- "Long as we still got guns, we gonna fight."
- "Guys! Big, badass, nasty weapons over here!"
The primary weapons in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 are divided into two classes or tiers. First-tier weapons (also called Tier 1 weapons) are restricted in choice, and available to all players at the start of any campaign. Second tier weapons (also called Tier 2 weapons) are relatively superior in combat effectiveness to Tier 1 weapons and are only found once players have partly completed a Chapter.
Melee combat differs between Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. In the former, melee is a simple violent "shove-back" on an Infected at arm's length distance using whatever Tier 1 or 2 weapon the player happens to be wielding at the time. Melee attacks can also be mounted using a Gas can or Propane tank if a player is carrying one of these items. Left 4 Dead 2 melee combat is greatly enriched because it carries over Left 4 Dead's Tier 1 and 2 "shove-back" and introduces a wide range of new melee-specific weaponry such as the Katana, Chainsaw, and Crowbar. Melee shoves and attacks can be made on any class of Infected although their effectiveness is questionable in the case of Tanks, Chargers, and Witches (except in some situations).
There is no way to distribute weapons or ammunition among teammates without picking up another weapon to replace the dropped (donated) weapon's slot in the donor's inventory. All weapons have an attached flashlight powered by a battery with unlimited life.
Picking up a new weapon from a table or other location (but not from a dead Survivor) provides a full ammo refill for that weapon and equates to restocking from an ammo pile. This is useful since a player can fire off a large volume of ammo from one weapon and then simply pick up a fresh weapon to get a full ammo resupply. This avoids having to waste time reloading the original weapon or visiting an ammo pile to restock. If all Survivors select the same weapon from a pile or arrive at an arms pile identically armed with the same weapon, that weapon type will not appear at a subsequent arms pile. To fix this, a player can trade that weapon out for another type of weapon in the pile whereupon the absent weapon will reappear. Ammo piles can resupply any type of weapon apart from the Grenade Launcher and the M60 in Left 4 Dead 2.
Weapons will continue reloading despite the lack of reloading animation during melee attacks, provided that reloading starts before the melee attacks. This is extremely useful if out of ammo, or both primary and pistol need to be reloaded as it allows the player to shove back attacking Infected while their weapon reloads in the background. When it is fully reloaded (after 2-3 melees' time), it can be used to kill the staggering Infected.
All bullet-based weapons have bullet penetration which means a player can shoot targets through thin walls and various in-game game objects (desks, chairs, etc.). This also means that if two Infected are positioned one behind another, shooting at the first one will also damage the one behind it. There are three exceptions to the penetration rule:
- Shotguns have infinite character penetration up to 300 game units (roughly five meters)
- Hunting rifles/sniper rifles have infinite penetration no matter the distance.
- Weapons utilizing Incendiary or Explosive ammo cannot penetrate walls.
Left 4 Dead
|Pump Shotgun||Submachine Gun|
|Auto Shotgun||Assault Rifle||Hunting Rifle|
Left 4 Dead 2
The following weapons are found in Left 4 Dead 2. The original Left 4 Dead weapons also make an appearance in Left 4 Dead 2, although some of them appear to be slightly tweaked, renamed and have a new reload animation.
|Pump Shotgun||Chrome Shotgun||Submachine Gun||Silenced Submachine Gun|
|Tactical Shotgun||Combat Shotgun||Hunting Rifle||Sniper Rifle|
|M-16 Assault Rifle||Combat Rifle||AK-47|
There are only two weapons that don't qualify as a Tier 1 or Tier 2 that can be found in Left 4 Dead 2. These are sometimes classified as Special Tier weapons.
Other than primary weapons, Survivors are provided with a sidearm weapon at all times in case their primary runs low on ammo.
Left 4 Dead
Left 4 Dead only features one sidearm, the M1911 Pistol which can be dual-wielded.
