Good Guns, Bad Guns

Certain guns tend to get used exclusively by either heroes or villains.

Much of this is simply because the vast majority of TV shows are made and/or set in NATO countries. The popularity of AK-pattern weapons as "bad-guy guns" is easily explained by the vast quantities of the weapon which were manufactured by the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China and sold to Third World nations during the Cold War, which just happened to be enemies of America. Additionally, the huge quantities of AKs that got shipped all over the world meant they were so cheap that almost anyone, criminals included, could buy them by the dozen and plenty of ammunition to go with them.

"Good" guns:
  • Any AR-15 type weapon, especially the M16, ACR and M4.
  • Beretta 92F/S, unless it's the Inox variant.
  • Most weapons of the Allied forces of World War I and World War II, such as the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, Bren and Sten Guns, Lee-Enfield MK III or No.IV, Webley Mark VI Revolver, Lewis Gun, Maxim Gun, Vickers Gun, Browning B2 and BAR, but especially the Colt M1911A1.
  • Smith & Wesson Schofield, Colt Navy 1851 and Colt Single Action Army revolvers.
  • Lever-action rifles and shotguns (especially in Westerns)
  • Any weapon generally exclusive to NATO forces (with a few exceptions; see below)
  • Other weapons with black or dark finishes, however in the case of some guns of European manufacture (Heckler and Koch, Sig, and Steyr; see below) they tend to be "bad" guns just as often as they are "good" guns, usually to show how the people using them are professionals and/or affluent, or that they're mercenaries.
  • M1/M1A1 Thompson, often seen being used by American GI's in World War II movies, with the stick magazines.
  • The Glock (except, maybe the Glock 18) tends to be a good gun in any US production, as it's fairly widespread among police. See the Real Life section below.
  • Most cop shows set before The Nineties would give revolvers to good characters, whereas someone carrying an automatic would be either bad or an Anti-Hero. Any cop carrying a revolver in a more recent cop show is likely a Badass Grandpa.
  • The MP5, as it tends to be used by SWAT teams. The MP5K variant is the exception, though.

"Bad" guns:
  • Anything distinctly Soviet/Warsaw Pact in origin, most notably the Russian AK-47/AKM and SVD rifles and their updated descendants, and the Czechoslovak Škorpion submachine gun. The AKs may be an exception if their owners are members of La Résistance, and/or The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified.
  • The Steyr AUG and TMP - though again, there are exceptional cases. And pretty illogical ones at that, since the AUG has always been used by western armies and very rarely by organized crime. Thank a certain classic action movie for giving it the "evuuul firearm" image. All the more weird because most modern German and Austrian guns are usually depicted as being of the "hero"/"good" gun variety.
    • Individuals that tend to use these are usually professionals, generally a part of a shadowy conglomerate which has much higher standards and a lot more money to outfit them with something better than local standard issue.
  • Any rifle produced by SIG (later Swiss Arms). Pistols tend to bounce around on either side.
  • Almost anything made by Heckler and Koch, but like Steyr firearms, there are exceptions, such as if the good guys are part of a counter-terrorism or police unit. Most MP5 variants and the USP (and, by extension, the Mark 23) are exceptions.
  • Machine pistols in general, like the aforementioned TMP, the TEC-9, MAC-10, Mini-Uzi, and so on. The Weapon of Choice of urban gangsters and disestablishment types.
  • Anything made by Calico.
  • Most weapons of the Central/Axis forces during World War I and World War II, especially the distinctive-looking Walther P38, and MP-40 (which gunned down loads of Allied soldiers and partisans). There are, however, a few exceptions:
    • Gewehr 98k: Such a fine bolt-action carbine that its action remains popular well into the new millenium, where it was used as an extremely good hunting rifle.
    • Luger P08: More Imperial German than Nazi, but still cool enough to belong to a gun aficionado of wealth and taste, and it looks awesome. Oh, and Tintin has the pistol as his backup gun.
    • Walther PP/PPK: Popular worldwide and beloved by superspies like James Bond.
    • The Mauser C96 also gets a free pass because of its association with Republican China and the Guomindang, and various revolutionary movements and criminal organizations worldwide, not to mention being favored by both Winston Churchill in the real world and Han Solo in films.
  • Thompson M1921 or M1928, especially when fitted with the drum magazine, are the weapon of choice of Hollywood gangsters.
  • Sawed-off shotguns, unless there are zombies around.
  • Other weapons with brown or bright (as in hard chrome) finishes, particularly Bling-Bling-BANG!. Stainless and matte silver finishes tend to be the exception, especially for revolvers.
  • Anything with one or more parts that are lit up and / or a Laser Sight.
  • Desert Eagle, unless the protagonist is an Anti-Hero.
  • The Uzi and the MAC-10, except maybe in works set during The Vietnam War, if the producers bother giving US soldiers something other than M16's.
  • The QBZ 95/97, again with exceptions.
  • Type 54, the Chinese produced version of the Soviet TT-33. In Asian drama, action film, heroic bloodshed films set in the 70's to 80's China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong, they are THE weapon of choice for The Triads and the Tongs. The reason for their "popularity" is due to the mass number of them produced for the Chinese Army. Smugglers were able to get a hold of them and sold them to illicit end-users. Affectionately named Black Star Pistol or "Hei Xing" for the black star on the grips.
  • South African weapons, such as the Vektor R4 and CR-21. As South Africa is a relatively inexpensive place to film low-budget action films, especially for films set in other African nations (in addition to a growing number of films both filmed and set in South Africa such as District 9 and Chappie ), these weapons are used by local film studios and armorers for their availability and as such tend to end up in the hands of lots of disposable mooks alongside the usual AK'S and Uzis.

