The Best Weapons for PVE in Destiny 2 (January 2023 Meta Tier List)

This is no Glaive mistake.

There are so many weapons in Destiny 2 that it can be hard to know which are best suited for PVE, Crucible, or Gambit. You’ve got a bank full of weapons, sure, but which ones should you actually be using? While it’s possible to just hop into PVE and see what your teammates are using, that’s not a fun way to figure out what’s what. So here we are, sharing the best PVE weapons in the current meta so that you can work out your loadout before diving into your next strike or dungeon.

Keep in mind that you may need to do some adjusting, depending on which weapons you don’t have and which slot you choose to use an exotic.

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Our picks are based on a combination of a few different sources. The primary one is the Charlemagne Discord bot. Among other things, the bot reports the current meta and tracks weapon popularity for each game mode. We also use general community consensus from the Destiny subreddit and our own experiences playing PVE.

Guide last updated on January 6th, 2023.

Destiny 2 PVE Tier List

Want a quick rundown? Here are all of the best weapons in a tier list format. Detailed explanations for each of the selections is available below.


Best PVE Kinetic Weapons

Osteo Striga / Submission / Prolonged Engagement / Cold Front (SMG)

Unsurprisingly Osteo Striga is one of the most powerful Primary weapons in the game at the moment. When combined with the catalyst, it’s entirely possible for you to mow down waves of enemies — both major and minors — without reloading. The weapon seems to return much more ammo than others, oftentimes leaving you with more than 100 rounds in the clip. It’s a stupidly powerful SMG, that’s only enhanced when combined with exotics like Necrotic Grips which makes spreading the poison even easier.

As for Submission, this raid weapon is a solid option that can be crafted and rolls with some solid perk combinations — especially since you can craft enhanced perks. Prolonged Engagement is also getting a ton of attention, as it’s the new Stasis submachine gun. With a remarkably deep perk pool Prolonged Engagement is a solid option for anyone rocking a Stasis build. Cold Front’s popularity is less about its actual stats and more because it rewards event items since the Dawning is currently in full-swing.

Wish-Ender (Bow)

This one might be shocking, but Wish-Ender is actually an extremely good bow in endgame activities. Following a buff, this bow is capable of decimating Champion tier enemies and dealing a lot of single-target damage. Its effectiveness is only enhanced thanks to its new ability to pierce Barrier Champion shields, making it quite potent at slaying strong enemies. Even though it’s not the flashiest weapon in the game, you absolutely should try this bow for endgame content.

Krait / Braytech Werewolf /Quicksilver Storm (Auto Rifle)

Out of all Auto Rifles, new and old, Krait seems to be the super popular choice at the moment. It’s such a satisfying gun to shoot and is clearly top tier at the moment. Much of this is thanks to its wonderful perk pool, the Stasis affinity, and the fact that Veist Stinger is one of the best intrinsic perks in the game. Braytech Werewolf being on here might come as a surprise because of how painfully mediocre it is. I suspect this is because the Festival of the Lost just ended and this was one of the main rewards. While this gun can roll with some solid perks, Krait is the superior auto rifle right now due to its sheer killing potential and intrinsic perk. Finally, Quicksilver Storm is gaining traction both because it’s brand new and this exotic allows players to fire an underbarrel grenade launcher which is quite fun.

Outbreak Perfected / Disparity (Pulse Rifle)

Outbreak Perfected continues to dominate the charts due to the catalyst, stats, and one of the current Champion mods being tied to pulse rifles. Rarely is there a situation where Outbreak Perfected isn’t one of the best choices, as it bosts terrific range, damage, while syngergizing wonderfully with anyone else using the gun. Seriously, the damage increase you get from multiple Outbreaks cannot be overlooked. There’s a reason this is a great choice during day one raids.

Another weapon gaining in popularity is Disparity, which is the seasonal, Stasis pulse rifle. This Aggressive Burst weapon offers solid stats and damage, which are only enhanced by its terrific perk pool. Plus, Disparity synergizes wonderfully with the Stasis subclass since it can roll with perks like Headstone.

Fatebringer / Austringer (Hand Cannon)

There will always be a large segment of the Destiny player base using Hand Cannons and Fatebringer, both Adept and regular, so it will likely always be among the most popular. The gun has so much history that it’s going to be hard for many players to overcome that and trade it away for something else. If you don’t have that, Austringer is back and now in craftable form. After getting the pattern unlocked, you can now grind away until you have your very own god roll.

