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Short-Range Long-Range Weapon

I will explain to my Legions of Terror that guns are ranged weapons and swords are not. Anyone who attempts to throw a sword at the hero or club him with a gun will be summarily executed.

The inability of a long-range weapon user, especially a villain, to use said weapon at long range. It seems that they are aware only of the trope that extended weapons get knocked out of hands easily, and thus will hold those weapons close to themselves. Why they monologue and walk closely to their target is unknown, since this is usually a good chance for the unarmed target to wrench it away or for an annoying Side Kick to club them from behind.

This may be because extremely long range fights don't look as exciting. Watch a YouTube video from the Iraq war or Afghanistan and notice how rarely you can even clearly see the enemy beyond the few muzzle flashes of their weapons. That being said, in many cases, effective range is only a tiny fraction of a weapon's maximum range due to visibility, concealment, battle stress, and suppression fire. It's hard to be accurate at a kilometer even if your weapon can reach out that far, unless you have plenty of time to aim.

To a certain extent, this happens in virtually every science-fiction show featuring futuristic vehicles or starships. Rule of thumb: if you can see the enemy ship, you're close enough to be instantly vaporized. Because 1 km was not far even for WWII artillery and it's point-blank range for space weapons: to be useful even in ICBM interception, let alone defense from spaceships, they must be effective at least up to 100-1,000 km. Of course, that doesn't make for particularly entertaining viewing, which is why we have nice things like Deflector Shields.

Commonly shows up when using a shotgun or a hand grenade. May result in a No Scope kill with a Sniper Rifle. Contrast Sniper Pistol, where the weapon has range far better than what it's supposed to have in Real Life, and Arbitrary Minimum Range. And don't confuse with No Range Like Point-Blank Range, where getting up close and personal with a long range weapon is a conscious effort.

See also See the Whites of Their Eyes, which is this trope for spaceships.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass is so guilty of this trope it's not even funny. Most ranged combat happens within two arms' lengths (allowing those Super Prototype mecha to dogfight around each other and exchange melee blows and gunfire in equal measure while reducing those hapless machine-gun wielding mooks into decorations), and missiles or battleship cannons aren't used at anything over a few hundred metres worth of distance. Even if we accept that some side effect of the universe's Schizo Tech meant that targeting systems never evolved beyond the 'binoculars' stage, it's still bloody ludicrous.
  • Heavy Metal L Gaim: This series was pretty bad with this. In many fights the enemy mechas tried to get close to L-Gaim instead of keeping shooting afar. Sometimes it was justified, though: both mechas were sword-fighting, and one of them suddenly whipped its rifle out to catch its enemy off guard with a quick point-black shot. And in episode 12 Daba got to get extremely close to shoot his enemy at blank point range because otherwise the mecha's energy barrier would deflect the projectile.
  • The Major from Hellsing does this against Integra in the final volume, quoting "For the first time evah, I hit something."
  • Mazinger Z: This series mostly averted the trope. Usually both the Mechanical Beasts equipped with long range weapons (beams, bolts, missile launchers, machine guns) and Mazinger-Z avoided getting close to each other more often than they had to. Some Beasts even made a point of this (Jenova M9 was a robotical sniper. Closing with the enemy would be the last thing it would do). There were exceptions: Sometimes Beasts got over-confident and got close (like Kingdam X10. When Mazinger apparently ran out of power and fell face-down, Kingdam dissipated its mirage trick and approached to skewer it with its sword instead of continuing to blast the robot with lightning bolts. Bad idea). And in the original manga, Kouji prefered fighting with punches and kicks, using his robot's long-range weapons to finish their enemies off.
  • Partially explained in Mobile Suit Gundam, through liberal application of Applied Phlebotinum that screws with long-range sensors and targeting. The creator realized that futuristic space combat would most likely NOT involve giant robots and sword fights, so he came up with the Minovsky Particle - when spread out over an area, the aforementioned particles destroy unshielded circuitry (making guided missiles useless) and refract all beams and signals pointed through it (so no lasers, guidance beams, or sensors.) Thus the Mobile Suit, which is big enough to carry electronic shielding and tough enough to take on the enemy at close range where sensors are unnecessary, becomes the most effective weapons platform. Though they tend to be armed with all sorts of powerful gun-type weaponry, they are designed to only fight things they are close enough to see, thus invoking this trope.
  • Naruto shows us a supposed Long Range Division in the Shinobi Army arc that first tries to keep their distance, without firing, and later charges (complete with the command, "Charge!") when the opponents begin to catch up. They did have capacity for artillery present.

  • Repeatedly pointed out to her opponents by Cinderella in the Fables graphic novel "War and Pieces".

