Destiny Gunslinger Tips

Destiny Gunslinger Tips by echolog

Hello fellow Gunslingers! I’m the guy that wrote the book on Bladedancers (literally!). Recently I have almost completely switched over to Gunslinger for both PvE and PvP, and I am loving every minute of it. Gunslinger is a bit less fast-paced than it’s stabby-stabby counterpart, but it makes up for it in sheer power and utility across all areas of the game. Let’s get started!


A Gunslinger is a deadly foe in the crucible, and a tearer-of-new-assholes for the armies of the Darkness. The skilled hands of a gunslinger can wipe out an entire enemy team in seconds, and do it from a mile away. Whereas a Bladedancer has to get in close for the kill, a Gunslinger can sit back and laugh.

  • Strengths:

/ Ranged multi-target killing super ability (which can also explode and pierce targets), multiple buffs that directly increase your weapon DPS, ability to melee from a distance (and even get headshots with it), extremely versatile, but still straightforward and easy to use.

  • Weaknesses:

/ Overall lack of mobility (no blink), only one really good grenade (which takes quite a bit of skill to use effectively), extremely fun but somewhat lackluster melee ability, can blow yourself up with grenades, can be killed during super activation.

Ability Tree

The first thing we’re going to look at is your actual subclass ability tree. This is the thing you see when you hover over the subclass icon and select ‘details’. From this point on, we’ll refer to the configuration of your abilities as your ‘build’. First I’ll go over the individual abilities, and then I’ll provide a few example builds that you can use in specific situations. The perks below are listed in (mostly) left-to-right order according to the ability tree. NEW: I have personally rated each ability X/5. This is my own personal opinion and in no way is representative of actual gameplay.

  • Grenades: Incendiary, Swarm, Tripmine

/ Incendiary grenades are what you start off with, pretty standard stuff. They explode after a few seconds dealing a large initial burst of damage, and then burning foes for a bit of damage over time. In PvE you can clear a room with one of these pretty easily, but you’ve got to be careful not to throw them too far, since they bounce! Practice landing one in the middle of a group of enemies and they won’t give you any more problems. In PvP these are nice for rushing a point, since you can throw one on, get everyone to low health, and track their movements using the DoT numbers to find them and finish them off. (3/5)

/ Swarm grenades are pretty nifty. They ‘explode’ on impact, leaving behind about 10 floating ‘swarm’ drones that follow anyone who gets too close. These can be great for blocking an entryway or shaking off a pesky follower in the crucible. The downside (at least in my experience) is that unless every floating drone hits the same target, they don’t seem to do a ton of actual damage. I personally use them as more of a deterrent, especially in control matches to keep enemies from entering an area. (2/5)

/ Tripmine grenades are quite simply fun to use and very effective once you learn how to use them. The first thing to keep in mind is that they do not function like normal grenades, but rather more like throwable claymore mines. They stick to targets and surfaces and explodes in a cone-like pattern. These take a bit of skill to use effectively, but once you figure them out you can devastate enemies in the crucible, and out in the frontier. In PvP, a single tripmine grenade stuck to a wall behind a capture point can take out the entire enemy team if they’re grouped up close enough. In PvE, if you can stick one to an enemy, it’s likely that all of the enemies around him will die too! They also do a TON of damages to bosses. I very highly recommend using these in PvP, and I really enjoy using them in PvE as well. You might like Incendiary grenades in PvE more though, so it’s up to personal preference. PRO TIP: STICK THEM ON THE WALLS, NOT THE GROUND. WARNING: TRY NOT TO BLOW YOURSELF UP WITH THESE! (5/5)

  • Jump: Double Jump – Better Control, Triple Jump, Higher Jump

/ Better Control is great in PvP. It allows you to basically change direction mid-jump and get out of trouble quickly. Of all the Gunslinger jumps, this one has the lowest amount of height/distance, but the highest amount of mid-air control. I highly recommend using this in PvP. (4/5)

/ Triple Jump is great in PvE. It has the highest amount of height/distance, but not quite as much control to change direction in mid-air. It’s great for getting across large caps, climbing to high ledges, and getting to places that you’re otherwise probably not supposed to be (on top of the rings at the Nexus boss, anybody?). (4/5)

