destiny sidearm review

Crucible Radio Ep. 30 – Recap (ft. Holtzmann)

This week on Crucible Radio, Swain, Birds and Bones go in-depth on sidearms and bring on Holtzmann to talk loadouts, Trials of Osiris, Memento and diamonds in the rough.

Are Sidearms Good?

It’s becoming more common to see someone vouching for sidearms on forums and threads, but they still see a regularly low kill count in the Crucible. Are there more to the fast-firing pistols than previously thought? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.


  1. Pair well with lots of primaries – you can use a sidearm with a scout rifle, but maintain the short-to-medium range even better than a shotgun. Plenty of pulse rifles cover the medium range as well, so clean ups are a little easier if your secondary can hit the same range.
  2. Effective at range – speaking of range, it’s pretty shocking how far these little things can hit when aimed carefully. You won’t be able to max the right of fire at a distance, but on a weakened enemy, it can mean the difference between them dying or escaping.
  3. Useful in the air – sidearms offer the rare advantage of in-air accuracy. With so many movement options in Destiny, it can be incredibly effective for catching an opponent off-guard.


  1. Not a single-shot-kill – every other secondary has the potential to kill on a single shot, acting more like “power weapons” that the workhorses that are primaries. With sidearms however, it takes multiple accurate shots to defeat an opponent.
  2. Empty magazines faster – with a longer TTK than any other secondary, you spend more time reloading in between kills, making sidearms less viable for aggressive play.
  3. Don’t feel satisfying – this of course might not be true for all players, but sidearms don’t have that same “punch” like other secondaries. They can sometimes feel soft, which makes for a difference in perceived effectiveness.

Though they might not be the best tool for going flawless in Trials of Osiris, sidearms are certainly seeing a lot more action since their inception. Perhaps they might play a larger role in future balances.


Gear Recommendations

Crucible Radio’s conversation with Holtzmann led to some great information on some less-used weapons and gear.

Hotlzmann plays as Gunslinger, which have a deadly melee attack that have been around since the beginning but don’t always come up in conversation. With the right build, you can hold two knives and get one back for every kill with a knife – that’s a lot of melee power at range.

To pair with knives which are accurate in the air, Holtzmann uses the Bones of Eao, which offer an extra jump for Hunters. The amount of hang time is incredible and the ability to cover ground with a longer jump negates the need for a lot of agility, allowing Hunters to utilize armor and recovery more efficiently, a less known benefit to the Bones of Eao.

And to maintain effectiveness in the air, the Havoc Pigeon is a great tool for taking Guardians by surprise. As mentioned earlier, sidearms are more effective in the air than other secondaries and more than most primaries as well. Little known fact: it’s actually harder to look up in Destiny than it is to look side to side. If you can be a deadly force in the air, players will have a tough time taking you down.

When asked about primary, Holtzmann answered with a surprise: the Ace of Spades. A hunter exclusive exotic handcannon that hasn’t been talked about much, Holtzmann compared it to the Fatebringer, and noted its strong range stat. With a near perfect recoil direction to boot, it’s a stable primary that succeeds where many legendaries in its class do not. Give it a shot and see what you think.


Handling Tough Trials Maps

Reactions to Trials map selection will never be unanimously positive – here’s a few quick tips for taking on a Trials map that you wouldn’t exactly call your favorite:

Avoid the common lanes – every map has “rat lanes” which commonly see action. Tough maps might reinforce these lanes even harder. Look for strange spots to stand that give a height advantage or element of surprise; you’ll be shocked to realize how few players will look right past you when scoping down a hall.

Cause a distraction – every player wants the kill, but sometimes the most effective player can have the lowest score. When everyone knows where the snipers will stand, it can be helpful for your teammates to use your scope and taunt the enemy team. They’ll be focused on your sniping and maybe even hardscope back at you, allowing a flank to ambush them.

Maintain multiple viewpoints – one of the biggest mistakes in 3v3 modes, especially Trials, is bunching up. Yes, it is important to stay close together in order to secure revives and push when a numbers advantage exists. But it’s also important to limit your team to less than three viewpoints at any given time. Fast and effective secondary weapons will make quick work of two Guardians standing too close together, but if you’re spread out you’ll have a much better chance of staying alive.


That’s it from Crucible Radio – tune in next week for some competitive tourney talk!