The best weapons to use in Destiny 2's PvP modes

Destiny PvP is at an all-time high. Destiny 2 made huge changes to fundamental systems—team size, weapon loadouts and cooldowns, to name a few—and the result is a smarter, more skill-based Crucible arena. There’s no ranked mode just yet, only a ‘competitive playlist’ featuring elimination-style game modes, but there’s still never been a better time to head into the Crucible. 

So, to help you impress Crucible master Shaxx, I’ve put together a list of the best PvP guns across every weapon type, including how to get them and what you can use instead. I’ve been in Destiny 2’s Crucible since the PS4 and PC closed betas, and was among the top 50 PS4 team deathmatch players in Destiny 1, so I speak from experience. Personal preference is always a factor, and this list will likely change as new weapons are released, but every gun here will serve you well. Oh, and with a few exceptions, these weapons are all legendary-grade. Now then...

The best PvP scout rifle: Mida Multi-Tool 

The Mida Multi-Tool was the best PvP scout rifle in Destiny 1, and it’s still a monster today. Its unique exotic perks not only improve your movement speed, making strafing and escaping easier, but also keep your radar active when aiming down sights, keeping you aware of encroaching enemies. Its long range, low recoil and fast fire rate allow it to kill quickly from obscene distances, but its scope is forgiving enough to let you fight up close.  

How to get it: Complete its exotic quest.  

Or try: Seven-Six-Five, Call to Serve, Manannan SR4 


The best PvP pulse rifle: Nightshade  

Nightshade has been dominating Destiny 2 since its first beta. It has great range, low recoil, a big magazine, and a fast reload time. It’s also a ‘Lightweight’ weapon, so it boosts your movement speed and ADS time. Its fire rate and impact make for swift kills, and it excels at racking up multi-kills thanks to the ‘Kill Clip’ perk, which grants increased damage when you reload after a kill. Kill Clip boosts your critical hits from 20 to 26, which is a big deal when you’re shooting three-round bursts. 

How to get it: Earn Vanguard packages by completing strikes and earning tokens. Nightshade is also one of the three free weapons offered by Vanguard leader Zavala when you unlock the Nightfall strike. You can only choose one; you’ll have to obtain the other two from packages. 

Or try: Lincoln Green, Swift Ride 


The best PvP auto rifle: Origin Story

Origin Story does everything you want an auto rifle to do. Its deep magazine keeps you shooting, its sharp sight keeps you accurate, and it kills quickly thanks to high impact and the ‘Rampage’ perk, which temporarily grants increased damage after kills and stacks up to three times. It also has enormous range for any weapon, let alone an auto rifle, and highly controllable recoil. 

How to get it: Earn Vanguard packages by completing strikes. Origin Story is also one of the three free weapons offered by Vanguard leader Zavala when you unlock the Nightfall strike. You can only choose one; you’ll have to obtain the other two from packages.

Or try: Valakadyn, Scathelocke, Uriel’s Gift


The best PvP hand cannon: Better Devils

Better Devils is a well-rounded weapon with an ideal balance of fire rate and impact. Its magazine is big enough to get the job done, and its recoil is minor. The perk that pushes it over the top is ‘Explosive Payload’, which makes your shots deal AoE damage on impact. This AoE damage isn’t affected by the damage falloff tied to your weapon’s effective range, meaning Better Devils is more effective from afar than every other hand cannon.

How to get it: Earn Crucible packages by trading in Crucible tokens. Better Devils can also drop as an end-of-match reward.

Or try: The Old Fashioned, Annual Skate, Shattered Peace


The best PvP sidearm: Last Hope 

It’s hard to screw up a sidearm, but the Last Hope is something special. It’s an incredibly forgiving weapon that positively melts enemies at close to medium range, in no small part because its stability is not only maxed out, but further improved by the perk ‘Zen Moment’, which increases your stability whenever you deal damage. Plus it fires three-round bursts instead of the normal single shots. Disgusting stuff. 

How to get it: Earn gunsmith packages by trading in gunsmith parts or decrypt legendary engrams.

Or try: The Rattler, Dead Man Walking, Etana SI4, Minimum Distance


The best PvP submachine gun: Mida Mini-Tool 

Not only did the Mida Multi-Tool return in Destiny 2, it brought its cousin, the Mida Mini-Tool. As it turns out, excellence runs in the family. The Mida Mini has the high fire rate you’d expect from a submachine gun and comes with two huge bonuses. First of all, it grants a speed boost when you also have the Mida Multi-Tool equipped, so it’s a natural fit that’s great for rushing enemies. Second, and more subtle, is its pristine scope. I don’t know what it is, but several SMG sights feel cluttered, but the Mida Mini is wonderfully crisp. 

How to get it: Complete the quest mission chain in the European Dead Zone, which is unlocked when you clear the main storyline and reach level 20. 

