The Grappling-Hook Pistol is an essential item for any aspiring Badass Normal, Cape, or secret agent. This handy bit of Applied Phlebotinum can deploy a grappling hook with laser-guided precision to a secure holding point at the top of any tall building, allowing its user to climb with ease. Particularly spiffy examples are equipped with motors, and can function as field-expedient elevators as their users hold on for dear life. It can also be used to implement the Building Swing, though its primary function is usually just for climbing. It also lends itself to You Will Not Evade Me.
In settings that predate firearms the alternative is the grappling arrow used by bow wielding protagonists. While it can be an arrow with a grappling hook more often it's just a standard arrow with a rope tied to it.
The Grappling-Hook Pistol is generally a fairly bulky item for a handheld pistol, though unreasonably small for the length of line and hook firing charge that it contains. Its limited utility makes it a special-purpose item that the hero is unlikely to carry... but it generally conveniently appears from hammerspace when it is needed.
The hooks themselves are Plot Sensitive Items, capable of all three variants of Instant Knots - latching onto, wrapping the cable around, or piercing their target, depending on the needs of the script. The wrap-around cable is a strange effect, as it always attaches to the anchor point snugly enough to support whatever is on the other end of the cable on the first try. If the cord can automatically retract, the person can just hold on with one hand with inhuman strength to get pulled up; this is especially dramatic if they're holding someone else with their other arm. It's also very handy when you find yourself or an innocent civilian falling, but let's hope the cord has some elasticity.
Grappling guns actually exist (see "Real Life" below), but the real ones are somewhat larger than depicted on screen, especially if not base-fired only (though recent designs allows more compact systems). As in "pneumatic grenade launcher of load-bearing design with built-in reel of strong rope" — though strong crossbow could work too. Hook is massive, rope adds a lot of drag, so the launcher's power (and recoil) should be considerable.
Partially busted by the MythBusters in 2007. (Because the aforementioned size makes them too large to be carried around on a superhero belt.) An ascension device was built that essentially fit the size, but including the launching mechanism would have made it simply too bulky.
A variation — also partially busted by the Mythbusters — has the grappling hook attached to the hero's (or villain's) car, for turning corners at high speed. There is no line capable of withstanding the sheer force that goes into a car turning at high speeds — yet.
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Anime and Manga
The Big O, which took inspiration from Batman, has a set of Grappling Hook cannons on its waist, which are used to pull things around, pierce enemies, hoist gigantic robots hundreds of feet into the air supported by a thin latticework, and anchor it into the ground before using its ultimate cannon attack. Roger Smith also possesses a Grappling Hook Pistol in his watch that makes an appearance nearly every time his feet leave the ground.
The fishing reels of the Fishermen from Tower of God. They aren't used to life it's user up, but to tie down enemies and retrieve items.
Joe the Condor's sidearm in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Not only can it fire bullets or a hookline from the front, but also has a large weighted hook on the back and the gun can fire backwards. Joe will often use this to hit enemies that sneak up behind him. In one instance, he tricks someone who knocks him down, steals his gun, and tries to use it against him to kill himself by switching the triggers beforehand.
Ryu the Owl carries a much smaller, normal one as well.
The MS-07 B-3 Gouf Custom, seen in The 08th MS Team, exchanges the Heat Rod of the original model for an electrified grappling line. In the suit's first appearance, the pilot uses it to swing from enemy jets in flight.
Note that the jets aren't good for much afterwards.
Hei in Darker Than Black uses it (even with retractor) frequently on buildings and people alike, but with snap hooks on a thin metallic cable, not grappling hooks. And in two cases when he really needed to shoot some grapple far, he used a crossbow◊.
Hei's grapple line thing also seems to be anchored at one foot and at his waist on the same side, so there's no super-human arm strength involved.
Usopp, being a sometime Gadgeteer Genius, debuted something along these lines in the Skypiea arc: it fired from his belt, enabling him (in theory) to swing from tree to tree. It was called something along the lines of "Usopp AaahAahAahAahAahAah!" In practice, he didn't figure a good way to detach, which kept him from actually getting anywhere.
In Chrono Crusade, Rosette has a grapnel gun built into her pistol that gets used once.
