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

If you wanna be a cowboy, baby, then a hand cannon is probably your weapon of choice in Destiny 2, Bungie’s ongoing sci-fi looter-shooter. There are a lot to choose from, so here are our picks for the ten 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.

Destiny 2 Ace of Spades

1. Ace of Spades — Best Destiny 2 PVE Hand Cannons

If you like to gamble, I tell you here’s your gun. 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. It isn’t going to be the best choice in content like Grandmaster Nightfalls, but in everything else it can really shred.

Destiny 2 Fatebringer

2. Fatebringer

From the Vault of Glass Raid, Fatebringer is a Legendary kinetic hand cannon with a whole mess of useful perks. Explosive Payload is a straight-up damage buff in PVE, plus you’ve got great options like Frenzy, Kill Clip, and Firefly. There’s even a Timelost version available that can equip Adept mods.

Destiny 2 Thorn

3. Thorn

Another Exotic hand cannon (there are a lot) Thorn is one of the few weapons in Destiny 2 that can inflict damage over time. It really shines, though, in the hands of a Warlock wearing the Necrotic Grip Exotic gloves. When combined, enemies defeated by Thorn’s poison damage will spread poison to other nearby foes, resulting in a chain reaction of destruction that’s great at clearing out enemies.

Destiny 2 Vulpecula

4. Vulpecula — Best Destiny 2 PVE Hand Cannons

There are a few choices for Stasis hand cannons, and they’re all solid. Vulpecula is a 180 RPM hand cannon with everything you’d want out of a Stasis weapon — in particular, the Headstone/Outlaw combination. Not feeling that? Roll with Explosive Payload instead, or maybe even Harmony. It’s up to you, since Vulpecula gives you a lot of strong possibilities to work with.

Destiny 2 Nation of Beasts

5. Nation of Beasts

One of two Arc hand cannons on this list, Nation of Beasts comes from the Last Wish Raid, making it a pretty old weapon. Still, it gets the job done. It has a small perk pool, and most of them are great for PVE. Some combination of Outlaw/Ambitious Assassin and Explosive Payload/Kill Clip is probably going to be your best bet. If you need an Arc hand cannon, Nation of Beasts is a good option.

Destiny 2 Sunshot

6. Sunshot

Do you like making things go boom? Are you 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 2.0. It makes all of your enemies explode, it feels fantastic to shoot, and it even has a nice range of ornaments. Sunshot? More like Funshot.

Destiny 2 Zaouli's Bane

7. Zaouli’s Bane — Best Destiny 2 PVE Hand Cannons

Most of the weapons from the King’s Fall Raid are pretty good, and 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 — pretty cool! Like all King’s Fall weapons, Zaouli’s Bane also has the excellent Origin Trait of Runneth Over.

Destiny 2 Posterity

8. Posterity

Posterity and its fellow Deep Stone Crypt weapons recently got an overhaul, revising their perks and making them craftable. Even if you don’t craft it, though, Posterity is a unique hand cannon. The combination of Reconstruction and Rampage allows you to get the most out of your Rampage time with a huge clip, or you can try something like Rapid Hit and Redirection. Bray Inheritance is also a nice Origin Trait, giving you a little ability energy every time you do weapon damage.

Destiny 2 Eyasluna

9. Eyasluna

If you’re looking for a Stasis hand cannon but prefer 140s over 180s, then Eyasluna is the gun for you. Rapid Hit/Headstone is maybe the best choice for perks here, but there are few actually bad options on this thing.

Destiny 2 IKELOS HC

10. IKELOS_HC_v1.0.3 — Best Destiny 2 PVE Hand Cannons

The IKELOS weapons are back for the third time in Season of the Seraph, and the IKELOS HC is now fully craftable, with access to enhanced perks as well as a new Origin Trait in the form of Rasputin’s Arsenal. It’s probably the best Void hand cannon available in Destiny 2 right now, and you can spec it out in a lot of different ways — we’d suggest something like Subsistence/Rampage for low-end content or Rapid Hit/Frenzy for tougher activities.