/ Higher Jump is, quite simply, a double jump that takes you a bit higher than normal. It doesn’t add any extra mid-air control, and as far as I know it doesn’t take you up as high as Triple Jump can. For those reasons, I never use this. More testing may be required though, as I haven’t used it much. (0/5)

  • Super: Golden Gun (AKA Super Saiyan, AKA ‘GG NO RE’) – Deadeye, Combustion, Gunfighter

/ Deadeye makes it rather difficult to miss shots with your Golden Gun. I find that this is the best option for PvP, because missing a GG shot can mean the difference between life and death. Equip this and watch as your enemies disintegrate before your eyes. Definitely a good choice in PvP, but not much reason to use it in PvE. (4/5)

/ Combustion makes target explode when you hit them with Golden Gun. This is what gives you incredible PvE utility as a Gunslinger. This allows you to clear rooms with ease. Use your main shot to take out a mid-high ranking target (non-shielded, preferably) and watch as the minions around it explode! This is what takes your GG from 3-4 kills per use up to 10-20 kills per use. Shoot it into a crowded room, choose your targets wisely, and watch the fireworks! (5/5)

/ Gunfighter reduces the cooldown of your Golden Gun. I have tested this a little bit and haven’t found it very worthwhile. As far as I can tell, it only affects the time-based cooldown of the super, and not the super energy you get from killing enemies. As a result, it doesn’t seem to change much. I prefer using armor-based cooldown reduction anyway, such as restoring super energy from grenade kills. Feel free to try it out, but it just feels ‘meh’ to me. (1/5)

  • Melee: Throwing Knife – Circle of Life, Incendiary Blade, Knife Juggler

/ Circle of Life is… useless. Unless you often find yourself in a situation where having one more second worth of super energy will guarantee you a kill, don’t use this. Getting a kill with a throwing knife does NOT grant you another shot with your Golden Gun, it only refills the super bar by a small amount, thus giving you a bit more time to fire. Do not use. (0/5)

/ Incendiary Blade is an interesting choice, in PvP at least. It places a burning effect on your target similar to Incendiary Grenade (note: I am not sure if these stack!). It doesn’t do a ton of damage, but it does have the added bonus of allowing you to track your targets behind obstacles due to the damage numbers. I find that it never seems to do enough damage to finish off an enemy from full health even if you get a crit with the throwing knife, so I rarely use this myself. It looks cool though! (3/5)

/ Knife Juggler is probably the most fun perk in the game. It effectively gives you unlimited throwing knives, as long as you always kill your enemy with a knife ‘headshot’. This is extremely useful when taking out legions of Thrall or Dregs, since it allows you to save ammo by one-shotting them in quick succession. If you can master the art of precision knife kills, definitely pick this up in PvE. It can save your life in PvP too if you get a lucky knife kill, and then need another one right away. Definitely makes for some interesting moments, if nothing else. (4/5)

  • Path…: Forgotten, Forbidden, Unknown

/ Forgotten = Toughness + Speed / I recommend these stats for PvP. Stay alive, move fast. That little bit of extra HP can prevent you from being 2-shot by hand cannons, and agility will help you run faster, jump higher, and most importantly: strafe faster while aiming down sights.

/ Forbidden = Recovery + Speed

/ Unknown = Recovery + Toughness / I recommend these stats for PvE. Stay alive, heal fast. Get behind a rock and heal up! Agility doesn’t seem quite as important in PvE as it is for PvP, unless you find yourself constantly on the move.

Check out this post by Brandon58DT regarding these stats.

“It’s funny seeing how clueless people really are about Agility, Toughness, and Recovery. RECOVERY is the BEST stat in the game at the moment the way it is designed. (Except Armor is still the best for DEFENDER TITANS [will explain in a second])

These 3 stats are based on a 1 to 10 scale. Buffs and debuffs can take them to -3 or 13 (13 being only achievable by DEFENDER TITANS)

At 1 Armor your health is 150, at 10 Armor (which is extremely hard to get for any class other than Titan), you get ONLY 165 health. A 15 health difference is ALL you get, and sometimes you have to give up on a lot of other stuff to get all that armor if it is even possible. At 13 Armor however, you get 180 health which is where I see it being somewhat useful, but again only DEFENDER TITANS can pretty much achieve this.

