Many Primary weapons exist in the Destiny universe to take down the enemies of Humanity. Ranging from Hand Cannons to Bows, there's a weapon type for everyone. Pulse Rifles are in a fantastic spot in Destiny 2, capable of countering Hand Cannons in PvE and most fodder enemies in PvE.
Pulse Rifles are burst-fire weapons that combine the precision of a Scout Rifle with the rapid damage output of an Auto Rifle. With a wide selection of perks for each weapon, it's easy to see why they are so sought after in PvE and PvP activities. No matter the playstyle, here are ten Pulse Rifles any player needs to use in Destiny 2.
Updated December 11th, 2021, by Charles Burgar: The Bungie 30th Anniversary Pack released a new Pulse Rifle that has quickly become one of Destiny 2's best picks. The Halo Battle Rifle is now in Destiny, known as the BXR-55 Battler. We've updated our tier list to include this weapon, explain why it's so special, and give some perk recommendations to help you chase the perfect Pulse Rifle for your Guardian.
10 Cold Denial
How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams
Guardians in love with PvE will want to look elsewhere for a top-tier PvE Pulse Rifle. If you love playing PvP, Cold Denial is an incredible choice. It has a fantastic scope, a great range stat of 61, and a solid selection of perks tailored for PvP.
Killing Wind and Headseeker is absurdly strong in PvP, giving this weapon a massive boost to its range and handling after a kill. Headseeker is typically regarded as a terrible perk, but this weapon allows High-Impact Pulse Rifles to kill Guardians in two bursts by only landing four headshots. Only Guardians with more than tier seven Resilience will survive, making this a great perk that improves Cold Denial's usability.
- Column One: Feeding Frenzy (PvE), Killing Wind (PvP)
- Column Two: Swashbuckler, Multikill Clip (PvE), Headseeker (PvP)
9 Sacred Provenance
How to obtain: The Garden of Salvation raid (third encounter)
Sacred Provenance is one of only two Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2 that can roll with Rapid Hit. Since this is an Aggressive Frame, every burst fires four bullets instead of three. Should you land every bullet, expect to have virtually no recoil and a lightning-fast reload.
Kill Clip is a great pick for PvE players, allowing this weapon to melt majors in a few bursts. Its impact on your PvP TTK is minor, making perks like Quickdraw and Headseeker more preferable. Provenance's clear sight and absurd base range of 72 make it a fantastic weapon in all Destiny 2 content, PvE or PvP. Brave the Garden of Salvation raid for a chance at obtaining this gun.
- Column One: Rapid Hit, Full Auto Trigger System
- Column Two: Kill Clip (PvE)
8 The Time-Worn Spire
How to obtain: Iron Banner matches and Engrams
The Time-Worn Spire is a force to be reckoned with, featuring a fire rate of 540 RPM that can counter Hand Cannons and Sniper Rifles with ease.
The Time-Worn Spire is one of the few Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2 that rolls with scopes instead of barrels, drastically improving this weapon's effective range and usability. Red Dot Micro is arguably the best scope of the bunch, providing a clean sight alongside a large boost to range and zoom. For perks, stability is king on this gun. Under Pressure and Iron Grip turn this weapon into a laser beam, causing every bullet to land on top of each other. There's no recoil management required; you can fire as fast as you desire.
PvE players can also get the classic Feeding Frenzy and Rampage roll to assist with this gun's lethality. If you plan to take this gun to Master-tier content, consider using One for All instead of Rampage since it's easier to activate.
- Column One: Feeding Frenzy (PvE), Moving Target (PvP), Under Pressure (PvP)
- Column Two: Rampage, One for All (PvE), Iron Grip (PvP)
7 The Third Axiom
How to obtain: Vanguard strikes, Nightfalls, and Engrams
Don't be fooled by this weapon's appearance. It might look like a generic Pulse Rifle, but The Third Axiom's perks and stat package are anything but. From its stat package to the overall feel of this gun, it's clear that The Third Axiom is the spiritual successor of Bygones.
Besides having a better stat package than Bygones, The Third Axiom has a whopping 24 traits it can roll with. Some fantastic perks, such as Killing Wind and One for All, can roll on this weapon. Virtually every perk combination that you'd want on a Pulse Rifle is on here. It feels fantastic to use, consistently landing headshots just as well as Bygones did back in Forsaken. If you can get past its large perk pool, farming for a good Third Axiom is certainly worth the effort.
- Column One: Killing Wind, Feeding Frenzy (PvE), Moving Target (PvP)
- Column Two: Rampage, One for All (PvE), Thresh (PvP), Dragonfly (PvE), Vorpal Weapon (PvP)
How to obtain: Override and focused Umbral Engrams.
Gridskipper is the spiritual successor to the original Destiny's Clever Dragon. It features the same time-to-kill value in PvP, has a decent sight, and has some incredible perks it can roll with.
