Best Destiny 2 Weapons

PVE, PVP and Exotics

By Ric (aka Prim)updated Updated Jan 2, 2020

When I returned to Destiny 2 after an 18-month break, I was completely lost. Not only is Destiny 2 notoriously bad at explaining things or giving a vague sense of priority, it’s also a game that naturally evolves with time. Especially because of its ever-changing weapons, meta, and sandbox.

It was frustrating to search online, find outdated guides and end up grinding for weapons that were no longer good (I’m looking at you Breakneck).

In this guide, you’ll find everything important there is to know about weapons in Destiny 2 today.

What are the best weapons in Destiny 2? How to find them? What about the best Exotics? 

From this point forward, I’ll be making a clear distinction between PVE and PVP content. What is best for one is often not for the other. This is why every weapon ranking or guide needs to make a clear distinction between the two.

‼️ Weapon retirement: Weapons in Destiny 2 now have an expiration date, after which they are no longer viable for end-game content. Read everything there is to know about weapon sunsetting here.


The best Destiny 2 Exotic Weapons

Exotics are a key part of a Guardian’s loadout. As you’re allowed to only equip one Exotic weapon at a time, it’s often a difficult choice that can even lead to intense debates with your Fireteam.

If you want to dive deep into Exotic weapons in Destiny 2, this guide is for you:

Destiny 2 Exotic Tier List

All 77 weapons ranked as of Season 12

It includes:

  1. A ranking including all 77 Exotics currently in the game
  2. Requirements and difficulty to obtain them
  3. Instruction on how to get them
  4. A focus on the latest Beyond Light Exotics

Knowing what Exotics are best and understanding which ones are the easiest to obtain can make a big difference, especially if you’re just starting out. With that knowledge, you can better target what Exotics to chase first and build strong loadouts sooner rather than later.

If you’re ready to start chasing the best Exotic weapons and Catalysts, this guide covers all the Exotic quests currently in the game:

Destiny 2 Exotic Quests

The Complete List [with Video Guides]

Be aware that many Exotic quests were removed from the game and put into the Destiny Content Vault (DCV) on November 10, 2020, with the launch of Beyond Light, the game’s latest expansion. Most of those weapons are now available for purchase at the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower.

The top tier Exotics for PVE and PVP

If you’re in a hurry and want a quick list that highlights the best Exotics for PVE and PVP, these are ones we consider S-tier (with those that excel in PVP highlighted in red and those that excel in PVE highlighted in blue):

Kinetic slot

Destiny 2 Ace of Spades art

Ace of Spades

Hand Cannon

Witherhoard art Destiny 2

Witherhoard

Grenade Launcher

Destiny 2 Thorn

Hawkmoon

Hand Cannon

Energy slot
Destiny 2 Trinity Ghoul art

Trinity Ghoul

Combat Bow

Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

Trace Rifle

Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow art

Eriana's Vow

Hand Cannon

Heavy slot
The Lament Destiny 2

The Lament

Sword

Destiny 2 Anarchy

Anarchy

Grenade Launcher

Destiny 2 The Wardcliff Coil art

The Wardcliff Coil

Rocket Launcher

Exotics deserve a dedicated section because they are truly special. Some of them literally break the rules of what a weapon should be able to do in Destiny 2.

Having said that, you should always be clear on what you’re looking for when talking about weapons in Destiny 2. Are you looking for: A weapon for PVE or a weapon for PVP?

PVP vs PVE

PVP and PVE are entirely different beasts that require entirely different tactics, strategies, and weapons. A good gun for PVE will most likely be very different than a good gun for PVP. For that reason, we will always talk about PVP and PVE separately.


The Best Destiny 2 PVE Weapons

You’ll see us talk a lot about DPS, damage per second, throughout this section.

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

What to look for in PVE

A good PVE weapon should be able to deal a good amount of DPS while remaining consistent and easy to use. Some weapons can deal great DPS, but require excellent aim and leave little room for mistakes.

All of our top PVE weapons follow those criteria. They do good DPS, are consistent, and easy to use. These are the weapons you’ll want to bring to the most challenging PVE content in Destiny 2:

Destiny 2 Best PVE Weapons

As of Beyond Light and Season 12

Our PVE Weapons guide includes:

  1. The Top 25 PVE weapons currently in the game
  2. Requirements and difficulty to obtain them
  3. The current PVE Meta (what weapon types are the best and why)
  4. Instructions to get the best PVE Exotics
  5. The best PVE loadouts

If you’re building towards a strong PVE loadout, that guide is the place to get started.

The TL;DR 

Again, if you’re in a hurry in simply want a list with the absolute best PVE weapons, these are the most “Meta” PVE weapons right now:

Kinetic slot

Nation of Beasts Destiny 2

Heritage

Legendary | Shotgun

Witherhoard art Destiny 2

Witherhoard

Exotic | Grenade Launcher

Nation of Beasts Destiny 2

Cold Front

Legendary | SMG

Energy slot
IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 Destiny 2 art

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2

Legendary | SMG

Destiny 2 Divinity art

Divinity

Exotic | Trace Rifle

Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

Legendary | Auto Rifle

Heavy slot
The Lament Destiny 2

The Lament

Exotic | Sword

Falling Guillotine Destiny 2 art

Falling Guillotine

Legendary | Sword

Destiny 2 Xenophage art

Xenophage

Exotic | Machine Gun

If you’re struggling with PVE endgame content such as Master and Grandmaster Nightfall: The Ordeals or Master Empire Hunts, you can’t go wrong with any of those weapons.


