Left 4 Dead Wiki

"This big rifle is now mine."
"Grabbing the assault rifle."

The Combat Rifle (also referred to as the Desert Rifle) is a Tier 2 M-16 Assault Rifle variant in Left 4 Dead 2 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 damage fall off is it loses 3% damage per 500 Hammer units and after 1500 Hammer units it suffers significantly greater damage fall off. It has a max range of 3000 Hammer units.

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[]

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]


  • The Combat Rifle is slightly more accurate than the M-16 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[]


  • High accuracy.
  • Burst fire helps conserving ammo and killing enemies.
  • Massive magazine, allowing it to take huge advantage of ammo upgrades.
  • Relatively common.


  • Low DPS.
  • Enforced bursting can burn through ammo quickly.
  • Slow reload.


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 M-16 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.



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 Operations Command, indicating the possible presence of U.S. Special Operations.
  • 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.
  • 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 M-16 Assault Rifle and uses 30-round magazines, rather than the 60- (SCAR) and 50- (M-16) 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 is 0.034s, else it will consume more than three rounds despite only putting out three shots.


External Links[]

Primary Weapons
Tier 1 Chrome invert.png Chrome Shotgun / Pump invert.png Pump Shotgun / MP5 Invert.png MP5 / Mac10 invert.png Silenced Submachine Gun / Uzi invert.png Submachine Gun
Tier 2 Ak invert.png AK-47 / Icon weapon rifle desert inverted.png Combat Rifle / M16 invert.png M-16 Assault Rifle / SIG Invert.png SG 552 / Auto invert.png Auto Shotgun / Spas12 invert.png Combat Shotgun / AWSM Invert.png AWP / Hunting invert.png Hunting Rifle / Steyr Invert.png Scout / G3 invert.png Sniper Rifle
Special Tier Grenade launcher inverted.png Grenade Launcher / M60Icon.png M60 Machine Gun
Secondary Weapons
Sidearms Pistol inverted.png M1911 Pistol / Deagle invert.png Magnum Pistol / Pistol inverted.png P220 Pistol
Melee Weapons Bat invert.png Baseball Bat / Cricket invert.png Cricket Bat / Crowbar invert.png Crowbar / Axe invert.png Fireaxe / Pan invert.png Frying Pan / GolfClubIcon.png Golf Club / Guitar invert.png Guitar / Katana invert.png Katana / Knife Invert.png Knife / Machete invert.png Machete / Baton invert.png Nightstick / Icon pitchfork inverted.png Pitchfork / Icon shovel inverted.png Shovel
Special Tier Chainsaw invert.png Chainsaw
Other Weapons
Grenades Bile invert.png Bile Bomb / Molotov inverted.png Molotov Cocktail / Pipebomb invert.png Pipe Bomb
Upgrades L4D2 ammo explosive.png Explosive Ammunition / L4D2 ammo incendiary.png Incendiary Ammunition / Laser sight HUD invert.PNG Laser Sight
Fixed Weapons MMG Icon.png Heavy Machine Gun / Minigun icon.png Minigun
Usable Items Explosive Barrel HUD invert.png Explosive barrel / Fireworks icon.png Fireworks / Gas canister HUD invert.png Gas can / Oxytank icon.png Oxygen tank / Propane tank icon.png Propane tank
Special Items Cola.png Cola / Gnome icon.png Gnome Chompski
Featured in both games / L4D1-exclusive / L4D2-exclusive (Counter-Strike weapons / PC-exclusive)