Best Machine Guns in Destiny 2: Tier List Ranking

by | Mar 20, 2022 | Weapons

In spite of recent buffs, machine guns are still going through something of an identity crisis. They are supposed to be a good DPS option against single targets, but they’re still from for that.

Having said that, when it comes to ad clear and dealing with red bar enemies, the best machine guns can easily compete with the best weapons in the game.

This guide covers every Machine gun in Destiny 2, including both Exotic and Legendaries, as well as the best rolls for PVE and PVP.

Destiny 2 Machine Gun Tier list

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

NameWeaponsTypeArchetypeAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?RankSourceObtainable?Tier rankSource ❘ DLCFinal VerdictReleasedPerks
Chain of CommandChain of Command Destiny 2 art
Chain of Command
Machine GunAdaptiveHeavyStasisFree-to-PlayYesOngoingPlaylist: PursuitOngoing...

Playlist: Pursuit

Free-to-Play
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

Review ongoing...


Season 17
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

Review ongoing...
Fixed OddsFixed Odds Destiny 2 art
Fixed Odds
Machine GunHigh-ImpactHeavySolarDeluxe EditionYesOngoingDuality DungeonOngoing...

Duality Dungeon

Deluxe Edition
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

Review ongoing...


Season 17
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

Review ongoing...
Commemoration
Commemoration
Machine GunAdaptiveHeavyVoidBeyond LightYesS › BestDeep Stone Crypt Raid
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Deep Stone Crypt Raid

Beyond Light
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Reconstruction + Under Pressure
PVP God Roll: Dynamic Sway Reduction + Under Pressure

► 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. And Commemoration just so happens to be one of the top machine guns for PVP. It may not have as high base stats as Hammerhead, but it more than makes up for it with great perks. Commemoration has a lot of potential for PVE too. With the right perks, it can outclass most other legendary machine guns for ad clear.
Season 12
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Reconstruction + Under Pressure
PVP God Roll: Dynamic Sway Reduction + Under Pressure
Corrective MeasureCorrective Measure Destiny 2 art
Corrective Measure
Machine GunAdaptiveHeavyVoidFree-to-PlayYesS › BestVault of Glass Raid
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Vault of Glass Raid

Free-to-Play
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Rewind Rounds (also good: Subsistence) + One for All (also good: Firefly)

► Whereas Commemoration was made to shine in PVP, Corrective Measure was clearly conceived to shine in PVE. On top of the excellent base stats one should expect from a raid weapon, Corrective Measure also features best-in-class perks. With Rewind Rounds and Firefly, this could be the best ad clear legendary machine gun in the entire game.
Season 14
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Rewind Rounds (also good: Subsistence) + One for All (also good: Firefly)
THE SWARMTHE SWARM Destiny 2 art
THE SWARM
Machine GunHigh-ImpactHeavyArcFree-to-PlayNoS › BestNightfall: The Ordeals
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE
Nightfall: The Ordeals

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Surplus (also good: Outlaw) + One for All (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

► High-Impact machine guns currently suffer from a lack of identity. That said, THE SWARM can still be great for PVE. It packs a strong punch and can roll with perks that not only improve its lethality but also its handling. It has good base stats too and can use the top-tier Adept Big Ones mod, if you have an Adept version of the gun.
Season 13
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Surplus (also good: Outlaw) + One for All (also good: Vorpal Weapon)
ThunderlordDestiny 2 Thunderlord art
Thunderlord
Machine GunExoticHeavyArcForsaken PackYesA › StrongExotic Engram
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Exotic Engram

Forsaken Pack
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Kills with this weapon generate lightning strikes from above and increase reload speed for a short time."