ANOTHER EDIT: Here’s a picture of explaining Armor FROM THE GUIDE. This is based on PvP numbers. Some people are talking about everyone having 200 HP in PvP so this might ADD ON to it, I have to do some testing to see exactly as I don’t pay attention to the numbers when I’m shooting someone I just shoot until they die haha.

A 15 health difference does not justify giving up on other stats to even try to come to it (which isn’t really attainable by Hunters or Warlocks anyway, they can get like 9 at most I believe)

Although I don’t have the statistics on how much Recovery actually affects your character, I can tell you I’ve seen a difference if I spec into or out of it.

Agility. Oh Agility. No one knows exactly what it does and I’m about to LAY DOWN THE LAW on it, because I’ve actually tested it out.


EDIT: Yes Agility increases JUMP HEIGHT! Forgot to add this because I don’t notice a difference and a couple extra meters of jump doesn’t really help me much when the jumping is already pretty high (or if you’re using Blink)

Phew, there I said it. Now all you people who think you know everything about this game can shutup and stop giving shitty no good advice. Agility is somewhat useful for strafing and such, but again Recovery is wayyyy more important IMO.

Then again, no matter what class I am I would try to spec to get the MOST possible main stat no matter what. (PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS)

Every class starts at a 5/1/1 split, meaning Titans have 5 Armor 1 Recovery 1 Agility, Warlocks have 1 Armor 5 Recovery 1 Agility, and Hunters with 1 Armor 1 Recovery 5 Agility. The passives that increase toughness, recovery or speed increase by +1 to +5, look at the guide to see exactly how much. Mostly it’s a +2 to this +2 to that and +1 to the passives that say increased training in all attributes, and +2 +2 to increased recovery/speed or toughness/speed or toughness/recovery, and +5 for a focus on just one specific one.

Also, if you’ve seen some other passives increases your armor, recovery or agility by one little green bar that is there on purpose. Like in the Bladedancer tree for Hunters the Increased Control jump increases Recovery by +1 so there’s that as well.

All of this knowledge is from me reading the guide at work, which has A LOT of helpful information actually, and some testing of my own.

One last thing, if you can go beyond 10 the levels of Armor, Recovery, and Agility are essentially multiplied. This is the reason why at 10 Armor you have 165 health but at 13 you can get 180. The higher you go past 10 the more increased helpfulness the stat gives.

I’ve only been able to get about 12 Agility with my Hunter, which is putting passives for as much agility as possible (Fleet Footed gives +1 Agility so the only way to do this is in Bladedancer) and getting a weapon with Lightweight (+2 Agility when this weapon is equipped).


  • Subclass Perk #1: Scavenger, Keyhole, Gunslinger’s Trance

/ Scavenger reduces the cooldown of your grenade and throwing knife after picking up ammo. This is my absolute favorite Gunslinger perk in PvE. If you’re in an area with lots of enemies, and those enemies drop lots of ammo, you can run in, pick it all up, and almost instantly recharge your grenade and throwing knife. I recently starting using this and was amazed at how much of a difference it made. Every ammo pack you pick up recharges your grenade and knife by about 1/10 of the total cooldown (not exact, requires testing). Pick up 4-5 ammo drops and suddenly your grenade is halfway back! I haven’t really tested it in PvP yet, but I assume if you open an ammo crate, it will function the same way. Amazing perk! Unlimited grenades! (5/5)

/ Keyhole allows your Golden Gun shots to pierce targets! (only once, it stops after hitting the second target) This is great in addition to Combustion for PvE. It basically doubles your potential killing ability. That being said, it is only situationally useful since enemies tend not to stand directly behind each other (unless there are 100 thrall running out of a door at you or something… I wonder if that happens anywhere…). Honestly I find that this perk has more use in PvP than PvE, since getting the rare double-down with a single shot is fantastic. You can try to line up shots whenever possible, but it really comes down more to luck than anything. Certainly worth a shot! (4/5)

