Pulse Rifles have long been one of the better Primary weapon archetypes in Destiny 2, always staying near the top along with Hand Cannons and Auto Rifles.
If you are interested in finding the best Pulse Rifle, then this guide is for you. We will cover many of the top Pulse Rifles and showcase what makes each of them great.
Recommended Read: What Is Class Ability in Destiny 2
The Best Pulse Rifle in Destiny 2 is Graviton Lance for add clear in PvE, Outbreak Prime for DPS in PvE, and The Messenger (Adept) in PvP.
Table of Contents
Best Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2
If you don’t want to commit to the close range of a Hand Cannon but also don’t want to stay so far away from the fight when using a Scout Rifle, then Pulse Rifles are the perfect middle ground.
Most Pulse Rifles have decent Range stats when scoped in and can brawl in close-quarters fights just fine. This makes Pulse Rifles a good all-around choice for both PvE and PvP.
So, which Pulse Rifle should you pick then?
After receiving a 67% damage buff in Season of the Deep, Graviton Lance has quickly become the single best Pulse Rifle in the game.
It is a two-round burst Void Exotic weapon with the Intrinsic Perk Black Hole. This Perk deals a high amount of damage with the second shot in the burst, giving it no damage falloff.
This weapon also comes with the Cosmology Perk, causing enemies killed to explode and create Void projectiles that track down and detonate near enemies.
If these explosions kill an enemy, that enemy will also create Void projectiles, repeating until there is nothing left to kill.
This makes Graviton Lance one of the best weapons for add clearing, as a single shot has the potential to take out any enemy near your target.
The explosion on kill and Void projectiles are also great additions to PvP, immediately weakening any enemies that were near your initial target.
You can bet this is one of the most used Exotic Pulse Rifles in the Crucible at the moment.
Since this weapon is an Exotic, you will deal an additional 40% damage to Minor enemies.
The Catalyst gives Graviton Lance Vorpal Weapon, causing it to deal an extra 20% damage to Major and Boss enemies, along with Turnabout, which grants you an overshield after defeating an enemy in their Super.
Being a Void weapon, Graviton Lance takes advantage of Devour and Volatile Rounds and is the perfect Primary weapon for Hunters using Gyrfalcon’s Hauberk.
The ability to clear out waves of enemies with a single shot, the extra Exotic damage, the added damage of Vorpal Weapon, and the fact that it plays into Void builds makes Graviton Lance the best Pulse Rifle in Destiny 2 right now.
With the recent inclusion of Weekly Rotating Exotic Missions, Revision Zero is now obtainable once again.
This is one of the most unique weapons in Destiny 2. Not only is it a craftable Exotic Pulse Rifle, but it has many, many Perks and Traits for you to choose from.
You can really customize this weapon to whatever playstyle you wish.
It is capable of swapping between a two-round heavy-hitting burst fire or a four-round burst.
It has an alt-fire Sniper Rifle mode that builds up to four shots by landing headshots with the base fire mode. It has anti-barrier rounds that destroy Barrier Champions. Lastly, you have the option of equipping one of six unique Catalysts.
With Perks like Fourth Time’s the Charm and Vorpal Weapon, this becomes a great weapon for dealing with Minor enemies, Major enemies, and Champions all in one weapon, as Fourth Time’s the Charm can trigger off of your Sniper Rounds, granting you two additional Sniper Rounds for a total of six in a single mag. This results in a lot of damage.
If you are looking for a great all-around Primary weapon that deals a good amount of burst damage to Bosses and Champions, Revision Zero is a great choice.
If it falls short on wave clearing to Graviton Lance but makes up for it with raw damage output.
Speaking of raw damage output, Outbreak Perfected may be the single highest DPS Pulse Rifle in the game, when it comes to sustained DPS, that is.
The Intrinsic Perk The Corruption Spreads creates SIVA nanite swarms when dealing precision damage to enemies.
Since this Perk activates on precision damage and not kills, it will continuously create Nanite swarms while you fire.
The Parasitism Perk causes this weapon to deal extra damage to enemies based on the number of SIVA nanite swarms that are attached to them.
At maximum stacks, you will see this weapon doing an insane amount of damage for a Primary.
The downside to this weapon is the build-up. It takes a second to get to the maximum SIVA nanite stacks, meaning the extra damage output is usually beaten by other, faster weapons.
It is fine at chipping down Champions. Where this weapon shines is in Boss DPS phases that last a long time.
The Parasitism Perk only takes into account the number of swarms the enemy has attached to them, not the number of swarms you attached to them.
