Destiny 2 Weapon Perks Guide: Season 20

by | May 22, 2023

Weapon perks are an integral part of the whole Destiny 2 experience. They are, in part, what makes some weapons truly great. But perks are more complex than you’d think. For example, some perks are excellent for PvE but stink for PvP, and some perks work great on a specific weapon type but are mediocre elsewhere.

In this guide, we cover every damage perk in the game and help you figure out which ones are the best suited for your needs (PvE, PvP, endgame, casual, etc).

Checkmark icon V3Updated as of Season of Defiance (S20).

Weapon perks chart: Damage perks

The table below covers all general damage perk available in the game. These are the perks that can be found on most weapon types.

-Weapon PerkPvE Damage increasePvP Damage increaseDurationActivation | EffectsTypeWeaponsReleased
Killing Tally Perk Destiny 2 artKilling Tally1 Stack: 10%
2 Stack: 20%
3 Stack: 30%
-Kills Increases weapon damage until the weapon is stowed or reloadedGeneralVariousSeason 17
Bait and Switch Perk Destiny 2 artBait and Switch35%10sActivates when dealing damage with all your weapons.GeneralVariousSeason 16
Focused Fury Perk Destiny 2 artFocused Fury20%11sActivates after scoring 50% of magazine as precision hits.GeneralVariousSeason 16
Blunt Execution Rounds Perk Destiny 2Blunt Execution Rounds500%100%10sActivates when damaging nearby combatants with melee abilities.
+100 Handling bonus
GeneralVarious30th Anniversary
Golden Tricorn Perk Destiny 2Golden Tricorn10% on weapon kill
50% w/ matching grenade/melee kill
7.5% on weapon kill
45% w/ matching grenade/melee kill
7s - 10sActivates on weapon kill, then requires grenade or melee kills of the same damage type.GeneralVarious30th Anniversary
One for All Perk Destiny 2One for All35%10sHitting three separate targets.GeneralVarious
Multikill Clip Perk Destiny 2Multikill Clip1 Stack: 17%
2 Stack: 33%
3 Stack: 50%
5sReloading after kills. Automatically refreshes on Reload.
Kill Clip Perk Destiny 2Kill Clip33% precision hits
30% body hits
5sReloading within 3.8s after a kill.GeneralVarious
Adrenaline Junkie Perk Destiny 2Adrenaline Junkie1 Stack: 6.6%
2 Stack: 13.2%
3 Stack: 20%
4 Stack: 26.6%
5 Stack: 33.3%
4.5sGains 1 stack per weapon kill, gains all 5 stacks with a grenade kill.GeneralVarious
Swashbuckler Perk Destiny 2Swashbuckler1 Stack: 6.6%
2 Stack: 13.2%
3 Stack: 20%
4 Stack: 26.6%
5 Stack: 33.3%
4.5sGains 1 stack per weapon kill, gains all 5 stacks with a melee kill.GeneralVarious
Surrounded Perk Destiny 2Surrounded30%
40% w/ Spec mod
-Activates when three or more enemies are within 8 meters.
PS: Lower increase on Swords.
Rampage Perk Destiny 2Rampage1 Stack: 10%
2 Stack: 21%
3 Stack: 33%
4.5s w/ Spec mod
Activates and refreshes on kills.GeneralVarious
Frenzy Perk Destiny 2Frenzy15%-Being in combat for 12 seconds.
+50 Handling and Reload
Explosive Payload perkExplosive Payload / Head15% on body shots← PVE only-Projectiles create an area-of-effect detonation on impact.GeneralVarious
Timed Payload Perk Destiny 2Timed Payload16% on body shots← PVE only-Projectiles attached to enemies explode after a short delay.GeneralVarious
Harmony Perk Destiny 2Harmony20%7sReady weapon within 3s after a kill with another weapon.
+15 Handling
GeneralVariousSeason 15
Disruption Break Perk Destiny 2Disruption Break50%5.5sBreaking an enemy's shield makes them take 50% more Kinetic damage. Works on Barrier champions.GeneralVarious
Vorpal Weapon Perk Destiny 2Vorpal Weapon20% Primaries
15% Specials
10% Heavies
20% Primaries
10% Specials
5% Heavies
-Works against Minibosses, Champions, Bosses, and Vehicles in PVE.
Works against Guardians in their supers in PVP.
Adagio Perk Destiny 2Adagio20-27%
as per on weapon type
5sGetting a kill decreases rate of fire while increasing damage.
15% to 20% slower rate of fire, based on weapon type
Box Breathing Perk Destiny 2Box Breathing 31-37% Snipers-Aiming this weapon for 1.5s without firing grants bonus precision damage.
Bonus Range and Accuracy
Firing Line Perk Destiny 2Firing Line20-21.5%
as per weapon type
← PVE only-Activates when close to two allies.GeneralVarious
High-Impact Reserves Perk Destiny 2High Impact Reserves12.1% to 25.6%3% to 6%-Rounds at the end of the magazine deal increasingly more damage (starting at 50% of magazine).GeneralVarious
Headseeker Perk Destiny 2Headseeker8%-Body shot increases precision damage for a short time.GeneralVarious
Armor Piercing Rounds Perk Destiny 2Armor-Piercing Rounds5%
To shields
← PVE only-Shoot at enemies with shields (works on Barrier Champions).GeneralVarious