This also happened to some extent with the film cameras used by characters. Good guys favor Leicas or beat-up old manual SLRs; bad guys prefer Nikons. (A bit of Lampshade Hanging in the first season of 24 — the good guys use Macintosh computers, the bad guys use Microsoft.) Walker, Texas Ranger actually applied this to the cars characters drove; Walker and friends drove Dodges and Chryslers, the bad guys drove various General Motors products. Round turreted tanks were usually evil, while square ones were usually good, .

This is often Truth in Television, though specific ones are used unrealistically. For example, the Uzi and AUG have rarely been used by actual criminals, but are often used by Western-friendly countries in real life. Many insurgent groups use many non-Soviet designs, especially as Western weapons and ammunition have become more common. In post-2001 Afghanistan, the national army and police, which are part of the UN coalition, use mainly ex-Soviet weapons, as do a lot of the British private security contractors working for Western organizations. Older "good" weapons like the FAL and Lee-Enfield are now far more common among insurgents and militias than they are in national militaries.

Note that what constitutes a "good gun" depends on the audience. Take the humble Kalashnikov rifle for example. In Western media, it's often a sinister gun used by unsavory types. In Russian media, a Kalashnikov is an everyman's weapon with no evil connotations - after all, they invented it. In Africa, the Kalashnikov is widely seen as a symbol of liberation from colonial oppression; Mozambique even depicts an AK-47 on its national flag.

Nazi weapons, however, are shorthand for evil almost everywhere.

Sub-Trope of Good Weapon, Evil Weapon. Related to Unusable Enemy Equipment.


Subversions of this trope:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Pretty much ignored in City Hunter, in which enemies could show up with guns on either side of the spectrum without much ado. Quite telling are the scene in an early chapter where Ryo (protagonist) and Umibozu (in the occasion, antagonist) faced off wielding respectively a RPG-7 (bad guy weapon) and a M67 recoiless rifle (good guy weapon), and the whole final arc, in which the villains are mostly armed with MP-5s but also have RPG-7s and their boss has a Walther P-38. In general, the choice of handgun says nothing about the character being good or evil but of how much they know about what they're doing, with soldiers and cops carrying standard-issue weapons, professionals carrying military or police weapons they know how to handle (a couple carried some improbable weapons, but they still used them well), and mob thugs and wannabes carrying whatever gun they manage to grab and often doing something stupid with it.

    Comic Books 
  • In V for Vendetta, the government Fingermen use Berettas. Creedy uses a massive revolver.
    • Only in the movie. In the graphic novel, they use .38 caliber revolvers, possibly Colt Police Positives.
  • Both played straight and averted in Marvel's GI Joe run (and the toys). Cobra troopers usually sport Russian Dragunovs or AKs, but Snake Eyes, one of the most popular Joes, uses an Uzi.

