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Crossbow (Half-Life 2)

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Crossbow HL2.jpg
Production information




Technical specifications

100 (instant death to human-sized enemies)

Magazine/reload type

Single rebar, manual reload

Max ammo


Ammo type

Heated Rebar


Single shot




None (But has bullet drop)

Projectile speed

Fast (slow compared to bullets)




All distances (best overall for long range)

Used by

Gordon Freeman

Game information
  • weapon_crossbow (weapon entity)
  • item_ammo_crossbow (ammo entity)
  • crossbow_bolt (projectile entity)
"Citizen Tech crossbow is constructed with tubular steel sections comprising the main body, obvious weld marks and mismatched hardware communicate the nature of this junkyard prototype. This crossbow utilizes a electric drive cocking mechanism."
Concept art

The Crossbow is a long-range sniper weapon featured in Half-Life 2 and Episodes.


The Crossbow is a ranged weapon that fires red-hot bolts of steel rebar. It is constructed by Resistance fighters from the scavenged junk and debris that litters City 17 and its surrounding environs. Built into the weapon is a telescopic sight situated on top of the tiller, as well as an extended stock for stability. A battery is attached to the underside of the tiller, powering a circuit that sends an electrical current through any conductive material loaded into the Crossbow. This current is strong enough to heat steel to a glow. The Crossbow’s locking mechanism must be reset manually after each shot before another bolt can be loaded into it. The primary fire button will launch the loaded bolt, while the secondary fire button will allow the user to zoom in through the sight. Targets who are killed by the Crossbow’s bolt will be pinned to any nearby surface tangent to the trajectory of the bolt.

Ammunition for the Crossbow is rare, and usually found near Resistance bases, citizens, or supply caches. The Crossbow itself can be found infrequently throughout Half-Life 2 and its Episodes. In Half-Life 2, it can first be acquired in the chapter Highway 17, not far from an Overwatch outpost, where the player can use the Crossbow to earn the Targeted Advertising achievement. It can be found again on the bridge at Bridge Point. In Episode One, the Crossbow appears in the chapter Urban Flight, and in Episode 2 it is found in the chapter Riding Shotgun.


The crossbow is an exceptionally powerful weapon, capable of killing most organic targets instantly. However, like all weapons in Half-Life 2, it does have its disadvantages.

  • The Crossbow’s bolts travel through the air with a slight arc. Ranging long-range targets requires that the user account for their target’s movement and the pull of gravity.
  • The Crossbow is most effective against human-sized targets and Hunters - even an Overwatch Elite will be killed by a single bolt, and a Hunter can be downed by a well-placed shot to its flechette launcher. Otherwise, Manhacks and Headcrabs would be challenging to hit even at close range. The Crossbow also lacks the crowd-control necessary to deal with swarming Antlions due to its slow reload. Vehicles and Striders will shrug off Crossbow bolts outright.
  • The Crossbow’s bolts are capable of ricochet and can “skip” across the ground. This is a difficult and impractical tactic in most situations, but can be useful sometimes. For example, firing just below a target coming down a hill can result in the bolt ricocheting off the ground up into the target.
  • Hitting moving targets is mostly a case of prediction and timing proficiency. Aim both above and in front of the target to land the hit. As always, practice makes perfect (especially when practicing in Half-Life 2: Deathmatch).
  • The crossbow is the only weapon aside from the Pistol that can fire underwater. However, the bolt's flight underwater can be erratic.
  • If an opponent is using one in multiplayer, dodge and zig-zag to juke the bolts.
  • There is another multiplayer trick involving the crossbow and SLAM mines. When an explosive lying on the floor is hit, the bolt won't ricochet, but will continue to travel along the floor with its speed drastically reduced. The bolt essentially turns into a makeshift floor-sliding rocket-propelled grenade, deadly to anyone who stands in the way. Similar effect can be achieved using Grenades.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 pin soldier tobillboard.png Targetted Advertising (10G)
Pin a soldier to the billboard in the chapter Highway 17.

Behind the scenes[edit]

  • The crossbow's retail HUD icon bears more resemblance to the Crossbow in Half-Life, which might suggest that the Half-Life 2 crossbow was originally supposed to be just like the original, as well as the unused ammo icon resembling the original Half-Life Crossbow arrows. It also features the same kind of magazine and stock as the original Half-Life model. The original model was also used in Half-Life 2 as a placeholder at G-Phoria 2004.
  • Originally, just like the original Half-Life crossbow, the Half-Life 2 crossbow was in the 3rd weapon slot, unlike in the final game where it is in the 4th weapon slot.[1]


List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]