/ Gunslinger’s Trance gives you a buff that dramatically increases weapon stability after precision kills, up to 3 stacks. is extremely useful in certain scenarios, and practically useless in others. For example, if you have a very high rate-of-fire assault rifle or machine gun, use this. After three headshots, that gun will be steady as a rock and become the ultimate killing machine. I personally use it with a high capacity Doctor Nope assault rifle in PvE, and it mows things down like nothing else. In PvP I wouldn’t really use it at all, since getting those headshots would be difficult to begin with, and it would be even more difficult to maintain. (3/5)

  • Way of the…: Drifter, Fearless, Nomad

/ Drifter = All Attributes

/ Fearless = Toughness / I recommend these stats for PvP. Toughness increases HP, which can allow you to win gunfights even if only by a sliver of health. This also prevents being 2-shot by hand cannons.

/ Nomad = Recovery / I recommend these stats for PvE. Getting into cover and recovering health gets you back in the fight quicker.

  • Subclass Perk #2: Chain of Woe, Over the Horizon, Gambler’s Dagger

/ Chain of Woe gives you a buff that dramatically increases reload speed after precision kills, up to 3 stacks. This is great in pretty much any scenario. Increasing reload speeds directly increases your DPS (and survivability in PvP). Reloading means you can’t deal damage, and this perk makes reload times almost nonexistant after a few headshots. Even my big old hand cannon reloads in a split second with 3 stacks of Chain of Woe. Highly recommended in both PvE and PvP. (5/5)

/ Over the Horizon increases the range of your Golden Gun. This is marginally useful in PvE at least. Say you’re sitting on a cliff sniping minotaurs, when all the sudden your super charges up. You don’t want to waste any more ammo, but you still want to kill things. Go ahead and switch over to this, fire up your super, and blast away! Aside from that extremely rare scenario, it’s pretty useless (in my opinion, at least). (1/5)

/ Gambler’s Dagger gives you two knives. If you really enjoy using throwing knives, go for it! Otherwise, knife juggler and scavenger should be plenty for dealing with the cooldown. Having two knives can be very nice in PvP since you can practically insta-kill anyone (as long as you hit them with both knives), but then again you can also just hit them once and then shoot them! Up to you if you really want to use it. (3/5)


So now that we’ve gone over the various abilities and perks for the Gunslinger class, how do we best put them together? There are quite a few combinations that I have found stand above the rest and allow you to excel at all forms of gameplay. Here they are:

  • PvP
    • Tripmine Grenade (or Swarm if you’re defending points), Better Control Jump, Deadeye (or Combustion, for capturing points in Control), Incendiary Blade, Path Forgotten, Keyhole, Way of the Fearless, Chain of Woe (or Gambler’s Dagger, if I feel like throwing lots of Knives)

/ Use your grenades wisely to control the map. Watch your radar and stick them right on the corner that the enemy is about to turn; that’ll surprise them! Throw them on a wall behind a point as enemies try and capture it, and watch them all blow up! If you’re using combustion, go nuts and get some easy triple-down/breaker medals as you assault the points. Always go for headshots and use your knife whenever you feel like you can get a hit!

  • PvE
    • Tripmine Grenade (or Incendiary if you prefer), Triple Jump, Combustion, Knife Juggler, Path Forbidden, Scavenger (or Keyhole if you feel like it will help, or Gunslinger’s Trance if you have a high recoil weapon), Way of the Nomad, Chain of Woe

/ Blow everything up. Then shoot everything. Then go Super Saiyan. Then blow everything up by shooting everything. Don’t feel like shooting things? Stab things in the face, up close and from a distance! Collect ammo, then take it from the top.

Recommended Stats

Recommended stat breakdown: 66% Intellect, 33% Discipline, 0% Strength (alternatively 33% intellect, 66% discipline)

  • Intellect – Reduced Super Cooldown

/ Intellect is VERY important! You want to be using Golden Gun as often as possible in both PvE and PvP. While you might not want to spam it against a large boss, you’ll definitely want it against trash mobs. Stack as much intellect as possible. You want at least 50-60% of the bar filled up, preferably 100%.