► Thunderlord is still (arguably) the king of machine guns for ad clear. Its ability to speed up its rate of fire and rain down lightning on enemies is no joke, even in higher-level content. However, Thunderlord receives a lot of flak for being an Exotic that may not be worth your exotic slot, especially when there are legendaries that can almost keep up with it.
Season 4
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Kills with this weapon generate lightning strikes from above and increase reload speed for a short time."
Archon's ThunderArchon's Thunder Destiny 2 art
Archon's Thunder
Machine GunHigh-ImpactHeavySolarFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongIron Banner
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
Iron Banner

Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Field Prep (also good: Auto-Loading Holster) + Rampage

► Even though machine guns aren't the strongest option right now, those in the High-Impact Archetype (such as THE SWARM or Archon's Thunder) are best. If you're in need of a heavy-duty ad clear, this gun can fill that role well.
Season 14
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Field Prep (also good: Auto-Loading Holster) + Rampage
XenophageDestiny 2 Xenophage
Xenophage
Machine GunExoticHeavySolarShadowkeepYesA › StrongExotic Quest
Strong

A



Exotic Quest

Shadowkeep
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

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

► Xenophage has seen many ups and downs. Unnecessary changes turned it into a joke and the weapon remained in that state for a long time. But now that Xenophage was returned to its original state, it's once again an excellent PVE weapon that never disappoints.
Season 8
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Fires high-powered explosive ammunition. Aiming this weapon increases its effective range and zoom magnification."
Heir ApparentDestiny 2 Heir Apparent art
Heir Apparent
Machine GunExoticHeavyArcFree-to-PlayNoB › AverageEvent: Guardian Games
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Event: Guardian Games

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "This weapon can be fired only when fully spun up. While at full health, spinning up this weapon protects you with an Arc Shield."

► Heir Apparent became a true menace when it finally received a Catalyst. It was so strong, it was eventually nerfed. Heir Apparent is not what it once was anymore, but it can still shine in casual PvE thanks to its good ad-clearing capabilities and ammo economy.
Season 10
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "This weapon can be fired only when fully spun up. While at full health, spinning up this weapon protects you with an Arc Shield."
Seventh Seraph SAWSeventh Seraph SAW Destiny 2
Seventh Seraph SAW
Machine GunHigh-ImpactHeavyArcFree-to-PlayYesB › Average
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE


Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Field Prep + Vorpal Weapon

► The Seventh Seraph SAW is an excellent option for high-level PVE content. The damage that High-Impact machine guns can deal enemies is nothing to scoff at. The extra reserves from Field Prep and increased major damage from Vorpal Weapon is a perk combination that shouldn't be ignored.
Season 10
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Field Prep + Vorpal Weapon
Avalanche
Avalanche
Machine GunAdaptiveHeavySolarFree-to-PlayNoB › AverageEvent: Dawning
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
Event: Dawning

Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Subsistence + Swashbuckler

► Avalanche is one of the weaker 450 rounds per minute machine guns. Its perks aren't any better than its competitor's and it can also 'feel' weak to use. It seems to have an odd spread pattern when firing making it not feel as accurate compared to other 450s or slower firing machine guns.
Season 12
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Subsistence + Swashbuckler
Grand OvertureGrand Overture Destiny 2 art
Grand Overture
Machine GunExoticHeavyArcFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageExotic Kiosk
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
Exotic Kiosk

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Heavy slug launcher that charges, then fires full auto while the trigger is held. Land hits with the slug launcher to load missiles and then fire to launch all missiles in a single volley."

► Grand Overture is a strong option when compared to other machine guns. For example, it has one of the best DPS outputs for a machine gun right now. However, it can't be considered top-tier as it's lacking when it comes to ad clear, which is what machine guns are used for right now.
Season 16
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Exotic

Exotic Perk: "Heavy slug launcher that charges, then fires full auto while the trigger is held. Land hits with the slug launcher to load missiles and then fire to launch all missiles in a single volley."
Recurrent ImpactRecurrent Impact Destiny 2 art
Recurrent Impact
Machine GunRapid-FireHeavyStasisDeluxe EditionYesB › AveragePsiOps Battlegrounds
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
PsiOps Battlegrounds

