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The Desert Eagle is a weapon featured in Half-Life: Opposing Force and the first firearm acquired in the game. It is the standard sidearm for HECU soldiers and some Black Mesa security guards.


An example of the laser sight on a Shock Trooper.

The Desert Eagle is a powerful sidearm that holds seven rounds of .357 ammunition. While somewhat similar to the Colt Python revolver at first glance, there is a major difference between them; the Desert Eagle has two firing modes. The first one, automatic, is the primary firing mode. It fires much faster than the .357, but is very inaccurate. The second mode is activated by hitting the alternate fire key. This activates a laser that makes the weapon as accurate as the .357, but decreases the rate of fire, although it stays faster than the .357's. However, it deals sightly less damage compared to the Colt Python so the player may need a second shot to kill enemies with decent amount of health such as Bullsquids and Barnacles, whereas the Colt Python can kill them with one shot.

This weapon is first obtained in the middle of the chapter Welcome to Black Mesa, where a Black Mesa security guard dies by electricity shock when trying to open the generator gate near the crashed V-22 Osprey. If not obtained there, it can be acquired by killing HECU Engineers who will drop them. It is also possible to acquire it even earlier in the chapter, where the first security guard is encountered in the infirmary. Although Shephard has no weapons at this point, it is possible to hold the security door open (that the security guard opens once the PCV is acquired), by placing a (nearby) movable chair right up next to one of the doors. If done correctly, one can run around the corner to pick up the pipe wrench (where the security door would normally close to prevent back-tracking), go back and kill the security guard and take his weapon.


  • The Desert Eagle has enough power to kill anything weaker than Vortigaunt in one shot. While this may sound tempting, it is better to conserve its ammo for foes that require multiple shots to take down, such as Shock Troopers and Pit Drones.
    • Unlike the Colt Python, ammunition is more abundant in Opposing Force than in Half-Life, so it can be used more often. However, it deals sightly less damage and therefore, may need to be shot more to kill stronger enemies. A headshot will deal triple damage and can usually avoid this issue.
    • The shotgun's secondary fire could be used to conserve ammo in place of the Desert Eagle. At close range it acts similar to the Desert Eagle, and its ammo is extremely common throughout the game.
  • The Desert Eagle works best at medium-long range, so the laser sight should be activated at all times.
  • If the player is close to their target, the laser should be deactivated as the inaccuracy would have much less of an impact.
  • In Hard mode, it takes around two shots to take down enemies that would have took only one bodyshot in lower difficulties, so headshots are essential for killing the enemy instantly and conserving ammo.
  • This weapon is extremely effective against Black Ops. It usually takes about two aimed shots to defeat one Black Ops soldier in Normal mode, and the Desert Eagle can engage them at long range, a range in which Black Ops' weapons are less effective.
  • Unlike the Colt Python, which kills HECU Marines in one headshot, the Desert Eagle requires two headshots to kill Black Ops units (the same amount of torso shots it takes to kill them), this is due to lack of head hitbox.


  • Later on, the Desert Eagle would become one of the many pistols in the Counter-Strike series. Like in Opposing Force, it is capable of killing a human-sized enemy and other players with a single headshot even with a helmet equipped.
  • Unlike in other Half-Life games where the Glock 17 Pistol is obtained first, the Desert Eagle is found earlier than the former, as it can be obtained in the second chapter while the Glock 17 appears in the fourth chapter, Missing in Action.
  • Despite being chambered in .357, it ejects 9mm shells. This likely stems from reused animations.
  • In older versions of Opposing Force, the Desert Eagle & the RPG's laser sights can be used to redirect enemy projectiles from the two aforementioned weapons.
  • Ironically, the weapon's viewodel lacks iron sights, which is present on the worldmodel, despite the latter usually carrying less detail than the former.
    • In reality, aiming a weapon solely with the assistance of laser sights would be highly impractical.
  • The magazine size is inaccurate as the real .357 Magnum version of the Desert Eagle holds 9 rounds instead of 7. It may be referring to the .50 Action Express version, which does have a 7-round magazine, but such types of ammunition do not appear in-game.
  • In the Doom mod Massmouth, the Desert Eagle appears as one of the usable weapons. Its sprites are simply 2D renders of its Half-Life: Opposing Force counterpart, with the fingers re-shaped and re-colored green.
  • If the Desert Eagle is shot underwater once it becomes unusable for the rest of the game. The only known way to fix this glitch is to reload an earlier save.
  • The Desert Eagle shares its ammo with Colt Python, which becomes evident if the latter is obtained via console commands in Half-Life: Opposing Force.
  • Its usage by the HECU and the Black Mesa Security Team are ironic, as the real Desert Eagle is also known for its poor general performance in practical combat due to a variety of factors.
  • As seen in an early trailer at around 0:12 and 0:20, the Desert Eagle's firing sound was taken from the Dirty Harry Movies.


List of appearances

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