Artistic License - Gun Safety
Hey, Meathead, tell us what's written on the barrel of your gun. "Starsky":
It says, hu, "Hold by the other end."
Guns are dangerous things. Extremely
dangerous things. They're not just designed to hurt
; they're designed to kill
. With a single flick of a single finger, one can take a life. Such power needs to be respected, and it shouldn't be surprising that there are various obvious safety rules in place when using a gun, that anyone who is trained to use a firearm should know.
Add to this, even an expert can conceivably make a serious (and dangerous) mistake when handling a gun. There is even a saying among gunsmiths that "There are two types of gun owners.
Those who have
had their guns discharge accidentally, and those who will
have their guns discharge accidentally."
Many writers, actors, artists, and directors, however, do not know these rules. What results from this are scenes where characters are doing things they shouldn't, such as placing their fingers on the triggers of their weapons when not about to fire, or pointing their weapons at people who they are not trying to shoot (one particularly common example is making routine arrests (drunk driving, check fraud) at gunpoint for no reason). This is particularly troublesome when these people are supposed to be experienced experts with lots of experience
with their weapons.
The distinction between this trope and Reckless Gun Usage
is that this involves people who either should
know gun safety based on their profession, or are stated to have extensive experience with firearms
while Reckless Gun Usage
involves people who are likely not familiar with basic firearm safety. If this is done for comedic purposes it's Juggling Loaded Guns
. If this shows up and somebody gets shot, it's I Just Shot Marvin in the Face
. If the rules are followed and somebody gets shot anyway, that's Reliably Unreliable Guns
going off. Firing in the Air a Lot
a case of this as are Pants Positive Safety
and Gun Twirling
May also be the writer hinting that a character isn't as professional as he should be.
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Anime & Manga
- Gunslinger Girl. Played with as the girls themselves are weapons and grabbing Henrietta's handler isn't exactly proper safety protocol. There are also multiple scenes where characters yell at other characters for playing this trope straight, including Henrietta looking down the barrel of her pistol after a misfire and Raballo chewing out Guiseppe for not training her properly.
- Appleseed averts this and invokes physics: when (cyborg) Briareos leaps building to building. In-story, Deunan (whom he carried) is temporarily blind from the G-forces. In his notes he calls attention to Briareos carrying his enormous gun with his finger outside the trigger guard while leaping (proper procedure). Shirow Masamune averts this trope frequently.
- Aversion: The members of the SSS in Angel Beats! practice admirable gun safety, especially considering they died as Highschool-aged teenagers in a country where private ownership of handguns is illegal, and owning a long arm requires lots of paperwork and licensing (as well as being an adult).
- Ghost in the Shell:
- Shirow Masamune shows proper Gun Safety again. This time noting how stupid the cops are. Situation: enemy mook is surrounded on all sides by the cops. He notes that should they all fire at the target, they would probably kill each other. Surrounding your opponent and aiming for him is not a bright idea, kids!
- This is invoked in a first-season episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The character is shown running around waving his gun wildly with his finger on the trigger, uncharacteristic enough to show how unhinged the case is making him.
- However, it's later averted in 2nd Gig. When the police move in to arrest Gouda, they trap him in the middle of a hallway. The cops at one end are armed, while the cops on the other end are wielding armored riot shields to block the hallway and protect themselves from stray bullets at the same time.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu plays a too-literal adherence to this trope for laughs: Sōsuke is playing an arcade light gun game, and doing quite well until the light gun runs out of bullets. Sōsuke immediately pulls his personal very real pistol and blows the game away. When it's explained to him that you're supposed to shoot away from the screen to reload, his response is that this would have been horribly unsafe. Sōsuke observes proper gun safety, and indeed takes pains to introduce Kaname to the basics in an episode of The Second Raid. He just has No Social Skills — no concept of the idea that civilian life and open battlefields have different social standards for when it's acceptable to pull a loaded firearm on someone.
- Monster averts this: Tenma's training strongly emphasizes the rules, and he later handles guns with the responsibility and care you'd expect of a surgeon.
- So Ra No Wo To:
- Inferred I Just Shot Marvin in the Face instead of an Inferred Holocaust: Episode 12, like in graduation ceremonies, helmets were tossed into the air by the troops upon learning they don't have to fight. It's all well and good until you spot loaded rifles up in the air with the helmets...
- In one episode, Kanata cleans her rifle while oblivious to the fact that's it's pointed right at Kureha's face. Kureha, oddly enough, doesn't seem to notice, and she definitely doesn't get out of the way.
- Cowboy Bebop: Spike loads his handgun and then points it directly at his partner for no reason. Jet, a freaking former cop, fails to comment. Averted partially, however, in that his finger wasn't on the trigger.
- Highschool of the Dead:
- One of the survivors is a Gun Otaku and knows proper gun etiquette. He is also very fastidious in pointing it out to his fellow survivors when they handle a firearm improperly. However, points are lost when shots are fired dangerously close to main characters, only Rule Of Cool prevents I Just Shot Marvin in the Face.
- Averted, played straight, and Played for Laughs in the same scene. Played straight in that one of the main characters uses one of the girl's stomach and breasts as a stand/shock-absorber for a heavy sniper rifle, firing at the horde of zombies surrounding another member of their group. Averted in that he only did it because the rifle's carrying strap was stuck and she couldn't get it off, nor maneuver it into a position to fire it herself; the constant recoil also left her with bruises in some sensitive areas. Played for laughs in the fact that the katana-wielding student in the middle of the mob suddenly went from kendo-trained minimalistic movements that would have gotten her splattered to full on Dance Battler mode, dodging the bullets via a hysterical amount of Gainaxing and upskirt-creating flips!
- Asobi Ni Ikuyo: Manami shows bad firearm discipline despite having live experience, although she likely wasn't formally trained in their handling. In episode 6, she waves a revolver in Kio's face with her finger on the trigger, and that it was unloaded is no excuse. She does it again later, when she loads the revolver and waves it around in a fast-food joint, once slamming it down on the table while pointed at Aoi. Aoi, for her part, shows better trigger discipline, save for that one incident where she was threatening to Shoot the Messenger, although the fact that she was present when Manami was waving her revolver around and did nothing is a strike against her.
- D.Gray-man has Devit and Jasdero who are constantly pointing guns at each other. Though, they are toy guns and it is how they combine to form Jasdevi, so this might be subverted.
- In the "Go for It! Pass it!" episode of Upotte, the girls are participating in a live fire exercise. The targets? Balloons floating just above their heads. Granted, the girls are anthropomorphized guns and aren't all that affected by gunshots beyond minor bruising, but it's still jarring, considering all the other ways in which guns are depicted accurately.
- Black Lagoon. Oh so very much. Rule Of Cool aside, the characters ignore every common sense in using guns. Revy would have her hands arthritic and her ears deaf, courtesy of dual-wielding and close-quarter gunfights.
- Gunsmith Cats. An off-duty cop comes in to have some work done on his private firearm, and Rally chews him out for handing her the gun without properly clearing it yet (she even helpfully points to the indicator that Berettas have in Real Life to show that there is a round chambered).
- Soul Eater. For some reason, Death the Kid holds his guns upside down and pulls the triggers with his pinky fingers. Also has a tendency to use Gun Fu. His guns are magic, though, a type of living weapon (their names are Liz and Patty, most of the time they're fraternal twin sisters), and their effectiveness is more determined by the resonance of their souls with his than by actual physical handling. Also, he's a literal Physical God and an Eldritch Abomination, as in literally a Great Old One, so his body may actually perform according to non-Euclidean geometry.