  • Taken to a ridiculous extreme in the Star Wars prequels. Droids and clones armed with energy weapons (that, in the case of the clones, are about as tall as they are) repeatedly charge into close combat. It might have something to do with the leaders of both armies only being skilled in melee combat.
  • This is a standard trope for soldiers in many monster movies. All gunfire is done at close enough range for the monster to use his claws and fangs. Tanks, artillery, ships, and aircraft use their weaponry, capable of striking targets from miles away, close enough to the monster to get grabbed by his paws or jaws or melted by his radioactive flame breath. King Kong and Godzilla are the ur-examples of the trope.
    • Also shows up in Cloverfield, most blatantly when the group see a B-2 bomber on a run. Although higher than them, it's still ridiculously low for that type of aircraft. Perhaps somewhat justified in that they were going after a moving target.
    • King Kong manages to avoid this fairly well. A few planes are downed, yes, but they get him. And a lot of the firepower directed at Godzilla was from far away. It's just impossible to kill the bastard.
    • Done in Forbidden Planet when the monster is attacking the good guys' ship for the third time. There are super high-powered energy cannons firing at the monster as well as several men with energy rifles and the captain with his little pistol. Two of the men with rifles run up to the monster, even though they can shoot it just fine from where they were, and promptly get slaughtered. After those two die a third, who saw the first two get killed, runs up to the monster, forcing the big guns to stop firing to avoid hitting him, and also gets killed by the monster.
  • Equilibrium's Gun Kata riffs on this idea. The Clerics (secret-police-cum-special-forces) use highly scripted movements to fight pitched gun battles at close range, full of pistol whips and point blank shots, with nary a scratch. The really epic scene, however, is the knife gun fight near the end wherein The Dragon Big Bad and Preston swap blows, guns in hand, barely swatting the barrel away each time.
  • Ultraviolet has some of the most blatant uses of this trope, ever. When entering the stronghold at the end of the film, Violet kills dozens of Mooks with assault rifles in the reception area. The next area is a room filled with soldiers with swords. She kills them too. Then a room of guys with more ARs, which have her in a perfect crossfire. They even have cover. Violet kills them too. Walks across a bridge, then reaches the final room before her objective, which is shaped like a tube. One entrance, one exit. The soldiers near the entrance are the ones armed with swords, while the ones in the rear have the rifles. You'd think they'd have the sword guys in the back where they wouldn't block their allies' fire, or even pick her off with sniper fire while she was crossing the long, exposed bridge.
  • In Starship Troopers, entire battalions of assault-rifle equipped troops charge up to spitting range of the bugs. Possibly, this is intentional, to emphasize the untrained nature of the troops and the nature of the military structure that produced them.

    Irritatingly, in Heinlein's original book, the swathes of text describing the training of the Mobile Infantry explicitly point out that the soldiers are put through terrifyingly difficult training, and that by the time they are sent to fight bugs, each is a veritable grandmaster of war and death. In fact, the fact that the humans bother training their soldiers is what sets them off from the bugs: they just hatch more, and don't bother with any fancy prep.
  • Somewhat differently done in Independence Day: A B-2 bomber launches a nuclear cruise missile from a distance that it takes the nuke about half a minute to hit. Considering the rather humble speed of a B-2, it would most likely be caught in the blast. Or the EMP. In Real Life, B-2s would launch their nukes over the horizon; if you see can the target, you're already too close. It's a freakin' cruise missile, after all. It can travel over 1500 miles.
  • Seen in the opening of The Mummy, where Brendan Fraser orders his troops to remain "steady" and not fire until the enemy is at point-blank range, despite having decent cover and facing an overwhelming enemy force on horseback. It doesn't end well for Brendan's buddies.
  • Ah-nold took out an army of Mooks in Commando because they chose to run straight at him, rather than fire their guns from cover. There was no reason for this, as they were across the lawn from each other. He even managed to convince The Dragon, who caught him unarmed and held him at gunpoint, to put down the gun and join him in a knife fight.
  • Shows up a lot in Captain America: The First Avenger. Sure, we see him fire a gun a few times, but mostly we get to watch him pummel Hydra goons into the ground. Somewhat justified in that he is much faster than they are, so he jumps them before they can run away, but we also quite often see him land in an empty spot and then the mooks charge him, including those carrying the disintegrator guns that could just dissolve him if, say, two people were to shoot at him at the same time from different directions.
    • A somewhat justified example occurs in the sequel when when the helicarriers appear it becomes this as they are never used as intended as long range weapon platforms and instead only shoot each other at point blank range when Maria Hill changes their targeting coordinates.
  • The final battle in Film/Red counts, because although not at such close range as some of the other mentions, the range it actually happened at is below (or on the borderline of) the arming range of an RPG-7.

  • Dune played with this trope with the Deflector Shields in common use for the military: they deflect long-range ordnance and energy weapons cause them to have a Critical Existence Failure in the form of a nuclear-scale explosion. Therefore, the only reliable weaponry that can be used in soldier-to-soldier combat are things that can move slowly enough to pass through them which requires being very up close and personal with your foe.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novel The Armour of Contempt, being able to connect with a "tread fether" anti-tank missile at 300 metres is considered great. Problem is, even back in 'Nam the RPG-7 was accurate up to 300 and maxed out at ~920, while the LAW was good up to 200. In contrast, 1990s technology like the Javelin is good up to 2500 and guided to boot. Unless the Guard has regressed to 'Nam levels of technology, less than 300 metres is awful. Considering the setting, however, that explanation is entirely plausible.
    • May be justified in that effective range under fire due to battlefield conditions tends to be a third or less of actual range. Weapons may be able to theoretically go hundreds of kilometers, but that's on a good day, and in the grim darkness of the far future, there are no good days.
    • Considering that this is the Imperial Guard and the weapon was probably sighted in using prayer by a schizophrenic cyborg you'd be lucky if you could hit the ground at 300 yards
  • Played with, and provides the solution to the whodunnit in the Father Brown short story "The Arrow of Heaven".
  • Murphy of The Dresden Files invokes this in Aftermath, mentioning that the RDS on her (highly illegal) P90 was zeroed for relatively close range, because in all her years of being a cop and fighting at Harry's side, she'd fought in less than five long-range encounters.

    Justified, however, in that she lives in a big city, so most of her combats would be in an urban environment with shorter line-of-sight range, and many of her foes are supernatural, and much faster than humans. They are capable of better dodging, and closing the distance, much better than a vanilla human would be.

    Live Action TV 
  • People in Andromeda don't seem to use much personal long range weaponry, but the ones they do, Gauss pistols and force lances, are effective at shorter ranges than modern pistols. Most firefights take place with less than 20 meters between people, sometimes MUCH less. However, this trope is averted in space battles, where tiny, powerful, long-range missiles are used to destroy ships that are light-seconds away.

