Destiny 2: The 12 BEST Pulse Rifles (PVE & PVP)

October 13, 2023 by No Comments


Destiny 2’s best pulse rifles can vary from each other in terms of random rolls to their stats and viability in the current meta. I’ve personally been a fan of Pulse Rifles since Destiny 1 was back on consoles, but fast forward to now, and they’ve had a bumpy ride in both the PVE and PVP meta of Destiny 2. With much-needed buffs and nerfs, they’ve become a viable option for use under specific in-game activities or circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  • Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2 feature a burst-firing style but, as of Season 22, aren’t really that high in the meta if you ask me.
  • A few exotic Pulse Rifles, such as No Time To Explain, offer advantages in PVP due to their strong viability and time-to-kill rate.
  • The best Pulse Rifles, such as Outbreak Perfected, perform superbly in PVE, but in PVP, it’s at the disadvantage of being unreliable against other players.
  • My personal favorite Pulse Rifles are the BXR-55 Battler and Revision Zero because they’re extremely strong in both Destiny 2 PVE and PVP.

Before You Start: The list of the best Destiny 2 PVP and PVE Pulse Rifles is based on the Season 22 meta, which can be subject to change with any foreseeable balancing patch or update.

Important: A few Pulse Rifles have obtainable ‘Adept versions” from activities, But as someone who’s spent 2000+ hours in the game, I’d strongly advise just getting their Deepsight red borders to craft them instead with enhanced godroll perks.

Best Pulse Rifles Comparison

Following is a summary of the 12 best PVP and PVE Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2, all compared to each other:

1. BXR-55 Battler

BXR-55 Battler (Image Captured by Us)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE PR-55 Frame
Impact 23
Range 50
Stability 59
Handling 71
Reload Speed 63
Aim Assistance 85
Zoom 20
Airborne effectiveness 10

As a veteran player, the BXR-55 Battler is easily the best Destiny 2 PVE Pulse Rifle with great stats and perks selection, and you can easily farm it, too. The gun itself is an easter egg of the Halo Franchise’s Battle Rifle, introduced in the Bungie 20th Anniversary. You can obtain the BXR-55 Battler via the Treasure Chest on Xur’s Treasure Hoard, and it can also sometimes be acquired through the Dares of Eternity activity.

Pros

  • For the PVE Godroll, I recommend the Demolitionist and Incandescent perks.
  • For the PVP Godroll, Perpetual Motion and Kill Clip are recommended.
  • BXR-55 has great reload speed, so you don’t essentially need a perk like Outlaw.
  • Great Stability and Handling stats allow easy usage for players in both PVE and PVP.

Cons

  • In my opinion, The BXR-55 isn’t optimal for endgame activities like Grandmaster Nightfalls, such as the case for most Pulse Rifles.

2. No Time To Explain

no time to explain
No Time To Explain (Image Captured by Us)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Exotic Kinetic (340 RPM)
Impact 33
Range 60
Stability 55
Handling 42
Reload Speed 60
Aim Assistance 40
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 24

The No Time To Explain returns in Destiny 2 from the previous game but as an Exotic Pulse Rifle with unique perks and an Exotic Catalyst. Obtaining No Time to Explain is relatively simple as you simply need to finish the Beyond Light DLC’s campaign and then visit the Exo Stranger on Europa.

Following are the special perks and Exotic Catalyst of the No Time To Explain:

  • Rewind Again: Precision shots and shots against combatants slowed or frozen by Stasis will return to the magazine.
  • Feeding Frenzy: Each rapid kill with this weapon progressively increases reload speed for a short time.
  • Time-Slip: At 10 stacks of Rewind Again, a small portal will open, shooting bullets from an alternate timeline version of this weapon. Precision hits extend the portal’s duration.
  • Blast from the side (Exotic Catalyst): Projectiles from the Time Portal shoot more frequently.

Pros

  • Best Destiny 2 PVP Pulse Rifle as the No Time To Explain is an aggressive four-burst archetype.
  • The Time-Slip Portal can be stacked with an Arc Soul if you’re using an Arc Subclass Warlock.
  • Balanced stats make No Time To Explain an overall fun weapon for both PVP and PVE.

Cons

  • While fun in PVP, I found that it isn’t worth sacrificing for the Exotic Slot in PVE as there are much better PVE weapons in the meta.

