Destiny Pulse Rifle Stats

Destiny Pulse Rifle Stats by Debo37

With rampant speculation that Pulse Rifles will be dominant in the new meta, I figured it was nigh time someone sat down and put the numbers on the table. I put forward the important numbers so everyone can make informed decisions about which Pulse Rifles fit their playstyles best. When we finally have accurate time counts, we’ll know for sure which guns the best of the best players will gravitate toward.

Pulse Rifles come in four Rate of Fire flavors – 77 RoF, 73 RoF, 66 RoF, and 59 RoF. There are a couple outliers from the pattern – namely the Häkkes and Red Death, which have slightly different bullet damage. This post will evaluate each distinct RoF archetype, and break down every possible outcome of a 2- or 3-burst combat engagement, bullet by bullet. The differences between the archetypes really manifest themselves when looked at this way, and hopefully they will give you some clarity as to what we’re dealing with in the Pulse Rifle meta.

In general, Pulse Rifles have nasty horizontal recoil patterns now; the perk Counterbalance fixes that by making recoil entirely vertical. As a whole, the community seems to have settled on Counterbalance as a “must-have” perk for most Pulse Rifles, but your mileage may vary. With respect to other perks, I will make no judgment here. The “god roll” discussion can be borne out in the comments if you wish. Now, onto the good stuff.


77 RoF Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

77 RoF Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

77 RoF archetype Pulse Rifles hit for 24 per crit bullet and 16 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
90216ALWAYS
81208ALWAYS
72200MOST OF THE TIME
63192RARELY
54184NEVER
45176NEVER
36168NEVER
27160NEVER
18152NEVER
09144NEVER

The Lowdown

You’ve experienced these Pulse Rifles before if you played the Raids – Praedyth’s Timepiece and Oversoul Edict were the paragons of this archetype. They’re the fastest firing Pulse Rifles, so they do the least damage per bullet. However, with the added utility of flinch in the new metagame, they’re not to be written off entirely – though the inclusion of only one Pulse Rifle in this archetype in The Taken King means we probably won’t see a lot of them.

On paper, these puppies have a fast time to kill. However, it is relatively impractical to get a consistent 3-burst kill with these weapons. Possible? Sure. Probable? Not really. To even achieve a 4-burst kill, you still have to land a couple crits. This takes them largely out of the competitive equation, because there’s this thing called strafing that enemies tend to do when they’re getting shot at. Who knew?


73 RoF Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

73 RoF Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

73 RoF archetype Pulse Rifles hit for 27 per crit bullet and 18 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
90243ALWAYS
81234ALWAYS
72225ALWAYS
63216ALWAYS
54207ALWAYS
45198SOMETIMES
36189NEVER
27180NEVER
18171NEVER
09162NEVER

The Lowdown

A previously glossed-over archetype, the 73 RoF Pulses have a really interesting niche in this metagame. Perhaps the most relatable example of the 73 RoF for most players is the Bad Juju – but the Time on Target from Dark Below and FWC’s The Conduit sat in this RoF bucket as well. However, the new Legendary toys – SUROS PDX-45 and Hawksaw – have much better Stability than their predecessors, and given that both are SUROS weapons, much higher odds of rolling perks that can max their Stability (and I mean “max” here in the literal sense of the word – you can realistically hit 100 Stability with these two guns).

Workable Aim Assist, high base Stability, and relatively high Rate of Fire combine to make these guns into deadly “lasers” with the right perks. But user beware – you have to land about half or more of your shots as crits to get this archetype’s fast 3-burst kill time. Skilled players with steady hands will win 1v1 engagements against the slower-firing Pulse Rifles, and will have the ability to quickly clean up foes softened by grenades or teamshots.

Bad Juju merits mentioning as a slightly less-stable version of the new SUROS Legendaries, but with an instant reload from String of Curses and non-ADS utility with Hip Fire and Full Auto. Odds are high that you’ll see the Jooj paired with Snipers often, filling the near-mid range primary niche left by the nerf to The Last Word’s range.


