Half Life Alyx Weapon Upgrades Guide

The world of Half-Life Alyx is brutal without a guide. The resistance has a lot on its shoulders! What with all the aliens, the gun-ships in the air, Combine parading around like armored dictators, and some talk about a super-weapon that knows proper manners. 

So it is lucky you found this notebook under the floorboards. Unless this is a combined guard. You will never find me, and the pigeons know how to unlatch the grenades and have been trained to wildly dislike your armor.

To manage all of this, you need to be properly prepared. That is even alliterative, so it must be valid to the resistance too! How do you know what upgrades to prioritize? Where is all that precious resin? Where in the name of a well-pressed suit is Mr. Freeman?!

Rise and shine, dear reader. Rise. And. Shine. We got a resistance to upgrade.

Bottom Line Up Front


Level Gained: 1

Key Features: 10-round clip, abundant ammunition, balanced damage, and high accuracy. 

Reflex Sight 10 Replaces the open sights with holographic sights
Burst Fire 20 Switch between single-shot and three-shot bursts
Bullet Reservoir 30 A 10 bullet reservoir acts as a buffer between your magazine and the chamber.
Laser Sight 35 Emits a beam that shows where your bullet will land.


Level Gained: 3

Key Features: 7 round chamber, spray shot, high damage, and low accuracy.

Laser Sight 10 Emits a beam that shows where your bullet will land.
Double Shot 25 Fire two shells per shot instead of one.
Autoloader 30 Pull rounds from a secondary chamber.
Grenade Launcher 40 Store a grenade and launch it.


Level Gained: 5

Key Features: 30-round magazine, automatic fire, low damage, and low accuracy. 

Reflex Sight 15 Replaces the open sights with holographic sights
Laser Sight 25 Emits a beam that shows where your bullet will land.
Extended Magazine 30 Store up to four magazines on your SMG. Automatically reloads using these four.


Half Life Alyx Weapon Upgrades Guide
Luckily, I have an inherent desire to grab all shiny things I see.

Resin is the only resource in the game that isn’t shot into your flesh or someone else’s. Rather, it is the currency you will be using to buy modifications for your guns. The resin will emit a bluish-white glow that will stand out compared to the brightness of anything around it. It is just a matter of if it is behind something or not. 

There are roughly 300 pieces of resin scattered across the levels. Also, the combined total of all the modifications is 270. So, this gives you a room for error of about 30, so you don’t have to stress too much. 

Think like a developer when progressing through the levels, and you should find all the resin you need. 

  • Peek around corners you wouldn’t otherwise go around. 
  • Check waste bins and any openings found in the ceiling. 
  • Some barnacles have captured pieces of resin. 
  • There are physics puzzles casually placed in areas throughout the levels; these will mostly, if not always, net you a resin. 
  • Just because an area has a gate across it doesn’t mean you can’t get the resin using the Russells. 

Upgrade Station

Upgrade Station
Even if my hands are disembodied projections of horror. This better not be another bladed upgrade station.

You’re gonna have to spend all that lovely resin somewhere. The upgrade station is a large piece of machinery that you will normally find in its own special room marked by a large alien-looking iron doorframe.

The upgrade station is activated using the multitool and may require solving a few puzzles before it can be used to upgrade your weapons. To access the list of modifications for your weapon, simply place it into the slot that opened up and might be projecting a few lines of completely harmless laser beams.


Level Received: CH 1

Old Reliable
Play enough VR and you’ll come to call ‘er Ole Reliable too.

A classic weapon in video games and your standard weapon in Half-Life: Alyx. Russel is with you every step of the way in not only the spirit of things; but also in this pistol. Russel gives you this beautiful piece of iron at the beginning of the game. It is also a source of plenty of banter over its owner between Alyx and Russell. That isn’t important. It is ours now.

The pistol will become your new best friend as you will likely always have ammo to spare compared to your other weapons. Learning to be a master of aiming with its open sights is advised. 

Thankfully, this gun handles like a champ. I might be the middle-ground damage-wise, but bullets to the head are bullets to the head. 

Don’t tell Russell, but I think I might just keep it.

Key Features

  • 10 Round Clip
  • Balanced Damage
  • High Accuracy
  • Most abundant ammunition
  • Old Reliable bang-bang



Cost: 10

Heat Seeking Sight
Hit their weak point for maximum damage.

