destiny best legendary hand cannons

Top 5 Legendary Hand Cannons

Published on: Apr 8, 2015 @ 16:46

Hand Cannons are among the most popular weapon types in Destiny. They are adapted from sidearms, but are given the raw and overwhelming power of a primary weapon.

Being able to dish out tons of damage in just a few shots, it’s no surprise why they’re such a desired primary choice, regardless of where you’re fighting.

In this article we’ll discuss what you should know before using a hand cannon, what perks are best, and our top 5 Legendary choices.

We also have a top 5 list for autofusion, scoutand pulse rifles.


The Basics

Hand cannons are a very rewarding weapon for those who can master them, but a very unforgiving weapon for novices with an unsteady hand.

In the same way that you need to be more careful and precise with a scout rifle, hand cannons also share the same caution.  Considering the slower rate of fire, unalike Auto Rifles and Pulse Rifles, you don’t have to expose yourself for long periods of time to take someone down, so be sure to use cover to your advantage.

As with all weapons, there’s a spectrum of high Impact with a lower RoF and a low Impact that fires much quicker. Generally the high RoF HCs will be best in the Crucible (think The Last Word), while a deadlier shot via high Impact will be best for PvE.

destiny top 5 legendary hand cannons

When using a hand cannon, it is important to develop a good rhythm with the weapon. In PvE you can afford to take your time with your shots, but in PvP you need to let off rounds fast but as accurately as possible. Somewhere in between is the sweet spot that will have fighting like a force to be feared, and it just takes practice to get the timing right.

There’s a certain balance that you’ve got to strike between patience and aggression. If you’re too aggressive you may end up missing shots and getting flustered, but you can’t take too much time lining them up because your opponent with the AR has been spraying the whole time.

Another thing to keep in mind is the perks, because stability perks are necessary for the ones with a fast RoF, and you may even want to consider having a PvP-only hand cannon.


Important Qualities


Magazine Size & Reload Speed

The larger the magazine, the longer you can assert your dominance in combat. This is perhaps the most important thing to consider when using a certain hand cannon because reload speeds are so slow.

You want to be sure that you can take out at least 2-3 enemies without having to worry about reloading.

Rate of Fire & Stability

Both of these statistics go hand in hand. A high RoF will generally lead to a lower base stability, so you’ll want to use any perk you can to increase it.

Having to adjust for an intense recoil is the last thing you’ll want to be doing in the heat of the moment.



Maybe besides magazine size, this is the only stat you really need to be worried about. More bang for your buck means less bullets to take down an enemy; 1-hit kills are just so satisfying.


Best Perks

The first thing to think about is where you plan to use your hand cannon. Crucible? Raids? Strikes? Whatever the choice, it’s good to consider what perks you’ll need in advance.



The latest patch reduced the range of hand cannons, so a bit more can’t ever hurt.

Perfect Balance

You want to land your shots as quick as possible, so the less time spent correcting the recoil, the faster you will be able to put damage out.

Field Scout

The best alternative to Flared Magwell (though that’s still a good option), you don’t necessarily want to reload after every kill, only when you know you’re in the clear and can have the seconds to spare.

Luck in the Chamber

The glorious perk from Hawkmoon, free extra damage can be the determining factor between a kill.


Explosive Rounds

You can damage multiple opponents with each round, which is very useful against tightly packed mobs of enemies, and is as close as you’ll come to Firefly.

Field Scout

Invaluable on a hand cannon, it gives a large boost to the total size of the weapon’s magazine, up to the 13 rounds.


This perk rewards precision kills with blindingly fast reloads. This type of weapon suffers from a sluggish reload speed but you’ll get back into the fray in half the time with Outlaw.

High Caliber Rounds

Don’t you love when enemies are staggered and helpless? Of course you do – so make sure you’ve got this perk!

Crowd Control

For when you are aggressively chaining kills, which is fairly common with hand cannons, Crowd Control gives you a stacking damage bonus to make your combos easier.


With each kill you’ll gain 10% of your grenade energy back, so you’ll have a grenade ready much more often than you normally would, and that simply equates to more damage.


Top 5 Legendary Hand Cannons

These are our top 5 picks based on versatility, damage output, stats, & default perks.

You can help out too by sharing your opinions with us about which Hand Cannons you think are the best. The more input the better!

5. The Chance

The pride of the Future War Cult, this is an excellent option for Hand Cannon enthusiasts. Though it requires a hefty 150 Crucible Marks and Rank 3 with the FWC, the investment is well worth it.

It offers solid base stats, comparable to TFWPKY 1969 , edging it out in Stability and Reload Speed while falling short in Range.

It is made all the more appealing by the quality perks the vendor version offers in Spray & Play, Field Scout/Perfect Balance/Flared Magwell, and Grenadier. These result in a Hand Cannon with 13 rounds in the chamber that encourages frequently emptying the mag and rewards a sure aim with drastically increased Grenade uptime.

It only lacks a way to increase its range, which is just a tiny nuisance for an otherwise solid gun.

4. Timur’s Lash (Full Review)

3. Red Hand IX

This is an excellent all-purpose hand cannon, but is particularly effective in the Crucible because of its excellent stability.

Unfortunately this weapon isn’t available for purchase, but if you land the right perks, it’s absolutely worth taking the time to upgrade. You can see all of its potential perks using this DB link.

The only real downside to this weapon is its low base range, just slightly higher than The Devil You Don’t. This can be fixed with Rangefinder or Send It, but RNG has to be in your favor.

It’s designed with a sleek model that catches the eye and is supported by a (cosmetic) suppressor attachment that’s rarely seen on other HCs.

While we’d love to do an individual review for it, the lack of consistent perks really makes that difficult. However, it’s one of the best hand cannons to start out with because its so user-friendly.

2. Word of Crota (Full Review)

1. Fatebringer