Best Destiny 2 PvE weapons: what is the meta right now?

Unlock your potential with the best Destiny 2 PvE weapons

Destiny 2 PvE Weapons: A Guardian holds a glaive
(Image: © Bungie)

The staggering expanse of Destiny 2 PvE weapons can be difficult to parse. In fact, there are nearly a thousand weapons in Bungie’s flagship title, so it’s understandable if you are feeling a little lost amidst the frenzy of gear at your fingertips.

Even if you’ve been at it a while, this guide will help you work out how come your current loadout just isn’t cutting it. Of course, one of the greatest joys of Destiny 2 is finding a weapon you love and sticking to it. That being said, there will be occasions where you will likely have to tailor your loadout to suit one of the better-performing weapons out there if you want to secure some wins.

Here’s the ultimate list of the best weapons to be found in the PvE side of the game. If you are looking to take on anything from Nightfalls, Raids, the Legendary Campaign, or even Dungeons, using a specific combination of the best tools is the only way to ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward. The ability to adapt to a situation is vital, so you can’t rely on your favourite crutch weapons all the time!

If you’re interested in the PvP side of the tracks, check out our one-stop shop for the best PvP weapons in the game. For now though, let’s get some firepower. 

Best Destiny 2 PvE weapons

Destiny 2 PvE weapons: current meta

A Guardian holds a Glaive in Savathun's Throne World

The Glaive is strong right now. (Image credit: Future)

Before we jump into the specifics of the best guns in Destiny 2, let's take an overall view of the current meta. In Season of the Risen and the launch of the Witch Queen, things remain pretty open.

There is no one Artifact mod that is making one type of weapon dominate the meta, and there is a feeling of versatility to the options people can run currently. At least for the most part...

Rocket Launchers feel great right now, and that's all down to Gjallarhorn. It's very strong right now. Like, really, really strong. It boosts all other rocket launchers and there are a lot of good ones out there at the moment. They are good in just about any content in the game, and if you don't want to think about what to run, Gjallarhorn currently feels like a great 'default' option. 

The new weapon type, the Glaive, is having a great introduction to the game too. It has so much utility right now and is a great choice, especially against harder enemies. 

Elsewhere, the meta is pretty open. It feels like there are currently more standout primaries than in recent seasons, but they are nicely spread out across weapon types so you should be able to find one that suits you. 

Destiny 2 PvE weapons: weapons struggling right now

A Guardian holds a Sniper in Savathun's Throne World

Sniper Rifles could really use some love currently (Image credit: Future)

Snipers remain in a pretty terrible place when it comes to PvE content. They are both more tricky to use and are outputting less damage than many other specials. They could really use some help in future patches. 

Shotguns are also struggling somewhat. They remain decent, but apart from some very specific builds, they are a fairly underwhelming option. Even the once-great double Slug Shotgun option that took over the Taniks boss fight in the Deep Stone Crypt has fallen away. 

Lastly, Machine Guns are also in a terrible spot. Besides Xenophage, which has also dropped off from its once mighty reign, it’s hard to justify running these for any reason. Their DPS is poor for a heavy weapon, and while they have deep reserves, so much of Destiny PvE is about doing a lot of damage and doing it quickly. In a world of Champions and Raid bosses, Machine guns currently feel left behind. 

Thankfully though, almost every other weapon type has its place or is at least viable somewhere in the meta. Especially when it comes to primary weapons, there’s a ton you can use with it largely coming down to personal preference.

Destiny 2 PvE weapons: best primary weapons

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

(Image credit: Bungie)

Here we will get into the nitty-gritty of the best primary weapons available now on the PvE side of Destiny 2.

We'll go over some items that will truly set you apart from the bunch, how to use them, and why we think they're really that powerful.

Try implementing some of these guys in your next loadout build. You won't be disappointed - promise.


Image of Funnelweb SMG

(Image credit: Future)

If you’ve played Destiny for a while, you will likely have memories of the Recluse. The gun was so good, it somewhat famously encouraged Bungie to implement sunsetting. It was a monster in its prime and the game has never seen a gun quite like it since.

Until now. If you missed the Recluse, the Funnelweb feels real close to that. The name is obviously referential too (recluse and funnel-web spiders, you see), suggesting Bungie knows what it's doing. While it can’t roll with the Master of Arms perk that made the Recluse so powerful, it's still capable of quite powerful rolls. 

