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"I just can't bring myself to use it on a living creature. You don't seem to have trouble killing things."
Black Mesa Scientist[src]

The Gluon Gun, or Quantum Destabilizer, is an experimental weapon which fires a glowing beam of energy capable of vaporizing mostly everything it hits.


The Gluon Gun was discovered by Gordon Freeman at the Black Mesa Research Facility's Lambda Complex, where it was developed. Unwilling to use it on living creatures, the designer of the gun deems Gordon less hesitant to kill and gives the gun to him.

The gun consists of a hand-held beam emitter attached by a thick cable to a backpack-mounted unit. The name Gluon Gun comes from namesake gluon particles. Gluons are particles that mediate the strong nuclear force that holds atomic nuclei together; whether the Gluon Gun actually fires streams of gluons or instead interferes with the gluons already present in an object is unclear, but in either case the weapon interferes with the fundamental interactions of matter. In the game, the stresses caused by this reaction can blast almost any living creature to pieces.


The Gluon Gun is useful against Xen Creatures that cannot be damaged with bullets (such as the Gargantua), as the beam fires continually, scoring multiple hits while striking through armor. It should not be used to attack less durable enemies like Headcrabs or Vortigaunts due to their relatively low health, as this is an inefficient use of its comparatively rare ammunition.


  • In multiplayer, the Gluon Gun is generally a poor weapon of choice. Latency issues cause the beam to lag; players may have to hold down the attack button for a time before the beam actually fires. Also, the gun has a tendency to lag behind players it is pursuing. However, this generally only applies to old versions of Half-Life, as the Steam version uses lag compensation.
  • The Gluon Gun can penetrate walls, ceilings, and floors. However, doing so can only lightly damage the suit power of the targeted player.
  • At long ranges it is more useful as the beam does not bend as sharply as it does at closer ranges, therefore improving its overall maneuverability.
  • Compared to single-player, the Gluon Gun drains ammo at a slower rate, and damage is also dealt to everything near the beam's target.

Behind the scenes

  • The Gluon Gun was originally to have two fire modes: a wide beam and a thin beam. These would be toggled between by turning the handle 90 degrees. While this feature was cut, the model still possesses the animations for moving the handle. This animation is now used for when the gun stops firing. There are also damage settings for both beams in the game configuration files.


  • Its name is derived from "gluon", which is the exchange particle of the strong force in physics. The strong force is responsible for particles made up of quarks (i.e. hadrons), e.g. the neutron and the proton, to form stable systems. It further is also responsible for the formation of atomic nuclei.
  • The weapon is sometimes called the "Egon gun," as many of the game files refer to it as such. It bears a strong similarity to the Proton Packs used by characters from the 1984 film Ghostbusters. One of the main characters is a scientist named Egon Spengler, hence the name used within the game files.
  • Pressing the secondary attack key causes the viewmodel to play an idle animation once, then freeze. Releasing the key will stop the animation and return to normal. However, in Half-Life: Opposing Force, pressing the secondary attack key will make the Gluon Gun attack exactly the same as its primary attack.
    • Pressing the reload key will also causes the viewmodel to play an idle animation. However, it's animation will only play 0.1 second half.
  • In Half-Life: Opposing Force and Half-Life: Blue Shift, the player can obtain the Gluon Gun by using cheats.
  • The design of the Gluon Gun has a slight resemblance to the design of a prototype ASHPD as seen on a poster in the old Aperture Science.


List of appearances


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