Created By: kyleykh on January 10, 2012 Last Edited By: Westrim on August 27, 2013
Troped

Disarm, Disassemble, Destroy

Disassembling or crushing an opponent's firearm right in front of them during a fight.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Indices: Guns and Gunplay Tropes, Combat Tropes

Alice is up against someone who has a gun. Before the gunman can shoot her, Alice snatches the firearm and quickly disables it right in front of the gunman. Asskicking typically ensues.

Usually used to demonstrate the badassery of a given character as well as their knowledge of firearms, (unless they use brute force), and may involve Willing Suspension of Disbelief to enforce the Rule of Cool. It also makes an impressive show for the viewer.

Not to be confused with Gun Stripping, where the character has plenty of time to take apart the firearm.

See also: Guns Are Worthless, Blasting It out of Their Hands, and Quick Draw. Might involve Not with the Safety on, You Won't.


Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Film]]
  • Played for laughs in You Don't Mess with the Zohan, where the lead character takes apart a goon's assault rifle ridiculously fast.
  • In Lethal Weapon 4, Jet Li's character escapes a Mexican Standoff this way.
  • In Five Card Stud some gold miners are concerned that there's a killer loose and the marshal can't or won't do anything about it, so they march towards the marshal's office, one of them carrying a shotgun, intent on taking the law into their own hands. One of the marshal's deputies accosts them, takes the shotgun, and empties it of shells.
  • Parodied in Wayne's World when Garth grabs Russell's flashlight out of his hand and immediately opens it and removes the batteries.
  • In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne disarms two French police officers and ends up holding one of their sidearms. He dismantles it in about half a second and runs away.
  • In The Dark Knight, when Bruce's penthouse is attacked by the Joker's men, he disables an unsuspecting mook and immediately disassembles his shotgun whilst making speed to intercept Harvey and get him to safety.
  • In Rush Hour, when Detective Lee comes to the consulate and beats up the FBI agents guarding the front door, he takes one of their guns and disassembles it, apologizes, and finds another way in.
  • In Short Circuit, a villain pulls a gun on the Johnny 5, who takes it out of his hand and destroys it.
    Johnny 5: Colt .45. Semi-automatic.
    [crushes the gun]
    Johnny 5: Play-doh.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, a mook attempts to shoot Holmes with a revolver at point-blank range. Holmes grabs the revolver out of the mook's hand, empties the chamber of bullets with one motion, and then hands the gun back to the mook.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
  • In Feet of Clay, Dorfl does this when he goes to the slaughterhouse for payback after being given free will and someone attacks him with a hammer.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Hagrid is banging on the door of the shack in which the Dursleys are trying to hide from the Hogwarts letters, Vernon comes downstairs with a shotgun. After Hagrid breaks down the door, Vernon threatens him with it, and Hagrid yanks the gun out of his hands, ties the barrel in a knot and tosses it in the corner.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • Eliot Spencer from Leverage can do this and does it on a regular basis. Justified because he's one of the world's best fighters and he doesn't like guns.
  • In Lost, Kate does it with instruction from Sayid in the second episode, right after Sawyer shoots the polar bear. Later we learn she didn't necessarily need it.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, Khan grabs a Kirk's phaser out of his hands and bends it in half.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • In Gargoyles, the Goliath does this to Elisa in the pilot episode, snatching her gun from behind and crushing it to scrap.
[[/folder]]


Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • January 10, 2012
    KTera
  • January 10, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Five Card Stud some gold miners are concerened that there's a killer loose and the marshall can't or won't do anything about it, so they march towards the marshall's office, one of them carrying a shotgun, intent on taking the law into their own hands. One of the marshall's deputies accosts them, takes the shotgun, and empties it of shells. The miner says, "as soon as you give that back to me I'll just reload and continue on my way." So the deputy holds the gun by the barrel and slams it into a convenient hard surface, breaking it into pieces.
  • January 10, 2012
    kyleykh
    I think where the deputy empties the shotgun of shells counts but destroying it by smashing the gun doesn't. It's more like where the character disassembles the weapon instead of plain smashing it to bits. Thanks for helping though. I'll edit the OP.
  • January 10, 2012
    Westrim
    Happens in the second episode of Lost, right after Sawyer shoots the polar bear. The fourth Mission Impossible movie has Ethan Hunt remove the slide from the pistol of an attacker while he's holding it.
  • January 10, 2012
    nman

    (could someone double check that? I saw it last week, but I might be confusing this scene with one of the other scenes)
  • January 10, 2012
    kyleykh
    Is it the same instance as in the comment above? Because you might have the characters confused if it is.
  • January 11, 2012
    Desertopa
    Jet Li's character escapes a Mexican Standoff this way in Lethal Weapon 4
  • January 11, 2012
    Hadashi
    I'd be interested to see if this is actually possible. From what I've seen of guns there are catches and things to prevent the slide from just shooting off the gun....
  • January 11, 2012
    kyleykh
    It's not meant to have real life examples. That's why I mentioned the Willing Suspension Of Disbelief in the article.

