[Top 5] Destiny 2 Best Energy Hand Cannons (2020 Edition)

 Destiny 2 Best Energy Hand Cannons
Time to switch up your loadout.

Spare Rations? The Last Word? Malfeasance? Not this time.

The hand cannon is arguably Destiny 2’s most popular and recognizable weapon archetype. Who doesn’t want a hefty revolver in their hands?  Hand cannons come in all shapes and sizes, some performing incredibly well in one area while failing in others. Others are bad all around. Hand cannons have always managed to stay pseudo-meta in Destiny 2, thus familiarizing yourself with the best ones is important. The question of which energy hand cannon to use in both casual and endgame content will be answered subjectively based on your preference, but here are the best ones you should consider putting into your energy slot. Note that for your use, a final sunsetting level will be listed as well. For reference we are currently in Season 11.

1. Eriana’s Vow (Best PvE Energy Hand Cannon)

Eriana's Vow is perfect for piercing shields. Keep it in your loadout.

If you haven’t had the chance to pick up your cipher yet, I would really encourage you to consider picking up Eriana’s Vow if you haven’t done so. It was first released with the Shadowkeep expansion but has returned this season as a purchasable item from Rahool. Eriana’s is the only hand cannon with a 90 RPM fire rate and boasts the exotic perk Looks Can Kill which grants it shield-piercing ammunition and an attached scope. It takes special ammo and hits like a truck, and its ability to combat barrier champions in endgame content make it worthy of being in your inventory. Eriana’s Vow comes from an Exo Warlock Eriana-3 who has vowed vengeance against Crota, the son of Oryx.


  • Impact : 100
  • Range: 100
  • Stability: 37
  • Handling: 31
  • Reload Speed: 32
  • Aim Assistance: 80
  • Recoil: 100

What Makes Eriana’s Vow Awesome:

  • It has intrinsic anti-barrier rounds for those pesky Barrier Champions
  • Takes special ammo
  • Solar damage for solar shields
  • Super high impact - Good for staggering enemies
  • One shots most adds

Best Setup:

  • Default

Sunset: Indefinite

How to Get Eriana’s Vow + Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmHQXW1StPw&t=550s

2. Waking Vigil (Best PvP Energy Hand Cannon)

Waking Vigil is bound to be your go to PvP energy hand cannon.

The Waking Vigil hand cannon is one of the most popular PvP energy hand cannons in the game. As part of the preferred 150 RPM archetype, Waking Vigil boasts quick handling and faster TTK while containing a very lucrative perk pool for PvP builds. With perks like Opening Shot and Slideshot, one can surmise that the accuracy and range of this beast is at the peak. Even better, the hand cannon is farmable via the Menagerie activity, so make sure you farm one up (even if it’s getting sunsetted) before the next season starts! The hand cannon has ties all the way back to the Reef, where the Awoken first made their home after a failed voyage of humans birthed their species.


  • Impact: 80
  • Range: 38
  • Stability: 44
  • Handling: 67
  • Reload Speed: 60
  • Aim Assistance: 85
  • Recoil: 98

What Makes Waking Vigil Awesome (For PvP):

  • Rolls with two of the best range boosting perks
  • 150 RPM Lightweight Frame archetype is optimal
  • Easily farmable through the Menagerie
  • Looks freaking awesome
  • Relatively high aim assistance

Best Setup (PvP):

  • Hitmark HCS
  • Ricochet Rounds
  • Opening Shot
  • Slideshot

Sunset: Power level 1060 (Season 12)

How to Get Waking Vigil + Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lunmlNC2MkM&t=330s

3. Optative (Best 180 PvE Energy Hand Cannon)

It looks a little dirty, but I assure you Optative still works.

This one is more of a dark horse pick. The Optative was brought back this season as a farmable weapon through the Umbral Engram system. At first glance, it seems uninteresting. The mossy aesthetic and the less than ideal 180 RPM archetype make it vault fodder, but it’s actually surprising in the PvE realm. With perks such as rapid hit, kill clip, and demolitionist, it can be a very versatile weapon and can compliment many builds. Also, being able to farm one makes this weapon very accessible, so it wouldn’t hurt to have one in your vault if you want to switch it up a little. This weapon has origins in the Black Garden, more specifically the Sol Divisive who swear to guard the Black Heart in the garden.


