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"Here, I have a more suitable gun for you. You'll need it—Catch!"
Father Grigori[src]

The Combine SPAS-12 is a powerful pump-action shotgun that fires buckshot in a cone-shaped pattern. It is used by various characters and NPCs in Half-Life 2 and its episodes.


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Overwatch Soldier running towards Freeman with his shotgun at Bridge Point.

  • The SPAS-12 fires one shot if the main fire key is pressed, and will fire two shots at once when the alternate fire key is pressed. The alternate fire uses two shotgun shells at once. However, when Gordon pumps the shotgun, only 1 shell is ejected.
  • When the gun is reloaded, Freeman inserts one shell at a time. The reloading process can be interrupted at anytime by hitting any of the fire keys.
  • In the Hospital, Alyx picks up a SPAS-12 that she effectively uses against opponents. Just like with her gun, it appears to have unlimited ammo.


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Alyx wielding a SPAS-12 in the Hospital.

  • The SPAS-12 is very effective at close range against most targets. However, its effectiveness decreases significantly with range because its pellets spread more the farther they go.
    • Due to the spread, it is actually more effective to aim for the center-of-mass at longer ranges, as it's more likely more pellets will hit the target. At close range, however (most notably on Hard difficulty), a point-blank headshot will, more often than not, result in a one-shot kill, whereas a point-blank bodyshot will not, even if all pellets connect.
  • The SPAS-12 is one of the most effective weapons in the game, as the single shot's spread is tight enough to hit enemies at up to medium range, and it does a lot of damage per pellet. Its ammunition can be found very often as well.
  • Ammunition for the SPAS-12 is extraordinarily common. SPAS-12s found on the ground or dropped by Overwatch Soldiers supply a full magazine of 6 rounds, and boxes of ammo contain a staggering 20 shells. Two boxes of ammo can fully resupply even an empty SPAS-12 with some shells to spare. It is even possible to carry the box with a Gravity Gun to refill ammo whenever needed, as long as the reserve ammo count is 30. Generally should the player run low on shotgun ammo, it's very likely that a Supply Crate will give the player ammo for shotguns unlike in Half-Life. Therefore running out of ammo for shotgun is very unlikely unless on early chapters.
  • The double-shot is very powerful, but its large spread means that it should only be used at short range.
  • The SPAS-12 is a very good weapon when dealing with Zombies of nearly any type, and their Headcrab counterparts can be dispatched very quickly, easily, and safely with the SPAS-12. Even if only a few pellets hit a Headcrab, their combined damage should be more than enough to kill it. However, when fighting a Poison Zombie, the player should be aware of the environment, strafing constantly as well as making sure that the shotgun is fully loaded, given that the high health of this zombie, combined with three Poison Headcrabs, makes it dangerous even for SPAS-12 users.
    • When dealing with Zombies, the player should aim for the head to avoid fighting the Headcrab, two round burst is the guaranteed kill. As long as the "killing shot" is aimed at the head, the Headcrab should die.
  • It may be desirable to enter a firefight with the SPAS-12 and, once the supply of shells has been exhausted, switch to a backup weapon instead of reloading.
  • A common tactic when using the SPAS-12 is to reload every one or two shots if possible to avoid the long reload time. However this is generally not recommended if multiple enemies are at close range.
  • Compared to its Half-Life counterpart, the Combine SPAS-12 has less ammo that can be carried and lower magazine, making it less useful in firefights. However it deals higher damage and higher firing rate than the HECU SPAS-12, thus it more effective to against most lone enemies. Also, a box of shotgun shells restores 20 shells instead of 12 and is far more common to find, making it more worthwhile to use.
  • The SPAS-12 is the most effective weapon against Antlions, even at some distance, due to their size being larger than most other enemies.

Behind the scenes

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Shotgun-wielding Gordon Freeman given on Valve's Facebook page for GameSpot's All Time Greatest Video Game Hero.

  • The SPAS-12 in the leaked Half-Life 2 Beta has a completely different model and completely different firing sounds. The sounds can still be found in retail sound files. The model appears in the E3 2004 trailer and in the retail game files as a "DirectX 7" model, although its textures are missing.