    The trope illustrates the skill and badassery of the character because he knows which parts he has to remove in order to take the gun apart.

    I don't know much about guns but in this case simply quickly removing the clip/magazine as well as emptying the chamber also counts, so I guess it wouldn't be impossible for some one to do it if they wanted to, though I imagine protocols for law enforcement agencies is just to disarm the gunman and kick the weapon aside instead of disassembling it.

    Thanks for your support.
  • January 11, 2012
    FalconPain
    Parodied in Waynes World when Garth grabs Russell's flashlight out of his hand and immediately opens it and removes the batteries.
  • January 11, 2012
    kyleykh
    Thanks for the example. I'll add it in.

    Also, I'm kind of new to this, so does anyone know what else I should add to the article? I know I need an image for the article at least.
  • January 11, 2012
    Gitman
    @Hadashi: it is possible, albeit easier with some kinds of weapons than with others, and you have to know what you're doing. example:

    • In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne disarms two French police officers and ends up holding one of their sidearms. He dismantles it in about half a second and runs away.
  • January 11, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Does it have to involve guns? If not, the Harry Potter series has the wizarding world equivalent of this in the "expelliamus" spell.
  • January 11, 2012
    Desertopa
    "Expelliarmus" disarms, but does not destroy the target's wand. It's more like a magical equivalent of Blasting It Out Of Their Hands.
  • January 11, 2012
    kyleykh
    Desertopa is right.

    The definition of the trope would be 'physically taking someone's gun from his hands and disassembling it in some way right then and there, whether it is stripping it right down to the trigger or just pulling out the clip and ejecting the bullet in the chamber.' Smashing the gun to pieces does not count. The gun has to be dismantled just like Gun Stripping, only faster.

    A valid Harry Potter example would be if someone literally took someone's wand and snapped it in two, since wands can't be disassembled. Or if someone cast a spell that plucks the wand out of the other guy's hand, splits it in two and removes the core from it.

    Should I put the definition up somewhere? Should I broaden the definition to include all weapons instead of just guns? I welcome your input.
  • January 12, 2012
    ArtyMorty
    not sure if this is an example:
    • the pilot of The Flash had a biker gang that threatened the city and the Flash stops one of them who transports some chemicals and disassembles the entire bike in just a few seconds ( link ).
  • January 12, 2012
    kyleykh
    Close enough I guess.
  • January 13, 2012
    Generality
    • In The Dark Knight, when Bruce's penthouse is attacked by the Joker's men, he disables an unsuspecting mook and immediately disassembles his shotgun whilst making speed to intercept Harvey and get him to safety.
  • January 14, 2012
    kyleykh
    I think there are a healthy number of examples here. Can this be launched?
  • January 14, 2012
    TBTabby
    In Feet of Clay, Dorfl does this when he goes to the slaughterhouse for payback after being given free will and someone attacks him with a hammer.
  • January 14, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Might not matter but FWIW in the Five Card Stud example, after the deputy finishes busting up the shotgun he gives what's left of it (the barrel) back to the miner who he took it from.
  • January 14, 2012
    robbulldog
    Rush Hour, when Detective Lee comes to the consulate and beats up the FBI agents guarding the front door, he takes one of their guns and disassembles it, apologizes, and finds another way in.
  • January 14, 2012
    kyleykh
    Could somebody please clarify as to who pulled the gun and who took it apart in the Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol example?
  • January 17, 2012
    kyleykh
    There's a healthy number of examples here. What else do I need to launch? Or is it already launchable?
  • January 18, 2012
    blueflame724
    Medaka Box: Male protagonist Zenkichi is a unarmed fighter who hates weapons. Yet he is capable of not only knocking guns out of hands, but disarming them
  • January 18, 2012
    Westrim
    Launch recommendations are here
  • January 20, 2012
    kyleykh
    It looks okay from my end. Anyone have anything else to add?
  • January 20, 2012
    Ninjat126
    Artemis Fowl: Juliet saved the lives of most of the main cast by taking apart a hitman's gun while he's Distracted By The Sexy (or is he trying to show how he's Not Distracted By The Sexy? I forget).
  • February 18, 2012
    Westrim
    bump
  • March 7, 2012
    Westrim
    bump
  • March 9, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    In D&D Nightwalkers have it as a standard ability. Very annoying as the weapons capable of hurting them tend to be rather expensive.
  • March 9, 2012
    NightNymph
    These examples may not fit entirely because both characters here are not opposed to guns and use them on a reguar basis. So much so, that they usually carry one tucked into the back of their jeans.

    • Subverted in the episode "Everybody Loves A Clown" of Supernatural. Upon feeling a rifle at his back and hearing it cocked to prove it is indeed a rifle (and that the character Jo is not "just happy to see him"), Dean tells her "when putting a rifle on someone, you shouldn't put it right against their back, because it makes it real easy to do... that" as he disarms her and ejects the shot. Unfortunately he doesn't have time to do anything else before Jo punches him in the nose and takes the rifle back. Doubly subverted when Dean calls for brother Sam's help and it is shown that his brother probably suffered a similarly embarassing fate at the hands of Jo's mother, Ellen, and her handgun.

