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"You know, a lot of professional officers, even up to field rank in the combat branches, seem to think that ammo comes down miraculously from Heaven, in contra-gravity lorries, every time they pray into a radio for it."
Possibly one of the oldest and most abused tropes when it comes to gunplay is the frequent ignorance of just how many shots the good guys/bad guys have fired from their guns without stopping for a reload. In Real Life, most revolvers hold between 5 to 8 shots depending on caliber while semiautomatic handguns have magazines that usually hold 10-15 shots. Pump-action, bolt-action, and lever-action longarms generally hold 5-8 rounds (but the magazine can easily be topped-off) and detachable-magazine semi-automatic or automatic rifles generally hold at least 20, if not 30 rounds.note That great big circular magazine seen on the classic Thompson Submachine Gun in gangster movies holds 100 rounds in real life. But keep a running count and you'll sometimes see a weapon go for much longer without hesitation.
Ammo capacity of guns on TV seems to be totally dependent on how much drama and suspense is needed. The hero will always have plenty of ammo to mow down the mooks but will run out just before reaching the Big Bad, or confront him with One Bullet Left. Reloading is usually only done when it adds to the drama or when you need to show off how badass the gunslinger is. If someone is firing an automatic weapon that's belt-fed, or has a large banana-shaped magazine in it, forget it, he's never going to run out until you shoot him dead. The only thing that seems to stop a movie or TV gun from firing is the inevitable and dramatic jam.
Can be partially explained by editing in some of the less unrealistic movies. If multiple shots of a gunfight flow well together shot counts might be ignored rather than breaking the flow by putting in a reload shot.
This is a common characteristic of Energy Weapons; seldom do you see a ray gun run out of zap juice.
An adjunct to this would be the Bottomless Quiver for archers. Many an archer in animation and videogames can pour out a stream of arrows without ever hitting the supply cart.
See also Infinite Supplies, Hammerspace. Unorthodox Reload is an aversion of this trope. Not at all related to Topless Magazines.
This may end up becoming an Acceptable Break from Reality in many Video Games; who wants to pull their fighter plane over to the side to top up on the 20mm ammo in the middle of a Shoot 'em Up?
Even in video games where you do have to reload, typically shooters, the game doesn't keep track of individual magazines. You can reload at any point without wasting bullets or having to move bullets from one magazine to another. When the game invokes Universal Ammunition, the rules just get that much fuzzier. If you're unlucky, though, some people's magazines might be more bottomless than others.
A common justification in science fiction stories is that future firearms actually fire extremely tiny projectiles (hundreds or even thousands of which can be packed into a single magazine). Since kinetic energy is a factor of both mass and velocity, firing mechanisms that allow the projectile to be shot in a very, very high velocity can compensate (or more) for the size of the bullet. Stronger characters sometimes have the 'cheats' of an absurdly large magazine relative to their body size (e.g. having their gun belt-fed from a backpack) or internal magazines whose capacity cannot be accurately calculated. Neither of these can actually be bottomless, but since viewers can't tell the actual number of rounds, they're less likely to have their Willing Suspension of Disbelief broken.
This trope often goes hand-in-hand with More Dakka. Compare against Counting Bullets, which is about limited magazines.
There's a separate "Exceptions" subsection on the bottom of this page. Please post aversions and subversions there.NOTE:Clips are devices used to help load cartridges into a magazine, such as the en-bloc clips used to help feed the M1 rifle's fixed magazine or "moon clips" used hold multiple rounds in-place for loading revolvers.It's a common and understandable mistake to mix clips and magazines up, especially since most people already refer to magazines as clips in movies or video-games. Regardless of it being a Berserk Button among many firearm enthusiasts.
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Anime & Manga
One Piece. Franky is the most noticeable offender, apparently having a nail machine gun in his arm (which should logically hold only four nails) and a cannon, which he is never seen reloading. This is taken to ridiculous heights by anyone who uses a flintlock for their primary weapon.
According to Word of God, the flintlocks used in One Piece are capable of holding multiple bullets. While such things did actually exist in real life, they were rare prototypes that were both bulky and unreliable, whereas One Piece's flintlocks look identical to the normal single-shot types.
Katanagatari has Entou Jyuu, a pair of guns that never run out of bullets. Justified as they were created using future technology.
Hellsing does this, as nearly every gun user, and one character who fights by throwing bayonets, is shown to have unlimited ammunition, or at least Super Speed combined with an implausibly large number of reloads. The creator jokingly states at one end-of-manga rant that Alucard's firearms are "cosmoguns" that hold an enormous amount of ammunition, while the bayonet-using Anderson is just "fourth dimensional".
An exception to this is the "anti-tank rifle" used during the attack on Hellsing mansion. It holds only one shell and reloading takes a realistic amount of time. Then again it might very well be done purely for drama. Though this becomes a Double Subversion when they get a fullyautomaticversion...
Alucard is seen to reload in the manga and at least once in the anime, but that's more Rule of Cool.
Averted in the final episode of the Hellsing anime when, during his fight with Incognito, Alucard runs out of ammo for The Jackal until Seras brings him a reload. Of course, he then goes on to fire 8 or so shots from a magazine that's explicitly stated to hold 6 rounds.
Played straight with Vash's opponents in Trigun, who never seem to run out of ammunition. This becomes even more confusing/distressing with Elendira the Crimson Nails who seems to have an infinite number of giant nails hidden in her briefcase gun.
And except for a hilarious subversion of a Mexican Standoff at the beginning (and despite complaining that bullets are hideously expensive), Vash never runs out of bullets, either.
Another exception is the standoff with Knives at the end of the series, where both of them have only one bullet each and are playing Russian Roulette with the other person's gun in their eye.
Heavyarms has been shown to run out of ammo on multiple occasions. Most pointedly in its battle with Sandrock early in the series, as well as in Endless Waltz; its magazines aren't bottomless, but they're sure as hell high-capacity.
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, though, is an odd one - as its beam weaponry is connected to its power source, it doesn't run out unless its suit runs out of power. It's averted, though, when the suits using nuclear power are introduced.
Taken to an extreme early on in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the AGE-1 has only one ranged Dods Rifle, and the unskilled Frit Asuno fires it all day long just trying to land a hit on enemies.
It's more because of the fact that he didn't know how to reload in the arcade game. When told the method (shooting outside the screen), he replies that this would be horribly unsafe.
Grave in Gungrave reloads his gun ONCE in the entire series.
In the both of the games, his Cerberus handguns never have to be reloaded. His coffin's special attacks do have a limit though.
Elie's Guns Tonfa in Groove Adventure Rave are often used for full auto bullet-spraying. There are no visible magazines, integral magazines for guns the size of tonfas shouldn't have that much capacity, and she is never shown reloading. It could be a helical magazine, which would have the right shape and ammo capacity for the tonfas — except that such a design would leave little space for the firing and shell-ejection mechanism.
None of the girls ever seem to need to reload their weapons in Strike Witches. It feels a bit odd too considering how much ammo they can sometimes burn through to take down one Neuroi.
Done multiple times in Black Lagoon, with Revy's fight against the pirate fleet in Episode 2 of the first anime season being one example.
Mad Pierrot's cane gun in the Cowboy Bebop episode "Pierrot Le Fou" can be fired as rapidly as he feels like, despite it having no conceivable place to store any ammo besides the one round in the chamber.
Ninjas in Naruto can easily carry a ton of shuriken and kunai by using seals to basically store them inside scrolls.
Possibly in reference to this, Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu has a robot known as Vulking, a Mighty Glacier who specializes in More Dakka. It's final attack involves firing EVERYTHING at the enemy... and is known as Endless Burn. Vulking also has this in effect by not running out of ammo in its FINGER CANNONS every few seconds (though most of the rest of its arsenal are energy based). Similar to this, we never see the Kill Jaguar reload its Vulcan Storm either.
Made fun of in the card game Ninja Samurai on Giant Robot Island, where the flavor text on a gun reads: "There is no word in the Chinese language for 'reloading'."
An Equipment Modifier in one of the Munchkin games is "...With Unlimited Ammo."
In The DCU, The Modern Age version of Jonah Hex has guns that channel his own psychic energy, and the Modern Age Crimson Avenger has the original's guns, now magically attuned to her. In both cases the effect is the same, they never run out of ammo.
That one is a transcription of the original comic, where he replied, "Yes, between each album."
Another lampshade comes in the animated series: when asked if he ever reload, he answers with his Catch Phrase "Yes I do, faster than my shadow", then the camera moves and show that the shadow is STILL reloading the bullets shot during the previous gunfight.
Averted at the end of one comic when he tries to get the attention of a crowd by firing in the air, only to realize that he has spent the whole issue without reloading. And if you go back and count, he has indeed fired a total of six shots up to that point.
Hand waved in Preacher, wherein the Saint of Killers has a pair of Walker Colt revolvers that never run out of bullets because they were forged from the former Angel of Death's sword.
In addition, (and for the same reason), his guns are incapable of missing and kill anything they hit. The origin of his guns also explains why the wounds they make are much less like pistol fire and much more like cannon fire. It should be noted that every other firearm in Preacher makes these kinds of wounds - it's just that only the Saint of Killer's weapons are actually justified in doing so.
Played dead straight with the Holiday Killer in The Long Halloween. Either he/she had a .22 pistol able to fire fifty shots at once, or the Riddler was a good sport and stayed stock-still while Holiday put a bullet outline around him, not moving even while Holiday was reloading.
To be fair, he was pretty terrified about the whole incident, so it's not unlikely that he just froze with fear.
In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, during the "Gaston" scene (read: tavern scene), Gaston fires three shots into a keg, causing beer to spill out and fill his mates' glasses, in under a second. He used a muzzle-loaded black powder blunderbuss (early Short Range Shotgun). Even the fastest shooters (such as soldiers) can only get three shots off in a minute.
In Tarzan Clayton has a double-barrel shotgun that can fire up to five times between reloading.
In Fantastic Mr. Fox, the hunters fire bolt-action rifles and double-barrel shotgun several dozen times without working the action before eventually reloading.
In Under The Red Hood, the newest Red Hood fires around 50 (that we see, many more if we assume that the fight isn't taking place simultaneously) shots from akimbo pistols.
Films — Live-Action
Snake's revolver in Escape from New York is pretty much a magic gun that doesn't even need ammo. When all of his gear is displayed before he sets out on his mission, you can see two extra clips for his scoped S&W Model 67. Not only is his gun never reloaded onscreen, but it fires about 10x as many bullets as he had with him.
Predator, in which a character fires a Minigun (rate of fire 1,200-2,000 rounds per minute) for several minutes before it empties. The total ammo expended is easily more than he could have possibly carried for such a heavy weapon (not to mention its power source).
In The Mummy, during the riverboat battle, one American fires a total of twelve shots from a six-cylinder revolver. Have fun with some drinking games based on this one. In the same riverboat battle, Rick fires about fourteen times without reloading, whereas with exactly the same gun three years before he ran out after about three shots in each. During the camp battle he only fires six, so that's okay.
In Army of Darkness, Ash fires his double-barrel shotgun three and later four times in a row without reloading. He also fires at least two dozen rounds at the deadite in S-Mart from a lever action rifle at the end. Also, his chainsaw seems to never run out of fuel. Or need any fuel, for that matter. However when his shotgun fires both barrels, the camera switches away from Ash and a soft clicking sound is heard (which would still mean a very fast reload, especially for a man with only one hand).
Max Payne, in which Max fires roughly thirty shots from an 92FS during one shootout and is never seen reloading. In-game however, everything reloads, complete with scattered empty magazines. In the sequel, an effect of getting deep into bullet-time is to make this even more badass.
Deep Rising (with the exception of a Karmic Death) has people firing automatic weapons at the monsters with never-ending bullets. At one point they even start shooting up an empty room. Just for the hell of it. There's at least an attempted justification: in the beginning they mentioned the magazine can hold 1,000 rounds of ammo which would last quite a while but would be far bigger than shown in the movie (the guns do exist in reality but only have a maximum capacity of 50 rounds).
Tombstone has the same problem, as everybody fires more than 6 rounds from their revolvers.
Equilibrium deals with this by having the main character have a mechanism under his sleeves that loads his pistols with new magazines. This does not explain how exactly the mechanism works however, or how many magazines it holds. He also has sort of elaborate decoy magazines, magazines on round bottoms that he tosses to the floor, runs out and shoots down several guards before dropping to the floor and slotting the magazines into his gun. Careful counting of shots along the hallway scene in which both the sleeve reload and the weighted weeble clips are used reveals at least 30 rounds per magazine are being fired all the way along. At best count, about 40 are fired before the first reload, possibly more.
In Commando, the ammunition belt on Arnold's machine gun actually gets longer every time they cut away and cut back.
The Commando parody in Hot Shots! Part Deux. When the action cuts away from Topper Harley firing a machine gun several times. Each time the camera cuts back to him, the pile of shell casings around him is higher and the belt is the same length.
In Snatch the trope is averted and later followed. Earlier, Bullet Tooth Tony runs out of bullets killing Boris the bullet dodger — he is unable to kill Tyrone; he pulls the trigger, the gun goes click, and he comments "You lucky bastard". In this sequence, he reloads at least once, and each magazine holds 7 shots (the gun clearly has Desert Eagle .50 on the side). Later on, however, Cousin Avi gets the gun and fires 10 shots at a dog.
Although Dirty Harry and its sequels make lots of attempts to avoid this, Scorpio's sub-machine gun seems to spray a lot of lead with very few reloads. Given, a lot of SMGs tend to have fairly large ammo capacities.
Grosse Pointe Blank has this in abundance. Oddly, his lack of ammo then becomes very important in his brief stand off with Grocer.
In Millers Crossing, Leo fires over five hundred rounds from a Thompson submachine gun loaded with a hundred round magazine.
Appears during the hilarious chase scene in Raising Arizona: a cashier reloads his double-barreled shotgun after firing one shell at H.I., but then fires off five shells in a row without stopping.
John Woo movies. Almost every single one, with the exception of the The Killer - in that movie's final battle you see one of the main characters toss a magazine to the other so he can reload. The only time the guns ever seem to run out of ammunition is when it's somehow relevant to the plot. Woo has stated in interviews that showing a reload detracts from the action of a gunfight and he wonders why American film audiences are so obsessed with it. Correlates with the MST3K Mantra.
Lampshade Hanging and Parodied ruthlessly in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, where the protagonist chases down a thug with his Magnum, and keeps shooting. After a brief chase, the thug stops him and goes:
Willie: Now, you got a .45 revolver that holds six bullets! Now, I counted at least twenty shots and you never reloaded! Slammer: That's right.
Almost averted in the '50s monster movie Attack of the Giant Leeches, where we do see a character reload. Almost, because before and after reloading, he manages to fire off five shots from a double-barreled shotgun.
The Matrix films. The scenes in the Matrix can be explained by the same logic that gives humans and programs super-strength and speed.
The Matrix: Neo fires a gatling gun from a helicopter for almost a minute. That's like 6000 bullets
The Matrix Revolutions: The lobby shootout scene (the ones with bad guys on the ceiling), in which no character ever reloads or throws away guns, and in the subway chase when The Trainman fires at least 11 rounds from his 6-shot revolver, without reloading (or being shown to, anyway).
Possibly justified in that in the train station, The Trainman is "God", and can shoot as many bullets as he wants.
Also prevalent in The Matrix Reloaded during the highway chase. The twins seem to have a UMP .45 with at least 200 rounds in its magazine, whereas the real-life counterpart has only 25.
During the battle for Zion, in the real world, the legion of APUs can be seen firing for extended periods of time on full auto. In fact, many APUs reload at different times despite all beginning to fire at the same time.
The director's commentary for Planet Terror notes that even the actors were wondering about it. The director told them, "It's not that kind of movie."
In Saving Private Ryan, the American sniper fires more than five shots from his Springfield sniper rifle without reloading, exceeding the weapon's capacity.
Jack Slater: Did you make a movie mistake? You forgot to reload the damn gun. Benedict:No, Jack. I just left one chamber empty.
In the first half of the final gun battle in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch and Sundance are shown reloading their guns every six shots... but then they go the entire rest of the fight without ever reloading.
Pretty notable in Constantine. Angela fires her gun consecutively 30 times without reloading, but her Smith and Wesson Model 6906 holds a total of 13 rounds.
I Robot was a big offender. Spooner never reloads any of the several pistols he uses throughout the movie, but even worse, he has a submachine gun that gets a lot of use toward the end. By 2035, apparently bullets are infinite.
In Hot Fuzz, the bartender fires 8 shots from his double-barreled shotgun before ducking to reload. Given that the movie is both a parody of, and tribute to police and action flicks, this may have been intentional.
In The Fast and the Furious, the villain fires way more rounds than the submachine gun he's carrying can hold in a magazine during the final chase scene. Furthermore, he's doing so while riding a motorcycle, giving him no realistically-conceivable means of reloading. When they destroy Brian's Eclipse, each of their submachine guns fires like an anti-materiel machine gun, about 150-200 rounds of API ammo each. After so many rounds, any machine gun with one barrel would have gone white hot.
Die Hard: No one ever reloads, unless it's plot important. The Steyr Aug has a magazine of 30, and the bad guy fires constantly for minutes. On the other hand, it was one of the first action movies to have the characters carrying spare magazines as a matter of course, and we do see plenty of reloading scenes.
In Die Hard with a Vengeance, the security guard in the bank vault fires his shotgun about 15 times before coming up empty, nearly twice as many shells as a typical law-enforcement model can hold.
