Best Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2: Tier List Ranking

by | Jan 8, 2022 | Weapons

Sometimes referred to as “Dad rifles”, some love to hate Pulse rifles. They claim Pulses require no skill and are too easy to use. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Granted, some of them are considered to be among the best weapons for PVP in the entire game. But in PVE, they struggle somewhat.

This guide covers every Pulse rifle in Destiny 2, including both Exotic and Legendary Pulses, as well as the best rolls for PVE and PVP.

Checkmark icon V3Lists updated as of Bungie’s 30th Anniversary event.  Link

Destiny 2 Pulse rifles Tier list

The Tier list below includes every non-sunset Pulse rifle 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:

WeaponArchetypeAmmo typeElementRankRequirementsAvailable?SourceTier rankSource ❘ RequirementsFinal Verdict
The Messenger Destiny 2 art
The Messenger
High-ImpactPrimaryKineticS › BestBeyond LightYesTrials of Osiris
Best

S



Excels in:
PVP
Trials of Osiris
Destiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw) + Desperado

► The best Legendary Pulse Rifle in the entire game, The Messenger is a returning weapon from Destiny 1 that comes with a top-tier perk previously reserved only for Pinnacle weapons: Desperado.
No Time to Explain Destiny 2
No Time to Explain
ExoticPrimaryKineticS › BestDeluxe EditionYesExotic Quest
Best

S



Excels in:
PVP
Exotic Quest
Destiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "Precision shots and shots against combatants affected by Stasis return to the magazine. At 10 stacks, a small portal will open, shooting bullets from an alternate timeline version of this weapon. Precision hits extend the portal's duration."

► No Time to Explain is a PVP powerhouse. Not only is it part of the most deadly Pulse rifles archetype (with insanely low TTKs), it also has great base stats and perks that make it nearly unstoppable when activated.
Darkest Before Destiny 2 art
Darkest Before
Rapid-FirePrimaryArcS › BestFree-to-PlayYesProphecy Dungeon
Best

S



Excels in:
PVP
Prophecy Dungeon
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Surplus (also good: Tunnel Vision) + Rampage (also good: Elemental Capacitor)

► Rapid-Fire pulses are oppressive and excel in medium-range engagements. And while Gridskipper is still great, Darkest Before is the absolute best Rapid-fire currently in the game. It has better base stats and a great sight.
Destiny 2 Vigilance Wing art
Vigilance Wing
ExoticPrimaryKineticA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesExotic Engram
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Exotic Engram
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "This weapon fires a 5-round burst. When a nearby ally is killed, gain health regeneration, and increased movement speed."

► Vigilance Wing is an excellent weapon to bring to the Crucible. Its ease of use alone nets it an S tier. However, it's also one of the most lethal weapons in the game with a unique 5 burst shot.
BxR-55 Battler Destiny 2 art
BxR-55 Battler
Legacy PR-55PrimarySolarA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesDares of Eternity
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Dares of Eternity
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Legacy PR-55

PVE God Roll: Outlaw (also good: Perpetual Motion) + Kill Clip (also good: Blunt Execution Rounds)

► The newest Pulse on the block, the BxR is an entirely different beast. Meant to pay homage to Halo’s iconic Battle rifle, the BxR goes above and beyond to fill that role. Not only does it look a lot like the Battle rifle, but it also behaves a lot like it too.
Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 art
Sacred Provenance
Aggressive BurstPrimaryKineticA › StrongShadowkeepYesGarden of Salvation Raid
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
Garden of Salvation Raid
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Aggressive Burst

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw) + Kill Clip

► Sacred Provenance is an excellent Pulse rifle for PVE and the only reason you don't see it more often is because Pulses are currently in a bad place, DPS-wise.

