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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 can kill anything weaker than a Vortigaunt in one shot. While this may sound tempting, it is better to conserve Desert Eagle ammo for foes that require multiple Desert Eagle shots to take down, such as Shock Troopers and Pit Drones. All of the enemies that can be killed with one Desert Eagle shot can also be killed with one double shotgun blast, which has much more ammo scattered throughout the game than the Desert Eagle does.
    • Unlike the Colt Python, the Desert Eagle has more ammo scattered throughout the game, 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 Desert Eagle works best at medium-long range, so the laser sight should be activated at all times.
  • When close to an enemy, the laser sight should be turned off. Rapid firing does more damage at close range than taking timed shots with the secondary fire mode.
  • In Hard mode, it takes around two shots to take down enemies that used to take one bodyshot, 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 a Black Ops (the same amount of torso shots it takes to kill them), despite the two having identical health.


  • Unlike in other Half-Life games, the Desert Eagle is the first firearm obtained in Opposing Force, before the 9mm pistol.
  • Despite being chambered in .357, it ejects 9mm shells.
  • In older versions of Opposing Force, the Desert Eagle's laser sight can be used to redirect a rocket fired with the RPG, and vice versa.
  • It can clearly be seen that the Desert Eagle viewmodel has no iron sights. This may be because it uses a laser dot to aim, however it would be highly impractical for a laser sight to be the only way to aim a firearm. Interestingly, the worldmodel for the Desert Eagle has visible iron sights, which is odd considering the fact that worldmodels are generally less detailed than viewmodels.
  • It should also be noted that, in the real world, the .357 Magnum version of the Desert Eagle has a 9-round magazine, as opposed to 7-rounds as depicted in the game (the .50AE version, however, does have a 7-round magazine).
  • In the Doom mod Massmouth, the Desert Eagle acts as a weapon, replacing the shotgun, delivering a high powered shot. Its sprites are simply 2D renders of the Half-Life: Opposing Force Desert Eagle, with the fingers re-shaped and re-colored green.
  • If the Desert Eagle is shot underwater, it suffers from a glitch and cannot be fired anymore. The only known way to fix this glitch is to reload an old save.
  • If players happen to obtain the Colt Python via console commands in Half-Life: Opposing Force, it is worth noting that both the Desert Eagle and the Python share the same ammo pool of 36 rounds.


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