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Simply put, it's a gun that can do a whole bunch of stuff depending on the situation. Like a Swiss Army knife, with just a flip of the wrist it can be a rocket launcher, shotgun, machine gun, grenade launcher, or chainsaw rocket catapult
. This gun seems to be whatever you need, when you need it, just as long as it's some kind of projectile weapon. Don't even begin to mention the obvious design flaws
, because this weapon is powered by Rule of Cool
, with a little bit of Hyperspace Arsenal
Subtrope of Swiss-Army Weapon
. Often also a BFG
. Compare to Do-Anything Robot
, for its even less realistic equivalent. The key difference between this trope and the Do-Anything Robot
is that the Swiss Army Gun generally has some kind of limit or some set number of forms. Gun Accessories
are a common method of creating such a weapon.
Anime and Manga
- The Buster Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is of a particularly interesting note because it features this except with two guns. Individually, both guns have a separate function. The gun on the right is a railgun while the gun on the left is a beam rifle. The two guns can be docked with one another by plugging the barrel of one into the butt end of the other, which will power up the gun in front. The railgun's powered up form is an anti-armor shotgun, while the beam rifle's is a high-energy, long-range beam sniper rifle.
- A later model, the Verde Buster, mounts the cannons on the shoulders so that they can both be used. However, the docking arms used to mount those guns are given shotguns which have sword blades that unfold out of them.
- Daisuke's gun from Heat Guy J may count. The gun itself only has one particularly notable feature, a retractable hook at the bottom of the grip used for close combat. However, it can use a variety of ammo, including standard bullets, presumably a silver bullet, explosive Red Tab bullets and electric Blue Tab bullets that stun those they hit.
- A one-shot character in Kirby of the Stars wields a machine gun/sword/flamethrower.
- Judge Dredd's Lawgiver's, which has specific rounds for basically any given situation.
- In Jon Sable, Freelance, Jon carried a large bore, multipurpose stainless steel revolver, that had a resemblance to an antique pepperbox revolver. The weapon could fire underwater, fire rifle shot, arrow/bolt type projectiles and a multitude of other loads, such as tear gas, explosive, and tranquilizer. This was a Real Life weapon designed for Navy SEALs that never went beyond prototype.
- In a short story of The Punisher, Frank interrupted a weapons deal about a special handgun called "The Preacher". Its barrel was designed to fire any type of ammunition, and the butt could auto adjust to accept magazines of any size. Frank pockets the gun after killing off everyone else.
- Nightwing villain Torque was given a assault rifle supplied by Intergang that had various voice-activated functions. It could do laser blasts, explosive blasts, an optics flare for blinding people and a kinetic pulse-type feature that could push something away. When Torque goes overboard and the gun starts overheating, it gets another function: as a bomb.
- In the Mass Effect/Command & Conquer crossover Renegade, the Global Defense Initiative has developed "Shapeshifter" weapons using mass effect technology, which consist of infantry rifles that feature various heavy weapon add-ons. This is following GDI's standard design logic when applied to the lighter, collapsible weapons that can be created using mass effect technology; after all, if they can make their guns smaller and fold out into full-sized weapons, then they can fit multiple weapons into the same space and weight that a conventional gunpowder weapon possesses.
- Zorg on The Fifth Element has developed one, and gives a very helpful Q Speech on its features, in this quote:
Voila, the ZF-1. It's light; handle's adjustable for easy carrying, good for righties and lefties; breaks down into four parts, undetectable by X-ray, ideal for quick discreet interventions. A word on firepower. Titanium recharger, 3000-round clip with bursts of 3 to 300, and with the replay button (another Zorg invention) it's even easier. One shot...
(shoots training dummy) ...and Replay sends every following shot to the same location.
(demonstrates by spraying bullets at the Mangalore warriors; the bullets arc back to the training dummy) And to finish the job, all the Zorg oldies but goldies. Rocket launcher... arrow launcher (with exploding or poisonous gas heads), very practical... our famous net launcher... the always-efficient flamethrower, my favorite... and for the grand finale, the all-new 'Ice-cube System
- In Beverly Hills Cop III, Serge's "Survival Boutique" sells the Annihilator 2000, a combination minigun, microwave oven, rocket launcher, portable TV, flamethrower, beverage cooler...