Still, Sacred Provenance is currently the only aggressive, 4-burst Pulse rifle in the game, and you should definitely keep it if you have, for when Bungie will finally buff Pulses in PVE.
The Third Axiom Destiny 2 art
The Third Axiom
AdaptivePrimaryArcA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesPlaylist: Strikes
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
Playlist: Strikes
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Feeding Frenzy (also good: Killing Wind) + Rampage

► The Third Axiom is the long-lost twin of the Forsaken Pulse rifle, Bygones. Falling into the Adaptive frame archetype, this is a very consistent weapon that will get the job done every time. It also happens to feel great: stable and smooth to fire.
Gridskipper Destiny 2 art
Gridskipper
Rapid-FirePrimaryVoidA › StrongDeluxe EditionYesOverride
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Override
Destiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Heating Up (also good: Moving Target) + Multikill Clip

► One of the biggest surprises last season, Gridskipper may not have the insane TTK of High-Impact Pulses. Yet it still shreds in PVP while simultaneously feeling great in your hands.
Legal Action II Destiny 2 art
Legal Action II
High-ImpactPrimaryKineticA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesWorld Loot Pool
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
World Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Feeding Frenzy (also good: Surplus) + Rampage

► Albeit it has average base stats, this gun manages to stand out thanks to its zoom level. Its optics and zoom combine to give the Legal Action II exceptional range. This helps it challenge even Scout rifles in long-range engagements.
Stars in Shadow Destiny 2 art
Stars in Shadow
High-ImpactPrimarySolarA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesPlaylist: Crucible
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Playlist: Crucible
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Killing Wind (also good: Outlaw) + Kill Clip

► Stars In Shadow is currently the only Solar Pulse rifle still viable in the game, making it a must-have weapon for higher-level PVE content.
The Time-Worn Spire Destiny 2 art
The Time-Worn Spire
Rapid-FirePrimaryKineticA › StrongFree-to-PlayYesIron Banner
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Iron Banner
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Rampage (also good: Iron Grip) + Moving Target

► The Time-Worn Spire is a reprised Year 1 Iron Banner weapon that has returned with plenty of fantastic perks.
Destiny 2 Bad Juju art
Bad Juju
ExoticPrimaryKineticB › AverageForsakenYesExotic Kiosk
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "Kills refill the magazine, increase damage for a short duration, and grant Super energy based on the number of kills. Fires full-auto."

► Bad Juju is one of the most underrated weapons in Destiny 2. It can be an absolute monster in PVE and gets even better with the catalyst. But unfortunately, it is held back by a poor archetype that does too little damage...
Cold Denial Destiny 2 art
Cold Denial
High-ImpactPrimaryKineticB › AverageFree-to-PlayYesWorld Loot Pool
Average

B



Excels in:
PVP
World Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Killling Wind (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + Swashbuckler

► Cold Denial is an incredibly satisfying gun to use, from its firing sound to its recoil pattern. As a High-Impact Pulse, it boasts one of the best time-to-kills in the Crucible, at 0.67 seconds.
Jurassic Green Destiny 2 art
Jurassic Green
Rapid-FirePrimarySolarB › AverageFree-to-PlayNoFestival of the Lost
Average

B



Festival of the Lost
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVP God Roll: Heating Up (also good: Rangefinder) + Adrenaline Junkie (also good: Multikill Clip)

► Rapid-Fire pulses are certainly fashionable since the arrival of Gridskipper and Darkest Before. Jurassic Green has slightly lesser base stats but it remains a competent Pulse for PVP.
Destiny 2 Outbreak Perfected art
Outbreak Perfected
ExoticPrimaryKineticB › AverageFree-to-PlayYesExotic Kiosk
Average

B



Exotic Kiosk
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "This weapon creates SIVA nanite swarms on rapid hits and precision kills and does more damage to enemies based on the number of SIVA nanites that attach to them."

