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.  

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:

WeaponTypeArchetypeAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?RankSourceObtainable?Tier rankSource ❘ DLCFinal VerdictReleasedPerks
Insidious Destiny 2 art v2
Insidious
Pulse RifleAggressive BurstPrimaryArcThe Witch QueenYesS › BestVow of the Disciple Raid
Best

S



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Vow of the Disciple Raid

The Witch Queen
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Aggressive Burst

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Dragonfly) + Rampage

PVP God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Heating Up) + Rampage

► The only 4-burst pulse rifle to be released in over two years, people had big expectations for this weapon. And with outstanding perk combinations for both PVE and PVP, Insidious blew those out of the water. With an S-Tier Origin Trait and no terrible perks in its pool, there's not much to hate about this pulse rifle. For PVP in particular, Aggressive Burst Pulses hit like a truck, flinching opponents with ease.
Season 16
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Aggressive Burst

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Dragonfly) + Rampage

PVP God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Heating Up) + Rampage
No Time to Explain Destiny 2
No Time to Explain
Pulse RifleExoticPrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesS › BestExotic Quest
Best

S



Excels in:
PVP
Exotic Quest

Beyond Light
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.
Season 12
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."
The Messenger Destiny 2 art
The Messenger
Pulse RifleHigh-ImpactPrimaryKineticThe Witch QueenYesS › BestTrials of Osiris
Best

S



Excels in:
PVP
Trials of Osiris

The Witch Queen
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

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

► This returning weapon from Destiny 1 is hands down the best Pulse rifle right now. Belonging to the High-Impact archetype, The Messenger benefits from one of the fastest TTKs in the game. On top of that, it has best-in-class base stats and excellent perks. And while all of its perks are good, it can also roll with the exclusive Desperado perk. With Desperado, which greatly increases its rate of fire after a precision kill, its TTK is massively reduced, allowing it to duel absolutely anyone and even go for insane killing sprees in 6v6 modes.
Season 13
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw) + Desperado
BxR-55 Battler Destiny 2 art
BxR-55 Battler
Pulse RifleLegacy PR-55PrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongDares of Eternity
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Dares of Eternity

Free-to-Play
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 BxR is a one-of-a-kind Pulse rifle. 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.
30th Anniversary event
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Legacy PR-55

PVE God Roll: Outlaw (also good: Perpetual Motion) + Kill Clip (also good: Blunt Execution Rounds)
Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 art
Sacred Provenance
Pulse RifleAggressive BurstPrimaryKineticShadowkeepYesA › StrongGarden of Salvation Raid
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
Garden of Salvation Raid

Shadowkeep
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.
Season 8
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Aggressive Burst

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit (also good: Outlaw) + Kill Clip
The Third Axiom Destiny 2 art
The Third Axiom
Pulse RifleAdaptivePrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongPlaylist: Strikes
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVE
Playlist: Strikes

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 13
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Feeding Frenzy (also good: Killing Wind) + Rampage
Destiny 2 Vigilance Wing art
Vigilance Wing
Pulse RifleExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongExotic Engram
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Exotic Engram

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 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."
The Time-Worn Spire Destiny 2 art
The Time-Worn Spire
Pulse RifleRapid-FirePrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayNoA › StrongIron Banner
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Iron Banner

Free-to-Play
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Under Pressure (also good: Quickdraw) + Iron Grip (also good: Rampage)

► The Time-Worn Spire is a reprised Year 1 Iron Banner weapon that returned with plenty of fantastic perks. It belongs to one of the better archetypes, which, coupled with solid perks, can be a great choice for PVP.
Season 13
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Under Pressure (also good: Quickdraw) + Iron Grip (also good: Rampage)
Gridskipper Destiny 2 art
Gridskipper
Pulse RifleRapid-FirePrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongUnobtainable
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Unobtainable

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 14
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Heating Up (also good: Moving Target) + Multikill Clip
Darkest Before Destiny 2 art
Darkest Before
Pulse RifleRapid-FirePrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongProphecy Dungeon
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Prophecy Dungeon

