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Firing One-Handed
aka: One Handed Is Cool
Also known as Multi-tasking!

When a hero carries a handgun, he or she will tend to wield it and sometimes fire it in one hand. Perfect for still photo opportunities where the shooter's arm is bent above and behind their head and the gun is brought down to aim and fire. Even more cool is firing a gun sideways.

The exception is if they are military or police officers, where they will use two hands. Unless they've gone rogue and/or are desperate.

And sometimes the hero will have a gun in each hand. Or a sword in the other.

Justified in most westerns, as the single action triggers used at the time made it more popular to fire with one hand and fan the hammer with the other, although films depicting one-handed use of revolvers will often not show the hammer being fanned at all. There's also a school of thought that says aiming one-handed whilst standing sideways-on to your opponent presents a narrower target and thus makes you harder to hit; whether this makes up for your own increased difficulty in hitting anything is a matter for opinion. Before a few decades ago, one-handed pistol shooting was Truth in Television; firing with one hand while presenting a relatively small part of one's body to the enemy was conventional wisdom among shooting instructors and taught in military manuals. It was not until The Sixties that two-handed stances such as the Weaver or isoceles stances became popular.

For really big melee weapons being used in one hand, see One-Handed Zweihänder.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fate/Zero, Kiritsugu holds his Contender thus, despite the whole "firing rifle bullets" thing.
  • In Noir, Kirika does this frequently, and the directors even say that they specifically chose her weapon (a Beretta M1934) precisely so she could fire it with one hand.
  • Madlax, a character from the same creators, does the same thing with her two SIGs. She also goes for Guns Akimbo on regular basis - a vast improvement in coolness since Kirika's lone Hong Kong stairway scene.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, Heero twirls a gun one-handed and later threatens to shoot someone, still going onehanded. He doesn't actually fire the gun, but it's still one-handed use.
  • In the booklet of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS Sound Stage X, all art of Teana with the Cross Mirage's Blazer Mode show her wielding it one-handed. A little weird since she usually uses her gun with two hands when she's not going Guns Akimbo or using her other hand for something else.
  • Darcia from Wolf's Rain wields a pistol in one hand against Quent even when Toboe intervenes and latches onto his gun holding arm. He shakes him off and shoots Quent anyway.
  • General Cross Marian from D.Gray-Man uses a gun-like Innocence called Judgement. The cool thing about the bullets is that they won't stop moving until they reach their target, so if opponent deflects the bullets the first time, the bullet will come back and hit them again.
  • Subverted in Dogs: Bullets & Carnage. Mihai chastises Ian to "stop trying to look cool" and hold his gun in two hands when he sees him practicing with a one-handed grip.
  • In From Eroica with Love, NATO's Iron Klaus effortlessly fires a Magnum one-handed. Keep in mind that the recoil on one of those is dangerous even when you're firing it two-handed, and you can see where he gets the nickname.
  • In City Hunter many characters fire one-handed. Justified for Saeko and Reika, as the former tends to do it only when she has no time to actually grab it with two hands and the latter has a pocket pistol too small for a two-handed grab, with a number of other characters doing the same with low-recoil weapons (with one of them using a two-handed hold the one time he has actually time to take aim). Then you have people like Ryo and Umibozu, who fire Hand Cannons (Ryo uses his signature Colt Python and a Colt King Cobra, both chambered for the .357 Magnum, and has a .41 Magnum revolver for special occasions, while Umibuzu uses the Smith & Wesson Model 29 in .44 Magnum of Dirty Harry fame)... Then again, Umibozu is so huge he has to use Hand Cannons and a punch capable of shattering concrete, and Ryo himself is shown to be really strong (not to Umibozu levels, but can still pound Mooks with large gravestones)...
    • This was actually Lampshaded in one occasion, where a child wanted to learn how to fire a gun to defend his teacher only to floor himself by firing Ryo's Colt Python one-handed. Ryo promptly pointed out he was still too light and weak to fire any gun one-handed (and admitted that, when a child himself, he could only shoot two-handed), taught him the correct technique, and had him switch to a less powerful gun.

