destiny gunslinger subclass guide

Guide to the Gunslinger

Published on: Feb 5, 2015 @ 21:42

Contributing Author: Justus Getty

The Gunslinger: Lone wolves who roam the wastelands. The Hunter is fast and precise, using speed, agility, and stealth to overcome.

For more tips and tricks, check out our other class guides, as well as our Grenades and armor modifications guide.



The Gunslinger brings powerful Solar damage to the fight, with a focus on long-range capabilities and buffs that increase the power of their guns. They have a throwing knife for their melee ability, allowing them to deal massive precision damage from a distance.

A Gunslinger’s other abilities are focused around precision combat; if you are a steady hand on the trigger, this is the spec for you.

The Golden Gun is a Gunslinger’s answer to anything that stands in their path. This super gives you a hand cannon cloaked in Solar light that fires three mighty shots, allowing Gunslingers more range on their super than any other class.

destiny gunslinger guide

Intellect and Discipline are the most important stats to have on your Gunslinger. Having your super and grenades available more often is never a bad thing.

Specializing in Intellect gives you more rapid Golden Gun usage, ideal for taking out targets quickly. Discipline gives you more frequent access to an array of versatile grenades, with a mix of area control, seeking, or straight AoE damage.

Strength allows you to use the throwing knife more rapidly, but whether that is worth it or not is a personal preference. With the Knife Juggler, Scavenger, and Gambler’s Dagger talents, there’s really no need to invest in Strength.


Recommended Exotics

We’ve reviewed each of the Hunter’s Exotic armor choices, and the armor you’ll find listed below is what will serve you best as a Gunslinger.

For individual armor reviews, check out our Exotic Reviews section.


  • The Achlyophage Symbiote is an excellent choice, arguably the best Gunslinger helmet. Once you’ve experienced 4 Golden Gun shots, you’ll never want to go back. The other perks, Fastball and Ashes to Asset, blend in well with an Intellect/Discipline build. Great for PvE & PvP.
  • Knucklehead Radar is a great general purpose helmet for Hunters, as it has no subclass-specific perks. The Sensor Pack perk is very useful in PvP, as it allows you to see the radar while aiming down sights with any primary weapon.
  • The ExoTac Angel Hunter is coming in the House of Wolves – check out our initial impressions of it in this video. It will allow for more accurate weapon fire while jumping.


  • Crest of Alpha Lupi is a great piece for team-based activities in PvE or Skirmish in the Crucible. In addition to faster reload speeds with hand cannons and more special ammo, revives are faster, which comes in handy for the aforementioned team-based activities.
  • Lucky Raspberry isn’t technically for a Gunslinger, but pick it up if you like spawning with full grenade energy.


  • The Don’t Touch Me gauntlets turn you invisible for a short time after being hit with a melee attack, allowing you to position for a counterattack or escape to heal up. These are suited much better for PvE.
  • Young Ahamkara’s Spine are decent as well, increasing the amount of time a Tripmine grenade will remain on a surface. It also has the Special Weapon Loader perk, and Ashes to Asset helps get your super up faster with grenade kills.

Leg Armor

  • Radiant Dance Machines increase the speed with which you move while aiming down the sights of a weapon and also lets you carry more heavy ammo. These boots are OK for PvP, but really any other Exotic would be better than these.



> For a detailed look at Destiny’s grenade types, click here.

Incendiary Grenade – “An explosive grenade that sets enemies on fire, causing additional damage to them.”

Deals 115 damage + 25 damage over time (5 ticks of 5 damage over 2.5 seconds).

The incendiary grenade is most similar to a normal, explosive grenade. A few seconds after touching a surface, it will explode in a spherical 7 meter radius. It can bounce for a short distance off of hard surfaces, allowing it to be angled around corners to flush enemies out of cover.

The damage from the blast falls off from the center like other grenades, but the DoT damage does not. Aim this grenade in the center of groups of enemies or directly at an opponent’s feet in PvP whenever possible to maximize damage.

