Left 4 Dead Wiki

"I am in love with this gun!"
"This right here'll mess some shit up"
"Hell yeah!"

The Magnum is the most powerful ranged secondary weapon in Left 4 Dead 2. It has only an eight-round magazine and cannot be dual-wielded, but delivers one-hit kills to Common Infected on all game modes and all difficulties.

The Magnum is less commonly spawned than an extra Pistol and is typically found where that extra Pistol would normally be. Unlike the common Pistol, the Magnum's accuracy and rate of fire is the same regardless of whether it is fired standing or incapacitated, but still suffers from slower reloading time. The Magnum's damage fall off is it loses 25% damage per 500 Hammer units and has a max range of 3500 Hammer units.

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

Official Description[]

An alternative to a melee weapon or pistol, the Magnum holds eight massive half-inch rounds guaranteed to leave a hole the size of a dinner plate. When incapacitated, this powerful handgun will put down any swarming common infected with a single shot.[1]


  • Crouch to increase accuracy at long ranges. If you stand up and try to fire at a target at long range, the spread of the bullets will cause you to miss some rounds, which should be avoided as the Magnum has a very small magazine size.
  • The Magnum can be used effectively both at close and long range against Common Infected.
    • The Magnum will kill any Common Infected with 1 shot to any parts of their body, including the limbs, regardless of difficulty or if Realism is enabled.
    • A Magnum is the best sidearm to have when incapacitated. It can easily tear through Common Infected whilst retaining its normal accuracy and rate of fire.
      • It also has a much higher DPS than the pistols because of their limited rate of fire. This makes it easier to kill Special Infected while incapacitated, allowing you to save teammates that are attacked while attempting to revive you.
    • The Magnum's ability to kill in one hit against Common Infected is removed in the Mutation "Headshot!", so switching to a different secondary would be better due to the small magazine size of the Magnum. The P220 Pistol is more accurate and has more ammo, making it better overall in this mutation.
    • The Magnum has little to no crowd-clearing abilities, especially when surrounded or being attacked. Have at least one feasible way to drop a dozen Common Infected at close range before you pick one up.
      • The only exception to this is at choke points. The Magnum's bullet penetration and fast reload speed is more than enough to keep Common Infected at bay indefinitely, regardless of horde size, so long as they are forced through a narrow passage.
    • If you are playing Expert, the Magnum becomes even more useful as you will wish to kill Common Infected as quickly as possible due to their increased strength, but it'd be best to be cautious of hitting your teammates.
  • Players who are more comfortable using the common Pistol may take some time to adjust to this weapon since it is more akin to an extremely powerful mini-carbine than a Pistol.
  • The Magnum is not as useful against healthy Special Infected (i.e. Charger, Tank, and Witch), which can take entire magazines of the weapon before falling. The Magnum can kill others with half a magazine, even with just body shots, on all difficulties.
    • The Magnum is capable of one-hit headshot kills on Smokers, Jockeys and Hunters.
      • This is easiest for Hunters, since their natural position is a headfirst prowl.
      • Against Smokers, the outcome hinges on whether a player was able to aim before it attacked. If this is so, the Smoker is likely to go down. But if a player has already been grabbed by its tongue, the Magnum will probably not suffice as all this pistol's accuracy is lost during the vital split second available to a player to get some shots off before being fully snared. On Advanced or Expert, you can have a chance to let it grab you at close range because an A.I. Smoker will ensnare you on sight. If you are ensnared at close range, you will have a better chance of hitting it with the Magnum.
      • Jockeys are definitely the hardest to deal with at short and medium ranges on account of their small size and remarkable speed. Although, Jockeys usually have their head pointing in front of Survivors. It is recommended to move backwards and fire at it while a Jockey pursues you.
  • The Magnum is also good in combination with weapons which have disadvantages such as limited ammo, accuracy, long reload times, or short ranges (e.g. the Grenade Launcher, M60, and shotguns).
  • If using the Magnum over the primary weapon (or lack of one), care should be taken that the magazine is always full. Having a full magazine is necessary to kill most Special Infected. The Magnum will also reload faster if there is still ammo left in the magazine, so reloads should be done with at least 1 round left in the weapon. This is especially important when facing against an incoming Horde and sustained fire is required.
  • It is possible to kill a Witch with a Magnum without startling her. A headshot will momentarily stun a Witch and further damage can be quickly administered without her being able to retaliate. Hitting a stunned Witch with a melee attack (secondary fire) will stun her again thus allowing follow-up attacks. This process can be repeated until she is dead during in which there is no risk to the player. Great care is needed to shoot no more than three Magnum rounds before meleeing the Witch because otherwise she will recover her senses and attack.
  • In a pinch, the Magnum can be a decent weapon to use against a Tank as the damage per magazine quickly adds up. However, the user should keep a healthy distance or switch to a main weapon if he gets too close.
  • Equipping the Magnum and an automatic weapon is a good tactic: the former for firepower, the latter for rate of fire.