    Comic Books 
  • Invoked and subverted in Queen And Country: Russian gangsters hired to kill Tara Chace fire their guns one-handed; most of their bullets hit nothing, and one unlucky goon catches a stray bullet from his ally.
  • Depending on the Writer or Depending on the Artist, The Punisher will shoot either one-handed or with both hands. If the writer or artist want to Show Their Work, they will likely have Frank shooting with both hands. Otherwise, he will fire guns one-handed, including automatics.
  • In Sin City, it is rare to see anyone firing with both hands unless they are using rifles. Considering the over-the-top nature of the series, this is expected.

    Film 
  • The T-800 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day does this multiple times due to being a super-strong robot. Examples include in the canal chase sequence (where he shoots and cocks a shotgun one-handed) and his firing of a grenade launcher at Cyberdyne Systems (to disable multiple police cars).
    • In The Terminator, the Terminator shoots one handed with assault rifles and shotguns.
    • So do all of the undisguised T-800s we see in the future. Makes sense, since they don't need to manually aim or steady their weapons.
  • At one point in Tombstone, Wyatt Earp blows away a fleeing enemy with a double-barreled shotgun, one-handed, while riding on a horse at full gallop.
  • A military example is seen near the end of Saving Private Ryan, when Captain Miller is mortally wounded during the German siege of the bridge held by Ryan and company. As a Panzer Tiger inches ominously across the bridge, Miller can do nothing but fire his pistol in pure spite. The tank explodes...thanks to the American planes blasting through the sky.
  • The Killer has Chow Yun Fat firing his Taurus handgun one-handed for most of the movie except when he picks up two guns.
  • None of the many Desert Eagles in the Charlie's Angels movies is ever fired two-handed. And yes, this does require the Rule of Cool to keep those Hand Cannons from ripping people's wrists off like they would do in Real Life.
  • All the characters in The Matrix fire all manner of weapons one-handed, sometimes while performing various acrobatics, including one character who at one point dual-wields a pair of drum-fed automatic shotguns. This is all possible because it's happening in the Matrix, where the characters can bend the laws of physics.
  • Dirty Harry fires his famous .44 Magnum one handed. He must be pretty strong, considering that it's "the most powerful handgun in the world." Though, in the original film, he shoots two handed.
  • The hitman in Machete fires his assault rifle with one hand, and seems to have better accuracy than the goons who hold their rifles with both.
  • Justified in The Untouchables due to this being the 'correct' way of shooting a handgun for the era. Elliot Ness also fires a shotgun one-handed at the beginning of the staircase shootout, but he's still holding onto the baby carriage with the other — he has to let it go to pump the action and chamber another shell, sending it careening down the stairs.

    Franchises 
  • James Bond frequently fires one-handed, which is justified due to the fact that his preferred weapon for most of the films is a Walther PPK, the .32ACP version in earlier works and the .380ACP or "9mm Short" model as of Skyfall. The situation in the books is less clear; in addition to the iconic Walther and the .25 Beretta 418 he favoured before that, he would sometimes carry and use a .45-calibre revolver when he needed something more powerful but still concealable, and in later books also used a Browning Hi-Power.

