Destiny 2 Best SMGs Guide – February 2020 Meta

There are a lot of SMGs in Destiny 2 — So which are the best? We set our top scientists to work on this question, locking them in the lab for weeks until they emerged, haggard and frenzied, with their findings. These, then, are our picks for the best SMGs in Destiny 2 .


Even post-nerf, the Recluse is far and away the best primary Energy weapon for PVE (including Gambit) in Destiny 2. It just fires so quickly, does so much damage even with body shots, and has incredible perks. It’s dropped in popularity in the current shotgun-dominated Crucible, but it’s still a very powerful choice. Warning: using the Recluse will ruin you for using any other Primary weapon in Destiny 2.

Great For: PVE, PVP, Gambit

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Hard Truths

You want the Hard Truth? Recluse is far and away the best all-around PVP SMG pick. But if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use it, then Hard Truths is here for you. This Aggressive Frame Kinetic SMG rips in Crucible with Moving Target/Zen Moment and Kill Clip. It performs fine in PVE, but you definitely have better SMG options.

Great For: PVP
Okay For: PVE


Few Exotic weapons in Destiny 2 are simultaneously as fun to use and as effective as Riskrunner. You’ll need to take Arc damage to get the most out of it, but if there are no sources nearby you can always chuck an Arc grenade at your feet. Once active, Riskrunner spits electrified rounds from a bottomless magazine and continues to do so as long as you keep getting kills. In this state it’s arguably as good at add clearing in PVE as Recluse, with the one drawback being that it requires your Exotic slot.

Great For: PVE, Gambit

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Every Waking Moment

This Shadowkeep SMG suffers in the shadow of the Recluse, but if you don’t have the latter or just want to try something a little different, Every Waking Moment is a great choice for PVE. It has a slightly better range and lower rate of fire than its more popular sibling, and also has access to a few powerful perks, including Slideways, Demolitionist, and Swashbuckler.

Great For: PVE

Cold Front

Only available through the seasonal Dawning event, the Cold Front is unique in that it’s the only SMG currently capable of rolling Vorpal Weapon. That makes it a decent choice for taking out roaming Super guardians in the Crucible, with the one downside being that you’ll have to get pretty close to them to do it. In PVE, the combination of Feeding Frenzy and Kill Clip effectively makes for a Kinetic Recluse.

Great For: PVE
Good For: PVP

Trackless Waste

One of the best all-around Kinetic SMGs, the Trackless Waste stands out from the pack with quick reload speed and access to great sights. For magazine perks, Appended Mag and High-Caliber Rounds are flexible choices, while Ricochet Rounds are a good PVP pick. For PVE, you’ve got your choice of Grave Robber, Zen Moment, and High-Impact Reserves. Kill Clip is appreciated regardless of application.

Great For: PVE, PVP, Gambit

Those are our picks for the best SMGs in Destiny 2. Did we miss anything? Love Tarrabah even though its Exotic perk needs fixing? Let us know in the comments. We’ll update this post alongside most major Destiny 2 updates to add and remove any contenders for best available auto rifles.