Top 5 Legendary Auto Rifles + Pro Tips

Published on: Mar 9, 2015 @ 20:54

Auto Rifles inherit their functionality from the most standard form of Firearm weaponry in gaming. These guns stand as the most popular weapon in Destiny’s entire arsenal.

Auto rifles are very easy to use and versatile which makes them ideal general purpose weapons which is why they are so popular among users.

Click here to read our top 5 list for fusion rifles.

The Basics

Because auto rifles are so versatile, they’re great to use in unpredictable situations.

They occupy two well defined categories: Standard and High rate of fire. You can see the highest to lowest rate of fire AR’s using this list.

Standard auto rifles have some varying fire rate qualities, yet, remain predominantly similar in performance and usage conditions. High RoF AR’s have a poor reputation and are declared inefficient weapons because their damage output, even in optimum range, does not exceed the capabilities of their slower counterparts.

When using a high RoF auto rifle, you’ve really got to have a steady aim; they tend to sway a lot while firing. Recoil is usually an issue for most people when using high RoF weapons such as Unwilling Soul-09.

Auto Rifles are the most beloved weapons.
Sit back, relax, and auto rifle.

If you’re using an AR that’s got a slow RoF, play less aggressively, keep your distance and pick them off.

Auto rifles are also the only Primary that doesn’t suffer a damage deduction against Majors and Ultras. Pule Rifles have -8.5%, Hand Cannons -25%, Scout Rifles -25%. Because of this, some are great for running Strikes that employ the “Heroic” and “Epic” modifiers.

Important Qualities



Like many weapons, auto rifles have some very specific types of recoil. Many have a lot of vertical climb, Some veer off in a random direction, and some have a wide spread.

Up For Anything is easily manageable, while Payback SOS can be very unreliable if you can’t adjust your aim properly.

Be sure to take a hard look at the first column in weapon’s upgrade tree that contains not only optics changes, but will also change how it behaves when you fire it. For example, while you may have a worse range, the recoil pattern might be more favorable, so you’ll want to test this thoroughly.

Reload Speed

Auto Rifles exhaust their magazines very quickly. It is unlikely that you’ll get as much out of your average Auto Rifle that you would a Hand Cannon or Scout Rifle. For this reason, a snappy reload is vital to keep yourself prepared for enemy engagements.

Click here to see the auto rifles with the quickest base reload speed.

Rate of Fire

No RoF is particularly ineffective if you’ve got a steady aim, but knowing which to use is important. Usually the higher the RoF, the quicker you’ll be able to get the kill, but only if you are able to land all of your shots.

Necrochasm for example is able to take down a Guardian more quickly than most weapons, but it requires that you land every critical shot, which can be difficult due to its RoF.

Vanquisher VIII, which technically has a slower TTK, is easier to control for most people.


Impact + Range

High Impact and range are two of the most important qualities for auto rifles in PvE. With the latest nerf to auto rifles, range is much more important now, and will help with damage falloff.

The highest Impact is of course usually attributed to the low RoF archetype, so auto rifles such as Do Gooder V or Abyss Defiant will be your best bets.

Magazine Size

If you have a tiny magazine you are much more at risk against charging enemies. If you are fighting off rushing Thrall, you don’t want to be stuck reloading when their claws come flying at you.

Keeping a steady stream of rounds down range is the only thing that will keep enemies at bay, and if you are interrupted by a reload, it’s always better if it’s quick.

Best Perks

As with everything, it all depends on the situation and what you’re looking to maximize. It’s hard to say anything is the “best” but this list are certainly what you should be looking out for.

If you want a versatile & snappy rifle for CQB, you’ll want perks that help with reload speed, aiming upgrades and movement speed. If you want something strong and reliable, you’ll focus on Impact, accuracy and magazine.

We mentioned some of these perks in our “best and worst weapon perks” article.


Glass Half Full

If you remain conscious of your magazine size and its current condition you can have your rifles dealing a lot more damage where it is needed. That extra edge can win you a lot of one of one battles.

Feeding Frenzy / Spray and Play

When you are in the heat of a battle, you will pray for that extra second between your next encounter. These perks will allow you to reload especially quickly, saving you vital seconds of defenselessness.

