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->''"Isn't that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight."''
-->-- '''Malone''', ''Film/TheUntouchables''

Both a StockPhrase and a staple of the [[ActionAdventureTropes action genre]]. A character comes into the scene armed with what he thinks is sufficient, only to find out he is severely outclassed weapon-wise, because he brought the entirely wrong ''type'' of weapon (usually the superior weapon is revealed after the first person has committed to a fight). Could lead to a CurbStompBattle (which would make it a PreMortemOneLiner, or maybe a BondOneLiner if uttered after), or the character running for his life.

Literally taken, this phrase is also a popular way to point out that in the Future where ranged weapons are ubiquitous, people still prefer to do old-fashioned {{Sword Fight}}s (e.g. [[Franchise/StarWars lightsabers]]).

Elmer Keith is the TropeNamer... he was a gunwriter and Idaho cowpuncher, and the phrase is sometimes called "Keith's First Law".

SubTrope to CombatPragmatist.

'''Subversions and aversions are a different trope: NeverBringAKnifeToAFistFight, NeverBringAGunToAKnifeFight.'''


* Parodied in a Geico ad series which compares switching to Geico to various stock phrases asked as rhetorical questions. In this particular sketch, "Is the pen mightier than the sword?", a ninja brandishes his sword. The camera changes to a guy signing for a package with a pen. He opens the package and removes a taser, which takes the ninja out instantly.
* One character in the ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2'' "Surprise!" ad fires off some missiles from his fighter plane, then quips: "Guess who brought a jet to a gunfight?" Bonus points: that's Creator/RobertDowneyJr.

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', Hansel comes after Balalaika alone in a wide-open plaza, armed only with a pair of axes. [[spoiler: Balalaika is likely carrying a concealed pistol, but deals with the crazy kid to lethal effect by means of the sniper team she's set up some distance away.]]
* During the "Fifth Moon" episode of the ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' anime, Rai-Dei the Blade pits his katana against Vash the Stampede's guns. He turns the tables by first launching the blade off its hilt, then by fitting the hilt back onto the empty scabbard and using the whole thing as a rifle.
* In ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'', Gentle Chapman, the pilot of the John Bull Gundam, ended up winning three Gundam Fights with his British Gundam, because he ended up shooting Gundams in the head, putting them out of the Gundam Fight. If it wasn't for Master Asia kicking his ass in the 12th Gundam Fight, things would have turned nasty.
* Occurs in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' when, through sheer coincidence, several men in black, a guy in a white tuxedo, and Nick all try to hold up the same train car at the exact same time. The men in black have machine guns. The guy wearing white is DualWielding pistols. Nick has a knife.
-->'''Nick:''' ... Uh, sorry for the confusion.
* Happens several times in ''Anime/{{Noir}}'':
** First, the Belladonna Lily Woman is performing a MissionImpossibleCableDrop to take Mireille by surprise armed with a knife. She actually gets close enough to be almost within striking distance, but then a stray bit of light from a nearby gunfight reflects off the blade and alerts Mireille to her presence, giving her the chance to shoot the woman dead first.
** During the final episode the showdown between [[spoiler:Chloe and Mireille]], with the former having the latter dead to rights, ends when Kirika shoots the knife away before it can make lethal contact. Bonus points for it being a much smaller knife than the first time she pulled this stunt in a previous episode.
* In ''Anime/BayonettaBloodyFate'' the titular witch attempts to fight off her rival's, Jeanne's, fours guns on her hands and feet with her demonic katana, and gets her ass handed to her. It's not until Rodin shows up with her own freshly-repaired and upgraded set of four guns that Bayonetta is able to turn the tables.
* In the ''Anime/TheBigO'' episode "The Greatest Villain", Beck has built a CombiningMecha megadeus and challenges Roger Smith's Big O. He starts the fight by showing off some fancy maneuvers with a giant boomerang-like weapon. Roger has the Big O shoot him with its ArmCannon, instantly winning the fight.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Blackhawk}}'' does this ''[[CantBatheWithoutAWeapon in a tub]]'', in homage to the ''Film/TheUntouchables'' line.
* Almost a running gag in "Marvel What-The...", when they pair Wolverine (his claws should count equal to a knife) and Punisher for a fight again.
-->'''Wolveream:''' It's no fair, he's got a gun!
** In the second round, The Pulverizer has only a knife too...BLOOEY BLOOEY BLOOEY!
-->'''Wolveream:''' Just my luck, he has a [[IncrediblyLamePun Blooey Knife!]]
* In the end of ''[[ComicBook/TheMultiversity Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1]]'', ComicBook/LadyShiva is facing off against the Blackhawk Squadron, with them having pistols, and her having a SinisterScimitar. [[spoiler:They shoot her dead in a hail of gunfire while she is gloating about how she is going to kill them all.]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFic/ForgedInFire'' has Brutus Bones say this exactly, after shooting a knife-wielding antagonist.
* ''Fanfic/HigherLearning'': Invoked in the prologue to chapter 48:
-->''Lesson 48: [Bring a bat to a fist fight. Bring a knife to a bat fight. Bring a gun to a knife fight. Run the hell away from a gun fight.]''
* Occurs in ''FanFic/TheShockerLegit'':
-->I draw out my father's blue switchblade, and flick it open.\\
She pulls out her ''katana''.\\
I feel a little stupid.
* This is a theme repeated in a number of variations throughout the works of Creator/EyrieProductionsUnlimited.
** It initially appears as "Overstreet's First Law of Tactics", from contributor Kris "Redneck" Overstreet's story ''The Quagmire Project'':
--->Take a stick to a fistfight.\\
Take a knife to a stickfight.\\
Take a gun to a knifefight.\\
Stay out of a gunfight.
** Again, in ''Symphony of the Sword'':
---> '''Percy "Techie" Mui:''' (to his son) To paraphrase Admiral Overstreet, bring a knife to a fistfight, a gun to a knife fight, grenades to a gunfight -- oh, hell, if you know where it's going to be beforehand, mine the area. If all else fails, there's your friend, the air strike.
** Then, "Gryphon's Expansion of Overstreet's Law of Tactics":
--->Take a stick to a fistfight.\\
Take a knife to a stickfight.\\
Take a gun to a knifefight.\\
Take a 'Mech to a gunfight.\\
Bring a lance to a 'Mech fight.
*** Followed by "Matrix Dragon's Expansion of Gryphon's Expansion":
---->If all else fails, bomb the planet.
*** And finally, "Julzz' Commentary":
---->And if all else fails, bring your friendly neighbourhood God.
* Inverted, yes ''inverted'' in ''FanFic/WhiteDevilOfTheMoon''.[[spoiler: Hayate's forte is leveling city districts. Not so handy in one-on-one in close quarters combat. That was why Beryl quickly subdued her and stole the Jewel Seeds to revive Metallia.]] This is actually canon, as [[spoiler:Hayate points out that Caro, a C-rank mage who's the weakest of the forwards in close combat, could potentially defeat her in single combat]].
* In ''Fanfic/ThePrayerWarriors'', [[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Annabeth]] and her opponent in the coliseum fight with clubs until the opponent kills her with a knife. Suddenly, the main character's wife, Mary, shows up and shoots the opponent dead with a gun before proceeding to do the same with John Lennon.
* In ''Fanfic/{{Housemates}}'', during ''Brother's Keeper'', a guard tells this to Loki--[[spoiler:right before being stabbed in the neck.]]
---->'''Guard''': You know what they say about bringing a knife to a gunfight--
---->'''Loki''': [[spoiler:(Yanking the knife out of his neck]] No, I don't. You'll have to tell me sometime.

