Episode 31: The Sidearm Episode [FT The Wormwood and The Trespasser]

This Week At Massive Breakdown (TWAMB) Mercules and Kyt_Kutcha forge ahead with a discussion of the Sidearm weapon class. Tune in to hear a breakdown of effective range, damage, stats, perks, and time-to-kill across the board, along with a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the new meta.

Which Sidearm is best?

Here are 4 Rise of Iron-Era Sidearms worth giving the time of day.

The Wormwood

Available from the Future War Cult Representative.

Pros - Hitscan. High stability. Above average aim assist.

Neutral - None.

Cons - Below average range and reload speed. Low mag size.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.60s (1 crit 3 body shots), 0.80s (5 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 94
  • Impact: 12 (60 damage per crit shot, 48 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 28
  • Stability: 76
  • Reload Speed: 86
  • Mag Size: 12
  • Aim Assist: 84

Recommended Vendor Perks:

  • Column 1 - TrueSight IS
  • Column 2 - High Caliber Rounds/Quickdraw
  • Column 3 - Hand Loaded or Zen Moment
  • Column 4 - Hidden Hand

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 - SureShot IS/TrueSight IS
  • Column 2 - High Caliber Rounds/Quickdraw, Lightweight
  • Column 3 - Hand Loaded, Fitted Stock, Zen Moment
  • Column 4 - Rangefinder/Hidden Hand, Hot Swap, Reactive Reload

Mercules writes:

My favorite of the new vendor sidearms, The Wormwood's only true drawback is the low mag size. This is the gun I generally recommend to people who are just getting into sidearms and don't want to have to grind HoJ for the Crow's Eye.

It has good stability and aim assist, and the range is just barely below average, so stat-wise it's pretty solid across the board. For perks, the sight recommendations are the same as ever: TrueSight and SureShot. High Caliber Rounds is always my favorite in the second column, but Quickdraw is also an excellent choice.

In the third slot you can use Hand Loaded to improve on the range, or Zen Moment to help with the already good stability. In the last column I'd go with Rangefinder, particularly if you don't use Hand Loaded in the previous slot, but Hidden Hand can also be used to push the above average aim assist even higher.

The vendor roll for this weapon is actually fantastic, and allows you to try out two of the top perks in the second and third slots to see which ones you like best.

The Trespasser

Available from Xur and random drops.

Pros - Above average range. Very high stability, reload speed, and mag size. Hitscan. Exotic perk fires an extended burst that drops TtK down to 0.33s.

Neutral - None.

Cons - Below average aim assist.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.53s (2 bursts. 4 crit 2 body), 0.87s (2.66 bursts. 8 body)
  • Hitscan: Yes
  • Rate of Fire: 90
  • Impact: (38 damage per crit shot, 28 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 32
  • Stability: 100
  • Reload Speed: 97
  • Mag Size: 18
  • Aim Assist: 70

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 - SureShot IS
  • Column 2 - Relentless Tracker
  • Column 3 - Hand Loaded
  • Column 4 - Unrepentant

Mercules writes:

The Trespasser is the newest exotic sidearm added in with Rise of Iron, and, although it functions similarly to the Dreg's Promise by firing a burst of shots, it fixes many of the issues that made the weapon unpopular.

For example, the weapon is hitscan, which means the projectiles don't have travel time, and it does enough damage to kill in two bursts flat in its optimal range. On top of that, the exotic perk allows the weapon to fire one extended burst if you reload after a kill, which can take down a full armor Guardian in a blazingly fast 0.33s.

As far as perks go, you'll definitely want to choose the SureShot IS sight, to make up for the gun's one flaw, its below average base aim assist. Relentless Tracker is the only option in the next slot, which, although not the most useful perk, can be helpful in increasing your situational awareness in the height of battle.

In the third column, you have to choose between Hand Loaded, Reinforced Barrel, and Quickdraw. When testing the weapon, I found that the differences in damage drop off between the three perks equated to just a couple meters, with Quickdraw having the damage drop off start around 10 meters, Hand Loaded at 11, and Reinforced Barrel pushing it out to 12 meters.

However, Reinforced Barrel nearly doubled the amount of recoil suffered by the gun when compared to Hand Loaded or Quickdraw, so it wouldn't be the prime choice. You'll have to decide between an extra meter before damage fall off sets in, or much quicker ADS and ready speeds on the weapon.

