"A downward swing of the Pickaxe can crush stone; a human head would be an afterthought."A Sub-Trope of Improvised Weapon and closely related to Shovel Strike, pickaxes are commonly used to break up rocks and earth but also can immediately be used as a weapon. While usually not as sharp as a conventional melee weapon, the narrow spike and heavy head of the pick make it effective against armor. Because of their original purpose, they're also exceptionally sturdy and not as likely to break as other improvised weapons. Ice picks, used as a climbing aid in icy regions, are also covered by this trope. Though smaller than mining picks, their blades will tend to have a sharper edge and the weapon will be easier to both control and conceal. In real life and fiction, some warhammers and traditional axes also have a big spike on one side of their heads for punching through armor (and, on occasion, ribcages, heads and other things).
—Dark Souls, Fire Pickaxe description
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Anime and Manga
- Both the original My Bloody Valentine and its remake had killers with pickaxes as their Weapon of Choice.
- In Friday the 13th Part 2, Jason's very first kill is the Final Girl of the original, who he kills with an ice pick to the head. Later, he hunts Ginny down with a pickaxe.
- Shit gets worse in The Descent when Juno accidentally puts a climbing pick through her buddy's neck after a protracted fight with monsters. After said friend is found by another of Juno's friends (who are now rivals because Juno slept with her husband) she gets hunted down in revenge.
- The demon-possessed killer priest of Happy Hell Night starts using a ice axe as his weapon of choice when he finds it on a wall.
- The killer in Death on Demand uses an ice axe.
- Alissa eliminates most of the remaining characters with a pickaxe she picks up in Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet.
- The villain of Simon Says has a severe pickaxe fetish, to the point of actually constructing a machine gun-like contraption that fires them.
- The Phantom Killer in The Town That Dreaded Sundown takes a pickaxe to chase a woman with through a cornfield.
- Cliffhanger sees Sylvester Stallone use ice-picks and various other mountaineering tools as improvised weapons whilst he battles terrorists on a snowy mountain.
- Kate Connor got a bunch of ice picks on sale because they make good weapons and having them around the house wouldn't be looked at askance.
- Discworld's dwarfs use special axes: one side is a pickaxe, for prospecting; the other is a traditional axe, so you can stake your claim.
- The Dwarves of the Iron Hills under future King Under the Mountain Dáin II Ironfoot in The Hobbit wielded Mattocks in the Battle of the Five Armies.
- In The Princess and the Goblin, Curdie's weapon of choice is his miner's mattock.
- The Russian Tolkien parody The Zwirmarillion references this with A Worldwide Punomenon. This particular pun is that the Quenya name of a constellation "Valacirca" sounds in Russian like "a Vala's pick", and the constellation is Varda's threat to beat Melkor up with a pick.
Live Action TV
- In an episode of CSI: NY, someone was killed with an ice pick to the neck. As it turns out he was dying of cancer and he requested that he be killed this way.
- There was an episode of Bones where a woman was murdered with a pick used for rock-climbing in caverns.
- The Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior episode See No Evil depicted a woman getting an ice pick rammed into her ear.
- Leverage: In "The Underground Job", Eliot gets in a fight with the mook who was attempting to bomb the mine where both of them are wielding picks.
Table Top Games
- In Dungeons & Dragons, picks are popular weapons among those of the dwarven persuasion, an outgrowth of their traditional profession of mining. They are known for low damage but very powerful Critical Hits (comparable to a scythe). Ironically, picks' low damage means they're unable to damage stone without extraordinary strength, making them useless to use as actual picks. One would assume that they ignore the hardness of stone, like axes do with wood, but it's never specifically stated.
- In GURPS, picks are very powerful because they have high basic damage and a high damage multiplier. Their major limitation is that they can get stuck in a target, but even then they automatically do damage when you pull them out.
- In the official board game of The Walking Dead, picks are very powerful if you use nothing but picks in a single combat.
- BIONICLE: Nuju's Ice Pick and Avak's Seismic Pickaxe.
- Dark Souls: pickaxes can be looted from Boulder Giants as weapons, it does moderate damage and is difficult to use, however it does decent poise damage akin to straight swords.
- Dead Island: pickaxes are two handed weapon made for crushing skulls of the zombies. The strongest one being The Pick of Destiny.
- Dwarf Fortress: picks deal piercing damage, which is one of the best ways to damage internal organs (and thus, potentially kill a victim in a single blow depending on where you hit.) They also use the Mining skill in combat, unlike the axe. Convincing your militia to use them in battle is a bit trickier than it used to be, but they still make a pretty good Emergency Weapon.
- Warcraft III has the Rusty Pick item, which adds a little damage and has a chance to stun an enemy. Peasants and Peons use them as tools and weapons, if you order them to attack.
- RuneScape: partially averted; pickaxes can be wielded as a weapon, but they are less effective than weapons made of the same metal. That being said, players frequently wield their pickaxes while mining, rather than simply wield another weapon, because it saves an inventory space that could be used to carry more ore. Also, some bosses have armor than needs to be broken with a pickaxe before you can actually start hacking away at it's HP with another weapon (though you can still use the pickaxe if you wish).
