Best Bows in Destiny 2: Tier List Ranking

by | Jan 20, 2022 | Weapons

Deemed too weak for either PVP or PVE challenging content, Combat Bows in Destiny 2 were rarely seen in the wild, with the exception of bow aficionados who couldn’t care less about “the meta“.

But thanks in part to excellent Exotics, but mostly their usability in endgame PVE content, Bows have made a strong comeback. On top of that, Combat Bows received a 10% damage buff in PVE, which further cements them as strong PVE options.

This guide covers every bow in Destiny 2, including both Exotic and Legendary Pulses, as well as the best rolls for PVE and PVP.

Checkmark icon V3Lists updated as of Bungie’s 30th Anniversary event.  Link

Destiny 2 Combat Bows Tier list

The Tier list below includes every non-sunset combat bow in the game. It starts with the S Tier weapons and moves down from there. It also covers both PVE and PVP, with the “Excels in” column clearly identifying in what area each weapon shines:

About DPS: You’ll see us talk a lot about DPS, damage per second, throughout this guide. DPS is important for PVE, because the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss or Major.

WeaponArchetypeAmmo typeElementRankRequirementsAvailable?SourceTier rankSource ❘ RequirementsFinal Verdict
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art
Trinity Ghoul
ExoticPrimaryArcS › BestFree-to-PlayYesExotic Engram
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE
Exotic Engram
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary

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."

► With easy to proc chain-lighting damage, taking care of ads and red bar enemies has never been easier. Trinity Ghoul is simply a monster in PVE.
Biting Winds Destiny 2 art
Biting Winds
PrecisionPrimaryKineticS › BestBeyond LightYesEmpire Hunts
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE
Empire Hunts
Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Killing Wind) + Explosive Head

► Biting Winds is arguably the best legendary bow currently in the game. Capable of rolling with some of the best PVE perks for bows, it also happens to be much more accessible than say, Garden of Salvation's Accrued Redemption.
Ticuu's Divination Destiny 2 art
Ticuu's Divination
ExoticPrimarySolarS › BestDeluxe EditionYesExotic Kiosk
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE
Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "Hipfiring this weapon fires multiple tracking projectiles. Targets marked explode upon death, or when struck again. Arrows fired while aiming down sights cause Sacred Flames to instantly detonate."

► Ticcu's Divination may require more work than Trinity Ghoul but it is nonetheless an excellent weapon capable of easily disposing of ads but also dealing serious damage to majors in PVE.
Destiny 2 Le Monarque art
Le Monarque
ExoticPrimaryVoidA › StrongForsakenYesExotic Kiosk
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "Arrows fired quickly after a full draw become poison arrows. Precision hits with poison arrows spread poison to nearby enemies."

► Le Monarque can be lethal in the hands of an experienced PVP player. It can bring a guardian down to 1 HP with a "perfect draw" headshot, making it an extremely easy clean-up kill with a Quickdraw Hand Cannon (something like an Igneous Hammer, for example).
Wolftone Draw Destiny 2 art
Wolftone Draw
PrecisionPrimaryArcA › StrongSeason 15YesShattered Realm
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
Shattered Realm
Destiny 2 Season 15 logo
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVE God Roll: Impulse Magnifier (also good: Archer's Tempo) + Frenzy

► Able to roll with all the best new perks, Wolftone Draw is a solid choice for endgame PVE content.
Point of the Stag Destiny 2 art
Point of the Stag
PrecisionPrimaryArcA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesExotic Kiosk
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVP Fixed Roll: Archer's Tempo + Vorpal Weapon

► With a fast draw time, Archer's Tempo, and Vorpal Weapon (which can be excellent against Supers), Point of the Stag is a reliable and consistent weapon to bring to the Crucible.
Arsenic Bite 4b Destiny 2 art
Arsenic Bite-4b
LightweightPrimaryArcA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesWorld Loot Pool
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
World Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Dragonfly (also good: Rampage) + Explosive Head

