Best Hand Cannons in Destiny 2: Tier List for PvP & PvE

by | Feb 28, 2024

Hand cannons have been at the top of the PvP Meta since the early days of Destiny 1. 8 years later, they remain at the top for the Crucible. And thanks to a few notable buffs recently released, Hand cannons have become meta for PvE too. 

This guide covers every Hand Cannon in Destiny 2, including both Exotic and Legendary hand cannons, as well as the best rolls for PvE and PvP.

s23 Season of the Wish icon Destiny 2 Updated as of Season of the Wish (S23). See Updates.

Destiny 2 Best Hand Cannons: Top-tier Options

This Tier list features the best Exotic and Legendary hand cannons right now, including Sunshot:

ItemWeaponsTypeArchetypeAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?RankSourceAvailable?Tier rankSource ❘ DLCFinal VerdictReleasedPerksBest of?
LuminaDestiny 2 Lumina art
Lumina
Hand CannonExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesS › BestExotic KioskCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Exotic Kiosk
Forsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Kills with this weapon leave behind Remnants which convert your next hip fired shot into an ally-seeking Noble Round that heals them and grants both of you a weapon damage bonus for a short duration."

►Lumina is one of the most unique Exotics in Destiny 2, allowing you to heal allies and spread one of the most potent damage buffs in the game. If you're looking to optimize a DPS phase—or want to play a more significant support role—this is a fantastic pick. This applies to PvP too.
Season 7
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Kills with this weapon leave behind Remnants which convert your next hip fired shot into an ally-seeking Noble Round that heals them and grants both of you a weapon damage bonus for a short duration."
Top-tier
FatebringerFatebringer art
Fatebringer
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesS › BestVault of Glass RaidCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Vault of Glass Raid
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Explosive Payload + Firefly
PvP God Roll: Explosive Payload + Eye of the Storm

► One of the most iconic legendary weapons in the game, Fatebringer comes with insane stats and great perks. While it does have some competition, namely Eyasluna, this almost-perfect Hand Cannon holds its ground as an all-time community favorite.
Season 14
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Explosive Payload + Firefly
PvP God Roll: Explosive Payload + Eye of the Storm
Top-tier
EyaslunaEyasluna art
Eyasluna
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryStasis30th AnniversaryYesS › BestGrasp of Avarice DungeonCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Grasp of Avarice Dungeon
Destiny 2 30th anniversary icon
30th Anniversary
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Outlaw + Headstone
PvP God Roll: Rangefinder + Kill Clip

► One of the most beloved weapons from Destiny 1, Eyasluna returned even stronger than ever before. Eyasluna offers god-tier stats and an extremely good perk selection that will help it dominate the Crucible.
30th Anniversary event
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Outlaw + Headstone
PvP God Roll: Rangefinder + Kill Clip
Top-tier
Exalted TruthExalted Truth art
Exalted Truth
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryVoidLightfallYesS › BestTrials of OsirisCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Trials of Osiris
Lightfall Preorder icon
Lightfall
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Outlaw + Rampage (also good: Repulsor Brace)
PvP God Roll: Rangefinder + Rampage

► Currently one of the best legendary hand cannons available, Exalted Truth's difficult method of obtainability is balanced out by the weapon's pure power. With buildcrafting options for PvE and a plethora of consistency perks for The Crucible, this is a weapon that will be hard to top with future releases.
Season 19
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Outlaw + Rampage (also good: Repulsor Brace)
PvP God Roll: Rangefinder + Rampage
Top-tier
SunshotDestiny 2 Sunshot art
Sunshot
Hand CannonExoticPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesS › BestExotic EngramCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Engram
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires explosive rounds. Targets killed with Sunshot explode in Solar energy."

► Sunshot is the cream of the crop this season. It synergizes brilliantly with Solar 3.0, and thanks to the buffs to Hand Cannons, it rips through any non-boss enemy, making it the quintessential Primary weapon for Solar players.
Season 1
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires explosive rounds. Targets killed with Sunshot explode in Solar energy."
Top-tier
MalfeasanceDestiny 2 Malfeasance art
Malfeasance
Hand CannonExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesS › BestExotic QuestCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvE
Exotic Quest
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Shoot tainted slugs that burrow into the enemy. Stacking enough slugs causes them all to explode. Bonus damage against Taken enemies and Gambit invaders."

