"All you really need to know is that there is a gun that shoots shurikens and lightning. I wish I could make something like that up. It shoots shurikens and lightning! The only way it could be more awesome is if it had tits and was on fire."
We've seen plenty of guns in all kinds of media, so what's one way to make a gun different? Remove the bullets, lasers, and rockets, and replace with something... that isn't a bullet or laser or rocket. Or just make the bullet do something other than just rendering the target dead
. Perhaps there's some really strange Applied Phlebotinum
about, but we all know someone's really just trying to invoke the Rule of Cool
. All bets are off if a catapult comes into play.
Oh, and don't ask how they fit a kitten in a handgun. Just don't.
Compare Trick Arrow
, Impossibly Cool Weapon
, Improbable Weapon User
. Not to be confused with Depleted Phlebotinum Shells
. If the ammo really stings, see Bee Bee Gun
. If the ammo is feline, it's Cat-apult
. If the projectiles breaks up into smaller rounds, that's Recursive Ammo
. If it's foodstuffs that's being shot, then it's Edible Ammunition
. If it's plant matter or other small objects, head over to Bullet Seed
. If it's smaller versions of itself, that's Weaponized Offspring
This trope is Truth in Television
in that just about everything has been used as a weapon at least once. What keeps abnormal ammo from becoming normal ammo is that real versions are most often Cool, but Inefficient
or Awesome but Impractical
Related tropes include Ballistic Bone
and Natural Weapons
. For teammates literally throwing other teammates (or unusual objects), see Fastball Special
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- Final Fantasy: Unlimited character Kaze is a summoner, who uses a device called a Magun and a magical substance called Soil which is effectively the life energy of people who have died to summon monsters. His gun essentially fires summons.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! has Magitek bullets able to alter space-time at the point of impact. They were used to send people three hours into the future, but it's implied they can also displace the target to a nearby location. Negi used magic blast guns and strip laser beams.
- X-Laws in Shaman King have guns that fire regular bullets that are used as mediums to summon their angel spirits. Humongous Mecha ghost angels, no less.
- Outlaw Star had 'Caster Shells' — magic in a bullet. Special mention goes to Number 4 shells, which fire miniature black holes. Their effect on Gene's unfortunate enemies produces some of the more frightening scenes of the series. What they do to Gene when firing them isn't exactly pretty either.
- In The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, Haruhi subconsciously modified model guns into firing pressurized water balls with unimaginably explosive firepower. Dual squirt guns turned dual mini water-grenade launchers/pistols.
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure—
- Mista has six little creatures for his Stand. He uses ordinary bullets, but the six creatures (named "1", "2", "3", "5", "6" and "7") can fly and deviate the trajectories of bullets (with kicks), making it possible to Mista to hit targets beyond a corner, to say one. At least one time some of them ride a bullet to reach the target faster, although they never strike him on their own.
- Part 4 has Yoshikage Kira combining the power of his Killer Queen stand and Stray Cat's to create invisible shots of air that explode.
- Teana from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S has Cross Mirage, a pair of handguns that shoot magic. From the same franchise, there are Cartridges, which are condensed magic in what looks like a firearm shell, but these are not actually shot, just exploded to supercharge a Device.
- The Sonic Driver (Sonic Power Cannon in the dub) in Sonic X that fires the title character as its ammo counts here.
- Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
- An assassin used a unique weapon against her wealthy target: a shotgun, built into her forearm, that fired rolls of coins.
- In the episode "Testation", a rampant Spider Tank—which had dodged or neutralized everything else thrown at it—gets stopped by a gun that fires canisters of some kind of quick-hardening glue. Gumming up the tank's legs being the only means of stopping it, short of using weaponry too powerful for use in an urban area.
- Togusa used a tracer bullet loaded into his Mateba Autorevolver to tag a fleeing car.
- In Fist of the North Star, there is a technique in the Nanto martial arts that involves launching the practitioner out of a cannon while they hold a sword.
- One chimera ant in Hunter × Hunter used an airsoft sniper rifle to fire huge fleas (which somehow survived the brutal impact) to make the victims bleed to death due to their bites preventing coagulation.
- Macross 7's Nekki Basara pilots a robot that shoots speaker pods (Thoughtfully loaded with glue so the target won't be killed by cockpit depressurization) and sings to his aggressors, hoping to make them give up fighting. He also keeps in reserve a scaled up cannon larger than his own machine for use on battleships.
- One Piece:
- Mr. 5 loads his revolver with his BREATH. However, his devil fruit power let him make any part of his body explode, breath included. How he was able to tell where his breath bullet was after fired, we'll never know.
- Usopp uses pachinko balls for his slingshot Kabuto and whatever he could get his hands on prior to that (Rotten eggs, Tabasco balls, small rocks...). After the Time Skip, he uses Pop Greens, insta-growing plant seeds.
- In Zoids: Chaotic Century's finale, The Hero and his Humongous Mecha are fired out of a cannon of a truly massive Humongous Mecha at the Big Bad and his Humongous Mecha, giving a literal meaning to the term "Live Ammunition".
- Kai in Blood+ has a gun that fires delayed exploding bullets, with the last bullet of each magazine triggering the others to explode simultaneously. This is used to overcome the Chiropterans' substantial Healing Factor. It can still only slow them down.
- Soul Eater has Death the Kid and his twin guns, the Thompson Sisters, who can fire condensed bursts of Kid's own soul at enemies.
- Kurohime takes this trope outside to shoot it in the head.... with a DRAGON!
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!:
- Reborn is an adorable baby mafioso who has a gun that, if shot in the head by it, you die. And then come back to life, in your underwear, for five minutes, with the ability to complete your life's ambition. If you complete said ambition, you get to continue living. If not, you perish. Again.
- Xanxus and Gokudera also have guns that fire Dying Will Flames (although Gokudera's is more of an Arm Cannon). Xanxus uses his own Flames of Wrath as ammo, while Gokudera loads his gun with dynamite.
- Mic Sounders the 13th can fire a GaoFighGar with Goldion Hammer. BEST. AMMO. EVER.
- Tegami Bachi has Letter Bees (postmen with special training to fight enormous monsters) tote around a special kind of gun that shoots a fragment of their 'Heart', something equivalent to their life force in this series. They're important because Letter Bees drag letters around a dark, miserable world where 70% of the land is crawling with giant almost-invincible monsters in order to do their jobs...
- YuYu Hakusho:
- The main character Yusuke Urameshi and his Rei/Spirit Gun.
- The character Sniper has the ability to embed his spirit energy into any object and fire it with the velocity of a bullet, generally making said objects much stronger in the process. Ammunition used includes: pencil erasers, dice, marbles, blades of grass, rocks, an absurd amount of knives, and A GODDAMN TRUCK. However, when he's done screwing around he just opts for a gun. The gun had a particular function: the truck was loaded with fuel (why Yusuke had not destroyed it yet), and the bullet blew it up in Yusuke's face.
- In Hellsing
- Tsurara Shirayuki from Rosario + Vampire uses ice bullets to snipe people. They melt, leaving no evidence.
- Canti's gun in FLCL uses... Naota himself as ammo, albeit rolled into a flying, glowing red ball.
- Et Cetera is about a girl with a gun that shoots the essence of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac. The gun is powered by rubbing the barrel against any item that is made from the animal represented in the zodiac — including a bikini made from Tiger skin.
- In Digimon, the Garbagemon wield bazookas that fire faeces at their targets.
- In Bleach, Ishida's fight with Cirucci Sanderwicci finishes when he fires an arrow made of a chainsaw lightsaber.
- Coyote Starrk's guns fire ceros.
- Riruka's gun fires miniaturized objects that enlarge in midair.
- A gun wielding quincy fires bullets of reishi that look like the quincy cross and can set fire to people.
- Perhaps as compensation for only ever being issued six bullets, Daisuke in Heat Guy J is usually provided with one devastatingly explosive "Red Cap" round.
- During the "Tower of Hell" chapter of Eyeshield 21, Hiruma uses bullets that are actually pellets full of desiccant powder, designed to make the ice being carried by the candidates for a spot on the Devil Bats melt faster.
