Best Destiny 2 Shotgun

All Exotics and Legendaries Ranked

By Skyknight | updated Feb 17, 2021

As Destiny 2’s Season 13 begins, many players, including both veterans and New Lights, wonder what the meta is and what weapons they should bring to PVP and PVE.

But with so many weapons to chose from, this can be a daunting question to tackle. We’ll help you cover the basics, with a dedicated series of posts covering all the weapon types in D2. But today, we present you with an in-depth overview of a weapon type that has been top tier since Destiny 1: Shotguns.

In this guide, we’ll cover both Exotic and Legendary shotguns (including their PVP and PVE god rolls) and provide a verdict on how good each weapon is. But more importantly, this tier list will also give you a good overview of where shotguns as a whole stand today.

‼️ Readers beware that some of the top-tier shotguns will be sunset soon. Pay special attention to Power Level caps before embarking on long grinds to chase a weapon.


Destiny 2 Shotguns Tier list

These are the different Tier levels used for this ranking:

  • 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 the  S Tier and moves down from there.

About TTK & DPS: You’ll see us talk a lot about TTK, or time-to-kill, and DPS, damage per second, throughout this guide. TTK is important in PVP, because the lower the TTK, the quicker you can kill your opponent. DPS is important for PVE, because the higher the DPS, the more damage you can deal to a Boss.

WeaponTierExcels inDrops from / RequirementsVerdictRequirements?SunsetsMax Power Level
Heritage Destiny 2 art
Heritage
| Shotgun
Best

S

PVEDeep Stone Crypt Raid
Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

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


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

► Heritage is the star of the Deep Stone Crypt raid. It's currently the best-in-class slug shotgun when it comes to dealing incredible DPS and is a go-to option for PVE content. Slug shotguns are the DPS kings of Destiny 2 right now, and that doesn't seem to be changing anytime soon.

But on top of having excellent base stats, Heritage can roll with fantastic perks that are unique to the DSC raid, and being a Kinetic weapon means it intrinsically deals10% more damage than its Energy counterparts.
Beyond LightSeason 16 | Fall 20211410
Felwinter's Lie Destiny 2 art
Felwinter's Lie
| Shotgun
Best

S

PVPExotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

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


PVP Preferred Perks: Quickdraw + Opening Shot

► Felwinter's Lie is by far the best shotgun in PVP right now. Its tight pellet spread combined with very strong perks make it lethal in anyone's hands.

Felwinter's greatly benefits from its intrinsic perk 'Shot Package', which tightens up the spread. In other words, you will hit more pellets, and of course, deal more damage. It also comes with typical god-roll shotgun perks such as Opening Shot and Quickdraw.
Free-to-PlaySeason 14 | Spring 20211310
Destiny 2 The Chaperone art
The Chaperone
| Shotgun
Best

S

PVPExotic Quest
Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1
Slot: Kinetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special

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

► With unparalleled range and accuracy, The Chaperone is the deadliest exotic shotgun in PVP. It certainly requires more skill than your average pellet shotgun, but in the right hands, The Chaperone is the deadliest shotgun in the entire game.

The fact that The Chaperone is a slug shotgun means it has significantly more range than pellet shotguns, such as Felwinter's. But getting one-hit-kills require good aim and only precision hits. And when its Exotic trait, The Roadborn, is active, The Chaperone can reach insane one-hit-kill distances.
Beyond LightExotic-
First In Last Out Destiny 2 art
First In, Last Out
| Shotgun
Best

S

PVEWorld Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 15


PVx God Roll:
Auto-Loading Holster (also good: Outlaw) + Vorpal Weapon

► First In, Last Out is one of the best PVE Special weapons in the game right now. In fact, it's a go-to option when dealing with the Deep Stone Crypt's final boss. Also a slug shotgun, First In, Last Out can deal insane damage and is right up there with Heritage in terms of DPS and lethality.

And thanks to its wide range of great perks, First In, Last Out can sometimes surpass Heritage. For example, when dealing with certain Bosses and Majors thanks to the Vorpal Weapon perk.
Free-to-PlaySeason 15 | Summer 20211360
Destiny 2 Astral Horizon
Astral Horizon
| Shotgun
Best

S

PVPTrials of Osiris
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot:
KInetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 17 (re-issued)


PVP God Roll:
Surplus (also good: Auto-Loading Holster) + Killing Wind

► A god-rolled Astral Horizon is to many the only legendary shotgun that can rival Felwinter's Lie. It is remarkably consistent and is the only pellet shotgun in the game that can keep up with Felwinter's Lie in the Kinetic slot.

