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.

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.

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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. 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.

2. Prophet of Doom

The best DPS shotgun Destiny 2

Prophet of Doom Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

If you need to fill a high DPS slot that can handle hordes of enemies, it’s worth working for the Prophet of Doom. It has a somewhat random assortment of perks, but it can be a great defensive weapon in overwhelming situations.

Why Is It One of the Best?
The upward potential for Prophet of Doom is ridiculous. It already sits within the mid-70s for impact and range. Unlike most shotguns, you can approach 100 range with the right armor and perk sets. Its usefulness somewhat depends on specializing in shotgun perks throughout your full build, but if you prioritize it and use the full-auto trigger perk, it can quickly mow down waves of enemies.

What’s It Good For?
PVE and Gambit. This gun is meant for crowd control, not precision. It’s built to be fast and pack a punch, but can leave you high and dry if you try it in Crucible.

What Mods Should I Use?
This gun holds a masterwork slot and a standard mod slot. For masterwork, focus on blast radius or try to balance your handling. For your other mod, focus on crowd control.

  • Surrounded Spec. Increases the damage granted by Surrounded. Bonus damage lingers for a brief time when no longer surrounded by three or more enemies.

How Do I Get It?
This gun is a random drop from the Garden of Salvation Raid.

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. 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.

5. Imperial Decree

The grandaddy of the Crucible

Imperial Decree Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Do you ever just want a gun that feels good to shoot? One that rewards you for sliding around and popping in and out of your site? The Imperial Decree checks all those boxes.

Why Is It One of the Best?
Unlike later iterations of the aggressive frame kinetic shotguns, the Imperial Decree didn’t focus on balancing out handling with perks. Instead, it throws in the likes of Slingshot and Snapshot sites to help make up for the small magazine and increase your speed when aiming down sites. While not the best stat/perk combination out there, it does serve as the mold that Bungie seems to be going for on Kinetic shotguns.

What’s It Good For?
PVP. Similar to Astral Horizon, this shotgun helps elevate your close-quarters gunplay. It can be handy in PVE but doesn’t pack the same level of crowd control as other guns.

What Mods Should I Use?
The same rules apply here as they did for the Astral Horizon. Try to balance out your stability to take advantage of the high impact.

  • 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?
Imperial Decree was originally a drop you could acquire by applying specific runes in the Menagerie. With the release of Beyond Light, that activity is now gone, meaning that this shotgun is now part of the random drop pool. You just have to play and hope you get it at some point.

6. Bonechiller

The best PVE shotgun Destiny 2

Bonechiller Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

A good void sub-class shotgun is hard to find. Thankfully, Bungie has decided to release one with Beyond Light that drops in ample amounts and feels like it was strictly meant for PVE.

Why Is It One of the Best?
Bonechiller is one of the more recent drops on this list and works perfectly for PVE, thanks to the more balanced stat pool. The perks exemplify that even more, gradually building up some of the lower stats like stability without sacrificing too much from other stats. It’s also an easy drop, meaning that you can actively reroll for different intrinsic traits without wasting hours of your time.

What’s It Good For?
PVE. It’s a balanced shotgun with little to specialize in. Not ideal for facing other Guardians, but a great tool when facing different classes of enemies.

What Mods Should I Use?
Focus on improving damage dealt to minor, powerful, or boss-type enemies.

  • Boss Spec. Increases damage against bosses and vehicles.
  • Major Spec. Deals extra damage against powerful enemies.
  • Minor Spec. Deals extra damage against rank-and-file enemies.

How Do I Get It?
Since this shotgun was released with Beyond Light, you can get it by playing the campaign.

7. Lord of Wolves

The best Energy shotgun Destiny 2 PVP

Lord of Wolves Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Lord of Wolves is a fan favorite that was so broken on arrival that it could eviscerate any Guardian unfortunate enough to just glance at it. It has one of the strongest perk variations around and was so popular that it was re-released in the Forsaken expansion to bring it back from the original Destiny.

Why Is It One of the Best?
This shotgun is powerful, fast, and has a surprisingly long range — so much so that it could easily be mistaken for a pulse rifle. It’s built to benefit aggressive players and rewards that type of gameplay by activating specific damage perks based on successful kills. It may have been nerfed recently, but it’s still a solid close- to mid-range option.