66 RoF Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

66 RoF Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

66 RoF archetype Pulse Rifles hit for 32 per crit bullet and 22 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
90288ALWAYS
81278ALWAYS
72268ALWAYS
63258ALWAYS
54248ALWAYS
45238ALWAYS
36228ALWAYS
27218ALWAYS
18208ALWAYS
09198SOMETIMES

The Lowdown

If we’re talking bodies… These guns are foolproof, plentiful, and consistent, as the most represented Pulse Rifle archetype in the game right now. Just ONE of the 9 bullets you shoot has to hit the head to guarantee a 3-burst KO with these guns. However, low downside means low upside – you’ll never match the ideal kill times of the faster-firing 3-burst Pulse Rifles, or the slower-firing 2-burst Pulse Rifles. Jack of all trades, master of none.

The particular weapons are impressive – Nirwen’s Mercy steals the show with 71 Stability and 65 Aim Assist, but closely behind is FWC’s The Villainy at 65 Stability and 60 Aim Assist (but with 5 more Range than Nirwen’s). Don’t count out the SUROS PDX-41 though – with 48 Range, 68 Stability, and 55 Aim Assist, stacking it with double Stability perks gives you a feasible road to a much harder hitting version of the 73 RoF “laser” weapons discussed in the previous section.


66 RoF Häkke Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

66 RoF Häkke Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

66 RoF Häkke archetype Pulse Rifles hit for 25 per crit bullet and 17 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
120300ALWAYS
111292ALWAYS
102284ALWAYS
93276ALWAYS
84268ALWAYS
75260ALWAYS
66252ALWAYS
57244ALWAYS
48236ALWAYS
39228ALWAYS
210220ALWAYS
111212ALWAYS
012204ALWAYS

Across two bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
80200MOST OF THE TIME
71192RARELY
62184NEVER
53176NEVER
44168NEVER
35160NEVER
26152NEVER
17144NEVER
08136NEVER

The Lowdown

Häkke Pulse Rifles shoot 4 bullets per burst. This increases the recoil a tad, but the damage per burst is higher than other Pulse Rifles of the same RoF. If you land all your shots on target, you will ALWAYS kill an opponent in 3 bursts – headshots or not. You’ll even theoretically kill in 2 bursts if you land all 8 shots to the head, but given the recoil, this is a pipe dream and not consistently doable. A perfectly-rolled Herja-D might be able to pull this off, but it needs Hand-Laid Stock and a good scope (giving it the max Stability/AA possible) for it to be remotely achievable.

Apple of Discord has worse Stability than Herja-D, but slightly better range. Given the absurd recoil of 4-burst Pulses, you’re better off ignoring Apple of Discord for Herja-D unless you have incredible perks on it. Landing all 4 bullets of a burst isn’t the easiest task, but it’s certainly doable and leads to a more consistent kill than the other 66 RoF Pulse Rifles, at the cost of the slight extra time spent firing the last bullet in each burst.


66 RoF Aggressive Ballistics Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

66 RoF Aggressive Ballistics Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

66 RoF Aggressive Ballistics Pulse Rifles hit for 34 per crit bullet and 24 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
90306ALWAYS
81296ALWAYS
72286ALWAYS
63276ALWAYS
54266ALWAYS
45256ALWAYS
36246ALWAYS
27236ALWAYS
18226ALWAYS
09216ALWAYS

Across two bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
60204ALWAYS
51194SOMETIMES
42184NEVER
33174NEVER
24164NEVER
15154NEVER
06144NEVER

The Lowdown

Red Death with Aggressive Ballistics is the lone representative of this category (if the fabled No Time To Explain falls in the 66 RoF category and has AB as well, it could end up here too). The nerf to Aggressive Ballistics with 2.0 didn’t change Red Death’s 2-burst kill potential, which is part of the reason it has become such a hot commodity.

Since it fires faster than the other 2-bursting Pulse Rifles, it’s likely that Red Death will have the fastest Pulse Rifle time to kill in the game. However, it requires pinpoint precision and recoil control, and the gods have not blessed Red Death with incredible Stability. With its Exotic perk healing you and speeding up your reloads, it will almost certainly be a contender – if not the contender – in the heavily Pulse Rifle-centric metagame of TTK.