► Arsenic Bite may suffer from the same shortcomings as all Lightweight bows do. That said, this is perhaps the strongest Lightweight option due to its strong selection of top-tier damage-dealing perks such as Dragonfly, Rampage, and more.
Imperial Needle Destiny 2 art
Imperial Needle
LightweightPrimaryVoidB › AverageDeluxe EditionYesBattlegrounds
Average

B



Battlegrounds
Destiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Impulse Magnifier (also good: Archer's Tempo) + Frenzy

► With perks such as Frenzy and Impulse Magnifier, the Imperial Needle can be an effective and damn fun to use ad clear weapon. It also helps that it can currently be easily farmed via Battlegrounds and Umbrals engrams.
Accrued Redemption Destiny 2 art
Accrued Redemption
PrecisionPrimaryKineticB › AverageShadowkeepYesGarden of Salvation Raid
Average

B



Garden of Salvation Raid
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Rampage

► Accrued Redemption is special because it happens to be one of the only 2 Kinetic Precision bows in the entire game. Plus, it has the best base stats among Precision bows overall.
Destiny 2 Wish Ender art
Wish-Ender
ExoticPrimaryKineticB › AverageForsakenYesExotic Quest
Average

B



Exotic Quest
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "While aiming down sights with a fully-drawn bow, enemies behind walls are highlighted. Piercing arrowheads damage the target on entry and exit. One-shot can over-penetrate multiple targets."

► Wish-Ender is far from popular but it can still be useful in PVP, though, but only as part of a coordinated team that uses it to have constant visuals on the enemy, something always helpful in 3v3 modes.
Whispering Slab Destiny 2 art
Whispering Slab
LightweightPrimaryKineticB › AverageFree-to-PlayYesWorld Loot Pool
Average

B



World Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Archer's Tempo (also good: Killing Wind) + Vorpal Weapon

► Lightweight bows are rarely the top choice for PVE nor PVP, but if you happen to prefer Lightweight bows, the Whispering Slab is a good choice.
Destiny 2 Leviathan's Breath art
Leviathan's Breath
ExoticHeavyVoidB › AverageShadowkeepYesExotic Kiosk
Average

B



Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3
Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

Exotic Perk: "Fires a massive heavy bolt that Unstoppable rounds staggers unshielded combatants. When fully drawn, the bolt knocks combatants back."

►Due to an extremely long draw time and limited magazine size, Leviathan simply cannot compete against several other Heavy weapons. To be fair, other weapons may be more efficient, but Leviathan's Breath is still unique and fun to use.
Tyranny of Heaven Destiny 2 art
Tyranny of Heaven
LightweightPrimarySolarC › WeakForsakenYesLast Wish Raid
Weak

C



Last Wish Raid
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Archer's Tempo + Explosive Head

► There isn't much going on for Tyranny of Heaven. It has poor base stats and a severely limited perk selection. It also happens to be one of the hardest bows to obtain, as it's locked behind the Last Wish raid.

These are the different Tier levels used for our list:

  • S Tier – Best: Highest ranking weapons in our Tier List.
  • A Tier – Strong: Very strong weapons, 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.

Best Destiny 2 Bows in 2022

This section not only covers the top Bows currently in the game, it also tells you where you can find them. This guide covers every weapon source in Destiny 2 and most of the sources below are self-explanatory, but in doubt, you can always leave a comment below or ask away on our Discord server.

Overall, these are our Top 10 favorite bows for PVE and PVP.

 

Wish Ender Destiny 2 featured

10. Wish-Ender

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Exotic Perk: “While aiming down sights with a fully-drawn bow, enemies behind walls are highlighted. Piercing arrowheads damage the target on entry and exit. One-shot can over-penetrate multiple targets.”

Wish-Ender is an extremely niche weapon. You will rarely see it in the wild, but if you do, it will probably be in the Crucible. In fact, Wish-Ender can be a viable PVP option in high-stakes 3v3 matches.

With its ability to provide constant visuals on the enemy, Wish-Ender can be an invaluable asset for coordinated teams, especially if the player using Wish-Ender is comfortable with bows.

How to get it: Wish-Ender can be acquired by completing an Exotic quest.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Destiny 2 Wish Ender artWish-EnderExoticKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticExotic QuestDestiny 2 Forsaken logo 1

 

Imperial Needle Destiny 2 featured

9. Imperial Needle

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Precision bows are usually the top choice for PVE bow aficionados, as they deal more damage than Lightweights.

