Best & Worst Weapon Perks

Published on: Feb 8, 2015 @ 16:50

Contributing Author: Anson C

You just got a shiny new weapon. Whether it be from a vendor or the Nightfall, or even from the ever-so-stingy Cryptarch, naturally one of the first things that you inspect are the perks.

A weapon’s perks can make even rare weapons extraordinary, or allow some to perform better in roles that they normally wouldn’t.

Below you’ll find a list of the more noteworthy perks, the niche ones, and ones that are probably best to avoid.

All of the perks aren’t listed here, so if you have any that you can’t live without, be sure to let us know what they are and why you prefer using them!

Must-Own

| Outlaw

Outlaw grants 150% of your base reload speed after a precision kill. A powerful mod in PvE and PvP, chaining precision kills can give you almost no downtime between reloads.

Outlaw is generally more effective in PvP if your playstyle gets you into close to medium-range engagements. At long range, quick reloads are less vital.

outlaw best reload speed perk

| Third Eye

Third Eye is a powerful awareness mod. This is critical in PvP, where having your Motion Tracker active while ADS can save your life and let you get the jump on someone trying to sneak up on you.

In PvE, Third Eye is less important, particularly if you’ve got friends playing with you.

The Exotic Knucklehead Radar helmet essentially provides this perk on any primary weapon.

| Firefly

Firefly causes enemies killed with precision damage to explode as a Solar blast with a 5-meter radius. Firefly is an awesome mod in PvE, as it yields bonus damage on nearby enemies when you score precision kills. It also does Solar damage, so the blast might occasionally help with Solar Shields.

Firefly basically turns weak enemies into walking grenades. Hit a Dreg in the face, and he’ll most likely take out his fellow Dregs around him. Those that live will get staggered, often knocking them out of whatever cover they were trying to hide behind.

In PvP, it’s less likely for opponents to be clumped up close enough for the explosion to routinely influence the outcome of a fight, so it’s best used in PvE since it will be more consistent there.

| Field Scout & Extended Mag

Most beneficial on weapons that have low ammo counts like machine guns and rocket launchers, Field Scout effectively increases the number of bullets that can be fired before a reload, the number of bullets that can be held, and the amount of bullets that can be picked up off a single pack of ammo.

Extended Mag only increases magazine size, but it’s still a great mod that will give you an indirect boost to your sustained DPS output.

| Fitted Stock & Perfect Balance

Maximizing Stability is key to winning firefights, at least in PvP. The more Stability your weapons have, the longer your engagement distances can be.

| Zen Moment

This boosts your Stability, capping at 66% after five hits. This is a significant bonus, and while it doesn’t last long, it can ensure that you become even more lethal as you score hits.

On a weapon with an already strong Stability value, Zen Moment may give you relatively little benefit.

best pvp destiny weapon perks

Situation Dependent

| Final Round

Final Round gives you a 100% chance of dealing 33% more damage with the last shot in your magazine. This mod is less useful on a scout rifle, as emptying your entire magazine and scoring a kill with the final round’s damage boost isn’t a common occurrence.

In PvE, this contributes a slight boost to overall damage output, as long as you remember to always dump your magazine.

You can also prime your weapon by leaving a single round remaining and using it to deal a heavy hit when you begin an engagement.

best pve weapon mods

| Luck in the Chamber

One of Hawkmoon‘s perks, this potent 33% damage boost can easily tip the odds in your favor. Scout rifles don’t benefit quite as much, though a low-magazine, high-damage scout rifle can still land some solid damage with precision shots at long range.

In PvE, this is a guaranteed damage bonus as long as you drain the magazine, but it is a small one similar to Final Round.

| Flared Magwell

A powerful reload speed increase, Flared Magwell will maximize the reload speed of any weapon, albeit at a cost to Stability.