    Literature 
  • The Dark Tower: Roland specifically lampshades this; real gunslingers are so awesome they don't need to use the other hand to steady themselves.
    • Not to mention that they are old west-style revolvers, which were made for one-handed use.
    • And, in the beginning of the second book, Roland loses several fingers from his right hand, which would make it difficult to use a two-handed grip.
    • This goes so far, in that Roland uses a revolver per hand before above happens. It goes so far that he draws, shoots, (probably) cocks the gun, and even reloads with one hand per gun, one bullet at a time.
  • Fontaine, from All Tomorrow's Parties does target shooting with a small calibre revolver, holding in it one hand.
  • Usually averted in the works of Tom Clancy, with two exceptions from the Jack Ryan series:
    • Rainbow Six has the main characters using a two handed stance, but at one point their pilot hits the pistol range to blow off steam and uses a one handed side-on stance. It's realistically portrayed as being a lot less accurate, but he's older than the other shooters and apparently that's how he was trained back in the day.
    • Discussed in Teeth Of The Tiger, in which one of the protagonists expresses a preference for firing one-handed whilst standing side-on to the target, on the grounds that this presents a narrower profile and makes him harder to hit. Whether this makes up for the reduced accuracy (his preferred sidearm is a .45ACP weapon) is a matter for opinion.
  • Averted by Incompetence. Harry gets his hands on Klingferm's gun and has to use both hands to steady his aim.
  • In The Last of The Untouchables, treasury agent Paul Robsky wins a shooting contest with his partner after noticing he only shoots two-handed, which Robsky attributes to being raised in the country with rifles. As Robsky was taught the one-handed military technique during WW1, his partner underestimates his prowess.

    Live Action TV 
  • Blake's 7, justified most of the time by the fact they're using directed-energy weapons.
  • In Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness teaches WPC Gwen Cooper to shoot this way rather than the modern two-handed technique, though it may just have been an excuse to feel her behind.
  • In the Green Beret vs Spetsnaz episode of Deadliest Warrior, the Spetsnaz representative is shown using the Makarov pistol one-handed while navigating a nighttime target course with night vision goggles on.
  • This was tested on Mythbusters, and found to be reasonably accurate in comparison to the classic two-handed "Weaver" technique, and far more accurate than shooting from the hip or using Gangsta Style.
  • The Walking Dead, Rick tends to fire his revolver this way.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series and its spinoffs: the phasers are designed to be held and fired with one hand. It's pretty much impossible to hold a TNG "boomerang" phaser with two (humanoid) hands. Though, to be fair, they're not kinetic weapons and have no recoil.
    • They do add phaser rifles later on. Those are held with two hands.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Most tabletop role-playing games featuring them consider pistols, revolvers, and possible futuristic equivalents thereof one-handed weapons as a matter of course. Two hands are for rifles, shotguns, and most automatic weapons.
  • GURPS assumes that characters fire all small arms one handed by default; using a second hand braces the gun, giving a small bonus to hit.
  • The World of Darkness games assume characters are firing pistols two-handed and has a higher Strength requirement for one-handed use.

