It’s no secret that Destiny 2 has objectively never been more accessible to the average user, what with the game going Free to Play on all platforms and with crossplay coming later this year, it’s safe to say we’re more inundated with new guardians than ever. While the PvE scene is filled with helpful guides as always on what general guns are good to watch out for, what activities to grind in order to obtain your basic work horse weapons, the average kinderguardian will be walking into the Crucible playlist right now and have little to no clue what to utilise in order to keep up with today’s weapon meta. To counteract this issue, this is a guide that will consist of how to obtain relevant guns for PvP success split up into 3 segments!
The 3 sections of this guide will consist of:
Tier 1: World/Playlist Drop Weapons
These are weapons that can drop through Strikes, Crucible or Gambit, and are available to all players regardless of whether they are solo or in a clan! If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for having just started out or if you’ve always written off PvP and just now want to get into it due to that slick looking Trials armor, this section will set you up with simple to obtain weapons that will treat you well.
Tier 2: Targeted Sources (Mid-Game)
These weapons’ sources will come from specific matchmade activities (Altars of Sorrow, Iron Banner, etc.) While you will not run into these naturally and will have to go out of your way to do these activities, the weapons that drop from them will reward your investment. While these activities will be easier with a group, they still have solo paths to farming weapons.
Tier 3: Targeted Sources (End-Game)
In this tier, the weapons will either come from end-game PvE activities (Secret Missions, Raids) or end-game PvP activites (Trials of Osiris). Up until this section no weapons have required DLCs, however Tier 3 will assume you have access to all 3 DLCs and the ability to LFG for a group. If you are not used to end-game activities wherein you are forced to go out of your way to find a fireteam, being a solo player or new to the game, there are various ways to do so. Destiny 2 on PC has various LFG Discords and, though I am not an Xbox player myself, I’ve been told there is an in-game LFG system for those platforms.
A final note before we begin the guide: regardless of perk pools and stats, weapons are very personal! If you find a gun you feel works for you & you can slay out crucible matches with it then use it, regardless of whether it’s the crustiest blue hand cannon you’ve ever seen. In addition, these tiers do not denote a gun’s worth or effectiveness, only the ease through which you may obtain it: some Tier 1 guns may feel “better” than Tier 3 guns, it’s all up to you.
Bottom Dollar: Void Hand Cannon, 120 RPM (Source: Gambit match completions)
Bottom Dollar is a potential drop from every Gambit match completion, win or loss. Its perk pool is gargantuan, with 12 potential perks in each main perk slot, however this works in the guns favour in that it has many potential usable rolls. Feeding Frenzy + Rampage, Quickdraw + Opening Shot, Rangefinder + Opening Shot, Outlaw + Multikill Clip or any combination of all these perks will provide you with a slow but reliable PvP Hand Cannon attainable relatively simply. Simply, however, does not mean easily, as the drop rate from the end-of-playlist-activity weapons is rather low & diluted with other world drop weapons at the moment.
Frozen Orbit: Void Sniper, 72 RPM (Source: Crucible match completions)
Frozen Orbit drops in the same way as Bottom Dollar, however instead may drop from any Crucible match completion. 72 RPM snipers usually have low handling, and so either Quickdraw or Snapshot Sights is considered essential by the majority of the community. If you land a Frozen Orbit with either of these perks it will do well as a high power-cap reliable PvP sniper, though as you will see, Aggressive Frame snipers can feel sluggish and heavy in comparison to some of the other snipers on this list.
Retrofuturist: Void Shotgun, 80 RPM (Source: World drops/Gunsmith Engrams)
Retrofuturist has the potential to drop through any legendary engram, and though it may appear bland, do not overlook this as a strong & reliable gateway into shotgunning. As a lightweight frame its handling is intrinsically higher, however Quickdraw is still an S-tier perk on any Retrofuturist. For your second perk column you can pair anything with Quickdraw, however for PvP either Snapshot Sights or Swashbuckler will most likely provide you with the best neutral-game benefits. For your barrel & magazine options, either Rifled Barrel or Full Choke are your best options for any shotgun, & Accurized Rounds for your magazine perk, though magazines do not massively affect shotgun consistency in PvP.
