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Destiny 2: The 5 Best SMGs for PvE and PvP, Ranked

Destiny 2 offers a long list of powerful SMGs. Here are the best five of them you should acquire first.
Destiny 2: The 5 Best SMGs for PvE and PvP, Ranked

The SMG is one of the primary weapon archetypes in Destiny 2. These have a high fire rate, infinite ammo, and come with perks that synergize with any build.

SMGs in Destiny 2 encourage fast-paced aggressive playstyles and are one of the best ways to mow down hordes of enemies quickly. Hence, if you're new to the game or are returning after a long hiatus, here are the best five SMGs for PvE and PvP activities in Destiny 2. 

The Best SMGs in Destiny 2 (2023)

Unforgiven

destiny 2 unforgiven
Unforgiven is a hard-hitting Legendary Void SMG in Destiny 2. (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)

The Unforgiven is one of the most unique hard-hitting Legendary Void SMGs in Destiny 2. It can roll with powerful perks like Feeding Frenzy and Rampage, making it compatible with any Void 3.0 builds. However, if you're looking to craft a void grenade build, Unforgiven with Demolitionist and Adrenaline Junkie perks is an absolute beast.

CALUS Mini-Tool

destiny 2 calus mini tool
Calus Mini-Tool is a lightweight Legendary Solar SMG in Destiny 2. (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)
  • Used in: PvE and PvP
  • Acquired from: Season of the Haunted activities and vendor

Calus Mini-Tool is a lightweight Legendary Solar SMG with superb handling. The Incandescent perk will allow you to spread scorch to enemies and deal damage over time. Additionally, if it rolls with something like Unrelenting, you can trigger health regeneration by rapidly defeating targets. Calus Mini-Tool synergizes with any Solar 3.0 builds, and you can use it for both PvP and PvE activities.

Ikelos SMG 1.3

destiny 2 Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3
Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3 is an Aggressive Frame Legendary Arc SMG . (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)
  • Used in: PvE and PvP
  • Acquired from: Season of the Seraph activities and vendor

Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3 is an Aggressive Frame Legendary Arc SMG that can roll with the Voltshot perk. The Voltshot perk chain lightning damage over multiple enemies, making this a behemoth of a weapon. It's perfect for clearing hordes of enemies, especially in end-game PvE activities. 
Unless it gets nerfed, Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3 with Voltshot and Feeding Frenzy perks is the best Arc SMG currently available in Destiny 2.

Huckleberry

destiny 2 huckleberry
Huckleberry when combined with its catalyst becomes an insanely powerful exotic SMG. (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)
  • Used in: PvE and PvP
  • Acquired from: Exotic Engrams

Huckleberry becomes an insanely powerful exotic SMG once you unlock its catalyst. The Rampage perk grants increased weapon damage, but a shorter magazine means you will spend a lot of time reloading. However, once you get the Bull Riding catalyst, kills with this weapon will reload the entire magazine, giving you infinite magazine for the most part.

Osteo Striga

destiny 2 osteo striga
The Witch Queen exotic SMG is easily one of the best in the game. (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)
  • Used in: PvE
  • Acquired from: Crafting

Osteo Striga is not just one of the best SMGs in Destiny 2 right now, but it's also one you can get quite easily. This powerful exotic SMG will be available for you to craft after finishing the Witch Queen. Initially, it was only available for the owners of the Deluxe Edition of the Witch Queen expansion. However, Bungie quietly made it free to craft for everyone post-Season 17 who finished The Witch Queen campaign.

Osteo Striga shoots tracking projectiles that also poison enemies and deal damage over time. Additionally, once you unlock the Osteo Striga catalyst, the poison final blows will return ammo to your magazine, meaning, like Huckleberry, you can pretty much get an infinite magazine.

Honorable mentions

Riskrunner

destiny 2 riskrunner
The Risksunner is a good alternative to Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3 with Voltshot. (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)
  • Used in: PvE and PvP
  • Acquired from: New Light quest

A better alternative to Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3 is the classic Risk Runner. The Superconductor perk will allow you to chain lightning damage to multiple enemies. By activating it, you will also get ammo in return.
However, since Ikelos_SMG_V1.0.3 with Voltshot does pretty much the same thing, you're better off with it, keeping the exotic space for a special ammo weapon.

Tarrabh 

tarrabh destiny 2
Tarrabh remains a powerful exotic though one that's a little difficult to acquire. (Picture: Bungie / light.gg)
  • Used in: PvE and PvP
  • Acquired from: Exotic Kiosk

This raid Exotic SMG still holds up pretty well in 2023. The perk, Ravenous Beast, when activated, grants increased reload speed, increased weapon damage, increased headshot damage, increased sprinting speed, and more, making it ideal for any PvE and PvP activity. 

However, if you're a new player, Tarrabah might not be worth your time and effort, as you will need to grind the Raid resource Spoils of Conquest.

And that's pretty much the best SMGs Destiny 2 currently has to offer.


For more Destiny 2 news, be sure to check out our dedicated section or take a look at some of our Guides & Tutorials just below:

Weekly Updates
Best Hunter Builds
Best Titan Builds
Best Warlock Builds
Emblem & Shaders
Exotics, Catalyst & God Roll Guides
Game Guides