    Video Games 
  • In Red Dead Redemption, John Marston fires all of his pistols and revolvers one handed, as well as the sawed-off shotgun. He also fans the hammer of his revolver in "Dead-Eye" mode. It should also be noted that he fans the hammer of his semi-auto pistols and sawed-off shotgun in "Dead-Eye", even though 3 out of the 4 pistols don't have external hammers and neither does the sawed-off. Most likely the developers failed to notice this, or they couldn't be bothered fixing it. Maybe both.
  • Fallout and Fallout 2 both had a trait that allowed you to use one-handed weapons better with an accuracy penalty to two-handed ones.
    • Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas play with this trope. By default, handguns are held one-handed and fired from the hip but using careful aiming (right mouse button in the PC version) makes the wielder hold the gun with both hands at eye-level as well as zooming in slightly. Also, the Gunslinger perk increases one-handed weapon accuracy.
  • The Spy's Revolver in Team Fortress 2. The Engineer also holds his pistol one-handed, but the Scout (who wields an identical pistol, albeit with less ammo in reserve) uses two.
    • The Spy actually needs to fire one handed, otherwise he wouldn't be able to see how much charge his Invisibility watch has left or hold the Dead Ringer.
  • Ashelin from Jak and Daxter usually wields her handgun single-handedly, as does Veger.
  • In Boktai, both Django and Aaron fire their smaller Solar Guns one-handed during normal gameplay. During the cutscene where Aaron fires his first shot, he uses both hands; the resulting shot is so powerful that it goes through the skeleton he was firing at... wait, change that. The shot was big enough to annihilate the skeleton and keep on going!
  • Ellis in Left 4 Dead 2 holds single pistols one-handed, including the Magnum. It doesn't affect gameplay in any way.
  • Shepard in Mass Effect uses two hands in combat, but only one when s/he wants to look cool (like at a photo op) or is threatening someone.
  • In Marathon, the main character holds the pistol, the fusion pistol, and the shotgun in one hand. To better pick up and use a second one, you see.
  • Soldier of Fortune's Desert Eagle-lookalike Hand Cannon is fired one-handed.
  • In Half-Life, Gordon Freeman holds his trusty low-powered, low-recoil Glock 17/Beretta M9 two-handed, but somehow fires the high-power, high recoil Colt Python revolver with one hand. In Half-Life 2 it's reversed, with the USP Match held one-handed (with resultant significant drop in accuracy) and the ever-accurate Python held two-handed. Black Mesa has him using both sidearms with two hands, and as in the original game both are quite accurate.
  • Nero in Devil May Cry 4 fires a double-barrel revolver in which the caliber is almost that of a Smith & Wesson Model 500 revolver with one hand. Revolvers of that size are normally shot with both hands to brace for recoil. Can be justified by him being a quarter-demon with superhuman strength, much like Dante.
    • Then again, a look at the modifications shows that both barrels are ported, which would greatly counteract the muzzle-flip and recoil of the gun.
    • Dante, likewise, always holds and fires his Sawed-Off Shotgun one-handed; in 2, he doesn't even bother putting Ebony (the left-hand gun of his normal Guns Akimbo pistols) away while using said shotgun, apparently to facilitate the "Twosome Time" ability introduced in the game that lets the player shoot two targets at once.
  • Saika Magoichi from Sengoku Basara fires her flintlock pistols one-handed at all times and has impeccable aim. Thankfully all her other guns she holds with two.
  • The first-person models for some pistols and smaller submachine guns in some of the later Call of Duty games suggest that the player character holds and fires them in this manner, though this is not the case in third-person. The Wii versions tend to use this as an excuse to let the player fire them Gangsta Style as well.
  • All units with Sword and Gun fire this way in Dawn of War. The Commissar is notable for his Execute ability doing the "hand in air and brought down to fire" on whichever poor sod wasn't showing sufficient resolve in the face of the Emperor's enemies that day.
  • In Granado Espada, this is a possible shooting stance for pistols, which is between two-hand gripped firing and Guns Akimbo in accuracy and attack speed.

    Web Original 
  • Arguably common in Survival of the Fittest; while it's rarely, if ever, outright said how a character with a handgun is actually holding it, handlers tend to assume the character is doing this instead of the proper two handed grip unless the post says otherwise or if it's a handgun such as a Wildey pistol or Desert Eagle that would be completely absurd to fire off one handed. This is, however, justified with guns like revolvers or the aforementioned Beretta M1934, which were designed to be able to be used one handed.

    Truth In Television 
  • Many handgun shooting events require the shooter to use only one hand.
  • A common misconception is that the only "proper" method of firing a handgun is using two hands. However, professional use of one-handed firing is not unheard of, moreso in the past than now. In fact, it used to be how many militaries trained their men to shoot since it developed from the shooting styles used for the earliest military pistols, which were designed to be fired one-handed.
    • There is quite a bit of history to this, but hopefully it can be summarized reasonably well thusly: The "Weaver" two-handed shooting style was popularized by Jeff Cooper, a man who trained almost every day of his adult life. It works extremely well in target competition, and is also effective in combat when used by someone who trains every day. Cooper-system trained people who do not practice every day tend to do badly in real shootouts because the Weaver posture requires fairly precise control, which tends to break down under combat stress. The one-handed style was popularized by Rex Applegate, who developed it so people who could not practice often could still be reasonably proficient fighters, though their maximum accuracy is not as good. Statistics of police shootouts show Applegate-system users shoot up to three times better than Cooper-system users in real fights. Modern gunfighting styles teach the strongest elements of both.
    • A professional is also trained to hold a handgun in one hand when his other hand is holding something else, such as a flashlight. One of the more famous holds on mainstream media is the Harries Hold.
  • Almost all single-actions revolvers are made to be fired with one hand and become very awkward when using the modern two handed setup. It also doesn't help that if that second hand isn't placed properly, you can lose fingers.
  • A much more common trope back in the early days of firearms, with a Saber in one hand, pistol in the other being the favored strategy of most Cavalrymen. This was largely due to early revolvers being slow and somewhat cumbersome, as well as Cavalry often taking down routed forces, in which situation, a Saber is highly effective.
  • If someone was badly injured, silly or desperate, some muskets could be fired one handed, mainly because the accuracy of a musket was so poor anyway.
  • Generally, almost any handgun (up to and including hand cannons like the Desert Eagle) can be accurately fired one handed with proper training and practice, the hard part is holding the gun steady with your arm extended and not so much the recoil, that's why you see people in westerns using their off arm to support their shooting arm.
  • Most advanced pistol training requires the student to practice (both live and dry-fire) not only one-handed, but with their weak hand. The thinking is that you may at some point have an unusable (due to injury, awkward cover, etc) strong hand, so you'll need to instantly switch to your least-bad option.