- Judge Dredd: Dredd's Lawgiver:
Judge Dredd: Lawgiver 2, 25 round sidearm with mission variable, voice programed ammunition,... Signal Flare!
Gun: Flare. vrrrrr
Judge Dredd: (shoots a blinding flare at the target wall) Yours if you graduate.
- Possibly the Ur Example would be the dial-a-gun or "dallygun" from Gordon R. Dickson's SF war novel Tactics of Mistake. It wasn't very practical for the harsh combat environment, as dirt could jam it and it required that lots of different ammunition and spare parts be available, but the protagonist used it once to great effect. Sadly it was described briefly and played little role in the story, preventing this from being the Trope Maker.
- The rifle used by CDF troops in John Scalzi's Old Man's War. It can shoot bullets, grenades, flames, microwaves, rockets... Even better, one can customize to fire, say, a blast of flame followed by a grenade. The "ammunition" is a block of nano-machines which assemble into the correct type of ammunition upon firing.
- The Memory Sword in The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett can become a wide variety of weapons, from swords to molecular strippers to projectile guns that make ice bullets by freezing atmospheric moisture.
- Colonel Fedmahn Kassad's FORCE-issue rifle in the Hyperion Cantos includes flechette grenades, laser beams, and several other weapons in one package.
- The Alloy of Law features Vindication, designed to fire specialised rounds that are optimised against various types of magic-user.
- In Logans Run, the Sandman guns had six settings: homer (ignites every pain nerve in the body), tangler (sticky net), nitro, vapor, ripper, and needler. In the movie there were no such settings.
- Blakes Seven featured some of these for the last season when they started going more overtly Cyber Punk. Quite how one makes a relatively small handgun fire Frickin' Laser Beams, unspecified less-lethals, "old-fashioned percussion bullets" and a bunch of other stuff they never get around to using just by swapping magazines was glossed over.
- Saturday Night Live had a fake commercial for a Swiss Army Gun, complete with giant ivory toothpick and corkscrew.
- Level Up: Wyatt's Blast-A-Ton is gigantic swiss army gun with lots of ammo and many types of ammo.
- Even at the most limited definition (things that could be the same basic effect to different degrees counts as one mode, and modes that could be used as weapons but aren't are discounted), Star Trek's phasers have at least two attack modes: shoot at things to make them stunned/killed/disintegratednote , and blow up.
- Supplemental materials went into a bit more detail. The basic Type 2 hand phaser has sixteen power settings: Level 1 is basically a wireless taser, Level 3 will knock an adult human unconscious for about an hour, Level 7 is almost universally lethal and Level 8 is a Disintegrator Ray. The settings beyond that tend not to get used much, but Level 16 would probably put the frontal armour of a 21st century main battle tank to some trouble. They also have a seldom-used Spread Shot mode.
- You think the standard Space Marine in Warhammer 40,000 is scary with his automatic-explosive-armor-piercing-round firing "Bolter", don't you? Say hello then to the Sternguard Veteran, whose guns can switch between multiple specialized bolter ammunition types depending on the situation, be they incendiary-fireball-explosive, scalding-gas-explosive, supersonic-velocity, extra-armor-piercing or scariest of all, poisonous-acid-filled bolts.
- And then the Deathwatch go one better, bringing bolts that disrupt the power of psionic entities (like Chaos Sorcerors) and bolts that create miniature gateways to hell to the table... amongst many others.
- The tabletop game has rules for combi-weapons, basically a weapon with a different weapon attached and can be used once per game.
- Any and all ork shootas can be used as melee weapons, some by having choppy bits, others by virtue of being over fifty pounds of pig-iron held together with spit and WAAAAGGGGHHHHH!.
- Chaos Obliterators are former Mechanicus troops and priests who have been infected with a virus that literally turns their flesh into steel, and can create any weapon they want from their bodies.
