Black Box

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If you're lucky enough to sport the upper body strength to actually carry this monster, you can guarantee, after firing this half-a-ton hellraiser, it will be the only thing left that's not a smouldering pile of ash.
Black Box publicity blurb

The Black Box is a community-created primary weapon for the Soldier. It is a black, rectangular rocket launcher with rounded edges, sporting two dark grey fastening bands near the front end and case coverings hanging open at both ends of the weapon. The rear case covering swings while the weapon is in use.

For every successful hit with the Black Box, the Soldier is awarded health based on how much damage is dealt (up to 20 health for attacks over 90 damage). Hitting multiple enemies with a single rocket uses the total damage that rocket deals to calculate health gain. Health gained through Black Box hits cannot grant overheal. The Soldier does not receive health if the target is invulnerable to damage, such as a Scout under the effects of Bonk! Atomic Punch; however, health is still awarded if the target is a cloaked or disguised Spy. A successful hit does not remove the effects of fire, bleeding, Jarate, or Mad Milk on the player. Health gained is shown on the HUD.

Compared to the Rocket Launcher, its clip size is one rocket smaller. This makes the Black Box weaker in sustained firefights, as the user needs to pause to reload more frequently. Projectiles fired from the Black Box have the same speed as one from the Rocket Launcher, at 1100 Hammer units per second (roughly 76 km/h or 47 mph).

Should a Pyro successfully reflect a Black Box rocket in such a way that it damages an enemy, the health bonus is given to the Pyro.

The kill icon for the Black Box was contributed by Psyke .

Damage and function times

See also: Damage
Identical to: Rocket Launcher
Damage and function times
Shot type Projectile
Damage type Explosive
Ranged or Melee damage? Ranged
Maximum ramp-up 125% 112
Base damage 100% 90
Maximum fall-off 52.8% 48
Point blank 105-112
Medium range 50-90
Long range 24-48
Critical 270
Mini-crit 122-151
Splash damage
Minimum splash 50% 2.8 m
Damage reduction 1% / 2.88
Self-damage 27-89
Self damage (rocket jump) 27-46
Healing amount 1 HP per 4.5 damage dealt
Function times
Attack interval 0.8 s
Reload (first) 0.92 s
Reload (consecutive) 0.8 s
Values are approximate and determined by community testing.

Item set

Main article: Item sets
The Tank Buster
Backpack The Tank Buster Bundle.png

Leave a Calling Card on your victims



See also: Crafting


Direct Hit Reclaimed Metal Black Box
Item icon Direct Hit.png + Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png = Item icon Black Box.png
Class Token - Soldier Slot Token - Primary Scrap Metal Possible Results
Item icon Class Token - Soldier.png + Item icon Slot Token - Primary.png + Item icon Scrap Metal.png =
Item icon Direct Hit.png Item icon Black Box.png Item icon Rocket Jumper.png Item icon Liberty Launcher.png
Item icon Cow Mangler 5000.png Item icon Original.png Item icon Beggar's Bazooka.png Item icon Air Strike.png
Item icon Panic Attack.png

As a crafting ingredient

Refined Metal Tank Buster weapon Grenadier's Softcap
Item icon Refined Metal.pngx4 + Item icon Black Box.pngItem icon Battalion's Backup.png = Item icon Grenadier's Softcap.png
Black Box Reclaimed Metal Liberty Launcher
Item icon Black Box.png + Item icon Reclaimed Metal.pngx2 = Item icon Liberty Launcher.png
Black Box Reclaimed Metal Cow Mangler 5000
Item icon Black Box.png + Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png = Item icon Cow Mangler 5000.png

Strange Variant

Related achievements

Leaderboard class soldier.png Soldier

Backdraft Dodger
Backdraft Dodger
Kill a Pyro who has airblasted one of your rockets in the last 10 seconds.

Crockets Are Such B.S.
Crockets Are Such B.S.
Shoot two non-boosted crit rockets in a row.

Death from Above
Death from Above
Rocket jump and kill 2 enemies before you land.