* ''Film/OnceUponATimeInChina'' has this with kung-fu and rifles. Master 'Iron Robe' Yim is gunned down by American troops during his pursue of Wong Fey Hung. His last words are to Wong, who rushes to his aid: "Kung fu cannot beat bullets."
* ''Film/ElDorado''. A young James Caan plays a character named Mississippi who, in search of vengeance for his old mentor, has killed two men by throwing a knife before they can draw their guns and succeeds in killing the last man involved by doing the same before cutting out his heart. Of course John had to save his life an instant later when the trope is played straight as the friend of the murderer is now aware of the knife and preemptively draws his gun.
* ''Film/TheUntouchables'', as noted in the page quote. Partly a subversion, since [[spoiler:the knife guy was just there to lure the shotgun-carrying Malone into Frank Nitti's tommy-gun ambush]]. Earlier, Jimmy Malone tells Eliot Ness: "If he pulls a knife, you pull a gun."
** The fact that Creator/SeanConnery would go on to play Franchise/IndianaJones' father in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'' (see below) makes it HilariousInHindsight.
* In the Disney adaptation of ''Three Musketeers'', the musketeers are charging a ship of sailors. When one of the sailors demonstrates his martial arts abilities to Oliver Platt, Platt mimics him briefly before simply shooting him in the chest.
* In the ''Film/TheThreeMusketeers2011'', D'Artagnan learns this early in the movie, courtesy of Rochefort. Although in this case, he brought a sword and lots of attitude to a gunfight.
* Happens in ''Film/BarbWire'' when a thug tries to attack Barb with a knife, but she shoots him with her pistol.
* In ''Hoffa'', Danny [=DeVito=] pulls out a knife he uses for defense. Hoffa's goons pull out guns. After he joins with Hoffa's crew, one of Hoffa's cronies tells him, "Give me the knife. You wanna go around, go like a white man. Get a gun."
* ''Franchise/IndianaJones'' does this several times. For example...
** In ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', the famous scene where Indy shoots the swordsman. As the story goes, there was to be an extended sword fight, but Harrison Ford (playing Indy) was sick with dysentery, and suggested that he just shoot the swordsman. They decided to go with it.
*** ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom'' has a ShoutOut to this scene in which Indy is confronted by ''two'' swordsmen. He reaches for his gun...[[OhCrap only to find an empty holster]], as he'd forgotten that his pistol was confiscated earlier in the movie.
** In ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull'', Indy warns Mutt about the dangers of bringing a knife to a gunfight (as he takes out his knife, but the Russians have pistols).
--->"Nice try, kid, but I think you just brought a knife... to a gunfight."
* Near the end of Thai martial arts movie ''Film/{{Chocolate}}'', a group of high ranking thugs grab katanas and rush at the Yakuza father of the protagonist. He promptly shoots the first one down, though the rest close in and it turns into a sword fight.
* As much as it is a love letter to the katana, ''Film/KillBill'' follows this rule. Nearly any time the Bride's Katana is pitted against a gun, the gun wins, such as when the Bride charges into Budd's trailer, he is able to subdue her with a shotgun. And when she invades Bill's home, she's got a pistol out as her primary weapon rather than the sword slung on her back.
* Parodied in ''Film/ThirtyMinutesOrLess'' with "You just brought a gun to a bomb fight, officer!"
* The final scene of ''Film/TheWarriors'' has Swan, knife in hand, facing down Luther and his gun. Weirdly enough, Luther shoots, but Swan dodges and ''nobody else gets harmed''. Nobody else, that is, except for Luther, who takes a knife to his gun hand.
* ''Film/WarHorse'' has a scene in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI where the British cavalry appears to have caught the German encampment flatfooted, only to find that the Germans were prepared with a hidden defensive line of machine guns to mow them down. As a German officer says afterward, "Did you think we'd have a camp on open ground without it being defended?"