Deluxe Edition
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVE God Roll: Subsistence (also good: Perpetual Motion) + One for All (also good: Headstone)

► Recurrent Impact edges slightly higher than its Rapid-Fire competition as it comes with the origin trait 'Land Tank' which makes you tankier with each kill. This, along with Subsistence can make you an ad clearing, tanky teammate that can mow through enemies.
Season 16
Slot: Stasis Stasis | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVE God Roll: Subsistence (also good: Perpetual Motion) + One for All (also good: Headstone)
Thermal Erosion
Thermal Erosion
Machine GunRapid-FireHeavySolarBeyond LightYesC › WeakEmpire Hunts
Weak

C



Empire Hunts

Beyond Light
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVE God Roll: Field Prep + Wellspring (also good: Demolitionist)

► Thermal Erosion manages to slightly outclass some of its Rapid-Fire competition as it can roll with a few stronger perks that are better suited for 'build-crafting', such as Wellspring or Demolitionist. However, in harder content, it will struggle to match the harder-hitting archetypes.
Season 12
Slot: Solar Solar | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVE God Roll: Field Prep + Wellspring (also good: Demolitionist)
A Fine MemorialA Fine Memorial Destiny 2 art
A Fine Memorial
Machine GunAdaptiveHeavyArcFree-to-PlayYesC › WeakMoon
Weak

C



Moon

Free-to-Play
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Subsistence + Demolitionist

► A Fine Memorial can roll with a few decent perks, however, it has to face tough competition, such as Commemoration and Corrective Measure. For that reason alone, it is hard to recommend it as a top choice
Season 14
Slot: Arc Arc | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Subsistence + Demolitionist
Shattered CipherShattered Cipher Destiny 2 art
Shattered Cipher
Machine GunRapid-FireHeavyVoidFree-to-PlayNoD › WorstUnobtainable
Worst

D



Unobtainable

Free-to-Play
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVE God Roll: Field Prep + Rampage

► Shattered Cipher comes with a decent number of interesting perks, however, they all simply aren't exceptional, especially on a Rapid-Fire frame like Shattered Cipher. Field Prep is a must-have for the extra ammo it brings, but overall you will be better off using another option.
Season 14
Slot: Void Void | Ammo: Heavy ammo Destiny 2 Heavy | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVE God Roll: Field Prep + Rampage

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.

More Destiny 2 Tier lists:

Best Destiny 2 Machine Guns in 2022

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

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

 

Avalanche Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

10. Avalanche

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Avalanche is one of the weaker 450rpm machine guns compared to some of its competitors which appear further up the rankings. Avalanche is simply outpaced and outmatched in terms of stats, feel, and perks when compared to other options. One thing Avalanche does have going for it though is its broad selection of strong perks. Options such as Subsistence, Swashbuckler, Vorpal Weapon or Killing Wind are all strong picks that can elevate Avalanche a decent amount.

Furthermore, Avalanche is an Adaptive Frame machine gun which means it actually isn’t too bad of a pick in the Crucible. Machine guns have always been strong in PvP with their blindingly fast time-to-kill and massive flinch they provide. This, on top of being relatively easy to control, makes Avalanche an (albeit weaker) option in most places in the game.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Subsistence
  • Perk 2: Swashbuckler

How to get it: Avalanche can only be acquired during the Dawning event (usually in December-January).

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
AvalancheMachine GunAdaptiveLegendaryHeavySolarFree-to-PlayNoHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavySolar Solar
Average

B

PVEEvent: Dawning
Free-to-Play
Season 12HeavyNo

 

Recurrent Impact Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

9. Recurrent Impact

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Recurrent Impact is a Rapid-Fire frame machine gun. This, for a lot of players, can be an instant turn-off as the decreased damage and stability aren’t fully compensated for by the increased rate of fire. However, Recurrent Impact is a seasonal weapon that comes with the Origin Trait known as Land Tank.

