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Destiny 2: Exotic Weapons guide - a list of every weapon

A breakdown of every Exotic weapon in Destiny 2.

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About Ed Thorn

Ed's a huge fan of rushing B in CS:GO and grinding it out in Destiny 2. He will not rest until a new Wario Land is announced.

On this page you’ll find every Destiny 2 Exotic Weapon in the game, including a breakdown of how to unlock them, stats and perks.

If you’ve the patience to track down the very finest weaponry available to Guardians, then you’ll be delighted to know that Exotic Weapons are returning in Destiny 2. If you’re coming to the sequel without any experience of the first though, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Put simply, these turbo-charged weapons of destruction represent the very best offensive items that you can lay your hands on in the game. They dish out more damage than usual, they tend to provide additional combat effects, they look incredible, and they generally provide a massive boost to your performance. If you’re serious about tackling the very toughest content in the game, you’re going to need to lay your hands on at least one or two of these high-powered weapons.

We’ll continue updating our Exotic weapons guide over time with extra insight, so check back for updates. If you’re after even more information on some of the best gear you can obtain in the game, make sure you take a look at our Exotic armour guide for a closer look at some of the best loot in Destiny 2.

Editor's UPDATE #13: Now that we've covered every Exotic Weapon in the game, we've begun highlighting our favourites for PVE and PVP activities. Just down below you'll find out why you should get your hands on the Legend of Acrius. We'll continue updating this article with more of our picks so keep this page bookmarked for more very soon!

Every Exotic Weapon

Exotic WeaponWeapon TypeEnergy TypeUnlock MethodOfficial Description
BorealisSniper RifleSolar/Arc/VoidPS4 Exclusive"Light is a spectrum. Why limit yourself to a single hue?"
ColdheartTrace RifleArcPre-order, then visit Postmaster having completed main campaign."The latest Omolon engineering leverages liquid fuel as coolant to keep weapon systems at biting subzero temperatures."
D.A.R.C.ISniper RifleArcEngram, reward or vendor"Thank you for using the Data Analysis, Reconnaissance, and Cooperative Intelligence device. You may call me Darci."
Fighting LionGrenade LauncherVoidEngram, reward or vendor"I call it the Zhang Fei. It hits almost as hard as I do." —Wei Ning"
Graviton LancePulse RifleVoidStory mission*, reward, Engram or vendor"Think of space-time as a tapestry on a loom. This weapon is the needle."
Hard LightAuto RifleSolar/Arc/VoidEngram, reward or vendor"Ionized polymer synballistic attack platform. The system's lethality is dynamically robust across tactical spaces."
Legend of AcriusShotgunArcTBA""In the Cabal legend, a hero seeks to possess the sun. He succeeds. Then, he becomes Emperor. The Cabal… are not a subtle people." —Tyra Karn"
MercilessFusion RifleSolarEngram, reward or vendor"Entropy is inevitable."
MIDA Multi-ToolScout RifleKineticDevrim Kay story quests, upon completion of campaign."Select application: Ballistic engagement. Entrenching tool. Avionics trawl. Troll smasher. Stellar sextant. List continues."
Rat KingSidearmKineticRat King Riddle quest"We are small, but we are legion."
RiskrunnerSubmachine gunArcStory mission*, reward, Engram or vendor"Charge your soul and let the electrons sing."
Skyburner's OathScout RifleSolarEngram, reward or vendor"The inscription, written in a Cabal dialect, reads: "Victory or death!"
SturmHand CannonKineticSturm and Drang quest"These ancient ceremonial pistols can be dated back to the early Golden Age. A faded inscription reads, "To Sigrun, from Victor."
SunshotHand CannonSolarStory mission*, Engram, reward or vendor"Can't outrun the sunrise." —Liu Feng
Sweet BusinessAuto RifleKineticEngram, reward or vendor"…I love my job."
The ProspectorGrenade LauncherArcEngram, reward or vendor"Some things should stay buried."
The Wardcliff CoilRocket LauncherArcEngram, reward or vendor"Ingenuity. Desperation. A haphazard prototype of terrible power. Such were the factors at play in the Wardcliff Incident."
Tractor CannonShotgunVoidEngram, reward or vendor"Property of Ishtar Collective. WARNING: Gravity propulsor beam can cause serious injury or even death."
Vigilance WingPulse RifleKineticEngram, reward or vendor"The eye remains open. The Lighthouse remains lit." —Brother Vance"

*You'll get a choice between these three Exotics when you complete the first story mission on Io. You can also obtain them the traditional way too, so don't worry if you missed out!

