Destiny 2 is a popular game with over a million players on it. A multiplayer video game featuring one of the best weapons in the series, we will list the best hand cannons that players can try out. We bring you a Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier List that features the best hand cannons and the reasons behind their ranking.
The game allows for three split weapon systems; Energy, Kinetic, and Power. Each type of weapon divides into categories of rarity that start from basic to uncommon rare and legendary to exotic. To survive the open-world Player vs. Player activities of Destiny 2, players must be flexible and understand their enemy’s behaviors.
However, some players that spend hours playing Destiny 2 may find it odd to see one of their weapons, or in this case, the hand cannons specifically, in the wrong tier. In response to that, please note that our Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier list is not official and, therefore, is not subject to criticism. Each weapon has carefully been handpicked onto the tier list based on our personal experience with Destiny 2.
You all may be familiar with the tier list system, and if not, we will be discussing the first five-tier systems in this article, starting with the S-Tier known to be the highest in the tier system. By the end of the article, you will get an in-depth idea about which hand cannon weapons are the best to go after and which ones are not so good.
Related: Destiny 2 Best Rocket Launcher
The highest best tier in the tier system is the S tier. All the weapons ranked in the S tier signify the overall versatility capabilities regarding their firepower, perks, along with their stats. Moreover, if you see a gun ranked in the S-tier list, that means it is considered the best in that game due to its outstanding capabilities and overall effectiveness.
The further down a weapon ranks in the tier system means that the weapon and its stats are not as good as the others above the tiers. In other words, a weapon in the S tier far outranks a weapon in the B tier, and so on.
It would not make much sense to rank all the hand cannons in the S and A tiers in our Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier list. Therefore, We’ve made the requirements of ranking hand cannons in the S tier considerably higher.
The season of the chosen brought up a new legendary gun in Destiny 2. The Bottom Dollar is a 120 RPM hand cannon that utilizes an energy slot and has a massive twelve-perk option. The weapon is only available from the Gambit playlist combined with its low drop chance, and it most certainly means that you have to have the “RNGesus” at your disposal to get a god-roll.
The majority of the perks available from the Bottom Dollar are remarkable. For instance, you can get rapid hit and multi-kill clip, slide shot plus rampage, an exceedingly rare combination of slide shot and high impact reserves, and a rangefinder with explosive payload. Managing to get that roll will allow you to 2-tap guardians with less than 40 resilience from the bottom half of your magazine.
Overall, the Bottom Dollar has remarkable stats and barrel options that enormously affect those stats. One of the only handguns that can roll with Thresh can give users extra super energy in PvP. It is an excellent hand cannon and deserves a spot in the S tier.
The Igneous Hammer is a 120 RPM hand cannon and is the newest edition added to the Trials of Osiris loot pool. The gun balances itself out as both a blessing and a curse. Lucky-go-round players will have access to the adept version of the Hammer, leaving the rest of the players behind.
The adept version is only available from the flawless chest in Trials of Osiris; Igneous Hammer can get an ideal mix of Stability, Range, and Handling, all while having rampage and the ability to 2-tap.
The hand cannon has the coverage of a pulse rifle, merged with the stability of a 140 RPM hand cannon and the snappiness of the one-time lightweight hand cannons, all crammed in together with a deadly 0.5 second time to kill after rampage kicks in.
The players who don’t go for a balanced stat mix can also max out the range stat to a full 100 range while retaining rampage for those incredible 2-taps at a striking distance.
Since the hand cannon can drop as an adept version, it also has access to the adept Icarus mod, which gives it additional range while still providing airborne precision benefits from Icarus. With all these benefits considered, Igneous Hammer is ahead of the competition and has earned its place in the S tier, and comes under Destiny 2 Exotic Hand Cannons list.
A 120 RPM hand cannon looks incredibly unique with the ornament dream of a new world. Sturm can pair well with its sidearm replica Drang where every kill with this sidearm gives you an overcharged bullet for Sturm. However, the implementation of Sturm by itself is pretty stellar.
These overcharged bullets deal significant damage in PvP, which can usually be enough to kill a weakened guardian or direct to an easy clean-up kill with Drang, which then recounts the cycle by powering up Sturm. The Drang can be reloaded when players take a kill with Sturm.
