[Top 10] Destiny 2 Best Hand Cannons and How to Get Them

Destiny 2 best hand cannon, Destiny 2022, Bungie, Witch Queen
Hand Cannons have been a Thorn in your side since Destiny 1.

Destiny 2's The Witch Queen brought a few new hand cannons. Let's see how they shake up the PvE and PvP metas!

With the release of Destiny 2’s latest expansion, The Witch Queen, Bungie introduced a slew of new weapons to earn. And while there’s a lot to shake up the meta, hand cannons are still the most popular weapon type in the game. As such, here’s an updated list of the best hand cannons in Destiny 2 and how to get them:

10. Judgment (For PvE)

Trials of the Nine had some fantastic weapons, and Judgment is among the best. 

Originally a Trials of the Nine launch weapon, Judgment is a reprised 140 RPM hand cannon reintroduced during the Season of Arrivals. At base, here are the stats:

  • Impact - 84
  • Range - 50
  • Stability - 48
  • Handling - 48
  • Reload Speed - 46
  • Aim Assistance - 75
  • Magazine - 14
  • Recoil Direction - 95

And while these stats certainly aren’t the best in the game, what sets it apart is one unique PvE perk combination: 

  • Adrenaline Junkie + Demolitionist

With Void 3.0, this combination will see you generating grenade energy with hand cannon kills, reloading from reserves, and then applying extra handling and damage with each grenade kill. It’s a cycle that keeps on giving!

And for those in Crucible, the Moving Target + Timed Payload or Slideshot + Opening Shot combinations are not bad to have. 

How do I get the Judgment hand cannon?

The Prophecy Dungeon is fantastic!

The Judgment hand cannon is obtained from the first encounter of the Prophecy dungeon, Phalanx Echo. It's a tough fight that's well worth the reward.

9. Hawkmoon (Mainly for PvP)

At number nine, we have the fabled Hawkmoon. Introduced to Destiny 2 with the Season of the Hunt, this is an exotic 140 RPM hand cannon in the Kinetic slot. And boy, it's made a mark. Here are the base stats:

  • Range - 57
  • Stability - 67
  • Handling - 74
  • Reload Speed - 63
  • Aim Assistance - 93
  • Magazine - 8
  • Recoil Direction - 96

Hawkmoon sports the exotic perk, Paracausal Shot. Precision hits build stacks of Paracausal Charge and then deal increased damage with the final round of the magazine. However, Hawkmoon also drops with randomly rolled perks. For maximum success, I recommend the following:

  • Snapshot
  • Rangefinder
  • Eye of the Storm

With the option to choose your perks, Hawkmoon is completely customisable to fit your play style. Go for something snappy, something that helps you win your duels, or kit it out for max range. It’s up to you!

How do I get Hawkmoon?

Come Witch Queen, Hawkmoon’s exotic mission was put into the Destiny Content Vault. So the only way to obtain Hawkmoon is to visit Xur every weekend. He’ll have a randomly rolled Hawkmoon up for grabs. 

8. Cantata-57 (For PvP)

A new player has entered the field. Its name is Cantata-57.

Cantata-57 is a 140 RPM hand cannon in the energy slot. Introduced with the Witch Queen, this one’s being compared to the likes of The Palindrome and Austringer. But this is for a good reason. To see why let’s start with the base stats:

  • Range - 51
  • Stability - 56
  • Handling - 57
  • Reload Speed - 51
  • Aim Assistance - 82
  • Magazine - 11
  • Recoil Direction - 85

This is an okay hand cannon for PvE, but an awesome hand cannon for PvP. I recommend the following perk combinations:

  • Eye of the Storm + Opening Shot
  • Rapid Hit + Rangefinder

Eye of the Storm boosts accuracy and handling as your health gets lower - which is all the time in PvP - and Opening Shot adds +20 to the range of your first shot. So, if you’re dueling with the Cantata-57 at its 31-33 meter range, you’re likely going to win. 

On the other hand, Rapid Hit + Rangefinder is a PvP workhorse. Pair both of these with Accurized Rounds and Full Bore to be cooking in the range department!

How do I get the Cantata-57?

Pray to RNG, guardians.

The Cantata-57 is a world drop. So whether you're defeating enemies in Patrol or getting end-of-game drops from Strikes and Crucible, this hand cannon has a chance to drop. Good luck!

7. Dire Promise (For PvP)

Dire Promise is still one of the best hand cannons in Destiny 2.