This is ideal for weapon archetypes with low Reload and high Stability values.

destiny firefly perk

| Explosive/Armor Piercing/High Caliber Rounds

Explosive ammo is good to have if your weapon lacks any other crowd control capabilities, armor piercing allows your bullets to go through lines of enemies (and walls if you are fortunate enough to find it on a sniper rifle), and HC is good in general since an enemy that is flinching cannot shoot back (though it is negated by the angry mission modifier).

Explosive Rounds gives your bullets a 2-meter explosion on impact. Against multiple targets near each other, it can raise your damage output because the blast will hit the nearby enemies. This is typically far more effective in PvE, especially against Hive in narrow hallways.

Armor Piercing Rounds is very useful in PvE, allowing your bullets to punch through the first enemy you hit, striking anyone behind them. This can significantly boost your damage output in situations where you are fighting large groups of clumped adversaries. In PvP, it’s less common for opponents to conveniently group up in a straight line for you to shoot. However, APR on sniper rifles will allow you to shoot through walls!

High Caliber Rounds do not increase damage, but they do increase the amount that your shots cause your target’s view to flinch. In PvE, this makes your rounds hit enemies harder, even though the rounds aren’t doing more damage. In PvP, don’t expect HCRs to save you in a firefight against an equally skilled opponent at short ranges. Scout rifles and hand cannons already have naturally high Flinch values, but High Caliber Rounds push them even higher.

| Hammer forged

A powerful Range mod, Hammer Forged can easily peg the Range stat on several archetypes, or push an otherwise short-ranged weapon out to medium or long range. Range determines how much damage you do at longer ranges.

You pay for this significant increase in long-distance performance with a penalty to reload speed. This is generally not a major issue if you’re keeping your fights at arm’s reach, but be mindful of the loss at short range.

In general, this mod is best on weapons that have naturally good accuracy and stability because you get the most benefit in damage output if you can actually land the shots at a distance. If you find yourself fighting at short range frequently, there’s better weapon perks than this one.

By increasing the range of a weapon, less of the damage is lost over distance, which can be great for auto rifles and essential for shotguns.

best pvp destiny weapon mods

| Shot package

This is a high-risk, high-reward mod for shotguns. It tightens your pellet spread, giving you a better chance of landing all of your shotgun’s potential damage on target. The downside is that if you are even slightly off target, you may end up dealing no damage whatsoever.

Shot Package doesn’t directly increase damage output, but it helps to ensure that you’ll land the maximum possible damage that the shotgun is capable of.

In PvP, this all but guarantees a one-shot kill at short range. In PvE, this can extend the effective distance of your shotgun slightly while ADS, useful for hitting nearby adversaries while remaining in cover. It is particularly useful in the Crucible, where you can surprise a foe by hitting them outside the effective kill range of their shotgun.

| Lightweight & Single Point Sling

Lightweight raises your Agility by 2, giving you a boost to movement and jump speed. If you favor Agility, this can push you up to and beyond your normal Agility limit. However, don’t expect the slight boost to pull you past sluggish if you totally abandon Agility abilities as a Titan or Warlock.

Single Point Sling provides a 50% boost to Ready and Away speed as well as a 10% movement speed boost. The Ready and Away benefits make for quick weapon switching and faster recovery for your weapon from sprinting.

To obtain the maximum benefit from Single Point Sling, seek out a weapon archetype that has a strong Handling value to begin with—Single Point Sling’s percentage-based boost can push you well beyond the normal cap. Keep your eye out for a shotgun with a Single Point Sling; fast switching to a shotgun can be deadly in PvP.

Single Point Sling and Lightweight both provide a movement speed boost, but once your Agility is capped, Lightweight can outperform. For Hunters looking for maximum speed, cap Agility and bring a Lightweight weapon. Single Point Sling is typically superior for movement speed, but it does not boost your jump height in the same way that Lightweight does.

best pve destiny weapon perks

| Crowd Control

Crowd Control provides a significant 15% damage bonus for three seconds after you score a kill. Use this perk for a consistent damage boost; downing a single enemy can start a chain as you drop one target after another.

