Scout rifles in Destiny 2 are in a frustratingly strange place. This once-great weapon type was a must-have in the original Destiny. It served as a spiritual successor to Halo’s DMR, but with far more variety and potential thanks to some truly great Legendary and Exotic options.
But in Destiny 2, and with every single seasonal update, scout rifles have been left behind. Hand cannons can do more damage from an equal distance. And some sniper rifles and pulse rifles act like faster and often more accurate scout rifles.
Looking for more Destiny 2 tips and tricks? Click to view all our Destiny 2 guides.
Now, all that being said, there are still some excellent options out there. So what are the best scout rifles in Destiny 2?
15 Best Destiny 2 Scout Rifles
October 2021 Update: Since the arrival of Dead Man’s Tale, there really hasn’t been much to look forward to for Scout Rifle mains. Season of the Lost changes that just a bit, by bringing in a handful of new and revised Scout Rifles alongside some much-needed balancing and buffs. While most of this pertains to PvE, and most traditional options are still viable, there are a few additions worth looking into.
1. Dead Man’s Tale
The Destiny 2 best scout rifle overall
Why is it one of the best? If the incredible Presage mission wasn’t enough for you, the reward for finishing it should be. Dead Man’s Tale is legitimately the best playing and feeling scout rifle in Destiny history. This bolt-action Exotic is accurate to a fault, provides the option for quick 2-bullet reloads, and packs enough power to take down Majors and Guardians alike with a few well-placed hits.
Then there’s the fact that you can keep acquiring a more powerful version with random perks every week. That’s right — you get to replay one of the most fun and spooky Destiny missions every week and get a Pinnacle drop Exotic out of it. What more could you ask for?
What’s it good for? It’s best in PvE, PvP, and Gambit due to how accurate and powerful this weapon is.
How do I get it? Acquire it by completing the Presage Exotic Quest.
The Destiny 2 best scout rifle runner-up
Beyond Light brings another excellent scout rifle successor into play.
Why is it one of the best? Our pick for the best runner-up scout rifle in Destiny 2 is an obvious one. Let this archetype sink in — a Solar Rapid-Fire frame scout rifle. Sounds like it’ll shred, right? Then throw in the possibility of rolling Redirection and Reconstruction perks. Now you can amp up your damage against major enemies after defeating lesser ones and recharge ammo to double your base magazine.
Combined with the excellently balanced base stats, these perks take advantage of what made scout rifles so good in the original Destiny. The Trustee is accurate, fast, and equipped with a deep clip that lets you work through mobs and quickly transition to larger enemies. It’s not as useful in Crucible, but it’s a decent mid-range option if you want to run with a scout rifle. In many ways, it plays like a spiritual successor to Randy’s Throwing Knife, with slight variations in the perk pool.
What’s it good for? PvE, Gambit, and PvP, but the unique raid specific rolls make it better for more difficult world encounters over fighting other Guardians.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random drop from completing Deep Stone Crypt raid encounters.
3. Vision of Confluence
The best Precision Frame Scout Rifle
While most would advise that you stay away from Precision Frame Scout Rifles, they tend to pack far less of a punch in exchange for minimal precision boosts, that’s not the case here. The Vision of Confluence is another Vault of Glass weapon that benefited from some general tuning done to that loot pool.
What makes this weapon actually useful is how well balanced it is combined with the excellent Perk options. Wellspring or Rewind Rounds combined with Firefly or Disruption Break, truly makes the most of this weapon’s focus on precision in PvE. While Tunnel Vision or Killing Wind combined with Kill Clip ensures you have a balance of damage buffs and further precision in PvP.
Sure, it’s a Raid weapon, meaning that getting the right roll is a lengthy process. But, land on a pure PvE or Crucible option and you may never go back.
What’s it good for? PvE and PvP depending on the Perk rolls.
How do I get it? Random Vault of Glass Raid drop from Conflux, Oracle, or Templar encounters.
4. Contingency Plan
The best mid-range Scout Rifle
The beauty of Contingency Plan is that it’s designed around a singular purpose. Eviscerating enemies at mid-range with fine-tuned Perks and high damage stats. Basically, this is a general weapon that drops potentially all the time or not at all but includes such a small selection of buffs that it’s fairly easy to land a great option.
Now, running a Scout Rifle as a mid-range option can be risky. Sure, you’re unstoppable if you land Kill Clip alongside Surplus or Tunnel Vision. However, if you start firing from too far away the drop-off can seriously leave you in a bad spot. If you’re comfortable running a Scout Rifle and willing to drop long-range play, this may be a great option for you. Otherwise, opt for a more traditional option.
What’s it good for? PvP thanks to the very focused Perk pool.
How do I get it? Random Legendary drop.
5. Night Watch
The Destiny 2 best Legendary scout rifle
When the Drifter gives you a weapon, it’s best to sleep with both eyes open.