And then there are cases when someone is using a longarm one-handed. These weapons were never even meant for one-handed use, but it happens for some reason. Submachine guns are popularly shown this way, as they often look good in one hand, but they are still intended for two-handed use. This is the only way rifles and such can be used Guns Akimbo, but doesn't exactly look realistic.

Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Psycho-Pass, Episode 11, Akane is given a shotgun by Makishima, he dares her to shoot him, she picks it up in one hand (she had the Dominator in the other) but she misses twice, and consequently, Makishima kills her friend, Yuki right in front of her.
  • In El Cazador de la Bruja, from essentially the same creative minds as Noir and Madlax, L.A. wields an M249 machine gun one-handed towards the end of the series. The lead girl-with-gun Nadie, on the other hand, usually prefers to hold her M1911 with two hands, as she doesn't possess the mad gunslinging skillz of her spiritual predecessors.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, the titular butler shows that he is perfectly capable of this by showing up to rescue Nagi early in the series from an enormous robot with a wrapped bundle on his back. He reveals this to be an HK-MG 3, which is normally a turret-mounted machine gun and simply tears through the robot's armor. Hayate is also apparently strong enough to easily wield it with one hand. Mysteriously, he also claims to have already been very familiar with the weapon somehow and seemed to have access to it before/without Sanzen'in resources.
  • In one of the later episodes of the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Motoko fires Saito's anti-tank rifle single handed. Admittedly she's a fully body cyborg (effectively a human brain in a robot body) and she only does it single handed because her other arm had been torn off, but still. Keep in mind the first time we see this rifle is when it's being bolted down before firing to keep Saito from being blown away by the recoil.
  • In Zettai Karen Children, Black Phantom agent 'Beretta' wields a sniper-rifle one-handed during his first appearance. He justifies it by having Telekinesis, allowing him to absorb the recoil AND mentally control the bullets. And even then, he probably only did it since he was caught up in close combat - in a later appearance, when he's assassinating a target from a distance of several city blocks, he dutifully uses both hands and a tripod...
  • Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica has, amongst other things, wielded muskets one-handed and dual-wielded rifles!
  • Hellsing: Rip Van Winkle occasionally wields her long-barreled flintlock musket with only one hand. This is justified since it shoots Homing Projectiles so it doesn't really matter if she aims or not.
  • Rain Spider from Desert Punk usually holds his M2 carbine one-handed.
  • Umibozu from City Hunter has fired a machine gun and even a bazooka one handed, in at least one occasion both at the same time. Then again, he's so huge the machine gun looks like a submachine gun in his hands...

    Fanfiction 
  • Averted and probably played straight at the same time in Aeon Entelechy Evangelion. Averted with Shinji, even when one of your Eva's arm is busted, firing a giant hypervelocity rifle one-handed is not a good idea. Implied to be played straight with Asuka, since she mentions that you need to reinforce your arm with the AT-field for one-handed firing mention above.

