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Disarm, Disassemble, Destroy

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"Colt .45. Semi-automatic. PLAY-DOH!"
Johnny-5 crumpling a gun in his hands, Short Circuit

Alice is up against someone who has a gun. Before the gunman can shoot her, Alice snatches the firearm and quickly disables it right in front of the gunman. Asskicking typically ensues.

Usually used to demonstrate the badassery of a given character as well as their knowledge of firearms (unless they use brute force), and may involve Willing Suspension of Disbelief to enforce the Rule of Cool. It also makes an impressive show for the viewer. Like most Rule of Cool stuff, this is largely not Truth in Television, as some cocked-and-locked firearms cannot be taken apart without removing the magazine first (or even discharging or clearing the gun), and most of the ones that can still have plenty of little parts that need to be pulled out before the slide or barrel will come off, making disassembly a rather slow and non-dramatic process.

Still, many models of firearms are indeed very easy and quick to disassemble. One example is various military bolt-action rifles where the bolt can be removed in one motion (like the Mosin-Nagant 1891; some realistic movies and books even describe removing bolts to temporarily disable the rifles of POWs or arrested friendlies while still making them haul the bastards around). Another is handguns like Beretta 92 and SIG P22X series; these feature a disassembly lever that allows one to take the slide off the frame in one motion (after dropping the magazine). Both tricks are completely impractical in a fight, though.

Not to be confused with Gun Stripping, where the character has plenty of time to take apart the firearm, and is usually doing so in order to clean or service it.

See also: Guns Are Worthless, Blasting It Out of Their Hands, Quick Draw, Forced Friendly Fire. Might involve Not With the Safety On, You Won't.


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    Comic Books 
  • In GI Joe: A Real American Hero #26, the Soft Master disassembles the handgun of a young hoodlum trying to hold up his store, ejecting the ammunition cartridge and the round in the chamber.
  • The Flash is fond of doing this, though in his case it's mostly justified by Super-Speed.

    Fan Works 
  • Little Hands, Big Attitude: Silver, supercharged by Shadow, uses his telekinesis to completely take apart Agent Stone's mech. He doesn't destroy the individual components; instead within a single instant he cleanly separates all different materials from each other, such as removing wires from their casing or separating plastic from metal. Even Silver is completely floored by his stunt.