Why is it one of the best? This scout rifle plays against the archetype’s typical strengths. The lightweight frame — along with the higher range, handling, and reload speed — pushes you to take shots from a distance as you scramble. And if you’re lucky enough to roll Rapid Hit and Explosive Payroll, accuracy suddenly isn’t a concern.
On the flip side, you can look to roll for Multikill Clip if you’re confident in your on-the-run hip fire. In many ways, this serves as one of the best scout rifle variations for the current meta. It helps you avoid squaring off in sniper lanes and allows you to still do decent damage from a distance. It’s perfect for carving through smaller enemies or taking down an oncoming Guardian.
What’s it good for? PvE and PvP. The lightweight frame makes it useful for managing smaller enemies and chipping away at Guardians.
How do I get it? It’s a random drop from Umbral Engrams or completing world activities.
6. Servant Leader
The best long-range Scout Rifle
Surprisingly, not every Scout Rifle is actually useful at longer range. That’s not the case with Servant Leader, which has increased range, zoom options, and stability. The only drawback is that this does make it feel like more of a Sniper Rifle, which can be detrimental if you’re not used to snapping between ADS and hip fire. If you tend to use Snipers, this can be a great option for PvP that doesn’t require you to rely on limited Special ammo.
Aside from the added distance, this weapon also has a fairly large Perk pool to roll from. This is simultaneously a benefit, allowing you to gain Perks that further add to your range, damage output, or more specialized precision abilities. It’s also a drawback, as it can be incredibly difficult to roll a variation that fits the benefits you actually want to use.
Luckily, once you’ve unlocked this Scout Rifle, you can actually purchase it from The Drifter at different times. It’ still gives you random rolls but can make it far easier to grab multiple options at once.
What’s it good for? PvP and PvE if you tend to play from a distance.
How do I get it? Random drop from Gambit matches.
7. Hung Jury SR4
The best rapid-fire Scout Rifle
Hung Jury is another Precision Frame option, and also a revised vanilla Destiny weapon, that breaks the mold of mediocrity thanks to its firing rate. This helps make up for the so-so damage output and fully takes advantage of the Scout Rifle buffs in Season of the Lost. In fact, with the right Perks it can be equally useful for general PvE play, higher level Nightfalls and even PvP.
You want to be on the lookout for rolls that contain Firefly or One for All, alongside Rapid Hit for PvE. opt to change out your column two Perk for Explosive Payroll for anything that includes Champions that run an elemental shield. For PvP, you’ll want to lean hard into the firing rate and look for Box Breathing alongside Heating Up.
What’s it good for? PvE and PvP if you have the right Perks to increase the firing rate.
How do I get it? Rotational Nightfall reward.
8. Patron of Lost Causes
The Destiny 2 best scout rifle PvE
A scout rifle built for rapidly taking down high-tier enemies from a distance.
Why is it one of the best? This kinetic scout rifle relies entirely on perk rolls. The base stats are decent, but with Vorpal Weapon, the chance for Full Auto, and Opening Shot, this is meant to be a high damage machine against bosses. For those that struggle with accuracy, you can even opt for Explosive Payroll instead, adding to your ability to do damage from a distance.
What’s it good for? PvE, thanks to the available perk rolls. The only benefit in Crucible is the ability to shut down supers with Vorpal Weapon.
How do I get it? Find it from random Legendary Engram drops.
The Destiny 2 best Exotic scout rifle
Finally, a scout rifle that can do some damage.
Why is it one of the best? Scout rifles have been noticeably weak for a while now. Thankfully, Symmetry fixes that with its Exotic perk by stacking explosive tracking Arc orbs. The trick here is that you need to land precision blows to activate this ability, then hold down the reload button to switch firing modes.
It’s a bit unintuitive, especially with the Rapid Fire Frame, but it can become an essential mob clearing tool with the right stability mods.
What’s it good for? PvE and Gambit. Its Exotic perk and rapid-fire frame make it perfect for taking down bigger enemies.
How do I get it? It’s a random Exotic Engram drop.
10. Polaris Lance
The Destiny 2 best energy scout rifle
A weapon with a history of forgotten memories that most Destiny players tend to forget as well.
Why is it one of the best? The Polaris Lance is what scout rifles used to be. A weapon built for mid-to-long distance attacks that rewards you for accuracy. Land four precision hits and a row, and send your enemies an explosive surprise with a small AoE. It typically rolls with Zen Moment, further adding to your accuracy as you do damage, and the ability to apply Dragonfly once Masterworked.
The fact that it’s so traditional has often left this weapon out in the cold, but it holds up surprisingly well despite Bungie’s lack of focus on scout rifle improvements. Keep it at the ready to help you face major enemies without fear of taking damage.
What’s it good for? PvE and Gambit. Get used to the headshot hitbox for this weapon for a scout rifle experience that packs a punch if you stay accurate.
