Grim Citizen III Legendary Auto Rifle Review: Perks and Build Guide

Everything you need to know about the Legendary Auto Rifle, Grim Citizen III making its return to Destiny in Year 2!  

Thanks to the April Update, the Grim Citizen III Auto Rifle makes a triumphant return to Destiny in Year 2, ready to shred opponents at a moment’s notice. Once a highly desirable weapon in the Crucible and PvE, the Grim Citizen III made its departure back in the early days of Destiny and there’s no denying we’ve missed it ever since.

Auto Rifles once ruled the Crucible with an iron fist with the names SUROS Regime, Grim Citizen III, and Shadow Price inspiring a healthy dose of fear and respect. While many players are itching to get their hands on this weapon of war once more, you’re going to work hard to earn it. As with all Year One Legendary weapons brought back in the April Update, you can only get it through Faction packages. So it’s time to get grinding, Guardians!

Grim Citizen III Base Stat Analysis

Rate of Fire - 77

The Grim Citizen III leads the pack with an impressive 77 for Rate of Fire, able to dish out a serious amount of lead very quickly. Though a high Rate of Fire is expected from an Auto Rifle, it’s interesting that the Grim Citizen III actually fits the “low Rate of Fire, high Impact” archetype of Auto Rifles alongside the Shadow Price, which ties at 77. However, both are drastically outclassed in the speed department by the popular Doctrine of Passing from Trials of Osiris, which rests at the maximum of 100.

Impact - 28

Another solid stat for an Auto Rifle, the Grim Citizen III provides a comfortable 28 for Impact, tying again with the Shadow Price. While 28 may seem low by Primary weapon standards, it’s typical for this archetype of Auto Rifle, and actually tips the upper end of the scale. In comparison, the Doctrine of Passing sports a laughably low 2 for Impact. Although, it differs as it occupies the “high Rate of Fire, low Impact” archetype.

Range - 42

Surprisingly effective, the Grim Citizen III operates at a satisying 42 for Range. The normal stomping ground for an Auto Rifle is close- to mid-range combat, and the Grim Citizen III certainly pushes these to the limits. Slightly outclassing the Shadow Price at 37, and roaring far ahead of the Doctrine of Passing with its paltry range of 15. Although its far from a sharpshooter’s weapon, the Grim Citizen III will definitely be able to hit a target farther than most Auto Rifles.

Stability - 39

A marginal disappointment for this weapon, the Grim Citizen III’s Stability sits at 39. Not altogether terrible, but still tailing behind the rest of the pack. The Shadow Price packs a pretty impressive 49, and the Doctrine of Passing leads slightly with 42. The situation isn’t a dealbreaker, but having a Stability improving Perk wouldn’t hurt.

Reload - 65

Usually when we’re faced with a weapon that sports a Reload of 65, we’d consider that quite impressive. While this is still the case, for this archetype of Auto Rifle it’s merely average. For example, the Shadow Price rests at a negligibly higher 67. Despite these stats being typical for an Auto Rifle, the Doctrine of Passing has them both thoroughly beat at 78. Regardless, the right weapon and armor Perks can improve the situation. Even if you don’t have those on hand 65 is definitely workable.

Magazine - 26

Here the Grim Citizen III again shows how it is a definitive example of the Auto Rifle archetype. Possessing a standard 26 shots per Magazine, it is only one ahead of the Shadow Price’s 25. Yet again the Doctrine of Passing outclasses both of them with its staggering 66 shots. It’s important to remember that the Doctrine of Passing is a vastly different caliber of gun. With its huge Rate of Fire, but minimal Impact, those 66 rounds are going to hit more like bee stings than the shredding power of the Grim Citizen III.

Base Stat Conclusion

Overall the Grim Citizen III remains an average example of the Auto Rifle archetype. Although it’s an archetype that is increasingly uncommon in the current days of Destiny, delivering more control and power than the majority of the game’s current Auto Rifles. While it lacks in Stability, the trade-off is some pretty impressive Range compared to other guns of its caliber. Regardless, with a little luck even these minor imperfections can be buffed by the weapon’s Perks.

Perk Analysis

Unlike an Exotic weapon, Legendary weapons roll with random Perks. These will be broken down as “Tiers”, with each Tier representing a column on the Perk list. For Tiers with multiple options we will explain each potential perk that could roll into that “Slot”.

Perk Tier 1 – Red Dot-OES/Red Dot-OAS/Red Dot-ORES/Red Dot-ORS/Red Dot-ORS1

The best possible option here is the Red Dot-ORES as it enhances handling, range, and recoil control. Which means you’re not sacrificing Range, and are still increasing Stability, which is what the Grim Citizen III needs most. Next best options are the Red Dot-ORS and the Red Dot-ORS1. The first is designed for “precision fire”, upping your accuracy, while the second provides you with the highest zoom for Red Dot-type sights and also improves Range. Neither of the other two sights are a terrible so don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get your hands on ones you feel are more desirable.

