12 Best SMGs in Destiny 2 (2023)

So, you finally want to be META?

Eoin Black
Eoin Black
14 Min Read
Image via Bungie

Everybody has their idea of what the best SMG in Destiny 2 is. The weapon archetype has been on top of the META in both PvE and PvP for a while – which is fine with me because they’re fun to use. You’re here because you agree with me, or because you’re sick of your weapons tickling Adds while your Fireteam blows through them like paper. Either way, I’m here to help.

I’ve put together a list of the 12 best Submachine Gun options Destiny 2 has right now. It’s about time you got on top of the META.


Ikelos SMG

Ikelos SMG.
Image via Bungie

Element: Arc
Source: No longer obtainable. Keep non-red border drops for future season Deepsight Focusing
Best For: PvE and PvP

The Ikelos SMG introduced in Season of Plunder is the best SMG Destiny 2 has ever seen – bar none. It’s a craftable weapon, making it perfect for PvE and PvP. Its perk pool is stellar, and its base stats are disgusting for an SMG like this. It’s dominating both the PvE and Crucible METAs for a reason.

For PvE players, your top choice will be Feeding Frenzy/Voltshot. This turns the Ikelos SMG into the best Add-clear primary in all of D2. Your reload speed will be through the roof, and Voltshot will make every reload deal a Jolt AOE. For PvP mains, Tap the Trigger/Dynamic Sway Reduction is a classic SMG god roll, but one you’ll want to be using nonetheless.


Calus Mini-Tool

Calus Mini-Tool.
Image via Bungie

Element: Solar
Source: No longer obtainable. Keep non-red border drops for future season Deepsight Focusing
Best For: PvE

The Calus Mini-Tool isn’t the best for PvP, despite being craftable. It can certainly hold its own in the mode, but there’s no reason to use it over the Ikelos SMG. With that in mind, the Calus Mini-Tool is my second most-used primary in all of Destiny 2, behind Funnelweb – and I’m not fond of Solar on my main class.

The reason for this weapon’s success comes from it being the first SMG to see a subclass 3.0-integrated perk. Incandescent remains one of Destiny 2’s best Add-clear perks to this day. It’s capable of clearing entire waves of red bars in a couple of shots, and an ammo economy perk in Graverobber means that its uptime is through the roof. Solar mains and non-Solar mains alike should be using this thing.



Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: World loot pool. May be focusable in the future
Good For: PvE and PvP

Out of all the SMGs featured on this list, Funnelweb is perhaps the most storied. It’s been dominating the META since its very introduction, which was way back before weapon crafting was even a thing. As a result, you can’t craft a Funnelweb. However, it’s traditionally been so easy to farm that most people may have a god roll without even realizing it.

Funnelweb’s status as the best SMG Destiny 2 had for years stems from its simplicity. A roll of Subsistence with a damage perk like Adrenaline Junkie or Frenzy, along with the Veist Stinger origin trait meant that this Submachine Gun tears through adds, and literally never had to reload. Even after the Veist nerf, you’ll seldom have to refill this thing manually. Through Volatile on top of all that, and you’ll see what I mean.


The Hero’s Burden

Destiny 2 The Hero's Burden god roll in inventory.
Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Iron Banner Focusing
Best For: PvE

I was using The Hero’s Burden before it was cool because of its Feeding Frenzy/Repulsor Brace roll. As a Gyrfalcon’s main, this SMG has become my go-to primary for all high-end PvE content. With this and Devour, you can’t really die.

More recently, The Hero’s Burden has seen more mainstream success thanks to the new Lightfall perk Destabilizing Rounds. That perk has since replaced Repulsor Brace. Destabilizing Rounds causes your final blows to Volatile nearby targets. It’s free Add-clear, and incredible Add-clear at that – especially since it still rolls with Feeding Frenzy.



Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Duality Vault encounter
Best For: PvE

The Hero’s Burden was my second-choice Repulsor Brace SMG. Unforgiven was my original goal. While I didn’t get the roll I wanted from my Vault farming, I did get a roll that’s since become a staple in my Hunter Strand build. From my experience, that’s currently the best endgame build in Destiny 2, and Unforgiven is the best Submachine Gun Destiny 2 has to supplement that.

I run Rampage with Demolitionist on my roll. Why’s that important? It lets me get the grenade regen from Demo without losing an all-important damage perk. Your ammo economy does suffer, but with a bit of build and mod support – that’s not an issue. If you’re after a utility SMG to make your grenade builds more cohesive – get to farming Unforgiven.


The Immortal

The Immortal.
Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Trials of Osiris
Best For: PvP

Depending on when you’re reading this, you’re shocked that The Immortal is this low down, or you may be surprised its this high up. As of writing, this is the best SMG Destiny 2 has ever seen for Crucible – and it’s not close. After being available for a week, this thing has soared to over 10% usage in Crucible, and that’s insane. There’s a nerf incoming, hence why this isn’t number one, but we don’t know what that is yet.

