Machine Guns serve as an excellent middle ground heavy weapon in Destiny 2. Running with one of these weapons helps you avoid spending all your ammo in the hopes of gaining splash damage from rocket and grenade launchers. They also provide accuracy comparable to linear fusion rifles but with larger clips that almost always ensure that you have some ammo available.

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So for those looking for a high-damage alternative to some tried-and-true power weapon options, machine guns are your best choice. But which machine guns are currently the top choices in Destiny 2?

10 Best Destiny 2 Machine Guns in 2021

Sunsetting, which will be removed starting next season, did a number on machine guns. The pool is incredibly limited now, but the meta in Beyond Light and Season of the Chosen hasn’t changed much else. You can expect Machine Guns to still be excellent damage-dealing, ammo-conscious, and accurate options. Here are the ten best machine guns in Destiny 2.

1. Xenophage

Destiny 2’s Best Machine Gun Overall

HGG Destiny 2 Xenophage
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? By itself, Xenophage is simply one of the most powerful weapons currently in Destiny 2. It comes equipped with explosive rounds and a large magazine that eviscerates hordes of enemies at a time. This explosive nature becomes even more useful if you gain the Catalyst and equip Warmind Mods (specifically Wrath of Rasputin).

This is because your explosive rounds are Solar-based, meaning you can trigger any live Warmind Cells to explode with ease. And if you’re running armor or perks that help speed up your reload speed and buffs damage, you can make short work of large groups and bosses with ease. It’s a weapon that doesn’t require accuracy and instead doubles down on what makes machine guns so good — lighting up everything.

What is it good for?  Use it in PvE, PvP, and Gambit due to the continuous rapid-fire rate and explosive damage. 

How do I get it? Acquire it by completing The Journey Exotic Quest or as a random Exotic Engram drop.

2. Commemoration

Destiny 2’s Best Machine Gun for PvP

HGG Destiny 2 Commemoration
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? This Beyond Light weapon serves as an excellent option to grind for specific perks. The perk pool features some of the best of ht best, but you’ll want to focus on getting Reconstruction or Dynamic Sway Reduction along with Rampage, Dragonfly, or Moving Target. The whole point is to enhance the already ridiculous aim assist and amp up the damage dealt due to the Adaptive Frame.

This makes it incredibly useful for taking out large groups of enemies and chipping away at boss health from a distance. And as an added bonus, you can keep running and earning different rolls from this same encounter. Be on the lookout for any variant that includes Rampage, Dragonfly, or Unrelenting combined with Feeding Frenzy or Reconstruction.

What is it good for?  It’s best in PvE and PvP due to the perk options and aim assist. 

How do I get it? Acquire it as a random drop from Taniks the Abomination in the Deep Stone Crypt Raid.

3. Seventh Seraph SAW

Destiny 2’s Best Machine Gun for PvE

HGG Destiny 2 Seventy Seraph SAW
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Seventh Seraph weapons tend to be excellent. They are built to be highly accurate, long-range, and powerful options that synergize with Warmind Cells. That is precisely what makes the SAW so good, along with the ability to roll some very useful and uncommon perk combinations.

The barrel and rifling options are vast, for starters, and some of the better perks help reduce reload speed or kickback. But what’s truly impressive is the fact that you can roll Clown Cartridge, Auto-Loading Holster, or Field Prep with either Vorpal Weapon, Firing Line, or Elemental Capacitor. Literally any combo here is excellent, and having multiple variants can make this useful for end-game content as well as standard PvE.

What is it good for?  Try it out in PvE and Gambit due to the high accuracy and base damage augmented by some excellent perk options. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from random Legendary Engram drops.

4. Thermal Erosion

Destiny 2’s Best Solar Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 Thermal Erosion
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? This is the only 900 RPM Machine Gun that isn’t currently sunsetted. This means it produces light damage, has a decent-sized starting magazine, and stupidly fast reload speed. It also means that this weapon works well enough on its own that you can focus on rolling the ability-focused perks it provides.

Shooting for Demolitionist or Wellspring can help offset the lower damage output with a few well-placed abilities. Or getting Field Prep and Dragonfly together can extend your magazine even further, potentially increasing your kill count and unleashing even more elemental explosions. All that together makes this an excellent option for managing Minor and Major ADS in PvE and Gambit.

What is it good for?  Use it in PvE and Gambit due to the rapid-fire rate and ability-focused perks. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from completing The Warrior Empire Hunt bounty or as a random drop from high-level Europa encounters.