    In one episode of the first season, before it became Hercules in Space, one of the characters explains that they wear jammers made to screw with the seekers of the smart bullets (called effectors) that every small arm in the show fires. This makes hitting a target more than 2 meters away highly problematic. This makes one wonder why they wouldn't simply switch back to "dumb" rounds, however...
    • Maybe effectors can be set to intercept "dumb" rounds as a priority. Given enough initial range to make that technically possible, that is.
      • One episode (season 2 I think) had effector weapons used as a defence against dumb mortars.
  • Played disappointingly straight in the first season of the TV show Heroes, wherein grim future Hiro leads a charge into a critical building. As the group stands in the main lobby, dozens of armed men take aim at them from upper balconies, hallways, etc- perfect firing positions against unarmed foes. Cut to another scene for a short while, then back- and the armed men are now RUSHING FORWARD to be sliced and diced by Hiro's sword.
  • Justified in Stargate SG-1. The Goa'uld staff weapons are incredibly impractical to aim and mostly used at much shorter range than their power would allow. In one episode this is stated to be because their main purpose is intimidation rather than actual fighting.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Common in Tabletop Games, which typically operate in the 25-30mm scale (IE one inch = 5 feet or so). There are plenty of reasons for this - realistic weapon ranges would require either tables the size of tennis courts or miniatures the size of pinheads, armies that focus on close combat would be boned in most situations (like they are in real life), games would take forever to play, etc. - but that doesn't stop it from looking pretty silly at first glance. Examples include:
    • Warhammer 40,000, where a typical assault rifle has a maximum effective range of 120 feet (reduced to 60 feet when the soldier is on the move), and the longest-ranged conventional artillery in the game has a maximum effective range of only 1200 feet. While that range of artillery is painfully short for real life purposes, it's tantamount to infinite as far as the tabletop is concerned. Unless you have a battlefield more than 10 feet long in any direction.

      One White Dwarf article justified this - the units doppler out at long range. In the rulebook of the very first edition of Warhammer 40000 it was explained that this was done for game balance reasons, and that the real ranges of the weapons are 10 times longer than those given in the game. So a Lasgun would have a range of 1200 feet, roughly the same as an AK-47.
      • The Deathstrike Missile given stats in the 5th Edition Imperial Guard codex takes this to new heights of absurdity. It's an intercontinental ballistic missile with a maximum tabletop range of 960 inches — yes, that's 80 real-life feet, just in case you feel the need to play games on a basketball court or something. In game scale, this means that our ICBM has a laughably short maximum range of less than a mile, but whatever. The truly funny part comes when you look at the minimum range for the Deathstrike Missile: 12 inches on the tabletop, equivalent to 60 feet in real life. How do you shoot someone 60 feet away with a freakin' ICBM?! (As of the official errata, the Deathstrike's maximum range is officially unlimited, but you can still shoot people standing just off the launchpad with it.)
      • There is a small nod to this in the old Daemonhunter and Witchhunter Codexes regarding the Orbital Strike support power. The orbital strike is one free shot every turn you can make, centered on a piece of terrain. It's rule is called (In)Accuracy, where it would deviate up to 18 inches from where you intended for it to hit if you rolled poorly, and can still deviate up to 12 inches if you rolled great. This is references at how targeting tiny people running around on a small battlefield is next to impossible from orbit, and the gunners make the best of the situation and just aim in the general area. It's almost precision close Orbitally, laughably bad from the ground.
      • Possibly justified in general in that the universe is full of great big alien monstrosities and Khorne-worshippers and Orks who want to get up close and in your face as fast as possible and that many battlefields are extremely enclosed ruined cities or starship-boarding actions, making range secondary to rate of fire and stopping power in the mind of weapon manufacturers. A lasgun is at least as powerful as a real-life gun, has zero recoil, and is logistically absurdly simple; shorter range in a universe with few situations in which long-ranged fire would be called for is excusable.
    • The WARMACHINE and HORDES games set in the Iron Kingdoms, where a typical sniper rifle has a maximum effective range of 70 feet and a mortar has a maximum effective range of 100 feet.
    • BattleTech — where powerful, futuristic weapons have effective ranges as short as 60 meters (the heavy machine gun, for example)! The latest incarnation of the ruleset explicitly acknowledges that this is for playability only. (It's a little harder to excuse the fact that ballistic weapons tend to lose range with increasing caliber, though, especially when the same is most definitely not true for energy-based ones...)
      • There was an interesting and elaborate Fix Fic about this very problem. It tried to justify the problem by saying that armor manufacturing has progressed to the point that in order to compensate, warheads had to become so bulky that Autocannons were effectively more like short-ranged mortars, with larger ones barely capable of firing beyond 100 meters. Likewise, missiles were limited by fuel capacity. Artillery, at least, has kilometers-long range.
      • Likewise, other fics paint it as an accuracy concern, based on poor quality fire control and recoil compensators. An AC 5 has little enough recoil that it can consistently pot enemies at long range, but AC10s and AC20s have enough barrel jump that they can't aim that accurately. Though, really, this should be fixable simply by lowering the rate of fire enough to allow for the barrel to be relaid.
      • It's worth noting that in Battle Space, the ranges were drastically upgraded so that ranges were measured in thousands of kilometers. Too bad it didn't sell, because, along with being insidiously complex and requiring significantly more paperwork (with hundreds of hit boxes and critical hit locations per ship, and weapons loadouts that were could fill a page) than the land-based game, space combat made the series' signature 'Mechs (and their MechWarrior pilots, by extension) Point Defenseless turrets tethered to their ships at best, and helpless cargo at all other times.
  • GURPS space combat takes place on a different scale than normal. Anything less than 20 miles (32km) is classified as point blank (and combat bonuses reflect this by making it virtually impossible to miss). For personal combat, though, the trope is played somewhat straight, due to the default assumption being moderate realism.
  • Lampshaded in a supplement for Tales From The Floating Vagabond. It described scale ranges for its weapon ranges. The longest ('See That Dot?') range was given the appropriate scale, sponsored by the Society to turn Alaska into a Sand Table.
  • Justified in Cyberpunk 2020 due to a serious case of Showing Their Work in regards to shootouts between amateurs and street hoodlums. Most firefights are fought well inside 12.5 meters (the "close" range band of pistols) and are usually decided by the first lucky hit. On average, they last all of fifteen seconds (five turns).
  • Completely averted in most cases in Shadowrun, where the extreme range limit for most weapons is about where the extreme ranges of real weapons would be (e.g. 1500 meters for a sniper rifle under the Shadowrun rules; that has been exceeded in real life in seven cases ever).

