Hand Cannons are the most iconic weapons in Destiny. Taking inspiration from revolvers in real life and the Magnum from Halo, Hand Cannons are high-damage weapons that can handle almost any situation from close to medium range.

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There are so many Hand Cannons in Destiny 2 that it can be hard to pick which one is good. Despite the large roster, each Hand Cannon handles differently and offers unique pros and cons. Some Hand Cannons are better for killing hordes of enemies, while some stack so much damage that they can kill tankier major foes. Ranging from Exotic Hand Cannons to randomly-rolled Legendaries, here are the ten best Hand Cannons players can use in Destiny 2.

Updated September 4th, 2021, by Charles Burgar: It wouldn't be a new Destiny season without new Hand Cannons to chase. Season of the Lost added three new Hand Cannons, one of which is so powerful that it had to be included on this list. If that wasn't enough, Hand Cannons all received a 15% damage buff against red bars in PvE, allowing them to consistently one-tap red bars. Hand Cannons have never been in a better place. If you don't have a good Hand Cannon in your Vault, keep your eyes out for one of the ten weapons listed below. They are sure to impress.

10 The Palindrome

Destiny 2 The Palindrome

How to obtain: Nightfall: the Ordeal completions (reward rotates weekly).

The king of Adaptive Frame Hand Cannons in the original Destiny has returned, complete with its ugly color scheme and fantastic perk pool. Obtained from Nightfall completions, the Palindrome excels at consistently downing opponents.

Outlaw and Rampage is a classic perk combination that Palindrome can roll with, allowing it to mow down hordes of enemies with ease in non-pinnacle PvE content. For tougher activities, you can get Overflow and One for All instead, allowing you to fire 20 rounds that deal 33% increased damage. It's not the best Hand Cannon for countering Champions, although the weapon's ability to roll One for All makes it a solid choice for Legend and Master Nightfalls and Lost Sectors. If you're attempting GM Nightfalls or Master raids, however, you have better options.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Overflow, Outlaw
  • Column Two: One for All, Rampage

9 Nation of Beasts

Destiny 2 Nation of Beasts

How to obtain: Last Wish raid (Curated roll drops from Morgeth).

Available from the Last Wish raid, Nation of Beasts is a 140 RPM Hand Cannon with an excellent perk pool. Outlaw and Kill Clip is a great roll for most PvE content, allowing this weapon to one-tap most red bars with ease. And thanks to Season of the Splicer's Energy Accelerant mod, this gun's Dragonfly perk becomes an excellent alternative to a traditional damage perk.

Those taking Hand Cannons to Legend or Master-tier content should consider a Nation of Beasts with Explosive Payload instead. This perk allows Nation of Beasts to damage targets at further ranges, kill enemies quickly without relying on headshots, and makes it a fantastic weapon for countering Overload Champions whenever Overload Rounds become available through the seasonal Artifact.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Outlaw
  • Column Two: Explosive Payload, Kill Clip

8 Bottom Dollar

Destiny 2 Bottom Dollar

How to obtain: Gambit matches

Bottom Dollar is a 120 RPM Hand Cannon that has a chance of dropping after a Gambit game. It has an absurdly large perk pool that makes obtaining a god roll near impossible, but those with a decent roll can attest to how powerful this gun is.

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PvE enemies don't stand a chance against this weapon's high base damage, which can be further amplified with Multikill Clip or Rampage. Bottom Dollar is also the only 120 RPM Hand Cannon in the Energy slot that can roll with Explosive Payload, a fantastic perk for Legend and Master-tier content. Aggressive Frame Hand Cannons aren't the best in PvE endgame content, but a Bottom Dollar with good perks makes for a strong exception.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Rapid Hit, Outlaw
  • Column Two: Multikill Clip, Explosive Payload, Dragonfly

7 Sunshot

Destiny 2 Sunshot Hand Cannon firing during campaign.

How to obtain: Exotic Engrams found through Xur or world drops.

