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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 (9 in HL2DM),
    • 7 pellets per shot, 56 max
    • 12 pellets per double-shot, 84 max
Magazine/reload type

6 rounds internal tube magazine, shells reloaded individually

Max ammo

30 rounds

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.


Overwatch Soldier running towards Freeman with his shotgun at Bridge Point.
  • The shotgun fires one shot if the main fire key is pressed, and will fire two shots at once when the alternate fire key is pressed. The alternate fire uses two shotgun shells at once.
  • When the gun is reloaded, Freeman inserts one shell at a time. The reloading process can be interrupted at anytime by hitting any of the fire keys.
  • In the Episode One Hospital, Alyx picks up a shotgun that she effectively uses against opponents. Just like with her gun, it appears to have unlimited ammo.


Alyx wielding a shotgun in the Hospital.
  • The shotgun is very effective at close range against most targets. However, its effectiveness decreases significantly with range because its pellets spread more the farther they go.
  • The shotgun is one of the most effective weapons in the game, as the single shot's spread is tight enough to hit enemies at up to medium range, and it does a lot of damage per pellet. Its ammunition can be found very often as well.
  • The double-shot is very powerful, but its large spread means that it should only be used at short range.
  • The shotgun should not be used against weak enemies such as Headcrabs, but against stronger ones such as Overwatch Soldiers and Zombies.
  • It may be 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.
  • A common tactic when using the shotgun is to reload every one or two shots if possible to avoid the long reload time. However this is generally not recommended if multiple enemies are at close range.
  • Compared to its Half-Life counterpart, this weapon has less ammo that can be carried, making it less useful in firefights.
  • The shotgun is the most effective weapon against Antlions.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Like its Half-Life counterpart, the shotgun is inspired by the real-world SPAS-12 by Franchi.

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.


  • Other NPCs seem to use the shotgun in semi-automatic mode, as there is no pumping sound between shots. The firing speed is also a bit faster than the player's.
  • The Nova Prospekt Prison Guards seem to use the shotgun more frequently than normal Overwatch Soldiers, perhaps due to the shorter combat ranges and therefore enhanced shotgun effectiveness.
  • As with the original shotgun, artwork often depicts Gordon Freeman with it, making it the only weapon besides the crowbar and the Bugbait he is depicted with 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 8 rounds, similar to its Half-Life counterpart (instead of 6 in-game), plus one in the chamber.




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]



Shotgun (Half-Life 2)
Combine OverWiki has more images related to Shotgun (Half-Life 2).
  1. The Orange Box Prima Guide