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Headshots: Misc



Up to date as of February 08, 2010
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From Halopedia, the Halo Wiki

(8 votes)
—Common Internet saying.[1]
A close-up of a headshot in Halo 3. The weapon used was a Sniper Rifle. The remains of the crippled shielding and blood from the exit wound are clearly visible.

A headshot is a shot fired at an enemy's head. Headshots, when fired from a headshot-capable weapon, will instantly kill an unshielded target. Due to the size of a target's head relative to the size of their body, however, headshots are relatively difficult to perform. They are typically performed with scoped weapons.



Headshots will instantly kill an unshielded opponent, but do not do any extra damage to shields. That is to say, a shielded opponent will take the same amount of damage no matter where they are shot.[2] Shooting a shielded opponent in the head does exactly the same amount of damage as shooting them in the foot.

The reason that Sniper Rifle and Beam Rifle headshots can instantly kill a shielded opponent is because Sniper and Beam Rifles do more than enough damage to drain an opponent's shields (in fact, in Halo CE, the Sniper Rifle does twice as much damage to the shields than in the head, likely so that it will penetrate. This is seen in the source code[or tags]); the "leftover" damage is inflicted on the newly-unshielded opponent's head, killing them. Indeed, any damage inflicted upon an unshielded head will kill the victim immediately, provided that the damage was inflicted by a headshot-capable weapon.

It should be noted that while any shot to the head could be (informally) called a "headshot", headshot-related awards (like medals) are only given if the headshot was a fatal shot. That is to say, a kill will only count as a headshot kill if the headshot was the killing shot.

  • For example, in Halo 3, 12 bullets from a Battle rifle do a total of 72 damage. A player has 70 shield points, so 11 2/3 bullets are used for the shield and the remaining 1/3 bullet does the fatal headshot.[3]
  • A sniper round does ~80 damage, 70 of which is used for the shield and 10 of which go for the body, which means a kill in the case of a headshot.


Scoring a headshot on a Spartan player model is relatively straightforward, as the head is clearly identifiable and almost always visible. Elites are somewhat more difficult to snipe; their heads are slightly larger, but their hunched postures lower their heads. The effect is that an Elite's head is sheltered by the Elite's own back. Despite this, however, a headshot from behind is possible, as a very small portion of an Elite's head is still visible. Furthermore, an Elite may be more easily headshot from the front, as their head is positioned closer to their center of mass.

Face painting is an effective technique when going for a headshot, as is the act of leading one's target. Watching the reticule on the HUD is also useful; in all Halo FPS games after Halo: Combat Evolved, a small red or white dot will appear at the center of the reticule when aiming at an enemy's head.

Headshot-capable weapons

Not all weapons in the Halo series are headshot-capable. It is entirely possible to shoot an opponent in the head with a headshot-incapable weapon, but the hit will not count as a headshot. This is most likely due to balancing reasons, so no automatic weapons are headshot-capable, since it will always take one headshot on an unshielded foe to kill it, no matter what the damage is (0 is an exception). Without balancing, headshots can be achieved without good aim.


  • It is actually possible to fire between the mandibles of an Elite and miss.[citation needed] This can happen but is rarely achieved.
  • In Halo 3's Campaign or Matchmaking, players can unlock the Headshot Honcho Achievement by getting ten headshots with a Sniper Rifle.
  • Sometimes, in Halo: Combat Evolved, performing a headshot on a Marine with the Sniper Rifle may prompt another Marine to say, "Nice shot!". Headshot betrayals still count as betrayals, however; attempting this too many times will cause the Marines to turn against you..
  • The Sniper Rifle has a slight delay when shooting, so when face painting, always press the trigger just before their head.
  • In Halo 3's Campaign, headshots earn more points.



  1. boom headshot (YouTube)
  2. YouTube: Halo 3: Shot Location Damage Experiment
  3. Bungie Weekly Update 02/08/08

This article uses material from the "Headshot" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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