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Dual-wielding is a gameplay mechanic in Halo 2 and Halo 3 that allows a player to wield two weapons at a time. Dual-wielding does not exist in Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians except for the Magnum and the Flag or in Halo: Spartan Assault except for SMGs.
- Enhanced firepower: When a player is dual-wielding, the two weapons in conjunction are more powerful than a single weapon of the same type. This allows for enhanced firepower, with double the ammo capacity and firing rate.
- Greater versatility: Two weapons wielded in conjunction can perform multiple roles at the same time. For example, a player could wield an M6G Magnum in one hand, allowing him/her to shoot accurately over longer range, and a Mauler in the other for close range firepower.
- More effective combos: Likewise, dual-wielding a plasma weapon and a ballistic weapon can confer a unique advantage: Plasma weapons are stronger against shields, and ballistic weapons are stronger against armor as well as other unshielded targets. For example, a player may choose to dual-wield a Plasma Rifle and an SMG at the same time. The Plasma Rifle can take down the shields of an opponent and the SMG can shred through the opponent's armor, allowing for a very fast and efficient kill. At longer ranges, a charged Plasma Pistol shot followed by a quick Magnum headshot will also kill an opponent.
- Doubled ammo reserve: When you dual-wield certain weapons of the same type, such as two SMGs or two Needlers, the player character can carry double the amount of reserve ammunition for the weapons. This is a trick also exploited when triple-wielding.
- Constant firepower: While dual-wielding, it is possible to reload or cool-off one weapon and fire the second one at the same time. This allows for a constant barrage; it generally takes longer to empty a magazine than to reload one. The only disadvantage is when reloading your automatic or long-range weapon, you may be stuck with your alternate weapon in a life-threatening situation. Constant fire is helpful when you are in a place with enemies out in the open, or in point blank range where a rapid firing will result in a deadly strike.
- Inability to Melee Attack, Throw Grenades, or Use Equipment: When a player is dual-wielding, the player must drop the left weapon in order to free a hand to throw grenades, and deploy equipment. This action of dropping a weapon takes time and is disadvantageous. However, if you Melee while dual-wielding, the left weapon will automatically drop by itself and the Melee will come out straight away.
- Reload/Overheat Window: When a player must reload their weapons, or if the weapons overheat, the player is vulnerable because they can't melee attack or throw grenades without dropping their weapon. Reloading a weapon also takes longer time when dual-wielding than while single-wielding the same weapon; however, for Covenant weapons, the "cool down" time remains the same, as does the Needler's reload time.
- Accuracy Decrease: Most weapons are slightly more accurate when single-wielded than when dual-wielded, such as the Plasma Rifle and the SMG.
- Consumes Twice the Amount of Ammo: While the player can carry twice the amount of ammunition, the weapons also reload from the same pool, thus using up twice the amount of ammunition per reload.
- Decrease in damage: The damage the weapon deals while dual wielded is somewhat lower than when single wielded.
Changes in Halo 3
The primary difference between Halo 2 and Halo 3's dual wield is that the player can now fully control the reloading process. In Halo 2, the player was forced and strained to reload the two weapons simultaneously at the same directed time. In Halo 3, players could reload the left weapon first while keeping the right weapon ready, vice versa, or both at once, independent of each other. By doing this, multi-player gameplay is balanced.
Another difference between Halo 2 and Halo 3 dual wield is the alteration in the amount of damage dealt per weapon. In Halo 2, there is no change in the amount of shots needed to kill if you are single or Dual Wielding. In Halo 3, with the exception of the Plasma Pistol, when you dual wield each weapon becomes individually weaker by varying degrees. This becomes especially noticeable when overshields are in use.
List of Dual-Wieldable Weapons
Dual-wieldable weapons must be able to be used single-handed, and therefore are mostly those of closer range and less accuracy. Most long-range weapons, such as the BR55 Service Rifle, are two-handed. "Power" weapons such as the Spartan Laser and Sniper Rifle are also two-handed weapons. Power weapons are generally those that are non-standard.
- If the dual-wielded weapons are different, the game will simply combine the reticles.
- Halo 2 and Halo: Reach are the only games where enemies are seen Dual Wielding, and all those enemies are Elites and Brutes.
- Miranda Keyes is seen dual-wielding a Shotgun and a Magnum in the third to last cinematic on The Covenant in Halo 3.
- Even though the ability to dual-wield is removed in Halo: Reach, BOBs (most likely the ones in the final stages) will occasionally spawn dual-wielding Plasma Rifles. And is also viewed in the final cutscene as Noble Six dual-wields the Magnum and the Assault Rifle to hold off a couple of Elites before being incapacitated and killed seconds later.
- The Kig-Yar "dual-wield" their energy shield with the weapon they are carrying.