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Abnormal Ammo

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"All you really need to know is that there is a gun that shoots shurikens and lightning. I wish I could make something like that up. It shoots shurikens and lightning! The only way it could be more awesome is if it had tits and was on fire."
Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw on Painkiller, Zero Punctuation

When an awesome-looking weapon isn't possible, awesome ammunition is. Abnormal Ammo covers exotic substitutions of practical ammunition, as well as ammunition that works only for the Rule of Cool. Most people don't have a weapon that shoots glasses of milk, but in fiction, there's no shortage of strange weapons with unusual discharge. All bets are off if a catapult comes into play; even in Real Life, practical ammunition like boulders and gravel were frequently replaced by low-tech biological weapons (dead/diseased animals/people) or incendiary devices (Greek Fire).

This trope is Truth in Television in that just about everything has been used as a weapon at least once. What keeps abnormal ammo from becoming normal ammo is that real versions are most often Cool, but Inefficient or Awesome, but Impractical.

Compare Improbable Aiming Skills, where the ammunition does something unusual, but isn't made of anything unusual, and Improvised Weapon and Improbable Weapon User, where the weapon is unusual, but may not be a gun. Can overlap with Impossibly Cool Weapon, where the weapon itself is exotic, rather than the ammo.


A Super-Trope to:


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Advertising 

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders: The Bosses of Mondo City (pretty much lawyer-friendly versions of the Judges) have special synthezoid tech bullets, which can go intangible. They're usually used for shooting through cover... or heads
    • Deadpool has an inflatable sheep gun — a gun that fires inflatable sheep, not an inflatable gun that fires normal sheep.
      Deadpool: C'mon guys? Don't you remember that totally sweet rabid hamster shotgun I once had? Or what about that gun made of solid gold? It shot freaking diamonds!
    • Earth X: Tony Stark's Humongous Mecha Iron Factory fires Iron Man suits from its guns.
    • Fantastic Four: Paste Pot Pete had a gun that shot quick-setting glue. Which would have been cooler if he didn't need to carry around a bucket in the other hand filled with his ammo. His attempt to change his name to the Trapster after designing a self-contained glue gun has been undermined by people who won't let him live down his earlier lameness.
    • The Punisher comic had a gun that shot swords.
      "It's a gun, Frank. A gun that shoots swords."
      FWOCKA FWOCKA FWOCKA FWOCKA
    • X-Men: Fantomex has sentient homing bullets made from malleable skin that even have human faces on them.
  • Gold Digger had Brianna Diggers experiment with "Peebo bullets" based on her robot pets in one issue. They were supposed to seek out and hit bad guys on their own, thereby making them perfectly safe for bystanders; unfortunately their limited AI gave them a rather broad view of what actually constituted a 'bad guy' and hilarity predictably ensued.
  • Judge Dredd: The Judges' standard Lawgiver sidearm has several types of unusual ammunition in addition to standard ammunition which can be easily switched as needed. These types include ricochet, heatseekingnote , incendiary, armour piercing and high explosive. All of the above are usable in the FPS video game too. Memorably parodied in a Dredd story set in Ireland, where terrorists use "spud guns" which lethally fire potatoes in various forms — mash, chips, etc — culminating in the memorable line "spud guns to roasties!"
  • Planetary: In issue 11, John Stone fires a bullet that appears to have a tiny chainsaw blade on one side, called the "Rip-Round," to rupture the fuel line for cyborg Bride's getaway plane. He could have used a normal bullet.
  • SpyBoy's gun, the Magnum Opus, fires a variety of these.
  • Watchmen: In a grimmer take than most, in the accompanying material there's an excerpt from Tales of the Black Freighter in which the pirate crew uses half-rotted human heads as ammunition for their cannons.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: In one strip, a burglar is confronted by a man with a gun that shoots Doberman Pinschers. Called, appropriately enough, the Dobie-O-Matic (the gun, not the ammo).
  • Twisted Toyfare Theatre:
    • One of the stormtroopers once built a gun that shoots lightsabers. It ended up destroying a planet.
    • Dr. Doom built a Spice Cannon that uses Baby Spice as ammo.