A lot of this data comes from the excellent Destiny 2 Damage Buffs/Debuffs guide.

Specific perks chart: Damage perks

Whereas the table above covers general damage perks that can be found on a variety of weapon types, this table covers only the specific damage perks that can only roll on select weapon types:

-Weapon PerkPvE Damage increasePvP Damage increaseDurationActivation | EffectsTypeWeaponsReleased
Unstoppable Force Perk Destiny 2 artUnstoppable Force30%4sGain projectile damage upon blocking damage with your Glaive Shield.SpecificGlaivesSeason 16
Rocket launcher icon whiteExplosive Light25%-Picking up an Orb of Power increases the next projectile's blast radius and damage.SpecificRocket LaunchersSeason 15
Rocket launcher icon whiteLasting Impression20%-Rockets attach on impact and detonate after a delay, increasing blast radius and damage.SpecificRocket Launchers
Rocket launcher icon whiteCluster Bomb24%
-Rockets spawn 8 cluster bombs upon detonation.SpecificRocket Launchers
Shotgun icon whiteOne-Two Punch200%
← PVE only-Hitting an enemy with every pellet in a shot increases melee damage.SpecificShotguns
Shotgun icon whiteTrench Barrel50%← PVE only5s or 3 shotsAfter a melee, weapon gains increased damage.
Bonus Handling and Reload
Grenade launcher icon white Full Court25%
Max distance
-Increases detonation damage as the projectile travels further before exploding.SpecificGrenade Launchers
Grenade launcher icon whiteSpike Grenades50%
to Impact only
-Direct hits do increased damage.
Bonus Stability
SpecificGrenade Launchers
Fusion rifle icon whiteKickstart20%-Sprint for a short duration.
Bonus Charge Time
SpecificFusion Rifles
Fusion rifle icon whiteReservoir Burst25%-When the battery is full, weapon deals additional damage and causes killed enemies to explode.SpecificFusion Rifles
Desperado perkDesperadoRate of fire increased 30%6sAfter Reloading within 6 seconds of a Precision Kill, the delay after shooting is reduced by 30% for 6 seconds. Can be refreshed.SpecificPulse Rifles
Incandescent Perk Destiny 2 artIncandescent30 scorch-Kills apply scorch to nearby enemies. Killing Powerful enemies and Players increases the range to 8 meters.SpecificVariousSeason 17
Voltshot PerkVoltshotJolts targets7sReloading after a Kill applies Jolt on the next hit. Chain lightning will release to enemies near it.SpecificVariousSeason 17
Kinetic Tremors perk artKinetic TremorsSustained damage emits a shockwave that damages any nearby targets.-Scoring multiple hits against a single target emits 3 damaging shockwaves from its location at the time of activation.SpecificVarious
Destabilizing Rounds perk artDestabilizing RoundsFinal blows cause nearby targets to become volatile.-Weapon Kills apply Volatile to other enemies in a 6.5-meter radius around the target.SpecificVarious
Repulsor Brace perk artRepulsor BraceGrants a 45 HP Void Overshield8sOn Weapon Kill against an enemy affected by a Void Debuff.SpecificVarious

A piece of the puzzle

Having the right perks will make the difference between a great gun and a mediocre one. But weapons and perks are only a piece of the puzzle. In order to tackle the most challenging content Destiny 2 has to offer, you’ll need more than just a god-rolled weapon. You’ll also need a powerful build and a good usage of the different buffs and debuffs at your disposal. These are covered in separate guides:

Best Damage perks in Destiny 2

These are some of the most tried-and-true damage perks in Destiny 2.

Reservoir Burst: For general PVE

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Description: When the battery is full, your next burst deals additional damage and causes enemies to explode on death.