  • Impact: 78
  • Range: 41
  • Stability: 60
  • Handling: 33
  • Reload Speed: 58
  • Aim Assistance: 67
  • Recoil: 97

What Makes Optative Awesome (For PvE):

  • 180 RPM hand cannons have very manageable recoil
  • Rolls with perks that make you forget you need to reload
  • Easily farmable through the Umbral Engrams
  • Void damage for Void shields

Best Setup (PvE):

  • Hammer-Forged Rifling
  • Appended Mag
  • Rapid Hit/Outlaw/Fourth Time’s the Charm
  • Kill Clip/Demolitionist

Sunset: Power level 1060 (Season 12)

How to Get Optative + Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut79oJlG4kk&t=92s

4. Kindled Orchid (Best Two-Tap Hand Cannon)

Satan's hand cannon packs a serious punch.

There was a time and age where the Kindled Orchid was all the rage in competitive PvP, largely due to its ability to roll with kill clip and rampage; two of the primary damage perks in Destiny 2. Unfortunately, Kindled Orchid is getting sunset next season and its 140 RPM archetype is less forgiving than its 150 RPM brethren. Nevertheless, the perk pool is just as versatile with perks such as rapid hit, outlaw, and rangefinder. Its near vertical recoil and slightly above average aim assist make it easier to control when landing those crispy three taps. The Kindled Orchid has its lore based in the Black Armory, an ancient collection of various cultures who banded together to forge their own weapons under the nose of the Vanguard.

Weapon Stats:

  • Impact: 84
  • Range: 45
  • Stability: 56
  • Handling: 47
  • Reload Speed 49:
  • Aim Assistance: 76
  • Recoil: 99 

What Makes Kindled Orchid Awesome (For PvP):

  • Two shots to the head for a kill? Sign me up.
  • The curated roll is the god roll; no need to guess
  • Very generous PvP perk pool
  • Farmable through the Black Armory

Best Setup (PvP):

  • Corkscrew Rifling/Hammer-Forged Rifling
  • Drop Mag
  • Kill Clip
  • Rampage

Sunset: Power level 1060 (Season 12)

How to get Kindled Orchid + Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saWo5nwG_Bs

5. Ancient Gospel (Alternate Two-Tap Hand Cannon)

Ancient Gospel? Or Fatebringer? Either way, pick one up.

Similarly to the Kindled Orchid, the Ancient Gospel is a 140 RPM hand cannon obtained from the Garden of Salvation raid. It is already adopted as Destiny 2’s version of Fatebringer (a very popular hand cannon from Destiny 1) and has a large PvP perk pool, though its PvE god roll of rapid hit and dragonfly is not to be underestimated as well. Ancient Gospel performs similarly to the Kindled Orchid but will have its lifespan last through the next year. Also, now is the time to pursue one due to raid loot restrictions being lifted for Moments of Triumph. Its lore implies temptation, as the Ancient Gospel originates from the Black Guardian where the fireteam known as the Kentarch 3 fell victim to the sins within.

Weapon Stats:

  • Impact: 84
  • Range: 47
  • Stability: 62
  • Handling: 51
  • Reload Speed: 49
  • Aim Assistance: 74
  • Recoil: 100

What Makes Ancient Gospel Awesome (For PvP and PvE):

  • Two-tap hand cannon version 2.0
  • Spiritual successor to Fatebringer; rolls with Outlaw and Dragonfly
  • Solar damage for solar shields
  • Can roll with damage perks of Kill Clip and Swashbuckler

Best Setup (PvP):

  • Smallbore
  • Tactical Mag
  • Rapid Hit
  • Kill Clip

Best Setup (PvE):

  • Smallbore
  • Extended Mag
  • Rapid Hit/Outlaw
  • Kill Clip/Swashbuckler/Dragonfly

Sunset: Power level 1360 (Season 15)

How to get Ancient Gospel + Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr88oYLHodo

These five energy hand cannons should be on your radar. Other hand cannons such as Luna’s Howl and Not Forgotten are also great pics, but are often overused and uninteresting. With these energy hand cannons, you’re almost guaranteed a roll for your playstyle whether you play PvP or PvE exclusively. Unfortunately, the pickings for energy hand cannons are fairly slim, but these options are good bets. Get to farming!


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Shoot first, ask questions later only dictates my mindset in video games. I promise!
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: Destiny 2
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