Land Tank is incredibly strong and even rivals the new raid Origin Trait that drops on all raid weapons from Vow of the Disciple. Simply, Land Tank makes you stronger with kills which, obviously, you are going to be getting a lot of with a machine gun. At 3 stacks of the Land Tank buff, you gain around a 15% damage reduction which, when stacked with some other damage reduction options, can slowly turn you into a literal land tank.

Recurrent Impact also comes with the added bonus of being craftable. This makes it a lot easier to chase the god roll and also allows you to craft the weapon with enhanced perks which objectively makes it stronger than its Rapid-Fire competition.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Subsistence (also good: Perpetual Motion)
  • Perk 2: One for All (also good: Headstone)

How to get it: Recurrent Impact can be acquired by completing Seasonal activities and focusing Umbral engrams.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Recurrent Impact Destiny 2 artRecurrent ImpactMachine GunRapid-FireLegendaryHeavyStasisDeluxe EditionYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyStasis Stasis
Average

B

PVEPsiOps Battlegrounds
Deluxe Edition
Season 16HeavyCraftable

 

Grand Overture Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

8. Grand Overture

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

The new Exotic from this Season’s pass, Grand Overture, lands in 8th place in our rankings because it may pack a strong punch, but it can suffer from ammo problems and fails to have strong ad clear capabilities.

One thing that cannot be denied with Grand Overture, however, is the fun factor. Building up missiles and then being able to unload a barrage of them is a really fun and actually quite powerful option. Grand Overture is in a weird spot as it doesn’t do too well at ad clear but it doesn’t do better than other options at dealing big damage to a single target. It is sort of a ‘jack of all trades, master of none option. The barrage can be launched at adds to clear out a full wave of enemies or it can be fired at a beefier target, however, there are simply stronger options out there.

Overall, Grand Overture is a versatile option but struggles to really shine as it simply isn’t the best in any area of the game.

Exotic Perk: “Heavy slug launcher that charges, then fires full auto while the trigger is held. Land hits with the slug launcher to load missiles and then fire to launch all missiles in a single volley.”

How to get it: Grand Overture can be acquired from the Season Pass (either the paid or free track).

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Grand Overture Destiny 2 artGrand OvertureMachine GunExoticExoticHeavyArcFree-to-PlayYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyArc Arc
Average

B

PVEExotic Kiosk
Free-to-Play
Season 16HeavyNo

 

Heir Apparent Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

7. Heir Apparent

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE and PVP

Heir Apparent used to be the absolute bane of the Crucible. The arc shield was ridiculously tanky and the amount of ammo you received allowed you to just mow through everyone. Nowadays, Heir Apparent isn’t as oppressive in the meta, however, it still shines as a strong pick in both PvE and PvP areas of the game.

Heir Apparent has an absolute ton of ammo both in the magazine but also in reserves allowing you to just lay on the trigger and stomp through enemies. Because of the higher reserves it also manages to hold up in higher-level content too. Another advantage that Heir Apparent has is the Arc Shield it provides when spun up. The shield can definitely help you survive, especially when receiving Arc damage.

The main downsides to Heir Apparent are that it takes up your exotic slot which is a common downside to Exotic machine guns and that it requires you to ‘spin up’ the gun before you can even begin to fire it which can be fatal if you are stuck spinning up the gun while enemies are firing at you.

Exotic Perk: “This weapon can be fired only when fully spun up. While at full health, spinning up this weapon protects you with an Arc Shield.”

How to get it: Heir Apparent can only be acquired during the Guardian Games event (usually in April-May).

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Destiny 2 Heir Apparent artHeir ApparentMachine GunExoticExoticHeavyArcFree-to-PlayNoHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyArc Arc
Average

B

PVE + PVPEvent: Guardian Games
Free-to-Play
Season 10HeavyNo

 

Archon's Thunder Destiny 2 featured Machine Gun

6. Archon’s Thunder

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Archon’s Thunder is the machine gun from the Iron Banner. It is the worst out of the High-Impact frames, however, this in no way means that it is a bad option as High-Impact frames really pack a punch in high-level content such as Master raids or Grandmaster Nightfalls.