    Film 
  • Август Восьмого (Avgust Vos'mogo, August Eighth) is an inversion, because it's a Russian film about the 2008 South Ossetia War. The good guys use the AK-74, while the Georgian opposition use the M4.
  • In Iron Man (2008), the bad guys almost exclusively use Western guns. They're referred to as made by Stark International. This is used to illustrate how Stark can't bother himself at first over his tech falling into the wrong hands.
  • Face/Off contains a noteworthy example when Castor pulls out and quickly empties a Stechkin Automatic Pistol, which not only is a sinister-looking Eastern Bloc weapon, but also has full-auto capability. In a "Making of" featurette, the movie's armorer gushes about what a great "Bad Guy" gun the Stechkin is.
  • In Star Wars, Han Solo's signature DL-44 is really a rebuilt broomhandle Mauser, normally a 'bad guy' gun.
    • Then again, it is often overlooked that Han Solo is not a hero — he's a smuggler. A smuggler with a bad-tempered partner (known to pull people's arms off if beaten at holo-chess), a highly illegal ship, and who has mastered the art of the subtle draw in order to be able to blow away the amateur bounty hunters that come after him if he screws up a smuggling job (no matter which version you believe, Han was definitely drawing his gun under the table and pointing it at Greedo's crotch for several seconds while Greedo talked). This was another clue that Han Solo is NOT a nice guy.
    • More generally, good guys in Star Wars tend to wield pistols (Han, Leia, Luke, the rebels on the Tantive IV) whereas bad guys use rifles (Stormtroopers, Battle Droids). This shortly leads to the sight of the aforementioned stormtroopers firing their rifles normally at Luke, naturally missing, while Luke is firing back at them with a stolen rifle, holding it like it's a pistol and killing one trooper with each shot.
    • Zig-zagged for the generic Rebel soldiers after the first movie - in The Empire Strikes Back the A295 blaster rifle the Echo Base troopers used was based on the StG-44, a weapon used by Nazi Germany. In Return of the Jedi, their older A280 blasters were instead based on the AR-15.
  • In Commando, many bad guys carry M16 rifles (possibly justified in that one of the terrorists' bosses was a turncoat Special Forces man). Matrix himself makes use of an Uzi, a Desert Eagle, a pump action shotgun and an AK variant, while the Big Bad carries a Steyr AUG.
  • In Avalon, protagonist Ash carries a PPK and SVD, and at one point borrows a broomhandle Mauser. Later, she trades her PPK for a dead player's Polish Radom pistol.
  • In the Korean Western The Good, the Bad, the Weird, the Good bounty hunter wields a lever-action Winchester rifle, the Bad bandit uses a Webley revolver, and the Weird thief uses a pair of Walther P38 pistols.
  • In The Rocketeer the Police and FBI use .38 Special Revolvers while the Mobsters all carry Colt 1911 .45s. At the climax both the FBI and Mobsters use Thompson submachine guns again the Nazis. However, the Rocketeer himself uses a Mauser C96.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger is set in World War II, and it features American and German soldiers using American and German weaponry. Red Skull's Luger is distinctive among the film's many examples of this because it is modified to use an infinite supply of divine power as its ammunition.
  • The 1995 film adaptation of Richard III seems to zig-zag on this trope, being set in an alternate dieselpunk Britain. Richard, a villain, carries the Mauser C96, while Edward (ostensibly good) and Richmond (definitely good) carry the Colt 1911. However, the troops of both sides use Lee-Enfield rifles and Browning Automatic Rifles. Also, in the coup that opens the film, Richard's troops use the MP-18 and Edward's men carry the MP-40, both German-made weapons.
  • In the SF/Horror film Lifeforce, the SAS troopers are armed with Steyr AUGs.
  • Though the villains of Heat use all sorts of firearms throughout the film, the big shootout has the more sympathetic Shiherlis and McCauley wielding Colt 733s (AR-15 variant with an 11.5" barrel) while Cheritto, the more stereotypical bad guy, carries a Galil ARM, which is based on a Finnish AK-clone.
  • In The Avengers, good guy Hawkeye carries a Heckler and Koch P30 as his sidearm. However he only fires it when he's "evil". When he's with the Avengers it lies unused in his holster, and he only uses his bow (which he granted also used when evil as well) or alien weapons he picked up.
  • Inverted in xXx. The movie takes place mostly in the Czech Republic, so the local police tactical units are armed with Warsaw Pact-derived weapons, and are allied with the hero. The bad guys tend to use Western guns.
  • In Tango & Cash, the protagonists use Calico M950s while assaulting the antagonist's base.
  • The 2004 Thai action film Born to Fight averts this as the communist terrorists use M16s, MP5s, and M1911s as their main armaments.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, the Capitol uses a sleek white F2000 rifle to compliment their Light Is Not Good trend while District 13 uses skeletal black G36 rifles to reinforce their respective Dark Is Not Evil motif.
  • In the novelization of Rambo: First Blood Part II, while preparing for his mission, Rambo specifically asks for an AK-47 instead of the overdesigned technological marvel Murdock wanted to give him, because it'd be easy to find ammunition and replacement parts behind enemy lines. He also asked for a bow and arrows.
  • While sidearms are all over the place (mostly American), the final shootout of Gangster Squad has the titular Squad attacking mafioso Mickey Cohen's stronghold wielding Tommy Guns while Cohen's goons (and Cohen himself) get trigger-happy with MP-40s.

     Fan Works 
  • Often a Defied Trope in the works of Kalash93, given who his protagonists are and what their backgrounds are. They often fall into Good Is Not Nice territory, y'know, being mercs, gunmen, fighters and all. Several of his protagonists favor the Kalashnikov, despite it being a foreign weapon and a rather scary one.

