There’s nothing quite like the best shotguns in Destiny 2. Bungie held on to the memorable and satisfying close-quarters action of their shotgun design from the original Halo. It just feels so right when you blast away a group of Thrawl in PVE or survive by the skin of your teeth in Crucible.

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But here’s the thing. Unlike HaloDestiny 2 has tons — and I mean TONS — of shotguns available. And not all of them are made alike. Some are genuinely so terrible that you’d be better off throwing the gun at your enemy rather than shooting it.

So, how do you make sure that you are using Destiny 2’s best shotguns? Read on to find out.

10 Best Shotguns in Destiny 2

Destiny 2 is a complicated game when it comes to weaponry. Aside from the different weapon types, classes, and mods, you also have to consider the game mode you’re playing and any meta tweaks that come with the most recent updates.

Thankfully, most of the best shotguns in Destiny 2 are multifaceted, meaning that there will be some overlap between use cases. That said, we’ve identified where each shotgun is most useful, as well as how you can get it. Additionally, every gun on this list is fairly equal in terms of usefulness — it ultimately comes down to your playstyle and where you intend to use it. 

But enough talk. Eyes up, Guardian, let’s find you the shotgun of your dreams.

1. Heritage

Destiny 2’s best shotgun

Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

Precision and ammo management has become the main focus for effectively using Shotguns in Destiny 2. Heritage manages both of those to a tee thanks to its Precision Frame and highly unique Perk combinations. 

Starting with precision damage, this shotgun is built for dealing high-impact, long-range damage. It produces a solid amount of aim assist further augmenting the already favorable base stats which make it stable and easy to land precision damage. The only drawback is the somewhat middling ammo capacity which can be fixed with your Perk roll.

Landing Reconstruction or Slideshot ensures that your clip is always loaded. Reconstruction will slowly load the weapon to double capacity when stowed while Slideshot does a partial reload but increases distance and damage. Land either of these alongside Recombination or Thresh and you can fine-tune a build around Super regeneration or pure shotgun damage.

This is simply the most well-rounded shotgun currently in Destiny 2. Until things shift back toward short-range play it’s one of your best bets to stay competitive, especially in PvE.

What’s It Good For?

It’s primarily suited for PvE due to the Precision Frame but can be viable for PvP with the right Perk roll.

How Do I Get It?

Random drop from completing the Deep Stone Crypt Raid Atraks-1 encounter.

2. Lord of Wolves

Best Shotgun that acts like a Fusion Rifle

Lord of Wolves Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

Lord of Wolves made a giant jump on our list primarily due to how much it acts like a Fusion Rifle/Pulse Rifle/Shotgun hybrid. This means that its effective precision range is much further than other similar weapons, but it also includes a wider bullet spread than longer-range weapons. Basically, this is a highly precise weapon that doesn’t require much skill to use effectively.

It also includes an alternative fire option called Release the Wolves, which replaces the wider and more powerful shrapnel shot for longer burst fire. While this was necessary to land hits from long-distance in the past, it’s no longer required and may actually be the less useful firing option nowadays. 

Another important aspect of this weapon is its relatively high ammo capacity. You can expect to land a few more shots and have to reload less often due to the clip size. The only real detriment you’ll need to make up for is its low stability and high recoil but it’s a small price to pay for how precise this once short-range only weapon can be.

What’s It Good For?

PvP and PvE. Mainly a PvP go-to it still can be equally useful for challenging PvE encounters where you want to keep your distance.

How Do I Get It?

You need to purchase the Forsaken campaign and complete bounties for Spider on the Tangled Shore. It’s a random drop, so actually getting it may take a few bounty completions. Keep in mind that this content will be vaulted when the Witch Queen drops.

3. The Chaperone

The best Exotic shotgun in Destiny 2

The Chaperone Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Have you ever been sniped across the map only to realize someone hit you with a shotgun? Sounds like The Chaperone — it’s a shotgun that hits hard but keeps its distance, making you feel like you’re responsible for yourself.

Why Is It One of the Best?
The Chaperone rewards you for playing it like a sniper, which is strange considering it’s one of the best shotguns in Destiny 2. But that’s because you can take out high-level enemies or other Guardians from almost any distance, typically with a single headshot. On top of that, the more accurate you are, the better your chances of activating Roadborn (a weapon perk that increases your other stats as long as you keep it going).

What’s It Good For?
PVE and PVP. The Chaperone may just be the Destiny 2 best PVP shotgun, thanks to the range and perks. But it can also be instrumental in PVE for taking on tough enemies from a distance.