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 15
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Surplus (also good: Tunnel Vision) + Rampage (also good: Elemental Capacitor)
Legal Action II Destiny 2 art
Legal Action II
Pulse RifleHigh-ImpactPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongWorld loot pool
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
World loot pool

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 15
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Feeding Frenzy (also good: Surplus) + Rampage
Piece of Mind Destiny 2 art
Piece of Mind
Pulse RifleRapid-FirePrimaryKineticSeason 16YesA › StrongSeasonal activity
Strong

A



Excels in:
PVP
Seasonal activity

Season 16
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Perpetual Motion (also good: Overflow) + Moving Target

► With a TTK of 0.80s, Piece of Mind is a solid PVP choice. It's not a High-Impact Pulse and it doesn't have the best TTK, yet it can absolutely shred in PVP while simultaneously feeling great in your hands. As a Rapid-Fire pulse, Piece of Mind isn't great at peak shooting, but if used aggressively, it can easily dominate medium-range engagements.
Season 16
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Rapid-Fire

PVP God Roll: Perpetual Motion (also good: Overflow) + Moving Target
Destiny 2 Outbreak Perfected art
Outbreak Perfected
Pulse RifleExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesA › StrongExotic Kiosk
Strong

A



Exotic Kiosk

Free-to-Play
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 is making a comeback, partly because it has always been a good weapon, able to deal considerable damage to single targets, but mostly because it received major buffs against PVE enemies. With a +44% damage against red bar enemies, Outbreak Perfected is finally meta again.
Season 6
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."
Collective Obligation Destiny 2 art
Collective Obligation
Pulse RifleExoticPrimaryVoidThe Witch QueenYesB › AverageVow of the Disciple Raid
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE + PVP
Vow of the Disciple Raid

The Witch Queen
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "This weapon leeches Void debuffs when damaging targets that are suppressed, weakened, or volatile. Once charged, damage from this weapon applies the same Void debuffs that were leeched. Weapon automatically reloads when you gain Devour, a Void overshield, or become invisible"

► With the ability to debuff everything in sight, Collective Obligation can shine as no other weapon can. That being said, you're almost required to create a build with it to make it worth your exotic slot. While this weapon has amazing potential, having to work to make your exotic feel "exotic" isn't great.
Season 16
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary

Exotic Perk: "This weapon leeches Void debuffs when damaging targets that are suppressed, weakened, or volatile. Once charged, damage from this weapon applies the same Void debuffs that were leeched. Weapon automatically reloads when you gain Devour, a Void overshield, or become invisible"
Destiny 2 Bad Juju art
Bad Juju
Pulse RifleExoticPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesB › AverageExotic Kiosk
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
Exotic Kiosk

Forsaken Pack
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...
Season 7
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."
Forge's Pledge Destiny 2 art
Forge's Pledge
Pulse RifleAdaptivePrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageIron Banner
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
Iron Banner

Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Heating Up (also good: Stats for All) + Rampage (also good: One for All)

► Despite the fact that Pulse Rifles have never been the meta in PVE, Forge's Pledge can roll with Rampage and other good perks, making it decent when the seasonal champion mods support it.
Season 15
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Heating Up (also good: Stats for All) + Rampage (also good: One for All)
Ogma PR6 Destiny 2 art
Ogma PR6
Pulse RifleLightweightPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageWorld loot pool
Average

B



Excels in:
PVE
World loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Demolitionist + Wellspring

► Containing some perk combinations we've never seen before, Ogma PR6 is definitely an underrated pick. Able to roll with both Demolitionist and Wellspring at the same time, this exact roll is a must-have for any player making ability-focused builds. Beyond that though, Ogma doesn't have much going for it.
Season 16
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

PVE God Roll: Demolitionist + Wellspring
Cold Denial Destiny 2 art
Cold Denial
Pulse RifleHigh-ImpactPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageWorld loot pool
Average

B



Excels in:
PVP
World loot pool

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 11
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