Archon’s Thunder can also double down on the higher impact with a damage perk such as Rampage to really be able to deal some noticeable damage to beefier enemies in harder content. Field Prep is also excellent on Archon’s Thunder as it increases the maximum reserves that the gun can hold which is excellent for content where you simply need more ammo as enemies just have higher health pools.

Overall, despite being the weakest of the 360rpm machine guns, Archon’s Thunder is still a very strong choice in most parts of the game.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Field Prep (also good: Auto-Loading Holster)
  • Perk 2: Rampage

How to get it: Archon’s Thunder can be acquired by completing Iron Banner matches and turning in Iron Banner tokens.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Archon's Thunder Destiny 2 artArchon's ThunderMachine GunHigh-ImpactLegendaryHeavySolarFree-to-PlayYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavySolar Solar
Strong

A

PVEIron Banner
Free-to-Play
Season 14HeavyNo

 

Seventh Seraph SAW Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

5. Seventh Seraph SAW

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

The Seventh Seraph SAW is a very strong option. Not only can it create Warmind Cells, which can provide some nice utility effects despite the nerfs that Warmind Cells have seen, but it is also a High-Impact frame meaning it is able to output more damage and therefore more killing potential in all difficulties in PvE content.

As with many other machine guns, Field Prep is a brilliant choice for the Seventh Seraph LMG as machine guns can really burn through ammo meaning that extra few bullets can really make a difference.

Seventh Seraph SAW can also roll with a couple other of interesting perks in the first perk slot such as Clown Cartridge or Auto-Loading Holster which both provide some very nice utility to the weapon by either extending the magazine or making sure your gun is always ready to go. In the second slot, the gun can roll with two noticeably strong options, those being Vorpal Weapon and Firing Line. Both increase damage by 15% and 20% respectively and can help the LMG out when it comes to Elite (yellow-bar) enemies.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Field Prep
  • Perk 2: Vorpal Weapon

How to get it: Seventh Seraph SAW can be randomly acquired as end-of-match activities or via Legendary and Prime engrams.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Seventh Seraph SAW Destiny 2Seventh Seraph SAWMachine GunHigh-ImpactLegendaryHeavyArcFree-to-PlayYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyArc Arc
Average

B

PVE
Free-to-Play
Season 10HeavyNo

Thunderlord Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

4. Thunderlord

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE and PVP

Thunderlord still reigns strong in the machine gun weapon type as its lightning-quick ability to clear ads with its lightning bolts from the sky is near second to none (it is also super cool which nets it bonus points). It is still the unarguable king of machine guns when it comes to heavy weapons and with its increasing fire rate, as you hold the trigger down, it becomes good for mounting damage on yellow bar enemy.

Unfortunately, Thunderlord comes with the common downside of being exotic which in itself sounds ironic, but by being an exotic weapon, it restricts you into running legendaries in your other slots which can be replaced by other valuable exotics.

Thunderlord also receives some flak for not doing its job of being the add clearing king that much better than some of its competition and while this partly rings true, Thunderlord should not be scoffed at and if machine guns ever receive a noticeable buff, Thunderlord should be one of the first things you turn to.

Exotic Perk: “Kills with this weapon generate lightning strikes from above and increase reload speed for a short time.”

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

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Destiny 2 Thunderlord artThunderlordMachine GunExoticExoticHeavyArcForsaken PackYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyArc Arc
Strong

A

PVE + PVPExotic Engram
Forsaken Pack
Season 4HeavyNo

 

Commemoration Destiny 2 featured machine gun

3. Commemoration

PVE and PVP logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE and PVP

The Commemoration is an incredibly powerful option. The Deep Stone Crypt machine gun can roll with perks that are unique to the Deep Stone Crypt raid, and some of these perks are amazing.