What Mods Should I Use?
This weapon is a classic Exotic, which means that you can’t add any mods.

How Do I Get It?
You need to complete the Holliday Family History Quest, which should drop after playing a few activities.

4. Felwinter’s Lie

A classic PvP favorite

Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

In our original list, we didn’t include Felwinter’s Lie due to it being unavailable to new players. Now, you can simply rack up the right materials and grab it from the Exotic Kiosk. Which is fantastic since this still seems to be the one Shotgun that can survive any and all nerfs.

It’s seriously one of the most consistent mid-range weapons for PvP thanks to the Shot Package and Accurized Rounds Perks. This ensures that your pellet spread is relatively uniform and easy to anticipate which can come in handy in hire pressure competitive play. Be sure you run this with Slideshot and Opening Shot to further increase damage output and keep your clip full.

What’s It Good For?

It’s most useful for PvP where a more precise and consistent mid-range secondary can be incredibly useful.

How Do I Get It?

Purchase from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. You’ll need 75,000 Glimmer, 100 Legendary Shards, 2 Enhancement Prisms, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

5. Found Verdict

A well-balanced option

Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

Vault of Glass weapons have had a nice turnaround in recent months. Much like the Vex Mythoclast dramatic 180, the Found Verdict has seemingly found its place as a well-balanced and easy-to-handle mid-range powerhouse. In many ways, it acts as a reimagining of Felwinter’s Lie but with improved handling and less consistent bullet spread.

However, it can roll with Slideshot and Opening Shot putting it on the same footing but with a focus on faster gunplay thanks to the Assault Mag and Full Auto Trigger. If those aren’t your go-to Perks, you have other options including One-Two Punch which helps improve your chances of landing melee kills after hitting an enemy. It also can roll several different ammo-based Perks including Rewind Rounds and Auto-Loading Holster.

All in all, this serves as a more versatile weapon with multiple options for you to pursue. It may not be as consistent as some of the top Shotguns, but it makes up for it with specialized buffs and a wide range of rolls.

What’s It Good For?

PvP and PvE. Find Perk options that work for you and run with it. Just keep in mind that it may take a while to unlock multiple variants with this being a Raid weapon.

How Do I Get It?

Random drop from the Vault of Glass Conflux, Oracle, and Gatekeeper Raid encounters.

6. First In, Last Out

The best balance of range and stability

First In Last Out Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

When’s a shotgun not a shotgun? When you have an energy slotted weapon that functions more like a quick-firing, mid-range Fusion Rifle. This legacy weapon can be a great introductory shotgun that quickly evolves into a lethal killing machine, both scoped and from the hip, as you get more comfortable with it.

Why Is It One of the Best?
Two words: range and stability. You typically need to sacrifice one for the other, but First In, Last Out balances both stats in the low 60s. You can up the range in exchange for a slight dip in handling, making this shotgun your mid-range best friend (if you’re okay with a little recoil).

What’s It Good For?
PVE and PVP. You’ll need to work on your ability to quickly aim down sights to make it useful in the Crucible, but it can still be a reliable crutch as a hip-fire weapon in a pinch.

What Mods Should I Use?
You only have one slot, so try to compliment your range or expand your magazine. If you’re using this primarily for PVE, it may be better to equip it with a Major Spec to handle tougher enemies.

  • Backup Mag. Increases magazine size.
  • Sprint Grip. Temporarily increase the weapon ready speed and aim down sights after sprinting.

How Do I Get It?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward way to get First In, Last Out outside Legendary or Umbral engrams. You can earn these through gameplay or by turning in enough materials to Rahul for a random roll.

7. Duality

A new PvE option from a forgotten PvP favorite 

Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

Duality was once an excellent choice for PvP. Its high-impact slug was made unique thanks to the wider damage bloom that occurs. While that’s not as useful for PvP as it once was, it still tows that line between a short-range powerhouse and lethal mid-range weapon. The only real drawback is that nerfs over the last few months have greatly decreased the effectiveness of hip fire.

While in PvP, it’s a negative, this has meant that more and more players are taking it for a spin in PvE. Here you can take greater advantage of the On Black Wings stacking by eliminating Minor enemies in order to gain a damage buff. Aim down sites and suddenly range doesn’t matter anymore and you have tremendous stopping power to lay enemies out.

It’s unfortunately not as strong as it once was, but still a useful Shotgun worth running if you want to practice switching between hip and ADS.