True Prophecy: Kinetic Hand Cannon, 120 RPM (Source: World drops/Gunsmith Engrams)
True Prophecy sports an impressive perk pool full of desirable traits, however is marred by its power cap. The gun sunsets at the end of this season, a phrase that will crop up multiple times, and means that its power will be capped at a certain amount for the rest of Destiny 2 unless it is reissued in a different form. While this does not affect regular playlist activities, anything power enabled will chew through sunset weapons, & it is heavily advised not to use them in any competitive scenario. If you do manage to land a True Prophecy you will be looking for any roll with Opening Shot or Rangefinder to pair with Rampage, Explsoive rounds or Timed Payload. Any roll will perform well, however these will provide the most consistent success.
Stars in Shadow: Solar Pulse Rifle, 340 RPM (Source: Crucible match completions)
Though it may not look like much, Stars in Shadow will eat alive anyone who underestimates it, and has carried me to the Lighthouse with its strengths. Another weapon with a deep perk pool Stars in Shadow has the potential for some incredible consistency, such as Firmly Planted + Headseeker, Killing Wind + Moving Target, Surplus + Demolitionist, and the incredible Outlaw + Kill Clip. If you see a Stars in Shadow drop, do not overlook it, as the time-to-kill of High-Impact Pulse Rifles is not at all to be overlooked, and Stars in Shadow will likely be the easiest attainable one for the foreseeable future.
Xenoclast IV: Arc Shotgun, 80 RPM (Source: Strike completions)
Xenoclast is an oddity in that despite it not rolling with Quickdraw it still presents a strong option in its diverse perk pool and Lightweight Frame for any aspiring shotgunners. Interesting perks include Slideshot/Slideways + Killing Wind, Surplus + Demolitionist or any Auto-Loading Holster roll. While Xenoclast will not stretch to the lengths that other PvP shotguns will, nor will it provide the best results, it is a solid Lightweight Frame shotgun that will get the job done while you search for something better.
Honorary Mention: Felwinter’s Lie: Solar Shotgun, 55 RPM (Source: Monument to Lost Lights Exotic Archive)
No list of PvP weapons would be complete without mentioning Felwinter’s Lie, however it may not hold its oppressive dominance over competitive Crucible for long enough to be considered an option worth recommending for numerous reasons. First of all, the shotgun sunsets at the end of the current season, and so you will get at most 3 more months of mileage out of it in Trials of Osiris & Iron Banner before the gun becomes unworthy of your energy slot. Second, its source of the Exotic Archive makes it a guaranteed drop, however for the hefty price of an Ascendant Shard it may not be the most accessible for a player first starting out. Its rolls of Quickdraw + Opening Shot cannot be beat, and the Shot Package perk providing it with a fixed spread mean that it is among the most consistent shotguns in the history of Destiny 2, but as far as competitive options go you would be better off not getting used to having this for too long.
The Palindrome: Void Hand Cannon, 140 RPM (Source, Nightfall: The Ordeal Completions *May require DLC depending on the week)
The Palindrome is a returning classic from Destiny 1, and while it may no longer be present in the Kinetic slot, it still packs some killer perk options. Outlaw + Rampage, Killing Wind + Rangefinder, Quickdraw + Rangefinder, even Overflow + Rampage if you want to get especially frisky. Its drop source is its biggest obstacle, in that it will only drop when it is the rotated weapon in Nightfall: The Ordeal, and depending on the week it may be a strike that requires DLC to own. If you own everything however, Palindrome will be a consistent and powerful option, its Adept version even moreso if you eventually brave a Grandmaster Ordeal.
Blasphemer: Kinetic Slug Shotgun, 65 RPM (Source: Altars of Sorrow Moon Event/Pit of Heresy Dungeon)
While there are technically two versions of the Blasphemer, one with exclusive perks dropping only from the Shadowkeep Dungeon and one with general perks, for the purposes of PvP you need only worry about one roll: Quickdraw + Opening Shot. This roll can be acquired through completion of the Altars of Sorrow public event in Sorrow’s Harbour on the Moon when the boss that day is dropping the shotgun, or at any point if you find a group for the Dungeon, but either will award you with your new Slug Shotgun. While these are not as easy to utilise as pellet shotguns, their ranges can stretch farther and being in the Kinetic slot, there are many weapons you can pair with Blasphemer. As a bonus, as far as I am aware, Altars of Sorrow and their associated weapon drops are free to all players, and so even without access to Pit of Heresy you can still obtain this weapon regardless.
