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Weapons

Traditionally, the weapons in Left 4 Dead games are divided into two tiers. Tier 1 are the basic guns that are regularly found in the first few stages of each level, while Tier 2 weapons are considerably rarer and only tend to appear towards the end of a level.

Note: Shotgun damage per round refers to the entire spread of the shot hitting the target. For every pellet that misses, damage is reduced, hence the reason for mentioning 'wide' and 'narrow' spreads (a wide spread deals less damage but to more Infected).

Note: Total ammunition refers to the total in each weapon's magazine, added to the total amount a player can carry.

P220 Pistol

The standard pistol in Left 4 Dead 2 is a great addition to people with a cumbersome primary weapon, such as the Grenade Launcher, sniper rifles or shotguns. It can also be dual-wielded (doubling each of the statistics below, except damage per bullet, obviously). This is also the weapon that the Survivors pull out when downed by the Infected – even when a player is only carrying melee weapons.

Magazine capacity: 15 bullets
Total ammunition: Infinite
Damage per bullet: 36
Rate of fire: 300 shots/minute

TIP: Pistols should be picked up if the user's primary weapon cannot function effectively at mid or close range (unless your team is very good at covering while you deal with distant targets).


Magnum

The Magnum has massive damage compared to the P220, but barely half of the magazine capacity and a slow rate of fire. When you also bear in mind that you can dual wield the P220 (though you obviously have to find the second pistol), its benefits are hard to see. It has high recoil, making firing at Special Infected a chore (though it is accurate when crouched), but it kills Common Infected in one and can take out a line of enemies with just a single bullet. The main perk to carrying a Magnum is that it replaces the P220 when incapacitated where its high damage is invaluable.

Magazine capacity: 8 bullets
Total ammunition: Infinite
Damage per bullet: 80
Rate of fire: 198 shots/minute

TIP: Magnums are good alternatives to shotguns and should be used by players wanting a high-damage, one-hit kill Common Infected-slaying weapon.

Tier 1

Sub-Machine Gun

A pretty standard Uzi style gun that also appeared in the original Left 4 Dead. Its high rate of fire makes burning through ammunition a problem, but it is great at dealing with a horde.

Magazine capacity: 50 bullets
Total ammunition: 700 bullets
Damage per bullet: 20
Rate of fire: 960 shots/minute

TIP: The SMG is best for dealing with fast moving enemies or a horde. It comes unstuck against Special Infected, however.

Silenced Sub-Machine Gun

The big advantage of this gun is obvious: other Infected may not notice your presence quite so readily as if you were toting a shotgun, for example. It also does more damage than the regular SMG, but has a higher recoil making aiming at distance difficult.

Magazine capacity: 50 bullets
Total ammunition: 700 bullets
Damage per bullet: 25
Rate of fire: 960 shots/minute


Pump Shotgun

Shotguns are great against the Infected as you can take out a clump with just one shot. Their big disadvantage in Tier 1 comes with a slow rate of fire, with the Pump Shotgun the worst of a bad bunch. It does, however, dish out slightly higher damage than the Chrome Shotgun, but is less accurate. All these weapons must also be reloaded regularly – not great when a horde or Tank is approaching.

Magazine capacity: 8 rounds
Total ammunition: 64 rounds
Damage per bullet: 250
Rate of fire: 69/minute

Chrome Shotgun

The most accurate Tier 1 shotgun, this is good for killing Witches in one shot (see Survivor tactics below) as well as when the Infected are lining up to be despatched. It does higher damage in a concentrated area, but less in a wide location, as each part of the spread deals higher damage than the Pump Shotgun, but there are fewer pellets in each shot.

Magazine capacity: 8 rounds
Total ammunition: 64 rounds
Damage per bullet: 248
Rate of fire: 120/minute

TIP: For the easier sections at the start of the game the Chrome Shotgun is a good choice to get simple and numerous kills, while its accuracy keeps friendly fire down.

Tier 2

Combat Rifle

This is a very satisfying weapon that fires in bursts of three shots, keeping accuracy high and reducing ammo waste. The main downside is its reload time, a whopping 3-seconds (the most of any assault rifle in the game)

Magazine capacity: 60 bullets
Total ammunition: 420 bullets
Damage per bullet: 44
Rate of fire: 540/minute

TIP: The Combat Rifle is best at picking off distant enemies and Special Infected, but also being able to function in close quarters. It's a great multi-purpose weapon.

AK-47

Popular favourite, the AK-47 is a fully automatic assault-rifle. It is very powerful, but as a drawback is slow firing, inaccurate and must be reloaded more regularly than the others.

