The Hand Cannon is the most iconic weapon archetype in Destiny history, with Destiny 2 having some of the best and most powerful options in the entire franchise. I’ll be ranking the best D2 Hand Cannons currently available — and what a list it is.
The Best Hand Cannons in Destiny 2
There are two ways to categorize Hand Cannons in Destiny 2: either by separating the Legendary and Exotic options or by not doing that. I’m going to separate them because Exotic perks tend to make the weapons that have them fall into a particular niche or serve specific purposes.
Legendaries tend to be catch-all choices that work in most situations. And while I know there are Exotic Hand Cannons that are just better than their Legendary counterparts in terms of performance, their specialty stats put them in a separate league altogether.
I’ll also only be listing Hand Cannons you can currently acquire because while there are some other guns that are technically better for a lot of different reasons, they’re not in the game.
The Best Legendary Hand Cannons in Destiny 2
The top Legendary Hand Cannons is a list of mostly 140 RPM classics, some from Destiny 1 and many from the early days of Destiny 2. A couple are significantly newer, but if you want to have all of them, I suggest looking into buying most of the DLCs for D2. That and playing some of the game’s Raid content.
7. Zaouli’s Bane
The King’s Fall Hand Cannon is really, really good, but only if you have specific perks for it. The reload speed leaves a lot to be desired, and its stats aren’t as high as other options on this list, but with the proper roll, it’s an incredible addition to any Solar build.
6. Igneous Hammer
Don’t hate me for this lower ranking, but Igneous is at this point in the list because of its higher-quality perk pool for PvP rather than for almost any activity. As a 120 RPM and a Trials of Osiris-specific weapon, it’s also harder to use and harder to acquire, docking additional points. In its element though? Thing’s an absolute beast.
5. Round Robin
The expansion unique to the Neomuna destination from Lightfall, the Round Robin Hand Cannon is at this position not only for its solid perk list but for its origin trait: Nanotech Tracer Rockets. Sure, as a 120 RPM, it hits like a truck, but when you add the rockets in on top of its high base stopping power, you’ve got a winner.
4. Epochal Integration
There’s only one roll on the Epochal Integration, and one roll is all it needs. Like Zaouli’s Bane, this weapon is a Solar class’s dream, but it boasts superior stats, overall usability, and no randomness when it comes to a roll. I don’t think it looks as cool as firing firey bone bullets, but I can’t argue with its effectiveness.
Were we still in the Season of the Haunted, the Austringer would be higher on this list. As it stands, it’s very hard to get your hands on with the right roll, and there is no way to farm it. If you have one with the right perks, however, you know just how scary this weapon is in any activity you take it into.
Destiny 1 stans remember the Eyasluna, the PvP Hand Cannon during the Rise of Iron days and the original version of Austringer. While it’s only available in the Grasp of Avarice Dungeon, I call that activity required playing for Gjallarhorn, Matador 64, and one of the easiest bounty farms in the game. Oh, and Eyasluna is amazing, too.
There’s no other Legendary Hand Cannon I could put at the #1 spot. While Fatebringer lacks some of the more creative perk choices seen in other, more recent options, it makes up for it by just being good. It’s not flashy, it’s not super unique, but it’s good. The best, even.
The Best Exotic Hand Cannons in Destiny 2
This part of my list of best Destiny 2 Hand Cannons is a bit easier, as there’s a much smaller selection, but of those we can choose from, these four are the cream of the crop and have always been at the top.
I love the Lumina, from its aesthetic to its lore and the way it handles as a weapon. Its Exotic ability to empower your teammates is useful in any activity, and there’s no other gun like it in the game. As good as it is, it’s still the least on this list.
Don’t hate me for this ranking either. The Thorn has always primarily been a PvP weapon, and while its Destiny 2 iteration offers a bit more in PvE, even with the catalyst I don’t think it is as immediately useful as other choices you could go with. However, in the Crucible, there are few Primary weapons that are more effective or more deadly. Here’s how to grab its Catalyst.
Sunshot was a sleeper hit as far back as 2017 and the vanilla release of Destiny 2. In the six years since, it’s only ever received buffs, to my knowledge, and now is a menace in PvE or PvP on any Solar build you can think of. I’ve always loved its weird “replace the gooey ball” reload, too.
1. Ace of Spades
Sure, the Ace of Spades has had its effectiveness nerfed over the years, but it remains the preeminent Exotic Hand Cannon because its Exotic perk is like three regular perks rolled into one. It also handles like a dream, hits like a truck, and is one of the only weapons in the game that lets you see your radar when you aim down sight. Need I say more?
And that’s my list ranking the best Hand Cannons in all of Destiny 2. There are more than a dozen other options I could have put on here, but you can get any of them in the current version of the game, and I’m not here to spread FOMO. If you’re looking for more content, check out our guides on the 13 best Exotics you need right now, our full guide on the Wish-Ender Bow quest, and more in our D2 guides hub.