The remarkable aspect concerning the overcharged bullets is that they do pile up with other damage buffs in PvP like “empowering rifts,” “A Well of Radiance,” “The Titan Slide,” “Whisper of Hedrons From Stasis,” “Weapons of Light From a Titan Bubble,” or even the “Charged with Light Mod” high energy fire.
These combinations of added damage will constantly provide you with a one-shot kill with Sturm, which is extremely enjoyable. Sturm has some incredible base stats, particularly with the exotic Catalyst unlocked.
The final result is a 120 RPM hand cannon with a recoil and handling feel of 140 and a considerable magazine size of 12. The most prominent downside of Sturm is that it lacks a damage buff, so it can not 2-tap unless you’re pairing it with a damage source. It cannot also slot an Icarus mod since it’s exotic, but luckily the airborne accuracy isn’t too bad even without Icarus.
With all these reasons in mind, Sturm ranks in the S tier as one of the best hand cannon options in our Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier List.
A legendary 120 RPM hand cannon from the Iron Banner; The Crimil’s Dagger comes with a good base stat. The most exciting part of the gun is that it can roll well with a Rangefinder and kill clip. As you all know, the Kill Clip is a good damage perk in the game, which is highly lethal on the 120 RPM hand cannons.
Why? Because it can kill an enemy with just a combination of both a head and a body shot. On the other hand, Rangefinder grants you the ability to fight at a downright outlandish distance after you experience that damage drop-off.
The Crimil’s Dagger is a beast combined with these two perks for getting those 2-tap kills. Unfortunately, the only downside that we could think of is that the hand cannon only has seven shots in its mag, of which the outcome results in more reloads than actual hits on the target.
However, it pairs well with the kill clip since you’ll probably be reloading quite often anyway. You can pair the Crimil’s Dagger with other exotics such as the Marksman’s Dodge on Hunter and the Dragon Shadow, as doing so will allow you to minimize the time spent on reloading the 7-shot magazine. Furthermore, you’ll get a kill clip damage bonus after the reload.
Overall, the Crimil’s Dagger is an immaculate 120 RPM Hand Cannon that can pair well with Rangefinder and Kill Clip, and that is why we have ranked it in the S-tier.
The hand cannon is like a forerunner to the Steady Hand, and true Prophecy is a kinetic energy legendary 120 RPM hand cannon with good perks and stats. The downside of the hand cannon is that it has the botched trait of being incredibly frustrating to obtain. The only damage perk of the gun is rampage, arguably just as good as a swashbuckler, if not better in some circumstances.
On the other hand, True Prophecy also comes with excellent perks, such as an opening shot or rangefinder to force that ultimate range and nine shots in the magazine, which is somewhat suitable for a 120 RPM hand cannon.
It can also drop with Overflow, which can collaborate nicely with rampage; it automatically reloads your hand cannon and gives you a huge magazine extent of 18 or more bullets just for picking up some heavy or special ammo. Overall, True Prophecy is an excellent 120 RPM hand cannon, identical to the Steady Hand, which is why we have ranked it in the S tier.
The weapons ranked in the A tier can also compete with the S-ranked hand cannons, which does not mean that these A-tier guns are no match for those above them. The A tier makes sure that a fair ranking is offered to all the weapons. The only areas these guns might lack are perks, reload speed, damage, and a good roll potential.
Even though these hand cannons are in the A tier, they can beat any S-ranked weapon any time a gun is nerfed. So keep your ears sharp and your eyes on the new updates, folks!
Ace of Spades
It is an exotic 140 RPM hand cannon used in the kinetic slot of one of the three weapon slots mentioned before. The weapon comes with excellent stats a gigantic magazine that allows the users to hold 13 bullets. Along with that, it offers a high-caliber round of shots that provide an extra flinch and the overall beauty of the hand cannon. The exotic perk Memento Mori allows the user to fire five explosive rounds while reloading after killing an enemy. On another note, you lose Memento Mori on each supply, so you should get a kill and then reload.
However, the weapon does come with a disadvantage. It has a good range of 140, but it lacks a rangefinder that can affect your duel ranged battles, especially against the 120rpm hand cannons. The lack of the rangefinder holds back the gun by a few meters.
