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"Oh, I know what to do with this."
"Man, I'm gonna beat these sons of bitches till I lose my watch."

The Shovel is a close combat weapon in Left 4 Dead 2, introduced in The Last Stand Update alongside the Pitchfork.

It is found in the following campaigns:

Melee Mechanics[]

Melee weapons replace Pistols in the secondary weapon slot. Unlike Pistols, close combat weapons never need to be reloaded and cannot run out of ammo (excluding the Chainsaw). They have two main drawbacks: a limited reach and (with a few exceptions) relatively long cooldown periods. Close combat weapons cause minimal friendly fire damage to the Survivors, even on Advanced and Expert difficulty levels (the Chainsaw is an exception).

These weapons are extremely effective. All melee weapons, on all difficulties, kill Common Infected and most Special Infected in one hit, aside from the Charger (which takes two—but see point below), the Witch (which takes four), and the Tank (which takes twenty, excluding the Chainsaw). Due to their death effects, it is generally advised to melee neither the Boomer (unless there is no choice) nor the Spitter (unless it is possible to move away immediately from the resulting acid splash).

The melee weapons appear to do more damage if an Infected's head or upper body is targeted. With the correct timing it is possible to kill a Charger with one hit while it is charging, allowing a Survivor to "level" a charge without first dealing damage to the Charger and to gain the achievement "Level a Charge".

The Shovel is classified as a bludgeoning weapon. It spews blood on the screen, but never dismantles or mutilates the Infected.

Pros and Cons[]


  • Has a wide attack range, allowing multiple kills with one swing.
  • Stumbles crowds of Infected relatively easily.
  • It is one of the most common melee weapons.


  • Slightly poor hit detection.
  • Cannot be used to cut a Smoker's tongue.
  • Killing the Boomers will cover the attacker and nearby Survivors with bile.

Connected achievements[]

Main article: Achievements

Confedaracy of crunches.jpg
Finish a campaign using only melee weapons.

Tank burger.jpg
Kill a Tank with melee weapons.

Beat the rush.jpg
In a Survival round, get a medal only using melee weapons.

Level a charge.jpg
Kill a Charger with a melee weapon while they are charging.

PC Exclusive[]

Achievement Pure Satisfaction.png
Kill 20 Jockeys with the shovel or pitchfork.


  • Like the Pitchfork, the Shovel has unique swing sounds and hitsounds.
  • Similar to the Frying Pan and the Nightstick, any Infected (except the Tank) can be sent flying a short distance when killed with the Shovel.
  • The Shovel has a unique attribute that allows it to hit around ragdolls with greater force than other melee weapons.
  • One of the community developers who were involved in The Last Stand Community Update confirmed in a Reddit post that the inclusion of the Shovel in Left 4 Dead 2 is a homage to the Postal video game series, in which the protagonist can wield a shovel as a melee weapon. This is reinforced by the observation of the Shovel's first-person viewmodel being a near-identical mirroring of its Postal 2 equivalent, as well as its size being similar to that of its Postal 4 counterpart.
  • A Shovel can always be found at the starting point of "The Junkyard" in "The Last Stand", standing upright beside a makeshift grave to the Survivors' right.
  • You were likely suppose to be able to decapitate infected with Shovel at some point. Script file for it includes decapitation this line but is set to 0, meaning no decapitation happens (line is not present in other scripts for melee weapons which are unable to decapitate). Changing script with mod allows decapitation to be turned back on.
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)