Shotguns have always been a problem for me in Destiny. I hated playing against them in Crucible, so much so that I decided to start using them myself. When I made that switch, Bungie decided to go ahead and nerf them, which means I was left with a whole bunch of god-rolled Shotguns, and nothing to do with them.
Having used the best Shotguns Destiny 2 has to offer, I’m confident in saying these 12 are the creme of the crop. If you’re in the market for one – you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Source: Iron Banner
Riiswalker sort of took Felwinter’s spot in the META when it was released. It’s an Iron Banner Shotgun – so you just know this thing was built with PvP in mind. In particular, column four has Iron Reach. This perk trades 30 Stability for 20 Range, and that’s busted on a Shotgun.
Combine that with the right barrel, Accurized Rounds, and Quickdraw/Firmly Planted for a Crucible roll that will get people’s blood boiling. I’ve been the first-hand victim of dumb Riiswalker rolls more times then I care to admit. It’s a Shotgun that every serious PvP player should have.
Source: Vault of Glass Raid
Found Verdict is the original Crucible god. It’s a Destiny 1 Shotgun that’s been killing it since the original Vault of Glass days, and it’s here to reprise that roll for Destiny 2’s remake of that iconic raid. What’s particularly special about Found Verdict is how well it can slot into a PvE loadout, as well as a PvP one.
You’ve got Demolitionist and One-Two Punch to run alongside Opening Shot, and Auto-Loading Holster to play a PvE counterpart to Slideways. While you’ll find more success with Found Verdict in the Crucible, there’s no denying its power in both of Destiny’s sandboxes.
Source: Deep Stone Crypt Raid
Heritage is craftable and easy to farm – which is a frightening thought for PvP players. As a Slug Frame Shotgun, Heritage is a beast in a skilled Guardian’s hand. Hip-Fire Grip and Snapshot Sights mean that you can pull this weapon out, ADS, and get a shot off far faster than any other Shotgun in the game.
This simple fact, along with the crazy Range that Slug Frames get, makes Heritage perhaps the best dueling Shotgun in PvP. If you want to counter Shotguns, Heritage with that roll is actually a great choice. There are some PvE perks here, but it’s not designed for that sandbox. Run something like a Wastelander, instead.
Source: Monument to Lost Light
Felwinter’s Lie is the shotgun. If you’ve played Destiny 2 for any length of time, then you’ve been killed by this thing. It’s not nearly as prominent as it used to be, but Felwinter’s Lie was the king of Crucible once upon a time.
The inherent roll of Slideways/Opening shot means you never need to grind for this weapon – and the roll itself is about as good as a shotgun can get. Combine that with Felwiner’s great Range, and inherent Full Choke, and you’ve got a shotty capable of insta-killing Guardians in a heartbeat.
Source: Nightfall Strikes
Regardless of why you want a Shotgun, Mindbender’s Ambition is going to serve your needs. For melee users, you have One-Two Punch. Solar mains have Incandescent, while others may prefer Swashbuckler or a PvP roll like Fragile Focus or Well Rounded.
In column three, you have T1 Shotgun perks like Auto-Loading, Snapshot Sights, and Slideways. Any combination of these perks would be considered a god roll by the strictest of criteria, making Mindbenders one of the most flexible Shotguns in Destiny 2.
Source: No longer obtainable
The Ikelos Shotgun has had three iterations. The first one was great, and the second one was one of the best Shotguns in Destiny 2 history. Version three comes close to that glory thanks to one little perk – Cascade Point.
Final blows with another weapon cause Cascade Point to increase the Ikelos Shotgun’s rate of fire, and it’s not a small increase. It lets you empty this weapon’s magazine in seconds, something that’s particularly powerful when combined with Grave Robber, Feeding Frenzy, or Subsistence in column three.
Source: Grasp of Avarice Dungeon
You’re probably sick to death of me talking about PvP Shotguns by now – but that’s what they’re for. Shotguns can be great in PvE, sure, but there’s only ever been one or two real Shotgun METAS. The Crucible, on the other hand, has been terrorized by these things for years.
There’s nothing I can say about the Matador that I haven’t said for Found Verdict, Felwinter’s Lie, or any other PvP Shotgun. It has Opening Shot, which combos with Perpetual Motion or Threat Detector to turn it into a CQC powerhouse. It’s also very farmable – making it a good choice for newer players.
Source: Monument to Lost Light
Most of the best Shotguns in Destiny 2 are Legendary – it’s simply how Bungie has designed the weapon archetype. Occasionally, you’ll get an Exotic that breaks that mold. There are three examples of such on this list, with The Chaperone being the first.
If you like Precision Frames – do I have news for you. The Chaperone is a 100-range Slug Frame Shotgun. Precision kills with those slugs increase Handling, Range, and The Chaperone’s precision damage. You don’t need these buffs, though. In the right hands, this Shotgun might as well be a Sniper.
Source: Root of Nightmares Raid
I haven’t had the good fortune to use this weapon myself, hence why it’s so low down on the list. From everything I’ve seen, though, it has the potential to be one of the best Shotguns in Destiny 2 – provided Bungie doesn’t nerf it in some way.
It has two rounds in the magazine. The first fires Stasis pellets – hitting all of them Freezes the target. The second fires Solar pellets – hitting all of them will Ignite the target. In PvE, this is a Champion’s worst nightmare. In PvP, it’s a potential counter to roaming supers, so don’t underestimate its damage.
Source: Dares of Eternity and Xur’s Treasure Hoard
People sleep on the Wastelander M5. It’s a personal favorite of mine for PvE, to the point I have multiple god rolls that I actively use. It’s definitely not a PvP weapon – it’s a Lightweight Frame. That, along with its perk pool, works to the weapon’s benefit in PvE.
Subsistence, Slideways, and Perpetual Motion are all great column three perk choices. In the fourth slot, you’ve got Killing Wind, One-Two Punch, or Trench Barrel. Subsistence / Killing Wind makes this weapon a surprisingly effective add-clear option, while those other perks can be used for an anti-Champion roll.
Source: Iron Banner
As was the case with Riiswalker, Gunnora’s Axe is an Iron Banner Shotgun. This means it rolls with Iron Reach, but you also have the option of Snapshot, Opening Shot, or interestingly – Voltshot. This makes Gunnora’s Axe one of the very few Shotguns that can perform in both PvE and PvP.
You’ve got the option to combine those perks with Auto-Loading, Hip-Fire Grip, or Moving Target. It’s essentially a mix of an Incandescent Mindbender’s and one of your typical top-tier PvP Shotguns like Felwinter’s or Found Verdict.
Lord of Wolves
Source: Exotic Engrams
Lord of Wolves is a unique Shotgun. Rather than conforming to a typical archetype, this thing fires a short-range burst of shrapnel. If you get hit by this – you’re dead. It also has an alternative fire mode that lets you swap to longer, higher-damaging bursts.
There was a short period of time in which Lord of Wolves dominated the Crucible. It soon fell out of favor, though, which is a shame. Sure, it’s not META, but its ability to pump out high damage shouldn’t be overlooked. It can slaughter Guardians and Champions in seconds, and that’s worth a spot on this list.
That’s all 12 of the best Shotguns in Destiny 2, as of 2023. Shotguns in the year of Lightfall aren’t as intimidating as they once were – for better or worse. Despite this, they’re still some of the best weapons in the PvP sandbox, and there’s a lot to be said for a good PvE roll, too. If you’re in the market for a new Shotty, make a point of grabbing one of the weapons I talked about. You won’t regret it.