► Malfeasance has always been a fascinating weapon, and with the buffs to Hand Cannons, it quickly became one of the strongest Kinetic Primaries in the game, especially against Taken enemies. Malfeasance is even stronger when using the Lucky Pants Exotic, allowing for ridiculous damage.
Season 4
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Shoot tainted slugs that burrow into the enemy. Stacking enough slugs causes them all to explode. Bonus damage against Taken enemies and Gambit invaders."
Top-tier
Ace of SpadesDestiny 2 Ace of Spades art
Ace of Spades
Hand CannonExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesS › BestExotic KioskCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvP
Exotic Kiosk
Forsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

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 140 RPM hand cannon in the game, Ace of Spades has a lot to offer. With excellent base stats and some of the best perks around, namely Momento Mori, which is like Kill Clip on steroids and the ability to see your radar while zoomed in, this weapon has a bit of everything.
Season 4
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

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."
Top-tier
ThornDestiny 2 Thorn
Thorn
Hand CannonExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesS › BestExotic KioskCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvP
Exotic Kiosk
Forsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Rounds pierce targets and deal damage over time. Kills leave behind Remnants which, when absorbed, increase damage."

► Thorn has rocketed right back into the meta with the release of its Exotic Catalyst. This catalyst provides practically everything: Range, Mobility, Handling, and Stability upon a single kill, or absorbing a remnant. This allows for constant kill-chaining and lets good players take over any lobby.
Season 6
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Rounds pierce targets and deal damage over time. Kills leave behind Remnants which, when absorbed, increase damage."
Top-tier
HawkmoonHawkmoon Destiny 2 art
Hawkmoon
Hand CannonExoticPrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesS › BestXûrCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvP
Xûr
Beyond Light Destiny 2 icon
Beyond Light
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

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."

► Hawkmoon is one of the strongest Exotic Hand Cannons in PvP. It can consistently 2-tap (and even 1-tap) opposing Guardians, provided you are accurate enough. In the hands of an experienced player, Hawkmoon is definitely something to fear.
Season 12
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Exotic

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."
Top-tier
RoseRose art
Rose
Hand CannonLightweightPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesS › BestPlaylist: CrucibleCheckmark icon V3
Best

S



Excels in:
PvP
Playlist: Crucible
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvP God Rolls: Moving Target + Explosive Payload (also good: Eye of the Storm)

► Rose was a reward from competitive PvP, so it makes sense that it's a monster in The Crucible. The weapon has absurd stats and perks that allow it to rocket past its competition. Sure, it's harder to obtain than other options, but this grind is easily worth it if you're an avid Crucible player.
Season 19
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PvP God Rolls: Moving Target + Explosive Payload (also good: Eye of the Storm)
Top-tier
AustringerAustringer art
Austringer
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesA › StrongPresageCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Presage
Beyond Light Destiny 2 icon
Beyond Light
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Outlaw + Rampage
PvP God Roll: Eye of the Storm + Opening Shot (also good: Rangefinder)

► With a fanbase that rivals that of Spare Rations, nearly everyone was waiting for the day that Austringer came back. That day has come, and Austringer is once again a great pick for anything in the game. With amazing stats, even better perks, and the ability to be crafted, it's hard to not see why people love this weapon.
Season 17
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Outlaw + Rampage
PvP God Roll: Eye of the Storm + Opening Shot (also good: Rangefinder)
Top-tier
Epochal IntegrationEpochal Integration art Destiny 2
Epochal Integration
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimarySolarSeason 21YesA › StrongSeasonal activityCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Seasonal activity
Season of the Deep Icon
Season 21
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE Fixed Roll: Stats for All + Incandescent
PvP Fixed Roll: Keep Away + Eye of the Storm

► Epochal Integration is an easy-to-obtain and powerful Solar hand cannon. Because of how strong Solar is right now, a solid Solar weapon like Epochal Integration can easily excel. It beats out the competition mostly due to its ease of access, but also because Stats for All and Incandescent are excellent perks.
Season 21
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE Fixed Roll: Stats for All + Incandescent
PvP Fixed Roll: Keep Away + Eye of the Storm
Top-tier
Warden's LawWarden's Law art
Warden's Law
Hand CannonHeavy BurstPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongNightfall: The OrdealsCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Nightfall: The Ordeals
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Heavy Burst

PvE God Roll: Fourth Time's the Charm (also good: Perpetual Motion) + Vorpal Weapon (also good: Frenzy )
PvP God Roll: Moving Target (also good: Discord) + Kill Clip

► While Warden's Law is only known for one thing (absurdly high DPS with the Hunter's Lucky Pants), it does exceptionally well at it. Although it definitely isn't a meta pick outside of that one use case, that alone bursts it above most of the pack; plus, it's an extremely fun and unique gun to use regardless!
Season 22
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Heavy Burst