That said, with perks such as Frenzy and Impulse Magnifier, the Imperial Needle can be an effective and damn fun to use ad clear weapon. It also helps that it can currently be easily farmed via Battlegrounds and Umbrals engrams.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Impulse Magnifier (also good: Archer’s Tempo)
  • Perk 2: Frenzy

How to get it: Imperial Needle can be acquired by completing Battlegrounds and focusing Umbral engrams.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Imperial Needle Destiny 2 artImperial NeedleLightweightVoid VoidBattlegroundsDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo

 

Arsenic Bite-4b Destiny 2 featured

8. Arsenic Bite-4b

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Arsenic Bite may suffer from the same shortcomings as all Lightweight bows do. That said, this is perhaps the strongest Lightweight option due to its strong selection of top-tier damage-dealing perks such as Dragonfly, Rampage, and more.

It also happens to feature great base stats and a satisfying “feel” to it, a nonquantifiable quality that happens to be particularly important for bows.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Dragonfly (also good: Rampage)
  • Perk 2: Explosive Head

How to get it: Arsenic Bite-4b can be randomly acquired as end-of-match activities or via Legendary and Prime engrams.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Arsenic Bite 4b Destiny 2 artArsenic Bite-4bLightweightArc ArcWorld Loot PoolDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Accrued Redemption Destiny 2 featured

7. Accrued Redemption

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Accrued Redemption is special because it happens to be one of the only 2 Kinetic Precision bows in the entire game. Plus, it has the best base stats among Precision bows overall.

But while it offers a great feel and consistency, Accrued Redemption can’t be ranked any higher due to the fact it’s locked behind a raid (ie. much harder to obtain than its competition) and has a limited perk pool.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Archer’s Tempo
  • Perk 2: Rampage

How to get it: Accrued Redemption can be acquired by completing the first encounter in the Garden of Salvation raid.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Accrued Redemption Destiny 2 artAccrued RedemptionPrecisionKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticGarden of Salvation RaidDestiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3

 

Point of the Stag Destiny 2 featured

6. Point of the Stag

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

With a fast draw time, Archer’s Tempo, and Vorpal Weapon (which can be excellent against Supers), Point of the Stag is a reliable and consistent weapon to bring to the Crucible.

Bows are certainly not a popular choice in PVP, but if you want to give bows a serious chance, you won’t find a better legendary alternative than this.

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Archer’s Tempo
  • Perk 2: Eye of the Storm

How to get it: Point of the Stag can be acquired by completing the Iron Banner ritual quest.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Point of the Stag Destiny 2 artPoint of the StagPrecisionArc ArcExotic KioskDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Wolftone Draw Destiny 2 featured

5. Wolftone Draw

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Able to roll with some of the best new perks in the game, including the brand-new Shoot to Loot and Harmony, Wolftone Draw can offer a couple of extremely unique rolls.

Coupled with good base stats, Wolftone is a solid bow you will want to farm this season.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Archer’s Tempo (also good: Impulse Amplifier)
  • Perk 2: Dragonfly

How to get it: Wolftone Draw can be acquired by completing Astral Alignments and focusing Umbral engrams.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Wolftone Draw Destiny 2 artWolftone DrawPrecisionArc ArcShattered RealmDestiny 2 Season 15 logo

 

Le Monarque Destiny 2 featured

4. Le Monarque

Crucible logo Destiny 2Best PVP Bow in Destiny 2

Exotic Perk: “Arrows fired quickly after a full draw become poison arrows. Precision hits with poison arrows spread poison to nearby enemies.”

Playing against a skilled Le Monarque user can be a nightmare. The weapon does damage over time, prevents health regeneration, and allows you to keep track of your opponent thanks to the on-screen damage numbers from the tick damage.

A “perfect draw” headshot can leave an opposing guardian with a sliver of health (1hp), leading to easy clean-up kills with something like a Quickdraw hand cannon. This can lead to near-instant TTKs (time to kill) if you can land your crits. Also, Le Monarque can one-shot opponents with a damage buff such as inertia override, empowering rift, a bubble, charged with light, etc.

