Best Submachine Guns - Destiny 2

Pick one of the best SMGs in Destiny 2 and prepare to shred your enemies apart in close-range combat.

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A good Submachine Gun, referred to as the well-known SMG from here on out, can make the perfect build in Destiny 2. But what takes a loadout to a whole new level is using one of the best SMGs in the game. There are a few of these, and the meta does shift and change, so depending on when you’re playing, using one of these SMGs is bound to be a good experience.


Best SMGs to use

The SMG sits at a nice middle ground of damage and handling. Unlike its Auto Rifle cousin, the SMG might not be able to pull off the same damage numbers with fewer bullets, but what it lacks in bullet damage, it makes up for in rate of fire. For this reason, the SMG works quite nicely in close-range combat, where accuracy isn’t always needed.

Then there are the outside influences that demand players use SMGs. In Season of the Undying and Season of the Worthy, a few mods in the artifacts can only be used in SMGs or Auto Rifles. This means the humble SMG a must-have item. And the better the SMG, the better the end experience of the player.

Riskrunner                    

destiny 2 best smg riskrunner
Riskrunner excels at clearing waves of enemies thanks to its two Exotic perks that combo together.

Kicking off our list is an SMG that has been around since the release of Destiny 2, Riskrunner. This Exotic SMG used to be a random world drop, but thanks to the release of Shadowkeep, it can now be acquired through the Pain and Gain Exotic quest.

What makes Riskrunner so appealing is its high rate of fire, its Arc damage, and its main perks: Arc Conductor and Superconductor. When active, Arc Conductor will make Riskrunner more powerful and help you resist incoming Arc damage. Getting kills extends this effect. Superconductor activates when Arc Conductor does, which then gives any shot fired a chance to become chain lightning and return ammo.

What this all means is that, provided you can get damaged by Arc to start up the perks, Riskrunner basically becomes a wave-clearing machine.

The Huckleberry

destiny 2 best smg the huckleberry
The Huckleberry, while it doesn't have the same area-of-effect of Riskrunner, also excels at continual damage thanks to its main Exotic perk, and its Exotic Catalyst.

Another Exotic SMG for the list, but one that can sometimes be overlooked. The Huckleberry is a very appealing SMG, especially if you can complete the Exotic Catalyst. In its base form, The Huckleberry has one Exotic perk and one normal, Ride the Bull and Rampage. Ride the Bull increases the rate of fire when holding down the trigger, and kills reload a portion of the magazine. With the catalyst complete, the entire magazine is reloaded.

What this means is that, provided you can get a kill, you will never have to spend time reloading. Use this to your advantage when attacking a powerful enemy. Hose it down, switch to and kill a smaller target, then return fire on the powerful unit. Alternatively, use it to clear waves and use your other weapons to take down the heavy-hitters.

Exit Strategy

destiny 2 best smg exit strategy
Exit Strategy was one of the first Ritual weapons to arrive in Destiny 2, and well worth chasing.

First off the rank of the best Legendary SMGs in Destiny 2 is Exit Strategy. This is one of the new types of Ritual weapons introduced to Destiny 2 with Shadowkeep. Acquiring Exit Strategy is a bit easier than others, as you need only fight in Gambit matches, not Crucible. The quest to get it is called Clean Getaway, and is available from the Drifter.

As for what makes Exit Strategy so good, well it all comes down to perks. Exit Strategy offers two pair of perks, though the ones you’re going to want to take are Threat Detector and Swashbuckler. The first sees increases to reload, stability, and handling when enemies are close. The latter increases the gun’s damage from melee kills and kills with the gun. Get a couple of kills and you’ll become unstoppable.

Bug-Out Bag

destiny 2 best smg bug-out bag
Bug-Out Bag is one of the older SMGs on the list, but if you get one, you will want to use it.

Bug-Out Bag isn’t an Exotic and it’s not a Pinnacle, it’s just a standard drop from an end-game activity, The Reckoning and Gambit Prime. What makes Bug-Out Bag so special is that it’s a 900 RPM SMG that can come with some really powerful perks.

Firstly, two of the best perks you could get in one column are Zen Moment and Subsistence. While we should all be familiar with the first one, the second one could be a bit mysterious. Subsistence is basically a smaller version of Ride the Bull. Kills partially reload the magazine from reserves, but reserve capacity is reduced. Not a bad trade-off.

For the final column, the two perks you should be happy to see are Demolitionist and Multikill Clip. Demolitionist recharges your grenade energy with each kill and throwing a grenade refills the mag. Multikill Clip makes it so that each kill you get before reloading will increase the amount of damage Bug-Out Bag deals when you do decide to reload.

The Recluse

destiny 2 best smg the recluse
Nothing beats the Recluse. Even after its recent nerf, it still dominates close-quarter combat.

And this brings us to what many consider to still be the best SMG in Destiny 2, the Recluse. For those that might have joined Destiny 2 recently, the Recluse was one of the first Pinnacle weapons introduced to Destiny 2. This SMG is awarded for reaching the Fabled Glory Rank in Competitive Crucible, which is no small feat. The quest is called From the Mouths of Babes, and it may take you a hot minute to finish.

As for why the Recluse is so potent, it all comes down to its weapon handling, rounds-per-minute, and its perks. The recluse is a 900 RPM SMG, with 36 rounds in the magazine, it’s all quite accurate with easy-to-see Void tracer rounds. Its main perk, Master of Arms, improves the Recluse’s damage when you get kills with any weapon. This is a beefed up version of Swashbuckler. It also comes with Feeding Frenzy, increasing reload speed after a kill.

What all of this amounts to is an SMG that shreds through enemy units, which in turn makes it more powerful. Being a Pinnacle weapon, it’s also Masterworked, which makes Orb generate a breeze. Even after its nerf, it still remains as one of the most used SMGs in PVE and PVP content. If you can manage, definitely try and unlock this one.


There are a lot of great SMGs in Destiny 2. While these are but a few of the best SMGs to use, there are plenty more out there that might better match your playstyle. What’s most important is that you find one that you love. For more weapon recommendations, check out our Shacknews Destiny 2 complete strategy guide.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler is relatively new to the industry, getting his start a few years ago as a writer-for-hire. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and finding his feet, 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 Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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