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Destiny 2: Best Shotguns for PvE, PvP, Gambit (2021)

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Ah, shotguns in Destiny 2. Everyone loves them in PvE, but they have consistently been on the top of the list of frustrating ways to die in PvP. They are popular for a reason: they are really good. So let’s go over the best shotguns in Destiny 2 in 2021 for PvE, PvP, and Gambitas of Beyond Light.

Shotguns are in a great place right now and there’s a lot of diversity between what you would use in PvE content and what you would use for Crucible AKA PvP.

Best Shotguns in Destiny 2 (2021)

Best for PvE & Gambit

best shotguns destiny 2
  • Blasphemer (Kinetic) – Possible drop from Pit of Heresy.
  • Bonechiller (Energy, Void) – Completing activities on Europa.
  • First in, Last Out (Energy, Arc) – Obtainable during Season of Arrivals.
  • Found Verdict (Energy, Arc) – Possible drop from the raid, Vault of Glass.
  • Fractethyst (Kinetic, Stasis) – Seasonal weapon from Season of the Lost.
  • Heritage (Kinetic) – Possible drop from completing encounters in the raid, Deep Stone Crypt.
  • Legend of Acrius (Power, Arc, Exotic) -Purchased from exotic kiosk
  • Lord of Wolves (Energy, Solar, Exotic) – Rare exotic world drop & Xur.
  • Ikelos_SG (Energy, Solar) – Possible drop from encounters in Prophecy Dungeon.
  • Prophet of Doom (Energy, Arc) – Possible drop from completing encounters in the raid, Garden of Salvation.
  • Seventh Seraph CQC-12 (Energy, Arc) – Random world drop.
  • The Chaperone(Kinetic, Exotic) – Complete the exotic quest, Blast From the Past, from Shaw Han on the Cosmodrome.
  • The Fourth Horseman (Energy, Arc, Exotic) – Purchased from the exotic kiosk.
  • Tractor Cannon (Power, Void, Exotic) – Rare exotic world drop.

For PvE and Gambit you have quite a few shotguns to choose from even after sunsetting depending on your playstyle.

From the exotic end, Lord of Wolves will still melt enemies even after its nerfs but if you have the ability to get super up close Legend of Acrius and The Fourth Horseman will do even more damage.

While Tractor Cannon isn’t as popular in raids anymore, in Gambit where groups can be less coordinated, popping a Tractor Cannon shot on a Primeval isn’t a bad idea.

For legendary shotguns, it’s really a choose your fighter kind of scenario depending on what style shotgun you like.

Slug shotguns can do a lot of damage whether you’re using The Chaperone or something like First in Last Out, Blasphemer, or the Deep Stone Crypt shotgun, Heritage. You just need to be able to hit crits.

If you can complete the Vault of Glass, Found Verdict is also a great all-around shotgun that doesn’t rely on crits as much if you have trouble hitting them alongside ol’ reliable Ikelos_SG.

Finally, Season of the Lost added Fractethyst which is the first Stasis shotgun, and not only holds its own as a shotgun with some great traditional perks, its Stasis damage can be used in certain Stasis builds, and it can create Stasis crystals if you use the Headstone perk.

best, shotguns, destiny 2, pvp, pve, gambit, crucible

Best Shotguns for PvP in Destiny 2 (2021)

  • Astral Horizon (Kinetic) – Reward from Trials of Osiris.
  • Duality (Energy, Solar, Exotic) – Seasonal exotic from Season of the Hunt.
  • Felwinter’s Lie (Energy, Solar) – Purchased from the exotic kiosk.
  • Fractethyst (Kinetic, Stasis) – Seasonal weapon from Season of the Lost.
  • Found Verdict (Energy, Arc) – Possible drop from the raid, Vault of Glass.
  • Riiswalker (Kinetic) – Reward from Iron Banner.
  • The Chaperone (Kinetic, Exotic) – Complete Blast from the Past exotic quest from Shaw Han on the Cosmodrone.

Sunsetting did a number on a lot of popular PvP shotguns including the now dearly departed Mindbender’s Ambition.

You can certainly use your old favorites in quickplay, but for sweatier activities, you’ll probably want to stick with the best shotguns that will stand the test of time such as Astral Horizon, Felwinter’s Lie and The Chaperone.

Felwinter’s Lie in particular is among the most popular guns in the game right now in PvP and if you’re a big shotgun aficionado, it’s a must-have.

