Weapon Stats Explained In-Depth

Published on: Sep 22, 2014 @ 13:14

Weapon stats define how a weapon behaves. All weapons of the same name have the same base stats. Note that because two weapons of the same name can have different mods, they can still end up with different final stat values!

Also, there are a few weapon stats that are “hidden” (that is, not visible on the in-game stat display). Optics, Handling, Recoil, and maximum Inventory ammo stats aren’t shown on your weapon. Note that a higher maximum inventory ammo also boosts the amount of ammo you spawn with when you begin an activity.
weapon stats

Stats explained by Killworthy

Killworthy Gaming has a new video outlining Destiny’s weapon stats and what stats you should focus on based on your playstyle.

Video: Weapon Stats Explained!

Here’s an older, yet still very relevant video by DattoDoesDestiny explaining the differences between Attack & Impact. For more about these 2 stats, check out this article.

Video: Attack vs. Impact – Weapon Damage Explained


In depth weapon stats

For an even more in-depth breakdown of all Destiny’s weapon statistics, check out the following.

Visible Weapon Stats
Stat Effect
Rate of Fire How quickly the weapon fires
Impact Damage dealt per shot
Range Distance at which you can deal 100% of your Impact damage
Stability Dampens recoil
Reload How quickly you reload
Magazine The size of your magazine
Charge Time Time to charge a fusion rifle
Blast Radius The size of the blast zone from a rocket
Velocity How fast a rocket travels

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Rate of Fire

How quickly your weapon fires repeated shots.

Rate of fire applies to full-auto firing mode for auto rifles; for semi-auto weapons, it applies to how quickly you can pull the trigger. High rate of fire weapons can have issues with recoil control. Either seek out weapons with high Stability stats, or use them at shorter distances.


Base damage dealt per shot.

Remember that in PvE and PvP where Level Advantages are enabled, your Attack and your Level stats modify this amount.

Against higher-level targets, you deal lower damage, and vice versa against lower-level targets. There are very few mods that directly affect the Impact stat. Most have conditional triggers you must fulfill before you can get the damage boost.

As a general rule while leveling, if you have two weapons (of the same class) with Attack values that are similar, the weapon with more Impact will still hit harder on enemies around your level. Once you are looking at weapons a few levels higher that have considerably higher Attack values, even a hard-hitting, slow-firing weapon starts dealing less damage than a weaker but faster-firing weapon.

Also, don’t go trying to compare Impact values directly across weapon classes. They are very much apples and oranges (for example, sniper rifles hit harder than auto rifles).


The distance at which the weapon remains effective.

Range determines the distance that your shots hit for 100% damage before they begin falling off to 50% damage. Range also affects the minimum and maximum size of your “bloom” circle when hipfiring (and a small fraction of that circle is used for ADS accuracy, as well).

Range is a very important stat for long-range combat, for obvious reasons. What is not obvious is that sights provide a range multiplier, and so the exact same weapon with or without a long-range sight can perform far, far differently when shooting distant targets. Beyond the maximum range of your weapon, damage falls off steadily until you reach 50% of your normal damage amount. For weapons with poor Range stats, this can make them very inefficient for fighting distant targets. Choose a weapon (and a sight) that suits the mission or PvP map you are entering!

Range also plays a role in accuracy when you are firing your weapon, so weapons with a good Range stat tend to be easier to handle when you’re firing at distant enemies.

Fusion rifles do not suffer damage falloff, so sights are not as vital for improving long-range damage. However, range affects fusion rifle projectile speed. The blasts travel more quickly when you have a mod like Hammer Forged equipped, making it easier to hit a target at medium range with more of the shot. “Range” is also essentially the same stat for Rocket Launcher’s projectile speed.

Important! Sights Multiply Range while ADS

  • When you equip your weapon with a sight and go into ADS, the zoom factor provides a direct multiplier to the base range of the weapon. Equipping a 2x zoom sight doubles the distance from which you can deal maximum damage. Unsurprisingly, sniper rifles tend to have the highest zoom factor sights. Combined with a high base damage to begin with, this gives them the best-long range performance of any weapon.
  • For primary weapons, switching between iron sights or a scope can completely change the character of a weapon. You can switch to irons for close-quarters combat, and use a more powerful scope for long-range outdoor combat. Of course, more intense magnification also tends to harm your ability to fight effectively at close range, and you often pay a cost in Stability or Handling characteristics for more sophisticated sights, or sometimes even Range…



How hard your weapon kicks when you fire it.