The Ace of Spades is exotic and packed with many perks, but one slot in particular ruins the weapon’s effectiveness while the players jump. If the 120-range guns ever receive a nerf, this hand cannon will make its way straight to the S tier. Nonetheless, the weapon is an excellent choice for any play style.
The Hawkmoon is an exotic 140 RPM hand cannon that produces a satisfying sound. Besides that, Hawkmoon is unique in many ways. For instance, it is the only exotic hand cannon with the ability to get random rolls. It means that players can win max Hawkmoon however they like, on top of the already excellent stats. Hawkmoon’s Catalyst is also powerful, giving it extra range and handling.
On top of the random perks and crazy stats, we have its exotic perk, “Paracausal Shot,” which will stack up with every headshot or kill any player lands, and it will unleash all those stored stacks as a damage buff on the last shot of your magazine. Also, it gets mighty that you can even pull off a one-shot-body shot kill at seven stacks. And if you get lucky, you can even line up a few targets to get a collateral kill.
The main downsides are a slightly small magazine size at just nine bullets even with the Catalyst, and because it’s an exotic, it can’t slot an Icarus mod which hurts it a bit in the air. Overall, Hawkmoon is still slightly outclassed by the sheer stopping power of Ace of Spades and the range and 2-tap potential of the 120 RPM, which is why we rank it in the A tier of Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier List.
It is a legendary 140 rounds per minute (RPM) energy hand cannon. The Ancient Gospel is from the Garden of Salvation Raid and has an overall decent amount of stats and a polarizing aesthetic. Moreover, the gun packs a decent perk pool to match its stats.
However, the lower part of the screen is somewhat obstructive and slightly affects the overall visibility when you aim down the sights. Its significant perks include Rapid Hit-Kill Clip and Slide shot-Rangefinder, making it a solid handgun to carry in the game.
New additions and updates to the game have made it fierce for the Ancient Gospel to compete as an energy slot handgun. Don’t hesitate to try out the weapon, as it is undoubtedly a perfect handgun, considering its overall stats and great roll potential.
It is a unique 140 RPM hand cannon brought to us with the Season of The Chosen, and it stands out. The Destiny fans should remember Palindrome from back in the Destiny 1 days as a top choice in PvP, and its return to Destiny 2 has been just as magnificent. The Palindrome has the highest base stats of all 140 RPM hand cannons and can get excellent rolls with available perks.
The adept form of the gun only drops from the Grandmaster Nightfalls. It has the highest range of 140 RPM hand cannon in the game and can hit maximum damage somewhere around 38 meters. Also, you can get a more leveled roll to retain the main three stats, handling, range, and stability, all above 75. The Palindrome is currently the only legendary 140 RPM hand cannon that can get Killing Wind, combined with the rangefinder, an elite perk combination.
Killing Wind lets, you get an additional few meters after a kill and will boost the appeal and handling of Palindrome by a considerable amount. And if you’re not a big fan of the Killing Wind, you can opt for the Quickdraw, an S-tier perk. The Palindrome is the best legendary 140 RPM hand cannon in the game with its excellent stats and perks collection, and that is why it is ranked in the A tier of the Best Destiny 2 Hand Cannons.
The Dire Promise is a legendary 140 RPM hand cannon, a favored selection in PvP before Beyond Light. Its main draw is that incredibly high aim assist stat with otherwise good perks and good stats altogether. In particular, it can roll with both Opening Shot and rangefinder, which pushes up for an otherwise modest range stat. With both of these perks fused on a max range roll, your damage drop-off is propelled to roughly 39 meters for that opening.
Dire Promise also has a few slots that result in a 2-tap potential while utilizing Swashbuckler on classes like the Striker Titan and Stasis using the Whisper of Hedrons Buff. Also, the hand cannon gets additional praise for being the only legendary kinetic choice if you want to use a 140 RPM hand cannon. It is crucial to pair the gun with energy slot special weapons like Frozen Orbit sniper rifle or the Felwinter’s Lie. Both of these are believed to be the top picks for PvP.