If you’re not able to get your hands on any of those, Duality is easily obtainable during Season of the Hunt and isn’t a bad options either as long as you can make the most out of its unique capabilities.

Finally, if you play Iron Banner you can get yourself a Riiswalker which is yet another solid choice that is quite popular in PvP.

That’s all for our best shotguns in Destiny 2 for PvE, PvP, & Gambit as of Beyond Light. If you’re interested in learning more weapon recommendations. Check out our all-encompassing lists below:


Destiny 2: Top 10 Shotguns For PvE

Shotguns are some of the most enjoyable weapons to use in any video game. They can take down enemies at close ranges with uncompromising firepower. When you start looking at loot-based games, things get even more interesting.

Related: Destiny 2: The Best Hunter Builds For PvP And PvE

Destiny 2 has a wide range of Shotguns for players to try, ranging from slug weapons to fully automatic Shotguns. Perks can also give these weapons even more interesting properties that allow the gun to reload on grenade throws or increase the damage of your next melee attack. Whether you're facing Champions or raid bosses, here are the best Shotguns for PvE you can use in Destiny 2.

Updated September 7th, 2021 by Charles Burgar: Season of the Lost brought some major meta changes to the PvE sandbox. Some new Shotguns were added for players to chase, one of which is a returning weapon from Trials of the Nine. We've updated this tier list to include one of Season 15's new Shotguns. Some entries also had their ranks changed to reflect the quick-swap nerf that occurred this season.

10 Seventh Seraph CQC-12

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.

Introduced in Season of the Worthy, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 is one of two Shotguns that can spawn Warmind Cells. That alone makes it worth an entry on this list.

Sadly, that's about the only unique niche this Shotgun offers for PvE players. Perks towards this weapon favor PvP more than PvE. You can get good results with Auto-Loading Holster and either Vorpal Weapon or Trench Barrel, although its archetype doesn't boast the best DPS values for higher-end content. As an add clear weapon, however, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 is quite impressive.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Auto-Loading Holster, Lead From Gold
  • Column Two: Vorpal Weapon, Trench Barrel

9 Duality

How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. Costs 1 Exotic Cipher, 100,000 Glimmer, 150 Glacial Starwort, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

You'd be forgiven if you forgot Duality existed. This buckshot-slug hybrid Shotgun was meant to bridge the gap between Chaperone and Felwinter's Lie, intended mostly for PvP. At least, that's what most players thought.

It turns out that Duality is a monster of a PvE Shotgun, which can mostly be attributed to its second perk. When you land hip-fire final blows, you gain stacks of On Black Wings. Reaching x5 stacks will make Duality deal 55% more damage while you're aiming, and since your ADS mode fires slugs, you can quite easily land headshots while this buff is active. You'll be matching Cloudstrike's DPS when this buff is active, an impressive feat for a Shotgun that isn't a Rapid-Fire Frame.

8 The Fourth Horseman

How to obtain: Currently unavailable.

If you need a boss dead immediately, look no further than The Fourth Horseman. This weapon unloads four rounds—five when Masterworked—in less than a second, each round gaining a damage boost as you land successive shots.

Barrel-stuffing enemies in tough PvE environments is typically ill-advised, but The Fourth Horseman is one of the few exceptions to this rule. This gun's DPS is so great that you can melt stunned Champions in one or two magazines. Hunters take this gun to a whole new level, using Radiant Dance Machines and Marksman's Dodge to unload 20 Shotgun rounds in a few seconds. Very few enemies with survive the barrage of shotgun shells you'll be firing their way. Just note that this weapon's ammo economy is abysmal, using up its entire ammo reserve in less than a minute of continuous firing and reloading.

7 Blasphemer

How to obtain: Altars of Sorrow and the Pit of Heresy dungeon.

Between this and First In, Last Out, Blasphemer has a slightly better perk pool but is much harder to obtain. This Kinetic Precision Shotgun deals a fantastic amount of damage with each shot, capable of one-tapping most orange bars.

Related: Destiny 2: Every Way To Obtain Reissued Moon Gear

Fourth Times the Charm and Swashbuckler is the best roll for this gun, giving it an absurd amount of damage output in most scenarios. Throw out a melee ability, then enjoy a massive 33% damage increase for a few seconds. Landing consecutive rounds on a target's weakpoint will also give you additional ammo in the current magazine, further improving Blasphemer's total damage output. You sadly can't get Vorpal Weapon on this gun, although its other perks more than suffice for most PvE content. Those that love using an Energy Primary should consider farming this weapon from Altars of Sorrow or the Pit of Heresy dungeon.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Fourth Times the Charm, Threat Detector
  • Column Two: Swashbuckler, Thresh

6 Bonechiller

How to obtain: The Europa Shotgun bounty from Variks on Europa and defeated Brig HVTs.

