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"Citizen Tech crossbow is constructed with tubular steel sections comprising the main body, obvious weld marks and mismatched hardware communicate the nature of this junkyard prototype. This crossbow utilizes an electric cocking mechanism."
Concept art

The Resistance Crossbow is a long-range sniper weapon featured in Half-Life 2 and Episodes. It is ruthlessly effective against distant, unsuspecting opponents, but is difficult to utilize in melee combat or against fast moving opponents due to its very slow reload and the low velocity of the projectile. The primary trigger fires a bolt; the secondary trigger zooms in on targets, the only weapon in the unedited Half-Life 2 with such a function.


This weapon is aesthetically different from the Black Mesa Crossbow seen in Half-Life in a number of ways. First, it is obviously jerry-built rather than manufactured, constructed as it is from various scavenged parts. Second, the bolts are not fletched, but rather pieces of red-hot steel rebar about 12 inches (30 centimeters) long. Third, the weapon does not have an ammo magazine. After firing, the tension wire pulls back to accommodate the next rebar, which the user places directly onto the weapon. Finally, the device is powered. What appears to be a small 12v Rayovac lantern battery is attached to the underside which apparently runs an electrical current through the bolt when it lies upon the firing mechanism. This has the effect of superheating the rebar. This can be noticed when placing the rebar on the crossbow, it will emit some sparks.

In Half-Life 2, the Crossbow is first discovered next to the rotten body of a Resistance fighter overlooking an Overwatch outpost in the level Highway 17, right before the Petroleum Station bridge. In Episode One, it is found on a shelf in the chapter Urban Flight. In Episode Two, the crossbow is found in the hands of a dead Rebel, right after the scene with the Barn Advisor. The crossbow's ammunition is fairly rare, the weapon itself even more so. Its jerry-built nature, coupled with the fact that the Combine never use it and its ammo is usually found upon the dead bodies of citizens or in supply caches; suggest very strongly the new Crossbow was invented and manufactured by the Resistance, as an answer to the Combine's sniper rifle. The addition of an electrical current to Half-Life 2's crossbow is presumably why the weapon is so deadly against organic opponents; the red hot bolts plow straight through organic material, and if the target is in front of a solid surface the bolt will literally nail the target to it.

Its rarity is most likely due to the difficulty of acquiring the materials needed for its construction, especially the scope which makes it so effective. It is unlikely that the Resistance would possess the skills and equipment to manufacture scopes themselves, so one would have to be salvaged from somewhere instead, possibly from a Combine sniper rifle or pre-Combine hunting and sniper rifles.


The crossbow is an exceptionally powerful weapon, capable of killing most organic targets instantly. However, like all weapons in Half-Life 2, it does have its disadvantages.

  • Once fired, the bolts don't have as much velocity as a bullet. Consequently, unlike the hitscan nature of most of the conventional weapons, the bolt is actually modeled as a high speed, physical projectile. They are affected by gravity over long distances and follow a slight downward arc as they travel. Users firing over long distances must account for this drop by aiming slightly above the target.
  • It's advised not to use it against anything other than human-sized enemies. Vehicles will have the rebar bounce off it; moreover, its use is the epitome of futility against more than one Antlion, and is suicidal against Striders. It can, however, be used to damage Hunters, and is particularly damaging when fired into their "eyes" - scoring three hits into the flechette launcher muzzle will kill the Hunter. Crossbow ammunition is scarce. Reserve crossbow bolts for high value targets such as Overwatch Soldiers, Overwatch Elites, Antlion Guards, Poison Zombies, and Hunters. Small, weak targets, such as Manhacks and Headcrabs should not be fired upon with the crossbow, because not only is it a waste of a bolt when a half dozen rounds of pistol ammunition or a good hit with the crowbar would do the same job, but also the bolt is far more likely to miss.
  • Like the original Gauss Gun, crossbow bolts can ricochet off most surfaces at sharp angles. This is too unreliable of a tactic to consistently accomplish such feats such as hitting enemies around corners (unless you are very skillful and well practiced); it can, however, still be useful. For example, firing just below a target coming down a hill can result in the bolt ricocheting off of the ground up into the target.
  • Hitting moving targets is mostly a case of prediction and timing proficiency. Aim both above and in front of the target to land the hit. As always, practice makes perfect (especially when practicing in Half-Life 2: Deathmatch).
  • The crossbow is one of only two ranged weapons capable of firing underwater. However, the bolt's course once it starts traveling through the water gets very unpredictable. Fortunately, the weapon's battery doesn't cause a shock if used underwater.
  • Zig-zag and move unpredictably if an opponent is using one in multiplayer.
  • In the Highway 17 Chapter, at the train bridge area, this is useful for sniping the Combine on the other platforms.
  • It is worth noting that the bolt will ricochet if it hits a floor or wall at a shallow angle. Knowing this, it is possible to preform "trick shots" to get targets that are behind an object or around a corner.
  • There is another multiplayer trick involving the crossbow and SLAM mines. When an explosive lying on the floor is hit, the bolt won't ricochet, but will continue to travel along the floor with its speed drastically reduced. The bolt essentially turns into a makeshift floor-sliding rocket-propelled grenade, deadly to anyone who stands in the way. A similar effect can be achieved using Grenades.
    • It also works if the bolt hits the ammo box or other weapons. However, if the bolt hits the ammo box, the bolt will stop then hit. If the ammo box is picked up by the player, the bolt will return as normal, continue travel at normal speed [1]. If fired to a weapon lying on the ground, the bolt will behave the same as above [2].

Behind the scenes

  • The crossbow's retail HUD icon show it with a magazine, which might suggest that the crossbow was originally supposed to be just like the Black Mesa Crossbow. It also features the same kind of stock as the Black Mesa crossbow. It is also possible that Gordon's HEV suit uses the Black Mesa HUD icon.
  • The trigger of the crossbow is missing in the viewmodel.
  • Originally, just like the Black Mesa Crossbow, the Resistance Crossbow was in the third slot of the weapon selection system.[1]
  • The Crossbow's zoom is slightly further than the HEV's zoom.

Related achievements

Hl2 pin soldier tobillboard Targetted Advertising (5G)
Pin a soldier to the billboard in the chapter Highway 17.


List of appearances


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