► Outbreak Perfected said goodbye to its glory days a long time ago. But having said that, it's still a great feeling gun. It’s just a shame that it falls into quite an archetype that can't compete in PVP.
Premonition Destiny 2 art
Premonition
High-ImpactPrimaryVoidB › AverageShadowkeepYesPit of Heresy Dungeon
Average

B



Pit of Heresy Dungeon
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Killing Wind (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + Rampage

► Premonition used to be one of the top high-impact pulse rifles for PVP, but has been largely replaced by The Messenger in the kinetic slot and a Shadow Star in the Energy slot.
Jian 7 Rifle Destiny 2 art
Jian 7 Rifle
AdaptivePrimaryArcB › AverageFree-to-PlayYesGunsmith
Average

B



Gunsmith
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Disruption Break (also good: Ful-Auto Trigger) + Rampage

► Jian 7 Rifle falls into some of the same traps as Hailing Confusion does. Its TTK isn't great and so are its base stats.
Last Perdition Destiny 2 art
Last Perdition
AdaptivePrimaryVoidB › AverageFree-to-PlayYesWorld Loot Pool
Average

B



World Loot Pool
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVP God Roll: Rampage (also good: Kill Clip) + Outlaw

► As all Adaptive Pulses, Last Perdition is a consistent weapon that does well all-around but will never truly excel in any aspect of the game. But in spite of that, it remains one of the better choices in the energy slot.
Chattering Bone Destiny 2
Chattering Bone
LightweightPrimaryKineticC › WeakForsakenYesLast Wish Raid
Weak

C



Last Wish Raid
Destiny 2 Forsaken logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Outlaw (also good: Rangefinder) + Rampage

► Chattering Bone is a disappointing weapon, especially as it requires you to conquer the Last Wish raid for a chance to obtain it.
Hailing Confusion Destiny 2 art
Hailing Confusion
AdaptivePrimaryKineticC › WeakFree-to-PlayYesEuropa Destination
Weak

C



Europa Destination
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Firmly Planted + Demolitionist

► Hailing Confusion has a slower optimal TTK than 340 RPM Pulse rifles, but it's a more forgiving weapon if accuracy is an issue. It also features a clean Red Dot sight and a healthy selection of perks.

Overall, it's not a bad weapon, but it's still outclassed by more lethal / less forgiving archetypes.
Destiny 2 Graviton Lance art
Graviton Lance
ExoticPrimaryVoidC › WeakFree-to-PlayYesExotic Engram
Weak

C



Exotic Engram
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "Second shot of a burst rips a hole through space-time, doing high damage and recoil with no falloff. Kills with this weapon cause enemies to detonate and spawn tracking Void projectiles."

► Graviton Lance is an interesting Exotic, however, it is vastly outclassed by several Exotic and Legendary Pulse rifles.
Forge's Pledge Destiny 2 art
Forge's Pledge
AdaptivePrimarySolarC › WeakFree-to-PlayYesIron Banner
Weak

C



Iron Banner
Destiny 2 Free to Play logo 1
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVP God Roll: Heating Up + Rampage (also good: Multikill Clip)

► On top of being part of an average archetype, Forge's Pledge is missing another key element: A good "feel". Some weapons in Destiny 2 feel good to shoot, some feel fine. And in some rare cases, some, like this one, feel bad.

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 Pulse Rifles in 2022

This section not only covers the top Pulses currently in the game, 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 Pulse Rifles for PVE and PVP.

 

Stars in Shadow Destiny 2 featured

10. Stars in Shadow

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

PvP is where this gun truly shines. As a High-Impact frame Pulse, it too delivers an insanely fast 0.67 seconds time-to-kill. This fast TTK plus Kill Clip makes this weapon a true menace in PVP.

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Killing Wind (also good: Outlaw)
  • Perk 2: Kill Clip

How to get it: Stars in Shadow can be acquired by completing PVP matches from the Crucible Playlist.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Stars in Shadow Destiny 2 artStars in ShadowHigh-ImpactSolar SolarPlaylist: CrucibleDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Legal Action II Destiny 2 featured

9. Legal Action II

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Another High-Impact Pulse, Legal Action II has that same insanely fast TTKs as Stars in Shadow and The Messenger.

And whereas it has average base stats, this gun manages to stand out thanks to its zoom level. Its optics and zoom combine to give the Legal Action II exceptional range. This helps it challenge even Scout rifles in long-range engagements.