Pros and Cons[]


  • Extremely powerful for a sidearm.
  • Kills Common Infected in one shot under most circumstances, even in Expert and Realism mode at any range.
  • Most Special Infected can be killed instantly via head-shot; the Charger takes two.
  • Retains its accuracy and fire rate when incapacitated, improving the user's ability to kill Special Infected that are attacking the other Survivors.
  • 80 damage per bullet and infinite ammo.
  • Rounds can pierce through two or three Common Infected, making the Magnum very effective in tight corridors and against Hordes.
  • Very accurate when still and crouching, which can be used to compensate for any shotgun's poor accuracy at long range.
  • Has a relatively fast reload.
  • Can kill a Fallen Survivor in one hit or two despite their unusually high health.
  • Generally very effective except when there are numerous targets or very strong infected present, allowing the player to use the Magnum and conserve primary ammo if your weapon is running low.


  • Low rate of fire. This means it can take longer to kill Special Infected if they cannot be head-shot, especially when the magazine is only part full.
  • Has a high amount of recoil that reduces accuracy when fired quickly, hampering its performance against distant Special Infected and Commons.
  • Holds only eight rounds at a time.
  • When being surrounded by a Horde, it's harder to disperse the horde due to its low ammo capacity, rather than with dual Pistols.
  • Poor accuracy on the move.
  • Deals more friendly fire damage than regular pistols, making it a dangerous weapon for bad shooters.
  • Cannot be dual-wielded.
  • Killing a Charger with full health requires an entire magazine delivered to his body.
  • Not very effective against Common Infected on lower difficulties.
    • This is especially true on Easy difficulty, where a single shot with a normal Pistol is powerful enough to kill a Common Infected at close range.
  • Replaces either the dual Pistols or a melee weapon in the secondary slot, both of which might be better choices in certain situations.
  • Does not spawn as often as the common Pistol. In some campaigns, it may not spawn at all, especially in the Swamp Fever campaign.


The Magnum is usually located in a number of places where it replaces the P220 Pistol spawn. A few of the many locations where a Magnum would spawn are:

