"This big rifle is now MINE!"
"Grabbing the assault rifle."

The Combat Rifle (also referred to as the Desert Rifle) is a Tier 2 Assault Rifle variant that has a capacity of 60 rounds per magazine. Unlike the other assault rifles, it fires a three-round burst. Contrary to burst rifles featured in other games, where the trigger must be pulled every time a burst is fired, this weapon can go full-auto on bursts, firing the next moments after the previous ones. Sustained bursts make for a more accurate spread of fire than the Assault Rifle.

The Combat Rifle is used by Bill, Louis, Nick, and Rochelle (as well as Zoey in the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead 2).

Official Description[edit | edit source]

Similar in firepower to the M-16 Assault Rifle, the Desert Rifle boasts a three-round burst from a single pull of the trigger. Sustained bursts make for a more accurate spread of fire than the M-16, with improved ammo conservation.[1]

Tactics[edit | edit source]

  • The Combat Rifle is slightly more accurate than the Assault Rifle, and fires three-round bursts, making it effective for weakening and killing Special Infected from a distance. It can kill Common Infected with one burst, even on Expert. It also carries the most ammo per magazine out of all assault rifles.
    • The Combat Rifle also maintains high accuracy while moving, which allows you to cover or save teammates even while taking evasive maneuvers, moving to help another teammate, or attempting to reach a level objective.
  • The Combat Rifle's ability to continually fire bursts as long as the trigger is held down makes it effective against Hordes. Sweep your line of fire and swap to a melee weapon when appropriate to conserve ammunition. If you kneel down and shoot at the headline of the oncoming Horde, you can still get 1-shot-1-kill results.
  • A total of 420 rounds translates to 140 pulls of the trigger; watch your ammunition count and use your secondary weapon when appropriate.
  • Because the Combat Rifle's reload time is longer than its counterparts, it's highly recommended to reload only when you find a suitable interlude.
  • The Combat Rifle has the highest magazine capacity among assault rifles, providing high efficiency with Explosive Ammunition and Incendiary Ammunition. This is somewhat counteracted by burst which will eat up the ammo more than twice as fast as single shots with other assault rifles.
  • Prioritize accuracy with the Combat Rifle; an inaccurate player will waste three rounds at a time instead of one.

Pros and Cons[edit | edit source]

Pros[edit | edit source]

  • Best accuracy out of all assault rifle weapons, particularly while on the run and while being attacked.
  • Three-round burst helps inexperienced players conserve ammo and regain accuracy during sustained fire (the crosshair will tighten back between bursts).
  • Three-round burst also increases hit chance on individual targets—if the first bullet misses, the spread from that shot will cause the next two bullets to deviate from the crosshair, hitting targets next to the point of aim.
  • The consistent three-round burst on higher difficulties guarantees that the player will fire enough rounds to kill a Common Infected.
  • The large magazine size and enforced burst fire will keep this weapon loaded for as long as it takes Survivors with other weapons to empty their guns and reload. This prevents the team from running out of ammo at the same time.
  • When matched with a melee weapon, encourages weapon switching. With other rifles it is quite easy to lean on the trigger when surrounded, neglecting use of the secondary until ammo is depleted.
  • Highest magazine size and Damage per Magazine when compared to other Assault Rifles.
  • The Laser Sight compliments the rifle's already superior accuracy.
  • Quite effective at taking down Special Infected and The Tank at any range.
  • More specialized ammunition provided (Explosive Ammunition and Incendiary Ammunition) than other assault rifles (due to enlarged magazine size).
  • Can help save teammates with ease. Low friendly-fire damage and high accuracy make it highly effective in racking up protects, even when firing into complicated situations.