Slot 2 – Steadyhand IS/Sureshot IS/Quickdraw IS

These three are designed with close-quarters combat in mind. Of the three, we recommend Steadyhand IS on the Grim Citizen III due to its Recoil improvement. Quickdraw IS boasts lightning-fast handling, allowing you to aim the weapon much quicker. Useful for closer engagements but not vital. The same goes for Sureshot IS which improves handling as well as Aim Assist. Unless you’re a real point-blank aficionado, these sights are best avoided.

Slot 3 – Focus Lens FLS2/Ranged Lens RLS3 Focus Lens FLS2

is similar to its snappier cousins from Slot 2, but with more zoom. It allows you to ready your weapon quickly, while firing from a distance. Not always the most viable option as the sight can be restrictive for peripheral vision. Instead we recommend choosing the Range Lens RLS3, offering great mid-range sight and compliment the Grim Citizen III nicely, while also augmenting range and recoil control.

Perk Tier 2 – The Buff Perks (Randomly Selected)

Each of the possible perks on this list present you with a buff, and some are far more useful than others.

The list of potential perks are:

  • Partial Refund
  • Hot Swap
  • Replenish
  • Battle Runner
  • Range Finder
  • Spray and Play
  • Crowd Control
  • Rodeo
  • Grave Robber
  • Focused Fire
  • Persistence
  • Hip Fire

Almost all of these Perks are useful, but there are a couple of jokers in the pack. Your worst outcomes are Grave Robber, Battle Runner, and Replenish. Grave Robber is far too unreliable. While it’s not uncommon to be close enough to get melee kills with an Auto Rifle equipped, it’s unlikely Grave Robber will refill your magazine often enough on a melee kill to be useful. Battle Runner on the other hand is nothing more than a wasted Perk. Kills may increase your sprint speed for a short time, but compared to the other Perks available, this is a paltry consolation prize. Replenish is the best of the bad bunch, refilling your magazine when you cast a Super attack. However, with the sheer weight of ammo lying around in both Crucible and PvE, this isn’t really necessary.

We’ll move onto the bottom end of the better Perks for now, and save the best for last. Hot Swap grants you bonus accuracy for a short time when you aim the weapon, which can be a great gift in a heated exchange. Rangefinder is typically a useful Perk on more close-quarters weapons, so it’s not terrible for the Grim Citizen III. Although considering that the weapon already has substantial Range for its type, this isn’t a necessity. The same goes for Spray and Play, which increases Reload while the magazine is empty. Great for closer, more frantic engagement, but unnecessary considering how the Grim Citizen III already has decent Reload. For the last in the “good, but not good enough” category, we have Hip Fire. For an Auto Rifle, this is something that certainly has its uses, improving accuracy when firing from the hip. Keeping in mind the Range on the Grim Citizen III, getting this close is not advisable.

Now on to the cream of the crop! Crowd Control can be devastating in the right hands, granting bonus damage for a short time after getting a kill. Great for maps with much tighter confines in the Crucible, as well as tearing through hordes of the Darkness in PvE. Rodeo might be the best possible option for the Grim Citizen III. If you’re determined to counter that pesky Stability, Rodeo reduces the weapon’s Recoil. Focused Fire takes the best of the two previous perks and mashes them together, firing slower, but much more powerfully when aiming down sights. While it doesn’t actively reduce Recoil, the lower firing rate means you can fight better with it while simultaneously taking advantage of the substantial Range of the Grim Citizen III. This would definitely be our Perk of choice if you can get your hands on it. Rounding out the pack, we have Persistence. Definitely not a terrible option, Persistence means that the longer you fire the more accurate the gun becomes. While this is undeniably useful, it’s not your best option.

Perk Tier 3 – First Stats and Augments (Selectable)

Split once again into Slots, each perk here either augments the performance of the weapon in some way physically, or affects certain stats on the weapon.

Slot 1:

  • Lightweight
  • Fitted Stock
  • Perfect Balance
  • Hand Loaded
  • Speed Reload

Immediately, we recommend ignoring Lightweight. While some players love it we don’t see the appeal, and there are certainly much better possibilities in this Perk slot. Hand Loaded can be useful at times, improving the Range of the Grim Citizen III. But as mentioned many times, it really isn’t the most vital thing for this weapon. The same goes for Speed Reload which improves Reload speed. Instead, you really want to get your hands on either Fitted Stock or Perfect Balance. Both substantially improve Stability, with Perfect Balance edging slightly ahead if we had to pick between the two.