- Averted in City Hunter, as the author took the pain to go to US and learn how to handle a gun before starting the series. There is some reckless gun usage in the series, but every time it's made clear the reckless person is an unexperienced amateur (a particular incident even concluded the Humiliation Conga of two gun robbers by having Kaori grab one of their guns and practice a particular piece of basic gun safety one of them failed to use earlier in the scene), and Ryo is shown cleaning his gun quite often.
- Fullmetal Alchemist has soldiers fire submachine guns inside a room, without everyone in the room going deaf from the noise.
- Superdickery provides an example: This.
- Tag & Bink: Revenge of the Clone Menace: Parodied on the cover◊, where one of the title characters is scratching his head. With a deactivated lightsaber.
- G.I. Joe. These guys are supposed to be elite. Yet posing for a photo while holding a gun like this in Real Life is how civilians get featured on "Idiots with Guns" blog.
- In the Spirou and Fantasio comic "QRN sur Bretzelburg", Spirou empties the magazine of an automatic rifle by firing it straight up. His squirrel friend worries that he might hit a bird, but no mention is made of the fact that those bullets will be coming straight down in a few seconds. It also doesn't occur to Spirou that he could just remove the magazine and throw it in the lake if he wants to neutralise the weapon, instead of risking alerting any guards pursuing him.
- Pretty Cure Heavy Metal: During any of Shugo's temporary Face Heel Turns in the second half of the first season her finger will always be on the trigger of her gun, and she will aim as though she was confused as to who she's aiming for. Thankfully, she'll only spend approximately one minute (usually; she was reckless with her gun for the entirety of episode 45) as a Heel before going through the revolving door to the Face side. As for the aforementioned episode 45... her Face Heel Turn lasted for the duration of that episode (during which she's a Well-Intentioned Extremist whose quarry is a Satanist), only ending when she realizes she had recklessly endangered her own friends in chasing the Satanist.
- Misfiled Dreams Averted: when Ash reaches under a car seat to check that a weapon the car's owner just told her about is there, the owner chastises Ash and tells her about the rules for gun handling.
- Toy Hammer Averted and excused: when Vincent does his best to observe basic firearms safety (safety catch, finger off trigger), although earlier he does ignore a few basic rules. Justified in that he had almost been murdered by Ax Crazy cultists (it took more than one attempt to reload the pistol).
- Finishing The Fight: When presenting their weapons to medieval era guards, the Chief still shows them his battle-rifle's empty chamber and removed magazine before putting it down on the table, empties out his shotgun and pistol while Johnson does the same, and the Arbiter does the plasma-rifle equivalent. Later, when they are teaching others how to use the guns, the Chief first stresses the correct procedures for unloading, reloading and teaching them what the "safety" is.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Pulp Fiction, the Trope Namer for I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Vincent, an experienced hitman, is talking with Marvin, a guy he and Jules picked up in the aftermath of their hit near the beginning of the movie, in the backseat of Jules' car. While speaking with Marvin, Vincent is casually waving his handgun in the air, and when Jules hits a bump, Vincent accidentally fires the weapon, shooting Marvin in the face and blowing his brains all over the rear window. Even after the accident, Vincent doesn't remove his finger from the trigger; he continues waving it around as though the gun had nothing to do with the mess in the backseat.
- In the film version of Watchmen, Nite Owl and Silk Specter decide to rescue some people trapped in a burning apartment block. Nite Owl does this by severing the support struts on a water tower on the roof of the building. With a minigun. The movie does not address the possible implications of firing a fucking minigun in the middle of a city. Anyone who knows anything about overpenetration or trajectory could tell him that this is a moronic idea.
- In Heat, Neil McCauley does a brass check in the hotel elevator, on his way to kill Waingro. While checking your pistol to make sure there's a round in the chamber when going into combat is a good idea, McCauley does it by putting his whole hand over the barrel to push back the slide. If gone wrong, he could have blown his hand off. This is a rare example in a movie that otherwise notably averts much of this trope.
- Monkey Business: A gangster hands revolvers to both Groucho and Zeppo on two separate occasions. Both times he does so he immediately realizes that they are absentmindedly pointing them right at him, and grabs their hands to turn the guns aside. Don't hand weapons to people who don't know proper gun safety, somebody will get shot in the face. Another gangster in the same film gives guns to [[Chico and Harpo.
- Averted: Burt Gummer, a survivalist and gun-enthusiast, always follows proper weapon safety. At one point he gives a revolver to teenaged waste-of-space Melvin Plug, to get him moving to a safe-point. Despite knowing that he'd deliberately handed Melvin an unloaded gun, when Burt takes it back from Melvin he still flips it open and re-confirms the chambers are all empty... which is exactly what you're supposed to do any time you pick up a weapon.
- Played with in the sequel; Burt is called out multiple times by the others for either "improper" safety, or for using a grossly oversized weapon and ending up damaging their expected getaway vehicle. Burt usually calls them out when they say he's doing something the wrong way or forgetting something, either saying he was given bad info or that he was, actually, doing it right. As for the oversized weapon? He was armed to shoot 30-foot subterranean monsters, not 3-foot tall Zerg Rush screamers. And he really COULDN'T have known that the car was going to be damaged; the bullet passed through three concrete or sheet-metal walls before wrecking the engine. It WAS an anti-tank rifle after all.
- Black Hawk Down: During the barbecue scene, the Ranger unit CO calls out a Delta Force operator for wandering around with a loaded M4 carbine hanging from his neck with the safety catch off. The operator then laughs in his face (and says "this is my safety, holding up his trigger finger)". This was based on a real precise incident described in a book by journalist Mark Bowden.
- Independence Day: during the Gondor Calls for Aid scene, specifically the bit in Iraq with the British soldiers, one of them can be seen holding his sidearm for no apparent reason while looking at the map, with his finger clearly on the trigger, and the barrel pointed directly at one of the other officers.
- The Dark Knight
- Harvey Dent seems to have a bit of a devil-may-care attitude toward gun-safety even while he's sane. He cleary knows something about guns when he removes the magazine and chambered round from the pistol in the courtroom. On the other hand, he points an unloaded pistol at a criminal to get him to talk, which is still against gun safety rules. Once he goes crazy, you can bet that whatever safety measures he ever followed are gone.
- The Joker, being who he is, naturally doesn't think gun safety means anything, and at one point causes several accidental discharges while stumbling around in a daze, but it only makes him laugh.
- Lethal Weapon
- The NRA newsletter had a few articles about the ludicrous lack of basic gun safety shown throughout the series.
- In the third film, Murtaugh accidentally fires his revolver in the locker room while putting it in his holster, showing that he's either getting too old for this shit, or that he's not all with it. Riggs covers the mishap by smashing in some lockers, producing an apparently identical sound.
- In Lethal Weapon 4, Riggs in effect tells Leo, "You haven't got a badge so you ought not to have a gun—" (throws Leo's property into the ocean) "—but I have a badge, so it's okay for me to point my gun at your face point-blank for a laugh. Clear?"
- Heartbreak Ridge: one of the screwup Marine trainees grossly mishandles his automatic rifle during target practice. This resulted in a burst of bullets narrowly missing the jerkass superior officer. The trainee is punished by doing laps for miles, with his rifle held over his head, till he falls down in exhaustion. This was considered somewhat cruel by his squadmates; if this happened in real life, hell would rain down in this guy for time out of mind.