Gasaraki has Mini-Mecha equipped with a pair of these in the shoulders. The pilot activates them with a brief voice command and the Tactical Armor automatically adjusts angle and power to land on rooftops and hopefully latch onto something, then winches the machine up to the top. Part of the reasoning for this is to allow the TA to get to the rooftop where it can get a good vantage on things like tanks, which would have trouble firing back. As one character observes, this allows them to use infantry tactics with armor-grade weaponry.
The 3D Maneuver Gear from Attack on Titan is a form of this, albeit worn as a bulky belt-mounted apparatus. A bit more realistic than most, since it's depicted as having a large reel mechanism to house the cables and a pair of fairly large gas cannisters, acting as both the propellent for firing the hook and a way to add forward momentum to help pull people along. The hooks are also occasionally seen to fail to latch to their targets, and running out of gas is a clear concern.
Batman also inspired Nighthawk from the Squadron Supreme in its many incarnations. Particularly in the "Supreme" series, in his own mini he uses it to blast through his analogue of the Joker, Whiteface, to create an anchor as he jumps after a baby he threw off. Then proceeds to kill him (Whiteface, not the baby!) by ripping out his guts with it.
In The Dark Knight Returns, Batman opts for a grappling-hook rifle. Of course, that was made before Batman's grappling gun was standard fare.
Spider-Man's webshooters are similar, but it uses a special strong adhesive chemical called "web-fluid" instead. The Raimi movie replaces the web fluid with "natural" spider webs, akin to his time after "the Other". The other movie goes back to the webshooters.
It's called web-fluid due to the fact that it has a tensile strength, appearance, and many physical properties similar to actual spider-webs. Given that it's essentially malleable fluid duct-tape, it's about as versatile as it gets, regarding this trope. The web-launchers are also really tiny, mostly because they're gas powered and most of the power comes from the web fluid expanding on contact with air.
Rorschach from Watchmen has a Grappling-Hook Pistol that operates on compressed carbon dioxide gas; not only is it his trademark tool, he actuallyshoots someonewith it at one point. It's also quite big, nearly lifesize to the real versions. Rorschach was actually given the grappling hook by Nite Owl, a Rich Idiot with No Day Job, gadgets galore type of hero who ends up appearing very similar to Batman — even though he's actually a Captain Ersatz for the second Blue Beetle. Rorschach's gun is a lot more realistic than Batman's. It's much bigger, and it also doesn't have a motor in it to elevate him.
In the 1940s, the Sandman had one called a "wirepoon gun". His successor, Sand, has used it as a weapon a couple of times. As a younger hero once pointed out: "Wirepoon. Sounds kinda dirty."
Hilariously and realistically used in an issue of Deadpool. Yes, he has the gun. But using it to go up 90 floors of a building takes forever.
Batman: And in actuality, the 1989 movie was the first to make it a gun and not just a batarang with a rope tied to it.
In the 1989 film, he asks Vicki Vale her weight to find out if his device will be able to hoist both of them off the ground. She lies about her weight, which causes the device to malfunction halfway up. In another instance, he used one that fired hooks in two opposite directions. Instead of lifting him off the ground, this allowed for rapid horizontal movement by acting as a zip line. It has continued all the way into the re-imagined franchise.
In Batman Begins, the titular character's wonderful toy (see the page quote for a more technical description) allows him to latch onto a monorail car as it makes its way towards Wayne Tower in the finale of the film. It also established a bit of slightly more realistic tech to the gun; the gun fires the projectile but it is anchored to the suit and the belt has a motor for the ascension. Since his costume is likely built with a harness that means it isn't reliant on his physical strength to hold on and allows him to snatch mooks and pull them to the ceiling.
The Joker's men use one in the opening bank robbery in The Dark Knight, though it is the size of a rocket launcher instead of a pistol because they're not ascool as Batman. This is also because the current film franchise is doing its best to be realistic, and the Joker's thugs don't have the benefit of Bruce Wayne's company providing them with innovative technological solutions (read: supersience); they have to go with the tools they can snag off the black market or build themselves.
The "ascension guns" in Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which seemed to be an attachment to the security forces' blaster pistols.
The size of the rope, at least, is hand waved by its being "liquid cable."
Luke had one of these all the way back in A New Hope. He and Leia used it to swing across a chasm in the Death Star.