    Video Games 
  • Much the same in Fallout Tactics — and done in such a way that at close quarters long-range weapons has lesser hit probability than short-ranged ones. This carries back to the main Fallout series, where the basic pistol had a top range of 25 meters, and the very best sniper weapons maxed out at 60.

    Caused by the Rule of Fun, along with isometric view not being much good beyond throwing distance. Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics would not be fun games if you got instantly blasted by an impossible-to-see foe with a sniper rifle as soon as you entered a raider camp, or something.
  • Played with in Fallout 3, since it no longer uses an isometric view. Many weapons can now be used to hit targets way beyond throwing distance, but enemies still don't go out of their way to keep the distance in between the player and them. Some will switch to more appropriate weapons as the player gets closed, but many will cheerfully keep using laser and sniper rifles at spitting distance. However, most weapons are rather ridiculous in terms of how much the shots spread from the point you're aiming at, keeping this trope in effect to an extent. Though it probably has been a while since when those weapons were made...

    However, this is worse than you think: Many weapons, the sniper rifle included, actually have an invisible maximum range, and will deprive you of your perfectly-placed Boom, Headshot to punish you for foolishly trying to use a sniper rifle to hit someone from long range by having your bullet inexplicably disappear from the game. Worse still, the sniper rifle is actually less accurate than an ad-hoc crossbow made at your tool bench out of a paint gun, a toy car, some medical tubing, and radscorpion venom.

    The best long-range weapon in the game is a lever-action rifle with iron sights, because it does a lot of damage and has a spread of 0. Unfortunately, it uses the rarest ammo in the game. Oh yeah, and it was originally owned by Abraham Lincoln.

    Also strangely inverted as well, as the standard hunting rifle, one of the more effective long range weapons (slightly less than the sniper rifle's range) lacks IRON SIGHTS. This would make the weapon near impossible to aim at anything further than very close range in real life. The hunting rifle model was given proper iron sights in Fallout: New Vegas, which was required as that game introduced the ability to use iron-sights. However, the iron sights added to the hunting rifle are unfortunately off centre. This makes using the hunting rifles at long range quite dubious.
    • All of this is very much a case of design based on engine limitation, as the Gamebryo engine is not capable of having combat go on at the ranges such weapons would be used at in real life.
      • Completely averted with the the PC Console activated .44 Magnum (the very gun the Mysterious Stranger uses). It always scores a critical hit and WILL kill EVERYTHING (except your allies if you have the Broken Steel DLC) when you shoot it. This means that if you randomly fire off at vaguely visible targets out on the horizon, the game will notify you that you killed them with a critical hit, even if you didn't even see what you hit.
    • Fallout: New Vegas does let you hit targets from as far as you can see them with the right guns, so instead deprives you of your perfectly-placed Boom, Headshot by putting large, tall rocks or other scenery with even larger and taller collision boxes all over the Mojave, making actual sniping pretty much impossible since your target is always either hidden from view until you're five feet away from them or on the far side of an invisible wall. A perfect demonstration is in the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, if you've sided with the NCR - the Legate's camp has a sniper nest that, in real-world terms, is placed perfectly to overlook the entire camp and snipe any intruders, but in game-engine terms, is entirely useless because it is impossible for either the occupant to shoot out of it or you to shoot into it.
  • Similarly, all manner of ranged attacks in World of Warcraft, be they bows, guns, or magic fireballs, have a maximum range of 30-45 yards. They also have a minimum range, however. If the enemy gets too close you're forced into melee combat, so it is averted to a degree.
    • As of the Mists of Pandaria expansion, this trope is played straight, as there is no longer a minimum distance on ranged weapons.
  • Mass Effect limits all guns (sniper rifles, assault rifles, missiles, tank cannons...) to 400 meters maximum range. Every gun is technically a mass driver; the pistols would probably be as effective as a present-day rifle. The sequel does a better job by setting almost every firefight in a confined space (skyscraper, spaceship, warehouse, underground base, whatever). There's one blatant instance of the sequel playing it straight when Miranda says she can nail a shot at a hundred meters. This is further out than most fictional gunfights, but it's still spitting distance for a real-life trained rifleman - except Miranda only uses heavy pistols and submachine guns in combat. Hitting a target at 100 meters with a handgun would still be an impressive feat.note 