- Men In Black
- In a firing range exercise early in the film, J is rationalizing his choice of targets to Z while waving a loaded gun around. He points it at Z at least twice. Note that J is a police officer for the NYPD, and should know better about proper gun safety.
- Later, two mistakes are made when K gives J the Noisy Cricket (a powerful gun that looks more like a child's toy than anything else):
- The first mistake was by K: he shouldn't have given J a gun that he didn't know how to use.
- The other mistake comes when J protests at being handed such a wimpy-looking weapon and points it at K's head. K turns, flinches, and points the gun away from both of them.
- Related to the first mistake: later, in the field, J attempts to use the Noisy Cricket (which he still doesn't know how to use and hasn't trained with) on a fleeing alien. The result: he blows up a car and the force of the blast sends him flying into a windshield.
- In the third film, we see that the gun does apparently have some kind of low-yield, more practical setting. K may have incorrectly — and still dangerously — assumed that the gun was left on that setting.
- The Way Of The Gun Averted: various characters are pointedly shown holding guns without their fingers on the triggers. The director hired his brother, an ex-Navy SEAL, to coach the actors on how to properly handle guns.
- Star Wars
- Obi-Wan Kenobi hands a Luke a weapon without first explaining how it works. A weapon that will instantly kill or maim you if you even slightly mishandle it.
- This scene is parodied (like damn near everything else) in LEGO Star Wars. Not only does Obi-wan dive out of the way when Luke lights the saber, Luke accidentally beheads Threepio.
- Later, Obi-Wan has Luke being shot at by a little droid (which made Luke flinch in pain every time he was hit) then intentionally put a blinding face mask on him, even though Luke was only standing a couple feet away from Chewy while holding a plasma sword of death.
- Starship Troopers
- During the long-shot of the "Live Fire" exercise, you can see that the range has no walls to the sides and other trainees are doing their thing right next to it. The recruits take the course in teams, with the next sent directly behind the previous! Then, the characters must face off against targets that shoot lasers at their training vests, which give the victim an electric shock. This causes one soldier to clamp down on the trigger and fire wildly in all directions, killing another. Rico is blamed for taking the recruit's helmet off, when the whole scene was a disaster waiting to happen. This was definitely intentional on the part of the director, who was satirizing military culture. Contrast the original book, where the protagonist is nearly drummed out of the military for firing a simulated (harmless) weapon without following all protocols even when he was dead certain it would land in a safe place.
- One of the propaganda films has a group of soldiers pass their rifles to a bunch of kids, who immediately begin to do exactly what you'd expect of a bunch of idiot children given a cool new toy. The guns are obviously loaded, since there's a visible magazine near the back.
- Shooter Aversion: Bob Lee Swagger shows exemplary gun safety, to be expected of an experienced sniper. Central to the plot is the fact he responsibly disables his guns before leaving his house, swapping out the firing pins — "... looks right, you'd need a micrometer to tell... but the gun don't shoot." It should be noted that this is far beyond normal safe storage and is being done because he is Properly Paranoid. Also averted in that Swagger points out to a cop that his holster being unsnapped was unsafe the cop had it unsnapped because he was there to shoot Swagger and was just being prepared, and snapping it may have been what allowed Swagger to escape. However, at the end of the movie he loads and points his rifle, a large .408 Cheyenne Tactical, at someone's head and pulls the trigger, trusting that the agency holding his weapon as evidence didn't re-install the pin while trying to frame him.
- Inglourious Basterds: When the Nazis stand in a small circle and shoot at the floor in the middle to kill the hidden Dreyfuss family. Even if you don't shoot your own feet, you might shoot your friends'.
- First Blood: John Rambo only kills one guy (by assaulting a helicopter with a rock). All of the other deaths are due to the Sheriff and his deputies flagrantly ignoring any semblance of safety (even that one could have been avoided if the deputy hadn't taken off his harness).
- Phantasm aversion: Jody gives some firearms combat instruction to his younger brother Michael.
Jody: Now, remember: you don't aim a gun at a man unless you intend to shoot him. And, you don't shoot a man unless you intend to kill him. No warning shots. Hey, you listening to me? No warning shots. Warning shots are bullshit. You shoot to kill, or you don't shoot at all.
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Tom Sawyer is shown being taught to shoot by Alan Quartermain. Sawyer then takes a moment to lean on the upturned gun contemplatively, putting his chin on the barrel of the explicitly loaded weapon. Especially stupid considering Sawyer is a Secret Service agent and should have received proper weapon training.
- RoboCop: The title hero twirls his gun via a finger inside the trigger guard, mimicking the lead of a show within the movie, "TJ Lazer". Being a cop who's not exactly a rookie, impressing his kid or not Murphy should have known how dangerous that could be, to himself and others. Even though Murphy is shown putting a magazine into the weapon afterwards, you're supposed to treat all guns as loaded at all times.
- Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2: after witnessing Ricky kill a few people a police officer confronts him to arrest him while casually twirling his gun, Ricky punches him causing him to shoot himself in the face.
- The Sentinel Aversion: A Secret Service agent is shot on his doorstep, and the Arlington PD initially assumes that he didn't have time to get the safety off. Kiefer Sutherland, (who is not to be questioned), says that Secret Service agents only draw when they absolutely intend to fire, so he would have released the safety in one motion.
- Kick-Ass: Big Daddy teaches his preteen daughter not to be scared of guns by putting her in a bullet proof vest and shooting her. Averted later on, when Big Daddy pulls a gun on an intruder, before realizing that the intruder is on his side. Big Daddy removes the magazine, empties the chamber and then puts it on the table pointing away from them.
- Big Jake: In the first, Wayne's character casually shoves a pistol into the front of his pants; it probably wasn't loaded, but he doesn't even bother to check first.
- The Punisher (2004) Aversion: Each and every time Frank Castle racks the slide to load one of his custom .45 autos he always carefully eases the slide open a quarter-inch afterwards to confirm a round was indeed chambered using the grooves on the front of the slide, which is exactly what they were put there for.
- I, Robot: Detective Spooner (Will Smith's character) wakes up, pulls a gun out from under his pillow, and scratches his head with it. With his finger on the trigger. Then again, it's hinted Spooner may be slightly suicidal from Survivors Guilt, which would justify such reckless behavior. There's also a moment in the final battle when Spooner's partner shoots a robot in the vicinity of Spooner... with her eyes closed. This promptly gets lampshaded by Spooner and the nearby pedestrian, who scold her for firing her gun in a way that might have hit them.
- Iron Man 2: For being in the weapons manufacturing business, Justin Hammer has a serious disregard for practicing trigger control. Even if you're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he made sure none of those guns were loaded before his little show-and-tell with Rhodey and the other USAF guys, he points at least two of the weapons directly at them and has his finger on the trigger. He also keeps cocking the weapons to show off. It's possible that this is intentional to show what an idiot he is.
- Once Upon A Time In The West: In the opening scene, one of the gunmen catches an annoying fly in the barrel of his gun, then keeps it in by putting his finger on the end, keeping his index finger on the trigger the entire time. Though as we all know from Cartoon Physics, firing a gun with a finger plugging the barrel results in the total destruction of the gun but no damage to the finger. (Note: The Mythbusters proved that this doesn't work in Real Life.)
- The Baader Meinhof Complex: during a scene in which Andreas Baader's gang is counting the money they have robbed from several banks. One of the members is examining a loaded pistol and it discharges, the bullet narrowly missing Andreas' head. After he grabs the gun and shouts at her, he unloads the magazine, clears the chamber and leaves it open before throwing the gun down on a table.