    Film 
  • Near the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah is doing this with a shotgun. Then again, her other arm didn't seem to be in any shape to help. The T-800 used a shotgun one-handed while riding a motorcycle.
  • Taxi Driver
  • In Welcome to the Jungle/The Rundown, the Rock uses what appears to be a very large sniper rifle one handed, as well as dual-wielded shotguns.
  • In The Crucible, one piece of evidence used to say Giles Corey is a witch was an ability to do this.
  • Ash from the Evil Dead trilogy famously uses a sawed-off shotgun one-handed, and in Army of Darkness uses a lever-action rifle one-handed as well.
  • The most recent film version of Last of the Mohicans features the most inexplicably skilled Hawkeye yet: two flintlock longarms, two shots, two kills (and with a friendly between his two targets to boot).
  • Men In Black: Kay fires his BFG one handed, without looking, at the alien. Because he's just that cool.

    Literature 
  • In the Halo EU novel 'First Strike' the SPARTAN Linda achieves this with a sniper rifle, one hand, hanging upside down in the middle of a vertical descent, her other hand clutching the rope used for said descent. With perfect accuracy. Not even SPARTAN-ness can justify that level of crazy.
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitors Hand a couple of soldiers are doing this while moving a wounded comrade from the frontline. Though this is actually subverted since Cain notes that it hindered their accuracy. Cain himself is an excellent shot with a laspistol, and almost always uses one hand since his chainsword is in the other.
  • One of the most hilarious examples in all literature is the God-Mode Sue hero of "Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine", who picks up and fires a gun with pinpoint accuracy at an assailant within seconds of the attack starting. During an ambush. At night. With a rifle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Tabletop Games Spycraft actually has a character option that lets you do this, albeit at a penalty to hit.
  • Warhammer 40,000's Bolters/Boltguns are fully automatic weapons that fire rocket-propelled, armor-penetrating, explosive rounds. They have a pistol grip, however, so sufficiently Badass characters have been known to shoot them one-handed, an old special rule called "True Grit." Only two examples come to mind: the Space Wolves, who are heroic Vikings in space, and Plague Marines of Nurgle, who are so bloated with disease that their bulk allows them to absorb the considerable recoil. Both are power-armored super soldiers, however, and even the most Badass Normal Imperial Guardsmen who try similar tricks usually end up breaking their wrist.
  • No one uses both hands to fire a pistol weapon (including bolt pistols, a favorite of commissars) as this would prevent them from holding a chainsword/energy blade/six-foot-axe/demonic weapon in the other. Averted with lasguns and other rifle weapons, which are fired two-handed.
  • Possible in GURPS, with very high (but far from unattainable) strength. GURPS: Gun Fu adds a new character advantage that increases effective strength specifically for the purpose of one-handing a two-handed firearm in order to replicate this move in cinematic games.
  • In Star Wars Saga Edition, one can wield a weapon with a stock with one hand, for a sizable penalty, regardless of how big the weapon really is in relation to you. Thus, a pistol with a stock (equivalent to say, a Beretta 93R) would be just as cumbersome as a full-sized rifle (equivalent to an M 16 A 2) no matter what logic may say about size and weight.
  • Rifts has the Sharpshooter skill, which is only available to a select few classes (such as the Gunslinger). One of the trick shots available is the ability to fire a two-handed rifle in one hand.
  • Shadowrun has optional rules for wielding rifle sized guns like shotguns and assault rifles in one hand with a penalty to accuracy; trolls, due to their size, have significantly reduced penalties for doing so.