One perk that is undeniably insane on Commemoration is Reconstruction. This perk, while not firing, reloads itself by 10% of its total magazine every 4 seconds, this perk can even allow you to have a magazine size double the base amount. With a magazine perk such as Extended Mag, you can see up to 146 bullets in your magazine at once if you let Reconstruction fully load up your machine gun which is incredible. However, to fully see the potential of Commemoration, you are going to want a damage perk such as Rampage or even a perk to help with add clear like Dragonfly. Both of these perks (especially Rampage) when combined with Reconstruction can reign havoc practically everywhere in the game.

Commemoration is also one of the stronger options in PvP too, with an open scope, you can easily see a lot of what is in front of you. This, combined with the fact that it is an Adaptive frame, allows it to lay down some damage and net you free, easy kills in the Crucible.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Reconstruction
  • Perk 2: Under Pressure (also good: Rampage)

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Dynamic Sway Reduction
  • Perk 2: Under Pressure

How to get it: Commemoration can be acquired by completing the Deep Stone Crypt raid.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
CommemorationMachine GunAdaptiveLegendaryHeavyVoidBeyond LightYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyVoid Void
Best

S

PVE + PVPDeep Stone Crypt Raid
Beyond Light
Season 12HeavyNo

 

Corrective Measure Destiny 2 featured machine gun

2. Corrective Measure

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Corrective Measure, the Vault of Glass machine gun, is the best Adaptive frame machine gun in the game right now. It can roll with terrific perks, feels incredible, has an easy-to-use scope, and also comes with a ‘Timelost’ version of the weapon. The Corrective Measure can roll with the Vault of Glass specific perk called Rewind Rounds which is an incredibly powerful option that refills the magazine from reserves based on the number of hits in the magazine. This allows you to lay on the trigger and deal incredible damage, especially with a perk such as One For All or another Vault of Glass exclusive perk (somewhat), Firefly. Both of these perks can help with add clear and allow you to take the Corrective Measure to another level.

As mentioned earlier, Corrective Measure has a ‘Timelost’ variant which is essentially just an Adept version of the gun that can only be obtained through the completion of Master Vault of Glass when Atheon is dropping Timelost loot.

Unfortunately, the Timelost Corrective Measure doesn’t roll with Rewind Rounds, but it does roll with the next best thing which is Subsistence. The best part about Timelost Corrective Measure though is that you don’t have to grind out a specific drop, it comes with a curated drop. Timelost loot can also equip ‘Adept’ Mods such as Adept Big Ones which is a powerful option when it comes to Machine Guns as it can give it that little bump needed against Elite enemies.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Rewind Rounds (also good: Subsistence)
  • Perk 2: One for All (also good: Firefly)

How to get it: Corrective Measure can be acquired by completing the first, third or fifth encounter of the Vault of Glass raid.

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Corrective Measure Destiny 2 artCorrective MeasureMachine GunAdaptiveLegendaryHeavyVoidFree-to-PlayYesHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyVoid Void
Best

S

PVE + PVPVault of Glass Raid
Free-to-Play
Season 14HeavyNo

 

THE SWARM Machine gun Destiny 2 featured

1. THE SWARM

Vanguard logo Destiny 2Best PVE Machine gun in Destiny 2

The Swarm is the perfect machine gun for high-level content. It ticks every box, it has good perks, it is a High-Impact Frame, it has good base stats and it even has an Adept variant, previously obtainable (and potentially obtainable in the future) in Grandmaster Nightfalls. High-Impact Frames are already able to output higher damage than the rest of the competition, but when you are able to add on perks that not only increase damage (on top of the additional damage from Adept Big Ones) but also get perks that improve the feel of the gun such as Surplus, Bottomless Grief or even Outlaw, you can begin to see why The Swarm is such a favorable option.