* In the BBC adaptation of ''Literature/TheHistoryOfTomJonesAFoundling'' (simply titled ''Tom Jones''), when Lord Fellamar's attempted rape of Sophia is interrupted by her father, he turns his sword on the older man, assuring him that his class and education have well prepared him for anything the squire can dish out. Squire Western pulls out a pistol and promptly shoots out one of Fellamar's knees.
* In ''Bodyguards and Assassins'', the final assassin, a deadly HeroKiller martial artist, is killed by the NonActionGuy with a pistol.
* In ''Film/{{Super}}'', Rainn Wilson plays a rather deluded NonPoweredCostumedHero whose WeaponOfChoice is a {{wrench|whack}}. At one point he sneaks into the BigBad's compound, only to discover that the drug dealer's henchmen are all armed with handguns -- and they [[PaperThinDisguise recognise him immediately]], mask or no mask.
* In ''Film/WeWereSoldiers'' a young North Vietnamese soldier charges from behind Colonel Hal Moore intending to kill him with a bayonet. At the last moment Moore turns around and shoots the North Vietnamese soldier with a pistol, who lands dead at his feet.
* Subverted in the finale of ''Film/WhosThatGirl'' where the embezzling father of the protagonist's fiancée is actually able to disarm two cops using a ''fencing foil''. (Yeah, it makes very little sense, but neither does most of the rest of the movie.)
* In ''Film/ThePunisher2004'', the titular character's car is rammed at a railway crossing by an assassin sent by the BigBad. He crawls out of it and brandishes a knife, only for the assassin to quote this trope and pull a gun. In a subversion, it turns out to be a ballistic knife, and the spring-launched blade hits the assassin in the throat. To be fair, though, he had no reason to expect such a weapon, as they're illegal in the US.
* ''Series/BestSeller''. A hitman stabs a witness in the middle of the sweatshop gunfight, so he doesn't have his pistol in his hand (it's still tucked in his belt) when he runs into Cleve.
* Used for RealityEnsues in ''Film/JackReacher''. Before the final battle with the villains, Reacher calls for help from 'Gunny' Cash, the CoolOldGuy he met earlier who runs a gun range. Gunny turns up with a SniperRifle, only to hand Reacher a K-Bar knife, explaining that he's not going to entrust a rifle he owns to a stranger to help him kill a bunch of other strangers. As this means Reacher has to wait till the villains (one of whom is a master sniper) shoot at him first (to prove self defense), he's not happy. Then during the subsequent shootout, Reacher drops the knife and has to resort to using a rock against a man shooting at him with an assault rifle.
* In ''Film/TheNightOfTheHunter'', Powell spends most of the movie as an almost inhumanly menacing force, with the threat of the switchblade in his pocket always present. In the film's climax, though, he has to face an old lady who happens to own a shotgun, and is twice sent running.
* In ''Seven'' (a 1979 action film, not the [[Flm/{{Se7en}} similarly named 1995 serial killer movie]]), on of the MagnificentSevenSamurai emerges from a mobster's office where he has just killed the mobster in a prolonged martial arts battle. The mobster's katana-wielding bodyguard draws his sword and goes to attack, only to be shot by the hero with a gun he had been carrying all through the early fight.
* Inverted in ''Film/{{Utu}}''. Te Wheke tosses the preacher a loaded gun, knowing full well that his victim would hesitate to use it. This gives Te Wheke enough time to decapitate the minister with an axe.
-->"Would I give you a loaded gun? Of course I would!"
* ''Film/TheRunningJumpingAndStandingStillFilm'': Parodied in one of the SurrealHumor gags that make up this odd short film. Two men are facing off in a duel. One has a rifle, and the judge gives the other a knife. They march off, turn at the signal in dueling style, and fire--shooting the judge. And the second man's knife somehow goes off like a gun. He stares at his smoking knife in astonishment.