    Strangely, the Mass Effect 3 trailer clearly shows Major Coats wielding a sniper rifle against targets on the ground from the clock face of Big Ben. It's a longer range than any gunfight in the series.
  • Makoto Sawatari of Eternal Fighter Zero wields a gun as her primary weapon, but only one of her specials (and one super) actually uses the gun as a long-range attack. It doesn't make much sense why her firing the gun straight forward only counts as a close-range attack.
  • Both of the opening cinematic of Star Wars: The Old Republic are guilty of this, but it's most blatant in the 'rage' opening for Imperial players. A skilled Sith is walking into enemy territory with no fear and the 6 mook soldiers decide to walk right up to him brandishing weapons. Here's a tip, when a guy who clearly outclasses you by order of magnitude and wields a short range weapon is approaching, 1) don't get close, 2) don't ask questions before shooting, and 3) better yet retreat back and regroup with your stronger forces where you actually may be of some use rather than dying in a second.
  • The Fire Emblem series of video games exhibits this trope. The battle map is arranged into a grid of squares, and all diagonal distances are doubled (IE, moving to a diagonally adjacent square costs two points of movement). Melee weapons all have a range of one square: they can only attack adjacent opponents directly above, below, or to the side of the melee-armed character. Okay, fine, that makes sense. The problem is, most bows and other ranged weapons have a maximum range of two squares, and the best archers in the game have a range of three squares. That's right, a trained longbowman is lucky if he can hit a target more than 10 feet away. The option exists to zoom in on each individual engagement between warriors, which makes the scale a bit more realistic, but only a bit; archers are still shown engaging each other at a distance of only thirty feet or so, and this at a scale where the melee combatants are shown charging at one another from about fifteen feet apart. Shining Force, being essentially a clone of the series, has the same deal.
  • In Fate/stay night, the Archer class of Servant is supposed to specialize in long-range combat. But the Archer summoned in this particular Holy Grail War prefers to fight with two shortswords. To be fair, though, these are special throwing swords with an explicit boomerang property ("Dodge it!"). He can also fire tracking, exploding arrows at machine-gun rate of fire and velocity, but only does this a few times in the game. The OTHER Archer, Gilgamesh, also fights up close, though to his defence Gates of Babylon is relatively short-ranged and Gilgamesh is the type of person who likes to see his enemies crumble at his feet. In practice the Servants' class names often only make sense when we see their ultimate attacks. The name "Archer" is something of a misnomer, however - "Archers" focus more on close combat, apparently being a justification for why they can dual wield.

