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.
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Now, all that being said, there are still some excellent options out there. So what are the best scout rifles in Destiny 2?
10 Best Destiny 2 Scout Rifles
Beyond Light provided a slight improvement for scout rifles with an aim assist adjustment that improves the archetypes’ usefulness when firing from greater distances. And with Season of the Chosen launching very soon, another buff to scout rifles may (hopefully) be sneaked in somewhere.
For now, you need to know which ones are worth using to avoid getting bodied by a shotgun-wielding Guardian from ten feet away, or helplessly watching a heavily shielded Servitor regain all its health. Not just any gun will do, so be sure you check out our list of the top scout rifles in Destiny 2 to stay competitive.
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. 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.
4. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Honorable Mentions: Destiny 2 Best Scout Rifles
The following scout rifles are fairly powerful, but they’re a little too situational to make it into our top 10 list.
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