And as Astral Horizon sits in the Kinetic slot, you can use it alongside fan-favorites such as Gnawing Hunger or Stars in Shadow, two of the best Primary PVP weapons that sit in the Energy slot.
Free-to-PlaySeason 17 | Spring 20211310
Duality Destiny 2
Duality
| Shotgun
Strong

A

PVPExotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special

Exotic Perk: "Fires a pellet spread in hip-fire or a single high-damage slug while aiming. Pellet final blows grant a stacking precision damage and reload speed buff. Precision hits with slugs extend the duration."

► Duality has always been a unique shotgun that combines the strengths of both pellet and slug shotguns. It's definitely a fun exotic to use in low-stress PVE and PVP situations.

However, it also carries the weaknesses of both archetypes and when the stakes are high, Duality is out-performed by more specialized weapons. It's also a difficult gun to get used to. Duality received a buff with Season of the Chosen, which helps it a lot, but it still lags behind The Chaperone, which is why it can't be considered S tier.
Deluxe EditionExotic-
Destiny 2 Seventh Seraph CQC-12
Seventh Seraph CQC-12
| Shotgun
Strong

A

BothGunsmith
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

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


PVP God Roll: Quickdraw (also good: Slideshot) + Vorpal Weapon
PVE God Roll: Auto-Loading Holster + Trench Barrel

► Seventh Seraph CQC is a great alternative as it can roll with top-tier perks and benefits from the Lightweight's archetype benefits, such as faster movement speed and improved aim-down sights.

However, most favor the more popular Aggressive Frame shotguns as they simply have a further one-hit kill distance than Lightweight. However, Seventh Seraph CQC shouldn't be ignored.
Free-to-PlaySeason 14 | Spring 20211310
Xenoclast IV Destiny 2 art
Xenoclast IV
| Shotgun
Strong

A

BothPlaylist: Strikes
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

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


PVP God Roll:
Slideshot (also good: Surplus) + Killing Wing
PVE God Roll: Auto-Loading Holster (also good: Field Prep) + One-Two Punch

► Xenoclast is an absolute beast. It is littered with insane perks for both PVE and PVP and is a consistent, reliable shotgun.

It does have to compete with other heavyweights in the energy slot, such as Felwinter's Lie and Seventh Seraph CQC, but because Xenoclast can roll with incredible perks, it can still compete. And as it was released only last season, it will be the perfect replacement for the Seventh Seraph CQC once it retires.
Free-to-PlaySeason 16 | Fall 20211410
Destiny 2 Lord of Wolves art
Lord of Wolves
| Shotgun
Strong

A

BothRandom Engram
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special

Exotic Perk: "Fires a powerful short-range burst of Solar damage. Hold to swap to a longer, more powerful burst."

► Lord of Wolves recently got a (well-deserved) nerf that made it disappear from the Crucible but it remains one of the highest DPS weapons in the game.

However, it is still a very solid option for those wanting a fairly consistent, unique shotgun. It can be quite good at putting down supers too, adding to its value. In PVE, it remains an excellent burst weapon, it's simply outclassed by the recently buffed slug shotguns.
Free-to-PlayExotic-
Destiny 2 The Fourth Horseman art
The Fourth Horseman
| Shotgun
Strong

A

PVEExotic Kiosk
Solar Solar
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special

Exotic Perk: "This weapon's rate of fire is increased significantly and fires full auto. Each successive shot has more damage and more spread."

► A good all-around weapon, this shotgun can deal great damage if you manage to get very close. It's too bad most high-end PVE content isn't designed for close-combat...

The Fourth Horseman is a monster when it comes to burst DPS. It is right up there with Top tier weapons such as The Lament and is a very viable option for short DPS phases such as Atraks-1 in the Deep Stone Crypt raid.

However, due to its limited ammo efficiency compared to The Lament (and swords in general), it slightly falls behind the competition for end-game PVE.
ShadowkeepExotic-
Destiny 2 Tractor Cannon art
Tractor Cannon
| Shotgun
Strong

A

BothRandom Engram
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Void Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

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 one of the most fun weapons in Destiny 2. Booping people out of the map or against the walls in PVP will never gets old.