- Late in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Chibodee and George are facing off against one of the Devil Gundam's Four Kings when they start running low on their respective ammo (Gundam Maxter's revolver bullets and Gundam Rose's Attack Drones). They decide to pull off a Death or Glory Attack, George running interference while Chibodee uses the last Attack Drone as a bullet and aims for their opponent's cockpit.
- Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons features Blackjack's super gun "Trottenheimer's Folly" which fires what are called "Silver Bullets" that are made of Moonstone, Asteroids/Sky Iron/Star Bones, and Radioactive Magical Mutation Goo.
- Just An Unorthodox Thief has Assassin's multitude of gags and gimmicks extends to the ammo for his Walther. Exploding bullets are practically a Real Life example, but he also uses Glue bullets to trap enemies in place.
- Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami gives Matsuda a "police gun" that fires police cars. Yes, you read right. Whole police cars.
- The Pez Dispenser And The Reign Of Terror has the titular object, which mainly runs off of PEZ candies (which can be set to a power level anywhere from "peashooter" to "Hiroshima Bomb").
Films — Animated
- The Incredibles: Syndrome's lair on Nomanisan Island utilizes sentry guns that fire sticky inflating balloon rounds to nonlethally stop any erstwhile superheroic intruders. According to some of the commentaries, that was the only kind of weapon they could think of that would conceivably stop Mr. Incredible without killing him and/or destroying the base (it may have also been lightly based on real nonlethal weapon concepts currently in development). These have also been interpreted—probably incorrectly—as a Shout-Out to another balloon-like weapon used to keep people captive on an island: the Rover from The Prisoner.
- Despicable Me seems to revel in this trope.
- "Piranha gun! Oh yeah!" The impracticality of this one is lampshaded in a scene where, after firing the gun, Vector tries to fit the piranha back into the weapon so he can fire it again, and fails miserably.
- The Squid Launcher, which also works as a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
- On Gru's side, the Fart Gun, although that one was by mistake since he really wanted a dart gun.
: I was
wondering, under what circumstances would we use this...
- The second film gives us the "jelly guns" which, as the name implies, fire foul-tasting jam that contains an antidote to the PX-41 serum, returning all Gru's minions back to normal when hit. The fart gun also makes an appearance as well.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), the hero wields a triple-bladed sword with blades that can be launched at enemies like rockets. Video
- In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie Valiant's toon gun fires bullets... semi-intelligent cartoon bullets that can talk, chase down criminals, and apparently return to their case independently. One even carries a large tomahawk. Unfortunately, almost all of them (save the one with the tomahawk) were too stupid to figure out which way the bad guy went. In the English version, they're known simply as "Dum-Dums". In the Italian dub, they are called "mezze cartucce", an Italian phrase used to say "idiots", but with the literal meaning of "half cartridges".
- The Matrix Revolutions features a giant, full auto, deconstructor robot gun.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail
- The evil French fling several things at the English knights. Including a cow and the large wooden rabbit the English constructed in an attempt to "Trojan horse" their way inside.
- Hot Shots! Part Deux:
- Topper runs out of arrows after missing about 15 times due to his oblivious target just happening to bend over, take a side-step, etc, at exactly the right time. So Topper fires a chicken at him instead.
- The same movie also features a gun that bops someone on the head with a hammer from close range, and another that springs out a punching fist.
- When a certain character finds herself weaponless, she finds a box of ammo. So what does she do? She grabs a handful of bullets and throws them at the bad guys, taking them all out.
- One of the weapons featured in the Mind Screw movie eXistenZ is a bone gun that fires human teeth—using chunks of jawbone as cartridges.
- In the kid's gangster movie Bugsy Malone, all the gangs were developing machine guns that threw cream pies.
- The battle between the "Black Pearl" and the "Interceptor" in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl occurred after a chase in which the crew of the Interceptor, desperate for more speed, threw almost everything they had overboard ... including most of the cannon shot. They were reduced to loading up, in the words of Will Turner, "anything! Everything! Anything we have left!", including cutlery, into the cannons as makeshift ammunition. This is Truth in Television, to a degree. Scrap metal and chains were often used as anti-personnel cannon loads, and indeed, had they not been fighting undead pirates it might have worked. Using an undead monkey as ammo carries slightly less verisimilitude.
- In G.I. Joe: Retaliation - its trailer, no less - we are treated to a motorcycle that is made of ROCKETS. Which are immediately fired into a building after said bike is ramped into the air and its rider leaps to safety.
- xXx gives Vin Diesel a modified revolver that shoots interchangeable rounds, ranging from knockout capsules complete with fake blood to some kind of surveillance bug. This actually backfires on him late in the film; because he's got the gun loaded with non-standard rounds, he ends up pointlessly firing a radio transmitter bullet when he's trying to retaliate against the mooks armed with good old-fashioned machine guns. He then switches to an explosive bullet for a better distraction.
- In Young Guns II, Billy The Kid kills a sheriff with a shotgun filled with eighteen dimes (nine in each barrel) used as slugs. "Best dollar-eighty I ever spent!" This particular event is inspired by something the real Billy the Kid did once when cornered without normal ammo.
- Similarly to the above, in The Crow Eric Draven blows up Gideon's pawnshop by spilling gasoline all through it and firing a blast from a shotgun he'd stuffed with dozens of pawned/stolen rings (although it did have a normal charge in it as well).
- District 9: The "pig cannon." According to the director, there actually are random pig carcasses lying around South African slums, so the Powered Armor using one as ammo for its gravity gun isn't so weird. Actually... it is pretty weird, but Rule of Cool applies.
- In Kill Bill Vol 2, Budd proactively cancels The Bride's attack on him by knocking her on her back with a blast of rock salt to the chest from a double-barreled shotgun. This is a real-world option for less-lethal fire, but mostly at close range.
- In Resident Evil: Afterlife, Alice kills zombies with a shotgun that fires quarters.
- In The Return of the King, in the battle for Minas Tirith the trebuchets in Minas Tirith hurl broken-off chunks of the city's buildings, a metre or more across, at the attacking Orcs.
- The Blade Trilogy explored this in all 3 installments of the franchise. "Daylight flare" bullets that expose vampires to a momentary deadly flash are especially prominent.
- Somehow even vampires and werewolves can fight with guns in Underworld - as the vampires use silver bullets (later filled with liquid silver nitrate due to the werewolves pulling them out too quickly), while the werewolves load their guns with bullets that contain an irradiated fluid—irradiated with ultraviolet light.
- The Smurfs make use of golf balls, bowling balls, needle-laden fruit, and lipstick when forced to fight Gargamel near the end of the film.
- In Tomorrow Never Dies, the villain has buzzsaw torpedoes which can not only cut through the hulls of other ships, but can be guided through said ships and travel upward if necessary.
- In Conan the Barbarian (1982), Thulsa Doom uses a snake as an arrow. Apparently he heard of a "bow and arrow" and thought it meant "bow and adder", or perhaps boa and arrow.
- One of the most famous examples of this trope in an otherwise forgettable movie, Most Wanted introduced the concept of a bullet made of ice, the idea being that the round would melt in the target and be completely untraceable. It led to a slew of people asking if such a thing was even possible, until the Mythbusters proved otherwise. This even gets lampshaded by the protagonist. "Ice bullets? What's next, Tooty-Fruity flavor?"
- In Hellboy the titular character's revolver shoots at least two oddball rounds: one drips a glowing fluid from the wound to make a monster easier to follow, the other is a clear canister containing holy water and bits of silver, wolfsbane, white oak, garlic, and other substances hated by supernatural beings.
- An early 1980's film Runaway featured a gun which fired small heat-seeking missiles at a speed slightly slower than an athletic man can run. Presumably its designer believed in giving targets a sporting chance.
- One of the weapons that Max uses is a modified AKM that uses airbursting explosive ammunition, each round as powerful as modern-day 40mm grenades. This literally makes this weapon into an full automatic fire capable grenade launcher.
- There's also the remote-triggered explosive shotgun slug, which packed enough explosive power to disable a ship engine. And then we have Kruger's explosive shuriken.
