Short Circuit

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That wasn't even close.
The Engineer destroying projectiles

The Short Circuit is a community-created promotional secondary weapon for the Engineer. It is a futuristic electrical device consisting of two probes and rubber sealing, with two large, thick yellow cables extending from a black base piece, connected to a clamp bolted shut over one of the probes. Two orange and grey shell-like pieces extended out over the base and part of the rubber sealing, appearing to be parts of the Engineer's rubber glove. The weapon replaces the Engineer's right hand, but, unlike the Gunslinger, only appears on the player model if it is the current active weapon.

The Short Circuit does not require reloading and instead draws ammunition directly from the Engineer's metal supply. Primary fire unleashes a short-ranged burst of electrical energy at the same rate as the Pistol, which deals 10 damage to enemies at the expense of 5 metal. Despite its looks, the burst only deals damage at point blank and becomes harmless at range.

Secondary fire fires an orb of electricity that slowly travels forward and destroys all enemy projectiles (with the exception of syringes, and the Righteous Bison and Pomson 6000's projectiles) in its path. Each shot costs 65 metal and has a 0.5 second delay between each shot. Unlike most projectiles, the energy orb has limited range and can hit targets multiple times. Each hit deals 15 damage every 0.5 seconds, with an additional 15 damage being dealt if the ball impacts a surface. If the player has less than 65 metal, secondary fire does not work. Similar to many other projectiles, Pyros can reflect the energy orbs. If an energy orb hits an opposite team's orb, both energy orbs are destroyed.

If the player uses the secondary fire while looking at the ground whilst an enemy is within the blast radius of the energy orb, the Engineer can perform a blast jump almost equal in power to a rocket jump.

When the Short Circuit is the active weapon, the Engineer cannot move buildings. Both primary and secondary fire only deal insignificant damage to enemy buildings, cannot operate underwater, and are unable to deal full critical hits through any means other than against stunned Merasmus.

Enemies killed by the Short Circuit's primary or secondary fire suffer a distinctive death by vaporization: they turn black, hover in mid-air while surrounded by team-colored particles, and then disappear into ashes while a loud, distinct vaporization sound plays. Like backstabs and headshots, there is a 25% chance of opponents performing a specific disintegration animation if killed in this way. This vaporization effect is shared among the energy weapons.

The Short Circuit was awarded in Genuine quality to players who pre-ordered Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Steam before August 26, 2011.

The kill icon for the Short Circuit was contributed by Ani .

Damage and function times

Primary fire

See also: Damage
Damage and function times
Shot type Area of Effect
Damage type Bullet
Ranged or Melee damage? Ranged
Base damage 100%
Maximum fall-off 52.8% 9
Mini-crit 14
Function times
Attack interval 0.15 s
Values are approximate and determined by community testing.

Secondary fire

See also: Damage
Damage and function times
Shot type Area of Effect
Damage type Projectile
Ranged or Melee damage? Ranged
Base damage 100% 15
Mini-crit 20
Function times
Attack interval 0.5 s
Values are approximate and determined by community testing.



See also: Crafting


Reclaimed Metal Scrap Metal Gunslinger Short Circuit
Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png + Item icon Scrap Metal.png + Item icon Gunslinger.png = Item icon Short Circuit.png
Class Token - Engineer Slot Token - Secondary Scrap Metal Possible Results
Item icon Class Token - Engineer.png + Item icon Slot Token - Secondary.png + Item icon Scrap Metal.png =
Item icon Wrangler.png Item icon Short Circuit.png

As a crafting ingredient

Reclaimed Metal Righteous Bison Short Circuit Pomson 6000
Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png + Item icon Righteous Bison.png + Item icon Short Circuit.png = Item icon Pomson 6000.png

Update history

August 18, 2011 Patch (Manno-Technology Bundle)
  • The Short Circuit was added to the game.

August 23, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed the Short Circuit attacking friendly projectiles.
  • Fixed the Short Circuit being hidden when the Engineer taunts.

January 11, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The Short Circuit was added to the crafting blueprint for the Pomson 6000.

February 9, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The Short Circuit now makes robotic noises when moved around in the backpack.

April 17, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed projectiles not being cleared if they were blocked by buildings or other projectiles.
  • Fixed not incrementing the "How the Pests Was Gunned" achievement for destroyed stickies.

July 10, 2013 Patch

  • Changed attributes:
    • Ammo cost reduced when an attack destroys a projectile.
    • Ammo cost of firing reduced to -18 metal.
    • [Undocumented] Ammo cost increased to -36 metal when an attack does not destroy a projectile or hit a player.
    • [Undocumented] Increased firing speed by +25%.
  • [Undocumented] The Short Circuit's muzzle now emits a spark effect when fired.
  • [Undocumented] Fixed attack arcing to nearby teammates as if they were enemies.

