Best Destiny 2 PvE weapons: Open World, Strikes, Raid, and meta picks 2024

Throughout the years Destiny 2’s arsenal has continued to expand with every season. Even when some of the weapons were sunset, they were quickly replaced with newer and shinier versions of themselves. We are now at a point where the availability of weapons in Destiny 2 is through the roof. 

So, to help all the Guardians across Destiny 2, we have compiled this list of the best PvE weapons in Destiny 2.  Below is a collection of all the weapons we believe to be the best in class in Destiny 2's current sandbox. 

Best Bow: Under Your Skin

Under Your Skin

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Under Your Skin
  • Roll:  Elastic String, Compact Arrow Shaft, Enhanced Archer’s Tempo, and Enhanced Explosive Head 
  • How to get it: Purchased from the War Table in the H.E.L.M. or from PsiOps Battleground activities 

While there are plenty of bows in Destiny 2, very few deal the damage of Under Your Skin’s precision frame combined with the reduction in Draw Time from this roll. Whatever small enemies don’t die to the initial arrow will assuredly fall to the Explosive Head that pops following. On top of that every precision hit will decrease the overall Draw Time of successive arrows making Under Your Skin that bit faster at tearing through swathes of enemies.  

Best Auto Rifle: Ammit AR2

Ammit AR2

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Ammit AR2 
  • Roll: Arrowhead Brake, Ricochet Rounds, Enhanced Dynamic Sway Reduction, and Enhanced Incandescent 
  • How to get it:  World drop or through the New Foundry quest 

 The Ammit AR2 kind of came out of nowhere for Auto Rifles. For so so long Gnawing Hunger was the GOAT, but Ammit AR2’s slow and steady rate of fire is enhanced by the more easily activated Dynamic Sway Reduction and the Incandescent perk means that it slots perfectly into Solar 3.0 builds and can ramp up damage incredibly fast thanks to the Scorch applied by it.  

Best Pulse Rifle: Insidious


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Insidious
  • Roll: Arrowhead Brake, Accurized Rounds, Enhanced Dragonfly, and Enhanced One For All 
  • How to get it: Vow of the Disciple (Raid) drop 

 While Pulse Rifles are more of a PvP choice, there’s no denying that the slow and steady beat of this Dad Rifle is one of the most fun and effective Pulse Rifles to use in PvE. By combining Dragonfly and One For All’s enhanced traits, you will be able to focus on small waves of enemies to increase your damage for a generous period of time very effectively. After the first head shot that kills, you’ll see the enemies drop like flies.  

Best Scout Rifle: Doom of Chelchis

Doom of Chelchis

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Doom of Chelchis 
  • Roll:  Arrowhead Brake, Accurized Rounds, Enhanced Firefly, and Enhanced Dragonfly 
  • How to get it:  King’s Fall (Raid) drop 

There are very few weapons that can drop with Firefly and Dragonfly and there are even less that you can craft with Enhanced versions of both, that’s what makes the Doom of Chelchis so good. With this roll, you can sit as far back as possible and smash some domes and watch the fireworks. Every single precision kill will result in both a Solar and a Void explosion while increasing your reload speed massively.  

Best Rocket Launcher: Palmyra-B


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Palmyra-B
  • Roll: Volatile Launch, Impact Casing, Enhanced Auto-Loading Holster, and Enhanced Lasting Impression 
  • How to get it:  World drop

 This Rocket Launcher is the daddy of combo damage and generally killing Champions in end game content. The main goal of this weapon is to fire off a rocket and quickly switch to another weapon. Thanks to the additional perks and Palmyra’s intrinsic ability to track enemies, you will do additional damage for hitting the chosen target and squeeze extra damage out of your secondary weapon while the Rocket Launcher reloads itself. The most common pairing is Palmyra-B with Izanagi’s Burden as loading a Honed Edge and firing with Izzy perfectly lines up with the time taken to reload your Rocket Launcher automatically. 

Best Grenade Launcher: Forbearance


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Forbearance
  • Roll: Quick Launch, High-Velocity Rounds, Enhanced Ambitious Assassin, and Enhanced Chain Reaction 
  • How to get it: Vow of the Disciple (raid) drop 

The Forbearance is hands down the best wave-frame Legendary Wave Frame Grenade Launchers available for clearing small enemies and popping shields. Thanks to some buffs they received after the launch of The Witch Queen, Forbearance’s ability to quickly dispatch enemies and overfill its magazine for additional grenade spam. The Enhanced Traits are just the icing on the cake.  