* In Germany, the topmost quote is told (of course only by people who love racist jokes) as punchline involving Turks and Russians, but of course, YMMV (your minority may vary).

* The ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'' example above was also in the book... albeit ''very'' different. In boot camp, a raw recruit is complaining about learning how to use knives when the Mobile Infantry have awesome weapons and the Navy has nuclear weapons. The sergeant then... carefully and thoroughly explains the purpose. The Navy is a hammer, the MI are a scalpel, intended to be walking death with anything and everything, but very, very precise.
* From ''[[Literature/TheEschatonSeries The Iron Sunrise]]'' by Creator/CharlesStross we have, "Never bring a tazer to an artillery duel"
* Played straight several times over the course of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', mostly by supernatural forces. Most non-humans, and even some magical humans, eschew guns in favor of claws, swords, or other melee weaponry, or specifically think to counter someone's magic ability when they do consider long-range combat, neglecting to consider firearms. At least one very powerful practitioner thought she had Harry dead to rights after disarming him of his staff and blasting rod, only to learn a little too late that they should have taken his gun too.
** Also, Kincaid remarked to Harry that, if he wanted to kill Harry, he would use a high powered sniper rifle from a long distance away, neatly avoiding any Death Curse.
* In Creator/DavidWeber's ''Literature/OutOfTheDark'', the Shongairi come off as {{Insufficiently Advanced Alien}}s because their entire war doctrine revolves around conquering pre-industrial races. Guess what happens when troops trained and equipped to curb-stomp natives with pointy sticks comes up against modern military hardware?
* Hiro Protagonist's weapon-of-choice in ''Literature/SnowCrash'' is a katana. At one point, Hiro's use of the katana actually leads to a standoff when he's able to find cover that the gun-wielding mooks he's fighting with can't shoot through, but they're all too far away for him to attack. He actually taunts his adversaries that they can take as long as they like because "Katanas don't run out of bullets."
* In Creator/MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm The January Dancer]]'', the owners of the ammunition factory try to avert this by burning it down and then parting for opposite sides of the civil war. This means that when an outside force intervenes, bringing a gun to the knife fight, she tramples all resistance.
* Creator/NealStephenson’s ''Literature/{{Cryptonomicon}}'': [[UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan Some soldier]] interviews Bobby Shaftoe:
-->'''Reagan''': What advice do you have for any young Marines on their way to Guadalcanal?
-->The memories are still as fresh as last night’s eleventh nightmare: ten plucky Nips in ''suicide charge!''
-->'''Shaftoe''': Just kill the one with the sword first.
-->'''Reagan''': Ahh. ''Smarrrt''—you target them because they are the officers, right?
-->'''Shaftoe''': No, fuckhead! You kill ’em because they’ve got fucking swords! You ever had anyone running at you waving a ''fucking'' sword?
* ''Literature/TheReynardCycle'': In this case, never bring massed cavalry to an artillery fight. (It happens ''twice'' in the series.)
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' kindly reminds you not to bring an army (or three) to a dragon-fight. Or, build the continent's most impressive, land-assault-proof castle and hole up in it when facing flame-throwing, aerial attacks. Conversely, it's recommended that you don't bring a dragon to the environmental dream of guerilla warriors everywhere consisting of expansive deserts and mountains. Also, don't expect a normal fight when facing armies of the self-recruiting undead. You are also further advised to keep General Winter in mind when holding a war in The North, as forgetting to pack decent cloaks, coats, snowshoes and/or a trusty mule-train able to use and/or carry them all, rather than warhorses which can't, is somewhat embarrassing. Also, "don't bring a combustible navy to a wildfire fight". These are just some of the big ones: many a handy tip for smaller encounters can also be found. Like "don't wear heavy armour in your enemy's running fight", "don't bring weapons-bling you don't know how to use against a professional killer and their practiced longsword/greatsword", "don't start a BattleOfWits when you're not one youself" and other such gems.
* ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'' features a hefty LampshadeHanging in the second book, in which the BigBad thinks he's about to sword fight the titular skeleton, only for Skulduggery to pull out a gun.
--> '''BigBad''': Only a heathen brings a gun to a sword fight.
--> '''Skuldugger''': Only a moron brings a sword to a gunfight.
* In ''Literature/ThePrinceOfThorns'' Jorg challenges someone to a duel, runs away, snatches a guard's crossbow, and shoots him with it.
** In ''King of Thorns'' he spends every day for years practicing his swordplay, because he intends to challenge a renowned swordsman to a duel, and given his reputation he needs the guy to think he means it or he'd never accept the challenge. Then he invokes IAmNotLeftHanded and switches his sword to the other hand, [[spoiler: which is another misdirect; he needs his right hand for the scavenged gun]].
* ''Literature/TheBlackIce'': Corvo the DEA guy tells Bosch a story in which Corvo was jumped by a Mexican {{Mook}} who slashed Corvo across the face with a knife before Corvo shot him to death. Bosch is not impressed.
--> "Corvo had found a way to make killing a man who brought a knife to a gunfight sound heroic."

