Destiny 2’s best sub machine guns – according to us, anyway.
The best SMG in Destiny 2 is – but wait, are there any good ones? Why, yes, Guardian, if they’re used well – as 20 minutes in the Crucible ought to make devastatingly clear.
“Why do these exist,” you say to yourself the first time you try one. “The magazine size is appalling and it’s impossible to hit anything smaller than a barn door from about four steps away.” Then you head into PvP, and you have your head popped off time and time again. Mod your gear for stability on your Energy or Kinetic weapon as appropriate and target your foes one by one; sub machine guns have one of the fastest TTK stats in the Destiny 2 meta. Worth mastering, even if you only get one kill in before you need to back off and reload.
In PvE, you may struggle to keep on top of ammo as the spongey nature of enemies and demanding aim will eat through your reserves. That said, sub machine guns are terrific for when you get up close and personal, where precision takes a back seat to quick and formidable damage – especially if your other weapon is of the long range, slow firing type.
On this page, part of our Destiny 2 guide, we’ll run down the best SMGs for PvE and PvP. Combine this with our advice on the best armour attributes in Destiny 2 and our lists of armour sets and where to find them, and you have everything you need to craft a perfect Destiny 2 build.
There are many and varied opinions on the best SMG in Destiny 2, but we’re pretty confident the few we highlight here are among the strongest contenders.
Note that the opinions expressed here are derived from the state of the Destiny 2 PvP and PvE meta during Season 1 (September 2017 onwards). A major rebalance is expected when Season 2 begins, and we’ll update once the dust settles.
Okay, here are the best SMGs in Destiny 2.
Best SMG for PvP: Antiope-D
Well, duh: Antiope-D is probably the most-used SMG in the Crucible. The 600 RPM SMGs are by far the easiest and most comfortable to use of the whole weapons category thanks to decent range and impact, and of this very small family, the Precision paradigm models are best. Already very stable with manageable recoil, a counterbalance Kinetic weapon mod turns Antiope-D into a super accurate beast at short to medium range – even when you’re under fire. Best of all, it has Kill Clip – and when that bonus kicks in, you’ll find body shots do as much damage as standard criticals, and your criticals – yeah, it’s very nice. Equip abilities and gear that improve reload speed to become a walking death machine.
- “They look to you to save them.”
- View on Destiny Tracker: Antiope-D
- Found in: Gunsmith engrams
- Alternative: Adjudicator has the same ROF and paradigm, and bonuses on hip fire and sliding.
Best general purpose SMG: MIDA Mini-tool
MIDA Mini-tool is a very good SMG in the 900 RPM family, and being a Lightweight weapon it’s snappy and helps you keep on your toes. It is only effective at very short range, but the good news is that its movement bonuses and basic attributes make it easy to dance around opponents, even in ADS, in both PvE and PvP. It’s very stable and has lovely handling, with a decent reload speed, too. And then, of course, if you’re a fan of MIDA Multi-tool, its Exotic big brother, you’ll be even zippier. A very common and effective Crucible build that also works very, very well in PvE.
- “Select application: Flare gun. Water purifier. Interplanetary Positioning System. Encyclopaedia Arcana. Personal flotation device. List continues.”
- View on Destiny Tracker: MIDA Mini-tool
- Found in: EDZ World Quest
- Alternative: Death Adder is our pick of the rest of the standard 900 RPM Lightweight SMGs.
Best Phase Mag SMG: Phosphorus MG4
We’re not really convinced by many of the Adaptive and Lightweight SMGs, but there are two with a neat perk called Phase Mag which allows you to switch them down from 900 RPM to 600 RPM in return for higher damage – bringing them close to on par with the rare Precision SMGs. Phase Mag actually results in a faster precision shot TTK than guns like MIDA Mini-tool, while improving how the weapon feels to use, as well as preserving the benefits of increased movement speed inherent to the Lightweight paradigm. Although the recoil is a little trickier to manage, our pick of these is Phosophorus MG4 for its all round better stats and excellent Dynamic Sway Reduction perk, which keeps you stable as you move around. Which you should be, with an SMG, since you’re right up in their grills.
- “The star in the east, the fire in the dawn.”
- View on Destiny Tracker: Phosphorous MG4
- Found in: Gunsmith engrams
- Alternative: Your other option is, uh, Out of Options. It’s not as good, though.
Best Exotic SMG: Riskrunner?
Well, there’s only one Exotic sub machine gun so Riskrunner wins by default – but also it’s a very good weapon worth owning on its own merits. Riskrunner really shines thanks to its unique perks, which means you hit harder when you’re taking Arc damage. When these bonuses are active it is by far the best and most powerful SMG in the game in terms of damage output, and should always be in your backpack for situations you know include Arc. It’s not delightful to use, unfortunately, and unless you need (and are able!) to counter a Stormcaller during Stormtrance, it has limited PvP application.
- “Charge your soul and let the electrons sing.”
- View on Destiny Tracker: Riskrunner
- Found in: Campaign mission reward, Exotic engrams, Xur inventory
- Alternative: There isn’t one!
Hey – we can agree to disagree. Tell us your picks for best sub machine guns in Destiny 2.