Europa's Precision Frame Shotgun is one of Destiny 2's best Special weapons for PvE. Not only does this weapon pack the damage you'd expect from a slug Shotgun, but it also comes with add-clear potential.

Bonechiller is the only slug Shotgun in Destiny 2 that can roll with Dragonfly, causing a clean precision kill to spawn a massive explosion. If you only care about single-target DPS, Bonechiller has that in spades. This gun can roll with Triple Tap and One for All simultaneously, giving this weapon a 35% damage boost and additional ammo in the magazine whenever you land three rapid precision hits. Needless to say, this weapon is a monster for all PvE content.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Auto-Loading Holster, Triple Tap
  • Column Two: Dragonfly, One for All, Demolitionist

5 IKELOS_SG_v1.0.2

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.

Obtained from the general loot pool, this variant of the IKELOS Shotgun is easily one of the best PvE Shotguns in Destiny 2. If you love close-range combat or Warmind Cells, this gun is a must-own.

Right off the bat, this weapon is worth picking up due to its ability to generate Warmind Cells, powerful orbs that can be detonated for extreme damage. The weapon itself is also fantastic and able to roll with a wide assortment of perks. Threat Detector, Surrounded, Feeding Frenzy, and Trench Barrel are all fantastic perks you can obtain on this gun. It has great single-target damage, and it can clear out waves of enemies by spawning Warmind Cells. What's not to like?

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Feeding Frenzy, Threat Detector
  • Column Two: Trench Barrel, Vorpal Weapon, Rampage, Surrounded

4 A Sudden Death

How to obtain: Prophecy (Kell Echo encounter)

Trials of the Nine weapons have finally returned in Season of the Lost, this time acquired through the Prophecy dungeon. A Sudden Death was the original Trials Shotgun for Destiny 2, featuring a balanced stat package in the Aggressive Frame archetype.

Related: Destiny 2: The Best Rolls For The New Season Of The Lost Prophecy Dungeon Weapons

Its return is nothing short of incredible, featuring some notable perks that take this weapon's lethality to the next level. Field Prep and Frenzy is one of the best rolls you can get on this gun, buffing just about every aspect of this gun while you're in combat. This is also one of the only Shotguns that can roll with Grave Robber and One-Two Punch, providing some excellent synergy for melee builds. A Sudden Death is also a fantastic PvP Shotgun, something we discuss in more detail in our best PvP Shotguns tier list.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Field Prep, Grave Robber, Threat Detector
  • Column Two: Frenzy, One-Two Punch, Surrounded

3 Found Verdict

How to obtain: Vault of Glass (Conflux, Oracle, and Gatekeeper encounters)

Found Verdict is typically associated with PvP, residing in the same Aggressive Frame archetype as the beloved Felwinter's Lie and other popular Shotguns. What makes Found Verdict notable is its ability to serve as a high-damage PvE Special weapon as well.

Rewind Rounds and Vorpal Weapon is one of the best rolls you can get on this gun, allowing you to pump almost two magazines worth of buckshot into an enemy without needing to reload. If you don't like how Rewind Rounds behaves, you can replace it with Full Auto or Auto-Loading Holster. This is also one of the only Shotguns in Destiny 2 to have an Adept variant, allowing you to use Adept Big Ones Spec instead of Major or Boss Spec. In terms of PvE Shotguns, Found Verdict comfortably sits near the top.

Recommended Traits

  • Column One: Rewind Rounds, Full Auto Trigger System, Auto-Loading Holster
  • Column Two: Vorpal Weapon, One-Two Punch, Frenzy

2 First In, Last Out

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.

Yet another Precision Frame Shotgun, First In, Last Out is the gold standard of what a Shotgun should be. This weapon outputs an absurd amount of damage with each round, has a solid selection of perks, and it's rather easy to obtain.

