How to get Thorn Exotic Hand Cannon in Destiny 2

Rend your enemies and shatter their dreams by completing the quest steps needed to unlock the Exotic Hand Cannon Thorn in Destiny 2.


Thorn makes its triumphant return to Destiny 2 and players couldn’t be more concerned. As part of the quest, Independent Study, players can get their hands on the Thorn Exotic Handcannon and get to

Thorn, Exotic Hand Cannon Perks

Thorn is now available for players to earn in Destiny 2. Thorn made its debut in the world of Destiny back in the original title in 2014. Since then, it's gone through a whole range of nerfs and buffs, locked away in old DLC and brought forward in a re-release. And now, it's finally in Destiny 2. Most players will be familiar with how Thorn functions, but there are some new surprises for us veterans.

  • Intrinsic perk: Mark of the Devourer - Rounds pierce targets and deal damage over time. Kills with this weapon leave behind Remnants.
  • Trait: Soul Devourer - Absorbing a Remnant strengthens Mark of the Devourer and partially refills the magazine.

The Intrinsic perk brings back the damge-over-time ability, much to the chagrin of players. While the original Thorn was a two-shot headshot kill, allowing for the damage, it's likely Destiny 2's version of Thorn won't be as potent. However, if players are able to net a kill with Thorn, a Remnant will drop, and if collected, the Intrinsic perk will be buffed. To sweeten this further, part of the magazine will be refunded, allowing skilled players to continue the rampage with an even more dangerous Thorn. 

How to get Thorn Exotic Hand Cannon

The first step in unlocking Thorn is to collect the quest from the EDZ. Unlike other Exotic quests that are handed to the player from a character, the Thorn quest starts with exploring a Patrol zone. Players will need to head into the Salt Mines in the EDZ near Trostland. Instead of going deeper into the mines, use the Transmat functionality near the lift. Once at the top, progress up the path to a campsite. Dig through the ashes of the fire to find A Melted Hunk of Metal.

A Melted Hunk of Metal

Despite the burn damage, you recognize this weapon as a Thorn, a legendary weapon capable of severing Guardians from the Light. The Shadows of Yor, followers of an infamous Guardian-killer, are well-known for carrying Thorns. This one is broken, but you think it may be possible to fix it. A reputable (and discreet) gunsmith would know where to start. Bring the ruined Thorn to Banshee-44 in the Tower.

  • Take the Thorn chassis to the Gunsmith, Banshee-44

The Essence

Banshee has recommended a number of rare components that you should be able to use to restore your ruined Thorn to working order. First on the list is Hadronic Essence, a dense lattice of exotic baryons and mesons, once commonly favored as an infusion in Warlock fieldweave. Gather Hadronic Essence by completing bounties for Asher Mir on Io, by defeating Warlocks in the Crucible, or by completing Nightfall strikes. Nightfall strikes grant the most efficient progress.

Players have three options in how to complete The Essence step of acquiring Thorn:

  • Collect Hadronic Essence by defeating Warlocks in Crucible
  • Completing bounties for Asher Mir on Io
  • Complete Nightfall strikes

The most lucrative way to complete this step quickly is to get a Fireteam together and finish a few Nightfalls.

The Essence Quest Step Destiny 2
Thorn Quest Steps in Destiny 2

The Steel

Next on the list of required components is Plasteel Plating, a durable hybrid plastic favored by Titans for its balance of strength and workability. Plasteel is not commonly available for artisan use these days: the Red War wiped out the DIY supply chain within the City. Gather Plasteel Plating by completing bounties for Sloane on Titan, by defeating Titans in the Crucible, or by completing encounters at the Blind Well. Heroic Blind Well encounters grant the most efficient progress.

For The Steel portion of the Thorn quest, players have three options for how to complete it:

  • Defeat Titans in the Crucible
  • Complete bounties for Sloane on Titan
  • Complete the Blind Well

Of all these options, completing the Heroic Blind Well activity will yield the best results.