- The Soldier class in Team Fortress 2 has a pick as his unlockable melee weapon called The Equalizer. It turns him into the ultimate Glass Cannon by raising in damage output based on how low his health level is. At 1 hitpoint, he can hit with 113 points of damage.
- The Escape Plan, which is identical to the Equalizer except in speed rather than power as well as making the Soldier take mini crits.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: one level has you using ice picks as melee weapons.
- Well, you get to see MacTavish using ice picks as weapons. To dismount a guy on a snowmobile, no less. It's beyond awesome.
- An ordinary icepick is the closest thing Ferazel's Wand has to an Infinity+1 Sword, doing many times the damage of a dagger or a fireball spell.
- The Imperial Pick from Phantasy Star Online is a very good Partisan weapon, despite being, essentially, a very large and ornate pickaxe.
- A pickaxe is also the best weapon in Penumbra: Overture—or more accurately, every other weapon is worse. You'll still have to hit Hellhounds a dozen times to kill them, but two hits can handle a Giant Spider.
- Grayback from Battle Realms wields one; justified as he and most of the Wolf Clan pre-revolt were miners.
- One of the first weapons in Drakensang 2: The River of Time is a pick, classified as a "Two-Handed Axe" type weapon.
- The Pickaxe of Despair is by far the most damaging-per-swing weapon you can find in Silent Hill 4: The Room, and its Charge Attack is a 720 degree Spin Attack that will kick anything close to you away by a good 7 feet. The drawback is that the thing is so slow that you'll often get hurt while trying to use it, taking around 4 seconds for a single attack and over 20 to charge a spin. Interestingly, with it, your stomp attack is replaced by Henry thrusting the shovel against the enemy when it's down.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has mining picks that can be equipped as weapons, but they're pretty useless in combat.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim includes picks, which are required to mine ore. They can make a decent weapon if enchanted. Two unique versions can be found: the Notched Pickaxe, which raises the Dragonborn's Smithing skill when equipped and deals minor shock damage to enemies, and Hoarfrost, which deals frost damage and has a chance to freeze enemies solid.
- Some enemies in Red Dead Revolver wield mining picks in melee combat.
- You can use your pick this way in Minecraft, but usually it's better to stick to swords or bows, as using your pick as a weapon deals less damage than either of those weapons and you cannot block with it like you can a sword.
- Final Fantasy VIII has the Esthar Soldiers, who wield a pickaxe with some sort of triple barreled gun on the handle just above the handgrip. It looks about as silly as it sounds.
- In the Mega Man Battle Network series, the Metools get these as weapons to go along with their mining hard hats. They hit the ground with them to produce shockwaves that travel straight down their row at speeds that vary from slow to barely visible depending on the type of Metool. Mega Man can also use them with the battle chips won from said enemies (For the first three games, at least).
- Picks are available as weapons in NetHack, with the two-handed dwarvish mattock being one of the most damaging non-artifact weapons in the game, but they are generally more useful for digging shortcuts and bypasses through the dungeon.
- In the Tomb Raider reboot, Lara can use her pick as a weapon after leveling up to a certain point.
- It's available as a weapon in the Crossover DLC pack for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. While its raw stats are outclassed by later weapons, the Survivor's Axe has two passives that raise Lightning's attack power if her HP is low enough.
- In The Walking Dead, Molly has a climbing pick she names "Hilda" that she lends to Lee for a while.
- In Risk of Rain, the miner dual wields these, using them in his basic attack. It manages to keep up with the mercenary's laser sword and Hand-E's hydraulic punch quite well, even outranging them. Still, in matters of more complex attacks, he moves on to this weapon's high-tech cousin.
- Mount & Blade has a pickaxe, a fighting pick, and a military pick in increasing order of power as short-range one-handed weapons. They may not look so impressive at first, but they're fast, and they have an unnerving tendency to go right through heavy armor, and will still make a mess of lightly armored enemies besides. They are also surprisingly handy in close fighting and sieges for those same reasons, trading reach for superior armor penetration.
- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker lets Captain Toad wield a pickaxe as a temporary weapon in a manner identical to the hammer from Donkey Kong.
- In Unturned, the pick axe is a decent weapon and the only tool that lets you break up boulders for crafting stone.
- The Grave Robber from Darkest Dungeon usually prefers throwing knives and darts for weaponry but carries a pickaxe as well. Presumably it's for breaking into mausoleums and the like, but it's just as effective at smacking the local Eldritch Abominations very hard in the face.
- One of the kamas of Pendles from Battleborn is a BlissTekô ice-climbing axe modified into a scythe.
- Leon Trotsky was assassinated with either an ice axe or an ice pick, depending on who you ask.
- The horseman's pick and other warhammers often had large pick-ends for piercing armor.
- Karla Faye Tucker was executed in 1998 for killing someone with a pickaxe.
- Many of the people executed in Pol Pot's killing fields were killed with pickaxes, rather than having a bullet wasted on them.