12 Best Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2 (2023)

Because sometimes the META is just too boring...

Eoin Black
Eoin Black
14 Min Read
Image via Bungie

Most Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2 suck – I know. You’ll never get those Grandmaster clears with a flimsy, poorly rolled weapon. Luckily for you, I’ve been playing Destiny 2 for the better part of a decade. I’m here to stop you from wasting precious time and resources on terrible weapons and help you clear harder content in the process. If you’re looking for the best Pulse Rifles Destiny 2 has to offer – you’ll find them here.

I’ve gone ahead and tested all the META Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2 so that I could put together this top 12. All of these weapons offer something unique – some are great for PvP, others for PvE. Regardless of what activities you like to run, one of these Pulses will do you well.


Smite of Merain 

Smite of Merain.
Screenshot via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: King’s Fall Raid
Best For: PvE

The returning King’s Fall weapons during Season of Plunder was exciting. We got Zaouli’s Bane – a T1 Hand Cannon, but we also got a top-tier Pulse Rifle in the form of Smite of Merain. Despite Pulses not having a great spot in the PvE META, this Pulse is so good that it still sees regular play.  

There are tons of rolls worth using on this weapon. Personally, I’m a fan of Firefly/Demolitionist. Firefly is going to keep up your add-clearing potential in place of something like Subsistence or Rampage, and Demolitionist lets this primary slot nicely into pretty much any grenade build. On top of that, it’s craftable – so you’ve no excuse to not hunt one down. 



Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Monument to Lost Light
Best For: PvE

Veles-X was the ritual weapon for Season 19, and it’s possibly the best ritual weapon we’ve gotten since Salvager’s Silo. It’s an 450 RPM Void Pulse with a variety of perks to choose from – as well as the unique ability to pick the gun’s foundry trait.  

In column one, Veles-X rolls with Repulsor Brace or Tunnel Vision. Tunnel Vision is great for PvP, but this is notable because Repulsor Brace is typically a column four perk. In column four, you’ve got Kill Clip, again for PvP, and Golden Tricorn for PvE. This means this Pulse has a Repulsor Brace / Golden Tricorn roll, making it arguably the best primary for Void builds in the entire game.  


Outbreak Perfected 

Outbreak Perfected.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Monument to Lost Light
Best For: Raids

Back in Destiny 1, during a little expansion called Rise of Iron, we got access to Outbreak Prime through perhaps the best secret Exotic ARG Bungie has ever conducted. Over six years later, Prime’s successor, Outbreak Perfected, is still one of the best Exotic Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2.  

Outbreak Perfected fires Nanite-Swarms on rapid hits or precision kills. These are effectively mini seeker-rockets that attach to enemies and deal damage. Outbreak then deals more damage to targets based on the number of Nanites attached. In PvP, this isn’t all that. In PvE, though, it makes Perfected capable of the best primary DPS in the game. The Nanites deal good damage and are great at add-clear, making Outbreak one of the better all-round primaries in Destiny 2. 


BXR-55 Battler 

BXR-55 Battler.
Image via Bungie

Element: Solar
Source: Dares of Eternity and Xur’s Treasure Hoard
Best For: PvP

The BxR-55 Battler dropped with the 30th Anniversary pack and pays homage to the Service Rifle of Halo fame. Bungie was a little too generous, though, because this Pulse Rifle has been killing it since its introduction, even if it’s not as popular as it once was.  

The Battler’s unique selling point is two-fold. First, it has access to classic Pulse god rolls like Outlaw/Kill Clip. It also has PvE options like Demolitionist/Incandescent. Beyond that, though, it has a unique scope that will look familiar to any Halo players. This scope increases the effective Range of the Battler by a lot – especially since the weapon has incredible Stability.


Revision Zero 

Revision Zero.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Exotic rotator mission being added to Destiny in a future season
Best For: Grandmasters

Revision Zero was added in a short-lived Exotic quest during Season of the Seraph, and what a quest it was. We went through Operation: Seraph’s Shield several times in search of Revision Zero’s multiple catalysts – making it the most customizable Exotic we’ve ever gotten in Destiny 2.  

This level of customization along with Revision’s inherent Anti-Barrier and long-range, Sniper-like alt-fire mode turns it into a reliable option in both PvE and PvE. On one hand, it’s a great Champion-killer on high-level difficulties. On the other hand, you can tweak the weapon to your liking in the Crucible. Turning it into the most foundationally solid Pulse in Destiny 2.


The Messenger 

The Messenger.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Trials of Osiris in certain seasons
Best For: PvP

When this weapon was first introduced to Destiny 2, not only was it the best Pulse Rifle destiny 2 had at the time, but it was the best PvP gun – period. It was a Trials weapon, and both its regular and adept versions were able to roll a combination of Outlaw/Desperado.  