    Video Games 
  • Dante from Devil May Cry fires a Sawed-Off Shotgun one-handed. Some of the more demonic firearms (Nightmare-Beta and Artemis) justify this by literally wrapping to his hand.
  • Carl "CJ" Johnson, protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas can dual-wield Sawed Off Shotguns.
  • In Jurassic Park: Trespasser, main character Anne uses all weapons one handed, due to her other arm being broken (read: not being programmed into the game). This includes rifles. And an extremely heavy metal mace.
  • In Golden Eye 1997 on the Nintendo 64, one bonus mission has Jaws coming at you with dual M-16s AR-33's, which you can use if you take him down. With the all weapons cheat, this extends to everything from submachineguns to rocket launchers.
    • Xenia Onatopp comes at you with a grenade launcher in her left hand and an RCP-90 in the other. You get to do this as well once she gets tied up.
    • There's also a glitch that can be done with the all weapons cheat that allows you to mix up weapons, resulting in such combinations as having an RCP-90 in one hand with a shotgun in the other, or somehow managing to use the Moonraker Laser in tandem with the Watch Laser (which altogether, would require three hands to operate).
  • In Team Fortress 2, the Heavy doesn't use his shotgun with one hand to fire, but he does twirl it around like a pistol in a taunt.
    • And thanks to a popular glitch, he's also able to spin his minigun in the same manner.
    • Also, the Demoman fires his Stickybomb Launcher one-handed in first-person view.
    • The Engineer and Spy both use their handguns one handed. This is considerably more impressive on the Spy's part when he uses the Ambassador, a Hand Cannon of a Sniper Pistol which looks like it should weigh at least two kilos.
    • The Pyro will fire his Scorch Shot Flare Gun one-handed when he taunts with it. It's also a One-Hit Kill at close range.
  • Subject Delta from Bioshock 2 fires his weapons with one hand, and his plasmids with the other.
  • Saika Magoichi of Samurai Warriors wields his musket one-handed sometimes (specifically during his musou attack, when it inexplicably fires like a shotgun). Occasionally, he'll also fire one-handed, but with the gun braced against his body (mostly during his SMG-like spraying shots). Yeah, it's one of those.
  • In Resident Evil 5's
    • Wesker fires his sawed-off shotgun one-handed. With his arm fully extended. Enjoy that carpal tunnel, bitch.
    • Chris uses the triple-barreled 'Hydra' shotgun one-handed in the main game.
  • The first boss in Time Crisis 4 used an anti-tank rifle (probably Barrett M82) one-handed...just how is it possible anyway?
  • Shepard in Mass Effect fires his/her gun one handed when the target is standing very close by.
    • Many characters fire assault rifles one-handed, particularly in cutscenes, but are rarely shown hitting anything this way. Krogan, meanwhile, sometimes use shotguns singlehandedly (such as in "Eve"'s Establishing Character Moment, where she goes from an Ill Girl in a containment pod to One Hit Killing two Cerberus Mooks with Wrex's shotgun in a couple of seconds).
    • The Shadow Broker wields one of the heaviest and most deadly assault rifles in one hand and an energy shield in the other. And he is very accurate with it, too.
  • The Russians in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 manage to do this with American M240s. These are very heavy, very recoil-y weapons. Makarov at one point fires an M4 far longer than he should be able to one-handed, which somehow manages to make an entire room full of security personnel explode. Some Dummied Out content suggests that the Akimbo attachment would have been compatible with some assault rifles and the Thumper grenade launcher along with the pistols and SMG's it can be attached to in the released game.
  • Fallout games
    • Various pistols and SMGs are fired using only one hand, which affects game mechanics for characters who took the one-handed weapon trait.
    • Prior to Fallout 3, super mutants always carry and fire heavy weapons one-handed. Always. Not surprising given their immense size and strength.
  • In the cutscene that plays when launching Left 4 Dead, Francis does this with a shotgun while aiming out of the corner of his eye. Could be considered a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
  • Oda Nobunaga of Sengoku Basara wields a Sawn Off Shotgun one-handed, with a sword in the other.
  • In Red Dead Redemption, John Marston will fire any weapon one-handed if turned far enough to the side while on horseback. This includes a rifle intended to bring down full-grown buffalo.
  • Plenty of people use sawed-off shotguns in Umineko no Naku Koro ni, but Kyrie is the only one to wield it one-handed, which makes quite a sharp contrast among them. You can really tell that under her Cool Big Sis personality, she's not to be trifled with.
  • In X-COM, weapons that do not automatically take up both hand slots can be fired one-handed, but you get an accuracy bonus if you leave your other hand empty. The character models, however, will always show your characters firing them one-handed.
  • In Jagged Alliance, characters with the "big" character model like Grizzly and a very high strength stat can fire longarms one handed, including shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and light machineguns, and suffer no accuracy penalty for it.
  • Pre-release images for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots typically showed Snake wielding an M4 carbine one-handed, his other preoccupied with using a knife for CQC; it's the same manner as Big Boss held his M1911 in the previous game, just taken Up to Eleven. In the released game, this only happens in cutscenes wherein Snake is clearly not intending to actually fire said carbine one-handed if he encounters trouble.
  • Dawn of War 2: General Castor can fire a sniper rifle one-handed (justified with Artificial Limbs).
  • Fire the scatter gun enough times in Jak II: Renegade and Jak will eventually hold it with one hand and Gangsta Style.
  • Granado Espada's Lionel von Hanen has a unique Guns Akimbo stance that features not two pistols, but a pistol and a rifle. He shows no signs of straining from carrying and firing that rifle using only one arm (though he does use the other arm as support for certain skills), despite having no supernatural powers whatsoever.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, a recently introduced pistol class weapon uses the same model as one of the smallest rifles, essentially carrying it one-handed.
  • Salvador of Borderlands 2 can Gunzerk with any two weapons, whether they're pistols, rifles, or rocket launchers.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In Red vs. Blue, the Freelancers are occasionally shown firing such things as shotguns and sniper rifles one-handed. The show seems to justify this with Charles Atlas Superpower, as most of the Freelancers are simply highly-trained yet ordinary human beings.

