This article is about the Half-Life 2 weapon. For the cut weapon, see Sniper Rifle (cut weapon).
The Overwatch Sniper Rifle has a slow firing rate, about once every four seconds, but incredible stopping power. A single round can kill virtually anything, including soldiers, headcrabs, zombies, or other enemies. Gordon Freeman's HEV Suit allows him to survive several hits, but he is still significantly hurt by the weapon.
When active, a blue laser is emitted from the weapon to aid in targeting enemies. However, this sight also gives away the shooter's position, and makes dodging the bullets fired from it easier for those with quick reflexes. The weapon apparently requires a power source, as the player can find an inactive one during the trip to White Forest. This one is also mounted on a wall, which may explain why, when snipers are killed, the rifle is not ejected with them.
Although originally planned to be accessible to the player, this feature was cut during Half-Life 2's development, and in the final game the player never acquires the Overwatch Sniper Rifle; however, Alyx Vance uses it briefly in both Episode One and Episode Two.
The weapon is used by Overwatch Snipers in both Half-Life 2 and its following episodes. They are often positioned in wide open areas, blocking off access to sensitive areas or serving to eliminate Gordon's allies. Disabling often requires moving from cover to cover in order to get close enough to throw a grenade or a friendly rollermine.
In Half-Life 2: Episode One, Alyx takes control of a sniper rifle after Gordon has killed the sniper originally manning it. She uses it to provide cover from Antlions and Combine soldiers.
During the third chapter of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Freeman Pontifex, Freeman encounters a mounted sniper rifle firsthand at an abandoned Resistance base. It is mounted to the wall and its power source has been drained. Freeman's Vortigaunt uses his abilities to charge the gun, which is then used by Alyx to provide cover for Gordon as he navigates the zombie-infested base to recover the Muscle Car.
- In Episode One and Episode Two, throwing or shooting an explosive into the sniper's nest while Alyx is using it causes a Combine soldier to tumble out.
- When the player first encounters the viewable sniper rifle, the barrel is clearly sticking out of the hole in the fencing. When Alyx actually starts shooting, the barrel is no longer visible, as with the rest of Combine snipers.
- The Sniper Rifle was going to be an accessible weapon in Half-Life 2, but it was removed for game balance. It is present in many modifications and it is also present in the 2003 leaked Half-Life 2 Beta.
- The rifle's design appears to be based on the South African NTW-20 sniper rifle. It could also be based on the Keppeler & Fritz KS II Prescision, or a combination of the two.
- In Episode Two, the rifle is jointed on angled surface with no vertical joint, forcing it to point upwards, but Alyx can still aim vertically with it.
- In the retail Half-Life 2, the rifle was louder and could be heard being cocked after each shot; this is most likely because the Combine Snipers wielded cut bolt-action Sniper Rifles. However, in Episode One and Episode Two the rifle appears to be suppressed and makes a 'wind up' sound after each shot. After the May 2010 Half-Life 2 update, this was retconned, giving Half-Life 2 snipers the same pulse gun.
- The sniper rifle fires physical shots which can be observed and dodged, especially at greater distances. However, the shot moves so quickly that it becomes nearly impossible to dodge it up close.
- In Episode One and Episode Two, Alyx will fire at friendly NPCs while using a sniper rifle if they are spawned through the developer console. This will never actually happen in the normal game, so it is presumably an oversight in the sniper's NPC relationship recognition.
- Sniper rifles are the only weapon Overwatch Elites cannot use but Soldiers can. Using spawn commands or mods show they can use both the Shotgun and the MP7.
- In Episode Two, if the player uses the "noclip" cheat and goes to the sniper's nest they can see that Alyx Vance is not really holding the rifle but standing and looking at it instead.
- The only ways to kill a Sniper is via explosives (grenades, MP7 grenades or RPG rockets), or with hacked Rollermines.