- In The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, the Bear Gun is mentioned at the very end. It shoots bears. Read that again. Tiny bears are used as the ammunition, which expand at some point after leaving the barrel. On the same page as the Bear Gun is the "Coffin Torpedo", which is based off a real life device to prevent desecration of one's coffin. However, instead of powder and shot, this coffin torpedo is implied to employ a nuclear device.
- In Logans Run, the Sandman cops carry The Gun, which is a 6-shot revolver where each round is different. Among its payloads are a regular bullet, an expanding net, and a heat-seeking bullet. Oddly enough, they don't seem to carry backup rounds...
- The Prince Roger series has "bead rifles", which use mass driver technology to propel glass beads at hypersonic speeds. The energy release at impact is very destructive. Glass beads are cheap, easy to make, extremely hard, and tend to shatter on impact so you don't need to worry about over-penetration. A mass driver will presumably let you fire them without breaking. Even more exotic is tightly coiled net made of monomolecular filaments that expand upon firing. They make mincemeat out of unarmored targets.
- Examples from China Miéville's works:
- In Un Lun Dun, Deeba acquires the UnGun, which fires larger amounts of whatever you put in it. It, among other things, fires hair and ants. This is WAY more badass than it sounds and then it fires nothing...uh, well, more like "unfires," acting like a vacuum to suck up the Smog.
- The Bas-Lag Cycle has a race of cactus-people (known as the cactacae). While they can be punctured by bullets, crossbow bolts, arrows and the like, their complete lack of internal organs makes such weapons next-to-useless. They're also enormous, extremely strong, and covered with spines, which makes close-range weapons like blades or clubs viable, but an extremely risky and inadvisable option for most people. A sort of crossbow called a rivebow was invented to get around this problem. It fires huge whirling chakris that can sever the heads and limbs of humans and cactacae alike, but the rivebow itself is so heavy and unwieldy that usually only other cactacae carry them.
- The evil Delta Force soldiers of Dan Brown's Deception Point carry guns that can make ammo from nearly anything you jam in the barrel, from ice to sand.
- The Martians in Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles use a gun that shoots live bees, the idea being that the moral responsibility for the actual killing is laid on the head of the living projectile, and the gun-wielder's role is mitigated to that of an accomplice. Proves every bit as effective as earthly firearms. Bizarrely enough, this is a subtrope in its own right.
- Jack Vance's The Demon Princes series puts in the hands of its protagonist a device that fires "slivers of explosive glass" and either another device or the same device with different loadings/settings, which discharges very fine needles that cause intense and prolonged itching.
- Soledad in Those Who Walk in Darkness goes so far as to design her own ammo for fighting Mutants, with an average of one Achilles' Heel exploited per ammo type. A few of the many examples include phosphorus bullets to fight pyrokinetics, bullets coated with contact poison for foes that are Nigh Invulnerable, homing bullets for use against enemies with Super Speed, and exploding bullets for virtually anything.
- In the Discworld books, Detritus the Troll uses a converted siege crossbow loaded with a bundle of regular crossbow bolts. The firing speed is high enough that the ammo generally shatters and then bursts into flame (or vice-versa) ending up in a supersonic flaming ball of wooden shards, which is why it's called 'the Piecemaker'.
- John Dickson Carr's novel The Plague Court Murders involved a murder where the victim was shot by a bullet carved from rock salt that dissolved in his body, leaving no trace.
- In The Lord of the Rings, the forces of Mordor used catapults to launch the severed heads of their defeated enemies over the walls of Minas Tirith, mostly for squick effect (see Real Life below).
- In Larry Niven's Known Space universe, agents of ARM generally use guns that shoot crystallized doses of fast acting sedative. How or why this is better than tranquilizer dart guns is unknown. Probably it's better because the ammo is smaller and lighter. A dart gun has to shoot not only the tranquilizer, but also the syringe that delivers it; a "mercy pistol" only has to shoot the tranquilizer itself.
- At least one Poul Anderson short story involved tranquilizer darts that, if they hit a wall or armor instead of flesh, would break open — and then the drug inside would instantly volatize into tranquilizer gas.
- Fred Saberhagen:
- In The Holmes-Dracula File, the Count made a point of congratulating Holmes for thinking to use wooden bullets. This one is a fairly common strain of Abnormal Ammo. It's the secret weapon used to tip the balance of power between warring vampire factions in the film Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat, while the vampire-hunter squad in the excellent TV series Ultraviolet use a high-tech, hardened-carbon variant.
- In another Saberhagen vampire book a contemporary police officer improvises a wooden projectile by sticking an ordinary wooden pencil into the barrel of his revolver.
- In Iain M. Banks's Against a Dark Background there's the Lazy Gun, which never destroys its target the same way twice, and seems to have a warped sense of humor.
- In Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo equips his underwater hunting parties with air-rifles that fire electrically-charged glass bullets.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, every ranged Yuuzhan Vong weapon fits this description, from the living ship that fired miniature black-holes to the sword/spear/staff/whip/snake that spat venom.
- The J.T. Edson short story "Some Knowledge of the Knife" was a murder mystery in which the assassination weapon was an oddly-balanced knife fired from a large-bore "wall gun".
- In James Kennedy's The Order of Odd-Fish the Apology Gun shoots... well, apologies. However, they can range from extremely sincere to lethally sarcastic.
- In Krabat, golden bullets are the only ones that can kill magic users. At one point, a golden button is used as a bullet.
- In Sharpe's Revenge, our hero is severely outnumbered (as usual) but does have a chest of gold coins, which he fires at the approaching enemy. This is not to kill them, but to get them scattering to pick the coins up so he can escape.
- In R. Austin Freeman's story "The Aluminium Dagger", the specially-made titular weapon was shot out of a Chassepot rifle to create one of the most far-fetched locked-room murder mysteries yet.
- In the Dark Future setting, explosive rounds are remarkably widespread in everything from pistols up. GenTech manufacture a special version of napalm that genetically bonds to skin on contact and continues to burn underwater and inside of people. They also make smart bullets, referred to in-universe as 'smugslugs,' that can track human heartbeats.
- In what may be the most lethal example of all, the Speaking Gun from the Nightside series fires words... specifically, the Words of God, inverted. Whatever God created, the Gun can unmake by speaking the Word of Creation that brought it into being, backwards.
- In The Chronicles of Amber, the only substance that can be used as a propellant for firearms in Amber is jeweller's rouge.
- Justified in the Felix Castor novels, where people are often up against the undead, and so make ammo with extra silver tippings, or from rosary beads or ground up bits of first communion photos.
- In the Star Carrier series H'rulka ships carry guns that fire what amounts to a miniature black hole at their targets. The weapon can easily one-shot smaller Confederation vessels at longer range than most of them can return fire from.
- 1066 and All That explains that one advantage of the Roundheads having perfectly round heads was that, "if any man lost his head in action, it could be used as a cannon-ball by the artillery (which was done at the Siege of Worcester)."
- In The Dresden Files, after seeing gun-for-hire Kincaid use Dragon's Breath shotgun rounds, Harry does a little research and finds that shotguns can shoot all kinds of interesting things. He settles on the Fireball * shell for himself.
- Mistings in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy inexplicably prefer to use their pseudo-magnetic powers to launch coins at enemies- and to achieve Not Quite Flight by firing them into the ground and pushing off to shoot themselves into the air. Possibly this gives them some aspect of inconspicuousness, as carrying a coinpouch is hardly suspicious. By the time of The Mistborn Adventures, society has rediscovered firearms and regular bullets are back in vogue.
- It's explained at one point that most Allomancers prefer coins because they're the most common metal thing of suitable size and weight to use for ammunition.
- The Goblins of the Labyrinth tie-in book, a collaboration between Terry Jones and Brian Froud, mentions a goblin tradition that the first shot of each battle should be harmless but unpleasant and shows a goblin clearly attempting to crap into a cannon barrel. It also has a kind of wine that requires the sharpened cork to be fired like a cannonball, leading to considerable casualties, especially since the wine itself is deadly poisonous.