How do I get it? Complete the Nascent Dawn Exotic Quest.
11. Royal Chase
The Destiny 2 best void scout rifle
A scout rifle that is incredibly predictable.
Why is it one of the best? Royal Chase acts as a strange blend of old and new. It utilizes a Precision Frame for a more predictable kickback, but throws in perks like Full Auto Trigger System and Tresh. It’s like a weapon that is at odds with itself and would be almost perfect if it utilized a Rapid Fire frame, but at the least, it’s an effective weapon that tries to blend accuracy, speed, and stability.
Use it for taking down red bars but make sure you have an alternative handy for major enemies.
What’s it good for? PvE and Gambit. The full-auto trigger system and super energy-boosting perk make this a useful PvE weapon.
How do I get it? It’s a Season Pass Reward in Season of the Hunt.
12. The Jade Rabbit
The Destiny 2 best scout rifle PvP
A lucky weapon that makes up for poor aim with additional damage.
Why is it one of the best? The Jade Rabbit is all about its Exotic perk, the Fate of All Fools, which deals increased precision damage and returns rounds as you land consecutive body shots. This turns it into a scout rifle that only requires you to be accurate once and rewards you with the ability to keep shooting if you can’t improve your aim. Add Zen Moment into the mix, and you suddenly have a highly effective mid-to-long range weapon that requires minimal accuracy.
What’s it good for? PvP, especially since scout rifle accuracy has only recently seen any adjustments.
How do I get it? Acquire it as a random Exotic Engram drop.
13. The Guiding Sight
The Destiny 2 best Iron Banner scout rifle
One of the best Iron Banner weapon iterations.
Why is it one of the best? Recycled Iron Banner weapons often produce mixed results, but the latest version of The Guiding Sight in Season of the Hunt is a much-needed upgrade. It can roll with Iron Grip and Iron Gaze for one, allowing for better handling or targeting in exchange for speed and range. But possibly the best perk addition is One For All, which improves weapon damage if you hit three different targets.
All of this is wrapped in a High-Impact Frame, making it perfect for taking on multiple Guardians and hordes of enemies. Just be sure you have armor mods ready to balance out any of the weaknesses you enable.
What’s it good for? PvE, Crucible, and Gambit. This weapon can’t quite decide what’s important but applies a well-balanced experience.
How do I get it? Complete Iron Banner challenges, improve your rank with Lord Saladin, or complete Iron Banner rounds.
The Destiny best kinetic scout rifle
Make your desires a reality.
Why is it one of the best? If there were ever a weapon that fits as the perfect medium between a hand cannon and sniper rifle, Transfiguration is it. The heavy frame makes for a slow fire rate, but if you roll Rampage and Kill Clip, it easily makes up for it with excessive damage. Just be sure to apply armor mods that make up for the atrocious handling and reload speed, and be sure to scout out some open sniper lanes to get the most out of this weapon.
What’s it good for? PvP, PvE, and Gambit. It acts like an elegant hand cannon, which is perfect for Crucible right now.
How do I get it? Acquire it by completing encounters in the Last Wish raid.
15. Mida Multi-Tool
The Destiny 2 best classic scout rifle
A classic that just keeps on giving.
Why is it an honorable mention? The Mida Multi-Tool is one of those weapons that’s just fun to play. It encourages you to be quick, daring and take on enemies a bit closer. While it may be lacking extensive perks, it makes up for it with extremely high aim assist and incredible stability and reload speed.
What’s it good for? PvP, PvE, and Gambit. The accuracy and speed combination is perfect for staying on the move while laying out damage.
How do I get it? Complete the main campaign and follow-up EDZ quest.
Destiny 2 Best Scout Rifle Mods
The best mods for scout rifles in Destiny 2 work to improve reload speed, ready speed, and overall accuracy. You can’t treat it like a sniper rifle and need to stay on the move, taking enemies on from short-to-mid distance to capitalize on the range and compensate for the often middling damage. Here are the mods we recommend you try out:
- Freehand Grip. Increases accuracy and ready speed while firing from the hip.
- Sprint Grip. Temporarily increases the weapon’s ready speed and aim down sights speed after sprinting.
- Icarus Grip. Improves accuracy while airborne.
- Targeting Adjuster. This weapon gains better target acquisition.
Join the High Ground
Avid Destiny 2 players keep hoping that scout rifles will one day return to their proper glory — for now, stick with these recommended options and cross your fingers for updates to the meta. Make sure your fireteam knows which scout rifles to choose by sharing this article to your favorite social platform. For more Destiny 2 articles like this, be sure to sign-up for our email list.
Update 4/1/21 – added Dead Man’s Tale to number 1 position and dropped Mida Multi-Tool to honorable mention
Update 10/20/21 — Vision of Confluence, Contingency Plan, Servant Leader, and Hung Jury SR 4 added to list.