Destiny 2 – What Is a Kinetic Weapon?

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Destiny 2 is a looter shooter. This means that you will handle a lot of different weapons while playing the game.

It is important to know what categories of weapons are available in Destiny 2. Today, we will cover Kinetic weapons.

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Kinetic weapons in Destiny 2 are weapons that generally don’t have an element tied to their damage, with the exception of Stasis and Strand. They are equipped in the first slot of your Loadout and deal more base damage than Energy weapons.

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What Is a Kinetic Weapon in Destiny 2?

Destiny 2 has seen many, many weapon changes over the years. During the early days, weapons were categorized by three archetypes.

Kinetic weapons were used as your Primary weapon and had no element tied to their damage type.

Energy weapons used Special ammo and dealt elemental damage. Power weapons used Heavy ammo to deal massive damage.

With the addition of the Stasis and Strand elements, along with a slew of other sandbox changes, these categories got mixed up, and now it is a lot harder to distinguish between weapon types.

Today, you will find Special weapons in the Kinetic slot and Primary weapons in the Energy slot.

This has led to a lot of confusion for newer players. So we will break down some of the differences between Kinetic and Energy weapons.

Damage Type

One of the key differences between Kinetic weapons and Energy weapons is the damage that they do, both in terms of numbers and damage type.

Kinetic weapons generally have no element tied to their damage. You can think of them as dealing physical damage as opposed to elemental damage.

While this might sound like a strict downgrade from Energy weapons, Kinetic weapons deal 10% more damage to unshielded enemies.

This makes Kinetic weapons ideal for raw damage output to unshielded enemies.

The 10% damage increase is not present in PvP, however. Kinetic weapons will have a white Power Level and no elemental symbol next to them in your inventory.

Energy weapons have an element tied to their damage type, either Solar, Arc, or Void, causing them to deal less base damage than kinetic weapons.

Energy weapons make up for this damage loss by dealing about 3x more damage to enemies with elemental shields.

For example, using a Solar Energy weapon, either Primary or Special, will quickly take out an enemy with a Solar shield, as opposed to shooting the shield with a Kinetic weapon.

Matching your damage type with the enemy’s elemental shield type is ideal, though every Energy weapon will deal extra damage to shields regardless of its element.

The element of your Energy weapon can be found by looking at the color of its Power Level and the symbol next to it, orange for Solar, blue for Arc, and purple for Void.

The exception to this rule is Stasis and Strand. These weapons can be found in the Kinetic slot only and are considered Energy weapons.

They do not receive the 10% Kinetic weapon buff and are treated as Energy weapons would be treated.

This means Exotic Perks, abilities, and Mods that specify Kinetic damage, such as the Kinetic Weapon Surge Mod, will not work with Stasis or Strand weapons.

The reason these weapon types are found in the Kinetic slot is tied to lore, though it has only caused confusion for the player base.


It is important to have a variety of different Kinetic and Energy weapons that you like to use, as you can only have one Kinetic weapon and one Energy weapon equipped at a time.

This means you won’t be able to use your favorite Shotgun paired with your favorite Hand Cannon if they are both in the Kinetic slot.

In PvE, it is typical to carry around an Energy Primary weapon to deal with elemental shields, along with a Kinetic Special weapon to output the most amount of damage to unshielded enemies.

In PvP, the damage type of your weapons rarely matters, so feel free to use whatever you are comfortable using.

There are some Exotic armor pieces and Mods that buff certain damage types, but more often than not, you won’t have to worry about it in PvP.

Now you know what a Kinetic weapon is!

Do you have any other questions regarding weapon types, elements, or damage types? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Opie Cain

Opie has played Destiny 2 since release. Crafting articles that capture the essence of this epic universe. Beyond this, he enjoys 3D printing and 3D modeling, along with social and competitive VR gaming.

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