Destiny players are always hunting for the next upgrade to their character, and one of the most exciting upgrades comes in the form of a new weapon.  However, weapon stats are a bit confusing in Destiny and therefore many players don’t really understand what they do.

Don’t worry, the Messiah is here to help with this guide to the most important stats on weapons: Attack and Impact.  Also covered are range, critical damage and level difference and what they mean to your damage.


Let’s start with Impact, as it is actually the easier stat to understand.  Impact is the stat that determines how much damage the weapon does when it hits someone.  This is the rating that most games would call damage.  Don’t consider it damage per second (DPS) though as other stats factor into the weapons DPS such as rate of fire and reload time, this is the damage per hit.

The bigger the impact, the more damage the weapon can do per hit.


This is probably the most misunderstood stat that I have ever seen in a game.  However, it is that way for very good reason, it is probably the most confusing and misleading stat in recent memory.

In most games (especially MMO’s), the biggest number shown on a weapon is the damage that weapon causes.  This is generally displayed in one of two different ways, the first being the average damage per hit, and the second being the expected average DPS that you will see.  Neither of these has anything to do with the Attack value of the weapon in Destiny though.

What the Attack value does in Destiny is provide a rating that determines how much of the potential damage from the Impact rating of the weapon you can do as a percentage when compared to your enemies defence value.  The higher an enemies defence value is above your attack rating the less damage you can cause per hit. 

Essentially, it means you need a bigger attack number to ensure that your impact value has full effect.


Range is an often-overlooked stat that factors in heavily to the damage that a weapon can cause.  The range stat lets you know how close you need to be to do full damage.  Anything past the displayed range and the maximum damage that the weapon can cause starts to fall off.  Every time that distance is added again, the maximum damage falls off further. 

Weapons like Shotguns that have very low range ratings, have a hard time hurting anything further than 10 steps away.  While weapons like Sniper Rifles have almost infinite range, essentially if you can see it, you can hit it and hurt it badly.

Level Difference

The difference in level between you and your target can also affect the damage that you cause.  The most important thing to note is that damage done decreases by the level that you are lower than the target.  This starts at about 25% if the target is 1 level higher and up to 50% by the time the target is 3 levels higher. 

Equally important to note is that being a higher level than your target does NOT provide a boost to damage.  This is very different to most MMO’s, but does ensure that almost anything can kill you, keeping the game very FPS based.

Critical Hits

Critical hits affect your overall damage caused as well.  Critical hits, in general, do 3x damage, or 1.5x against elites.  However, Sniper Rifles do much more damage and can critically hit for up to 5x the base damage.

Overall Damage

Now that you understand all of the weapon stats, you should have a better understanding of what any given weapon will really do.  A lot of it comes down to personal preference though, as Hand Cannons generally have the highest impact, but due to lack of sights, and low ammo, many players do not like them.  Autoguns and Pulse Rifles provide more shots, but generally have much lower impact ratings.  Sniper Rifles have low impact ratings, but get 5x the base damage for a crit.  Each has their own play style that is required to get the most out of them.

Ideally you want to find a weapon type that you like, and then look for a weapon of that type with high impact, attack, and range. This combination will cause the most damage possible.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Destiny Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.