Good ol' Dire Promise. First released back with vanilla Destiny 2, this 140 RPM kinetic hand cannon has become a staple in many PvP loadouts. To understand why let’s check out the base stats:

  • Range - 48
  • Stability - 52
  • Handling - 61
  • Reload Speed - 54
  • Aim Assistance - 83
  • Magazine - 11
  • Recoil Direction - 84

What sets Dire Promise apart from the others is its ease of use in the handling and stability departments. Yes, with the right roll, you can reach up to 34 metres. However, I’d suggest the following:

  • Steadyhand HCS + Ricochet Rounds + Opening Shot + Rangefinder

With a +20 to range using Opening Shot, Rangefinder for the extra zoom, and perhaps a stability masterwork, Dire Promise is a dream to shoot - great for controller users. Plus, it makes you look like a space cowboy!

How do I get the Dire Promise?

Nice shader.

Well, come Witch Queen, the Dire Promise isn’t all that easy to come by. Having been removed from the world loot pool, you can only get one to drop from:

  • Dares of Eternity (if the weapon’s in rotation)
  • Xur (If he’s selling it on any given week)

6. Thorn (For PvP)

People who use Thorn make you rethink your playstyle. That's how good it is.

Sliding in at number six, we have the exotic hand cannon, Thorn. Originally released with its own quest in the original Destiny, Thorn is both iconic and lethal. Here are the base stats:

  • Range - 41
  • Stability - 60
  • Handling - 68
  • Reload Speed - 46
  • Aim Assistance - 85
  • Magazine - 9
  • Recoil Direction - 100

Thorn’s lethality comes from its exotic perk, Soul of the Devourer. Soul of the Devourer gives each bullet additional damage over time and each final blow a glowing remnant for you to pick up. Picking up these remnants increases said damage over time and partially refills your magazine. This means you can defeat guardians in the Crucible with just two headshots!

How do I get Thorn?

This is an easy one. Thorn can be acquired from the Monument to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower - right next to your vault. 

5. Ace of Spades (For both PvE and PvP)

One of Destiny’s most iconic weapons, the Ace of Spades is a 140 RPM exotic hand cannon in the Kinetic slot, and it was first introduced to Destiny 2 with the Forsaken expansion. It’s hard-hitting, beautiful, and the late Cayde-6’s hand cannon of choice. That’s enough to warrant a place on this list. Here are the stats:

  • Range - 78
  • Stability - 46
  • Handling - 46
  • Reload Speed - 48
  • Aim Assistance - 70
  • Magazine - 13
  • Recoil Direction - 100

The Ace of Spades is a favorite amongst many - especially those mouse and keyboard players. But it also grants radar while aiming down sights and High Caliber Rounds too!

Its exotic perk is Memento Mori - reloading after a kill loads the magazine with six high-damage bullets (essentially making its damage akin to that of a 120 RPM hand cannon). And its exotic catalyst adds extra damage to Firefly while Memento Mori is active. Ace of Spades has everything! The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that it takes your exotic slot. 

How do I get the Ace of Spades?

This is another top tier hand cannon that’s pretty easy to get. Just like Thorn, head over to the Monument to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower to pick it up.

4. Fatebringer (For PvP and PvE)

Fatebringer deals a frustrating amount of flinch in PvP. 

Next, we have Fatebringer. This is another kinetic 140 RPM hand cannon introduced to Destiny 2 from Destiny 1 during Season of the Splicer. And boy, this is a favorite for many. Here are the stats:

  • Range - 51
  • Stability - 61
  • Handling - 60
  • Reload Speed - 51
  • Aim Assistance - 84
  • Magazine - 11
  • Recoil Direction - 98

Fatebringer is another workhorse hand cannon. But the reason it’s so often used in both PvE and PvP is both its perk combinations and the opportunity to snag the Timelost version - which has access to adept mods. As to perks though, here’s what you’ll want to look out for:

  • Explosive Payload or Osmosis + Firefly or Frenzy
  • Explosive Payload + Opening Shot
  • Rewind Rounds + Firefly

Fatebringer has some of the best perk combinations in the game. Explosive Payload is fantastic in both PvE and PvP - therein dealing frustrating amounts of flinch to your enemies - and Firefly is tried and true. But don’t ignore Osmosis. Pair this with Void 3.0 and Volatile Rounds and you’ll be tearing everything to shreds!

