It’s nearly impossible to walk into a Crucible match in Destiny 2 where a player isn’t using a Hand Cannon. This weapon type is also a fairly common sight in PvE activities. These weapons are among the highest-damaging primaries in the game and it’s easy to see their appeal.
Hand Cannons are divided into archetypes based on their damage and fire rate (120, 140, and 180 rounds per minute as of Season of the Splicer). The first type reigns supreme in PvP, but all of them can be viable in PvE content. Finding a Hand Cannon that fits a player’s taste (or certain elements, when Match Game is involved) is key. And luckily, Destiny 2 offers a wide selection of them.
Here are our recommendations.
Igneous Hammer (Solar, 120rpm)
If you’re spending any amount of time in the Crucible, you’re bound to bump into one of these. Igneous Hammer is a hard-hitting weapon with a rich perk pool. The catch is it’s locked behind Trials of Osiris, which makes it extremely unfriendly toward a significant share of the population. Trials rewards also rotate weekly and players can get access to the three-win reward by just playing enough matches if they get the respective bounty from Saint-14.
Fatebringer (Kinetic, 140rpm)
The new Vault of Glass Hand Cannon has an incredible selection of perks. A Firefly roll can make it a weaker Ace of Spades (with the upside of not taking up an Exotic slot), but it can also drop with Explosive Payload and the raid-exclusive Rewind Rounds, which refills the magazine based on hits. In addition, it’s a rare 140rpm that takes up the Kinetic slot, as opposed to most other Hand Cannons that share its archetype.
Bottom Dollar (Void, 120rpm)
Avid Gambit players may already have a stock full of these. The Bottom Dollar is a 120rpm Hand Cannon that drops exclusively from Drifter’s game mode and packs a punch. Its perk pool is diverse, which can turn getting an ideal roll into a long game of patience. Still, it can come with perks such as Outlaw, Surplus, Rapid Hit, or Subsistence to keep reload times down, alongside damage rolls like Rampage, Multikill Clip, or Explosive Payload.
The Palindrome (Void, 140rpm)
This Nightfall weapon was by far the most popular reward for that activity during Season of the Chosen—and for good reason. This void 140rpm Hand Cannon hits hard and can roll a series of good combinations, such as Outlaw and Overflow alongside One for All or Rampage. The Palindrome is temporarily out of the rotation during the first few weeks of Season of the Splicer but will return throughout the season.
Waking Vigil (Arc, 140rpm)
This Hand Cannon is far easier to obtain than the Last Wish-exclusive Nation of Beasts and will easily give it a run for its money. Waking Vigil drops from Dreaming City quests, bounties, and Engrams, which makes it an easily accessible Arc Hand Cannon for Match Game activities. It has a lower Range and Stability when compared to Nation of Beasts, but its perk pool makes up for the difference—though some of the rolls are tied to the Shattered Throne dungeon.
Ancient Gospel (Solar, 140rpm)
If you’re brave enough to go into the Garden of Salvation Raid, you may come out with a new Hand Cannon in your arsenal. Ancient Gospel is one of the few non-sunset Solar Hand Cannons in the game—and it packs a punch. It can be an acquired taste but one that becomes easier to deal with thanks to its perk pool.
Survivor’s Epitaph (Kinetic, 180rpm)
The new Crucible Hand Cannon in Destiny 2 is a Kinetic 180rpm with an extremely large perk pool. It can, for instance, roll Outlaw, Surplus, Rampage, or Tunnel Vision alongside Frenzy, Multikill Clip, or One For All. It deals less damage than its 120/140rpm counterparts, but Survivor’s Epitath is a must for players who enjoy that archetype.
True Prophecy (Kinetic, 120rpm)
Surprisingly enough, this world drop Hand Cannon can be one of the most elusive weapons on this list. While it can theoretically drop from any suitable source (including rank-up packages from Banshee-44) and Umbral Engrams with the right focus), the pool is so diluted that players likely won’t see a True Prophecy without spending thousands of materials on it. Much like The Steady Hand, there are only a handful of actually good rolls on True Prophecy. But despite its perks, it’s still a 120rpm that goes in the Kinetic slot—and that goes a long way.
Eriana’s Vow (Solar, 90rpm)
This Exotic puts the “Cannon” in Hand Cannon. Eriana’s Vow uses special ammo and feels much closer to a Sniper Rifle, with the damage and fire rate to match. It also has an intrinsic Anti-Barrier, which makes it a valuable addition to any Guardian’s arsenal. It’s a surefire way to pick off enemy targets and break barriers, which make it comfortable in high-level content where almost any hit can be lethal.
Hawkmoon (Kinetic, 140rpm)
Hawkmoon has great damage potential for a Primary thanks to its intrinsic trait, Paracausal Shot. Landing precision shots increases damage on the final round in the magazine, which can burst down harder-hitting enemies like yellow or orange bars. It’s not a weapon you’ll use for Champion or Boss damage, but that’s what Special and Heavy ammo are for. In all other scenarios, however, Hawkmoon is a comfortable Hand Cannon.
Ace of Spades (Kinetic, 140rpm)
The Ace is Fatebringer’s older, meaner, battle-hardened cousin that probably has a criminal record. Cayde’s gun is a solid choice for more than just nostalgia reasons: Firefly makes the targets explode after a precision kill, while Memento Mori increases the damage of your first few shots. It’s fairly easy to keep up this combination in PvE activities, which makes the Ace a complete beast.
The gun also shines in the Crucible thanks to its permanent radar. The Ace is at a bit of a disadvantage compared to the nearly-ubiquitous 120rpm Hand Cannons, but it’s still deadly in its own right with the extra benefit of having the radar on when aiming down sights.