PvE God Roll: Fourth Time's the Charm (also good: Perpetual Motion) + Vorpal Weapon (also good: Frenzy )
PvP God Roll: Moving Target (also good: Discord) + Kill Clip
Top-tier
Word of CrotaWord of Crota art
Word of Crota
Hand CannonPrecisionPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongCrota's End RaidCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE + PvP
Crota's End Raid
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Repulsor Brace (also good: Demolitionist) + Sword Logic (also good: Destabilizing Rounds)
PvP God Roll: Killing Wind + Sword Logic

► Word of Crota is in the running for the best 180 RPM hand cannon in the game, competing with other top-tier options such as Posterity. While it continues to be difficult to recommend 180 RPM options over other archetypes, Word of Crota excels in its own field and could become a top option with future sandbox changes.
Season 22
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Precision

PvE God Roll: Repulsor Brace (also good: Demolitionist) + Sword Logic (also good: Destabilizing Rounds)
PvP God Roll: Killing Wind + Sword Logic
Top-tier
Nation of BeastsNation of Beasts art Destiny 2
Nation of Beasts
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryArcForsaken PackYesA › StrongLast Wish RaidCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
Last Wish Raid
Forsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Dragonfly (also good: Eddy Current) + Voltshot (also good: Collective Action)

► Last Wish weapons just received updated perk pools. Nation of Beasts was treated exceptionally well, gaining some of the best new perks like Voltshot, Collective Action, and Eddy Current. This weapon is the ultimate Hand Cannon for Arc 3.0 synergy, making it an easy A-Tier on this list.
Season 4
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Dragonfly (also good: Eddy Current) + Voltshot (also good: Collective Action)
Top-tier
Zaouli’s BaneZaouli’s Bane art
Zaouli’s Bane
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongKing's Fall RaidCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvE
King's Fall Raid
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Explosive Payload + Incandescent

► On top of offering excellent base stats (which can only be expected from a raid weapon), the Zaouli's Bane can also roll with an extremely lethal and unique perk combination: Explosive Payload + Incandescent. With a strong Solar 3.0 Build, a Zaouli's Bane with Incandescent can be a monster in mid to high-end PvE content.
Season 18
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvE God Roll: Explosive Payload + Incandescent
Top-tier
The PalindromeThe Palindrome art
The Palindrome
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayNoA › StrongNightfall: The OrdealsError icon V2
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvP
Nightfall: The Ordeals
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvP God Roll: Killing Wind + Rangefinder

► Because of a couple of perk nerfs in combination with the release of new and potent hand cannons, The Palindrome has seen a slow decline in popularity. While it still isn't a bad pick for The Crucible, there are better options out there.
Season 13
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvP God Roll: Killing Wind + Rangefinder
Top-tier
Igneous HammerIgneous Hammer art
Igneous Hammer
Hand CannonAggressivePrimarySolarLightfallNoA › StrongTrials of OsirisError icon V2
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvP
Trials of Osiris
Lightfall Preorder icon
Lightfall
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Aggressive

PvE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw) + Rampage

► While not as strong as it was a year or so ago, Igneous Hammer boasts the best stats out of all 120 RPM Hand Cannons and comes with some sweet perks. Even though it isn't currently meta, this weapon can excel in any environment you put it in.
Season 13
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Aggressive

PvE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw) + Rampage
Top-tier
Cantata-57Cantata-57 art
Cantata-57
Hand CannonAdaptivePrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongGunsmithCheckmark icon V3
Strong

A



Excels in:
PvP
Gunsmith
Free to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvP God Roll: Eye of the Storm + Opening Shot (also good: Rangefinder )

► Cantata-57 has definitely lost popularity since its initial release with The Witch Queen, but that doesn't mean it's not worth using! With a well-rounded balance of great perks and stats, this hand cannon still rivals top picks in The Crucible while being easier to obtain.
Season 16
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Primary ammo Destiny 2 Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PvP God Roll: Eye of the Storm + Opening Shot (also good: Rangefinder )
Top-tier

Destiny 2 Hand Cannons: The complete list

This database includes every viable Hand Cannon currently in the game:

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Destiny 2 Ace of Spades artAce of SpadesHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvPExotic KioskError icon V2 NoForsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Season 4KineticNoTop-tier
Destiny 2 The Last WordThe Last WordHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPExotic KioskError icon V2 NoForsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Season 5KineticNo
Destiny 2 CrimsonCrimsonHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPExotic EngramError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 2KineticNo
Destiny 2 Lumina artLuminaHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvE + PvPExotic KioskError icon V2 NoForsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Season 7KineticNoTop-tier
Destiny 2 Sturm artSturmHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