  • Discipline – Reduced Grenade Cooldown

/ I really like tripmine grenades, so I want to use them as often as possible. Right now I actually have 100% discipline bonus due to my new Symbiote helmet, but generally you’ll want at least 60%.

  • Strength – Reduced Melee Cooldown

/ If you REALLY enjoy using throwing knives, then a little strength won’t hurt. I just don’t use them enough to justify putting any points into it myself.

Recommended Gear

SYNERGY. IS. KEY. Try to match up your armor/weapons to bolster your own play style!

  • Weapons

/ Primary weapons, first and foremost, are mostly up to your personal preference. I use a Hand Cannon (Alternating between Lord High Fixer and Thorn, depending on the situation) above all else. They have extremely high damage-per-shot, can easily one-hit-kill most enemies if you get precision shots, and with the right armor/ability perks can be absolutely lethal and unstoppable in PvE and PvP. When I’m not blasting people with an HC, I do tend to lean toward a Scout Rifle (I have Cryptic Dragon) in PvE, and Assault Rifles (dat Shadow Price tho) in PvP. Pulse Rifles are meh, but the Exotic Red Death is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

/ Special Weapons are pretty awesome. Shotguns rule the PvP scene for good reason. I like to use a blue shotgun with high impact and range, and a perk that further increases range when I aim. This allows me to one-shot people at a considerable distance, so most people tend to hate me. Shotguns are a bit more dangerous in PvE, as they fire slow, have a low ammo capacity, and don’t always work well against hordes of enemies. Instead, I recommend the Fusion Rifle for taking down enemy shields and killing large numbers of enemies at once. The exotic Pocket Infinity is broken, and can easily make all PvE content trivial if that is what you desire (especially if solar burn is active, holy shit). In PvP, Fusion Rifles automatically make you an asshole. Just saying. If you MUST use one in PvP (asshole), do NOT aim down sight. These things for whatever reason are much more accurate and easy to fire (plus you can see your radar and strafe faster) while NOT aiming down site. Great, I just helped you be an asshole. Now I’m an asshole. :( Anyway, Sniper Rifles are my specialty. In PvP, if you can get 10-15 headshots a game, go for it. They’re great for clearing corridors and taking people out from a distance, but be warned of the red light that shines when you aim down sight, giving your position away to everyone who can see you. WARNING: If you aren’t great at sniping, don’t snipe. You’ll just bring down your team. In PvE they are very useful at taking out targets such as hobgoblins at a distance, without putting yourself in danger. They are also great for taking out shielded enemies from afar. I use them all the time to clear out enemy commanders before actually running in and mopping up the trash. Overall, pick which special is best for your situation (shotguns up close, fusion rifles for clearing hordes, snipers for picking off high value targets) and roll with it.

/ Heavy Weapons are absolute lifesavers in so many situations. They can decimate bosses and ‘major’ or ‘ultra’ enemies in PvE, and turn the tide of battle in PvP. If your team managers to get both heavy ammo spawns consistently, you’re probably going to win the game. You only have two choices here, and I recommend to carry three of each: one for each element. Let’s start with the Machine Gun. High ammo capacity, high damage, varying rates of fire and recoil. Personally I have three Zombie Apocalypse machine guns: one for each element (damn I got lucky with these). They allow me to roll through most PvE content with 0 difficulty. I can kill any ‘major’ enemy in seconds due to their high damage per shot and relatively low recoil. Even bosses are no match for these things, they’re absolute beasts. On the other hand, Rocket Launchers are the big bruisers of the game. I like to use the exotic Gjallarhorn which is upgraded to track enemies and throw off a bunch of homing cluster missiles when it explodes. If there is a large single target, the main missile AND all of the cluster missiles hit, and the target pretty much dies. It’s kind of unfair, really. Regular rocket launchers are still extremely powerful as long as you match up the element to the enemy, and they can save your life if you’re in a tight spot. Conserve ammo as much as possible, and as long as you find an occasional ammo drop you’ll never run out. Just to be safe though, I carry plenty of Heavy Ammo Synthesis (available at the gunsmith in the tower).