Subsistence/Frenzy will mesh really well with the gun’s third trait, Veist Stinger, which has a chance to reload the magazine. You really can shoot forever and it feels excellent. 

Where to get it?

Random World Drop

Grade: A

Le Monarque

Image of Le Monarque bow

(Image credit: Future)

Le Monarque is living the high life right now. The bow was already ludicrously strong and always has been. Bows in general have recently gotten buffs, and the poison effect it has is easy to apply and great for clearing enemies. 

On top of all that, the bow is currently living in a perfect storm. Void is in this season, and a lot of mods enable Le Monarque. In particular, the Artifact mod, Volatile Flow gives it Volatile Rounds which is just insane. You’ll see enemies exploding into Void energy all around you. 

On top of that, it also benefits from the 40% buff to red bar enemies all exotic primaries got. 

As if all that wasn’t enough, Bows are also Anti-Barrier this season, giving them strong Champion utility too. Bungie took one of the best Primaries in the game and created more conditions for it to succeed. It’s exceptionally good. 

Where to get it?

Moments to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower

Grade: A-


Image of the Krait auto rifle

(Image credit: Future)

If you are more of an Auto Rifle person, the Krait is not dissimilar to the Funnelweb, only, obviously in Auto Rifle form. It has a further range which might appeal more to your needs. 

The Krait has some excellent perks, and you'll usually roll one that is at least good. Perks like Subsistence and Overflow will make it so you can shoot forever, while Headstone and new perk-Focused Fury are great options in the last column. 

It also benefits from Auto Rifles being an Overload mod this season. If you are planning on surpressing some champions, this will be a great way of doing it. 

Where to get it?

Random World Drop

Grade: B+

Osteo Striga

Image of Osteo Striga exotic SMG

(Image credit: Future)

The Osteo Striga is, essentially, Thorn in the form of an SMG. However, unlike Thorn, this has more use in PvE than PvP. While it can start a little slow, it ramps up, and ramps up quickly to infect hoards of enemies. 

Thanks to its Toxic Overload exotic perk, kills and precision hits will start poison rapidly spreading through enemies. Entire rooms will fall to their knees as the infection washes over everything in it. This also synergizes with the Necrotic Grip Warlock Exotic, making it spread further and with more potency. 

Add on top of that, you can also unlock the catalyst for the gun, which sees poison final blows return ammo to the magazine. Enjoy only having to reload on occasion. It really is a strong consideration.

Where to get it?

Complete the Destiny 2: The Witch Queen campaign

Grade: B+


Image of Eyasluna

(Image credit: Future)

A relatively new addition from the Destiny 1 arsenal, Eyasluna has proven to be a popular weapon for many. Hand Cannons are the quintessential Destiny weapon, and many love using them. If that is you, this gun, which is earnable from the Dungeon Grasp of Avarice, should be up your alley.

It comes with a ton of good rolls, so it’s not hard to get the one that will work for you. Rangefinder, Outlaw, Rapid Hit, and Perpetual Motion are all very viable in the third column for the gun. On the other side, the fascinating Headstone perk can do a surprising amount of enemy clearing. Failing that a simple Kill Clip roll will do wonders too.

If you are feeling like a Hand Cannon, this is a great stop for you. (Side note: Vault of Glass Hand Cannon Fatebringer is also a great choice too.)

Where to get it?

Grasp of Avarice Dungeon

Grade: B

Outbreak Perfected

Image of Outbreak Perfected

(Image credit: Future)

Outbreak Perfected saw a big buff to damage with the launch of Witch Queen. On top of a base 10% damage buff to pulse rifles, it also benefited from the 40% buff to all red bar enemies that all Exotic primaries received. It’s very strong.

It's great to see too. The gun has long deserved this resurgence, it being one of the coolest feeling and flavorful in the game. It has amazing stablity for a pulse, and on top of that, the Nanites it leaves behind after killing an enemy will help clear wide areas of enemies. 

On top of that, if you missed the catalyst, it’s back in the world pool. This makes the Nanites even more aggressive and will shred red bars apart. It’s a very solid option.

Where to get it?

Moments to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower

Grade: B

Destiny 2 PvE weapons: best special weapons

Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

(Image credit: Bungie)

Looking for some truly formidable special weapons?