Through our understanding, Dire Promise is on the boundary between the A and B tiers. What drives it over the edge is its essence in that kinetic slot and the capacity to roll with a rangefinder and Opening Shot which helps it question the range of those 120 RPM hand cannons.
The Steady Hand
It is a legendary 120 RPM hand cannon from the Iron Banner, which shares the boxy design of Better Devil’s. The gun has a few perks for a 120, and almost none are terrible. Swashbuckler is the only damage perk on the Steady Hand. While it’s not able to 2-tap guardians of all stability, it allows for some clever playmaking potential, especially when mixed with some long-range melee options such as the celestial fire dawn-blade wrist rocket.
Also, the Steady Hand can roll Iron Grip, which will give you a plus 20 increase in stability at the expense of reload speed. Mixed with Slideshot, which then reloads two bullets per slide, it can produce a very easy-to-control 120 RPM hand cannon suitable for a game mode like Trials of Osiris.
Unfortunately, the Steady Hand has only eight shots in the magazine, which is a letdown. Still, it can be diminished with exotic armor options like Dragon’s Shadow or perks like Outlaw or Ophidian Aspect for faster reloads. Overall, the Steady Hand has multiple excellent roll options, and it’s a great hand cannon, probably one of the reasons it is ranked in the A tier.
The B tier is the most subjective and is the third-highest rank in the tier system. The weapons ranked in this tier are considered a decent choice for skilled players. The guns you see in this section can compete with some of the A-ranking hand cannons. Also, they couldn’t make it to the A tier because of their lack of overall effectiveness.
Nation of Beasts
It is a 140 RPM hand cannon from the Last Wish Raid. The Nation of The Beast is quite comparable to the Ancient Gospel, and it is the only 140 RPM hand cannon that can roll an explosive payload. It lets you tag enemies with damage behind corners, lowering your damage fall-off.
But most of all, it delivers a big flash and a lot of flinch on your enemies’ screen. The reticle and the overall looks while aiming down sights are not good and restrict most players’ screens. Otherwise, this hand cannon has worthy stats.
It is a very volatile hand cannon and is currently the only 150 RPM hand cannon in the game, making it unique. Its Catalyst has very high stats and comes intrinsically with an explosive payload and a supercharged version of Dragonfly. Practically, you get the Flinch and Splash damage from explosives, but you also get a Dragonfly explosion on each hit, even splash damage kill or a body shot kill. Unfortunately, the explosions and optical effects are so immense that it becomes hard to see your reticle and tricky to know what you are shooting.
Also, Sunshot has a notable recoil animation, making it seem much less stable. The recoil of the gun hits back enough to disrupt your aim. You can get good enough to overcome this situation with enough practice, but it’s still pretty tricky to always land every shot at the highest rate of fire. The aim assist of only 60 may also cause difficulty in overcoming the problem.
We have ranked Sunshot in the B tier of the Best Destiny 2 Hand Cannons List with these issues kept in mind.
It is an exotic 140 RPM adaptive hand cannon, different from Lumina. Thorn’s distinctive perk does damage over time to tagged targets, allowing you to get a kill with two headshots and one body shot – albeit with delay, on guardians running less than 60 stability. Just like Lumina, the hand cannon can create a remnant on kill, which boosts the damage over time, allowing you to get an effortless one-critical two-body kill, and on some stability, you can outright 2-tap.
The disadvantage of these orbs is that you need to go over and grab them to get the damage buff, which can put you in danger, and does not have the amenity of those Memento Mori bullets on Ace of Spades. It does, however, somewhat reload your magazine, which is a nice touch.
Unfortunately, Thorn has an abysmal range stat, and no mod slot severely handicaps it. Thorn gives you the benefit of slowing your opponents’ recovery and their ability to complete a revive in Trials of Osiris. It also offers a Poor Man’s wallhack since you can see the damage numbers pulsing through walls, which can be pretty helpful.
It is a 140 RPM hand cannon in the energy slot. The stats on Waking Vigil are not quite significant, but it does have a reasonably high aim assist stat, which is excellent. The most substantial benefit of this hand cannon is its ability to roll with both rangefinder and Opening Shot to have a bulky range potential on your first shot.
