Shotguns are some of the most enjoyable weapons to use in any video game. They can take down enemies at close ranges with uncompromising firepower. When you start looking at loot-based games, things get even more interesting.
Destiny 2 has a wide range of Shotguns for players to try, ranging from slug weapons to fully automatic Shotguns. Perks can also give these weapons even more interesting properties that allow the gun to reload on grenade throws or increase the damage of your next melee attack. Whether you're facing Champions or raid bosses, here are the best Shotguns for PvE you can use in Destiny 2.
Updated September 7th, 2021 by Charles Burgar: Season of the Lost brought some major meta changes to the PvE sandbox. Some new Shotguns were added for players to chase, one of which is a returning weapon from Trials of the Nine. We've updated this tier list to include one of Season 15's new Shotguns. Some entries also had their ranks changed to reflect the quick-swap nerf that occurred this season.
10 Seventh Seraph CQC-12
How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.
Introduced in Season of the Worthy, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 is one of two Shotguns that can spawn Warmind Cells. That alone makes it worth an entry on this list.
Sadly, that's about the only unique niche this Shotgun offers for PvE players. Perks towards this weapon favor PvP more than PvE. You can get good results with Auto-Loading Holster and either Vorpal Weapon or Trench Barrel, although its archetype doesn't boast the best DPS values for higher-end content. As an add clear weapon, however, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 is quite impressive.
- Column One: Auto-Loading Holster, Lead From Gold
- Column Two: Vorpal Weapon, Trench Barrel
How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. Costs 1 Exotic Cipher, 100,000 Glimmer, 150 Glacial Starwort, and 1 Ascendant Shard.
You'd be forgiven if you forgot Duality existed. This buckshot-slug hybrid Shotgun was meant to bridge the gap between Chaperone and Felwinter's Lie, intended mostly for PvP. At least, that's what most players thought.
It turns out that Duality is a monster of a PvE Shotgun, which can mostly be attributed to its second perk. When you land hip-fire final blows, you gain stacks of On Black Wings. Reaching x5 stacks will make Duality deal 55% more damage while you're aiming, and since your ADS mode fires slugs, you can quite easily land headshots while this buff is active. You'll be matching Cloudstrike's DPS when this buff is active, an impressive feat for a Shotgun that isn't a Rapid-Fire Frame.
8 The Fourth Horseman
How to obtain: Currently unavailable.
If you need a boss dead immediately, look no further than The Fourth Horseman. This weapon unloads four rounds—five when Masterworked—in less than a second, each round gaining a damage boost as you land successive shots.
Barrel-stuffing enemies in tough PvE environments is typically ill-advised, but The Fourth Horseman is one of the few exceptions to this rule. This gun's DPS is so great that you can melt stunned Champions in one or two magazines. Hunters take this gun to a whole new level, using Radiant Dance Machines and Marksman's Dodge to unload 20 Shotgun rounds in a few seconds. Very few enemies with survive the barrage of shotgun shells you'll be firing their way. Just note that this weapon's ammo economy is abysmal, using up its entire ammo reserve in less than a minute of continuous firing and reloading.
How to obtain: Altars of Sorrow and the Pit of Heresy dungeon.
Between this and First In, Last Out, Blasphemer has a slightly better perk pool but is much harder to obtain. This Kinetic Precision Shotgun deals a fantastic amount of damage with each shot, capable of one-tapping most orange bars.
Fourth Times the Charm and Swashbuckler is the best roll for this gun, giving it an absurd amount of damage output in most scenarios. Throw out a melee ability, then enjoy a massive 33% damage increase for a few seconds. Landing consecutive rounds on a target's weakpoint will also give you additional ammo in the current magazine, further improving Blasphemer's total damage output. You sadly can't get Vorpal Weapon on this gun, although its other perks more than suffice for most PvE content. Those that love using an Energy Primary should consider farming this weapon from Altars of Sorrow or the Pit of Heresy dungeon.
- Column One: Fourth Times the Charm, Threat Detector
- Column Two: Swashbuckler, Thresh
How to obtain: The Europa Shotgun bounty from Variks on Europa and defeated Brig HVTs.
Europa's Precision Frame Shotgun is one of Destiny 2's best Special weapons for PvE. Not only does this weapon pack the damage you'd expect from a slug Shotgun, but it also comes with add-clear potential.
Bonechiller is the only slug Shotgun in Destiny 2 that can roll with Dragonfly, causing a clean precision kill to spawn a massive explosion. If you only care about single-target DPS, Bonechiller has that in spades. This gun can roll with Triple Tap and One for All simultaneously, giving this weapon a 35% damage boost and additional ammo in the magazine whenever you land three rapid precision hits. Needless to say, this weapon is a monster for all PvE content.