Fans of explosions are likely familiar with Sunshot, a 150 RPM Exotic Hand Cannon with explosive rounds and a stronger version of Dragonfly.

Enemies defeated either with a precision hit or while burning will emit a large explosion, dealing moderate damage in a small area. The damage is enough to cause a chain reaction with most red bars in non-pinnacle PvE content. With Energy Accelerant, this weapon's AoE explosions can even kill certain majors. Sunshot's clearing potential already makes it a fantastic PvE Hand Cannon, but this weapon has one trick up its sleeve that makes it a true menace.

Sunshot has the ability to generate Warmind Cells. With the Wrath of Rasputin mod equipped, Sunshot's explosions can generate Warmind Cells. Sunshot's explosions can also automatically detonate Warmind Cells. Pair this with Rage of the Warmind to create a Hand Cannon that can consistently generate Warmind Cells, nuking entire arenas with just a few bullets. It isn't the best for high-end content, but if you just want to have some explosive fun, you can't go wrong with Sunshot.

6 Ace of Spades

Destiny 2 Forsaken cover with Ace of Spades and Uldren.

How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. It costs 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 200 Etheric Spirals, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

Cayde's iconic gun can be earned from the Tower's Exotic Kiosk. For one Exotic Cipher, you can wield one of the most consistent Hand Cannons in the game.

Ace of Spades is a 140 RPM Hand Cannon that effectively has five perks on it. The gun gets a permanent Kill Clip effect for six shots after reloading, causes a massive Solar explosion on targets when they die to a precision hit, flinches targets with High-Calibur rounds, maintains radar while aiming, grants increased reload speed on precision kills, and has incredibly high base stats.

Memento Mori and Firefly are the true stars of the show, allowing Ace to clear out waves of enemies with only a few bullets. If you have this season's Energy Accelerant mod equipped, Ace's Firefly effect can single-handedly clear a group of enemies. While it might not have intrinsic anti-Champion properties, Ace of Spades stands as one of the most consistent and versatile Hand Cannons for Destiny 2's non-pinnacle content.

5 Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver

Destiny 2 Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams

On the surface, the Seventh Seraph Officer Revolver is a lackluster Hand Cannon with a terrible perk pool. It's true that this weapon's perk selection is rather poor, yet this overlooks a key aspect of this gun: it can generate Warmind Cells.

Related: Destiny 2: Warmind Cells Explained In-Depth

A Legendary that can spawn Warmind Cells automatically makes it a good option for pinnacle PvE content, but Seventh Seraph gets even better when you consider some of its perks. Fourth Times the Charm and Timed Payload is the best roll, allowing you to dish out a solid amount of damage from virtually any range while quickly countering Champions. It won't win any awards in the damage department, but the ability to spawn Warmind Cells with your Primary weapon has cemented it as a great weapon in Grandmaster Nightfalls, dungeons, and other pinnacle PvE activities. If the Warmind Cell nerf in Season 15 wasn't so extreme, we'd place this gun even higher on the list.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Fourth Times the Charm, Threat Detector
  • Column Two: Timed Payload, Vorpal Weapon

4 Vulpecula

Destiny 2 Vulpecula

How to obtain: Astral Alignment and Umbral Engrams

Posterity has some serious competition now. Vulpecula is Season of the Lost's 180 RPM Hand Cannon, the first Hand Cannon in Destiny 2 to deal Stasis damage. That alone makes it useful for Stasis-oriented Elemental Well builds, but it gets even better. Vulpecula can roll with some new perks that make it one of the most versatile weapons in the game.

Headstone is the star of the show, spawning a large Stasis crystal on a target's corpse when they're slain. This crystal is affected by your Stasis subclass Aspects and Fragments, giving this perk unrivaled utility. Use Whisper of Chians to gain a DR buff after killing a target, or use Whisper of Fissures to create a massive AoE explosion by destroying the crystal. Your options with this perk are endless.