How do I get the Fatebringer?

Good luck on the Vault of Glass grind!

Fatebringer is obtained from the Vault of Glass raid. It drops from the Templar or Gatekeeper encounters, or from one of the secret chests after securing your first Fatebringer drop. Or, for just one more chance at the perks you want, you can turn in your Spoils of Conquest at the end of the raid.

For those looking for the Timelost version, you’ll need to complete the Master version of Vault of Glass for a guaranteed drop when the weapon’s in rotation. 

3. The Last Word (For PvP)

The Last Word is the weapon of the space cowboy.

The space cowboy’s weapon of choice, The Last Word is an exotic 225 RPM hand cannon in the Kinetic slot - the only one of its kind. It’s third on our list and absolutely deserved. Here are the stats:

  • Range - 28
  • Stability - 46
  • Handling - 28
  • Reload Speed - 82
  • Aim Assistance - 40
  • Magazine - 8
  • Recoil Direction - 100

In its current state, The Last Word is, sadly, quite terrible using a mouse and keyboard. However, with a controller, don’t let the low range and aim assistance fool you. With the exotic perk, Fan Fire, reticle stickiness enables very consistent three-shot kills. It’s really, really good! Pair it with a sniper rifle for excellent map coverage. 

How do I get The Last Word?

Like Thorn and Ace of Spades, this exotic hand cannon can be purchased from the Monument to Lost Lights kiosk in the tower. That’s three top tier exotic hand cannons right at your fingertips! 

2. Eyasluna (For both PvE and PvP)

Did you know that 'Eyas' means 'Baby Hawk' and Luna refers the moon. Eyasluna literally translates to Baby Hawkmoon!

At number two on our list, we have the 140 RPM hand cannon, Eyasluna. Another Destiny 1 favorite, Eyasluna deals stasis damage in the Kinetic slot and is undoubtedly a favorite for guardians in every activity. Let’s first check out the stats:

  • Range - 56
  • Stability - 68
  • Handling - 54
  • Reload Speed - 51
  • Aim Assistance - 80
  • Magazine - 11
  • Recoil Direction - 96

In the Crucible, the best hand cannons are usually those that are consistent. We’re looking for solid range, solid stability, and snappy handling. And these are the exact reasons why Eyasluna is so popular. Here are the perks to look out for:

  • Perpetual Motion + Moving Target or Snapshot
  • Outlaw or Unrelenting + Headstone
  • Outlaw or Rangefinder + Kill Clip

Whether you like range on your hand cannon, or you like Headstone because it builds into your PvE stasis kit, Eyasluna is an all-around solid hand cannon. Also, don’t ignore Perpetual Motion; it’s a very underrated perk. 

How do I get the Eyasluna?

I'm still on the hunt for my god roll. Hopefully RNG will reward all of us. 

Eyasluna drops from the final encounter of the Grasp of Avarice dungeon. And after securing your first Eyasluna, it can also drop from the two secret chests. Nice and simple. 

1. The Palindrome (For both PvE and PvP)

Here we are! This is my personal favorite. The Palindrome is a void 140 RPM hand cannon first introduced with Season of the Chosen, and it’s number one on our list. But enough chit-chat! Here are the stats:

  • Range - 55
  • Stability - 62
  • Handling - 55
  • Reload Speed - 48
  • Aim Assistance - 79
  • Magazine - 11
  • Recoil Direction - 98

You may be asking why The Palindrome is so high on this list, and why it’s above Eyasluna. Well, aside from one’s personal preference in how the gun feels to shoot, it comes down to the perk combinations. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Quickdraw + Rangefinder
  • Overflow + One for All or Unrelenting
  • Stats for All + One for All

The Palindrome has the potential to reach a range of 36 meters in PvP, and it has Overflow for PvE. It has the new Stats for All + One for All perk combination. It is very difficult to go wrong with this gun. And should you get a less favorable roll, just having the right barrel and magazine perks can make The Palindrome a top tier hand cannon. It’s fantastic.

How do I get The Palindrome?

May RNG bless you with your favored roll.

Load up a Nightfall Strike when The Palindrome is in the rotation and farm til your heart’s content. Higher the difficulty, the higher the chance of a drop!  

So there you have it! Try Destiny 2’s hand cannons out, see which of these feels best for you. Because remember, if a gun doesn’t feel good to shoot then it doesn’t matter how much range it has, nor how great its perks are. So get out there, Guardians!

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