Top 15 Best Hand Cannons in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Top 15 Hand Cannons
Precise, powerful, popular.


#15: Dire Promise (Best for PVP)

See Dire Promise in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQATRKJuCM0

After a downward spiral of this weapon losing its popularity, Dire Promise now promises to be better.  It can roll with some of the best perks you could ask for on a hand cannon, making it a perfect fit in your loadout if you wish for this to be your weapon. 

Dire Promise has been a solid choice for PVP predominantly. There are rare perk combinations that make hand cannons work well in PVE, but this gets outclassed by others. That said, its role in The Crucible is cherished by many. It is also one of the few Dead Orbit weapons left in the current loot pool, which can have some novelties for legacy players. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It has a contained perk pool, making it easier to farm for the role you want 
  • Being in a well-rounded archetype that balances its stats evenly 
  • Being easily accessible through world loot pools and legendary engrams 

How to obtain: Legendary engrams, Xur, world drops

 

#14: Annual Skate (Best for PVP) 

See Annual Skate in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFHEdDVIHlI

Slept on by many, the Annual Skate represents the SUROS foundry proudly. It is slept on because it is a world drop that is not farmable. Therefore, getting the roll you want usually boils down to obtaining the weapon without trying. If you manage to get it, it can drop with perks not found on most hand cannons, such as timed payload. 

Annual skate excels in precision. The barrel shape of the hand cannon can influence how a hand cannon feels to use. This one has a streamlined styled barrel that does not take up too much space on your screen, making it easier for you to hit your shots. 

What's great about this weapon is:

  • Having access to rare perks like timed payload, no distractions, boxed breathing, surplus, etc. 
  • Being a SUROS adaptive frame that ensures there is a well-rounded feeling to the gun
  • Being a good choice for players looking for a decently competitive weapon 
  • Staggering enemies thanks to timed payload and an impact stat of 84

How to obtain: Banshee-44

 

#13: DFA (best in PVE)

See DFA in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVA9pW7_-vo

One of the most unique-looking legendary hand cannons in Destiny, DFA is a returning favorite for many that has only gotten better now that it has an adept version. It performs well enough to be the main driver for many players and can offer something different for players that frequently uses 140 RPM hand cannons. Being in the kinetic slot as well brings amazing loadout options. 

The overall feel of this hand cannon is solid and does not have many traits that create deviation compared to others.  Like Annual Skate, DFA can roll with rarer perks that add something new to its archetype. It has proven to be more useful in PVE than in PVP now that players have had time to use it. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It drops with more perk options thanks to its adept version
  • It has access to perks that amplify its reliability such as perpetual motion and vorpal
  • It is in the kinetic slot, freeing up your energy slot for some of the best weapons to complement a hand cannon 

How to obtain: Nightfalls/grandmaster nightfall for adept version 

 

#12: Bottom Dollar (Best in PVP) 

See Bottom Dollar in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvRvlcMS9bM

Stylistically reminiscent of the Byronic Hero from Destiny 1, the Bottom Dollar is one of the hardest-hitting legendary hand cannons in the game. It is a slower-firing weapon, but each shot packs a punch that can three-tap most Guardians. Combine that with the best perks to make the aggressiveness of its archetype manageable, and it becomes a contender for your loadout. 

From my experience, looking for the perks that help manage this gun’s stability is the way to go. Rapid hit and eye of the storm are arguably the best in-slot options for this weapon. Keeping such a wild archetype under control can make you a menace in The Crucible. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • High damage and range at the cost of recoil control due to the aggressive frame archetype 
  • Having perk options that help manage the nature of the aggressive frame hand cannons 
  • Having an easy method of farming 

How to obtain: Gambit rewards, Gambit rank-up rewards

 

#11: Cantata-57 (Best for PVP)

See Cantata-57 in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWtmxw1gwiM

Highly regarded amongst the PVP community, Cantata-57 is regarded as one of the best energy hand cannons in the game. Falling into the most popular archetype of hand cannons combined with new weapon origin perks is no wonder why it is rated so highly on websites like light.gg. The SUROS origin trait increases handling and decreases flinch from enemies after reloading, amplifying the archetype to a new form of viable.

The nature of Cantata-57 is simple, and it translates that into how it performs. Being utterly accessible, especially now with umbral engram focusing, getting the roll you want will likely happen by accident for you. It also has a barrel that is not distracting, just like Annual Skate.     

What's great about this weapon is: 

- Ease of use thanks to the nature of the archetype and SUROS Synergy 

- It has great perks such as opening shot, rangefinder, rapid hit, eye of the storm, etc. 