Vulpecula shines even without Headstone. A classic Outlaw and Multikill Clip roll is possible on this weapon, giving it enough damage to one-tap red bars with little issue. It can even roll with Shoot to Loot, a perk from the first Destiny that allows you to shoot distant ammo bricks to recover ammo while auto-loading your stowed weapons. If it wasn't obvious, Vulpecula is one of the best 180 Hand Cannons in Destiny 2. Every Hand Cannon fan should get this gun as soon as possible.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Outlaw, Shoot to Loot, Ensemble
  • Column Two: Headstone, Multikill Clip, Harmony

3 Hawkmoon

Destniy 2 Hawkmoon Hand Cannon

How to obtain: Harbinger Exotic mission

Most Guardians don't give Hawkmoon enough credit for what it does. It might not have its luck motif tied to its Exotic perk anymore, but Hawkmoon is still the one-shotting beast Destiny veterans remember it as.

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Landing precision hits with this 140 RPM Hand Cannon grants stacks of Paracasual Charge, granting increased range, handling, and reload speed. When only one bullet is left in your magazine, Hawkmoon gains an absurd boost to its damage. With enough stacks, a single Hawkmoon bullet can one-shot most majors and even some bosses. Champions lose half of their health in Legend and Master content to Hawkmoon's Paracasual Bullet, making it an excellent weapon to pair with any burst DPS weapon. It's a fantastic Hand Cannon that can kill fodder and bosses with little issue.

Recommended Trait:

  • Column One: Rangefinder, Killing Wind, Surplus

2 Fatebringer

Destiny 2 Fatebringer Hand Cannon

How to obtain: Vault of Glass raid (Templar and Gatekeeper encounters)

Fatebringer was considered by many as one of the best Hand Cannons in the first Destiny. With Outlaw and Firefly paired together, this weapon could carve through hordes of enemies with little issue.

Many were skeptical that its Destiny 2 counterpart would live up to the hype, yet Bungie somehow exceeded expectations. Fatebringer is the best Legendary Hand Cannon in Destiny 2 for PvE content. Firefly has returned as a Legendary perk, combining Dragonfly and Outlaw into one perk. This perk does more damage than Dragonfly without its spec mod, making it excellent for clearing out red bars. It also does Solar damage, allowing Firefly to spawn Warmind Cells if you have Wrath of Rasputin on your armor. Should you dislike Firefly, you can get Frenzy or Kill Clip in its place.

The first column also contains some devastating perks. Explosive Payload allows this weapon to one-tap red bars and counter Champions much more easily. If you love using your Super, consider using Thresh to get more Super energy from each kill. Or if you hate reloading, you can get Rewind Rounds, a new perk that refills your weapon's magazine when it's empty based on how many enemies you hit beforehand. Arguably the most interesting perk on here is Osmosis, allowing Fatebringer to become an Energy weapon after you throw your grenade. This makes it great for Match Game content and for Elemental Well builds.

Overall, it's hard to argue that Fatebringer is anything short of incredible in PvE. Its set of perks allow it to fill niches that no Hand Cannon previously could. Whether you love spamming Supers or blowing enemies up, Fatebringer has you covered.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Explosive Payload, Osmosis
  • Column Two: Firefly, Kill Clip, Frenzy

1 Eriana's Vow

Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow

How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. It costs 1 Exotic Cipher, 100,000 Glimmer, 150 Helium Filaments, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

As Destiny 2's only Special Hand Cannon, Eriana's Vow packs a serious punch. With innate Anti-Barrier Rounds and a massive amount of damage per shot, Eriana's Vow is our pick for the best PvE Hand Cannon in Destiny 2.

Rounds from this weapon annihilate red bars and majors. If you can chain precision hits, Eriana's is also fantastic at damaging bosses and Champions. Since it already covers Barrier Champions, you only need to equip an Artifact mod for your Primary to cover two different Champion types in pinnacle PvE content. It hits hard, is ammo efficient, can be used at far ranges, and counters Champions without any mods. Eriana's Vow is easily an S-tier pick for PvE content.

Next: Destiny 2: Beyond Light Complete Guide And Walkthrough

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