Destiny 2: Best Hand Cannons for PvE & PvP

Shane Black
Destiny 2 Hand Cannons

Hand Cannons will continue to be a popular choice in Destiny 2: The Final Shape thanks to their good mobility and powerful shots that can hit from a range.

While there aren’t any new Exotic Hand Cannons joining the ranks in this expansion, there is already a good list of options for any players looking to use these powerful guns to take on the forces of The Witness in the Pale Heart.

So for anyone wanting to use the best hand cannons in the game for their Destiny 2 build, here are the best options that can blow away the competition right now.

Best Hand Cannons for PvE

1. Lumina

Lumina Exotic Hand Cannon from Destiny 2.


  • Impact: 84
  • Range: 53
  • Stability: 50
  • Handling: 71
  • Reload Speed: 61

Our PvE list begins with Lumina, which comes with a two-fold trait combo. The first is Noble Rounds, which occurs when killing an enemy to leave behind a Remnant, which can be picked up to cause your next hipfire shot to be a shot that will seek out your allies and partially refill your ammo. If it finds your ally, Blessing of the Sky occurs which will heal them and give you both a damage boost.

This makes it a great option in PvE as there will be more enemies to kill, thus allowing you to use these two traits much more often. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless in PvP; it still is a more than solid option in those game modes.

2. Malfeasance

Malfeasance Exotic Hand Cannon from Destiny 2.


  • Impact: 78
  • Range: 40
  • Stability: 80
  • Handling: 29
  • Reload Speed: 80

Malfeasance is a well-balanced option that can do well in both PvE and PvP. Its Taken Predator trait gives it bonus damage against Taken enemies and Gambit Invaders. It also has Explosive Shadow, which will bury explosive rounds into targets, and can stack multiple rounds in a person before detonating to deal big damage and stun anyone who survives.

It is certainly a better option for PvE, but its explosive rounds can be great in Crucible matches, while its bonus damage against any invaders in Gambit can prove to be a game-changing form of defense.

3. Sunshot

Sunshot exotic solar hand cannon in destiny 2.


  • Impact: 80
  • Range: 31
  • Stability: 40
  • Handling: 81
  • Reload Speed: 72

Our favorite part of Sunshot is its Sun Blast ability, which will cause enemies who are killed with the Hand Cannon to explode in Solar energy, burning everyone around them. It then will also highlight the enemies who take damage from it so you don’t lose sight of them with Sunburn.

Overall, it’s a powerful weapon that can be a perfect companion for Solar builds, but even without a build to go along with that elemental damage, it works. Plus, it just feels good to wield the power of fire in such a way.

4. Thorn

The Thorn Exotic Hand Cannon in Destiny 2.


  • Impact: 84
  • Range: 34
  • Stability: 55
  • Handling: 65
  • Reload Speed: 40

Thorn is another weapon that comes with tow abilities that build off each other: Soul Devourer and Mark of the Devourer. Soul Devourer allows you to pick up Remnants that will strengthen Mark of the Devourer, and how do you create these Remnants? With Mark of the Devourer, so that any kill with this weapon will drop one, while also piercing targets and dealing damage over time.

Using these abilities in conjunction makes this Hand Cannon worth having on hand during a PvE encounter so that you can put some rounds in a target before moving on to the next one and letting the damage continue.

Best Hand Cannons for PvP

1. Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades Exotic Hand Cannon from Destiny 2.


  • Impact: 84
  • Range: 75
  • Stability: 40
  • Handling: 40
  • Reload Speed: 42

Ace of Spades might be the best Hand Cannon you can use in PvP game modes thanks to its Memento Mori ability. While this skill also allows a few extra bullets to be loaded up when reloading after a kill, the best part is its radar that it gives you when you are aiming down its sights. Plus, its Firefly ability will cause targets to explode when killed with a precision shot.

Thanks to its radar capabilities, it can be a great tool in the Crucible so that you know if an enemy is coming up on you, and from what direction. Being caught offguard is often a death sentence in Destiny 2 PvP, and you can easily counter this with an improved radar from your weapon.

2. Hawkmoon

Destiny 2 Hawmoon


  • Impact: 84
  • Range: 52
  • Stability: 63
  • Handling: 71
  • Reload Speed: 59

This Hand Cannon comes with the Paracausal Shot ability, which will stack charges of Paracausal with Final Blows and precision hits. This stacks until the final round of the magazine, at which point the final shot will deal bonus damage based on the amount of stacks you have accumulated.

When you have stacked Paracausal up as high as it can go, it really is an impressively powerful shot that can devastate an enemy. It’s not too powerful, but when you get the hang of the gun’s accuracy to land those precision shots, it becomes so much more than a standard weapon.

3. Crimson

Destiny 2 Crimson


  • Impact: 92
  • Range: 55
  • Stability: 80
  • Handling: 45
  • Reload Speed: 60

Crimson should be considered for any PvP-centered players, as any kill with this weapon will heal the wielder. Plus, it gives you a three-round burst which isn’t common among Hand Cannons at all. It gives you the ability to keep engaging in fights without having to wait for your health to come back, and makes the overall gameplay just feel faster.

When you are able to land all three shots of each burst, you are doing good damage, and then you will soon get that health bonus when you dispatch your target. It just can’t be overstated how useful that is in PvP situations.

4. Eriana’s Vow

Destiny 2 Eriana's Vow The Final Shape Exotic


  • Impact: 100
  • Range: 100
  • Stability: 30
  • Handling: 23
  • Reload Speed: 24

The best part of this Hand Cannon is that it can pierce the shields of Destiny 2 enemies, meaning you get right to doing the important damage. That means you can bypass the shields of players’ shields in Crucible as well to easily take them down before they even have your shields out of the way.

It’s a shortcut that, when in the right hands, can be a shortcut for PvP. Even better, the first shot of an attack will carry bonus damage unless it is a precision shot or it hits an elemental shield. But it isn’t lost, it is just preserved for later.

5. The Last Word

Destiny 2 The Last Word Exotic Hand Cannon


  • Impact: 78
  • Range: 20
  • Stability: 40
  • Handling: 20
  • Reload Speed: 80

This is a full-auto Hand Cannon that, weirdly enough, works best when you are firing it from the hip. When doing this, its Hip-Fire Grip ability allows its accuracy, stability, and precision hit targeting to improve.

It’s a fast-paced option on this list that can make PvP battles much easier when getting up close to your target. Firing off a full clip, landing some precision shots with ease, and moving on to the next person is a powerful feeling that The Last Word is capable of giving you.

6. Sturm

Destiny 2 Sturm


  • Impact: 92
  • Range: 60
  • Stability: 51
  • Handling: 40
  • Reload Speed: 50

You will want to run Sturm with the Drang sidearm to take advantage of its Storm and Stress ability. This makes it so killing with Drang will reload Sturm and also put a bonus damage round into the magazine. Killing with Sturm will also reload the ammo for Drang.

While not the most powerful of all the abilities on this list, it’s still a nice relationship that helps to make sure that you are never caught without a fully loaded weapon. And with how fast PvP can be, always keeping your gun loaded is paramount to success.

For more about Destiny 2 and The Final Shape, check out the new Dread enemies coming to the game, how the new Pathfinder system works, and when the newest raid will release.