How the Upcoming Beyond Light Weapon Changes Will Affect Your Favorite Hand Cannons


Are these changes to Hand Cannons enough to shake up the meta?


In last weeks ‘This Week at Bungie’ blog post it was shown what kind of weapon rebalancing would take place once Beyond Light releases on November 10.

This rebalancing featured changes to a lot of Destiny 2’s weapon types but the biggest change will come to Hand Cannons. Here is a quick rundown of the changes if you missed them last week:

  • ➤Aggressive Frame 110RPM Hand Cannons have been changed to 120RPM
  • ➤Adaptive and Precision Frames will have increased range. Damage falloff at 100 range now starts at 25m, was 20m.
  • ➤Precision Frames (180RPM) will have a 37% increase to magazine size. Also affects Exotics of this RPM.
  • ➤All Lightweight Frames (150RPM) have been changed to Adaptive Frames (140RPM).
  • ➤Sunshot Exotic will retain its 150RPM

Bungie states the purpose of these changes is to give the underused Frames such as Aggressive and Adaptive their chance to shine in the Crucible. This is due to the fact that 150RPM Hand Cannons take the same number of shots to kill as 140’s and 110’s but simply have a much faster Time to Kill (TTK).

These changes could really shake up the Hand Cannon meta as it’s possible that the increase in TTK of the current 110’s, along with the added range, could make them the kings. There are also many Legendary 140’s that are excellent in a vacuum but fall by the wayside when compared to the better TTK of the 150’s. Perhaps these will now rise to the top?

Here’s a quick rundown of the more popular Hand Cannons and how they are likely to land in the new meta:


For reasons unknown Bungie has decided to keep Sunshot as a 150RPM Hand Cannon when all others of this firerate are being folded into the 140RPM archetype.

This is great news for this weapon as it will be able to keep its higher optimal Time to Kill (TTK) of 0.8 seconds when all other 140RPM’s will have a TTK of 0.87 seconds. This difference in TTK might not seem like much but in high tier competitive play like Trials of Osiris you need to push every advantage you can.

Sunshot also has an Exotic Catalyst that gives it +27 Range and +18 Stability, bumping up its already fairly decent base stats. This Catalyst can be acquired randomly at the end of Strikes and Crucible matches.

So combined with the Catalyst we now have a high range, high stability Hand Cannon that not only now has one of the best Hand Cannon TTKs but also makes enemies explode upon death. What’s not to love?


Unfortunately, Thorn is currently a 150 Hand Cannon and so when the above changes go live alongside Beyond Light this weapon will see its RPM lowered to 140. This obviously lengthens the optimal TTK but comes with another benefit.

With the slower RPM comes a bump to the Impact of the weapon. Currently, if a player has less than 60 Resilience they will die to Thorn that has Soul Devourer active in only two hits as the empowered burn is enough to finish them off. Once these changes go live it will not matter how high the defending player’s Resilience is, two hits from an empowered Thorn will kill them.

Expect Thorn to retain some heavy use in the Crucible as it will still have a TTK equal to other Hand Cannons, except Sunshot, and will be able to two tap any Guardian when Soul Devourer active.


Malfeasance is a 180RPM Hand Cannon. This RPM archetype performs quite poorly in the Crucible as it has an optimal TTK of 1.0 seconds, which pales in comparison to the TTK of 150’s and 140’s.

In Beyond Light, 180’s will see a 37% increase to their magazine size but this honestly isn’t going to do a whole lot to help them in PvP so this is mainly a PvE buff.

Malfeasance already sees a good amount of use in some game modes such as Gambit where there are a lot of Taken enemies as the weapon deals an additional 25% damage to them. This doesn’t mean the weapon isn’t great in other PvE content as the burst damage from stacking 5 bullets leads to Malfeasance having quite good DPS against Majors and Bosses.

Ace of Spades

Another contender for becoming one of the meta Hand Cannons is Ace of Spades. Ace is a 140 so with 150’s almost ceasing to exist this gives the weapon room to breathe. Ace has one of the highest base range stats for 140’s with a value of 78, this is higher than Sunshot with its Catalyst.

Memento Mori can add a huge amount of consistency to Ace. The added damage might not cause the weapon to two tap but it does kill in two crits and one body shot whereas without the added damage three crits are needed for an optimal TTK.

New 120RPM

The change from 110RPM to 120RPM for some Hand Cannons is unlikely to change their performance to a great degree. Currently, 110s have an optimal TTK 1.0 seconds same as 180s and this still does not compete with the lower TTK of the 140s or 150s. Yes, the change to 120RPM will lower this optimal TTK slightly, and the added range will help, but this still won’t compete.

The problem with the slow firing, high range Hand Cannons is that they occupy the same engage distance as the High-Impact Frame Pulse Rifles like Cold Denial. These Pulse Rifles have similar range to the 120s yet have a ludicrous TTK of only 0.67 seconds, plus they are simply easier weapons to use.

I honestly don’t see the new 120RPM Hand Cannons making their way into the meta any time soon.


The only 110, soon to be 120, Hand Cannon that I can see achieving some kind of use is the Sturm and Drang combo. Achieving a kill with Drang will load a high damage ‘Overcharged’ shot into the chamber of Sturm.

This shot deals a massive amount of extra damage and will result in a two tap kill if both are crits. Currently, this two tap has an extremely quick TTK of 0.53 seconds so when Sturm becomes a faster firing 120RPM this TTK will become even quicker.

If you’re feeling a bit cheesy you can combine this Overcharged shot with another damage buff such as Warlock Empowering Rift for a quick and easy single hit kill.

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