinity Ghoul). and when you have to deal with ads up close, bows can massively struggle. However, their solid range and excellent damage make them a strong option.

► Best Archetype: Precision - Example: Under Your Skin
PVE Primaries

PvE Special weapons meta

For the sake of clarity, the categories below do not include Exotics that use an abnormal type of ammo, such as  Eriana’s Vow or Arbalest.

If you’re particularly interested in Exotic weapons, check out our Exotic Tier list.

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2
Shotguns
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► Shotguns overall are pretty good right now. There are a good number of Pellet and Slug shotguns that can be used in most content, and shotguns are also an integral part of many melee builds thanks to the shotgun-exclusive '1-2 Punch' perk. However, their severe lack of range makes them a risky pick for high-level content.

► Best Archetype: Pinpoint Slug - Example: Heritage
PVE Specials
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
S › Best
Best

S

-► Grenade Launchers are brilliant right now. They are versatile and are arguably the best pick in almost all areas. They can have excellent add control through Blinding Grenades or the Wave Frame archetype, and they can also deal good boss damage in a 'hotswap' build with Spike Grenades.

Simply put, having a strong arsenal of Grenade Launchers is something you should definitely prioritize if you're looking to get into high-level content.

► All Breach Grenade Launchers share the same archetype
PVE Specials
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

Trend down► Sniper Rifles are not in a great place right now. They are completely outclassed by Linear Fusion Rifles in terms of DPS and are also lacking at ad clear/major killing by Shotguns and Grenade Launchers. Snipers are also quite difficult to use as they are precision-based weapons. They can be used as a backup DPS weapon if you don't have access to an Arbalest, for example, but right now, they are too niche to recomment.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Succession
PVE Specials
Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend up► Fusion Rifles are pretty good right now. They have slightly more range than Shotguns, making them a safer pick in high-level content, however, they lack a top-tier perk such as '1-2 Punch' to rise to S-tier status. Still, they remain a consistent pick for mid to high-level content.

► Best Archetype: Rapid-Fire (500ms Charge Time) - Example: Cartesian Coordinate
PVE Specials

Glaives
B › Average
Average

B

-► Glaives require a bit of getting used to, but when you do, they can grant you crazy levels of damage resistance. However, they are quite a risky pick, especially if you haven't learned how to master them first. Glaives are also one-dimensional. There is basically no reason to use their melee attack, which is unfortunate as that is probably the most fun part of the Glaives.

► All Glaives share the same archetype
PVE Specials
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► There are only two Linear Fusion Rifles that use Special ammo, but when one of them is arguably the strongest weapon in the game, they have to be ranked S tier. Arbalest is an absolute must-have if you want to take endgame content seriously. Lorentz Driver is an okay option, but Arbalest is completely overpowered and is an excellent pick for whatever content you throw at it.PVE Specials
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

-► Trace Rifles are a strange pick. Legendary Trace Rifles are a very niche pick right now, but Exotic trace Rifles are all pretty good. Wavesplitter can do well with certain builds, and Divinity is always a good pick, even despite the nerfs.PVE Specials

PvE Heavy weapons meta

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
B › Average
Average

B

Trend downMain roles: Add Clear & Single Target damage (i.e. Boss damage).

► Swords have fallen slightly out of the meta since the days of Falling Guillotine, however, they are still a solid pick. Swords like The Lament and Heartshadow are both solid options for slaying majors and dealing good boss damage. They are unfortunately very risky, though, and when Linear Fusion Rifles deal the incredible amount of damage they do right now, it is difficult to recommend Swords.

► Best Archetype: Exotics - Example: The Lament
PVE Heavies
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
A › Strong
Strong

A

-Main role: Burst Damage (Secondary role: Add Clear)

► Rocket Launchers are solid options. They deal good burst damage and are effective for killing high-health targets like Majors quickly. Their ammo economy is poor, unfortunately, meaning that you will need to be conservative with how you use your rockets.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (20 RPM) - Example: The Hothead
PVE Heavies
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

Trend upMain role: Single Target damage (Secondary role: Burst Damage)

► Linear Fusion Rifles are the cream of the crop. They can deal very high damage consistently. They have solid DPS and incredible total damage, making them amazing for Raids and other high-level pieces of content. There are also plenty of strong options right now, including the Taipan-4FR or Cataclysmic, which both come with excellent perks and have good damage.

► Best Archetype: Precision (533 RPM) - Example: Reed's Regret
PVE Heavies
Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
B › Average
Average

B

-Main role: Add Clear

► Machine Guns are a different kind of Power weapon. Instead of focusing on boss damage (outside of Xenophage), Machine Guns focus on ad clear. And they are excellent at ad clear, especially Thunderlord; however, given that abilities and primary weapons are excellent at add clear, Machine Guns are currently mediocre options for your Heavy slot.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example:
PVE Heavies
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
D › Worst
Worst

D

Trend downMain role: Add Clear (Secondary role: Single Target Damage).