A hologram-projected set of sights that will help your aim. You will still need to angle your gun correctly to see the projected sight within the screens. Any weak points will be given an orange glow.

While cheap, it is advised you save your resin and aim the pistol with open sights. With the other guns, ammo is a bit more scarce and, as such, might be more beneficial. It is better to save up for the more expensive laser sight, as this is far more useful comparatively. While the ability to see the weak spots is useful, I found it got in the way of the laser sight I had initially bought and grew more fond of.


Cost: 20

Double-tapping the upper face (B/Y) button will allow you to switch between the standard single-shot to a three-round burst.

While handy, the same can be done by rapidly tapping the trigger. The latter will let you be far more accurate. But, like the reflex sights, it is better to save that precious resin for something else.


Cost: 30

Bullet Reserve
Something about it really classes up a pistol.

A 10-round buffer is added to your gun. The next magazine loaded into the firearm will load right into the reservoir if this is tapped into. 

This upgrade essentially doubles your ammo capacity. This is the upgrade I suggest you save for. 


Cost: 35

HLA Laser sight
This is the only game I will accept these as an option. Others look like someone stuck a piece of licorice to my gun.

A laser sight will project a beam of light from the muzzle of your gun to the spot its bullet will hit.

This will let you save time and energy angling your open sights or reflex sights. The laser sight is also very beneficial for dark areas.


  • Save the Reflex Sight and Burst Fire for last. Don’t buy these two modifications if you aren’t aiming for upgrade completion achievements. Save your resin for other guns.
  • Get the bullet reservoir asap.
  • Get the laser sight if you are having trouble aiming, ignore the reflex sight. 


Level Received: CH 3 

HLA Shotgun
Something something BOOMSTICK. Something something, Shop S-Mart.

Since the dawn of FPS shooters, the shotgun has been The King of many booms. Ever since Freeman tore his way out of Black Mesa and a certain slayer ripped his way out of hell.

Life doesn’t like to add too much of this glorious spice we’ll use to pepper Xen and Combine alike. As a result, ammo will be scarce, sometimes a single shell hidden behind a shelf. As such, conserve them for zombies and large groups of Combine.

The shotgun shells will fire in a burst, creating a randomized cone of effect from the point of the barrel arching outwards onto the field. This makes it best for severe damage at close range and crowd control at medium range.

Key Features

  • 7 rounds in the chamber.
  • High Damage
  • Low Accuracy
  • Scatter Shot that is good for crowd control
  • Satisfying Reload
  • Big Bang-Bang evolves into Big Boom.



Cost: 10

HLA Shotty Laser
These laser sights are so hard to get a photo of. I assure you, they are pleasantly visible.

A laser sight will project a beam of light from the muzzle of your gun that will encompass where your spread will land based on a large circular laser sight. 

As a shotgun is the definition of pray and spray, it is advised you ignore this upgrade and just aim the old-fashioned way. It is cheap, though, so it might be a very beneficial upgrade if the shotgun is giving you trouble.

The Laser sight is also useful would you rather hip-fire. This tactic is useful and often forced by the body when in panic.


Cost: 25

Double Shot lets your shotgun function similar to a double-barrel. It will fire two shots with one pull of the trigger doubling the damage. 

This will eat into your ammo reserves and require you to reload more. This is not advised. Again, the issue here is that you can manage this with a quick double-trigger pull. 


Cost: 30

Functioning like the bullet reserve for the pistol, the autoloader will keep the second chamber of rounds for the primary chamber to pull from. This will cut down on your reload time but again isn’t a necessary upgrade.


Cost: 40

This mod lets you keep a second grenade with you; you can then launch by pushing your off-hand forward while gripping the barrel. 

This is the best upgrade for the shotgun. It will help you lob your grenades, but it will also act as an additional pouch for an extra grenade at all times.


  • Ammunition isn’t as easily found as the pistol. This gun is be3st saved for dire situations and enemies that give you pause.
  • The grenade launcher upgrade is expensive but incredibly useful. This should be the only upgrade for the shotgun you save for. The rest can come after the essentials.

Combine SMG

Level Received: CH 5

A modding addiction can be a dangerous thing. This used to be an LCP.

The poster boy for the saying “Pray and Spray.”