A minor version of this happens with the original Halloween II (1981). In the first Halloween (1978), Dr. Loomis shoots Michael Myers once with a six-cylinder revolver, then after Myers staggers back a few steps, Loomis takes aim and fires the other five bullets in his gun, causing Myers to fall off a balcony to the ground below. However, the scene where Michael is shot and falls off the balcony was re-shot for the second film, leading to two rather glaring continuity errors: the balcony looks completely different than the first film's, and Loomis shoots Myers with six bullets instead of five following that initial shot. Which mean that, instead of shooting him "six times", as Loomis claims, he actually shot him seven times.
In Hellboy, the title character's revolver The Samaritan clearly holds and is loaded with four bullets, but when he shoots at Sammael in the museum he fires it six times before putting it back in his belt, then on the street twice more. When he reloads it with a tracking bullet a while later he doesn't remove any shell casings. He shoots it more than four times while fighting the tooth fairies in Hellboy II: The Golden Army as well.
Occurs twice when Lana Ravine is firing her revolver in Fatal Instinct: when she's at the firing range and when she's shooting Max Shady.
In the 1939 movie Stagecoach, during the final chase scene, nearly every male riding the stagecoach has a Winchester or revolver, and are shooting them as fast as possible, but none of them are shown reloading them (the Native Americans, on the other hand, sometimes have to reload theirs). Then suddenly, without warning, they're out of ammo and about to be overrun (before The Cavalry saves them).
In Undead, the police officer's revolver fires a rather obscene amount of rounds in the first gunfight.
Komodo vs Cobra, an already remarkably bad movie with technical mistakes every few seconds, really goes to town with this. The .45 semi-auto pistols (which are misidentified by multiple characters as .38 revolvers, somehow) have apparently infinite ammo. There's one scene where a character fired one gun around 45 times, and another scene where he had one gun in each hand and fired at least 60 times total. Note that they never stocked up on ammo when they were at their base, nor did the movie ever show them re-loading between action scenes, let alone during them. Combining this with the two titular beasties somehow being Immune to Bullets they might as well have called them the "loud flash-toys".
Black Dynamite. The titular character regularly fires upwards of 10 shots from his six shot revolver. Of course, this is probably on purpose.
Lampshaded in What's Up, Tiger Lily? (and referencing Peter Pan) — when the hero is in a shootout and runs out of ammo, he tells us "If all you people in the audience who believe in fairies clap your hands, my gun will be magically full of bullets!"
In Hitman47 loads a pair of MP5s (30 rounds per magazine) and proceeds to slaughter a room of baddies without ever stopping to reload (you know there weren't any reloads off screen, because 47 was frisked when he entered the room).
In Rambo IV, Sly opens up on the bad guys with a fifty-cal machine gun mounted on a small jeep. He keeps it up for a while, far longer than a single belt could possibly allow. It does eventually run out, but not before shooting a lot more rounds than a small jeep would reasonably carry (.50 BMGs are big). And then he reloads.
In 3 Ninjas, the boys' father leading the FBI force fired 9 shots from a revolver at the crime syndicate escaping on a helicopter.
In The Thing (1982) Blair fires seven shots from a six shot revolver without reloading.
The original RoboCop (1987) film plays with this trope. Although the film features plenty of gunplay, characters are seen to reload. However the title character, while tending to fire short, controlled bursts, expends a lot more bullets than is possible for the size of his admittedly oversized Auto-9 before returning it to his leg holster at the end of any given engagement, and is never seen performing a reload action during combat at all. Additionally, the ED-209 robot appears to carry more ammunition than a fighter plane; in one of the film's most memorable scenes it empties three 20mm cannon into a hapless executive for nigh-on half a minute.
In RoboCop 2, RoboCain's rampage includes his firing hundreds if not thousands of rounds from his built-in rotary gun- far more than he could be carrying.
They tried to avert it in Independence Day with the fighter jets running out of missiles, but then they had the pilots "plough the road" with a seemingly endless supply of bullets from their gatling cannons. One wonders why they used their precious supply of missiles to shoot down alien fighters when machine guns were just as effective. In real life, fighter jets carry enough rounds for less than ten seconds of continuous fire.
In Where Eagles Dare, Clint Eastwood's character fires an MP 40 submachinegun minute after minute, never once reloading for a quarter of the movie. Since there are no convenient ammo trucks following him around, the ammo fairy must be helping out.
In Night Train to Munich, Randall fires a revolver more than six times, and then arbitrarily runs out of bullets at the most dramatic time.
The film version of Starship Troopers both plays this straight and subverts it. In the attack on Klendathu most of the MI's guns fire continuously without needing to reload, but in the battle in Whiskey Outpost later in the film they start running low on ammo. Keep in mind this is after around four minutes of almost continuous firing, long enough for the bugs to be able to start crawling up to the top of the outpost's walls on piles of their dead.
Justified on Klendathu as most of the troopers get off about 30-45 rounds a piece at the most, and most of them are seen firing in bursts. That said, the reason for the lack of reloads is because no one who has to reload ever lives long enough to do so. And at Whiskey outpost the troopers are seen ducking back behind other troopers so that they can reload while someone else fills in the new gap in the wall of lead. Not that it made much of difference though.
In Carriers, Chris Pine's character is seen to use his gun to shoot a Christian couple in a car an abnormally large amount of times without any sign of reloading. He also uses the gun multiple other times throughout the film, and given the scenario (post-apocalyptic disease-ridden society) it is unlikely he would have any other ammo than the bullets in the gun handy.
Scarface (1983) has loads of guns on full auto, and most of them seem to have nigh-unlimited ammo. Micro Uzis always keep blazing like miniguns. The final shootout takes it to ridiculous extremes. Tony's M16 has two magazines Jungle-Style'd together, but it certainly goes through more than 60 rounds before Tony has to reload. And he has to reload twice. Not to mention the countless bullets pumped into him which barely get him to stumble, let alone kill him. One single shot from a double-barrel shotgun finally does.
In The Villain, Arnie's character Hansum Stranger has a seven shot six-shooter which looks like an ordinary gun. When Cactus Jack, disguised as a preacher, fires six rounds, he then waves the gun around thinking that it's empty. Then, he pulls the trigger, spooking the horse hitched to the buckboard he's standing on. Hilarity Ensues.
In the Underworld series, Selene can occasionally be seen reloading. She does however, fire far bullets than her guns could hold.
In the 80's Black Comedy zombie/Buddy Cop ShowDead Heat, Roger Mortis and a mook (both zombies) unload into each over from about four meters away for several seconds of full-auto fire from an Uzi and an MP5 respectively.
In Birdemic, no one ever reloads, and the protagonists fire a truly insane amount of rounds at the birds. Of course, at the end when the heroes are trapped, they suddenly the realize they're out of ammo.
There is an Israeli joke about a Golanchiknote a member of the Golani Brigade in the IDF, stereotypically a Lower-Class LoutColonel Kilgore who once found a genie who gave him three wishes. He asked for a bottomless magazine. Later, in a battle, he fights very, very hard in his unit’s encounter with enemy forces, thanks to never having to reload; everyone praises him as a hero, so when the genie comes to ask him for his next two wishes, he says, ‘That was fucking A, mate! Gimme two more of these!’
In John Scalzi's Old Man's War series, the standard issue gun that each soldier is given (the MP-35) is powered by an ammo block of nanites that can create eight different types of ammunition. While the blocks don't last forever, they hold 100 times more ammo than a regular rifle.
Despite this, ammo capacity's still a tiny, tiny bit of a plot point. The really, really nasty types of exploding ammo eat a lot more of the block than the standard bullets and shot, limiting their use (a bit).
The King of Ward 3 in Blindness has a revolver that has capacity of more than six bullets. Oddly, it is NOT used as a plot point, so this trope comes into play despite the person wielding it being blind.
In The Half-Made World, Agents of the Gun carry magical, demonic revolvers that do not need to be reloaded.
Curveball, a minor Epic from The Reckoners Trilogy, has the power that any gun he uses will never run out of bullets.
Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined): The Centurion robots have a slim build that must contain a power source and processing equipment, but still their Arm Cannons appear to contain infinite amount of ammo. At one point when they have managed to enter Galactica, one loses its legs offscreen, and simply keeps on wildly firing around, apparently closing that corridor from passage for the rest of the attack.
Combat: Neither Pvt. Kirby's BAR nor Sgt Saunders's Thompson need a lot of reloading. In fact, the rest of the squad seldom need to reload their M1's.
Garth Marenghis Darkplace: After remarking that he only has five shots left in his revolver, Dr. Rick Dagless, M.D. fires off nine shots in a row. Thorton Reed is also known for firing his shotgun repeatedly without reloading, often in a clearly different background. It's deliberately So Bad, It's Good, so it gets a pass.
Heroes: In one episode, Ando and Hiro take cover as a stripper and a cop begin firing at each other. They fire countless times at each other, even though they both have "regular" guns, and the stripper even has a bullet left when they're done shooting. Commented on and mocked on the audio commentary for that episode.
Leverage: Surprisingly an Averted Trope in the season 3 finale: despite the totally over the top nature of the rest of the gunfight, Eliot stops to reload several times, raids bodies for spare magazines, and does not significantly exceed the potential capacity of the guns he's using.
The Muppet Show: The Swedish Chef in one episode shoots three bagels with a blunderbuss, which as we all know, can only have ONE bullet at a time, and 5-10 minutes of reloading before shooting again. He shoots two bagels after the first WITHOUT reloading.
Sledgehammer: Lampshade Hanging, where almost every episode had this trope. (Heck, every time we look at the chamber of Sledge's gun it's not loaded, but ten seconds later the revolver can fire ten rounds without him even touching a bullet.) In one episode during a shootout, Da Chief yells "Where the hell is he getting all this ammo?"
Often plays this straight, particularly noticeable when after firing a P90 for a few seconds, you can still see that the magazine is full thanks to its see-through properties. While reloading actually is necessary for Stargate characters, the fact that they're using prop guns (real P90s aren't easy to come by) means that the magazines always visibly "full".
Staffs and other Energy Weapons have nearly limitless power, and can be used good as new despite millenia of neglect. The power cell from a single staff was sufficient to power a wormhole to another galaxy, albeit only once and with heavy modification. Likewise, in Stargate Atlantis, Wraith stunners never need a recharge. Traveller energy pistols, however, have been shown to run dry eventually, but the character that accomplished that used one to melt through an Ancient door at full power and fired continuously for at least a minute.
Star Trek: The Original Series: The episode "Shore Leave". Sulu finds a six-shot revolver. He fires four shots from it while doing some target practice, then Kirk uses it later to fire three more shots at the knight.
Torchwood: The episode "Something Borrowed" is fairly bad about this. In one scene, Owen fires his pistol roughly two dozen times without pausing to reload. Could be hand-waved with alien tech...
The Walking Dead: Hershel in season two fires eleven shots over the limit with his Remington 870 5-shot.
Hand waved quite literally in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The urbane Glass Walkers know a Gift that transports rounds directly from spare cartridges to the gun. The Garou temporarily skirts the inconvenience of reloading as long as he has mags on his person somewhere.
Not to mention another Gift (Garefena's Crown, Level 2) that gives them the infinite-ammo cheat for the duration of the scene. The cost? One Gnosis point and wearing a hat. Seriously.
Also, they can create magical one-shot items called Bottomless Magazines, which do just what you'd think they do for one scene.
Feng Shui, in all its cinematic glory, offers a gun schtick that specifically replicates this trope. A character who purchases three shticks in Lightning Reload is allowed infinite ammo and never needs to reload no matter the circumstances.
In Hong Kong Action Theatre, as long as your gunplay attack rolls on D20 don't come up a 3 or worse, you can blast off to your heart's content, but if you do roll that 3 or worse, you need to take a full round to reload. This can sometimes get annoying if this happens two to three shots into a freshly-loaded mag.
In It Came From The Late Late Late Show, you're playing an actor in a B-movie. Any missile weapons you get have the same number of shots as your Fame score (basically your experience points). If your actor has 48 Fame points, then the derringer he's got up his sleeve has 48 shots.
In Mage: The Awakening, there is an actual magical item called a "bottomless magazine". It isn't actually literally bottomless. Instead it is enchanted to continuously teleport bullets from a specially set aside cache (containing hundreds of them) into the magazine.
The anime-inspiredBig Eyes, Small Mouth averts this normally, but also provides "Dramatic Ammunition" rules, wherein this trope applies until the GM deems it dramatically appropriate for the player to run out of ammo. Under these rules, the player can purchase the ability One Bullet Left, which gives them one more shot when the GM makes that declaration.
The "Infinite Ammunition" option in GURPS means the players always have extra bullets or arrows. It's also a perk in the Gun Fu splatbook.
Mutants & Masterminds generally assumes that weapons operate under this trope, with a PC's blaster running out of ammo counting as a complication.
In Scion, the god-level War Purview boon Blessing of Ammunition gives a gunslinger this ability. In fact, if the character is willing to kiss a permanent Willpower point goodbye, the effect is permanent.
In Warhammer 40,000, one of the first symptoms of the Obliterator virus is, along with absorbing weapons, the ability to conjure ammunition.
More traditionally in line with this trope, there's the Space Marines' bolters. Most images and models of them show them carrying no spare magazines for reloads at all yet they are described as fighting and shooting for hours — even days — on end.
Dawn of War 2 shows them taking magazines out of their Awesome Backpack to reload. That being said, those backpacks never run out of magazines either.
In Wild Talents, a superhero game taking place in a world in which Reed Richards is most definitely NOT useless, the influence of super intelligent heroes has made it so the vast majority of firearms in use after the 1960's are electromagnetic railguns with magazines containing hundreds of tiny bullets.
Sniper has optional rules for a Super-Soldier, including never needing to reload.
Played straight in Spirit Of The Century. Following the pulp tradition, characters generally don't have to track shots and are assumed to reload as needed without having to take explicit actions to do so; but running out of ammunition can still happen when "dramatically appropriate", such as by a relevant aspect being compelled to earn that character another Fate point for his or her trouble or as a possible consequence of losing an exchange in a gun-related conflict. There's also the stunt "One Shot Left", which lets a character who has it make one attack at a significant bonus by declaring it to be his or her last shot...but then he or she definitely is out of ammo for any and all of his or her weapons until further notice.
In Fudge games, players don't keep track of ammo, instead the GM declares that they've run out whenever it is most dramatic.
This is par for the course for any mounted gun emplacement in a video game. Think of the damage you could do if there was a way to unbolt one from its perch and carry it with you (which can be done in quite a few games, but unfortunately, then they tend to lose that property).
Many shooter games (this is standard for games that use a light-gun) also invert this trope with the weakest gun: You'll have unlimited reserve ammo and can reload as many times as you like, but your magazine will only hold so many rounds and have to be reloaded periodically.
In Just Cause 2, detachable mounted guns are found in most bases and have limitless ammo, detached or otherwise. On top of that, the mounted guns destroy pretty much anything that creates chaos when blown up in about two seconds flat; finding a mounted gun makes most stronghold takeover missions a breeze. More Dakka indeed.
Most early first person shooters had Bottomless Magazines without unlimited ammo — you never, ever had to reload; as long as you had ammo, you could shoot.
Some weapons did have a "reload" animation of sorts, however; Doom's shotgun had to be cocked, and Doom 2's double-barreled shotgun had to be manually reloaded each time. Both Duke Nukem 3D and Rise of the Triad had pistols that had to switch out mags every couple of shots.
However, the minute you give a friendly your gun, they suddenly have an untold amount of ammo for it, regardless of what they were carrying before. If you take it back after they've used it a bit, it'll have the same amount of ammo it had when you gave it to them. This is particularly useful with a rocket launcher. Wait until you have one, trade it off, and keep the rocket guy alive for more Stuff Blowing Up.
One consistently strange example is that assault rifles will nearly always hold 30 rounds per magazine in a game, even if it is modeled with smaller magazines (see every SG 552 in a video game, which does have 30-round mags but is always modeled with the 20-round ones), or worse, the real-world gun does not have 30-round mags (see the FAMAS, which is almost always the F1 model which only loads 25-round mags).
Command & Conquer: Renegade has an assault rifle that has a 100-round magazine. It may be larger than your typical magazine, but it's still far too small to hold that much ammo.
Pretty much any and every Eastern RPG character who uses a bow, gun, or other ranged weapon will play this trope to the hilt.
One notable exception is Final Fantasy IV, where any bow-wielding character must have arrows to fire (mostly to allow you to use different ammunition). In the DS remake, you only had to buy one generic arrow-type item, which was indeed bottomless, carried over from Final Fantasy XII 's ammo system.
Devil May Cry absolutely loves this. If you couldn't pump out a constant stream of handgun bullets, it just wouldn't be the same. In fact, it loves this trope so much that it hand waves it, saying that one of Dante's powers is to create ammunition inside his guns.
It loves it so much because of an intentional decision Hideki Kamiya made for the original game; he has stated that he wanted to keep the action of the game as fast as possible, and forcing the character to stop and reload would only slow things down.
DMC4's Nero needs to reload his revolver and spends a good few seconds in a cutscene pulling off a slo-mo Unorthodox Reload; but in regular gameplay, you can keep firing as long as you want, only when you stop will Nero flick his wrist, presumably reloading it at super human speeds.
Lady is a peculiar case; although she is shown reloading her small arms regularly, she seems to carry more magazines that should be possible, while she is never seen reloading her "Kalina Ann" rocket launcher.
