Destiny Hand Cannons in Crucible Guide

Destiny Hand Cannons in Crucible Guide by SuperlativeSushi

I noticed that hand cannons were getting more popular lately so I might as well help anyone that wants to start using one, but are too used to auto rifles and scout rifles. Please note that in my opinion, this is not the type of gun you run and gun with (except for The Last Word). It is not a shotgun, you need precision to make the most out of it.

Note: I am just a decent player that wants to help.

*I am a Rumble and Skirmish player, so all of the examples will be from these two modes.

Little History – You can skip this part

I was once a SUROS user (a very decent one) and thought hand cannons were a joke, until a certain rumble match. No matter how many times I encounter this person, he would always be the one to kill me first. Even though every bullet I throw was a head shot, he would always win with little health left and as you have guessed it, he using a hand cannon (Hawkmoon). So, in disbelief, I tried out hand cannons and have loved them ever since.

My Personal Recommended Weapons



Three random bullets give considerable bonus damage, potentially killing your enemies with two shots.

Head shot damage is significantly more than other hand cannons.

Magazine size


When it recoils, the gun jumps up a lot and could block your view when aiming.

It’s an exotic and a PlayStation exclusive.


My favorite gun, so I might be biased when I say this is the best hand cannon in the game. Not only does it look like it was crafted by Hephaestus himself, it’s also as powerful as Zeus’ lightning bolts. Unfortunately, it’s as loud as opening a bag of chips in a movie theater. The potential to two shot your enemies is a godsend ability. Your enemies might call you cheap, but we all know they were just unlucky to receive those bullet buffs.

The Last Word Unfortunately, RNGesus has not blessed me with this, but I have heard great things.



Precision kills make reload faster than my sex life any other hand cannons. This saved me from numerous situations when enemies just run towards me and I have little to no ammo left.

Making enemies explode is pretty helpful…in Control. I have rarely seen people stick together close enough to actually make it useful.

Magazine size.

Frees up an exotic slot.


The perks are pretty lackluster, probably except for Field Scout, but if you’re pretty adept at precision kills, then reload shouldn’t that much of a problem.


The Raid weapon almost everyone wants because Bungie decided to nerf the Mythoclast back to the stone age…(ba dum tsss). Anyways the weapon is great. It’s not amazing, but it’s not average either. I would say that though the perks are not that great, it pulls its own weight with the precision kill reload speed. Explosive Rounds may cause your enemies to panic, but I don’t think that the reduced damage trade off is worth it. Honestly, it does a way better job being a PVE gun because explosive rounds have the ability to stagger.

The Devil You KnowGameplay


It has very nice perks that compliment hand cannons nicely.

Frees up an exotic slot.

Magazine size.


Nothing, other than that it’s outclassed by Hawkmoon in terms of damage.


This is the all around hand cannon and I’ll say it right now, The Devil You Know is a better gun than the Fatebringer. The increased damage after a kill makes it trump over the Fatebringer. HOWEVER, please note that Fatebringer demolishes The Devil You Know in the reload category. This is only my opinion, feel free to disagree.

This list is only my opinion and should not be solely used to dictate what weapons you use. I am sure there are a lot more amazing hand cannons. Feel free to have your own opinion.


Find an armor that increases hand cannon reload speed. It really comes in handy when you’re not a Gunslinger. You should be able to find some in the tower via Crucible, Vanguard, or Faction vendors for some marks.

I feel that increasing the amount of hand cannon ammunition you can carry is only useful for PVE as you will very rarely run out of ammo before getting killed.


You need to be able to aim headshots properly with hand cannons. To start out, go on patrol and find any enemies and aim not at them, but to the areas around them, like this. The point is that you need to teach your thumbs just how much you need to move at a certain angle or space so that the reticle lands near their heads. This is where the game’s auto aim function kicks in and will help you land those headshots. Remember, people in Crucible will move around, they will not just let you shoot their heads.

Keep doing this with Cabals, Vex, Fallen, and Hives until you’re confident enough with your estimations.



This should apply to every gun user as well. Use your radar. Run to a safe spot and do a tornado with your camera once in a while (Rotate your camera about 1080 degrees). Not only will this help you determine the location of your enemy with 90% accuracy (other than above or below you), it will also, most importantly, give you time to set up your distance and give you the chance to estimate where your target’s head will be when they reveal themselves from around the corner. This will give you the first hit advantage you need to win that direct confrontation.


Watch the second kill. I am in a relatively safe spot and as soon as I saw the red marker, I aimed the gun and estimated where the head will be. It will not always be pointed exactly to the head (as per my example). This is where your practice comes in, you will have to be able to move your reticle close enough to the head to be able to trigger the auto aim functionality in the game, allowing you to get the headshot.


I will reiterate again, majority of the hand cannons were made for precision kills. Do not run and gun your enemies, it is not a shotgun. You see that red marker getting solid fast? That person is running towards you. Assess your surroundings and back off. Ask yourself, are you in an area where he could easily run towards you and blast a shotgun or fusion rifle at you? Then walk back while aiming your gun. Remember, the farther he is, the more chances you have to shoot him. You are holding a gun that can potentially two or three shot him. You can kill him first.

Same principle applies when you’re facing an auto rifle. They have a lot more potential recoil than you, use that to your advantage.

This wouldn’t necessarily work for a SUROS or Scout Rifle, but as you get your head shots in, you can make it a draw.


The worst thing about the hand cannon is its atrocious rate of fire. However, hand cannon users will use that to their advantage and use the time in between shots to estimate where your enemies will go. Your targets are not crippled elderlies on their death beds, they will walk back and forth, side to side, and duck and jump.

Example 1

Example 2

Notice in Example 1 and 2, I didn’t try to follow them on my reticle. I estimated where their jump will end and proceed to aim over there and pray to auto aim to do the rest of the work. Furthermore, you can find another example of estimation in Example 1 when after I killed the first guy, I realized that there was another guy coming (thanks to radar) and immediately tried to predict where his head will be once he shows himself.

Note: When your enemy hides behind an object that he can either jump up, go left, or go right (see Example 2 when he hides behind the box thing), aim in the middle. That way, your reticle is closer to all three possible areas of escape. Remember your practice? This is why it was important to learn how much space or angle you have to move in order to properly aim at their heads when they show themselves.

Stay Calm

Staying calm is a matter of confidence. Tell yourself you can win, unless you’re going to be sandwiched or know that you won’t be able to finish off that one guy before his other teammates show up. Do not freak out. Continue to predict. Panic will only result in you losing concentration and fail to get those satisfying headshots only hand cannons can offer. In a game where a single headshot can mean winning or losing an encounter, you need those headshots.

Example 1

Example 2

General Tips for Crucible

  • Cancel your reload animation by sprinting when your guardian pushes the magazine inside the chamber.
  • Only if you’re REALLY confident with your headshots, use the spawned heavy ammo to lure people. This not only gives you surprise factor, but also estimation.
  • Don’t send hateful messages to other players just because they do better than you.
  • Seriously, especially in Skirmish, please wait for your teammates and do not immediately grab the heavy ammo unless you see the other team rushing for it. Especially when you’re the worst one in the team.
  • Rumble is not a place where you run willy nilly.

Thanks for reading! I hope I’ve at least helped some of you that are struggling using hand cannons in PVP.

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