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The 10 Best PVE Hand Cannons in Destiny 2 (October 2023)

If you wanna be a cowboy, baby, then a hand cannon is probably your weapon of choice in Destiny 2. There are a lot to choose from, so here are our picks for the 10 best Destiny 2 PVE hand cannons. This list is in no particular order — these are all fantastic weapons, and which you use will depend on your needs and preferences. 

Best Destiny 2 PVE Hand Cannons

1. Ace of Spades 

Destiny 2 Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is an all-around strong Exotic hand cannon that detonates enemies on precision kills and loads higher-damage bullets when reloading after any kill. With the recent increase in PVE damage, it’s even suitable for content like Grandmaster Nightfalls, whereas before it was a versatile weapon for casual PVE activities.

2. Warden’s Law (Adept)


The adept version of Warden’s Law is the first Legendary Heavy Burst hand cannon in Destiny 2. This weapon fires a two-projectile burst, and combining that with the Perpetual Motion and Vorpal Weapon traits gives the weapon stability, handling, and reload speed. Also, it gains an advantage over bosses, Guardians, and vehicles.

3. Kept Confidence

Kept Confidence

The Season of the Witch brings a great array of Hive-inspired weapons. Of course, new weapons are among the most used every season, but the Kept Confidence is a monster on its own. The Adaptive Frame archetype with the Stats for All trait makes the Kept Confidence a reliable weapon. Moreover, the Multikill Clip trait will reward you with an increased damage boost relative to the number of rapid kills made beforehand.  

4. Fatebringer (Timelost)


Similar to the Kept Confidence hand cannon, the Timelost version of the Fatebringer is a stable weapon. However, what defines this weapon is its potential ability to deal AOE detonations through its projectiles, thanks to the Explosive Payload trait. Pair it with the Firefly, which will grant reload speed and cause targets to explode with Solar damage after precision kills, and you have a weapon with explosive crowd control capabilities.

5. Malfeasance

Destiny 2 Malfeasance

It’s great for defeating Taken, but Malfeasance is useful in other situations too. It hits hard and has intrinsic Anti-Unstoppable abilities, making it a fantastic pick for Lost Sectors and other activities where you need to take out Champions. Bungie recently blessed Malfeasance with a catalyst that increases its range by 20 and grants it Vorpal Weapon, boosting damage against bosses and vehicles in PVE.

6. Sunshot

Destiny 2 Sunshot

Do you like making things go boom and are a Solar subclass user? If so, you’ll find that Sunshot is — sorry — a blast. It’s one of the oldest Exotics in Destiny 2, having shipped with the base game, yet it found new life with Solar 3.0. It makes all of your enemies explode, it feels fantastic to shoot, and it even has a nice range of ornaments.

7. Zaouli’s Bane 

Destiny 2 Zaouli's Bane

Most of the weapons from the King’s Fall Raid are good, but Zaouli’s Bane is among the best. It’s craftable and can rock the impressive perk combination of Explosive Payload and Incandescent, giving it a flat boost to damage against all enemies and also setting off chain reactions of explosives. This roll makes it a kind of mini-Sunshot that doesn’t take up your Exotic slot. Like all King’s Fall weapons, Zaouli’s Bane also has the excellent origin trait of Runneth Over.

8. Epochal Integration


A Season of the Deep weapon, the Epochal Integration keeps the streak of Adaptive Frame hand cannons in this list. Take this as a middle ground between the Fatebringer and the Kept Confidence. You have the Incandescent trait to Scorch enemy targets, but on the other hand, Stats for All will grant reload speed, range, stability, and handling bonuses after hitting three different enemies.

9. Malediction

Malediction hand cannon god roll_fanbyte.jpg

While the Malediction lacks reliability, it makes up with raw power. Its Aggressive Frame archetype promises great damage output by sacrificing recoil. Don’t worry much about it since the Enlightened Action rewards damage dealt with improved reload speed and handling. Just like previous entries in this list, the Explosive Payload trait allows projectiles to create AOE detonations on impact.

10. Word of Crota

Word of Crota

The Crota’s End raid brought decent weaponry in Destiny 2 with the Word of Crota Precision Frame Legendary hand cannon. What could be better than the explosive damage capabilities of other hand cannons? Well, you can double the explosives! Dragonfly and Destabilizing Rounds reward your precision kills and final blows with elemental explosions and make enemies volatile.

Update History

  • October 2023: Removed Fatebringer, Lumina, Austringer, Nation of Beasts, Eyasluna, The Palindrome. Added Warden’s Law (Adept), Kept Confidence, Fatebringer (Timelost), Epochal Integration, Malediction, Word of Crota.
  • March 2023: Removed Nation of Beasts, added Malfeasance
  • July 2023: Removed Thorn, ​​Vulpecula, Posterity, and IKELOS_HC_v1.0.3, added Lumina, Austringer, Palindrome, and re-added Nation of Beasts. Edited some pre-existing entries.

About the Authors

merritt k

merritt k is Content Manager at Fanbyte, covering Destiny 2 and other live games.

Alejandro Josan

Alejandro Josan is a video game guide and review writer and has been covering Destiny 2 for Fanbyte since June 2023. He has covered Destiny 2 for sites such as Gamer Journalist and PC Invasion. In every game that features class selection, tanks have always been his class of choice, making him the ideal Titan Guardian. Tier lists, seasonal content, and weapon god rolls are his main focus, and you will find him grinding for Pinnacle Gear every week.