In PvP it can make the difference in a high-intensity firefight, and can help you score multiple kills easier.

| Glass Half Full

Glass Half Full is only found on auto and pulse rifles. Glass Half Full grants a scaling damage bonus that begins with a tiny boost to damage at half magazine, increasing to a 6% damage bonus at the bottom of the magazine as you empty it. Because the effect is so small, you’re looking at a slight increase to your sustained DPS output.

As long as you don’t waste rounds, this mod is a solid sustained damage boost in PvE. In PvP, this mod can reliably give a slight bonus to your damage output, particularly in situations where you transition from a first target to a second or third.

Pair this mod with Reactive Reload for damage bonuses at the start and end of your mag.

| Hipfire

If you favor aggressive combat and melee, Hip Fire enables you to fire more accurately while closing the distance for a melee strike.

Weapons with a high Range stat have smaller bloom circles, and combining that with Hip Fire can give you the best possible hipfire accuracy.

Though it does increase the accuracy of a weapon, the benefits of aiming down sights far outweigh hip firing, as using your scope allows the weapon to operate at its maximum efficiency.

Avoid

| Mulligan

This mod gives you a 5% chance to reload your weapon with another shot instantly, but only when you fire and miss.

With such a low chance of activating, this perk is essentially unnoticeable, and the ammo that it does return is negligible anyway. No Land Beyond unfortunately has this perk.

| Vacuum

Vacuum simply doubles the range at which you can grab nearby ammo packs. Although this can occasionally help you snag nearby ammo from cover or save you a few seconds in the open, it’s basically useless.

| Life support

Life Support refills your magazine and boosts your reload speed to 150% of base if you drop below 20% of your max health and manage to kill the enemy you are fighting.

In PvP, this can give you a surge of ammo to follow up on a second nearby foe and a faster reload right after, but if you are that badly wounded in a fight, pulling off the follow-up is difficult at best.

Any situation where you have enough health for the perk to activate upon a kill can be remedied by not getting into the situation in the first place, or by having superior firepower. Extended Mag or Field Scout are much safer alternatives.

best pvp weapon mods

| Snapshot

Snapshot provides a 30% bonus to ADS speed, allowing your weapon to exceed its normal ADS speed cap.

A fast ADS times make a weapon feel incredibly responsive, but it’s not a powerful perk because ADS speed in general is already fast.

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LATEST POSTS BY AUTHOR

  • Jason Peterson

    Since when does Perfect Balance reduce range? Author is confusing it with Smart Drift Control and/or CQB Ballistics.

    Fitted Stock is also on auto rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, and pulse rifles. Not just scout rifles.

    Glass Half Full is worthless because the total damage increase over an entire magazine rarely exceeds the damage of a SINGLE bullet from whatever gun you’re using.

    Final Round is a must own?… What? Maybe if you want to be a prick in Crucible with a sniper rifle.

    Luck In the Chamber is a must own? … Who wrote this article?

    Hammer Forged Increase range & accuracy. It’s a great perk, but best on rapid-fire weapons. I feel like it also increases bullet magnetism or hitbox sizes, but that’s not something I can provide proof on. I’ve noticed that hitboxes seem more forgiving with my Vanquisher VIII with Hammer Forged than when I use Perfect Balance.

    Snapshot is entirely dependent on that weapons handling speed. It’s quite good on Sniper Rifles & Red Death.

    Not the greatest article, should have gone through some peer review before being posted.

    • kiiiddd

      I like the Who’s next………..other than on a rocket launcher that perk is 99% of the time garbage.

      It activates on a kill with the last round, so on pretty much anything that is not very easy to proc

    • fallenlords

      To be fair, it is never stated in the article that fitted stock is only on scout rifles.
      Luck in the chamber and final round for low magazine hand cannons like Timur’s Lash essentially turn the weapon into a poor man’s Hawkmoon.
      There are hidden effects to every perk. Just because perfect balance doesn’t say that it reduces range doesn’t mean that it doesn’t reduce range, just like how you state that hammer forged apparently increases bullet magnetism despite not stating so in the perk.