The Best Destiny 2 PVP Weapons

You’ll see us talk a lot about TTK, time-to-kill, throughout this section.

About TTK: 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 below.

What to look for in PVP

Unlike PVE, PVP is not about sheer damage or DPS. In the Crucible, every bullet counts, and for that reason, you should be looking for those weapons that require the least bullets (and time) to kill an opposing Guardian.

But similarly to DPS in PVE, TTK in PVP is not everything. You also want a lethal weapon with a good TTK that is also consistent and easy to use.

It goes without saying that our selection of PVP weapons follows that criteria too. They are consistent, easy to use, and have some the lowest TTK out there:

Destiny 2 Best PVP Weapons

Future-proofed for Beyond Light 

Our PVP Weapons guide includes:

  1. The Top 25 PVP weapons currently in the game
  2. Requirements and difficulty to obtain them
  3. The current PVP Meta (what weapon types are the best and why)
  4. Instructions to get the best PVP Exotics
  5. The best PVP loadouts

If you’re building towards a strong PVP loadout, that guide is the place to get started.

TL;DR

Again, if you’re in a hurry, these are the most “Meta” PVP weapons right now:

Kinetic slot
Destiny 2 Ace of Spades art

Ace of Spades

Exotic | Hand Cannon

Dire Promise Destiny 2 art

True Prophecy

Legendary | Hand Cannon

Destiny 2 The Chaperone art

The Chaperone

Exotic | Shotgun

Energy slot
Felwinter's Lie Destiny 2 art

Felwinter's Lie

Legendary | Shotgun

Gnawing Hunger Destiny 2 art

Gnawing Hunger

Legendary | Auto Rifle

Eye of Sol Destiny 2 art

Adored

Legendary | Sniper Rifle

Heavy slot
Destiny 2 The Wardcliff Coil art

The Wardcliff Coil

Exotic | Rocket Launcher

Seventh Seraph SAW Destiny 2

Commemoration

Legendary | Machine Gun

Destiny 2 Xenophage

Xenophage

Exotic | Machine Gun

If you want to take PVP seriously and want to give yourself the best changes in Trials of Osiris or the Competitive playlist, these weapons are all safe bets.

TTK values

Last but not least, if you want to take a deeper look into what the most lethal weapons, TTK wise, are, this guide is for you:

Destiny 2 TTK Chart

 Time-to-kill Weapon Values

It includes:

  1. All TTK values for all primary weapons  
  2. Weapon examples per archetype  
  3. Explanation on how to take into account ease of use

And it includes a couple of charts and graphs to help you see easily see what weapon archetypes are the most dangerous in the Crucible! 


Current Destiny 2 Meta

While not as covered as the “Top weapons” in Destiny 2, the current Meta is equally important.

The Meta defines what weapons and loadouts are the most efficient and lethal at any given time. For that reason, understanding the current Meta will help you better understand Destiny 2 weapons in general and potentially get ahead of the competition.

This guide covers the current Meta and state of the Sandbox in detail: What the best weapon types are and why, and what have been the latest changes:

Destiny 2 Meta

PVP and PVE weapon types Tier list

It includes:

  1. The latest Meta changes (season per season)
  2. The current PVE Meta per class (Primary, Specials, and Heavy)
  3. The current PVP Meta per class

And as the Meta in Destiny 2 can change overnight, you can rest assured our guide will be updated accordingly.


The best Destiny 2 weapons per type

The following guides all focus on specific weapon types or classes. If you’re interested in taking a deeper look into a specific weapon type that is dear to you, look no further than these:

PS: These guides obviously make the distinction between the best choices for PVE and PVP too!

Best Destiny 2 Bows

All 14 bows ranked 

Best Destiny 2 Power Weapons

Best Exotics & Legendary God Rolls 

‼️ More weapon classes will be regularly added to this section.


The best places to find great weapons

Some of the best weapons are extremely hard to acquire. And that’s a good thing, as Destiny 2 is a looter-shooter and having to work hard for the best gear is part of the fun.

But in case you feel lost and don’t even know where to begin, there are a few excellent sources where you can consistently farm Top Tier weapons.

The following guides focus on specific sources of great guns. Each guide ranks every single weapon from its relevant activity, includes the top exotics found there, provides the best rolls for Legendaries, and gives you tips to efficiently farm them:

Beyond Light Weapons

All 31 Weapons Ranked

Deep Stone Crypt Loot Table

A source of Top tier weapons

Prophecy Loot Table

Every weapon from the Prophecy dungeon ranked


Your turn

These resources should help you figure out what the best weapons in Destiny 2 are. These are the weapons that are worth chasing, either because they’re simply the best in class or because they’re very good while being easy to farm at the same time.