- Battlefield Earth: Terl intentionally hands a human prisoner a ready-to-fire weapon, to prove his point that the "human animals" are too stupid to operate firearms, even though the human has already shot one person, according to his subordinates. The prisoner ends up killing Terl's lieutenant with it. Psychlos are shown to not store loaded weapons, so this is apparently another example of the bizarre arrogance that Psychlos have toward humans in believing that they're not sentient, even though Terl knows for a fact humans once had a capable military (even if it was vastly inferior to their own).
- Plan 9 from Outer Space: A cop in the graveyard using his revolver to gesture around, point out things, and scratch the side of his head. Legend has it that the actor knew exactly what he was doing, but had heard that Ed Wood was unwilling to reshoot anything, so he was trying to see what he could get away with. Everything apparently.
- Hot Fuzz parodied this; they seem to have made a list of the most common gun un-safety practices. From an old man who repeatedly whacks a dud ocean mine to Danny accidentally shooting the local Doctor in the leg twice, and all of the firing-a-full-magazine-into-the-air drama in between. Given all the Shown Their Work in the film, it was probably deliberate.
- Bad Boys 2: has a scene where Marcus and Mike decide to mess with the teenage boy picking up Marcus' daughter for a date. Mike pretends to be a drunk ex-con and points his gun at the kid's head.
- Tequila Sunrise: Kurt Russell's police detective character hands Michelle Pfeiffer's gun-untrained character a pistol to protect herself while meeting a drug lord, telling her "That's ready to fire."
- In Bruges: Ken is very careful with his guns. Harry locks his guns away when he's at home so his kids can't get at them. Ray is a bit more careless, but as he's young, reckless, and a bit suicidal, this is in character for him (and he never points a gun at anyone he doesn't want to kill, though his occasional poor aim when he does want to kill someone tends to get him in trouble). At one point a man tries to rob Ray with a gun loaded with blanks — Ray wrestles the gun off him and fires it directly into the man's eye. The blanks leave him partially blind.
- Bowling For Columbine has an (offscreen) example, where Michael Moore interviews a man (the brother of Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols) who sleeps with a gun next to his bedside. After going out of frame, Nichols points his pistol at his head as a joke. Moore, who knows about gun safety, is audibly shocked.
- RED, CIA agent Cooper gestures at a co-worker with his Hand Cannon while energetically explaining something to him. The rest of the film plays so fast and loose with More Dakka that gun safety is quickly forgotten, but this instance took place during a non-action scene and stands out somewhat.
- Terminator 2, when Arnold is strafing the police cars with the minigun. A pair of cops dive for cover, and one of them points his shotgun barrel in his friend's face, with his finger still on the trigger.
- Mc Lintock: McLintock's spoiled brat daughter demands her father shoot a gentleman caller, at which point McLintock promptly goes over to his gun cabinet, pulls out a gun and shoots him. The young man falls over convincingly and Becky begins freaking out, at which point McLintock says that if he's dead, he'll be the first man killed by a blank cartridge. Since this is a John Wayne Western with heavy doses of comedy made in The Sixties, no attention is paid to the fact that blanks are still dangerous, or why McLintock had a loaded gun (even if it's loaded with blanks) in his gun cabinet. Presumably they expected the audience to roll with it and move on.
- City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold has a scene where Curly's brother, a sailor, checks to see if some gold bars are fake by scratching them with his gun barrel.
- Get Smart: Agent 99 is trying to show Max why he should listen to her:
Agent 99: Okay. Okay, you're faced with an assassin. What do you do?
Maxwell Smart: I take out my gun (does so) and I would shoot— (as he brings it around, 99 grabs it from his hand and points it at his head)
Agent 99: You don't have a gun.
Maxwell Smart: I did until you took it—
Agent 99: "Bang", you're dead!
Maxwell Smart: No, I'm not. (99 lowers it to his heart)
Agent 99: "Bang", you're dead.
Maxwell Smart: Stop shooting me.
Agent 99: You are dead. (starts aiming the gun at points all over Max's upper body) Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang bang.
Maxwell Smart: I don't like it when you shoot me! Stop it! Stop shooting me! You've already said I was (99 sticks Max's gun back into his pants) Hey.
Agent 99: Throw out your manual. I hear there are no grades. There's only "dead" and "not dead".
- 99 fortunately shows good discipline by not holding her finger on the trigger. Anne Hathaway ad-libbed the scene.
- In the Get Smart film The Nude Bomb, Max talks about how you can never be too careful with guns — then carelessly tucks his loaded and unsafed pistol into his belt, at which point the gun goes off. Fortunately, the bullet didn't hit anything.
- In Gran Torino, Thao picks up Walt's Garand without checking to see if it was loaded, points it at him, and has his finger on the trigger! Granted, this was made to show how inexperienced he was and why pursuing revenge would end up killing him. Another example comes from Walt's barber friend, who points his shotgun at Thao, finger on the trigger. Walt himself clearly knows how to safely handle guns, only leveling his weapon at a person or having his finger on the trigger when he was fully prepared to fire at them should things come to that.
- In The Seven Percent Solution, Sherlock Holmes is holding a revolver with his finger inside the trigger guard, talking in an animated fashion with Doctor Watson and Sigmund Freud — and gesturing with the pistol, waving it back and forth from one of them to the other. Holmes is canonically the sort to shoot holes in the walls of his own flat, his notion of proper gun safety was always in doubt.
- White Christmas begins with Bing Crosby singing to his fellow soldiers at an impromptu Christmas show somewhere in Europe in World War II. A GI who looks to be about 16 first puts his hand over the business end of his M1 Garand, then rests his chin on his hand.
- Curiously, this trope is invoked yet subtly averted in Bram Stoker's Dracula, where Lord Holmwood threatens Professor Van Helsing with revolver in grief-stricken rage when Lucy's body turns out to be missing from her coffin, but a careful viewer can see that he in fact isn't holding his fingers anywhere near the trigger. He may be mad with grief, but not murderously so.
- In Ravenous, Private Reich and Captain Boyd are investigating a cave that they believe is a mass murder scene. Reich is climbing down into a lower chamber, and Boyd is seriously nerved up. The following exchange takes place:
Reich: (looks up to see Boyd is pointing a rifle right at his head) Captain?
Boyd: (hastily points his gun away) Sorry.
Reich: Thank you.
- James Bond
- Averted in the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale. When Bond gets his new pistol from the dashboard compartment of his new car, he immediately removes the magazine, opens and looks down the breech (rather than the muzzle) to make sure the barrel is clear, closes the breech, replaces the magazine and clicks on the safety. Plus, he doesn't chamber a round into the gun until much later, just before he expects to be using it.
- However, this is not violated in the Timothy Dalton movie License To Kill. At one point in the assembly of his camera/sniper rifle, Bond is seen pointing the barrel of the rifle, which he had personally loaded seconds before, at himself. Q should also get a mention for building a gun that is loaded during the assembly process rather than as a separate step after it's been put together.
- In Marlowe, Philip Marlowe, at the scene of a murder, checks that a gun has been fired by putting the muzzle under his nose and smelling it. Yes, his finger isn't on the trigger, but he certainly should know better.