Some may view this A-tier rating as harsh, however, everything that Tractor Cannon offers, other weapons can do better. For example, Divinity is a better debuff weapon, and dealing with Supers in PVP can be done more efficiently with top-tier weapons such as Black Talon, Wardcliff Coil, or even a headshot with a Vorpal Weapon sniper rifle.
Free-to-PlayExotic-
Blasphemer Destiny 2 art
Blasphemer
| Shotgun
Average

B

PVEMoon Destination
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot:
KInetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 17


PVE God Roll:
Surplus (also good: Fourth Time's the Charm) + Swashbuckler

PvE: Surplus (also good: Fourth Time's the Charm) + Swashbuckler

► Blasphemer is a returning kinetic slug shotgun from the Moon. As mentioned before, slug shotguns are in a great place right now for PVE, and Blasphemer benefits from that.

However, Blasphemer has very stiff competition in the likes of Heritage or First In, Last Out. It does have a good sunset cap though and will last longer than both. But right now, it simply lags behind in terms of stats and PVE perks..
Free-to-PlaySeason 17 | Winter 20221610
Bonechiller Destiny 2 art
Bonechiller
| Shotgun
Average

B

-Europa
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

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


PVE God Roll:
Auto-Loading Holster (also good: Triple Tap) + Demolitionist

► Bonechiller is the new slug shotgun from Beyond Light and it can roll with some quite unique perks that no other slug shotgun in the game can roll with, such as Triple Tap and Dragonfly.

However, in spite of offering unique perks, Bonechiller can't quite compete with the best Energy weapons in neither PVE nor PVP.
Free-to-PlaySeason 16 | Fall 20211410
Retold Tale Destiny 2 art
Retold Tale
| Shotgun
Average

B

-Dreaming City Destination
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot:
Void Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 17


PVP God Roll:
Quickdraw (also good: Surplus) + Killing Wind

► Retold Tale used to be god tier along with Dust Rock Blues back in Forsaken, and many are very excited to see it return.

However, being a Precision Frame shotgun (i.e. slug shotgun) pits it against vastly superior options in PVE. And in PVP, Aggressive and Lightweight Frames are vastly preferred as they offer better range and grant movement bonuses respectively. For those reasons, Retold Tale will most likely not be a part of anyone's PVP loadout.
Free-to-PlaySeason 17 | Winter 20221610
Destiny 2 Legend of Acrius art
Legend of Acrius
| Shotgun
Average

B

-Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Heavy | Ammo: Destiny 2 Heavy ammo Heavy

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires blasts of high-damage Arc energy that over penetrates enemies. Its radar detects enemies from farther away."

► The Legend of Acrius has fallen quite far since its glory days. It still packs a decent punch, but nowadays, it's vastly outclassed by rival Exotic in the Heavy slot such as The Lament, Xenophage, Anarchy, and even some legendary options like Falling Guillotine.

Having said that, Legend of Acriiuscan deliver some serious DPS, especially with the catalyst.
Free-to-PlayExotic-
Retrofuturist Destiny 2 art
Retrofuturist
| Shotgun
Average

B

Umbral Engram
Destiny 2 Season 13 logo

Slot:
Void Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 17


PVP God Roll:
Quickdraw (also good: Pulse Monitor) + Snapshot Sights

► Retrofuturist is the latest shotgun in Destiny 2. Released this season, Retrofuturist is a Lightweight shotgun that can be acquired through the reworked Umbral Engrams.

Due to the nature of Lightweights, they are immediately at a disadvantage in PVP due to their shorter one-hit kill range compared to Aggressive shotguns. However, Retrofuturist can roll with some nice consistency perks for PvP, making it, in our eyes, a middle-of-the-road choice. While there are better options out there, it can still get the job done.
Season 13Season 17 | Winter 20221610
Toil and Trouble Destiny 2 art
Toil and Trouble
| Shotgun
Average

B

-World Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

Slot:
KInetic | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 15


PVP God Roll:
Slideshot + Rampage

► Toil and Trouble is an Aggressive Frame shotgun which means it can be good option for general PvP play. However, compared to other Aggressive Frame shotguns, it simply can't compete with either Felwinter's Lie or Astral Horizon. Toil and Trouble's perks don't help it an awful lot either.
Free-to-PlaySeason 15 | Summer 20211360
Prophet of Doom Destiny 2 art
Prophet of Doom
| Shotgun
Weak

C

-Garden of Salvation Raid
Solar Solar

Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Destiny 2 special ammo Special | Sunsets: Season 15


PVE God Roll:
Full Auto Trigger System (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + One-Two Punch

► Prophet of Doom falls into the Rapid Fire Frame archetype and that's its main problem. This archetype has a few issues such as poor ammo economy and limited damage. It just lacks that "big DPS" factor that comes standard with slug shotguns in PVE. However, Prophet of Doom is still an average option and can work, especially in a Liar's Handshake/One-Two Punch build.
ShadowkeepSeason 15 | Summer 20211360
IKELOS SG v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art
IKELOS_SG_v1.0.2
| Shotgun
Weak

C

-Prophecy Dungeon
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

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


PVE God Roll:
Threat Detector (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + Trench Barrel

► Previously the king of DPS back in Forsaken, the IKELOS SG now falls into the same traps and problems as the Prophet of Doom does. It is another Rapid-Fire Frame and just like Prophet of Doom, it can't really keep up with the top PvE shotguns options.