  • Armor

Note: The main stats you want on your armor are Light to boost your level, Intellect for lowering your Super cooldown (you want 100% of this), and Discipline for lowing your Grenade cooldown (you want about 50% of this). Strength doesn’t matter much as long as you use your knives wisely and carry the Knife Juggler and Scavenger perks. NOTE: I am currently using a gear set that gives me 100% Discipline and 50% Intellect, and I actually kind of like it… mess with the balance and do what feels right. Just don’t use Strength.

  • I’m going to go over the stats that I personally have on my armor, and why I like them so much.

/ Helmet: I recently bought the Achlyophage Symbiote from Xur, and it is everything I thought it would be. High Discipline means low grenade cooldowns, and 4 (count em, FOUR) Golden Gun shots mean you can tear the competition to pieces. It also has Increased Grenade Throw Distance (I have this perk on two pieces, so I pretty much throw grenades in a straight line now) and it Replenishes Super Energy on Grenade Kills (which we plan on getting a lot of thanks to the high discipline bonus). Also, it’s covered in lava or something, so that’s a plus.

/ Gloves: I use the Vanguard gloves from the Dustwalker set. These are the perfect gloves, and I’ll likely never get rid of them. They have intellect and discipline, which is perfect. The perks I have on them are Faster Hand Cannon Reload Speed and Increased Grenade Throw Distance. For me, the hand cannon perk is self-explanatory. I use them more than any other gun, so this is vital. For you, you might want to find gloves with a different weapon reload speed. If you get them from an Engram, the stats/perks can be random, so there’s a chance of anything happening! As for the increased grenade throw distance, this has been invaluable in PvE and PvP. Being able to hit far away targets with grenades is a lifesaver in some situations. I recommend you get good at ‘grenade sniping’ as I call it, and you’ll be able to pick off targets with ease.

/ Chest: I bought the Astrolord Vest from the Future War Cult vendor, and so far I like it. It has intellect and discipline, which is perfect. The main perks on it are Increased Hand Cannon Ammo and Increased Sniper Rifle Ammo. Since those are my two favorite weapons, this was a no brainer.

/ Boots: Just like my gloves, I use the Vanguard Dustwalker boots. They have intellect and discipline, which is perfect. I am actually looking to upgrade these, since the only perk I have is More Ammo For Assault Rifles. I want hand cannon ammo!

  • Noteworthy Bonuses

/ Try to get as many unique perks such as increased reload speed and increased melee speed and more ammo as possible. Synergize your armor to maximize your potential in your preferred play style!

/ More coming soon!


  • PvE Tactics

/ Use Elemental Damage – Match your elemental damage (arc/solar/void) to the color of your enemies shield! Solar Burn means Golden Gun and your grenades do a TON of damage!

/ Use Cover – Rocks are your best friend. Also low walls. If you can crouch behind a wall, try point your gun near the top and then aim down site… you can automatically aim over the cover! What is this, Gears of War? Seriously though, you can totally avoid 99% of damage by just barely sticking your head out over a wall or a rock. The enemies still shoot the rock, and you’ll still be able to shoot them!

/ Backpedal – 1. Learn your surroundings. 2. Learn to shoot while walking backwards. 3. Keep the enemy in front of you. 4. Win.

/ Keep Moving – Enemies are pretty smart. They know when you’re super’d, they know when you’re low on ammo, and they know when you’re afraid. They will retreat or rush up to kick your ass at the worst of times, so don’t underestimate them, and keep on the move at all times.

  • PvP Tactics

/ Gunslinger is pretty straightforward. It’s just about the most ‘shooter’ class you can get in this game. Shoot enemies, go for headshots, throw some knives when you feel like it, and go Super Saiyan as much as possible. Make your shots count, and play smart. When you activate your super, try to do so around corners. You can and will be shot immediately upon activating it, so try not to be in the open when you do. Also, get as much practice with tripmine grenades as you can, and you’ll be unstoppable. Remember: Stick em on the WALLS (or an actual enemy, that works too), not the floor. Horizontal > Vertical

In Conclusion…

Pew Pew. Bang. Woosh. Be Batman. Be a Super Saiyan. Upcloaks to the left.

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