- Spudgun in Bottom was named for his ability to fire potatoes out of a certain part of his anatomy.
Richie: Why do they call you Spudgun?
Spudgun: Give me a potato and I'll show you why.
Eddie: No-no, you don't want to see that Rich!
Richie: And why do they call you Hedgehog?
Dave Hedgehog: Give me a hedgehog and I'll show you why!
- The wormhole weapons in Farscape can shoot a) black holes that grow geometrically or b) wormholes that can then shoot chunks of plasma-hot star at a target. If you include the Peacekeeper Wars TV movie, you get to see both occur in the course of the series. While it isn't immediately obvious, what the wormhole weapon did was connect two points in space - a sun and an enemy ship. That's where the plasma came from and that's why it's so cumbersome to use.
- Parodied in X-Play in which auxiliary character "Johnny Extreme" proposes a video game idea that involves Rocket Launchers that shoot chainsaws that explode.
- The Mythbusters:
- They have made air cannons that have shot the following: conventional cannonballs, baseballs, chickens (frozen and thawed), straws and twigs, piano wire, Kevlar-wrapped steak, a net, styrofoam cups full of liquid, and a whole host of other strange items. There was also the section of sewer-type pipe they modified to shoot Buster, their much-abused crash test dummy, with a blast of high explosives. The ice, gelatin, and frozen meat bullets mentioned elsewhere in this trope were all tested and all were busted. They also modified a rifle to fire a penny—this time, it was potentially lethal.
- Also, inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean example, they loaded up a whole variety of odd ammo into a US Civil War era cannon to test their effectiveness. Examples included bottles of rum, wooden legs, silverware, steak knives, nails, lengths of chain, and cheese, with varying levels of effectiveness.
- Cigarette butts shoved into the barrel of a shotgun, which proved to be potentially lethal at close range. (Unsmoked cigarettes were less useful, and almost resulted in a false Busted.) Additionally, those were supermarket cigarettes; the myth in question involved a couple of hillbillies, so they probably smoked roll-your-owns—no lightweight filter, more mass, more impact force...you get the point.
- Or the Korean Hwacha. A salvo of arrows. Arrows propelled 500 yards by gunpowder rockets. That then exploded when they land.
- Or the bowling ball fired from a modified gas cylinder, using match heads as propellant.
- Soda. It started with styro cup with ice, cup with soda, soda and ice, slushy, and culminated w/Jamie's shoulder-mounted pop-gun.
- Not strictly ammo, but in a late 2009 episode, they built a cannon out of duct tape. That fired a five-pound iron ball several hundred feet. They've also built and tested both a wood cannon and a leather cannon.
- They have crafted cannonballs from ice. As opposed to the aforementioned ice bullet myth, where the bullets simply melted, they successfully fired these things out of a genuine cannon with enough force to blow off their target dummy's arm with a just a glancing hit.
- In the same episode they fired an intact ping-pong ball at Mach 1.4. The impact itself was not lethal, but the cannon left one hell of a pneumatic trauma injury.
- Finally, they created a hook cannon for a Batmobile high-speed turn myth.
- The Royal Canadian Air Farce segment "Chicken Cannon: Target of the Week". Originally a dig at pitiful mid-nineties Canadian military budgets, the cannon was used to fire upon pictures of whomever the show's writers thought were deserving of a little public humiliation. The traditional projectile of a rubber chicken was often supplemented with "custom" ammo suited to the situation at hand (e.g., sawdust for someone involved in the softwood lumber dispute, or Eggos for a politician who was perceived to waffle. And sometimes Jell-O for the hell of it—or, more accurately, because there's always room for Jell-O.)
- Note that the chicken cannon is an actual device (though it doesn't actually look like the one on the show), designed to launch chickens at airplane windows to test durability.
- On Supernatural, the Winchester brothers used shotguns loaded with rock salt for ghost-dispersal.
- Doctor Who:
- Shotguns loaded with rock-salt are used in "Image of the Fendahl". This happens to be Truth in Television, rock-salt is sometimes loaded into shotguns to cause pain but little damage.
- In this case, though, the ammo is used because the salt is a lethal poison to the Fendahleen. The Doctor also surmises that this fact is the source of the belief that salt is a powerful defense against black magic.
- In "Asylum of the Daleks", the Daleks fire the Doctor at the eponymous asylum from space, assuming a Person of Mass Destruction like him will inevitably wreck the facility once there.
- Get Smart. A KAOS assassin posing as a vampire used a gun that fires twin ice bullets, leaving the distinctive Vampire Bites Suck mark, but no evidence of any weapon.
- The final episode of J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai featured the heroes launching a rat out of a cannon. More appropriately, it was a missile that turned into a rat in midair.
- The A-Team once built a couple of cannons that shot cabbages at the bad guys. Yes, cabbages.
- While pursuing a bad guy, Brennan and Booth were stunned by the bomb the perp dropped. You know how bombs sometimes have nails and such attached to them to increase damage? This one had human teeth.
- In the episode "The Shot in the Dark", a stalker at the Jeffersonian shot Brennan in the chest. While she was recovering from the gunshot, the Squints were stymied at the lack of either a bullet or an exit wound. Hodgins considered the ice bullet theory, but recognized that ice bullets would vaporize in a conventional gun due to the heat of igniting gunpowder, and since ice is less dense than lead they wouldn't do that much damage anyway. He later suggested the theory that Brennan's would-be killer used a high-powered air-brush as his 'gun', and froze human blood inside a container of liquid nitrogen to produce the bullets; since blood plasma is denser than water, the frozen blood would make an effective bullet, and melt seemingly without a trace. The fact that Brennan at one point suffered complications from receiving the wrong bloodtype, although hospital records confirmed she received the correct type, also pointed to a blood bullet. Brennan was able to prove Hodgins' theory by undergoing exploratory surgery that allowed the doctors to retrieve traces of the blood bullet that nicked her ribs.
- Top Gear once used a gun that fired cars. The kind you drive. In the episode, they fired a selection of old cars into a quarry. At a colossal dartboard. Richard Hammond won. By crushing a caravan with a flying Volvo.
- Top Gear US had Adam create an anti-moron car (a 1990s Impala) armed with a variety of abnormal weaponry. Tanner tried tailgating (in a BMW, of course) him, only for Adam to fire the squid cannon, showering Tanner's car in hundreds of dead squid. The Impala was also kitted out with a series of paint guns.
- An episode of CSI had a killer make a bullet out of frozen ground beef.
- Wooden bullets appear in True Blood. Jason uses one to dispatch Stalker with a Crush Franklin.
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the TV Star," there is a CSI parody called Crime Lab: SF. When Monk, Sharona, Stottlemeyer and Disher walk into the dubbing studio to arrest star/executive producer Brad Terry for murder, he's in the middle of doing dubbing work for an episode in which a killer covers his tracks with bullets made of frozen blood.
- The 1982 BBC adaptation of Day of the Triffids included an anti-Triffid gun which fired little spinning sawblades at the Triffid's slender stems. It didn't see much use, perhaps because the writers realized it was "Day of the Triffids", not "Day of the Humans".
- In Engine Sentai Goonger a Monster of the Week manages to pull a Grand Theft Me on the team's Red Ranger; they manage to reclaim his body by loading his soul into the team's BFG and firing it (represented by an image of his head surrounded by flames) at his body, which forcibly ejects the monster.
- Jonathan Creek: In "The Letters of Septimus Noone", Ridley proposes a solution to the crime that involves the victim being shot with a crossbow bolt made of frozen blood. He's wrong, especially as his theory also involves the victim lying on the floor doing stretching exercises in her underwear when she was hot.
- In one Far Side strip, a burglar is confronted by a man with a gun that shoots Doberman Pinschers. Called, appropriately enough, the Dobie-O-Matic (the gun, not the ammo).
- The catapult in Medieval Madness fires bowling balls, cats, chickens, cows, and a skull.
- Plants vs. Zombies Pinball has the Melonpult, which shoots watermelons.
- Weapons that can be collected in Hook include eggs, tomatoes, and beehives.