Left 4 Dead 2
Unlike Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2 features two firearms and eleven melee weapons under the sidearms section for use. There is a third firearm, which is the Glock, but it is only used when dual-wielding the P220 Pistol, and shares exactly the same stats.
(only when dual-wielding P220 Pistol)
Other than handguns, Survivors can also use close combat weapons and improvised items they find throughout the campaigns to deal with Infected nearby.
|Axe||Baseball Bat||Chainsaw||Cricket Bat|
|Crowbar||Frying Pan||Golf Club|
Melee weapon hits needed to kill infected:
- Common & Uncommon infected: 1
- Hunter, Smoker, Boomer, Jockey, Spitter: 1
- Charger: 1 to the head or 2 to the body
- Witch: 4
- The Tank: 20
The Chainsaw is a special exception: For every second it operates and is hitting an enemy, it will attack exactly 10 times (if that enemy's powerful enough to survive the attack), each dealing 100 damage. Therefore, it's able to kill common infected in less than half second, the Witch in slightly over a second, the Charger in around half second, and a Tank in several seconds.
Custom Melee Weapons
Custom made melee weapons are community created and not made by Valve. The Survivors can use these close combat weapons and improvised items they find throughout the campaigns to deal with Infected nearby.
- Main article: International Weapons
Due to the censorship of the German version of the game, Valve has decided to port some weapons from Counter-Strike into the game exclusively for German players to make up for the censorship. Though this is exclusive to those who own the German version of the game, anyone who plays with someone who owns the German version will encounter these weapons as well. They may also be encountered occasionally on modded servers or custom campaigns for all players. Even though Australia was also part of the censorship controversy, they did not get these weapons.
|SIG SG552||Steyr Scout||Accuracy International AWSM|
Special items lay scattered across maps to boost a weapon's abilities. Only found in Left 4 Dead 2.
|Laser Sight||Incendiary Ammo||Explosive Ammo|
Each of the Survivors can carry at any time one of the following grenades.
|Molotov cocktail||Pipe bomb||Bile bomb|
(Left 4 Dead 2 only)
These items are found throughout campaigns, and when picked up, you can't use any weapon until you throw them or drop them. You can shove with them, however. When shot, burned, or otherwise detonated, these items blow up, spread flames, or both, making good tools for defending areas during Crescendos or Finales. The Explosive Barrel is the only item which cannot be picked up by the Survivors.
|Gas can||Oxygen tank||Propane tank||Fireworks|
(Left 4 Dead 2 only)
These items, like the items above, take over all of the Survivor's abilities to use weapons, and can be used to knock back Infected. However, these are special in that they are only found in specific places and are used to complete specific tasks. Only found in Left 4 Dead 2.
|Cola||Gnome Chompski||Scavenge gas cans|
Over the course of the campaigns, the Survivors find fixed gun emplacements left behind by the military in their failed attempt to contain the Infection. They appear at certain finales and crescendo events and have an infinite supply of ammo. However, they are prone to overheating, which renders them temporarily unusable. When a Survivor uses a mounted gun, they cannot move and can only fire in a fixed arc.
(Left 4 Dead)
|Heavy Machine Gun |
(Left 4 Dead 2)
(Left 4 Dead version of The Sacrifice)
Instantly die from:
- Any damage to the head;
- Any damage from scoped rifles (except on Realism), Magnum pistols and M60s;
- Being hit directly or by splash damage of Explosive Ammo and the Grenade Launcher.
