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Detailed Gunslinger Guide in Destiny: The Taken King

First off, stat priority.
  1. Discipline: Get those tripmines back sooner! With the Exotic changes for Gunslinger in tTK, Discipline became even more important for most builds. Combine with Scavenger for insane cooldowns.
  2. Intellect: Almost an equal priority to Discipline. Golden Gun is your bread and butter for aggressive wave-clearing/Major takedowns. You want this high enough to benefit from Ashes to Asset/Inverse Shadow, but your mileage may vary with maxing out at the cost of another stat.
  3. Strength: Throwing knife is fun, but it should never be prioritized above Disc/Int for a Gunslinger in PvE. Knife Juggler/Gambler’s Dagger/Scavenger can be used in lieu of Strength quite effectively, if you really want those knives up more often.

(Recommended norm is either a 4/4/1 or 4/5/0 tier split)

The Tiers

S, A, B, C, and D. As you might guess, S is the crème de la crème, A is everything but the cherry on top, B is perfectly functional - if outclassed, C is an armor piece?, and D actually makes you worse.



Incendiary PvE A PvP A

The go-to AoE grenade, really good at clearing trash mobs in PvE, recently buffed to do more damage, and can now kill in PvP making it an excellent choice there as well (especially when you dont want to use spine)

Swarm PvE C PvP C

Outclassed in AoE by Incendiary, and in Single target by Tripmine, really cool looking though

Tripmine PvE A PvP S

Great Single target damage, and even better utility in PvP. Can even function as a sticky grenade. Just don’t kill yourself with it.

Golden Gun:

Deadeye PvE C PvP A

Not that useful in PvE, where mobs move predictably and slowly, but in PvP it helps guarantee that you get all 3-4 kills.

Combustion PvE A PvP B

Helps clear trash in PvE, and can nab an extra kill when people bunch up in PvP

Gunfighter PvE B PvP B

Seems like an excellent perk, until you find out it only reduces the cooldown by 10%. It effectively gives you about 60 Intellect. Not bad, but nothing special.

Throwing Knife:

Circle of Life PvE C PvP C

Why on earth would you throw a knife while Golden Gun is active? The +1 armor is the only thing saving a D, but even that is a small benefit

Incendiary Blade PvE A PvP B

The DoT added is small, and not enough to secure an OHKO in PvP, but it does help keep shields down, finish people off, and does Solar damage for wizards and taken captains.

Knife Juggler PvE B PvP B

Fairly decent perk, especially if you really like throwing knife. Best when combined with Gambler’s Dagger.

Bonus Perk

Scavenger PvE A PvP A

The recharge amount on this is huge. Excellent perk in PvE where ammo is plentiful, especially PoE. PvP nerfed this ability hard with the Special Ammo changes. Excellent for when you have a 2nd tripmine or knife to recharge.

Keyhole PvE B PvP C

Utterly useless in PvP 90% of the time, can help clear trash in PvE, but the other two perks are just too useful.

Gunslingers Trance PvE A PvP B

Great in PvE where targets are common, but in PvP it won’t stack up enough to really be noticeable unless you’re a pvp god, and then why do you need it?

Class Perk

Chain of Woe PvE A PvP A

Unlike Trance that needs 2-3 stacks to be noticeable, reload speed is always apparent and helpful. It’s even better in PvP where reload speed is so important to sustainability (even one stack helps).
Over the Horizon PvE A PvP C

Unfortunately this perk is now useful in PvE (Golden got nerfed with hand cannons again) Often doubles your GG shot damage, which is awful since the perk is so damn boring. Required if using Nighthawk.

Gambler’s Dagger PvE B PvP B

This depends on how much you like throwing knives. Can be used as a fairly good replacement for strength in PvP. Combos well with Scavenger and Gamblers Dagger.


Exotic stats changed in Taken King, no longer having certain stats per piece. Now most exotics can roll either split between any two stats, or pure ONLY in their “preferred” stat. Many are also more likely to roll their preferred stat, with a few having a certain stat nearly 100% of the time. Additionally, a small amount of stat comes from a perk, and can only be applied to one stat at a time.