Our favourite Exotic Weapons

Why you need Merciless

By far one of the best Exotic Weapons for the Raid in particular, Merciless is an incredible tool for shredding enemy health bars.

It's all down to the "Conserve Momentum" intrinsic perk, which means that if you shoot an enemy with Merciless and they don't go down, the next shot will be a touch faster. This effect stacks to the point where it's firing so fast you'll forget it's a Fusion Rifle.

Many members of the community recommend Merciless as a go-to for activities where you'll be dishing out damage to mini-bosses or particularly tough enemies. It's almost a necessity for the Leviathan Raid, as it's brilliant for both destroying the War Beasts in the Pleasure Gardens and dropping Bathers in the Royal Baths.

Fingers crossed it drops in one of your Exotic Engrams!

Don’t underestimate Riskrunner

Early on in Destiny 2’s campaign you’ll have the chance to pick up Riskrunner as an Exotic quest reward and it’s well worth adding to your arsenal.

On our first playthrough we weren’t convinced by our choice. It didn’t fulfill a power fantasy we had in our minds of a submachine gun that would tear through enemies with electrified ease.

It was only until we dipped our toes in some Vex milk in the Inverted Spire’s final stages that it all clicked into place. We’d paid no real attention to Riskrunner’s Intrinsic perk until then and the way it morphed into a completely different beast upon us taking Arc damage was something else.

Dipping our toes into the crackling Vex milk enabled us to shred through enemies without taking our fingers off the trigger or reloading. It even chained lightning off foes - beautiful.

From this moment on, Riskrunner’s a weapon we’ll always take into an activity where we’ll be facing off against the Taken, Fallen or Vex. As long as you’re taking a little Arc damage, you’ll literally be unstoppable.

Keep hold of the Tractor Cannon

There's one Exotic Weapon that's overlooked by many and that comes as no surprise - it's just not that great in comparison to many other Exotics. Take it into PVP though and it becomes the ultimate tool for creating hilarious moments. That's right, the Tractor Cannon ensures you'll always have a good time.

Tractor Cannon's a shotgun that unleashes a wave of energy that shunts enemies backwards, which means that it's great for sending Guardians flying off the map or careering into walls.

We've linked our favourite video on the Tractor Cannon below and it's a hilarious watch which shows just what it's capable of. Excuse a few instances of bad language and you're in for a treat.

The Legend of Acrius is a monster

Although it requires completion of the Raid to acquire - and multiple runs for the upgraded version - the Legend of Acrius is easily one of the best shotguns in Destiny 2.

Many people choose to focus on the sheer damage output it can unleash, which is fantastic. However, many overlook the sheer range you're able to disintegrate players in PVP - it's enormous.

Get vaguely close to someone in PVP and they'll melt in one shot. There's nothing more delightful.

Exotic Kinetic Weapon Perks

MIDA Multi-Tool

  • Special: MIDA Multi-Tool - This weapon boosts move speed.
  • Corkscrew Rifling - Balanced barrel. Slightly increases range, stability and handling speed.
  • High-Caliber Rounds - Shots from this weapon knock the target back farther. Slightly increases range.
  • MIDA Radar - Radar stays active while aiming down sights.
  • Hand-laid Stock - This weapon is optimized for recoil control. Increases stability.