The SMG has a high capacity but sacrifices that for the lowest damage per round out of the guns. Thankfully, it lobs a lot of those bullets at one time.

 Aim for the center of the chest and let the recoil pull your fire upwards. This will cause the most damage while also creating the best chance for a headshot.

Key Features

  • 30 Round Power Cell.
  • Low Damage
  • Low Accuracy
  • Automatic fire.
  • Less damager per round, but more rounds per trigger pull.
  • Many bang-bang



Cost: 15

HLA Reflex Sight
Give me a sec and I’ll have the rest of this guy lit up.

A hologram-projected set of sights that will help your aim. You will still need to angle your gun correctly to see the projected sight within the screens cast.

As the jump between the reflex sight and the laser sight is far smaller than the pistol, I highly recommend you ignore the reflex sight on this gun too. I simply don’t like it. It is a sorry excuse for a holographic sight.


Cost: 25

HLA Laser Sight
This laser color really classes with this guy’s suit. It could use some red.

A laser sight projects a beam from the barrel of your gun to the spot where your bullet will land.

This is a far better alternative to the Reflex Sight and should be your target rather than the reflex sight. So pray and spray no more with this simple life hack.


Cost: 30

HLA Extended Mag
Thankfully the clip doesn’t stay on or this thing would get REALLY bulky.

An extension to the bottom of the SMG that will allow you to stow four full magazines on the gun itself at once. These magazines will then auto-reload until depleted. 

Using this modification, you should immediately reload any empty slots before putting any found magazines over your shoulder.


  • For humanoids, aim for the center of mass both horizontally and physically. This will cause the recoil of the automatic fire to pull the barrel upwards and increase the chance of a headshot.
  • Skip the reflex sight; get the laser sight.
  • Unload into Combine with heavy armor or turrets.

Suggested Order

Based on how useful and fun I believe the upgrades to be, I will create a list of the order I think you should get them. If the upgrade is not on the list, I think you should only buy them if you need them or are an upgrade completionist. 

  • Pistol Laser Sight
  • Pistol Bullet Resovoir 
  • SMG Laser Sight
  • Shotgun Grenade Launcher 
  • Shotgun Laser Sight
  • SMG Extended Magazine

TOTAL RESIN: 175 out of about 300


First Appearance: CH 4

HLA Grenade
Does throwing it next to this sign count as a warning?

After their first appearance, you will find grenades scattered across the rest of the game. They will sometimes be in front of your face like resin and syringes. Other times, they’ll be just out of view.

Pressing the lower face button (X/A) will start the counter. Next, a red light will start flickering and beeping. As it gets closer to detonation, this will become more rapid. Throw the grenade before this happens. 

A grenade will often bounce slightly once it hits a surface. Use this to jump it around the cover your enemy has retreated behind.

You should keep one grenade in your dominant firing hand’s wrist pouch whenever possible. Having it specifically in this wrist pouch will make it easier to grab during a fierce skirmish without dropping your pistol. 

Grenades may also be used to open up otherwise closed-off areas.

Xen Grenades

Image from Fandom

First Appearance: CH 5

Xen grenades work exactly like mildly-weaker standard grenades, only they are alien, biological, and gross. They are grown by a stalk that sprouts from the alien biological material found growing in several areas. 

They can be stored in your wrist pouch and are triggered like standard grenades. Keep in mind that the stalk it grows from is cheeky and loves its explosive children. You will either have to snag the bomb before it can yank it away or find its tickle spot. Its tickle spot is along its stalk.

If you find a Xen Grenade around, you will likely find an obstacle nearby that will require an explosive. Therefore, it is always advised to pick one up if you do not already have an explosive on hand to avoid back-tracking. 

Tools of the trade

None of these items have upgrades, at least none that use resin, but they are worth familiarizing yourself with them.

“The Russells”

HLA Russells
Don’t need a patent if only the gods can figure out how it works.

Invented by the man himself, these act as our gravity guns for the game. However, unlike the gravity gun, the gravity gloves require you to reach out and yank the object into your grasp. The entity that will be pulled will be highlighted, but you will also have to catch it. So keep your reflexes about you.


HLA Multitool
Finally, an accurate representation of IT work.

The multitool acts as our puzzle-solving tool. A large red dial functions as the indicator for any terminal or item that can be manipulated using the multitool. You will see the wires and connections in the wall but only in a short radius.

