The Best Weapons for PVE in Destiny 2 (September 2023 Meta Tier List)

Witherhoard

There are so many weapons in Destiny 2 that it can be hard to know which are best suited for PVE, Crucible, or Gambit. You’ve got a bank full of weapons, sure, but which ones should you actually be using? While it’s possible to just hop into PVE and see what your teammates are using, that’s not a fun way to figure out what’s what. So here we are, sharing the best PVE weapons in the current meta so that you can work out your loadout before diving into your next strike or dungeon.

Further, while all the listed weapons are solid, remember that certain perks, builds, and loadout combinations will make some much more powerful than others in some instances.

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Process

We based our picks on a combination of a few different sources. The primary one is the Charlemagne Discord bot, which, among other things, reports the current meta and tracks weapon popularity for each game mode. We also use general community consensus from the Destiny subreddit, PVE weapon meta statistics from the TRN Tracker Network, and our own PVE experiences.

Guide last updated on September 2023 by Whitney Meers.

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Destiny 2 PVE Tier List

Want a quick rundown? Here are all of the best weapons in a tier list format. Detailed explanations for each of the selections is available below.

Witherhoard

Witherhoard

CALUS Mini-Tool

CALUS Mini-Tool

Hothead

Hothead

Thunderlord

Thunderlord

Commemoration

Commemoration

Rufus's Fury

Rufus’s Fury

The Other Half

The Other Half

Riptide

Riptide

Necrochasm

Necrochasm

Quicksilver Storm

Quicksilver Storm

Sunshot

Sunshot

The Lament

The Lament

Retrofit Escapade

Retrofit Escapade

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

Osteo Striga

Osteo Striga

Forbearance

Forbearance

Ammit AR2

Ammit AR2

Gjallarhorn

Gjallarhorn

Fatebringer

Fatebringer

Funnelweb

Funnelweb

Outbreak Perfected

Outbreak Perfected

Deliverance

Deliverance

Wish-Ender

Wish-Ender

Riskrunner

Riskrunner

Trinity Ghoul

Trinity Ghoul

Centrifuse

Centrifuse

Malfeasance

Malfeasance

Arbalest

Arbalest

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades

Brya's Love

Brya’s Love

Abyss Defiant

Abyss Defiant

Falling Guillotine

Falling Guillotine

Izanagi’s Burden

Izanagi’s Burden

Le Monarque

Le Monarque

Acasia's Dejection

Acasia’s Dejection

Apex Predator

Apex Predator

Xenophage

Xenophage

Submission

Submission

Corrective Measure

Corrective Measure

Coldheart

Coldheart

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3

Conditional Finality

Conditional Finality

Graviton Lance

Graviton Lance

The Eremite

The Eremite

Word of Crota

Word of Crota

Kept Confidence

Kept Confidence

Tractor Cannon

Tractor Cannon

Half-Truths

Half-Truths

Divinity

Divinity

Cataclysmic

Cataclysmic

Nessa's Obligation

Nessa’s Obligation

Ager's Scepter

Ager’s Scepter

Taipan-fr4

Taipan-fr4

Austringer

Austringer

The Palindrome

The Palindrome

Heritage

Heritage

Perpetualis

Perpetualis

Leviathan's Breath

Leviathan’s Breath

Gnawing Hunger

Gnawing Hunger

Destiny 2 Best PVE Kinetic Weapons

SMG

Osteo Striga

Osteo Striga

Osteo Striga remains uncontested as one of the best and most fun to use guns in the game. When combined with the catalyst, it’s entirely possible for you to mow down waves of enemies — both major and minor — without reloading. The weapon returns much more ammo than others, often leaving you with over 100 rounds in the clip. It’s a stupidly powerful SMG that’s only enhanced when combined with Exotics like Necrotic Grips, which makes spreading the poison even easier.

Submission 

destiny2bestsmgs-submission.jpg

This Vow of the Disciple raid weapon is a strong option that you can craft with some solid trait combinations. It also has the best possible recoil for an SMG, making it a top contender for aggressive playstyles.