Heating Up is a fantastic perk on this weapon, granting an immense boost to your accuracy and stability after a kill. The boost is close to what Eye of the Storm and Zen Moment provide, turning this gun into a laser beam after a single kill. You can pair this with Multikill Clip for a devastating Pulse Rifle that can carve through any enemy with little issue. It's excellent in PvE, demolishes in the Crucible, and is a great weapon for Gambit. If you love Pulse Rifles, get this gun.
- Column One: Heating Up, Killing Wind
- Column Two: Multikill Clip, Frenzy (PvE)
5 Darkest Before
How to obtain: Prophecy (Final chest)
Back when Trials of the Nine was still in Destiny 2, many Pulse Rifle fans swore by Darkest Before. This Rapid-Fire Frame would shred through an opponent's health bar with virtually no recoil. It's finally returned in Season of the Lost, complete with random rolls.
Surplus and Full Auto is a fantastic roll for PvP, giving this weapon virtually no recoil when your abilities are charged. Alternatively, you can farm for Tunnel Vision and Elemental Capacitor. For PvE, this weapon isn't the best. Subsistence and Rampage is a solid roll for general add-clear, although the damage of each bullet from a 540 Pulse Rifle leaves something to be desired. If you want a good PvE 540, get Gridskipper. But if you need a good Rapid-Fire for PvP, Darkest Before has you covered.
- Column One: Surplus, Tunnel Vision (PvP)
- Column Two: Elemental Capacitor (PvP), Rampage
4 Vigilance Wing
How to obtain: Exotic Engrams found through Xur or world drops.
Vigilance Wing is clearly tuned around 3v3 PvP playlists. Its Exotic perk, Harsh Trush, grants both a health regeneration and movement speed boost whenever a nearby ally dies. Its second perk also improves the gun's stats when you're the lasting living member of your fireteam.
Both of those perks are useful, but Vigilance Wing is fantastic due to its forgiveness. This Pulse Rifle fires in five-round bursts. Since the optimal TTK for High-Impact Pulses requires five crits and one body shot, this means you can only land body shots for an entire burst and still kill a Guardian in two bursts. Because of this, Vigilance Wing is the most forgiving Pulse Rifle in Destiny 2. PvP players have to try this gun. Don't bother using it in PvE.
3 No Time To Explain
How to obtain: Complete the Beyond Light campaign.
No Time to Explain is unquestionably one of the best Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2. This weapon has a fantastic stat package, absurd range stat of 73, and has a blazing fast optimal TTK of 0.67 seconds in PvP.
It gets better; No Time to Explain creates a time portal when you achieve ten precision kills, acting as a mobile turret that fires at any target in front of you. This can make melting majors and even strike bosses in PvE trivial. PvP players will appreciate the second gun by their side, and PvE players that want to use a good mid-range weapon will love No Time to Explain.
2 BXR-55 Battler
How to obtain: Xur's Treasure Trove
The Halo 2 Battle Rifle has made its way into Destiny 2, and it's easily one of the best Pulse Rifles you can use. Cleverly named the BXR, this weapon features a unique perk that mimics the effects of Trench Barrel—allowing you to release a massive burst of damage after a melee ability hit.
Of course, this weapon has a large range of perks you can chase. Perpetual Motion and Eye of the Storm make for the most consistent PvP Pulse Rifle you can find. Demolitionist and Adrenaline Junkie are fantastic for PvE. You can even use Outlaw and Kill Clip together for a more classic workhorse Primary weapon. Best of all, this weapon intrinsically has excellent hip-fire accuracy, allowing you to stay mobile while landing headshots from medium range. The BXR-55 is effectively an Exotic weapon disguised as a Legendary. Get this weapon as soon as you can.
- Column One: Perpetual Motion, Demolitionist
- Column Two: Eye of the Storm (PvP), Rangefinder (PvP), Kill Clip
1 The Messenger
How to obtain: Trials of Osiris matches and Engrams
Redrix's Claymore has finally been outmatched by The Messenger, a High-Impact Pulse Rifle that can roll with Desperado. That alone makes this the best Legendary Pulse Rifle in Destiny 2, yet this gun has even more to offer than that.
The Messenger can also roll with Rapid Hit alongside Desperado, giving this weapon pinpoint accuracy after landing a few precision hits. This perk combination makes this weapon Exotic-tier in terms of strength, but players can go even further by using High-Caliber Rounds to flinch targets during a gunfight. Better yet, you can also get an Adept variant of this gun to use Adept Mods. Adept Icarus, Adept Range, and Adept Handling, and Adept Handling are all fantastic here. With the right roll, this weapon puts Exotics to shame. Play Trials of Osiris whenever it's active for a chance to obtain this Pulse Rifle.
- Column One: Rapid Hit, Outlaw
- Column Two: Desperado, Kill Clip
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