There's also the BFG versions mounted on the snowspeeders in The Empire Strikes Back, proof that a properly utilized grappling hook can be the bane of any Humongous Mecha. It was retroactively justified by saying that the speeders were used to tow cargo containers, thus the name tow cable.
And earlier than that, he uses one that's inside his belt (although it fires pitons instead of a grappling hook) in GoldenEye.
At the start of Golden Rye when he bungee jumps off the dam, he uses a grappling hook pistol to pull himself to the bottom.
Even earlier was Diamonds Are Forever, where he uses an almost plausible gun that fires pitons. How it's able to pierce the building when it travels as relatively slow as it does and support Bond's weight is anybody's guess.
From Russia with Love featured the "Rappel Belt." True to the '60s flair of the game, this was a hook that detached from Bond's belt and had to be thrown onto ledges, and climbing would retract it. It was a little more flexible than Eon's rappel gun in that Bond could swing across ledges with it.
In Like Flint: Derek Flint has such a device in his trick cigarette lighter - the grappler is the size of a small fishhook and the line as thin as dental floss, but he can still tightrope walk on it.
Van Helsing used one to escape from Dr. Frankenstein's castle. In the 1800's.
In Disney's Robin Hood, Robin and Little John would fire rope arrows to set up escape paths to move themselves and money. Done with a bit of realism, in that once the arrow was fired, somebody on the other end had to tie it off, instead of relying on the arrow to support the weight.
In The Naked Gun 2 1/2, Drebin shoots a bulky grappling hook gun to get to the top of a building, but it hits the side of the building and falls. On his second try, the grapnel snags the collar of an angry guard dog, which then chases him around the roof.
In the movie of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Klaus makes one out of an umbrella. Just to clarify: the wonderful device which can't take the strain of being folded up, being opened, being rained on, or being in any kind of slight breeze, can apparently take the weight of a fourteen-year-old boy who uses it to climb up a tower. And that's not the stupidest part.
In the book, it was Violet who made the hook, and it wasn't in the pistol. The movie made Klaus a bit of an Adaptational Badass.
The evil Marines from The Rock use a grappling hook rifle to set up ziplines, in order to infiltrate and steal the Chemical Weapons.
Charlie's Angels: Lucy Liu uses a grappling hook bow repeatedly throughout the movie, most notably at the end when she hooks it into the fuselage of an airborne helicopter with enough force that it can hold all three of the girls.
Lucy Liu: Let's see if I can win the teddyyyy beaarrrrrrr!!!!
Mallrats explicitly references not just the trope, not just its most famous practitioner, but one of the most famous scenes using it, when, chased by LaFours (the best security guard in the mall), Silent Bob pulls out a grappling hook pistol and hauls himself and Jay up to safety; LaFours rounds the corner and doesn't see where they've gone. Then, at the top of the line:
In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, freaking DEVASTATOR has them, the better to scale a pyramid to get at the doomsday machine. You wouldn't think a robot so humongazoid that he towers over the standardHumongous Mecha even more than they do above humans would do much climbing, but he can and it is awesome.
In Sky High, the SidekickHero Support training includes learning to use one of these; as with the Batman Begins example, the whole mechanism is built into the Utility Belt, which acts as a harness. It also has the option to launch a net or an inflatable raft rather than a line.
Hobo With a Shotgun gives us an interesting variant used by Grinder, one half of The Plague. Instead of using it to scale walls, however, it's used as a kind of gallows-gun, the rope ending in a noose and not attached to the gun.
In G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the ninjas use these to chase Snake-Eyes and Jinx across the mountain after they kidnap Storm Shadow.
Batman: Inferno, among other non-graphic-novel, non-kids'-illustrated-storybooks.
The Kouriers in Snow Crash couldn't work if they weren't able to grab onto passing cars with their magnetic "'poons".
The "Armalite MH-12 Maghook" features heavily in Matthew Reilly's Shane Schofield books. The amount of times Scarecrow and the other protagonists have had their bacon saved by the timely application of a maghook would fill a small book by themselves.
It's also started appearing in his other books.
A grappling-hook arrow was used to enter a building in one of the Heralds of Valdemar novels. Telekinesis was used to ensure it made it to the target.