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

Stars in Shadow
Pulse RifleHigh-ImpactPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesB › AveragePlaylist: Crucible
Average

B



Excels in:
PVP
Playlist: Crucible

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 12
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Killing Wind (also good: Outlaw) + Kill Clip
Syncopation-53 Destiny 2 art
Syncopation-53
Pulse RifleAdaptivePrimaryStasisFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageWorld loot pool
Average

B



Excels in:
PVP
World loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Stasis icon Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Outlaw + Headstone

► Other than the fact that it is Stasis, and therefore can roll with Headstone, Syncopation-53 is an average weapon with not too many strong points.
Season 16
Slot: Stasis icon Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Outlaw + Headstone

Jian 7 Rifle
Pulse RifleAdaptivePrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageGunsmith
Average

B



Gunsmith

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 10
Slot: Arc Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

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

Last Perdition
Pulse RifleAdaptivePrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesB › AverageWorld loot pool
Average

B



World loot pool

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 11
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVP God Roll: Rampage (also good: Kill Clip) + Outlaw
Premonition Destiny 2 art
Premonition
Pulse RifleHigh-ImpactPrimaryVoidShadowkeepYesB › AveragePit of Heresy Dungeon
Average

B



Pit of Heresy Dungeon

Shadowkeep
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.
Season 13
Slot: Void Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVP God Roll: Killing Wind (also good: Feeding Frenzy) + Rampage
Jurassic Green Destiny 2 art
Jurassic Green
Pulse RifleRapid-FirePrimarySolarFree-to-PlayNoB › AverageEvent: Festival of the Lost
Average

B



Event: Festival of the Lost

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 15
Slot: Solar Energy | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Precision

PVP God Roll: Heating Up (also good: Rangefinder) + Adrenaline Junkie (also good: Multikill Clip)
Destiny 2 Graviton Lance art
Graviton Lance
Pulse RifleExoticPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesC › WeakExotic Engram
Weak

C



Exotic Engram

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 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."
Chattering Bone Destiny 2
Chattering Bone
Pulse RifleLightweightPrimaryKineticForsaken PackYesC › WeakLast Wish Raid
Weak

C



Last Wish Raid

Forsaken Pack
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.
Season 4
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Lightweight

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

Hailing Confusion
Pulse RifleAdaptivePrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesC › WeakEuropa
Weak

C



Europa

Free-to-Play
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.
Season 12
Slot: Kinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: Adaptive

PVE God Roll: Firmly Planted + Demolitionist
Perses-D Destiny 2 art
Perses-D
Pulse RifleHigh-ImpactPrimaryStasisFree-to-PlayYesC › WeakWorld loot pool
Weak

C



World loot pool

Free-to-Play
Slot: Stasis icon Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit + Explosive Payload (also good: Headstone)

► While Perses-D can roll with some of the best PVE scout rifle perks, it falls into an archetype that is extremely lacking, making other weapons (such as Night Watch and Hung Jury SR4) better picks overall.
Season 16
Slot: Stasis icon Kinetic | Ammo: Primary | Archetype: High-Impact

PVE God Roll: Rapid Hit + Explosive Payload (also good: Headstone)

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 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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Stars in ShadowPulse RifleHigh-ImpactLegendaryPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Average

B

PVPPlaylist: Crucible
Free-to-Play
Season 12EnergyNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Legal Action II Destiny 2 artLegal Action IIPulse RifleHigh-ImpactLegendaryPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Strong

A

PVPWorld loot pool
Free-to-Play
Season 15KineticNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Gridskipper Destiny 2 artGridskipperPulse RifleRapid-FireLegendaryPrimaryVoidFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryVoid Void
Strong

A

PVPUnobtainable
Free-to-Play
Season 14EnergyNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
The Third Axiom Destiny 2 artThe Third AxiomPulse RifleAdaptiveLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Strong

A

PVEPlaylist: Strikes
Free-to-Play
Season 13EnergyNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Sacred Provenance Destiny 2 artSacred ProvenancePulse RifleAggressive BurstLegendaryPrimaryKineticShadowkeepYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Strong