Bow

Wish-Ender 

destiny2wishender.jpg

Wish-Ender is an extremely good bow in endgame activities. It’s capable of decimating Champion-tier enemies and dealing significant single-target damage. Even though it’s not the flashiest weapon in the game, you should try this bow for endgame content. 

Destiny 2 Wish-Ender GuideSource: Hunter’s Remembrance quest from Petra Venj and defeat three secret bosses in Shattered Throne.Craftable: No.

Auto Rifle

Rufus’s Fury 

Best Gambit Weapons in Destiny 2, Rufus's Fury

Rufus’s Fury remains one of the best Legendary auto rifles out there. Tied to the Root of Nightmares raid, Rufus’s Fury rolls with exceptional perks, giving it a ton of flexibility.

Quicksilver Storm

Quicksilver Storm

Quicksilver Storm exploded in popularity with the catalyst that changes it to a Strand firearm. One of the best ways to consistently create Tangles in the game, Quicksilver Storm is now a go-to weapon.

Monte Carlo

monte carlo catalyst destiny 2, Best Energy Weapons in Destiny 2

Monte Carlo is seeing a resurgence in PVE content and remains strong, even if newer weapons tend to dominate the meta around their release. 

Perpetualis

Best Gambit Weapons in Destiny 2, Perpetualis

If you don’t want to burn your Exotic slot but also haven’t gotten your hands on a solid Rufus’s Fury roll, you can also lean into Perpetualis, a Strand auto rifle you can craft with the Hatchling perk to spawn Threadlings. 

Necrochasm

Necrochasm

Crota’s End raiders are having a field day with Necrochasm, which triggers Cursed Thrall explosions that also refill the weapon’s magazine. Due to its inherent ad-killing potential, it’s been a top pick since Bungie dropped its newest reprised raid.

Pulse Rifle

Outbreak Perfected

Outbreak Perfected

Outbreak Perfected continues to dominate the charts due to the catalyst and its overall stats. Rarely is there a situation where Outbreak Perfected isn’t one of the best choices, as it boasts terrific range and damage while synergizing wonderfully with anyone else using the gun. Seriously, you can’t overlook the damage increases you get from multiple Outbreaks. There’s a reason this is an excellent choice during day-one raids.

Hand Cannon

Fatebringer 

Fatebringer

A large segment of the Destiny 2 player base will use hand cannons, whether meta or not, just because so many of them feel so good to use. Among the numerous solid hand cannon options, Fatebringer, both Adept and regular, remains among the most popular. The weapon has so much history that it will be hard for many players to overcome that and trade it away for something else.

Austringer

Austringer

If you don’t have Fatebringer, Austringer is craftable, so after you unlock the pattern, you can piece together your perfect god roll. 

Kept Confidence

Kept Confidence

With a major PVE hand cannon buff in Destiny 2 Season 22, Guardians are having a hell of a time with the all-new Kept Confidence, which is Season of the Witch’s Strand hand cannon.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades

If you’re down for using your Exotic slot on a kinetic hand cannon, Ace of Spades will grant you a few higher-damage bullets after reloading. Plus, it just feels great to use, making it a reliable choice for PVE activities.

Malfeasance

destiny2malfeasance.jpg

Malfeasance has exploding rounds and does extra damage against Taken. While it’s a favorite weapon to many, it also now has a catalyst that grants it Vorpal Weapon, thereby allowing it to do more damage to bosses and vehicles.

Fusion Rifle

Deliverance

Deliverance is a Stasis fusion rifle from the Vow of the Disciple raid. This weapon is already highly potent and capable of rolling with both Demolitionist and Chill Clip. The ability to craft it and add enhanced perks takes it over the top, making it even more powerful. It’s a popular choice for those who prefer an energy primary weapon. 

Riptide

Riptide

Riptide is also here for the same reasons as Deliverance, as this Stasis fusion rifle is an absolute monster against Champions and perfect for those looking to grind challenging activities.