- One scene in The A-Team film seems to exist mostly to call out gun safety failures. A group of CIA agents grab Pike, a mercenary who betrayed them, handcuff him, and put him in the back of a car. Suddenly one of the agents in the back seat decides to shoot Pike there in the car, much to the surprise of their leader Lynch. However he's so inexperienced that Pike, in a rare Affably Evil moment, begins walking the agent through how to load and prepare his gun for use. Then the agent starts fiddling with a Hollywood Silencer, trying to put it on the wrong way, (and while the gun is pointing at himself) and insisting on calling it a silencer rather than a suppressor, despite Pike's attempts to correct him on the terminology. Then he lines up to shoot Pike in such a way that if his hand so much as twitches he'll be more likely to kill the agent on the other side of Pike instead. At that point Pike gets so exasperated that he takes the gun away from the agent, (he can do it because they handcuffed him wrong) states that "it would be embarrassing to get killed by that guy" and hands the gun over to the other agent in the hopes that the second agent will be more competent and allow him to die with some dignity. Amazingly, the other guy manages to top the first by answering his cell phone while he's holding the gun, and winds up holding the phone to one side of his face while pressing the loaded, ready to fire gun against the other side. At this point even Lynch, who is constantly criticized for being a desk jockey with little to no real world experience, looks seriously disturbed by the morons on his team. This is all going on in a moving vehicle too, adding to the likelihood of an I Just Shot Marvin in the Face moment.
Pike: You've handled a gun like that before? And you're still alive? That's amazing to me.
- Goodfellas provides good examples of the biggest mistake many criminals make handling firearms; to conceal small guns the gangsters stuff them into their waistbands and in one case a woman hides a snub-nosed revolver in her panties. Doing that might keep them hidden, but if they go off you might lose something very important.
- A party guest in Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil randomly starts waving a loaded gun around and laughing. Jim Williams suggests they move to a different conversation. John Kelso adds, "Yeah, one less likely to involve gunfire." Subverted later on when somebody actually does get shot and killed, but not because of this trope: Jim Williams appears to practice proper gun safety.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, Carter decides to test the Vibranium shield by grabbing a handgun from a table, which is apparently loaded with the safety off, and instantly unloading a volley at the shield without warning.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark briefly has a Nazi machine-gunner try to kill Indy with it by firing in his general direction with it. Not only did he miss cleanly, the angle was such that he sprayed the cargo compartment of the truck in front of him (the mooks in the truck are shown hitting the deck to avoid the gunfire).
- Shutter Island has Eddie Daniels, a WWII veteran and FBI agent, disarm a guard near the lighthouse and then bash him with his own rifle. He uses this rifle to defend himself in the lighthouse — until he meets Dr. Cawley, head of the island's sanitarium, who assures him that the rifle isn't loaded. Eddie checks, and he's right. Angry, he sees his service pistol on the desk (which he had to surrender at the start of the movie) and makes a grab for it - then yells that he knows this one's loaded, as he can tell by the weight. Dr. Cawley tells him to go ahead and fire and Eddie does - then the gun comes apart in his hands, as it's a cap pistol. This is what causes Eddie to finally accept that he hadn't been an agent for years, not since he was confined to the island.
- The Fifth Element has Korben Dallas use this trope to his advantage. The scene: Korben is held at gunpoint by a thug. Korben then goes off saying the guy has the safety on and convinces him to turn it off. Turns out that Korben was lying and he just made the thug "turn off" the gun. Korben is quick to subdue the thug, take his gun and compliment his hat.
- 8 Mile brings us Cheddar Bob. He pulls out a gun during a fight between his friends and a rival group. Everyone IMMEDIATELY hits the deck since Bob is waving the gun around with his finger on the trigger. Eventually they convince him to put it away but he does so by putting it in his belt... at is crotch... with his finger on the trigger. Naturally, Reality Ensues and he accidently discharges the gun.
- Mirror Dance: Miles has amnesia, but when asked to reassemble a number of weapons from component parts, he does so without ever letting the guns point at a person, a big hint that he used to be a soldier.
- Black Light by Stephen Hunter Aversion: Even though they are pursued throughout the novel by gunmen, Bob Lee Swagger refuses to give his companion, Russ Pewtie, a gun. Because, as he explains, Pewtie is untrained, Swagger doesn't have time to train him and Swagger does not want to be around an untrained man with a gun.
- Starship Troopers. Averted: Rico is punished for a firearms safety protocol violation that doesn't result in anyone being hurt, and which he only does because he knows it can't possibly result in any harm in that particular case, since it is just a smoke bomb (playing the part of a nuke; had it been an actual nuke, one soldier would've been caught in the blast). He's flogged because he didn't follow the safety procedure. It's a partial inversion, as the punishment is designed to make the point to him that you always follow the rules, even when you're absolutely sure it would be safe not to. Lt. Robert Heinlein (ret.) knew a thing or two about weapons and the military.
- Taken to almost hilarious extremes in the Old Man's War 'verse. Colonial Union firearms technology has almost as much Applied Phlebotinum dedicated to making the gun safe for its owner as dangerous for the enemy. A prime example of the resulting justifiedly casual attitude is the incident in which a drill instructor demonstrates this by taking a recruit's gun, pointing it in the recruit's face, and pulling the trigger.
- Lampshaded in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. When Gregory joins the swim team, nobody told him that the referee's gun only fires blanks so he was more worried about where the bullet was going to land than actually trying to win the race.
- Subverted in The Queens Thief. Eugenides is held in contempt by the Attolian soldiers for treating his wooden sword carelessly; like the Starship Troopers example, they believe that even a "non-dangerous" weapon should be treated with caution, so no mistakes are made later. Eugenides casually replies "In Eddis, we're taught to keep track of the weapon we have in our hands." He then snatches the sword out of the air with his bare hands and uses it to beat up the soldier trying to kill him. Further subverted when the other soldiers point out that he couldn't have done so with a real sword, and therefore he technically lost the duel. Eugenides reveals that he had, in fact, used the same move on an assassin earlier in the book.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe
- Defied by the Rebel Alliance. The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology mentions that Rebel soldiers were well known for practicing safe firearms usage, including modifying every blaster that came into their possession to have a safety if it didn't already.
- Verbally deconstructed in the novella Side Trip by Timothy Zahn and Michael A Stackpole, which features a customized weapon called a "hotshot". This is a blaster with the trigger guard cut off. Supposedly the idea is along the lines of Gangsta Style (looks cool but is a bad idea), but the narrator mentions that anyone who knows anything about gun safety can see why removal of the trigger guard is a bad idea.
- The Dragaera novels have Fantasy Gun Control, but Vlad still lampshades this trope when he watches a crowd of armed political protesters in Teckla, and notices one of them hugging another while holding a razor-sharp sickle. It was blind luck the man didn't cut his fellow-activist's throat.
- Played with in This Immortal (Roger Zelazny's novelization of his short story "And Call Me Conrad": The master assassin Hasan disassembles, cleans, and reassembles a rifle only for Conrad to notice that little by little it has been pointed right at his alien visitor, whom Conrad suspects Hasan has taken a contract to murder. Conrad can't prove Hasan did it on "accidentally on purpose".
- A running theme in REAMDE by Neal Stephenson. Many of the POV characters have gun handling experience, so whenever someone handles a gun in the story, which is often, we hear about whether they're using proper or improper gun safety.
- TOTP footage for "GoldenEye": the male models surrounding Tina Turner have their fingers within the trigger guards on their PPKs while Tina performs. Even though none of them intend to fire.