Bite of the Fox: Kinetic Sniper Rifle, 72 RPM (Source: Iron Banner match completions/Token turn-ins)
Bite of the Fox is the first Iron Banner weapon on the list and it presents a unique opportunity in a Kinetic PvP sniper. Snapshot + Opening Shot will be a roll to prioritise, however the gun’s ability to roll Snapshot + Moving Target may appeal to the more mobile Sniper Rifle players. The only other current Kinetic Aggressive Frame Sniper is locked behind Beyond Light’s Deep Stone Crypt raid, and while it certainly does make for a good PvP Sniper, Bite of the Fox is far more attainable for the average player.
Adored: Arc Sniper Rifle, 90 RPM (Source: Forging Your Own Path quest)
Adored, while not the most unique of options, may be the only sniper some players use until it is sunset. Not only is it based on the fan favourite Sniper Rifle Beloved, it plays like it; with Snapshot Sights and Killing Wind Adored is a consistent, if potentially grind-gated option. Though the quest isn’t necessarily complicated, if you choose the Crucible path to gaining Adored you will want some sniping expertise beforehand, however your efforts will be rewarded with the perfect pairing to any kinetic weapon for those longer ranges.
The Steady Hand: Kinetic Hand Cannon, 120 RPM (Source: Iron Banner match completions/Token turn-ins)
The Steady Hand provides a reliable, if slightly less powerful alternative to True Prophecy upon its eventual sunset at the end of this season. While Steady Hand’s perk selection is lacking in comparison to its competition, an Outlaw + Swashbuckler roll presents some brutality, or my personal pocket pick; Quickdraw + Wellspring. There are merits to Quickdraw + Snapshot Sights too, however Steady Hand’s main niche is simply being a reliable 120 RPM Kinetic Hand Cannon. It has a niche, and it fulfills it to great effect.
Extraordinary Rendition: Kinetic Submachine Gun, 750 RPM (Source: Battlegrounds Playlist/Chosen-Focused Umbral Engrams *Requires Season Ownership)
Extraordinary Rendition appears as the first PvP-oriented Submachine Gun on the list, and for good reason. Until recently, console/controller viability for Submachine Guns was next to none due to barely controllable recoil, however with recent changes the archetype is usable for short-mid range gunfights for a powerful pocket tool. Extraordinary Rendition lives up to its name with some extraordinary rolls, such as Zen Moment + Tap the Trigger, Overflow + Multikill Clip/Rampage, and a strong newcomer perk, Frenzy. Though definitely not viable on every map, SMGs are not to be overlooked, and Extraordinary Rendition makes a strong case for itself.
The Guiding Sight: Kinetic Scout Rifle, 150 RPM (Source: Iron Banner match completions/Token turn-ins)
The Guiding Sight presents a unique opportunity for a relatively easily obtainable yet incredibly deadly Scout Rifle option, with the right roll. Due to sitting just outside of the meta for many years, a good portion of the playerbase has written off Scout Rifles completely, however due to way in which The Guiding Sight interacts with the perk Iron Gaze, its stickiness will not let you down. For clarification, Iron Gaze is a perk which massively increases weapon target acquisition (which translates to aim assist in non-Bungie lingo) for the cost of range, however due to its intrinsic extreme range as a Scout Rifle, Guiding Sight reaps all the benefits with barely any of the drawbacks, as Bungie have removed all of the extreme range maps which would have utilised the lost range. If in your grind for Iron Banner weapons a Guiding Sight drops into your lap, give it a try, as it may surprise you.
Waking Vigil: Arc Hand Cannon, 140 RPM (Source: Dreaming City Activities/Shattered Throne Dungeon)
A tried and true yet incredibly deadly option, Waking Vigil has returned in updated power cap form to us this season, and it remains a high-tier Hand Cannon option for those so inclined. While the perk pool separation from Dungeon to other activities is not entirely clear, the rolls you will be chasing will be any combination of Outlaw/Rapid Hit + Opening Shot/Kill Clip depending on your playstyle. Rapid Hit + Opening Shot will present far more consistency, where as Outlaw + Kill Clip will provide lethality. As one of the only Hand Cannons left with Outlaw + Kill Clip, Waking Vigil presents a strong argument for why to go after it, plus both this and the next weapon should both be available to all players due to being drops from the Dreaming City!