Hip Fire

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.


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.

When you are locked into those tight situations, the thing you are going to look for is more movement speed. The harder you make it for your opponent to hit you the better.

Radiant Dance Machines are also a great combo for this, granting even quicker movement speed.


Waste no time looking down sights. Snapshot provides a 30% bonus to ADS speed; your weapon could exceed its normal ADS speed cap. You will want to start firing the moment your foes come in sight.

top 5 destiny auto rifles


Counterbalance / Persistence / Perfect Balance / Fitted Stock

Useful options while shooting from afar, landing your shots from a distance can prove difficult, so any extra stability will be valuable.

Field Scout

More ammo means less reloading which equates to more kills.

Rangefinder / Hammer Forged

Granting increased range while looking down sights, it will help negate the substantial damage falloff at distance. This is incredibly useful while trying to pick off your targets with more stable rifles. Absolutely fantastic for team support and ranged area denial.

Third Eye

This perk 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.

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

Top 5 Legendary Auto Rifles

Based on versatility, damage output, base stats, and default perks: the following are the best Legendary auto rifles.

Chances are, you will have different ideas on which rifles are the best, and we’d definitely like your feedback on which you prefer and why. The more input, the better the results!

5. Atheon’s Epilogue

atheon's epilogue review

At first glance it really doesn’t seem like much, but there is something possessive and ominous about it that just forces it back into your grip.

It has a wonderful perk selection and even better sights. Glass Half Full and Persistence are an amazing duo for when you are looking to drill a Void stream of bullets into your target.

One of the few elemental primary’s, and a massive magazine, it’s great for Nightfall missions that employ the Void Burn modifier.

There is something incredibly satisfying about its stability enhancement perks as well. Having almost no recoil just makes it an absolute delight to use, which is rare for its archetype.

Atheon’s Epilogue breaks the bias of the low RoF AR’s and sheds hope for its archetype; even Necrochasm can’t match it.

4. Do Gooder V

do gooder v review

Everything about this rifle is fairly balanced. It’s got great default perks and a very quick reload speed, making it perfect for the Crucible.

With its default Third Eye perk, a powerful awareness tool, you’ll be able to save precious time and continue you ADS when you notice an enemy is near.

With better base perks, Vanquisher VIII would have made it to this spot.

3. For The People

for the people review

For The People has a great punch, amazing stability, above average range, and a fast reload.

It has a great default perk layout too: Persistence, Glass Half Full and Field Scout. It’s a weapon that will have you diving into each battle with your adrenaline pumping.

If Shadow Price was still being sold, that’d take the #3 spot.

2. Up For Anything

up for anything review

It is quite simply the king of simple bullet shedding. It doesn’t need any amazing perks to back it up, all it needs is its deadly rate of fire, big magazine and nasty impact.

It is a great starter Legendary for the Crucible with its default Rangefinder perk, allowing you to keep your distance, Persistence to increase your stability, and Hammer Forged for extra range.

It’s at the top of the stability charts as well, allowing it to be operated with incredible ease.

1. Abyss Defiant (Full Review)

abyss defiant wizard review

Not too surprising, right? Everything about this AR exudes a burning scent of desire to extinguish your foes. Its perks are specially designed to suit various engagements, mostly PvE related.

SUROS Regime is now a brother in arms with this new weapon, sharing the Focused Fire perk. Abyss Defiant‘s RoF can be changed though, which is completely unique to this weapon. If you know you’re going to be up close and personal, try out Hip Fire.

Abyss Defiant is built for Hive Nightfall missions. Equipped with Solar damage, Hive Disruptor, and Lich Bane, you’ve got the perfect weapon for tearing up Wizards. Not only does it diminish their shields quick, but it also blinds them periodically.

It’s got the quickest base reload out of its Legendary alternatives, and a very high aim assistance rating.

Check out if you'd like to talk to others about Destiny in a friendly and welcoming community! :)


  • I’m not seeing the love for Do Gooder V. Not gonna lie, I broke it down the other day so I’m biased, but I’d much rather have the stability of Up for Anything.