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Chuck}}'', Chuck and Sarah are attacked by three henchmen. One of them pulls out a knife, but [[spoiler:they are saved by Chuck's mom, who shoots them dead]].
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Harren the Black (the founder of Harrenhal) should have known better than to spend decades building the world's largest castle when his neighbors had ''dragons''.
** Pyat Pree though he could keep Daenerys and her dragons chained up for eternity. Bad idea.
* In an adaptation of ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' starring Creator/PatrickStewart and set in the 1930s, Young Siward charges Macbeth with a knife, only for Macbeth to draw a pistol and shoot him.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{JAG}}'' an ambitious lieutenant sneaks aboard an enemy ship. His request for a firearm was denied, so he only has a pipe on hand. He meets Col. Mackenzie who asks him, "Who brings a pipe to a gunfight?"
** In the pilot episode, the squadron commander uses the knife and gun as a metaphor for the weapons systems on his F-18 versus the one on the bad guy's plane; the bad guys using a knife (gun cannon) to his gun (sidewinder missile).
* In ''Series/RedDwarf'' Lister and a simulant go to "parley". The simulant pulls out a knife. Lister pulls out a pipe. The simulant pulls out a gun.
--> '''Lister:''' I didn't think of that.
* In the ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' episode "Burned," a man accused of setting his wife on fire pulls out a butcher knife during a standoff with several cops. When he starts to lunge toward them, Benson shoots him in the chest - using plastic bullets to bring him down without killing him.
* [=McKay=] in ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' is cornered by the Genii into finding the location of all the pieces of a device to reveal a Zero-Point Module. Upon finding it on a wall-sized map, he asks for a knife, which the Genii are reluctant to give.
--> '''[=McKay=]:''' You all have ''guns.'' Someone give me a knife.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' played this straight in an early episode where Carter gets roped into what she thinks is a ritualistic hand-to-hand fight, until her opponent pulls out a huge sword. She equips her combat knife and manages to kick the guy's butt anyway.
* [[JustForFun/TropesExaminedByTheMythbusters Examined]] on ''Series/MythBusters'' (Ep. 188, aired June 10 2012) in two ways, one with a guy throwing a knife, and one with a guy charging with the knife. They found that while a moderately-trained knife thrower could throw one before getting hit by the shooter, the shot is quicker and the shooter can dodge the knife; on the other hand, they found that charging from a distance of 16 feet, you could stab someone shooting at you without getting hit. Long story short: Busted. But just barely.
* Stated on ''Series/TeenWolf'' by Chris Argent as "Never bring claws to a gunfight." The fight ends with Boyd getting shot.
* Parodied in a sketch from ''Series/InLivingColor'' where the street gang from the musical ''WestSideStory'' runs into a modern urban street gang. The leader of the ''West Side Story'' gang pulls a switchblade, and the leader of the modern urban street gang responds by pulling a handgun and shooting a member of the ''West Side Story'' gang. Naturally, this causes the ''West Side Story'' gang to beat a hasty retreat.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest''
** In "Allegiance", Reese's opponent realizes that he can't beat him hand-to-hand, so he pulls out a knife. Reese promptly draws his gun and kneecaps him.
** Lampshaded in "A More Perfect Union". Reese says they're going to have to start kicking serious ass whereupon Root (who's [[MasterOfDisguise disguised as a caterer]]), produces a kitchen knife and says, "Silly me. I brought a knife to a gunfight." Being Root, it suffices.
* Parodied on ''Series/{{Psych}}'' where the "weapons" are just what the two men are holding before they start their WimpFight.
-->'''Shawn:''': That's your problem, Gus. You brought a funeral program to a knife fight.
* In ''Franchise/ArrowVerse''
** One episode of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': has the League of Assassins sends a group to attack the Arrow, Canary, and Quentin Lance. One of the assassins mocks Quentin for using a gun, calling them a coward's weapon, since the League uses more traditional weaponry like bladed weapons and bows. Little does he know that Quentin was packing a spare gun and shoots the EliteMook point blank just as he was about to get killed.
* In the season 4 Flash-Arrow crossover, "[[Recap/TheFlash2014S2E8LegendsOfToday Legends of Today]]", Oliver shoots an arrow on the ground, to which Damien Darkh mocks Team Arrow for bringing "arrows to a gun fight", only for Oliver to ask "what guns?". The arrow he shot then magnetically pulls all of the guns the mooks are holding, leaving them unarmed.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''.
** Two skinwalkers are facing off in "All Dogs Go To Heaven". One shapeshifts into his canine form, but the other just draws a revolver with {{silver bullet}}s and shoots him. "Did you think this was going to be a dog fight?"
** In "Hunteri Heroici", the VillainOfTheWeek has used a RealityWarper to create ToonPhysics. When Dean tries to shoot the man, his .45 pistol turns into a BangFlagGun. The villain then mocks him for "bringing a gun to a gag fight".
* In ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' episode "Gun Fever Too: Still Hot'', Mac tries to demonstrate how to kill a school shooter with a katana by awkwardly moving leaning sideways as he runs forward. Charlie proceeds to repeatedly demonstrate with an unloaded revolver that all the shooter has to do is to aim slightly to the side, citing Indiana Jones as an example.