During gameplay I found the extra meter of full damage to be more useful, so Hand Loaded takes the cake in this recommendation. The final slot is taken up by the exotic perk, Unrepentant.

After getting a kill, you have approximately three seconds to reload, which then gives you a five second timer to fire one super burst. Basically, what this does is fire two bursts consecutively without a delay between them, making one extended burst of six rounds.

It does not do more damage than a normal burst, but it does have the capability of killing a 10 armor Guardian if you hit four crits and two body shots from it. In practice, this was both incredibly useful and slightly annoying.

Crow's Eye

Available from House of Judgment Reputation Packages.

Pros - Hitscan. Above average range. High aim assist.

Neutral - Average stability.

Cons - Very low reload speed. Low mag size.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.70s (1 crit 3 body shots), 0.93s (5 body shots)
  • Rate of Fire: 91
  • Impact: 15 (61 damage per crit shot, 49 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 32
  • Stability: 75
  • Reload Speed: 85
  • Mag Size: 12
  • Aim Assist: 85

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 - Linear Compensator, Accurized Ballistics, Field Choke
  • Column 2 - Hand Loaded, Fitted Stock
  • Column 3 - High Caliber Rounds/Quickdraw, Lightweight, Snapshot
  • Column 4 - Rangefinder, Zen Moment, Crowd Control, Reactive Reload, Hot Swap, Battle Runner

Mercules writes:

I normally never recommend this class of sidearm, simply because, even though the damage per bullet is higher, the slower RoF means weapons from this sub-class generally can't compete with the other sidearms in TtK.

However, due to the sidearm changes that came about with RoI, the Crow's Eye is in my opinion one of the best sidearms out there. This is because Linear Compensator (or any barrel perk that boosts impact) allows the gun to kill with four body shots in 0.70s, and it's hitscan.

A Note From Kyt: The Impact increase from a barrel perk puts body damage at 50-51, so max armor Guardians will still survive 4 body shots, but Hunters and some Warlock builds simply can't achieve this.

The recoil is also noticeably easier to deal with than that of the higher RoF archetypes, as the gun has slightly more time to settle between shots, and this means I like to boost range as much as I can.

As such Hand Loaded and Rangefinder are my go-to choices in columns two and four. In the middle column, you can choose what you like best. I've always appreciated the flinch from HCR, but some people rave about Quickdraw.


Available from the Wrath of the Machine Raid.


Pros - Hitscan. High mag size.

Neutral - Average reload speed.

Cons - Very low range and aim assist. Below average stability.

  • Time-to-Kill: 0.67s (1 crit 4 body), 0.83s (6 body)
  • Rate of Fire: 98
  • Impact: 8 (49 damage per crit shot, 39 damage per body shot)
  • Range: 25
  • Stability: 74
  • Reload Speed: 88
  • Mag Size: 15
  • Aim Assist: 55

Recommended Perks:

  • Column 1 - Accurized Ballistics
  • Column 2 - Reactive Reload
  • Column 3 - Hand Loaded/Quickdraw
  • Column 4 - Quick Reaction

Mercules writes:

When I originally reviewed the ZEAL VECTOR~, I was not impressed. Stats wise, it's lacking in almost every necessary area. Range, stability, and aim assist are all poor.

With that being said, it does have one thing that not many other sidearms do: The ability to decrease its times-to-kill with an impact increasing barrel perk. If you use Accurized Ballistics, you can actually drop the optimal TtK down to 0.50s (4 crits) and the body TtK down to 0.67s (5 body shots).

A Note From Kyt: Again, the impact increase just barely makes this possible, so max armor opponents will still need an extra shot to finish them off.

Both of those are top of the line, and makes this gun much more attractive than I found it to be previously. As far as perks, Reactive Reload and Quick Reaction are an interesting combination, giving you boosts to booth damage and agility when you reload after a kill.

In reality, they're pretty niche bonuses, but players who use them correctly will definitely be rewarded. Due to the very low base range, I would stick with Hand Loaded in the middle column, but I know some players love Quickdraw, which is also an option.

Overall, I find the perks to be slightly lackluster. Even with the barrel mod increasing impact enough to bring down the TtK, I'm just not seeing this gun as being top-tier for sidearms.

That's all for this week, crew! Thanks for tuning in and check us out. Remember to follow us on YouTube for more awesome Destiny breakdowns, and let us know what you think in the comments here or over on Twitter.