Bayonetta, already famous for its Dual-Dual Wielding of guns which are allegedly repeaters in the hands and feet, uses this like Devil May Cry. Made funnier by the fact that nobody is sure where the magazine is.
A post-boss fight cutscene shows her loading in her lipstick to shoot Balder, the barrels being in the double-barrel shotgun configuration. Her primary guns don't have any magazines.
It takes a bit of digging, but the game explains the lack of magazines: her custom guns don't have any magazines because she's making the bullets out of her spirit power, and they're being placed directly into the chamber without the need for storage.
Up until IV, the Grand Theft Auto series used this with pump-action shotguns, presumably to compensate for the slow firing speed.
If the magazine of an SMG is emptied while the player is firing it from a vehicle, more ammo is just immediately transported from their supply back into the gun so they can continue shooting. This also comes with the caveat of a half-empty magazine immediately refilling itself when the player switches their view, e.g. looking out the left-side window after having shotout from the right.
Played shamelessly in Hellgate: London, where firearms never run out of ammo. The ammo? Well, that's an attachment in this game.
Bullet Witch intentionally uses a variant of this trope. One of the powers the lead character possesses is to convert part of her constantly-regenerating supply of MP into bullets or shells for her gun. She can't fire forever without reloading, but she can reload forever.
The Boktai series has a protagonist whose main firearm is powered by sunlight. Give him some sunscreen and he can literally shoot all day.
Resident Evil: Code: Veronica. The protagonist hands her sidekickempty twin Ingram MAC-11s. A cutscene slightly later involves handing him a single magazine. He can keep blasting (in game and during cut-scenes) literally hundreds of bullets from both guns, up until a pivotal cutscene takes place.
Said pivotal cutscene involves Steve firing both MAC-11s until they run out of ammo at the same time — despite the fact that 15 seconds earlier, he shoots a wall with a long burst with only one gun. To top it off, he'll still fire in both cutscenes even if the player drains the guns of ammo during the playable Steve sequence.
Likewise, once you clear the game and unlock the Survivors mini-game, you can fire Steve's twin MAC-11s for almost 30 continuous seconds before they run out, despite the fact that a MAC-11 empties a full magazine (32 rounds) in just under two seconds.
Even more amusing are Steve's Gold Lugers. Claire actually finds them first, with no ammo in them. Then Steve takes them. Later on, Steve rescues Claire by going Guns Akimbo with the Gold Lugers, then trading them back to you - with no ammo. Not only that, but there's no ammo for them in the entire game — their use is strictly to place into a door so it unlocks.
To add insult to injury, he actually complains that you "tricked him" since the MAC-11s have no ammo (he makes you grab it off a crate).
If you start Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on Easy Mode, you start with a fully loaded M4A1 and a single magazine — which contain 300 rounds, each. Combined, that gives you enough bullets to reach the second half of the game before they run out, provided that you use other weapons to kill Nemesis.
Speaking of the Nemesis, defeating him in every optional fight makes him drop an attachment that allows you to give a single gun infinite ammunition.
Resident Evil 4 & 5 start the player off with reasonable, though a bit high, magazine sizes. But the upgrade system plays this straight, eventually allowing your small handgun to hold 50+ bullets per mag.
Or by allowing you to have twelve rounds...in a revolver.
Don't forget about the infinite rocket launcher you can buy after defeating the game once.
Not to mention the infinite ammo mode in Resident Evil 5, where your guns no longer require ammo to function.
Played completely to trope in 4 with the Chicago Typewriter (Thompson Submachine gun). Amusingly, it has a reload animation which doesn't do anything at all, except look awesome, moreso with Leon's unlockable mobster costume.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, being rail-shooters, gives the player's starting pistols infinite ammunition. In addition, Chris's counter-attack in Umbrella Chronicles involves him pulling out a knife, jabbing it into the offending zombie's head, and then kicking said zombie away without taking back the knife. And yet he always has another one ready for the next zombie that manages to grab him.
And again: Rebecca's counter-attack involves her blowing up the offending zombie with a grenade to the face. It never depletes the player's actual supply of grenades, and even happens if the player doesn't have any to throw normally.
In the game Stranglehold, although you don't have unlimited ammunition, you do still have Bottomless Magazines — as long as your gun has ammo, you can fire continuously without stopping to reload. In fact, the only time Tequila reloads is when he's gearing up to unleash a Barrage attack.
Lampshaded in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. A character complains that her guidebook on a hammer-throwing enemy tells you everything except where they get the infinite supply of hammers.
Also, the Bill Blasters from the Super Mario Bros. series games, which can fire an unlimited number of Bullet Bills. Adding to this is the fact that the Bills are approximately the same size as their Blasters. This is also true with Lakitus, especially in the early years where their Spinies are all the same size as their clouds, which in turn are the same size as the Lakitus themselves, as with the Hammer Bros., which can throw an unlimited supply of hammers.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater does play this straight but still lampshades it with the Patriot, a gun you obtain after beating the game once. When you call up your tech specialist over the radio, he asks how it never runs out of ammo or needs to be reloaded. Snake's answer: "Because the internal feed mechanism is shaped like an infinity symbol." It apparently explains the whole thing adequately.
There's also the on-rails action against the Shagohod where you do get unlimited ammo of whatever weapons you had at the moment. The explanation is that the sidecar of the motorcycle that you're riding in has lots of ammunition in it.
Which gets more than a little ridiculous when you start using the RPG and quick reload (equipping and unequipping weaponry, a bit of bizarre MGS-logic).
Taken to the extreme with the unlockable "Infinity" face-paint, which, as its name suggests, gives Snake infinite ammo for as long as he has it applied. One camo pattern for his uniform unlocked by beating the game once does the same for his battery-powered items.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty too plays with this, sort of. In Snake's fight with Olga she regularly has to reload her USP, but never seems to run out of spare magazines... until you defeat her, of course.
Also, late in the game, when Raiden and Snake help each other fight their way out of Arsenal Gear, Snake assures Raiden that he can offer ammo if Raiden runs out; when Raiden asks if he has enough, Snake points at his headband and says "infinite ammo". Raiden accepts this explanation with no further discussion.
This is a reference to the good ending of the first game; the item received, a bandanna, has that exact property. It also serves to emphasize the fact that Raiden is having significant trouble separating reality from his VR training, along with the fact that he's probably hallucinating. In fact, the whole end of the game is bizarre mostly for this very reason. Trying figuring out what's really happening.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots averts this with four exceptions: mounted weapon emplacements (the machine gun turrets have infinite ammo while the mortars are single-shot but each use causes a mortar shell to appear for loading), the two vehicular chase sequences (finite ammo but infinite magazines), and the Patriot (the only personal weapon with infinite ammo).
Tony Montana in Scarface: The World is Yours gains infinite ammunition when he enters a Blind Rage mode, then abruptly returns to needing to watch his ammo usage once he goes back to normal. This also occurs in Army of Two's Overkill mode.
In the Serious Sam games, the attachment of a "Techno-Magical Ammunition Replenisher" allows for the starting pistols to have infinite reloads. Similarly, the usage of an advanced fuel cell hand waves the unlimited run-time of the chainsaw. Multiplayer also has a server setting to let every gun have infinite ammo.
In Serious Sam 3, there are infinite ammo crates similar to those found in Half-Life 2.
Funnily enough, while the fuel cell for the above chainsaw will last pretty much forever, according to the in-game description every other part of the chainsaw breaks down at the same time exactly a year after first use. Not that this is a drawback for Sam, since he comes across no fewer than three chainsaws across the game and holds onto them for a couple of hours at best.
In Metal Slug, the default pistol never runs out of bullets (because otherwise you'd be screwed). However, wait after firing a certain number (or more) of shots (9 for the male characters, who have automatics, and 6 for the revolver-packing girls), and your character will yank the magazine out and replace it. Not that they need to, but the animators just felt like paying attention to that detail.
In Metal Slug Defense, the reloading animation is used as a form of "lag time" after a character fires their special move.
Exquisitely justified in Mass Effect, in which the basic principle of "force equals mass times velocity" is taken to its natural conclusion — while current weapons have around a couple dozen bullets the size of marbles propelled at trans-sonic speeds by exploding gunpowder, late 22nd century weapons have thousands of bullets the size of grains of sand propelled at relativistic speeds by superconducting magnets. It's not technically infinite ammo, but it can take days for gunfighters to run dry. This is a plot point in one of Wrex's stories—he mentions that he once fought an opposing bounty hunter for so long, they both ran out of ammo and had to scrounge up other guns from other hunters Wrex had killed during the gunfight.
There is a mechanic that serves a similar purpose to limited ammo magazines in the game, though; each gun has a limited number of shots it can fire before the weapon will overheat on you. Lay on the trigger too much and you'll have to wait a short time before you can fire again, analogous to a mag swap.
The sequel retains the bottomless magazines (you never run out of ammo), but adds reloading by forcing the player to swap out thermal clips, the justification being that troops having to wait for the weapons to cool down in the middle of a battle makes them vulnerable (the question of what happens when the troop runs out of thermal clips is not addressed). Note that these "clips" are essentially Universal Ammunition and they restock all of your carried weapons simultaneously when picked up, with the exception of the heavy one.
The computer-controlled NPCs never run out because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, but in-universe it seems that Shepard is the only one who isn't smart enough to buy and keep about a thousand thermal clips; s/he only steals them from dead bodies.
In Mass Effect 3, the DLC "From Ashes" gives you the Particle Rifle, a beam weapon that doesn't require heat clips but needs a cooldown period if it overheats. All other weapons in the game are either heavy weapons which can't be restocked or need thermal clips to function.
The Citadel DLC has Shepard find an old M7 Lancer from around the time of the First Contact War, which still relies on the old cooling system method. After running out of shots, Shepard goes to reload, only to realise it doesn't use thermal clips and nearly burns themselves as a result.
In Syndicate Wars your agents have built-in micro-fusion reactors that create ammunition for their weapons. Where they're keeping those weapons, though, we don't ask.
In the remake, the minigun plays this absolutely straight, without even a handwave.
Killer7: MASK DE Smith's penultimate upgrade gives his grenade launchers bottomless magazines; previously, he had to reload after every shot.
And even though every character has to reload (except for Kevin, who uses knives), they never run out of extra clips/magazines.
Played straight in both total ammunition and lack of reloading in Call of Duty 4 with mounted weapon emplacements even when they were just fixed-in-place versions of personal weapons, such as the M249 SAW or the RPD, that do have finite ammunition and reloads. The Mark 19 grenade machine gun (in the "Shock and Awe" mission) and the M134 Minigun (in the "Heat" mission) do have heat gauges though.
Your reward for collecting all the intel across the game is the Infinite Ammunition cheat. With it active, while weapons with heat gauges still overheat and your thrown/set explosives are still limited, actual ammunition otherwise lasts forever.
Call of Duty: World at War does something similar with the flamethrower, which never runs out of fuel, but has a heat gauge that fills continuously while the trigger is held.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 does this in a mission where Big Bad Raul Menendez attempts to fight his way through rebels to save his sister, Josefina. He's so blinded with rage that not only does he somehow have infinite ammo, he can take more punishment than the average Space Marine and shrug it off.
Dead Rising does this... but with good reason. You can't pick up new ammunition for your gun, instead you need more guns. And reloading in the middle of zombies coming at you? That would suck. Still doesn't excuse the survivors, who seem to have infinite ammunition, anyway... and are too stupid to use them properly.
In Geist, you are a ghost that must possess other soldiers in order to fight. You have to reload, but you never run out spare magazines or ammo, ever. Since you frequently jump from body to body, and thus wouldn't be able to keep track of ammo anyway for a significant amount of time, it was an Acceptable Breaks from Reality.
Tomb Raider is another classic example. In almost all of the games, Lara's basic pistols have infinite ammo and never have to reload. Her other guns, while having limited ammo, never needs a fresh magazine. The harpoon gun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher, and crossbow all need to be reloaded. Not to mention that all gunmen enemies Lara faces also have infinite ammo.
In Legend, the infinite-ammo pistols have a set magazine size, but the slow-mo flip attack overrides this, allowing her to fire non-stop until she lands.
You can earn rewards to increase the magazine size based on how many of the game's secrets you find.
None of the projectile weapon wielders in Samurai Warriors needs to reload. In order from least to most ridiculous: Ina with her bow, Masamune with his pistols, Magoichi with his musket/rifle(/shotgun), Goemon with his backpack cannon, and Ieyasu with his cannon-spear.
In Fall To His Death/Fatal Descent, a character mentions that a book he is editing has 13 bangs from a 6-shot gun.
Granado Espada uses it too. Of course, it is done for class balance, but there is something funny about the musketeer class using the skill "Covering Fire", which shoots 20 rounds in full-automatic mode — from a front-loading matchlock rifle.
In Battlefield 1942, this is treated oddly. Guns have limited magazines, and soldiers carry no more than 3 grenades, but suitcase-sized boxes contain infinite amounts of ammo. Whether a weapon is used by Americans, Brits, Canadians, Soviets, Germans, or the Japanese, it can be reloaded from any ammo crate. Even worse: if, for example, an Allied soldier uses one of these crates to grenade spam, he will throw American grenades. If the player picks up a weapon from a dead Axis soldier, he will begin taking German grenades out of the same grenade crate and throwing them.
Battlefield 2 has the MEC Assault and Medic classes' AK-101, which has two magazines taped together. The reloading animation always consists of your character taking the current magazine out and flipping it over to load the other one. Oddly enough, this still counts as dropping the other magazine entirely, like with every other weapon in the game.
Partially averted in Battlefield 4 where servers and the hardcore mode give the option to add "magazines". Whenever you reload, the rest of the bullets in your magazine disapears.
In the Jazz Jackrabbit games, your special weapons all have limited ammo, but the basic blaster you start out with has no limits (indicated, appropriately enough, by an Infinity sign in the ammo meter).
In Left 4 Dead, your pistols will never run out of ammo, but you have to reload at the end of the magazine. Other weapons can eventually run out of ammo, but there are strategically placed ammo piles lying around that you can use to reload nearly any of the guns you find. Such piles are spaced out farther in the sequel, however, so running out of ammo is a much more common occurrence, unless you're using pistols or melee weapons to save ammo. Also, some weapons have unusually-higher round capacities than depicted in the player models.
And played perfectly straight in the Gib Fest mutation; Every player starts with an M60 LMG, with infinite ammo. Combine with boomer bile to get all the common infected in one spot, and, to quote another of Valve's games, "SO MUCH BLOOD! HA HA HA!"
In the same mode, there's a small chance that the AI director will glitch and spawn a Grenade Launcher (which it shouldn't, as the mode basically erases all weapons from the spawn table). Using it reveals that the Grenade Launcher was coded with a 1 shot-magazine, but was never given a firing cooldown. You can literally lob grenades at the speed of an assault rifle at zombies (the game mode removes reloading on primary weapons, as the M60 doesn't have a reload animation).
Pistols were originally given ammo reserves, but Valve decided that running out of ammo on both your primary and secondary weapons and resorting to shoving sprinting zombies was no fun. Similarly melee weapons were originally supposed to break after a certain amount of hits, but it left you with a single pistol at the end so instead they became infinite uses. The Chainsaw is the sole exception to this, as it's so incredibly powerful that you can literally run with it on through the entire map if you had the ammo (and there is a game mode where this is the only weapon you have, with infinite "ammo" like Gib Fest).
Mounted miniguns and heavy machine guns also have infinite ammo, but they overheat so quickly and take so long to cool down that they may as well be limited.
After Burner Climax, where missiles will automatically rematerialize on your plane after they have been fired, to say nothing of the Macross Missile Massacre "Climax Mode" Limit Break where you can lock onto and fire on more targets than the usual max missile capacity of your plane. By the end of the game you probably have launched more missiles than are available to a small country's air force. Your cannon also has unlimited rounds. Then again, you are a One Man Air Force going up against what feels like an entire air force.
Ace Combat and Tom Clancy's HAWX do the same - launched missiles rematerialize on their hardpoints when the player is able to use them again, and cannons have infinite ammo (only on lower difficulties for the former, governed by a heat gauge in the latter).
The first Half-Life has the Hornet Gun/Hive hand that regrew ammo. Opposing Force had the Shockroach, which recharged itself, and the Barnacle, which apparently doesn't need ammo. Living infinite ammo weaponry, "lovely".
Half-Life 2 and its Episodes have the fortuitous Infinite Ammunition Crates. Slightly believable for pistol and machine gun ammunition, for which they could reasonably contain a large amount, less so for crates of missiles that are also always placed near an enemy that can only be killed with explosives.
Hal-Life 2 also has the infinitely throwable bugbait.
The sidequests in Prototype where you need to destroy stuff and kill folks using only a specific weapon or vehicle give you unlimited ammo for the duration of the sidequest. At other times, though, there is a finite stock of ammunition.
Still, the basic machine gun has around 100 to 500 ammo (depends on upgrading gun handling knowledge) and the machine guns automatically become one hit kill weapons against basic human class enemies, but even they become useless later in the game.
In Borderlands, some guns are equipped with a regenerating ammo stat, and one particular gun, The Dove, doesn't consume ammo at all, and requires no reload. This is lampshaded by the description for The Dove itself, which is: "Sometimes I forget to reload..."
In Borderlands 2, there is a Legendary pistol dubbed Infinity that literally has infinite ammo, and operates like The Dove, with no reload, hence the name.