  • Also surprised Vanquisher VIII didn’t make the cut. Although I completely agree with Abyss Defiant, I love that gun.

  • the1nonlyreal1

    I used to love my abyss defiant until this last weapon re balance and they completely screwed it up. They made it feel like a toy shooting enemies, I’m very disappointed was my favorite gun.

  • jake krul

    Shadow price?

  • Illwill_55$

    ARs are simply junk now . They’ll be the least used weapon type in no time . If they wernt the best choice for lvl 1-20 I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be used at all. Thank goodness I’m a HC man …

    • insanetrasher

      I still have a very hard time to use anything else than my Fatebringer, and that is taking in consideration that I have a Badger CCL with firefly..

      If you are accurate and can consistently deal headshot, the lower impact of other guns are just not worth it, except scout rifle for long range (which is rarely needed).

      • Illwill_55$

        Completely agree , if there’s yellow Hive .. Word it is and Fatebringer for everything else. For distance it’s NiTC w/ firefly. In the off chance I want to just mow things down all wildly I give the Ghorn a break and put any lmg to work. Feel weird saying 2% was too far … but it simply was …

  • Applejack

    Four of the five auto rifles here are of the ‘balanced’ archtype, that is rate of fire of 88 and impact of 8 (88/8). Atheon’s Epilogue is the ‘bullet hose’ archtype of 100/2. If you want a high impact auto rifle, your best bet is the Vanquisher VIII (77/28), not the Do Gooder V or Abyss Defiant.

    And the Vanquisher VIII doesn’t even make the list, but the Do Gooder V does? For The People and Up For Anything are superior in range and stability. Even the perks are better on FTP and UFA. For The People has the Persistence and Perfect Balance of the Do Gooder V, and Field Scout to boot. Up For Anything has Perfect Balance and Third Eye of the Do Gooder V, and nine more rounds in the magazine. I just can’t believe Do Gooder V made #2.

    In my opinion (concerning shop purchased weapons), For The People is the best auto rifle for Strikes and Raids, Up For Anything is the best shop purchased auto rifle for the Crucible, and the Vanquisher VIII can do duty in either arena with its big impact, but is hindered by a small magazine. Feeding Frenzy and faster auto rifle reload gauntlets help lessen downtime though.

    if I could have one perfect legendary auto rifle, it would probably be the Shadow Price, although the Hard Luck Charm looks awesome too (it’s the same stat-wise).

  • tsavo0

    I feel like the abyss is trash. Its way overhyped. Just go into crucible and try the ufa/dgV/ftp and vanquisher or surps and compare the time to kills. Its soooooooo slow because it only hits for 28 with focused fire (correct me if im wrong). In my opinion its really weak. Suprised the vanquisher didnt make the list

    • Ian Feagins

      In my own experience, the weapon severely under-performs in PvP, but PvE encounters against the Hive become a complete joke if you’re running Abyss Defiant, even without Solar Burn.

      If you haven’t already, try it out during the next Hive Nightfall. Could save the run, you know.

  • ProfessionalCitizen

    Hey Ryan! Just wanted to point out that you guys at PD have an obsession with the focus fire perk. In my humble (and I believe objective) opinion, that it is usually a waste of a perk. Focus fire shifts the impact up and the fire rate down. This means that you will be better off with an AR with a slower rate of fire and higher impact, with a directly useful perk replacing focus fire. It’s only true benefit is when it is rolled on an AR that is already at minimum rof, thus pushing it into a lower speed / higher impact category than is normally possible. Just thought I’d bring it up.

  • shazam iam

    I have a vanquisher VIII with a 42 shot clip and glass half full.

    Outside of Solar, I prefer it over my Abyss Defiant in every way.

  • Martin Kennedy

    Vanquisher is the best auto rifle legendary or otherwise especially with field scout.