59 RoF Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

59 RoF Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

59 RoF archetype Pulse Rifles hit for 38 per crit bullet and 26 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
90342ALWAYS
81330ALWAYS
72318ALWAYS
63306ALWAYS
54294ALWAYS
45282ALWAYS
36270ALWAYS
27258ALWAYS
18246ALWAYS
09234ALWAYS

Across two bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
60228ALWAYS
51216ALWAYS
42204ALWAYS
33192RARELY
24180NEVER
15168NEVER
06156NEVER

The Lowdown

The heavy-hitters of the Pulse Rifle world, these bad boys will ALWAYS kill if you get at least 4 crits. However, they fire the slowest, so they reward patient shooters who pace their shots. Players of Y1 Destiny (particularly HoW) will recognize this as the “Messenger” archetype, and provided that Reflection Sum actually has the same stats (they’re exactly identical to Messenger in the database – which raises suspicion that they’re placeholder stats), the 59 RoF Pulses will be back in full force in Y2 Crucible.

Recoil is an issue for the Spare Change.25, but Counterbalance largely mitigates that – unfortunately the odds are 1 in 11 of getting it on a roll. Whether the all-or-nothing 2-burst Pulse Rifles come to dominate or the more reliable 3-burst ones do is yet to be determined – we’ll have to see what happens if and when more 2-burst Pulse Rifles get out into the wild.


59 RoF Häkke Pulse Rifles

The Contenders

59 RoF Häkke Pulse Rifle Kill Potential

59 RoF Häkke archetype Pulse Rifles hit for 31 per crit bullet and 21 per body bullet. Across three bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
120372ALWAYS
111362ALWAYS
102352ALWAYS
93342ALWAYS
84332ALWAYS
75322ALWAYS
66312ALWAYS
57302ALWAYS
48292ALWAYS
39282ALWAYS
210272ALWAYS
111262ALWAYS
012252ALWAYS

Across two bursts:

# Crit Shots# Body ShotsTotal DamageKill?
80248ALWAYS
71238ALWAYS
62228ALWAYS
53218ALWAYS
44208ALWAYS
35198SOMETIMES
26188NEVER
17178NEVER
08168NEVER

The Lowdown

Häkke Pulse Rifles shoot 4 bullets per burst. Like with the 66 RoF Häkkes, this increases the recoil, but the damage per burst is higher than other Pulse Rifles of the same RoF. The 2-burst kill potential with the Lyudmila-D makes it shine – but the horse kick of recoil makes it pretty tricky to land the necessary crit shots, especially in the same burst. The most likely scenario for the 2-burst KO is landing 2 body shots and 2 crit shots per burst. This requires you to aim for a player’s center of mass, which is a bit of a hard sell for people accustomed to shooting for the head.

The super forgiving 3-shot bodyshot even allows you to miss 2 bullets entirely and still end up with the kill; however, with the kick of the Lyudmila-D, you’ll need a lot of Stability and recoil control to make it competitive with the other 2-burst Pulse Rifles. A fixer-upper for sure, but we’ll see just how much the time to kill suffers relative to standard 2-burst Pulse Rifles once times for burst bullets are figured out. In the best case scenario, guns in this archetype will be slightly more forgiving of misses than the other 2-bursters, but take slightly longer to get their kills.

Other than ease of accessibility, there isn’t much reason to use guns of this archetype competitively. If your heart’s set on 2-bursting, seek out a Spare Change or Reflection Sum. The Lyudmila-D fires slowly and kicks like a horse, making precision plays difficult but providing a reliable wallop for those Guardians who find themselves missing shots occasionally.


Moral of the story? Let’s go with one more table to summarize what we’ve learned.

ArchetypeFitting Playstyle
77 RoFIf you have Auto Rifle envy
73 RoFIf you’re a sharpshooter with a quick trigger finger
66 RoFIf you have consistent aim but don’t always land headshots
66 RoF HäkkeIf you have slightly less consistent aim than that guy ^
66 RoF ABIf your Exotic slot is free and you’re a sharpshooter with a patient trigger finger
59 RoFIf you’re a sharpshooter with a patient trigger finger
59 RoF HäkkeIf you’re Helen Keller but want to be a sharpshooter

Congratulations. You’ve passed Pulse Rifle 101. Go use your newfound knowledge in the wild, and correct me or discuss my conclusions in the comments. Cheers – and see you in the Lighthouse.

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