It even fires in an infinity shape!
Ballistic missile launchers in Command & Conquer games, like the GLA Skud launchers in Generals, are basically a rocket on a truck, visible all the time. A new missile magically appears in the launcher after every shot. C&C's fliers typically have an ammo limit that requires a regular return to an airbase for reloads, but ground units are almost always unlimited.
Lest we forget, helicopters would fire a salvo of rockets, wait a bit to reload, and then fire another salvo of rockets. Endlessly.
C Lore handwaves this; all weapons systems make their own ammo.
And then Renegade averts this for infantry firearms, requiring a reload and limited by reserve ammo, but the pistol has a limited mag with infinite reserve (A La, Left 4 Dead). Vehicles still play this straight, even the Orcas/Helicopters have infinite ammo when they used to be limited like in the RTS.
In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, every weapon can and will be fired continuously for as long as required without ever depleting its ammunition. This is slightly more reasonable for Imperial Guard laser weaponry or Necron gauss weaponry, less so for the others. In Dawn of War 2 nearly every unit performs a brief reload animation after every dozen-or-so shots, averting one part of this trope, but that simply raises the question of where they get all those magazines.
The original Medal of Honor for the PlayStation lampshaded this trope. One of the unlockable bonus cheat modes was called 'American Movie Mode', which gave unlimited ammo.
In Scribblenauts, YOU can only use firearms a certain number of times before they are destroyed. But anyone else can use a firearm infinitely.
In the MMO Third Person Shooter S4 League, Most of the shooting weapons have limited magazine sizes but unlimited ammo reserves. Justified because it takes place in a virtual setting where ammo is unlimited because the designer said so.
The "Cataclysm" expansion World of Warcraft changed to playing this trope straight, hunters no longer need ammo for their ranged weapons, though if you had a quiver on your person (they've turned into normal bags) it will still display. The "Mists of Pandara" expansion goes one step further and strips out the differences between ranged and melee weapons.
The Terran marines of StarCraft II carry gauss rifles with magazines that must stretch all the way into hyperspace and fucking back, since they can keep holding down the trigger and shooting things basically forever on full-auto without ever having to reload. And as we see in the cinematics, they are shooting *big* bullets. However, a couple of these cinematics avert the trope.
Secondary material suggests the giant shoulderpads are for ammo storage. More mystifying is how missile-bearing units such as the Goliath never run out — or, for that matter, how hydralisks never run out of poisoned spines.
The Dishwasher gets "The Arsenal" in the first game while both the Dishwasher and Yuki get an SMG and a Gatling arm in the second with limited effectiveness in most situations. They later get far more effective shotguns. Both weapons (which The Arsenal consists of) can be reloaded as much as you want, with the character ejecting the old mag/shell, with the new magazine magically showing up as soon as the old one hits the ground.
Saints Row 2 and The Third allow you to unlock infinite ammo for different weapon types by completing diversions and buying upgrades, respectively. In addition, the weapons in 2 usually hold more bullets than their real-world counterparts (a double-barreled shotgun with six shells, for instance), and The Third also has an earlier upgrade that lets you skip reloading entirely.
In Dragon Age II, Bianca, Varric's Automatic Crossbow can fire off hundreds of arrows without ever needing to be reloaded. Interestingly, in cutscenes, on two separate occasions, Varric is shown retrieving a single arrow, even after he's already fired off enough to equip a small army.
Baldur's Gate II has two bows that have a built-in bottomless supply of arrows - the Tansheron's Bow and the Bow of Gesen (and at least one sling). They can still be loaded with magical varieties of arrows with limited uses, though.
Lampshaded in Portal 2's Aperture Science Investment Opportunity trailer, with the turrets that shoot endless streams of bullets.
Invoked in Halo: Reach; when making a custom multiplayer/firefight mode, in setting character weapon traits, there are two kinds of infinite ammo: vanilla (infinite extra mags), and this trope. The second option also turns off the "overheat" mechanic of plasma weapons or turrets. It can play merry hell with aiming reticles.
Every single incarnation of Bangai-O never runs out of missiles to fire, even while using EX Attacks.
Battlestar Galactica Online usually averts this but plays it straight with mining cannons. The downside is that they simply don't have the combat specs to compare with full military-use guns.
EVE Online averts this when players use Hybrid and Projectile turrets as well as Missile weapons. Laser turrets just feed off the ship capacitor, as regular "ammo crystals" don't break (the upgraded variants do though). Fortunately, combat ships all have enough cargo space that one can just carry nothing BUT ammo and usually never run out. Of course, the proportions on the ammunition are rather unrealistic, and the ammo is One Size Fits All, for example working all the way from Dual 425mm autocannons to 1400mm howitzer Artillery.
In the original Xbox/PlayStation 2 game Black, after completing a level on multiple difficulties, you can unlock "Silver Weapons" which make the guns shinier, and invoke this trope. Which makes sense, when you start with a pistol or shotgun (Reloading Optional), but when you find a RPG mid-level, pick it up, and can turn anything breakable in the level broken, it turns it Up to Eleven.
The arcade G.I. Joe game gives all four playable characters infinity rounds for the guns they carry, and they can only be powered up to fire even faster. If an enemy hits the player though, it's back to just having infinity rounds.
The Resident Evil series tend to have unlockable weapons that have infinite ammo and thus eliminates the need to reload. Resident Evil 3 takes it a step further by allowing the player to actually find a briefcase filled with ammo during normal gameplay, which makes one weapon of your choosing have infinite ammo for the rest of the game.
M1 Tank Platoon. Your M1 tanks each had only a limited number of rounds for their main guns. All other units (including other units on your side) had infinite ammo.
In Intrusion 2 so long as you have ammo weapons can be fired indefinitely, with the exception of the grenade launcher which automatically reloads after each shot.
Happens with two Bosses in Final Fight (Not a shooter, because almost no-one uses guns, so the above rule really doesn't apply). The third Boss, Edi.E, uses a handgun when brought down to about half of his health, and has unlimited ammunition. The final boss, Belger, uses a crosbow, and never runs out of quarrels. (And unlike Edi.E, he can use it from the beginning of the fight.)
In Mortal Kombat 9, Stryker's gun never needs reloading during a match. (But he is seen reloading it in one scene between fights during the Story Mode.)
Dead Island normally averts this trope and requires players to scavenge ammo for guns and keep track of their throwing weapons (which are usually just regular melee weapons that happen to be thrown at that moment), but Purna's special ability lets her use her personal sidearm with unlimited ammo for a limited time, and Logan's gives him unlimited throwing knives.
With enough investment in the upgrading system, you can make guns with absolutely insane amounts of bullets, to the point where it can be more than you could feasibly carry, let alone fit in the gun.
There is only one weapon out of many that use this trope in Dynamite Dux - the water pistol, which is the only way to harm fire bosses, thus justifying the trope. It doesn't really matter anyway, as the water pistols are lost shortly after the boss dies.
Played straight with any pistol in the XCOM remake. Rifles and shotguns do need to reload... but have unlimited reloads. And not, this isn't just with energy weapons but with regular ballistic guns as well. The only weapons that run out of ammo are bazookas and fusion ball launchers.
A first-tier Enforcer skill in PAYDAY 2 gives you infinite ammo for five seconds after deploying an ammo bag; acing the skill increases the duration to ten seconds.
A training mission in The Matrix Path Of Neo this trope is lampshaded Tank: "In this simulation, you'll never run out of bullets." Otherwise, you have to have a special ability equipped for this to work.
Played straight with the Warthog turret, but that's ripped straight from (and parodies) the actual Halo game mechanics.
Also parodied in There's Something About Halo 2. MC's firing his pistol at the Covenant, who respond: "Does he not need to stop, and reload?" "He must have a really big clip or something..." Cue MC running out of bullets, and a magazine several metres long dropping out.
Repeatedly parodied in Italian Spiderman, starting with a fifteen-round barrage from a six-shooter.
In Survival of the Fittest, a particularly blatant example occurred with Madison Conner, who had taken an MP5 with only one magazine of ammo. She was specified to have "emptied the clip" (or other variations) at least three times with no mention of reloading whatsoever. This was semi-prevalent in all versions of the game (at least in terms of reloading but never actually running out of bullets) until v4, where each firearm assigned has a specific ammo count.
In the Twelve Ounce Mouse 3rd season webisode, mouse is in a gun fight that dramatically freezes long enough for him to think "I'll tell you what's cool right now and that is a gun that never runs out of ammo."
In The Daisy Saga, Daisy's primary weapon is her "Magic AK-47 that Never Runs out of Ammo".
"The Sea Haunt". The captain of the Dutch ship fires off 12 shots from a six-shot revolver without reloading, and a pair of Very pistols (single shot Flare Guns) are fired off 12 times without reloading.
"Treasure of the Temple". After Perkins enters the cave with the stalagtites, he fires 9 shots from a 6 shot revolver without reloading.
"Turu The Terrible": The boat captain fires 9+ shots from a 6 shot revolver. Dr. Quest loads Race Bannon's bazooka seven times, even though they are clearly not carrying any rockets.
In "Monster in the Monastery" one of the villains dressed as a yeti fires at least 70 shots at Jonny and Hadji from an automatic pistol without reloading.
In one episode of Family Guy, Peter fires a double barreled shotgun five times. After loading it with four rounds.
In the Stephen King episode, Stewie fires another double barreled shotgun three times.
In a Cutaway Gag from much earlier in the series, Peter fired yet another double-barreled shotgun at least six times
In another episode, Brian receives a free revolver with the liquor he bought as per "Texas state law". It fires once on its own when he tries to throw it away, after which he picks it up and fires it into the air six more times. Granted, some revolvers hold more than six bullets.
When Brian and Stewie are recruited into the Army in another episode, they try to get out by shooting each other in the foot. They end up firing at least 17 bullets from a pistol that should at most hold 16.
And then here's the cutaway where Dick Cheney shoots Peter with God-knows-how-many bullets.
Anime & Manga
Not quite guns, but just as important: Duelists in Yu-Gi-Oh! never seem to run out of cards. A duel deck typically consists of 40 cards; during a duel, the players will draw 10, 20, or even 30 cards from their deck to place them in their hand — and yet, the deck never grows smaller (unless the plot requires it).
Kaiba: Now we must both chose three cards to form a new deck, and the rest of our deck goes to the graveyard. Yugi: Our whole deck?! Yugi has already used 31 cards at this point (what whole deck?), but that doesn't stop him from pulling out an all-but-complete deck to chose from. Handy. (And no, they didn't reuse the graveyards.)
There was one duel where Yugi/Atem exploited the special effect of Osiris and a regenerating slime monster of the opponent's deck to make him continuously draw until he had no cards left, in which case, his opponent loses.
Another exception was in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, where Judai's opponent was the pro duelist X, who used a Mill Deck. Both Judai and X's decks were visibly being depleted. (Seeing as X ended up milling several of his own cards due to the powerful anime-only cards he used.)
Rowan of Strata from Ronin Warriors. His armor magically generates an infinite supply of arrows.
The Savage Dragon villain Dung is equipped with hydraulic cannons that spray apartment-filling amounts of dung... teleported in from the local sewer systems. Thank God the Dragon has awesome healing abilities...
Films — Animation
No guns or ammunition, but Wallace & Gromit fulfills this trope to a T in The Wrong Trousers's Chase Scene: Gromit pursues Feathers McGraw by rapid-fire laying of model train tracks from a box that never runs out. There's no justification other than Rule of Funny.
Best of all, they're exactly the right shape — when Gromit is about to hit something on the floor, curved pieces come out to take his path around the obstacle and then back to his original course.
Toy Story 2: Evil Emperor Zurg's ion blaster sure has a big supply of those foam balls.
Films — Live-Action
The Lord of the Rings: Legolas always has a full quiver, no matter how many Orcs he shot. This is in contrast to the books, in which Legolas is sometimes said to be retrieving unbroken arrows after battles and still runs out of arrows twice.
Technically not true. Legolas does run out of arrows at least once in The Two Towers.
Though he doesn't run out, after the fight in Moria he only has a few arrows left.
In Smallville, Green Arrow naturally never runs out of arrows. In Siren, he is clearly shown to only have 4 arrows in his quiver. But then, in the same scene he manages to take one arrow and then shoot three, so it is not like they cared about consistency.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Kimberly's Power Bow has an endless supply of arrows. (She doesn't even carry a quiver.) Said arrows can explode and chase after monsters like guided missiles. The Dragonzord seems to have an infinite amount of missiles.
In Neds Declassified School Survival Guide episode called Mondays, a monkey gets his paws on Ned's small cup of Matzo balls and throws a way beyond the actual amount he had for a number of weeks.
Star Trek: Voyager starts off trying to avert this (by explicitly stating that they have 38 photon torpedoes and no way to replenish them)... but then proceeds to play it extremely straight by using approximately three times this number over the course of the series - sometimes in barrages of five at a time.
Though the magic enhancements that can be applied to the unlimited arrows/bolts are limited, so you can't give them on hit fireball bolts without messing about with the scripting.
In the last level of the Bible Adventures NES game "David & Goliath", where you actually go after Goliath instead of herding sheep, you have infinite stones to throw. A far cry from the five in the source text, but then, he wasn't climbing a mountain with soldiers coming out of caves to stop him, and you don't have a divine guidance system in the game.
Played straight nowadays for any Dynasty Warriors character who uses ranged weapons as part of their move set, although in earlier games arrows were only used in first-person mode and finite; you started stages with 20 and could find more (in quantities of 20) as item pickups.
The Punisher. Frank Castle can keep launching knives as long as the "Slaughter Mode" is running. Even in the prison level, where all he has on is a jean and a simply white shirt. Averted slightly elsewhere as he can empty the ammo mags of dropped weapons... unless the ammo is incompatible with the weapons he is carrying.
The remake of Ninja Gaiden has Ryu with unlimited normal shuriken created through "ninja magic", but limited stocks of the incendiary kind. His stock of arrows, whether standard, armour-piercing or explosive, was also finite. The enemy forces never ran out of projectiles, though, and not just the explicitly demonic enemies.
Handwaved humorously in Planescape: Torment, where the four-armed, dual crossbow-wielding modron (creature of pure Law) named Nordom never runs out of basic crossbow bolts (though he has only a limited supply of magical or otherwise special bolts). Explained in that Nordom's crossbows are a pair of "gear spirits", denizens of the same plane Nordom is from, whose whole reason for being is to take on the form of various tools and be helpful. This means that, as crossbows, they can use their powers to generate their own ammo.
Ignus from the same game has endless mini-fireballs for throwing at enemies. Explained by the fact that he has a gate to the elemental plane of fire opened through him as part of a cruel and unusual punishment for arsony.
Lampshaded slightly in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, when Phoenix wonders if Victor Kudo is using an infinite ammo code for his never-ending supply of seeds that keep getting thrown at him.
All NPC's in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have unlimited arrows. While this is mainly because The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard on their part, this also applies to some of your followers, which means you can give them just 1 of your best arrows and they can use it repeatedly like nobody's business. Also, you can replace the arrows used by guards practicing on dummies and they have unlimited arrow of that type, which you can then pluck off the dummy/target they fire at.
Raven from Tales of Vesperia never runs out of arrows. Heck, one can't even tell where the arrows come from in the first place...
The Classy Cat-Burglar Zoya from Trine is equipped with a bow that follow this trope — she can fire as many arrows as she wants, with the drawback that she needs to ready her bow to get any range on them. However, she can also level up an ability that reduces her time needed to ready a shot, which combined with her Bottomless Quiver, makes her a Game Breaker in combat.
Many roleplaying games in a fantasy setting will let your ranged weapon users do this. Marle of Chrono Trigger will never run out of bolts, Yuffie of Final Fantasy VII can chuck as many shuriken as she wants, and so on.
Gauntlet, in all its incarnations, succumbs to this.
Devil May Cry also has Nero's sword (yes, sword). His sword can be "injected with a special fuel" to briefly power it up. This fuel never runs out and never needs to be refilled. Back to his gun, given that he can power-up his shots in exactly the same manner Dante can, maybe he really is capable of generating ammo. Then again, maybe it's bestnot to think too much about it.
Bully gives you infinite ammo for your slingshot and the secret Rubberband Ball. All other weapons have some ammo component to them.
In the Monster Hunter games for the PSP, the Bow weapon has unlimited arrows. Coatings to put on the arrows are finite, but the arrows themselves never run out. Also, the bowguns have unlimited ammunition of the most basic type. All other types are limited.
Compare almost every JRPG. Many many many games with turn-based battle system contain bows, but no arrows, self-returning javelins, infinite kunais, and so on...which never break, either:
Secret of Mana - though whoever uses the bow only shoots an arrow about four feet away, so they may be just picking up the arrow and shooting it again.
Nearly every Final Fantasy game features this in one way or another with primary weapons, whether it be with arrows, bullets, even playing cards. However, some games have a "Throw" command where a character throws an item (such as ninja stars, a sword, or money) - it tends to do high damage, but whatever you threw is Lost Forever.
As well, Final Fantasy IV features bows that use limited amounts of arrows (which you tend to get in lots of ten.) That said, the DS remake does away with this: Arrows in this version are only consumed when switching weapons.
Ranged weapons in Final Fantasy XII have bottomless magazines, but you have to have the right kind of ammo (arrows, crossbow bolts, ammo, and bombs) in order to attack with said weapon.
Mother 3 - with thrown stairs.
Harry Flowerpower uses axes and spears as his primary weapon. No matter how many he throws at his enemies, he never seems to run out of either weapon in battle.