What’s It Good For?
PVE and PVP. What was originally a powerhouse in PVP has now faded into the background. It still provides a fast and powerful short-range burst that can come in handy when in a pinch, but it’s far more useful in PVE nowadays.

What Mods Should I Use?
This Exotic utilizes a legendary catalyst that increases reload speed when activated and passively boosts stability when it is not.

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.

8. Mindbender’s Ambition

The most consistent PVP shotgun in Destiny 2

Mindbender's Ambition Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Sticking with a single weapon in Destiny 2 PVP seems to be almost impossible. Every update tweaks the meta and nerfs one or more weapons. The Mindbender’s Ambition has seemingly bucked that trend and remains one of the best PVP shotguns around.

Why Is It One of the Best?
The Aggressive Frame and Quickdraw and Snapshot perks improve the range while building potential damage. These features have helped this shotgun beat any changes to the overall weapon balance and makes it incredibly useful for shutting down Guardian supers. It’s far less useful in PVE but can still help stagger more powerful combatants.

What’s It Good For?
PVP. This shotgun is the meta breaker. It’s remained consistent since Forsaken and is a tried and true weapon to lean on.

What Mods Should I Use?
Focus on balancing out your handling or increasing your magazine for a greater chance of surviving combat encounters.

  • Counterbalance Stock. Reduces recoil deviation for the weapon.
  • Backup Mag. Increases magazine size.

How Do I Get It?
This weapon is dropped by the fanatic in the Hollowed Lair strike. There has been talk of sunsetting this content, so this acquisition may change over to a random roll in the future.

9. Dust Rock Blues

The most precise shotgun in Destiny 2

Dust Rock Blues Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Dust Rock Blues is a kinetic weapon that functions more like a fusion rifle. Bungie seems to really love blurring those lines. Unlike some of the others on this list of best shotguns in Destiny 2, though, it leans even further into expanding the range.

Why Is It One of the Best?
Everything about this weapon pushes the boundaries of a shotgun’s range. The combination of Slideshot and Full Choke means that you don’t need to sit around, aiming down sights. No, this is mean to be used on the go and rewards you for playing fast. Just be aware that slotting in your Kinetic space may put you at a disadvantage against other Guardians using weapons with an increased rate of fire.

What’s It Good For?
PVP. It’s great for players that like to sprint around and quickly switch between ADS and hip fire.

What Mods Should I Use?
Focus on balancing your handling and control for this weapon.

  • Counterbalance Stock. Reduces recoil deviation for the weapon.

How Do I Get It?
Dust Rock Blues was originally acquired by completing the Menagerie, but of course, that event has been sunsetted. Now the best way is to farm Public Events in classic locations like the EDZ.

10. Parcel of Stardust

The best shotgun for Gambit in Destiny 2

Parcel of Stardust Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Gambit is that weird outlier where it’s difficult to find weapons that work well against crowds of AI enemies and other Guardians. The Parcel of Stardust changes all that.

Why Is It One of the Best?
This shotgun uses a lightweight frame, making it incredibly useful for run and gun movement. The mid-tier stability and handling help exemplify this use even further, and if you happen to get Opening Shot or Moving Target on your roll, you’ll likely see an improvement in tracking and range. 

What’s It Good For?
Gambit. Enough said.

What Mods Should I Use?
Prioritize your speed and accuracy when moving with this weapon.

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

How Do I Get It?
Just play Gambit or complete bounties for the Drifter and hope for a good drop.

Best Shotguns in Destiny 2: Honorable Mentions

These last five of the Destiny 2 best shotguns didn’t quite break into our top ten list, but they’re still great options if you happen across them. For the most part, you can expect them to be slightly lesser versions of some of the others on this list, with just a few differences in perks and intrinsic traits.

Legend of Acrius

Legend of Acrius Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

IKELOS_SG_v1.0.2

IKELOS_SG_v1.0.2. Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Duality

Duality Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Gunnora’s Axe

Gunnora's Axe Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

Xenoclast IV

Xenoclast IV Shotgun
Kody Wirth / High Ground Gaming

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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