Unggoy of this rank are part of the Special Operations Division of the Covenant. Normally, Grunts are poorly trained for combat and are usually deployed in massive numbers as cannon fodder. However, if Grunts are given proper training they can acquire specialized roles and provide excellent support to Spec Ops teams. Generally tougher, smarter, and certainly more aggressive than their lesser brethren, Spec Ops Grunts are always deployed with Spec Ops Elite team leaders and specialized equipment and sometimes will be led by Ultra Grunts. These resilient, loyal, and dangerous operatives are not to be underestimated under any circumstances. If a Spec Ops Grunt's leading Elite is killed, rather than panicking and fleeing, they will often seek revenge, finding cover and sending plasma grenades and plasma bolts accurately at the opponent who killed the Elite. They are also much more accurate than their counterparts, and their armor is much more resilient to damage than other Unggoy Ranks. A number of these black-armored Grunts assaulted the Heretic Gas Mine. They were successful at aiding the Arbiter Thel 'Vadamee in taking down the Heretic Leader, Sesa 'Refumee.
Special Operations Grunts are denoted by their signature jet-black armor, which matches the black armor of their Elite commanders. In Halo 2, they are occasionally equipped with Active camouflage. They are only hard to see when they are carrying a Needler, since the Needler does not generate a glow unlike Covenant plasma weapons that can be seen while in Active camouflage.
They are only called in during special combat situations, and hold a unique amount of respect for a member of their race. They are commanded by Special Operations Sangheili or by some other high ranking Sangheili or Jiralhanae. Unlike most Unggoy, they are vehicle drivers. They have slightly more health than Grunt Heavies but slightly less than Ultras.
SpecOps Grunts almost never panic during combat, as the Minor and Major Grunts almost always do when their leader is killed. They often wield Needlers, Fuel Rod Guns, Plasma Grenades and occasionally Plasma Pistols. The biggest concern of facing a Spec Ops Grunt, however, is that a Spec Ops Elite is more than likely nearby. Spec Ops Grunts are not to be underestimated, though. Sometimes if the highest ranking Elite is down, the Spec Ops Grunts will run, but to better cover and will usually send you deadly accurate barrages of plasma grenades. This can be fatal on the higher difficulties. As stated earlier, they are not to be trifled with and must be taken down with precision and speed to allow you to survive the Legendary difficulty.
They usually move in teams of two or three, with one Spec Ops Grunt wielding a Fuel Rod Gun while the others cover him with Plasma Pistols and Needlers. In Halo: Combat Evolved, it is best to target the one holding a Fuel Rod Gun as his teammates may be killed when it explodes, and also since the Grunt fires the fuel rod gun very rapidly which can prove fatal even on Easy difficulty. In Halo 2, throwing grenades at them can be effective, especially when sticking them with plasma grenades.
- Special Operations Unggoy in Halo: Combat Evolved are similar to their Heretic "brothers". They are not deployed as cannon fodder, use either needlers or fuel rod guns, only cower in the presence of the Flood, and work alongside similar-ranking Elites.
- In the Halo 2 level The Oracle's opening cinematic, the Grunts that file in after the Elites have no weapons, but they have plasma pistols when gameplay starts.
- Urk has nicknamed the Spec Ops Grunts of Halo: Reach "Starscreams" because of the spires on their shoulders.
- Spec Ops Unggoy are able to wield all the weapons that Unggoy Heavies wield, making the two ranks very similar in terms of weaponry.
- In Halo 3, if you destroy a Phantom on The Storm, sometimes, a special operations Unggoy with a Spiker will fall out (best seen in theater mode, otherwise you will only see the body).
- In Two Betrayals a couple of rare Special Operations Unggoy have red armor and Fuel Rod Cannons and were thought to be early Unggoy Heavies.
- Halo: Combat Evolved (First appearance)
- Halo: The Flood
- Halo 2
- Halo Graphic Novel
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Reach
- Halo: Fireteam Raven