Even if you aren’t able to snag the adept form of the gun, it is still an incredible option due to its base stats, general feel, and incredible perk selection as in each column there are at least 3 perks that are powerful choices. Simply put, The Swarm outpaces the competition due to its superior frame, excellent perk pool, and Adept variant.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Surplus (also good: Outlaw)
  • Perk 2: One for All (also good: Vorpal Weapon)

How to get it: THE SWARM can be acquired by completing Nightfall: The Ordeals (the highest difficulties have increased drop rates).

ArtWeaponTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
THE SWARM Destiny 2 artTHE SWARMMachine GunHigh-ImpactLegendaryHeavyArcFree-to-PlayNoHeavy ammo Destiny 2 HeavyArc Arc
Best

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PVENightfall: The Ordeals
Free-to-Play
Season 13HeavyNo

Machine Guns in PVP: Lethality & 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.

This TTK guide includes the TTKs for every primary weapon in Destiny 2. This means you won’t find machines guns on there, but trust me when I tell you machine guns have blazing fast TTKs. Plus, they offer generous amounts of ammo when picking up a Heavy brick in the Crucible, allowing you to dispose of 2 or 3 enemies with ease if you are careful.

That can’t be said of almost every other Heavy weapon type in the game. Granted, a rocket launcher could grant you a triple kill, but that will be a rare occurrence. That alone makes machine guns a strong pick, especially in 6v6 modes where chaining kills comes easier.

Machine guns in PVE: Ad clearing

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

But before we look into damage numbers and ease of use (two of the most important factors to take into account in PVE), we need to be clear about the role machine guns are supposed to fill. According to Bungie, these are the different roles for Heavy weapons:

Role Explanation Target Weapon types
Add Clear Clearing weaker enemies faster than you could with a primary ammo weapon. For most content, primaries do the add clear job perfectly well, so this is most useful in high difficulty PvE. Main: Machine Guns, Grenade Launchers, Swords

Secondary: Rocket Launchers

Single Target Damage Burning down a boss. Main: Linear Fusion Rifles, Exotic Snipers, Swords

Secondary: Grenade Launchers, Machine Guns

Burst Damage Burning down a champion quickly, or for bosses with multiple damage phases, clearing a phase quickly. Main: Rocket Launchers

Secondary: Linear Fusion Rifles

Based on that, when using a machine gun, you’re looking for an ad clear or single target damage weapon. The ad clear part of the equation is clearly achieved, as machine guns excel at ad clearing. Unfortunately, that can’t be said for single target damage.

This DPS chart includes the DPS numbers for every weapon in Destiny 2. When it comes to actual DPS, machine guns still leave a lot to be desired:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeAverage DPSBurst DPSTotal DamageSpecs--Best in ClassChange?Ammo

Destiny 2 Machine guns: Are they Meta?

We already covered the best machine guns for PVE and PVP, but how do they compare, in general, with other Heavy weapon types? In other words:

Are machine guns good in Destiny 2?

The current Meta for PVE

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

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
S › Best
Best

S

-Main roles: Add Clear & Single Target damage (i.e. Boss damage).

Current State: Swords are incredibly strong right now. Several buffs and a huge rework during Season of the Worthy made them much more usable. They are now safer to use, have a better ammo economy, and can deal much more damage.

Swords are as high risk / high reward as it gets. If used right, a top-tier sword can basically delete any enemy, even on higher difficulties. No wonder The Lament and Falling Guillotine are still some of the best Power weapons available.
PVE Heavies
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
A › Strong
Strong

A

Main role: Burst Damage (Secondary role: Add Clear)

Rocket launchers went through a rough patch that relegated to the least preferred Heavy weapon in the entire game.

Bungie has been hard at work at making them relevant again, and after two noticeable buffs, Rocket launchers are making a huge comeback. With great DPS potential and bigger magazines, they are among the best tools at your disposal, no matter the content.
PVE Heavies
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
A › Strong
Strong

A

Main role: Single Target damage (Secondary role: Burst Damage)

Current State: Linear fusion rifles have been in the middle of an identity crisis for a while, but that should finally change this season. With increased damage to critical hits, Linear Fusions are now much more lethal and rewarding, provided you can hit your shots.