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Feeding Frenzy (also good: Surplus)
  • Perk 2: Rampageli>

How to get it: Legal Action II can be randomly acquired as end-of-match activities or via Legendary and Prime engrams.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Legal Action II Destiny 2 artLegal Action IIHigh-ImpactKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticWorld Loot PoolDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Gridskipper Destiny 2 featured

8. Gridskipper

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

One of the biggest surprises last season, Gridskipper may not have the insane TTK of High-Impact Pulses. Yet it still shreds in PVP while simultaneously feeling great in your hands.

Gridskipper benefits from all of the best new perks, especially Heating Up, which help it effortlessly chain kills in 6v6 matches. As long as you play aggressively, it can easily dominate medium-range engagements.

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Heating Up (also good: Moving Target)
  • Perk 2: Multikill Clip

How to get it: Gridskipper can be acquired by completing Overrides and focusing Umbral engrams.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Gridskipper Destiny 2 artGridskipperRapid-FireVoid VoidOverrideDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo

 

The Third Axiom Destiny 2 featured

7. The Third Axiom

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

The Third Axiom is the long-lost twin of the Forsaken Pulse rifle, Bygones. Falling into the Adaptive frame archetype, this is a very consistent weapon that will get the job done every time. It also happens to feel great: stable and smooth to fire.

On top of having some of the best base stats among Adaptive frame Pulse rifles, The Third Axiom can also roll with a wide range of strong perks, making it a desirable weapon for both PvE and PvP.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Feeding Frenzy (also good: Killing Wind)
  • Perk 2: Rampage

How to get it: The Third Axiom can be acquired by completing Strikes from the Vanguard Playlist.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
The Third Axiom Destiny 2 artThe Third AxiomAdaptiveArc ArcPlaylist: StrikesDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 featured v2

6. Sacred Provenance

Vanguard logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVE

Sacred Provenance is currently the only aggressive, 4-burst Pulse rifle in the game, making it an absolute fan-favorite among Pulse aficionados.

Some may not like it due to its slow playstyle, but with excellent range and ease of use, Sacred Provenance is without a doubt a top-tier weapon for both PvP and PvE.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw)
  • Perk 2: Kill Clip

How to get it: Sacred Provenance can be acquired by completing the third encounter in the Garden of Salvation raid.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 artSacred ProvenanceAggressive BurstKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticGarden of Salvation RaidDestiny 2 Shadowkeep logo 3

 

BxR-55 Battler Destiny 2 featured

5. BxR-55 Battler

Vanguard logo Destiny 2Best PVE Pulse in Destiny 2

The newest Pulse on the block, the BxR is an entirely different beast. Meant to pay homage to Halo’s iconic Battle rifle, the BxR goes above and beyond to fill that role. Not only does it look a lot like the Battle rifle, it also behaves a lot like it too.

The BxR-55 Battler is all about that extra precision when shooting from the hip. Just like Dead Man’s Tale or even The Last Word on controller, this Pulse excels when shot from the hip. This gives it a lot of flexibility. It can be lethal at long ranges but also close ranges when shot from the hip. Couple with something like Blunt Execution Rounds, this pulse can be an excellent tool for a good PVE melee build.

PVE God roll:

  • Perk 1: Outlaw (also good: Perpetual Motion)
  • Perk 2: Kill Clip (also good: Blunt Execution Rounds)

How to get it: BxR-55 Battler can be acquired by completing Dares of Eternity runs or turning in Treasure keys at Xûr’s in Eternity.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
BxR-55 Battler Destiny 2 artBxR-55 BattlerLegacy PR-55Solar SolarDares of EternityDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Vigilance Wing Destiny 2 featured

4. Vigilance Wing

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Vigilance Wing is an excellent weapon to bring to the Crucible. Its ease of use alone nets it an S tier. However, it’s also one of the most lethal weapons in the game with a unique 5 burst shot.

Vigilance Wing is indeed quite forgiving and lets you get kills without having to hit too many crits. This, combined with its range, makes it a nearly unstoppable force in the mid to long-range engagements.

Exotic Perk: “This weapon fires a 5-round burst. When a nearby ally is killed, gain health regeneration, and increased movement speed.”

