Destiny 2: The best SMGs for close-quarters combat

By Staff
5 December 2019 11:09 GMT

SMGs can do some tremendous damage in close quarters combat, so let’s take a look at the best of the lot.

A powerful SMG can make or break any Crucible match, but it’s easy to forget that SMGs are also pretty decent at crowd control in PvE activities, too. SMGs have one of the fastest TTK stats in the Destiny 2 meta and are worth mastering, even if you only get one kill in before you need to back off and reload.

There aren’t too many SMGs in the mix, but we have got the likes of Riskrunner and Subjunctive which have become firm favourites due to their abilities to tear down enemies and, in the case of Riskrunner, inflict chain lightning damage to enemies in a certain radius. If you equip the right abilities and gear that improve reload speed you’ll become a walking death machine.

On this page, we’ll run down the best SMGs for PvE and PvP. As usual, we’ll separate New Light weapons from their Forsaken and Shadowkeep counterparts. You can check out our New Light guide here, as well as our complete Forsaken guide.

Destiny 2: New Light SMGs


  • Antiope-D

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. 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 the Kill Clip perkwhere body shots do as much damage as standard criticals.


  • MIDA Mini-tool

MIDA Mini-tool is a Lightweight weapon that’s pretty 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 in both PvE and PvP. It’s very stable and handles pretty well and comes with a decent reload speed, too.

  • The Huckleberry

This Exotic comes with the Ride the Bull perk where kills partially reload your magazine. It also comes with Rampage, where kills with The Huckleberry temporarily increase your weapon damage. It stacks, too, so you’ll be slaughtering teams of Guardians in no time.


  • Phosphorus MG4

The Phosphorus MG4 comes with the perk Phase Mag which 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, it has the 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.


  • Riskrunner Exotic SMG

The Riskrunner Exotic SMG is a fucking beast. Riskrunner has the Arc Conductor Intrinsic Perk, where taking Arc damage increases weapon power and Arc resistance. It also comes with the Superconductor perk, where if Arc Conductor is active, shots fired have the chance to become chain lightning and return ammo.

Destiny 2: Forsaken SMGs

  • The Recluse

The Recluse is the Crucible Pinnacle weapon from Season of the Drifter. It has 900 RPM and it’s Master of Arms perk buffs damage if you land a kill with a different weapon. It’s surprisingly good at long-range and devastating in close quarters combat. You can check out how to get your hands on The Recluse here.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep SMGs

  • Subjunctive

The Subjunctive is only available for Shadowkeep players and for good reason – it tears Guardians apart in PvP matches. It drops after almost every Vex Offensive run so you’ll find a roll that suits your playstyle in no time. It has superb handling and you’ll get a boost to your Mobility while equipped, meaning you can hunt enemies down faster, which is key in PvP matches.

  • Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy is the Gambit Ritual weapon in Shadowkeep. It can roll with the Swashbuckler perk where weapon damage will increase after melee kills and kills with Exit Strategy. Underdog also boosts your reload speed and the Adaptive Frame makes Exit Strategy a well-rounded, sturdy gun that will obliterate enemies in the Crucible, Iron Banner and more.

If you think an SMG is missing from this list, leave a comment and we’ll consider adding it. Destiny 2: Season of Dawn begins on December 10 and you can check out more details here.

For more Destiny 2 guides, check out our pages on how to find the Pit of Heresy Dungeon, Nightmare Essence Cleansing and how to get Phantasmal Fragments, Cores, and access Nightmare Hunts.

You can also check out where to find the hidden Jade Rabbits and all the dead Ghosts and how to complete the Lunar Spelunker Bounty.

If you’re new to Destiny 2, you can check out our Forsaken guide here as well as how to find Lost Sectors and cache codes.

You can also check out our guides on how to get the Leviathan’s Breath Bow, the Xenophage Exotic Machine Gun, the Divinity Exotic Trace Rifle and Deathbringer Rocker Launcher.

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