Rat King

  • Special: Rat Pack - This weapon becomes stronger when nearby allies also have it equipped. Stacks up to 6 times.
  • Smallbore - Dual strength barrel. • Increases range • Increases stability.
  • Tactical Mag - This weapon has multiple tactical improvements. Slightly increases stability, reload speed and magazine size.
  • Vermin - Reloading immediately after a kill grants a brief period of invulnerability.
  • Smooth Grip - This weapon is slightly easier to hold and aim. Slightly increases stability and handling speed.

Sturm

  • Special: Accomplice - Kills with this weapon fill the magazine of the equipped Energy weapon from reserves.
  • Extended Barrel - Weighty barrel extension. Increases range. Decreases handling speed.
  • Extended Mag - This weapon has a greatly increased magazine size, but reloads much slower. Greatly increases magazine size. Greatly decreases reload speed.
  • Storm and Stress - Kills with Energy Weapons grant bonus precision damage until next reload.
  • Combat Grip - This weapon’s recoil direction is more vertical. Greatly controls recoil.

Sweet Business

  • Special: Payday - Larger magazine. Increased accuracy when firing from the hip.
  • Polygonal Rifling - Barrel optimised for recoil reduction. Increases stability.
  • High-Caliber Rounds - Shots from this weapon knock the target back farther. Slightly increases range.
  • Business Time - Holding down the trigger boosts this weapon’s range and rate of fire, and automatically loads ammo pickups into the magazine.
  • Composite Stock - This weapon has a versatile dual-purpose stock. Slightly increases stability and handling speed.

Vigilance Wing

  • Special: Harsh Truths - This weapon fires a 5-round burst. When a nearby ally is killed, gain health regeneration and increased movement speed.
  • Corkscrew Rifling - Balanced barrel. Slightly increases range, stability and handling speed.
  • Alloy Magazine - Faster reloads when the magazine is empty.
  • Last Stand - Improved weapon performance when its wielder is the last living member of a fireteam.
  • Composite Stock - This weapon is optimized for recoil control. Increases stability and handling speed.

Exotic Energy Weapon Perks

Coldheart

  • Special: Cold Fusion - This weapon shoots a steady cold fusion-powered laser.
  • Extended Barrel - Weighty barrel extension. Increases range. Decreases handling speed.
  • Enhanced Battery - Strong battery life. Increases magazine size.
  • Longest Winter - Coldheart’s laser does exponentially more damage the longer it remains a target.
  • Hand-Laid Stock - This weapon is optimised for recoil control. Increases stability.

Fighting Lion

  • Special: Delayed Gratification - Grenade projectiles will bounce off surfaces. Hold to fire, and release to detonate.
  • Countermass - This weapon is weighted for vertical recoil. Greatly controls recoil. Increases stability and handling speed.
  • Implosion Rounds - This weapon’s projectiles travel faster and have a controlled explosion. Increases projectile speed. Greatly increases stability. Decreases Blast Radius.
  • Thin the Herd - Direct hits with this weapon do more damage to shielded enemy combatants. Rapid kills against grenade-damaged enemies will refill the magazine.
  • Short-Action Stock - This weapon is especially easy to grip. Greatly increases handling speed.

Graviton Lance

  • Special: Black Hole - Third shot of a burst rips a hole through spacetime, doing high damage and recoil with no fall off.
  • Hammer-Forged Rifling - Durable ranged barrel. Increases range.
  • Accurized Rounds - This weapon can fire longer distances.
  • Cosmology - Kills with this weapon cause enemy targets to detonate.
  • Fitted Stock - This stock makes the weapon stable but heavy. Increases stability. Moderately controls recoil. Slightly decreases handling speed.

Hard Light

  • Special: Volatile Light - Rounds fired from this weapon have no damage falloff, overpenetrate targets and ricochet off hard surfaces.
  • Polygonal Rifling - Barrel optimised for recoil reduction. Increases stability.
  • Alloy Magazine - Faster reloads when the magazine is empty.
  • Arc Core - Modifies this weapon's Damage Type to Arc.
  • Composite Stock - This weapon has a versatile dual-purpose stock. Slightly increases stability. Slightly increases handling speed.

Legend of Acrius

  • Special: Shock Blast -This weapon fires blasts of high-damage Arc energy that overpenetrates enemies.