Dragon Age gives you unlimited non-enchanted arrows and crossbow bolts, but limits your magical damage-bonus ammunition.
Ragnarok Online had this with archers and hunters who could use an infinite number of arrows so long as they never actually shot them. Using the skill Double Strafe and Arrow Shower however would allow you to shoot a target without actually using an arrow. Players would carry 1 silver or fire arrow for ghost monsters and undead and other types of arrows as needed and a handful of normal arrows for standard shooting. Sadly due to bots exploiting this it was later removed. Some private servers still have the old system.
In Diablo II, quivers hold an utterly ridiculous but finite number of arrows (350 arrows in the same amount of inventory space as a short sword). The Amazon skill Magic Arrow creates arrows out of Mana and completely removes the need for a quiver. One unique bow, aptly named Endlesshail, has the property that it fires Magic Arrows as its default attack and does not cost any mana.
Ranged weaponry in the Might and Magic series (the original series, not Heroes - for that, look under Exceptions) never run out of ammunition. This may be justified for blastersnote hand-held energy weapons made by a very, very advanced civilization.. Bows and crossbows, not so much.
The handheld "Pulse rifle" assault rifle in Battlezone II has what is an effectively bottomless magazine, due it its regenerating ammo. The first fifty shots are fired very rapidly, while successive shots fire at about the same speed as a revolver in other games. While the tanks have belt-fed ammunition, and while they have often huge bullet reserves, they do eventually run out. However, the large "siege" vehicles, like the Attila LM walker can often regenerate their ammo faster than it can be shot, especially with small weapons like miniguns or AT-Stabbers. Standing on a Service Bay or having enough Service Trucks servicing you can give you bottomless magazines on any weapon.
In the original Mass Effect the codex explains that ammunition clips consist of a solid block of metal which the gun shaves sand-grain-sized pieces off of. It then uses mass effect fields to accelerate those bits of metal to a small percentage of the speed of light. This gives them effectively unlimited ammunition (each clip makes thousands of bullets), with the limiting factor being overheating rather than ammo capacity. The sequels changed this mechanic to disposable heat sinks, to the irritation of some players.
Unreal I and Unreal II: The Awakening both feature models of the dispersion pistol, a self recharging energy weapon. The first dispersion pistol become quite powerful after a few upgrades but still takes seven and half minutes to fully recharge. The second is more of a "ohshitIverunoutofammo" type weapon.
In The Bible, David picked up five smooth stones. In the last stage of the "David and Goliath" game in Bible Adventures, David has unlimited smooth stones, which comes in handy for clearing your path up the mountain of respawning Philistines, in addition to hitting Goliath himself in the head.
Midnight Resistance has the default gun with an unlimited ammo. The powerful and expensive BFG's are an exception.
While most weapons in Warframe use limited magazines, some weapons don't actually swap out their magazines when "reloaded". The Boltor rifle has a lever that recocked which somehow puts more nails in the gun, the Ogris rocket launcher has you punch two buttons on the back to load more rockets, etc.
In the episode "Jack and the Blind Archers" has three superhuman archers that apparently never leave their tower that actually made it rain arrows for nearly a minute. (They don't even have quivers, so their bows are likely enchanted.)
In the episode "Jack and the Super Robots", this is Zigzagged. One of the robots uses a flamethrower, another uses a machine gun, and another uses shuriken. But while a flashback scene in the beginning shows their weapons being loaded with ammunition and fuel, they never have to reload over the course of the story, destroying at least four cities before Jack even encounters them. (Indeed, they seem to have no home base, having destroyed the one they were built in.)
Mostly averted in Trigun as we often see Vash reloading with speedloaders (a cylinder's worth of ammunition held ready for loading like a magazine). How he never seems to run out of these is another question, just like the "finite rounds in infinite magazines."
Given that Meryl is able to hide fifty derringers under her cloak, Vash (being a good deal larger than she is) presumably has at least a few dozen speedloaders stashed under his clothes.
In the manga we see where he keeps them: they're in those tubes on his coat. Plus we see him buy bullets.
The first scene of the anime itself involves Vash nonchalantly surviving an incredible tavern-demolishing volley of gunfire; frequent cuts to the mooks delivering said volley show that they do stop to reload.
Both played straight and averted in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Some episodes have characters frequently reloading, while others show characters firing weapons for far longer than they should be able to (even if the weapons used caseless ammunition).
That said, the primary assault rifle of Section 9 (the Seburo C-26A) holds fifty rounds per magazine and their pistol ( the Seburo M-5) holds nineteen, so there guns do hold a higher than normal amount of ammunition. The only serious case of this trope is in episode 20, were a DEA agent (or the futuristic Japanese equivalent) fires off far more rounds from his MP-5K could possibly hold.
Subtly averted in the Cowboy Bebop movie; fighting Spike on a monorail, Vincent unloads a ridiculous amount of bullets from his gun before dramatically reloading. Close inspection will reveal, however, that his pistol is an Infinity made by Strayer-Voight, and the magazine actually holds nineteen rounds.
Even closer inspection, however, will also reveal that the used cases are clearly marked ".45 ACP", the one caliber the gun in question comes in that doesn't hold 19 rounds.
Grenadier. A fairly accurate bullet count is kept since the highlight of every episode is when Rushuna Tendo reloads her revolver. Fresh bullets are ejected from her considerablecleavage, then scooped out of the air with the cylinder. In this case it's her cleavage that's bottomless.
Subverted once, when even her cleavage runs out of ammo and it's up to her companions to supply her with bullets.
Lampshaded in the final fight scene when she and her rival have their bras cut, and a literal cascade of bullets spill out from each of them.
In one episode of Saiyuki Reload Gunlock, Goku, Gojyo and Hakkai attempt to keep track of how many shots Gato has fired, knowing that two six shooters means twelve shots (and twelve shots means they each get four, and everybody has to take their fair share), and try to attack him while he's reloading. The Gunslinger Sanzo sometimes follows the trope and sometimes averts it, but it's worth noting that he never has to buy ammo. Cigarettes, yes; ammo, no.
One Piece's first Non-Serial Movie, in which the villain's henchmen carry an enormous box of flintlock pistols (which can only fire one shot each) for this reason.
Even though they're using magic bullets, no one in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ever uses more bullets in a single battle than their gun can hold without reloading in between. During the longer battles they even keep track of how many spare magazines they have.
In the Rurouni Kenshin manga, Takeda Kanryu, the opium and weapons dealer, is defeated when his Gatling gun runs out of ammo. In the anime, however, the gun becomes jammed when Aoshi's underling lodged a thrown projectile on the bullet belt.
Digimon Tamers averts this with Gargomon, who runs out of ammo twice. The first time, Henry uses a recharge card. The second time, Gargomon is defeated before he can reload.
Happens again with Megagargomon, but he's so confident that it doesn't matter. To wit: "Who needs ammo when you're a whooping machine?
Beelzebumon also runs out of ammo in one of his shotguns (he loses the other one) near the end of his battle against Dukemon.
The Macross franchise tends to avoid this trope a lot, most evident in episode 2 of Macross Frontier where Alto very quickly runs out of ammo for the gunpod of the VF-25 he hijacked due to constant sustained fire without relaxing on the trigger.
The one place it will always play this trope completely straight is with missiles. Nobody in the history of the series has ever run out of missiles, despite firing them in salvos consisting of dozens at a time.
Generally averted in Gunsmith Cats, if only to remind the reader that author Keneichi Sonoda is a serious gun otaku.
The pilots of Area 88 regularly run out of missiles and gun shells in longer engagements. A few get shot down because of this.
Also generally averted in Noir. Kirika and Mireille are often seen reloading during gunfights with mooks, though sometimes the reloading is presumed to happen off-screen (e.g., Mireille fires off a dozen rounds from her gun's 15-round magazine, the action cuts away to show Kirika fighting, then we cut back to Mireille firing another dozen rounds or so). Where they keep their spare magazines is never shown, though.
Played with in Black Lagoon. When the scene is serious, Revy needs to reload realistically (no one else lives long enough to get the chance). When it's not, everyone can empty enough rounds to swiss cheese a car without reloading.
The title mech of Mazinkaiser SKL tends to have an amazing amount of ammo for its chest-mounted pistols, but it does run out. However, its pilot (in that mode, as its a two-seater) is skilled enough to keep attacking and reload at the same time.
A Runaways arc one dealt with time travel to the 1900's. One of the villains there had a particularly nasty pair of magic revolvers that hit its target every time. He ended up being killed when he wasted his shots on a undead hero who couldn't be killed so easily.
Officer 2: No, he means we're really out of ammo. That was it. Small-town budget. We never thought we'd need it.
Averted a couple of times during the original ElfQuest series, where Strongbow does run out of arrows, and during the final battle with the Trolls is forced to use the large sword, which he doesn't do at all well with.
Averted and played for laughs in a Richie Rich comic book story, where one of Richie's many uncles is a compulsive gambler. When a robber with a handgun threatens the bank Richie and his uncle are in, the uncle says "huh, ten to one it isn't even loaded" and, by offering new bets at higher odds each time, manages to make the robber use up all five shots. Justified because Richie's uncle had recognised the handgun model and knew how many shots it could hold.
Films — Live-Action
Terminator, with occasional loading shots. In fact, in T2, the number of shells Sarah loads into a particular gun turns out to be important several minutes later.
Additionally, a few SWAT team members engage the Terminator with their backup pistols. Given that they'd been firing their MP5 submachine guns for a good thirty seconds straight before that, it's implied that they were out of magazines for them.
Also, the T-800 uses exactly as many M79 grenades as he is shown to have on his ammo belt, using his very last one on the T-1000.
The T-1000 also fired about 21 times with his Beretta 92 before reloading (without extended mag, it only holds 15, or 16 with a round in the chamber).
The Matrix avoids this, at least in the first movie's Lobby Scene... to some degree. The protagonists take cover until the mooks shooting at them begin to reload, then run out and dodge the bullets of other mooks, who are not out of ammo. Likewise, the protagonists use Throw Away Guns in their counterattacks.
Demonstrated even more dramatically when Neo fights Smith in the subway. They charge each other, firing away and wrestling in slo-mo until they have their guns pointed at each other's head... but they are both out of ammo. Which is, amusingly, one of the cases where having bottomless magazines would make sense, since they are inside virtual reality, and Smith is even a part of it.
The Agents' abilities are set in a world that is based on rules, as Morpheus states earlier in the movie, which is why they even bother using handguns instead of whatever crazy energy weapon they want to program the Matrix to deploy. The Agents being part of the system simply limits them.
Avoided in Collateral: Vincent is shown reloading twice, and it actually becomes a plot point in the film's finale, putting the shot count from him at 36.
Subverted in Silver Streak; the protagonist quickly runs out of bullets in a shootout. His sidekick chastises him with "What do you think this is, a Western?"
Somewhat avoided in Shoot 'em Up, as he continually switches weapons (taking fresh ones from any old dead mooks, of which he creates plenty). However, every gun does seem to have lots of bullets before needing to be replaced.
Avoided in the Dirty Harry sequel The Enforcer. Tyne Daly is rescuing the Mayor from kidnappers on Alcatraz, and in one scene, she changes out the bullets in her service revolver.
The scene in Dirty Harry is probably inspired by the real-life Newhall Massacre where a California Highway Patrol officer did exactly what was described in the middle of a gunfight and got killed for it as he inserted the sixth cartridge into his revolver's cylinder and started to close it.
The Dirty Harry series in its entirety generally avoids this trope. During gunfights the shooters are regularly seen changing out magazines, which also takes quite a bit of time. This is especially noted in Magnum Force where one of the antagonists is nervously firing rounds down the hallways. He is is then quickly dispatched with several jabs to the throat while attempting to reload.
And, no, he didn't lose track and his "magazine" is not bottomless.
Spoofed delightfully in Bottom Live 2:
Eddie: I know what you're thinking, Parrot. You're thinking how many shots did I fire back there in Act 2, Scene 1? And to tell you the truth in all the excitement of Rik forgetting his fucking lines, I've kind of forgotten myself. So, Parrot, do you feel lucky? Come on, make my day. Parrot: You already fired six, you overweight bastard! Eddie: That's right. (Shoots the parrot six times) Eddie: But I fucking reloaded!
Averted in the first Tomb Raider movie. How Lara reloads her guns is shown (if in an implausible, Hand Wave way), and mooks are repeatedly seen changing magazines.
Curiously, in most games she has bottomless magazines. And at least one pair of pistols that just don't run out of ammo.
Averted in all three of the endings to the Clue film when the characters question the remaining ammunition in the Revolver.
Creedy: We have guns. V: No, what you have are bullets, and the hope that when your guns are empty, I'm no longer standing, because if I am... you'll all be dead before you've reloaded.
Averted in Serenity, where Jayne runs out of ammo for his submachinegun during the Reaver chase at the beginning. Later, during the final battle against the Reavers, the crew rapidly runs out of ammunition while killing wave after wave of enemies, to the point where Jayne comments that he's down to "three full mags, and my swingin' cod."
Averted in The Way of the Gun, which shows many characters reloading various weapons as they crouch behind cover. Christoper Mac Quarrie employed his brother, a former Navy SEAL, in an effort to treat firearm usage realistically.
It also shows a very rare example of character changing mags before they went dry just to make sure he won't run out of ammo in the middle of shootout.
Also Jigsaw and Loony Bin Jim surrender only because they run out of ammo and they apparently haven't brought spare mags.
Scrupulously and rigorously averted at the end of Italo-Spanish Mystery Science Theater 3000-bait spy film Danger Death Ray as superspy Bart Fargo constantly changes magazines for his Schmeisser during the confrontation with the Big Bad and his Mooks. In fact, the film is so rigorous about this it slows the action down considerably, which is part of why it was MST3K fodder.
The final showdown in the serial The Masked Marvel has the Big Bad and eponymous Masked Marvel shooting at each other while taking cover behind furniture. Ten shots in, the villain leaves cover and announces he's been counting bullets: The Masked Marvel has shot six times (so his gun is empty) but the villain has two shots left. The Masked Marvel similarly leaves cover, agrees with the villain, then shoots him. A lampshaded case of this trope? No, the Masked Marvel simply reloaded during the villain's "now I have won!" speech.
Averted once in Ultraviolet. The bad guys' helicopter-mounted gatling gun runs out of ammo and needs to be reloaded, giving the heroine a chance to drive/jump a motorbike through the heli, blowing it up in the process. Otherwise ignored through literal Hyperspace Arsenals.
Averted with a vengeance in Live Free or Die Hard. Bruce Willis seems to spend over half of the first action scene repeatedly slamming new magazines into his automatic, to the point where you start wondering where he got all those from (of course, John McClane bringing five to ten extra mags to a run-of-the-mill arrest, just in case, is actually kind of in-character).
Hell, averted from the first Die Hard movie, where everyone carried around bags of H&K magazines.
Even John falls victim to this aversion in the first movie. He only fires 16-17 shots before he first reloads his Beretta. This means that he at most fires one more bullet than the gun can carry. He also probably takes his reloads from his enemies' corpses, and the amount of ammo he has left becomes an important plot point.
Averted in The Road Warrior, where it's revealed nearly halfway through that the Sawed-Off Shotgun Max threatened the Gyro Captain with was unloaded, not to mention only one of the shells he finds at that point is usable (and even then it's low-quality).
Gyro Captain: Empty! All this time...! That's dishonest.
Averted thoroughly in Zulu Dawn, in which the British at Isandlwana have the Zulus pinned down with hideously effective gunfire and are holding their position well, but suddenly find themselves scrabbling for their last few rounds. Meanwhile, the quartermasters are handing it out to the drummer boys a packet (20 shots) at a time, as if they were at peacetime manoeuvres, to take to troops several hundred yards away. Historically accurate. The few survivors who got to Rorke's Drift before the fighting reached there tipped the troops at the Drift off as to what had happened, and all the ammo boxes were opened at once before the battle started. Things then went very differently.
Although by the end of that one their 20,000 rounds were down to about 900.
Averted by, of all things, Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2. Ricky uses exactly six bullets from his revolver during his "Garbage Day" rampage, then when he goes to commit suicide, he discovers that the gun is empty.
Averted in the 1962 Dr. No. Bond (Sean Connery) hides behind the door as an assassin fires several shots into blanket-covered pillows on the bed. Bond disarms the assassin and the two converse, but Bond "carelessly" allows the assassin to retrieve his dropped pistol — which clicks on an empty chamber. Bond doesn't even flinch and says "That's a Smith and Wesson, and you've had your six." before killing the assassin.
Unfortunately the gun in question is a Colt automatic...
And the line is an artifact, taken verbatim from the book. And it's very awesome.
Later, in Golden Eye, during the final battle the Big Bad clearly has to reload his pistol after eight or nine shots. Played straight earlier in the movie with Bond and the assault rifle, though.
Live and Let Die has Bond fire exactly 6 shots from a .44 before switching to hand-to-hand combat.
The Book of Eli is one of the few After the End movies in which it is mentioned that bullets are hard to come by. The main character is shown reloading during his gun fights.
In an early scene of Mission: Impossible III, Ethan Hunt invokes one trope, averts it a few seconds later, and then averts this one. He manages to shoot the wing of an airplane with a high-powered machine gun and takes it down. He then runs after Philip Seymour Hoffman's villain character who is escaping in a helicopter. Not only does he miss the first few shots but he runs out of ammo soon after.
