destiny gunslinger subclass guide

Taken King: Ultimate Gunslinger Guide

Hunters are the Agility class of Destiny, for Gunslinger specifically, so having a high-armor/mid-agility build is recommended.

Let’s take a closer look at the perk sets available to Gunslingers!

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

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.



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

Deals 150+ damage + damage over time (5 ticks of 5 damage over 2.5 seconds).

The Incendiary grenade is interesting as a choice, and certainly takes some getting used to; it’s not the typical ‘explode-on-hit’ grenade. It’s a bouncy grenade that lights enemies on fire, causing Damage over Time after hitting for an initial impact. While it can be tricky to time, detonating it next to a Guardian in the Crucible, or close to a Tier 2 enemy will usually kill them with the DoT.

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.

Swarm – “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 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.

This grenade is territorial – stick it in front of a door to make sure nothing gets through, but in terms of usual utility, it can be difficult to find the niche where it’s more useful than the other two.

Tripmine – “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.

Anybody who’s spent more than ten minutes in the Crucible knows the Tripmine. It can stick to enemies and will explode on them for massive damage, or can stick to surfaces and wait for someone to run through. One of the very few one-hit-kill grenades, if the explosion is right, in PvP. Extremely useful.

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.

(Tip: enemy Mines have a full red glow. Your teams’ will have a red outer circle with white lines inside. White lines = no damage to you, but watch our for your own!)



The Gunslinger jumps are the same as the Nightstalker – Double jump is the basic, with Better Control, Triple Jump and Higher Jump being the three added perks. Better Control can be awesome in PvP since controlling where your jump is headed is far easier than with Triple or Higher Jump equipped.

Triple jump is needed for changing trajectory twice in a jump, or just get further along. Triple Jump with X/A tapped at the exact apex of each jump will get you high enough to reach most areas.


Golden Gun

It’s only one letter away from Golden Fun! Three ultra-powerful shots cloaked in Solar light.

  • Deadeye essentially gives more room for error by greatly improving accuracy (good for PvP).
  • Combustion makes any targets killed with the Golden Gun explode into eternal fiery glory causing big damage to anyone who’s close to it, sometimes enough to kill a PvP enemy.
  • Gunfighter takes about 30 seconds off its recharge time.


Melee Ability

Gunslingers, like Nightstalkers, don’t get a traditional ‘more-powerful-punch/palm’ for their melee, with Bungie taking the distance + accuracy = profit route.

It’s first perk, Circle of Life, extends your Golden Gun duration if you kill an enemy with a Throwing Knife while GG is active. I’ve never killed anyone with anything other than GG while GG was active, but I imagine you’d be OK if your combustion just about doesn’t kill something and you don’t want to waste another GG shot.

Incendiary Blade will light your enemies on fire if you hit them with a Throwing Knife, causing more Damage over Time. This isn’t enough, even with a precision shot, to kill a full armour PvP Guardian, but does give you the benefit of seeing where they are (the damage numbers will follow the Guardian you hit).

Knife Juggler presents the best opportunity for people with precision: Precision kills gives back the knife you just used. Two Pulse burst headshots and a TK headshot will finish off just about anyone. It seems that if you throw your knife in opportune range, immediately after landing a headshot, it gets a little bit of magnetism towards the head.



If you’re the kind of person who uses your grenades and melee abilities the instant they’re charged, consider Scavenger. Picking up ammo of any kind reduces your ability cooldown, and from memory, this has no limit, so its useful if you collect special and heavy regularly in PvP, even more useful in PvE mob situations where there’s ammo a-plenty lying around.

Penetration means your GG shots will rip straight through your target and through everything else behind it too, causing high damage to everything it hits. Great for collaterals, if you can land them, but this isn’t usually easy to do. Luck based, mostly.

Gunslinger’s Trance as a standalone perk is perfect; precision kills increase your weapon stability, stackable 3 times (a fourth kill will reset your x3 timer to full again). This really starts to excel with mid-stability weapons, essentially able to take any mid-stability weapon to a high stability weapon for as long as you can keep the perk active (at x3). Look to the combo section later on!



Chain of Woe is another stackable perk that activates on precision kills, causing weapons to reload faster. Get three in quick succession within 10 seconds of the last one and it stacks to x3, essentially giving every single weapon the sought-after Outlaw perk. Combine it with Outlaw and you get ridiculous reload speeds.

Over the Horizon extends your GG range. Very little to no damage drop off on your GG. It’s a utility perk, better when combined with others. This talent also adds +1 to Agility.

