Destiny 2 – The Best Exotic Hand Cannons (Plus How To Get Them All)

There’s plenty of Exotic Hand Cannons in the game, but which one should you get your hands on? 120 hand cannons have been nerfed, and some old favorites are coming back into focus. Today I am going to go through the best, and most popular exotic hand cannons in the game right now, plus how to get them, so you can decide where to spend your materials, or focus your farming, so you can get some of the best weapons in the game.

Exotic Hand Cannons have been a staple of Destiny for years, from their origins in Destiny 1 to their prevalence in Destiny 2. Some of the quests have changed over the years, especially when many of the quests and locations got vaulted in late 2020 as part of the Beyond Light update.

Let’s jump into the list of the best hand cannons.

Lumina

Lumina is an Exotic Kinetic Hand Cannon.

Noble Rounds – Kills with this weapon leave behind Remnants. Absorbing a Remnant converts your next hip-fired shot into an ally-seeking Noble Round and partially refills the magazine.

Blessing of the Sky – Using a Noble Round on an ally heals them and grants both you and them a weapon damage bonus for a short duration.

Lumina is a pretty good hand PVE cannon, but it’s very good when you are playing in a support capacity. These pairs particularly well if you are playing as a Warlock, as they have some of the best base support abilities in the game.

You can pick this one up from the Exotic Kiosk, the Monuments to Lost Light in the Tower under Forsaken Exotics.

Eriana’s Vow

Eriana’s Vow is an Exotic Energy Hand Cannon

Looks Can Kill – This weapon fires special [Shield-Piercing] shield-piercing ammunition. It comes with a scope. Strong against Barrier Champions.

Death at First Glance – Bonus damage when aiming down sights on the opening shot of an attack. This bonus is preserved if the shot deals with precision damage or strikes an elemental shield.

Eriana’s Vow is great for PVE content, in particular Legend and Master Lost Sectors, Raids, and Nightfalls where you have a lot of Champions.

You can pick this one up from the Exotic Kiosk, the Monuments to Lost Light in the Tower under Shadowkeep Exotics. You do need to have access to Shadowkeep to be able to buy this exotic weapon.

Sturm

Sturm is a bit of an outsider. This is a 120 hand cannon, which got a buff in Beyond Light but has since been taken back a little bit, however, it’s still effective. Sturm is an Exotic Kinetic Hand Cannon

Accomplice – Kills with this weapon fill the magazine of the equipped Energy weapon from reserves.

Storm and Stress – Kills with Drang reload this weapon and overflow bonus damage round into the magazine.

This is still very effective in PVP, although the 140 hand cannons have once again overtaken the 120 hand cannons. Pair this with Drang, the Energy Sidearm and you have a very deadly combination of weapons in your hands.

You can pick this one up from the Exotic Kiosk, the Monuments to Lost Light in the Tower under Red War Exotics. This one is also available to free to play players.

Sunshot

Sunshot is the only 150 rpm hand cannon left in the game, plus it’s an Exotic Energy Hand Cannon. Let’s check out the gun itself.

Sunburn – This weapon fires explosive rounds and highlights targets that take damage from Sunshot.

Sun Blast – Targets killed with Sunshot explode in Solar energy.

This one is great for PVE content, plus very good with Warmind Cell mods and builds, with Solar Splash Damage creating Warmind Cells. Together with Elemental Well Mods, this can make all classes pretty effective in PVE content.

To get this one it’s a random world drop from an exotic engram or you can pick it up from Xur at the weekend when he’s selling it. Given this one is in the world loot pool it’s available for free-to-play players too.

Hawkmoon

Hawkmoon was reintroduced into Destiny 2 during Beyond Light in Season of the Hunt and it’s an Exotic Kinetic Hand Cannon. Looking at the stats we have Impact 78, Range 57, Stability 67, Handling 74, Reload Speed 63, Rounds Per Minute 140 with Magazine 8.

