Destiny 2 Gunslinger Hunter
Destiny, Features, Gaming

Destiny 2 PvE Build: Gunslinger Hunter – The Golden Reaper

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This September, with the release of Shadowkeep, Destiny 2 is set to give the players a little more ability to craft their “monster killing machines.”

Bungie is taking the steps to make Guardians more customizable; they’re bringing more stats back into the game and revamping the way armor works. In short, we’ll begin to see players have more freedom when it comes to creating builds.

Of course, with the re-addition of random rolls and armor perks and mods last September with Forsaken, you can already create some builds.  You’re completely reliant on RNG, and will likely end up being a complete mash-up of different armor sets, but you can create a little synergy.

As we prepare for the more hardcore friendly, RPG oriented version of Destiny 2 with Season 8 and Shadowkeep, we’re going to start doing some build articles as a warm up for what’s to come.

I main a Hunter, in both PvE and PvP, and so our first build is for the Hunter and is a PvE build centered around the Way of the Sharpshooter Gunslinger. I call it The Golden Reaper.

This is an aggressive build centered around three things; 1.) killing enemies really fast up-close, 2.) creating orbs of light, and 3.) getting Golden Gun super fast.

Hunter Gunslinger

  • CLASS ABILITY: Marksman’s Dodge – Dodging automatically reloads your weapon.
    • We’ll discuss why we’re using this one over Gambler’s Dodge later in the build guide.
  • MOVEMENT MODE: Triple Jump
    • This jump is personal preference for PvE, doesn’t impact the build. Strafe Jump is also really good.
  • GRENADE: Incendiary Grenade
    • This is the strongest option Gunslingers have for PvE, outside of niche use of Tripmine with a completely different setup.


This is the bottom skill-tree.

This tree does four things:

  1. Practice Makes Perfect: Each precision hit reduces the cooldown of Golden Gun. Stacks to 5x. Knife Juggler kills grant Super energy.
  2. Knife Juggler: Precision kills with the Throwing Knife immediately recharge it.
  3. Crowd-Pleaser: Enables precision damage with Golden Gun. Precision hits with Golden Gun generate Orbs of Light.
  4. Line ‘Em Up: Precision hits with Golden Gun increase its damage and extend its duration.

The first two items align with our third agenda with the build; getting Golden Gun really fast. The goal is bounce between minor enemies getting precision hits and kills with our primary weapon, and picking up the orbs we generate from it.  Throwing Knife isn’t the star of the build, but is really effective against the weaker minor enemies of the Fallen, Hive, and Cabal.

The third item doesn’t do much for solo play, but in a group setting just hitting three precision shots will generate six Orbs for your teammates.

Weapon Loadout

This weapon loadout is one of the strongest loadouts in the game, and is completely accessible. Mountaintop and Recluse are great, but the majority of the playerbase don’t have those weapons because they don’t play Comp to get them.

We have two locked weapons in this build, and one that you’re free to substitute.

Our primary of choice is the Huckleberry.

Huckleberry is an exotic kinetic SMG.

  • Ride The Bull – Increased Rate of Fire and recoil while you’re holding down the trigger. Kills with this weapon reload a portion of the magazine.
  • Fluted Barrel
  • Ricochet Rounds
  • Rampage – Kills with this weapon temporarily grant increased damage. Stacks 3x.
  • Short-Action Stock

Huckleberry is very easy to use; it’s stable and the recoil is fairly easy to manage even on console.

You will absolutely shred enemies with the Huckleberry, and Rampage just further elevates it. Ride the Bull and Rampage go together extremely well.

Here’s the thing. For this build, and the aggressive play-style, you need to have it Masterworked. The catalyst makes it so that kills with weapon reload the entire magazine. You’re also generating a ton of Orbs due to how fast you’re slaying enemies.

Reloading a portion of the magazine is nice, but eventually you’re going to have to reload. Reload speed here manually is pretty slow. You can ease this some by using Marksman’s Dodge, but really you want the Catalyst.

If you don’t have the Catalyst, or don’t care for the SMG aggressive playstyle, our substitute here is the exotic hand cannon Crimson.

Crimson is a terribly underrated gun, in my opinion. It’s not bad in PvP, though it could use a slight buff to bring the TTK down a little, but in PvE it is fantastic for what we’re looking to do here: kill red bar enemies fast with precision kills.

  • Banned Weapon – Fires a 3-round burst.
  • Smallbore
  • Accurized Rounds
  • Cruel Remedy – Kills with this weapon heal the wielder. Precision kills also refill the magazine.
  • Heavy Grip

Masterwork not required, but it does provide a nice range boost to nearly max the range.