A

PVEGarden of Salvation Raid
Shadowkeep
Season 8KineticNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
BxR-55 Battler Destiny 2 artBxR-55 BattlerPulse RifleLegacy PR-55LegendaryPrimarySolarFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimarySolar Solar
Strong

A

PVE + PVPDares of Eternity
Free-to-Play
30th Anniversary eventEnergyNo

 

Vigilance Wing Pulse rigle 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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Destiny 2 Vigilance Wing artVigilance WingPulse RifleExoticExoticPrimaryKineticFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Strong

A

PVPExotic Engram
Free-to-Play
Season 1KineticNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
Darkest Before Destiny 2 artDarkest BeforePulse RifleRapid-FireLegendaryPrimaryArcFree-to-PlayYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryArc Arc
Strong

A

PVPProphecy Dungeon
Free-to-Play
Season 15EnergyNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
No Time to Explain Destiny 2No Time to ExplainPulse RifleExoticExoticPrimaryKineticBeyond LightYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PVPExotic Quest
Beyond Light
Season 12KineticNo

 

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.

ArtNameTypeArchetypeRarityAmmoElementRequirementsAvailable?Ammo?Element?TierExcelsSourceObtainable?RequiresReleasedSlotCraftable?
The Messenger Destiny 2 artThe MessengerPulse RifleHigh-ImpactLegendaryPrimaryKineticThe Witch QueenYesPrimary ammo Destiny 2 PrimaryKinetic symbol Destiny 2 Kinetic
Best

S

PVPTrials of Osiris
The Witch Queen
Season 13KineticNo

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?Ammo
Destiny 2 Outbreak Perfected artPulse Rifle

Outbreak Perfected

6,1457,340422,810With averaged 'nanites"--SamePrimary
No Time to Explain Destiny 2Pulse Rifle

No Time to Explain

3,6874,381371,126With Catalyst--SamePrimary
Destiny 2 Vigilance Wing artPulse Rifle

Vigilance Wing

3,6024,222215,100---SamePrimary
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleAdaptive2,8253,246194,778High handling, decent rangeThe Third Axiom Destiny 2 artThe Third AxiomSamePrimary
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleRapid-Fire2,7713,285137,970High aim assist, low rangeThe Time-Worn Spire Destiny 2 artThe Time-Worn SpireSamePrimary
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleAggressive Burst2,7443,232241,312Excellent range, low aim assistSacred Provenance Destiny 2 artSacred ProvenanceSamePrimary
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleHigh-Impact2,7203,281250,128High range & recoil, low aim assistThe Messenger Destiny 2 artThe MessengerSamePrimary
Destiny 2 Graviton Lance artPulse Rifle

Graviton Lance

2,7072,984271,733---SamePrimary
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2Pulse RifleLightweight2,5733,046160,805Excellent handling, low rangeChattering Bone Destiny 2Chattering BoneSamePrimary

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 TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
S › Best
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.
PVE Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
A › Strong
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.
PVE Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
A › Strong
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.
PVE Primaries
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
A › Strong
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.
PVE Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
B › Average
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.
PVE Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
B › Average
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.
PVE Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
C › Weak
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.
PVE Primaries

The current Meta for PVP

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

Weapon TypeRankTierTrendRole ❘ Current StateCategory
Hand cannon weapon type Destiny 2
Hand Cannons
S › Best
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).
PVP Primaries
Pulse rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Pulse Rifles
S › Best
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.
PVP Primaries
Sidearm weapon type Destiny 2
Sidearms
A › Strong
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.
PVP Primaries
SMG weapon type Destiny 2
Submachine Guns
B › Average
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.
PVP Primaries
Combat bow weapon type Destiny 2
Combat Bows
B › Average
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.
PVP Primaries
Auto rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Auto Rifles
B › Average
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.
PVP Primaries
Scout rifle weapon type Destiny 2
Scout Rifles
C › Weak
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.
PVP Primaries

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

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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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