Deliverance (Fusion Rifle)

One of Guide Writer Collin MacGregor’s favorite guns, Deliverance is a Stasis fusion rifle from the Vow of the Disciple raid. Capable of rolling with both Demolitionist and Chill Clip, this gun is already extremely potent. What takes it over the top is the ability to craft it and add enhanced perks, making it even more potent. Given it’s the first legendary fusion rifle in the kinetic slot, this weapon is certainly a popular choice for those who prefer to use an Energy primary weapon.

Arbalest (Linear Fusion Rifle)

It is an incredible time to be an Arbalest fan. Not only has Bungie increased PVE damage for Linear Fusion Rifles in Destiny 2 by 10 percent, but it’s also given the weapon intrinsic anti-barrier to give you another option for taking down Champions. These two aspects alone make it an incredible gun for the PVE meta. Combine that with the all-new catalyst, and this one is reaching new heights. With Grandmaster Nightfalls now live, the Arbalest is a must-have for many teams due to sheer stopping power and effectiveness against Barrier Champions. Seriously, this exotic is absolutely worth acquiring as soon as possible.

Ager’s Scepter (Trace Rifle)

When it comes to trace rifles there aren’t a ton of top tier options. Outside of Divinity, Ager’s Scepter is definetly one of the best trace rifles in Destiny 2. It has unparalleled crowd control, allowing the user to freeze and slow mass groups of enemies with relative ease. This makes it terrific for endgame or high difficulty content where you cannot instantly slay every foe that crosses your path.

Witherhoard (Grenade Launcher)

Witherhoard is the best non-Power weapon Grenade Launcher out there if you aren’t using another exotic. With its capacity to deal direct damage and control chokepoints, it’s a super good tool to have. Similar to Arbalest, this is another popular choice for Grandmaster Nightfalls due to its add control capabilities and the fire and forget nature of the gun.

Thoughtless / Izangi’s Burden (Sniper Rifle)

The final weapons we are going to talk about are Thoughtless and Izanagi’s Burden. Thoughtless is probably the best legendary sniper rifle right now since it can be crafted with Enhanced Overflow and Enhanced Firing Line. These two perks make it an absolute monster for killing bosses and the relative ease of getting this gun absolutely makes it worth grinding for. In the exotic slot, you can always use Izanagi’s Burden which is a solid burst damage weapon that works wonders in almost any difficult, endgame activity.

Best PVE Energy Weapons

Brigand’s Law (Sidearm)

My personal favorite primary weapon of the season, Brigand’s Law is an Arc sidearm that is absolutely disgusting with Arc 3.0. Much of this is thanks to the new perk Voltshot, which jolts nearby targets whenever you kill an enemy after reloading. It’s superb, allowing you to swiftly slay multiple enemies at once which is usually a problem found in a lot of other sidearms. You can also craft it, allowing players to select the exact perks they want which can alleviate a lot of the grind for a god roll.

IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3/ Funnelweb / CALUS Mini-Tool / The Manticore (SMG)

Unsurprisingly, the most popular submachine gun right now is the IKELOS_SMG_v1.0.3. Reintroduced this season, the IKELOS SMG is an absolute meance. Not only can it create Warmind Cells, but this firearm rolls with both Feeding Frenzy and Voltshot. Given how popular the Arc subclass is right now, this SMG is a perfect compliment to any Jolt or Ionic Traces build.

There’s also the Funnelweb, which is vonsidered by many to be a “baby” version of the highly utilized Recluse pinnacle weapon, this firearm is skyrocketing in popularity. Much of this is thanks to not only its deep perk pool but also the fact that it is void. This gives it some bonkers synergy with the new Void 3.0 update — especially for those using volatile rounds. I cannot stress just how strong this gun is if you manage to nab the god roll. With the Solar 3.0 reword, Solar damage is at a premium and guess what?

The reissued CALUS Mini-Tool can roll with Incandescent, a perk which causes Scorch to spread to nearby foes whenever one is defeated. Perfect for keeping the damage rolling! Finally, we have The Manticore which is getting a lot of attention since it’s the new seasonal exotic. While the gimmick of flying around to deal extra damage is intruiging, I’m personally not convinced this weapon is worth the exotic slot.

