Destiny 2: Best Hand Cannons Ranked

There are lots of good Hand Cannons in Destiny 2, but these are the best.

Guardians running through the Midtown Crucible map.
Image via Bungie
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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

A side view of the Zaouli's Bane Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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

A side view of the Igneous Hammer Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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

A side view of the Round Robin Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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

A side view of the Epochal Integration Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

3. Austringer

A side view of the Austringer Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

2. Eyasluna

A side view of the Eyasluna Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

1. Fatebringer

A side view of the Fatebringer Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

4. Lumina

A side view of the Lumina Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

3. Thorn

A side view of the Thorn Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

2. Sunshot

A side view of the Sunshot Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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

A side view of the Ace of Spades Hand Cannon.
Screenshot by GameSkinny

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.

About the author

John Schutt

John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.