Magazine capacity: 40 bullets
Total ammunition: 400 bullets
Damage per bullet: 58
Rate of fire: 461/minute

TIP: AK-47s are great against Tanks due to their high damage and good range.

M-16 Assault Rifle

The M-16 may do the least damage of the assault rifles, but its mammoth rate of fire means you can down the Infected even quicker. The obvious drawback of this is that it wastes a lot of ammunition, but it can be a lifesaver in a horde. It is also relatively accurate, so suits most situations.

Magazine capacity: 50 bullets
Total ammunition: 410 bullets
Damage per bullet: 33
Rate of fire: 684/minute

TIP: The M-16's high rate of fire makes it a good choice against a Tank, where you want to down it as fast as possible.

Combat Shotgun

The automatic shotguns are some of the most lethal weapons in Left 4 Dead 2. The Combat Shotgun is more accurate than its counterpart the Tactical Shotgun and is akin to the Chrome Shotgun vs. the Pump Shotgun.

Magazine capacity: 10 rounds
Total ammunition: 100 rounds
Damage per bullet: 252
Rate of fire: 200/minute

TIP: This is not too bad at medium range, but cannot pick off distant Special Infected.
TIP: The Combat Shotgun is a great weapon for one-hit killing Witches.
TIP: The Combat Shotgun is arguably the best weapon for dealing with Tanks, perhaps second only to the M-16.


Tactical Shotgun

In a team of four humans the Tactical Shotgun is best as the ultimate close-quarters weapon due to its wide spread and heavy damage. It struggles at mid-range, but nonetheless is great against the horde.

Magazine capacity: 10 rounds
Total ammunition: 100 rounds
Damage per bullet: 288
Rate of fire: 200/minute

TIP: The Tactical Shotgun is also good for killing Witches in one shot
TIP: Shotguns can be fired before all the rounds have been reloaded, in case you get into difficulty while reloading.
TIP: Use Incendiary Ammo with these shotguns to set an Infected alight with every pellet – all the better when there is a wide spread such as on this particular shotgun.

Sniper Rifle

Large capacity magazines and a large ammunition reserve make this a good choice in addition to a pistol or melee weapon. It only functions effectively at close range, but can take out many Common Infected in a row with just a single shot. The main benefit of the rifles in Left 4 Dead 2 is their functionality against Special Infected, whereas many of the game's weapons fail to deal with them effectively.

Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Total ammunition: 210 rounds
Damage per bullet: 90
Rate of fire: 240/minute

TIP: Use a melee weapon to ensure you are covered against close-quarters enemies, or better still a pistol for close and medium-range targets.

Hunting Rifle

This is more accurate than the Sniper Rifle, but has just half the capacity in each magazine. It can fire through obstacles, making it great inside buildings when Special Infected are lurking around the corner. It is only truly effective outside at long range, however. It does possess the same ability as the Sniper Rifle, killing Common Infected in one shot, and the bullet continues travelling until it hits an impassable object or Special Infected (allowing for many kills in a straight line with one bullet).

Magazine capacity: 15 rounds
Total ammunition: 165 rounds
Damage per bullet: 90
Rate of fire: 240/minute

TIP: Both the sniper rifles' accuracy is greatly reduced while moving (unless scoped).

Grenade Launcher

The Grenade Launcher is not strictly a Tier 2 weapon as it spawns on its own, often in relatively hidden locations (i.e. in a room you wouldn't normally check) and very rarely. It does great impact damage (watch out for friendly fire though!) and the explosion will do the same to surrounding Infected. It also causes any Infected in the blast radius to stumble, except for the Tank. Despite its huge damage potential it takes a harmfully long amount of time to reload. It should also be noted that the only way to replenish ammunition for the Grenade Launcher is to find another one (an extreme rarity) or use Incendiary or Explosive ammunition to top it up – these also increase the blast radius of each shot. Ammunition stashes have no effect.

Magazine capacity: 1 round
Total ammunition: 31 rounds
Damage per bullet: 400
Rate of fire: 16/minute

TIP: The Grenade Launcher is best during horde attacks or when a clump of enemies (including Special Infected) are in the open.

TIP: Rather than saving the Grenade Launcher it is best to use it in a short space of time, allowing you to take advantage of its damage potential but quickly get back to a proper primary weapon. With that said, against a Tank it can cause 1,000 damage per hit (if direct), meaning just four shots would kill it on Normal difficulty, so it may be worth saving it in a good squad. The reload time may not be practical against attack, but just one shot will make things considerably easier for your team.



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