Weapon Reload Hack

16th May 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I wish I were more observant because I might have noticed this sooner.

Jasper emailed me to tell me that he was watching his partner, known as Scraps on PP, play Strider Mountain. She changed weapons from the AR2, which had 1 shot left, to another weapon. he suggested that she reload the AR2 because she will need it.

Much to his and my surprise, she said she didn’t need to because when she changed back it would be full reloaded.

Perhaps every player reading this will say “DUH! Of course, who doesn’t know this? But honestly, I have never noticed this before. Probably because I use a weapon until it’s empty and then move on to the next one. Stupid, I know but I am sooo lazy.

Now, what I would like to know is this: Does it only work when you have one shot left? If not, what is the limit? Is it true for all weapons? Which weapon is ready fastest? Would it be the crowbar?

The reason this is important is because it’s much faster to change weapon and then back again than it is to reload. Jasper tells me that you must wait until the new weapon is pointed before changing back otherwise the old weapon wouldn’t have reloaded.

I would love to hear some other “hacks” like this that would make my life easier.



  1. Luke L

    As far as I’m aware (I haven’t played in over a year) this will work for any gun with any remaining magazine size. It’s also one of the things that truly irritated me as it just seems so… stupid. Yes it makes it easier, but it ruins any sense of realism.

  2. CrowbarSka

    I had noticed this before but hadn’t really been aware of exactly what caused it. It’s kind of cheating but reload times are pretty short in HL2 anyway compared to, say, L4D.

  3. Grey Acumen

    I have NEVER noticed this. With ANY weapon or in ANY situation. I’m going to go back and check now.

    1. Grey Acumen

      Okay, one thing about this that I discovered is that using “last inv” button does not activate this strange hack/glitch, only using “next/prev inv” will activate this effect. I’ve never noticed it before because I generally only use Last to quickly switch between two weapons while I’m in the middle of any particular skirmish. I then use Next/Prev to choose which 2 weapons I’ll heave ready for the next skirmish.

      The other thing I’ve noticed is that this Hack/glitch is the most inconsistent thing I’ve ever seen. I tested it out by switching between the pistol and the SMG, and I found that sometimes all I had to do was switch and then switch back and the weapon would be reloaded automatically, sometimes I would first have to fire the weapon I switched to before switching back, and sometimes I would have to move around and shoot before switching back. There doesn’t seem to be any specific rhyme or reason to when a weapon will be automatically reloaded.

      1. Grey Acumen

        I was wrong, “Last Inv” will still activate this effect. I’m apparently just very impatient. You just have to wait a while before switching back to the weapon that is to be automatically reloaded. In all the time I’ve played Half Life 2 and the episodes, I don’t think I’ve ever gone that much time before switching back to a weapon that I’ve switched away from.

        I either have the time that I reload manually before switching, or I’m in the middle of a fight and generally don’t switch unless I run out of ammo with the first weapon, or it’s only going to be for a few shots and I’ll be switching back to it before it has a chance to reload on its own.

  4. k00pa

    As far as I know it works on any weapon with any clip size/usage.

    When I have example, empty revolver, I switch to shotgun/smg and back to revolver and it is full.

    I found this bug when I first played hl2 and I have use it all the time.

  5. Gradius

    Bug? It isn’t a bug. That said it’s pretty inconsistant.

    1. Dias

      Seeing as how unlikely it is that the developers intended for this to happen, made all the more apparent by how inconsistent, and illogical it is, it’s the very definition of a bug/glitch/exploit.

      1. Max

        if this DOESNT work in HL(1) this COULD be a “upgrade” dr.Kliner made seeing as he, when you get the suit in hl2, says it has been “upgraded for comfort and utility”,maybe?

        besides if you say this is “unlikely” I have a question to ask you:
        “how is it possible for him to have all these weapons around? its not like the damn suit is very big…”

  6. “Would it be the crowbar?” asked Phillip
    Yes it works for the Crowbar!
    There you are with just one smack on a Zombie left, switch to pistol and back again. Fully loaded Crowbar – marvellous.
    Er, hem.
    Nice one, Phillip!

    1. The reason I asked about the crowbar was because I thought it might shave a few milliseconds off the wait time.

      1. Ah. Got it. I’ll give it a whirl in all 3 retail HL2 games.

        1. Done.
          Very interesting. In all 3 retail games, method
          1. Fire Shotgun then to Crowbar to Shotgun
          2. Fire Shotgun then to Pistol to Shotgun.

          My timing method was counting = and one, and two, and three, and four.
          Not scientifically precise but good enough.
          This is about timing, it turns out, and changing to the Crowbar makes no difference at all.
          In all cases, you need to keep to the switched weapon for 2 seconds before switching back to the now reloaded weapon.

          Assuming my timing method is a reasonable estimation of seconds:
          The time to reload weapons using the keybinding is:
          Pistol 2 seconds
          Magnum 3 seconds
          SMG 1 second
          Pulse-Rifle 1 second
          This is regardless of how many shots are left in the weapons.
          Switching is only worth it for the Magnum and then just barely.

          While I was at it:
          Crossbow 1 second after a shot.
          Grenade 1 second + a fraction but less than 2 seconds.
          RPG 1 second after the fired RPG hits the target.

          The Shotgun is different. it depends on the shots left in it.
          3 shots left takes 2 seconds. From empty takes 4 seconds. So it’s only worth it for a shot or two left.

          I think I’ll stick with the keybinding. ‘locked and loaded” before I get into a fire fight.
          Worth doing though, exactly the sort of information that this combat game player needs to know.

