Destiny 2 - the best Exotic weapons and how to get them

Whether you’re a seasoned pro, or a complete novice, Destiny 2 is finally here. We’re locked and loaded and ready take back everything the Cabal Red Legion from us... and for that, we're probably going to need a gun or two, right?

  • Check out our Destiny 2 guide for other tips on getting the most out of Bungie's sequel

If you’ve taken one look at the inventory and nope'd out of there, don’t panic. Destiny 2’s loadout system has been revamped since the first game, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a Bungie beginner or a seasoned vet - we’re all having to wipe clean that slate and and start over (goodbye, sweet Gjally. Sniff).

Instead of rocking Primary, Secondary, and Heavy weapons, you’ll have access to Kinect, Energy, and Power weapons… which means everything’s different time time around. There’s more flexibility to equip multiple versions of your favourite weapon types, though, as well as an excuse to experiment with the latest and greatest guns.

It’s early days, of course, and we’ve many more things to explore and experiment with before we’re in a position to provide Guardians with an exhaustive list, but here are the best weapons we’ve encountered so far…

Sturm

Why we love it: At a base level Sturm is just a great hand cannon. The extended barrel gives it a longer range than similar guns, and the extended mag lets you blast away for longer (although is countered by a slower reload). Energy weapon kills also boost its precision damage until you reload. 

However, the real bonus here is that kills with Sturm will give you extra energy weapon ammo. But there's more: the quest to get Sturm involves using an energy weapon handgun called Drang. It's partnered with the exotic and will specifically reload it (and it alone) when you get kills with it. So if you have both equipped, a little judicious juggling will constantly keep both guns topped up. 

Rat King

Why we love it: If there’s ever a gun to covet, this is the one. Play in a fireteam who are touting the King too, and you’ll be able to boost your damage - damage that can stack up to SIX times - which is incredible, let’s face it. You’ve also got Smallbore increasing your range and stability, with Tactical Mag also helping improve the latter. Reloading instantly after a kill will you give a brief period of invisibility, and Smooth Grip helps get that gun locked and ready quicker. 

Mida Multi-Tool

Why we love it: This Scout Rifle is a boon for anyone looking to boost their speed but still remain just as powerful. You might be familiar with it from the original Destiny, but for those coming into Destiny 2 fresh, this is an Exotic with a focus on agility. Not only does it boost your sprint speed, but it also keeps your radar active while you're looking down the sights, meaning your prepared for surprises and quick enough to avoid them.

Sunshot

Why we love it: I’ve had an on/off thing with Hand Cannons since Destiny’s inaugural year, but I’m really enjoying my time with Sunshot. Not only does it hold eight rounds and fires 150 rounds per minute - making it reasonably nifty for a hand cannon - its perk Sunburn fires explosive rounds, whilst Sun Blast makes Solar enemies explode, dealing extra damage as they do so. Most enjoyable of all, Grip boosts handling, which means it’s easier than ever to pop those Cabal headshots. It’s also perfect for taking down Shanks with a single shot.

Graviton Lance

Why we love it: Graviton Lance is one of the first Exotics you’ll encounter, and if you like a Pulse Rifle with good range, this is the gun for you. The initial two bullets are super smooth, but the every third carries the intrinsic (passive) perk Blackhole, which means it rips a hole in the timely-wimely space-time continuum to pack a mean punch at the expense of stability. Fitted Stock helps with your recoil and stability at the cost of speed, but keep your distance - which is easy given Hammer-Forged Rifling and Accurised Rounds both boost your range - and Cosmology means your enemies will explode on contact. Nice. 

Riskrunner

Why we love it: An Exotic submachine gun - an all-new weapon type, completely new to Destiny 2 - will feel familiar to those of us who rocked the Supercell in the prequel, as it chains Arc damage amongst tightly-packed enemies, with a chance of ammo returning the chamber. There’s also super fast loading - perfect if you’re on the offensive. It fires a hefty 900 rounds per minute and holds 40 rounds, even as the vanilla build. Getting hit by Arc damage boosts the power of the gun, whilst Arrowhead Break improves handling (at the cost of recoil), and Extended Mag stuffs even more bullets at a time. 

Coldheart

Why we love it: Just like the submachine gun, the Trace Rifle is all new. It’s not going to be much good to you in a brawl, but if you’re looking for something with a laser-focus to do serious DPS on a boss, you should give this a go - particularly as Longest Winter means the longer you aim at an enemy, the more damage you’ll do. It’s another Arc elemental, and your handling, magazine, and stability are all available to tweak. Unfortunately, there’s a drawback here - Coldheart is only available as a pre-order bonus (although there are some reports that Guardians are finding he in the wild, although as yet we don’t know if that’s only for people who pre-ordered). You have until December 5, 2017 to snag this bad boy. 

Borealis

This PS4 exclusive weapon is a brilliant sniper rifle because it has the ability to change elements. You can cycle between Solar, Arc and Void when you charge you weapon. That's going to make it extremely handy for Raids, as it'll mean you'll ready for every eventuality, just make sure you match the weapon charge to the enemy type - Solar for Solar etc. Plus, if you break an enemy's shield using the Borealis, it'll transfer one bullet into the magazine automatically, meaning you don't need to reload immediately.

Because it's a PS4 exclusive, Xbox One and PC gamers most likely won't be able to use it for at least another 12 months.

Merciless

We're loving the Merciless for its awesome Intrinsic perk - Conserve Momentum. If you shoot an enemy without killing it, this perk actually increases your rate of fire until you get a kill. But it gets better. If you reload immediately after killing an enemy, the Merciless increases damage output because of its Impetus trait. Both of those together make this weapon a boon for fighting a boss.  

Its other perks include improving recoil direction, aids stabilisation and extends the mag size.

Sweet Business

Part of the reason we love Sweet Business is that its description simply reads, "I love my job". If you're the guy working at Bungie designing this weapon, we really don't blame you. But back to Destiny 2. Sweet Business is all about, well, getting down to business with high-caliber rounds for knocking back your enemies further, and increased hip fire accuracy. 

The Prospector

Who wouldn't want an Exotic grenade launcher for blasting Strike bosses into oblivion or dissolving your fellow Guardians in the Crucible? Well, that's exactly what the Prospector is and it's got a few more perks to boot. It might look like something from the Wild West, but it's Intrinsic Perk allows you to shoot up to eight grenades at the same time, which will all explode at once when you release the trigger. 

So those are our top picks right now... but what are yours? We'll be updating this feature every day to keep on top of all the best weapons as they appear.

Huge thanks to the Guardians of xXBidDaddyD and Romity459 for their help and screenshots!

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