- All the time in The Goon Show. For example, in "The MacReekie Rising of '74", the ammo includes porridge, Brown Windsor soup, and Sassenachs.
- Destroy The Godmodder has all sorts of examples. These range from a gun that fires radioactive golden snowballs to a revolver that fires cue balls.
- BattleTech is full of this trope, at both the personal and the mech scale. For starters, there's the Needle pistol, which uses solid blocks of plastic as ammo. It rips off bits of plastic and fires them as a horrifically effective anti-personnel bullet (utterly useless against body armor, though). There's also the Radium Rifle, a sniper rifle that fires radioactive bullets for when you'd rather assassinate someone slowly from radiation poisoning than from gunshot wounds. On the mech level side of equipment, there's all sorts of stuff: Inferno short-range missiles which use napalm-on-crack to roast the pilot alive in the cockpit and set off ammunition explosions from sheer heat, Thunder long-range-missiles which scatter mines over the target area. And those are some of the more normal examples. It gets really wild when you include things like Fluid Guns, which can spray a target with paint, oil, or acid, or the iNARC, which fires projectiles that magnetically stick to a mech and can cause such effects as acting as a homing beacon for allied missiles or a jammer that the screws up the target's sensors... Yeah, the game has a lot of options when it comes to ammo.
- Warhammer 40,000 has nothing but abnormal ammo:
- Guns that fire shells which explode after they're embedded into a target? Standard issue for the Space Marines.
- Guns that fire molecular-edged shuriken? Standard issue for the Eldar. Additionally, guns which fire nets made of Razor Floss. Also, guns that fire miniature black holes.
- Tyranids use biological guns which use muscle impulses to fire killer beetles, killer maggots, acid crystals, floating spores or exploding tumours.
- Orks use the same exploding ammunition as the Space Marines, but they also have guns that fire tiny goblins. Fired into you. Through Hell.
- Dark Eldar probably take the cake. Guns that fire screaming wires that make anyone they hit explode, guns that fire poisonous glass shards, guns that fire the captured souls of tortured psychics. It just goes on.
- The Necrons use guns that strip off your armour, flesh and organs layer by layer.
- Sternguard Veterans carry into battle special issue ammunition for their Bolters, hellfire bolts carrying mutagenic acid, Vengeance Rounds using "unstable flux core technology" to take out power armor users, and everything in between.
- Plague Marines have the shrunken heads of the victims of Papa Nurgle's Plague as a type of grenade. We assume it's the nausea effect that makes them so effective.
- One weapon from the Soul Drinkers books was a daemon bound into a gun that fired its own daemonic spawn at enemies.
- One option for the Khorne Lord of Skulls, the skullhurler, is a gun shaped like a big skull that shoots smaller skulls. As in, literal skulls. Why yes it is very aptly named.
- The Angry Marines fan fiction chapter gives us the following: Door Knob bombs, a Baneblade pistol (a pistol that fires the rounds of Baneblade super tanks), the heavily modified Predator Angrinator which fires Angry Marines, and the Land Raider launcher, a spaceship weapon which fires Land Raiders filled with Angry Marines at other spaceships. It's a measure of how crazy this setting is that one's first reaction on hearing about the Baneblade pistol is, "A pistol that fires Baneblades?"
- It says something about the setting's standards for ammo strangeness that frickin' laser beam spam is one of the less abnormal ammo types.
- The Doom Diver, a giant slingshot that launches Goblins, the halfling soup pot launcher and the Screaming Skull Catapult. Also the Hellcannon, which loads living beings as the ammunition, then fires their souls.
- At least one army featured in White Dwarf a few years back had a stone thrower rebuilt as a Squig Thrower. (A squig-firing cannon would later appear in the Storm of Chaos event thanks to a vocal fansite). Never let it be said that Orcs let the manifest insanity of an idea stop them from trying it anyway.
- Ogres don't tend to have a lot of anything (at least, not identical) This includes bullets and cannonballs. So they just make due with anything on hand; a few spoons, a fork or two, a rock, and that gnoblar on your shoulder. The Gnoblar Scraplauncher uses a similar mixture, and has the Killing Blow special rule to represent the chance of a random sword, looted off a battlefield, landing blade first.
- The spin-off game Blood Bowl has Throw Team Mate which allows larger players to throw small ones in place of the ball.
- Magic: The Gathering is loaded (no pun—okay, okay, pun intended) with cards that shoot or throw odd things. (Most of these cards are at least partly red, the color of chaos, bloodlust, randomness, and some kinds of madness.) Aside from the Hornet Cannon, there are:
- Dungeons & Dragons:".
- Probably any magic-rich setting has its share, but Netheril, being a Magitek sub-setting, featured the netherpelter (a telekinetic gun) with imprisoning, expansive (as in Enlarge), decay inducing, fireball, water jet lashing, and whirlwind (for grounding fliers) pellets as "standard" ammo, though it propelled mundane darts and pellets just as well.
- Spelljammer setting has an accelerator, magical breachloading cannon which sucks anything placed in the ammo cup and hurls it with enough exit speed to damage ships' hulls. Grabbing the cup in such a way that some fingers happen to be inside is not recommended. Any and all living "ammo" dies in process — even amorphous fungal mold or slime. Its way of power supply sucks, however.
- Perhaps the most disturbing ammunition in DND: arrows with screaming heads on them that distract spellcasters.
- Healing Arrows: These arrows are meant to be fired at your own side in combat, allowing them to keep fighting. They usually heal more than they do in damage. (They double as Depleted Phlebotinum Shells against the undead, thanks to Revive Kills Zombie.)
- A very old joke floating around D&D circles are paradox-tipped arrows. An enclosure holds a portable hole (literally a hole that you can carry around and store stuff in) in front of a small bag of holding (a bag that's bigger on the inside) and, upon impact, the hole is inserted into the bag which causes everything within a 10-foot-radius sphere from the bag to be displaced to another plane.
- In a flavor-text encounter from a Ravenloft supplement, an ally of the Weathermay-Foxgrove twins scores a glancing shot on an unidentified monster with an arrow tipped with multiple needles, each of a different substance. After the skirmish, the twins re-claim the arrow and check which needle is bloodied, thus learning the creature's Kryptonite Factor.
- In Exalted, Sidereal Exalted have a charm that lets them fire anything smaller than their arm as an arrow, including shouts - the latter is used as an odd communication technique. They also have a charm that transforms arrows into various things such as wheat, life-force, glass, and boulders.
- In the right combo, said charm could allow a Sidereal to fire a barrage of flaming squirrels, or something else even more ludicrous. The game rewards this.
- Then you're got the shoulder-mounted cannon that fires giant pearls covered in magical napalm.
- There's a weapon which fires solid gold bullets, and propels them towards their targets using the power of the tiny, tiny shrines inside the barrel.
- Shards of the Exalted Dream gives Sidereal Firearms the most abnormal ammo of all: nothing. They can kill you without needing to load their gun...or even to have a gun...with Holistic Bullet Methodology.
- Hol: Human Occupied Landfill had a flaming gerbil cannon.
- For both GURPS and Rifts, There are special rules for making items that use exotic ammo. There's a joke saying a baby wearing a lobster costume in a bucket could be a PC, a weapon, or ammo. Turns out, it's not a joke.
- Changeling The Dreaming encourages this kind of creativity when coming up with dream weapons. Still, it is pretty common to simply find a steam powered cannon firing burning coals from its own firebox.
- Airsoft guns firing cold iron B Bs are especially lethal.
- Scion has Knacks that let you pick up far more than you should, as well as Knacks that give you immense throwing ability. With Epic Strength 10, Strength 5, and the right knacks, you can throw anything in the world. The game notes that at a certain point (say, throwing the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan), damage becomes narrative rather than dice-based.
- In the Starship Troopers RPG, there are several weapons that do this, including grenades that can be filled with chemical agents and missile launchers that shoot rockets that unleash walls of fire.