Simply follow this line and use the trigger to rotate the indicated areas until the power can flow into the spot the game desires. 


HLA Health
The number of needle marks over a short period can’t be healthy for Alyx.

Health items in the shape of syringes can be found all over the game world. They can be saved in your wrist pouches. It is advised to keep one on you at all times. Don’t be stingy, though. A syringe will likely show up eventually, so keep your health up. It is better to have to find another needle than to be dead.

Items of Note

These items in particular are unique compared to the weapons, gloves, and multitools. Keep your eye out for them. If not to make use of them, to start keeping yourself aware of the treats that warn being in the area.


The citizens of this city are horrible with littering. Thankfully, bottles can be used to distract and herd creatures when needed. Throw the bottle as you would anything else in the direction you would like the enemy to focus on. Once it smashes to the ground, they will turn to investigate, letting you pop out and attack.

Bottles are the key to getting past Jeff.


HLA Helmet
The lighting on this helmet and sanctioned barrel of doom is stunning.

Helmets can be found scattered around the environment. When brought to your head and released, the brim will appear at the top of your view, indicating Alyx is wearing it. Should you accidentally run into a Barnacle tongue, it will pull the hat off your head instead of your feet from the ground. They also help with headcrabs.

Traffic cones, while rare, are also acceptable headwear. 


HLA Resperator
Remember, you are replacing the last guy who made a Star Wars joke.

Alien life growing from the walls in some areas creates a dangerous mist of toxic spores. These spores will become evident through Alyx coughing or your vision growing hazy. While covering your mouth is an option, and that certainly works but takes a hand away. 

Respirators can be found throughout the levels and merely requires you to pick them up and hold them to your face.

They also help against headcrabs.

The Doom Larva

HLA Doomed Larva
The health terminal does not heal the psychological wounds received from using the health terminal.

Its name is unimportant. What is important is that you keep an eye out for the health terminals these little guys are the battery to. The large will be separated from this contraction and will usually be found within two to three rooms of the health terminal itself.

Once you have found the larva, plug it into the health terminal and place your left hand on the screen.


Question: What is the Best Weapon and Weapon Modification in Half-Life: Alyx?

Answer: I have to go with the pistol using the bullet reserve + laser sight in terms of reliability. In terms of bombastic epicness, the shotgun with a grenade launcher + laser sight.
The pistol combination will ensure you never miss a shot; while also assisting in making sure you always HAVE that shot.
The shotgun makes a big boom and can now accurately make a bigger boom.

Question: What Platform is Half-Life: Alyx Available for?

Answer: Half-Life Alyx was created by Valve. As such, it is currently exclusively available on Steam. VR games available on Steam can be played by any PCVR headset, such as the Valve Index, Oculus Rift, or HTC Vive. Additionally, Oculus Quest 2 Users can play these games through Oculus Link, Air Link, and alternatives such as Virtual Desktop.
Steam Marketplace

Question: Is my Computer Powerful Enough to Run Half-Life Alyx?

Answer: Half-Life: Alyx is a powerful game. It will require a powerful computer. I am familiar with Nvidia graphics cards, so I will be using that as a guideline. 
For a graphics card, it is suggested you have a 1080 or higher for low fidelity performance. A 3060 or higher for more stable performance. 
A strong processor is capable of at least 3.5 GHz and either a direct connection to your computer or, for wireless play, a 5GHz dual-band router connected using CAT-6 ethernet cables or better.


The virtual world of Half-Life Alyx is full of crumbling buildings and tight alleyways. Those are filled with backward screaming head crab zombies and totalitarian Combine soldiers. All hunting for a member of the resistance like yourself.

One full of moxie, resin, and weapon modification! A warrior who knows precisely the improvements they desire for their weapon. A soldier that knows where every circle of resin is! 

A reader who needs to get going before the Combine gets wind of you.

Mr. Freeman would be proud. Someone with a particular peculiarity about them might be even more so. We should… Probably worry about that one later, though. That is a journal for another floorboard. 

Keep those sights lasered and those reflexes sighted. Have a marvelous one! 

Continue reading:

Half Life Alyx Requirements Guide

Half Life Alyx Getting Started Guide

Resident Evil 4 vs Resident Evil 4 VR

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