-Exotic KioskError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 1KineticNo
Destiny 2 ThornThornHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvPExotic KioskError icon V2 NoForsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Season 6KineticNoTop-tier
Hawkmoon Destiny 2 artHawkmoonHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvPXûrError icon V2 NoBeyond Light Destiny 2 icon
Beyond Light
Season 12KineticNoTop-tier
Destiny 2 Malfeasance artMalfeasanceHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvEExotic QuestError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 4KineticNoTop-tier
Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow artEriana's VowHand CannonExoticExoticSpecialSolarShadowkeepYesSpecial ammo Destiny 2 SpecialSolar Solar
Average

B

PvEExotic KioskError icon V2 NoShadowkeep Destiny 2 icon
Shadowkeep
Season 8EnergyNo
Destiny 2 Sunshot artSunshotHand CannonExoticExoticPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Best

S

PvEExotic EngramError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 1EnergyNoTop-tier
Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver Destiny 2 artSeventh Seraph Officer RevolverHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Worst

D

PvEXûrError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 10KineticNoReconstruction
The Steady Hand Destiny 2The Steady HandHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Weak

C

-Iron BannerError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 12KineticNo
True Prophecy Destiny 2 artTrue ProphecyHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPWorld loot poolError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 10KineticNo
Crimils Dagger Destiny 2 1Crimil's DaggerHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPIron BannerError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 11KineticNo
Dire Promise artDire PromiseHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPWorld loot poolError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 10KineticNo
Fatebringer artFatebringerHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvE + PvPVault of Glass RaidError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 14KineticNoTop-tier
Survivor's Epitaph artSurvivor's EpitaphHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPPlaylist: CrucibleError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 14KineticNo
Loud Lullaby artLoud LullabyHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Weak

C

-MoonError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 14KineticNo
Judgment art Destiny 2JudgmentHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryStasisFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryStasis Stasis
Weak

C

-Prophecy DungeonError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 23KineticNo
Vulpecula artVulpeculaHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryStasisFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryStasis Stasis
Weak

C

-XûrError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 15KineticNo
Eyasluna artEyaslunaHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryStasis30th AnniversaryYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryStasis Stasis
Best

S

PvE + PvPGrasp of Avarice DungeonError icon V2 NoDestiny 2 30th anniversary icon
30th Anniversary
30th Anniversary eventKineticNoTop-tierIncandescent
Austringer artAustringerHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Strong

A

PvE + PvPPresageCheckmark icon V3 YesBeyond Light Destiny 2 icon
Beyond Light
Season 17KineticCraftableTop-tier
D.F.A. artD.F.A.Hand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

-Nightfall: The OrdealsError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 17KineticNo
Something New artSomething NewHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryStasisFree-to-PlaySeasonalPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryStasis Stasis
Average

B

-Event: SolsticeError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 17KineticNo
Pure Poetry artPure PoetryHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Weak

C

-Vanguard FocusingError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 18KineticNo
Rose artRoseHand CannonLightweightLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvPPlaylist: CrucibleError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 19KineticNoTop-tier
Round Robin artRound RobinHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryStrandLightfallYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryStrand Element Strand
Average

B

PvPNeomunaCheckmark icon V3 YesLightfall Preorder icon
Lightfall
Season 20KineticCraftable
Spare Rations art Destiny 2Spare RationsHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticSeason 21YesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPFishingError icon V2 NoSeason of the Deep Icon
Season 21
Season 21KineticNoKinetic Tremors
Kept Confidence artKept ConfidenceHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryStrandSeason 22YesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryStrand Element Strand
Average

B

PvPSeasonal activityCheckmark icon V3 YesSeason of the Witch (S22) icon
Season 22
Season 22KineticCraftable
Malediction artMaledictionHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Average

B

PvPPlaylist: PursuitError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 22KineticNo
Warden's Law artWarden's LawHand CannonHeavy BurstLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Strong

A

PvE + PvPNightfall: The OrdealsError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 22KineticNoTop-tier
Luna's Howl art Destiny 2Luna's HowlHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryKineticNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticOngoing...-Onslaught ActivityError icon V2 NoInto the LightKineticNo
Midnight Coup art Destiny 2Midnight CoupHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticOngoing...-Onslaught ActivityError icon V2 NoInto the LightKineticNo
The Palindrome artThe PalindromeHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Strong

A

PvPNightfall: The OrdealsError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 13EnergyNoTop-tier
Posterity Destiny 2 artPosterityHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryArcBeyond LightYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Average

B

PvEDeep Stone Crypt RaidCheckmark icon V3 YesBeyond Light Destiny 2 icon
Beyond Light
Season 12EnergyCraftableVoltshot,Reconstruction
Waking Vigil artWaking VigilHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Average