Cons[edit | edit source]

  • Has the lowest Damage Per Second of any automatic weapon except for the Submachine Gun (even the Silenced Submachine Gun, a tier 1 weapon, has a higher Damage Per Second), making it less effective than other automatic weapons at killing high-health infected at close range.
  • If you continually fire, you will find yourself running low on ammo quite often. Despite having a 60-round magazine and a carrying capacity of 360 rounds, you have effectively have 140 trigger-pulls in total, since every trigger-pull costs three shots.
  • Can deplete ammo faster than the other assault rifles when facing small numbers of Infected, especially on easy difficulty. While they can be used to pick off Infected at a distance with one shot (and careful timing of the fire button), the Combat Rifle will always fire three shots, regardless of how quickly the button is pressed.
    • This can be bypassed with a carefully timed melee shove during a burst, which will stop said burst in between shots, but this requires practice and can cause premature melee fatigue, resulting in unnecessary damage from Infected.
  • On higher difficulties, the enforced burst fire may force you to use more ammunition to kill a single Common Infected than other rifles. If only one or two of your first three-round burst hit a common infected, it may not have been killed, requiring you to use another three bullets to finish it off, whereas other rifles would allow you to use one or two bullets.
  • Low rate of fire per burst. This means when being surrounded, the burst shot makes it more difficult to clear away enemies as opposed to the fully automatic rifles.
  • Weapon has to be reloaded often- note that while having a 60-round magazine, the three-shot burst means that players have essentially 20 shots before reloading.
  • Longest reloading time for an assault rifle. Spending upwards of 3 seconds reloading is not feasible in many high-pressure situations. Players that instinctively reload after firing a few times will have to unlearn this usually commendable habit to use this weapon effectively.
  • The three-shot burst mode when using Special Ammo is particularly inefficient when picking off Infected at a distance. The other assault rifles are easier to fire single shots, which makes them more efficient with Special Ammo used at long range.

Differences[edit | edit source]

The Combat Rifle fires in three-round bursts as opposed to full-automatic, which translates the 60-round magazine to 20 shots. The individual bursts are highly accurate, and the weapon is still greatly accurate when running or being hit by Infected. DPS (368.4) is lower than both the Assault Rifle (376.2) and the AK-47 (446.0), and the reload time is the longest of the assault rifles; it takes a little over three seconds to reload the weapon.

Notes[edit | edit source]


Nick holding the Combat Rifle

  • The Combat Rifle is modeled after the FN SCAR-L], while the model texture lists it as a SCAR-H. The flashlight is mounted via cable ties, although the real-life counterpart features a handguard mounted RIS rail for just that purpose. There is some implied nature of desperation in Left 4 Dead 2, and it was most likely a decision made to show that people were making do with what they had. However, it may also be that whoever owned the rifle previously lacked the proper mount to put a flashlight on the gun, as putting accessories on rails requires a mount designed to fit them if they do not have one built in and the flashlight on the gun does not have a built-in rail mount.
    • Noting the markings on the side of the gun, it seems to list itself as both variants: the markings mention both "Mk 17 Mod 3" (SCAR-H) and "Cal 5.56mm" (SCAR-L).
      • The SCAR-L in the game is actually modeled after the FN SCAR 16S, a civilian semi-automatic version of the SCAR-L with a 16.25" barrel and a M16A2 flash-hider.
    • The FN SCAR stands for "Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle" and is used primarily by the U.S. Special Operation Command, indicating the possible presence of U.S. Special Forces.
  • The in-game commentary states that the rifles were diverted from the Middle East and shipped back home to control the Infection.
  • However, it should be noted that the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, conveniently based in Georgia, had SCARs issued to them in real life several months before the events of the games take place, also giving a valid excuse canon-wise for their lack of appearance in Left 4 Dead.
  • The rifle is referred to as "rifle_desert" in the developer's console, probably referring to the weapon's tan coloring, which would blend in if used in a desert.
  • In the Dead Center Atrium survival, the magazine of the model at the spawn point is a bright tan, but when picked up, the magazine is dark tan on the first-person model.
  • The Combat Rifle was rated 5th in the Left 4 Dead 2 Top 10 FTW Weapons on Machinima.
  • The reload animation in-game is too complicated. When the SCAR is depleted of ammunition, the bolt automatically locks back, allowing the user to rapidly replace the magazine and press the bolt-release.
    • This was probably included for game balance. Allowing players to quickly reload a massive 60 round magazine would make the weapon too powerful.
  • The Combat Rifle's world model has no ejection port.
  • During the beta version of Left 4 Dead 2, the Combat Rifle was fully automatic and had a 55-round magazine, but then it was changed to the current form due to balancing reasons.
  • In real life, the FN SCAR-L shares the same 5.56 NATO ammunition with the Assault Rifle and uses 30-round magazines, rather than the 60- (SCAR) and 50- (M16) round magazines in-game. These capacities exist for their real counterparts, but they are less common. Nevertheless, the in-game models show the proportions of 30-round magazines.
  • When firing and shifting aim at the same time, three individual shots can be spread over a distance, making it possible to shoot three different targets at the same time.
  • The three-round burst can be interrupted in numerous ways: melee attacking, switching weapons, or being pinned by a Special Infected such as the Hunter or Charger in the middle of a burst.
  • The 3-round burst ability appears to be taken from the FAMAS' secondary fire mode in Counter-Strike, as this will make the 3 rifles more diverse, giving players more variety as to which weapon best suits their play style.
  • In real life, the military FN SCAR Mk 16 only has the option to fire in semi-auto or full-auto; it does not have the three-round burst option as depicted in game. In addition, the commercial version which the in-game rifle resembles, is only semi-automatic.
  • The actual rate of fire of the three-round bursts is at 0.07s, and the interval between bursts is at 0.15s.
  • The minimum shot-interval before the weapon bugs out is at 0.034s, else it will consume more than three rounds despite only putting out three shots.

