Destiny 2 Best PVP Weapons

As of Beyond Light and Season 12

By Ric (aka Prim)updated Updated Dec 20, 2020

As you start getting serious 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 PVP weapons in 2021 that were not sunsetted and are viable in Season 13, aka, Season of the Chosen.

In this guide, we cover both Exotic and Legendary weapons (including their PVP god rolls), give you an overview of the current PVP meta, and provide quick guides on how to obtain the top PVP exotics. For the sake of clarity, we’ll split our selection of weapons into three categories: Primary ammo weapons, Special ammo weapons, and Heavy weapons.

Pattycakes removebg previewA big thank you to Pattycakes for helping me put together this selection. Pattycakes is one of my favorite Destiny 2 content creators focused on PVP and someone you should definitely check out.


Destiny 2 Best PVP Primary weapons

In this section, we cover the best primary PVP weapons. And by primary, we mean either Kinetic or Energy weapons that use Primary ammo. If you sometimes get confused between Kinetic, Primary, Energy, and Special weapons, just remember Primary weapons use “normal” ammo, aka, white ammo boxes:

‼️ About TTK: You’ll see us talk a lot about TTK, or time-to-kill, throughout this guide. TTK is particularly important in PVP, because the lowest the TTK, the faster you can kill your opponent. You can read all about it in our TTK guide.

WeaponDrops from / RequirementsExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops fromRequirements
Destiny 2 Ace of Spades art
Ace of Spades
| Hand Cannon
Monument to Lost Lights

Average


Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Precision kills increase reload speed and cause the target to explode. Reloading after a kill increases damage. Grants radar while aiming down sights."

► Arguably the best hand cannon in the game right now, Ace of Spades greatly benefited from the range buff to 140 RPM hand cannons.

Ace of Spades has always offered top tier stats and some of the best perks around, especially Momento Mori, which is like Kill Clip on crack. And now that 150 RPM hand cannons are gone, Ace can finally shine again.
Good Alternative: Dire Promise.
Hand CannonKineticMonument to Lost LightsForsaken
True Prophecy Destiny 2 art
True Prophecy
| Hand Cannon
Unobtainable

NA


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 14


PVP God Roll: Opening Shot (also good: Rangefinder) + Rampage

► True Prophecy is a unique beast. It may not have the ease of use and feel that Sturm has, but with the right perks, it can be one of the most dangerous weapons in PVP.

With excellent range thanks to the recent buff to 120 RPM hand cannons and the ability to 2-tap guardians with Rampage active, True Prophecy can be a monster. Too bad Bungie removed it from the World pool, which leaves us with The Steady Hand as the next best choice.
Good Alternative: The Steady Hand.
Hand CannonEnergyUnobtainableFree-to-Play
No Time to Explain Destiny 2
No Time to Explain
| Pulse Rifle
Deluxe Edition

Easy


Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Precision shots and shots against combatants affected by Stasis return to the magazine. At 10 stacks, a small portal will open, shooting bullets from an alternate timeline version of this weapon. Precision hits extend the portal's duration."

► The newest Exotic Pulse in the game, No Time to Explain is one of the strongest Pulses in the game.

With one of the fastest TTKs, High-Impact Pulse rifles are extremely lethal. But on top of that, No Time to Explain has extremely high base stats that give it a great feel and a nice portal buddy that shoots along and can help clean up kills.
Good Alternative: Vigilance Wing.
Pulse RifleKineticDeluxe EditionBeyond Light
Destiny 2 Sturm art
Sturm
| Hand Cannon
Monument to Lost Lights

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Kills fill the magazine of the equipped Energy weapon from reserves. Kills with Drang reload this weapon and provides bonus damage."


► Aggressive Hand Cannons are perhaps the biggest winners of the latest sandbox change. With an increased rate of fire and range, 120 RPM hand cannons are a definitive menace in the Crucible. And among the many great options, Sturm is the best-feeling 120 RPM right now.