    Live Action TV 
  • Lost's guns constantly change hands, making "good" and "bad" irrelevant.
    • Interestingly, many of the guns used by the "bad guys," the Others, were obtained from the US Army, generally seen as good guys in other media.
  • Partly subverted in Jericho, where the townspeople generally use hunting and police-issue weapons, while the marauding Ravenwood mercs use M4s with all the bells and whistles. Arguably, Hawkins' preferred weapon — a Beretta Cougar Inox (stainless steel finish) — reflects the doubt as to whether his intentions are good or evil.
  • Subverted by Sons Of Guns. While there are no "bad guys", one of Red Jacket's biggest claims to fame are modified AK-action weapons such as AKM derivatives and the Saiga semi-automatic shotgun. They have also done prominent builds using other "bad guns" such as four MG-42s in a quadruple anti-aircraft mount and a folding gun based on the Ingram MAC-10.
  • In New Series Doctor Who, UNIT and Torchwood (and on occasion, the British Army for some reason) are armed with H&K assault rifles.
  • Subverted in Burn Notice. Both the good and bad guys use pretty much anything, and the distinctive SIG SG552/P556 hybrid is used by Michael and/or Fiona in some episodes and by random bad guys in others.
  • Played fairly straight on The Walking Dead during seasons 3 and 4. Major antagonist "The Governor" carries a Steyr AUG, his soldiers often carry weapons like H&K MP5s; while Rick and his ilk almost exclusively use M16s or M4s when seen with a full-auto weapon.
  • Dean in Supernatural carries a M1911A1.
  • Love/Hate throws this trope out the window almost entirely what with the protagonists being gang members; Beretta 92s and Glock 17s are the favoured pistols in the underworld with AK-47s and Sawed Off Shotguns used in certain situations (Mostly by the IRA). The closest thing to a "good" gun is the SIG-Sauer P226, which is a police issue weapon and even then, one or two turn up in criminal hands.