      • Jason Peterson

        The article was edited after I posted. Right now Perfect Balance isn’t even mentioned in the article at all where it was lumped in with Fitted Stock before.

        Perfect Balance does not reduce range nor has it ever.

        Timur’s Lash is a outlying example with one of the highest impact levels of any weapon in the game. It in no way represents the other 50’ish guns in the game that can roll Luck In The Chamber or Final Round. Resorting to extreme examples to make a point does not represent the general rule, which is the obvious intent of this article.

        • DemiDevil

          Actually I have to say that Perfect Balance does reduce range, it may not be visible but it is obvious whilst playing. I use Last Word both in PVP and PVE, Using Perfect Balance is a must but I did notice a slight reduce to my damage while firing from long range. And yes I know Last Word is not a long range weapon, doesn’t stop me.

    • enjaytee

      Personally I think Crowd COntrol is a must own. I have it and Reactive Reload on my Up For Anything. The damage bonus stacks with each other and it’s turned my AR into a killing machine.

      • NLK3

        You lucky… sonuva… BEEYATCH!!!

        I wanted that combo for AGES!!! Damn I want a reforge system in this game for all weapons (and leveling up ANY weapon you want, not just Xur’s choices for exotics only).

        • enjaytee

          I don’t know what the odds were of getting that combo, the only thing that would’ve made this AR perfect is Field Scout. I ended up with Hammer Forged.

          I just wish you could re-roll perks on any weapon. Just like the Iron Banner gear.

    • Fixed

    • Juks

      My ES with Luck in the Chamber 1-shots everyone in Crucible. It’s amazing.
      So, yes, it’s must have.

    • Jeff

      Perfect Balance AFAIK is +35 stability and -20 range.

    • Mr Timn

      Pb actually does decrease range

  • Dwagon

    I’ve got the “Fitted Stock” perk on a rare machine gun…

  • Picto

    Is there a article or something that tells the numbers behind every ability?

    • Christian

      You might find what you are looking for if you go to the “Database” section on the Tabs above. Select a weapon and then look at the potential perks. You might find more details there (:

  • Kou Vang

    I think it should be mention in the article what kind of perks is available per weapon class. Im sure some of these perks are limited to certain weapon class.

    • enjaytee

      I was going to say the same. One of the reasons Fatebringer is so awesome is because it has Firefly, which can only be found on sniper rifles and scout rifles.

      Similar to Vision of Confluence, the auto fire perk is limited to Pulse rifles and shotguns. No other scout rifle can get it.

  • Keith Christmas

    Surely the absolute worst perks are Vacuum (have you EVER found yourself in a circumstance where you thought you yourself “damn, if only I could have picked that ammo up from slightly further away”?) and Kneepads (I guess it might have some situational use in Crucible, but I’ve never got the slightest amount of use out of it). Take the Knee is pretty awful too, with any bonuses gained completely negated by the loss of mobility in endgame content.

  • George Claude

    I got to disagree with the hip-fire perk. Its incredibly useful for close ranged weapons in pvp. Fusion rifles and shotguns are very lethal when they can hit you accurately while hip-firing.

  • NLK3

    I always avoid Glass Half Full. 6% is so low it is barely noticeable. It needs to be buffed at a maximum of 15%. Besides, it’s the bottom half of the magazine, not like Crowd Control where as long as you get a kill, it’s the whole damn clip. Just wish an SMG-type AR had the aiming-slows-down-shots-but-increases-impact mod.

  • SGT_Pannenkoek

    And what about the ‘Shoot to Loot’ Perk? can be pretty useful in Nightfall situations 🙂

  • Vgoth11

    One “Must Own” perk I would add to the list is Shoot to Loot. I can’t count how many times this perk has helped me snag invaluable heavy ammo that was out of reach to wreak some havoc in Night Fall, Weekly Heroic and Raid. Even if the perk is on a rare gun its worth packing into a fight just for that instance.

