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Shotgun (Half-Life 2)

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SPAS-12 HL2.jpg
12-Gauge Shotgun
Production information



Pump-action / Semiautomatic shotgun

Technical specifications
  • 8/pellet
    • 7 pellets per single barrel shot, 56 max
    • 12 pellets per double barrel shot, 96 max
  • 9/pellet (HL2DM)
    • 7 pellets per single barrel shot, 63 max
    • 12 pellets per double barrel shot, 108 max
Magazine/reload type

6 rounds internal tube magazine, shells reloaded individually

Max ammo

30 rounds

Weapon category


Ammo type

12-gauge buckshot shells

Rate of fire





Short to medium, effectiveness decreases with distance

Used by
Game information
  • weapon_shotgun (weapon entity)
  • item_box_buckshot (ammo entity)
"Here, I have a more suitable gun for you. You'll need it."
Father Grigori[src]

The 12-Gauge Shotgun[1] is a powerful pump-action shotgun that fires buckshot in a cone-shaped pattern. It is used by various characters and NPCs in Half-Life 2 and its episodes.


Combine Soldier running towards Freeman with his shotgun at Bridge Point.

Like its Half-Life counterpart, the shotgun is inspired by the real-world SPAS-12 by Franchi. It features a short grip as well as a large heat shield on top of the barrel. It is first given to Gordon by Father Grigori in the sixth Half-Life 2 chapter, "We Don't Go To Ravenholm...". The shotgun has two firing modes: the primary mode fires one shot, and the alternate mode fires two shots at once, which uses up both shells. When reloading the gun, Freeman inserts one shell at a time. The reloading process can be interrupted at any time by hitting any of the fire keys.

This weapon is used by a variety of factions and characters: both Rebels and specialized Combine Soldiers with different uniforms extensively wield the Shotgun in several battles and during the Uprising. When Gordon and Alyx travel from Nova Prospekt to Kleiner's lab, Kleiner also greets them with a shotgun, mirroring a scene from Half-Life.

In Episode One, the shotgun is found in the chapter Lowlife, along with the 9mm Pistol. In the Hospital, Alyx picks up a shotgun that she effectively uses against opponents. Just like her gun, the Shotgun she uses appears to have unlimited ammo.

In Episode Two, the Shotgun is found in the chapter To The White Forest while trekking through the Victory Mine.


Alyx wielding a shotgun in the Hospital.

The shotgun is one of the most effective weapons in the game, with devastating lethality at close range that can finish off most targets with a single blow. However, its effectiveness decreases significantly with range because its pellets spread more with increased distance. Its double-shot mode is very powerful but suffers from a larger spread. Though ammunition for it is not scarce in the game, it should still be used against stronger foes such as Combine Soldiers or Antlions and not wasted on weak targets like Headcrabs.

Compared to other firearms, the Shotgun requires a relatively longer time to reload and has a smaller ammo capacity, so it is desirable to enter a firefight with the shotgun and, once the supply of shells has been exhausted, switch to a backup weapon instead of reloading. Another common tactic is to reload one or two shots whenever possible to avoid a single long reload, however this is generally not recommended if multiple enemies are at close range.

Behind the scenes[edit]

The shotgun in the Half-Life 2 leak has a completely different model and completely different firing sounds. The sounds can still be found in retail sound files. The model appears in the E3 2004 trailer and in the retail game files as a "DirectX 7" model, although its textures are missing.


Although other NPCs have pumping animation, there is no pumping sound between shots except for Alyx. Their firing speed is also much faster than the player's.

Nova Prospekt Prison Guards seem to use the shotgun more frequently than normal Combine Soldiers, perhaps due to the enclosed spaces and short distances in the penitentiary complex which enables the Shotgun's full potential to be unleashed. Shotgun-wielding guards wear different uniforms and visors.

As with the original counterpart, Half-Life 2 artwork often depicts Gordon wielding a Shotgun, making it the only weapon besides the crowbar and the Bugbait to be depicted in concept art.

In real life, the shotgun cannot fire two shots simultaneously, as it only has one barrel. In the case of Half-Life 2, the ammunition tube on the bottom is used as the second barrel. It can also hold up to eight rounds instead of six, similar to its Half-Life counterpart, plus one in the chamber.




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



Shotgun (Half-Life 2)
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  1. The Orange Box Prima Guide