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10 Best Auto Rifles in Destiny 2: Lightfall (2024)

Auto rifles have been a heavily featured weapon type in Destiny over the years. They offer the most “classic” shooter experience you can have, with barely any extra frills (usually). Auto rifles have a lot to offer in Destiny 2, from add-clear to occasionally DPS. This is even more true with the recent buffs which have brought them right back into the meta.

The Top 10 Auto Rifles Ranked in No Particular Order

But which auto rifles are currently the best in Destiny 2? To help you find the best auto rifles to suit your needs, here are our top 10 picks.

Ammit AR2

The best auto rifle for solar builds

Why is it one of the best? Ammit AR2 is arguably the best auto rifle in the game. This is so for two main reasons. One is that it’s a precision frame auto rifle, which means it can be used accurately from longer distances. Second is its insane perk pool. It has Incandescent as one of its perks, which is great since its the best perk for add-clear. Pair that with Stats for All and you have one of the most effective auto rifles in the game.

Ammit AR2 is at its best when used for add-clear in a solar build. Incandescent is just so efficient for add-clear that using any other perk feels foolish. All those AOE explosions make the add-clear role a breeze, especially in content that actually treats it like a real role (Root of Nightmares, for example). With this weapon, you’ll be blowing up adds constantly.

It’s easy to get caught up by how good Ammit is in PVE, but it’s great in PVP too. Tap the Trigger and Dynamic Sway Reduction help make an already-accurate auto rifle even more accurate, and Surplus is also a great alternative pick. Don’t discount this weapon in PVP, even if it is better in PVE.

What is it good for? Anything (PVE and PVP).

How do I get it? Xur or Banshee-44.

Gnawing Hunger

It’s hungry

Why is it one of the best? Gnawing Hunter has been one of the top auto rifles ever since it was introduced. Its adaptive frame allows it to work in any environment, it barely has any recoil, and it’s an energy weapon. It really is a beast of an auto rifle, worthy of being used anywhere. The base stats on Gnawing Hunter make it a danger on the battlefield, regardless of what activity you’re in.

For PVE, Rampage and Subsistence is the best perk combo for general use. It allows you to quickly shred through enemies thanks to Rampage’s damage buff, without having to reload thanks to Subsistence. Tap the Trigger and Kill Clip are the best PVP perk combo, since they offer a combination of accuracy and damage.

You really can’t go wrong with Gnawing Hunter. It has some of the best base stats of any auto rifle, and mods and loadout optimization only make it stronger.

What is it good for? Anything (PVE and PVP).

How do I get it? World Drop or Gunsmith

Quicksilver Storm

The only Strand Exotic auto rifle (so far)

Quicksilver Storm

Why is it one of the best? Quicksilver Storm was the pre-order incentive for the deluxe edition of Lightfall, so they had to make it good. (It will be available for everyone who didn’t pre-order the deluxe edition after Season 20.) Not only is Quicksilver the only Strand Exotic auto rifle as of now, but it also has some of the strongest auto rifle abilities in the game.

There are two perks/traits that make Quicksilver so strong. The Rocket Tracers intrinsic trait turns every few shots into a homing mini-rocket, which grants charges for the Grande Chaser perk. With that perk, you get to turn Quicksilver into a grenade launcher for a few huge damage shots. These grenades output great DPS, so you can use them to help pick off powerful enemies or take out bosses.

Quicksilver is one of the most unique Exotics in Destiny 2, and this is the best time to use it. Since auto rifles are so strong right now (as of Season 20), make use of this weapon if you have it!

What is it good for? PVE.

How do I get it? Go back in time to pre-order the deluxe version of Lightfall. Or, alternatively, wait until Season 21 starts at the end of May. It should be available as of S21, but we’ll let you know once that is confirmed.

Chroma Rush

An incredible rapid-fire auto rifle

Why is it one of the best? Chroma Rush is the perfect name for this weapon, as it’s vibrant and features an insane firing rate. On top of that, it has one of the most highly focused auto rifle perk pools that brings in some of the best options for PvE and PvP. It has Frenzy/Subsistence as a general PVE god roll, but there are also other options like Adrenaline Junky, Feeding Frenzy, and Heating Up as well.