During the siege on a town in the Malloreon, they use catapults to launch grappling hooks over the city walls. Of course instead of using them to scale the walls, they use them to pull them down. But not before Belgarion and Durnik soak the ground good by magically creating a spring under it and turn the foundation to mud. Still, very cool.
In the Star Trek: Typhon Pact novel Zero-Sum Game, Bashir and Sarina Douglas have "bolt-launchers" which resemble tiny harpoon-guns trailing monofiliment wire. They can also be set for zero-recoil for use in space, although at one point Bashir intentionally doesn't do this to use it as a low-power personal thruster.
In Relativity, Black Torrent gives one to Dark Flame (Sara), because he knows that she has doesn't have the resources to create (or buy) high-tech crimefighting gear like he does. She takes it as a display of affection.
Sara: He gave me a grappling hook.
Madge: Thatís not the same as giving you a ring, Sara.
Live Action TV
The 60'sBatman featured a grappling hook mortar in one episode. In fact, "rope climbing up a building that looks suspiciously like the camera was set on its side" is one of the hallmark TV Batman scenes (bonus points for surprise pop-up celebrity cameos).
James West not only used one routinely in The Wild Wild West, but also managed to have it imperceptibly hidden up his sleeve on a mechanism that would shove it into his hand on demand. He was also able to produce various other devices as needed by the plot, including guns, knives, and, most improbably, a flare launcher.
One of the realistic prop gadgets Jett has on the set is a compact grappling hook, which is used to rescue his best friend who's trapped in a well in the pilot episode of The Famous Jett Jackson.
Downplayed in the second Angel episode, "Lonely Hearts". Angel tries to use a Grappling Hook Gun to get himself and Detective Kate Lockley (prompting the response "...who are you?") out of a room they are trapped in, but the wooden beam the wire attaches to crumbles under their weight. He did use it once again, without incident in "She" to gain entry to an office building. It worked fine that time; obviously he learned from his mistake. Probably it was too expensive or cliched a stunt to replicate again. Wesley had a grapnel-launcher at the end of Season 4/beginning of Season 5, which he used at least once.
Star Trek: Enterprise was equipped with the Grappler — not a primitive tractor beam, as you might expect, but twin starship-hauling-sized grappling hooks. Also, a fighter spacecraft in Babylon 5 is shown using a grappler early in the series, presumably to differentiate the series from Star Trek and also because the CGI effect was pretty cool.
Andromeda's Eureka Maru used nigh-unbreakable Fullerene "buckycables" to collect anything not nailed down salvage. And the force lances could be rigged for grapple-launching as well (Though it doesn't quite qualify as a "pistol" since the lance is extended for grapple-launching.)
As mentioned in the trope description, tested by the MythBusters, and partially busted. The ascension system worked fine (powered by a battery on Jaime's belt) but the propulsion system to launch the hook (or, specifically, a harpoon able to embed itself securely in concrete to make a zipline) makes it far bigger than hand-held. The main thing to consider, and something they point out themselves, is that while they are skilled engineers and have access to some of the top quality materials in the business is that they are still working with a limited time frame. It can be considered that if they spent years of R&D they might create something even more compact and capable of doing both things without issue.
One of the gadgets used by Kamen Rider Double protagonist Shotaro is the Spider Shock, a wristwatch that can turn into a robot spider and has this as one of its functions.
H.G. Wells' Grappler in Warehouse 13. Strangely, it's put into the Warehouse after she gives it to Myka. It's hard to believe a grappling gun would be a dangerous Artifact, especially since it would be fairly easy to check for its "Artifact-ness" (simply dunk it into the purple liquid they use; if there's a flash, it's an Artifact). On the other hand, some of the items kept in the Warehouse are not Artifacts per se but simply ingenious inventions that some Warehouse agent has decided not to give to the world (the Tesla, for example, would be extremely useful for crowd control or hostage rescue; and the Farnsworth would make cell phones obsolete; then there's the electric car that can be powered by a person's bio-electricity).
It is lost in Season 3 when used by Myka to temporarily keep an elevator from falling. The rope snaps a few seconds later, and the Grappler is, presumably, destroyed when the elevator crashes.
There is a grappling hook coil gun in GURPS: Ultra-Tech. Rather than a pistol it's counted as a form of grenade launcher. You can use it to play Batman.