Any world Legendary Engram has a chance of giving you this weapon. Perks on this weapon are solid, allowing for the likes of Outlaw and Vorpal Weapon to roll simultaneously. Demolitionist or Surrounded can replace Vorpal Weapon to suit more aggressive playstyles. Vorpal Weapon is ultimately what you want, as this allows First In, Last Out to annihilate Champions, strike bosses, and even raid bosses like Taniks.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Outlaw, Auto-Loading Holster
  • Column Two: Vorpal Weapon, Demolitionist, Surrounded

1 Heritage

How to obtain: Deep Stone Crypt (Atraks-1 encounter)

The Deep Stone Crypt's unique Shotgun, Heritage, is one of the game's best Shotguns for PvE. It's a Precision Frame, allowing this weapon to deal some fantastic damage if you can land precision shots.

What makes Heritage so special is its unique set of perks. Reconstruction and Recombination are two unique perks that can only be found on the Deep Stone Crypt weapons currently.

The first perk allows Heritage to double its magazine capacity by passively reloading itself over time. Recombination is a powerhouse of a perk, giving this weapon's next shot additional damage for every enemy you've killed with an Energy or Heavy weapon. At ten kills, your next shot deals twice as much damage. When you pair both of these perks together, you get a monstrous single-target weapon that can one-shot nearly every major in the game. Champions and bosses don't stand a chance either. Every Guardian that focuses on PvE content needs to get a good roll of this gun.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Reconstruction, Outlaw, Auto-Loading Holster
  • Column Two: Recombination, Thresh, Killing Wind

Next: Destiny 2: Beyond Light Complete Guide And Walkthrough


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Best PvE shotguns in Destiny 2

There’s nothing quite like walking up to a Hive or Taken enemy and blasting them in the face with a shotgun. Likewise, the feeling is similar when dumpstering a fellow Guardian in the Crucible.

In Destiny 2, shotguns are just plain fun. Whether they’re a kinetic weapon, a special weapon, a heavy, or an Exotic, shotguns can be used to turn the tide in any kind of skirmish.

There’s a wide variety of shotguns in the game and a lot of their successes depend on the perk rolls that you receive when the weapon drops. A shotgun can be great or poor depending on the perks, but there are a specific few guns that perform well regardless of how they drop.

Here are the best shotties in Destiny 2 for both PvE and PvP players.


This shotgun, found only in the Deep Stone Crypt raid, is perfect for boss DPS. It’s a precision frame shotgun, meaning it fires a slug round as opposed to buckshot, so it works best when firing at the head or the weak point of an enemy.

Seventh Seraph CQC-12

Found as a random drop in various activities, the Seventh Seraph CQC-12 is a versatile shotgun that works in both PvE and PvP, depending on the perk rolls.


The IKELOS shotgun has a rapid-fire frame, making it perfect for fast-paced semi-auto fire on a single target. This shotgun has been nerfed several times but it still works wonders on enemies in PvE.

The Fourth Horseman

The king of all fast-fire shotguns, The Fourth Horseman is a returning Exotic from Destiny 1. Its small, four-round clip is emptied almost immediately when the trigger is held down, making it another good option for chunking down enemies with large health pools.

Felwinter’s Lie

The nightmarish Iron Banner shotgun from Destiny 1 returned in 2020 during Season of the Chosen and can no longer be acquired. It’s a beast in the Crucible, so if you unlocked it and haven’t tried it yet, give it a shot.


Season of the Lost’s kinetic shotgun is pretty beastly in the Crucible, especially if it rolls with a range masterwork. Grind Astral Alignment until you’re able to find a solid roll on this beautiful-looking weapon.

A Sudden Death

Trials of the Nine had some great guns in year one of Destiny 2. They’re now back as rewards in the Prophecy dungeon, and A Sudden Death is one of the weapons you should aim for. It drops from the final boss’s chest.

Astral Horizon

If you don’t have Felwinter’s Lie, Astral Horizon is another solid PvP shotgun thanks to its high impact and decent range. If you roll range-specific perks, this thing is a beast. It drops as a reward in Trials of Osiris matches.

Mindbender’s Ambition

This shotgun has been sunsetted, meaning it maxes out at 1,060 power. You won’t be able to use it to much effect in activities where Power level is taken into account. But you can still grab it as a Nightfall-specific drop in the Hollowed Lair strike.

The Chaperone

Do you see the range on this thing, in the pic above, in the bottom right? This slug shotgun is capable of one-tapping enemies in Crucible from long range if you hit a headshot. Plus it’s a kinetic weapon, so you can get creative with your loadouts.

Fractethyst vs Riiswalker: Which Shotgun Is Better?

