Auto rifles have always dominated Destiny. Even with seasonal meta tweaks over the last few seasons to help bring pulse rifles up to par, auto rifles always come back with a vengeance. They’re some of the best and most diverse weapons in Destiny 2, and the team at Bungie seems to always find new ways to make their gunplay unique.

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But which auto rifles are currently the best in Destiny 2? Read on to find out.

15 Best Auto Rifles in Destiny 2

Every weapon class in Destiny 2, from shotguns to hand cannons, has a wide range of options. Plenty of them, especially in the auto rifle category, are actually great to play with. The best weapons depend on what game mode you intend to use them in, your playstyle, and (in some cases) the perks you roll. 

To help you find the best auto rifles to suit your needs, here are our top 15 picks in Destiny 2 as of 2022.

October 2021 Update: Auto Rifles have seen consistent buffs throughout the last few seasons. In Season of the Lost, the latest buff has to do with overall range to cap off some of the damage and firing rate changes already made. This also brings in a few new options worth pursuing that include varied playstyles as well as Perk pools to work with.

1. Gnawing Hunger

The Destiny 2 best auto rifle overall

Gnawing Hunger
Image: Bungie via HGG

This beast of a weapon harnesses the hunger of a Guardian ready to eat the Darkness for breakfast. It’s hands down one of the Destiny 2 best legendary auto rifles and best auto rifles overall.

What makes it one of the best? Even with the meta favoring auto rifles almost every season, the Gnawing Hunger still caught Crucible players entirely off guard. Released as part of the Season of the Drifter, this adaptive frame auto rifle is literally rolling in useful perks. Depending on what you want out of this rifle, it can either be fired continuously without reloading, completely minimize recoil, or keep you fully stocked with grenades.

Without the added perks, the base stats on this rifle are still relentless. It has a solid range, clean sites, decent recoil and, an effective time to kill that can only be amplified. It may have started as just a killer Crucible weapon, but with Season of Arrival, the latest version has adapted into a weapon that can continuously light up any enemy in every single game mode.

What is it good for? Crucible, PVE, and Gambit.

Which perks should I roll for? For PVP environments, we recommend Chambered Compensator (or Arrowhead Break), Extended Mag, Subsistence, and Rampage (or Demolitionist).

In PVE environments, look for Smallbore (or Hammer-Forged Rifling), Accurized Rounds, Tap the Trigger, and Kill Clip.

How do I get it? Complete weekly Powerful or Pinnacle activities, leveling up Banshee-44 or decrypting Umbral Engrams.

2. Scathelocke

Image: Bungie via HGG

Easily attainable Auto Rifle

As an adaptive Frame weapon, Scathelocke has fairly well-rounded stats, with slightly better handling, reload speed, and aim assistance than the typical weapon with this frame type. Those higher stats have only benefited from the recent buffs, further pulling it away from the averages of the weapon archetype. Sitting in the Kinetic slot also ensures that you can leave your Energy slot open for something with a little more kick while leveraging Scathelocke for long-range cover fire.

It’s incredibly easy to roll multiples of thanks to being a general Legendary drop, which is actually a bonus in this case thanks to the diverse Perk pool associated with this weapon. Ranging from Crucible favorites like Tunnel Vision and Heating Up, to high-level PvE boosts like Multikill Clip, Surplus, and Rampage—you can land highly specific rolls built for either mode.

The only real drawback this weapon has is the low impact and zoom values. This can make the drop-off in damage fairly high at mid-to-long range unless you’re able to make up for it with precision damage and targeting Mod combos.

What is it good for? Crucible and PvE depending on the Perks you roll

How do I get it? Random Legendary drops.

3. SUROS Regime

The best auto rifle in Destiny 2 PVP

Suros Regime
Image: Bungie via HGG

Take down enemies nice and slow or with blazing fast speed.

What makes it one of the best? The SUROS Regime is one of those exotics that hasn’t lost its step since Year 1 of Destiny. In many ways, it served as the template for how the weapons team would approach creating auto rifles moving forward. It’s light, runs on incredible speed and handling, and has a specialty perk that lets you switch elements and between selective fire and full auto. 

In a pinch, this ability to switch made it perfect for facing down enemies up close, only to add more power and accuracy to take on enemies from a distance. The only drawback is that it isn’t quite as powerful as it once was thanks to meta refreshes, so it could use a slight update.

What is it good for? Crucible.