B

PvPShattered Throne DungeonError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 13EnergyNoVoltshot
Nature of the Beast Destiny 2 artNature of the BeastHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Worst

D

-World loot poolError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 11EnergyNo
IKELOS HC v1.0.2 Destiny 2 artIKELOS_HC_v1.0.3Hand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Weak

C

-Operation: Seraph's ShieldCheckmark icon V3 YesFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 19EnergyCraftableRepulsor Brace
Nation of Beasts art Destiny 2Nation of BeastsHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryArcForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Strong

A

PvELast Wish RaidCheckmark icon V3 YesForsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Season 4EnergyCraftableTop-tierVoltshot
Igneous Hammer artIgneous HammerHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimarySolarLightfallNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Strong

A

PvPTrials of OsirisError icon V2 NoLightfall Preorder icon
Lightfall
Season 13EnergyNoTop-tierIncandescent
Ancient Gospel artAncient GospelHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimarySolarShadowkeepYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Average

B

PvEGarden of Salvation RaidError icon V2 NoShadowkeep Destiny 2 icon
Shadowkeep
Season 8EnergyNo
Bottom Dollar artBottom DollarHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Weak

C

PvE + PvPPlaylist: GambitError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 13EnergyNo
Finite Impactor artFinite ImpactorHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Worst

D

-Iron BannerError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 14EnergyNo
Annual Skate artAnnual SkateHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Weak

C

-World loot poolError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 15EnergyNo
Crisis Inverted artCrisis InvertedHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Weak

C

-Playlist: CrucibleError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 16EnergyNo
Cantata-57 artCantata-57Hand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Strong

A

PvPGunsmithError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 16EnergyNoTop-tier
Frontier's Cry artFrontier's CryHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Weak

C

-Iron BannerError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 16EnergyNo
Zaouli’s Bane artZaouli’s BaneHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Strong

A

PvEKing's Fall RaidCheckmark icon V3 YesFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 18EnergyCraftableTop-tierIncandescent
Exalted Truth artExalted TruthHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryVoidLightfallYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Best

S

PvE + PvPTrials of OsirisError icon V2 NoLightfall Preorder icon
Lightfall
Season 19EnergyNoTop-tierRepulsor Brace
Trust artTrustHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Average

B

PvE + PvPPlaylist: GambitError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 20EnergyNoIncandescent
Epochal Integration art Destiny 2Epochal IntegrationHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimarySolarSeason 21YesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Strong

A

PvE + PvPSeasonal activityError icon V2 NoSeason of the Deep Icon
Season 21
Season 21EnergyNoTop-tier
Targeted Redaction art Destiny 2Targeted RedactionHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryVoidSeason 21YesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Average

B

PvESeasonal activityCheckmark icon V3 YesSeason of the Deep Icon
Season 21
Season 21EnergyCraftable
Combined Action art Destiny 2Combined ActionHand CannonAggressiveLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Average

B

PvPLost SectorError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 21EnergyNoVoltshot
Word of Crota artWord of CrotaHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Strong

A

PvE + PvPCrota's End RaidCheckmark icon V3 YesFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 22EnergyCraftableTop-tierSword Logic
Optative art Destiny 2OptativeHand CannonPrecisionLegendaryPrimaryVoidSeason 23YesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Average

B

PvEUndyingCheckmark icon V3 YesSeason of the Wish icon Destiny 2
Season 23
Season 23EnergyCraftable

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 Hand Cannons in 2024

Ready to dig deeper into the absolute best HCs in Destiny 2 right now? These are the cream of the crop, our favorites (for PvE and PvP):

 

Warden's Law Hand cannon featured Destiny 2

5. Warden’s Law

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE

Coming in at #5 on our list is currently one of the most unique legendary weapons in the game: Warden’s Law. While Bungie has confirmed that more heavy burst hand cannons are soon to come, Warden’s Law is the only one currently available. While this novelty does boost Warden’s Law up our list considerably, the weapon also has a gimmick that allows it to excel greatly in PvE.

When combined with the Lucky Pants Hunter exotic, Warden’s Law can pump out absurdly high DPS. Many still prefer other options like rocket launchers and fusion rifles, but having a weapon that’s easy to use and never runs out of ammo for DPS is still extremely desirable.

Sure, Warden’s Law may be nothing more than a fun pick for Warlocks and Titans, but its unmatched DPS strength on the Hunter class is enough to boost it above the vast majority of competition. These are the top Warden’s Law God Rolls:

  • PvE God roll:  Fourth Time’s the Charm (also good: Perpetual Motion) + Vorpal Weapon (also good: Frenzy)
  • PvP God roll:Moving Target (also good: Discord) + Kill Clip

How to get it: Warden’s Law can be acquired by completing Nightfall: The Ordeals (the highest difficulties have increased drop rates).