Retold Tale: Void Shotgun, 65 RPM (Source: Dreaming City Activities/Shattered Throne Dungeon)
Returning along with Waking Vigil, Retold Tale’s drop sources and perks are similar in both their effectiveness and lethality. Even in its updated form, the Shotgun can roll with Full Choke/Rifled Barrel, Accurized Rounds, Quickdraw and any number of perks in the in the second column, however a good combo to watch for is Quickdraw + Killing Wind for the extra bump to range. As far as energy Shotgun options go, Retold Tale will most likely be the go-to option for any serious shotgunners in end-game PvP.
Honorary Mention: Sturm: Kinetic Hand Cannon, 120 RPM (Source: Monument to Lost Lights Exotic Archive)
Sturm goes under honorary mentions due to requiring the grinding for an Exotic Cipher in order to be purchased from the Exotic Kiosk, however the grind is well worth it (plus it’s available to all players!) While Sturm is an exotic it earns its place in the arsenal of any aspiring guardian with its monster set of stats, which are improved even further by its exotic catalyst. It may not be as flashy as Ace of Spades or Thorn, however neither of those can reach past 40 metres in the ways that Sturm can. For a non-sunset 120 RPM Hand Cannon option, look no further.
Hawkmoon: Kinetic Hand Cannon, 140 RPM (Source: Let Loose Thy Talons quest/Harbinger Mission *Season of the Hunt Content – Requires Beyond Light: Deluxe Edition)
Hawkmoon shares its strengths in much the same places Sturm does, with a couple of extra bonuses. First, the base stats of the gun itself are incredibly high and make for a consistent option to pair with almost anything. These can be improved even further by grinding for randomly rolled Hawkmoons in the Harbinger mission, though this is best attempted with a group of 3 people. Second, the Paracausal Shot perk both forces its user to pace their shots in order to make the most of it, effectively creating the perfect training tool for headshots. A well-rolled Hawkmoon will never sunset, and that immediately puts it at the top of many peoples’ lists, meaning if you own the requisite DLCs to do the mission or you bought last season and never made the most of it, go grab yourself a Hawkmoon.
The Supremacy: Kinetic Sniper Rifle, 140 RPM (Source: Last Wish Raid *Requires Destiny 2: Forsaken)
Supremacy is a tried-and-true sniper rifle choice for many people. Having been in the game for many years and receiving continually increased power caps all the way to 1410, combined with an incredibly small perk pool, it is likely for a Supremacy to be both a reliable & effective choice for the Kinetic slot. Snapshot is a given, and most second column perks will be good, though some interesting things can be done with Kill Clip or Rampage.
Premonition: Void Pulse Rifle, 340 RPM (Source: Pit of Heresy Dungeon *Requires Destiny 2: Shadowkeep)
Premonition, having recently returned to us with an updated power cap, presents a far-reaching High-Impact Pulse Rifle option with solid rolls. Feeding Frenzy + Headseeker/Rampage, Moving Target + Headseeker, Zen Moment + Headseeker are all solid options, and being in the energy slot means the Kinetic slot is freed up for a special weapon or Exotic. An all-around consistent choice for a primary weapon, Premonition remains one of my personal favourites.
Heritage: Kinetic Slug Shotgun, 65 RPM (Source: Deep Stone Crypt Raid *Requires Destiny 2: Beyond Light)
On top of looking absolutely stunning, Heritage’s consistency and feel make up for its somewhat difficult acquisition path. Though it cannot roll with Quickdraw, a Snapshot Sights/Reconstruction roll will ensure that in much the same situations you would be whipping out that Felwinter’s, a Heritage will do so before the enemy even gets within spitting distance, and it will keep them that way due to the extra range Slug Shotguns provide.
Succession: Kinetic Sniper Rifle, 72 RPM (Source: Deep Stone Crypt Raid *Requires Destiny 2: Beyond Light)
Sluggish but powerful, Succession manages to both look good and offer a Kinetic 72 RPM Sniper option with unique perks. Snapshot Sights in the second column means that the first column has room for perks like Moving Target and Slideways, or even Killing Wind for the increase in target acquisition. Though it may be unwieldy, Succession will put down anyone you throw it at with ease, provided you hit your shots.