- A number of first-person shooters play this one straight as an arrow, showing the gun being held with a finger on the trigger and twitching. This may be justified since the character has to fire the gun instantly. If the character's finger was off the trigger, there would either be a delay in the firing animation or it would look weird.
However, many modern FPS games will cause the character to lower their weapon, or be otherwise unable to fire if aimed at a friendly NPC, or while in an area with no enemies. Some games even will have the NPCs act annoyed at you if you hold a weapon in their faces.
Due to Artificial Stupidity, allied NPCs can and will walk directly across the player's line of fire while you're trying to shoot enemies.
You'll sometimes see the player character holding a big gun in one hand. This is getting better and sometimes when it looks like they're holding it in one hand, they're actually not.
- Metal Gear
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater averted: where Naked Snake, in all of his cutscenes, place his finger outside the trigger guard. You don't want to accidentally shoot blindly when you are on a sneaking mission. It appears that Solid "Old" Snake does so as well in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as well. During an early cutscene, you can see Snake turn on his rifle's safety before putting it down to inspect another gun, which he does sensibly, even pointing it straight at a wall when testing the trigger pull.
- Ocelot plays it straight, juggling and spinning the Single Action Army with all six chambers loaded. The gun is so notorious for accidental hammer drops that most gunfighters would only load it with five rounds.
- Metal Gear Solid 4 has an odd inversion of the trope, in fact; during the beginning of the third chapter where Snake is searching for a resistance cell that has possession of Big Boss's body, he gets stopped by some guards and is told to come with them. He refuses, and they aim their rifles at him, obviously about to shoot... except if you look closely, though, NONE of the soldiers' fingers are on their triggers. Justified, however, in that they're expecting Snake to show up, but the fact that he's entered with a hostile gesture and looks seventy makes them initially unsure of his identity.
- Old Snake also uses the battlefield rule of guns in an early cutscene where he picks up a rifle near a dead soldier — namely, "never trust an abandoned weapon." He very, very, VERY carefully checks under the rifle with his knife for booby traps before claiming it as his own.
- Snake calls out Akiba on his lack of combat experience, noting that even though he shows every intention of shooting Snake right then and there, he hasn't even taken the safety off on his rifle. However, Not With the Safety On, You Won't is artistic license; as that trope notes, the safety on most firearms can be removed in a heartbeat. Johnny apparently never learned this, despite having managed to get a special forces assignment, as he cranes his head to double check, allowing himself to be disarmed. How he got the posting, we'll never know.
- Knights of the Old Republic: Several of your party members can be armed with blasters. These same party members have scripted hand gestures that they make while talking. They make these gestures regardless of what weapons they are holding. This can be especially unnerving when Carth Onasi is snapping at you about how he isn't sure he can fully trust you... while waving a heavy blaster pistol in each hand. The same gestures frequently cause melee fighters to impale themselves or others to make a point. At least Jedi will be waving around inactive lightsabers...
- In BioShock, the main character reloads his Webley .455 by putting rounds in, then putting the cylinder back in place by flicking his wrist. This may look cool, but there is a very high chance it will misalign the cylinder.
- Mass Effect
- While characters usually put their guns away during cutscenes, some don't, which can lead to situations like a security guard waving a sniper rifle at you one-handed while he's telling you what a good job you did.
- Shepard him/herself often waves his/her weapon around in a way that would be outrageously irresponsible for a military or law enforcement agent of any kind. The Renegade option for Conrad alone may seem awesome, but if Shepard weren't above the law, he/she would be facing a courtmartial faster than you can say, "Immensely profitable trilogy." It gets worse in the next game, where you can simply shoot him in the foot.
- Even a Paragon option where you allow Conrad to take your picture will cause Shepard to pose by triumphantly aiming his/her gun — Directly into a nearby crowd.
- In the Citadel in Mass Effect 2, Shepard can overhear this conversation where the gunnery chief chews out a couple of recruits for unsafe gun handling practices (they've essentially forgotten the "know what's behind your target" rule). The "gun" they're firing is the main cannon of a dreadnought, whose projectiles hit with the kinetic energy of a nuke, so hitting the wrong target can have... consequences.
- The actual gun safety required in universe may be a little more lax than in real life, considering that all of the weapons require advanced inbuilt computers and a power cell in order to function, and there furthermore is no "ammo," only a chunk of metal that gets cut to make bullets. The guns are still dangerous, but flipping the safety off makes it a lot safer than a real life firearm with the safety on. A real life firearm can fire, safety on, due to mechanical error, a mass effect firearm can only fire, safety on, if you hotwire it or something equally implausible.
- The second game did slightly better than the first, in that you could no longer draw weapons outside of combat areas. In the first, you were quite free to pull out your assault rifles and shoot up any part of the Citadel you like—including the high-security center of galactic government!—without anyone so much as batting an eye. You just can't actually harm any civilians by shooting them.
- Interestingly averted somewhat at one point—when you first meet Garrus, he takes down a thug holding a doctor hostage with a single shot. Shepard can either congratulate him on the shot or berate him for taking the very dangerous risk of shooting at someone when there's an innocent victim only a few inches away. (Mass effect weapons have built-in targeting computers and likely "smart" ammunition as well, plus Garrus' visor acts also helps his aim. Still, it's a very serious risk.)
- A lot of the NPC, especially those belonging to merc or criminal gangs have poor gun safety. Possibly justified in that they are criminals and unlikely to follow good practice. Another particulary egregious example is of Jonn Whitson, who wants to sign up for the mission to kill Archangel, who takes his piece out and starts waving it around. Justified, given that he obviously has no combat experience.
- Subverted in Vanquish. If Sam aims his gun at an allied NPC, he will yell something along the lines of "Get out of the way", and the NPC will duck out of his aim.
- Deus Ex Lampshaded: where gun safety leaflets can be picked up and read. Averted otherwise, as JC always holsters any weapons when initiating dialog. Even if he's caught flat-footed by someone he may rather keep his gun on. In certain areas, some civilians will panic if you have your gun out when you attempt to talk to them, forcing you to holster your weapon beforehand. In other areas, though, the trope is played straight unless you initiate dialog with other characters.
- Played painfully straight with its prequel, Deus Ex Human Revolution. One of the enemy idle animations is the Mook in question scraping something off the sole of his shoe with the barrel of his gun.
- Adam on the other hand tends to be better about this. For one (unwillingly) HEAVILY augmented man who could pretty much dual-wield without consequence, Adam handles a guns like you should (handling a rifle with two hands, holding a pistol firmly with one hand on the grip while the other braces it) and when switching to/pulling out a pistol he pulls the slide to check for a chambered bullet before firing. Justified in that he's ex-SWAT and it's the players fault for not following proper gun safety.
- Persona 3: Takaya likes to use his jeans (or at least his belt) as a makeshift holster for his revolver. How he hasn't managed to blow his crotch or foot off yet is a miracle.◊ Even then this is better then most versions of Pants Positive Safety since the barrel is pointed AWAY from his body, but still not nearly as safe as a holster.
- GoldenEye: The guards have an animation in which they would wave a hand as if to shoo away a fly, and then threaten the offending insect with their assault rifles. (Even worse, they do the same thing while the cheat code that gives them all rocket launchers is active...). Similar nonsense can happen with James Bond as well, as various tweaks to the game can affect which gun shows up in level-ending cutscenes. Putting a bazooka down his pants is entirely possible.