Slot 2:

  • Appended Magazine
  • Oiled Frame
  • Feather Mag
  • Injection Mold
  • Hand-laid Stock

The issue with these Perks is that you’re always sacrificing something. Appended Magazine is a decent option, increasing Magazine size at the expense of Reload speed. Unfortunately it’s a distraction from the real issues the Grim Citizen III faces. Oiled Frame should be completely ignored alongside Feather Mag, as they’re both designed for increasing Reload speed. Injection Mold is your best option, increasing Stability while making handling faster at the expense of Range. Hand-laid Stock is similar, granting increased Stability at the expense of Range, but lacking the added benefit of better handling. Bear in mind these choices are still best avoided if you can get a better roll on one of the other Perk slots.

Slot 3

  • Armor Piercing Rounds
  • Reinforced Barrel
  • Rifled Barrel
  • Smallbore

Armor Piercing Rounds can be dismissed as unreliable at best. Definitely not a good choice if you’re looking to use it in a PvP scenario. This Perk offers marginal potential for use in PvE if you want to mow down several targets at once, but overall it isn’t your best option. Avoid Reinforced Barrel at all costs, as it increases Range at the expense of Stability which is the polar opposite of what you want. Rifled Barrel is a valid choice if no better options present themselves, increasing Range at the expense of Reload speed. Lastly, the noteworthy Perk in this slot is Smallbore which increases Range and Stability, trading off for a reduced Magazine size and slower Reload. Again, not the best choice overall as the penalties can be severe, but a good option if you have no better choices available to you.

Perk Tier 4 – Second Stats and Augments (Randomly Selected)

  • Eye of the Storm
  • Surrounded
  • Army of One
  • Grenadier
  • Icarus
  • Glass Half Full
  • Danger Close
  • Exhumed
  • Hidden Hand
  • Counterbalance
  • Third Eye
  • Life Support

You can safely ignore Eye of the Storm, Surrounded, Icarus, Danger Close, Exhumed, and Life Support. While not necessarily terrible Perks (with the one exception – we’re looking at you, Icarus), they’re entirely dependent on specific situations and a good chunk of those situations are rare. Army of One and Grenadier can be lumped together with minor differences. Despite providing more benefits Army of One is the less useful of the two, granting reduced grenade and melee cooldowns, but only on unassisted kills. Considering the close-quarters nature of the Grim Citizen III you’re unlikely to be the only person involved in a firefight. As such, Grenadier works better given reduced grenade cooldowns for scoring a kill regardless of assists.

Glass Half Full is typically one of the more-desired stats for an Auto Rifle, with the bottom half of the magazine becoming increasingly more powerful as you reach the end of the clip. Working well in tandem with Reload boosting perks, the one downside many players experience is that you need to re-train the way you play. There’s a large portion of players who reload after every kill, or whenever they have a spare moment and the magazine that isn’t quite full. You have to learn to not do that if you’re planning on making the most of Glass Half Full, and it’s difficult to alter such long-term habits.

Hidden Hand and Third Eye are both viable options, but support differing playstyles. With the solid range of the Grim Citizen III there are definitely worse options than Hidden Hand, which focuses on improving a weapon’s aim assist. Not common for an Auto Rifle, it’s still not a good idea to underestimate it. Third Eye is for making sure no one gets the drop on you, keeping radar active even when aiming down the sights. Great for close-quarters, this prevents you from getting flanked as easily.

That leaves Counterbalance, which is designed for increased Stability. By now you should already whether or not your Grim Citizen III is going to have augmented Stability. If it doesn’t, this is your last shot at fixing the issue.


For its archetype the Grim Citizen III is a solid, dependable example. With a decent Rate of Fire and Impact, this weapon has some great stats. Its Range is borderline exceptional, and the only downside is its Stability, which is easily rectified with the wealth of possible Perk choices available to you. With the right set of Perks, not only can you fix the minor stats issues plaguing the Grim Citizen III, you might even get lucky enough for an absolute terror to fall into your lap. With so many viable, if not downright excellent Perk possibilities, this a weapon we cannot recommend enough if you’re the type of person who loves to get in the middle of the Crucible and really dig in. Equally viable in PvE, the Grim Citizen III is capable of laying down both lethal and suppressing fire in equal measure. Truly a versatile weapon, it’s about time you get to grinding in order to grab this quality Auto Rifle!

Wondering how the Grim Citizen III stacks up against other Year One Primaries from the April Update? Check out The Devil You Know Hand Cannon. Wish you could get your hands on a Destiny Sword in real life? Check out these light-up Willbreaker replicas created by a Destiny community member! Do you think Artifacts in Destiny are pointless? Maybe that article will change your mind.

About The Author: Greg Pain

A member of the #TitanMasterRace, Greg likes to Fist of Havoc his way through a good book, a great punk album and the background of Reddit. But really he plays Defender. Follow him everywhere as 'NorseFenrir'. Like everywhere.

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