Trustee: Solar Scout Rifle, 260 RPM (Source: Deep Stone Crypt Raid *Requires Destiny 2: Beyond Light)
A surprisingly powerful option, Trustee makes up for a slower time-to-kiil by being both incredibly forgiving and consistent. Perk combinations are limitless, with Surplus + Wellspring, Reconstruction + Redirection, Reconstruction + Opening Shot, Zen Moment + Opening Shot, or even Zen Moment + High-Impact Reserves. As a faster firing Scout Rifle it has intrinsic Full Auto, letting you lay down on the trigger for as long as you want. Any time a bounty calls on Scout Rifle Kills in PvP, expect to see quite a few of these.
Sacred Provenance: Kinetic Pulse Rifle, 450 RPM (Source, Garden of Salvation Raid *Requires Destiny 2: Shadowkeep)
Aggressive Frame Pulse Rifles are notorious for hitting like a truck, and Sacred Provenance is no different. With a small perk pool and deadly perks combined with a great gunfeel, the only reason the gun isn’t a no-brainer for Pulse Rifle users is its drop source. The greatest perk combination to look out for would be Rapid Hit + Kill Clip, though any combination would serve just fine when the time-to-kill is so relaxed. If you have one, make use of its extended range and give it a whirl!
Omniscient Eye: Solar Sniper Rifle, 140 RPM (Source, Garden of Salvation Raid *Requires Destiny 2: Shadowkeep)
Though nothing special, Omniscient Eye deserves a mention for its small perk pool & equally good feel. While energy 140 RPM snipers litter drop sources, Omniscient Eye brings a unique shooting experience different to most Veist Sniper Rifles that populate the 140 RPM archetype, and with snapshot it is impossible to go wrong. Where sniping is mainly based on feel for many people, Omniscient Eye may turn out to be your new slaying machine.
Igneous Hammer: Solar Hand Cannon, 120 RPM (Source: Trials of Osiris)
The first of two Trials of Osiris weapons on the list, Igneous Hammer represents the end-goal for many PvP players. A 120 RPM Hand Cannon with good range, a larger magazine and a superbly small perk pool populated by reliable combinations that complement the archetype means that Igneous Hammer is the obvious choice for a 120. Such combinations include Rapid Hit + Rampage, Outlaw + Rampage, Rapid Hit + One for All, or even Killing Wind + Moving Target. If you somehow manage to land yourself an Adept version enjoy the extra stats that come with masterworking, as this will be your first choice for an Aggressive Frame Hand Cannon for the next year to come in PvP.
The Messenger: Kinetic Pulse Rifle, 340 RPM (Source: Trials of Osiris)
A High-Impact Pulse Rifle in the Kinetic slot immediately put Messenger at the top of many aspiring eyes’ lists, however the reasons for its desirability only increase when wandering to perks. While the second column contains various good options such as Kill Clip and Headseeker, the premiere perk is Desperado; a perk that increases rate of fire after reloading post-precision kill. While I could describe the perk myself, it’s better to let this clip describe it to you. (Credit to TattooedFox) Outlaw + Desperado or Rapid Hit + Desperado is absolutely the way to go with Messenger, and if you decide to try your hand at Trials this weekend, you’ll be delighted to find out that Saint-14’s bounty is currently offering the Messenger as its reward, so go get one while you can!
Footnote: Where are all the heavy weapons?
Answer: Simple! Pick up whatever Machine Gun, Grenade Launcher or Rocket Launcher works for you and use it! Some people prefer specific heavies, such as The Wardcliff Coil or The Colony, however I find that the best heavy is absolutely the one that works best for you. Trying to force yourself to use something just because someone has said it’s good would go against the whole point of this guide, and it’s best for you to find one that gets you kills.
Well, that was a lot of information! Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, the guide was designed with taking the tiers system into mind: once you feel you’ve got a handle of Tier 1’s weapons, you can move up to attaining Tier 2’s weapons, etc.
Though this was moreso designed with newer players in mind, this can apply to anyone, and even better if you get some use out of it. If the reception is positive I may design one for PvE, but for now enjoy reading!