    • Subverted (somewhat) in Supernatural again in the episode "Sin City." Sam is jumped by what he believes are demons and a scuffle ensues. A gun is subsequently held to his head, but Sam is able to grab the gun and disarm the attacker (arguably badass). He then sprinkles the attackers with holy water to be sure, but learns they are not demons. Embarassed, Sam sheepishly empties all the bullets into one hand and flicks the gun back closed with the other and puts it down on a desk for them, taking the bullets with him as he apologizes and skulks away quickly before the cops are called.
  • March 21, 2012
    Westrim
    bumpage
  • February 3, 2013
    Westrim
    Hmm. This looks nearly ready to go, though I think the intro needs less restrictions on the character and more focus on the action. I'll try editing it later.
  • February 10, 2013
    Catbert
    I think you need to make this broader and less focused on the idea of someone not liking guns. Also, there really is no reason it should just be about stripping the gun apart piece by piece.

    For example:

    • In Film.Short Circuit, when a villain pulls a gun on the Johnny 5, the robot take it out of the villian's hand and proceed to destroy it.
    Johnny 5: Colt .45. Semi-automatic.
    [crushes the gun]
    Johnny 5: Play-doh.

  • February 10, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows, a mook attempts to shoot Holmes with a revolver at point-blank range. Holmes grabs the revolver out of the mook's hand, empties the chamber of bullets with one motion, and then politely hands the gun back to the mook.
  • February 28, 2013
    Westrim
    Finally cleaned up the intro and added the new examples.
  • March 16, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    I fixed the example formatting, which was messed up.

    I think Disarm And Destroy would be a slightly better name.

    Why doesn't it count if the gun gets grabbed and then smashed or otherwise broken? I agree with Catbert, if somebody grabs a gun and then wrecks it, that should still count.

    • In Western Animation/Gargoyles, the Goliath does this to Elisa in the pilot episode, snatching her gun from behind and crushing it to scrap.
  • March 16, 2013
    Westrim
    It does count, that text was already removed from the intro.
  • March 16, 2013
    Ryusui
  • March 16, 2013
    MokonaZero
    You can still use Bob and Alice in descriptions?
  • March 16, 2013
    ArcadesSabboth
    ^^ Ah, I misunderstood. (The Laconic still says "disassembling") You could clarify the description with this sentence:

    "Usually used to demonstrate the badassery of a given character as well as their knowledge of firearms"

    by adding "(if they actually disassemble it)" before the comma.
  • March 16, 2013
    StarSword
    You folks were looking for a valid Harry Potter example earlier. Here it is:

    Literature:
    • In Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone, when Hagrid is banging on the door of the shack in which the Dursleys are trying to hide from the Hogwarts letters, Vernon comes downstairs with a shotgun. After Hagrid breaks down the door, Vernon threatens him with it, and Hagrid yanks the gun out of his hands, ties the barrel in a knot and tosses it in the corner.
  • March 18, 2013
    Westrim
    ^^^ We can't any more?

    ^^ No worries. I took your idea and modified it a bit.

    I also modified the title.
  • March 19, 2013
    MrRuano
    Metal Gear Awesome has Snake take Meryl's gun, turn it into a balloon animal, then eat it in front of her. Doesn't turn out to be the smartest solution when they then get surrounded by guards.
  • May 5, 2013
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: In "Island of Doom", Reidak snatches one of Lewa Nuva's Air Katanas and breaks it in half.
  • May 5, 2013
    Boston
    In the Marvel GI Joe comic book series, the Soft Master disassembles the handgun of a young hoodlum trying to hold up his store, ejecting the ammunition cartridge and the round in the chamber. (GI Joe: A Real American Hero, issue #26.)

    There's also a related trope of someone sabotaging a weapon by removing the firing pin without its owner's knowledge, so as to gain an advantage later. (this shows up in GI Joe a lot!)
  • May 6, 2013
    randomsurfer
    On The Adventures Of Superman after the villain got done Shooting Superman, Superman would often grab the barrel and twist it into a curve so it's unusable.
  • May 6, 2013
    Chabal2
    Artemis Fowl: Julia removes an important part of a mooks gun as he brandishes it, making it only possibly useful as a hammer.
  • August 27, 2013
    kyleykh
    Hi, thanks for launching this. That said, I have a few concerns with the definition.

    The original idea is that the gun has to be snatched and disassembled, emphasis on disassembling the weapon in one way, as it shows how skilled the character doing it is with firearms. The trope namer for Disarm and Destroy, as it was originally called, was Batman's move from Batman: Arkham City.

    Anyone can snatch a weapon and smash it, which is completely different from the original idea, and includes far more examples than the one from the original concept for the trope.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=tsnd9u9rbpn33vhy9zyojy3c&trope=DisarmDisassembleDestroy