- In the Mutant Chronicles universe, the Dark Legion uses things like small, rapidly-multiplying, flesh-eating maggots encased in bullet shells, or bullets treated with a highly infectious disease. The Nazgaroth heavy machinegun fires special bullets that each have a small rune branded onto them to increase their power. If a human soldier is hit with one of those, he will be influenced by the dark symmetry in one way or the other (if he survives).
- An image in the free Nobilis release "The Story Of Treasure" has a desperate fellow named Mercutio attempting to weaponise an Anchor (someone tied to him with mystical bonds) with a so-called "Sleeping-Beauty-a-Pult".
- In the Zombicide expansion Toxic City Mall, you can find the "Small Change" item, which means a lot of coins. They increase the damage dealt by a Sawed-Off Shotgun to 2. But after a Zombie Apocalypse, what else is money good for?
- Fate/stay night gives us Archer, a Servant of the same class who, despite his name, actually specializes in the creation of magical swords... which he shoots like arrows with his bow.
- Gilgamesh, another Archer class servant takes this a step further using his special attack, the Gate of Babylon, which creates a metaphysical portal in the sky connected to his treasure vault... from which he launches hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of legendary weapons like a rain of mythical metal.
- Visual Novel/Tsukihime, also by Type-MOON has the physical manifestation of a scripture taking the form of a cross between a literal Cross and a machinegun firing holy stakes.
- Although it wasn't seen, in Apollo Justice, Trucy mentions that one of her tricks involves firing a gun that shoots Bullets. Turns out "Bullets" is the name of a cat.
- Homestar Runner: One thing Strong Bad says he'd do to make his town different in the email "different town" is have Bubs give away flamethrowers that shoot chocolate hundred-dollar bills ("Imitation chocolate!"). He also mentions wanting a catapult that shoots balls of cobras for Decemberween in "what I want".
- The laser-swords with guns on them used by the pirates in How To Kill A Mockingbird shoot other swords, as well as bears that are on fire.
- The Furtive Polar Bear in Tales Of The Blode Episode 4 defends his North Pole lair with a gun that fires kittens.
- At one point in Red vs. Blue, Caboose's gun is revealed to be loaded with crayons rather than bullets, although he never fires it like this. Comes in handy when he and Tucker need to draw visual aids to teach Crunchbite the Alien English.
- In Natraps X, Rockman has E. Honda equipped as a projectile weapon. It's not very effective against Bowser.
- It's Walky! has the monkey cannon from the Monkey Master. It's apparently inexhaustible, suggesting it's plumbed into some kind of monkey dimension, but after MM spends some time under the ocean, the cannon only shoots drowned monkeys until he dries off.
- Dreamleak features a quadruple pie thrower. Interestingly, it was not used as a weapon but as a clay pigeon launcher.
- This from Sluggy Freelance shows an Inflatable Rabbit Decoy Inflatable Cannon. The repetition of the word "Inflatable" is not an error.
- This shows a ray-gun that can be set to "Stun", "Kill", "Mashed Potatoes", and "Olives", the last of which is used.
- To fight vampires, Riff developed an auto-staker; a Gatling that fires 1k wooden stakes a second. Awesome to shoot, a nightmare to reload.
- Riff also developed "sleep chaff", a flurry of little razor discs with a tranquilizer gel center.
- In the Guntron Alliance Force strip of The Perry Bible Fellowship, we are presented with a Combining Mecha Gun that shoots the vehicle of the blue member of the group as a bullet. No wonder the green guy looks pissed as he takes his place in the gun chamber. They must go through many members that way...
- Mac Hall implies there's two kinds of "Monkey Guns" — one that's just a run-of-the-mill gun used for shooting at monkeys, and another that was a gun that shot monkeys ''out of it''. Ian is told that they didn't have either one on hand.
- Girl Genius
- In Antihero for Hire the eponymous antihero's entire weapon is based around this. With special bullets that explode, do fire, and all sorts of things.
- Nodwick has the "Henchapult".
- Hellbent has the "Fetus Laucher 2007" aka FL2K7
- 8-Bit Theater:
- Fighter talks about a weapon firing sword-beams. A constant stream of laser-powered swords.
- There is also the Giant Cannon. No, it's not just a really big cannon. However, it has to be somewhat big to be able to fire giants.
- The World of Warcraft parody strip Flintlockes Guide To Azeroth uses this as a running gag. To make matters worse, most of the ammo is alive at least until the time of firing. He killed someone in one hit using a supersonic woodchuck.
- An upgraded version of "tha Chuckshot", known as the "remote backstab", involves firing Lowping, the party's rogue, at the target. After impacting, and presumably totaling anyone who gets in the way, the rogue will backstab any survivors. It works.
- It's a crossbow, Virus. A crossbow that shoots beam swords...
- From Narbonic: "He's shooting exploding flaming poison cannonballs!"
- Least I Could Do has orphan shooting a pigeon gun.
- Magiversity has Wyndgarde Ironkeel who is a Gunmage, so she shoots magic.
- In Pokey the Penguin, Pokey once loaded a gun with marshmallows to feed a famished penguin.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things brings us the future of capitalism:
- Sam and Fuzzy's Darkshark had a gun that shoots swords that have chainsaws mounted on them, far outdoing Bitey's sword with a gun on it.
- It could've been Rob and Elliot, or one of the Digital Pimp comics, in which there was a gun that was outdone by the author's previous fantasy of a gun that shoots fancy leather furniture.
Commander: Space Commies
are th' biggest threat t' red-blooded American freedom
we got in the' future. So the armed forces decided they'd jazz up high ranking officers enough t'push action figures.
Jared: Does it come with accessories?
Commander: Jus' this gun. I guess it shoots little guns.
Jared: I LOVE CAPITALISM!
Commander: I think th' little guns shoot deep-fried beer cans or somethin'.
- Cyanide and Happiness had a gun that shoots piranhas. It doesn't work as planned. Another strip shows how "Instant Messenger Pigeon" works.
- Chicanery's Jeff develops "ludicrously deadly" bullets in his spare time.
- Bob the Angry Flower has such a vast collection of ray guns it is inevitable some would fit this trope. He turned back a crowd of his enemies with his Donut Ray, while the Seahorse Ray was mostly used for a cheap laugh.
- Rusty and Co. has a badger launcher.
- In Dubious Company, Elly usually pulls out the raccoon, rather than an arrow, when shouting "I'm NOT a girl!"
- In Zokusho Comics, while [[Serge's]] "Phantom Shot" provides him with an infinite amount of ordinary ammunition, his revolver, Lucky Seven, fires magical bullets. He tends to prefer Fireballs.
- A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe has the protagonist create an "autoflintlock", which is able to shoot anything that can fit even halfway into one of its barrels, though only items the size of a revolver round can be stored in its ammunition chambers.
- The standard Genocide Man handgun is a railgun that shoots nickel-plated plastic needles, not really that deadly by themselves so they're tipped with Sarin-M.
- Penny Arcade ran a World of Warcraft-based strip where they cover Sinistine, Bow of the Black Maiden - a bow that shoots witches instead of arrows.
- Metroid: Third Derivative has some. Some notable ones include the Kinetic Beam which only does damage should it's target collide with something else, the Phase Beam which has mysterious space-time properties, and Mega Missiles that nuke entire rooms (including the user too).
- Global Guardians PBEM Universe:
- Trident uses a wrist-mounted gun that fires little miniature tridents.
- Chuckles the Clown uses a "pie-shot"—a slingshot that fires banana cream pies and has a pistol that fires ping-pong balls. The pies deliver a knock-out drug and the ping-pong balls explode.
- Cute little Generator in the Whateley Universe has a linear accelerator gun which fires Tasers, explosives, and sticky nets of webbing. But her bracers are even better. While they appear to fire different kinds of missiles, what they really fire are psychokinetic copies of Generator herself, which then hold and direct the missiles.
- Guns in Chaos Fighters-Route of Sea can fire swords, lances and feathers.
- For your viewing pleasure, the RPC M1B◊ Rocket Propelled chainsaw Launcher.
- Prolecto includes HRE ammunition. It causes any demon who is hit by it to set on fire. Unfortunately for the protagonists...they are demons.