Linear Fusion Rifle

Arbalest

Arbalest

Arbalest has been a go-to DPS weapon for a good time now. Even with a 15% damage nerf in late 2022, it’s still a solid choice for those big baddies you can’t seem to take down. It’s inherently strong against Barrier Champions. The catalyst adds a handling buff and upgrades it so that breaking an enemy’s shields will fill its magazine from reserves. Also, The catalyst perk causes energy weapons to regenerate ammo when matching damage types to enemy shields. It’s no wonder the game’s best players still rely on this weapon in endgame content.

Trace Rifle

Ager’s Scepter

Ager’s Scepter

When it comes to trace rifles, there aren’t a ton of top-tier options. Ager’s Scepter is one of the best trace rifles in Destiny 2. The Exotic Stasis weapon boasts unparalleled crowd control, allowing the user to easily freeze and slow mass groups of enemies. This makes it terrific for endgame or high-difficulty content where you cannot instantly slay every foe that crosses your path. 

Grenade Launcher

Witherhoard

Witherhoard is the best non-power weapon grenade launcher, making it a go-to if you aren’t using another Exotic. Its capacity to deal direct damage and control chokepoints makes it a super good tool for most loadouts. Grandmaster Nightfalls, dungeons, raids, you name it. Witherhoard continues to be a go-to for any type of PVE content for casual and serious players.

Shotgun

Conditional Finality

Conditional Finality

Conditional Finality is a double-barrel shotgun you can earn from the Root of Nightmares raid, though you may need to complete some triumphs to improve its drop rate. Capable of both Freezing enemies with Stasis and Igniting them with Solar ignitions, this weapon packs a punch. Dealing high damage at the cost of range, Conditional Finality is a surprisingly adaptive weapon that bulldozes through Champions thanks to its immediate freeze upon hitting an enemy with the majority of the pellets. This alone would make it strong, but you can also ignite foes with the second round and turn them into a big Solar bomb.

Heritage

destiny2heritage.jpg

Heritage is no Conditional Finality, but it’s great for doing close-range DPS boss damage. It is craftable with perk combinations like Reconstruction, which causes it to reload itself over time, and Recombination, where elemental final blows increase the next shot’s overall damage.

Sniper Rifle

Izanagi’s Burden

 

Izanagi’s Burden is a solid burst damage weapon that shoots like a laser and works wonders in almost any difficult endgame activity. 

Destiny 2 Best PVE Energy Weapons

Sidearm

Brigand’s Law

Brigand's Law

Beloved by many, Brigand’s Law is an Arc sidearm that is disgusting with Arc subclasses. Much of this is thanks to Voltshot, which Jolts nearby targets whenever you kill an enemy after reloading. It’s superb, allowing you to swiftly slay multiple enemies simultaneously, which is usually a problem with other sidearms. You can also craft it, allowing players to select the exact perks they want, alleviating the grind for a god roll.

Submachine Gun

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3

Best Weapons in Destiny 2, IKELOS SMG V1.0.3

The IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3 is simply one of the game’s best SMGs. The hard-hitting Arc weapon has limited recoil and can roll with Feeding Frenzy and Voltshot, and combining it with an Arc subclass can trigger all sorts of complementary effects. The only way you can currently get it is from Xur, so keep an eye on him and his offerings. 

Funnelweb 

Best Gambit Weapons in Destiny 2, Funnelweb SMG

Funnelweb, a “baby” version of the highly utilized Recluse pinnacle weapon, remains among the most popular SMGs in the game. Much of this is thanks to its deep perk pool. It’s a superstar if you can get the coveted Frenzy perk, which increases damage while in combat. 

CALUS Mini-Tool 

CALUS Mini-Tool

The CALUS Mini-Tool feels great to use, and you can craft it with Incandescent, a trait that causes Scorch to spread to nearby foes whenever one is defeated. Perfect for keeping the damage rolling, particularly when leveraged with Solar subclass synergies.