Best Shotguns for PVE and PVP - Destiny 2

So, you need a Shotgun to use in Destiny 2. But you don’t want just any Shotgun, you want the best Shotgun. You want a Shotgun so grossly proficient at killing that it makes Crucible opponents send you messages in a fit of rage. You want a Shotgun that will make Calus giggle with glee as you take down the Darkness. The good news is that there are a lot of great Shotguns in Destiny 2. Here are a few of our top picks.

Best Shotguns for PVE and PVP

There are more Shotguns in Destiny 2 than you can poke a stick at. Thankfully, most of them will get the job done if you’re simply trying to get a quest completed – for instance, if you were trying to unlock Felwinter’s Lie by completing The Lie. But those that want to melt bosses in PVE or crush opponents in Crucible, there are a few best-of-class options.

While you’re at it, maybe work on unlocking the Python Ritual weapon if you haven’t already. It’s another great Shotgun you could use in Strikes, raids, and even the Crucible.

Mindbender’s Ambition

destiny 2 best shotguns Mindbender's Ambition

Mindbender’s Ambition is infuriatingly good in Crucible. It’s got some disgusting range, some amazing perks, and great built-in stats. What’s more, Mindbender’s is reasonably easy to get and only requires a bit of farming. According to the community-curated selections on, some of the perks you want to look out for include Slideshot, Rampage, and Quickdraw. If you manage to net one with Opening Shot, enjoy that extra boost to range.

Astral Horizon

destiny 2 best shotguns Astral Horizon

Astral Horizon is a new Shotgun added with Season of the Worthy. This one is exclusive to Trials of Osiris, and is locked behind weekly drops, so it’s not easy to get. However, if you manage to get your hands on one, you’ll be treated to some high impact and hopefully some good perks. Much like the majority of the guns in this list, if you can get Slideshot, you’re off to a good start. Astral Horizon can also come with Swashbuckler and One-Two Punch.

Dust Rock Blues

destiny 2 best shotguns Dust Rock Blues

Dust Rock Blues is one gun you might see a lot of in Crucible these days. The reason for this is that it is incredibly easy to acquire, you just need some runes and a run through the Menagerie. Check out our Menagerie rune guide for exactly what you need.

As for what you can get out of this shotty, it should be no surprise that Slideshot is among one of the strongest perks. You can also get Full Auto Trigger System, which is pretty good for PVE but not so great for Crucible given how little Special ammo you spawn with.

Parcel of Stardust

destiny 2 best shotguns Parcel of Stardust

Introduced with Forsaken, Parcel of Stardust is a surprisingly good Shotgun choice, even given it’s now almost two years old. Though Slideshot is an option, Stardust can roll with Opening Shot, which significantly improves the accuracy and range of the first shot. You’ll feel like you’re practically sniping people with this thing. For the last perk column, it’s dealer’s choice, except Pulse Monitor. Throw that in the bin.

Imperial Decree

destiny 2 best shotguns Imperial Decree

Imperial Decree is part of a two-option combo. If you don’t go for this Primary-slot Shotgun, you can go for the next one on the list. The advantage Imperial Decree has is that you can run through Menagerie to get one to drop, cutting down on the need to farm. Refer to our Menagerie weapon god roll guide for some good ideas on what you’re chasing here. The short of it is that Feeding Frenzy, Swashbuckler, and Trench Barrel are pretty great.

Emperor’s Courtesy

destiny 2 best shotguns Emperor's Courtesy

Emperor’s Courtesy is the other part of this combo. If you’re not able to get a decent Imperial Decree, or don’t want a shotty in your Primary slot, you might want to take to the Crown of Sorrow raid for one of these. The Emperor’s Courtesy curated roll features Grave Robber and One-Two Punch. The latter of these two is obviously great for damage output.

If you can’t manage to get a curated roll, that’s fine too, as Quickdraw and Swashbuckler are great options, as is Snapshot Sights, Slideshot, and Opening Shot.

Threat Level

destiny 2 best shotguns Threat Level

You might not see Threat Level around a lot these days, but it’s still one of the best Shotguns in Destiny 2. This little beauty sits comfortably in the Primary weapon slot and comes with some appealing perks. If you’re lucky enough to get the curate roll, you’ll walk away with Trench Barrel and Grave Robber. Otherwise, you’re looking at a pretty good range of perks that work well together. Check out the page for some community-recommended perks. As for where you get Threat Level, it's dropped from the Scourge of the Past raid.

