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Summary

The Plasma Pistol, like the Plasma Turret or the Plasma Rifle, is a directed energy weapon that fires bolts of superheated ionized gas (better known as plasma) instead of traditional Human ballistic ammunition. This Covenant weapon is capable of quickly firing low-powered shots, just as fast as a plasma rifle if the user is skilled, or charging a single high-powered blast which can instantly deplete any form of energy shielding, and in Halo 3, it can disable vehicles for a short time. This high-powered shot makes the Plasma Pistol a formidable strategic weapon if used in conjunction with other infantry weapons. The Plasma Pistol is a standard-issue weapon for lower-ranking Covenant such as Grunts and Jackals, but is occasionally used by higher-ranking Covenant such as Elites or Brutes (usually dual-wielded), according to manuals, novels, etc. It is one of the three weapons found in every level.

Advantages

The Plasma Pistol is one of the most versatile weapons in the Halo universe. Its ability to instantly and completely deplete and cripple shielding regardless of strength make it a very valuable weapon in multiplayer and even more so in campaign against many shielded enemies with armor, especially Elites, Jackals and Brute's with the new found Power Armor. Also, it's ability to render vehicles motionless is a highly effective use of the Plasma Pistol in Halo 3. It is also highly effective against Sentinels, taking only a single overcharged shot to destroy a standard Sentinel, or two charged-shots to destroy a Sentinel Major, one to deplete its shields and another to destroy it. A useful combo for taking out Elites is a Plasma Pistol and a rapid-firing weapon. An overcharged shot would disable their shields then using the rapid fire weapon it would be much easier to kill once the shields are gone. In addition to its standard offensive capabilities, there are also various elements peculiar to each game that enhance its effectiveness. In Halo: Combat Evolved, it has the ability to briefly stun opponents via its standard firing mode. Also, the overcharged shots cause heavy damage to unshielded opponents in multiplayer as well as unshielded Covenant forces (except Hunters and other forces on legendary. A Grunt on legendary will still be alive if you shoot him with an overcharged plasma pistol). In Halo 2 the overcharged shot's tracking is reduced from Halo: Combat Evolved. In Halo 3, while the overcharged shots have reduced tracking from Halo 2, they can now temporarily disable any vehicle, rendering them immobile for a few seconds, similar to the Power Drain, though the vehicles weaponry is still active. In Halo 3 an overcharged plasma bolt will destroy  Brute's Power Armor, making them vulnerable to weaponry fire.

The Plasma Pistol is most effective when used in conjunction with other weapons, particularly those capable of headshots, i.e. the Battle Rifle, Covenant Carbine, or any M6 series handgun. The weapon can be used in a shot/ melee combo—first, it should be used in a somewhat close range: enough to get in a melee attack after being shot with the Pistol, the Pistol will lower the shields, leaving the target vulnerable to any type of attack, but to finish, quickly follow up with a quick melee. It's a quick way to kill any target, but it is also pretty risky if you are up against a much more powerful weapon. Note that this weapon alone doesn't cause much damage so have a backup weapon ready. Once the player has disabled their enemy's shields with the Plasma Pistol's overcharged shot, a single headshot from any of those weapons will result in a kill. In Halo 2, the colloquial term "Noob Combo" has been applied to the Plasma Pistol/ Battle Rifle or Plasma Pistol/Covenant Carbine combination due to the extreme tracking abilities of the Plasma Pistol's charged shot as well as the relative ease of achieving headshots with the Battle Rifle/Covenant Carbine. The "noob combo" is controversial amongst players. Some regard it as cheap while others laud it for its effectiveness. In Halo 2 and Halo 3, the Plasma Pistol is dual-wieldable, allowing the player to use its shield-breaking abilities in concert with another weapon, such as an SMG or Pistol. In any Halo game, it is possible to use the Plasma Pistol in conjunction with melee for Close Quarters Combat (CQC, a.k.a. Close Quarters Battle, or CQB). The way you do this is charge up an overcharge shot, and then release it at close range just before using a melee attack. In Halo 1 and 2 (in auto-update 1.1) it should only take one or two melee attacks to kill, and you can melee right after firing. In Halo 3 it is much more effective, as a melee attack after the shields are gone will guarantee a kill. Waiting in halls or buildings which force your enemy into CQB is an effective strategy. It is also effective for a multiplayer game of Juggernaut, as one fully charged shot can deplete the Juggernaut's shield, effectively making the Juggernaut more vulnerable to basic firepower.

In addition, the Plasma pistol now has the feature to "freeze" vehicles, making the vehicles more vulnerable. That time could be used to avoid being run over, or to finish a fleeing one off. However, it is necessary to remember the weapon's tracking capabilities have been reduced in both Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2's Multiplayer mode, ensuring that other weapons or the standard usage of the pistol may be superior in some extreme situations.

The Plasma Pistol can be used to great affect from the back of a Mongoose, using it paired with any weapon, but especially the Noob Combo can cause havoc on the battlefield. If used properly, this technique can help you lower the shields of many enemies, and quickly, to aid your teammates in mowing them down.