These PvE powerhouses will rain down a world of pain on your foes. If dealing copious amounts of damage is your kinda thing, eyes down now for the best tools of the trade when it comes to special weaponry in Destiny 2.

The Enigma

Image of The Enigma Glaive

(Image credit: Future)

I was unsure about the Glaive archetype. I still am somewhat for future seasons, but it’s very clear that Bungie wants The Enigma to succeed out of the gate. Right now, it just has exceptional utility. 

It has a ranged attack, can be used as a shield to revive fallen Guardians, and also has a melee combo that is very good at staggering enemies. 

Speaking of, it synergizes with the artifact mode, Suppressing Glaive, which allows any attack with the Glaive to apply Suppressing. This means enemies can’t use certain attacks and in some cases will blind them. Add the Suppression Mastery mod, and you can lock down difficult enemies infinitely, with no ammo cost by just whacking away at them.

 On top of that, it can be used to stun Unstoppable Champions too. It’s very strong, offering exceptional utility right now.

Where to get it?

Given as part of the Witch Queen Campaign

Grade: A

Dead Messenger

Image of the Dead Messenger Grenade Launcher

(Image credit: Future)

This thing rocks. It’s possible my personal favorite gun right now and synergizes with a lot of what is going on this season. 

Wavelength Grenade Launchers have long been underrated and this is the best one ever put in the game. It comes from the new Vox Obscura mission. You need to get the quest from the war table in the HELM, but then all you have to do is beat it. 

The spread on the gun’s wave is massive and what’s better, it can cycle between Solar, Arc, and Void damage types, so it's exceptionally versatile. Add Volatile Flow with this on the Void setting and rooms of enemies will just explode.

There may not be a better enemy clearing special in the game. Seriously consider getting and using this. It's bound to be a bit of a dark horse this season.

Where to get it?

Completing the Vox Obscura mission

Grade: A

Ager's Scepter

Image of Ager's Scepter

(Image credit: Future)

The Exotic Trace Rifle from last season has proven itself to be an excellent weapon. Its ability to freeze wide swaths of enemies is ever useful, as you will make once tough rooms bend to your whims as you control the space.

However, that’s only a part of what makes Ager’s so powerful. Its true power comes from its ability to enable powerful Stasis builds. Getting Stasis effects on the field and, importantly, using shards to boost your abilities means that you can have near-constant Stasis turrets. To see something like this in action, Destiny YouTuber Datto has a great build to consider to help get your head around Ager’s Scepter’s true power. 

Ager Scepter is good on its own and top tier with very specific builds. That being said, it has a little less ‘plug and play’ functionality than, say, the Cartesian Coordinate. If you want to reach the weapon’s full potential, you will need access to a decent amount of Stasis fragments and Stasis armor mods. 

Where to get it?

Moments to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower

Grade: B+ (or A with specific builds)


Image of Witherhoard

(Image credit: Future)

Witherhoard is a weapon that will likely be a part of this list for many future seasons barring a catastrophic nerf. The grenade launcher’s ability to create a damaging pool on the floor is just inherently powerful.

Witherhoard remains one of the most versatile weapons in the game. It’s pools are great for killing red bar enemies, as well as applying additional damage to tougher enemies and Bosses. There is no situation in Destiny 2 that isn’t made better with a Witherhoard.

Placing a Witherhoard shot into a Boss, and then proceeding to do damage with your legendary Heavy Weapon is always going to be one of the best DPS options in the game. It’s usually a little more tricky, but it’s nothing too challenging to get into the rhythm of. No one on your Fireteam will be upset about seeing a Witherhorad. 

Where to get it?

Moments to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower

Grade: B

Likely Suspect

Image of the Likely Suspect Fusion Rifle

(Image credit: Future)

While Fusion Rifles were very last season, they still have a strong spot for consideration. They have great damage and are excellent choices for tougher orange and yellow bar enemies. 

While Cartesian Coordinate and Null Composure remain solid options, the new Likely Suspect feels great. Something like Slideways or Perpetual Motion with new perk Successful Warm-Up is really powerful. The charge time on the gun almost disappears and it is an excellent option when when you need your special to pack a bit of a punch.

You can also craft this weapon, so you can build towards the exact roll you want. That's a big plus on it's side, even if that process is slow. 

Where to get it?