You can also roll with perks like Kill Clip to ease the headshot requirement on follow-up kills or Snapshot to make it feel a bit faster with the relatively tolerable base stats and nothing particularly unique about this hand cannon. Thus we have ranked it in the B tier of our Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier List.
The hand cannons listed in the C tier are not that great and will not help players in competitive matches, and they lack range, stability, and sometimes perk benefits. The C tier is a moderate-level of tier system that only ranks weapons used just for the fun of the game. Maybe, through a few updates to Destiny 2, these hand cannons might have a chance of getting up to the B tier.
The Ikelos is a 140 RPM energy slot hand cannon. Unfortunately, the 180 RPM archetype of hand cannons is in a challenging spot since they get extremely short-range, a flawed base time to kill, and the recoil model obscures the target making it difficult to see.
The main advantage of hand cannons is that they can cause a massive chunk of damage in a single bullet, allowing you to use your cover to maximize outgoing damage while minimizing incoming damage. You cannot do this with 180 RPM hand cannons effectively corresponding to other archetypes. Also, the weapon model is considerably bulky that it leaps in front of the enemy’s model while you’re shooting, making it very hard to see your target.
Unlikely, it does not come with awesome perks for the Ikelos hand cannon. However, there is a unique blend of sideways and high-impact spares. High impact gives you a tiny bit of extra damage at the end of your magazine, and slideways allow you to partly reload your magazine to get those additional shots in it.
The synergy here is pretty reasonable, but it’s not sufficient damage to allow you to 3-critical a player in a crucible, and you’re only going to be able to pull off a 1-headshot, 3-body shot kill. The best thing is rampage which can 3-tap guardians at 40 resilience or lower with just one pile.
The Ikelos hand cannon lands in the C tier of our Destiny 2 PvP Hand Cannon Tier List.
The Last Word
An exotic hand cannon in the kinetic slot shoots at a high-speed 225 RPM; The Last Word has eight bullets in its magazine and increases damage when firing from the hip. Its exotic perk, Fan Fire, provides extra precision as you keep landings shots that are evident. The most favorable range of this hand cannon is no more than about 18 meters, though it does reimburse with a lightning-fast time to kill of 0.53 seconds with three hip-fire headshots landed for a triple 69’s.
The performance of The Last Word varies enormously between console and pc players. On pc, it is tough to land your shots consistently, let alone headshots, since it seems to have very little forgiveness compared to other weapons in Destiny that are just bleeding with aim assist. Shots fired from The Last Word tend to miss their target flat out unless they are aimed correctly. You can still make The Last Word work remarkably well with adequate skill and exercise.
It is an exotic 140 RPM hand cannon. It’s a very special hand cannon as it is the only weapon in the game with a strictly corroborative function. There are no two ways about it: Lumina as a hand cannon is not that amazing as it only has 50 range with a mild 56 stability and standard perks.
The hand cannon only works best in a team scenario, thanks to its exotic perk. Getting a kill will spawn one or two orbs, depending on the fact that you have the Catalyst, and when you pick up those orbs, that grants noble rounds to Lumina. These can be hip-fired out to teammates, which will give both you and them a damage buff for ten seconds. It will also heal your teammate who touches the orb.
It works best with the Warlock’s Middle Tree Dawnblade subclass since buffing your teammates will trigger the Benevolent Dawn perk and get you a tremendous amount of all your abilities back. The downfall of Lumina is its dependence on having teammates nearby so you can take benefit of the perk. In 6v6, play with uncoordinated blueberries; making the perk work can be highly frustrating since your teammates will often be dispersed all over the place.
However, in collaborative 3v3 groups, it still has some more additional potential, though it’s hard to pick up this over the more deadly choices since it demands a kill to become functional.
The D tier is the lowest rank in the tier system. The hand cannons in this tier are of no use in the game whatsoever due to their lowest damage output and poor range. Unless the producers of Destiny 2 intend on releasing new updates that buff these weapons, they show no signs of benefit to the players.
The Crimson is an exotic 386 RPM three-shot-burst hand cannon that deals kinetic damage. Honestly, the gun does not have any positive views on its performance as it has a damage model similar to the 390 RPM pulse rifle archetype. Its perk sounds quite nice in terms of theory, but it brings out a whole different story when tested in the game. We feel that the Crimson has bad ends with both a pulse rifle and a hand cannon rifle.