While it lacks the ability to 2-tap guardians (see below), it's still a great all-around weapon, with solid stats that become MUCH better with the Catalyst.
Hand CannonKineticMonument to Lost LightsFree-to-Play
Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art
Gnawing Hunger
| Auto Rifle
World Drop

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15


PVP God Roll: Tap the Trigger + Kill Clip (also good: Rampage)

► 600 RPM Auto rifles may not be as lethal as they were pre-Beyond Light, yet Gnawing Hunger remains the best legendary auto rifle in the game and a great choice in PVP.

It has a huge magazine, clean sights, and easy to control recoil. It also features that same fast TTK all 600 RPM ARs share, but it also offers some of the best PVP perks in the game.
Good Alternative: Hard Light.
Auto RifleEnergyWorld DropFree-to-Play
Hawkmoon Destiny 2 art
Hawkmoon
| Hand Cannon
Exotic Quest

Average


Destiny 2 Season 12 logo 2

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Final blows and precision hits with Hawkmoon grant stacks of Paracausal Charge. The final round in the magazine deals bonus damage based on the number of stacks. Stowing Hawkmoon on the final round removes this bonus.."

► There's a lot of debate surrounding Hawkmoon, with many calling it "worst" than it used to be in Destiny 1. But the facts speak for themselves. Hawkmoon has the best stats ever seen in a hand cannon, and it shows.

Hawkmoon is incredibly consistent and while it takes skill to propely use its main Exotic perk, Hawkmoon can literally one-tap enemies when used right.
Good Alternative: Thorn.
Hand CannonKineticExotic QuestSeason 12
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2
| Submachine Gun
World Drop

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 15


PVP God Roll: Dynamic Sway Reduction + Tap the Trigger (also good: Surrounded)

► Players have been desperately looking for a Recluse replacement for months and Bungie finally delivered: the reprised IKELOS_SMG_V.1.0.2.

The IKELOS_SMG_V.1.0.2 is one of the best SMGs for PvP right now. It has a great feel, excellent PVP perks, and includes Seraph rounds with are a welcome addition.
Good Alternative: Tarrabah.
Submachine GunEnergyWorld DropFree-to-Play
Posterity Destiny 2 art
Posterity
| Hand Cannon
Deep Stone Crypt

Hard


Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 16


PVP God Roll: Killing Wind + Rampage

► Posterity, one of the several gems from the Deep Stone Crypt, has been a revelation, both in PVP and PVE. It was initially discarded as just another useless 180 RPM hand cannon.

But Posterity is by far the best 180 RPM hand cannon ever released. With insanely high base stats and an even better perk selection, Posterity feels great to use. It's so smooth and consistent, many are calling it the new Not Forgotten. And that says a lot...
Decent Alternative: Nature of the Beast.
Hand CannonEnergyDeep Stone Crypt RaidBeyond Light
Destiny 2 MIDA Multi Tool art
MIDA Multi-Tool
| Scout Rifle
Monument to Lost Lights

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "This weapon boosts move speed. Radar stays active while aiming down sights."

► It's been a long time since a Scout Rifle was featured in a "best of" list, especially for PVP, but the recent buff to their aim assist is helping them a lot.

With now decent TTKs and more ease of use, Scout Rifles are finally viable, especially a few of the Exotics such as MIDA Multi-Tool. With amazing handling, a solid time-to-kill, and a bonus to movement speed, MIDA is a great tool to bring to the Crucible.
Good Alternative: Trustee.
Scout RifleKineticMonument to Lost LightsFree-to-Play
Stars in Shadow Destiny 2 art
Stars in Shadow
| Pulse Rifle
Crucible

Easy


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Sunsets: Season 16


PVP God Roll: Killing Wind + Kill Clip

► As a High-impact Pulse rifle, Stars in Shadow also benefits from a stupidly fast TTK. That alone makes it one of the most lethal Beyond Light weapons.