    Fan Works 
  • The Angry Marines, a fanmade chapter of the Warhammer 40,000 space marines, have things like door knob bombs, a Baneblade pistol (a pistol that fires the rounds of Baneblade super tanks), the heavily modified Predator Angrinator which fires Angry Marines, and the Land Raider launcher, a spaceship weapon which fires Land Raiders filled with Angry Marines at other spaceships.
  • Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons features Blackjack's super gun "Trottenheimer's Folly" which fires what are called "Silver Bullets" that are made of moonstone, asteroids/Sky Iron/Star Bones, and radioactive magical mutation goo.
  • Just an Unorthodox Thief has Assassin's multitude of gags and gimmicks extends to the ammo for his Walther. Exploding bullets are practically a Real Life example, but he also uses glue bullets to trap enemies in place.
  • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami:
    • Matsuda has a "police gun" that fires police cars.
    • Dark later gets a crosshammer, which is a crossbow, except instead of arrows, it fires hammers.
    • During the final showdown between Dark and L, we see the latter use a machine sword, which is a machine gun that fires swords, which then split into more swords.
  • Meloetta: Melody of Discord: Examples of projectiles that the player characters can use include musical notes, leeks, fish and the color pink.
  • The Pez Dispenser and the Reign of Terror has the titular object, which mainly runs off of PEZ candies (which can be set to a power level anywhere from "peashooter" to "Hiroshima bomb").
  • Code Geass: Awesome of the Rebellion has the Christmas special, where Awesome gets a machine sword from Santa, in a Shout-Out to Dark Yagami.
  • Mass Effect: Murphy's Law has the Plasma Rifle, an invention that uses synthetic plasma created by an experimental fusion reactor as ammo. It burns through just about everything, bypassing kinetic barriers and armor with ease, but can't be used in a vacuum.
  • Years ago, one of the Star Wars fan boards out there on the internet had developed a cannon that shot Ewoks. Sadly the schematics or specs or backstory are no longer available, but they were even developing different types of ammo for said cannon.
  • There was a discussion on GameFAQs once regarding the usefulness of detonating FTL cores of ships in the Halo universe. Cortana was a fan of it because of the massive explosions.
    Unknown poster: What we need is a ship that shoots ships at them.
  • In the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal, Princess Ruth N'Kweze discovers she needs weapons capable of killing or at least deterring were-creatures very quickly. She resorts to ransacking her treasury for coins with a silver content, having them melted down, and used to silver-plate spearheads and crossbow bolts. A significant weapon and a key to understanding was a ceremonial assegai — less than half the usual size with a spearhead in pure silver, this was only ever meant to be part of the ceremonial regalia of the Crown Princess and was never intended for fighting. Ruth dismisses this as an absurd silly toy — until a werecreature-Assassin shows up.
  • For the Glory of Irk:
    • At Dib's birthday party, his father offers to build him any weapon he wants as a present, listing a gun that shoots live honey badgers as an example. The context suggests he's actually already built one already.
    • At another point, Membrane makes a comment about putting weasel cannons on cars. When asked, Moira tells Dib he doesn't want to know what that means.
    • When Gaz is helping design weapons for the Syndicate and the Irken Resistance, Membrane talks her into designing a gun that fires cobras which have been genetically modified to have machetes growing out of their tails.
    • Gaz later works on rocket launchers that fire electrically-charged exploding stuffed unicorns.
  • In The Phantom Queen, supervillain "Da Vinci" uses a paintball gun for his crimes, with the "paint" being made of Hollywood Acid that eats through anything in seconds upon contact.
  • Ruby Pair: The pirate space bees (long story) that the Irkens encounter in "Beefus Megabombus" use meatballs, ribs, sausages, and other pieces of meat as cannonballs.
  • Invader Zim: A Bad Thing Never Ends: The Amoeba Gun, first wielded by Bob in Chapter 8 before it becomes his primary weapon later on, fires acidic Blob Monsters at people.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Despicable Me films seem to revel in this trope.
    • "Piranha gun! Oh yeah!" The impracticality of this one is lampshaded in a scene where, after firing the gun, Vector tries to fit the piranha back into the weapon so he can fire it again, and fails miserably.
    • The Squid Launcher, which also works as a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
    • On Gru's side, the Fart Gun, although that one was by mistake since he really wanted a dart gun.
      Dr. Nefario: I was wondering, under what circumstances would we use this...
    • The second film gives us the "jelly guns" which, as the name implies, fire foul-tasting jam that contains an antidote to the PX-41 serum, returning all Gru's minions back to normal when hit. The fart gun also makes an appearance as well.
  • In Gandahar, Sylvain's gun doesn't fire bullets. It fires seeds, which grow into large thorny plants the instant they hit something. A direct hit leaves the target impaled by multiple thorns if not torn apart.
  • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs: Buck uses specific fruit berries as a defensive weapon against dinosaurs, upon impact they explode and unleash varying amounts of gases. He uses some to daze the dinosaurs first then uses a more powerful one to get the herd away from surrounding dinos by obscuring the entire area in the fruitís gases to make their escape easier without being followed. They show up again later in the movie.