Riskrunner

Best Energy Weapons in Destiny 2, Riskrunner

Riskrunner remains one of the game’s best SMGs, as it absolutely shreds. This is true especially when Arc enemies trigger its Arc Conductor Exotic perk, which causes it to become more powerful and resist incoming Arc damage. Kills extend this overcharged state, and its complementary Supercharged trait means it can then chain lightning and return ammo. The catalyst extends this weapon’s range considerably. This can be one of the best weapons for PVE ad clear and farming sessions.

Bow

Le Monarque 

Best Energy Weapons in Destiny 2, Le Monarque

Despite taking up an Exotic slot, Le Monarque is a solid bow option that can quickly wipe out hordes of enemies with only a few well-placed shots. It’s an excellent pick for those who love bows. 

Trinity Ghoul

Trinity Ghoul

Trinity Ghoul is another favorite among bow enthusiasts, as precision kills grant chain lighting. The catalyst applies that to any Arc damage final blow, making it potent for Arc builds. 

Source: Exotic engram.Craftable: No.

Hand Cannon

Palindrome  

The Palindrome 

Boasting terrific stats and perks, the Palindrome has been extremely popular since Bungie introduced it. It can roll with some great perk combos and is a Void weapon, rendering it a top-tier option for anyone looking to use a hand cannon with Void synergies. 

Source: Nightfall or Vanguard engram focusing on rotation.Craftable: No.

Sunshot

Sunshot

Sunshot has always been popular, and its status as a 150 RPM hand cannon makes it a unique and strong choice. Also, its Sun Blast effect — which is a Solar energy explosion — is useful for PVE ad-clear.

Source: Exotic engram.Craftable: No.

Word of Crota

 

Word of Crota is a new addition to the game in Season of the Witch, but it will remain popular as it is craftable with traits like Dragonfly and Sword Logic. Also, this weapon comes with the Cursed Thrall origin trait. The combination of those three means your final blows cause you to do more damage and the enemies you kill are subject to elemental explosions.

Source: Crota’s End raid.Craftable: Yes.

Grenade Launcher

Forbearance 

Forbearance

Forbearance remains a top choice for Energy grenade launchers. This is a useful weapon as projectiles grant energy waves when they hit the ground. The Chain Reaction perk means it will create an elemental damage explosion, absolutely shredding any enemies that get the path of a grenade. You can get it from Vow of the Disciple, and if you’re lucky enough to get red border versions of this weapon, you can craft it to your liking with enhanced perks, making it a banger of a weapon.

Source: Vow of the Disciple raid.Craftable: Yes.

Auto Rifle

Centrifuse

Best Weapons in Destiny 2, Centrifuse

The Centrifuse Arc auto rifle, inducing charged explosions and blinding targets, is excellent for ad-clear in PVE. And, as a bonus, sprinting also reloads the weapon.

Source: Season pass reward (Season 21).Craftable: No.

Gnawing Hunger 

Gnawing Hunger

Gnawing Hunger is a longtime fan-favorite Legendary Void auto rifle that is a staple go-to when you need an energy auto rifle to knock out enemies.

Source: Gambit engram focusing when on rotation.Craftable: No.

Ammit AR2

Best Gambit Weapons in Destiny 2, Ammit AR2

Ammit AR2 is a Legendary Solar auto rifle that can roll with Incandescent to scorch any nearby enemies when you defeat a target. It also feels really good to use, which is partially why it sees so much action in both PVE and PVP.

Source: Foundry Resonance quest in The Witch Queen expansion.Craftable: Yes.

Abyss Defiant

Abyss Defiant

Another PVE favorite is the Abyss Defiant, a Solar auto rifle you can get as a Crota’s End drop that causes enemies to explode with its Cursed Thrall origin trait. It’s also craftable with traits like Heal Clip and Incandescent, so this weapon will continue to be a hot commodity for the foreseeable future.

Source: Crota’s End raid.Craftable: Yes.

Trace Rifle

Coldheart

 

Coldheart’s steady Arc fusion laser is solid as it produces Ionic Traces, making it a really powerful weapon. It’s completely underrated but it absolutely melts. 