Stability represents how much your weapon jerks in your hand when you are ADS. It also affects view kick when you hipfire a weapon (though Range has control over how large your bloom circle is).

High-stability weapons are generally much easier to handle, and other than Impact, this stat has the greatest effect on your outgoing damage. Landing more precision hits and missing fewer shots both improve your damage output.

Prize primary weapons with high Stability stats and mods that grant bonus Stability, as these make for lethal mid- to long-range tools. Special and heavy weapons don’t always need amazing Stability scores. Depending on the weapon in question, you may find that handling the recoil doesn’t trouble you.



How quickly your weapon can be reloaded.

Reload is a simple but important stat. Weapons in Destiny do not reload more slowly whether your magazine is empty or not.

In PvE, Reload can improve your sustained damage output, giving you more time firing and less reloading, and occasionally saving you from a rushing enemy. In PvP, it can save your life if an opponent rounds the corner just as you finished a battle.

There are also quite a few player abilities and weapon mods that interact with Reload, either speeding it up or giving you bonuses for reloading.


Reload Cancelling

Here’s a useful trick for speeding reloads: you do not have to wait for the full reload animation to complete before the ammo is actually in the magazine. The instant you see the ammo counter increase, your gun is considered reloaded, even if you cancel the remaining animation time.

For almost all weapons, the time that the ammo actually reloads coincides almost perfectly with the sound effect and the animation of the magazine being inserted into the weapon.

You can cancel the remaining animation by sprinting, switching weapons twice quickly, meleeing, or throwing a grenade. The most practical application of this technique is sprinting. By reloading and then sprinting out of the full animation, you save time that you would otherwise spend walking. This sounds really minor, and it is most of the time—except in PvP, where fractions of a second count.

If you reload-cancel all of your reloads, even by simply “sprinting” one step, you can functionally speed the reload time of all of your weapons. With practice, this technique becomes completely second nature. You won’t even think about it consciously, as you’ll be performing it automatically after every reload.

Don’t try this if you’re still actively engaged in combat (whether in PvE or PvP). However, in any other situation, it shaves a bit of time off every reload.



The amount of ammunition your weapon can hold.

This is a simple but important stat. Not every weapon of the same archetype has the same amount of ammo, and mods can boost this number even higher. Sniper rifles and rocket launchers have less variance in their magazine sizes; both weapons have much smaller magazines compared to other weapon types.


Charge Time

How quickly the weapon fully charges its lethal burst of energy.

This stat is exclusive to fusion rifles. A quick charge time makes for an easy to use close-range fusion rifle. But in PvP, don’t expect to beat a shotgun at point-blank range, even with a very short charge.

In PvE, the charge time can influence how you utilize cover, with longer charge times allowing you to stay behind hard cover while you prime the charge, stepping out for just a moment to unleash a powerful blast.

One critically important point: changing the Charge Time stat affects damage. If you have a slow charge time, you’re going to hit harder, but if you have a fast charge time, your shots are weaker. You must decide if you want all your damage dealt in one big, slower burst, or distributed across several weaker but faster blasts.


Blast Radius

Both the size and the potential damage of a blast.

This stat is exclusive to rocket launchers. Blast damage falls off from the center of the explosion. A large blast both increases the number of targets you can hit and improves the damage dealt to opponents not directly at the center of the blast.



The speed at which rockets travel once fired.

This stat is also exclusive to rocket launchers. High-velocity rockets are much more effective at hitting nimble targets at medium range, while slower ones can be unreliable when aimed at distant targets.

Keep in mind that fusion rifles do have a “hidden” Velocity value, as well: their Range stat affects the speed of the fusion blasts. Fusion beams travel much faster than rockets, but they are slow enough that hitting distant targets can be difficult.