- It is accessible thanks to the new umbral engram focusing 

How to obtain: Legendary engrams, world drops, SUROS umbral focusing 

 

#10: Hawkmoon (Best for PVP) 

See Hawkmoon in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3imMqPkV_s

Infamous from Destiny 1, Hawkmoon recently returned to Destiny 2 in a new way. With its exotic perk rehauled, it has found its place in the PVP community as a returning fan favorite. Combine that with random rolls, and you have an amazing exotic kinetic hand cannon with various playstyles. 

The exotic quest is retired, so players must obtain this weapon from Xur and hope he sells the role they want. Nevertheless, getting your hands on this hand cannon may open your eyes to the thing that swept the community off its feet all those years ago. It is true that it does not embody its former glory today but instead tells a different story. 

What's great about this weapon is:

  • It has high damage that is rewarded through precision shots thanks to its exotic perk 
  • Random rolls that amplify the overall feeling of this weapon, opening shot and rangefinder being fan favorites 
  • It has accessible means of obtainability thanks to Xur 

How to obtain: Xur. 

 

#9: True Prophecy (Best for PVP and PVE) 

See True Prophecy in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-kEjlCe6Ko

Another forgotten faction weapon, True Prophecy has a niche following behind it that has unlocked its full potential. Being a 120 RPM hand cannon in the kinetic slot, it offers a new way to build your loadout. Its perk pool is dated because it recently has not been rereleased into the loot pool. Dated, however, does not mean inefficient. 

This is a weapon that can be harder to obtain. Since the removal of factions, getting these weapons is reliant on chance. However, if your RNG is above average, you have a strong choice for your kinetic slot.

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It is flexible across game modes thanks to its versatile perk pool
  • Being a kinetic slot option, allowing you to pair it with strong energy special weapons 
  • Great damage at longer ranges thanks to its archetype 

How to obtain: Legendary engrams 

 

#8: Eyasluna (Best for PVE) 

See Eyasluna in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVRBNtG65bc

Another legendary hand cannon with a high reputation, Eyasluna was the hand cannon found on most Guardians back in Destiny 1. It has returned in the kinetic slot as a stasis weapon in Destiny 2, adding something new to such an iconic name. Perks like Headstone made players reconsider this weapon’s standings across game modes. 

After spending a lot of time with this weapon, I have found that this weapon excels in PVE rather than in PVP. The reason was simply because of the competition, as will be displayed in the rest of this list. With that competition in PVP comes the opportunity to excel in PVE tanks to its stasis element. Having something like Headstone ensures this weapon has a place. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It synergizes with stasis builds thanks to Headstone 
  • It has access to other PVE perks like unrelenting and heating up 
  • Being a reliable weapon in a fan-favorite archetype that is easy to use and well balanced 

How to obtain: Grasp of Avarice dungeon.

 

#7: The Last Word (Best for PVP) 

See The Last Word in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnxUEnSj2mg

The space cowboy fantasy has always been in Destiny. Iconic weapons such as The Last Word help fulfill this fantasy. Rewarding firing from the hip as instead of aiming down sights, this weapon slays Guardians in style. Combine that with a unique draw animation where your character spins the gun on their finger, and all we are missing is some horses. 

This weapon has seen many changes over the last eight years. It is still a strong weapon for those who use a controller. Players who use a mouse and keyboard are at a slight disadvantage due to aim assistance, but its usability is still achievable. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It provides players with a unique playstyle that is not on any other hand cannon 
  • It has a fast time-to-kill ratio thanks to its fire rate and exotic perk 
  • Fast-paced combat scenarios and players who prefer quicker playstyles

How to obtain: Exotic kiosk 

 

#6: Lumina (Best at PVE) 

See Lumina in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U41HO7dYk2w

A weapon that can double down on your support build, Lumina keeps allies alive while making sure enemies stay down. The only weapon that has a more supportive role, it rewards the wielder with an orb that they can pick up after they get a kill. This orb gets loaded into the gun and can be fired at a teammate. The teammate and the wielder will get a healing and damage buff. 

I have a lot of time logged on this weapon and I can comfortably say it is a rewarding weapon for you and your team. It has recently got some fame amongst the raiding community in PVE as another option to help increase a team’s maximum DPS. If you are a player willing to sacrifice their exotic slot for this and if your legendary weapons can pick up some slack in terms of damage, I could not recommend this weapon more. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It heals the wielder and a chosen teammate thanks to the exotic perk 
  • It provides a damage boost for both the wielder and a teammate thanks to the exotic perk 
  • It manages its ammo economy since orbs refill the magazine 

How to obtain: Exotic kiosk 

 

#5: Thorn (Best for PVP)

See Thorn in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE7m1LEQTZg

Another exotic hand cannon that’s been around since the beginning, Thorn can overpower the user’s enemies with stacking damage over time effects. Being the counterpart to Lumina, it focuses more on constant streams of damage instead of support. It can also manage its ammo economy by maintaining the resource that allows it to do more damage, making it a real thorn in everyone’s side. 