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Warden's Law artWarden's LawHand CannonHeavy BurstLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Strong

A

PvE + PvPNightfall: The OrdealsError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 22KineticNoTop-tier

 

Malfeasance Exotic hand cannon screen Destiny 2

4. Malfeasance

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE

Originally released as one of the weakest exotics out at the time, Malfeasance now excels in many PvE activities.

The most obvious pairing for Malfeasance is the same as Warden’s Law: Lucky Pants. While only Hunters can take advantage of the synergy, the damage you can put out with this combination of exotics is absurd.

Even so, Malfeasance can hold its ground without Lucky Pants just as well. With high base damage through Explosive Shadow, a boost to damage against Taken enemies with Taken Predator, Vorpal Weapon with its catalyst, and the ability to stun Unstoppable champions, Malfeasance can do just about anything. While deciding to run this over a different exotic is something you’ll rarely see, the intrinsic power of Malfeasance is unparalleled.

Exotic Perk: “Shoot tainted slugs that burrow into the enemy. Stacking enough slugs causes them all to explode. Bonus damage against Taken enemies and Gambit invaders.”

How to get it: Malfeasance can be acquired by completing the Darkness in the Light quest.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Destiny 2 Malfeasance artMalfeasanceHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvEExotic QuestError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 4KineticNoTop-tier

 

Lumina Exotic hand cannon

3. Lumina

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE and PVP

Lumina is the premier support Exotic, allowing you to heal and empower allies with ease.

In PvE, Lumina’s 35% damage bonus is one of the highest in the game. Banner Shield is the only one that surpasses it at 40%, but that requires someone to be locked in a Super. This makes Lumina a powerful option in casual and hardcore content alike.

Lumina increases damage by 15% in The Crucible, which is still significant. Its healing abilities are also potent here and can quickly help teammates cheat death. This weapon is the clear choice for Guardians wanting to strengthen their support role in a fireteam. Plus, you’ll reap the rewards in the form of your own damage buff.

Exotic Perk: “Kills with this weapon leave behind Remnants which convert your next hip fired shot into an ally-seeking Noble Round that heals them and grants both of you a weapon damage bonus for a short duration.”

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

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Destiny 2 Lumina artLuminaHand CannonExoticExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PvE + PvPExotic KioskError icon V2 NoForsaken Destiny 2 icon
Forsaken Pack
Season 7KineticNoTop-tier

 

Midnight Coup Preview Destiny 2

2. Midnight Coup

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE and PVP

Midnight Coup is returning as a 140RPM Kinetic Weapon, putting it in direct competition with powerful weapons like Fatebringer, Zaouli’s Bane, and even Sunshot, which fill the Hand Cannon role similarly to Midnight Coup.

In PvP, Midnight Coup will be a solid pick. It comes with some general consistency perks like Moving Target or Zen Moment, making it a decent option for dueling. Being an Adaptive Frame Hand Cannon helps, too, as this frame is quite powerful in PvP right now, potentially making Midnight Coup quite the sleeper pick in PvP.

In PvE, Midnight Coup has a plethora of perks available. It does have the classic Outlaw and Rampage combo, however, we don’t see this being as good as it once was. Shoot to Loot, Firefly and Kinetic Tremors are all solid options and may tempt players to try to get their hands on it, as Midnight Coup will be the second Hand Cannon to come with Kinetic Tremors, only after Spare Rations (which isn’t very good). These are the top Midnight Coup God Rolls:

  • PvE God roll: Firefly + One for All
  • PvP God roll: Moving Target + Opening Shot

How to get it: Midnight Coup is a Brave weapon from the Onslaught activity.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Midnight Coup art Destiny 2Midnight CoupHand CannonAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryKineticNoPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticOngoing...-Onslaught ActivityError icon V2 NoInto the LightKineticNo

 

Sunshot hand cannon Destiny 2 featured

1. Sunshot: Best PvE Hand Cannon

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PvE

Sunshot has consistently been an outstanding weapon throughout Destiny 2’s history but recently has become one of the best PvE weapons in the game.

Even without any synergies, Sunshot is able to dominate most PvE activities. With relatively high damage per shot and explosions that do a fair bit of work as well, Sunshot is perhaps the smoothest-feeling ad clearing hand cannon Destiny 2 has to offer.

