Sometimes someone is just too good at something. There is no way you can beat them at it. Or they have humiliated you once too often in their field of expertise. You decide to fix it so they can never beat you ever agin. You decide to cripple the gunfighter's hands.
Crippling the Competition is when someone, usually a villain, injures someone in such a way to prevent them from doing what they are best at. A Sub-Trope
of Career-Ending Injury
, Crippling The Competition
is always a deliberate act done with malice aforethought. Can overlap with Game-Breaking Injury
if it occurs during the final showdown.
When applied to superpowered beings, this trope may lead to them being Brought Down to Normal
Often overlaps with Fingore
. Frequently leads to Throwing Off the Disability
Not to be confused with Blasting It out of Their Hands
Anime and Manga
- Early in Rurouni Kenshin, Kenshin encounters a thug posing as Kenshin's old assassin persona and creating a lot of trouble. When he defeats the guy, Kenshin smashes his fingers with the hilt of his sword so that the thug will never be able to use a sword again. Also, early in his days of being a Technical Pacifist, Kenshin chopped off an opponent's arm instead of killing him. The opponent thought this was a deliberate Cruel Mercy (as opposed to killing him honorably), and comes back for revenge with an Arm Cannon.
- In Rose of Versailles, Oscar shoot's a guy's gun hand in a duel, as this is the only way she can punish him for shooting a peasant boy in cold blood.
- Anime episode 28. During the fight between Uryu Ishida and the Soul Reaper Jirobo Ikkanzaka, Uryu fires an arrow into Jirobo in such a way as to prevent him from using spiritual pressure and thus making it impossible to continue as a Soul Reaper.
- Anime episode 156. Uryu Ishida does the same thing to the arrancar Cirucci Sanderwicci, firing an arrow into her chest to seal off her power.
- In Jonah Hex #11 (original series), a gambler caught cheating by Jonah hires thugs to ambush Jonah and breaks his hands with a sledge hammer.
- In an issue of Hawkman, Green Arrow stops the villainous archer the Spider by shooting out the Spider's eye, destroying his depth perception and thus his ability to aim.
- In The Dark Knight Returns, it's strongly implied that Green Arrow's arm was amputated by Superman to force his former ally to abandon his vigilante activities. Subverted in that GA can still shoot his bow using his teeth to draw the string.
- In The Quick and the Dead, Ratsy breaks Cort's right hand before his gunfight with Herod, forcing him to fight with his left hand.
- In Shoot 'em Up, Hertz tortures Smith by breaking his trigger fingers and then threatens to cut his eyes out. This ends very badly for Hertz.
- In the film version of Daredevil, Bulls Eye's hands are injured in the climactic battle with Daredevil, and he says, "You took away my hands! Show mercy!"
- A possible inversion (or just unusual example) in the Mariachi Trilogy. In the backstory shown in Desperado, the Mariachi received a hand wound that ruins him as a guitar player. However, it doesn't do anything to imapair his later Improbable Aiming Skills as a gunfighter.
- Not exactly a Western, but the same philosophy is shown in Starship Troopers.
Ace Levy: Sir, I don't understand. What good's a knife in a nuke fight? All you have to do is press a button, sir.
Career Sergeant Zim: Put your hand on that wall, trooper. [Ace hesitates] PUT YOUR HAND ON THAT WALL! [Zim throws a knife and hits Ace's hand, pinning it to the wall] The enemy cannot press a button... if you have disabled his hand. Medic!
- In The Hustler, 'Fast Eddie' Felson has his thumbs broken by a pool shark who doesn't like being hustled.
- In A Fistful of Dollars, the bad guys stomp on Clint Eastwood's hands while beating him.
- In Django, bandits ride over Django's hands with horses in retaliation for stealing gold from them.
- Kung Fu Hustle: the Harpist manage to cut the palms of Donut, whose specialty is with staffs.
- In the 1949 Film Noir The Set-Up, a washed-up boxer wins a fight he was supposed to lose. The mobsters who put the fix on the fight retaliate by breaking his hand so he can never box again.
- A popular (but questionable) etymology for the profane variant of the V Sign is that it came from archers taunting enemy soldiers who would cut off the middle and index fingers of any archers they captured (Welsh archers taunting Englishmen or English archers taunting Frenchmen tend to be the most common).
- Pecos Bill is often reputed to have shot off his opponents' trigger fingers in gunfights.
- A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones: Done to Jamie Lannister out of pure malice.
- In the backstory of Neuromancer, the main character was a hacker who was caught stealing and punished by being given a treatment that destroyed his ability to interface with the matrix.
- The Waxahachie Smith series by J.T. Edson is about a gunfighter who had his trigger fingers amputated by vengeful foes.
- In Jules Verne's Michel Strogoff, the eponymous character is blinded by having his eyes exposed to a heated iron by his foes.
- One of the 1631 novels had a violinist who had had his left hand crippled by a jealous rival.
- In the backstory of Assassin of Gor, a chess player was blinded by a powerful man whom he had beaten in a game. But he is still able to play because he can visualize the board.
- In the Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Denton on Doomsday'', the title character, a washed up Retired Gunfighter faces off against a young wannabee in a duel, both using a potion granting quick draw abilities. Both men manage to inflict hand injuries preventing each other from ever using guns again. Denton sees this as a blessing, as it will prevent either from engaging in any more reckless duels.
- In an episode of Bones the Victim of the Week had done this to himself shortly before he was killed: he slammed his right hand with a desk drawer to break it, in order to remove the temptation of going to a music school to study piano.
- A self-inflicted example from Arcanum: William Thorndop, formerly the world's greatest marksman, has taken a vow of non-violence, and cut off his own trigger fingers to make sure he can never hold a firearm again.
- Throughout the Fallout series, you can use target shots to aim at enemy body parts. Shooting the eyes or head lowers their accuracy, shooting the arms may prevent them from using certain weapons, and shooting the legs lowers movement speed.
- Figure skater Tonya Harding hired someone to attack her rival, Nancy Kerrigan, with a tire iron.