Or try: Phosphorus MG4, Resonance-42, Death Adder


The best PvP shotgun: Hawthorne’s Field-Forged Shotgun 

Hawthorne has outdone herself with this one. This shotgun has high enough impact and range, not to mention a tight enough spread, to one-shot enemies from a good distance. It also boosts your movement speed, making it easier to get in close. The real killer app is its Full Auto perk, which boosts its fire rate considerably. If you don’t kill with your first shot, your second shot will be right behind it. 

How to get it: Earn European Dead Zone packages by completing patrol missions, public events, killing high-value targets and opening random chests. 

Or try: Baligant, Retrofuturist, Good Bone Structure (Note: Good Bone Structure fires a single slug round, not a buckshot spread, and is arguably the better shotgun if you can consistently land headshots.)


The best PvP sniper rifle: Shepherd’s Watch 

Sniper rifles cannot one-shot on body in Destiny 2, so the easier it is to set up headshots, the better the sniper rifle. And in the contest of hunting heads, Shepherd’s Watch is an absolute guillotine. Its scope isn’t so powerful that you lose track of targets at medium range, and its recoil allows for accurate successive shots. More importantly, it sports the ‘Moving Target’ perk, which increases your movement speed and, literally, your ‘target acquisition’ while aiming down sights. Here, target acquisition basically amounts to aim assist, which is obviously more relevant on console, but the movement speed buff is always great for aggressive sniping. 

How to get it: Earn gunsmith packages by trading in gunsmith parts, earn Crucible packages by trading in Crucible tokens, or decrypt legendary engrams. 

Or try: Veleda-D, Aachen-LR2 (Note: Aachen-LR2 is a rare-grade sniper rifle, not a legendary, but it’s still effective in PvP where power level is not a factor.)


The best PvP fusion rifle: Shock and Awe 

Fusion rifles have been toned down since Destiny 2’s beta, but they’re still fantastic power weapons capable of instant kills at medium range. Shock and Awe has a slow charge time, but its damage and range is worth it. You can also account for its charge time by pre-charging your shot before approaching—or by leveraging the ‘Backup Plan’ perk, which dramatically increases your ADS and charge time after swapping to this weapon. 

How to get it: Decrypt legendary engrams.

Or try: Main Ingredient, Critical Sass 


The best PvP linear fusion rifle: Man O’ War

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of linear fusion rifles in PvP. Sniper rifles are better at range, and normal fusion rifles are better up close. That being said, Man-o-War is the best linear fusion rifle for PvP. It draws and charges relatively quickly, and thanks to the same ‘Moving Target’ perk that makes the Shepherd’s Watch sniper rifle great, can swiftly pick off heads with enough practice.   

How to get it: Complete the quest mission chain on Io, which is unlocked when you clear the main storyline and reach level 20. 

Or try: Tarantula


The best PvP grenade launcher: Play of the Game

Like most players, I was unimpressed with grenade launchers at first, but Play of the Game totally flipped my opinion. Its projectiles travel quickly and have a big blast radius, and unlike most grenade launcher rounds, actually hit what you’re aiming at thanks to the ‘Proximity Grenades’ perk. If you haven’t cottoned on, this perk makes your grenades detonate whenever they’re close to your target, meaning you don’t have to hit them dead-on. Which is good, because arcing grenades is an art, let me tell ya. 

How to get it: Earn Crucible packages by trading in Crucible tokens. Play of the Game can also drop as an end-of-match reward.

Or try: Prospector, Berenger’s Memory (Note: the Prospector is an exotic grenade launcher obtained via exotic engrams.)


The best PvP rocket launcher: Hoosegow

With the sudden disappearance of tracking and proximity missiles, rocket launchers are less popular in PvP nowadays. Still, with a fast enough rocket and a big enough boom, you can take care of pretty much anything, including entire teams. The Hoosegow delivers just that: high velocity and blast radius. And really, that’s all you need on a rocket launcher. The perk ‘Snapshot Sights’ also makes it quick on the draw, which is especially potent on an otherwise sluggish rocket launcher. 

How to get it: Decrypt legendary engrams. 

Or try: Pentatonic-48, Wardcliff Coil (Note: Wardcliff Coil is an exotic rocket launcher obtained via exotic engrams.)


The best PvP sword: Steel Sybil Z-14

A sword is a sword is a sword. You swing it, people die. That’s never going to change no matter what sword you bring into the Crucible, but you might as well use the one with the most useful auxiliary perk: ‘Assassin’s Blade’. This boosts your movement speed and damage after sword kills, which makes stringing kills together much easier. Steel Sybil Z-14 is one of the most easily attainable swords with this perk, so it’s a great choice. 

How to get it: Earn Crucible packages by trading in Crucible tokens. Steel Sybil Z-14 can also drop as an end-of-match reward.

Or try: Crown-Splitter

Austin Wood
Staff writer, GamesRadar

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.