Having said that, High-Impact pulses are also unforgiving. Luckily, Stars in Shadow also offers a great perk selection that will help you more consistently get 2-bursts kills.
Good Alternative: Cold Denial.
Pulse RifleEnergyCrucibleFree-to-Play

PS: Remember, our selection of top PVP guns is limited to weapons that were not sunsetted last season. This is why you won’t see any Pinnacle weapon such as Revoker in here!


Destiny 2 Best PVP Special weapons

Destiny 2 special ammoIn this section, we cover the best Special PVP 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:

WeaponDrops from / RequirementsExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops fromRequirements
Destiny 2 The Chaperone art
The Chaperone
| Shotgun
Exotic Quest

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perks: "Fires a single-slug precision round. Precision kills briefly grant bonus handling, range, and precision damage with this weapon."

► The Chaperone is a slug shotgun with incredible range and an easy contender for best PVP shotty in Destiny 2.

Because of its excellent base stats and its single-slug frame, The Chaperone has the longest one-hit headshot distance of any shotgun in the game, at around 12 meters! In the hands of a skilled player, this is an incredibly lethal weapon able to map enemies from afar.
Good Alternative: Izanagi's Burden.
ShotgunKineticExotic QuestFree-to-Play
Adored Destiny 2 art
Adored
| Sniper Rifle
Ritual Weapon

Easy


Destiny 2 Season 12 logo 2

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 16


PVP Fixed Roll: Killing Wind + Snapshot Sights

►The natural replacement of the top tier Beloved sniper rifle, Adored has a lot going for it. With a faily low zoom stat at 45, decent sights and high aim assist, Adored offers a great combination of lethality and ease of use.

Even better, it's a legendary sniper that offers a great static roll for PVP and can be paired with one of the excellent Exotic hand cannons in kinetic slot.
Good Alternative: IKELOS_SR_v1.0.2.
Sniper RifleEnergyRitual WeaponSeason 12
Felwinter's Lie Destiny 2 art
Felwinter's Lie
| Shotgun
Exotic Kiosk

NA


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special


PVP has a fixed Roll: Quickdraw + Opening Shot (or Vorpal Weapon to deal with Supers)

► The best PVP shotgun currently in the game, Felwinter's Lie features insane one-hit-kill distances consistently. And that's partly due to its exotic intrinsic perk, Shot Package.

Similar to Ritual weapons, it also comes with 2 fixed perks per slot you can choose from, and they're all excellent. For example, you can instantly swap to Vorpal Weapon to shut down supers when they come around.
ShotgunEnergyExotic KioskFree-to-Play
Cloudstrike Destiny 2
Cloudstrike
| Sniper Rifle
Exotic Quest

Average


Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Precision final blows generate a lightning bolt at the target's location. Rapid precision hits create a lightning storm at the point of impact."

► At first glance, Cloudstrike is not as snappy nor easy to use as some other Legendary snipers. But don't be fooled by that first impression.

Thanks to its insane Exotic perk, Cloudstrike can consistently get you multikills in Quickplay and "res" snipes in Trials. And that's the beauty of this sniper. It can feel "OK" at times, but when that lighting bolt strikes (which happens more often than you'd expect), it creates insane plays you'll remember for a while.
Cloudstrike is quite an unique beast. Capable of hitting collateral kills consistently, Cloudstrike is .
Good Alternative: Distant Tumulus.
Sniper RifleEnergyExotic QuestBeyond Light
Heritage Destiny 2 art
Heritage
| Shotgun
Deep Stone Crypt

Hard


Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 16


PVP God Roll: Slideshot + Moving Target (also good: Killing Wind)

► With excellent one-hit-kill distances and handling, Heritage is a fantastic slug shotgun that competes with The Chaperone. To be fair, The Chaperone remains a superior slug, but no other legendary slug shotgun comes as close as Heritage.