Source: Exotic engrams.Craftable: No.

Divinity 

Divinity

If you’re willing to put in the work to get Divinity, it’s well worth the chase. Many players consider this a must-have for high-stakes endgame content.

Source: Divine Fragmentation quest and Garden of Salvation raid.Craftable: No.

Acasia’s Dejection

Acasia’s Dejection

Acasia’s Dejection, a Root of Nightmares raid drop, is easier to get than Divinity and is also craftable with enhanced traits like Envious Assassin and Incandescent if you’re willing to grind for those red border options. However, this Solar trace rifle not an Exotic like Coldheart and Divinity, so it’s a solid option if you want to keep your Exotic weapon slot open for something else.

Source: Root of Nightmares raid.Craftable: Yes.

Scout Rifle

Brya’s Love

Brya’s Love, Deepsight

This Season of the Witch Void scout rifle is craftable, plus it has a ton of trait options including Rapid Hit and Destabilizing Rounds, which causes enemies to become Volatile and therefore adding extra synergy with a lot of different Void Builds. It’s definitely worth crafting one with your preferred setup if you want a solid, go-to Scout option for any PVE activity.

Source: Season of the Witch.Craftable: Yes.

Shotgun

Nessa’s Oblation

destiny2nessasoblation.jpg

This Root of Nightmares raid weapon remains a fan-favorite weapon due to its excellent perk combinations. It’s wild as a boss DPS weapon if you have the right rolls, which you get from crafting if you put in the work to get Deepsight versions. Running a Void build that can debuff targets makes this a monster with Repulsor Brace, a perk that grants an Overshield when defeating a Void-debuffed target. You can pair Repulsor Brace with Destabilizing Rounds to cause targets to become volatile, constituting a Void debuff and therefore allowing you to run any subclass of your choosing and still earn the buff.

Source: Root of Nightmares raid.Craftable: Yes.

Fusion Rifle

The Eremite

eremite, deepsight, god roll, red-border, The Eremite

This Solar fusion rifle from Season of the Witch is hot not only because it has some of the highest damage per second in the game but also because you can craft it with Heal Clip, where reloading after a final blow grants you and your nearby allies Cure. Cure grants an instant heal that restores health and shields, which makes this an extremely strong trait on a powerful fusion rifle.

Source: Season of the Witch.Craftable: Yes.

Destiny 2 Best PVE Power Weapons

Machine Gun

Thunderlord

Best Gambit Power Weapons, Thunderlord

Machine guns are still a popular PVE choice, as they remain one of the best ways to efficiently clear out hordes of enemies. Thunderlord is a top-tier option due to its sheer stopping power as an Arc machine gun that can melt enemies.

Source: Exotic engrams.Craftable: No.

Xenophage

Destiny 2, Xenophage

Xenophage is a Solar machine gun that fires explosive ammunition. As a result, it is a powerful option with many Solar Aspects and Fragments.

Source: Emergence Exotic quest.Craftable: No.

Commemoration

Best Weapons in Destiny 2, Commemoration

As a Legendary machine gun, Commemoration is a fan-favorite heavy weapon. The Void gun deals a disgusting amount of damage and is craftable with Reconstruction and Rampage if you can get enough red borders from the Deep Stone Crypt raid.

Source: Deep Stone Crypt raid.Craftable: Yes.

Retrofit Escapde

Retrofit Escapde, Best Gambit Weapons in Destiny 2, Retrofit Escapade

Retrofit Escapade is a solid pick. Retrofit Escapade is a craftable Void machine gun doesn’t have as much kick as other weapons of the same class. It also has a solid trait pool, including Fourth Time’s the Charm and Target Lock, which together cause the weapon to deal more damage but also returns bullets to the magazine. 

Source: Banshee-44 or Xur when available.Craftable: Yes.

Corrective Measure

Corrective Measure

This Void machine gun drops with some stellar traits. It also has a nice sight and feels goos to use, so it’s a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on a Retrofit Escapade.

