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Special ammo is a different type of ammunition featured in Dead Island: Riptide.

Unlike normal ammunition, this ammo can't be used in normal firearms such as pistols or rifles. Instead, it's used for the new types of ranged weapons introduced in Riptide, being Flare Guns, Nail Guns, Harpoons, Stun Guns and the M72 LAW rocket launcher. These ammo types are far rarer than regular ammunition and can't be crafted in any way. The only way of getting a hold of ammunition for these weapons is through merchants, where they have their own section at the bottom of the purchase screen, or in their designated spawning areas of the world which is usually only one place and in very limited quantities.

They are also not shown on the quick inventory screen when you open it, like normal ammo is displayed. The ammo is usually displayed next to the weapon wheel, but with special ammo, it can only be viewed by either holding the weapon or going into your inventory list screen and scrolling to it.

Ammo types[]


With special ammo, an interesting feature of half of them is the ability to reuse the ammo after you fire it - providing you can find it again. With ammo for both nail guns and harpoon guns, you can collect the ammo back up and fire it again if you can find where they went. With a harpoon, this is easy enough as they're quite large, but nail gun ammo is far harder to find if you miss your target, as they are very small and hard to find in certain places, like the Flooded jungle.

Another thing common across special ammo is their cost and rarity. They are not found naturally anywhere in the game world (with the exception flare gun ammo) so the only way to get a hold of these ammo types is by purchasing them from merchants, which are expensive. With ammo for the stun gun, the only way to get cartridges is by completing the continuous quest A New Machine for Dr. Kessler, who will reward you with a cartridge per 5 electronic scrap you bring him. For the nail gun and harpoon gun, the only way to do it is purchase the ammo from merchants, and you need to have a lot of cash as a single harpoon can be upwards of $250.


  • The only type of special ammo that spawns naturally in the game is flare gun ammo, as it can be found on a table in Paradise Survival Camp and Henderson Military Base, in one of the guard towers at the entrance.
  • The Mad Rockets are the only special ammo that can't be purchased from a merchant. It can only be acquired in its two spawning locations.