In any case, Heritage is one of the best feeling shotguns in the game and if you can handle the higher skill ceiling of slug shotguns, Heritage will do wonders for you and is one of many great excuses to tackle the Deep Stone Crypt raid.
Decent Alternative: Bonechiller.
ShotgunKineticDeep Stone Crypt RaidBeyond Light
Destiny 2 Bastion
Bastion
| Fusion Rifle
Monument to Lost Lights

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Charge to fire 3 spreads of Kinetic slugs. A portion of this weapon's damage bypasses elemental shields."

► Bastion is a unique weapon that sits between a shotgun and a fusion rifle. With its 3 quick bursts, it feels like a semi-automatic shotgun that can literally destroy any roaming super with ease.

Bastion is fun, easy to use, and is able to deal high burst damage. But because it's still technically a fusion rifle, you have to deal with its charge time. In other words, timing is everything.
Fusion RifleEnergyMonument to Lost LightsFree-to-Play
Destiny 2 Astral Horizon
Astral Horizon
| Shotgun
Trials of Osiris

Hard


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 14


PVP God Roll: Quickdraw + Opening Shot
Barrel and Mag: Full Choke + Assault Mag

► If you're looking for the best kinetic spread shotgun, look no further than Astral Horizon. On top of having excellent base stats and a good range, it also stands out as it's one of the few kinetic shotguns that can roll with Quickdraw.

It can also come with other excellent PVP perks such as Opening Shot. Be prepared for a tough time in Trials to farm it though...
Good Alternative: Toil and Trouble.
ShotgunKineticTrials of OsirisFree-to-Play
Eye of Sol Destiny 2 art
Eye of Sol
| Sniper Rifle
Trials of Osiris

Hard


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 14


PVP God Roll: Snapshot Sights + Opening Shot (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

► Eye of Sol is a solid 90 RPM sniper akin to the soon to be sunsetted, Beloved.

Featuring a reasonable 45 zoom stat and good aim assistance, Eye of Sol can also roll with great perk options. That said, it remains one of the toughest weapons to farm in this list.
Good Alternative: Bite of the Fox.
Sniper RifleKineticTrials of OsirisFree-to-Play
Destiny 2 Telesto art
Telesto
| Fusion Rifle
Exotic Engram

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Fusion projectiles attach and detonate with a delayed Void blast. Multikills with this weapon immediately reload your equipped Kinetic and Energy weapons from reserves."

►Telesto, The besto. Or so players like to call it. Telesto is indeed a great weapon with some unique features. With its proximity explosive bolts, you can use it to set traps and play defensively or use it as a traditional fusion rifle.

It's also capable of solid one hit kill ranges and has the ability to potentially get multi kills on grouped up enemies.
Good Alternative: Lord of Wolves.
Fusion RifleEnergyExotic EngramFree-to-Play
Destiny 2 Seventh Seraph CQC-12
Seventh Seraph CQC-12
| Shotgun
World Drop

Easy


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 14-15


PVP God Roll: Quickdraw (also good: Slideshot) + Vorpal Weapon (also good: Snapshot Sights)
Barrel and Mag: Full Choke + Assault Mag

► As a Lightweight frame shotgun, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 benefits from faster handling, and movement speed, both critical in PVP.

On top of that, the CQC-12 can roll with some of the best PVP perks available, namely Quickdraw and Vorpal weapon.
Good Alternative: First In Last Out.
ShotgunEnergyWorld DropFree-to-Play

But what about PVE?


Destiny 2 Best PVP Heavy weapons

Destiny 2 Heavy ammoIn this section, we cover the best Heavy PVP weapons. Unlike Primary and Special weapons that can be in either the Kinetic or Energy slots, Heavy weapons can only be in the Heavy slot. In other words, we’re talking about the weapons that use “heavy” ammo, aka, purple ammo boxes:

WeaponDrops from / RequirementsExotic Perk, God Rolls & VerdictTypeSlotDrops fromRequirements
Destiny 2 The Wardcliff Coil
Wardcliff Coil
| Rocket Launcher
Exotic Engram

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires a volley of rockets and automatically reloads on ammo pickup."