  • kabuki

    1.1.1 patch kills this weapons

    three litte words has +100 critical than suros regime

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    i’m surprised Vanquisher is not considered Top 5 from you guys…

    • Grymwulf

      I’m also surprised Vanquisher did not make top 5. A lot of people are saying the vendor perks on Vanquisher are trash, but I disagree. Spray and Play increases reload speed upon emptied magazine, which happens quickly with this gun. Fitted Stock almost maxes the stability which, according to this article, is critical to landing all the shots and makes for an excellent auto rifle. Vanquisher has fitted stock. Finally, Vanquisher comes standard with Glass Half Full, which might not usually be such a great perk, but it synergizes so well with this gun’s low magazine size. The bottom half of the magazine will do bonus damage ALL THE TIME.

      I think the Vanquisher’s biggest weakness is its low magazine size, but it has 2 vendor perks that make a low magazine not such a big deal. It has amazing impact, near-perfect stability with fitted stock, fast reload with spray n’ play, and half the magazine does bonus damage.

      Honestly I would have put it at #2 or maybe #1 on this list.

      • ForeverLaxx .

        Pretty much my opinion as well, though I prefer the High Caliber Rounds to fitted stock. The base stability is manageable and HCR let’s you fight these other so-called “best ARs” much easier.

    • Kari Goebel

      Agreed. The Vanquisher’s impact makes using it worthwhile, but the low mag size makes it a little difficult outside the crucible. Spray and play helps, and I had one drop with crowd control. With the field scout perk it would be pretty solid and definitely in the top three.

  • Guest
    • insanetrasher

      I never noticed this auto that has more than double the impact of those listed above. I’d chose this impact over any other auto.

      • Christian

        It is a fantastic Weapon. But it does have an abysmal starting mag of only 20 something. Without Field scout it’s a hard weapon to love, but then again, with field scout you are missing out on some valuable perks.

        • The 22 round mag is actually a benefit with the glass half full perk clicking in so early. The spray and play perk makes the small mag size negligible.

    • Guest


    • Duncan

      Mine is better. It has:
      field scout/perfect balance
      and crowd control

    • Swedging

      I think i i have a REALLY decent one

  • Guest

    Vanquisher VIII 😀
    Link down below for a look-see

    • Yeti03

      I got it with crowd control and it is a BEAST!

  • JediJulius

    Kind of surprised and a bit disappointed that Vanquisher VIII is not on the list. Otherwise, good review, quite informative.

  • XEGtechnomancer

    The vanquisher is not on this list because it’s perks from the vendor are trash. If it had field scout, counter balance, third eye or hammer forged there is no question it’d be number one. The perks make or break a weapon and in its default configuration, it’s average.

    • Christian

      You know it.

    • Grymwulf

      I don’t think the vendor perks are trash-rather, they help you work around the low magazine size that Vanquisher possesses. If Vanquisher had a larger magazine size, then yes, the vendor perks would be trash. No gun is perfect, Vanquisher’s main weakness is its low magazine size-that is its flaw. The vendor perks help mitigate that weakness, water it down, making the Vanquisher an excellent auto rifle worthy of a place in this article. Not that the other choices are bad, but I think Vanquisher definitely deserves a spot.

      All that being said, I don’t really know why I’m arguing the point, since Thorn>Auto Rifles 😛

      • XEGtechnomancer

        Your right about thorn. Unfortunately, now it’s every weapon type>auto rifles. The vendor perks aren’t so bad, its just bungie took a top performing weapon in a fantastic archetype and made it garbage. With its dismal damage output, anything under a 35 round mag is a joke and no amount of stringing perks together to compensate is going to fix it. After the nerf, they should’ve added field scout to the vendor version.

        • Grymwulf

          I can get behind that, yeah. The only auto rifle I have is the Vanquisher, and with the Iron Banner gloves and an empty Vanquisher mag, I reload in under 1 second, and it’s awesome. However, though the Vanquisher has good damage for an auto rifle, I kill things much faster with Thorn or my Badger CCL with Explosive Rounds/Zen Moment/Third Eye. There’s just really no need to use auto rifles, not if you have any kind of accuracy.