It's unfortunate to see this once mythical shotgun be so low on this tier list, but it will still be an average pick that can work in a normal PVE loadout.
Free-to-PlaySeason 15 | Summer 20211360
Wishbringer Destiny 2 art
Wishbringer
| Shotgun
Worst

D

-Playlist: Crucible
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

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


PVP God Roll:
Slideshot + Rampage

► Wishbringer is another Rapid-Fire Frame shotgun and therefore lags behind in terms of DPS for PvE content. And with a very short one-hit kill range and poor ammo efficiency at all, it can't compete in PvP either.

Wishbringers' perks don't do it any favors either, as it doesn't offer anything noteworthy that would give you a reason to use it. All of this combined with the stiff competition in the Energy slot makes it a poor pick.
Free-to-PlaySeason 15 | Summer 20211360

Destiny 2 Shotguns sources: How to get them

The table above includes a column titled “Drops from  ❘ Requirements“. This section goes deeper and includes more detailed steps on how to acquire all the shotguns still viable in Destiny 2:

Destiny 2 Exotic Shotguns sources

This is how you can obtain the several Exotic shotguns in our Tier list:

  • Exotic Quest: Some Exotics, such as The Chaperone, require you to complete a dedicated Exotic quest. For more information, check out our Exotic Quests hub.
  • Exotics Kiosk: Most Exotic nowadays can be acquired via the Exotics Kiosk in the tower, officially called the Monument to Lost Lights. You can read all about it, including costs and requirements, here.
  • Random Engrams: Finally, some Exotics can only randomly drop while playing the game or by acquiring Exotic engrams (most notably from the Season Pass or from Xur).

Destiny 2 Exotic Engram

If you’re interested in the Legendary shotguns, read on.

Destiny 2 Legendary Shotguns sources

This is how you can obtain the several Legendary shotguns in our Tier list:

  • Deep Stone Crypt Raid: Some elite weapons, such as Heritage, can only be found in the Deep Stone Crypt raid. For a detailed overview of all the weapons found in the newest Destiny 2 raid, this loot table covers both weapons and armor per encounter.
  • Trials of Osiris: Astral Horizon can only drop while getting wins in the endgame PVP mode Trials of Osiris, Destiny 2’s endgame (and brutal) PVP mode. Beware that drops rotate weekly, so you’ll have to patient and wait until Astral Horizon becomes part of the weekly drops.
  • Prophecy Dungeon: The IKELOS shotgun can only drop from Destiny 2’s newest dungeon. For a detailed overview of all the weapons found in Prophecy, this loot table covers both weapons and armor per encounter.
  • World Loot Pool: Some Legendaries can only randomly drop while playing the game, either as end of matches rewards or when finding Legendary engrams.

Finally, several sources (such as Playlists, Garden of Salvation raid, etc) are self-explanatory, but in doubt, you can always leave a comment below with your question or ask away on our Discord.


Ranking criteria

For the record, as much as we tried to keep this list as objective as possible, it’s still based on our personal experience playing the PC version of the game.

Finally, if you’re wondering what criteria was used to build this Tier list, these are the main factors I took into account:

  • Lethality: The higher the effective DPS and usability, the higher the ranking.
  • Consistency: Some weapons may not have the highest DPS numbers, but they are so consistent, they more than make up for their lower DPS numbers.
  • Ease of use: Similar to the point above, some weapons are very effective because they are easy to use and don’t require too much skill or setup. This is also rewarded with higher rankings.
  • PVE/PVP Performance: High lethality in either PVE or  PVP is equally valuable. However, a weapon that is good at both PVE and PVP should rank higher than one that is slightly better on only PVE or PVP.
  • Fun factor: Not the most important factor, but it also helps if the weapon is damn fun to shoot with!

If you strongly disagree with some of the rankings here, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section. By the way, what is your personal favorite?