    The sequel does show him shooting his bow from kilometers away, sniping from the roof of a skyscraper. No one managed to get close to him at all until someone equally ridiculous just outright leaped four kilometers in an instant, getting in melee range before he could even ready his swords.
  • The main reason that Naked Snake's CQC techniques work so well against Ocelot's troops at the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Several times, he takes down soldiers who were charging at him from about six feet away with their rifles, when if they'd just shot him, the game would have been a lot shorter (doesn't help that soon before this, Ocelot had been mocking Snake's "judo" and his troops had laughed right along).
  • Snake takes this trope to the next level in his Super Smash Bros. appearance—he fires an RPG at his own feet as a smash attack. He is also capable of clubbing his enemies with his mortar, and then blowing them up with the shell after they've flown maybe three feet above him.
    • This is partly explained by the family friendly nature of the series. The creator of the game openly stated that Snake doesn't use a realistic handgun because it wouldn't fit with the tone of the series, and as an extension he also deliberately misuses dangerous looking weaponry to make things more whimsical.
  • Mirror's Edge is a heavy offender: the firearm-slinging Mooks will always try to club you with said firearms rather than gain distance and continue shooting. Not that it'd help them much and it makes disarming easy as pie, so nobody is complaining...
  • Final Fantasy Tactics and its progeny has it both ways: archers have ridiculously short ranges if you consider they are archers, but guns tend to not have a range restriction other than "straight line" and "nothing in the way". On the other hand, as the height of the archer increases relative to other units, the range of the bow increases vastly. This doesn't happen with guns.
  • Hellgate: London. The maximum range of the sniper rifle is less than 100 meters, even when extended with sniper skill.
  • In Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, the Metal Slug Shout-Out Marco's pistol has an effective range of its muzzle flash.
  • Also shows up, shamefully, in the online MMO Tabula Rasa, where due to whatever limitation the designers put on it, limits the range of its ranged weapons to a maximum of around 240 feet (80 yards) for the sniper rifle- never mind that the real-life "accurate" range of a current .50 caliber sniper rifle is 2000 yards (6000 feet - over a mile). Most of the other weapons in the game have "optimum" ranges of less than 30 meters (90 feet). Whoever heard of a rocket launcher with an "optimum" range, period? Or a pistol with a maximum range of 60 feet, rather than just a maximum effective range? Being that the game is from a fictional future, and most of the weapons involved are quite exotic - this is a baffling limitation.
    • ...which is fantastic range compared to another sci-fi MMORPG, Anarchy Online where most sniper rifles have a range of 35 meters(!) or less.
  • All MechWarrior games. Long range missiles can hit about a kilometre away (don't even ask about short range ones), as can large lasers (apparently the concept of coherent light doesn't work too well in the Battletech universe). Machine guns are limited to 200 metres, and in a bizarre violation of elementary ballistics heavy, large-caliber autocannons have drastically shorter ranges than low-caliber ones. Want a sniper weapon? Well, there's the Gauss rifle - a coil gun of impressive power and with very limited ammunition that has a whopping 1200 metre range!
    • This is a legacy from the boardgame, where the ranges are in fact even shorter.
    • The Gauss Rifle actually only has a range of 800 meters, which is the second-longest range of the three coilguns you get in the game. The Light Gauss Rifle is the one with the 1200 meter range and is the weakest of the three, but is best for sniping. Gauss Rifles still suffer from the same bizarre violation, though, as the Heavy Gauss Rifle only fires up to only 600 meters.
  • One of the many failings of the A.I. in Soldier of Fortune Payback is that many enemy soldiers will actually run at you from several dozen feet away to club you with their rifles instead of actually, you know, shooting at you. Even worse, if they remember what their guns are for and open fire after bashing you, you will die thanks to the game quadrupling all damage done by point-blank gunfire.
    • Inverted with Soldier Of Fortune 2, where your enemies have pixel-perfect accuracy at long distances, and your guns are horribly inaccurate at said distance, even when they're the same gun as the enemy's. One of the many ways The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard.
    • Played mostly straight with non-sniper enemies in the first game, especially the shotgunners.
  • Bloodline Champions has projectiles disappear once they reach their maximum possible range to travel.
  • Team Fortress 2 curves damage from the vast majority of weapons to be most effective at short range. Since the secondary weapon for most classes is a shotgun, and the other weapons (a minigun, a few kinds of pistols, a flamethrower) either have enough spread to be hard to use at long range, or retain a great deal of accuracy at long range (the revolver, the sniper rifle, the rocket launcher), it's Justified.
    • Averted on any critical hits, as Crits ignore damage fall-off and will deal the full damage of the weapon plus the critical even at the most extreme ranges. This is useful for stuff like the Rocket Launcher and Pistols, where they can be launched much further away with a critboost and hit enemies not even aware of your presence, but is lackluster for weapons that also has spread like the Scattergun and Minigun, since the Critical does not curb bullet spread.
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, you have trolls punching with their bare fists, swords, flying firebreathing dragons, spellcasters, archers, and one unit with a gun. All of the above have a one-hex range for all attacks.
  • Most long range combat in Runescape falls into this territory. There are three styles of combat: ranging, melee, and magic. Mages are almost entirely Squishy Wizards who have an advantage when they fight at a distance.... but in Runescape, fighting at a distance while still being close enough to fight means being only a few seconds away. And if you try running away, you break off from fighting, and casting a spell will stop you where you are.
    • If you unlock Ancient Magic, however, you can invert this somewhat. The four elements in this spellbook are Smoke, Shadow, Blood, and Ice, and some of the spells in each will hit multiple opponents. The last one will have the effect of not only dealing heavy damage, but also freezing an opponent to the spot for enough time to get off a few more shots. By standing even one square out of melee range, a high level mage can decimate a small group of melee fighters.
  • In Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, heroes and monsters DO have decent ranges. A high level Ranger can actually shoot farther than what you can see in a screen.(The Ranger will be outside the screen to the left, the target will be outside the screen to the right, you'll just be seeing a flying arrow.) However, when the enemy gets close enough to melee, heroes and monsters keep using ranged attacks or spells. They shoot enemies in the face while getting hit by swords. Units can hit, can run, but cannot do both at once. Once a unit decides he can't win the melee, he turns tail and runs off, never resuming combat unless something changes his mind (i.e. being healed, spell effects, etc). Word of God is that they put in hit and run at first, but it made ranged units just too strong, so they made them stupid instead.
  • Played egregiously straight in City of Heroes. The Sniper Rifle attachment for the Assault Rifle powerset starts with a base range of 150 feet, keeping it in line with similar Powers from less tool-oriented sets (like Sniper Blast from Energy Blast). Meanwhile, enemy snipers have ranges that extend into (and beyond!) visual range, and it's almost never a good idea for any Player Character with an Assault Rifle to opt for the Brawl ability at close range. Enemy in your grill? Ram the barrel down his throat!
  • Ace Combat, so much. In Shattered Skies, the standard missile was good up to only 900 feet. A real-world short-range IR AAM, like the AIM-9 Sidewinder, can reach at least 1 km, three times that. The Shattered Skies XLAA "advanced long range air-to-air missile" topped out at almost 3000 feet. For comparison, the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM, which the Eurofighter's XLAA is modeled after, has an operational range exceeding 100 km. A hundred times that. Later games made the ranges slightly longer, but still not to real-world levels.