          • XEGtechnomancer


          • Jacob Cox

            Just go to the new auto rifle called the vision

    • Keith Christmas

      I’ve got one with Counterbalance, choice of High Calibre Rounds, Fitted Stock or Single Point Sling, and Third Eye. It’s a little bit good, although the low clip size makes it a little unreliable for PvE

      • XEGtechnomancer

        Very nice perk list. Counterbalance and fitted stock with field scout would be perfect for pve. Swap field scout for third eye in pvp. I’d use that weapon regardless of the nerf, but I don’t know that anyone is lucky enough to get all that or even if it’s possible to get all of them together. Might as well ask for a void burn vanquisher. Lol

        • Keith Christmas

          I’m pretty sure Field Scout and Fitted Stock appear in the same upgrade column, so sadly I don’t think you can get them both on a Vanquisher.

  • “Because auto rifles are so versatile, they’re great to use in unpredictable situations”.

    There is nothing left in Destiny that is unpredictable….

    • Christian

      Except the players. Which is what I was diving at. Sometimes players can do crazy things and if one jumps through a window behind enemy lines an Autorifle can adapt to the situation better then a Pulse Rifle or Scout Rifle could.

  • Suck it Bungle

    Haha auto rifles!?!! Who cares now that Bungle nerfed them into the fucking ground with the last shittastic patch… No one uses them anymore, which sucks because they were fun to use…. All the good ones (high impact) got nerfed the most…They DID NOT need to be nerfed AGAIN!!! Fuck Bungle…

    Also, how is Vanquisher VIII not on this list!?!? Seriously?

    When Bungle inevitably seriously nerfs hand cannons, because they’re so amazing, that will be the last straw…

    • Christian

      Autorifles are still very viable weapons. The whole concept of an auto rifle is that it should be a go to weapon for newbies. If you play them game regularly, you shouldn’t be using Autorifles. They are supposed to be the easiest weapon to use possible and the worst in the hands of skilled players. If you are skilled you should be using weapons that are harder to use but better in the long run; Hand cannons, Pulse rifles etc.

    • Keith Christmas

      Hand Cannons have definitely felt a little sting from the update. The range drop isn’t that noticeable, but the reduction in accuracy makes it a LOT harder to hit precision shots at range.

    • ForeverLaxx .

      Sorry you lost your “hold trigger — acquire free kill” weapon class. Now you have to aim like the rest of us if you want to compete.

  • peoplemachine

    reactive reload + perfect balance + crowd control. haven’t finished leveling it yet but pretty happy with the roll.

    • Kari Goebel

      Cool, I have one with counterbalance, perfect balance and glass half full. It’s a laser beam with maxed out stability. This is the best auto rifle for sale in the tower. Good article.

    • fishguy6

      That .. is .. a .. BEAST…
      If I had that I wouldn’t be using anything else!

  • Brunno Caetano


  • Keith Christmas

    I have to admit, it’s slightly amusing that you link to your article that calls Glass Half Full situational at best, and then go on to sing its praises over and over in this one. It scarcely accounts for an extra bullet worth of damage

  • Mmonx

    Why does the Do Gooder beat the For The People???

    • Originally because of Third Eye, but I’ve switched their placements now after thinking more about it

  • Dan

    I think Bungie really failed with this last weapon update to ARs. I understand the desire to make Pulse Rifles better and all, but they nerfed the ARs way too hard in my opinion. Abyss Defiant just doesn’t feel right in PvE anymore. My Vanquisher or For the People don’t feel right in PvP and my KD has gone way down when using them. They were never my “favorite” weapon (well maybe Suros was), but they were always fun to use. Now they just feel really underpowered. I’m tired of feeling like Bungie’s play thing while they figure out how they want it all to work

  • Waambulence

    I have an Up for anything with counterbalance, perfect balance, rangefinder, and the Focus lens FLS2… so it’s pretty much the perfect crucible AR.

  • Hitherto

    Please do an article like this for scout rifles!

  • Guest 123

    Can anyone explain this: “Auto rifles are also the only Primary that doesn’t suffer a damage deduction against Majors and Ultras. Pule Rifles have -8.5%, Hand Cannons -25%, Scout Rifles -25%. Because of this, some are great for running Strikes that employ the “Heroic” and “Epic” modifiers.”

  • AAAbsi

    c’mon Planet Destiny people, Vanquisher 8 kinda best right now (other than the special raid gears which are conditional)