Le Monarque / Trinity Ghoul (Bow)

If you missed it, Le Monarque is the only weapon to get an all-new catalyst this season. Sadly, the additional perk isn’t a game-changer for high-level content but it’ll help you out when playing more casual modes. Despite taking up an exotic slot, it’s a solid option that can quickly wipe out hordes of enemies with only a few well placed shots. While it’s not on par with the Osteo Striga or Funnelweb, it’s still a great pick for those who love bows. Trinity Ghoul

The Palindrome / Sunshot (Hand Cannon)

With Grandmaster Nightfalls live, The Palindrome is back in rotation and this time you can nab one with the Vanguard weapon intrinsic perks. This makes it an objectively better version of the original variant, which was already a wildly strong hand cannon. Since it can roll with some great perk combos and is Void, The Palindrome is a top tier option for anyone looking to use a hand cannon. Meanwhile, Sunshot has always been popular, but it’s doubly so now that it benefits from the Solar 3.0 changes. It’s also the only 150 RPM hand cannon, which makes it quite a unique and strong choice.

Salvager’s Salvo / Dead Messenger / Explosive Personality / Forbearance (Grenade Launcher)

The perks on Salvager’s Salvo, and the flexibility it offers, are wild. It’s got Chain Reaction, so every enemy it kills explodes. It has Vorpal Weapon if you want boss DPS, Demolitionist if you’re running a grenade build, and Ambitious Assassin for two shots in the chamber. Other picks include the new Dead Messenger exotic or Explosive Personality, both of which are terrific grenade launchers that decimate groups of enemies.

Tarnished Mettle (Scout Rifle)

When it comes to scout rifles, Tarnished Mettle is one of the most popular choices. A new seasonal gun, this firearm has an extremely potent perk pool that synergizes wonderfully with the Arc 3.0 subclasses. This makes it an ideal choice for those who want something to compliment their builds, without needing to use close-range weapons such as Brigand’s Law or Riskrunner. Plus, it can be crafted which means you’ll have access to enhanced perks!

Best PVE Power Weapons

Thunderlord/ Avalanche/ Retrofit Escapade /Xenophage (Machine Gun)

Machine guns are still a popular choice, as they remain one of the best ways to effeciently clear out hordes of enemies. Unsurprisingly, both Thunderlord and Xenophage remain top tier options. This is not only due to their sheer stopping power, but how much damage they can output to single targets as well.

As for Legendary machine guns, Retrofit Escapade is currently the most used PVE weapon in the Heavy slot. This is because this weapon deals a disgusting amount of damage when paired with the Hunter’s Gyrfalcon exotic chest piece. Capable of melting endgame bosses and Champions in seconds, the Retrofit Escapade is consider the top weapon to craft right now. So if you don’t have one, make sure to snag this firearm!

Taipan-4fr/ Cataclysmic / Stormchaser (Linear Fusion Rifle)

When it comes to linear fusion rifles, Taipan-4fr  holds the DPS crown now. Available at the start of the season, this craftable gun has some of the best stats and damage output of any weapon in the game. While it’s ease of access certainly accounts for the wide-spread use, it’s the Veist Stinger perk that really rockets Taipan above other options. Having you gun automatically reload during damage phases is crucial, making it the go-to choice for any raid. If you don’t have a Taipan, the Cataclysmic and Stormchaser are also superb options, but you’ll want to use the Font of Might mod to boost their damage.

Gjallarhorn / Ascendancy / Palmyra-B (Rocket Launcher)

Rocket Launchers will likely remain popular as long as Gjallarhorn is because it buffs all Legendary Rocket Launchers in the vicinity. We’ve narrowed down our other picks this season since Ascendancy is in the Monument to Lost Lights and no longer locked behind a huge grind. As for Palmyra-B, it’s easily the best legendary rocket launcher in the entire game and an amazing pick for those looking to optimize their DPS.

The Other Half / The Lament (Sword)

Swords are in a weird spot right now. Yes, they can be quite strong against specific enemies or bosses these weapons aren’t as devistating as they used to be. The Lament is still the best option for straight damage if you prefer to battle up close. The Other Half is also quite popular, mainly because it just became craftable and people really like to “Eager Edge skate” across maps and in raids.

And that’s it for our guide to the best PVE weapons in Destiny 2! Thanks for taking the time to check it out. We wish all of you trigger-happy Guardians out there the best of luck in mowing down the forces of darkness.