Name a Michael Mann movie, and I will show you an aversion.
Averted in Pulp Fiction where Jules is shown running out of ammo after repeatedly shooting Brett. It's debatably the only reason why he stopped firing.
And yet despite the gun being clearly empty (the slide is locked back), when they replay the scene to include the last guy running out to shoot them - he just raises his gun and fires.
The camera does cut away for awhile so its possible that like the Noir example above Jules and Vincent reload off screen.
In Predators, after the group sprays bullets with reckless abandon at the first alien they see, Royce warns everyone to count how many bullets they have left and to conserve ammunition. Isabelle's sniper rifle runs out in one scene.
In Sucker Punch, the girls never fire more than their weapons can hold, and constantly pause to reload.
Aliens carefully avoids this. Hicks instructs the Marines to use "short, controlled bursts" to avoid wasting ammo. Vasquez is eventually reduced to a sidearm when her rifle runs dry, and Ripley's ammo counter is constantly shown during the finale.
The Avengers averts it, if you pay close attention. Hawkeye runs out of arrows during the final fight (though he does seem to have an inordinately large stock of them), and he is forced to tear one out of a killed Chitauri in order to use his grappling-hook arrow head.
A major plot point in I Stand Alone. The Villain Protagonist's revolver only has three bullets. He plans out very carefully which of his enemies will receive each bullet.
Averted in the bank robbery scene at the beginning of The Dark Knight, when the bank manager shoots Chuckles in the back with a shotgun and chases Grumpy and Bozo down the lobby.
Bank Manager: Don't you have any idea who you're stealing from?! You and your friends are dead!
Grumpy:[to Bozo] He's out, right?
[Bozo hesitates for a moment, then nods. Grumpy stands up, at which point the bank manager fires his shotgun, hitting Grumpy in the shoulder, and spending his last round]
Grumpy: What the—?! [Bozo steps out and shoots the bank manager with a submachine pistol] Where did you learn to count?!
In the Troma flick A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell, which is set After the End, Marn acquires a gun. An old man warns him that it has limited ammo. It runs out after six shots.
Saving Private Ryan - The Squad mostly runs out of ammo during the climactic battle and are reduced to hand-throwing mortar shells and other Improvised Weapon attacks. Both Capt. Miller and Sgt. Horvath are down to nothing but their sidearms and Reibin's BAR seems to be the only primary weapon that still has rounds left.
Averted in Scarface (1983) to the point that characters with submachine guns tend to get shot exactly when they have to reload after spraying out all ammo.
Averted in Iron Man. Iron Man's power source, the arc reactor, will run out of power if the power drain from the suit outstrips the power output of the reactor for too long.
Played straight with everyone else who fires kinetic weapons, though.
Averted in The Last of the Mohicans: The 18th Century weapons only fire a single round before being empty. The amount of time it takes to reload is even shown. At one point, Hawkeye and Uncas have to provide sniper cover for a runner. They are seen loading several weapons before the runner starts, and simply pick up a new one after they shoot.
In the climax, Hawkeye shoots one Mook, reloads his gun while running, picks up another rifle, and then shoots two different targets with them. He then discards the previous enemy rifle (which is now empty) and picks up a new one, uses that one to kill another Mook, and then takes the others hostage with his now empty gun.
Done oddly in Captain America: The First Avenger. The spy who kills Erskine runs out of ammunition after firing sixteen bullets from a gun with an eight round magazine. One could argue that he had two magazines, but if so, given what he was doing while firing shots eight and nine, he was able to rapidly reload a gun while driving a car without losing control of the vehicle.
Averted in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Warrior Woman, in which gladiators using slingshots are handicapped by being given a fixed number of stones (fourteen); the crowd chants the number of shots taken.
The ammo in the father's revolver is a constant concern in the Post-Apocalyptic novel The Road. He starts with only a few bullets and at one point gets so desperate that he fashions fake bullets out of spent casings so that he can bluff people.
Subverted in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident when after learning about the goblins using supposedly-destroyed weapons adapted to human batteries, Foaly remarks that 'You'd only get six shots, but you give every goblin a pocket full of cells and that's a lot of shots.'
Whereas normal fairy weapons use nuclear batteries that essentially have unlimited ammo, Holly even comments on it when the goblin shooting at her runs out of shots.
Averted in The Dark Tower series. In the first few novels, Roland worries about how much ammo he has left, until he makes a pit stop and buys a few hundred bullets. Also, during every firefight, Roland and his friends must reload.
Louis L'Amour usually averted this in his Western novels, even pointing out that even in a loaded pistol, the chamber under the hammer was left empty (to prevent accidents since most pistols at the time did not have a safety), meaning one less bullet than modern audiences might expect.
Almost all revolvers lack a safety. The issue with the revolvers in Lamour's novels is that when the hammer is down, it rests directly on the percussion cap (in early revolvers) or the primer (in cartridge-fed arms) and a sharp knock to the hammer can set it off. Not an issue in the heat of battle, since once you fired a shot, the hammer was "down" on a fired chamber anyway and thereby safe until you thumbed the hammer back (as you had to with many of these guns) to cock it and spin the cylinder for the next round. Modern double-action revolvers have a modified and much safer trigger mechanism, which removes the need for this practice, though exponents of Wild West reenactment shoots still need to bear it in mind as their revolvers are faithful copies of the originals (with all that this implies).
Subverted a couple of times with special twelve-shot Russian pistols.
Averted in 1632. Even with as much ammunition as there is in a 2000-era West Virginia mining town, they have to be careful about spending too much of it, as it is terrifically hard to make more.
Phryne: Six shots. He has six shots in that gun. That was the third. Lin: What are they going to do? Phryne: I don't know, but as soon as he runs out of ammunition, I wouldn't be René for a thousand pounds. (two more shots, then a third.) [one of the guys hunting René]: Bugger! Phryne: That's six.
Averted in H. Beam Piper's Uller Uprising, when the male protagonist is impressed by his new, previously civilian adjutant taking their supply of ammunition into account (see page quote). They can't produce ammunition as fast as they've been expending it, and need to end the war before they run out.
Legolas is mentioned to be out of arrows at least twice in The Lord of the Rings. He often has to pick up orc arrows to refill his quiver.
Mentioned in Fatal Descent by Carter Dickson and John Rhode: One character is editing a book in which the protagonist carries a six-gun, but fires 13 times without reloading. Another character suggests giving him two guns and taking out a bang.
Averted in Les Misérables, in the barricade sequence; several plot points hinge on the need to conserve powder and bullets, not least the death of Gavroche, who's shot while out in front of the barricade scavenging ammo from fallen guardsmen.
Averted once in the Star Wars novel Tyrant's Test: Chewbacca and his son are on a mission to rescue Han, and in the final battle they switch out their blasters for bowcasters, partly because the enemy has blast shields, but also partly because they're almost out of power for the blasters.
An allegedly bottomless magazine is the key clue in an Encyclopedia Brown mystery. A (crooked) lawman claimed that he received two minor gunshot wounds before taking the gun away from the man who shot him and then killed the gun's owner and his four cohorts with one bullet each. The town hailed the sheriff as a hero until somebody pointed out that you can't shoot seven bullets from a six-shooter without reloading at some point.
In The Adventures of Samurai Cat, Tomokato's older brother Shimura demonstrated in the second book that the "Badass" part of Retired Badass still applied: he carried an utterly ridiculous number of Colt .45 semi-automatic pistols in his kimono, and his wife had an even more ludicrous amount of extra ammunition. But they still ran dry during the big shoot-out of that story.
Carefully averted in The Hunger Games: Katniss is limited to a total of twelve arrows, and retrieves used arrows whenever she can. Several times throughout the story, the reader is informed about exactly how many arrows she still has.
World War Z - In the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Yonkers, the US military engages the horde of 8 million zombies shuffling north of of Manhattan with anti-tank weapons, against what was obviously a human wave attack. Veteran (more accurately "survivor") of Yonkers Todd Waino explains that even if they thought the armor-piercing depleted-uranium rounds the tanks fired were useful against a massed zombi horde (which they are not)...all of the heavy artillery ran out of ammunition after under an hour of sustained fire. Waino says that it simply never occurred to the officers commanding the battle to count how many rounds they had. Something as basic as "this tank can carry 40 rounds, and fire once a minute; wow, they'll need a reload in 40 minutes". Maybe they thought a single shot would take out hundreds of zombies each time...but against a horde literally numbering in the millions?
The Zombie Survival Guide also averts this trope in several ways. It notes that power tools can be effective against the undead...until the batteries run out and they provide as much protection as a hand-held stereo. Also, using battery-powered sights on guns should be avoided, as they'd just be blank tubes once the batteries run out. Finally, there's Maxim #4: "Blades don't need reloading."
Averted in Reamde, which contains an almost fetishistic level of detail on firearm handling. Stephenson even credits someone as his firearm copyeditor.
In Dan Abnett's Gaunts Ghosts novel The Guns of Tanith, it's a crucial point, because they were supplied with the wrong sort of power pack and must jump practically unarmed.
An energy-weapon aversion in Galactic Patrol; Kimball Kinnison drains the power packs of several blasters while waiting for his suit batteries to recharge.
Invoked in Karl May's Winnetou novels and related work. Author Avatar Old Shatterhand's "Henry carbine" (not to be confused with the real life Henry rifle) actually packs "only" twenty-five shots into a magazine that's apparently complex enough that few if any enemies who manage to get hold of the gun ever figure it out, but because that's still a lot of shots between reloads and he rarely needs to expend them all before topping it off again a number of his more superstitious adversaries — especially those who only know him by reputation — do end up convinced that the weapon is somehow magical and a straight example of the trope, and he in turn takes full advantage of that misconception quite a few times.
In the Jack Ryan novel The Bear and the Dragon, during the inevitable war sequence, a hardened target comes up to be hit. The initial idea is to use ground-penetrating bombs (aka Bunker Busters), until someone points out that getting the bombs that have already been used in the campaign required several days of direct, non-stop flights, and that the bombs might not even be available. True to form, the arsenal has been depleted, and while the manufacturer is making more, they won't be available for weeks.
Batman: Averted on the old TV series, where the villains are shooting at Batman behind smoke; when the smoke clears, it's revealed that not only does Batman have a shield, he knows the villains are now out of bullets and can attack them.
Doctor Who: Averted in the episode "The Doctor Dances" when Capt. Jack's Sonic Blaster runs out of power; amusingly, a few moments before, he was making fun of the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver.
Due South: Averted at least once. Constable Fraser confidently approaches a criminal pointing a gun at him, telling him that he's out of ammo (the pistol is a 9-shot), while his partner and another cop argue over whether he is, or whether he still has a bullet or two left (one says he's heard 8 shots, the other says only 7). Turns out Fraser was right and he had used all 9.
Farscape: Seems to play this straight as pulse pistols have absurd numbers of shots...but in one episode John runs out of ammo. Lampshading how unlikely it is to run out of shots with a 500 round battery, and then getting understandably irate when the pulse pistol he loots from an enemy ALSO runs out of energy after only a handful of shots.
When Max and 99 are in a department store, Max suggests that he shoot out the lights for cover. He fires six shots, but there's still one light. He tries to shoot that one, but he's out of ammo. 99 then turns off the light switch. For the rest of the episode Max tries to bluff KAOS agents with his empty gun.
When Max and his boss are in a gunfight with a KAOS agent, Max suddenly stands up and says that he's going on strike until his boss approves a better contract for him. His boss then sighs and signs the contract while Max and the KAOS agent discuss what sorts of benefits KAOS offers. When he signs the contract, the KAOS agent pulls the trigger on his gun, but nothing happens. Max then captures him and calmly says that he heard him fire six shots. When his boss says that he only heard five shots, Max takes the gun and tries to fire again - when it goes off and Max sheepishly says "Six."
Hou$e Of Lie$: Averted for comic effect in the first season finale, where the protagonist—even though he's using imaginary (and invisible) pistols in a breaking-the-fourth-wall fantasy—has to take a few seconds to reload once he's out.
Jake 2.0: Averted, where the protagonist caught in a predator/prey situation is able to beat an armed villain. After deliberately coming out of hiding, the man raises his gun to shoot Jake, only to realize that he's out, told that he should keep track, and is promptly knocked out with a lead pipe.
Averted, wherein the people of the town are very conscious of their ammunition, and the heroes are continually requesting new magazines and fighting over the actual weapons themselves.
Used by Hawkins and Jake during a gunfight when they count the number of shots a bad guy spends before making their move.
Revolution: Averted, since a major factor in the story is that ammunition for modern weapons is in very short supply. In fact, Monroe was discussing the issue with Miles in a flashback in episode 10. If characters gets hold of a loaded gun, it will usually only have a few bullets in it and they quickly have to go back to using bows and swords. In some instances the trope even gets inverted when weapons that should have a full magazine, run dry after 2-3 shots.
The Rockford Files: Generally averted. It is frequently important to the plot that Jim's gun fires only six shots, and he never has any extra ammunition.
The SG team members actually have to reload their guns now and again, and not just for the sake of dramatically running low. One episode that still stands out has a rogue NID agent escaping from a special forces team, using a machine pistol to lay down suppressive fire and shoot a lock out of a door. At least twice, after a couple of sustained bursts, he ejects his magazine and slaps a fresh one in.
In another episode, they give the villagers guns and join them to try and repel Ori footsoldiers, but are overrun when they run out of ammo... And judging by the befuddled looks of the villagers, they didn't have time to warn them beforehand.
In the early episode "Emancipation", O'Neill trades his sidearm to a warlord in exchange for Carter, counting on the primitive chieftain not realizing that the handful of shots in the mag would quickly run out.
Viper: Averted in one episode, where robbers take hostages, one of them manages to seize a robber's gun — and the robbers start calculating whether it has any bullets left.
Warhammer 40,000 has a few exceptions: combi-weapons are boltguns with a one-shot special weapon attachment, the Manticore missile launcher gets four missiles and then is done, the Black Templars get the Holy Orb of Antioch (a one-shot super-grenade), and a few other one-shot powers.
The spinoff game Aeronautica Imperialis has limited ammunition for every weapon. Yes, even rayguns.
Curiously, almost all ground defenses are unlimited ammunition.
The community ruleset for 40k using the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay rules has not only limited ammunition but a 10% chance of jamming every time you fire a full-auto weapon.
The Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy rules state that they assume all models have sufficient shots to last the entire battle (given the average game length, that translates to around six or eight bullets/laser bolts/bursts of small metal shuriken/arrows/powder charges/crossbow bolts/javelins/etc. per person, which is perfectly reasonable). However, certain scenario rules do limit the number of shots units can take in a turn (mostly justified by limited supplies).
It's also entirely reasonable that each trooper carries enough ammunition for the battle, as (due to the turn-based movement) each hour translates to roughly 15 minutes in-universe. In addition, a lot of the ammunition has either been handwaved due to Applied Phlebotinum (such as Tyranids biologically producing the ammunition from within their bodies to guns that literally recharge their batteries in heat or sunlight). In addition, given the average length of a game (which is 6 turns) it's understandable that a standard pistol might never even need to be reloaded, much less need additional ammunition (in 6 turns, a pistol will fire only 6 shots, and that's if it's fired every single turn and the bearer isnt killed), to say nothing of larger, automatic guns (which fire a maximum of 12 shots in those 6 turns).
On the whole, the 40k and Fantasy universes tend to avert the trope - some by the simple expedient of "The model has enough shots to last the battle", but in the specialist games this is looked into in more details. The fantasy spinoff Mordheim has certain weapons (such as barbed arrows and vials of holy water) that had limited ammunition, but the 40k narrative game Inquisitor took it to ridiculous levels with noting down the number of shots, the time taken to reload, the number of magazines a person has and even what order the special bullet types were preloaded in. As a general rule, the less models to keep track of, the more detailed the mechanics.
Certain rules advert this. The Dire Avengers can use a special attack called "Bladestorm" where each member of the squad gets an additional shot to their standard gun, but doing so expends the remainder of the ammunition in the gun, forcing them to reload next turn (and thus cannot fire, but curiously can still fight in close combat). Heavy Weapons also have this limitation, being unable to move and fire in the same turn unless the wielder has Relentless, rationalizing that the bearer has to load up the gun(in the case of Missile launchers) or charge it up and brace himself for the attack. Likewise, Ordinance weapons and Barrage Artillery Weapons must remain stationary to fire even on a tank, as the crew needs to manually load each shell into the firing chamber.
One Apocalypse formation, the Tyranid Endless Swarm, has an entertaining special rule: if any one unit rolls five or more 6's to hit while shooting at them, their weapons all jam and the Tyranids take no damage.
Discussed in the Horus Heresy novel Know No Fear, while some Ultramarines are talking about Orks. One of them points out how important round count is, since while it's not too hard to kill an Ork with massive damage, this needs to be balanced against how many friends he brought along (which is usually quite a large number).
Shadowrun gives limited ammunition for all weapons (yes, even the laser guns). Some have absurdly large magazines (the Fichetti Security pistol is a light handgun with a 30-bullet magazine), but they are all limited. Most even make sense.
The Star Wars D20 game gives limited ammo for most blasters, which makes sense as they are actually shooting plasma (ionized gas), not laser bolts. However, blaster pistols don't need a new power pack until you have fired a hundred shots (blaster rifles are slightly more reasonable at 50).
