The majority of weapons in Destiny 2 have six main stats: Impact, Range, Stability, Reload Speed, Magazine Size, and Handling. Most players understand what the majority of these stats mean and how they affect a weapon. However, how Handling works is still confusing to many Destiny 2 players.
Before getting to the particulars, the idea behind Handling is that a weapon with a high Handling stat will feel easier to handle, lighter, and overall snappier. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a weapon with a low Handling stat should feel weighty and sluggish. It's one of the reasons why the sniper rifle Alone as a God feels so different from Whisper of the Worm. So what exactly makes a weapon feel one way or the other? There are three main ways Handling shows itself.
First is weapon swap speed. Just as it sounds, Handling affects how fast or slow a weapon readies when swapping to it. A weapon with high Handling will be pulled up faster and be ready to fire faster than a weapon with a low Handling stat. Handling also affects the stow speed, or how fast that same weapon gets put away. However, it has no effect on the weapon ready speed of the weapon being swapped to. So players will feel the effects of the Handling stat more when swapping to a weapon than away from it.
The other two areas Handling affects, but to a much less degree, is aim down sights (ADS) speed and reload speed. In most cases, a weapon with high Handling also has a high Reload Speed stat, so it is hard to separate the two. And the effect is very minor unless comparing weapons on each extreme of the spectrum.
Speaking of comparing two weapons, Handling can be experienced well when using MIDA Mult-Tool, a scout rifle that has an extremely high Handling stat of 86, versus using The Jade Rabbit with its very low Handling stat of 29. Spending time playing with these weapons will show the affects of Handling in Destiny 2. MIDA Multi-Tool feels fast and snappy and is ready faster when swapping to it. Its high Handling fits well with its role as a light, speedy scout rifle with less Impact. Compare that to the Handling on The Jade Rabbit, which is one of the highest impact scout rifles in the game but the weapon is balanced by its low Handling stat making it more sluggish to use.
Handling is an option for Masterwork weapons, so players can choose to invest into fully upgrading certain weapons with the stat where they feel like it is valuable to do so. The most popular weapon class that many players like to invest in Handling are sniper rifles, which make them a little snappier and ready to fire when swapping to them.
Destiny 2 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.