What’s It Good For?

PvE and PvP. While it’s not as useful in PvP as it was, the hip fire range and accuracy combined with the increased precision when aimed down sites still makes it quite a powerhouse.

How Do I Get It?

Purchase from the Exotic Kiosk. Requires 100,000 Glimmer, 1 Ascendant Shard, and an Exotic Cipher.

8. Fractethyst

The precision Stasis weapon

Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

Legendary Stasis weapons are slowly making their mark and have become incredibly useful thanks to the Armor Mods that you can run with them. Add a few elemental wells, the chance to spawn Stasis crystals, and even create damage buffs and you’ve suddenly reinvigorated the Darkness subclass. 

Fractehyst takes full advantage of this potential. Equipped with a Precision Frame, it somewhat lacks the stopping power of other variants but makes up for it with speed. Think of it as your go-to holstered weapon that can land headshots from a bit further than your enemies will expect. This is only compounded by your chance to roll Quickdraw and Opening shot.

It, unfortunately, takes a lot to make this weapon work well, but if you’re a fan of Stasis and willing to develop a build it can be a great choice.

What’s It Good For?

PvP thanks to its chance to roll Quickdraw and ability to mesh with a Stasis Well build.

How Do I Get It?

Random drop during Astral Alignment and by focusing specific Umbral Engrams.

9. Astral Horizon

The best Legendary shotgun Destiny 2

Astral Horizon Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

You rarely find an in-game reward that compliments the event you’re playing so perfectly. If you’re able to get the Astral Horizon from a successful Trials run, you’ll likely have much more fun playing Trials.

Why Is It One of the Best?
It’s all about high impact. The Astral Horizon is a kinetic shotgun that hits hard and recoils like a bucking bronco. But it also leaves your enemies fading into oblivion. If you can roll a Quickdraw or Opening Shot perk to help offset some of the poor handling, all the better. Even without those rolls, you can drastically improve your reload speed, handling, or stability by playing as a specific subclass.

What’s It Good For?
PVP and Trials of Osiris. There’s never been a better shotgun for close-range combat. It’s a hip-fire killer that can become more and more proficient in the right hands.

What Mods Should I Use?
We recommend focusing on balancing out your kick for both mod slots. Use the masterwork mod slot to upgrade the stability and use the other for either counterbalance or hip-fire accuracy.

  • Counterbalance Stock. Reduces recoil deviation for the weapon.
  • Freehand Grip. Increases accuracy and ready speed while firing from the hip.

How Do I Get It?
This gun arrived with the Season 10 return of Trials and, at the time, could only be earned by running it. It’s known to appear as a random drop, but your best bet is to participate in Trials whenever it returns.

10. Riiswalker

A weapon at odds with itself

Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Why Is It One of the Best?

Riis walker emerged as a favorite from the revised pool of Iron Banner loot. It has incredible range, can be drawn and handled with ease, and has a decent pool of unique Perks to boot. Unfortunately, it’s also a Lightweight Frame making the effective range somewhat useless due to the damage drop-off. 

It also appears to be one of those weapons that get slammed by every update. It started as an incredibly competitive combination of Shotgun benefits that has just the wrong build to be affected by every nerf. However, if you like to play offensively in PvP, this can be a great lead-in weapon that allows you to land damage and switch off. If you can try to roll Quickdraw and Iron Reach to further elevate your speed and range.

What’s It Good For?

PvP for longer range attacks, just be sure to have reload speed and firing mods equipped.

How Do I Get It?

Random drop from Iron Banner matches and Engrams.

High Ground View

Finding the right shotgun with the right role can be a frustrating process. It becomes even more frustrating when you spend hours grinding out specific quest lines or criteria only to realize that the reward you unlocked doesn’t fit your playstyle or needs. 

Hopefully, this guide has cut back some of the grind and helped you figure out how to get that one shotgun you’ve been looking for in Destiny 2. Be on the lookout for more Destiny 2 guides and if you enjoyed this article! Stay in the know by subscribing to our email list, and don’t forget to share our guides with your friends through your favorite social platform.

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Update Log

10/12/2021 Updates

  • Dust Rock Blues, Mindbender’s Ambition, Bonechiller, Parcel of Stardust, Imperial Decree, Prophet of Doom dropped from list.
  • Duality moved from honorable mention into the ranked list.
  • Astral Horizon moved from #4 to #9.
  • First In, Last Out moved from #1 to #6.
  • Lord of Wolves moved from #7 to #2.

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