PvE: The Incendiary grenade is the best way to take out large groups of enemies. The decent explosion damage will outright kill weaker enemies while the burn damage will do a sizable chunk to stronger foes. The burn damage is also useful against shielded enemies, allowing you time to reload without their shields recharging. This is especially effective against Hive Wizards’ solar shields, as they have an annoying habit of diving for cover when under fire and regenerating their shields.

PvP: This grenade has its applications in certain situations that could place it above the Tripmine in usefulness. It really shines in Control, where enemies are frequently in close proximity while capturing points. Utilizing the grenade’s ability to bounce off of walls, you can get enemies who are hiding around corners and accurately track their locations before you round the corner to finish them off.

destiny gunslinger swarm grenade

Swarm Grenade – “A grenade which detonates on impact, releasing multiple drones that seek nearby enemies.”

Each drone hits for 7 damage up to two times, then detonates for another 7 damage, for a maximum of 189 damage.

Swarm grenades explode on contact with an enemy or surface, leaving behind a half-sphere of ten floating drones that remain in place for 8 seconds. These drones chase down enemies who stray too near to them and explode on contact.

Once the grenade hits, it splits and reveals the seeker drones that hover in place and do not move until an adversary is nearby. This allows you to set traps in doorways or narrow hallways.

Swarm grenades are also useful as a detection tool. You can use the drones if you want to track foes behind cover, or if you are uncertain of an enemy’s position on the Motion Tracker.

PvE: Swarm grenades are not very useful for most PvE situations. Tripmine grenades deal more damage to individual targets, and incendiary grenades are better for taking out groups. The edge that swarm grenades have is their ability for zone denial, which is not a situation that presents itself too often in PvE.

PvP: If you want to lock down an area in the Crucible, the Swarm grenade is a your go-to choice. Toss it in a doorway or on a capture point, and you can guarantee that nobody will be going through that area any time soon. Swarm grenades are good for covering quick retreats or holding a chokepoint longer.


Tripmine Grenade – “An explosive grenade that sticks to surfaces and detonates when enemies pass through its laser trigger.”

Deals 65 additional damage if it sticks to a target when thrown, up to 225 damage. Damage is dealt in a cone and does have damage falloff.

Tripmine grenades will stick to anything you throw them at, including enemies. When stuck to an enemy, the grenade deals increased damage and detonates after about a second. When stuck to a surface, the grenade will remain in place for 15 seconds, eventually detonating in a 12 meter radius. The explosion can be triggered early be shooting it.

The Tripmine does have damage falloff, so it is best placed in a position where an enemy triggering the blast will get hit by the full force of the explosion. The Tripmine projects its damage outwards in a cone, so stick it to a flat surface to ensure that it is aimed properly. Sticking it to rough terrain can result in a poorly aimed blast. Doorways, narrow hallways, and sharp turns around cover make the best hiding spots.

PvE: These grenades are useful for taking out both large mobs of enemies and single targets alike. Due to the conical explosion radius, you need some smart placement in order to maximize your damage to groups. By sticking it to doorways or other chokepoints, you can take out any enemies that flood through. Sticking it to enemies in the back of a pack is also an effective strategy. The extra damage you get from landing the grenade on single enemies makes it ideal for bosses or Major’s.

PvP: These grenades require a bit of foresight and map awareness to utilize their full potential. Use them for zone control, but your enemies can shoot the grenade to get it out of the way, so placing it in very visible locations will usually end with a wasted grenade. The signature red laser and loud beep of a placed tripmine can be both a blessing and a curse.



> Also check out the hidden subclass bonuses.

Golden Gun

Golden Gun equips you with a flaming hand cannon that holds three ultra-lethal shots. The Golden Gun has the longest range of any super out of any other class. The shots deal massive damage at close to mid ranges, with some damage drop off at longer ranges. To maximize this super, use the Gunfighter, Keyhole, and Over the Horizon talents.