* It doesn't get much blunter than "Gunfight" by Sick Puppies:
-->Don't bring a knife to a gunfight - you'll lose!

* In Act III of Tchaikovsky's 1884 opera, ''Mazeppa'' (or ''Mazepa''), a very dark opera, anti-hero Mazeppa has managed to accidentally destroy everything Andrei cares about, including driving the woman he loves to insanity, killing her father, and destroying the thriving manor house we saw in Act I. Andrei challenges Mazeppa to a duel, and, when he tries to refuse, runs at him with a sabre. [[http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/history/stories/synopsis.aspx?customid=131 Mazeppa shoots him.]] That makes this one OlderThanRadio.
* In one production of ''Theatre/DonGiovanni'', at the end of the first act Don Giovanni, confronted by his pursuers, draws his sword -- only to find that Don Ottavio brought a pistol. Giovanni decides it's a good time to be elsewhere.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'', one of the possible bosses is "Championchik", a DumbMuscle Olympic boxing champion turned ''bratva'' who only uses his fists. Gunning him down is the easy way to win, and Mike will say a variation of the line if you go this route.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreed series'':
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedI'': you're likely to get your arse kicked trying to punch out armed enemies unless it's one-on-one as Altair can't disarm them.
** Ezio's hidden gun lets him shoot up melee-armed mooks with ease.
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'': The sword-wielding Officers and Jagers ''will'' cut Connor up if he tries to punch them while they're still armed. It's an automatic counter too. Fortunately, it works to your benefit too; Jagers and Grenadiers/Highlanders that would easily counter Connor to death if going weapon-to-weapon are much easier targets once Connor's the only one with a weapon.
** During Cross's final confrontation with Desmond, despite just going through dozens of Abstergo {{Mook}}s armed with batons and guns with nothing but hidden blades (although Desmond can pick up guns and use them), the cutscene has Desmond dive for cover as soon as Cross shows up and starts firing his gun. Cross then walks slowly to Desmond's cover while mocking the Assassins' tendency to stick to their traditional weapons instead of "upgrading". In fact, Desmond would most likely be dead had Cross not suddenly had a bad case of the "bleeding effect" and started spouting in Russian of his long-dead ancestor.
* ''[[VideoGame/Fallout4 Fallout 4]]'s'' New Survival mode invokes this trope. Since enemies and the player alike have been morphed into massive GlassCannons, the use of melee/unarmed weapons is nigh-impossible in this mode. Taken UpToEleven in that due to how the disease system works, even ''animals'', which are normally limited to melee combat, ''still'' discourage the player from fighting up-close and personal.
* In the [=TurboGraphix-16=] game ''Bloody Wolf'', there's a sub-boss on the fifth level who uses a knife, who you have to fight with your own knife despite carrying a machine gun. You encounter him again in level eight, when you can simply shoot him, causing him to go down in one hit.
* In ''{{Civilization}}'', civs with military technology an entire era behind yours will sometimes declare war on you and be easily destroyed. Of course, there are also aversions where Spearman Beats Tank.
* In ''VideoGame/DestroyAllHumans'', a cop will randomly say, in thought, "What would Eliot Ness do? Never carry a knife to a gunfight? No, that's not it..."
* Gilgamesh plays with this in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII2''. He enters the fight with an arsenal of rocket launchers and handguns to fight the main heroes, who use a sword and a bow-sword. However, as a SpiritedCompetitor he finds that using the guns isn't giving him a satisfying battle, so he tosses them away during the fight and grabs an arsenal of various swords instead.
* ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''. No matter how many guns the player has when invading Madd Dogg's mansion for the first time, he ends up with just a knife. The player is not even allowed to pick up dropped weapons until half way through. A much later mission ends with a helicopter crash leaving the water-treading protagonist outside of the ship he has to infiltrate. All his weapons (sob) are at the bottom of the drink except his knife. However, here, a quick swim to shore and knowledge of respawning weapon locations makes the ship much easier to overcome.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'': Garrus mentions this trope by name when fighting Cerberus Phantoms, finding the whole concept silly. As Garrus is a sniper, the amusement is justifiable. But God help you if they get into melee range...(then DLC gave ''us'' sword-wielding characters to use in multiplayer).
* Portrayed rather realistically in ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' with the bayonet specialists. The player can gun them down easily enough (although they're fast and move/roll around erratically), but if they ''do'' manage to get within arm's reach, they'll probably win, particularly on higher difficulties.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', you get an achievement for the Spy by fatally knifing another Spy who has his gun out.
** The Scout plays this straight with his domination line "Don't bring a wrench to a gun fight."
* Everywhere in ''VideoGame/TimeCommando''. Any weapon, even a dinky dagger, is almost always preferable to unarmed combat. Certainly, your enemies will not hold back.
* In one possible ending of ''VisualNovel/YoJinBo'', the main characters -- who are mostly samurai and armed with swords -- are attacked by ninja with guns. The heroes die very quickly.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''[[WebAnimation/ASDFMovie asdfmovie4]]'': "Banana fight!" "NO!" BoomHeadshot!

* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20101011 here]], with extra SteamPunk goodness:
-->'''Zola:''' "Bringing a knife to a gun fight doesn't seem very smart, now does it?""
-->'''Agatha:''' "Well, I suppose it isn't that much worse than bringing a gun to a clank fight."
** And again, [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20110713 a while later]], Agatha's opponent chides her for bringing a wrench to a knife fight.
* A mugger finds himself on the wrong end of this trope in [[http://wapsisquare.com/comic/02242005/ this]] ''Webcomic/WapsiSquare'' strip.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' had it [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2002-09-12 given as a tip]] and once had a mobster who realized that he had brought a [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2010-07-30 prybar to a gunfight.]]
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'': In "Dangerous Days Ahead", Torg tries to justify his taking his CoolSword (before he learnt to use it properly, mind you) to a gunfight by applying [[Film/ANewHope Obi-Wan Kenobi's comment about lightsabers]] being more elegant than firearms to swords. He shortly runs back out for a gun.
* ''Webcomic/BugMartini'' plays with it [[http://www.bugmartini.com/comic/its-up-for-stabs/ here]], bringing "stupid to a knife fight".

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets''. In Entry #50, we see that Jay starts to carry a pocket-knife with him whenever he goes somewhere with Alex in case he tries to pull anything. In Entry #52, we discover that it doesn't actually help as [[spoiler: Alex had a gun the whole time and attempted to kill Jay with it]].
* Discussed by Movie Bob with regards to the ''Film/{{Oldboy|2013}}'' remake. A criminal gang in South Korea should carry assorted improvised hand weapons. Guns are hard to get for street criminals there. Anyone trying to take on an American gang with a hammer should have run into this trope headlong, especially in the Southern USA, where guns are plentiful, legal, and cheap. The fact that Spike Jonze decided to just recreate the hammer scene and thus ruin suspension of disbelief showed Jonze was failing to make the material his own rather and was instead just making a beat-for-beat dull remake. Averting this trope meant the movie was being lazy.
* [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/08/08/the-line-it-is-drawn-201-comic-book-crossover-battles/ Crossover Battles.]] "That's what happens when you bring a sword, sais, nunchucks, and a big stick to a gun fight!" You can already guess who got stomped by [[Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Rocket Raccoon...]]
* PlayedWith in ''[[{{WebOriginal/Takotsubo}} Takotsubo: The story of a superhero.]]'' In the prologue, Cord Cai and his fiance Roland Fujii are getting carjacked by Harry Lamont... but Cord and Roland are ''[[MuggingTheMonster former gangsters.]]'' Roland laughs in Lamont's face, refuses to give up his car, and basically taunts Lamont into shooting. After he ''does'' get shot, he cuts Lamont and scares him into running away. Lamont might have killed Roland, but he was clearly outclassed and he failed his actual goal of taking their car. Later on, the devastated Cord tracks Lamont down and [[BestServedCold shoots him execution-style.]] As noted below, having a gun doesn't mean anything if you're not prepared to ''actually shoot someone.''