Lord of Wolves

Destiny 2 best shotguns Lord of Wolves

Trigger warning for those who were around when the Wolves reigned supreme in Crucible. It was a nightmare, to be sure. Even though the wolf has been domesticated, it still has that wild edge. If you can manage to get your hands on the Lord of Wolves Exotic Shotgun, you’re in for an absolute treat. Switch to the alternative firing mode and enjoy shredding your enemies to pieces.


Destiny 2 Best Shotguns IKELOS

No one calls it that. That’s too many digits and numbers. We’ll just call it the IKELOS shotgun or “Damn, it the Escalation Protocol boss didn’t drop it… again”. You see, for the longest time, the IKELOS shotgun was the king of the Shotguns in Destiny 2. This is thanks to the perch Trench Barrel, which increased damage after a melee hit. It’s still a very good Shotgun, but recent nerfs have broken the crown, just a little. Make sure you check out the Escalation Protocol schedule and get to farming this shotty if you haven’t already. It’s still pretty great.

Picking a Shotgun to use in Destiny 2 is easy. But picking one of the best Shotguns in Destiny 2 is going to take a bit of work. Thankfully, some of these options are pretty easy to get and some are even decent at both PVE and PVP content. For more insightful articles, head over to the Shacknews Destiny 2 complete strategy guide.

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 


Primary shotgun destiny

Destiny 2: The 10 Best Shotguns For PvP

Shotguns are one of the strongest weapon categories for PvP in Destiny 2. These weapons pack a serious punch and can kill targets from surprisingly long distances with the right perks.

Related: Destiny 2: How To Increase Your Crucible Valor And Glory Ranks

Each Shotgun in Destiny 2 can hold its own in Crucible, but there are a few that easily stand above the rest. This is thanks to their great perk pool, high base stats, or ease of use. Finding the right perk combination on a Shotgun can be the difference between a subpar Special weapon and a game-changing weapon. Whether a Crucible veteran or primarily a PvE player, here are ten Shotguns that will help you dominate in Destiny 2's Crucible.

Updated September 7th, 2021, by Charles Burgar: Bungie has nerfed Shotguns multiple times over the past few months, starting with Quickdraw and most recently enacting a nerf to stability and Shotgun spread while sliding. Even with all of these nerfs, Shotguns still reign king in the Special slot for most. Some new Shotguns added this season further cement this, containing some potent perk combinations that are exceedingly rare in the current sandbox. We've refreshed this list to include one of Season of the Lost's most promising Shotguns, and we've altered a few entries to account for the recent Shotgun nerfs.

10 Astral Horizon

How to obtain: Trials of Osiris matches and Engrams.

Astral Horizon is the Kinetic alternative to Felwinter's Lie, featuring similar perks. Unfortunately, the lack of Shot Package and Quickdraw really hurts this weapon. Players can somewhat replicate Quickdraw's effect with Surplus, but there's nothing you can do to replicate Shot Package. With these negatives, is this weapon even worth using?

Absolutely, especially if you are using an Energy Primary weapon. Surplus and Opening Shot is a solid perk combination on this weapon, giving it a great degree of handling and range. Auto-Loading Holster is also an option if you hate reloading your weapons. Again, the lack of Quickdraw and range really dampens what Astral Horizon is capable of. But if you need a Kinetic Shotgun that isn't a slug or Riiswalker, Astral Horizon might be for you.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Surplus, Auto-Loading Holster
  • Column Two: Opening Shot

9 Riiswalker

How to obtain: Iron Banner matches and Engrams.

Riiswalker is a bit of an odd Shotgun. On the one hand, it's one of the only Shotguns in Destiny 2 that can reach over 90 range. On the other hand, it's a Lightweight Frame.

The Lightweight Frame is the main drawback of Riiswalker, preventing this weapon from one-tapping Guardians consistently past a very short range—six meters if you have a god roll. While increasing the weapon's range does increase the damage of each pellet, it doesn't influence the gun's pellet spread, effectively hard capping the gun's effective one-hit kill range. Season 14's mid-season nerf to Shotgun range really hurt this weapon in particular, requiring a near-perfect roll to have it compete with Felwinter's Lie or even Retold Tale.

Despite those drawbacks, Riiswalker is more than competitive in Destiny 2's current sandbox if you manage to obtain the perfect roll. Its Lightweight Frame allows you to sprint and strafe faster, giving it an edge over Precision Frames. Keep an eye out for a roll with Full Choke, Firmly Planted, and Iron Reach.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Firmly Planted, Quickdraw, Eye of the Storm
  • Column Two: Iron Reach

8 First In, Last Out

How to obtain: Legendary world Engrams.

