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Submachine Gun (Half-Life)

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Submachine Gun
Production information

Submachine gun

Technical specifications

50 rounds

Max ammo
  • 250 rounds
  • 10 20mm grenades


Ammo type

Roller-delayed blowback, closed bolt

Rate of fire

600 RPM





Used by
Game information
  • weapon_mp5
  • weapon_9mmAR (GoldSrc only)

Ted Backman[1]
Steve Theodore[2]
Stephen Bahl (HD version)[3]

The Submachine Gun, or simply known as SMG, is a weapon featured in Half-Life and its expansions. The primary weapon used by the HECU, it is an automatic weapon with a high rate of fire. It is also equipped with a grenade launcher that boosts its effectiveness.


HECU Marine holding a Submachine Gun.
  • The SMG's bullets will instantly hit a target as soon as the gun is fired. Both the Submachine Gun and the 9mm Pistol use 9×19mm Parabellum and share the same ammunition reserve, making the Submachine Gun and the 9mm Pistol very easy to find ammunition for.
  • The attached grenade launcher fires powerful explosives that will automatically explode when hitting the ground. It does not need to be reloaded, so the player can fire as many grenades as they want until they run out of ammo for it.
  • This weapon is first obtained at the start of the Half-Life chapter "We've Got Hostiles". It can be found next to a dead HECU Marine in the first room that has Sentry Guns. After that, it can be found in areas controlled by the HECU and picked up from dead HECU Marines.
  • When a player picks up an SMG for the first time, it will have 25 rounds in its magazine. The player must reload the gun to get 50 rounds in the magazine. However, in some related games such as Half-Life: Day One and Half-Life: Opposing Force, the Submachine Gun already holds 50 rounds when picked up.


Submachine Gun[edit]

  • The Submachine Gun's accuracy is suitable for short to medium combat ranges, but has poor accuracy at longer ranges, so it is recommended to use five round bursts for long range.
  • The player should be sure not to use the Submachine Gun's bullets against large groups of enemies for the Sub Machinegun's bullets do only 5 points of damage. Save the bullets and fire the Submachine Gun's grenades instead.
  • Groups of weak enemies, such as Headcrabs or Houndeyes, can easily be killed with the SMG.
  • The Submachine Gun is effective on small groups of Vortigaunts and HECU Marines. With Vortigaunts, one should remember to move often to avoid being hit by the Vortigaunts electric bolts. With HECU soldiers, one should stay out of their effective range or make use of cover, since they have the same SMGs and slightly better accuracy.
  • The Alien Controller is easy to kill with the SMG. Since its bullets hit instantly, the player can attack the Controller and avoid its plasma balls with ease.

Grenade launcher[edit]

  • The grenade launcher should be used to clear out large groups of enemies at once. One grenade can kill up to five HECU soldiers with ease if it lands in the center of the group.
  • The grenade launcher is also effective against enemies that have a lot of health, such as the Alien Grunt. One grenade can usually kill it in one shot. If not, it only takes a few shots from the SMG to finish it off.
  • Using the grenade launcher against weak enemies, such as Headcrabs, is obviously effective but is a waste of ammunition. Melee attacks or normal bullets from any weapon are more advised.
  • The grenade launcher is one of the few weapons that can damage a Gargantua, so one should stock up on its ammo when wanting to kill a Gargantua manually.
  • If the grenade launcher is used at long range, intelligent enemies can usually run away from it before it explodes. Therefore, getting closer to the intended victims before firing is advised, as it prevents them from running away. However, being too close will affect the player's health, as with all explosive weapons.

Behind the scenes[edit]

HECU Marine threatening a scientist with his Submachine Gun.
  • The Submachine Gun is inspired by the real-life MP5 by Heckler & Koch. In the Half-Life High Definition Pack, it was replaced with a Colt 727 carbine (as evidenced by the integrated carrying handle and A2 rear sights), similar to the M4 originally used during the development of Half-Life, that also had a different firing sound than that of the final version, as well as a a 30-round magazine size. This creates an inconsistency, as it still shares its ammunition supply with the pistol, despite the magazine and the casings both correctly depicting the weapon as firing 5.56x45mm NATO rounds instead of 9x19mm Parabellum.
  • The retail viewmodel and the early worldmodel are based on the MP5SD, while the retail worldmodel is a regular MP5.





Half-Life expansions[edit]


List of alternate names[edit]

  • 9mm Assault Rifle (Half-Life)
  • Combat Rifle (Half-Life Prima Guide)
  • Heckler & Koch MP5 SD (Schalldämpfer) (Half-Life SDK)

List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



Submachine Gun (Half-Life)
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