Gambler’s Dagger is the perk for the “Holtzmann” playstyle by providing an additional knife. Pair this with Knife Juggler for an extra shot at scoring an instant recharge, or to quickly kill an enemy in PvP.


Notable Exotics

Sealed Ahamkara Grasps – Useful for all Hunter classes, but this piece gives you Gamblers Dagger for free, allowing you to choose between the other two perks freely while always having your second Throwing Knife handy.

Young Ahamkara’s Spine – For the Mine lovers, this will offer a second one to throw, and it also extends the duration before it naturally explodes. Extreme territory control with one of the best grenades in the game.

Bones of Eao – As with the Nightstalker, the Bones can give you a Better Control Triple Jump, or an Increased Height Triple Jump! Great for mobility, or making those very difficult jumps!

Radiant Dance Machines – Higher movement speeds when aiming down the sights of any weapon. Pair it with MIDA!

Achlyophage Symbiote – 4 GG’s instead of 3, but there’s only 9 seconds to use it now.

Celestial Nighthawk – 1 single GG shot that hits for 6x damage. PvE god-mode activated.

Crest of Alpha Lupi – Only effective in revive-intense modes like Trials. Not Gunslinger specific.

Knucklehead Radar – Third Eye is now on all Primary Weapons without having to have it as a perk on the weapon, little use in PvE and no use in Inferno.

Khepri’s Sting – Gain invisibility after crouching for a short time, regardless of class, and melee’s from behind do 4x damage + lingering damage over time. Also Switchblade, decreased melee cooldown time.


Light ‘em Up – Combinations

Mid-Stability Weapon + Chain of Woe + Gunslinger’s Trance + 3 precision kills = High Stability Outlaw weapon. You can completely change a weapon’s archetype using this combination. Mid RoF pulse rifles become lasers with Outlaw activated. Combine with an Outlaw weapon, and the reload speed actually stacks.

Even better than that, 3 precision kills with a sniper, for example, switch to primary or heavy and benefit from the increased reload speed with those too! All precision kills with this weapon will refund the magazine in PvP.

Any weapon capable of doing ~50-80 damage + Throwing Knife + Gambler’s Dagger + Scavenger + Knife Juggler = Potentially Unlimited TK. Precision knife hits do 158 damage, while body shots do 120ish. Headshot someone with MIDA or Hawkmoon in TK’s range, you’ll probably end up with a precision TK kill, which will reset it.

If you do 80+ damage, a TK body shot will cover you, but won’t reset the cooldown – this is where Scavenger and Gambler’s Dagger both come in to play. Scavenger will get the knife back quicker, while Gambler’s Dagger gives an extra one.

Deadeye + Over The Horizon + Penetration = Super Explosion. Use Celestial Nighthawk to get Penetration for free as a hidden perk, and choose your other one, though this will only give you one shot. Great for bosses when there’s a few adds around to deal with!

Young Ahamkara’s Spine + Tripmine Grenades + Gambler’s Dagger + Scavenger + High Discipline & Strength build = Grenades & Knives for days. Double Tripmine’s gives you insane territory control, too. See 30 seconds on that heavy spawn? Slap a couple of tripmines on it. Need to cap B, but don’t want to leave A or C uncovered? Clever Tripmine placement can get you there.

To finish off those pesky Guardians that survive a grenade, sling a Throwing Knife at ’em. Tier 5 Strength has a 25 second melee cooldown, so you’ll almost always have at least one knife handy.


Build Recommendation

Sharp Shooter

gunslinger build guideSubclass:             Gunslinger

Engagements:     Long-Range
Strengths:            Support

Grenade Type: Tripmine Primary Weapon: MIDA Multi-Tool
Double Jump: Triple Jump Special Weapon: Sniper Rifle
Golden Gun: Deadeye Heavy Weapon: Rocket Launcher
Throwing Knife: Knife Juggler  
Path I: Path Unknown Alt Primary: Pulse Rifle
Ability Modifier: Gunslinger’s Trance Alt Special:
Path II: Way of the Fearless Alt Heavy: Machine Gun
Ability Modifier: Chain of Woe Ideal Exotic Armor: Achlyophage Symbiote

A build that comes straight from the Hunter’s stereotypical image, this setup is built for long range engagements. Everything is centered around picking off foes from a distance and your focus should be being careful and staying alive.

Grab your best sniper and navigate the outside of the map, always with a watchful eye on high-traffic areas. A high Impact scout rifle works awesome for this build as well, to drop anyone quickly who gets too close for comfort.


Other Guides

Gunslinger’s aren’t quite as weak as the stats may suggest, but it takes an awful lot of skill to use them to maximum effect!