First In, Last Out is criminally underrated by most. While it is a slug Shotgun, this weapon has a perk combination that removes virtually all effort required to land headshots.

Related: Destiny 2: Every Weapon In Season Of The Lost

Hip-Fire Grip and Opening Shot make this weapon a headshot magnet when fired from the hip while retaining the archetype's excellent base range. If an enemy quickly charges you, fire from the hip near the top half of their body to get a headshot. If you're pushing, ADS to land a hit from a rather long distance.

You can get perks like Slideshot if you don't like hip-firing, yet the hip-fire perk combination is so strong that we recommend you give it a try—even if you don't like slugs. If you're just looking for a slug Shotgun to land quick kills from a distance, you'd be better off with Blasphemer, Duality, or Chaperone.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Hip-Fire Grip, Slideshot,
  • Column Two: Opening Shot

7 Blasphemer

How to obtain: Pit of Heresy encounters and Altars of Sorrow.

Blasphemer also saw a perk reshuffle when it was reintroduced in Season of the Chosen. It not only retained its great selection of perks, but this weapon also has one of the best stat packages out of any Shotgun in Destiny 2. With a whopping 61 aim assist and 62 base range, this weapon will practically give you headshots if you shoot near a target's upper torso.

Quickdraw and Opening Shot is the best roll for this gun, making this weapon equally snappy and forgiving. A single headshot is enough to down a Guardian with this gun, something that Opening Shot makes a breeze to accomplish. If you are obsessed with meleeing targets to death, you can replace Opening Shot with Swashbuckler. A single melee kill will give you a 33% damage increase, allowing Blasphemer to one-tap Guardians to the chest. Pair this with an Energy Primary for a good time. This weapon can also get First In, Last Out's cheesy Hip-Fire Grip and Opening Shot perk combination, although we feel that Quickdraw is a better perk on this weapon than Hip-Fire Grip.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Quickdraw, Hip-Fire Grip
  • Column Two: Opening Shot, Swashbuckler

6 Fractethyst

How to obtain: Astral Alignment and focused Umbral Engrams

Precision Frame Shotguns—the non-slug variants—haven't seen much use in quite some time. Retold Tale saw a short-term resurgence after Feltinwer's Lie got nerfed, yet most gravitated towards handling-boosting Exotics shortly afterward to counteract the nerf.

Fractethyst is unique in that it's one of the only Shotguns in Destiny 2 that can roll with Quickdraw, an S-tier perk for Shotguns. Better yet, this weapon also has an absurd amount of range with the right roll. It won't outmatch an Aggressive Frame in a duel, yet this weapon's excellent base stats and ability to roll Quickdraw is nothing short of fantastic. If you can't get a roll with Quickdraw, Ensemble is a great substitute.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Quickdraw, Slideshot, Ensemble
  • Column Two: Opening Shot, Harmony

5 Found Verdict

How to obtain: Vault of Glass raid (Conflux, Oracle, and Gatekeeper encounters).

Felwinter's Lie finally has some serious competition in the Energy slot. Vault of Glass' Found Verdict is part of the same archetype as Felwinters but with more handling and range. With the right perks, Found Verdict has close to the same range as Felwiners but with much more handling.

If it wasn't clear by its ranking, this gun has two major downsides that make it not quite as good as Felwinter's Lie:

  1. It's a raid weapon. Completing a raid for a PvP Shotgun is not feasible for some. And you need a particular role to outrange Felwinters, so you'll need to run VoG multiple times.
  2. Found Verdict doesn't have Shot Package, so it'll never be as consistent as Felwinter's Lie.

Those are some major drawbacks, yet Found Verdict manages to hold its own with a fantastic selection of perks. Slideshot and Opening Shot make for a Shotgun with an absurd amount of range that rivals slug Shotguns. Assault Mag and Full Auto Trigger System give this weapon as much fire rate as a slug Shotgun. If you land a kill, it nearly matches the RPM of Lightweight Shotguns.

Found Verdict is a truly special Shotgun that can hang with the likes of Chaperone and Felwinters, provided you can invest the time into farming a roll for this gun.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Slideshot, Surplus
  • Column Two: Opening Shot, Killing Wind

4 Duality

How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. Costs 1 Exotic Cipher, 125,000 Glimmer, 150 Glacial Starwort, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

Note: Duality's slug mode seems to have lost a meter of effective range. This wasn't listed in the patch notes, so this is most likely a bug. This entry is written with this range reduction in mind.