  • Dead Center
    • The Hotel: From the start, head down the stairs. In the room in the right, either on the map table or in the bedroom on the right on the nightstand. One can also be found in a room in the burning corridor to the right where you would normally go left to go to the elevator.
    • The Streets: In Whitaker's Gun Shop. This is always a 100 % spawn near the K-Ration crates with the health kits.
    • The Mall: Sometimes the Magnum can be found on the 2nd floor, when you cross under the half-closed security gate or on a desk in the Security room after the Emergency Door Gauntlet Crescendo event.
  • The Passing
    • The Riverbank: Immediately at the start, on Jimmy Gibbs Jr.'s car. Otherwise, it will be on the second floor of the apartments just before the Rayford Park and after the alley with alarmed cars, in the living room, on a small table (also a possible spot for Laser Sights to spawn). If not, it can be found at the ending safe room.
    • The Underground: The starting safe room and the "suitcase full of pistols & money" on the second floor of the bar after the construction site.
  • Dark Carnival
    • The Highway: In the Whispering Oaks Motel (the building in between the Midnight Riders billboard and the pool). Both the white pickup truck with roll bars and lights and the orange car (which may be alarmed) face the door where the Magnum spawns.
    • The Fairgrounds: In the starting safe room, the Magnum always spawns on the table except in Versus mode.
    • The Coaster: Right after the maintenance room, on the shelves to the right.
    • The Barns: On one of the tables under the sheltered area with benches near the Strength Test game.
    • The Concert: May spawn at the final weapons cache either on the stage or in front of the light switches in the finale.
  • Swamp Fever:
    • The Swamp: Sometimes found at the beginning, but usually found on a dock next to a destroyed wooden building, about 35 % into the chapter before the plane Crescendo Event.
    • The Shantytown: Sometimes found in an elevated shack, next to pills spawns or ammo caches, or on a table outside the shack. Located just before the room with first aid and before the crescendo event.
  • Hard Rain
    • The Milltown: On the table inside the Burger Tank, in the white house with the broken walls to the right of the ambulance, on a table at the garage sale, or in the house nearest the safe room.
    • The Sugar Mill: Very rarely at the beginning safe room.
    • Town Escape: Inside the beginning safe room. If you found a Magnum in the Burger Tank in the first chapter, the Magnum will still be there as well.
  • The Parish
    • The Waterfront: From the building with the jukebox, take the side alley all the way to the end. It will be found on the floor at the end of the street by the mailbox. The Magnum Pistol from the Waterfront is still visible in the Park chapter, it can't be picked up because the fence is blocking it.
    • The Cemetery: On the bottom floor of the first building you come to. Also, about halfway through the level, you will come across a caravan in the middle of a street that usually contains a melee weapon, a Tier 2 weapon, and almost definitely a Magnum on all difficulties, on a table to the left once you enter.
  • No Mercy
    • The Subway: Can be found on the ground, next to the security booths, at the beginning of the level. Then it can be found in a crashed train, and later on one of the tables at the entrance to the generator room.
    • The Sewer: Randomly found on the first weapon table by the safe room, inside a closet near the first aid cabinet, next to a dead body before the drop-down hole, and at random spots in the sewers.
    • The Hospital: Can be found in the safe room, but only if starting from this chapter (such as in Versus). Randomly found on hospital tables and on the floor on the way to the elevator.
    • Rooftop Finale: Similar to the last chapter, found in the safe room if starting from it; otherwise, it's found at the weapons cache on the rooftop.
  • Crash Course
    • The Alleys: Can be found inside the warehouse before the end of the alley, beside the Humvee, inside a truck along the road under the bridge, inside the office building to the left of the howitzer, or inside the truck encountered before reaching the safe room.
    • Truck Depot Finale: Randomly found inside the building to the right of the crashed ten-wheeler truck. It may also be found beside a bisected corpse on the open field, or on a table inside the building that can be accessed before approaching the passable shipping container.
  • Death Toll
    • The Turnpike: May be found inside one of the side rooms within the titular turnpike, or at the storeroom that can be accessed before approaching the ventilation pumping station.
    • The Drains: Can be found on top of a footlocker inside the partially caved-in room Survivors can enter after lowering the floodgates. Another may appear inside a room to the Survivors' left before reaching the caboose safe room.
    • The Church: Found in either inside the watchtower or the building that must be accessed in order to leave the train yard.
    • The Town: Located on a counter inside a building to the right of an Eyewitness Channel 10 News van, inside the storage room of the Poppy Field Florist building, or on the table in the conference room of an office building leading to the street with the forklift that starts the chapter's Gauntlet Event.
    • Boathouse Finale: Randomly appears inside the bedroom of the house Survivors must pass through. Another Magnum can be found at the weapons cache in the back of the boathouse. Yet another may spawn at the cabin to the boathouse's right, or at the gazebo in front.
  • Dead Air
    • The Greenhouse: Sometimes found lying on the kitchen floor inside the first building the Survivors must enter after leaving the greenhouse.
    • The Crane: May be found resting on top of either the receptionist table or the lounge counter at the last office building's lobby before reaching the ending safe room.
    • The Construction Site: Randomly found on top of a wooden cable spool inside the passageway before reaching the airport.
    • The Terminal: At least one of the two pistols at the starting safe room can spawn as a Magnum. Another can be found at random spots inside the airport's conference room; yet another may be located on one of the check-in counters beyond the smashed barricade.
    • Runway Finale: At the weapons cache inside the starting safe room.
  • Blood Harvest
    • The Woods: May be found next to an ammo pile inside the trailer past the bridge.
    • The Tunnel: From the starting safe room, turn left. In the room at the far end of the hallway, sitting on a counter. Another can be found in a shelf next to the security-alarmed emergency door.
    • Farmhouse Finale: Possibly found inside the starting safe room, near the weapons cache.
  • The Sacrifice
    • The Docks: Found randomly in rooms after the starting area, and before the train car Crescendo Event area. Often a single spawn, unlike most weapons spawns throughout the game.
    • The Barge: Located in the room attached to the garages about a quarter of the way through the level. Later found in the building with the accessible rooftop. Sometimes found in rooms or closets right before the crescendo.
    • Port Finale: Sometimes found at the top of a staircase (near some pipe bombs), near the bar with the jukebox, or inside the building sitting on the bar.

Behind the Scenes[]

The sign that calls the Magnum the Desert Cobra

The Magnum was originally supposed to be called the "Desert Cobra". A string calling the Magnum the Desert Cobra is in "left4dead2_english.txt" under a line about the Magnum. The name Desert Cobra only appears in the finished game on the sign next to the Magnum in Whitaker's Gun Shop, which calls the weapon ".50 Desert Cobra". This is a reference to the pistol's real name, Desert Eagle.