Source: Vault of Glass raid.Craftable: No.

Linear Fusion Rifle

Cataclysmic

Cataclysmic

For many Destiny 2 players, the Cataclysmic is the go-to Solar linear fusion rifle. It’s craftable, so players can gain their preferred rolls if they’re willing to grind the Vow of the Disciple raid whenever it’s on rotation. You can get it with Fourth Time’s the Charm, which refunds two ammo to the magazine after landing four precision hitsFocused Fury is another option, which grants weapon bonus damage after dealing half the magazine as precision damage. 

Source: Vow of the Disciple raid.Craftable: Yes.

Taipan-fr4

Taipan-fr4 remains a solid choice and is also craftable. This has been a go-to Legendary linear fusion rifle for higher-end PVE activities for quite some time, particularly for players who don’t want to waste their Exotic slot on a fusion rifle but still want that high DPS in their Power weapon slot.

Source: Banshee-44 or Xur when available.Craftable: Yes.

Rocket Launcher

Gjallarhorn

Best Heavy Weapons, Gjallarhorn

Rocket Launchers will likely remain popular as long as Gjallarhorn is because it buffs all Legendary rocket launchers nearby — and true Guardians understand how incredibly valuable that is in PVE endgame content. 

Source: And Out Fly the Wolves quest (Bungie 30th Anniversary content pack).Craftable: No.

The Hothead 

Hothead

The Adept version of The Hothead remains a top-tier choice due to its sheer power, and you can get it when it’s on rotation as a Nightfall drop. ​​It’s among the most popular rocket launchers in the game, at least partially because it can drop with Explosive Light to make Orbs of Light cause increased blast radius and damage.

Source: Vanguard engram focusing.Craftable: No.

Apex Predator

Apex Predator

The craftable Apex Predator is also a great weapon as you can get it with Reconstruction, which allows it to reload itself up to double capacity. That trait is exceptionally powerful on rocket launchers, which typically require players to conserve their heavy ammo. 

Source: The Last Wish raid.Craftable: Yes.

Sword

The Other Half

The Other Half

The Other Half is popular is a popular Void sword because it’s craftable with Eager Ege, and people really like to “Eager Edge skate” across maps and in raids — which, if you haven’t tried it, is super fun and convenient.

Source: Xur’s treasure hoard in Dares of Eternity.Craftable: Yes.

Half-Truths

Half-Truths

Like The Other Half, Half-Truths is also craftable with Eager Edge. It’s an excellent alternative to The Other Half if you prefer an Arc sword to a Void one for any particular build.

Source: Xur’s treasure hoard in Dares of Eternity.Craftable: Yes.

The Lament

 

The Lament remains the best option for a straight damage Solar sword if you prefer to battle up close. Just make sure you master revving the blade, which increases damage and damage resistance of heavy attacks.

Source: Lost Lament quest. Craftable: No.

The Falling Guillotine

Best Power Weapons, Falling Guillotine

The Falling Guillotine is a beast of a weapon in close-range combat, especially due to some solid perk combinations. For example, Relentless Strikes returns ammo after three strikes, and Whirlwind Blade increases damage after rapid hits.

Source: Banshee-44 or Xur when available.Craftable: No.

Bow

Leviathan’s Breath

 

Leviathan’s Breath was buffed around Lightfall’s launch, resulting in damage increases against Champions and Volatile Rounds on a precision hit, making it another solid choice for those looking to run an Exotic bow.

Source: Monument to Lost Lights.Craftable: No.

Shotgun

Tractor Cannon

Tractor Cannon

This unusual shotgun remains on the tier list due to its ability to push enemies, weaken them, and suppress them. On its own, it may not be the game’s best shotgun, but in specific PVE ad control cases, it helps keep enemies at bay. 

Source: Exotic engrams.Craftable: No.

And that’s it for our guide to the best PVE weapons in Destiny 2! Thanks for taking the time to check it out.

Author: Jesse Perry