- In Paranoia, cone rifles and some other guns take multiple types of ammo (armor-piercing, hallucinogenic gas, etc.) with the same size shells, which are never ever mislabeled.
- The Remco System 7 toy gun from the 1980s. Spinny-disk shooter, periscope, decoder, parachute launcher, ring key lock, secret compartment, and a lot of pure awesome.
- Samus's Arm Cannon from Metroid certainly qualifies. It has been, among other things, a rocket launcher, grappling hook, freeze beam, shotgun laser, heat ray, and a recharge plug. The list just keeps growing with more games.
- Mega Man (Classic)'s iconic Mega Buster changes into the weapon of any Robot Master he defeats. In any one game, the Buster can function as a rocket launcher, flamethrower, ice gun, grappling wire, boomerang thrower, needle gun, and time manipulation device...just to name a few.
- Iji's personal favorite nanoweapon, a Tasen Gen2 Preloader, can form everything from a simple shotgun to a spray fire energy weapon to a giant laser to a repulsor to a nuke. Perhaps noteworthy in that the player must trick the Swiss Army Gun into being able to utilize many of the more unusual configurations.
- In Jak II: Renegade, the Morph Gun starts out as a shotgun, but gets mods that not only increase its normal stats, but also turn it into a single-shot rifle, a machinegun, and a BFG. The third game adds a Reflecting Laser, a Ground-wave generator, a Lightning Gun, an Anti-Gravity generator, a Grenade Launcher, a Drone Launcher, a Homing Needle Gun, and a Pocket Nuke.
- Vanquish has the BLADE-short for Battlefield Logic ADaptable Electronic-system, which scans weapons and uses the data to morph into said weapon. Of course, the hard drive only has enough data for three guns, which means to pick up a new weapon, the player must swap out the data of a currently-equipped gun.
- The SICW in Classified The Sentinel Crisis is a transforming machine gun/sniper rifle/shotgun/grenade launcher/gatling gun/rocket launcher. It's supposed to be man-portable, although the person carrying it is wearing powered armor.
- The canceled Tiberium FPS would have included a transforming weapon as part of its basic design. Wielded solely by the player, the "GD-10" served as a basic assault rifle, grenade launcher, missile launcher, and personal ion cannon.
- In City of Heroes, The eponymous weapon from the Assault Rifle powerset seems to do everything but dispense mixed drinks.
- Star Wars: Republic Commando cuts down the amount of equipment the characters have to carry by making the primary weapon modular, capable of swapping between automatic, sniper and grenade modes depending on which quick-change barrel assembly is currently attatched.
- Redline features such a weapon wielded by the protagonist. Besides the standard assault rifle mode, it can also become a buzzsaw (with optional nitro upgrade that makes you fly around for a limited time), a rocket launcher, an EMP device (handy for those vehicles!), a shotgun, a grenade launcher, an alien goo shooter, a sniper rifle, and a Hit Scan type plasma beam weapon.
- Accolade's earlier TPS/FPS Eradicator also outfitted all three characters with Swiss Army Guns. In both games, to use the extra gun modes, you just collect the required ammo scattered throughout the levels-no need to collect prerequisite guns first!
- Jazz Jackrabbit's long blue gun, the LFG-2000 Blaster, is designed to be compatible with most types of ammunition, conventional or otherwise. This includes plasma rounds, rubber bullets, freezing rounds, small homing missiles, large exploding rockets, flamethrower fuel, pepper spray, electric charges, even standard TNT.
- Hard Reset has not one but two Swiss Army Guns. One of them acts as a chaingun/gatling assault rifle, a Short Range Shotgun, a Grenade Launcher, a rocket/missile launcher and a minelayer. The other shoots bolts of energy, a stream of energy, zappy electrical field grenade things, a high-power pinpoint-accurate sniper mode with shots that penetrate walls, and explosive energy bolts that 'phase' through cover to find your target. Oh, and each mode has a Secondary Fire too.
- In Perfect Dark, nearly every weapon in the game has a secondary function, some of which are quite unique. Eg. the Laptop Gun (SMG and automatic sentry), Dragon (assault rifle and proximity mine), K7 Avenger (assault rifle and threat detector), RCP-120 (SMG and cloaking device), etc.