    Video Games 
  • Generally speaking FPS games tend to commonly do this in a few ways. The first is that opposing factions use different yet often similar weapons, with the exception of games where the player must take weapons from deceased enemies. This can be subverted by how the PC can usually wield said weapons.
  • In Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, enemy soldiers are equipped with NATO weapons instead of the standard AKs. AKs are available in multiplayer matches for use by anyone.
    • In a reversal, Future Soldier enforces this in multiplayer mode: generally, the Ghosts are restricted to using NATO weapons and Bodark to WarPac ones (though there's an inversion with the SA58, a FAL variant that is in use with Bodark for some reason, and an aversion with the various Tasers available to both sides), and the colors of HUD elements and the models for most attachments change depending on what "side" the gun is on - the Tac Scope for instance is an ACOG for Ghost guns, which have blue circles around them on the HUD, and a 1P29 for Bodark ones, which get red circles. As such, every time you unlock a weapon by ranking up you're given one for each faction, though at the highest level for a character, you can make one weapon available for both factions. Singleplayer zig-zags, where the player has access to anything (though cutscenes usually have them using the ACR) but enemies, from Russian regulars and South American militia to Pakistani gun runners and Nigerian PMCs, almost universally use AK-based weapons.
  • In Call of Duty 4, you fight both Middle Eastern terrorists and Ultranationalist Russians. The Russians, while armed with AKs, also have H&K G36Cs, which the SAS are also frequently using. Also, any generic NPC using a pistol is using a Beretta M9. Named characters play it more straight - Captain Price's sidearm of choice is an M1911, while Zakhaev carries around a Desert Eagle.
    • There was a bit of an attempt to justify it - Zakhaev is an arms dealer, so his forces carrying G36Cs is borderline excusable. That they're seen carrying it before it had even been designed is less so.
    • In Modern Warfare 2 in contrast, while the Americans stick to U.S. military small arms and Task Force 141 uses more varied Western small arms, this is all thrown to hell by the Russian forces throughout both sides of the campaign, who seem to primarily use Western weapons to the point of absurdity, as "WarPac" weapons are actually in the minority. You might find an "AK-47" (oddly enough with polymer furniture and a custom M4-style stock), but you're more likely to find Israeli, Austrian, French, or Belgian assault rifles, while all the Russian "shielders" are using MP5Ks.
      • Actually used as a plot point relatively early into the game - as part of Makarov's attempt to blame America for his terrorist attack at the airport, he and the others conducting the attack use NATO weapons - but given the above, it's only the sheer matter of Makarov killing the player character at the end of that mission and leaving his corpse as "evidence" that this plot goes actually works.
    • Also played around in multiplayer for the whole series, where you can customize your armory regardless of which side you're on, leading to U.S. soldiers wielding AKs or Russians with M16s.
  • In Army of Two, for the first few missions Salem and Rios end up fighting Iraqi and al-Qaeda soldiers who use AKMs, and they fight Chinese troops later on using AK derivatives. However, during the Aircraft Carrier the Abu Sayyaf terrorists wield mostly M4s and M16s, and during the Miami mission the SSC mercenaries use FAMASes.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has the protagonists allies in the Grove Street Families use the Tec-9 as their submachine gun of choice, while all other gangs in Los Santos use the Micro UZI.
    • Unless you spray all rival gang tags in the city, when the GSF start using MP5s, playing the trope straight (mostly, as OGs like Sweet will, with very rare exceptions, still use the Tec-9 during missions).
  • In Splinter Cell: Conviction, the SC standard handgun Victor Coste gives to Sam Fisher has a reflex sight. All other Mooks do not have reflex sights unless they are other Splinter Cells. In fact, the reflex sight is to add another Mark & Execute point for Sam to use.
    • Sam mentions this after overhearing an enemy guard test-firing his weapon in the first mission of Chaos Theory, noting that "when I think guerrilla, I think Kalashnikov" (it's used to bring up the plot point that whatever he just heard was not one).
  • Police Quest: SWAT 2 features the Z-M Weapons LR-300, an AR-15 variant, as the main bad guy weapon and the Desert Eagle as their sidearm. The SWAT team favour MP5s, Benelli M1 shotguns and M1911A1s.
    • Similarly, in SWAT 3, terrorists who are heavily armed tend to use AR-15's just as often as they do AK's. However, sidearms generally follow this rule (M1911A1 as SWAT standard, while bad guys stick with CZ-75's and stainless-steel Makarovs). Later releases came with official addons that existed mostly to allow players to use the same weapons as the terrorists, but even with both of them active, the submachine gun variant of the Steyr AUG remains a terrorist-exclusive weapon.
    • SWAT 4's expansion pack adds a "Team-Specific Weaponry" option for multiplayer matches, to limit each team's loadout to weapons that would make more sense for that team. For the most part, these play the trope straight - Desert Eagle, AK, TEC-9 and Uzi for suspects only, Colt Accurized Rifle and "Cobra" taser for SWAT only, etc. - but others avert or invert this, such as the G36 and MP5 being available for both teams, and the UMP being SWAT-only. Singleplayer averts this more, as there's an abundant number of H&K weapons that only the player and his squad can use.