Merciless

  • Special: Conserve Momentum - Non-lethal hits with projectiles make this weapon charge faster until its wielder gets a kill.
  • Chambered Compensator - Stable barrel attachment. Increases stability. Moderately controls recoil. Slightly decreases handling speed.
  • Extended Mag - This weapon has a greatly increased magazine size, but reloads much slower. Greatly increases magazine size. Greatly decreases reload speed.
  • Impetus - Reloading immediately after a kill increases weapon damage for a short time.
  • Fitted Stock - This stock makes the weapon stable but heavy. Increases stability. Moderately controls recoil. Slightly decreases handling speed.

Riskrunner

  • Special: Arc Conductor - When taking Arc Damage, this weapon becomes more powerful and resists incoming Arc Damage. Kills extend the time in this overcharged state.
  • Arrowhead Brake - Lightly vented barrel. Greatly controls recoil. Increases handling speed.
  • Extended Mag - This weapon has a greatly increased magazine size, but reloads much slower. Greatly increases magazine size. Greatly decreases reload speed.
  • Superconductor - When Arc Conductor is active, shots fired have the chance to become chain lightning and return ammo.
  • Short-Action Stock - This weapon is especially easy to grip. Greatly increases handling speed.

Skyburner’s Oath

  • Special: Slug Rifle - This weapon fires Solar slugs that get stronger when aiming down sights.
  • Extended Barrel - Weighty barrel extension. Increases range. Decreases handling speed.
  • Extended Mag - This weapon has a greatly increased magazine size, but reloads much slower. Greatly increases magazine size. Greatly decreases reload speed.
  • For the Empire - This weapon is Full Auto, does extra damage to Cabal, and penetrates Phalanx shields.
  • Short-Action Stock - This weapon is especially easy to grip. Greatly increases handling speed.

Sunshot

  • Special: Sunburn - This weapon fires explosive rounds and highlights targets that take damage from Sunshot.
  • Chambered Compensator - Stable barrel attachment. Increases stability. Moderately controls recoil. Slightly decreases handling speed.
  • Accurized Rounds - This weapon can fire longer distances. Increases range.
  • Sun Blast - Targets killed with Sunshot explode in Solar energy.
  • Textured Grip - The friction on this weapon’s grip is particularly strong. Greatly increases handling speed. Slightly decreases stability.

The Prospector

  • Special: Excavation - Hold to fire grenades. Release to detonate all live grenades simultaneously.
  • Volatile Launch - This weapon is optimized for an especially explosive payload. Greatly increases blast radius. Slightly decreases handling speed. Slightly decreases projectile speed.
  • Augmented Drum - Heavy, high capacity drum. Greatly increases magazine size. Greatly decreases reload speed.
  • Full Auto Trigger System - Holding down the trigger will fire this weapon at full auto.
  • Hand-Laid Stock - This weapon is optimised for recoil control. Increases stability.

The Wardcliff Coil

  • Special: Mad Scientist - This weapon fires a volley of rockets.
  • Volatile Launch - This weapon is optimized for an especially explosive payload. Greatly increases blast radius. Slightly decreases handling speed. Slightly decreases projectile speed.
  • Extended Mag - This weapon has a greatly increased magazine size, but reloads much slower. Greatly increases magazine size. Greatly decreases reload speed.
  • Mechanised Autoloader - This weapon automatically reloads on ammo pickup.
  • Composite Stock - This weapon has a versatile dual-purpose stock. Slightly increases stability. Slightly increases handling speed.

Tractor Cannon

  • Special: Repulsor Force - This weapon fires a powerful impulse to push enemies away..
  • Extended Barrel - Weighty barrel extension. Increases range. Decreases handling speed.
  • Particle Repeater - Constrains recoil for every bolt. Increases stability.
  • The Scientific Method - Damaging an opponent temporarily increases speed and handling.
  • Composite Stock - This weapon has a versatile dual-purpose stock. Slightly increases stability. Slightly increases handling speed.

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