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These Are The Best Hand Cannons In Destiny 2

The sandbox in Destiny 2 is constantly evolving. Some guns have their time in the spotlight, only to be pushed aside once a new sandbox update arrives. This cycle plays out over and over again, making some weapons very good while relegating others to the sidelines for a bit. Prior to Destiny 2: Beyond Light's launch in November 2020, developer Bungie decided to help hand cannons regain some glory. And did they ever.


There are numerous hand cannons in the game that players can use and find success with, including a host of Legendary options. The best of the best, however — the real cream of the crop when it comes to hand cannons in Destiny 2 — are found in the Exotic category. These weapons act like your typical hand cannons most of the time but come with some additional perks that serve to place them above all else. The guns you'll find below were already pretty good in a number of different activities, but thanks to the buff to hand cannons, they now stand out more than they ever have before.

These are the best hand cannons in Destiny 2.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is an adaptive frame hand cannon with quite a few tricks up its sleeve. In that regard, it has a lot in common with its previous owner, Cayde-6. The late Hunter Vanguard's last will and testament left this gun to whoever was responsible for killing him. By heading to the Monument to Lost Lights in the Tower, you can purchase it and make it your own.


The gun's Firefly perk causes any enemy you kill with a precision shot to explode, which makes it a great crowd control device for mobs. Its chief perk, however — Memento Mori — is far more interesting. This grants you full-time radar, even when you're aiming down sights. Not only that, but reloading immediately after a kill will drop a few more powerful bullets into the magazine. Plus, reloading right after you nab a kill triggers a very cool gun spinning animation that sort of makes you feel like you're about to duel in the Wild West.

With the buffs given to hand cannons in 2020, you really can't go wrong with Ace of Spades, and that's true for PvE and PvP.


Longtime players of Destiny may have nightmares about Thorn from the original game. Years back, the gun was an absolute monster. If you played competitive Crucible, you likely saw multiple Thorns pointing at you at any given moment in time. When it came back in Destiny 2, however, the gun lacked some of the punch it had in its first iteration.


No more. Now that hand cannons have been shown some love in Destiny 2, Thorn is right back to being a top choice in PvP.

Thorn is a pretty unique weapon in that its shots not only damage enemies right off the bat but also afflict those same enemies with damage over time. Its main perk, Mark of the Devourer, makes this happen while also dropping what are called "Remnants" on kills. By picking up a Remnant, players can refill a bit of Thorn's magazine while also adding to the damage Mark of the Devourer can do. If you're a pro with a hand cannon, you can — pardon the pun — really be a Thorn in the sides of your Crucible opponents using this gun.


Malfeasance may be one of the more underrated hand cannons in Destiny 2 at the moment. It is a solid choice for both PvP and Gambit and could be feasibly used in other activities, too. There's a lengthy quest tied to this one, so securing it won't be as easy as visiting the Monument to Lost Lights and dropping some of the required currency. Once you use Malfeasance, though, you may end up believing all that hard work was worth it.


The chief perk of Malfeasance is Explosive Shadow. The slugs from the gun essentially enter the body of your enemy, acting as ticking time bombs of sorts. If you pour a few more rounds into the bad guy, all of your Malfeasance slugs explode simultaneously. This means you get the damage from your initial shot hitting, as well as that explosive damage later on. To boot, Malfeasance does extra damage against both Taken and invading opponents in Gambit.

Regardless of where you end up using Malfeasance, you'll likely find it to be a helpful addition to your arsenal. It takes effort to get, but when you consider its versatility, this may be a tough gun to pass on.


The original Destiny's Red Death was a pretty handy pulse rifle with a fairly simple value proposition: Kill things, and you'll get healed. This perk made Red Death a pretty clutch weapon to use in tough encounters, which made it all the more heartbreaking when Destiny 2 arrived without that particular gun. Fortunately, Red Death lives on in a sense. A new hand cannon called Crimson was introduced in Destiny 2, and everything about it — right down to the way it looks and shoots — screams "Red Death."


To start, Crimson has a perk called Banned Weapon that enables it to shoot three rounds at once. This means it essentially fires like a pulse rifle. On top of that, it has another perk called Cruel Remedy which is not unlike the main selling point of Red Death. If you kill enemies, your reward will be a bit of healing. Finally, precision kills with Crimson also top off the gun's magazine.

Crimson was already pretty useful thanks to its healing capabilities. Now that hand cannons are even better in Destiny 2, you may find yourself winning more gunfights with it — and being healed more often as a result.