Disadvantages

The Plasma Pistol will overheat when fired non-stop for extended periods of time, or if the overcharged shot is released, which render the weapon completely useless for several seconds. Also, the weapon, while accurate at shorter ranges, has somewhat of a limited long-range accuracy due to the relatively low velocity of its shots (as compared to most other weapons). It is also a very weak weapon when shot normally, taking several shots to wear out a target's shielding and doing almost no damage to an unshielded enemy. The weapon's battery cannot be recharged, and thus it must be discarded when the battery is fully depleted. In Halo 2, the overcharged shot is only capable of depleting energy shields and will not kill any enemy, except Sentinels. The Halo 2 Plasma Pistol's regular shots are also noticeably weak and ineffective. It is noted, though, that on higher difficulties heavy plasma pistol fire will quickly deplete your shields. In Halo 3, holding down the trigger to maintain an overcharged shot will deplete the battery gradually. Another disadvantage to this weapon is its now-reduced ability to follow the opponent. This is very rarely a weapon of choice, for most players, unless they wish to use the Noob Combo, which is a combination of the plasma pistol with another weapon that can do high physical damage to quickly kill the enemy. Although the plasma pistol cripples any vehicles rendering them unmovable for a time they can still fire any weapons they have i.e.; a Wraith can still fire its plasma mortar.

Description and Appearance

The Plasma Pistol is capable of quickly firing low-powered shots, or of firing a single high-powered blast which tracks its target to some degree depending on the game. This blast is capable of immediately dissipating Spartan shields, Elite shields, Jackal Point Defense Gauntlets and immediately destroys the Brute's battle armor. The amount of battery power it consumes when fired depends on the firing mode used and it varies from game to game. In Halo: Combat Evolved, its standard fire depletes 1% of its battery for every three shots, while one overcharge shot will deplete 11% of its battery. In Halo 2, it averages 5 standard shots for every 2% of its battery, while charged shots deplete 15% of the battery. In Halo 3, the battery continually depletes if the trigger is held down for an overcharged shot, and uses 10% upon firing. The core power output is, like the Plasma Rifle, 100-150 Kv @ 2-3 dA, but, when overcharged, the power output is 1.5 Mv @ 2-3 dA.

 

The offensive capabilities of the weapon have varied somewhat from game to game. For example, in Halo: Combat Evolved, the standard shots were, like the Plasma Rifle capable of briefly stunning an enemy. This ability is absent in Halo 2 and Halo 3, except the Brute Plasma Rifle had this effect. Also, the standard shots are much weaker in Halo 2 and Halo 3 than in Halo: Combat Evolved. The tracking abilities of the overcharged shots have varied as well. While they have a slight homing ability in Halo 2 and Halo 3, they are more difficult to dodge in Halo 1.

Internal Mechanism

How the Plasma Pistol's firing mechanism functions is unknown, but it has been suggested that an electrical current from the battery is passed between the 'prongs', ionizing the surrounding gas into a Plasma bolt and this is then propelled forwards by an electromagnet. This is what causes the weapon to overheat - if the weapon used stored plasma it would super-cool, not heat. However, this is hypothesized and it is still not known exactly how the weapon functions.

 

In each of the Halo games, if your character remains idle for a moment while holding a Plasma Pistol, your character will open it and you will be able to see the internal mechanisms of the pistol.

Melee

The Plasma Pistol is extremely delicate and cannot withstand hard impacts as the Plasma Rifle can, so, instead of using the weapon to knock the enemy out, the player delivers a strong punch.

The melee action has changed through the games. In the first Halo game, the Master Chief used his right arm to punch the enemy. To do this, the Chief would hold the Plasma Pistol in his left hand (which was in a supportive position underneath the weapon) and do a quick swing with his right arm. Ironically, the third person model still punched with his left hand. It was the fastest melee in Halo: Combat Evolved, and comparably the strongest.

In Halo 2, this was changed, and the player punched with the left (free) hand, while keeping a hold on the trigger with his right. Also, the punch switches between a swing and a direct punch.

Changes from Halo: Combat Evolved to Halo 2

Melee changed (see above).

  • Overload shot trail was removed.
  • Cannot fire a standard shot as fast as the Halo: CE counterpart.
  • Overload is slower but tracks much better.
  • Overloads do not kick up as much dirt, dust, and debris as the Halo: CE counterpart.
  • Overloads do no damage to unshielded targets.
  • It is able to be dual-wielded as with many other weaponry.
  • It is noticeably weaker and almost useless (except an overload).
  • It is much weaker in Halo 2, while in Halo: Combat Evolved it was a great use in battles.
  • An overload shot cannot kill an enemy no more it will just lower an enemies shield.

Changes from Halo 2 to Halo 3

Maintaining an overload decreases battery.

  • Gun takes slightly longer to cool down after overheating.
  • If an overload collides with a vehicle, it is temporarily disabled and has the same effect of the Power Drain .
  • Overload is faster.
  • It only "homes" in small-range strife's, rarely does it seek out enemies like its counterpart in Halo 2.
  • Green electricity is present between the "prongs" of the plasma pistol.
  • Energy Pulses released from overcharging do not track as well"

Influences

The Plasma Pistol was inspired by the human "Zeus-class fusion pistol" from the Marathon series. Like the fusion pistol, the Plasma Pistol is a reasonably damaging single-shot weapon with an overcharge mode. However, the fusion pistol's overcharge was far more damaging and could kill nearly any enemy in the game, with one caveat: if the gun was left overcharged for too long, it would explode, killing its wielder.

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