Best Sword: The Other Half

The Other Half

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: The Other Half
  • Roll: Jagged Edge, Swordmaster’s Guard, Enhanced Eager Edge, and Whirlwind Blade 
  • How to get it: Dares of Eternity drop and from Xur’s Treasure Hold 

At the current moment in time, The Other Half (and its counterpart Half Truths) are the only craftable Swords in Destiny 2. That alone already puts them ahead of the pack when it comes to the best Swords for PvE in Destiny 2 but, on top of that, The Other Half can be crafted with Enhanced Eager Edge to increase your lunge distance as well as rack up more damage than Vorpal Weapon with Whirlwind Blade, maxing out with 30% additional damage for several seconds if you continue to swing at enemies.  

Best Hand Cannon: Zaouli's Bane

Zaouli's Bane

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Zaouli's Bane
  • Roll: Arrowhead Brake, Accurized Rounds, Enhanced Explosive Payload, and Enhanced Incandescent 
  • How to get it: King’s Fall (Raid) drop 

There is a trend in weapons that can roll with Incandescent and for good reason, their ability to rack up damage over time and compliment Solar 3.0 builds is next to none. That’s not the only reason Zaouli’s Bane is the best PvE Hand Cannon, but it’s definitely one of them. On top of Incandescent, Explosive Payload adds even further damage to each shot of Zaouli’s Bane and reduces its overall damage fall off at suboptimal ranges, which are few and far between thanks to Accurized Rounds. 

Best Glaive: Lubrae's Ruin

Lubrae's Ruin

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Lubrae’s Ruin
  • Roll:  Ballistic Tuning, Extended Mag, Enhanced Grave Robber, and Enhanced Swashbuckler
  • How to get it:  Vow of the Disciple (Raid) drop 

If we are being quite honest, Glaives kinda suck even after their buffs. They have some niche use and the additional benefits they gain from melee based Exotics was fairly negligible. When it comes to Glaives, this build of Lubrae’s Ruin makes the most of the dual purposes of using Glaives for melee combat and close range gunplay. With a single melee kill you will receive a 33% damage buff for 6.5 seconds and when your larger magazine runs dry, you can use the Glaive’s melee ability to reload instantly without needing to endure the horrifically long reload times of Glaives.  

Best Sniper Rifle: Succession


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Succession 
  • Roll: Fluted Barrel, Extended Mag, Reconstruction, and Vorpal Weapon 
  • How to get it: Deep Stone Crypt (raid) drop 

This Sniper Rifle is so good that, even after Weapon Crafting and several years, it still remains one of the best and that’s because the Reconstruction perk is busted. Reconstruction allows your weapon to automatically reload while stowed and doubles your magazine size. Combine this with Extended Mag and Vorpal and you have an unimaginably large magazine that has a flat 15% damage boost that reloads itself while stowed. It’s the perfect Sniper Rifle for boss fights that have long mechanical intervals between damage phases.  

Best Sidearm: Brigand's Law

Brigand's Law

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Brigand’s Law 
  • Roll: Corkscrew Rifling, Accurized Rounds. Enhanced FeedingFrenzy, and Enhanced Voltshot
  • How to get it: Ketcrash drop, Expedition drop, or it can be purchased from the Starchart in the H.E.L.M. 

Similarly to Incandescent, Voltshot is another fantastic Perk that can emphasise a 3.0 build beyond its typical power level. The only difference here is that Voltshot is for Arc 3.0 builds, instead of Incandescent’s Solar 3.0 synergy. Thanks to the effective range of Brigand’s Law, you’ll find that this build allows you to mix in your melee abilities to emphasise its Origin Trait, Right Hook, to improve your weapon’s Range and Target Acquisition while Jolting enemies and reloading at a blinding speed after the kills boost your Feeding Frenzy stacks to 5x - covering for the Sidearm’s fairly low magazine count and mediocre reload speed.  