3. Graviton Lance

destiny 2 best pulse rifles
Graviton Lance (Image Captured by Us)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Exotic Void (300 RPM)
Impact 29
Range 50
Stability 100
Handling 54
Reload Speed 57
Aim Assistance 60
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 27

In my experience with Destiny 2 since Year 1, the Graviton Lance is easily one of the most fun weapons I’ve used. It’s a random exotic drop, but you can also have a chance to obtain it via Xur’s weekly inventory of Exotics. Graviton Lance received a rework alongside other Exotic Weapons in Season 21 which made it potent in the meta now.

Following are the special perks and Exotic Catalyst of the Graviton Lance:

  • Black Hole: Second shot of a burst rips a hole through space-time, doing high damage and recoil with no falloff.
  • Cosmology: Kills with this weapon cause enemy targets to detonate and spawn Void projectiles that track targets.
  • Exotic Catalyst: Adds +20 Range stat.

Pros

  • Impressive in Ad clear across most PVE activities via the Cosmology perk.
  • Despite receiving slight nerfs for PVP, Graviton Lance is still a top PVP weapon in Destiny 2.
  • Brilliant synergy with Void Subclass builds across all Classes of Destiny 2.

Cons

  • Without the Catalyst, the Graviton Lance has a subpar range for longer-distance shooting.

4. Outbreak Perfected

destiny 2 best pulse rifles pve
Outbreak Perfected (Image Captured by Us)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Exotic Kinetic (450 RPM)
Impact 27
Range 44
Stability 40
Handling 45
Reload Speed 45
Aim Assistance 65
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 29

The Outbreak Perfected is yet another returning Exotic from Destiny 1, which became my favorite weapon towards the end of its life cycle. In Destiny 2, it maintains its viability of mowing down enemies with its unique perks revolving around SIVA Nanites. You can purchase the Outbreak Perfected from the Exotic Archive Kiosk in the Tower.

Following are the special perks and Exotic Catalyst of the Outbreak Perfected:

  • The Corruption Spreads: This weapon creates SIVA nanite swarms on rapid hits and precision kills.
  • Parasitism: More damage is dealt to enemies based on the number of SIVA nanites attached to them.
  • Disease Vector (Exotic Catalyst): Increases damage and generates more Nanites when enemies are killed.

Pros

  • In my experience, six players in your fireteam using Outbreak Perfected as a raid Boss DPS weapon is a solid strategy.
  • SIVA Nanites can easily clear waves of trash fodder enemies.
  • The Outlaw perk allows for quick reload speed on precision kills.

Cons

  • Not viable in PvP, in my opinion, as it feels inferior in the same slot by other Pulse Rifles, such as The Messenger with a Godroll.

5. Revision Zero

destiny 2 best pulse rifles
Revision Zero (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Exotic Kinetic
Impact 35
Range 61
Stability 60
Handling 25
Reload Speed 38
Aim Assistance 40
Zoom 18
Airborne effectiveness 15

I couldn’t argue but tell anyone that Revision Zero is perhaps the most unique Pulse Rifle right now in Destiny 2, with its Firing Mode Swap mechanic. Plus, now that the “Operation Seraph’s Shield” Exotic Mission rotates weekly with other missions, you can also farm the Revision Zero with random rolls to make it even better than before or obtain it for the first time.

  • Hunter’s Trace: This weapon fires special shield-piercing ammunition and precision hits grant targeting data.
  • (Alternate Weapon Action) Swap to the alternate scope, loading high-damage rounds based on the amount of targeting data.
  • Strong against (Shield-Piercing) Barrier Champions.

Pros

  • Moving Target is great in PVP in all different instances or situations.
  • Revision Zero allows to change between a 4-burst or 2-burst fire mode to suit any situation.
  • Large perk pool selection when crafting.
  • Also performs well in PVE due to its high-damage rounds Alt-Firing mode.

Cons

  • In my opinion, I wouldn’t waste the exotic slot for it in endgame activities.

6. Oversoul Edict

destiny 2 best pulse rifles
Oversoul Edict (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Rapid-Fire Frame
Impact 23
Range 27
Stability 47
Handling 22
Reload Speed 34
Aim Assistance 81
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 22

The Oversoul Edict Arc Pulse Rifle is back from Destiny 1 with the reprised Crota’s End raid. The weapon has a chance to be dropped from the second and third encounters of the raid. Oversoul Edict, along with the other raid weapons, can be crafted and slotted with Enhanced Traits once you obtain five Deepsight weapons for them.

