Auto Rifles have seen dozens of changes throughout Destiny's history. Arguably the strongest weapon archetype for the first year of the original game, they have seen many balance changes to give other weapons a chance to shine.

Related: Destiny 2: The Best Shotguns For PvP

Originally, Auto Rifles lacked the damage of other Primary weapons to be considered viable. Thankfully, Bungie has buffed this archetype in Season of the Worthy, resulting in these weapons dominating the PvP sandbox. They do great when a player can land all of their shots, but they could potentially be top-tier with the right rolls. Here are 15 Auto Rifles that stand above the rest that you should own in Destiny 2.

Updated December 9th, 2022, by Charles Burgar: While Auto Rifles didn't see any balance changes or additions with the Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack, some Exotic Auto Rifles have become much more powerful in this sandbox. SUROS Regime's slow-fire mode is now much stronger in PvP, and Monte Carlo has easily become one of the best weapons in Destiny 2 for ability-centric builds. We've updated this tier list to reflect the updated sandbox and discuss why SUROS and Monte Carlo are worth running.

10 Hard Light

Destiny 2 Hard Light

How to obtain: Exotic Engrams and Xur.

Hard Light went from being a nauseating weapon in Year 1 to a solid choice for all content. This Exotic Auto Rifle can switch between any element at will.

Not only is it a versatile option for Nightfalls with Match Game, but it is also a deadly weapon thanks to its ricocheting bullets. Unlike most weapons, Hard Light's damage increases every time it bounces off a hard surface, making this gun surprisingly potent if used properly in PvP. Intentionally shooting a wall behind an enemy can pressure or even kill them, making this a great medium-range weapon to use in competitive PvP playlists.


9 Sorrow's Verse

Destiny 2 Sorrow's Verse

How to obtain: Crucible matches and Engrams.

Sorrow's Verse might not be the most unique Auto Rifle in Destiny 2, yet it's easily one of the most consistent ARs in the game. Great base stats and a massive perk pool are enough to make this weapon a great choice for all playstyles. The weapon has a great sight, has an average AR zoom of 16, and some great perk options.

In the first column, you have Tunnel Vision, Surplus, Killing Wind, Heating Up, and even Encore. For column two, you can get Multikill Clip, Frenzy, Wellspring, or Elemental Capacitor if you value consistency. It's sleek, reliable, and is fairly easy to farm. If that isn't a textbook SUROS weapon, then what is?

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Tunnel Vision, Surplus (PvP), Subsistence (PvE)
  • Column Two: Multikill Clip, Frenzy (PvE), Elemental Capacitor (PvP)

8 Tommy's Matchbook

Destiny 2 Tommy's Matchbook Auto

How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. Costs 1 Exotic Cipher, 100,000 Glimmer, 150 Spinmetal Leaves, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

Tommy's Matchbook has more in common with Submachine Guns than Auto Rifles in terms of its intended use. Players are meant to spray as much lead into an enemy as possible, regardless of accuracy.

Related: Destiny 2: The Best Warlock Builds For PvP And PVE

That is because its Exotic perk, Ignition Trigger, will light the player on fire through sustained fire. It will slowly destroy your shield but never your health, granting double damage while the player is lit aflame. Needless to say, double damage on a Rapid-Fire Frame Auto Rifle is a terrifying sight in any activity. Tommy's Matchbook also intrinsically has Hip-Fire Grip to help with spraying down targets from afar without aiming, also granting it excellent in-air accuracy when shot from the hip. It's a solid weapon for PvE and PvP, although you'll really want to build around this gun for pinnacle PvE content to make it viable.

7 Shadow Price

Destiny 2 Shadow Price

How to obtain: Rare world Engrams.

Precision Frame Auto Rifles aren't in the best spot currently. While their damage output might be lacking in PvP, these weapons can still serve as great workhorse weapons in PvE.

Shadow Price is a great example of this. Obtaining a roll with Overflow and Dragonfly is absurdly strong for clearing out hordes of enemies. For harder content, replacing Dragonfly with One for All is a good idea, granting this weapon a 33% damage increase just by hitting three unique targets. It's an excellent PvE weapon that struggles to hang with the Crucible meta, even after the Precision Auto buff in Season of the Splicer.

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Feeding Frenzy (PvE), Killing Wind (PvP)
  • Column Two: Dragonfly (PvE), One for All (PvE), Swashbuckler

6 The Last Breath

Destiny 2 The Last Breath

How to obtain: Prophecy dungeon

At first glance, The Last Breath is a lackluster Adaptive Frame that will struggle to compete with fan-favorite Auto Rifles. It's somewhat true that it isn't the best for PvP, but for PvE, The Last Breath is simply amazing. That's thanks to a unique perk combination it can obtain: Demolitionist and Adrenaline Junkie.

If you love throwing grenades, The Last Breath is easily the best Auto Rifle for your playstyle. This weapon can chew through adds on its own, granting you an immense amount of grenade energy. Throw a grenade, gain a damage boost with The Last Breath, then repeat the process. If you don't like grenade builds, you can obtain a classic Subsistence and One for All roll—Frenzy instead of One for All if you prefer that.