Let’s have a quick look at the perks:

Paracausal Shot – Final blows and precision hits with Hawkmoon grant stacks of Paracausal Charge. The final round in the magazine deals bonus damage based on the number of stacks. Stowing Hawkmoon on the final round removes this bonus.

Transformative – Future drops of this weapon will have random rolls. Some good rolls to look out for include Opening Shot, Rangefinder, and Killing Wind.

You can get a random rolled Hawkmoon from the Harbinger mission, found on the EDZ. You do need access to Season of the Hunt to get this weapon.

Thorn

Thorn is an Exotic Kinetic Hand Cannon. It handles well, has devastating perks, and sounds awesome. It’s an iconic hand cannon, having first appeared in Destiny 1.

Mark of the Devourer – Rounds pierce targets and deal damage over time. Kills with this weapon leave behind Remnants.

Soul Devourer – Absorbing a Remnant strengthens Mark of the Devourer and partially refills the magazine.

Given this is a 140 hand cannon, this is great in PVP. My tip for this one would be to use it on a Warlock build with Necrotic Grip, the Exotic gloves you can get from a Legend or Master Lost Sector on Gloves day. A shot from Thorn procs the poison spread effect from Necrotic Grip and turns PVE and PVP content into a breeze. Give it a try!

You can pick this one up from the Exotic Kiosk, the Monuments to Lost Light in the Tower under Forsaken Exotics. You do need access to Forsaken to buy this weapon at this time.

Crimson

Crimson is an Exotic Kinetic Hand Cannon and shoots much like a pulse rifle with a three-burst shot. It could be about to benefit from the changes coming in Beyond Light, so it’s well worth getting your hands on it.

Let’s have a look at the perks:

Banned Weapon – This weapon fires a 3-round burst.
Cruel Remedy – Kills with this weapon heal the wielder. Precision kills also refill the magazine.

The stats on Crimson are impressive. 92 for impact, 60 for range, 82 stability, 50 handlings and 64 for reload speed. It’s 415 rpm with 14 in the mag.

To get this one it’s a random world drop exotic, so no quest for this one. You can pick it up from Xur if he’s selling it at the weekends or try your luck on exotic engrams. This one is available for free to play players.

Last Word

The Last Word is an Exotic Kinetic hand cannon, which has an 82 reload speed making this one very useful in PVP. Together with the base reload speed the main perk on this weapon is Fan Fire where this weapon can be fired continuously and quickly. Faster reload and increased accuracy on successive hip-fire damage.

This is a 225 rounds per minute hand cannon with 8 in the magazine, meaning you’re going to get off quick shots and this is going to make it very effective in PVP. Hip-fire grip has had a number of buffs in recent seasons, making this still one of the most effective hand cannons in PVP today.

You can pick this one up from the Exotic Kiosk, the Monuments to Lost Light in the Tower under Forsaken Exotics. You need access to Forsaken DLC to be able to buy this weapon.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is Exotic Kinetic Hand Cannon. It handles well, has devastating perks, and sounds awesome (much like Thorn). It’s an iconic hand cannon once belonging to Cayde-6 (the former Hunter Vanguard).

Memento Mori – Reloading after a kill loads magazine with a few extra-damage bullets. Grants radar while aiming down sights.

Firefly – Precision kills with this weapon increase reload speed and cause the target to explode, dealing Solar damage to nearby enemies.

Since the nerf to 120 hand cannons and the rise of 140s again due to the range they can achieve, Ace of Spades has come back and is now the most popular hand cannon used in competitive PVP with 5% use from all Guardians. That’s a lot of Ace of Spades.

You can pick this one up from the Exotic Kiosk, the Monuments to Lost Light in the Tower under Forsaken Exotics. You need access to Forsaken DLC to be able to buy this weapon.

Let me know in the comments your top Exotic Hand Cannon in PVP and PVE.

That’s it for this guide for The Best Exotic Hand Cannons (Plus How To Get Them All) in Destiny 2. For more Destiny 2 content like this check out This Week In Video Games on YouTube and subscribe today.