  • Subverted in Jagged Alliance 2 (both the original game and the v1.13 fan mod and mods of the 1.13 mod) and 7.62 High Caliber, a Spiritual Successor, by the need to rely on battlefield pickups early on if you left the default options enabled; only later may you be able to pick and choose one way or the other. In fact, while the available choice of "operators" is multinational (including a Russian veteran), the first enemies you'll encounter are usually local bandits running around with sawn-off M1891/30 bolt-action pistols (cut-down Mosin-Nagant rifles, whose family came long before the Soviet Union).
  • Rainbow Six. In all games, while for the first few missions you usually deal with terrorists with AKs and Uzis, in later missions you will start dealing with terrorists armed with what are usually good guys' weapons (M16, M4, and M60 to start with). Though the briefing of the terrorist groups' background will usually justify them. On your side, Rainbow's arsenal plays this about as straight as possible in the first game (MP5 variants are the mainstays, with M16's as higher-powered options) but starts averting it in later games, with Raven Shield's rather massive arsenal including multiple "bad guy" guns like the Steyr AUG and TMP/SPP, multiple AK variants and derivatives, two versions of the Desert Eagle, and even the Chinese QBZ-97B alongside traditional "good" guns like the M16, FAL and L85.
    • In the intro of Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield a Neo-Nazi assassin uses a Luger P.08, now more a museum piece than a gun one could use as a convenient sidearm.
    • The Vegas subseries also zig-zags this; the terrorists in the first mission of 2 in particular are typically wielding AK-47s and MG36s, but later in the game they start using more NATO weaponry (possibly justified as, like the title indicates, most of the series is set in and around Las Vegas). The player, meanwhile, starts both games carrying both an MP5 and an SG 552, and in the aforementioned first mission of 2 the other Rainbow team you're working with also uses AK-47's.
  • Second Sight stands out as a game that completely ignores this. For instance, a street gang has some members with revolvers and some with sawed-off shotguns, a violation no matter how the group is perceived (it's more good than bad, for the record.)
  • Averted in Homefront, where the North Koreans are using mainly NATO weapons instead of the typical Soviet Bloc weapons that they have in real life. This is due to the fact that they now control South Korea and Japan, which gives them access to plenty of NATO weapons.
  • In GoldenEye, the enemies usually use knockoffs of various Soviet weapons while Bond uses NATO weaponry. There's nothing stopping him from picking up and using their guns, though.
    • The remake starts with the same usual Soviet-versus-NATO equipment, but then has enemies aligned with the Janus group also using NATO weapons against Bond.
  • In GoldenEye's Spiritual Successor Perfect Dark, the standard Carrington Institute weapons are a renamed Colt Double Eagle (a double-action version of the M1911) and FAMAS, while the opposing dataDyne tends to favor the TMP and a mocked-up XM8. Where this starts to zig-zag is that, otherwise, a lot of the weapons are shared between both factions and others - said mocked-up XM8 is the standard-issue US military weapon, for instance, and the protagonist Joanna acting as an infiltrator in most levels means she has to use weapons taken from killed enemies a lot of the time. It also does this for the completely fictional alien weapons later on in the game, with the good sleek, accurate and possibly-biological Maian weapons versus the bad spiky, inaccurate but more powerful Skedar weapons.
  • Mooks in Blood who actually use guns most commonly use a Sawed-Off Shotgun or a Thompson with a drum magazine, both of which Caleb also uses. His shotgun gets a good-gun pass due to all the zombies, but his Thompson still counts as a bad gun because he's not exactly a good guy himself. Blood II mixes this up a bit, with the return of the shotgun and machine pistols wielded in pairs, but it also prominently arms CabalCo-aligned characters with Beretta 92s and M16s.
  • Averted in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Mooks are armed with various weapons, both NATO and Warsaw Pact issue. Plus, each of these (plus many others) are available for the player to research and use for themselves.
    • Revolver Ocelot uses a Colt revolver as a "bad guy" gun, as he is a native Russian from the Cold War who is quite the fanboy of the Colt Single Action Army (read: "This is the greatest handgun ever made") and a pretty sound trick shooter with it no less.
    • Most games in the series tend to zig-zag this trope, since Solid Snake, Raiden and Big Boss have to acquire weapons in the field and have to raid enemy armouries to do so. While Snake is stuck using the same rifle the Genome soldiers are, Raiden and Big Boss can both play it straight by grabbing an M4 carbine or XM16E1 and going to town on the enemies armed with AN-94's and AK-47's.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots somewhat turns this around, with the PMCs using things like the SCAR-H and Mk 14 EBR, and the rebels fighting them off in the first two acts using AK-102's and G3A3's. Thing is, the rebels are the good guys in these conflicts (or at least Snake can get them to not shoot him on sight like the PMC soldiers will). Snake himself can use pretty much whatever he wants, but cutscenes tend to have him stick with the Operator and M4 Custom he gets early in the first act.