It's still too early to tell how meta they can become, but keep an eye on Sleeper Simulant, or a Threaded Needle with Vorpal Weapon. These will be among your top DPS options this season.
PVE Heavies
Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
B › Average
Average

B

Trend downMain role: Add Clear

Current State: Machine guns are not what they used to be, not for PVE at least. While a god-rolled Commemoration or a Thunderlord will definitely get the job done at clearing ads, they remain the shadow of their former selves.

Bungie itself has confirmed they need to be fine-tuned, but that could take a while... To be fair, they still have their place and have proven to be excellent to deal with elemental shields in Grandmaster Nightfall: The Ordeals.
PVE Heavies
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
B › Average
Average

B

Trend upMain role: Add Clear (Secondary role: Single Target Damage).

Current State: Grenade launchers went from the indisputable PVE choice to just an average, situational weapon type, in a matter of months.

To be fair, they remain viable, especially when getting too close to the enemy is impossible. Otherwise, they have been replaced by Swords as the go-to damage-dealing Heavy weapon type in the game.
PVE Heavies
Sniper rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Exotic Sniper Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

Trend upMain role: Single Target damage

Current State: Finally, we have Exotic Sniper rifles, a very niche choice represented by only 2 weapons, D.A.R.C.I and Whisper of the Worm.

Heavy Exotic Snipers are far from being meta right now. D.A.R.C.I is one of the most underwhelming Exoticsin the entire game, while Whisper of the Warm is the shadow of its former self due to the blanket nerf all snipers received a few seasons ago.
PVE Heavies

The current Meta for PVP

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

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Rocket launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Rocket Launchers
S › Best
Best

S

Rocket launchers are in a great place right now for PVP. As ammo economy is not an issue in the Crucible, their insane high-burst damage per rocket allows them to shine.

Rocket launchers, and especially the exotics, can basically guarantee a kill without requiring much skill nor effort. And if used right, you can easily get multi kills in 6v6 modes. Rocket launchers even have a place in competitive modes, namely the Wardclif Coil, due to their consistency.
PVP Heavies
Machine gun weapon type Destiny 2
Machine Guns
A › Strong
Strong

A

Machine guns are always a safe bet in PVP. They have excellent TTK, are very consistent from medium to long-range, and have enough ammo to kill easily 2 to 3 guardians, 4 if you play your cards right.

Not all machine guns were created equal, though, as some of them are much stronger than the rest, especially the exotics (Heir Apparent immediately comes to mind). But with the right perks, legendary Machine guns can also shine
PVP Heavies
Grenade launcher weapon type Destiny 2
Grenade Launchers
B › Average
Average

B

Grenade launchers can be good options in PVP. They are powerful and can come with great perks, including the newish Chain Reaction, which can easily net you multi kills when hitting enemies grouped together. When used with something like Proximity grenades, grenade launchers can be even more reliable and easy to use.

Compared to the other Power weapon in the game, grenade launchers remain strong contenders. And when you take into account the exotics, namely The Colony, they can basically give you free kills.
PVP Heavies
Sword weapon type Destiny 2
Swords
C › Weak
Weak

C

Swords may be a top-tier choice in PVE due to their high-risk, high reward approach. 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. On top of that, 3-peeking with swords is considered a douchy approach by the community, and with reason!
PVP Heavies
Linear fusion rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Linear Fusion Rifles
C › Weak
Weak

C

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

On top of that, they also have a charge time to take into account. Compared to a sniper rifle that fires immediately and only uses Special ammo, Linear Fusion rifles make little sense for the Crucible. In PVP, you want a Heavy weapon that can either easily down several guardians or guarantee a kill in a high-stakes match. It isn't impossible to do with a linear fusion rifle, but other weapon types can accomplish that more easily.
PVP Heavies

Your turn

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

Let's keep the conversation going

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