This is the same combo that makes Disparity great, except you can’t craft a Messenger. You’ve to rely on pure RNG to get your hands on one – making it much more troublesome to farm. It’s worth the hassle, even if Bungie has since nerfed Desperado. Now, that perk simply reduces your firing delay on reloads after precision kills. That stacks with Outlaw, though, to let you do some bonkers stuff. 


Graviton Lance 

Graviton Lance.
Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Exotic Engrams
Best For: PvE

Compared to all the popular Exotic Pulse Rifles out there, Graviton Lance doesn’t get much love – and that’s a massive shame. It’s a two-round Void Pulse, which is odd, but it’s a great weapon all the way up to Grandmaster Nightfalls.  

Graviton’s second bullet on every burst has no drop-off and deals more damage. Getting kills with the weapon causes enemies to detonate and send explosive Void projectiles out to seek targets. If you combine this with something like Gyrfalcon’s Hauberk – it can do some insane add-clear, even at a GM level. You won’t get much use out of this in PvP, but it’s a PvE diamond in the rough.  



Image via Bungie

Element: Stasis
Source: No longer obtainable beyond random sources like Xur
Best For: PvE and PvP

Disparity was a bit of a surprise weapon drop during Season 19. That season saw us receive a ludicrous number of new guns – and that was honestly a little bit overkill. Out of all the weapons introduced in that season, two were worth seeking out: The Ikelos SMG, and the Disparity Pulse Rifle.  

It was obvious this was going to be one of the best Pulse Rifles Destiny 2 had ever seen once we got a look at its perk pool. It rolls with Outlaw and Desperado – the kind of roll the only weapon with access to beforehand was The Messenger. Disparity was a vendor weapon, meaning it could be crafted – and it was Stasis. It’s the perfect Pulse Rifle for PvE or PvP, especially if you’re able to craft it.  


Collective Obligation 

Collective Obligation.
Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Vow of the Disciple Raid
Best For: PvE

As a raid Exotic, there was a solid 25/75 chance that Collective Obligation was good. When it dropped with Vow of the Disciple, it looked like it was going into the same storage closet as Eyes of Tomorrow and Touch of Malice. All of Void’s new utility since then has made Collective Obligation ludicrous, though, albeit with the right build.  

If you spec into your Volatile Rounds with Void, by using either Gyrfalcon’s Hauberk or Echo of Fragment, you’ll start a chain reaction with this Pulse that just melts rooms of adds, regardless of what difficulty you’re on. It’s a niche weapon, but if you build around it – it’ll give you the world.  



Image via Bungie

Element: Arc
Source: Vow of the Disicple Raid
Best For: PvE

Insidious is in the same league as Smite of Merain. Not only is it a Raid Pulse Rifle, but it’s one that excels in PvE, too. There are a few really good rolls to choose from here. In column three, you’ve got the likes of Rapid Hit and Dragonfly, with Rampage and Bait and Switch in column four.  

The real god roll for this weapon, though, is Demolitionist/Adrenaline Junkie. This one-ups Smite of Merain by offering Demolitionist alongside not just a traditional five-stack damage perk, but one that also supports your grenade engine. If you’re a PvE Pulse Fan, you’re really not going to get better than this – at least when it comes to Legendaries.  


No time to explain 

No Time to Explain.

Element: Kinetic
Source: Beyond Light campaign
Best For: PvP

No Time to Explain is the dad-Pulse. It’s the epitome of that kind of playstyle – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, you might hate playing against it, but you can’t deny just how effective it is. No Time has a long history within Destiny, but its D2 variant is the best it’s ever felt.  

The first thing the weapon has going for it is its Exotic perk Rewind Again. This returns precision hit shots to the mag, as well as shots against any target affected by Stasis. Every shot from this is added to a stack. When you hit 10x, a small portal next to your gun will open and start shooting targets for you. Precision hits extend that portal’s duration. The damage this extra portal does is enough to make this Pulse T1 for PvP.  


Vigilance Wing 

Vigilance Wing.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Exotic Engrams
Best For: Trials of Osiris

Vigilance Wing is an old-school Exotic that you still see pop up in Trials of Osiris every now and again. At its base level, Vigilance is simply a great 530 RPM 5-burst Pulse. It’s one of the best regular Pulse Rifles in the game, without taking its Exotic perks into consideration.  

These Exotic perks are important, though, because they help Vigilance Wing perform particularly in modes like Trials. It gives you increased health regen and movement speed when a teammate near you is killed. When you’re the last living member of your Fireteam, your recovery is greatly increased and pretty much everything about the weapon gets a buff. It’s the perfect 3v3 Pulse.


That’s all top 12 Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2. You may disagree with my rankings – but there’s no denying the fact that each of these weapons deserves a spot. Pulses haven’t been META for a while, so the fact that these Pulses still see play is remarkably impressive. Regardless of what you play, and what build you run, there’s a rifle up for you.

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Eoin has been playing video games his entire life. He specializes in narrative-driven, single-player titles, and brings his extensive Esports experience into his writing.
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