  • HAWX is slightly better than AC in this; for example, the MultiAA locks on at around 6000 metres, which while still a third of the 18km max op range on the real-world Sidewinder, is a vast improvement over the AC range limit. That said, HAWX seems to take three times as long to lock onto irregularly-moving targets as Ace Combat does, so if the former's standard missiles have any longer range than the latter's, it'll be hard to notice in normal gameplay.
  • In Gears of War, the standard assault rifle has a chainsaw bayonet. The issues with weight and fuel in real life don't appear in the game (though the protagonists are muscular and huge), as well as the probability of mucking up the rifle's barrel by getting blood and flesh in it, but as humanity's alien enemies, the Locust, have tough hides and favour swarm tactics, it just may be justified in-universe.
  • In Silent Scope, it doesn't matter if the enemy is two or two-hundred meters away; you kill him with your sniper rifle.
  • Wasteland had its maximum range be about 30 to 40 metres. This was generally too far for any weapon, whether assault rifle or laser rifle.
  • Aya Brea in Parasite Eve was described as something of a sharpshooter. Yet her range, based on the size of the dome and her height, was generally measurable in feet, and not many of them.
  • Noel Vermilion is the only combatant in BlazBlue to use guns. Their range is equal to the length of their muzzle blasts unless you use her Optic Barrel special, which still can't hit at full screen width.
  • In the first Metroid, as well as the remake Zero Mission, your Power Beam has a very short range until you collect the Long Beam power-up, which removes the range cap. Thus, until you get the Long Beam, this trope is imposed upon the player by the game. Every other game keeps the Long Beam's effects, even when Samus otherwise loses access to all of her powerups.
  • In the original Command & Conquer games, Rifle Infantry have such short range that splash damage from supporting infantry behind them will often damage the rifles in front. Particularly bad when one considers that a hand grenade can be tossed farther than these rifles can shoot. Also, ballistic artillery will only barely outrange a tank's cannon.
    • As part of their elite status, Commando-type units have much further range than other infantry types. This gets ridiculous in the Red Alert games, where the Allies' commando has consistently been an Action Girl with dual pistols who can kill Soviet soldiers in a single bullet from beyond the range they can shoot with their submachine guns.
  • In the Splinter Cell series, aiming the F2000 gives the impression that Sam Fisher suffers from Parkinson's disease. Hitting someone at a distance of 100 meters is extremely difficult. With a modern, customized rifle. Fitted with optic sights. Used by a top-notch black ops operative. Granted, leaving enemies alive is encouraged in this series, holding his breath (for all of ten seconds or so) gives Sam the stability of a rock wearing night-vision goggles, and the F2000 is generally very loud.
  • Played horribly straight in Devil May Cry 3 with the Kalina Ann rocket launcher, which has projectiles that automatically detonate a short ways from him even if there are no enemies in range.
  • Gunfights in Valkyria Chronicles typically take place at ranges of about 20-40 feet for rifles, and at about 5-10 feet for SMGs; good luck trying to hit anything at ranges longer than that. This is also a universe where consistently landing headshots is the most efficient method of combat and most enemy troops can't hit you even at those ranges, so we're not exactly talking the height of realism here in the first place, even before you take the magic rocks and superpowers into account.
  • Front Mission, playing similarly to Fire Emblem but with MechWarrior stylings, doesn't just play this straight, it rams into it full-speed on jet-powered roller skates. Nothing but missiles and special artillery can shoot above 1 square's distance away, and that square is shown to be about 30-50 feet to someone who doesn't know wanzer specs off by heart. And considering you're fighting using wanzers, it's proportionally closer to being 10-15 feet away from each other.
  • In the Halo games, it's entirely possible to "no scope" an enemy, meaning you shoot them dead with a sniper rifle without using the scope. As the rifle has a really long barrel and most players prefer to move while firing instead of standing in one spot, this is somewhat difficult to do.
    • It became progressively easier (relative to actual scoped firing) to no-scope as the games progressed.
    • Guns in general in Halo have ludicrously short range. SMG, automatic plasma weapons, the Spiker, and the AR fall victim to this trope the most, though the turrets can be somewhat silly, too.
    • Explicitly for balance reasons, melee is more effective than shooting people. In fact, someone calculated that if a Spartan can flip a Scorpion in the time they do, they should be able to throw the bullets and do more than shooting, never mind melee.
    • Elites, particularly in Reach, will often flank your position and assassinate you with a melee attack.
  • In Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Nazis will frequently move in and melee your Red Shirt Army allies to death, as the latter are too dumb to fight back at close range or shoot them from long range. The player's pistol is practically useless for anything more than a couple meters away, averting the Sniper Pistol trope. Ditto for the SMG's, particularly the MP 40.
  • In the Tactical Strategy Odium, nearly all weapons are infuriatingly short-ranged. A pistol can only fire a square or two further than a thrown knife. A rifle only fires a square or two farther than a pistol. No weapon (except for the ion cannon) fires further than eight steps away. At the very limits of a weapon's range its damage output decreases dramatically.
  • Act of War: The naval units in the expansion will fire their anti-ship missiles at each other at about visual range. Which is probably 1/100th the distance at which real life modern warships can engage targets at. Then again, the game wouldn't be playable if the action took place on a realistic scale.
  • Call of Duty 4 and later have a form of this, where specific weapons will be unable to damage anyone past certain ranges depending on their class (a sniper rifle will reach farther than an assault rifle, which reaches farther than an SMG, and so on). This has some unfortunate side-effects, such as making actual long-range sniping with anything other than the Barrett .50cal a waste of time and ammo, and shotguns worthless all the goddamn time.
    • To the other extreme is quickscoping, making perfectly-accurate sniper shots without having to truly look through the scope, which is commonly used to make easy sniper kills from less than ten feet away. This sort of thing is taken to an extreme in one campaign level of Modern Warfare 3, where the player's sniper rifle has a red dot sight mounted on the side of the barrel, just because; you can likewise opt to just use ironsights on certain normally-scoped rifles in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
    • The AI introduced for the Black Ops series' multiplayer Combat Training modes has a bit of a problem with this, often forgetting they have a gun in their hands and opting for knife kills on enemies who are far out of knife range and actively aiming at them. Conversely, when they are in knife range, they tend to forget they have a knife, too.
  • Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 treat their sniper rifles much the same way as every other gun in their respective games - that is, the default sniper scope doesn't have to be attached to it. You can go for a red dot sight or (in BF3) even just the ironsights and use it just like you would a battle rifle.
    • Bad Company 2 goes to the other extreme in one instance during its campaign - a section where you are to defend yourself in a wooden shack from enemies who start out only fifteen to twenty meters away is seen as adequate justification to hand you the biggest bolt-action sniper rifle (with attendant slowest bolt-cycling animations) in the game, thus making the section far, far more difficult than it needs to be until you can get your hands on an assault rifle again.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, offensive spells has a maximum range after which they stop doing damage. If you throw a firebolt at a deer standing too far away, the shot will just pass right through, then possibly cause a harmless burst of flame if it hits the ground or a stationary object. For some reason, the target still reacts as though it was attacked (said deer will run off, a bandit will attack you back).
    • Deer and other wild animals are programmed to run away to maximum distance. Arrows have a maximum range just the same as spells do. When a deer stops running away, it's then just outside of maximum range, and shooting arrow after arrow at it will not hit anything.
  • One of Joker's finishing moves in Injustice: Gods Among Us involves shooting his opponent at point blank range both with a big gun and a bazooka.