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

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Destiny 2 Vigilance Wing artVigilance WingExoticKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticExotic EngramDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

Darkest Before Destiny 2 featured

3. Darkest Before

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

Gridskipper set the stage last season and demonstrated that Rapid-Fire Pulses could also excel in PVP. Unlike High-Impact Pulses which are all about insanely fast TTKs as long as you can hit your shots, Rapid-Fires are all about overwhelming your enemies with bullets.

Rapid-Fire pulses are oppressive and excel in medium-range engagements. And while Gridskipper is still great, Darkest Before is the absolute best Rapid-fire currently in the game. It has better base stats and a great sight. Darkest Before is reason enough to run the Prophecy dungeon every week.

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Surplus (also good: Tunnel Vision)
  • Perk 2: Rampage (also good: Elemental Capacitor)

How to get it: Darkest Before can be acquired by beating the Prophecy dungeon‘s final boss.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
Darkest Before Destiny 2 artDarkest BeforeRapid-FireArc ArcProphecy DungeonDestiny 2 Free to Play logo 1

 

No Time to Explain Destiny 2 featured

2. No Time to Explain

Crucible logo Destiny 2 Excels in PVP

No Time to Explain is a PVP powerhouse. Not only is it part of the most deadly Pulse rifles archetype (with insanely low TTKs), it also has great base stats and perks that make it nearly unstoppable when activated.

Its exotic perk ‘Rewind Again’ allows for consistent and forgiving kills. This, combined with its incredible range and clean sights, make it a top-tier option everywhere in the game, including PVE.

Exotic Perk: “Precision shots and shots against combatants affected by Stasis return to the magazine. At 10 stacks, a small portal will open, shooting bullets from an alternate timeline version of this weapon. Precision hits extend the portal’s duration.”

How to get it: No Time to Explain can be acquired by purchasing Beyond Light’s Deluxe edition.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
No Time to Explain Destiny 2No Time to ExplainExoticKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticExotic QuestDestiny 2 Deluxe Edition logo

 

The Messenger Destiny 2 featured

1. The Messenger

Crucible logo Destiny 2Best PVP Pulse in Destiny 2

The best Legendary Pulse Rifle in the entire game, The Messenger is a returning weapon from Destiny 1 that comes with a top-tier perk previously reserved only for Pinnacle weapons: Desperado.

With Desperado, TTK can be massively reduced, allowing for insane killing sprees, especially with Rapid Hit or Outlaw. The Messenger is also incredible in PvE, due to its top-notch perk selection and generally great stats.

PVP God roll:

  • Perk 1: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw)
  • Perk 2: Desperado

How to get it: The Messenger can be acquired via Trials of Osiris engrams and rank ups.

-WeaponsArchetypeDamageSourceRequires
The Messenger Destiny 2 artThe MessengerHigh-ImpactKinetic symbol Destiny 2 KineticTrials of OsirisDestiny 2 Beyond Light logo 1

Pulse Rifles 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 weapon in Destiny 2. When it comes to PVP, Pulse rifles are a strong choice. In fact, they probably are the top second choice for competitive players, just behind hand cannons. Some of the top Pulses are even considered “Meta”, especially High-impact Pulses that can reach insane time-to-kills (TTK).

Weapon TypeTypeArchetypeOptimal TTKOptimal KillBody Shot TTKOther characteristics-Best in Class
Pulse RiflePulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2High Impact Pulse Rifles

340 RPM

0.675 crit 1 body1.2

High range & recoil, low aim assist

The Messenger Destiny 2 artThe Messenger
Pulse RiflePulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Aggressive Pulse Rifles

450 RPM

0.736 crit 2 body1.6

Excellent range, low aim assist

Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 artSacred Provenance
Pulse RiflePulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Rapid Fire Pulse Rifles

540 RPM

0.87 crit 2 body1.4

High aim assist, low range

The Time-Worn Spire Destiny 2 artThe Time-Worn Spire
Pulse RiflePulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Lightweight Pulse Rifles

450 RPM

0.878 crit1.33

Excellent handling, low range

Chattering Bone Destiny 2Chattering Bone
Pulse RiflePulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Adaptive Pulse Rifles

390 RPM

0.935 crit 2 body1.4

High handling, decent range

The Third Axiom Destiny 2 artThe Third Axiom
Pulse RiflePulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Legacy Pulse Rifles

450 RPM

0.878 crit1.6

Excellent handling, low range

BxR-55 Battler Destiny 2 artBxR-55 Battler

Do keep in mind that TTKs aren’t everything. Versatility and ease of use also come into play. High-Impacts may offer one of the best TTKs in the game, but if you can’t land your shots, the archetype loses all its advantages.