Finding synergies within the Solar subclasses, however, is where Sunshot takes off. Both Solar subclasses and Sunshot are absurdly powerful on their own, but utilizing fragments like Ember of Empyrean or seasonal mods like Flint Striker and Rays of Precision pushes their potency to its limit.

While some cases may call for different hand cannons or primary weapons entirely, Sunshot is both fun and strong, making it one of the best weapons currently obtainable in Destiny 2.

Exotic Perk: “This weapon fires explosive rounds. Targets killed with Sunshot explode in Solar energy.”

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

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmo?Element?RequirementsIn loot pool?AmmoElementTierExcelsSourceCraftable?RequiresReleasedSlotCan be Crafted?Best of?Top Perk?
Destiny 2 Sunshot artSunshotHand CannonExoticExoticPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Best

S

PvEExotic EngramError icon V2 NoFree to Play Destiny 2 icon
Free-to-Play
Season 1EnergyNoTop-tier

Hand Cannons and the PvP Meta: TTK

We covered which  Hand Cannons are considered top-tier (and should be farmed) and which ones can be safely ignored. But how do they compare to other primary weapons in PvP?

Weapon Type RankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Hand Cannons feel great right now and can deal with all the other meta options, provided they are in the hands of a skilled player. They are unbelievably forgiving in terms of aim-assist and can compete at solid ranges. Hand Cannons are the jack of all trades, and while they may not dominate up close or far away, they are incredibly scary to face in a mid-range duel.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (120 RPM) - Example: Igneous Hammer
PVP Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
Best

S

-► Pulse Rifles have seen a resurgence in the past few seasons, with constant buffs to all types of Pulse Rifles. It is hard not to find success with one due to the high-flinch potential of Rapid-Fire Pulses or the lethal time-to-kill of High-Impact Pulses.

► Best Archetype: High-Impact (340 RPM) - Example: The Messenger
PVP Primaries
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► SMGs remain a staple of the PvP meta. SMGs absolutely shred enemies at close range and as soon as their top option is nerfed, a new top-tier SMG is introduced to replace it. SMGs have been, and seemingly will remain, meta for a long time to come.

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (720 RPM) - Example: The Immortal
PVP Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
A › Strong
Strong

A

-► Sidearms have lost their place at the top of the meta, but they remain a solid pick, especially for players using a Controller, as they inherently have manageable stability with a rapid time-to-kill. Honestly, the main reason they've lost their place at the top is due to how powerful SMGs are right now.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (325 RPM) - Example: Forgiveness
PVP Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
A › Strong
Strong

A

Trend up► After a couple of recent changes and buffs, Auto Rifles are feeling great to use right now, especially in the more casual Crucible playlists. While they may not have the juice to compete with some of the top dogs, they are still a solid pick and can help you frag out with relative ease.

► Best Archetype: Precision (450 RPM) - Example: Ammit AR2
PVP Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
B › Average
Average

B

-► Bows are incredibly unique. They have a remarkably slow time to kill, however, this isn't where Bows shine. Hotswap builds with bows can be incredibly potent and don't require much learning either. Bows also provide incredible value when teamshooting opponents. Despite this, Bows on their own are quite mediocre and need something behind them to really shine.

► Best Archetype: Precision (Slower Draw Time) - Example: Strident Whistle
PVP Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

Trend down► Scout Rifles are struggling right now. In most situations, the maps are too small to benefit the long range of a Scout rifle. An Aggressive or High-Impact Pulse Rifle will better serve your needs. Plus, Scout Rifles are abysmal up close. There are one or two outliers that shine but, on the whole, Scout Rifles are in a weak spot.

► Best Archetype: Rapid-Fire (260 RPM) - Example: Fang of Ir Yût
PVP Primaries

Remember that when it comes to PvP, TTK is perhaps the most important factor. As you know, the lower the TTK, the faster you can kill your opponent. This TTK guide includes the TTK figures for every weapon in Destiny 2. When it comes to PvP, top Hand Cannons dominate the Crucible:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeOptimal TTKOptimal KillBody Shot TTKSpecs---Best in Class
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonAdaptive

140 RPM

0.873 crit1.73

Good stability, decent range

Austringer artAustringer
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonAggressive

120 RPM

1.002 crit 1 body1.50

High range, low stability and handling

Igneous Hammer artIgneous Hammer
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonPrecision

180 RPM

1.002 crit 2 body1.33

High stability, poor handling

Frontier's Cry artFrontier's Cry
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

1.003 crit 1 body1.33-Destiny 2 Malfeasance artMalfeasance
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

1.002 crit 1 body1.50-Destiny 2 Sturm artSturm
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

0.873 crit1.73-Destiny 2 ThornThorn
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

0.803 crit1.60-Destiny 2 Sunshot artSunshot
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

0.533 crit1.33-Destiny 2 The Last WordThe Last Word
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

0.876 crit 1 body1.43-Destiny 2 CrimsonCrimson
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

0.671 crit 1 body1.33-Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow artEriana's Vow

That said, TTK is only half of the picture. With decent range and the ability to peek-shoot (shoot and cover), hand cannons are extremely powerful dueling weapons. There’s a reason the vast majority of elite PvP players main a hand cannon. Hand cannons are not the easiest to master, but they do have a high skill ceiling. Those who know how to master hand cannons will often come on top of most of their duels in The Crucible.