July 12, 2013 Patch

  • Updated the Short Circuit description to match the updated gameplay.

November 12, 2013 Patch

December 20, 2013 Patch

  • Changed attributes:
    • Attack speed up greatly.
    • Ammunition cost has been lowered to 5 metal per attack.
    • Players and Buildings are only targeted if in range and in front of attacking player.
  • Improved visual effects.

January 9, 2014 Patch

  • Changed attributes:
    • Damage lowered.
    • Consumes 15 metal per projectile destroyed.
    • Can no longer fire underwater.
    • Fixed a bug with orphaned particles.

January 23, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed the Short Circuit particles not always being removed on player death.
  • Updated the Short Circuit to use the Engineer's melee taunt.

February 7, 2014 Patch

  • Changed attribute:
    • Added No longer gain metal from Dispensers when active.

September 10, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed the Short Circuit creating its firing effects when being deployed.

July 2, 2015 Patch #1 (Gun Mettle Update)

  • Changed attributes:
    • Projectile destruction has been moved to alt-fire at the cost of -15 per shot. There is a 0.5s cool down between attempts and refire.
    • Cannot pick up buildings when the Short Circuit is deployed.

July 23, 2015 Patch #1

  • Fixed missing secondary attack animations for the Short Circuit.

July 7, 2016 Patch (Meet Your Match Update)

  • Changed attribute:
    • Base projectile attack is -10 metal (hit or miss) and then add -5 metal for each projectile destroyed (sometimes a buff, sometimes a nerf).

August 29, 2016 Patch

  • Fixed the Short Circuit causing lag compensation problems on the server.

April 20, 2017 Patch

  • Updated the description for the Short Circuit to match the current behavior.

March 28, 2018 Patch #1

  • Alt-fire attack changed to launch a medium-range, projectile-destroying energy ball. Requires 65 metal.

March 29, 2018 Patch

  • Fixed the Short Circuit still performing its old area-of-effect attack when firing.

April 12, 2018 Patch

  • Fixed the Short Circuit orb not changing particle color after being deflected.
  • Fixed the Short Circuit orb not being able to destroy rockets/grenades during the first 0.25 seconds of their lifetime.

April 26, 2018 Patch

  • Added self-damage when using the Short Circuit's orb to attack an enemy at close range.

October 10, 2019 Patch (Scream Fortress 2019)

  • Fixed being able to attack players with the Short Circuit during a truce.

November 15, 2021 Patch

  • Fixed Short Circuit projectiles colliding with func_lod entities.


  • The attributes Cannot deal Critical hits and -93% damage vs buildings are missing.
  • The Engineer achievement How the Pests was Gunned cannot be earned with the Short Circuit, despite it being able to destroy projectiles.
  • Damage dealt by Short Circuit energy orb is not affected by any resistances, such as the resistance given by the Fists of Steel.
  • The alt-fire can haul for approximately 0.6 second after weapon switch, instead of firing an energy orb.
  • If the player picks up another dropped secondary weapon with the Short Circuit equipped, the Engineer's right hand always remains invisible regardless of what weapon that player is using until they re-equip the Short Circuit.
  • The secondary fire uses the generic skull in the kill feed.
  • If the Engineer fires an energy orb at a wall, corner or beside a wall, metal is used, but the energy orb does not launch.
  • The energy orb does not deal damage to the Horseless Headless Horsemann, Monoculus, Merasmus, or the Skeleton King.
  • Sometimes, an energy orb can stay stuck in midair for client view. This orb does no damage and does not destroy projectiles.
    • This can be fixed by rejoining the server.
  • The Short Circuit's energy orb won't cause self damage to the Engineer if it explodes on a surface without dealing damage to the enemy.
    • If an enemy has dealt damage to the Engineer and the Engineer is still killed by the self damage, it counts as a world kill.
  • When cl_flippedviewmodels 1 is enabled the energy ball still comes from the right side.


  • During development, the Short Circuit was going to be a minigun that opened up from Engineer's glove. Valve, however, told the creator they wanted a less-powerful electricity based weapon, so it was changed to the current design.[1]
  • A short circuit is a malfunction in a circuit that allows a current to travel on an unintended path.
  • The filenames for this weapon's sounds within the VPK files are named barret_arm_, referencing Lawrence Barrett, a character from the Deus Ex: Human Revolution title known for his gun-arm.[2]



  1. Creator's blog
  2. Image of the file names.

See also