In PvE, the Golden Gun completely eradicates any low or mid-tier enemies, and deals massive damage to Elites and bosses. The penetration and exploding death perks can be very useful for taking out groups of enemies that are clustered up. Shots to the head will cause more damage.

In the Crucible, the Golden Gun is a force to be feared. You can take out enemies faster and from further away than any other class. It will one-shot Guardians at all but the most extreme ranges. With a steady hand, popping your super as a Gunslinger will usually guarantee you three (or more!) kills.

Be careful about trying to use it while under fire, or you may get killed before you can complete the activation animation. Golden Gun works best with a bit of preparation: know where your enemies are and which ones you want to take out, trigger it, and eliminate them before they can react.

destiny gunslinger golden gun

| Deadeye

Deadeye greatly improves the accuracy of Golden Gun, giving you the ability to rapidly snapshot from the hip and reliably take down foes.

This is particularly potent in PvP, allowing you to line up and fire on three targets as quickly as you can pull the trigger. In any close-range engagement, you’re undoubtedly going to land the shots.

In PvE, this upgrade is less needed, as you almost always have the time to aim and fire your shots accurately.

| Combustion

Combustion causes targets to detonate in an explosion, almost at a full force grenade power level, dealing 120 damage in a 5-meter radius.

This is particularly useful in PvE, as it gives Golden Gun some of the AoE power that the Titans and Warlocks enjoy. Against clustered adversaries, you can deal serious damage by detonating three enemies in rapid succession.

In PvP, this upgrade is generally less useful, as opponents are rarely clumped up long enough for the blast to matter, particularly since you can already eliminate nearby targets with follow-up shots.

| Gunfighter

This takes 30 seconds off Golden Gun’s recharge time, lowering it to four minutes. Because your Intellect further modifies the baseline recharge time, this ability can significantly increase your Golden Gun uptime.

Combustion generally deals more PvE damage, and Deadeye instills more PvP confidence, but Gunfighter is the universally useful upgrade and gives you more opportunities to eliminate targets.

Throwing Knife

The Throwing Knife  has the longest range and can land precision damage, but it does require good aim. We recommend using Knife Juggler and Gambler’s Dagger for nearly infinite Knives.

In the Crucible, utilizing the burn damage on top of the initial damage can net you a lot of kills. Landing a long-range headshot with the knife is one of the most satisfying feelings you can get as a Gunslinger.

hunter knife

| Circle of Life

This is one of the most specific talents, giving you slightly more Golden Gun duration if you score a knife kill while it is active. In PvE, this can let you score a more important kill by eliminating a weakened nearby target with your knife.

It also gives you a static +1 boost to Armor as we also mentioned in the hidden bonuses article.

| Incendiary Blade

A very useful damage upgrade, your Throwing Knife catches enemies on fire, dealing additional damage over time. Incendiary Blade adds a 25 damage DoT to Throwing Knife, dealing 5 ticks of 5 damage over 2.5 seconds like other burning effects.

Of the three Throwing Knife upgrades, this one is the easiest to use and adds a simple and guaranteed damage increase to your knife hits.

| Knife Juggler

As the high-risk, high-reward option, Knife Juggler demands that you score a precision kill to instantly refreshthe cooldown. Precision kills with Throwing Knife immediately reset its cooldown.

This isn’t an easy feat in PvP, but if you can pull it off, you can chain knife throws back to back and combine them with gunfire or a follow-up knife strike to score a multi-kill.

In PvE, chaining precision kills on weaker enemies is absolutely possible. This provides an ammo-free short-ranged method of eliminating multiple enemies.


Ability Modifiers

hunter subclass guide

Tier 1

| Scavenger

A significant boost to your grenade and melee recharge timers, Scavenger gives you 1015% of your meter back for each box. Note that this can absolutely be combined with various weapon mods that interact with ammo drops, giving you more recharge over the course of a PvE mission.