- BIONICLE has several examples, but one of the first and best is probably the Kanoka, which are essentially superpowered frisbee disks.
- There was also an arc that took place underwater; some of the good guys used air bubbles as ammo (toxic to waterbreathers) while the bad guys shot vampiric squids.
- Near the end, the ammo of choice was Thornax, a kind of fruit. Hey, don't laugh; would you like to get hit with a coconut at high speed? A spiky, potentially explosive coconut?
- An editor's error in a Polish video game magazine Top Secret resulted in a description of a "grenade-launcher launcher". Nifty.
- With Second Life having tons of user created stuff, there are certainly guns out there that shoot weird stuff. There's a gun that shoots more than 15 Red Shells that seek out other avatars nearby and makes a big firework-like explosion upon impact. Then there's another gun that shoots Stars by the truckload and all of them have the starman theme playing at the same time, which sounds freaky when the sound gets distorted due to how fast they fly when shot out.
- Also Watermelon Rifles, Cat Cannons, Heart Crossbows, and a dildo gun.
- Uncyclopedia's list of weapons that shoot other weapons that don't exist, but should.
- Years ago, one of the Star Wars fan boards out there on the internet had developed a cannon that shot Ewoks. Sadly the schematics or specs or backstory are no longer available, but they were even developing different types of ammo for said cannon.
- There was a discussion on GameFAQs once regarding the usefulness of detonating FTL cores of ships in the Halo universe. Cortana was a fan of it because of the massive explosions.
- The recoilless rifle with a nuclear warhead known as the M28 or M29 Davy Crockett Weapon System, it fired the M388 Cartridge which contained a W54 warhead with a 10-20 ton variable yield.
- During the nuclear test sequence Upshot-Knothole in 1953, test Grable fired an 11-inch nuclear warhead from a specially constructed artillery piece known as "Atomic Annie." This is fairly unconventional in itself, but more so if it's noted that the W9 warhead used was of similar construction to the "gun-type" "Little Boy" bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This therefore marks perhaps the only time in history that a gun has been fired out of a gun. The design of "Little Boy" featured a core of barely sub-critical reaction mass, with an additional radioactive slug stored separately with a gunpowder charge. At a certain altitude the gunpowder would be detonated, propelling the slug into the main core, causing it to reach critical mass and explode. Thus, the Grable test featured a bomb, set off by a gun, fired from another gun.
- Aside from the rather specialised Atomic Annie piece (and its lesser-known Soviet counterpart), if one were to look-up a list of American, Soviet/Russian, NATO, and probably even Chinese artillery pieces post-1965 and pick any tube (as in a gun or howitzer, not rocket) piece of 150mm or more on that list, there is a 99% chance that artillery piece had tactical nuclear artillery shells designed for it. Even the US's Iowa-Class Battleships main 16-inch guns received nuclear artillery shells.
- Grapeshot. It is basically charging a muzzle-loaded cannon with iron and steel junk, pieces of chain, pebbles and anything shootable and shooting it against a charging enemy. The range would be less than that of a regular cannoball, but it could make horrendous damage at close range. Usually grapeshot was the last measure against an oncoming enemy, and if it did fail to stop the enemy, the gunners would spike the cannons and flee.
- Corpses have often been used as catapult ammo. In fact, the Black Plague is thought to have originated in 1346, when the Mongols launched bubonic plague-infected corpses over the walls of Crimean city of Kaffa (now Feodosia) that was besieged. Six years earlier at Thun l'Eveque, decomposing animals were used as ammo. The last known incident of using plague corpses for biological warfare occurred in 1710, when Russian forces attacked the Swedes by flinging plague-infected corpses over the city walls of Reval (these days called Tallinn).
- In 204 B.C, Hannibal of Carthage had clay pots filled with venomous snakes and instructed his soldiers to throw the pots onto the decks of Pergamene ships. This was used as a Horrible Histories segment. Specifically, Snakes on a Ship, complete with the line "I want these Carthaginian snakes off this Carthaginian ship!"
- Some of the older types of cannonballs include grapeshot, exploding cannonballs, and chainshot, which was two cannonballs chained together, usually used to destroy sailing masts or sails themselves. Or just fire a big wad of chain out of a cannon. It will tear a man to pieces. An improvised abnormal ammo load was "Langrage", which consisted of any old junk that was available - essentially turning the cannon into a very large shotgun, firing nails, broken chain links, and other assorted rubbish.
- The word "shrapnel" comes from the British artillery officer Henry Shrapnel, who invented a cannon ball that would explode in mid-air unleashing a rain of musket buckshot.
- In The American Civil War, when ships still used wooden hulls but steam power became common, gunners sometimes heated their cannonballs red hot using the engine furnace before firing at the enemy. Using "hot shot," as it was called, could easily set the target on fire. Captains used this sparingly, since mishandling the red hot cannonballs could easily burn down their own ship
- "Hot Shot" is a couple hundred years older than that, it just was only used by fortresses—most of which would have a ready furnace, and no hull or sails to worry about. Steam just made it ship-deployable.
- An early hobby for many tinkerers is designing such weapons. Probably the most common one is the potato gun. Followed by the marshmallow gun, a more contemporary example.
- And then there are the famous demonstrations/competitions of the physics of catapults and trebuchets, where people use them to fling watermelons, pianos, cars, and sometimes people.
- Slings and slingshots. Seeds, pebbles, coins, ball bearings, screw nuts, bone pieces - anything that can fit on the pouch goes.
- Also not meant to be lethal - a Japanese company sells air guns that shoot teddy bears with parachutes. For weddings, apparently.
- Japanese san-shiki ("beehive") anti-aircraft battleship shells, which could best be described as 18 inch (457 mm) shotgun rounds.
- The flamethrower, a gun that shoots burning liquid! On fire!
- The famed Dragon's Breath shotgun round fires a gout of flame about 20 feet. Its "common knowledge" they damage your gun but this is actually a myth, they make it quite dirty but anything that could damage a gunbarrel wouldn't be safe to fire once, never mind repeatedly. They also don't have enough energy to cycle a gun thus require pump-action. Its a basically a small firework crammed inside a shotgun, but still not something you'd want to be on the receiving end of.
- For one particularly crazy example, the Taser XREP, which is miniaturized taser fitted within 12 gauge shell for long distance wireless delivery of electric shocks.
- Large-bore shotguns are sometimes loaded with rolls of coins. Makes a big, big hole at close range. Supposedly, during Stepan Razin's rebellion one of their supply squads reported about being caught by tzar's troops and having to "buy off". And clarified that they quickly ran out of bullets, but still had lots of coins... and powder.
- Uruguay gained its independence from the Spanish by, in one battle, firing rock-hard balls of Edam cheese out of its cannons at enemy ships after its ships had ran out of normal ammo.
- Used at many a sporting event: the infamous T-shirt cannon.
- The SPP-1 pistol and the APS underwater assault smoothbore are specially designed underwater weapons with their own underwater ammunition — long and slim bullets. Yeah, it's a real nailgun. Modern ADS uses both standard issue ammo for AK-74 (in the air) and new underwater cartridge that looks like the same 5.45x39 — but its bullet continues all the way to the bottom.
- The steam catapults on aircraft carriers can be considered big, spinal-mounted guns that fire airplanes which have their own guns! And now EMALS.
- Before WWII, the US fielded battleships fitted with special cannons to launch seaplanes as spotter aircraft. (The aircraft rode a sort of sled puched by the explosive charge, so it isn't quite as cool as it might have sounded there.)
- The M712 Copperhead, which is sort of like an artillery shell - except it's really a laser guided killer robot!
- Not a weapon meant for people, but one of the ways they test jet engines, windows, and various other parts of the plane for durability against bird strike hazards is to use a specially designed cannon that fires whole chickens. It's important to remember to defrost them first, though.