If you’re looking for a more forgiving alternative, Rapid-Fires (Darkest Before) and Adaptives (The Third Axiom) can be excellent choices too.

Pulse Rifles in PVE: DPS

DPS is important for PVE, because 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, Pulses deal very mediocre damage:

-Weapon TypeArchetypeAverage DPSBurst DPSTotal DamageSpecs--Best in ClassChange?
No Time to Explain Destiny 2Pulse Rifle

No Time to Explain

3,6874,381371,126With Catalyst--Same
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleAdaptive2,8253,246194,778High handling, decent rangeThe Third Axiom Destiny 2 artThe Third AxiomSame
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleRapid-Fire2,7713,285137,970High aim assist, low rangeThe Time-Worn Spire Destiny 2 artThe Time-Worn SpireSame
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleAggressive2,7443,232241,312Excellent range, low aim assistSacred Provenance Destiny 2 artSacred ProvenanceSame
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleHigh-Impact2,7203,281250,128High range & recoil, low aim assistThe Messenger Destiny 2 artThe MessengerSame
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleLightweight2,5733,046160,805Excellent handling, low rangeChattering Bone Destiny 2Chattering BoneSame

Endgame content

Whereas Pulses can dominate any Crucible match, be it casual 6v6s or Trials of Osiris rounds, they currently struggle in PVE. They have the range and ease of use to compete, but they simply deal too little damage. And since hand cannons and scout rifles recently received a PVE damage buff, Pulse rifles struggle even more.

For this reason, you won’t often see Pulse rifles in PVE endgame content, unless seasonal Pulse rifle mods become available (Anti-barrier, Overload, etc).

Destiny 2 Pulse Rifles: Are they Meta?

We’ve talked about the best Pulses for PVE and PVP already, but how do they compare, in general, with other primary weapon types? In other words:

Are Pulse Rifles good in Destiny 2?

The current Meta for PVE

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

Weapon TypeTierRole ❘ Current State
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
Best

S

Submachine guns are in a great place right now. With good DPS, decent ammo, and acceptable range, SMGs are seen as the perfect compromise between range and damage.

On top of that, specific SMGs such as the IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.2 or Extraordinary Rendition are exceptionally good. True top-tier PVE choices, including endgame activities.
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
Strong

A

Auto rifles, in general, are not as strong as SMGs. They simply cannot do as much damage as SMG.
On the flip side, they offer better range, and in some situations, excellent ammo.

But a few auto rifles can truly excel and can be easily considered S-tier individually, namely the 720 RPM Chroma Rush and the 600 RPM Gnawing Hunger.
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
Strong

A

Sidearms may be some of the most slept on weapons in Destiny 2. Most guardians prefer to stay away from them due to their limited range. But on the other hand, their DPS is unmatched as long as you can get close enough to stay within their optimal range.

This makes sidearms slightly riskier in endgame content such as Grandmaster content.
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
Strong

A

While Hand cannons easily dominate in PVP, they are currently lackluster in the DPS department. Their DPS is so poor, even Bungie acknowledged it and already announced an incoming PVE buff.

But to be fair, they are still viable for Master and Grandmaster content, mainly due to their peak shooting capabilities.
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
Average

B

Pulse rifles are true work horses. They do reasonable damage, have a good range, and are, overall, safe and easy to use in Master and Grandmaster content.

They may not excel in the DPS department, are still extremely solid all-around choices.
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
Average

B

Scout rifles are slowly making a comeback. They will be easily outclassed by every other weapon types in most content, but they are proving to be excellent for endgame content.