Within 100 game units (1.91m or 6.27 ft), shotguns deal 5 times their normal damage to any Common Infected, and received body damage is modified by the game's difficulty:
- Easy: × 2 — Realism: × 0.5
- Normal: × 1 — Realism: × 0.37
- Hard: × 0.75 — Realism: × 0.25
- Expert: × 0.5 — Realism: × 0.25
- Head: × 4 from bullets, × 1.25 from shotgun pellets
- Torso: × 1.25
- Arms: × 1
- Legs: × 0.75
- Head: × 4 from bullets, × 1.25 from shotgun pellets
- Right arm: × 1.25
- Rest of the body: × 1
- Head: × 1
- Body: × 2 — Realism: × 0.5
- Head: × 1
- Body: × 1 — Realism: × 0.37
- Head: × 1
- Body: × 0.75 — Realism: × 0.25
- Head: × 1
- Body: × 0.5 — Realism: × 0.25
Explosive ammo and the Grenade Launcher are not affected by body part multipliers against any Special Infected except for the Witch. Explosive ammo inflicts a weapon's normal damage (affected by damage drop-off) on direct hits and reduced damage on hits by the splash. Weapon damage inflicted with Incendiary ammo is affected by body part multipliers.
Melee weapons require the same amount of hits anywhere they hit with one exception: to kill the Charger it takes two strikes to the body, but only one to the head.
Different weapons have different damage drop-off over distance characteristics, most obviously linked to the caliber of the weapon. Of note: (excluding shotguns) pistols have the highest damage drop-off (up to 25 %), scoped rifles and the Grenade Launcher's projectile have no damage drop-off. Splash damage suffers damage drop-off relative to the center of the explosion.
The following are common characteristics shared by most weapons.
Reloading (default "R" on PC and "B" on the Xbox 360) is the in-game action of moving ammo from your reserve ammo count to your usable loaded ammo.
Pistols have a similar reload time to the submachine guns, but have a much smaller magazine capacity with slightly higher damage. Dual Pistols make reloading take slightly longer, and incapacitated players take twice as long as normal to reload their pistols.
It is best to always reload before a finale or when a Tank is drawing near. While reloading in the heat of battle, it is best to run away when you are almost out of ammo and use your melee attack while reloading. Listen closely when a teammate yells, "Reloading, " and offer cover fire, especially if they are using shotguns or the Sniper or Hunting Rifles.
If you melee while you are reloading, this will not interrupt your action. You will continue to reload until you are finished, unless attacked by a Special Infected using their primary attack such as the Hunter, Tank, Smoker, Charger, or Jockey, incapacitated, or killed. This is extremely helpful against Horde attacks, as it allows you to push them away from you to finish reloading your weapon.
One thing to remember when reloading while using the shotguns in the first game or any pistol in the second is that if you press the reload button before your gun or magazine is empty, you will reload just a little bit faster than if you empty your magazine entirely. This proves useful if you need to take down a Tank, and need a fast reload. One way to bypass this is to leave exactly one or two bullets left in the gun, then press reload. You still have the fast reload, but get to empty your entire magazine.
The Flashlight is an item that is always in the Survivors' inventory and is attached to every firearm the player can obtain. You cannot drop it, but you can turn it on and off, which makes a clicking sound. It allows the player to see in dark areas when exploring for items and weapons. It also allows the player to scout out such areas for groups of Common Infected, and spot Special Infected much easier.
The flashlight is attached in a fixed point on your weapon which means that when using the melee shove, changing weapon and reloading, you lose the benefit of the light as your weapon moves and changes angles. Although when using melee weapons in Left 4 Dead 2, you still have a cone of light which is larger and much more useful than any of the guns, as swinging your melee weapon won't disturb the light source. This is a lot more useful for exploring and examining items and artwork, although it is strange that the light seems to be coming from nowhere. When looking at a teammate who has their flashlight turned on, you can only see the cone of light while the light which shines at their crosshair is not visible. A possible reason can be seen in third-person view (PC only); the crosshair light only follows the head's facing, not the flashlight's. This is no longer the case in Left 4 Dead 2 as the character's heads no longer turn.
The flashlight is a surefire way to disturb the Witch, as demonstrated in the introduction cutscene. The Survivors will often warn each other when they believe they hear a Witch, telling them to turn their flashlights off. Shining the light on her will disturb her more than standing near her, so you should aim your crosshair away from her, or turn it off altogether. Also, idle Common Infected are disturbed faster when you shine your flashlight on them.