BattleTech mostly averts this. Non-energy weapons draw upon a finite supply of ammunition stored in the carrying unit and individual shots or salvos are tracked not just to determine when they run out, but also to compute the damage caused by an exploding ammo bin on an appropriate critical hit — shots already expended obviously can't blow up anymore. Some weapons still do pack fairly silly numbers of shots into a single ammo slot, though (machine guns being particularly bad offenders), and ammo expenditure for most infantry-level weapons is indeed not tracked on the boardgame level (which, to be fair, is more concerned with the interaction between larger units with bigger guns).
Usually the case inn an old video game called Chuckie's Food Fight, the objective is to fight your way past four mean chefs to get to an ice cream cone by throwing food from large piles of it. In most cases, this depletes the pile quickly. The one exception are the watermelons, which have an unlimited supply.
Ammunition is a precious commodity in the various Resident Evil games, most notably in Code Veronica where there is simply not enough ammo to kill everything - fortunately, it's also the first game in the series where the knife is truly useful.
''Resident Evil 6, along with the 4th and 5th games in the series, have infinite ammo as an unlockable, but it still requires you to reload when the mag was empty.
It makes a lot of sense from a gameplay perspective to have reloads needed for infinite ammo, especially since it's a skill and players can match skills to help their playstyle, but also to stop players from making a powerhouse out of an automatic rifle.
Averted in Star Wars Battlefront and its sequel. This is actually very strange, as the source material commonly portrays most of the weapons as having unlimited ammunition, or at least very large magazines. For example, the Stormtrooper blaster rifle canonically has 100 shots per power pack and hold enough blaster gas for 500 shots before they need a refill.
Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 have limited ammunition for bows, crossbows, and slings, but the ammunition limit is absurdly high, with the only practical limitation on how many shots you can take being the weight of the ammunition, and 99 arrows only weigh about a pound in the Neverwinter Nights world. Spellcasters, however, have significantly limited ammunition on attack spells.
Averted totally in Clive Barker's Undying with the pistol and other real-world weapons, including shotguns and dynamite. Further subverted with the Tibetan War Cannon, which has infinite power, but must be recharged.
Partially averted in Deep Space Nine: The Fallen with the smallest pistol, which has infinite power, but must be recharged.
Advance Wars gives ammo limits to the heavy weapons — most notably the main guns on artillery, AA guns, tanks, ships and mechanised infantry. Of course, towns and APCs have a seemingly bottomless supply of ammo to provide them.
In addition, the secondary weapons (typically machine guns) never run out of ammo.
This was repeated in the sequel, although one of your opponents carries a freaking machine gun and both of them are practically impossible to kill while reloading now.
In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, not only you have to reload your guns as in real life, but you also have to memorize how much ammo you have left in your magazine, since there is no visible counter! And there's no crosshair, so you'll have to manually aim using the normal iron sight on the gun.
Which is not necessarily an easy task, one might add, as broken bones are not only possible but probable.
Call of Duty is generally accurate as far as ammo goes, with guns having correctly sized magazines and spare ammo being available only from the dropped guns of deceased enemies. However, all fixed weapon emplacements have infinite ammo.
The secondary part of this trope is played straight in the World at War mission "Black Cats". The ammo on your PBY Catalina's various gun turrets run out of ammo just in time for the Corsairs to show up.
In the Close Combat series of strategy games (not the first person shooter First to Fight) you command platoon- or company-size units of infantry and tanks which start each mission with an allotment of ammo and NO re-supply. If you shoot your machine gun dry trying to suppress the enemy positions, that's it. If your tank expends all its shells trying to blast the enemy out of buildings, that's it. Mortars, tanks, and machine guns have particularly serious problems with this. Running the enemy out of ammo is actually a valid tactic in some situations.
Carefully inverted in SWAT 4 where reloading is done realistically: you have a limited number of magazines, with real-life number of bullets. And each of your magazines keep the rest of their bullets if you reload prematurely, so you can just go back to a half-depleted magazine later on.
In the Total War series, missile soldiers and siege weapons have limited ammo that can only be refilled between battles.
Played straight with the artillery in Empire and Napoleon, as warfare in the featured time periods was heavily influenced by cannons. Musket- and rifle-armed infantry does have limited ammo, although you're not likely to run out in most battles, especially since you'll be often sending in the same infantry on bayonet charges after a few volleys. In Empire, until you develop ring bayonets, your soldiers will not be able to shoot for the rest of the battle if you have them plug up the barrels with blades and charge.
Partial Exception: In the original Conflict for the NES and its sequel Super Conflict for the SNES, any units with "special weapons" had to re-supply those at a city (or airport for flying units). The standard weapons, which were all variations of machine guns, never needed to be reloaded.
In the Crusader games, waaaay back in 1995/96, you had to manage magazines for the various projectile-based weapons.
Deus Ex avoids this. You and your enemies have to reload, and a limited amount of magazines, when they've spent all their ammo they'll usually start hitting you with melee weapons instead — and though Bots have bottomless magazines, they will run out of ammo if you wait long enough (usually long enough to kill you several times over). When the bots run out of ammo they'll say "Low Ammo" and attempt to run away.
Duke Nukem 3D. The semi-auto pistol went through a reloading animation (with Duke ejecting the spent magazine and replacing it with a fresh one) every twelve shots. This 12-shots limit even held if you brought your ammunition up to maximum with the magazine half-empty.
Earth 2150 has limited ammo for all weapons. Energy weapons recharge over time, but units using grenades, bullets or rockets need to be resupplied by plane. Guard your supply center well.
Ballistic weapons in Earth 2150 carry limited amounts of ammo and must be re-supplied from a supply depot. Fortunately, there are air units that will bring the ammo to units in the field.
Every non-energy/chemical vehicle-mounted weapon in the sequel, Earth 2160, also have limited ammo. Fortunately, it's easier to supply that ammo. For the ED, an ammo supply can be built, which will automatically take care of supplying ammo via a projectile. For the UCS, it's a lot more annoying as ammo can only be supplied using an air unit that's highly susceptable to anti-air weapons and because ammo-limited vehicles are the staple units in their army.
The computer, of course, plays it straight. Due to relatively low damage output and lots of hit points of most units sometimes even truly incredible superiority in numbers for a single battle is nothing if you don't have supplies.
In Fallout, all weapons have limited capacities and can only be fired a limited number of times (using action points) before you need to manually reload them (which also costs action points). If an NPC runs out of ammunition, he usually switches to a melee weapon and close the distance. An idling animation for pistols, on the other hand, has the character empty a magazine from the gun and load another one without that actually affecting the number of bullets in the gun at the moment.
The Final Boss of Fallout 1 — The Master — never had to reload the gatling guns connected to his chair. The boss of Fallout 2 — Frank Horrigan — has to reload his weapon and did run out of ammunition eventually, whereupon he whipped out a really long knife.
Additionally the spare ammo for a gun takes up room in your inventory. For pistols and rifles this is negligible but for heavier weapons (such as machine guns and rocket launchers) carrying enough ammo for a prolonged engagement can put a crimp in the amount of space in your inventory for loot.
In Fallout 3, while you do have to reload regularly depending on weapon, your ammo weighs nothing, which means you can carry absurd amounts of ammunition around the world with you especially if you trade excessively with the outcasts who trade ammunition for other equipment. Amusingly enough, nuclear warheads count as ammunition for game purposes.
An interesting variation occurs with the Gauss Rifle from the "Operation Anchorage" expansion. Each shot requires a new microfusion cell (a type of ammo for energy weapons), but the actual projectiles are pre-loaded into the weapon and never run out (unless that's what the weapon's Durability measures, rather than physical wear as with other weapons).
This is also played with for the enemies of the game. They reload like the player but have literally infinite ammo. They can even spawn ammo for a weapon they pick up off their slain comrades. This is rather interesting for a game that came out a decade after the predecessors, which avert this trope.
Averted in Fallout: New Vegas, where Hardcore mode gives ammo weight, and require the player to eat, drink, and sleep regularly. The normal mode works like Fallout 3, however.
Averted in Final Fantasy IV. Several characters can use bows, but they're entirely worthless without also providing a steady supply of arrows. However the DS remake will not do this, as they wish to balance the characters and removed this restriction.
In the Fire Emblem series of games, all weapons have limited ammo, after which they break. Archers, swordsmen, axemen, spearmen and spellcasters all run out of ammo. The only ones who don't attack with their teeth/claws, which would be troublesome if they broke, to say the least.
The weapon's "ammo" actually represents its durability. After using it all up, the weapon breaks. One has to wonder, however, why archers never need to carry arrows, they just pull infinite amounts out of the quivers. And why does a spell book break after having a spell in it cast 40 times? And why does a spell book only contain ONE spell anyways?!
We can assume that each bow comes with a quiver of a certain size. And if the magic is nearly Vancian or similar to certain RPGs, then the need to (very quickly) memorize the spell again can consume a copy from the book.
Variation in Killzone: Whenever the player reloads with the squad leader's default assault rifle, he always flips over two magazines taped to each other — the second time, he discards these magazines and bring up a new taped pair of magazines.
Now becoming common for AK-47s and other weapons using box magazines. Many games play the trope straight by having the character simply flip over the magazine pair, with no indication that the other magazine is refilled or replaced. Based on accounts of real-life bearers who rig the magazines together for efficiency, but eventually have to dispose of both when empty.
Averted in Mafia. Reloading with the mag half full? Say goodbye to those rounds, they're gone for good.
Marathon. You can only carry magazines, not individual ammo. If you want to reload manually... you can't. The only way is to waste the rest of the magazine and wait for a new one to be loaded. Note that some weapons do have almost-instantaneous reload speeds (the fusion pistol), one has an Unorthodox Reload (even the manual teases the player on how the shotguns are supposed to reload themselves by flipping them over T2-style), and one just doesn't have ammo and has to be replaced when running out, usually at the worst time possible (the alien rifle). The enemies, however, have no such limits.
Especially egregious with the Troopers on higher difficulties, who have a tendency to spam endless streams of grenades from the gun that the game explicitly states is much like your assault rifle, which can only hold 8 at a time. Oddly enough, they seem reluctant to use the assault rifle part of the assault rifle.
Because the assault rifle part is inaccurate as hell. They only use it when they're sure they will hit, which is at hug distance.
Only carrying mags is referenced in game at one point. You are advised to "clear that clip" so you'll have a full one loaded when you head into the next wave of aliens.
Metal Gear Solid has Vulcan Raven lugging around a huge minigun... and an ammo drum that's almost as big as he is. And the guy's giant.
On the other hand, the fight with Revolver Ocelot is very specific about giving him six shots, after which he has to reload.
Metal Gear Solid 3 averts this one in a cutscene. When Ocelot first uses a revolver against Snake in a gun battle, it eventually ends with the two in a standoff. Snake then lowers his gun and comments, grinning, "You don't have what it takes to kill me." Ocelot pulls the trigger several times, only to find that his revolver has run out of ammo.
In the boss fight later, he uses a second revolver to get around this. The game also goes out of the way to show you how much ammo he has remaining, and shooting him while he's reloading is an important tactic.
In a later cutscene Ocelot is shown to be carrying three revolvers, apparently for juggling, and towards the end of the game he uses an attachable stock to brace a revolver against his shoulder for a long shot. The manreally lovesrevolvers.
Ace Online hilariously adverts the biggest argument(who would want to pull the plane over to reload) almost because it can: You DO have to pull your fighter plane over and top up on bullets and missiles. And you can carry over 1400 of some missiles.
Oni, which is very strict about ammunition limits. Though issue of different types of ammunition is solved (by having generic "ballistic cells" and "energy cells" for ballistic and energy weapons), ammunition is not only limited by the number of ammo cells available, but also by differentiating the number of shots each gun gets from a cell (a ballistic cell means 10 shots for a standard pistol, but two for the sniper rifle). This tends to make the game's hand-to-hand fighting the most reliable form of combat.
And yes, the enemy has limited ammo. If you want to be able to scavenge it off of them, you have to attack them before they shoot it all at you.
Lucasarts' Outlaws. Each gun had to be reloaded, one painful bullet at a time.
Same in the Déjà Vu games. Guns were opened as any container to insert rounds. It's not a gunplay-heavy game, though.
In Painkiller, you have limited ammo, but you never reload.
In the Rainbow Six games, both you and the bad guys could run out of ammo. However, given the one-shot death nature of the game, this was unlikely to happen normally.
Subverted and averted in the Vegas subseries. You only get unlimited ammo for your sidearm. You DO have to reload, but you'll never run out spare ammunition for it. Averted in the fact that you can see and hear your teammates and enemies reloadnote although enemies seem to only need to reload shotguns and sniper rifles, since those can still kill you in one hit, and your allies only ever reload if you tell them to stack up on a door and they haven't done so in a while, and mounted machine guns, like your sidearm, must reload but do not have a total ammo limit.
Super Robot Wars is very conscious about ammo. In fact, the Alt Eisen's Revolver Stake, which is shown to be shot six times every time it is used, is reloaded by a reloader afterwards. This actually explains the fact that it shoots so many times, and yet the attack can only be used six times.
There are equipment, accessories, and abilities that allow ammunition-based weaponry to be used more. Kyosuke's Revolver Stake can be upped from six shots on a mission to nine or twelve by adding a Magazine, which is fair enough, or just by Kyosuke being badass.
Lampshaded in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, where one sidequest has you help out (or blow up) a Mandalorian whose blaster rifle had run out of juice. One conversation option is to mock him for leaving all his spare ammo in his (lost) backpack, whereupon he angrily asks if you've ever had to reload in the middle of a fight. Since the game's magazines are bottomless, he has a point.
Mercenaries in Jagged Alliance require ammo, but if they've got spare ammo when their current magazine runs out, they reload by themselves.
Completely avoided in Operation Flashpoint and its sequels. All guns in the game, including ones in vehicles or mounted on tripods, run out of ammunition. Reloading early moves that magazine to the end of the queue, and it's possible to end up loading that magazine again depending on how much ammo you expend and how often you reload.
Partial exception: Reavers in Starcraft must build their own ammo (it costs money) and have a maximum number of shots they can hold at once.
Scarabs are classed independent units (in the scenario editor, the same as Interceptors), not ammunition.
In Submarine Titans every sub has a limit on how many torpedoes it can carry (usually 20). Fortunately, if they run out, the unit in most cases needs only to stop fighting for a few seconds, while swimming a few meters toward the player's home base to replenish them.
Partial exception: most units in Supreme Commander have infinite energy or ammunition for their guns, but tactical missile launchers, strategic missile launchers, and strategic missile submarines all need to be ordered to construct missiles. Considering how short the lifespan of most units in the game is, it's unlikely an ammunition limit for normal units would matter.
The spiritual predecessor Total Annihilationsays that all non-nuclear-missile weapons in the game are actually energy weapons. This is quite noticeable with the long range artillery which take a big chunk of out of your energy reserves when fired.
Partial exception: Energy weapons in Total Annihilation require energy (a global resouce) to fire, and some weapons require the output of multiple fusion reactors to produce enough energy for continuous fire. Missiles and projectiles are unlimited, however.
Averted in the classic X-COM, where other than the laser weapons, all hand-held and all craft-mounted weapons have finite magazines, soldiers and craft have limited carrying space in which to cram replacement magazines, and you have to buy, build or scavenge replacement ammunition unless you want your entire organization to run out. As if that wasn't enough, you have to fund research to develop most of the weapons and equipment you'll be using.
Not only averted, but inverted in the original game - any magazine still loaded into a gun at the end of a mission could only be salvaged for reuse if it was still full (loose part-full mags were still scavenged) - meaning that, when ammo was tight, it was worth going round unloading all non-laser guns that had been fired during the mission when you got down to the last alien or two...
And you had to specify where on the paper doll the various pieces of equipment were. If you put your clips on your belt, they cost less time to reload than ones put in the leg pockets of the cargo pants.
The Spiritual SuccessorUFO After Blank series goes in odd directions with this. Every weapon needs to be reloaded when it runs out of ammo. However, in the case of advanced technology (and weapons based on advanced technology), you can research larger mags to allow your soldiers to shoot longer. In the second and third game, not only do you have to make sure your soldiers have enough weapons, you also have to make sure they have enough ammo by manufacturing it. If you don't keep up with the expenditure (especially in the third game, where the time spent building ammo is almost always time you could better spend on weapons or armor or whathaveyou), your soldiers will quickly have to start counting their rounds...and they never get good enough to hit consistently.
In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, while your operatives essentially won't run out of ammo on ground missions, they will still need to reload every time they deplete their weapon magazines.
Subverted in the opening of Xenosaga Episode 2, where while the mecha piloted by the characters is descending onto a planet and assaulted by mooks, the giant energy gun (capable of firing through five enemies at once) runs out of energy. Of course, it is then used to stab the last enemy, ejected, and replaced by a blade weapon and a machine gun that doesn't run out ammo..
Xenogears had Billy, who was the only playable character to use guns. His ammo was limited, and had to be bought or found in chests regularly. This also extended to his Gear.
Averted in Blitzkrieg where transports, trucks and haulers must be used to resupply units, down to the last rifleman. Skilled players could cripple their enemies by destroying their supply vehicles, adding a strategic dimension.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has a multiplayer booster called "Keep Firing" that lets you fit more rounds in your standard-sized magazines.
During the campaign, enemies will always have unlimited ammo, though they have to reload (except for the GAU-21, which the enemies can fire endlessly). Mounted weapons actually don't have bottomless magazines (they generally hold 200 or so rounds), and if you activate the infinite ammo cheat, you still have to reload.