- Silent Hill
- An unintentionally funny scene in the first game, in which police officer Cybil Bennett confirms that the hero she's just met, a professional writer, has never handled a gun in his life, and so proceeds to hand him her spare gun for protection. The entirety of her instructions are "Know what you're shooting, and don't go blasting me by mistake." (Foreshadowing!)) A little justified in that they're in a Survival Horror environment (and used as a game mechanic, as, due to Harry's inexperience, the player can't accurately aim at long range), though you have to wonder why, as a police officer sworn to protect and serve, she didn't just accompany Harry instead of giving him a gun and sending him on his merry way.
- Later on, there's an even more hilarious scene at the local hospital. Harry comes upon Dr. Kaufmann, in an examination room, sitting down in shock next to a corpse of a monster he just shot. Harry carefully comes to introduce himself, and Kaufmann responds by immediately pointing the gun at Harry's face. He pleads with an appropriate, "Don't shoot! I'm a human!" Kaufmann digests this information for a second, and accidentally shoots anyway (missing, but still). He then says a casual-as-if-nothing-had-happened, "Thank God. Another human being."
Given the ambiguous nature of Silent Hill, it could be Fridge Brilliance; if any of the events were only in Harry's mind, pulled from Harry's imagination by the town, or part of a Dying Dream, then Harry wouldn't have known gun safety. Since he's making it up, he imagines Cybil giving him "real" advice. The advice wouldn't hold up if Harry knew anything about firearms, but he doesn't, so he fills in the blanks as best as he can with his imagination. So either Cybil is incompetent or Harry came up with it himself.
- Resident Evil: Early games have this in droves, though the most recent examples (Degeneration and Resident Evil 5) have an almost obsessive focus on gun safety in the cutscenes. In-game, however, the characters do run with their guns down and safe, until you hold the button which readies them.
- Battlefield Heroes: the National Army Soldier class characters inspecting their submachine guns should they be using it when you do not perform any abilities, move, or move the crosshair for a bit. By looking into the barrel. In the middle of a battle. While ammunition is loaded into it. Since if you fire while they are doing this and they will go back into a normal firing stance and fire, it can be assumed there is no safety on (or there possibly isn't one — Battlefield Heroes' setting is a silly WW 2 one). This can also happen should you be in, but not driving, a moving vehicle, which is even more dangerous. But since the game is based around the Rule of Fun, it can be assumed it was used for a joke, as such an action is clearly dangerous and stupid. Not to mention scratching your ear with a pistol!
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Lampshaded: When the player points a gun at any member of his squad, the player character diverts the gun away from them. Again, in all other situations, you're free to point weapons and fire at them when you so choose.
- Empire: Total War: features the use of a Gentlemen agent which can steal technology or duel other gentlemen of rival factions. If ordered to duel another gentlemen a cinematic scene plays which shows many different outcomes. One of these outcomes has the two duelists march a few paces turn but not fire. Hilariously, one of them looks down the barrel of the gun then the gun promptly discharges in his face. He loses the duel by the way.
- Grand Theft Auto
- Grand Theft Auto IV: Niko is pretty careless for an ex-soldier. Leave him standing around holding a pistol, and he'll eventually scratch the back of his head with it with his finger on the trigger.
- Which is about as stupid as the briefing scene from the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City mission "Supply and Demand" where Ricardo Diaz scratches his nuts with a pistol, complete with finger on trigger. In previous scene, the intro to "The Fastest Boat," he waves a shotgun around, and accidentally points it in the PC's face. It doesn't go off, though Tommy does seem rather concerned.
- Averted completely in the Operation Flashpoint and ARMA series by Bohemia Interactive. Characters move their fingers out of the trigger guard on a weapon when they lower it. For primary weapons, at least; there's no way to lower a pistol or ordnance launcher without putting them away.
- Call of Duty
- Call of Duty 2 Big Red One, averted: When one private points his rifle at someone, the CO yells at him.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Sometimes averted: When reloading every gun in the game (most obviously on the FAMAS) the player character takes their finger out of the trigger to avoid discharging the weapon. However most all other gun safety rules get tossed out the window, simply looking at a friend requires you to point your loaded gun directly at them with your finger on the trigger, although the game will not allow you to fire in single player. Multiplayer? Fire away!
- Final Fantasy Tactics: When showing off his gun in a cutscene, Mustadio very clearly points it at Ramza. And if the player acquires a robot weapon of mass destruction, Ramza orders it to beat Mustadio up, only to frantically demand someone bring a Phoenix Down when the robot blasted Mustadio to the floor, though this would be a case of Ramza not knowing just how lethal the damn thing is.
- Fallout series:
- Many characters will refuse to talk to you or will even try and kill you if you refuse to put your weapon away in their presence. It's also perfectly possible for your trigger-happy teammates to accidentally blow you to pieces in combat, especially if they're using burst weapons. This was epidemic in the first Fallout, most of your total deaths would be from a friendly AI getting a burst crit 'through' you onto a nearby mob. Fallout 2 permitted you to more carefully micromanage your teammates' combat settings, with an option that only determined the use of burst-fire and included the options "be absolutely certain you won't hit me" and "never use". It's possible they sell the gun and throw in the ammo for free. Flimsy, but the Fallout universe isn't exactly the one most rooted in reason.
- A welcome aversion is seen in Fallout New Vegas: The weapon animations exhibit proper trigger discipline, keeping the finger resting on the trigger guard when not aiming down sights or firing. Also the Boomer tribe are a community of Mad Bombers but follow major weapon safety to the letter.
- In the New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts, Joshua Graham looks down the barrels of his pistols as he inspects them, but not before ejecting the magazine and pulling back the slide.
- Red Dead Redemption: You get the FN Model 1903 (called High Power Pistol in the game) when Ross presents it barrel-front to John's stomach. He wants him dead anyway, and he's an asshole.
- Heavy Rain: If Ethan gets arrested and Jayden intervenes while Blake is vigorously interrogating him, Blake will pull out his gun and point it at Jayden with his finger on the trigger. Which just further drives the point home that Blake is more than a bit reckless, to say the least.
- Oregon Trail: You can be randomly killed by an accidental gunshot while hunting. Even a gun sheath/holster won't protect you from this.
- Stalker: Most characters will tell you to holster your weapon and won't talk with you if you don't obey. Some characters may even attack.
- Halo Reach: Humorously, one of these supposedly hardened and professional marines in this advertising clip points his automatic weapon at his fellow soldier's groin! Here at 0:50.
- The Elder Scrolls
- In Morrowind and Oblivion holding a weapon while talking to someone will cause them to like you less. This actually is a bit better than games wherein people don't seem to mind that you're holding a weapon in their face.
- Allies exhibit a similar level of Artificial Stupidity as in the FPS example at the top of the section. To the point where in the Battle of Bruma sequence in Oblivion, where you have dozens of NPC soldiers running around, the greatest danger to them on lower difficulty levels is the Player Character.
- In Oblivion and Skyrim, the first two games to feature scabbards, several weapons appear to be simply stuck through your belt rather than put into a scabbard for safety.
- When wielding a bow in Skyrim, you hold the trigger down to nock an arrow and draw the bowstring, then release it to fire. Aiming a drawn bow with a nocked arrow at someone averts this trope, as it tends to prompt nervous comments like "You're not actually going to shoot, right?"
- Scarface: The World is Yours. Unlike most sandbox games the player cannot massacre innocent civillians for the giggles. Tony's entire character revolves around not hurting anyone who never gave him trouble. The gun simply will not fire if the player pulls any silliness.