Last but not least, it counts as a Lightweight Frame bow, giving you a boost to mobility and movement speed. Le Monarque is not easy to master, it can compete against the best PVP weapons in the game.

How to get it: Le Monarque can be purchased at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Destiny 2 Le Monarque artLe MonarqueExoticVoid VoidExotic KioskDestiny 2 Forsaken logo 1

 

Ticuu's Divination Destiny 2 featured

3. Ticuu’s Divination

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Exotic Perk: “Hipfiring this weapon fires multiple tracking projectiles. Targets marked explode upon death, or when struck again. Arrows fired while aiming down sights cause Sacred Flames to instantly detonate.”

With a “priming” mechanism that allows you to tag an enemy with an initial arrow and then create a massive explosion with a subsequent arrow, Ticuu’s Divination does wonders in PVE.

Ticcu’s Destination may require more work than Trinity Ghoul but it is nonetheless an excellent weapon capable of easily disposing of ads but also dealing serious damage to majors in PVE. Many consider it the best Exotic bow for hard PVE content.

How to get it: Ticuu’s Divination can be purchased at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Ticuu's Divination Destiny 2 artTicuu's DivinationExoticSolar SolarExotic KioskDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo

 

Bitting Winds Destiny 2 featured

2. Biting Winds

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Biting Winds is arguably the best legendary bow currently in the game. Capable of rolling with some of the best PVE perks for bows, it also happens to be much more accessible than say, Garden of Salvation’s Accrued Redemption.

It has similar base stats as the Accrued Redemption and Point of the Stag, but the fact it has great perks and is easy to obtain makes it a top-tier choice for PVE.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Rapid Hit (also good: Killing Wind)
  • Perk 2: Explosive Head

How to get it: Biting Winds can be acquired by completing Empire Hunts and exploring Europa.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Biting Winds Destiny 2 artBiting WindsPrecisionKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticEmpire HuntsDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

 

Trinity Ghoul Destiny 2 featured

1. Trinity Ghoul

Vanguard logo Destiny 2Best PVE Bow in Destiny 2

With the release of its catalyst, Trinity Ghoul became one of the best exotics in the game, perhaps even the best primary PVE weapon all-around. This is Trinity Ghoul’s main exotic perks:

  • Lightning Rod: Precision kills grant the next shot chain-lightning capabilities.

This is its Catalyst perk:

  • Forked Lightning: Lightning Rod now triggers from any Arc damage final blow.

That Catalyst perk right there makes all the difference. With the catalyst, activating Lighting Rod becomes extremely easy. So easy, you can practically keep it activated until every single red bar enemy is disposed of.

With this improved Lighting Rod perk, Trinity Ghoul became a monster at killing ads, and the more the lighting damage chains between enemies, the harder it hits. Without a doubt, Trinity Ghoul’s Catalyst is one of the strongest catalysts in the game.

How to get it: Trinity Ghoul can be acquired via Exotic engrams or Xûr.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul artTrinity GhoulExoticArc ArcExotic EngramDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Bows in PVP: Lethality

When it comes to PVP, bows are a niche choice. They are certainly not “meta”, and many other weapon types can get the job done with more ease. But bows still have a place, as long as you lean into their strengths and adapt your playstyle accordingly.

With the right playstyle (i.e. combine a bow with an easy to swap weapon for cleanup kills), several bows can be viable. But let’s be clear, Le Monarque is the only bow that can truly excel in high-stakes PVP.

Bows in PVE: DPS and basics

DPS is important for PVE, because the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss or Major.