  • sycoteck

    If it wasn’t for snap shot most snipers/scout rifles would be harder to wield in both pvp/pve I try to get it an all my snipers

  • Jonathan Bowers-Bone

    I have a few thoughts to add on this list. I believe who’s next should never be sought out for any weapon. In its current form it is bugged and does not always work. Bungie describes it as an increase in reload speed after a kill on final shot, which conflicts with your, more accurate, description. Through experience in the crucible with a who’s next tamir’s lash the perk does not always proc after a kill which combined with the conflicting descriptions make me wonder what the effect of the perk really is. When it does work I find the input; to be kill an enemy with weapon, with perk on, out put; increase reload speed by percentage left in magazine. So when it works it is great however it does not always work :.

    On the vanquisher I believe that glass half full would add 33% bonus damage total per clip which puts it in line with last round. I have not decided whether the damage bonus is worth it for PvP, where shots are harder to hit. I would recommend it for pve though!

  • bunnylover

    Please have the editor re-read and correct the “Hip Fire” section.

    • bunnylover

      Also consider using wording that informs the reader what you mean by “Bloom” circle. Bloom is a graphical effect, but I’m unsure of what you mean in relating it to gunfire. Also I wanted you to correct “the benefits of not aiming down sights far outweigh the benefits”

  • Explosive Rounds DOES increase damage for a single target, it’s actually one of the best perks in my opinion. Check this out http://www.reddit.com/r/DestinyTheGame/comments/2sadia/sga_explosive_rounds_and_crit_multipliers_with/

  • Drakan

    Hipfire text needs to be amended: “the benefits of aiming down sights far outweigh the benefits”

  • Octus

    i was extremely lucky in my opinion, i got a fast firing legendary scout rifle with pretty decent impact. that has both “firefly” and “explosive rounds”. once those were unlocked it became my all time favorite primary. i love this weapon.

    • FlipFlipadelfia

      Firefly and Explosive Rounds aren’t as good of a combo as you would initially think. Firefly procs on precision kills, and Explosive rounds deals a portion of the damage as AoE (this applies even if there is only one target).

      What I’ve noticed is that the AoE from Explosive rounds is not additional damage, but redistributed damage (when pertaining to a single target). So lets say a Headshot would do 1500 damage, with Explosive rounds equipped it would deal 1000 precision (yellow dmg) and 500 Explosive (white dmg). If the 1000 precision was not enough to kill the mob, but the 500 Explosive dmg was then Firefly won’t proc.

      When using Fatebringer with the Explosive Round perc activated I noticed that the procs from Firefly were significantly reduced because the game was registering the Explosive Round damge as the killing shot, and not the Precision shot. It may not be as big of a problem for Scout Rifles where it will still take a couple of Precision shots to kill a target thus making it easier for the Precision shot to actually register the kill, but for one shot Precision kills (such as Fatebringer) Explosive Rounds can jack up your Firefly proc rate.

      • Octus

        Thanks for all of the info, its nice to know all of that. Ultimately, its the best scout rifle I have had. Its a lot of fun to use and everything is exploding. I have so much fun with it, that It wouldn’t matter if just a little damage is not registering I guess.

        • FlipFlipadelfia

          Ultimately having fun with a weapon is all that matters. And while I have had a Firefly/Exploding Shell combo on a scout rifle, its not something I’ve used (the Scout I use is Outlaw/Firefly). But I would have to imagine that the Firefly/Explosive round issue wouldn’t be nearly as prevalent on a scout rifle as it is on Fatebringer.