Kingdom Hearts manages to avoid this with the Organization's gunner, Xigbar. While he has unlimited "magazines"(seeing as his bullets/arrows seem to come from nothingness itself) he does have to reload. This is the characters biggest weakness in the multiplayer mode in 358/2 Days.
Then again, his reloading consists of spinning his Arrowguns and grasping them again, causing the ammo to magically appear in the magazines, instantly ready for firing. Takes him about five seconds in his boss fight.
Master of Magic units have limited ranged shots per battle, whether they use bows or magic. Warships have 99 ammo, though (draw is called after 50 turns, but Haste spell doubles the unit's actions).
Semi-averted in the Heroes of Might and Magic series, in that archers generally have a limited number of shots (everything except the Medusa in the fourth iteration), unless they're acompanied by an Ammo Cart, which allows an infinite number of reloads.
Which gets rather weird when applied to creatures like Beholders whose ranged attack is shooting Frickin' Laser Beams out of their eyes. What exactly could Ammo Cart hold for them?
High-energy food supplements, presumably, so they can keep shooting the Frickin' Laser Beams without collapsing of exhaustion.
Mostly averted in the Mega Man (Classic) and Mega Man X games. Any acquired weapons or tools will run out of energy and need to be recharged before they can be fired again. The default Mega/X Buster plays the trope straight since it's connected to the user's power generator.
Kind of played straight, kind of averted in The Darkness. Jackie is given a pair of guns for his birthday in the opening cutscene, but "ammo" for this weapon makes him pick up and use the guns of dead mooks instead. He will carry and go through dozens of these guns until you reach your last "magazine", at which point he will revert to using his birthday presents.
Company of Heroes is an exception to the no reloading clause, with individual rifleman doing so in addition to the various artillery/heavy weapons pieces.
Averted by Sakuya Izayoi from Touhou, who can actually run out of knives (at least, according to the Word of God). She fixes this by simply recollecting them while Time Stands Still.
Averted in 7.62 High Calibre, spiritual successor to Jagged Alliance 2. Magazines and bullets are separate entities — magazines themselves must be reloaded when they run dry, which then must be loaded into a weapon. Switching magazines only takes a few seconds, but loading a magazine with ammunition can take upwards of 20.
Averted in Alien Soldier. Having to conserve your ammunition makes the game that much harder.
Averted in Mass Effect 2. The weapons have been upgraded since the original to use "thermal clips" which are rapidly ejected from the weapon and thus bypass the original's cooling time. In-story and gameplay, it's an upgrade because players may continue shooting faster, but running out of themal clips can definitely be a problem, especially on higher difficulties. And of course, Shepard is the only character who can ever run out of the things.
Vega Strike has even some beam weapons consuming ammo. Then again — Light Ion Burster with 10,000 (!) vaporization plates per slot, Micro Driver with 5,000 balls last forever and both are common ammo in human space in case they didn't. Jackhammer (long-range laser) and Rlaan Mini Grav-thumper ammunition are much less ubiquitous.
In Flashback a pistol have unlimited ammo. The game even tells you it works by shaving small bits of metal and launching them which effectively means you never need to reload.
Averted in Wasteland. A clip contains a limited number of bullets. Each individual item a character carries takes the same inventory space (a match takes the same space as a power armor). Clips are treated as any other inventory item and thus are in limited supply ("clip" is the game's terminology).
Armed And Dangerous has conversations between Q and Jonsey that blatantly poke fun at this Trope.
Jonsey: "Q? Do you ever run out of ammo?" Q: "No. Never." Jonsey: Me neither. Weird isn't it? I reload sometimes but I have limitless ammo. It's creepy!"
Unfortunately for Roman, he gets the burden of having both reloads and finite ammunition (Though it's plentiful to where running out is of no concern).
In Red Faction, the mooks can and do run out of ammo, at which point they will melee rush you.
Shadow the Hedgehog: Guns and melee weapons have a set amount of uses before they are discarded. More ammo can be added by picking up weapons of the same type. Also played straight during the brief periods Shadow is in Chaos Mode.
Averting this trope is one of the cornerstones of Metro 2033. Ammo is incredibly limited due to the nature of the setting, which is part of what makes it so tense through much of the early and mid game. On top of that, ammo is also technically currency (the good, military-grade stuff at least, although the dirty metro-made handloads could be bartered)— all of it can be used on enemies, but all of it can also be used to trade for much-needed supplies and better weapons, even if they are scratch-built improvised guns. Get used to being one of many searching every nook and cranyof any given location for every useful bits you can find, and get used to being incredibly stingy with your ammo.
Don't expect the computer to play by these rules, however. While they need to reload, human enemies (and companions) have infinite magazines and can keep shooting until the cows come home (or until you die). This gets especially ludicrous on Ranger Mode, where looting a corpse offers anything between one to five bullets, yet while alive the owner can just keep firing and firing.
Partially adverted in Little Kings Story. Animal Hunters have finite arrows (forty for each Hunter) and when they run out of them, they're pretty useless. However they all seem to share the same pool of arrows.
Weapons in the first Parasite Eve may as well have bottomless magazines, because just about every enemy drops ammo (and in larger amounts towards the end of the game) and you can find it scattered everywhere throughout the game. The game uses the same kind of ammo for handguns, rifles, shotguns, machine guns, etc. The one kind of ammo that is scarce, however, are rockets, which you'll only get a handful of throughout the game. Using the rocket launcher is only advised against very tough bosses.
Averted in Kingdom Hearts II in the boss fight against Xigbar. He has to take the time every so often in order to reload his weapons.
Most weapons in E.Ψ.Ǝ: Divine Cybermancy have quite limited magazine sizes; players will reload frequently. Every set of two or three magazines takes up a spot in the player's inventory, so some planning is needed on how much ammunition will be required for every gun the user is taking - and indeed the choice of how many guns to take - with every gun in the player's inventory cutting into the ammunition space of the others.
Curiously subverted in Team Fortress 2, of all games. The Sniper ejects a spent casing from his bolt action rifle after each shot, but is never seen loading a new bullet afterwards. However, in the promotional video "Meet the Sniper" it's shown that he actually holds a new bullet between his ring and index fingers before pulling the bolt and loads it into the barrel SIMULTANEOUSLY with ejecting the old one.
Though for gameplay purposes it still has a bottomless magazine as he can switch to another weapon before the reloading completes, switch back to the sniper rifle, and it will still be able to fire immediately. In fact, immediately switching back and forth right after firing a round will let him fire slightly faster than reloading normally (it saves slightly less than 1/5 of a second). The Flare Gun and its variants can also have the reload interrupted and fire as normal, but it can't be fired faster this way. In contrast the Huntsman and Crusader's Crossbow have actual 1-arrow/bolt magazines that must have their reloads completed without interruption before firing again.
Standing next to a dispenser effectively grants infinite ammo, since it replenishes your ammo faster than you can use it up. Strangely, sentries (built by engineers, just like dispensers) have limited ammo and can only be reloaded manually. Why can't the engineer combine the two devices?
Mann vs. Machine uses this as a gameplay mechanic. You are able to upgrade the clip size of each weapon, which seems ridiculous when your 9-shot shotgun still ejects only 2 shells to reload. Robots, on the other hands, have truly limitless ammo but regular-sized magazines (meaning they still have to reload once they empty their clips—cue the Giant Rapid Fire variant of whatever class, truly the stuff of nightmares). Frustratingly, the special Halloween mission has Pyro bots, whose weapon draws directly from its ammo supply without reloading, taking advantage of this to shooting fire at all times making playing as Spy much more difficult.
Star Ruler averts this with kinetics; when designing your starships you must take into account how long they can fire with the ammo stocks they have on board and add more ammo caches if they do not pack enough. Or you could design dedicated ammo colliers and send them with your expeditionary forces, but best hope the enemy doesn't shoot them first... Energy weapons on the other hand have no such problems, giving you a reason to put time into improving them. Later research allows you to unlock the Matter Generator, which can generate ammo; with a high enough research level you can generate more ammo than you expend, conforming to this trope again.
Frontlines: Fuel of War averts this, and doesn't give you much ammo to begin with for some loadouts. Your assault rifle, shotgun, and sniper classes had comfortable ammo slings, but your machine-gunner and submachine gun classes have precious little of it. Your pistol has infinite ammo, but it's largely ineffective; infinite ineffectiveness only gets you so far! Even vehicles can run out of ammo, but they have a suitably large amount of it. This does tend to reduce the horrifying effects that a good tank-driver, jet- or helicopter-pilot can do by a small amount. Once they've reloaded at the airfield, though...
Averted in TERA online with archers - the class description states that arrows are outright magical. Not only that, the bowstring on their weapons is not even real - as in, it's a string of arcane energy.
Averted in Amagon: Amagon uses a machine gun as his weapon, but it only has 300 bullets to start out with.
The entirety of the Wild ARMs franchise, where characters possess limited ammunition and usually attack with other methods, such as with the gun's bayonet, to conserve ammunition(1 and 2) or have to at least spend a turn reloading after firing a few shots (3 onwards).
In the Jak and Daxter series the HUD implies that the weapons use limited magazines, displaying ten or twenty rounds below the current weapon's overall ammo count. These deplete with each shot fired, and refill when empty. Actual gameplay completely ignores this, however, letting you constantly fire until you run out of ammo. The trope is played totally straight with turrets and vehicle mounted weapons (turrets do overheat, though).
M.A.X.: Mechanized Assault & Exploration has a limited amount of ammunition for all vehicles and turrets. You need supply trucks or a visit to the depot to reload vehicles, though if turrets are connected to a supply source, they will reload automatically.
The sequel does away with ammunition and supply connectors all together for a more streamlined gameplay.
Most of the guns on Space Station 13 are energy weapons, but security officers' tasers and the energy guns and laser rifles carried in the armory only have a handful of shots before they need to be plugged into a recharger (same with the stun baton). Only the captain's personal laser (which is a possible target for traitors to steal) has unlimited ammo, but it needs time to recharge.
For projectile weapons, they need to be reloaded regularly and it can be a pain with the clunky interface: weapons with a detachable magazine or speedloader needs to have the empty magazine ejected or casings removed (by clicking on it) and the new magazine or speedloader transferred to an empty hand and THEN into the gun to reload it. The bartender's double-barrel shotgun needs both shells loaded into it one at a time (and fresh shells and spent shells look identical, so it's possible for someone to scavenge "new ammo" and find that it's already been fired), and the syringe gun available in Medbay needs to have a new syringe loaded after each shot....which has to have been loaded with whatever drug the shooter wants beforehand. A good syringe gun user will have a medical belt loaded with syringes (typically tranquilizer or poison) and a bottle or two of extra drugs in their pockets BEFORE getting into a fight.
In FTL: Faster Than Light, neither you nor the enemy has an infinite supply of missiles or drones. Energy weapons never run out, though.
Mostly averted in several versions of an old DOS game based on the Star Trek franchise. Your spaceship continually generates power for its energy weapons and shields, but has only nine missile weapons and it's possible to use up energy much faster than it can be generated. Docking at a space station replenishes both energy and missiles. There is an emergency procedure to gain more energy, but this often results in Explosive Overclocking.
Even leaving aside the obvious aversion of this trope for the player in Receiver (not only are your magazines limited, you have to manually reload them yourself), the machinegun turrets only carry about fifteen rounds each. That said, trying to run them out of bullets is awfully dicey...
In Dirge of Cerberus you can equip your guns with an auto reload contraption so you can shoot until you really run out of ammos (very useful when you sacrifice mag space for power or range)
Not only do all units in Men Of War need to reload their weapons, but they all have limited ammo (even vehicles and stationary guns). It's very common to send your soldiers to scavenge fresh ammo from both friendly and enemy corpses, or loot ammo crates and wrecked vehicles for fresh tank and mortar shells. Fortunately, Universal Ammo means that all submachine guns use the same ammo, all machine guns (including vehicle ones) use the same ammo, all tanks and anti-tank guns use the same shells etc. So you'll never end up totally bereft as long as there are corpses, crates, and armored cars to rifle through.
In Silent Hill 3, one of the weapons you can unlock for an Extra New Game is the Unlimited Sub Machine Gun. It's as hilariously broken as it sounds.
Averted in Assassin's Creed titles that include firearms: the player character has to reload their guns after every use and have limited ammunition. Enemies also have to reload after each use but conceivably have infinite ammo (such as during the Bunker Hill sequence in Assassin's Creed III in which there is a large mass of soldiers in firing lines who will fire at the opposite side forever, but have to reload each time. Non-gunpowder weapons (such as throwing knives, bows, and blowguns) don't have reload times but do have limited ammunition. Enemies, however, get unlimited arrows.
In Perfect Dark, it's possible to catch a guard needing to reload his gun, but it may just be a random occurrence that happens once if he does it.
In the original version of Viper Phase 1, special weapons avert this trope, reverting back to the infinite-use standard shot once the weapon meter empties. The "New Version" gives special weapons infinite ammo, playing this trope straight.
Elemental Gearbolt is a Light Gun Game whose setting fantasy setting lets it eschew ammo and reloading. The player character's BFGs are magitech; they shoot magic instead of bullets and they are their own power source, so they're always ready to fire.
Although characters have to reload in Shadowrun Returns, they never run out of ammo. It goes against the "conserve ammo" maxim, but obeying that would have made the game more cumbersome.
In Wolfenstein: The New Order, Those Wacky Nazis employ turret-mounted laserGatlings, which have infinite ammo due to their being hooked into power batteries. The player can un-mount these guns and carry them around, but they'll eventually run dry and need to be returned to the mount to recharge (or else just discarded). The Humongous Mecha you use when escaping from a concentration camp plays this straight with both its laser gun and rocket launcher.
The Super Robot Wars series makes an aversion with this as many weapons run with ammo stores that can only be reloaded via hopping back onto your battleship or having a dedicated unit resupply you. This gets weird in Super Robot Wars Z when Rocket Punches and Getter Tomahawk Boomerangs, usually only energy-powered or infinite spamming, run on the trope.
During regular gameplay in The Matrix Path Of Neo your guns will always run out of ammo, unless you pick up more guns.
An odd mix of aversion and straight invocation in Valkyria Chronicles. Scouts, troopers and engineers have a limited amount of ammunition in their magazines, but an unlimited number of magazines. The same applies for armor-piercing shells and machine gun ammo for the tanks. But the lancers, snipers, and mortar and smoke rounds for the tanks are all explicitly in finite supply, as are grenades. One round of all expendable ammunition magically replaces itself every phase. Also, engineers appear to have an infinite supply of reloads for everyone else that they can pass along whenever they want.
A Season 2 episode of Red vs. Blue subverts it hilariously, just after the Reds launch a pretty epic (though wasteful) More Dakka assault on the Blues:
Simmons: Ah crap, I'm out. Give me some ammunition, Grif.
Grif: Me? I don't have any extra. I'm down to one bullet!
Simmons: Wha-? How can that be? You're the one who carries all the extra rounds into battle!
Grif: Wait, since when?
Simmons: Since the last staff meeting.
Grif: We actually talk about stuff in those things? I just fall asleep inside my helmet.
Simmons: Well, you missed your job assignment, and now we have no ammo.
By season 4, Sarge has started ordering Simmons to also carry ammunition into battle, as it's only expected Grif will forget and they'll then run out of ammo.
Averted in Darwins Soldiers. The characters spend a fair amount of time reloading and several of their enemies have been killed because they ran out of ammo.
Averted and subverted in The Mercury Men. Although The League’s zap-gun-of-choice - the Lumiére - resembles a modified six-shot revolver, so at first glance this trope appears to be played straight, the blueprints on their website reveal that each of the six glowing mercury pin bullets is actually good for 24 shots, for a total of 144 energy blasts per full reload.
In Justice League, "Patriot Act", when Green Arrow and Speedy fights General Eiling, they did run out of arrows and Green Arrow humorously stole a couple of them from Speedy's quiver.
The Avalon Arc of Gargoyles. Elisa empties her handgun at the Big Bad, and for the rest of the adventure is handicapped by not having more ammo for it. Several times during the arc, she pulls her gun in reflex to a threat, only to remember she's out of shots.
Averted in Code Lyoko, in which early on, Odd is equipped with a certain amount of "Lazer Arrows", and once he's out, he's out until Jérémie restocks his arrows. Through Season 1, barely any episode went by without Odd running out of arrows at some point. Jérémie, however, is eventually able in Season 2 to upgrade Odd's virtual form, enabling his gloves to hold 10,000 arrows apiece.
The Trope is played straight in "False Start", however, where Jim uses a nail gun to fight Xana's monsters, and never has to reload it.
Another sketch parodies The Tortoise and the Hare with a movie-western style gunfight. The hare has enough time to empty his guns before the tortoise even reaches his. Unfortunately, bullets don't bounce off hares.
Lampshaded in The Secret Saturdays. When faced with a robot that can fire tiny bombs from its Arm Cannon, Drew complains about its seemingly limitless supply after its been firing at them continuously for a few minutes.
Hawkeye in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes goes through arrows at a rapid pace and repeatedly finds himself with an empty quiver in mid-action. He usually doesn't seem to have much trouble resupplying himself between fights, but right in the middle of one...
Averted and lampshaded in Archer several times. Apparently Lana combines this with A-Team Firing enough that she earned the name "Spray and Pray" Lana, as well as having about 10 seconds of combat effectiveness with a gun. Archer also had several instances where he had to remind people that, no, his handgun does not hold more than 6 bullets and, yes, they get emptied very fast.