References[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Left 4 Dead
Tier 1 Pump invert.png Pump Shotgun / Uzi invert.png Submachine Gun
Tier 2 M16 invert.png Assault Rifle / Auto invert.png Auto Shotgun / Hunting invert.png Hunting Rifle
Sidearms Pistol inverted.png M1911 Pistol
Left 4 Dead 2
Tier 1 Chrome invert.png Chrome Shotgun / Pump invert.png Pump Shotgun /
Mac10 invert.png Silenced Submachine Gun / Uzi invert.png Submachine Gun
Tier 2 Ak invert.png AK-47 / Scar invert.png Combat Rifle / M16 invert.png M16 Assault Rifle /
Spas12 invert.png Combat Shotgun / Auto invert.png Tactical Shotgun /
G3 invert.png Sniper Rifle / Hunting invert.png Hunting Rifle
Sidearms Pistol inverted.png P220 Pistol / Deagle invert.png Magnum Pistol
Special Tier Grenade launcher inverted.png Grenade Launcher / M60Icon.png M60 Machine Gun
Other Weapons
Melee Weapons Axe invert.png Axe / Bat invert.png Baseball Bat / Chainsaw invert.png Chainsaw /
Cricket invert.png Cricket Bat / Crowbar invert.png Crowbar / GolfClubIcon.png Golf Club /
Guitar invert.png Guitar / Pan invert.png Frying Pan / Katana invert.png Katana /
Machete invert.png Machete / Baton invert.png Nightstick
New Melee Icon shovel.png Shovel / Icon pitchfork.png Pitchfork
Grenades Molotov inverted.png Molotov Cocktail / Pipebomb invert.png Pipe Bomb / Bile invert.png Bile Bomb
Upgrades L4D2 ammo incendiary.png Incendiary Ammunition / L4D2 ammo explosive.png Explosive Ammunition /
Laser sight HUD invert.PNG Laser Sight
Other Weapons Minigun icon.png Minigun / MMG Icon.png Heavy Machine Gun /
Gas canister HUD invert.png Gas Can / Oxytank icon.png Oxygen Tank / Propane tank icon.png Propane Tank /
Fireworks icon.png Fireworks / Explosive Barrel HUD invert.png Explosive Barrel / Cola.png Cola /
Gnome icon.png Gnome Chompski
Counter-Strike Weapons Knife Invert.png Combat Knife / MP5 Invert.png H&K MP5 / SIG Invert.png SIG SG 552 / Steyr Invert.png Steyr Scout / AWSM Invert.png Accuracy International AWSM
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