Cooldown is the minimum length of time in the Left 4 Dead series that a Survivor or an Infected needs to wait after using an ability before they can use it again.
- Main article: Fatigue
In Left 4 Dead, the Survivors have no special abilities other than healing, shooting, reloading, and simple melee shoving and striking — at which tasks they can function endlessly without incurring any fatigue penalties during normal gameplay. (Presumably, this was a deliberate feature put into the game by Valve in order to reduce development costs and programming complexity.)
However, this no-fatigue feature is not present in all gameplay modes of Left 4 Dead 2 (as well as in Versus or Survival modes of Left 4 Dead) and players are constrained by a variable called Melee Fatigue. In close quarter combat, after a couple of melee uses, a Survivor is obliged to wait two to three seconds until this attack can be used again. Repetitive use of a melee attack thus incurs a series of short time-out intervals to stimulate the body's need to regather its strength for the next strenuous exertion.
Melee Fatigue was retrospectively introduced into the game after Valve received complaints of seemingly superhuman players who simply meleed their way through Versus and Campaign matches without ever firing a weapon. When the Left 4 Dead DLC known as the Survival Pack was released, Valve added the Melee Fatigue feature but left it out of the game's Campaign mode for unknown reasons.
The Infected have different abilities, and therefore different cooldown times.
- The Boomer has to wait 30 seconds before being able to vomit on the Survivors again.
- The Hunter does not have a cooldown on Pouncing, but it must wait 2 seconds before being able to leap if it stood up.
- The Smoker's tongue takes 15 seconds to regenerate if it bends or is removed from a Survivor. In Versus and Scavenge, it takes 5 seconds to rewind if it misses.
- The Tank takes 3 seconds to swing his arm again after punching and to rip the ground to throw concrete. The Tank has no punch delay after a rock throw, meaning it can hit a Survivor twice.
- The Charger has to wait 12 seconds to be able to charge again.
- The Spitter has to wait 20 seconds before she is able to spit again.
- The Jockey has to wait 1 second after he jumps if he misses a Survivor, 7 seconds if he is knocked off of a Survivor, and 30 seconds if he incapacitates a Survivor.
- The Hunter, Boomer, Charger, Spitter, Jockey and Smoker's secondary claw attack has a 1-second cooldown.
Behind the Scenes
- All of the weapons in Left 4 Dead are based on the programming used for Counter-Strike: Source weapons. Most of the weapons are based on either weapons usable by both teams or Counter-Terrorist-exclusive weapons, with the only exception being the Dual Pistols, which is based on the Beretta 96 Dual Elites, a Terrorist-exclusive weapon.
- Weapons originally did not have flashlights on them, as seen in pre-release pictures. In addition, their world models had blood on them.
- All weapons in Left 4 Dead originally had two reload animations; when the magazine is empty and when the magazine is not. The animation that played when the magazine was empty is longer than the other animation because the player needs to cock the gun in order to load a new round. These animations were removed from the game due to community request, but can still be seen in the Left 4 Dead Authoring Tools (1 or 2, 2 has the M1911 Pistol viewmodel unused but still having empty reload animations). The only weapons that still use their empty reload animations are the pump and auto shotgun. In Left 4 Dead 2, only the Pistol and Magnum Pistol use this. Also, a cut dual pistols animation in Left 4 Dead can be seen by using a glitch (empty 14 bullets of a magazine, then pick up the second pistol) but it's rare.
- It appears that the animations relating to the other three weapons (Submachine Gun, Assault Rifle, and Hunting Rifle) were removed shortly before release, as they can be last seen in gameplay footage dated September 2nd, 2008, but are gone by the time footage is released on October 15th, 2008
- Originally, weapons did not have flashlights on them. The light came from the player's chest, like in the Half-Life series. Flashlights were attached to the guns to make it so that the player wouldn't have a light source when either reloading or using melee.