  • Red vs. Blue. Though many characters own sniper rifles, they rarely use them for long range combat, preferring to just use their scopes as makeshift telescopes. Donut once asked Sarge why they never just shoot the enemy if they can get them in the rifle's sights, to which Sarge responded that that was the coward's way out. As for the blue team, Caboose is too dumb to use one properly, Tucker didn't have one for most of the series and Church? Well... This is Lampshaded in the latest miniseries by Lopez.

    Real Life 
  • Although firefights between trained combatants will usually take place at significantly longer ranges than in fiction, a review of shootings carried out by untrained civilians in the USA reveals that the majority of them occur at ranges of 25 feet (about 8m) or less. Therefore the trope does have some basis in reality. Just because a weapon can kill someone a long way away doesn't mean that the user has the skill to do so, or that all fights will start at range. Most gunfights in civilian life start suddenly, caused by the sudden drawing of a weapon - rarely can hostile intent be discerned from hundreds of meters up the street.
    • The great majority of non-military gunfights involve police and gang members, at least in the U.S. Both groups are famous for their mediocre-to-terrible skill levels. Also, police seek to capture criminals alive, which requires them to approach to handcuffing distance. Gang members typically are trying to do illegal business, which usually means they're at conversation distance when hostility erupts. Armed citizens respond to criminal threats, also typically at conversation distance — nobody stands 100 yards away and screams "gimme yer wallet" through a loudspeaker.
  • Urban warfare is making this somewhat Truth in Television, and has been cited as one of the reasons many militaries are switching to bullpup designs and shorter barrel lengths (the M4 carbine for instance is just a cut-down M16: the M16 in turn is reduced in caliber from earlier "battle rifles" that used more powerful calibers at the cost of needing a longer and heavier rifle when it was clear that infantry battles were no longer taking place in open fields). Shorter overall length = easier to shoot stuff in close quarters.
  • Another factor making this Truth in Television is the human response to stress. Adrenaline in a combat scenario plays heck with fine muscle control. Additionally, exertion during combat can cause heavy breathing, which plays hell with good marksmanship. (The heaving of a person catching their breath upsets the lay of the rifle.) This can cause "range heroes" to be zeros in actual combat.
  • World War II militaries, working on assumptions based on World War I combat, issued large and heavy rifles, boasting that their infantrymen should be able to hit targets up to a mile away or more. Then they found out that during most of this conflict, the trope had been played straight as an arrow. Two thirds of US soldiers issued with rifles never fired a shot during the entire conflict. This was because identifying a target at extreme range is difficult, and soldiers were trained never to fire unless they could guarantee a hit - which was completely impossible in a firefight, where things are far too hectic to aim properly. There was also the psychological problem of firing at a target that is just a speck that is doing nothing hostile, versus firing at a target up close that is trying to kill you.

    Soldiers with carbines or submachine guns were far more likely to have fired their weapons at some point, and machine guns got a significant fraction of small arms kills. Almost all kills with small arms occurred at short range. This shocked everyone involved, and led to the development of the "Assault Rifle", a term used for the bastard child of a submachine gun and rifle - a rifle with light ammunition and a quick refire rate, to allow it to both reach out and hit things as well as provide suppressive fire. Almost every military uses one nowadays, with the large and heavy rifles now firmly within the domain of dedicated marksmen.
  • The British army has always been feared for the bayonet charge, and as recently as the war in the Falklands Islands the shout "FIX BAYONETS" has caused an enemy to disengage or surrender, in fairly open terrain, with both armies using variants of the FN FAL (7.62mm NATO used effectively at up to 800 yards).

    This is partly because bayonet charges are TERRIFYING for both sides involved, and British officers are well aware of this fact: As noted by Ian V. Hog in his books on infantry weaponry, In WW2 British officers in Burma observed even the Japanese, the most bayonet-and-sword happy army ever seen in modern warfare, throwing tinned rations and rocks at British forces when they had run out of ammunition rather that attempting a bayoneted charge in most cases. It takes a lot of training and guts to survive being in a bayonet charge from either end.

    The reason British soldiers are still ordered to fix bayonets and charge is many enemies will have no idea how to cope with this, as proved by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Iraq at the Battle of Danny Boy, when they charged over one-hundred Shi'ite Militiamen with mortars and assault rifles, killed 35-40 with bayonets, captured nine and forced the rest to flee with no fatalities suffered.
  • Back when muzzle-loading muskets were still in military use, the short effective range, low accuracy, and difficulty in reloading meant that when two infantry lines marched toward each other, whoever fired second had a tremendous advantage. Whichever side volleyed first had to stop and reload (which took an absolute minimum of 15 seconds, usually more like 30-40, and as much as 60 for green troops), during which time the other side could advance that much further, possibly to point-blank range, and get vastly better results from their volley.
  • Throwing knives are knives which are made for throwing at something/someone, and naturally can be used to stab someone close up. A person of sufficient skill and strength can throw many heavy or sharp objects as a weapon. Aside from using throwing knives, however, being actually able to do that goes under Improbable Aiming Skills (and throwing knives themselves take practice).
  • In some discussions on guns, people sometimes bring up how the Kalashnikov series assault rifles are known to be inaccurate and somehow assume that this means it can't hit anything at range. The accuracy of the AKM is actually on par for weapons of its class (~4Moa; 4 inch shot groups @ 100M, and the accuracy standard for M4ís is 5MoAnote ). Assault rifles are intended to engage out to 400 yards at most, but mostly fight at ranges of 100 meters or less. The factory specs give the effective range for aimed fire against individuals as 350M (385Yds). The accuracy of the AK-74 and later Kalashnikov models are generally comparable to and, in certain conditions, sometimes better than M16/M4 type rifles, typically hitting around 2MoA. All Soviet troops had to qualify on the AK-47/AKM at 350M (385Yds) with the open iron sights. Soviet and Russian troops qualify on the AK-74 at 500M (550Yds) with the standard iron sights.
    • Interesting side note: The barrels of AKís are known for whipping and swaying when fired. All gun barrels do this to some extent; itís not dangerous or a sign of weakness in the gun. Itís just more visible in the AK because there is a larger unshrouded section where the barrel can be observed. It doesn't influence accuracy either, because the bullet is long gone before the swaying happens, and it's pretty much all done by the time the next round is fired, even in fully automatic fire. It should also be noted that piston operation does not affect accuracy, because the bullet is long gone before the piston even begins to move, and the receiver soaks up the vibration of the piston.

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Shoot Out the LockGuns and Gunplay TropesSniper Pistol
Selective GravityAcceptable Breaks from RealityThe Simple Life Is Simple
Static Stun GunWeapons and Wielding TropesShapeshifter Weapon
Science Is BadImageSource/InternetSubliminal Seduction
Injustice: Gods Among UsImageSource/Video GamesInsanely Twisted Shadow Planet

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