Debates seem to be a constant with this weapon. At the time of writing this article, people say it needs to be buffed since it struggles with keeping up with the top tier. For me, it can still hold its own and no one should sleep on an enhanced DOT skill.  

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It dishes out consistent damage over time for every shot you hit
  • It maintains its ammo economy thanks to its exotic perk
  • It synergizes with the Warlock exotic gauntlets Necrotic Grips 

How to obtain: Exotic kiosk 

 

#4: Fatebringer (Best for PVP and PVE) 

See Fatebringer in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2bLA3wkBBE

Originating from the depths of The Vault of Glass, Fatebringer is a fan-favorite PVE hand cannon that has also been climbing to the top in PVP. Since it can only be obtained from a raid, it has privileges not present on other legendary weapons. Its perk pool is arguably the most versatile on any legendary weapon, allowing players to shoot for a roll that thrives in PVP or PVE. Top that off with a time-lost version and you have an optimal setup within a gun. 

This is a manically good hand cannon with so many options. For PVE, you could go with the classic Destiny 1 roll with explosive payload and firefly, or a PVP roll with explosive payload and frenzy. The possibilities are endless with almost all roles serving some purpose in all content. 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • It has access to some of the best perks in the game 
  • It has a timelost variant that can improve all stats on the weapon 
  • Being versatile enough to thrive in all forms of content the game has to offer 

How to obtain: The Vault of Glass Raid.

 

#3: Austringer (Best for PVP)

See Austringer in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtFP8MDnBDs

Originally designed as a new take on Eyasluna, Austringer released with the Menagerie expansion in 2019. This hand cannon filled a hole in many Guardian’s hearts, so much so that people would say it is far superior. When it comes to its performance in PVP, that statement is true. 

Something that adds to this weapon’s superiority over Eyasluna is it can be crafted. Not only does that make it easier to obtain, but these crafted weapons sacrifice masterworks for enhanced perks. It can be a more potent option for weapons that have access to the best perks, and this weapon has all of that. 

What's great about this weapon is:  

  • Being a weapon that players can craft instead of relying on random drops 
  • It has access to enhanced perks such as the enhanced eye of the storm and enhanced rangefinder
  • Flexibility to reshape your crafted roll and try out different perk combinations

How to obtain: Crafting area, Season of the Haunted engrams 

 

#2: Palindrome (Best for PVP) 

See Palindrome in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ARASULTX0Y

The conversation about what the best legendary hand cannon is could last until the end of time. However, a lot of Guardians will choose Palindrome over every other one. Fantastic perk combinations combined with a 140RPM hand cannon that feels amazing to use, and it’s no wonder why this has one of the highest pick rates in the game. 

It is another weapon that has an adept version that will amplify everything that makes the gun great. Increasing its stats will only make the experience for the wielder better. The sad fact is that, as of the time this article was written, this weapon is no longer obtainable. 

What's great about this weapon is:

  • It has an adept version of the weapon that increases all its base stats 
  • It excels in one-on-one gunfights that reward the player that has better accuracy 
  • It has access to perks that enhance the neutral play of the weapon, making it even more efficient in combat

How to obtain: Nightfall/Grandmaster nightfalls (currently removed from the loot pool) 

 

#1: Ace of Spades (Best for PVP) 

See Ace of Spades in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdCAN0v7Bh0

Previously owned by the beloved Cayde-6, he entrusted the Guardian to keep it safe and use it well. Let me tell you, if he were here today, he would be proud of those who use it today. Ace of Spades will always be in the conversation for the best PVP weapon as it has been for the last four years. 

Exotics only roll with one specific set of perks. To have these weapons perks be the best in-slot options possible is a gift from The Traveler itself. It flinches opponents, gets increased damage, and reloads speed after a kill, and precision kills with this weapon cause targets to explode. What more could you ask for? 

What's great about this weapon is: 

  • Ease of use due to its archetype and its perks 
  • High damage on an archetype that is not known for high damage thanks to its exotic perk
  • Being present in the kinetic slot gives players access to the best energy special weapons 

How to obtain: Exotic kiosk

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One who writes with the passion of a thousand barbarians, and the patience of the most refined monks; James is a dedicated person with years of gaming experience that he is ready for others to see.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Destiny 2, Overwatch 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Street Fighter 5
Top 3 Favorite Games:Star Wars: Battlefront, Life is Strange, Titanfall