If your entire Fireteam is using this weapon, you will instantly activate this Perk and begin dealing high damage with every shot.
For long DPS phases, this can be a great choice, as you will not have to worry about running out of Special or Heavy ammo.
You can purchase this Exotic from the Exotic Kiosk in the Tower, though it won’t be cheap.
This Halo-inspired Pulse Rifle has a unique frame that grants it increased Accuracy, Stability, and Aim Assist while firing from the hip.
Being a Solar weapon, this is a great Primary weapon choice for Solar 3.0 builds. It can roll with Incandescent for Scorch synergy and Demolitionist for extra grenade energy.
In PvP, Perpetual Motion and Kill Clip make this gun feel great. It is currently one of the most used Legendary Pulse Rifles in the game.
It is also just a fun weapon to use. The unique frame and Halo-style of gunplay can not be found on any other Primary.
You can obtain this weapon from Dares of Eternity. It is craftable, so after farming 5 red borders, you will be able to create your very own god-roll.
No Time To Explain
This Exotic Pulse Rifle is second only to Graviton Lance in terms of PvP usage.
The Intrinsic Perk Rewind Again returns bullets to the magazine after landing precision shots or shots against enemies affected by Stasis abilities.
After gaining 10 stacks of Rewind Again, the Perk Time-Slip will activate, creating a portal near you that also fires at enemies. This can come in handy during 6v6, tho it isn’t as important in 3v3.
What sets this weapon apart from the rest isn’t even the Exotic Perks. This weapon is a stat monster.
It has good Range even after the nerfs, fine Handling, great Stability, and a solid time-to-kill. This has led to many PvP players picking this as their Pulse Rifle of choice.
The Messenger (Adept)
If you are looking for the best Legendary PvP Pulse Rifle, that would be The Messenger.
While Desperado is no longer the monster it once was, you can still roll some great Perks on this weapon to compliment its already great stat line.
The Range that you can get on this thing is absurd, especially when adding on an Adept Range Mod. The Rapid Hit Perk will make up for this weapon’s only lacking stat being Handling.
Headseeker adds damage and aim assist to this weapon on body shots, making our time-to-kill more lenient.
You have the option of using one of two Origin Perks. Alacrity is great for Rumble and 3v3 game modes, giving you an all-around stat boost when you are the last member alive on your team.
One Quiet Moment will be your go-to for 6v6 game modes, giving you enhanced reload speed when out of combat.
Everybody loves Rapid-Fire Frame Pulse Rifles, but we’ve sadly not had any good ones in the sandbox recently until the release of the Crota’s End Raid.
Oversoul Edict is a great weapon. It has a lot of aim assist and some great Perk options that make it a contender for both Pve and PvP activities.
Demolitionist and Sword Logic are the go-to Perks for PvE, granting grenade energy and a damage buff that will constantly remain activated.
Joltshot interacts with the Origin Perk Cursed Thrall, causing massive explosions and Arc damage to enemies shot after a melee kill. This can lead to some serious add-clearing potential.
In PvP, you have the option to either boost your poor Range stat with Keep Away or go all-in on a dueling build with Eye of the Storm.
Once again, Headseeker is a great Perk that gives you some leeway in your time-to-kill.
All in all, this is a great craftable Pulse Rifle that isn’t too hard to farm.
This is the Raid Exotic for the Vow of the Disciple Raid and was basically made for Void 3.0 builds.
The Intrinsic Perk Void Leech causes damage dealt with by this weapon to steal energy from enemies who are suppressed, weakened, or volatile.
Holding down your reload button will enter the alternative fire mode, allowing this weapon to apply the same debuffs that it has leeched to any enemy shot.
This effectively gives you infinite volatile rounds, suppressing shots or weakening shots throughout an encounter. To top it off, you are receiving a 20% damage buff while Void Leech is active.
Umbral Sustenance just makes this weapon better by automatically reloading it when you activate Devour, a Void overshield, or become invisible.
Being a Raid Exotic, this is a tough weapon to obtain. Once you do, it could quickly become your favorite Void Primary for any Void subclass build.
We will quickly mention some Legendary Pulse Rifles that are still worth consideration, should you have any of them lying around.
Syncopation-53, Psi Hermetic V, Different Times, and Phyllotactic Spiral are all excellent weapons that still see a lot of use in both PvE and PvP today.
These are the best of the best when it comes to Pulse Rifles in Destiny 2.
What do you think of this list? Is there a Pulse Riflew you believe belongs on this list? Let me know in the comments!