Why we like it: Finally, Reservoir Burst is our bonus pick. Whereas it can’t roll on anything other than a select group of Fusion rifles, it’s still a top-tier perk allowing you to easily clear ads. Plus, with the Particle Deconstruction seasonal mod, Fusion rifles are extremely powerful this season.

Vorpal Weapon: For end-game PvE

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Description: Increased damage against bosses, vehicles, and Guardians with their Super active.

Why we like it: Vorpal Weapon is always a safe bet when it comes to Raids, Dungeons, or Nightfalls. Offering a “free” damage increase that doesn’t require a kill to proc, Vorpal Weapon is as consistent a perk as it can get.

Headseeker: For high-stakes PvP

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Description: Body shots landed with this weapon increase precision damage for a short time.

Why we like it: This perk is often brushed off due to its “low” damage buff. And granted, +8% sounds laughable compared to the others. But in a high stakes PVP match, on a top-tier weapon such as The Messenger pulse rifle, that little bump provided by Headseeker can help you secure optimal kills when you shouldn’t.

That added forgiveness (miss a headshot but get a buff instead) is more than enough to justify its presence, especially in endgame PVP where each duel, each kill, counts.

Rampage: For casual PvP and PvE

Description: Kills with this weapon temporarily grant increased damage. Stacks 3x.

Why we like it: Rampage is a good all-around damage perk that gets the job done in both PVE and PVP. It’s not ranked higher because its damage increases are not as high compared to other perks. But it’s still extremely easy to proc and refresh. Just get kills and watch your damage go up.

Kill Clip: For Casual and endgame PvP

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Description: Reloading after a kill grants increased damage.

Why we like it: Yes, I just said that Multikill Clip is “better” than Kill Clip, and that’s the case for most PVE content, but when kills are harder to come by, Kill Clip will be a safer option. This is especially true for the Crucible. Securing multiple kills on a single magazine is extremely rare, whereas getting one kill can be doable.

With one single kill, Kill Clip can offer a massive damage increase that will make a difference in PVP, be it casual 6v6 matches or tougher 3v3 matches.

Explosive Payload: For endgame PvE

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Description: Projectiles create an area-of-effect detonation on impact.

Why we like it: While kill-based damage perks get most of the spotlight (they do offer the highest damage increases after all), Explosive Payload (and Explosive Head) are still excellent choices when tackling endgame content.

Endgame content is notorious for having extremely beefy enemies, including its ads. This neutralizes most kill-based perks but Explosive Payload will always provide a damage increase. Plus, Explosive Payload works insanely well against Champions, especially Overload Champions.

Multikill Clip: For general PVE

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Description: Reloading grants increased damage based on the number of rapid kills made beforehand.

Why we like it: The souped version of Kill Clip, Multikill Clip is the most lethal damage perk for “casual” PVE in the entire game. Again, there are other perks that can offer technically higher damage increases, but Multikill Clip requires almost no setup and can offer insanely high uptime, provided there are plenty of easy-to-kill red bars.

Whereas One of All shines where even red bar enemies are hard to kill, Multikill Clip when kills come easy. Plus, it refreshes with each reload, allowing you to keep its effects active as long as you have ads to kill.

One for all: For end game PVE

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Description: Hitting three separate targets increases damage for a moderate duration.

Why we like it: One for All is hands down the most efficient damage perk in the game. Granted, there are other perks that offer higher damage increases, but none is as easy to proc and has such a long duration as One for All. Its ease of use and uptime make it a favorite, especially for endgame content in which getting kills is not easy.

Indeed, this perk only requires you to hit enemies, not kill them, to activate its effects.

Your turn

Hopefully, deciding what weapon rolls you should keep should be much easier than before. Do keep in mind that these tables only cover damage perks, which means only half of the picture is shown (nearly all weapons can only offer one damage perk per roll, with the other perk reserved to non-damage perks such as reload perks).

For a much more comprehensive look into these and all the other types of perks, Court’s Damage Buffs/Debuffs is a must.

So, what are your favorite perks? Let us know in the comments below!

About The Author

Ric Molina
Ric Molina
I've been covering gaming since 2012, and some of my work has been featured by large brands, including, Forbes, Rock Paper Shotgun, and more. I've been obsessed with Destiny 2 (and now Diablo 4) for years now, and I hope to provide new and returning players with the guides and resources I wish I had when I first started.
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1 Comment
  1. Charles P

    Interesting perspective on the percs; some of them are not as powerful as I thought they were, others more so.

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