  • Cursed Thrall (Basic Origin Trait): After defeating a target with a melee attack, final blows with this weapon cause targets to explode for a short duration.

Pros

  • In PVE, I found that the Godroll combo of Demolitionist and Voltshot is great for Arc Subclass builds.
  • Due to its high burst fire rate at mid-range in PVP, the perks I recommend are Keep Away and Headseeker.
  • The Oversoul has a high Aim Assistance stat in case you use a Controller in Destiny 2.
  • Moving Target is also a great secondary perk option for Oversoul Edict in PVP.

Cons

  • I found Oversoul Edict slightly tedious to use due to the low Handling and Stability.
  • Mostly potent in mid-range encounters for PVP due to the low Range stat.

7. The Messenger

destiny 2 messenger
The Messenger (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE High-Impact Frame
Impact 33
Range 66
Stability 54
Handling 31
Reload Speed 38
Aim Assistance 37
Zoom 18
Airborne effectiveness 20

The Messenger is a Legendary Kinetic Pulse Rifle that is available from Trials of Osiris, and while I personally don’t delve into that activity anymore, grinding it for the Dead Messenger can be somewhat enticing. I would even say it’s one of the best Destiny 2 PVP Pulse Rifles alongside No Time To Explain.

Pros

  • The PVP Godroll of The Messenger includes either Rapid Hit or Perpetual Motion and Headseeker.
  • Good Range and Stability stats, especially since The Messenger is a PVP-focused weapon.
  • Despite being nerfed in Season of the Haunted, the Desperado perk is also a great secondary choice.

Cons

  • The only downside I can think of is how constantly playing Trials of Osiris can inconvenience most players trying to obtain The Messenger.

8. Insidious

destiny 2 best pulse rifles pve
Insidious (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Aggressive Burst
Impact 35
Range 74
Stability 60
Handling 27
Reload Speed 34
Aim Assistance 44
Zoom 18
Airborne effectiveness 24

The Vow of the Disciple raid has my favorite weapons selection in Destiny 2 out of most raids, and the Insidious Pulse Rifle is among them. You can obtain it as a random drop via the raid’s second and final boss encounters and the Adept version on the Master Difficulty. But instead of running the Master version, I’d honestly craft it with enhanced perks by getting five of the Deepsight red border variants.

  • Souldrinker (Basic Origin Trait): Gain health based on the number of hits before reloading.

Pros

  • Strong perk variety such as Rapid Hit, Rampage, and Demolitionist make it one of the PVE Pulse Rifles.
  • My favorite roll for PVE are Dragonfly and One-For-All to demolish trash fodder enemies.
  • High Range and Stability stats that can be further increased with Masterworks or Barrels.
  • The Best Weapon to use if the Seasonal Champion mod is featured on Pulse Rifles.

Cons

  • The low Reload Speed can be bothersome for some players’ preferences.

9. Smite Of Merain

destiny 2 smite of merain
Smite of Merain (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Adaptive Frame
Impact 29
Range 43
Stability 50
Handling 47
Reload Speed 47
Aim Assistance 60
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 21

In my 4 years of Destiny 1, the Smite of Merain has been one of my favorite weapons ever, solely because it featured the Dragonfly perk. The weapon returns in Destiny 2 with the reprised King’s Fall raid and can be obtained via the second and fourth encounters with the Adept or ‘Harrowed’ version. Like other King’s Fall raid weapons, you can also craft the Smite of Merain.

  • Runneth Over (Basic Origin Trait): Reloading near Allies overflows the Magazine.

Pros

  • The PVE Godroll is based on Demolitionist and Firefly, an ideal choice to destroy waves of ads easily.
  • Runneth Over is a fun Basic Origin Trait on the Smite of Merain, especially in 6-man activities.
  • Focused Fury and Vorpal Weapon perk combo is great for taking down Champions in endgame activities.

Cons

  • Falls short in PVP in comparison to the Pulse Rifles mentioned previously in the list.
  • While I still enjoy using Smite of Merain, it lacks both Range and Stability.