Their long range, combined with the surprisingly high DPS of some of the best Pulses, makes them finally viable for endgame content.
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
Weak

C

Combat bows can truly excel in some niche situations. Namely, in very difficult content in which you want to stay as far away from enemies as possible.

With virtually infinite range, bows can deal good damage from insane distances.

The current Meta for PVP

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

Weapon TypeTierRole ❘ Current State
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
Best

S

Hand Cannons are and have always been the top PVP choice in Destiny. Nerfs can bring them slightly down and give other weapon types a chance, but in the end, the top players will always gravitate towards hand cannons.

It all comes down to the very nature of hand cannons. They can deal a lot of damage in a short amount of time, meaning they are perfect at peak shooting in and out of cover (something an auto rifle, for example, cannot do).
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
Best

S

Sometimes referred to as "dad rifles", pulse rifles are generally easier to use, have a good range, and good aim assist. And with the recent buff to the High-Impact archetype, top pulses, such as The Messenger, have become some of the most lethal weapons in the Crucible.

And by the way, not all Pulses behave the same. Some, such as Adaptive frames, are somewhat easy to use and could be considered "Dad rifles", whereas High-impacts are harder to master but have some of the most lethal time-to-kill in the entire game.
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
Strong

A

For some reason, Sidearms have never been particularly popular in PVP. But things are definitely changing, especially since their target acquisition was buffed last year. You now see more and more top players main sidearms alongside their favorite sniper.

On paper, sidearms certainly have a limited range, which puts them in direct competition with shotguns, but Sidearms still offer the best TTKs among primary weapons in Destiny 2. Don't be surprised to see them gain momentum as shotguns continue to receive nerfs.
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
Average

B

Auto rifles had their 15 minutes of fame when they received a significant buff in Season of the Worthy, especially the 600 RPM variants. But Auto rifles were quickly reigned in and brought back to their usual place: the middle of the pack.

Every now and then, an outlier will see some usage in the Crucible, such as the new Chroma Rush, but in general, ARs suffer from a big drawback: They force you to stay out of cover all the time (unlike a hand cannon or pulse), which makes them less effective in competitive modes or against skilled users.
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
Average

B

SMGs are far from being the "meta" choice in PVP. Other weapons types can be almost as lethal while significantly offering better range.

Still, SMGs can get the job done. In fact, a very good SMG with the right perks, such as the new Shayura's Wrath or the Multimach CCX, can be a true menace in the Crucible, with low TTKs and decent range.
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
Average

B

Combat bows are definitely a niche choice for PVP. You will rarely see a guardian using a bow in the Crucible, and that's because bows are far from being the most optimal tool to get the job done.

With a headshot, bows can "almost" kill an enemy, but during the time you'll need to shoot a second arrow, your enemy will be either gone or you will be already dead. Exceptions such as Le Monarque do exist of course, but in general, you'll be better served with other weapon types.
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
Weak

C

To be clear, everything this applies to every Scout rifle in the game, except Dead Man's Tale, an exponentially superior Scout than the rest.

Whether we're talking about PVE or PVP, Scout rifles have been in a sad state for a long time. In PVP, they have some of the worst TTKs in the game and will lose most fights in close to medium range. They do offer good range, but most maps cater to closed-quarter combat.

Your turn

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

Latest changes made to this guide

Things change fast in Destiny 2, especially when a new Season or Expansion launches. For that reason, this post will be updated at least once per season.

With the release of Season of the Lost (Season 15) and Bungie’s 30th Anniversary event, the following weapons were added:

  • BxR-55 Battler
  • Jurassic Green
  • Darkest Before
  • Legal Action II

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

Let's keep the conversation going

Have questions about this post, Destiny 2 in general, or are simply looking for a friendly D2-focused community?

Check out our community Discord (already 500 guardians strong!).

1 Comment
  1. Brendan

    On the darkest before review, it says gridskipper instead of darkest before in its description, in the very first section, overall a very useful tier list!

    Reply
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