Crimson feels great. It’s extremely stable, can be used up and close and at medium range, and is one of the easier hand cannons on console to consistently land rapid repeated crit shots with.

By getting those precision kills you’re avoiding having to reload, healing yourself, and if you have it Masterworked are generating a lot of Orbs quickly. This goes perfectly with Practice Makes Perfect and our goal of getting our super extremely fast.

Not going to cover it like the above two options, but our final substitute here (moreso when you get to a boss in a strike, raid, or Primeval in Gambit) is the exotic pulse rifle Outbreak Perfected.

Our special weapon (or energy weapon) for this build is Loaded Question.

This legendary fusion rifle was the Vanguard pinnacle weapon during the Season of the Forge. If you didn’t get it then, you can of course still acquire it by completing the quest bounty from Zavala.

It is a little bit of a grind to get, but as the best special weapon in the game for PvE, it is well worth it. You have to get 500 kills with a fusion rifle in strikes or Nightfall. 1000 Arc kills in strikes or Nightfalls. And finally, complete 40 strikes or Nightfalls.

  • High Impact Frame – This slow-firing, high-damage archetype of fusion got a 30% damage buff this season.
  • Red Dot 2 MOA
  • Ionized Battery
  • Auto-Loading Holster – Holstered weapon is automatically reloaded after a short period of time.
  • Reservoir Burst – When the battery is full, your next burst deals additional damage and causes enemies to explode on death.
  • Stability Masterwork

For this, I recommend rocking a Major Spec mod.

This weapon got a lot of hate when it was introduced because it’s main perk means you have to have 7 in the magazine. If you don’t have seven shots in the mag, you don’t get to take advantage of Reservoir Burst with its damage increase and Firefly like explosion that vaporizes nearby enemies.

Here’s the thing, Loaded Question has always been fantastic in PvE. Only now, it’s even better. It’s exactly what a pinnacle weapon should be, an exotic feeling legendary.

For this build, we’re counting on mowing through minor enemies with ease and quickness with our Huckleberry or Crimson. Loaded Question is what we breakout when there’s a group of enemies together, or a major. If it’s a major surrounded by red bars, even better.

Reservoir Burst with Major Spec is going to  obliterate a Major enemy like it was nothing. One shot dead. If it’s somehow still alive, you can finish it by tickling it with your primary.

Multikills with the Reservoir Burst shot will generate an Orb, so it’s an easy way to take out a group of enemies with one shot and generate an Orb.

Loaded Question is used for that purpose only. It’s not a primary weapon, we’re not running and gunning with it. Use it when needed, holster it and then Reservoir Burst will automatically be up when you need to use it again. Primary – Loaded Question shot – Primary. If there’s two majors there, then you can certainly get Reservoir Burst back up quickly by dodging.

While our primary usage of the gun is killing majors and grouped up redbars, Loaded Question is also fantastic against bosses. If you’re in a group activity, say with a Warlock rocking Well of Radiance and Lunafactions, then Loaded Question almost becomes a heavy weapon.

Finally, our heavy of choice is the best legendary heavy in the game for boss damage, the grenade launcher Wendigo GL3.

Wendigo is the current (Season of Opulence) Vanguard pinnacle weapon. It’s a grind that’s going to take at a minimum three or four hours of tedious farming. You need to get 1500 kills with a Grenade Launcher in heroic strikes, 500 grenade launcher multkills in heroic strikes, and finally earn points from killing enemies in heroic strikes. Kills with grenade launchers count more, death impedes progress. This is like 3400 kills, assuming you’re using a grenade launcher.

Your best bet to farm it is to go in with a group, or set your date back on PS4 to solo, and hit up a lost sector and just start killing things with Fighting Lion.

It’s a long grind, it’s tedious, and it’s fairly boring if you do it the farming route via lost sectors (although Fighting Lion is just a ton of fun to use), but it is very much worth it. This is the heavy weapon that you want to pump out big time boss damage.

  • Adaptive Frame
  • Smart Drift Control
  • Blinding Grenades
  • Auto-Loading Holster – Holstered weapon is automatically reloaded after a short period of time.
  • Explosive Light – Picking up an Orb of Light increases the next grenade’s blast radius and damage.
  • Velocity Masterwork

Definitely go with a Boss Spec mod.

In this build, Wendigo is really what we’re conserving ammo for boss damage. It’s not seeing a lot of use, unless Heavyweight is a modifier or you’re getting good heavy drops.

If you’re in activity with major wizards, knights, captains, or any annoying enemy that can put out a lot of damage, then feel free to unleash the Wendigo. You’re going to be collecting Orbs, which means you can have up to six Explosive Light charged shots, so if you don’t kill them then at least you slow them with the blinding grenades (which are great). It’s great in EP, Recknoning, the Menagerie, etc.

