Destiny 2

A Dummies Guide to Bows

destiny2 7 - A Dummies Guide to Bows

Since Bows have Overload Champion mods this season, we have seen a lot of discussion regarding Bows and their efficacy. We want to clarify some details about Bows and what constitutes a good Bow roll for PvE.

The most important stat with Bows is their DRAW TIME. For Precisions Reload is the next most impactful stat. For Lightweights Accuracy is the 2nd most impactful, followed by Reload.

Unlike CHARGE TIME, in which impact goes down when the CHARGE TIME goes down, DRAW TIME does NOT affect the Impact stat. Because of this, faster DRAW TIME = better sustained and burst DPS. DRAW TIME is also capped at 540 for both archetypes.

Precision Bows have higher impact and much higher accuracy compared to Lightweight Bows and are able to achieve 576 Draw Time with Elastic String and a Draw Time MasterWork.

Lightweight Bows can Achieve 540 easily with a variety of Strings and a Draw Time MasterWork, or just out right with Elastic String, but due to their lower base accuracy the negative accuracy is more noticeable.

Archers Tempo also reduces Draw Time to 460ms when active, regardless of your Draw Time stat, and is the same for both Lightweight and Precision Bows. So both Bows can effectively achieve the same Draw Time, but Precisions do more damage and have better accuracy (Aim assist).

A reason for the potential dislike for Bows was because the first Bow players ever got their hands on was the “No Turning Back” which had a terrible Draw Time of 684 and no Archers Tempo. We recommend trying the Blue Bow “HOLLESS-IV” to see the difference fast Draw Time can make.

Unlike other weapons, Bows rely heavily on Strings and/or Masterwork to reduce Draw Time. To give it some perspective, imagine an Iron Grip or Extended Magazine Steady Hand vs. a Steady Hand and with Outlaw proc’d. Most people are running around with the equivalent of Extended Magazine on their Bow.

Exotic Bows are on the higher end for Draw Time, but their Exotic Perks more than make up for this:

  • Trinity Ghoul – Is one of the best, if not the best, red bar killers and doesn't require fully Drawing the arrows for its chain lightning effect.
  • Le-Monarque – Amazing in both PvE and PvP, phenomenal against Overload Champions this season.
  • Ticuu’s Divination – Works with Wrath of Rasputin Warmind cell mod, very high dps with the catalyst for a primary weapon, great auto-aiming fun.

Example God Rolls for Precision Bows

StringShaftTrait 1Trait 2Masterwork
Elastic StringFibreglassArcher's TempoRampageDraw Time
Straight FletchingDragonfly
Explosive Head

Example God rolls for Lightweight Bows

Lightweights are more nuanced, with interesting perk combinations that make up for their lower damage. Firstly, here's how to reach 540 draw time with string/mw

Polymer/FlexibleFibreglassDraw Time
Elastic StringFibreglassAccuracy

Interesting perk combinations for lightweights:

Trait 1Trait 2
Explosive HeadRampage (Arsenic Bite only)
Archer's TempoDragonfly/Rampage
Impulse AmplifierFrenzy (Imperial Needle only)

Honorable perk mentions (Possible Niche applications), Rapid Hit, Surplus, Sympathetic arsenal, Wellspring, Thresh.

Endgame content

Bows (Particularly precision bows) excel in content such as high light nightfalls, legend lost sectors and dungeons, where they can 1-2 hit kill red bars without damage perks active. Whereas other primaries can take entire magazines for a single kill. For consoles this is a seriously under-appreciated factor of Bows, and they can do so at safe ranges. Content with an elemental singe active, like legend lost sectors, lightweights can be used to great effect with perks like explosive head+rampage.

This wasn't a fully comprehensive guide, but it should hopefully give you the information you need to understand Bows a bit better and maybe not delete that Godroll Arsenic bite-4b you’ve got in your vault.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have.


  • The difference between a good roll and a bad roll is much wider than usual weapons.
  • Draw Time is the most important stat and should be prioritized.
  • If you get a low Draw Time Bow with some of the combinations mentioned above, give them a try.

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