- The Gyrojet line of weapons must be mentioned here. Designed and built in the 1960s they fired gyroscopically-stabilized 13mm rockets looking much like normal cartridges. Gyrojets were supposed to be very accurate near-recoilless near-silent armor piercing weapons able to even work underwater like a 13mm torpedo. The system didn't see widespread use due to reliability problems (the rockets' pinhole-sized jet nozzles were small enough to easily get plugged up and not strong enough to clean themselves) and consequences of the low muzzle speed — that is, less accuracy than expected and being weaker than some slingshots at point blank range (you could allegedly prevent a round from exiting the barrel just by placing your hand over the end). Although the rockets had very low exit velocity, because they continued to accelerate they could achieve supersonic speeds - but only after 20 meters or so of acceleration. They are considered collectors' items today and can cost as much as $1,000 per round to shoot because of the rarity of the remaining ammo.
- Brunswick RAW (Rifleman's Assault Weapon) — an underbarrel grenade launcher about halfway between Gyrojet and Soviet rocket-propelled grenades. Its projectile (several variants including 'flying Claymore' and HESH) is a 140mm sphere with a little tail... yes, it's a rocket clyster. Or a flying bowling ball
- For more incredibly weird weapons, see this list from Cracked.
- During the siege of Pelusium in 525 BC, the Persian general Cambyses was known for hurling live cats over the walls of the Egyptian fort to demoralize the defenders (to whom the cats were sacred). He also instructed his men to drive cats before the army, and tie cats to their shields to further deter the Egyptians. He was not a nice person.
- Not sure if this counts, but an early ancestor of the machine gun called a Puckle Gun (named for its inventor) fired both round ammo and special square bullets for use against non-Christians.
- The U.S. Air Force once tried to make a "Gay Bomb". The idea was to load it full of sex pheromones and neutralise enemy forces by making them make love, not war.
- Double A batteries make for a very dangerous projectile.
- At a high school, a physics class once used leftover fetal pigs as ammo for their potato cannons. Another physics class shot squash, tennis balls, hard boiled eggs, and someone's backpack across the school playing field. The cleanup wasn't fun though...
- Somewhere in the UK there is a man with a carrot cannon. He takes it to schools.
- To test windows and wall material against hurricanes and tornados throwing stuff around, there is a gun which shoots lumber at them.
- HESH rounds, they're essentially a slow moving round containing a plastic explosive which flattens itself against the target before exploding due to an embedded fuse, creating a shock wave that, owing to its large surface area and direct contact with the target, is conducted very effectively (and if said target is an armoured vehicle which lacks spaced armour or spall liners, it results in heavy spalling on the inside of said vehicle, cutting up the poor guys inside it) not very useful against modern tanks but is still very popular for use against bunkers and demolition work.
- For an example that overlaps with Bling-Bling-BANG!, bullets made out of white gold and tipped with diamonds. See for yourself. Unfortunately, these can not actually be fired.
- The US Navy's Mk 182 Kinetic Energy-Electronically Timed round for the Mk 45 5" gun is essentially a five inch wide shotgun shell. It carries (sometimes more than) 9,000 tungsten pellets which are released when the round is detonated, putting lots of small holes in the target(s). It's meant for use against small, lightly armored boats.
- And, there is always the bomb that drops more bombs, also known as a cluster bomb. There is also a cluster bomb that drops land mines, another that releases more cluster bombs, and a version that drops heat-seeking anti-tank smart bombs.
- The last is the CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW). During development, it was nicknamed "The weapon of 13 consecutive miracles." It has only been used once in combat, and essentially destroyed an Iraqi armored battalion in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- Area denial munitions. Artillery fired shells that can deploy minefields.
- While less unusual than most of what's listed here, there's now High Explosive Incendiary Armor Piercing Ammunition. Meant for .50 cal barrels, you get everything in one practical package!
- There are toy guns that are tiny hand-held catapults that fling little plastic figurines, like monkeys, rubber chickens, and pirates.
- But this is definitely the cutest version - a Teddy Bear Gun.
- During the Battle of Tora Bora in 2001, British special forces who stormed the cave complex used special frangible bullets that rather than being made out of conventional metal, were made from brittle ceramic. The idea of this was that when a stray bullet hit a cave wall it would disintegrate, rather than ricochet dangerously. It also had the added benefit of instantly fragmenting upon entering a target causing massive injury, yet still being (kind of...) legal under the Hague Convention.
- Beehive rounds used to be popular for tanks that expected they would have to deal with infantry. It worked like a shotgun except that it used thin rods rather than balls. Because they were moving so fast the rods flexed in the air which caused them to slash targets like thousands of tiny knives.
- Then, there's this. It's an anti-tank rocket that uses White Phosphorus instead of explosives to get the job done. It appears to rely on infiltrating through whatever chinks there are in the Nuclear-Biological-Chemical protection and causing "sympathetic detonation" of ammo.
- Musketoons and blunderbusses, the flintlock predecessor of shotguns, have been known to fire anything one can shove down their large barrel.
- Firearms were so named because they used to shoot fire. And pebbles.
- The Chinese were fairly creative with their cannons. In addition to cannonballs and mortars, they also liked to shoot pots filled with excrement. They were called shit bombs.
- Modern law-enforcement agencies use lots of different non-lethal rounds, such as rubber bullets for crowd control. SWAT teams in particular have specialized shotgun shells, such as bean bag rounds to stun without killing, and breaching rounds that will destroy a lock without sending hot lead into the room beyond.
- 40mm Grenade Launchers—like the M79, M203 and Mikhor MGL—can be loaded with a number of specialized ammunition. Tear-gas, buckshot, white phosphorus flare and smoke rounds are just some of the rounds available. There is even a 40mm canister shot developed for the MGL that fires a small camera with a parachute linked to a wireless device.
- World War II
- A number of strange bombs, rockets and munitions were designed for a variety of reasons with a varying degree of effectiveness. A drum-shaped bomb was developed by the British to bust dams by skipping along the water. The Americans tested bombs that delivered bats equipped with timed napalm charges. The Japanese used human-piloted rockets and torpedoes and the Germans developed cannons designed to "fire" gusts of wind to knock down bombers (Only the dam busting bomb was put into service and worked as planned). And those are the ones that got off the drawing board.
- Arguably the American "Tiny Tim" rocket: A 500lb semi-armor piercing naval shell with a rocket motor strapped to it.
- In the early battles, the Germans devised a strange round for their standard anti-tank rifle (a rifle of sufficient calibre to fire a large projectile that would penetrate what in this period was very thin tank armour). Attached to the armour-piercing payload bullet was a small disc of solid material, which under the heat of being fired and the friction of passage through the air, would sublimate into a measured quantity of tear gas. This was intended to incapacitate the driver or crewman, should he not have been wounded by the AP round. The problem was that the round could only carry a small amount of teargas and, always assuming the gas had not been burnt off by the bullet's passage through the air, that carried by a single strike was so small as to go undetected. As this weapon was also thought to contravene Geneva Convention regulations on use of battlefield poison gas, it was very quickly withdrawn.
- The Imperial Japanese Navy, once they realized the danger posed to even the mightiest surface combatants by aircraft, developed their san-shiki round, also called the "beehive". Fired from a capital ship's main battery, the shells detonated at a pre-set altitude, releasing shrapnel and incendiary charges. The design was intended create a "cone of flame and shrapnel", but the shells were never all that reliable, firing them damaged the gun barrels, and the blast of firing the heavy guns sometimes injured the exposed crew members of anti-aircraft guns.
- FRAG-12 rounds are 12-gauge miniature grenades, fired from shotguns (including the fully-automatic AA-12). They come in flavors to include fragmentation, high explosive, and armor piercing. Yes, it is as awesome as you think.
- When Key West separated from the U.S. to form the Conch Republic, they attacked Coast Guard ships by throwing stale bread and conch fritters at them. This "battle" is reenacted each year.
- The Raufoss Mk 211 .50 BMG shell, which contains an incendiary mix, high explosive, and an armor piercing round, in a .50 BMG caliber package. The claim is that this does as much damage as a 20mm round against lightly armored targets.
- By having it's warhead located outside the barrel, RPG-7 ammo can be customized to anything imaginable. Officially it comes in four flavors: HEAT * , tandem HEAT * , thermobaric * , & fragmentation * . Let's not get started with a myriad of homemade rounds created elsewhere.