The Binding

Last on the list of Guardian-grade components is Sapphire Wire, another hard-to-come-by item formerly favored by Hunters because of its versatility. Sapphire Wire, like Plasteel Plating, was another casualty of the Red War… but you feel confident that you can scrounge some up. Gather Sapphire Wire by completing bounties for Ana Bray on Mars, by defeating Hunters in the Crucible, or by completing an Escalation Protocol wave. Escalation Protocol waves grant the most efficient progress.

For The Binding, players have three options for how to complete it:

  • Defeat Hunters in Crucible
  • Complete bounties for Ana Bray on Mars
  • Complete Escalation Protocol waves

Completing Escalation Protocol is going to be the faster way of getting the Sapphire Wire material. On March 12, the Escalation Protocol schedule will be all weapons and Bok Litur, Hunger of Xol. So hopefully you’ll get the weapon you want!

Weaponize the Unknown

Your project is going well. The gun is now mechanically sound, but it is simply a gun: it has no intrinsic power of its own. You'll need to reconnect it to the Light somehow, and the vast dark secrets of the Void seem like the most promising route. Defeat Guardians in the Crucible using Void energy or Hand Cannons. Precision streaks using Void Hand Cannons grant the most efficient progress. Note that progress is multiplied in the Iron Banner or in Competitive Crucible matches.

The Weaponize the Unknown quest step for Thorn is eerily similar to the original quest. Players will need to go into Crucible and use Void energy or Hand Cannons to kill other players. However, it seems as if progress is not lost on deaths. Furthermore, using a Void Hand Cannon in Iron Banner or Competitive Crucible will make this go a lot faster.

Good Void Hand Cannons

Unless you managed to save some Void Hand Cannons from Destiny 2 Year 1, chances are your options for Void Hand Cannons is going to be quite low. In fact, there are only three Hand Cannons in the game that drop with Void damage on them, and two are random-roll guns.

  • Ikelos_HC_V1.01 (Escalation Protocol drop)
  • Thin Line (randomized gear)
  • Kindled Orchid (randomized gear)

Of these options, the most viable option would be the Ikelos Hand Cannon, as it can be farmed with some certainty from Escalation Protocol. However, if you happen to have a well-rolled Thin Line or Kindled Orchid, consider using those.

Something Yet Remains

Your Thorn hums with the hungry indifference of the Void, but it lacks something essential. You know the original Thorn was intimately connected to the Hive, though you don't know exactly how. Wandering around the Tower to ask your mentors about the provenance of a banned weapon strikes you as a bad idea, but— There are quieter places to ask questions. Places off the beaten path, where knowledgeable Cryptarchs have settled down to do their work in peace and quiet… Pay a visit to Tyra Karn at the Farm. The Farm is accessible via the EDZ Director.

The Something Yet Remains portion of the Thorn quest requires players visit Tyra Karn. This lonely Cryptarch can be found at the Farm on the EDZ. Speak with Tyra Karn to begin the final step of unlocking Thorn.

The Chasm of Screams

While you were speaking to Tyra, she mentioned something called the Hated Path, a sort of primer to transform an ordinary Hand Cannon into a Thorn. Bathe your Light in horrors. Feed your weapon with death. Bind it with sickness. Horrors, death, sickness… that all sounds like the Hive nests on Titan to you. Defeat the Arbiters, Sardav and Telesh, then defeat Savathûn's Song in an epic reprise of strike "Savathûn's Song" on Titan.

The final quest step in unlocking Thorn is The Chasm of Screams. This appears to be a unique version of the Savathun’s Song Strike. Players will likely encounter two high-level Hive units during the Strike, which must be defeated. If it’s anything like the original Thorn bounty from Destiny 1, these Arbiters may appear during the boss fight.

Be sure to check back with Shacknews as we update this guide once the Thorn bounty releases on March 12. Even though these steps currently just datamined from Destiny 2’s API, there’s a good chance this will be the process to unlocking Thorn. Head over to the Shacknews Destiny 2 complete strategy guide for more Joker’s Wild guides.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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