Hand Cannons and the PvE Meta: DPS

How do Hand Cannons compare to other primary weapons in PvE?

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

S

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

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

S

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

► Best Archetype: Aggressive (450 RPM) - Example: Insidious
PVE Primaries
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
S › Best
Best

S

Trend up► Hand Cannons have shot up the rankings thanks to the changes introduced this Season, all the way up to the S tier. They have solid range and can dispatch enemies with complete ease in almost all difficulties. Hand Cannons have truly taken over the spotlight with their most recent buffs, and they shouldn't be leaving it any time soon.

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (140 RPM) - Example: Fatebringer
PVE Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
A › Strong
Strong

A

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

► Best Archetype: Precision - Example: Under Your Skin
PVE Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

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

► Best Archetype: Rapid-Fire (720 RPM)- Example: Quicksilver Storm
PVE Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
B › Average
Average

B

Trend down► Scout Rifles are the definition of average right now. They can do the job just fine, you can plink away at enemies from a safe distance in high-level content; however, when it comes down to it, most players will prefer to use a Hand Cannon or SMG as they simply do the same job better and faster. Scouts aren't bad at all, but they certainly aren't a go-to

► Best Archetype: Lightweight (200 RPM) - Example: Tarnished Mettle
PVE Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
C › Weak
Weak

C

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

► Best Archetype: Adaptive (491 RPM) - Example: High Albedo
PVE Primaries

Keep in mind that when it comes to PvE, DPS is one of the most important factors. As you know, 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, hand cannons are not in a great place right now:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeSustained DPSMag DPSTotal DamageSpecs---Best in ClassChange?Ammo
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

1527217801474680With "First Glance"Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow artEriana's VowSameSpecial
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

1094313668/w CatalystDestiny 2 Malfeasance artMalfeasanceSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

1067815274/w Catalyst class=HawkmoonSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

60987022"Soul Devourer"Destiny 2 ThornThornSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

55139803-Destiny 2 The Last WordThe Last WordSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

46366418"Momento Mori"Destiny 2 Ace of Spades artAce of SpadesPrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

45526730-Destiny 2 CrimsonCrimsonSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonPrecision43365244High stability, poor handling class=PosterityBuffedPrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonLightweight43275215-Rose artRosePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

40715120-Destiny 2 Sturm artSturmPrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

40185215-Destiny 2 Lumina artLuminaPrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonAggressive39924654High range, low stability and handlingIgneous Hammer artIgneous HammerSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand Cannon

Exotic

39855363-Destiny 2 Sunshot artSunshotPrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonAdaptive39344741Good stability, decent rangeEyasluna artEyaslunaSamePrimary
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2Hand CannonDouble Fire38844902-Warden's Law artWarden's LawPrimary

Before you go…

Are you looking for a top-tier Special and Heavy weapon to round out your loadout? We cover the Best Destiny 2 Trace Rifles and Best Destiny 2 Linear Fusion Rifles, too.

You now know everything there is to know about hand cannons in Destiny 2, whether that is for PvP or PvE content.

See latest Updates

We keep our content up to date! These are the latest changes made to this guide:
  • February 28, 2024: General updates and the inclusion of Hand Cannons from Season 23.
  • October 25, 2023: Inclusion of Season 22 weapons.
  • May 30, 2023: General updates (based on the current sandbox) and the inclusion of Season 18 to 21 hand cannons.
  • June 3, 2022: The guide is published for the first time.

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

About The Author

Andrew Sideris
Andrew Sideris
With my over seven years of game knowledge, six months of writing experience for Blueberries.gg, and hundreds of Blueberries already guided through endgame content, I hope to allow newcomers to have the same great introduction I had all those years ago. You can find Andrew on Twitter.
More from Andrew Sideris
3 Comments
  1. Nathanael

    References to Warmind cells need to be removed.

    Reply
  2. Aidan Langlie

    they nerfed collective action, so targeted Redaction does two shot anymore

    Reply
  3. Peter

    Targeted redaction is not that good

    Reply
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