We want to ensure that we have the ammo for bosses though, since Loaded Question really is our major clearing machine. If you do use Wendigo to take out a group of majors or whatever, then it also benefits from the auto-loading holster trait.  We’re maximizing our uptime here by never having to reload anything manually.

Huckleberry or Crimson, with Loaded Question, guarantees us a steady stream of Orbs of Light to feed Wendigo and our class item.

Armor Loadout

You have more leeway with armor than you do with the weapons, but these are the perks I use and recommend to help make this build better and more efficient. RNG means it’s not perfected though.

I don’t put much stock into mobility, resistance, and recovery. I will say, for this build, recovery can be zero. It’s not an issue whatsoever. We’re moving fast and creating orbs, and that’s all we need. If you’re using the Crimson variant, then all you need is a kill to recover. Easy.


  • Light Reactor – Gain bonus Super energy on Fusion Rifle kills
  • Fusion Rifle Reserves – Increases the amount of Fusion Rifle ammo you can carry.

The entire load out is really built around Loaded Question. The primary is what we’re using to slay the minors quickly, but make no mistake the star of the show is Loaded Question. It’s what’s killing groups and the big boys and shielded enemies. It’s putting in work.

With Light Reactor, you’re getting more Super energy for killing with Loaded Question, which feeds into getting our Golden Gun fast.

You’ll see Fusion Rifle Reserves again, and with these we can carry 22 ammo for Loaded Question. That’s an awful lot of Reservoir Burst.

Masterwork isn’t so important, mine is Solar. Rock a Super mod.


This is where RNG hasn’t blessed me.

Because I wanted Solar and Heavy Ammo finder, I’m stuck using gauntlets with Hand Cannon loader and Heavy Ammo finder (or Fusion Scavenger).

I’d want Fastball, Impact Induction, or Momentum Transfer here with Heavy Ammo finder. Loaders do nothing for us, as we shouldn’t be manually reloading anyway (unless it’s boss damage time).

Again, I have Solar masterwork and I’m using a Paragon mod here.


Chest pieces are currently one of the more useless pieces of armor, perkwise, but I’m rocking the following which is good enough:

  • Unflinching Energy Aim
  • SMG Reserves

Solar and a Super Mod.


For the boots, I personally recommend the ST0MP-EE5 exotics.

They are an all around excellent choice, as the Hydraulic Boosters buff sprint speed, slide distance, and jumping height. As this is an aggressive centered build, sliding and jumping in and out of groups of enemies and running fast is paramount.

Mine has Fusion Rifle Dexterity and Special Ammo Finder, which is perfect for this build. I’d personally rather have Traction than the Dexterity, but that’s nice to for Loaded Question even if it isn’t Enhanced.

Super Mod.


The cloak is an important piece of gear.

This the god roll for this build, and what I use:

  • Recuperation – Replenish health each time you pick up an Orb of Light.
  • Fusion Rifle Reserves

With our weapon loadout of all Masterworked slaying machines, we’re generating a ton of orbs. Wendigo allows you to pick up orbs even when your super is full. Recuperation means that we always have a healing source, regardless of super status, and is the reason why we don’t have to care one bit about the Recovery stat.

The reserves again help us get the 22 shots for Loaded Question.

This build, with everything working together (the precision shots procing Practice Makes Perfect, picking up Orbs, Light Reactor, the Super mods, and just killing stuff rapidly) means we can get our Super in less than 50 seconds from zero super energy. You can use your super, and provided there’s enough enemies around and you’re fast at killing and collecting your orbs, have it back in less than a minute.

And that’s why it’s the Golden Reaper. You’re reaping enemies very fast and you have access to Golden Gun very fast.

When Destiny 2 launched in 2017, you couldn’t even get your grenade back in the amount of time you can get your super back with this build.

Here’s a quick video showing how fast you can get your super back. And this was just everyone’s favorite lost sector to test stuff in, and it wasn’t a perfect outing by any means (missed picking up some orbs, got flinched out of some precision shots, and was at times slow). But even so, 48 seconds from Golden Gun to Golden Gun.

I think this is probably the strongest build in the game for Gunslinger’s in PvE. It’s great in pretty much every activity; strikes, patrol, EP, forges, reckoning, Menagerie, raids, and Gambit (as a slayer, it’s not set up to invade or really even deal with an invader unless you can get up close).

If you’re on a raid boss, or the Primeval, just switch out Huckleberry or Crimson for Outbreak Perfected if you have it.

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