Machine guns in Destiny 2 have had their ups and downs, but as of this writing they’re in an ok spot — and they’ll likely be even better come Lightfall. There are plenty to choose from, so here are our picks for the 10 best PVE machine guns in Destiny 2. This list isn’t in any particular order — these are all great weapons depending on your needs and preferences.
- March 2023: Removed Terminus Horizon and Recurrent Impact, added Grand Overture and Circular Logic
- June 2023: Removed Qullim’s Terminus and Unwavering Duty, added The Swarm and Deterministic Chaos.
1. Xenophage — Best Destiny 2 PVE Machine Guns
The strangest weapon on this list, Xenophage isn’t your typical Destiny 2 machine gun. It has a comparatively low rate of fire, but its explosive rounds are highly damaging. Xenophage may not be DPS meta anymore, but it’s still useful in a wide range of situations. And if you’re a Titan with an Actium War Rig, well, it’s just a ton of fun.
Thunderlord was always a neat Exotic machine gun, but it just didn’t have a lot of use cases until Season of Plunder, when it got an intrinsic anti-Overload ability as well as a catalyst. It’s still not going to be anyone’s first pick for endgame content, but Thunderlord is a strong add control weapon that shines in Raids and other situations where you need to thin the pack. Being able to stun the most irritating Champions in Destiny 2 is a nice plus, too.
Commemoration got a bit of a rework along with the other Deep Stone Crypt weapons in Season of the Seraph. It’s now craftable and has the Bray Inheritance Origin Trait, increasing its already formidable capabilities. It may not have Auto-Loading Holster, but it does have Reconstruction, which while slower can overfill the magazine to twice its normal level. For damage perks, you’ve got your pick of Rampage, Killing Tally, Redirection, and more. Commemoration is possibly the best adaptive frame machine gun in Destiny 2 right now.
4. Corrective Measure — Best Destiny 2 PVE Machine Guns
Corrective Measure isn’t too far behind Commemoration. It’s also a Void adaptive machine gun, and while it doesn’t have an Origin Trait yet and can’t be crafted, it does have a smaller perk pool than its Deep Stone Crypt cousin. It also has a few perks that Commemorative can’t roll, including the powerful Rewind Rounds and Firefly.
5. Fixed Odds
Returning to Destiny 2 in Season of the Haunted after a long absence, Fixed Odds can be crafted if you can manage to get enough Deepsight drops of it in the Duality dungeon. High-impact frame machine guns aren’t to everyone’s taste, but if you’re into them then it’s worth getting a roll of Fixed Odds. With Incandescent and Feeding Frenzy, you can turn the tables of any situation.
6. The Swarm
A powerhouse from the Season of Defiance, The Swarm packs a punch as a High-Impact Arc machine gun. The Feeding Frenzy trait will increase its reload speed after each rapid kill, while Target Lock increases its damage the longer The Swarm remains on target. Consider using the Pugilist trait for Titan builds since each final blow will generate melee energy; simultaneously, that melee damage will improve The Swarm’s handling for a short time.
7. Retrofit Escapade — Best Destiny 2 PVE Machine Guns
Historically, rapid-fire machine guns have been unpopular picks in Destiny 2 for their inaccuracy and low damage output. Retrofit Escapade, however, has soared to prominence in Season of the Seraph, thanks to its great stats and manageable recoil pattern. It has two solid Origin Traits in Suros Synergy and Ambush, and it can roll the unique perk combination of Fourth Time’s the Charm and Target Lock if you want to try using it for DPS. If not, you’ve got all-around perks like Frenzy, Golden Tricorn, and Field Prep to choose from.
8. Grand Overture
Grand Overture was lacking for a long time, but this weapon can now deal out some pretty incredible burst damage against bosses. It’s also just a lot of fun to use, letting you live out your fantasies of being a mighty Cabal warrior. (Or just getting revenge on them by shooting those damn blinding missiles they like to deploy.)
9. Circular Logic
As our first Strand machine gun in Destiny 2, Circular Logic is pretty solid. If you’re going for DPS, Target Lock combined with the overflowed magazine from Envious Assassin can be great (and don’t forget the rockets from its Origin Trait). If you’re using it for add clear and especially if you’re a Strand user, then Hatchling is fantastic.
10. Deterministic Chaos
The Deterministic Chaos is an Exotic Void machine gun introduced during the Season of Defiance. Players can obtain this machine gun through the Unfinished Business quest after completing the Destiny 2: Lightfall campaign. With the Heavy Metal intrinsic perk, the Deterministic Chaos will shoot a heavy projectile every fourth bullet to weaken the enemy. Moreover, the Vexadecimal trait ensures that every fourth Heavy Metal projectile — so every 16th shot — makes enemies volatile on impact.