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Creator/BruceLee said this about martial arts against guns, but the idea is still the same.
* Averted by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Churchill Jack Churchill ]], who wielded a claymore into combat... in WWII.
* This may be inverted in RealLife if the knife-user is skilled and/or the gun-user isn't. Opinions differ on the details, but at very close ranges the one with the knife has a lot of advantages, which is compounded by the fact that outside of the police/military, people often massively overestimate their own ability to use a gun effectively.
** All things being equal, guns are better at distance of 10 m or more. At 3 m or less, the knifeman really may win. Between 3 and 10 m, everything depends on the gunman's skills (or rather lack of them). Most people are able to shoot only one shot at the time a running man can cover that distance, and if it misses, the knifeman has the edge. People not trained on handguns are likely to miss against a moving target, even at short distances. This is consistent with the results of the ''Series/MythBusters'' experiment above, where a gun-wielding Adam Savage had the advantage over a knife-wielding Jamie Hyneman at 20 feet (~6 meters), but not at 16 feet (~5 meters).
** What many people, including above, miss about the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tueller_Drill Tueller Drill]] was used to quantify when trained police with a gun should use a firearm against a person with a knife. The drill assumes that a physically fit person with a knife suddenly charges a trained shooter with a holstered handgun. It established an ''average'' distance of 21 feet for where the knife-user got to the gun user before being cut down. Somewhat later on, people added the notion of the knife "winning," which is wrong. A shooter is a lethal threat from maximum range down to 0.0m. The gunman can shoot an assailant at ''any'' range, including point-blank, with closer shots being more debilitating due to the greater bullet penetration and better shot placement. The "21-foot rule" is about disabling the assailant ''without getting injured''. It is very unlikely that a stab wound, even one that causes an injury that later proves fatal, will incapacitate a shooter and stop them from emptying the magazine into their attacker. The conclusion is that at about 21', with a lot of variability, a typical trained individual with a handgun in a hip holster who is suddenly charged by a physically fit knife-wielding assailant across open ground is at serious risk of being wounded before they can use their handgun to take out the attacker. Change ''any'' of the above - the gun, the terrain, the distance, the fitness level, the training level of those involved, how the gun is carried, anything - and the outcomes change, though insights gleaned from the drill still hold.
*** For example, the Tueller Drill assumes a holstered handgun worn at the hip. It takes longer to draw from a concealed holster, extending the distance the knife-wielder closes before being shot. A drawn firearm considerably shortens the time the knife-wielder has to move, and a weapon at a ready position (such as those taken by trained soldiers and law enforcement) can be brought to fire in a fraction of a second.
*** Again, a point about the Tueller Drill: the shooter at point blank is still likely to kill the knife-wielder after being stabbed. Being gunned down to wound someone or inflict a MutualKill is not synonymous with "winning" or "having an advantage."
*** One has somewhat better odds with slightly larger melee weapons; being hacked with a sword or axe or smashed with a club ''does'' tend to interfere with return fire, though certainly not enough to make it a sure thing or even a particularly good idea.
*** The Tueller drill also assumes the knife wielder has their knife ready already, and the gunman is unaware of the attack until the charge begins. If the knife must be drawn, the gun's advantages improve.
*** The Tueller drill also assumes the gunman is just shooting and not using any close combat gun techniques, such as drawing with one hand while using the other hand to parry, or falling on their butt, using their legs to keep the attacker at bay, and shooting up at near point blank range. Notice Jamie and Adam never experimented with the gunman doing anything other than shooting. They replicated the Tueller Drill - not the real world.
*** Finally, remember that someone suffering YouAreAlreadyDead due to a gunshot is not necessarily out of the fight. They may be mortally wounded, but have a short period of time before unconsciousness, disability, or death. It is entirely possible for the knife-wielder to die from their gunshot wounds after they have stabbed the shooter.
** Also, close combat weapons have situational advantages, such taking out an unaware sentry silently. These situational advantages, their role as tools, and occasional desperation when a gun goes down or ammo is spent are the reasons why modern soldiers bring weapons like knives, entrenching tools, and hatchets, but make no mistake, the firearm is the primary weapon. See Tueller Drill, above.
** It can also depend on the firearm. Urban combat specialists use extremely short barreled weapons for this reason. Trying to maneuver around with a full-size rifle inside of a building full of obstacles can be very difficult.
*** Similarly, more primitive firearms (of the kind that existed a few hundred years ago) tended to be very inaccurate and took a long time to reload, making them much less effective in close quarters than modern firearms; if your first shot missed, you probably wouldn't be able to get a second one.
*** Also, not counting pro-gun places like USA getting a gun is difficult and expensive (including the constant need of bullets) . On the other hand, a knife can legally be bought without any kind of monitoring. Thus making a knife a more reliable weapon and justifying the invention of waraxes as the farmers already had those.
*** Most places but a limit to the blade length of a legal knife (8-10cm) you can have. Exception is made to hunters and kitchen workers (chefs and cooks) but only if on job location, coming to job location or going home.
* After speaking to several WWII vets, the phrase they were always terrified to hear was "fix bayonets"
* Incredibly subverted in the Battle of Isbuscenskij, a minor skirmish during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII: an Italian cavalry regiment with a small artillery support (about 700 men, including officers) found itself surrounded by 2,500 Russians with dozens of machine guns and mortars, charged, and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome routed the surprised enemy, killing 150, wounding 300 and capturing 600 of them]].
* Near the end of WWI the American army entered the western European combat theatre, and with them they brought the Winchester M1897 shotgun. Featuring no trigger disconnect and 6 rounds, two shotgunners working in tandem could clear an entire trench in minutes what would take hours for rifleman. The shotgun, now nicknamed the "Trench Sweeper", was so effective that on September 19th 1918 the German government protested its use and called for its outlawing with those in possession of the shotgun (or even its ammunition) executed.[[note]]Mind you, the Germans had already been using Flamethrowers and Phosphene Gas for some time by then.[[/note]]
* {{Averted|Trope}} if your name is Jim Bowie. Bowie was present at a duel on a Louisiana sandbar in 1827 which devolved into a bloody skirmish. Bowie killed one man and wounded another with [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowie_knife a large knife which became famous for this incident]]. Depending on the account, he did this despite being shot twice or three times, as well as being impaled on a SwordCane.