► When it works as intended, The Wardcliff Coil is incredibly lethal and could potentially wipe an entire team. On top of that, it's a consistent and reliable weapon that can practically guarantee kills, even in competitive modes.

The Wardcliff Coils also has the ability to easily shut down supers from range.
Good Alternative: Eyes of Tomorrow.
Rocket LauncherHeavyExotic EngramFree-to-Play
Commemoration Destiny 2 art
Commemoration
| Machine Gun
Deep Stone Crypt

Hard


Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: Season 16


PVP God Roll: Dynamic Sway Reduction + Eye of the Storm (also good: Rampage)

► Machine guns are popular in PVP because they offer an excellent ammo economy. When used right, one ammo brick can result in 4-5 kills.

Commemoration is one of the few legendary machine guns to have survived weapon sunsetting, which is why it easily earned a spot here. On top of that, being a Void maachine gun with excellent stats make it the natural replacement of the fan-favorite Hammerhead.
Good Alternative: Seventh Seraph SAW.
Machine GunHeavyDeep Stone Crypt RaidBeyond Light
Destiny 2 Tractor Cannon art
Tractor Cannon
| Shotgun
Exotic Engram

Average


Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Arc Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "This weapon emits a powerful impulse that pushes enemies away, suppresses their abilities, and makes them more vulnerable to all incoming damage."

► Tractor Cannon is a good weapon overall and can secure kills just as well as any other Heavy weapon. That said, it also has the ability to suppress supers, and that alone can be incredibly valuable in high stakes competitive matches.

PS: The ability to kill enemies by bouncing them against the wall or throwing them out of the maps remains as satisfying and fun as ever.
Good Alternative: One Thousand Voices.
ShotgunHeavyExotic EngramFree-to-Play
Destiny 2 Xenophage
Xenophage
| Machine Gun
Exotic Quest

Hard


Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 1

Slot: Solar Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Fires high-powered explosive ammunition. Aiming this weapon increases its effective range and zoom magnification."

► A top choice for both PVE and PVP, Xenophage is a must-have Power weapon.

In PVP, it remains as strong as it has always been. You can easily use its explosive rounds to two-shot kill any guardian, and you can even kill guardians behind cover by shooting the ground or nearby objects. PS: Xenophage is particularly good in Trials on longer-range maps.
Good Alternative: Thunderlord.
Machine GunHeavyExotic QuestShadowkeep
Destiny 2 Deathbringer art
Deathbringer
| Rocket Launcher
Exotic Quest

Average


Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 1

Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy | Sunsets: NA


Exotic Perk: "Fires remotely detonated projectiles that drop Void orbs on combatants. Hold to fire, release to detonate. The further a Void orb falls, the more powerful its detonation becomes."


► Deathbringer is one of the most fun heavy weapons in the game. If you catch a team on spawn, you can wipe them all out with a well-placed detonation.

You can also use it to shoot it at a wall when someone pushes you and still secure a few kills in a pinch. It's great at tracking enemies, and overall, a slept on weapon more guardians should try.
Good Alternative: Black Talon.
Rocket LauncherHeavyExotic QuestShadowkeep

If you’re looking for a video version of a great PVP weapons guide, this 3-part video series from Pattycakes focusing on Exotics is a must-see:


Destiny 2 PVP 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 PVP weapon types in Destiny 2.

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

We just covered the absolute best PVP weapons, but if you’re interested in other weapons, it’s important to understand how the different weapon types compare to each other.

PS: 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. Also, remember that the PVE meta is completely different than the PVP meta!

PVP Primary weapons meta

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
Best

S

Hand Cannons were the indisputable top tier choice for PVP, but after a nerf to their effective range last year, they no longer dominate the meta as they used to.

To be clear, they are still top tier. In fact, the top PVP players still rock a hand cannon as their primary weapon of choice. They may no longer have the range they used to, but they can still do a lot of damage while peaking in and out of cover (something an auto rifle user cannot do).

Lastest "meta change": Hand cannons were nerfed with Shadowkeep, receiving a reduced effective range.

Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
Best

S

Pulse rifles have been in a stable position for a while now. They have never been the best but neither the worst. They are workhorses that consistently get the job done.

Often referred to as "dad rifles", they are easy to use, have a good range, and good aim assist. But with the recent PVP buff to the High-Impact archetype, pulses such as Cold Denial, Redrix's Broadsword or even Vigilance Wing have become some of the most lethal weapons in the Crucible.

Lastest "meta change": Pulse rifles were buffed with Season of Arrivals, with High-Impact pulses getting an increased damage per bullet from 21 to 22.

Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
Strong

A

Auto rifles received a significant buff with Season of the Worthy, especially 600 RPM variants. They are undeniably the most lethal and easy to use primaries right now. On top of having some of the fastest TTK in the game (0.7 seconds), they also have good range and large magazines.

They do have one drawback: You have to be out of cover to do damage (unlike a hand cannon or pulse), which makes them less efficient in competitive modes or against skilled hand cannon users.

Lastest "meta change": Auto rifles were buffed with Season of the Worthy, receiving increased base and precision damage.

Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
Strong

A

Sidearms have been slept on for far too long. But things are definitely changing, especially since their target acquisition was buffed. You now see more and more top players main sidearms alongside their favorite sniper.

On paper, sidearms certainly have a limited range, but they still offer some of the best TTKs in Destiny 2.

Lastest "meta change": Sidearms were buffed with Season of Dawn, receiving "increased target acquisition".

SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
Average

B

The Recluse reigned supreme as the most used PVP primary for a very long time, but after a few nerfs, it finally left room for other SMGs to shine.

SMGs can get the job done. A good SMG with the right rolls (like the new IKELOS SMG with the Surrounded Perk) can get to insanely low TTKs, but unfortunately, 600 RPM auto rifles are so strong, it makes little sense to use an SMG over a well-rolled Gnawing Hunger. For this reason, SMGs are currently considered average.

Lastest "meta change": SMGs haven't received any noticeable PVP changes in a long time.

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, they 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.

Lastest "meta change": Bows haven't received any noticeable PVP changes in a long time.

Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
Worst

D

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 have good range, but most guardians will use a sniper rifle when engaging in long-distance fights and a scout won't be able to compete.

Lastest "meta change": Scouts haven't received any noticeable PVP changes in a long time.

PVP Special weapons meta

For the sake of clarity, weapon categories consisting of only 1 or 2 exotics have been excluded. For example, Eriana’s Vow is too unique to be representative of an entire weapon type.

If you’re particularly interested in these unique exotics, check out our Exotic Tier list including every exotic weapon currently in the game.

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Shotgun weapon type Destiny 2
Shotguns
Best

S

Arguably the best Special weapon type for PVP, shotguns are both deadly and accessible. Unlike snipers, shotguns are easier to use and can one-hit kill any guardian with a well placed shot in close range.

As Destiny 2's maps were initially created for 4 VS 4 guardians, using a shotgun in today's 6 VS 6 game modes is easier than ever. There's a lot of cover and small spaces where a good shotgun user can tear an entire enemy team.

Lastest "meta change": Shotungs haven't received any noticeable PVP changes in a long time.

Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Sniper Rifles
Best

S

Sniper rifles are also top tier choices for PVP. But unlike shotguns, they have a higher skill-ceiling. In other words, it's harder to master a sniper than it is to master a shotgun, but in the hands of a talented players, there's nothing deadlier than a sniper rifle in the entire game.

Overall, snipers are in weird place right now. A recent nerf rendered the Rapid-Fire archetype less viable. This forced players to Agressive and Adaptive Frames, namely Revoker and Beloved. This has lead Bungie to warn that they're looking into how snipers behave in PVP and, I assume, push people to use something other than Revoker.

Lastest "meta change": Sniper rifles were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving
a reduced precision multiplier for Adaptive snipers and a reduced base impact from 100 to 90 damage for Rapid-fire snipers.

Fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Fusion Rifles
Average

B

Fusion rifles were so good just a few months ago, many called them "broken", especially the Erentil FR4. But in typical Bungie fashion, all fusion rifles were nerfed. Nerfed too hard in fact.

Fusion rifles are no longer what they used to be, but they remain a decent weapon type to use in the Crucible. In fact, they can be very fun and are well-suited for newer players getting familiar with Destiny 2's PVP. But as you improve your game, you may want to graduate to a shotgun instead.

Lastest "meta change": Fusion rifles were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving an increased damage falloff and a decreased effective range.

Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
Average

B

When it comes to Special ammo Grenade launchers, there's Mountaintop and then there's the rest. Mountaintop is so strong, many claim it's downright broken. It also calls for a toxic type of gameplay, which is why most hate it and are glad to see it sunset next season.

The other special ammo grenade launchers are still decent, namely a Truthteller with a good roll or the brand-new Witherhoard. In the hands of an experienced player they can be lethal, but they remain much less effective than the top tier choices.

Lastest "meta change": While not technically a "nerf", special ammo grenade launchers will greatly suffer from the Mountaintop's retirement.

-
Weak

C

-
Trace rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Trace Rifles
Worst

D

Trace rifles don't have much going for them in PVP. They can deal respectable total damage, which can be useful on a boss. But in PVP, you wan't the opposite.

With insanely high TTKs (remember, high = bad), it can take forever to down an opponent, unless they're absolutely terrible and barely move at all, or you have excellent tracking. Generally speaking, Trace rifles take too long to do significant damage and most opponents will either hide or counter you with something that hits harder, such as a shotgun.

Lastest "meta change": Trace rifles haven't received any noticeable PVP changes in a long time.

PVP Heavy weapons meta

Weapon Type TierCurrent State
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
Best

S

Unlike for PVE, rocket launchers are in a great place right now for PVP. As ammo economy isn't an issue in the Crucible, their insane high-burst damage allows them to shine.

Rocket launchers, and especially the exotics, can basically guarantee a kill without requiring much skill. And if used right, you can easily get multikills. Even in competitive modes, they are still preferred due to their consistency.

Lastest "meta change": Rocket launchers were nerfed with Shadowkeep, having their DPS destroyed with the removal of instant reloading capabilities.

Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
Strong

A

Machine guns are extremely popular in PVP. They have excellent damage, great TTKs and come with enough ammo to kill 3 or 4 enemies.

Not all machine guns were created equally, of course, but with the right perks, they can be incredibly stable.

Lastest "meta change": Machine guns haven't seen any significant changes in a while.

Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
Average

B

Grenade launchers can be excellent options in PVP. They are powerful and can come with great perks. When using something like Proximity grenades, they become even more reliable and easy to use.

Compared to the other Heavy weapon types, grenade launchers remain strong contenders. And when you take into account the exotics, namely The Colony, they basically give you free kills.

Lastest "meta change": Grenade launchers were nerfed with Season of the Worthy, receiving a reduced damage to all Rapid-fire frames.


Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
Weak

C

Swords may be top tier in PVE because they're high risk and high rewards, but in PVP, the risk is much higher than the reward.

You can, of course, use a sword to benefit from the third person view and wait for opponents around corners. But in many situations, you could find yourself completely vulnerable out in the open while chasing an enemy. For this reason, you won't see many sword users in the Crucible (except those that use them for 3 peeking...).

Lastest "meta change": Swords were buffed with Season of the Worthy, receiving a complete overhaul of how they function.

Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
Weak

C

Linear fusion rifles are in the middle of an identity crisis. They are stronger than sniper rifles and have a little more aim assistance, but they still require a headshot to one-shot an enemy.

On top of that, they have a charged time, which makes them feel like a charge-time snipers that also require Heavy ammo. In PVP, you want a Heavy weapon that can easily down several guardians. A skilled player can probably do that with a linear fusion rifle, but other weapon types can accomplish that more easily.