For PVP, the best options are Kill Clip and Tunnel Vision since they pair so well together. Just grab a kill, then reload to get the Kill Clip damage boost and Tunnel Vision bonuses to aim assist and ADS speed. While Chroma Rush does do better in PVE overall, its PVP viability is surprisingly high. Since it has such a good perk pool, it’s hard to find anything Chroma Rush can’t do. (Now if only they would bring back Override so we can farm it easier.)

What is it good for? Anything (PVE and PVP).

How do I get it? Xur or Banshee-44.

The Last Breath

A versatile auto rifle for PVE

Why is it one of the best? Bungie’s refocus on Dungeon production over the last few years has extended to the rewards in current Dungeons. One of the better, more subtle options, is the Last Breath. It’s built around light but sprawling damage in PvE. This is mainly thanks to the excellent perks you can roll, with ones like Frenzy and Demolitionist taking center stage. There’s also perks like Adagio, for more unique builds.

The standard Frenzy and Demolitionist/Subsistence roll works incredibly well for clearing huge waves of adds, as well as other enemies too. However, the Adagio roll offers a more unique playstyle. If you want to optimize for that, you need to treat the Last Breath like a precision frame instead of an adaptive one. You’ll want perks that expand the damage, range, and other base stats for more sustained damage. The aforementioned Adiago, combined with Subsistence, helps keep you in the game without having to reload or adjust. It’s a unique roll that has lots of versatility for various PVE activities.

What is it good for? PVE.

How do I get it? Second encounter (Cube Room) of the Prophecy dungeon.

Hard Light

A long-time fan favorite

Why is it one of the best? Hard Light has evolved from a Crucible-only weapon into a powerhouse in every single game mode. While it was a bit stronger in the past, it still serves as an Exotic alternative similar to Gnawing Hunger. The truly remarkable thing about this rifle is how shots can ricochet off of surfaces. The more it bounces, the more damage it will do. This makes it perfect for spraying fire without concern for accuracy. The only drawback is the lack of mod slots due to it being exotic.

In PVP, Hard Light is one of the most fun (and best) auto rifles to use. It’s great for standard gameplay, but ricocheting shots around corners or accidentally picking up kills with a missed shot is a whole new level. Lord Shaxx will be proud.

What is it good for? Anything (PVE and PVP).

How do I get it? Xur or World Drop

Monte Carlo

The best auto rifle for melee builds… even though we can’t use the bayonet

Why is it one of the best? The Monte Carlo has always been one of those auto rifles that’s either incredibly good or terrible, depending on how Bungie feels about nerfing it at a given time. This is because of its intrinsic trait, Monte Carlo Method. With this trait, dealing damage and killing enemies recharges your melee. Specifically, dealing damage reduces the cooldown, while each enemy kill has a chance to fully recharge it. If you’re running a melee build, the Monte Carlo is easily a top pick.

In addition to its melee synergies, Monte Carlo also just generally feels great to use. It’s not too hard to control its recoil, it has a solid fire rate, and it does really great damage. Just know that any changes could hurt the use of this weapon, so pay attention to the specific adjustments Bungie makes before using it. If they gut the melee ability refresh, it won’t be quite as strong.

What is it good for? PVE.

How do I get it? Xur or World Drop

Sweet Business

A minigun

Why is it one of the best? Sweet Business has bounced around a lot between being actually viable and just being a meme. No-one can deny how fun it is to spin up this minigun-style weapon, especially in the era of no primary ammo cap. It’s still definitely a funny weapon to use, but it goes beyond that.

These days, Sweet Business is actually quite strong thanks to recent buffs, but it only really works on Titan. Since it is a minigun inspired weapon, it runs through a lot of ammo quickly. And since it has one of the longest reload animations in the game, this can be a problem. Luckily for Titans, Actium War Rig exists. Actium is an Exotic Titan chest piece that constantly reloads your auto rifles and machine guns, so it’s great here.