As for PvP, The Last Breath is sadly a disappointment. It doesn't have the range of Scathelocke, lacks the lethality that Gnawing Hunger can achieve due to its perk selection, and is far harder to obtain than either weapon. It won't dethrone meta ARs, but it will definitely find a home in the inventories of PvE players that love spamming their abilities.

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Demolitionist, Subsistence, Killing Wind
  • Column Two: Adrenaline Junkie (PvE), Rangefinder (PvP), One for All (PvE)

5 Chroma Rush

Destiny 2 Chroma Rush

How to obtain: Override and focused Umbral Engrams.

If Arctic Haze disappointed you in PvE, look no further than Season of the Splicer's Chroma Rush. This 720 RPM Auto Rifle combines the consistency of Arctic Haze with a perk pool that improves its lethality, making it an excellent PvE workhorse weapon.

Feeding Frenzy and Kill Clip is an excellent roll on this gun for every game type, allowing Chroma Rush to shred through opponents with ease. Subsistence and Rampage is also an option if you hate reloading. For PvP, consider a roll with Heating Up and Kill Clip. Heating Up gives such a massive accuracy boost that it makes Chroma Rush one step away from a Trace Rifle, landing headshots with little effort. Whether you love Auto Rifles or not, give Chroma Rush a try.

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Feeding Frenzy, Subsistence (PvE), Heating Up (PvP)
  • Column Two: Kill Clip, Rampage

4 Gnawing Hunger

Destiny 2 Gnawing Hunger

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.

Introduced in Season of the Drifter, Gnawing Hunger is an Adaptive Frame Auto Rifle that has stood the test of time. Years later, this gun still shreds opponents in PvE and PvP alike.

This gun can get perks like Overflow, Rampage, Subsistence, and Demolitionist. With Subsistence and Rampage, this gun becomes a legendary Huckleberry Auto Rifle that never has to reload. For PvP, perks like Demolitionist can be fantastic choices as well to keep the gun always reloaded and grant plenty of grenades for unfair fights. Alternatively, Zen Moment or Tap the Trigger make Gnawing Hunger an Auto Rifle with zero recoil. This weapon has clean sights, great recoil, and a time-to-kill that can rival most meta Primary weapons in PvP. Keep an eye out for a good roll.

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Subsistence (PvE), Tap the Trigger (PvP)
  • Column Two: Rampage, Kill Clip, Demolitionist

3 Monte Carlo

Destiny 2 Monte Carlo

How to obtain: Exotic Engrams and Xur.

Monte Carlo has proven itself to be one of Destiny 2's best Auto Rifles with the recent 30th Anniversary changes. With the nerfs to ability cooldowns, anything that bypasses your cooldowns has become infinetly more useful.

That's where Monte Carlo comes in. This weapon effectively gives you infinte melee charges, both in PvE and PVP. Unload a magazine into a target to get constant melee energy. Killing an enemy might give you a charge outright, allowing you to spam abilities like Withering Blade or shoulder charge. Markov Chain also gives Monte Carlo the damage boost it needs to serve you well in most PvE content, making this a fantastic all-rounder Exotic for all game types. It's especially deadly in the Crucible.

2 SUROS Regime

Destiny 2 SUROS Regime

How to obtain: Exotic Engrams and Xur.

Once a monster in Destiny's first year, the SUROS Regime has remained a sleeping giant of an Exotic compared to the rest in its class. With a fast TTK and great sights, the SUROS Regime is perfect for PvP content.

Related: Destiny 2: The Best Hand Cannons For PvP

This gun has two fire modes: a slow-firing but hard-hitting mode or a much faster mode that hits for less. Both modes are fantastic thanks to some recent changes. The fast-firing mode turns SUROS into a large SMG that melts through Guardians and PvE enemies with ease. Its other fire mode is a menace in the Crucible, picking targets off from Pulse Rifle distances with virtually no recoil. Crucible players need to give SUROS a try, and PvE players might enjoy using this weapon for more casual content.

Recommended Trait

  • Column One: Spinning Up

1 Scathelocke

Destiny 2 Scathelocke

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.

Gnawing Hunger finally has some serious competition. Scathelocke is an Adaptive Frame that resides in the Kinetic slot, featuring an excellent selection of perks and the best stat package out of any AR in Destiny 2. An above-average range stat, excellent handling, and 20 zoom raise Scathelocke well above most Adaptive Frames. But it gets even better.

Scathelocke can roll with some of the best perks for an AR—Tunnel Vision, Subsistence, Multikill Clip, and even Heating Up. It can roll with Accurized Rounds as well to further boost this weapon's effective range into Hand Cannon distances, allowing you to comfortably outduel most PvP players. For PvE, the weapon's excellent range and ability to roll damage perks make it an excellent weapon to pair with this season's Anti-Barrier Artifact mod. If you like using Auto Rifles in any capacity, you need a good Scathelocke in your arsenal. This weapon will not disappoint.

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Subsistence (PvE), Tunnel Vision (PvP), Heating Up (PvP), Surplus
  • Column Two: Multikill Clip, Rampage, Eye of the Storm (PvP)

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