Helm: // Pure: 80 +15 // Split-stat: 45/45 +15

Gauntlets: // Pure: 70 +13 // Split-stat: 40/40 +13

Chest Armor: // Pure: 104 +20 // Split-stat: 68/68 +20

Boots: // Split-stat: 53/53 +18

Exotic Armor (Preferred Stat) PvE rank PvP rank


Celestial Nighthawk (INT): PvE A PvP D

Reasoning: Talk about a perfectly designed exotic. Eliminate a pesky major or do some great damage to a boss, these are all about boosting your Golden Gun. They lost their unique Ashes + Inverse Combo, but are still worthwhile in a high-int build, and have great use in the raid (if you aren’t running Nightstalker for some reason).

Knucklehead Radar (-): PvE C? PvP B

Reasoning: Curiously unable to roll a pure stat, and always comes with Inverse Shadow. This helm isn’t sure where it wants to be. Sensor Pack is great in PvP, but Inverse Shadow is useless. Likewise, Inverse shadow is excellent in PvE, but Sensor Pack is lackluster. A Int/Disc roll with Ashes to asset will actually be decent in PvP now!

Skyburners Annex (INT): PvE B PvP C-

Reasoning: Turn your hunter into a Defender Titan! Works great while playing orbs support for your team. However this role is much better suited to Nightstalkers with Light of the Pack. The special ammo portion of the perk is not great, as its only a chance, and shouldn’t be taken into consideration with this helm.


Young Ahamkara's Spine (DISC): PvE C PvP S

Reasoning: Talk about buffs! These exotics are the new go-to PvP exotic for Gunslingers, especially with Symbiote being benched for the time being. They lost special loader, but gained a SECOND tripmine, and even come with fastball built in (which is actually fairly important for accurate placements). Try and get one with your preferred pvp special on them, and it’s like they lost nothing. Combo with Gamblers and Scavenger for an arsenal!

Don't Touch Me (STR): PvE B+? PvP C

Reasoning: Losing Special Weapon Loader + Inverse Shadow was a huge hit to these gloves, dropping them down quite a bit from Y1. However, many taken enemies have abilities that proc the gloves effect, making it even more worthwhile. They also now always come with strength. Not sure where to rank these, my favorite general PvE exotic at least.

Sealed Ahamkara's Grasps (DISC): PvE C PvP B

Reasoning: If you realllly want both Chain of Woe and two throwing knives, now you can do it! Best used with Incendiary dagger for the reload procs. I personally consider these a Nightstalker exotic, but they do have a niche for the other subclasses.


Crest of Alpha Lupi (INT): PvE C PvP A (in 3v3 only)

Reasoning: Nothing special in the ammo department. Exotic perk is cookie-cutter and available on all classes, useful only for 3v3 content. Not much else to say here.

Temporarily Missing

Achylophage Symbiote (INT): PvE B PvP A+

ATS/8 Arachnid (INT): PvE C PvP B

Khepris Sting (STR): PvE C PvP B

Radiant Dance Machines (-): PvE C PvP B

Fr0st-EE5 (-): PvE B PvP ? (depends on the CD rate)

Bones of Eao (-): Exploration: A Else ?

Sample Builds

Recommended talents (pvp swaps)

Stat Priority, Perks and Exotic Armor

Weapon types and recommended Exotics



Incendiary // Deadeye // Incendiary // Armor&Agility // Trance // Chain

Disc = Int > Str

PvE: Dont Touch Me PvP: Dance Machines

High Impact Scout or Hand Cannon, Sniper Rifle, Machine Gun

Gemini, Hawkmoon, Hereafter
Focuses on the Gun Slinging, precision damage from range. Dont Touch Me provides an escape from threats too close for comfort


Incendiary(Tripmine) // Combustion // Player Choice // Armor&Recovery // Keyhole // Horizon

Int >> Disc > Str | Ashes to Asset, Inverse Shadow

PvE: Nighthawk PvP: Aclophyage

Anything with Army of One

Bad JuJu, Zhalo
Puts everything into your Golden Gun, making it as deadly as possible.


Tripmine // Combustion // Juggler // Agility // Scavenger // Gambler's

Str = Disc > Int | Light the Blade, Invigoration

*PvE: YaS/Don't Touch PvP: Young Ahamkara’s Spine

Grave Robber, Army of One, Close a/o Personal

Monte Carlo, Zhalo

Use the Throwing Knife as your primary weapon and turn into a carnie. Add 'confetti' to your super for more fun times.

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Credits: Special thanks to cyberhawk94 for this guide.