Shard cannon

From Halopedia, the Halo wiki

Shard cannon
Pulse beam 1.png
An Enforcer firing its shard cannons.
Production overview


Heavy needler[1]


Ammunition type:

Subanese crystal[2]

Effective range:

150 meters (490 ft)[2]


Shard cannons[3], also known as pulse beams[2], are a form of heavy needler weaponry used by Forerunner Enforcers.[1] Among United Nations Space Command personnel, shard cannons have also been given several colloquial nicknames including "Red Death" and "the Reds".[2]


Pulse beam projectiles impacting a surface.

Design details[edit]

The shard canon fires a rapid stream of red Blamite projectiles at a high velocity. These projectiles are very similar in appearance to those of the Needler, but do not share the "supercombining" or homing abilities of Needler rounds. Upon puncturing an enemy, the pulse beam's projectiles "shatter" within a few seconds.[4] They have an effective range of 150 metres (490 ft)[2] and gradually lose altitude as they fly, giving Enforcers a decent advantage over the Flood as they can fire from long ranges and heights.[4]

The weapon's similarities to needle weaponry of Covenant design have lent credence to the theory that the Sangheili may have created their own needler weaponry based on reverse-engineered shard cannons.[1] It likely shares some overall characteristics with the similar shardstorm launcher and shard projector weapons.

In-game information[edit]

An Enforcer firing its pulse beam weapons on Sacred Icon.

Enforcers generally fire pulse beams at infantry units only, saving the mortar weaponry for vehicle based units. When fired, waves of red projectiles are fired towards the Enforcer's enemies. These are difficult to dodge head-on, but can be easily avoided if there is suitable cover, or if the player keeps up a constant pace to the side. The weapon is used only against infantry, as it would be generally ineffective against most, if not all vehicles, as the driver or pilot is generally well defended or hidden from direct view. Therefore, the Enforcer uses it's mortar-like weapon to combat vehicles.

The weapon can easily defeat weak, unshielded units, such as Grunts, and even Jackals can have trouble using their shield to effectively block the projectiles. When used consistently, the weapon can keep an unshielded or wounded enemy pinned down for a considerable amount of time, and can be very distracting and frustrating when trying to defeat the Enforcer. Therefore, it is usually a preferable tactic to disable the Enforcer's weapons first.


The shard cannon's official name was first given in the Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition).[3] Prior to this, it was commonly known by the name of "pulse beam"; a fan-made term originating from Halopedia and one of several fan misconceptions copied from Halopedia and accidentally canonised in the Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition).[2]

List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 237
  2. ^ a b c d e f Halo Encyclopedia (2011 edition), page 353
  3. ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 327
  4. ^ a b Halo 2, Shard cannon in-game weapon