Non-visible Weapon Stats
Stat Effect
Optics Zoom factor, multiplies Range stat
Handling How quickly you ADS, raise, and lower your gun
Recoil Affects direction of gun kick
Inventory Boosts ammo reserve, affects initial spawn ammo and max possible capacity

[toggle title=”Complete Non-visable Weapon Stat Overview” state=”close” ]


A combination of the time it takes to enter ADS fully, and to stow or draw a weapon.

These three traits are referred to as ADS, Away, and Ready. Some mods can specifically modify one of the Handling “children” independently of the whole Handling parent stat. A weapon with good handling characteristics feels light and snappy. You ADS quickly, bring your weapon up from sprinting faster, and can switch to and from it quickly.

In PvE, good handling simply makes a weapon feel good, and comfort matters when you’re fighting hundreds (or thousands…) of enemies. Handling has a very slight and subtle but important role in PvP combat. Fractions of a second can kill in a tight contest, so Handling stats can influence the outcome of a firefight, though this generally has less of a noticeable impact on your performance than the Stability or Range stats.

One note: combining weapons of different classes with high Handling characteristics can make for fast weapon swaps in PvP, and this can enable some nasty weapon-switching combos to secure kills. Experiment with weapon pairs that have good handling or Ready/Away mods on them to test out quick swaps.



The weapon’s zoom factor while in ADS.

Each base weapon class has a different default zoom level while you are using iron sights, and attaching a scope can completely change the maximum zoom of a weapon. Optics interacts with the Range stat to determine long-range damage and aid in long-range accuracy.

Optic Bonuses

  • Optic bonuses from sights simply add directly to the base zoom factor of a given weapon.
  • A 0.8x long-range sight on an auto rifle would give you 2.3x zoom, while a more mild red dot might only give you 0.2x, for a total of 1.7x zoom.
  • Unsurprisingly, sniper rifles have high base zoom, and their scopes give strong Optics scores, as high as 5x for a total zoom factor of 9x!

See the sights tables for the full list of effects that various sights have—sights can also impact Handling, Range, Reload, and Stability.

Default Weapon Zoom Levels
Primary Special Heavy
Auto Rifle: 1.5x Fusion Rifle: 1.5x Machinegun: 1.5x
Hand Cannon: 1.7x Shotgun: 1.2x Rocket Launcher: 2x
Pulse Rifle: 1.7x Sniper Rifle: 4x
Scout Rifle: 2x



The direction and degree to which a weapon kicks when fired.

Very harsh recoil can bounce constantly left and right of center, while more precise weapons can almost stitch a straight line up center mass. This isn’t a stat that you modify directly as much as one that you interact with. The Stability value of your weapon, combined with its rate of fire and your own skill at managing recoil, determine how accurate you are with a given weapon.

What is important to know about the Recoil stat, however, is that direction and intensity are specific to each weapon in the game, and all fall within the Recoil values for each archetype.

Recoil is a very personal preference—how much or little recoil you can tolerate, and which direction you prefer your weapon to kick in. As you accumulate your own personal arsenal of Legendary weaponry, use your knowledge of how a weapon of a specific name kicks to decide if you should spend valuable currency on vendor weapons of the same name, or if you need Stability mods to dampen the base recoil.

You can also use the recoil charts in this section to get a rough idea of how harsh the recoil can potentially be, though there’s no substitute for holding and firing the weapon yourself.


Inventory Max Ammo

The amount of ammo you can carry around in reserve.

Inventory is very useful for extended missions on high difficulty—remember, ammo restore consumables have a five-minute cooldown!


First level 30 character

In other news, Destiny had its first level 30 character earlier this morning! BGTV N3AC3Y was the first to obtain the World First in the race to level 30.
As of the time of this post here’s some stats about N3AC3Y:

Guardian Benchmarks

  • PvE Score: 4,608.88 – #11
  • Combat Rating: 140.20 – #6376
  • Grimoire Score: 1760 – #869
  • Gear Score: 297

Across all 3 of his Hunters he has spent a total 107 hours 15 minutes and 22 seconds leveling to 30. About 25% of that time was spent in the Crucible while in the Vault of Glass he took 13 hours 6 minutes 40 seconds, died 251 times, killed 2008 enemies, and performed 504 precision kills.