  • In Episode One, the firing animation for the female NPCs is changed. They fire their shotgun from the hip, increasing the rate of fire; while the male NPCs will fire in the same way as in Half-Life 2. The reload animation is also changed, NPCs pump the shotgun in the air after putting in a shell, although they cannot do this while moving. In Half-Life 2, the Resistance NPCs will fire their shotgun from the shoulder with a much slower pumping rate; thus, they are incapable of defending themselves while attacked by enemies that use automatic weapons at close range, since the Resistance NPCs will have to aim first before firing, during this process, if they are attacked, they are unable to shoot the shotgun and will have to re-aim again. Unless when firing on move. This is removed in Episode One and Episode Two as female NPCs can fire their shotgun instantly without aiming. Furthermore, this firing animation is also applied in updated Half-Life 2 although the female NPCs will still re-aim when attacked.
    • Before an update, Alyx and Barney were the only NPCs unable to fire the SPAS-12 while moving; they could only fire when stationary. And as result, they would often be overwhelmed by enemies easily. After the update, Alyx is able to use the SPAS-12 effectively. However Barney remains unable to fire while moving.
  • NPCs appear to use the SPAS-12 semi-automatically when moving, as there is no pumping sound between shots, and the rate of fire seems to be slightly higher than the player's shotgun. Also, a Combine soldier only fires five shells before they reload.
    • NPCs only use the pump-action mode for the SPAS-12 when they are standing still. Additionally, their firing rate is slower than the player's when used this way. Except female NPCs who can still fire little faster than the player's SPAS-12.
    • Although the real SPAS-12 can switch between pump-action and semi-automatic modes, the player can only use the pump-action, while the NPCs can use both semi-automatic and pump-action. It is impossible to switch modes in-game.
    • In Episode One, Rebel NPCs are given a pumping sound.
  • Due to its short range, NPCs using the SPAS-12 can be rather aggressive as they will always charge towards their targets, regardless of how dangerous the situation is. Furthermore, when charging, they will always have an advantage against NPCs armed with better ranged but weaker weapons, especially if they fire the shotgun in semi-automatic mode. Therefore, Combine Soldiers are usually overpowered at close range and may even be able to kill high health targets, like Alyx, in just a few shots. Vice versa, Rebel NPCs armed with this weapon can often often go rogue and disobey to follow the player occasionally as well.
    • If the Rebels are unable to get close to their enemies, they will usually take a few seconds before shooting. Combine Soldiers however, will either hide behind a wall and ignore the target or simply crouch without shooting.
  • Even though many Overwatch Soldiers and some rebels use the SPAS-12, Freeman is the only one who fires the shotgun with the alternative firing mode.
  • The Nova Prospekt Prison Guards seem to use the SPAS-12 more frequently than normal Overwatch Soldiers, perhaps due to the shorter combat ranges and therefore enhanced shotgun effectiveness.
  • As with the original SPAS-12, artwork for the shotgun often depicts Gordon Freeman with it, making it the only weapon besides the crowbar he is depicted with in concept art.
  • It is possible to alter the number of pellets in the shell used by SPAS-12, via the console command "sk_plr_num_shotgun_pellets #"
    • By default, each shell contains 7 pellets.
  • In real life, the SPAS-12 cannot fire two shots simultaneously, as it only has one barrel.
  • While the NPCs reload the SPAS-12 all at once, the player must reload one shell at a time.
    • Like in the original Half-Life, Gordon erroneously inserts the shells through the heat shield instead of the loading port.
  • In Episode One, when Alyx takes a SPAS-12, she will take the furthest shotgun (from right to left) in the rack, and this SPAS-12 will always be unobtainable for the player, given that it is, essentially, just a prop to be used by NPCs.
  • When Gordon doesn't fully empty the shotgun, he doesn't pump the shotgun because a round is already chambered.




List of appearances

The Half-Life Wiki has more images related to Combine SPAS-12.

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