Let’s get back to this particular hand cannon’s primary three-round burst function. The burst shot makes it more challenging to peek and take shots, taking away the critical feature of being a hand cannon. Let us explain in further detail; the most significant advantage of any hand cannon in Destiny 2 is the substantial one-shot damage output they deliver with one bullet.
It also allows you to maneuver yourself easily and get behind cover between each round of shots you fire. However, since it is a three-round burst similar to a pulse rifle, any player would expect it to have much more range as a tradeoff for losing the peek shot ability.
Unfortunately, the gun’s range reaches about 33 meters before damage drop-off kicks in, even with the Catalyst. At that range, the gun’s recoil makes it harder for pc players to land a full burst shot consistently. Since the model kicks into your face and hides the target during its recoil, it is extremely bulky and tough to aim with it.
Despite the benefit of having an auto-reload after the player lands a headshot kill and returning health from any kill, the lack of range while adopting the cons of a pulse rifle land it in the D tier of Best Destiny 2 Hand Cannons List.
It is similar to the Nature of the Beast hand cannon from the Beast Stone Crypt raid. Posterity is a 180 RPM archetype that has some nice perks like rampage. The model of the hand cannon bounces right in front of your enemy and makes it hard for you to see them.
It also has a fragile range and peek-shot ability of all hand cannons, which is not good. The pc players find it extremely hard to control the recoil of this hand cannon, although the console players have a much more significant advantage in terms of the peek-shots.
It is an exotic 180 RPM hand cannon with an inexcusable flaw. You may remember that the precision frame hand cannons come with the Icarus Grip mod intrinsically? Well, that is entirely wrong. The hand cannon doesn’t seem to do that, and you may notice the bullet spread through the air. The significant upside to Malfeasance is its ability to kill in just five body shots regardless of the range, that’s thanks to the exotic perk which causes targets to explode when five slugs hit them.
It also has an extensive magazine which comes in handy. The exotic perk is excellent in a team environment when a few teammates are using this hand cannon together since it only requires a total of 5 slugs to be landed for the explosion effect. Moreover, the exotic perk also makes it decent against some of those roaming supers, thanks to the extra damage, but any good player with solid movement will likely still kill you before you’re able to shut them down.
Overall, Malfeasance is a reasonably lousy hand cannon, and you should avoid using it unless you have a unique build in mind. For the above reasons, Malfeasance is ranked in the D tier of our Destiny 2 Hand Cannon Tier List.
Nature of the Beast
You should not confuse Nature of the Beast with Nation of Beasts. It is an energy 180 RPM hand cannon from the World Loot Pool. Compared to the other 180 RPM hand cannons, this particular cannon is pretty worthless. The precision frames usually hide the target, and that’s frustrating. It also has access to a rangefinder which can help diminish a few poor range stats.
The 180 RPM hand cannons have a slow overall time to kill at a full one second, but they don’t offer the range advantage of the 120 RPM hand cannons.
Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver
Another one of the 180 RPM hand cannons, The Seventh Seraph Officer revolver, has an exciting perk with the ability to roll a timed payload. The perk can be even more vicious than the explosive payload since it springs your enemy twice on two different occasions and is extremely annoying on the receiving end.
However, it also slightly extends your adequate time to kill unless you land four consecutive headshots, so there is a bit of a tradeoff, and you’re hoping that the extra flinch causes your enemy to miss their shots.
Like with the other 180 RPM hand cannons, the Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver also ranks in the D tier.
There is also another particular hand cannon that hits like a truck and emits fire from the barrel. The Eriana’s Vow uses special ammo instead of primary ammo, which is why it is not included in our Hand Cannon Tier List Destiny 2. Eriana’s Vow is similar to a sniper rifle to a hand cannon, and with the proper damage buffs, it can outright kill in one headshot, which is incredibly satisfying. If we have to rank it in the tier system, we will put it in the S tier.
Overall, some of the hand cannons in Destiny 2 can be used as a fun way to troll enemies with their exceptional perks and overall stats. If you found this article useful, you may look at many of our numerous guides, such as Destiny 2 Finishers.
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