Savathun's Throne World and Fynch. Also, can become craftable

Grade: B

Destiny 2 PvE weapons: best heavy weapons

A Guardian fires their weapon in Destiny 2: The Witch Queen

(Image credit: Bungie)

Heavy artillery can be slog, but it's more than worth it for the immense damage you will inflict.

If chunky weapons are your speed, out tips for the best heavy weapons in Destiny 2 will have you chomping at the bit to get out there and wreak some havoc.

Gjallarhorn + Legendary Rocket Launchers

Image of Gjallarhorn

(Image credit: Future)

It’s time to get reacquainted with an old classic. Gjallarhorn was reintroduced with the 30th Anniversary and it is a top-tier option. Last season, the gun was somewhat held back by the Particle Deconstruction seasonal mod, but now it's unleashed and it's taking over the game.

Gjallarhorn is the rising tide that raises all ships... if ships were legendary Rocket Launchers. Thanks to the Gjallarhorn’s Pack Hunter perk, it gives all other Legendary Rocket Launchers Wolf Pack Rounds. Other Rocket Launchers benefit from this, possibly even outperforming Gjallarhorn itself. More than that, it also opens up Exotic Slots for other members of your Fireteam. 

On top of insane boss damage, it's wolfpack rounds will help clear smaller enemies too making it very versatile. It's probably the best gun in the game right now. 

Where to get it?

Complete the And Out Fly the Wolves quest

Grade: A+

Sleeper Simulant

Image of Sleeper Simulant

(Image credit: Future)

Sleeper Simulant has been knocked down a peg or two since the seasonal mod Particle Deconstruction left the game. That said, you'd be mistaken for thinking it's dead.

It’s still exceptionally strong for Boss and Champion damage and will more or less one hit anything else. You do have to hit criticals to maximize damage, but that’s really not that hard to do. Just take your time. The aim assist and size of the beam is quite generous. Also, Sleeper’s shots Ricochet off surfaces making DPS even higher if the bounce back hits and enemy. 

There are some instances currently you may go to a Sleeper over, say a Gjallarhorn or Rocket Launcher. Mainly, the Exotic Linear Fusion Rifle does it's damage instantly. This can be invaluable. Some enemy types can dodge, so if you are firing from a distance, you may find your rockets failing to land. Sleeper fixes that problem. And it's numbers are still very competitive for boss damage.

Where to get it?

Moments to Lost Lights kiosk in the Tower

Grade: B+


Image of the Parasite Grenade Launcher

(Image credit: Future)

Parasite is one of the silliest bits of flavor in the game. The quest to obtain it is great, and you will end up being able to shoot Hive Worms at enemies. That’s just never not fun. 

However, don’t write this off as a gimmick weapon. This is capable of, hands down, the biggest burst damage the game has ever seen. Racking up 20 enemy kills before shooting your shot is a staggering amount of damage. However, it’s also decent at sustained damage too so don’t sleep entirely on it for damage phases, especially if they are on the shorter side. 

This gun also offers a buff if it hits you at all. This is a 15% buff to all your other weapons, so you can shoot it and change to another weapon and keep slaying. This will excel in Grand Masters, especially when it comes to killing Champions. 

Where to get it?

Of Queens and Worms exotic quest

Grade: B+

Reed’s Regret + Threaded Needle

Image of Threaded Needle

(Image credit: Future)

Both of these Linear Fusions Rifles are benefitting massively from recent buffs to the weapon type. They offer similar, and in very specific cases, more damage than Sleeper Simulant. For a non-Exotic, that is an enormous benefit, as they can even be paired with Witherhoard, adding tick damage to a Boss. 

However, they have a lot more downsides than the Sleeper Simulant. For one, they are generally much harder to use. These live or die by hitting a critical shot, and in some cases, require you to do so repeatedly.

On that, they also need specific rolls to be good. On Reed’s Regret, you currently want Triple Tap and Firing Line (with Vorpal Weapon a perfectly acceptable alternative) or a Threaded Needle with Clown Cartridge and Vorpal Weapon. That makes these a little more tricky to use and obtain, rather than Sleeper Simulant’s ‘set it and forget it’ mentality.

That said, they are still great options if you want to free up your Exotic slot for whatever reason.

Where to get it?

Threaded Needle currently is unobtainable. Reed's Regret comes from Trials of Osiris.

Grade: B

Patrick Dane
Gaming Guides Editor

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant. 

With contributions from