Shadowrun features grappling hook guns, along with rules for use as weapons (dealing stun damage) and implantation as cyberware.
Dungeons & Dragons introduced the Rod of Ropes in Complete Scoundrel, which allows wielders to use it as a grapple gun, a zip-line, or as a rope dispenser.
Batman: Arkham Asylum. Also featured is a Burton-Bats style zipline launcher and a weaponised variant used to pull things around rather than for climbing. He can even use it to stop himself from falling in Bottomless Pits.
In the sequel, Arkham City, you can even upgrade it with a version equipped with a more powerful motor that not only elevates him, but launches him in the air.
And the Batman Forever game for the Super NES. The Angry Video Game Nerd comments on how Batman's "grappling dick" (since he shoots it out of his crotch) is activated by the freaking Select button.
Justice League Heroes puts an interesting twist on the usual usage. Since there's little to no platforming in the game, Batman's GHP instead is used in an attack: He shoots it at an enemy, and the GHP pulls him into the enemy for a kick.
Batman uses it again in Injustice: Gods Among Us. This time, he can shoot it either forward ot upward (to intercept the opponent if he or she is jumping).
Tribes: Vengeance (A game set in the Starsiege universe) has a grappling hook pistol, which shoots out a hook at extremely fast speeds and latches onto any surface except for players. You can use the grappling hook to pull extremely fast turns when flying down mountains, use it to latch onto vehicles, and if you have insanely good aim, grab weapons and ammo off the ground while moving.
The first and second Thief games play the arrow-with-rope (and arrow-with-vine) version completely straight - rope arrows and vine arrows are part of your fairly wide arsenal of trick arrows. In certain missions, using them is often the only solution to access otherwise inaccessible and plot-relevant areas. Rope arrows were taken out of the third game due to technical difficulties and replaced with climbing gloves. The upcoming fourth game will reintroduce them and also add a small grappling hook pistol in addition to the bow-fired trick arrows. Said grappling hook will be able to stick to surfaces that are inaccessible to rope arrows. (Hence why the player will have to use both the pistol and the arrows for different climbing challenges and puzzles.)
Ocarina of Time has both the basic Hookshot and the upgraded Longshot, which, obviously, is quite a bit longer. The Majora's Mask version has a range that is average between the two Ocarina versions.
Oracle of Ages has the Switch Hook, which, rather than pulling Link toward an object, makes him switch places with it. It can also be upgraded into the Long Hook, which is about twice the length.
Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass both have regular old Grappling Hooks, though the former has a Hookshot as well.note it appears much later than in other games, however, namely in the penultimate dungeon, so the Grappling Hook won't be superseded for a while (especially since it has other uses anyway, such as acting as a salvage crane to retrieve underwater treasure and being used to steal enemy items)
The hookshot returns in A Link Between Worlds, usable in eight directions rather than ALTTP's four. It can also be upgraded to work faster and inflict damage, whereas in ALTTP it would only stun enemies that weren't specifically programmed to die from it.
In the Super Smash Bros. series, Link and his clones can use the Hookshot to latch onto edges to avoid falling from the battle stage. The Twilight Princess incarnation of Link uses the Clawshots instead.
The extremely useful grappling hook from the Tenchu series of ninjaStealth Based Games is apparently an ordinary, hand-swung version — but nonetheless shares all of the features of the Grappling-Hook Pistol, including the ability to almost instantly pull you to the anchoring point. Must be a ninja thing.
Functionally, this was the main power of the main character in the NES game Bionic Commando. Unique in how the writers recognized the inhuman strength required and explained that he had to be a cyborg with the grappling hook built in with hydraulics for this to work. Not only that, but Radd couldn't jump. In an NES platformer. The programmers took a huge leap of faith here, but it paid off. Although the NES game doesn't show the main character (Ladd or Radd depending on which version you're playing) being of any particular build, and looking entirely human in all respects, the Playstation 3/Xbox 360/PC remake and sequel establish that the bionic arm is freaking huge, literally half the size of the titular bionic commando. As an added bonus, it allows him to pull off feats of super-human strength, though in the trailers, that strength is only applied directly to his arm, not the rest of him.