- Team Fortress 2: The Scout reloads his pistol by flipping it around while removing the spent magazine, then flipping it back while slipping a new mag in. He does this by pivoting it around his trigger finger (which is still in the trigger guard) and points it directly at himself when it's flipped around. Plus the common practice of shooting your teammates to check if they're really disguised Spies. On the Scout's case though its a part of his character to be a cocky showoff. Doing dangerous stuff just because it makes him look cool is what he lives for.
- Arc The Lad Twilight Of The Spirits, averted. Tatjana attacks with a gun, but you see her pointing it down and away from her feet whenever she's not firing it or has it holstered. She does hold it up whenever she uses it to perform special attacks and probably has safety on anyways, since she doesn't immediately hold it up and fire. Not to mention, the enemies who attack with guns primarily have them pointed at you and if they use guns for a special attack are shown loading them.
- Police Quest: You can be deafened if you don't put on sound-dampening earmuffs. It's stated in-game that the guns are NOT a toy and you have to follow safety procedures with guns. The Police Quest series is all about following correct police procedure. If you click your gun on a suspect, you'll shoot them and get a Game Over where you're chewed out for being trigger-happy. The proper procedure is to use the gun on yourself (to equip it) and then talk to the suspect, which will make your character order them to stand down.
- Blue Force: you can shoot yourself in the face if you clean your gun and fail to make sure it's unloaded first.
- League of Legends: Zig-Zagged.
- Caitlyn is shown with her rifle held over her shoulder. Presumably, whenever she does this it's not loaded or she has safety off. However, she takes a rifle and holds it in one hand while using one of her special attacks. In real life, this is asking for a sprained or broken wrist.
- Miss Fortune uses Guns Akimbo, but whenever she runs, she quickly holsters them.
- Tristana likewise always keeps her BFG pointed away from her. You can have them pointed at their allies albeit unintentionally.
- Gangplank however has a pistol in hand and has it perpetually pointed up unless he brings it down to fire or use Parrrley. He does this to signal his ship to fire on a target location with his ult, and ironically even used to shoot his own men.
- Galaxy Angel During your first meeting with Forte Stollen, she is seen demonstrating her skills with a Revolver in the Elle Ciel shooting range. After, presumably, firing every bullet in the chamber she turns around and playfully aims the gun at Tact's face, whom naturally reacts with fear. It's quite jarring, seeing as she is, otherwise, responsible with the handling of firearms.
- Red Steel 2 averted, the sword and gun Wii game. The Kusigari kid justifiably keeps his finger on the trigger due to the absence of any civilians and the immense presence of bandits, ninja, and other enemies. He keeps his hand over his revolver to keep it steady, has his finger off the trigger when reloading while pointing it down (same with the shotgun, rifle, and machinegun) and to be honest, the only fancy thing he does with his gun is twirl it when he holsters it.
- Conduit 2. Weapons range from pistols to beam cannons and bio-mass alien weaponry. During idle animations, Ford will inspect his weapon...with one of the "living" Drudge weapons, he actually sticks his finger near the barrel as if to poke it, and the weapon snaps at him.
- In Gears of War 3, the loading screen and cover has Marcus resting his hands on the muzzle of his lancer rifle.
- When a World of Warcraft character holds a gun but isn't firing it, they hold it level with the ground, pointing forward, by gripping the heel and trigger.
- In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, a live action cut scene shows elite Soviet commando Natasha standing beside her premier. Her finger is firmly on the trigger of her sizable sniper rifle. While it is pointed away from anyone visible in the room, a weapon of such penetration could easily take out someone a building away.
- Granado Espada's Lionel Von Hanen, an elite officer who is supposed to be a master of military science, wields a rifle and a pistol simultaneously — one for each hand — as his signature shooting stance.
- Mostly averted thanks to a glitch in the game engine in Red vs. Blue, a Halo machinima. To keep the characters from looking like they were pointing guns around while talking to one another, the creators were able to exploit a glitch in the first game in which a character would be looking down but would appear to be looking straight ahead, making it appear they lowered their weapon. (In subsequent games, Bungie actually deliberately put this functionality in for the use of machinima makers.) Despite that, everyone still carries around multiple weapons and fire them off for little to no reason on occasion. Perhaps the most egregious example is Tex using Caboose as target practice in her first appearance (shooting ''around'' him, not at him). Although she's a highly trained fighter and an excellent shot (as well as an A.I., so she theoretically should have perfect aim... if we ignore the example of Church) and she's only a few feet away from him, it's still an insanely dangerous thing to do. Granted, at that point in time Tex is mildly crazy thanks to the other A.I. in her head. Considering who we're talking about, it may not have been O'Malley's fault, but rather just her.
- Schlock Mercenary
- Averted. The Captain is so confident in the gun safety skills of his crew, many of their weapons don't have safeties (except for certain heavy weapons issued to certain Trigger Happy crewmembers). Played straight in this strip along with Gangsta Style. The next strip makes it clear that he knew how stupid he was being and just didn't care.
- Then there's this strip with the local police trying to arrest Elf. Which rule was "know what's behind your target" again? (However, this is a deliberate set up by the author.)
- Also appears in this strip where a cop points out that Schlock's outdated plasma cannon is so obscenely dangerous that firing it at all goes against gun safety and common sense.
- Tales of Zenith 5: the manager of the homeless shelter, disarms a woman who pulled a rifle, and sets it on the counter, noting that she should have known better, the Remington 20 has a well-known habit of accidental discharge. At this point it goes off, shooting the front-desk clerk in the gut. One of the inmates yells out "You just shot Marvin in the face!" 5 breaks the fourth wall by pointing out that they're not parodying Pulp Fiction in this cartoon in the strip, and besides, he shot him in the stomach.
- Girl Genius
- Agatha puts her eye under Gil's lightning generator, as he repeatedly presses the trigger mechanism while commenting that it takes too long to recharge. Apparently a lot of new Sparks die in lab accidents, although often of the No! I am your creator! variety.
- Later on: Tarvek, what the hell are you doing with that Kalashnikov-trumpet-thingy?
- The Dreadful: Someone shows up at Kit's door and starts threatening and talking down to her, while flipping his revolver around like Revolver Ocelot. Unfortunately for him, Kit is good enough a shot to hit the hammer of the revolver in midair, while it's pointing at his head.
- El Goonish Shive: Averted, Dan specifically researched shotgun safety before creating this strip.
- Whateley Universe Frequently averted: The Range staff are very, very hot on gun safety, understandably given that they work at a school. A couple of the writers appear to be gun enthusiasts and/or soldiers of one stripe or another. Big deals are made in-universe of the times when people don't follow the rules.
- Cracked.com has an article deconstructing this trope, as used in Hollywood.
- Averted in The Journal Entries. One story even has a rather lengthy lesson on gun safety (for a character from Earth, where there aren't supposed to be any guns).
- Homer then violates every gun rule in existence, including pointing his new, unloaded revolver at the salesman and repeatedly pulling the trigger ("Whoa, there Annie Oakley" says the salesman), fighting over the gun with the salesman when he finds out there's a five day waiting period ("But I'm mad now!") and later pointing the gun at everyone and using it to shoot light switches off and shoot open cans of beer. He's such a menace that the other NRA members of Springfield strip him of his NRA membership. Just before that, Marge left with the kids to find somewhere else to stay until Homer decided on his gun or his family, after he lied about getting rid of it. After Homer lies to Marge about the gun again, he tells her to get rid of it for him, knowing that he'll just lie again, but Marge decides to keep it for herself.