  • The Incredibles: Syndrome's lair on Nomanisan Island utilizes sentry guns that fire sticky inflating balloon rounds to nonlethally stop any erstwhile superheroic intruders via Gelatinous Encasement. According to some of the commentaries, that was the only kind of weapon they could think of that would conceivably stop Mr. Incredible without killing him and/or destroying the base (it may have also been lightly based on real nonlethal weapon concepts currently in development). These have also been interpreted — probably incorrectly — as a Shout-Out to another balloon-like weapon used to keep people captive on an island: the Rover from The Prisoner (1967).
  • The LEGO Movie:
    • During the Cloud Cuckoo Land battle, the police have guns that fire wads of bubblegum, ensnaring anyone they hit.
    • Any of the thrown artifact weapons can count as this, since the rest of the world is LEGO.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie has Batman's "merch gun", which is like a t-shirt gun, only more so. One shot, and the "victim" will be fully outfitted in Bat-logo merchandise.
  • In The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, General Mayhem's spacecraft fires stars and exploding hearts while her blaster fires stickers.
  • The Madagascar short film The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper has the penguin Rico used as a gun, firing the contents of a bowl of peppermint candies at Killer Rabbit (or in this case, poodle) Mr. Chew.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: One of "Big" Jack Horner's many weapons is a crossbow loaded with horns cut from baby unicorns, which he mentions as being less heavy and twice as sharp as regular arrows and adult unicorn horns alike. And, as he discovers when he first puts them to use in combat (since he didn't bother testing them before), they can make people explode into confetti.
  • Wonder Woman (2009): Wonder Woman's invisible jet has invisible missiles.

    Pinballs 

    Podcasts 
  • Mission to Zyxx: Kor Balevor explains that he survived all his limbs being simultaneously ambutated because the attacking starship was so low on ammunition that it was firing cybernetic replacement parts. He was hit directly in the torso with a cyborg torso.

    Print Media 
  • Top Secret (Magazine): An editor's error resulted in a mention of a "grenade-launcher launcher". Nifty.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • CZW: At Welcome to the Combat Zone, Drew Gulak cheated Danny Havoc out of a table match with Chuck Taylor by shooting Havoc in the face with a confetti gun.
  • Kaiju Big Battel: Goldenrod's pollen gun, which makes her targets sneeze.

    Radio 
  • The Goon Show: In "The MacReekie Rising of '74", the ammo includes porridge, Brown Windsor soup, and Sassenachs.

    Roleplay 

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE has several examples:
    • The Kanoka are essentially superpowered frisbee disks.
    • There's also an arc that took place underwater; some of the good guys used air bubbles as ammo (toxic to waterbreathers) while the bad guys shot vampiric squids.
    • Near the end, the ammo of choice was Thornax, a kind of fruit. Hey, don't laugh; would you like to get hit with a coconut at high speed? A spiky, potentially explosive coconut?
  • G.I. Joe tracker Spirit has a hi-tech assault rifle that shot arrows.

    Visual Novels 
  • Although it wasn't seen, in Apollo Justice, Trucy mentions that one of her tricks involves firing a gun that shoots Bullets. Turns out "Bullets" is the name of a cat.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Archer, a Servant of the same class who, despite his name, actually specializes in the creation of magical swords... which he shoots like arrows with his bow.
    • Gilgamesh, another Archer class servant takes this a step further using his special attack, the Gate of Babylon, which creates a metaphysical portal in the sky connected to his treasure vault... from which he launches hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of legendary weapons like a rain of mythical metal.
  • Tsukihime, also by Type-MOON has the physical manifestation of a scripture taking the form of a cross between a literal Cross and a machinegun firing holy stakes.
  • Wells: Wells' gun can fire some pretty unusual stuff. For example, one ammo type is a big, spiked, bouncing bomb.