► Grenade Launchers are in a very sad state right now. Outside of maybe Typhon GL5, Heavy Grenade Launchers are in a terrible spot. They do not have great boss damage and also do not have good add clear, making them very, very pointless in all content.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (120 RPM) - Example: Typhon GL5
PVE Heavies
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Exotic Sniper Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

-Main role: Single Target damage

► Exotic Snipers are very niche. They are far from the top of the meta right now as they are simply harder to use and in many ways inferior to Linear Fusion Rifles.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (72 RPM) - Example: Whisper of the Worm
PVE Heavies

As you can see, the Meta can completely change in a heartbeat. You can rest assured, though, as this overview is up to date with the current season and will be updated as soon as a new meta arrives.

Destiny 2 Best PvE loadouts

Up until now, we have split our Top PvE guns into Primaries, Special and Heavy weapons. This makes sense when comparing weapons against each other.

But once you start building towards the ultimate loadout, a weapon’s slot becomes crucial. That’s because you can only carry one Kinetic, one Energy, and one Heavy weapon at a time. For example, if you’re committed to using Trinity Ghoul as your Primary weapon, then your Special weapon will have to sit on the Kinetic slot.

In this section, we’ll share some of the most popular PvE loadouts right now.

-Kinetic--Special---HeavyMeta
 width=HeritageTarnished Mettle artTarnished MettleGjallarhorn artGjallarhornPVE
Destiny 2 Arbalest artArbalestCALUS Mini-Tool artCALUS Mini-ToolStormchaser artStormchaserPVE
Osteo Striga artOsteo StrigaForbearance art v2ForbearanceTaipan-4fr artTaipan-4frPVE

Methodology

About the DPS numbers: As mentioned before, the DPS figures used for this Tier list come from the excellent Damage Chart Madness database.

As explained in that document:

Average DPS represents a weapons performance when emptying all of its reserves, with only full magazines. This factors in that the first magazine is already loaded, and you keep firing until the last mag is empty. Effectively, a combination of Burst DPS and Sustain DPS. The most accurate representation of a gun’s performance in most circumstances.

Bear in mind this number is done with luna/rally/fieldprep reload buffs

That document also includes Sustained DPS in case you want to get into the nitty-gritty.

Your Turn

We did our best to include both Legendary weapons and Exotics, as well as the top tier, most difficult to obtain weapons, and easier to get, yet still great alternatives.

Did we miss your current favorite PvE weapon? Do you have a particularly good PvE loadout you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

For the record, this list is based on my experience playing the PC version of the game.

About The Author

Ric Molina
Ric Molina
I've been covering gaming since 2012, and some of my work has been featured by large brands, including MSN.com, Forbes, Rock Paper Shotgun, and more. I've been obsessed with Destiny 2 for years now, and I hope to provide new and returning players with the guides and resources I wish I had when I first started.
More from Ric Molina
14 Comments
  1. pizzaman

    Good guide, Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Cody

    I think you forgot to put the machine guns in the meta list. But it was very helpful! Thank you

    Reply
  3. DonPool

    Any updates coming to this with the overall weapons guide getting updated?

    Reply
    • Ric (aka Prim)

      I’m working on it! This one is completely overdue and desperately needs an update… Sorry for the delay but I hope to have a proper refresh out by Monday the latest!

      Reply
  4. Rae

    There’s a typo classing Deafening Whisper as a Fusion rifle

    Reply
    • Ric (aka Prim)

      Damn, you’re right! Completely missed that one, thanks for the heads up!

      Reply
  5. classzero

    PVE Energy weapons types are not correct.

    Reply
    • Ric (aka Prim)

      What do you mean? I’m looking for something to correct but found nothing!

      Reply
      • Django

        I think he meant you labeled IKELOS_SMG_V1.0.2 as an auto rifle, while in fact it’s an SMG (as suggested in its name lol)

        Reply
  6. Whataloadofbull

    Hilarious. scout rifles are B? sidearms are A ? pure BS . let me know your sidearm load out in a GM or Master raid please

    Reply
  7. Acklow

    Hi there I was looking over this and was wondering if you were going to be updating the guide for this season or if you were going to be updating it for Witch Queen. There are some outdated recommendations and some mistakes I saw in the loadouts. I’d like to be able to show my newbie friends this page but it’s kinda outdated.

    Reply
    • Acklow

      For example you list Nation of Beasts as a kinetic weapon when it’s actually an arc primary hand cannon and you cannot pair it with the Seventh Seraph CQC

      Reply
  8. Spicyy

    So many weapons are missing bro what

    Reply
  9. Yuzuki

    I think this would need an update with the season of plunder lol

    Reply
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