  7. After coming around from my astonishment, I checked with all the weapons in HL2, EP1 and EP2.
    It works every time and without fail. You do need to wait for that split second while the new weapon is raised before going back to the previous weapon but it’s still quicker than the keybinding. With practice you can get this right everytime.

    Unless you imagine an invisible sidekick (G man?) reloading your stashed weapons, this is completely illogical.
    I’ll stick to the proper way.

    To my relief, I find that my best half (Scraps) never switches weapons for the sole purpose of a quick reload. She just noticed and knows that it happens and takes advantage as and when – which many of us have but not noticed, me included.

    The really amazing thing is that I’ve been playing HL2 for 6 years and was not aware that this happened.
    I’m not sure I like knowing.

  8. There are people in TF2 that do this when playing sniper, because its supposed to be faster than reloading.

    However seriously, if your are lazy I would suspect you are one of all the people that actually do exactly this NOT.

  9. jgoodroad

    There are people in CSS that do this when playing sniper, because its supposed to be faster than reloading

  10. Sushi

    I’ve noticed this, but I didn’t know it could be done on such a short timeframe. I figured it was just a convenience thing for the player: if you haven’t used a weapon for a few minutes, when you switch to it again it’s got a full clip instead of a half one. Saves me as a player from having to constantly cycle through my weapons and checking their status.

  11. Momar

    This isn’t a bug, but it’s specifically hard-coded into the game. I believe the shotgun is the only weapon that is exempt from this.

    I tried disabling the “magic reload” for my mod but I found that it became really annoying having to reload every weapon everytime you picked up fresh ammo so I restored it to default.

    1. well, you could make it so that it counts the bullets in the clip towards the max ammo capacity, much like L4D2.

      In l4d2 the smg, for example, has a 650 bullet reserve, and a 50 bullet magazine. but if you have 1 bullet in your magazine, and you grab new ammo, then your reserve will hold 699 bullets untill you reload.

  12. Ha, this messed me up pretty good when I was programming one of the reloading systems for my mod. Every 4 seconds one of my guns (The Defender) would play the animation for sticking its clip back into the gun, then the viewmodel of whatever weapon I actually had selected would become visible again.

    It turns out that all weapons based on the “basehlcombatweapon” will automatically reload after 3 seconds of being holstered. And there should be a console variable called “sk_auto_reload_time” which should let you set how long the gun has to be holstered before it auto-reloads.

    Here’s the code for anyone interested

    void CBaseHLCombatWeapon::ItemHolsterFrame( void )

    // Must be player held
    if ( GetOwner() && GetOwner()->IsPlayer() == false )

    // We can’t be active
    if ( GetOwner()->GetActiveWeapon() == this )

    // If it’s been longer than three seconds, reload
    if ( ( gpGlobals->curtime – m_flHolsterTime ) > sk_auto_reload_time.GetFloat() )
    // Just load the clip with no animations
    m_flHolsterTime = gpGlobals->curtime;


    1. Sortie

      Thanks. I never realized this and I kinda don’t want it to be that way. Perhaps there’s a reason that it is that way, but I’ll try to remove this from the next version of my mod. A nice #ifndef should do.

  13. john

    what a cool discovery. I will still fight till almost out of ammo, then duck for cover, reload and reemerge ready to dish out all that my enemy’s have to offer. unless its like really hard. hehe. then I will be forced to jump out with my crowbar and deal with them, and yes…await the space bar respawn, to live another day. just kidding
    funny how the game reloads for you, very cool.

  14. While looking through the code a while ago, I found that fast zombies will not lunge at you unless you’re facing them, if you turn your back to them they’ll run up to you, and just slash you. I think they added that so that when players were “fleeing” from a fast zombie, it would be more intense.

    1. it’d be better to just comment out the whole thing after “// Must be player held”

      seems silly to make sure that the weapon isn’t active, and to keep track of how long the weapon hasn’t been active, if the info isn’t being used.

  15. Pyro

    I’ve known about this for a while. It’s a nice feature, for sure. In HL1, there was nothing more irritating than finding you forgot to reload your RPG, and are one rocket short in that final boss fight.

  16. SPY

    to me this is also new, didn’t know this.
    although for some odd reason it also doesn’t realy surprice me, don’t know why actualy.
    that I didn’t notice this is is I think because I use for 95% of the time the SMG1 as only weapon of my choise.

    but, an interesting observation of Jaspers wive!!

  17. zonbie

    PHILLIP, here is a true “weapon hack” or glitch I discovered inside Strider Mountain.

    When you have both ammo and alt-fire orbs for the AR-2 weapon, do this:

    With your weapon fully loaded, right-click to fire an Orb. As soon as the reload animation begins to play, hold down left-click and point at a wall (or an enemy). The very second that the Orb reload animation finishes, 20 pulse rounds will fire from the AR-2 all at the same time. Think of it as a Pulse Shotgun with 20 pellets.

    You can kinda use it to your advantage in real firefights in Strider Mountain because you can shoot an Orb at one group of enemies, then “track” a distant enemy with the weapon and wait for the reloading to finish and BA-BOOM, at most 20 pulse shots will fire at him. The AR-2 is fairly accurate anyways so those 20 shots will totally decimate whatever it’s pointed at.

    The only problem with using this glitch is that it really chews up your small ammo supply. Somebody could make it more useful by typing “sk_max_ar2 9990” as a cheat code so you can carry huge amounts of AR-2 ammo.

    The whole thing makes me want to code up a Combine-owned Pulse Shotgun. Yea, I should really do that…or have I done it already? Dun-dun-dunnn 🙂


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