- The old flashlight behavior is still in the final game; turn on the flashlight when holding a melee weapon, molotov, pipe bomb, bile bomb, medkit or pills to see it.
- Laser Sights were originally set to be an upgrade for Left 4 Dead, but the concept of upgrades were cut. It then was put into Left 4 Dead 2 as a lone upgrade.
In Left 4 Dead 2 there were originally going to be a riot shield and a didgeridoo as usable melee weapons in the game. However, they were cut. The riot shield was fully modeled and textured and can still be spawned in-game both via the console and during custom campaigns, while the didgeridoo had a low-poly model, but no textures.
In Hard Rain, there was also supposed to be a flare gun, but was cut during early development. Found somewhere near the end of the level, with the possible ability to help Survivors see in the rain. A clue that there was a flare gun originally is reflected in an occasional conversation at the start of Hard Rain where Nick wonders how they can signal Virgil, to which Ellis replies, "Oh, there's flares in the gun bag." Nick replies, "What gun bag?"
Ammo Packs were also set to be an alternative to the health kit. When deployed, it would let all Survivors be able to restock on ammo. It was cut because players found it less valuable than the med kit and expected to find more ammo further on.
In early development, Coach was seen with a compound bow which was never put into game, as seen here.
|Survive an entire campaign using only pistols.|
|Kill a Tank with melee weapons.|
|Knock off the heads of 18 infected with the golf club.|
|LEVEL A CHARGE||(15G)|
|Kill a Charger with a melee weapon while they are charging.|
|CHAIN OF COMMAND||(15G)|
|Kill 100 Common Infected with the chainsaw.|
|Use every melee weapon to kill Common Infected.|
|Decapitate 200 Infected with a melee weapon.|
|CONFEDERACY OF CRUNCHES||(30G)|
|Finish a campaign using only melee weapons.|
|TIL IT GOES CLICK||(20G)|
|Using the M60, kill 25 infected without letting go of the trigger.|
|Kill 15 Infected with a single grenade launcher blast.|
|Ignite 50 Common Infected with incendiary ammo.|
|ARMORY OF ONE||(15G)|
|Deploy an ammo upgrade and have your team use it.|
- On each Survivor model, the pistol is the only weapon that actually has a reasonable excuse to stay attached to you, as Survivors have one pistol holster and pockets. Weapons and health kits/defibrillator/ammo packs put on your back don't have a strap keeping them on; and Bile bombs/Pipe bombs/Molotovs and pills/adrenaline also seem to float on the player's waist.
- When picking up ammo from a pile in Left 4 Dead, it would only fill the reserve ammunition to its maximum allowed capacity — not accounting if there is missing ammo in the primary weapon; meaning that players are required to reload their primary weapons before replenishing ammo to reach full ammo capacity. In Left 4 Dead 2, picking up ammo from a pile would fill the reserve up entirely including the ammo missing from the primary weapon.
- You can still somehow use the flashlight even when wielding items such as pills, Melee Weapons, and gas cans, even when they do not have one attached to them.
- Even though the common tactic is to switch off your flashlight when a Witch is nearby, it is usually unnecessary as the Witch is only disturbed by the light when you aim it directly at her.
- While you cannot see the light made by another Survivor's flashlight, you can tell if they have their light on or off, by looking at the bottom of their gun. If the flashlight is on, there will be a cone of light there.
- Sometimes in Versus, Infected players can turn off their "flashlight", but however, it will turn immediately back on. This can perhaps be viewed as blinking.
- The flashlight is not shown on the HUD icons for the weapons in the PC version of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, but it is shown on the Xbox 360 version.
- Every weapon in both games has no effect on your running speed.
Left 4 Dead
- The posters before each level sometimes show characters with scoped MP5s, but they are not usable in the actual game.