This SMG is all about Rangefinder/Target Lock. These two perks, combined with The Immortal’s perfect recoil direction, have you beaming enemies for full damage well beyond Auto Rifle range. It’s as frustrating to play against as it is fun to use it. As I said, though, there’s a nerf incoming – and I suspect Bungie will want to nip this one in the bud.


Prolonged Engagement

Destiny 2 Prolonged Engagement god roll weapon in inventory
Image via Bungie

Element: Stasis
Source: Vanguard Focusing
Best For: PvE

I got a god roll Prolonged Engagement week two of Season of the Seraph. It had a perfect barrel, ammo type, Subsistence, and Headstone – along with Veist Stinger. It was a Stasis Funnelweb, and I had wanted one for so long. I accidentally sharded that roll, and I was devastated. Thankfully, Lightfall now lets you focus this weapon at Zavala, so there’s no excuse not to get one.

What makes this weapon so good is exactly what I just mentioned – it’s a Stasis Funnelweb. Not only does it get the advantages of Stasis integration, but it frees up your energy slot, too. You can easily swap out Headstone for something like Frenzy if that’s what you’re interested in. It’s got a great perk pool and archetype, and that’s enough for an SMG to be META.


Extraordinary Rendition

Extraordinary Rendition.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: No longer obtainable
Best For: PvE

Extraordinary Rendition is significant because it’s a Kinetic SMG. Before Prolonged Engagement, there weren’t too many Kinetic Submachine Guns capable of competing with the ones in the energy slot. This one could, and it was my primary of choice between Season of the Chosen and Season of the Lost.

Like the Funnelwebs of the time, the reason this was one of the best Submachine Gun options Destiny 2 had came from its simplicity. You had Subsistence combined with One For All/Frenzy/Rampage for a remarkably effective Add-clear weapon when SMGs were first rising to prominence. It may have been power crept since then, but I’m giving it a spot regardless.


Shayura’s Wrath

Shayura's Wrath.
Image via Bungie

Element: Void
Source: Trials of Osiris (not available in Season 20)
Best For: PvP

Before The Immortal, we had Shayura’s Wrath. This didn’t blow up the META like the former, but it’s been at the top of the SMG META since its release – dominating it until the release of the Ikelos SMG in Season 19. Beyond its great base stats, what makes Shayura’s such a threatening weapon is the insane accuracy and stability you can get on it.

A Shayura’s Wrath with Dynamic Sway Reduction and either Kill Clip or Tap the Trigger is going to give you practically no kick. Tap the Trigger furthers that, although some may prefer the damage increase from Kill Clip despite the lack of something like Outlaw. This thing melts at close range and is still a top-three PvP SMG despite recent additions to the roster.


Osteo Striga

Osteo Striga.
Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Witch Queen campaign
Best For: PvE

We don’t have many Exotic SMGs in Destiny 2. What few we do have tend to be underwhelming at best. That is not the case for Osteo Striga. This Exotic primary fits into the poison archetype of weapons along with Thorn and Le Monarque. So, it takes advantage of things like Warlock’s Necrotic Grips.

Osteo is the best SMG Destiny 2 has for high-end PvE right now. It’s an archetype that doesn’t perform in those activities – but this carried me through the Legendary Lightfall campaign. It has tracer rounds, so accuracy and range aren’t an issue. What’s more, final blows and precision hits trigger poison explosions similar to an Ignition blast. Enemies hit by the explosions are also poisoned. It’s S-tier for a reason.



Image via Bungie

Element: Kinetic
Source: Vow of the Disciple Raid
Best For: PvP

Submission’s poor bast range means that it misses out on the title of best Submachine Gun in Destiny 2. However, it’s craftable, still obtainable, and good enough to compete with the best of time – provided you have the right perks.

Submission has a unique roll of Encore/Killing Wind. It’s the only SMG with access to this perk combination – and thank Bungie for that. One kill with Submission will increase every single one of the gun’s main stats. If you manage to get that roll on an Adept Submission, throw an Adept range mod on it and you’ll have almost 100 range after a single kill – on a 900RPM.



Risk Runner.
Image via Bungie

Element: Arc
Source: New Light campaign
Best For: PvE

Last and least, we have Riskrunner. You’ll practically never see this thing in high-level activities because it’s simply outclassed by non-Exotic alternatives. That being said, it’s pretty damn good, and more importantly, it’s easy for new players to get. You obtain Riskrunner through the New Light campaign, and it outclasses a lot of the game’s standard META.

Veteran players have no need for this. If you have an Ikelos SMG, you’ve got the best Submachine Gun in Destiny 2 already. If you’re a newer player that’s lacking a lot of weapons and Exotics – Riskrunner will be your best friend. Get through that campaign and throw it on, it’ll open your eyes to a world of possibility within Destiny 2.


In my opinion, the best SMG in Destiny 2 is the Ikelos. However, the 11 other Submachine Guns on this list are all viable contenders for that title (mostly). Each one has its own unique use case within which it shines, so having a collection of options is a decent idea. Don’t just main one SMG – main the SMG class and switch up the weapon to match the activity you’re playing, and the build you’re using.

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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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