Scavenger is generally less useful in PvP, but all special ammo boxes do work for it. Remember that all ammo boxes, including heavy, drop extra ammo for nearby friendly players. So, even if a teammate opens the crate, you can still pick up an extra ammo pack.

| Keyhole

Keyhole causes your Golden Gun to penetrate a single target, potentially allowing you to take out six adversaries with one Golden Gun charge. This is a very useful upgrade in PvE. Combined with Combustion, Keyhole can allow you to decimate a tightly packed group of foes almost as quickly as the Titan or Warlock AoE supers.

In PvP, this can help you against clustered enemies, particularly in hallway battles. However, the requirement for both multiple targets and multiple targets arranged in a neat line makes this a difficult talent to utilize fully.

| Gunslinger’s Trance

This is a powerful bonus to Stability, granting +20 per stack (stacks up to 3 times) with a 15-second duration. Three stacks can cap the Stability value on all but the weakest Stability weapons in the game.

If you are skilled at scoring precision kills in PvE, you can use this perk alone to compensate for a poor Stability score. Gunslinger’s Trance is extremely useful and is what we recommend using.

hunter gunslinger subclass guide

Tier 2

| Chain of Woe

Another powerful weapon stat bonus, Chain of Woe grants you +20 Reload per stack, stacking up to three times. On top of that, unlike Gunslinger’s Trance, if you hit the Reload cap it gives you a 5/10/15% bonus to Reload beyond the cap for each stack you have at the cap.

Chain of Woe’s effect is perfect if you’re using a weapon that reloads slowly.

| Over the Horizon

Over the Horizon essentially removes the damage falloff from Golden Gun. This means that the shot won’t drop off over a very long distance.

This is useful in both PvE and PvP, as it allows you to stay back and hammer distant targets with a hard-hitting precision super. This talent also adds +1 to Agility.

| Gambler’s Dagger

Gambler’s Dagger gives you two knives that you can toss in rapid succession. The recharge on the second knife begins once your first is reloaded, and this takes twice as long as your normal recharge rate.

You can pair Gambler’s Dagger with Knife Juggler to give you an extra shot at scoring an instant recharge or to quickly kill an enemy in PvP.



Tier 1

Path Forgotten +2 Armor, +2 Agility

Path Forbidden +2 Recovery, +2 Agility

Path Unknown +2 Armor, +2 Recovery

hunter gunslinger class guide

Tier 2

Way of the Drifter +2 Armor, +1 Recovery, +2 Agility

Way of the Fearless +5 Armor

Way of the Nomad +4 Recovery, +1 Agility

Other Bonuses

Circle of Life +1 Armor

Over the Horizon +1 Recovery


PvP Tips

> For a full guide to Destiny’s Crucible, click here.

> For Control tips, click here.

hunter gunslinger guide

  • Headshots are rewarded by the Chain of Woe and Gunslinger’s Trance perks, so utilize these to their fullest by using slow firing, high-impact weapons.
  • Incendiary Grenade and Incendiary Blade are helpful ways to keep track of enemies. By utilizing the ticking damage counters from the burn, you can see where they are through walls, giving you the advantage.
  • Knife Juggler and Gambler’s Dagger, easily the two best talents, allow the TK to be available almost constantly.
  • Combustion and Keyhole can up your usual three-kill limit on your super to the entire enemy team if you catch them close together.
  • Unlike the other classes, you do not gain additional protection while activating your super. This leaves you vulnerable for a few seconds. Get behind cover while using your super to both protect yourself and surprise enemies who did not see you activate it.
  • Triple Jump makes you one of the most agile jumpers in the game. Utilize this to your advantage: jump around above your enemies before you close in for the kill, or change directions mid-jump to avoid enemy fire.

Recommended PvP Setup

Movement Mode Grenade Melee Super Stat Perks Perks
Triple Jump Tripmine Incendiary Blade Gunfighter Path Forbidden

Way Of The Drifter

Gunslinger’s Trance

Gambler’s Dagger