- With the exception of one area each in the 3rd and 4th chapters of Death Toll and in Crash Course, all tier 2 weaponry spawns in groups; allowing players to choose which weapon they want to wield against the Infected.
- For unknown reasons, turning on your flashlight while you're aiming the minigun will cause your flashlight to rapidly turn on and off continuously until you dismount. If you actually need to shine your flashlight while mounting one, you need to turn it on on the weapon you were using before mounting the minigun.
- When The Sacrifice was released, this glitch had been fixed.
- If you observe a fellow Survivor reloading their gun, they will always cock their weapons regardless of the amount of ammo the magazine has left, excluding the two shotguns and dual pistols. These animations were supposed to be cut (at least in the first person view) but the Survivor can resume shooting even while cocking their gun. In addition, the sounds of the cut cocking animation will also play.
- Melee weapons were possibly going to be in Left 4 Dead in the first place, according to the game_sounds_player.txt soundscript in specified game's files, as told from the "BaseballBat.%parameter%"s.
Left 4 Dead 2
- The melee fatigue timer comes up when you shove with firearms or melee weapons, but not when swinging a melee weapon.
- Upon picking up a melee weapon, Survivors drop their sidearm. However, when they are incapacitated, they still pull out a Pistol, and once revived, the Pistol is no longer part of their inventory and the melee weapon is still in the sidearm slot.
- Once the Chainsaw has run out of fuel, the Survivor will drop the Chainsaw and it will be replaced with a Pistol, despite the fact the Survivor dropped a Pistol to pick up the Chainsaw in the first place.
- Typing "give melee" in the developer's console will give you the base for melee weapons. When taken out it appears to be glitch arms flying all over the place, and has no HUD icon. If traded for a different melee weapon or a Pistol, the world model will appear as a Hunter's arms. If you have Third Person mode active with the Hunter arms out the Survivor will do a reference pose very similar to the Civilian from Team Fortress 2.
- Typing "give [name]_claw" in console (replacing [name] with the name of a Special Infected, will cause an apparent error. These 'weapons' are the only 'equipment' a player Infected can use. When given to a Survivor, they will drop on the ground and appear as a Pistol, due to the need for a world model "even if it will never be used".
- Currently, the weapon smoke effect is bugged, as the smoke comes from behind the gun, rather than from the muzzle.
- Originally the melee weapons were supposed to break after prolonged use, but the development team ultimately decided against it after testing. Break sounds for the Axe and Frying Pan weapons can still be found in the game files.
- Every melee weapon delivers a one-hit-kill against all Common and Special Infected (apart from the Charger, Tank and Witch, the former of which takes two).
- There is a total of eleven melee weapons. The most common type of melee having six Bludgeoning. The second common having three Slashing weapons. The most uncommon type, Shredding, has only two, if you count the Chainsaw.
- Maps ported from Left 4 Dead 1 into Left 4 Dead 2 had all maps use the same melee weapon set used in Dead Center, namely the Cricket Bat, Katana, Crowbar, and Axe. Based on community feedback, Valve changed the melee weapons layout to be more diverse in variety, although the Crowbar, for amusing yet obscure reasons, remains in all ported campaigns.
- In the Left 4 Dead 2 ports of Crash Course, Death Toll, Dead Air (except The Terminal) and Blood Harvest, at least one melee weapon will spawn in the safe room.
- The Heckler & Koch G3SG/1 and the M60 machine gun are the only weapons that both uses 7.62×51mm NATO cartridges. It is strange that the H&K G3SG/1 can refilled by ammo piles and the M60 can't be refilled. This is for gameplay reasons, if the M60 is able to be refilled then the survivors would use this powerful machine gun all the time, killing the infected easy.
|Left 4 Dead|
|Tier 1||Pump Shotgun / Submachine Gun|
|Tier 2||Assault Rifle / Auto Shotgun / Hunting Rifle|