5. The Swarm

Destiny 2’s Best Legendary Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 The Swarm
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Nightfall rewards can be a mixed bag, but luckily they’ve been worth grinding for over the last few seasons. In the case of The Swarm, that’s due to the ability to roll One For All, which increases damage whenever you hit three separate enemies. As you can imagine, this is a great perk to have when using a Machine Gun, especially when it’s a precision frame.

Pair this perk with either Bottomless Grief, Unrelenting, or Outlaw to ensure that you stay in the fight. Other than that, the stats on this weapon are pretty standard but well worth using in PvE play with the right perks.

What is it good for?  It’s best in PvE and Gambit due to the focus on precision and a handful of excellent offensive perks. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from completing Nightfall encounters.

6. Thunderlord

Destiny 2’s Best Exotic Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 Thunderlord
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Thunderlord is one of those weapons that are equally useful and fun to play with. Like the Trinity Ghoul Exotic Bow, this weapon is all about chaining as much Arc lightning as possible. The longer you hold down the trigger, the faster and more accurate you become. The more kills you get, the more lightning you trigger, and the faster you’ll reload.

Throw in an Exotic Catalyst that triggers orb generation, and you have yourself a weapon that is primed to be augmented by some Arc-focused Armor Mods. Now, it’s worth noting that it isn’t as powerful as it once was, but with the right build, it is still incredibly useful in every game mode. Here’s hoping they give it a buff or reissue in an upcoming season.

What is it good for?  Try it out in PvE, PvP, and Gambit due to the chain lightning ability.

How do I get it? Acquire it from Exotic engrams or purchase it from Xur when available.

7. Heir Apparent

Destiny 2’s Best Defensive Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 Heir Apparent
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? You rarely find a weapon that is simultaneously an offensive juggernaut as well as a defensive tool. Heir Apparent balances this strange dichotomy with a deep magazine of heavy slugs that can only be unleashed once the weapon is fully spun up. While spun up, as long as you have full health, it will produce an Arc Shield that allows you to stand right out in the open and unleash Hell.

It’s another fun but practical Exotic designed around an incredibly unique concept. More than likely, we’ll see a variant of this emerge in this year’s Guardian Games, so be sure to prepare to unlock it if you haven’t already.

What is it good for?  Use it in PvP and PvE due to the overshield and high-level base stats. 

How do I get it? Acquire it from participating in the Guardian Games.

8. Avalanche

Destiny 2’s Best Adaptive Frame Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 Avalanche
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? The Avalanche is one of those weapons that make up for its mediocre base stats with a large perk pool. Aside from some of the newer additions from the last few months, you can expect to find virtually every viable perk combo for PvP.

What is it good for? It’s best in PvP and PvE due to the Adaptive Frame and large perk pool.

How do I get it? Acquire it from participating in the Dawning.

9. Temporal Clause

Destiny 2’s Best Sunsetted Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 Temporal Clause
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? Temporal Clause was originally a beast for PvE encounters. It lacks overall power but makes up for it with incredible reload speed, minimal recoil, and generous aim assist. On top of that, it has a very limited perk pool that brings out some of the better PvE options, including Auto-Loading Holster with either Surrounded or Rampage.

The rifling and magazine options are equally impressive, which made this an excellent weapon to farm. Unfortunately, it is currently a victim of sunsetting, which makes its usefulness somewhat limited. However, it may be worth bringing back out next season once sunsetting has been rolled back.

What is it good for?  Try it out in PvE and PvP as long as the level cap isn’t an issue. 

How do I get it? It’s currently unavailable due to sunsetting.

10. 21% Delirium

Destiny 2’s Best Rare Machine Gun

HGG Destiny 2 21-Delirium
Image: Bungie via HGG

Why is it one of the best? There was a time when Pinnacle weapons functioned like Exotics. They were difficult to get, had a very exclusive set of perks and stats, and typically bent the entire weapon-type out of shape. In the case of 21% Delirium, this is the Killing Tally perk, which increases weapon damage until it’s stowed or reloaded.

So, if you equip extended mag with ammo finder and clip size armor mods, you can easily keep this weapon shooting for minutes at a time. Again, like Temporal Clause, this is unfortunately limited in use right now due to sunsetting but will be worth bringing out again. Thankfully, it’s actually available through the Exotic Kiosk right now, so pick it up and be on the lookout for when it can be brought up to the current light level.

What is it good for? Use it in PvE and PvP due to its reliability and availability, especially for new players. 

How do I get it? Purchase it from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower.

Light ‘Em Up

We hope you enjoyed our best machine guns in Destiny 2 roundup! Machine Guns are just as good as ever, even if the options have decreased. Let your Fireteam know which ones are best (and currently available) by sharing this article with them on your favorite social channels. To stay up-to-date on the latest from Destiny 2, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Happy gaming!