- In The Old Republic the Republic Trooper class (no matter the Advanced Class choice) has this as a weapon. It can fire regular shots, an "explosive round", fire mortars, lay down a close AOE Ion Pulse, and can heal teammates.
- Parasite Eve featured a weapons customization feature that allowed you to take 'features' from other weapons and put them on whatever weapon you wanted. A New Game+ weapon might be a pistol capable of firing exploding bullets in three round bursts with shotgun-like spread. The sequel featured a more realistic version of this, the M4A1, which can accept any number of modifications ranging from rather benign attachments such as a bayonet or a magazine attachment to double the ammo count per-magazine, to the really fantastic stuff like an underbarrel armor-piercing laser or high-power paralyzing taser.
- The Playstation FPS Codename: Tenka (or "Lifeforce Tenka" overseas) featured the "Self-Generating Polymorphic Armoury" or SG-26, an assault-rifle-sized weapons system that could shoot standard lead, lasers, grenades, missiles and mines, some of them upgradeable with various sub-modes (like dual and chargeable laser beams, and automatic rifle fire).
- In the Time Squad episode "Nutorious", Tuddrussel gets a laser gun with tons of features. The problem? He has no idea how to use the laser gun part of it.
- The Israel Military Industries (IMI) Galil assault rifle has a folding stock and folding bipod, which are typical for modern military rifles. However, the folding bipod also can be used as a wire-cutter, and the "ribs" under the forearm that hold it up in the folded position are designed to be used as a bottle-opener. This latter function was because Israeli troops had the habit of using the feed lips of their rifle magazines to "pop the top" of soda bottles, which bent the feed lips and caused feed-jam malfunctions.
- Similarly, some military rifle bayonets (like the U.S. M9 bayonet for the M16A2 rifle) are designed to be used as wire cutters; a hole in the blade near the tip slips over a lug near the end of the bayonet's scabbard, and the end of the scabbard has a "notch" for the wire. The whole thing works like a pair of pliers.
- Various modern assault rifles, including the M16A4, the M4 carbine and the Beretta ARX-160, are designed to be field modifiable with a variety of attachments, using rails and hand-turnable screws to attach weapon mods to them, such as foregrips, grenade launchers, laser sights, flashlights, tasers, shotguns, red dot sights, and scopes... and that's just the stuff the military issues. There are third party mods for all sorts of things. Even better, the guns can be changed to fire a different cartridge with the push of a couple of pins and the replacement of the upper receiver and barrel, a trivial operation that can be completed in under a minute by an experienced user. If they could attach a Swiss army knife to the gun, they'd be set. (They can take bayonets, though. Almost there...)
- Although highly experimental/theoretical, both proposed liquid propellant and railgun designs could potentially vary the speed of their projectiles, by either changing the amount of propellant fed into the firing chamber, or the amount of charge used in its electromagnets, respectively. This could result in a gun that could effectively switch between being a submachinegun to being a sniper rifle with the flip of a switch- or switching from a low powered but quiet "stealth" mode to a high powered but noisy "magnum" mode.
- The XM8 was supposed to be one weapon that could fill a half dozen roles (assault rifle, designated marksman rifle, light machine gun, grenade launcher, submachine gun), but the result was a weapon that was too expensive and not enough of an improvement to justify a complete change, or even not as good as some guns dedicated to specific tasks (namely the light machinegun variant).
- A Grenade Launcher like the venerable M79 can fire tear gas, smoke grenades, illumination rounds and even buckshot in addition to fragmentation grenades. There is even a 40mm canister round being developed that fires a small wireless camera that slowly comes down on a parachute, linked to a helmet-mounted Head's Up Display or tablet device to allow a soldier to observe a large area without a drone.
- Shotguns have an equally impressive variety of specialist ammunition; less-lethal ammunition like beanbags or rubber buckshot, a round that works like a one-use miniature taser, distress flares... There's even the Dragon's Breath round, which basically turns your shotgun into a mini-flamethrower.note