This DPS chart includes the DPS numbers for every weapon in Destiny 2.  When it comes to actual DPS, bows can deal decent damage, taking into account they can be effective at nearly infinite ranges:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeAverage DPSBurst DPSTotal DamageSpecs--Best in ClassChange?
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat BowsLightweight-3,265229,704640 ms Draw timeArsenic Bite 4b Destiny 2 artArsenic Bite-4bSame
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2Combat BowsPrecision-3,215252,221680 ms Draw timeBiting Winds Destiny 2 artBiting WindsSame
Destiny 2 Le Monarque artCombat Bows

Le Monarque

-3,969357,225---Same
Destiny 2 Wish Ender artCombat Bows

Wish Ender

-4,137391,952---Same

Mastering Bows in Destiny 2

If you’re truly interested in mastering combat bows in Destiny 2, there are a few key principles you need to understand. These all come from the excellent Dummies Guide to Bows on Reddit user Mwray:

Top stat for Bows

The most important stat for Bows is their Draw Time:

  • For Precision Bows, Reload is the next most impactful stat.
  • For Lightweight Bows, Accuracy is the second most impactful, followed by Reload.

Unlike Charge Time, which negatively affects a weapon’s Impact, Draw Time does NOT affect the Impact stat. Because of this, faster Draw Time = better DPS.

Precision Bows have higher impact and much higher accuracy compared to Lightweight Bows and are able to achieve 576 Draw Time with Elastic String and a Draw Time MasterWork.

Unlike other weapons, Bows rely heavily on Strings and/or Masterwork to reduce Draw Time. To give it some perspective, imagine an Iron Grip or Extended Magazine Steady Hand vs. a Steady Hand and with Outlaw proc’d. Most people are running around with the equivalent of Extended Magazine on their Bow.

Endgame content

Bows (Precision bows in particular) excel in endgame content such as Nightfall: The Ordeals, Legend Lost Sectors, and Dungeons, as they can 1-2 hit kill red bars without damage perks active, compared to other primaries that can take entire magazines for a single kill.

Finally, for content with an elemental singe active, such as Legend Lost Sectors, Lightweights can be used to great effect with perks like Explosive Head and Rampage.

How do you get your first bow in Destiny 2?

Getting your first bow in Destiny 2 used to be a pain. You had to either cross your fingers that a bow would randomly drop one day or complete a specific quest that is part of the Forsaken paid expansion.

Right now, you can get your very first bow in just a few clicks. All you need to do is:

  • Head over to your Collections tab
  • Go to Weapons
  • Go to Combat Bows
  • Acquire the Holless-IV, the only rare bow (blue icon) available

That will get you up and running while you find a better bow, such as one of the top-tier Exotic bows covered in the next section.

Destiny 2 Bows: Are they Meta?

We’ve talked about the best bows for PVE and PVP already, but how do they compare, in general, with other primary weapon types? In other words:

Are bows good in Destiny 2?

The current Meta for PVE

So, are bows good in Destiny 2 PVE? This table summarizes how the several primary weapon types rank against each other in PVE:

Weapon TypeTierRole ❘ Current State
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
Best

S

Submachine guns are in a great place right now. With good DPS, decent ammo, and acceptable range, SMGs are seen as the perfect compromise between range and damage.

On top of that, specific SMGs such as the IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 or Extraordinary Rendition are exceptionally good. True top-tier PVE choices, including endgame activities.
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
Strong

A

Auto rifles, in general, are not as strong as SMGs. They simply cannot do as much damage as SMG.
On the flip side, they offer better range, and in some situations, excellent ammo.

But a few auto rifles can truly excel and can be easily considered S-tier individually, namely the 720 RPM Chroma Rush and the 600 RPM Gnawing Hunger.
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
Strong

A

Sidearms may be some of the most slept on weapons in Destiny 2. Most guardians prefer to stay away from them due to their limited range. But on the other hand, their DPS is unmatched as long as you can get close enough to stay within their optimal range.

This makes sidearms slightly riskier in endgame content such as Grandmaster content.
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
Strong

A

While Hand cannons easily dominate in PVP, they are currently lackluster in the DPS department. Their DPS is so poor, even Bungie acknowledged it and already announced an incoming PVE buff.

But to be fair, they are still viable for Master and Grandmaster content, mainly due to their peak shooting capabilities.
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
Average

B

Pulse rifles are true work horses. They do reasonable damage, have a good range, and are, overall, safe and easy to use in Master and Grandmaster content.