The Special Forces expansion pack for Battlefield 2 gives some classes a crossbow that fires a cable that can be used as a zipline. Grappling hooks are also available to some classes, though they're the old-school hand-thrown variety.
The Half-Life: Opposing Force expansion features a grappling hook weapon, although not a pistol. Rather, it's an alien barnacle that's been detached and that can be used on some maps to latch onto biological outcroppings.
Ada Wong frequently uses one in Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, and Resident Evil 6.
And Leon uses a grapple belt to escape one of The Dragon's traps in the same game.
Painkiller has the titular grappling hook-type weapon that is used to pierce enemies (For Massive Damage!) and pull their now-lifeless corpses to you, as well as being able to destroy/collapse items, usually in a single shot. You never use it for climbing though, seeing as how the cord/rope is a frickin' laser that's used to incinerate enemies.
The Worms series of games feature a "ninja rope" that can be lengthened and retracted at will, plus released and refired while in midair over and over to replicate Spider-Man's method of travel. Mastery of the ninja rope is necessary to become a true worm warrior.
In James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, Bond carried a variant of this, called a "rappel gun", which functioned like a GHP, but he had to walk up a wall in order to retract it (!).
In The World Is Not Enough, Bond gets a watch with several functions, including a grappling hook. Of course, in single player you had to aim for a large yellow and black block on the ceiling, after which a rope would "fall down" for Bond to climb.
The LEGO Star Wars games go one up on Phantom Menace by allowing any character with a blaster to connect it to a grappling hook. The "blaster" category includes all varieties of pistols as well as Chewbacca's crossbow and the Ewok's slingshot.
Lucas from Mother 3 and Super Smash Bros. Brawl makes use of a "rope snake", a happy stretchy snake. The Rope Snake was originally used by Duster in Mother 3; he used it to swing across gaps in a dilapidated castle. In a later chapter, the entire party has to hang onto the snake while it hangs from the Pig Army's main aircraft, but it can't support the weight. Having thus dishonored its ancestors, it changes its name to Snake Rope and mopes.
Starting from the second installment of the God of War series, Kratos has the ability to use his Blades like this.
The Metroid series' Grapple Beam. In both Metroid Prime 1 and 2, the beam when acquired takes the form of a literal gun that clips under Samus' left arm. In 3 it takes the form of a disc attachment to the back of Samus' left hand - but adds being able to latch onto and yank away certain obstacles... metal bars, plates, enemy deflector shields...
Later in Corruption, Samus gets the Grapple Voltage device which augments the functionality further by allowing her to siphon energy from her tanks into another device to power it up, or siphon it away from a device or enemy to recharge her own reserves. A Phazon-based version allows her to dump Phazon into the target; she can use this to prolong her purity on Phaaze as well.
The Grapple Beam also appears in the Super Smash Bros. series, where it can work as a long-distance enemy grab, or let you grab stage edges to recover from falls. In Brawl, the emergency pistol Samus wields in armorless ("Zero Suit") form includes grapple functionality as well.
The Thunder Claw in Mega Man 8 functioned similarly. It would extend its normal firing range if a grabbable object was nearby.
The Wire Adapter from 4 could only be fired straight up, but otherwise followed the trope.
Mega Man X2 had the Strike Chain, which was a horizontal-only variant. Charging the weapon with the X-Buster upgrade extended it's range.
The Chain Rod in Mega Man Zero 2 was perhaps the most versatile. It could be fired horizontally, vertically or diagonally and let you grapple from nearly any surface. It could also be used to pull crates, and occasionally, enemies around.
Variant in Triggerheart Exelica: Exelica and Crueltear use the grappling hook cannon-like Anchor Shot to, rather than travel, grab and pull enemies toward them, and spin them around as a shield, or toss them at an enemy hammerthrow-style.
One of the many powers of Nero's Devil Bringer from Devil May Cry 4 - he can use either "Hell Bound" to pull himself through the air, or "Snatch" to drag enemies towards him and knock them off their feet.
In DmC: Devil May Cry Dante gains a pair of new forms for Rebellion that are effectively grappling hooks. Much like the above, the Angelic form drags Dante towards enemies and obstacles, while the Demonic form drags them towards him instead.
Scorpion from Mortal Kombat can use a hook-like power to attract his opponents ("Get over here!"). In The Movie, it's not just a weapon, it's some kind of freaky symbiote living inside his body.