  • Pretty much averted in Operation Flashpoint, particularly in the campaign of the Resistance expansion pack, where you act as the leader of a resistance group fighting to liberate his homeland from a recent Soviet invasion. Practically all the standard guns of your partisans are either Warsaw Pact or civilian/hunting models. Most of your arsenal is therefore identical with that of the Soviet soldiers. On the other hand, there is a subversion later on, when the freedom fighters manage to acquire aid from a local NATO garrison. After this, they can also use a small supply of western firearms (e. g. FN FALs, Steyr AUGs and M21 sniper rifles).
    • The ARMA series played it straight with the first two games, as the Americans used American weapons and the various Eastern European-aligned nations used Eastern European weapons and equipment. However, Operation Arrowhead introduces the Takistani military. Like the Pakistani Military, Takistan's Army got aid from both Western and Soviet nations. It primarily uses FAL rifles while also using Soviet MG's, BTR-60's and UH-1 Iroquois helicopters. With the mission editor however, there is nothing preventing you from giving your Marines AK-105's and having them fight M16-equipped insurgents.
  • Only averted after the first unlock in Battlefield 3, where the first weapons available to each class are for one particularly side only. This means when you first start you can only use American weapons as the US (including the M4A1, M16A3, M27 and Mk 11), and similarly when you play as the Russians you can only use Russian weapons (including the AK-74M, RPK-74M, Dragunov SVD and the AKS-74U); you cannot use these weapons as the opposite faction until you have the relevant kit at its highest level. Later unlocked weapons are not restricted by side, however. This will often, similarly to Call of Duty, lead to Russians with MP7s, M39 EMRs and HK416s and Americans with AEK-971s, PP-2000s and PKP Pechenegs.
  • Subverted in Americas Army. Friendly players are armed with American weapons, and enemy players with ones on the "bad guns" list. The subversion kicks in when you realize this holds true from your perspective no matter which side you play. America's Army 3 also follows this, where the enemy players are given a fictional weapon system to counter the AR-15-type weapons the US military uses in-game, but which pretty obviously resemble the AK-like Galil.
  • Both played straight and subverted in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Non-aligned Loners tend to use AK's and shotguns, though their armament can be very varied. The Bandits primarily use shotguns, AK's and MP5's. The Freedom faction uses NATO-designed weaponry, while Duty primarily uses Soviet/CIS-made weapons. Depending on a character's alignment, any one of these could be the good guys or the bad guys. The only three factions that are non-joinable fixed antagonists are the Ukranian military (except in Call of Pripyat, wherein you start with them), which uses Soviet/CIS weapons, the Mercenaries who use NATO-designed weapons primarily and Monolith, who use a mixture of the top tier of both.
    • The weapons selections is actually (mostly) justified. Bandits rarely need heavy firepower and tend to use the AKSU version of the Kalashnikov. Loners need reliability and cheap weaponry, and between the break-open shotgun and the AK you can't get much more cheap reliability than that. Freedom needs precise gear, with their tactics mainly focusing on guerrilla attacks, so they typically use the more accurate NATO weapons. Duty prefers to bulldoze over an enemy, so Warsaw Pact weapons that can put a lot of fire on target are the order of the day. The military obviously uses the weapons that Ukraine uses, Mercs use whatever they want, and Monolith, who has...somewhat unusual recruiting methods uses whatever they can get their hands on.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon uses a vehicle-based version, as, possibly excluding the dual pistols, there are no weapons exclusive to one side - Delta Force/FEAR ferry themselves around with UH-60 Blackhawks, while Armacham and the Replica transport themselves with Mi-24 Hinds. The Replica also get various Powered Armor units that nobody else has, other than a couple Enhanced models that the player can hijack in the second and third games.
  • The enemies in every Uncharted game are just as likely to use NATO weapons as they are Warsaw Pact guns. There's almost literally a 50/50 chance an enemy Mook has of carrying an AK-47 or an M4. On the other side, Drake's preferred pistol in the first game is a Makarov, while in the second game he starts favoring a short-barreled 1911 or a Beretta 92 depending on the level.
  • Counter-Strike only lets some of the weapons be purchased by specific sides (though either team can use any weapon if they pick it up off a dead player), and has examples of playing the typical placements straight, averting them, and inverting them:
    • Straight: M4, FAMAS (Counter-Terrorist only); AK-47, Galil, MAC-10, Tec-9, Sawed-Off Shotgun, SG 552/556 (Terrorist only).
    • Averted: Dual Berettas, Desert Eagle, P228/P250, UMP-45, MP5/MP7, Steyr Scout/SSG-08, AWP, M249, Negev (all available to both teams).
    • Inverted: USP/P2000, TMP/MP9, AUG (Counter-Terrorist only); Glock (Terrorist only).
    • Where this gets rather odd is that the weapon selection (which favors NATO weapons for Counter-Terrorists) applies regardless of what real-world organizations is used for the counter-terrorist team on each map. The GSG-9, Israel Defense Force, and the Spetsnaz can all get American M4's and French FAMASes, but can't get their own AK-47's, G3SG/1's, or Galils except by stealing them from dead terrorists.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist and its sequel has the player characters, a gang of robbers, use a large variety of guns from both the "good" and "bad" piles while the cops you fight generally stick with the "good" guns. The gangsters that appear in one level all use the MAC-10.