    Truth In Television 
  • In Real Life, one of Eliot Ness' Untouchables, an American Indian ex football player, used a shotgun one handed. The Untouchables: the G.I. Joe of their time.
  • Audie Murphy once, when surprised by an enemy, whirled around and fired his M1 Carbine one handed to lethal effect. Mind you, the M1 Carbine (no relation to the M1 Garand Semi-automatic rifle) was designed as an intermediate weapon for truck drivers and paratroopers, far lighter and less cumbersome than a standard rifle, but with effective firepower more comparable to a handgun.
  • Certain bullpup weapons (such as the P90) are easier to use one-handed than conventional firearms, due to the ammunition and chamber (and therefore much of the weight) being behind the point where one grips it. While that doesn't mean they can be accurately fired one-handed, it's still more reasonable compared to using normal firearms one-handed.
  • Many ordinary assault rifles, such as the venerable M16, can be fired one-handed given sufficient training. This requires a bit more arm strength than the average human being can muster, but not by much; most trained soldiers would be able to accomplish such a feat, especially given that the recoil levers the barrel up and thus counteracts the front-heavy balance of the weapon. The real problem, of course, is that the lack of accuracy for no readily apparent gain makes one-handed rifle shooting Cool, but Inefficient. (Also, if you try that at the shooting range, you're likely to find yourself on guard duty for the rest of your military career.)
  • The inevitable culmination of this trope has to be shooting two 15-pound, belt fed squad automatic weapons, one in each hand.
  • The SPAS-12 convertible (capable of firing semi-auto or pump-action) shotgun often came with a folding stock with a hook attached to the buttpad that allowed for one-handed shooting while using a riot shield. In practice the gun was too damn heavy for it to really be practical.
  • And of course, any weapon designed for two-handed use can be used one-handed if you rest it on a stationary object, such as a built-in bipod or a sandbag. In fact, these weapons are most accurate when used this way, because unlike your arm, the sandbag will never get tired and never moves.


Firing in the Air a LotGuns and Gunplay TropesFive Rounds Rapid
Finger WagImageSource/Live-Action FilmsGatling Good
Firing in the Air a LotJustForFun/Tropes Examined by the Myth BustersGangsta Style

alternative title(s): One Handed Is Cool
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