Once you spin this weapon up, it fires faster than you can imagine. It lays down constant damage, even if it is hard to control sometimes. In PVE, you can obliterate enemies of all kinds with this nonstop torrent of damage. It’s a little less consistent in PVP, but it does work well there too. There’s nothing scarier than a Titan with Sweet Business and an overshield protecting a point.

What is it good for? PVE and maybe PVP.

How do I get it? Xur or World Drop.

Lodbrok-C

A new, yet promising, arrival

Why is it one of the best? Lodbrok-C is one of the newer entries on this list, but it’s made an impact already. As a high-impact frame auto rifle, it has a very unique feel. These weapons shoot slow, but do high damage. They also benefit from standing still while shooting, so accuracy-based perks are great. Since you shouldn’t be running-and-gunning anyway with Lodbrok, you have all the time in the world to land your shots.

For PVE, Target Lock and Fourth Time’s the Charm are the god roll. All you need to do with this combo is land your precision shots without missing any. Stacking Target Lock takes a few seconds, so you won’t want to lose it once it’s fully stacked. However, even though it can be inconsistent sometimes, Target Lock is an incredible perk. It’s up there with Incandescent in terms of newer perks that raised the bar for future ones.

In PVP, you’ll want Dynamic Sway Reduction and either Target Lock or Kill Clip. Dynamic Sway Reduction increases your accuracy as you fire, which makes stacking Target Lock even easier. If you go with Kill Clip instead, you’ll still get just as much use out of both perks. Target Lock is the more exciting option since its so new and powerful, but Kill Clip is a top-tier PVP perk that’s far more consistent.

What is it good for? Anything (PVE and PVP).

How do I get it? World Drop or Banshee-44.

Dark Decider

Iron Banner all-star

Why is it one of the best? Dark Decider has a PVP-specific perk pool, with some of the most powerful perks available. Voltshot is the best perk this weapon can get, as even in PVP it’s great. It functions, effectively, as an Arc-infused version of Kill Clip. Reloading after one kill with a Voltshot weapon causes the next shot to Jolt the target, which usually leads to an easy kill. It can be combined nicely with the Arc 3.0 builds that utilize Jolt as well, which is great!

The PVP god roll for Dark Decider is either Dynamic Sway Reduction and Voltshot or Iron Reach and Rangefinder. The DSR / Voltshot roll wants to focus on doing quick damage, piling up kills, and applying Jolt. The other roll utilizes a safer approach focused on range and accuracy. Iron Reach is one of the Iron Banner exclusive perks, so it’s certainly a tempting option. It grants a huge +20 stability, but at the cost of -30 reload speed. This does suck since its counterintuitive alongside Voltshot, so it pairs better with Rangefinder.

What is it good for? PVP.

How do I get it? Iron Banner.

Best Mods for Auto Rifles

Mods are integral to how a weapon feels. There are tons of mods available to try out, with different picks for both PVE and PVP. Here are the best mods for auto rifles in PVE:

  • Minor Spec (more damage against smaller enemies–“adds”)
  • Major Spec (more damage against larger, non-boss enemies)
  • Backup Mag (more shots in the mag)

And here are the best for PVP:

  • Targeting Adjustor (bonus aim assist)
  • Radar Tuner (radar returns faster after ADS)
  • Icarus Grip (increased airborne effectiveness)
  • Sprint Grip (ready weapon faster after sprinting)

Satiate That Gnawing Hunger

Auto rifles are a powerhouse for every activity in Destiny 2. Hopefully, our list has helped you find some great options to test out. We’re sure that whatever you equip, you’ll be easily mowing down the forces of darkness at a rapid pace.

For more Destiny 2 guides like this one, be sure to subscribe to our email list, and don’t forget to share this with your fireteam so you can sport complimentary rifles.

Related Reading

Update 4/1/21 – added Shadow Price to number 5 position and dropped Breakneck to honorable mention

10/20/2021 Update:

  • Scathelock, Chroma Rush, and The Last Breath added.
  • Hard Light dropped from #2 to #8.
  • The Forward Path, Valakadyn, and Ringing Nail dropped from list.

Update 5/1/23 – updated the entire list to account for major changes since its last update.

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