Best Trace Rifle: Retraced Path

Retraced Path

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Retraced Path
  • Roll: Arrowhead Brake, Enhanced Battery, Enhanced Subsistence, and Enhanced Golden Tricorn 
  • How to get it: Dares of Eternity drop and from Xur’s Treasure Hold 

Retraced Path with Golden Tricorn is one of the few Solar 3.0 weapon synergies that doesn’t rely on Incandescent, although Golden Tricorn can be replaced with Incandescent. With a single weapon kill, Retraced Path partially reloads its own ammo thanks to Subsistence and then receives a damage boost of 15%. If you kill an enemy with an ability with a matching damage type, which is Solar in this case, you receive a 50% damage buff for 10 seconds. With a near infinite reloading mechanic and damage values that are through the roof for clearing small enemies, the only thing holding Retraced Path back in this roll is your ammo reserves.  

Best Shotgun: Heritage


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Heritage
  • Roll: Hammer-Forged Rifling, Assault Mag, Reconstruction, and Recombination 
  • How to get it: Deep Stone Crypt (Raid) drop

Much like Succession, Heritage is the cream of the crop thanks to Reconstruction. The only major difference between the two weapons is that Heritage favours Assault Mag to increase its Rate of Fire and it relies on Recombination for an initial bump of damage on the first shot after Elemental Kills. This means that obtaining the 88% damage increase on your first shot is predicated on killing 10 enemies with an elemental weapon or ability making optimal DPS a bit harder. Even then, it’s still a worthy Shotgun for boss damage thanks to Reconstruction alone.  

Best Linear Fusion Rifle: Taipan-4FR


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Taipan-4FR 
  • Roll: Arrowhead Brake, Enhanced Battery, Enhanced Triple Tap, and Enhanced Firing Line 
  • How to get it: World drop or Weapon Foundry questline 

The Taipan-4FR is the undisputed top dog of boss DPS and ammo economy in Destiny 2 right now. This roll focuses on landing precision shots to get additional free ammo and increased chances to proc the Veist Stinger origin trait and circumvent reloading entirely. As a group of two or more, you’ll find that the 20% damage boost is just phenomenal. If you can slot in a Backup Mag as a weapon mod, you’ll also get a seventh round in your magazine which will allow you to generate a third additional round from the Enhanced Triple Tap perk if you manage to chain your precision shots. 

Best Machine Gun: Thunderlord


(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: Thunderlord
  • Roll: N/A
  • How to get it: Exotic Weapon Drop

There’s no Machine Gun that feels more like a Machine Gun than Thunderlord. Its increasing rate of fire and ability to call bolts of lightning from the sky predates Volt Shot and its intrinsic Overload rounds means that it is just head and shoulders above all other Machine Guns by a large margin. It might not have been worthy of our Best Exotics list, but it is certainly worthy of the top spot for Machine Guns.  

Best Submachine Gun: CALUS Mini-Tool

CALUS Mini-Tool

(Image credit: Future)
  • Weapon: CALUS Mini-Tool 
  • Roll: Corkscrew Rifling, Accurized Rounds, Enhanced Unrelenting, and Enhanced Incandescent 
  • How to get it: Purchased from the Crown of Sorrow in the H.E.L.M. or from Leviathan activities, Castellum chests, or Sever Missions 

This high RPM SMG just drops mags and enemies without  care in the world. In clutch situations, quickly defeating three red bar enemies will heal you over a short period and the Scorch spreading to nearby enemies will make sure they crumble faster with each successive kill. The only downside of the CALUS Mini-Tool is its low ammo clip and near two and a half second reload time, but it’s a small price to pay for such an effective SMG with a pretty nasty range thanks to Accurized Rounds.  

Hopefully, this guide introduced you to a new weapon or reignited your love for a forgotten great. While guns play an important role in any shooter, that's especially the case for Destiny 2's extensive arsenal and ever-changing meta.

While these are the weapons we recommend, there are many more to explore. Maybe you like slower-firing SMGs or love a good ol' Dad Rifle as your Pulse Rifle of choice. So long as you are winning, there really is no wrong answer in The Crucible.

And there you have it, a whirlwind tour of the best weapon for each of Destiny 2’s weapon types. That’s not to say these are the only weapons you can use, in fact there’s a wide variety of popular and unique weapons you might prefer because of how they feel or how you play. Variety is the spice of life and Destiny 2 is most assuredly a spicy game, so if the above recommendations aren’t for you, keep on keepin’ on with your favorite flavor of destruction.  

Ryan Esler