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

Destiny 2 Best Hand Cannons
Malfeasance- bad in looks and use

Hand cannons have been a staple since Destiny 1 and they’re just as exciting and crisp as they were before, just more powerful now. Below, you’ll find a list of the best handcannons but be warned, I’ve left Exotics off the PvE list. With the exception of Eriana’s Vow, there’s no use wasting your Exotic slot for a hand cannon.

Best Hand Cannons for PvE

5. Kindled Orchid (Best if you need a good all-rounder quickly) 

Our list begins with a gun from Season of the Forge. It’s easy to get, but like most legendary weapons from that season, it lacks personality and zest. It used to be the best PvE cannon in the game, but we’ll see some others that have overtaken it.

It Has:

  • Great Impact
  • Above-average stability
  • Huge Magazine

Why this Weapon is Great:

  • You need a competent, stable mid-tier enemy clearer
  • You’re playing on PC (you’ll have less/better controlled drift)
  • You can’t find any of the other hand cannons on the list

Get it from Ada-1 as a weapons frame and complete the quest steps to receive a randomly rolled copy!

See Kindled Orchid In Action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bElX3AwvzB0

4. Warden’s Law (Best if you want a ton of damage, really quickly)

This gun would be number one if there was a consistent way to acquire it. I’ve personally been through the grind and there’s better options that are easier to get. But this gun is unique; basically, an Exotic in a legendary package.

It has:

  • A unique perk, Double Fire, that creates twin-fire rounds
  • Resulting top-of-the-line Impact
  • Honestly unfair Aim Assist and a beautiful vertical Recoil

Use if:

  • You need a shotgun but you really like hand cannons
  • You’re the designated Major clearer
  • You have a lot of time on your hands to grind the same Warden of Nothing Nightfall.

Get it from the Warden of Nothing Nightfall Strike

See Warden of Nothing in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV4ehvK9N2k=

3. Midnight Coup (Best if you miss a lot)

 Of the five guns on this PvE list, Midnight Coup is the second-best in terms of pure feeling. It makes up for being second-best in feeling for being the best in accuracy. Trust me, everything from the way the sights are structured to the stats I’ll get into in a second, this is as solid choice for any player.

It has:

  • Great Handling
  • A massive Magazine
  • A whip-quick Reload and a synergistic perk that makes it even faster

Use if:

  • Again, you tend to miss a lot
  • Your character is slower (you move a little faster with this equipped
  • Get it from the Leviathan Raid!

See Midnight Coup in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_dQjIK5Lvs

2. Spare Rations (Best if you need a sniper, but you prefer hand cannons)

I find it slightly interesting that the two best hand cannons on this list look like classic revolvers, and Spare Rations certainly has become a classic. Let’s get into why this hand cannon and the next one are pretty much tied- it just comes down to playstyle.

It has:

  • AverageImpact, that gets less average when you add explosive payload 
  • Best in class Magazine. 13 shots, it doesn’t get any better than that without a Masterwork.
  • Devastating Recoil. This gun is truly best for PC players who can control recoil quicker.

Use if:

  • You’re on PC and you want to destroy in PvE, or you’re an experienced console player
  • You need to do great damage to majors but still clear adds like no one’s business

Get this from Gambit Prime.

See Spare Rations in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-szwRpltlo

1. Trust (Just best overall)

This gun just feels so good. This is one of the only hand cannons in Destiny you can max out stability AND roll with Outlaw, which means you can just keep landing headshots. It’s also extremely easy to get ahold of, and you can just keep grinding till you get the perfect PvE hand cannon.

It has:

  • Amazing feel. This gun is honestly the gold standard for all Destiny weapons.
  • Stunning stability. If you want to, you’ll take nothing but headshots.
  • Devastating recoil. This gun is truly best for PC players who can control recoil quicker. 

Use if:

  • Just get your hands on this gun. It’s too easy to pass up, and it’s just a necessary addition to any Guardian’s arsenal.

Get it from Gambit!

See Trust in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoFUIa2HDg0

Exotic Mentions:

Crimson (3 round burst, health replenishes on kills. The con is that it’s a peashooter. This one will make an appearance in the PvP list)

Sunshot (AoE damage on all kills)

Ace of Spades (This is an absolute beast, just not worth an Exotic slot. Precision kills give six double damage rounds in the next clip, and precision kills are explosive. Feels amazing to use.)