How do I get it? Complete weekly Powerful or Pinnacle activities, leveling up Banshee-44 or decrypting Umbral Engrams.

4. False Promises

The Destiny 2 best kinetic auto rifle

False Promises
Image: Bungie via HGG

A slow fire rate and light damage may sound like a bad thing for an auto rifle, but this one has all the perks.

What makes it one of the best? This auto rifle stays true to its name by not acting like an auto rifle in the slightest. It actually works more like a mixture of a submachine gun’s damage with a pulse rifle’s fire rate. For some, this can be a detriment, but only if you decide not to explore the perk pool. 

What is it good for? Crucible and PVE.

What perks should I roll for? Get Overflow and Swashbuckler, and the damage output won’t really matter since you won’t be reloading much. For those concerned with accuracy, a roll with Killing Wind and Eye of the Storm will do the trick while helping to alleviate and damage drop off from poor aim.

How do I get it? Decrypt either a Pyramid-Focused Umbral-Engram or Rifle Focused Umbral Engram to shrink the loot pool.

5. Chroma Rush

Image: Bungie via HGG

Best mid-to-long range Auto Rifle

While running Override missions got old real quick, grabbing additional rolls of Chroma Rush sure didn’t this Rapid-Fire Frame Auto Rifle, really makes use of its namesake, serving out a highly balanced stat pool with a ridiculously fast 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.

Heating Up and Kill Clip is sure to boost your overall damage and stability output. While Subsistence with Adrenaline Junky, Thresh, or Wellspring can be vital for ability-focused players in PvE. It even offers Tunnel Vision if you want to leverage the faster firing rate in PvP to disrupt, distract or diminish enemy health.

In fact, with the right Perks, this weapon quickly becomes a longer range option fit to replace Scout and Pulse Rifles in certain situations. This makes it far more useful as you can avoid getting into direct confrontation, and instead accurately take out enemies without them ever laying eyes on you.

What is it good for? Crucible and PvE thanks to the broad Perk pool.

How do I get it? Random drop in Override activities or Umbral Engrams.

6. The Last Breath

Image: Bungie via HGG

The best Auto Rifle for PvE

Bungie’s refocus on Dungeon production in the coming year seems to have extended to the rewards in current Dungeons. One of the better, more subtle options, is the Last Breath which is built around light but sprawling damage in PvE. This is mainly thanks to the unique subset of Perks you can roll, with things like Adiago taking center stage.

Basically, in order to get the most out of this weapon, you need to treat it like it’s not an Auto Rifle. You want Perks that expand the damage, range, and other base stats even if it diminishes your ability to fire or reload at a rapid pace. The aforementioned Adiago, combined with Subsistance helps keep you in the game without having to reload or adjust. Demolitionist with Osmosis on the other hand just brings in benefits for those that lean into throwing Grenades as often as possible.

However, this does seem like the type of weapon that could be wiped as an option thanks to a game update. For the time, try to pick it up and ride out the benefits in PvE for as long as possible. 

What is it good for? PvE due to the slower firing rate and Perk pool.

How do I get it? Random drop in the Prophecy Dungeon.

7. Shadow Price

The Destiny 2 best precision auto rifle

Shadow Price
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Another OG Destiny weapon brought back from the dead, Shadow Price serves as another excellent overhaul. This time around, it’s an Arc-based Energy weapon that relies more on precision and stability over quick damage. This escalates even further thanks to the perk pool that consists of One For All and Fourth Time’s the Charm, which makes the need to land precise damage all the more necessary.

All in all, it’s an excellent revision that works as a useful mid-to-long range automatic weapon for taking down Majors and Bosses. It’s a bit less useful for PvP, but can still be decent if you roll perks like Killing Wind and Disruption Break.

What is it good for? It’s best in PvE and Gambit due to the high base precision stats and damage-focused perk pool. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from playing high-level versions of the Kinightfall playlist.

8. Hard Light

The best exotic auto rifle in Destiny 2

Hard Light
Image: Bungie via HGG

The best way to handle the Darkness is with a bright light that fires at a mile a minute.

What makes 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 a few seasons ago, it still serves as an exotic alternative similar to the 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.

What is it good for? Crucible and PVE.

How do I get it? Find it in random drops from Exotic Engrams or by playing Crucible, Nightfall, or other activities.