- Column One: Auto-Loading Holster, Triple Tap
- Column Two: Dragonfly, One for All, Demolitionist
How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.
Obtained from the general loot pool, this variant of the IKELOS Shotgun is easily one of the best PvE Shotguns in Destiny 2. If you love close-range combat or Warmind Cells, this gun is a must-own.
Right off the bat, this weapon is worth picking up due to its ability to generate Warmind Cells, powerful orbs that can be detonated for extreme damage. The weapon itself is also fantastic and able to roll with a wide assortment of perks. Threat Detector, Surrounded, Feeding Frenzy, and Trench Barrel are all fantastic perks you can obtain on this gun. It has great single-target damage, and it can clear out waves of enemies by spawning Warmind Cells. What's not to like?
- Column One: Feeding Frenzy, Threat Detector
- Column Two: Trench Barrel, Vorpal Weapon, Rampage, Surrounded
4 A Sudden Death
How to obtain: Prophecy (Kell Echo encounter)
Trials of the Nine weapons have finally returned in Season of the Lost, this time acquired through the Prophecy dungeon. A Sudden Death was the original Trials Shotgun for Destiny 2, featuring a balanced stat package in the Aggressive Frame archetype.
Its return is nothing short of incredible, featuring some notable perks that take this weapon's lethality to the next level. Field Prep and Frenzy is one of the best rolls you can get on this gun, buffing just about every aspect of this gun while you're in combat. This is also one of the only Shotguns that can roll with Grave Robber and One-Two Punch, providing some excellent synergy for melee builds. A Sudden Death is also a fantastic PvP Shotgun, something we discuss in more detail in our best PvP Shotguns tier list.
- Column One: Field Prep, Grave Robber, Threat Detector
- Column Two: Frenzy, One-Two Punch, Surrounded
3 Found Verdict
How to obtain: Vault of Glass (Conflux, Oracle, and Gatekeeper encounters)
Found Verdict is typically associated with PvP, residing in the same Aggressive Frame archetype as the beloved Felwinter's Lie and other popular Shotguns. What makes Found Verdict notable is its ability to serve as a high-damage PvE Special weapon as well.
Rewind Rounds and Vorpal Weapon is one of the best rolls you can get on this gun, allowing you to pump almost two magazines worth of buckshot into an enemy without needing to reload. If you don't like how Rewind Rounds behaves, you can replace it with Full Auto or Auto-Loading Holster. This is also one of the only Shotguns in Destiny 2 to have an Adept variant, allowing you to use Adept Big Ones Spec instead of Major or Boss Spec. In terms of PvE Shotguns, Found Verdict comfortably sits near the top.
- Column One: Rewind Rounds, Full Auto Trigger System, Auto-Loading Holster
- Column Two: Vorpal Weapon, One-Two Punch, Frenzy
2 First In, Last Out
How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.
Yet another Precision Frame Shotgun, First In, Last Out is the gold standard of what a Shotgun should be. This weapon outputs an absurd amount of damage with each round, has a solid selection of perks, and it's rather easy to obtain.
Any world Legendary Engram has a chance of giving you this weapon. Perks on this weapon are solid, allowing for the likes of Outlaw and Vorpal Weapon to roll simultaneously. Demolitionist or Surrounded can replace Vorpal Weapon to suit more aggressive playstyles. Vorpal Weapon is ultimately what you want, as this allows First In, Last Out to annihilate Champions, strike bosses, and even raid bosses like Taniks.
- Column One: Outlaw, Auto-Loading Holster
- Column Two: Vorpal Weapon, Demolitionist, Surrounded
How to obtain: Deep Stone Crypt (Atraks-1 encounter)
The Deep Stone Crypt's unique Shotgun, Heritage, is one of the game's best Shotguns for PvE. It's a Precision Frame, allowing this weapon to deal some fantastic damage if you can land precision shots.
What makes Heritage so special is its unique set of perks. Reconstruction and Recombination are two unique perks that can only be found on the Deep Stone Crypt weapons currently.
The first perk allows Heritage to double its magazine capacity by passively reloading itself over time. Recombination is a powerhouse of a perk, giving this weapon's next shot additional damage for every enemy you've killed with an Energy or Heavy weapon. At ten kills, your next shot deals twice as much damage. When you pair both of these perks together, you get a monstrous single-target weapon that can one-shot nearly every major in the game. Champions and bosses don't stand a chance either. Every Guardian that focuses on PvE content needs to get a good roll of this gun.
- Column One: Reconstruction, Outlaw, Auto-Loading Holster
- Column Two: Recombination, Thresh, Killing Wind
Your drying pan won't protect you from the wrath of societal cancellation, Brock.