In Resident Evil 0, the player characters periodically had to make use of a grappling hook gun to access certain areas. However, it was a closer in size to a rifle than a pistol, taking up a 2/6 inventory blocks at one time. And it realistically can only hold 150 pounds max, which means only the lighter Rebecca Chambers can use it to pull herself up.
Quake: The "Threewave CTF" mod (and all since that copied it) included an offhand grappling hook to move around the levels faster.
In Tomb Raider, Lara Croft uses them. A grappling hook was used in the beginning cinematic in the original Tomb Raider game but never used again, however, in the remake Lara actually used her grappling hook Magnetic Grapple. Lara's grappling gun seems more like a replacement for her super long jumps she used to have in the older games because beginning with Legend, Lara's jumps became "bunny hops". Her current magnetic grapple is small, but workable with Phlebotinum.
Tomb Raider: Chronicles is the first time you actually could use a grappling gun. Unlike the newer one, or even Anniversaries', this grappling gun was much closer in size to a real one and you actually had to be precise with your aim. In the newer games, all you have to do is position the camera and Lara in the general direction of a ring to successfully use your grapple.
And his nemesis Psy-Crow uses a grappling fishhook gun as his weapon to try and pry Jim out of his suit.
Just Cause and its sequel. Used not only to hijack planes and helicopters, but also to glide while being towed by a car. The sequel, as shown in trailers, also allows the player to hook a mook to a vehicle and drag him around.
Dark Messiah gives you the Rope Bow, a magic bow that upon hitting something made of wood spits out a bit of rope for you to swing/climb on.
The sci-fi third-person shooter Lost Planet allows the protagonist to grapple up objects among other things with his Anchor. Note that the protagonist does not need a special weapon in order to grapple, but he must be on the ground to use it.
Inputting "Grapple" in Scribblenauts gives you one of these. It's very useful.
In XIII the character has a grappling hook launcher that attaches to hooks placed around the environment. while the launching mechanism is so small that it's hidden by the player characters hand while he's using it, it appears to attach to a harness the player wears.
In the first No One Lives Forever game, one of the bonus items Cate Archer can get is a grappling hook hidden inside her belt buckle used primarily to reach secret areas.
The bonus levels of the first Alien vs. Predator game on the PC gave a grappling hook to the marine to allow him to traverse the Alien levels.
Hazama/Terumi from BlazBlue can use his Ouroboros Drive in this manner to pull himself to his opponents.
Alex Mercer from Prototype does not really need a grapple device, being an excellent traceur. However, his upgraded Whipfist does allow him to reach out and snag stuff to either pull to him or, if it's bigger, pull himself to it.
Arumana no Kiseki (Miracle of Almana), a side-scrolling platformer by Konami released exclusively in Japan for the Family Computer Disk System, features an Indiana Jones-like adventurer who navigates a cave by grappling hook.
Trilby, of the Chzo Mythos, uses a Grappling Hook umbrella, and it works.
In Blaster Master Overdrive, the S.O.P.H.I.A. can acquire a grappling hook attachment to allow it to zip up toward certain ceilings.
The protagonist of Frost Bite, a would-be mountain climber, uses this as both her only mountain-climbing equipment and her primary defense against yetis and the like.
Jack van Burace of Wild ARMs and its remake, Wild Arms Alter Code: F, gains one of these in the course of the game. It's mostly used to get through otherwise-unpassable sections of the dungeons. Given the kind of acceleration the thing has, it's a wonder it doesn't rip his arms off or pull itself out of his grasp. Full stop to full speed in roughly zero time. Youch!
In Strife this is used against you by a boss. It doesn't do much damage on its own but he likely throws you off high ledges in the process.
The fishing pole in Minecraft isn't meant for this purpose, but it has the ability to stick to mobs and when you yank the reel back, the mob is dragged to you, making it extremely handy to drag flying mobs like Ghasts and Blazes to you so you can whack them with your sword, or hook the line to a mob across a cliff and yank the line to make them fall in the abyss or even a lava pit.
One of the brush techniques in Ōkami allow Amaterasu to let the vine of a hovering flower platform attach her to reach previously inaccessible spots.
Section has one on his Data Glove Paired in "Black Ops 2".