    Web Original 
  • In the Darwins Soldiers universe, this trope is totally averted as "good guns" are frequently used by the bad guys and the "bad guns" are used equally by heroes and villains.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer
    • Subverted with Lana's twin TEC-9's.
    • Played straight with Archer's Walther PPK as a shout out to James Bond and Ray's twin 1911's. Bad guys and Soviet soldiers are often seen with AK-47's, machine pistols, Lugers, and Desert Eagles.

    Real Life 
  • Even though it wasn't officially allowed, more than a few US soldiers in Vietnam chose to use "informally acquired" AKs rather than the standard-issue M16 due to the AK's greater reliability in crappy environmental conditions.
    • Occasionally SEALs would use an AK or two on missions for the effect it would have on VC/NVA forces. Hearing the AK's distinctive bark would confuse the enemy, possibly tricking them into thinking they had mistaken friendlies for enemies. Seeing green tracers coming toward them was at best more confusing, at worst morale- and soul-crushing.
    • Australian soldiers also often chose to use AKs in Vietnam, which added to some of the confusion about identifying them as they mixed and matched their uniforms quite often as well with items from other military forces.
    • In a few nations, especially those of the former Eastern Bloc, AK-patterned weapons are used by the military and law-enforcement agencies as well as criminals. However, many of them have since phased the AKM out of service in favor for more modern AK-pattern designs, importing other weapons or developing their own.
    • AK's are still common enough in some nations that even opposing forces in wartime that use standard NATO "good guns" occasionally field stolen AK's or other weapons that can take the same caliber, simply because it's easier to loot ammo for those guns in the field than to replenish their standard stuff.
  • The TEC-9 semiautomatic pistol gained a reputation for being favored by gangs and violent criminals due to easy modification into a full-auto weapon. The original was banned in the US, and its watered-down successor, the AB-10, only narrowly avoided the same fate before the manufacturers went out of business.
  • The Steyr AUG is the standard service rifle of the Aussies with Artillery and Kiwis with Carbines, among others.
  • In many of its operations, the Mossad has most commonly used either Uzis or A Ks. Granted the first is an Israeli weapon, and both have traditionally been both ubiquitous and untraceable, especially in many of the countries in which Mossad has operated. Given that they're spies, rather than soldiers, it's expected that they'd use commonly available weapons in order to not raise suspicion.
    • As noted below, Israeli military in general used the Galil rifle, which is a slightly modified licensed version of Finnish Valmet Rk.62, which itself was a licensed copy of the original AK (with the machined receiver). Police forces still favor the old American M1 Carbine.
  • After the Cold War, many nations once allied with the Soviet Bloc are getting better relations with Western nations. This means that they use both Western and Eastern weapons designs. The former Soviet-allied nation of Georgia for example has both the AK-74 and M16's/M4's in its inventory. Polish Special Forces use Western European and American designs while the basic infantryman uses the AK-derived Kbs wz.1996 Beryl, which fires the NATO-designed 5.56mm round. Other non-aligned nations such as Pakistan and Slovenia also have a mix of Eastern and Western weapons designs.
  • Several NATO or NATO-allied nations use rifles patterned after the AK. The Finnish Valmet, Israeli Galil (which is being phased out) and the South African Vektor CR-21 (itself a modification of a copy of the Galil, which in turn is based on the Valmet) all have internals modeled after the AK action.
  • The Glock can be either, depending on what country you're in. For example, in the United States, many police departments carry it (in probably 9 out of 10 cities, any cop you see will have a Glock on his belt), whereas in Ireland, it has gained a notorious reputation as the weapon of choice for criminal gangs ("Good" guns are the H&K USP, SIG-Sauer P226, Browning Hi-Power and Steyr AUG). Though in Northern Ireland, it's the standard police gun.note 
  • Assault rifles themselves can count as an aversion - they're the standard infantry weapons of almost every modern military force in the world, even though the Nazi German StG-44 is commonly held to be the first true example of one, with the name "assault rifle" even being coined by Hitler himselfnote .
    • For that matter, the 9x19mm pistol cartridge was originally developed for the Luger, but it is now the most common pistol cartridge in the world.
  • Subverted by the Israeli army during its early years. The early IDF used cast off equipment from WW2, namely the German made Karabiner 98K and the Soviet made Mosin-Nagant. The Uzi, developed a few years after the war, was also initially designed specifically for IDF special forces.
  • The little known, but quite influential Armalite AR-18 zig-zags this trope. Several weapons use its design features, including the Enfield SA80, Steyr AUG and H&K G36. It was also a weapon of choice among the Provisional IRA who gave it the nickname of "The Widowmaker".
  • Licensed and unlicensed variants of the M16 and M4 are so common in the Philippines that they are much more easy to obtain in-country than even the internationally ubiquitous Kalashnikovs. Consequently, both the Abu Sayyaf and the Philippine government use them. Same for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the New People's Army. There are AKs (or more likely the Chinese version, the Norinco Type 56) reported in use here and there by local media, but only a few were smuggled into the Philippines during the Cold War. AK rifles have recently showed up again in recent years, which led to speculation from local netizens that they were either stolen from armories of private security companies (Shooters Arms Manufacturing makes a Kalashnikov-type rifle in 5.56mm NATO) or obtained from SEA-based gun smugglers.
  • Averted in Mexico and many other Latin American countries: Due to the closeness with the US, Mexican and many other military and police forces are banned from using Russian weapons, even if it's the best thing they can get in an emergency, and if any criminal is caught with an AK-47 or similar Warsaw Pact-era weapons, that weapon is destroyed afterwards. Recently (and also due to the closeness with the US) criminals using NATO-issued weapons are more common instead.
    • If anything, this is an inversion. The Mexican military primarily use the G3 rifle and the FX-05 Xiuhcoatl, which to the casual observer looks a lot like a G36, both frequently depicted as Bad Guns. Meanwhile, while the Cartels use whatever they can get their hands on, a common weapon amongst them are AR-15 rifles illegally smuggled into Mexico from the United States.
  • There are reports from Kurdish gun merchants that militants from the Islamic State terror group are choosing the M16 as their weapon of choice after capturing munitions from Iraqi army units (which were originally trained and supplied by the U.S. military).
  • A non-gun aversion came about due to the end of the Cold War. East Germany and Poland's air forces both operated MiG-29s as part of the USSR, and continued using them after, respectively, reunifying in 1990 and joining NATO in 1999. As of 2004 Poland still uses both countries' MiGs, having been sold all but one of the remaining German ones that year for a single euro per plane, which serves as one of their primary fighter aircraft alongside the American F-16.