The Desert Eagle Mark VII with .44 Magnum

  • The Magnum Pistol is modeled after the Desert Eagle Mark VII with .44 Magnum.
  • Apparently, the Magnum Pistol itself and the HUD version is different. The flashlight on the HUD shows something that looks like a laser sight below it whilst being shaped different.
  • Despite being a sidearm, the Steam statistics will count the Magnum Pistol as a Tier 2 firearm if the player manages to kill more with it than any other Tier 2 weapons.
  • Even though the Magnum is modelled in the .50 AE caliber and the description says it uses half-inch rounds (which also stands for the .50 AE caliber), the .50 Desert Eagle has a magazine capacity of seven rounds. It is the .44 Magnum Desert Eagle that has a mag capacity of eight rounds. This is likely for game balance reasons, similar to the 50- and 60-round magazines on assault rifles despite the rifles clearly having 30-round sized mags. One could also assume that the game counts the one extra bullet in the chamber, although when fully empty it immediately reloads to eight rounds, which does imply it has an eight-round magazine; however, the game generally does not model remaining rounds in the chamber.
  • In Whitaker's gun shop, the label for the Magnum says only 2000 have been made.
    • The label also calls the Magnum a Desert Cobra, a reference to the Desert Eagle that the Magnum is modeled after.
  • According to the text on the Magnum's side, the Magnum is produced by "1337 Weapon Industries (yOgi) PWN" and is made in Shyville.
    • 1337 and pwn are leetspeak terms. They are alternate spellings for leet (derived from the word elite) and own (referring to domination or victory over another person or entity), respectively.
  • The Magnum can be used effectively on computers which experience frequent stuttering, performance issues, or lag, as the low rate of fire and slow moving recoil reduces lag.
  • Similar to the P220 Pistols, the Magnum had no walking animation prior to the September 24, 2020 update. With the release of said update, the Magnum now has a walking animation.
  • Both the left and right side of the Magnum are identical down to the grease stains, while the P220 Pistol has slightly different left and right sides.
  • While incapacitated, the Magnum's accuracy and rate of fire is the same as if you are not incapacitated and standing still. Before the December 9th, 2009 patch, holding crouch while incapacitated would result in uncanny accuracy. After the patch, crouching while incapacitated no longer increases accuracy.
    • Like the P220 Pistols, holding the melee key will make the Magnum Pistol silent.
  • On Nick's Survivor page on L4D.com, the bottom picture has him holding the basic P220 Pistol. However, one of the picture's captions erroneously says that it is a Magnum.[2]
  • The Magnum's flashlight is mounted via an aftermarket under-barrel rail and a rifle scope-ring mount.
  • Ellis will hold the Magnum (or Pistol) with one hand. If Coach falls beneath 40 HP, he will also hold and fire the Magnum with one hand.
    • However, the two wield the Magnum with both hands in first-person view. This is likely to save memory and not having to make both characters use separate, unique idle animations.
  • There is no hole at the front of the gun for the bullets to come out of, most likely due to a mistake during the creation of the in-game model.
    • The viewmodel's clip was also a bit messy, as the magazine clipped slightly through the Desert Eagle during reload. Furthermore, when playing as the original Left 4 Dead Survivors, their fingers tended to clip through the grip of the Magnum. Both issues were addressed in the September 24, 2020 update for the PC version.
  • Dark Carnival, Crash Course, Death Toll, Dead Air, and The Sacrifice are the only campaigns where the Magnum can spawn in every chapter.
  • Strangely, the flashlight on the HUD icon for the Magnum appears more like the P220 Pistol's than the Magnum's, while the P220's HUD icon is identical to M1911 Pistol's HUD icon in Left 4 Dead.
  • The right-hand side of the Magnum, which cannot normally be seen, has not been skinned or textured, and so if one adjusts their FOV settings, they will see that the Magnum only has skin on the left side, which can be seen normally. This can only be seen in First-person view.
  • The Magnum Pistol was rated 4th in the Left 4 Dead 2 Top 10 FTW Weapons on Machinima.
  • In third-person mode, if you empty the magazine of the Magnum, there's no reloading animation. Instead, the Survivors just hold it like normal, but the reloading sound will still play.
  • The Magnum Pistol is the only weapon available in the Mutation "Lone Gunman". It is also the backup pistol in the Mutation Gib Fest.
  • The Desert Eagle's small magazine capacity, high recoil, heavy weight and uncommon ammunition makes the weapon highly impractical in real life, and theoretically unrealistic to be used in a zombie apocalypse (perhaps with the exception of reserving it for neutralizing the comparatively rare Special Infected).
  • If the player spawns a Left 4 Dead Survivor or spawns this pistol on the balcony at the Port Finale near the old Survivor's area, then all of them will take the Magnum Pistol. However, this weapon does not exist in Left 4 Dead, so they reclaim their original weapon preference.
  • The model of the Magnum Pistol is reused in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for the Desert Eagle, although with some changes and tweaks to the model. The "Operative" variant that can be found in the Lighthouse Finale is based off the Global Offensive Desert Eagle's textures.
  • The viewmodel now holds the weapon further away from the camera after the September 24, 2020 update, showing both hands holding the weapon.
  • The "Bluewood" variant that can be found in the Lighthouse Finale is manufactured by "Magnum Dong", a reference to a quote from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.



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 / Scar invert.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)