In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Yoshi's tongue can be used this way when floating flower-shaped hooks are nearby.
DC Universe Online allows any character who chooses the "Acrobatics" travel power set to utilize Batman Style grappling hooks. It comes in two varieties: A vertical shot to ascend buildings and a horizontal shot to head towards climbable walls. It's the fastest way to ascend vertically, but limited by the need for a wall to climb.
Nautilus in League of Legends does this with an anchor throwing it at terrain to make quick escapes or catch enemies. If it hits a champion it drags them back too and they meet in the middle.
Blitzcrank mixes this with a Rocket Punch. He launches off his right hand to grab an enemy (like, say, the squishy enemy carry) and pull them back to him, where they are horribly murdered by the rest of his team.
In Mystery Trackers 2: Raincliff you end up using a bow and grappling-hook arrow to climb a palace balcony at one point.
In Remnants Of Skystone, one of the character classes has shooting out grappling hooks willy-nilly as their special ability.
In Umihara Kawase, the main character's rubber fishing line works like this.
Goof Troop has this as one of the most useful items. Doubles as a way to defeat small enemies or stun big ones, and as a way to make a rope bridge.
The Swingshot (also known as the 'Hypershot' in two games) of Ratchet & Clank is one.
Two high-tech Powered Armor suits (Skeleton and Ghost) in XCOM: Enemy Unknown have a built-in Grappling-Hook Gauntlet, allowing your soldiers to leap across the terrain like grasshoppers. The tactical advantage this confers, especially on urban maps, turns most engagements into Curb Stomp Battles, as the XCOM operatives take to the roofs on their first turn and hold their high ground (and cover!) until all aliens are dead.
Swaine's pistol in Ni No Kuni is a variation; it fires multiple wires that are too weak to be used for climbing, but it can be used to pick locks and open treasure chests that would otherwise be out of the party's reach.
Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror has one that allows Logan to latch onto wires and use them as zip lines.
This Batmanwebcomic features several uses of the grappling hook, including a scene where Batman uses it to win a foot race (don't ask).
Generator (Jade Sinclair) at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe has one in an arm bracer. But she can cheat. She can cast a psychokinetic copy of herself into objects, so she can always make the "grappler" end do what she wants.
In Red vs. Blue S9, Agent Carolina. Apparently, grappling a turret and then pulling can be hilarious. Not for the user.
Justified with Flechette of Worm, who has a tinker made chain fabrication machine installed in her arbalest, which when combined with her power to make a projectile ignore gravity, allows her to overcome the difficulties inherent in this trope.
In a clear parody, the Futurama episode "A Head In The Polls" has Leela using a grappling hook rifle. On landing, it walked over to a pipe like a spider, grabbed on, and tugged twice on the rope to tell her it was anchored. Yay for the year 3000.
This is one of the most commonly used attachments for Darkwing Duck's all-purpose "gas gun."
Gadget from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers uses something similar in the pilot "To the Rescue"; however, instead of a grappling hook, it uses a suction cup (as do most of her inventions). In other episodes, she uses a self-made crossbow with the same function.
Although not named, it's in fairly common usage in Max Steel: The titular character has a gun version in hammer-space, while one of his partners, Kat Ryan, has a small version built in to her watch.
Razor of the SWAT Kats has a grappling hook firing device on his glove.
∆on Flux can convert her standard gun into one with the simple expedience of replacing the magazine with a pressurized gas reservoir and cramming the hook down the barrel.
Avatar: The Last Airbender featured both low and high tech versions: the Yu-Yan Archers fired ropes tied to arrows, enhancing their capacity to give chase. And, as seen in "The Northern Air Temple," the Fire Nation's all-terrain tanks have grappling-hook-tipped chains they fire to ascend shear surfaces. Notable in that both examples are in use by the same society in the same era.
In the first episode of Gravity Falls, Great Uncle 'Grunkle' Stan Pines allows his niece and nephew Mabel and Dipper to take whatever they want from the Mystery Shack gift shop. While Dipper chooses a hat with a pine tree emblem, Mabel pulls out a GRAPPLING HOOK!
Shnitzel has one in the Chowder episode "Weekend at Shnitzel's" that he uses when he abducts Senorita Mesquite.