red death exotic review patch

Red Death Exotic Review v.2

Vanguard policy urges Guardians to destroy this weapon on sight.

Red Death is am Exotic primary pulse rifle.

This weapon can be acquired as a random reward from the Crucible or PvE content, or from Xûr for 23 Strange Coins.


The good: High Impact, quick reload speed, large magazine size.

The bad: Lowest stability.

Conclusion: Fun to use, HP regen is great for Crota’s Presence.

Read the full review here

This is an Exotic Weapon
Pulse Rifle (Primary Weapon)
Kinetic Base Damage/Upgraded302/331
Quality Lvl70
Rate of Fire
Magazine Size

Aim Assist
Equip Speed
Recoil Direction

Talent Upgrades Tree

Kinetic Damage

This weapon causes Kinetic damage.

Accurized Ballistics

More range and Impact. Increased recoil.

+5% Damage
+10 Range
-10 Stability


It’s easier to aim under fire using this weapon.

33% reduction on incoming flinch damage

Upgrade Damage 1

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.


Aiming this weapon is incredibly fast.

+30% ADS speed

Red Death

Each kill heals you and speeds up reloads.

Upgrade Damage 2

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Upgrade Damage 3

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Field Choke

More range and Impact. Increased recoil.

+5% Damage
+12 Range
-15 Stability

High Caliber Rounds

Oversize rounds built to stagger targets and leave them reeling. Their mass makes a weapon harder to handle.

Upgrade Damage 4

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.

Aggressive Ballistics

More predictable recoil. Enhanced Impact. Shorter range and more recoil.

+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Single Point Sling

Switch weapons faster. Move quicker while aiming.

+50% Ready
+10% movement speed

Upgrade Damage 5

Increases Attack Power, resulting in more Damage.


Video Review

*This video was published before the buff to pulse rifles.


Weapon Review

Red Death is one of two Exotic pulse rifles, the other being Bad Juju. It’s a high impact, low rate of fire pulse rifle.

Those lucky enough to own this gun will find that it’s an extremely formidable pulse rifle that’s at the top of its class, though pulse rifles in general aren’t that strong, so keep that in mind.


Recommended Perks

Aggressive Ballistics
+10% Damage
-5 Range
-5 Stability

Single Point Sling (PvP)

High Caliber Rounds (PvE)


The Good

The most recent patch that addressed Exotics brought a controversial change to Red Death. It used to have a lower rate of fire, which has been increased slightly, though the Impact has been reduced to compensate. The impact of 26 is still the second-highest among pulse rifles (Three Little Words holds the Impact crown).

In PvP the high impact leads to each bullet doing 21 on the body, and 32 to the head, really rewarding accuracy. A full burst to the body will do 63 damage, while a full burst to the head will deal 96 damage. It’ll only take 2 full critical bursts to take a Guardian down.

It occupies that perfect balance between auto rifle and scout rifle. Red Death excels at churning out critical hits in mid-range engagements. The heal you get when you land a kill is great for keeping yourself up in those hectic moments as well.
destiny red death review
The Red Death perk is what really makes this weapon a threat. After every kill you will immediately begin regenerating health, and you will also reload quicker (about 1.15 seconds which is 1 second quicker than normal).

The heal from this perk will also negate the Presence of Crota effect in the raid, so it’s perfect to use for Crota’s End. If for whatever reason you can’t kill an enemy, just shoot your Tripmine grenade and that will count as a kill.

The Unflinching perk meshes well with this since you are more than likely going to be taking fire from other enemies in pretty much any engagement. This makes landing those crucial precision shots that much easier since your sights won’t be bouncing around everywhere.

Besides the quick reload speed (2.15 seconds), all of the stats are average.

If you’re a Gunslinger, Gunslinger’s Trance & Chains of Woe can really bring out the best in this weapon.

The Bad

Red Death is unfortunately the least stable pulse rifle, making it difficult to make a full burst land on a precision shot in PvP outside of the most ideal circumstances.

The low range of 33 (tied with Bad Juju) hurts the weapon even more, as it really pushes it further into the medium-range category of weapons.

The perks on Red Death are a bit underwhelming as well. While the perks are somewhat useful, they don’t have a huge impact on the weapon overall.

Snapshot barely makes a noticeable difference. High Caliber Rounds works well for PvE, but isn’t as helpful in PvP. Single Point Sling is probably the most useful perk for PvP since it’ll increase your movement speed and since you will be switching to your secondary a lot to cover longer distances.



The weapon’s look really shows its history. There are warning signs for Guardians all over it, from a skull and crossbones as you look down sights, to little tick marks noting how many owners have perished using this weapon.

For whatever reason Bungie actually removed the “It is a Guardian killer” that used to be a part of its description.
red death guardian killer
It also has a pretty intoxicating noise when firing it; hearing a deep “crack” emanate from each burst is very satisfying.

The sights are very open and bright, and lend themselves well to the pulse rifle archetype.



Red Death can be used to great success in both PvP and PvE, and landing your precision shots will reward you with a quick 2-burst kill.

It exists solely to dominate mid-range engagements where you can reliably land precision shots without the recoil and range affecting you. If you can consistently get precision shots with this weapon, you’re going to love it, because hits hard.

It is a very fun weapon to bring out when you get getting bored of the normal routine, and is extremely beneficial in certain circumstances (see: Crota’s Presence).

Edit: Since the pulse rifle buff, it’s much better!

For PvP this weapon earns a 9/10 and for PvE a 8.7/10.