Top 5 Hand Cannons for PvP

Unlike PvE, it is very much a good idea to use an exotic Hand Cannon in Destiny’s PvP activities. However, there is the caveat that hand cannons in PvP are not favored in the meta. You will always lose a similar-skill shootout to Monte Carlo or Hard Light or any rapid-firing Auto Rifle. Regardless, there’s a few that will make you competitive.

5. Trust/Spare Rations (Best if you’re on console or you prefer running an Exotic auto rifle in PvP)

Everything I said above still stands- Trust or Spare Ration’s stability makes it extremely easy to take advantage of this current meta’s shot structuring. 3 shots to the body or 2 to the head will take out most any enemies, and Trust is your best bet to consistently land them.

4. Luna’s Howl/Not Forgotten

These guns are incredibly hard to secure- they require being good at PvP in the first place. However, they’re easily the best legendary choice in the game. They combine top-of-the-line impact, range and stability to decimate opponents. They also look really cool, if that kind of thing matters to you.

It has:

  • Great Stability; you’ll stay on target
  • Stellar Impact; you need the bare minimum to kill
  • Amazing rate-of-fire; you can land those 3 headshots quick

Use if:

  • You’re really good at PvP and you can earn them- best secondary weapon
  • You’re doing competitive PvP a lot. These buck the meta, and it’ll leave teams scrambling to counter especially with a high resilience Titan or Hunter build.

Get it from a quest!

See Luna's How/Not Forgotten In Action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGWlfBa7ziQ

3. Thorn

Same sort of legacy situation as TLW, except in D1, Thorn was incredibly difficult to secure. It’s not too much easier today, but it’s an amazing gun with a great set of perks.

It has:

  • Poison bullets; land two in the body and the extra damage will take care of the enemy while they run away
  • A slow RoF- in the current meta or in competitive, you have to be strategic or you’ll get shredded
  • Great aim assist and a very satisfying sight/zoom

Use if:

  • You find yourself with a 1.0 KD, or if you keep making trades. This gun requires skill to get killstreaks, but any Guardian who has played a bit will always kill the guy that killed them, unless they die first.

See Thorn In action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJe5125VwsE

2. The Last Word 

If you never played Destiny 1, you never experienced this gun in its heyday. There was no Crucible without TLW, and bringing it back for D2 was one of Bungie’s greatest plays. The week the quest dropped and the week players could secure it, Crucible matches went up by a significant margin. It’s not terribly hard (or easy) to acquire, but it’s worth your time.

It has:

  • The coolest hip firing mechanic/perk/animation in the game- it almost has a TTK as fast as Hard Light and Monte Carlo
  • Amazing aim assist even when hip firing. Google ‘Last Word Bullet Curving,’ it’s spectacular

Use if:

  • You want to look like a cowboy
  • You have solid reaction time (sorry, Titans)
  • You’re playing Control or a faster-paced game mode- this thing shines in rapid engagements

Get it from an Exotic Quest from the Drifter!

See TLW In action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsrQMkbfS9s

1. Crimson

It’s really hard for me to put Crimson as number one, even though I truly love the gun and it’s my personal choice in PvP. The current balancing and meta makes it so that Crimson’s TTK is quite competitive, even against Hard Light, and that’s what makes it number one.

It has:

  • An amazing perk set, with three-bullet bursts that regen health on kills and a never-ending magazine if you land precision kills.
  • 90/100 range base and maxed out range if you get the easy-to-complete catalyst
  • A perfectly vertical recoil. Start at the torso and work your way up.

Use if:

  • You are good at landing precision kills
  • You need a good multipurpose weapon; short, long and mid-range
  • You’re running a low resilience build; the health regen negates that and allows you to survive a lot longer

Get it through random Exotic world drops, or Xur.

See Crimson In action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PXK8Rx11Hg

Hand Cannons are one of the best classes in Destiny, they’ve just lost their way right now. But recent news from Bungie gives me hope that they understand it’s time for another rebalance, and hopefully hand cannons come out somewhere closer to the top.

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As perhaps the greatest traveler this world has ever seen, I have explored hundreds of worlds, from Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere to Destiny's Cosmology.
Gamer Since: 2012
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Destiny 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Far Cry Primal , Just Cause 3, Mortal Kombat X

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