9. The Summoner

The best auto rifle for Trials of Osiris

The Summoner
Image: Bungie via HGG

An auto rifle so sweet it’s worth trying to get a crack Trials team together.

What makes it one of the best? This rifle is incredibly well-balanced thanks to the adaptive frame. And while it may work similarly to the top weapons on this list, it’s perks make it far better suited for Trials. Every roll will include perks that help improve accuracy, diminish kickback, and produce slight upticks in range and stability. 

There’s nothing else to it. This gun is meant to be a killer support weapon that keeps your shots light and accurate.

What is it good for? Trials and Crucible.

How do I get it? Unlock it as a random drop in Trials of Osiris.

10. Monte Carlo

The Destiny 2 best auto rifle PVE

Monte Carlo
Image: Bungie via HGG

The Monte Carlo has been elevated once again, taking full advantage of Stasis, freezing your opponents, and breaking them out with a cold touch.

What makes it one of the best? The Monte Carlo has always been one of those auto rifles that can either be incredibly good or that’s nerfed to death by any meta changes. The introduction of Stasis serves as the former, providing an excellent opportunity to stack damage and wipe multiple enemies at once. For the melee players out there, it only gets better, with any kills made reducing your melee ability cooldown (which creates the Stasis loop all over again). 

Just know that any changes could hurt the use of this weapon, so pay attention to the specific adjustments Bungie makes before using it. 

What is it good for? Gambit and PVE.

How do I get it? Find it in random drops from Exotic Engrams or by playing Crucible, Nightfall, or other activities.

11. Steelfeather Repeater

The Destiny 2 best auto rifle for Gambit

Steelfeather Repeater
Image: Bungie via HGG

A weapon with a light and delicate touch that grows stronger as the adversaries you face grow in number.

What makes it one of the best? Originally released as a Sundial reward, the Steelfeather Repeater is an auto rifle that rewards you for facing down more enemies. The light impact still makes it less useful for PVE, but the increased damage when facing three or more enemies is a lifesaver in Crucible and Gambit. 

The perk pool for this weapon is ridiculously vast. You can either extend the already massive magazine, refuel your grenade ability, or gain additional damage from melee attacks, among other things. The one issue is without a specific event to attain this weapon, actually dropping it is extremely rare, so be on the lookout for an updated loot pool sometime soon.

What is it good for? Crucible and Gambit.

How do I get it? Unlock it as a random drop through Legendary Engrams, or acquire it through the weapons collection menu. 

Runners Up: Destiny 2 Best Auto Rifles

There are plenty of other incredible auto rifles out there that play similarly to this list’s top options. These last few are still worth getting but aren’t quite as good due to recent meta updates or weapon sunsetting. Here’s hoping that Sweet Business becomes incredibly broken again at some point because there is nothing quite like having a full fireteam mowing down everything in its path.

12. Misfit

Misfit
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

What is it good for? Crucible, PVE, and Gambit.

13. Uriel’s Gift

Uriel's Gift
Image: Bungie via HGG

What is it good for? Crucible and PVE.

14. Cerberus +1

Carberus +1
Image: Bungie via HGG

What is it good for? PVE and Gambit.

15. Sweet Business

Sweet Business
Image: Bungie via HGG

What is it good for? Crucible and Gambit.

Honorable Mention

Last, but not necessarily least, we have an honorable mention that’ll give your enemies whiplash.

Breakneck

Breakneck
Image: Bungie via HGG

What is it good for? PVE.

Destiny 2 Best Mod Specs for Auto Rifles

Auto rifles benefit from virtually the same mod specs that pulse rifles do. The only thing is that you can avoid adding any mods that improve ADS accuracy and focus more on weapons speed and hip fire performance. Here are our recommendations for PVP:

  • Sprint Grip: Temporarily increase the weapon ready speed and aim down sights after sprinting.
  • Freehand Grip: Increases accuracy and ready speed while firing from the hip.

For PVE performance, focus on amping up your ability to take on large groups of enemies. Most auto rifles are already built to mow down multiple enemies but often need a damage boost if possible. Here are our recommendations for PVE:

  • Surrounded Spec: Increases the damage granted by Surrounded. Bonus damage lingers for a brief time when no longer surrounded by three or more enemies.
  • Rampage: Kills with this weapon temporarily grant increased damage. Stacks 3x.

As always, be sure to look at the base stats, and perk rolls when applying a mod. Look for opportunities to boost a high-level ability or make up for low performance.

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.