Duality is easily one of the most overlooked Exotic Shotguns in Destiny 2. This gun combines the usability of a typical Shotgun with the lethality of a slug variant. Its versatility is unrivaled.

Related: Destiny 2: The Best Titan Builds For PvP And PvE

Hip-firing this gun will release multiple pellets. When you aim, the gun turns into a slug Shotgun, drastically increasing its range. Season 14 did nerf the hip-fire mode's effective range to around four meters, so you'll want to use buckshot to counter surprise rushers. That's fine because the ADS slugs have 11.5 meters of effective range, making this a fantastic Shotgun for shutting down aggressive players. It won't beat Chaperone, but this weapon's versatility makes it one of the best slug Shotguns for learning the ropes.

3 Felwinter's Lie

How to obtain: Purchased from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower. Costs 75,000 Glimmer, 100 Legendary Shards, 2 Enhancement Prisms, and 1 Ascendant Shard.

Even after the Season 14 nerfs to Shotguns, Felwinter's Lie is still the most consistent pellet Shotgun in the game, capable of killing Guardians at 7-7.5 meters consistently. This is thanks to its intrinsic trait.

Felwinter's Lie comes with Shot Package. Fans of the original Destiny will remember that this perk was so strong Bungie removed it from the game. Shot Package isn't that overpowered in Destiny 2, but the consistent pellet spread of this gun makes Felwinters the best feeling Shotgun in the game.

Slideshot and Opening Shot are the best perks for this gun for Crucible, giving this weapon a degree of consistency and range that no pellet Shotgun can match. The removal of Quickdraw in Season of the Splicer hurt it somewhat, but there are other methods of boosting your handling in Destiny 2. Ophidian Aspects, Dragon's Shadow, and Shotgun Dexterity mods are just a few ways of bringing this weapon up to its pre-nerf status. Even after a year, Felwinter's still stands as one of Destiny's strongest Shotguns.

Recommended Traits:

  • Column One: Slideshot
  • Column Two: Opening Shot

2 The Chaperone

How to obtain: Complete the "Blast from a Past" Exotic quest. It can be obtained from Shaw Han in the Cosmodrome.

Season of the Splicer's nerf to buckshot Shotguns has indirectly made Chaperone stronger. Guardians that have mastered The Chaperone are nearly impossible to duel. It might behave similarly to other Precision Frame Shotguns, yet Chaperone pulls ahead of the curve due to one thing: range.

With no buffs, this gun can one-tap Guardians to the head from 12 meters away. After you achieve a precision kill, this range extends to around 15 meters. No other Shotgun in Destiny 2 can come close to matching Chaperone's range. If you can get used to landing headshots on Guardians with your Shotgun, the Chaperone is arguably the best PvP Shotgun in Destiny 2. Since this weapon does have a skill gap, we have to put it under the top spot.

1 Lord Of Wolves

How to obtain: Spider's WANTED bounties and Xur's Fated Engram.

It might be surprising to see Lord of Wolves take the top spot, yet the nerfs to Shotguns in Season of the Splicer barely impacted this Pulse/Shotgun hybrid. A single burst from this gun can kill from up to 13 meters. The best buckshot alternatives kill at about half that distance, making Lord of Wolves a contender for the best Shotgun for PvP—provided you never Release the Wolves.

We gave the top spot to Lord of Wolves because of its great ammo economy and effective range. Unlike other Shotguns, Lord of Wolves starts with enough ammo for three bursts instead of the typical two Shotgun shells its competitors receive. When you couple this with scavengers, Lord of Wolves practically becomes a Primary weapon after a few kills.

With its low skill floor and great ammo economy, it's clear that Lord of Wolves is the best buckshot Shotgun in Destiny 2 currently. Chaperone might beat this weapon in terms of effective range, yet Lord of Wolves is so much easier to use that most players will gravitate to this gun instead.

Next: Destiny 2: Beyond Light Complete Guide And Walkthrough


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About The Author
Charles Burgar (779 Articles Published)

Charles Burgar is an expert on all things tech and gaming. Graduating from Pikes Peak Community College in 2018 with an Associate of Science, Charles has spent his time dissecting popular video games, movies, and technology. With an understanding of games for as long as he can remember, Charles has a large interest in understanding what makes things fun. He is currently a Freelance writer for TheGamer and Game Rant.

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