Duty Bound
Duty Bound
While rocket jumping kill an enemy with the Equalizer before you land or just after landing.
For Whom the Shell Trolls
For Whom the Shell Trolls
Bounce an opponent into the air with a rocket and then kill them with the shotgun before they land.

Mutually Assured Destruction
Mutually Assured Destruction
Kill an enemy sniper with a rocket after he kills you.

Tri-Splatteral Damage
Tri-Splatteral Damage
Kill 3 enemies with a single critical rocket.

Where Eagles Dare
Where Eagles Dare
Get the highest possible rocket jump using jump and crouch.

Leaderboard class pyro.png Pyro

Kill a Soldier with a reflected critical rocket.
Pilot Light
Pilot Light
Ignite a rocket-jumping Soldier while he's in midair.

Leaderboard class heavy.png Heavy

Crock Block
Crock Block
Survive a direct hit from a critical rocket.

Leaderboard class sniper.png Sniper

Eagle Eye
Eagle Eye
While using The Classic, kill a rocket/grenade jumping enemy in midair with a full charge, no-scope, headshot.
Jumper Stumper
Jumper Stumper
Kill a rocket or grenade-jumping enemy in midair with your Sniper Rifle or the Huntsman.

Tf snakewater salesman.png Snakewater achievements

Mutually Air-Sured-Destruction
Mutually Air-Sured-Destruction
While rocket jumping, use a rocket to kill a rocket jumping enemy who also kills you with a rocket.

Update history

September 30, 2010 Patch (Mann-Conomy Update)
  • The Black Box was added to the game.

October 8, 2010 Patch

January 7, 2011 Patch

February 14, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed players getting set bonuses applied on tournament servers when the server is restricting the player's weapons using the item_whitelist.
  • [Undocumented] Fixed players getting set bonuses applied on Medieval maps for items that are not allowed in medieval mode.

March 10, 2011 Patch (Shogun Pack)

  • Updated model with optimizations and LODs.

March 11, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed players getting a health bonus based on the weapon they're currently holding instead of the weapon that dealt the killing blow.

June 23, 2011 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The Black Box was added to the crafting blueprint for the Liberty Launcher.

July 20, 2011 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The Black Box was added to the crafting blueprint for the Cow Mangler 5000.

September 20, 2011 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Added Strange quality.

April 17, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] The Black Box now grants health when striking a building.

April 27, 2012 Patch

  • Fixed damage to buildings applying on-hit effects.

July 10, 2013 Patch

  • Rocket explosions now use correct sound.

November 12, 2013 Patch

November 21, 2013 Patch (Two Cities Update)

December 20, 2013 Patch (Smissmas 2013)

  • [Undocumented] Added Festive variant.

June 11, 2014 Patch

  • Fixed reflected Black Box rockets not giving health to the Pyro.

June 18, 2014 Patch (Love & War Update)

  • [Undocumented] Fixed the reload of Soldier primary weapons to show rockets in first person.

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

  • Changed attributes:
    • Changed +15 health on hit to +20 health on hit per attack.
    • Changed how health on hit works for radius damage. Is now capped per attack and scales with total damage done relative to base damage. (i.e. doing 45 damage nets +10 health on hit as base damage is 90. Hitting 3 enemies for 45 each for a total of 135 damage only returns +20 health.)

July 28, 2016 Patch

  • Adjusted Black Box reload animation to be slightly faster (now matches the default Rocket Launcher).

October 24, 2017 Patch

  • Fixed the Festive Black Box not working for Black Box Contracts.

December 21, 2017 Patch (Smissmas 2017)

  • Added Festivized variant.
  • [Undocumented] Australium variant can now be Festivized.

January 5, 2023 Patch

  • Fixed entities being considered static props after long server times
    • Fixed rockets occasionally being solid


  • The term "black box" refers to any device with a known function, but an unknown means of internal operations.
    • It is also a common term for flight recorders, highly sturdy devices which are used to record what happens in a cockpit in case of a plane crash. Interestingly, these boxes are not black at all; they are a bright orange color.
    • The term "black box" is also American slang for a briefcase containing nuclear launch codes.
  • The Black Box was the name of an unreleased compilation of the new content in The Orange Box.


See also