          • Octus

            i think i would use the outlaw perk more if i didnt always main as a gunslinger. i use that perk on the gunslinger that decreases the reload speed x3 after a few headshots. i have the outlaw perk on an auto rifle and that thing reloads instantly. its pretty cool.

            i dont see the explosive and firefly causing too much of a problem on the scout rifle, but really im just having a blast with it, so i dont think im paying that much attention to it. 🙂

      • Murat Ozcan

        Also note the 33% dmg bonus from luck in the chamber & final round getting effected. In your example the yellow damage would be 1333+500 vs 1995

  • Michael Acuna

    Can someone explain the reason why some rocket launchers have fitted stock or perfect balance?

  • FlipFlipadelfia

    An addition to Firefly: Firefly explosion damage is based on the elemental damage of the weapon. Firefly explosions on Kinetic and Solar weapons deal solar damage, while Arc and Void Firefly weapons deal Arc and Void damage respectively.

    While this may not be that common since most primaries are Kinetic, you do have Fatebringer which deals Arc and has Firefly, as well as various Snipers (including the Iron Banner one) which can deal Arc or Void.

    And that is why Fatebringer is still one of the best weapons in the game especially when the Heroic/Nightfall is Arc burn because the Firefly explosion melts crowds.

  • Axium

    I’m pretty surprised to see that focused fire wasn’t even mentioned on this article considering the fact that it’s one of the most coveted perks for any auto rifle, not to mention it’s the foundation perk that made one of (if not) the most popular exotics in Destiny so successful that it had to be nerfed twice. Ahem sorry 3 times if you’re counting 1.1.1 patch

  • SeriousStatic

    Personally I like Feeding Frenzy over Outlaw. It re-loads at I think 120% vs 150% on Outlaw. Difference is it work on any kill not just precision.

  • Murat Ozcan

    Explosive rounds: can you talk about what happens to the damage when you have it with Luck in the Chamber and Final Round? Only the non aoe portion gets the 33% damage buff.

    I have seen on most weapons non crit shots it gives + per bullet. Also, how is the flinching on the receiving end of it? Is it worth using in PVP for the flinching aspect?

    Can you also analyse Bladedancer’s Quickdraw perk vs these perks? It is a all in one perk for switching away, switching to and ADSing, but I have no idea what the %s are.

    One perk you did not mention is Kneepads. I don’t see how shotguns work without it. Also maybe discuss RangeFinder vs Buckshot for shotguns, since the 2 perks only happen at the same time with the upcoming Trials of Osiris drop.

    Headseeker on Pulse rifle. On 3 little words it gives +3 headshot damage.

    Also can you talk about how auto-fire perk increases the rate of fire on some weapon types?

  • Guest

    Is it just me or is “Send It” not mentioned in this post? Is it because the drawbacks are too severe?

    • Just didn’t include all of the perks,

      “All of the perks aren’t listed here, so if you have any that you can’t live without, be sure to let us know what they are and why you prefer using them!”

  • Jacob Schurgin

    You forgot “Who’s next.” A kill with the last round in the magazine increases reload speed. I have thatwith outlaw on my “Devil You Don’t” mixed with field scout and it is amazing.

    Mulligan on A Rocket launcher isn’t that bad actually.

  • DYnoJackal19

    what about Shoot to Loot? That’s the one I always have no matter what.

  • Arsh

    You wrote glass half full is only on Pulse, and Auto rifles, but my foil has it? (VoG Fusion rifle)

  • Mr Timn

    Shoot to loot?

    • Mr Timn to

      Oh yes especially in nightfalls

  • Cory

    Armor Piercing use to be amazing, but after the update they are worthless.

    • SFC_Storm

      They ruined AP…..So unreliable now

  • ResidentHawk90

    Firefly does more damage and blast radius than the icebreaker’s ability, Firefly is somewhat of a rare ability to get on a hand-cannon, or a scout rifle. Firefly’s explosive damage type matches up to what ever damage type your sniper does or elemental primary. If the damage is kinetic then it automatically goes to solar i think. I have a arc sniper with the ability and tacsyls (one of the best scopes), APR, and Crowd control. and the explosion disintegrates enemies with arc damage. But what is better though Icebreaker or firefly?