    Web Animation 
  • Club Penguin Shutdown: In the aftermath of Club Penguin's server shutdown, the game's snowball function has been transformed into in-universe firearms from the penguins channeling their extreme stress into their throw, which are used in inter-gang conflicts and similar instances. A gunshot sound usually plays whenever a penguin throws a snowball, and a gun cocking one is sometimes heard when a penguin holds up a snowball.
  • Homestar Runner:
  • The laser-swords with guns on them used by the pirates in How to Kill a Mockingbird shoot other swords, as well as bears that are on fire.
  • In Natraps X, Rockman has E. Honda equipped as a projectile weapon. It's not very effective against Bowser.
  • In Object Overload, there is a cannon that fires living objects called the "Contestant Cannon." Although, it did shoot a cannonball in "Branching Out."
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • At one point, Caboose's gun is revealed to be loaded with crayons rather than bullets, although he never fires it like this. Comes in handy when he and Tucker need to draw visual aids to teach Crunchbite the Alien English.
    • In Season 13, Dr. Grey designs a gun for the Freckles AI to be loaded into. Given Caboose's habit of killing and maiming team-mates by accident, and the fact that Freckles was originally designed to be an unstoppable killing machine, Grey builds in a range of safety features. One of those features is that the gun will only fire confetti until explicitly instructed to kill enemies, at which point it becomes a lethal killing machine that uses proper ammo. This has the accidental, but fortunate, side-effect of making the weapon useless in the hands of enemies of the Reds and Blues — who find it will only fire confetti for them as well.
    • During the Freelancer Saga, Agent Carolina's unit has to retrieve an artefact from an enemy building. While she and Agent Washington are pinned down by a flame-throwing enemy, Washington grabs one of the experimental weapons in the room to fire it, only to discover that the ammunition bounces all over the walls like a ping-pong ball and ends up exploding somewhere down a corridor it bounced down. Wash is absolutely incensed that anyone would ever want to design something as ridiculously useless as bouncing ammo.
  • RWBY: Dust is the world of Remnant's primary form of energy and is usually mined from the ground in crystalline form. It can be used for practical applications, such as ammunition. Modern weapons are therefore built to use Dust cartridges, which allow a user to achieve a variety of desired effects just by choosing the right cartridge for the job. This means that weapons can fire normal ammunition, but they can also shoot things like lightning, fire, ice or even gravity.
  • The Furtive Polar Bear in Tales Of The Blode Episode 4 defends his North Pole lair with a gun that fires kittens.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Guns in Chaos Fighters-Route of Sea can fire swords, lances and feathers.
  • Memetic Mutation holds that American weapons have rates of fire measured in freedoms per minute, while vehicles and bombs are weighed by how much democracy they contain.
  • For your viewing pleasure, the RPC M1B Rocket-Propelled chainsaw Launcher.
  • Prolecto includes HRE ammunition. It causes any demon who is hit by it to set on fire. Unfortunately for the protagonists...they are demons.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-127, the aptly-named "Living Gun", is on the outside a normal MP5K submachine gun. On the inside, however, it's made of flesh and blood, and it grows human teeth it fires as ammunition.
    • Also there is the sillier entry SCP-50-AE-J. A Desert Eagle chambered for 50AE, which doesn't actually fire a bullet but summons a large bald eagle which proceeds to rip the target a new one, while screaming something to the effect of "YOU COMMIE-NIST BASTARD!!!!!!"
    • SCP-2818 are a bunch of M82 Barrett anti-materiel rifles which, when fired, cause the shooter to disappear completely. The bullet that comes out seems to be made of flesh...
    • The archived 157-ARC is a single round which regenerates itself when fired, and alters itself to fit any gun it is brought near, from regular pistol rounds through a bony organic round for SCP-127 (the only time 127 has allowed itself to be reloaded externally) and a shell for SCP-516's main gun, to rather more exotic things they weren't willing to test-fire.
  • "Undercover Soldier", an in-universe script featured in The Call of Warr, features a gun that shoots paper-work at the evildoers for breaking the law.
  • Cute little Generator in the Whateley Universe has a linear accelerator gun which fires Tasers, explosives, and sticky nets of webbing. But her bracers are even better. While they appear to fire different kinds of missiles, what they really fire are psychokinetic copies of Generator herself, which then hold and direct the missiles.
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie, the weapons that the Executor was developing on Europa all seem to have unconventional ammo, with guns that shoot swords, chainsaws, bees, and duct tape. Linkara and Allen end up using the latter two during the fight against Mechakara.

Alternative Title(s): Unusual Ammo

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