10. Collective Obligation

destiny 2 pvp pulse rifles
Collective Obligation (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Exotic Void
Impact 29
Range 49
Stability 55
Handling 41
Reload Speed 41
Aim Assistance 67
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 26

The Collective Obligation isn’t a weapon I’ve wanted to obtain so badly, so I didn’t need to repeatedly farm Rhulk (Vow of the Disciple Raid’s Final Boss) for it. But despite that, it is still an underrated raid-exclusive exotic weapon that can be greatly utilized with Void Subclass builds in Destiny 2 after the balancing changes done to it.

Following are the special perks of the Collective Obligation:

  • Void Leech: Leeches Void debuffs when damaging targets that are suppressed, weakened, or volatile.
  • Once charged, (Alternate Weapon Action) to swap firing modes.
  • In this mode, damage from this weapon applies the same Void debuffs that were leeched.
  • Umbral Sustenance: Magazine is automatically reloaded when you gain Devour, a Void Overshield, or become invisible.

Pros

  • Extremely good with Void builds, especially if you use the Echo of Undermining fragment.
  • With the right setup, you can melt both trash fodder and major enemies using the Void Leech debuffs.
  • If you have another teammate use Collective Obligation, you can leech each other’s void debuffs.
  • As someone who loves using the Void Overshield, Umbral Substenance’s auto-reload perk is useful.

Cons

  • Aside from Void builds, there aren’t too many instances to utilize the Collective Obligation.
  • As of Season 22, no exotic catalyst exists to improve viability.

11. Bad Juju

destiny 2 pulse rifles
Bad Juju (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE Exotic Kinetic
Impact 27
Range 35
Stability 62
Handling 41
Reload Speed 47
Aim Assistance 60
Zoom 17
Airborne effectiveness 28

For me, Bad Juju was one of the strongest exotics back in Destiny 1 due to its superb perk to generate your super energy quickly on successive kills. In Destiny 2, sadly, it has seen little to no use in loadouts, especially from my end, because you can easily gain super energy through various other means with optimal builds.

Following are the special perks of the Bad Juju:

  • String of Curses: Kills refill the magazine, increase damage for a short duration, and grant Super energy based on the strength of String of Curses.
  • Unending Curse (Exotic Catalyst): Extends the duration of the ‘String of Curses’ perk.

Pros

  • Bad Juju fires in rapid full-auto style, making easy work of trash fodder targets.
  • Underrated in Crucible, in my opinion, due to the full-auto and super regen capabilities.

Cons

  • Other Super regen sources such as Armor Mods outclass the potential of using Bad Juju.
  • Inferior as compared to other exotic Pulse Rifles, such as Outbreak Perfected in PVE.
  • Low Range Stat can make Bad Juju feel lackluster in long-range PVP maps or PVE activities.
  • The Hip-Fire Grip perk is useless, in my opinion.

12. New Purpose

destiny 2 new purpose
New Purpose (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
WEAPON ARCHETYPE High-Impact Frame
Impact 33
Range 65
Stability 54
Handling 26
Reload Speed 31
Aim Assistance 32
Zoom 18
Airborne effectiveness 19

The New Purpose is a Stasis Pulse Rifle that’s barely used, even with my personal experience using the weapon. You can acquire it via the Duality dungeon through the final boss (Nightmare of Caiatal) encounter.

Pros

  • With a Godroll perk combo of Perpetual Motion and Desperado, New Purpose performs great in PVP.
  • Headstone is also a decent perk and performs well with Stasis Subclass builds.
  • New Purpose also has generous Range and Stability stats.

Cons

  • While performing solidly in PVP, New Purpose is not an ideal Pulse Rifle for PVE.
  • Other Pulse Rifles, such as The Messenger, slightly outperform it.
  • Limited perk pool variety.

Destiny 2 Best Pulse Rifle Ranking Criteria

destiny 2 time
Destiny 2 hours spent (Image via Time wasted on Destiny)

The best PVP and PVE Pulse Rifles Destiny 2 guide was written by me (Steam ID: LIONT4MER), so rest assured that these listed Pulse Rifles are based on my up-to-date knowledge of the Season 22 meta, along with discussing almost each of the weapons’ potential with my PVE-oriented Clanmates/friends. My Raid Report stats indicate my endgame PVE feats in Destiny 2 across 3000+ hours of experience in both of the Destiny titles.

This concludes my guide, but if you want similar guides written by me, please check out my list of the Best Gambit Weapons and the Best Fusion Rifles. For fellow Titan Class mains out there, you might enjoy reading my guide to the Best PVE Titan Builds. If you have any questions or queries, be sure to let me know in the comments below!

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