They may not excel in the DPS department, are still extremely solid all-around choices.
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
Average

B

Scout rifles are slowly making a comeback. They will be easily outclassed by every other weapon types in most content, but they are proving to be excellent for endgame content.

Their long range, combined with the surprisingly high DPS of some of the best Pulses, makes them finally viable for endgame content.
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
Weak

C

Combat bows can truly excel in some niche situations. Namely, in very difficult content in which you want to stay as far away from enemies as possible.

With virtually infinite range, bows can deal good damage from insane distances.

The current Meta for PVP

What about PVP? This table summarizes how they rank against each other in PVP:

Weapon TypeTierRole ❘ Current State
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
Best

S

Hand Cannons are and have always been the top PVP choice in Destiny. Nerfs can bring them slightly down and give other weapon types a chance, but in the end, the top players will always gravitate towards hand cannons.

It all comes down to the very nature of hand cannons. They can deal a lot of damage in a short amount of time, meaning they are perfect at peak shooting in and out of cover (something an auto rifle, for example, cannot do).
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
Best

S

Sometimes referred to as "dad rifles", pulse rifles are generally easier to use, have a good range, and good aim assist. And with the recent buff to the High-Impact archetype, top pulses, such as The Messenger, have become some of the most lethal weapons in the Crucible.

And by the way, not all Pulses behave the same. Some, such as Adaptive frames, are somewhat easy to use and could be considered "Dad rifles", whereas High-impacts are harder to master but have some of the most lethal time-to-kill in the entire game.
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
Strong

A

For some reason, Sidearms have never been particularly popular in PVP. But things are definitely changing, especially since their target acquisition was buffed last year. You now see more and more top players main sidearms alongside their favorite sniper.

On paper, sidearms certainly have a limited range, which puts them in direct competition with shotguns, but Sidearms still offer the best TTKs among primary weapons in Destiny 2. Don't be surprised to see them gain momentum as shotguns continue to receive nerfs.
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
Average

B

Auto rifles had their 15 minutes of fame when they received a significant buff in Season of the Worthy, especially the 600 RPM variants. But Auto rifles were quickly reigned in and brought back to their usual place: the middle of the pack.

Every now and then, an outlier will see some usage in the Crucible, such as the new Chroma Rush, but in general, ARs suffer from a big drawback: They force you to stay out of cover all the time (unlike a hand cannon or pulse), which makes them less effective in competitive modes or against skilled users.
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
Average

B

SMGs are far from being the "meta" choice in PVP. Other weapons types can be almost as lethal while significantly offering better range.

Still, SMGs can get the job done. In fact, a very good SMG with the right perks, such as the new Shayura's Wrath or the Multimach CCX, can be a true menace in the Crucible, with low TTKs and decent range.
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
Average

B

Combat bows are definitely a niche choice for PVP. You will rarely see a guardian using a bow in the Crucible, and that's because bows are far from being the most optimal tool to get the job done.

With a headshot, bows can "almost" kill an enemy, but during the time you'll need to shoot a second arrow, your enemy will be either gone or you will be already dead. Exceptions such as Le Monarque do exist of course, but in general, you'll be better served with other weapon types.
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
Weak

C

To be clear, everything this applies to every Scout rifle in the game, except Dead Man's Tale, an exponentially superior Scout than the rest.

Whether we're talking about PVE or PVP, Scout rifles have been in a sad state for a long time. In PVP, they have some of the worst TTKs in the game and will lose most fights in close to medium range. They do offer good range, but most maps cater to closed-quarter combat.

Your turn

You now know everything there is to know about Combat Bows in Destiny 2, whether that is for PVP or PVE content.

Latest changes made to this guide

Things change fast in Destiny 2, especially when a new Season or Expansion launches. For that reason, this post will be updated at least once per season.

With the release of Season of the Lost (Season 15) and Bungie’s 30th Anniversary event, the following weapons were added:

  • Wolftone Draw

Stay tuned and don’t forget to bookmark this page for next season!

Let's keep the conversation going

Have questions about this post, Destiny 2 in general, or are simply looking for a friendly D2-focused community?

Check out our community Discord (already 500 guardians strong!).

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