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Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle

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This subject is related to the Combine era.

Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle
Production information





Assault rifle

Technical specifications
  • 8/pulse shot (11 in HL2DM)
  • 1000/Energy Ball (instant death to human-sized enemies)
Magazine/reload type
  • 30 pulse plugs, automatic reload
  • 1 Energy Ball, no reload
Max ammo
  • 90 pulses
  • 3 Energy Balls


Weapon category


Ammo type

Pulse cells/Energy Balls

Rate of fire



Low, increases with sustained fire



Projectile speed





Short to medium

Used by
Game information
  • weapon_ar2
    (weapon entity)
  • item_ammo_ar2
    (ammo entity)
  • item_ammo_ar2_
    (ammo entity)
  • item_ammo_ar2_
    (ball ammo entity)

The Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle (OSIPR),[1] commonly known as the Pulse Rifle or AR2, is a Dark Energy pulse assault rifle manufactured by the Combine.


Combine Soldiers fighting Zombies in the hospital with Pulse Rifles.

The Pulse Rifle is a Combine assault rifle sometimes issued to Combine Soldiers and always issued to Combine Elites. It features a unique firing mechanism: instead of using conventional cartridges, it utilizes power cells that house enough energy to fire 30 dark energy pulses. When pulling the trigger, a pin in the receiver repeatedly strikes against the rear of the chambered cell, releasing the pulse within. After draining a cell, the spent casing is ejected from the right side of the weapon while a new one is chambered by an integrated automatic loading system. The separable magazine of the rifle holds multiple cells, and can be found in Supply Crates. An underslung Dark Energy ball launcher is built into it, which shoots energy orbs capable of disintegrating almost anything they touch. Only Combine Elites fire the Energy Balls. On the body can be seen the alphanumerics "V952", which is also featured on other Combine devices.

The player first acquires the weapon at the end of Half-Life 2's sixth chapter, "We Don't Go To Ravenholm..." where one is being carried among a group of Combine Soldiers that had been fighting stray Zombies coming out of Ravenholm. A few more loose Pulse Rifles are being stored in a nearby railcar. In Episode One, it can be found in a Combine supply room in the chapter Urban Flight. In Episode Two, it is found in a doorway in the chapter Freeman Pontifex, near a small overrun Combine outpost.

Rebels can wield Pulse Rifles for their use. When a Rebel with an SMG comes over a Pulse Rifle, they will drop their original weapons and take it instead. Notably, a Rebel at White Forest tells his comrades that the weapon's secondary attack can be useful against Hunters, leading to the AR3 dispute.

In Half-Life: Alyx, which takes place five years before the events of Half-Life 2, an earlier iteration of the OSIPR is seen being wielded by Combine Ordinals. Although there are some minor cosmetic differences such as a shorter barrel, a laser sight, and a less exaggerated magazine design, it functions in a largely identical manner, although the alternative fire mode is never seen used, possibly implying that it isn't yet capable of that functionality. However, this version of the Pulse Rifle is gene-coded, so it cannot be picked up and used by Alyx Vance.


The Pulse Rifle's recoil is fairly strong when firing continuously. The weapon's spread is much worse when firing the weapon in automatic mode, so firing short bursts is recommended for better accuracy and ammo conservation. Furthermore, the player can only hold three full magazines - that is, one in the gun, two spare, - which are easily depleted if fired in automatic mode. Pulse Rifle is best used in situations where nearby ammo is plentiful - that is, when fighting Combine Soldiers.

The cores powering the weapon's alternate fire can be hard to come by and should be kept for specific cases. They are effective on lined up hostiles since it goes through them all before it hits an obstacle. Using it in small rooms is fairly ineffective since it bounces around and will then usually break. The cores are also known to be a one-hit-kill against even a Hunter, however the Energy Ball itself is also destroyed when it hits the Hunter. Also, Energy Balls can be used to kill Striders but they only do around a third of the damage of the RPG rockets. Energy Balls can be grabbed and deflected with the Gravity Gun.

Behind the scenes[edit]

IRifle worldmodel.

At one point in Half-Life 2's development, there were three assault rifles: apart from the Pulse Rifle, there was the AK-47 (or AR1) and the Incendiary Rifle that functioned as a Flare Gun with a five-round magazine. The Pulse Rifle was originally slated to be an OICW and would be the Combine's weapon of choice. All three weapons were finally scrapped. Instead, the Incendiary Rifle's model was turned into the Pulse Rifle, which became the only assault rifle in the final game. The Pulse Rifle's model still uses the name of the original model ("v_irifle").

Several features from the OICW were recycled for the Pulse Rifle, such as the reload animation used by NPCs: while the player reloads the weapon internally using an automatic system (with no model animation), NPCs are shown to reload manually and externally with model animations. Furthermore, the Pulse Rifle reuses OICW sounds when being fired by NPCs.


  • The Pulse Rifle bears many similarities to the Emplacement Gun, including using the same type of magazine.
  • There are no Energy Ball ammo crates seen in Half-Life 2 or the episodes. If one puts one in a map using Hammer, it will use the Pulse Rifle ammo crate model.
  • The Pulse Rifle, its energy balls, and Grenades can be obtained earlier than intended by the developers in Episode One.
    In Direct Intervention after re-stabilizing the Citadel's core and watching Judith's transmission Alyx will open a door and tell Gordon to hurry into an elevator with her. If the player decides to go into the elevator and then leave in the right way as to not spawn in an invisible wall, the two Combine Elites that are supposed to storm the area and fruitlessly shoot at the closed elevator door will now spawn in without the elevator sequence happening, allowing Alyx to fight them. Interestingly, these Combine Elites do not have their weapons fizzle away automatically when killed.
    The early weapons after being obtained.

    Getting the two Elites to die requires a lot of skill and luck due to their Pulse Rifles' immensely high damage at close range, requiring the player to have near full HP and some suit battery to act as a meat shield so that Alyx can regenerate her HP, and getting them not to shoot their energy balls, which almost guarantees Alyx's demise due to her middling HP at best during the fight due to the previously mentioned damage the Elites' Pulse Rifles can do and the fact that Alyx will have to fight the two Elites in a cramped hallway with no cover.
    It is worth noting that if the hallway is exited by any party once the Elites have spawned in, two normally unseen Combine Elites standing in the area outside will notice Gordon and Alyx's presence, entering the hallway, almost guaranteeing certain death if the first two Elites haven't been taken care of or Alyx hasn't had enough time to heal after taking care of the first two.


Half-Life 2[edit]

Models and textures[edit]


Half-Life: Alyx[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Overwatch Standard Issue Pulse Rifle
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Main games[edit]



  1. Half-Life 2 Prima Guide