Lastest "meta change": Linear fusion rifles haven't seen any significant changes in a while.

-
Worst

D

-

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 of of the Hunt and will be updated as soon as a new meta arrives.


Destiny 2 Best PVP Exotics: How to get them

These are the detailed steps on how to acquire all the top PVP exotics in Destiny 2 mentioned before:

1. Exotic Engrams: How to get Telesto, Wardcliff Coil, and Tractor Cannon

All of these weapons can be found as random exotic engrams. This is bad news if you don’t already have them as you won’t be able to actively work to get them.

In a nutshell, there are only a few ways you can get exotic engrams in Destiny 2:

  • From the Season pass (the Free track offers while the Paid track offers )
  • From Xur: Either as his random exotic engram or as his weekly Exotic weapon for sale
  • As a random World drop

There isn’t much more that can be said about grinding Exotic engrams, only that they have a higher chance to drop from end-game activities. If finding this exotic is your priority, Nightfall: The Ordeals are for you. And the higher the difficulty (Master level and above), the higher the chance to get one.

2. Exotic kiosk: How to get Ace of Spades, Sturm, and Bastion

With the release of Beyond Light on November,20, 2020, several Exotics became available via the new Exotics kiosk in the tower, called the Monument to Lost Lights. The Monument to Lost Lights includes weapons that used to be part of Exotic quests that are no longer in the game. Nowadays, weapons such as Bastion, Thorn and Le Monarque can be instantly acquired at the Exotics kiosk, provided you have the necessary materials. We cover all the weapons and materials from the Monument to Lost Lights here.

Destiny 2 Monument to Lost Lights wide

3. Exotic Quests: How to get Hawkmoon, The Chaperone, Deadbringer, and Xenophage

The difficulty of an exotic quest can vary from long and hard (such as Xenophage’s quest) to fast and easy (The Chaperone).

In any case, you can find every single exotic quest in this guide. It also includes the difficulty of the quest itself and links to the best video guides I could find.


Destiny 2 Best PVP loadouts

Up until now, we have split our top PVP 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 an Igneous Hammer as your primary weapon, then your Special weapon will have to be Kinetic.

In this section, we’ll share some of the most popular PVP loadouts right now. This is how our Top PVP weapons look like, filtered by slot and not by ammo type:

Destiny 2 Best PVP Kinetic weapons:

Weapon  Type Ammo Type
Ace of Spades Hand Cannon Primary
Sturm Hand Cannon Primary
True Prophecy Hand Cannon Primary
No Time to Explain Pulse Rifle Primary
Hawkmoon Hand Cannon Primary
MIDA Multi-Tool Scout Rifle Primary
The Chaperone Shotgun Primary
Heritage Shotgun Special
Bastion Fusion Rifle Special
Astral Horizon Shotgun Special
Eye of Sol Sniper Rifle Special

Destiny 2 Best PVP Energy weapons:

Weapon  Type Ammo Type
Gnawing Hunger Auto Rifle Primary
Posterity Hand Cannon Primary
Stars in Shadow Pulse Rifle Primary
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 SMG Primary
Adored Sniper Rifle Special
Felwinter’s Lie Shotgun Special
Cloudstrike Trace Rifle Special
Seventh Seraph CQC-12 Shotgun Special
Telesto Fusion Rifle Special

If we mix and match the top kinetic and energy weapons, these are some of the most “Meta” and popular PVP loadouts currently in the Crucible:

Loadout 1*:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Bastion (or Astral Horizon) Igneous Hammer (or Bottom Dollar) Wardcliff Coil

*My current go-to loadout!

Loadout 2:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
The Messenger (or No Time to Explain) Felwinter’s Lie Wardcliff Coil

Loadout 3:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
Dead Man’s Tale Felwinter’s Lie Wardcliff Coil

Loadout 4:

Kinetic Energy Heavy
The Steady Hand Adored (or Cloudstrike) Commemoration

The Last Word

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 PVP weapon? Do you have a particularly good PVP 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.