  • Played for laughs in You Don't Mess with the Zohan, where the lead character takes apart a goon's assault rifle ridiculously fast.
  • In Lethal Weapon 4, Jet Li's character, a vicious Triad crimelord named Wah Sing Ku, escapes a Mexican Standoff this way, disassembling Riggs' Beretta in a move that marked him as a supreme badass.
    • Although freeze-framing through the sequence can reveal that the Beretta in question is halfway prepared for disassembly, the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel has tested this and found that it's not as hard to do from cold as you might imagine. It is pointed out that this would be a supremely foolish thing to attempt in real life because there is no way that you are faster than the gunman's trigger finger moving a quarter-inch...
  • In 5 Card Stud, some gold miners are concerned that there's a killer loose and the marshal can't or won't do anything about it, so they march towards the marshal's office, one of them carrying a rifle, intent on taking the law into their own hands. One of the marshal's deputies accosts them, takes the rifle, and empties it of shells. He then asks the miner what he will do if he returns the rifle to him. When the miner says he will reload it and continue on to the marshal's office, the deputy smashes the rifle against the side of a building before handing the remains back to him.
  • Parodied in Wayne's World when Garth grabs Russell's flashlight out of his hand and immediately opens it and removes the batteries.
  • The Bourne Identity. Jason Bourne disarms two French police officers and ends up holding one of their sidearms. He dismantles it in about half a second and runs away, shocked by his ability to do this in the first place.
  • In The Dark Knight, when the Joker's men attack Bruce's penthouse, Bruce grabs a mook's gun, clubs him in the face with it, then disassembles the gun and drops the pieces on the floor, all without breaking stride. Like most horizontal break-opens, the gun used can be taken apart by pulling a single lever. The film's prop master likely chose that model of shotgun for its ease of disassembly.
  • In Rush Hour, when Detective Lee comes to the consulate and beats up the FBI agents guarding the front door, he takes one of their guns and disassembles it, apologizes, and finds another way in.
  • Ip Man manages to do this to Inspector Li's service revolver, somehow popping out the cylinder in spite of the thick metal pin keeping it attached to the gun.
  • In Short Circuit, a villain pulls a gun on the Johnny 5, who takes it out of his hand and destroys it.
    Johnny 5: Colt .45 Semi-automatic.
    [crushes the gun and gives the villain a Death Glare]
    Johnny 5: Play-doh.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, a mook attempts to shoot Holmes with a revolver at point-blank range. Holmes grabs the revolver out of the mook's hand, empties the cylinder of bullets with one motion, and then hands the gun back to the mook. The revolver in question is a top-break gun that is designed this way to quickly eject empty casings.
  • Watchmen has Laurie AKA Silk Spectre snatch a Beretta 92F off her government handler and take it apart in less than a second. The Beretta is typically used for such scenesnote , because you can disassemble it without even removing the magazine; just by pushing a button on one side of the gun and turning the very convenient disassembly lever on the other, which can be done using only one hand, the slide can be pulled off the frame towards the disassembler. With practice, it can be done in one fluid motion. Ejecting the round in the chamber is not necessary.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service incorporates the "Beretta disassembly" (Beretta 92F pistols are extremely convenient to take down in one motion) into the church scene - with the hero then proceeding to stab people with both the slide and the frame. Repeatedly.
  • In Mad Max: Fury Road, Max manages to slam the magazine release on Furiosa's Glock, causing the magazine to drop out for Nux and the Wives to fight over. She still has one in the chamber, but he pushes the gun away before she can pull the trigger.
  • Logan. Wolverine snatches a shotgun off a rancher and butt-strokes him with it, then breaks it in half. The man Wolverine is protecting has no idea he's a mutant, so is just as startled and confused as the villains, asking if Wolverine has military training.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron. Quicksilver uses his superspeed to snatch a pistol from Arms Dealer Ulysses Klaue and instantly unload and disassemble it, lining the parts and rounds neatly up on the table next to him. Klaue is surprised but quickly regains his cool.
  • Captain America: Civil War: During the Winter Soldier's escape, he tries to shoot Tony Stark. Tony grabs the pistol by the top of the slide. When the gun fires, the slide comes off in Tony's hand.
  • The titular character of John Wick does this to a mook mid-fight, hitting the mag release of his Glock and racking the slide in the same motion, completely unloading the gun before the mook has time to process what just happened.
  • At the start of Steel Rain, the protagonist Eom is apparently selling stolen drugs to a black-market dealer in North Korea, only to be arrested by a policeman. As he's a former North Korean intelligence operative, Eom deftly removes the pistol from the cop's hands and removes the magazine and slide, while explaining that he's actually selling his own prescription drugs.
  • In Tenet, the Protagonist uses this move in the Action Prologue, apparently being strong enough to rip the slide off a handgun while the rest of it is held in his opponent's hand. It then gets literally inverted in a later fight scene, when he fights a time-inverted man who reassembles a gun and thrusts it into the Protagonist's hands during the sequence. This is also a clue that the Protagonist is actually fighting his future self, who is actually disassembling the gun from his perspective to prevent a paradox.
  • A Revealing Skill in The Gray Man (2022). When CIA assassin Sierra Six does this to his target's pistol, the target calmly mock-shoots him with the now useless gun and throws it away, then explains that he's actually Sierra Four—he's been sent to kill one of his own.

  • In Feet of Clay, Dorfl does this when he goes to the slaughterhouse for payback after being given free will and someone attacks him with a hammer.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Hagrid is banging on the door of the shack in which the Dursleys are trying to hide from the Hogwarts letters, Vernon comes downstairs with a shotgun. After Hagrid breaks down the door, Vernon threatens him with it, and Hagrid yanks the gun out of his hands, ties the barrel in a knot, and tosses it in the corner.
  • Inversions. Two thugs try to rape Vossil while she's bathing, and end up unconscious with their knife blades mysteriously bent backwards.
  • Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code: played much more realistically. Juliet snaps off the firing pin/hammer off the moon's gun as he brandishes it, making it only possibly useful as a hammer.
  • Kris Longknife: Kris takes to ordering surrendering ships to take sledgehammers to the electrical busbars powering their guns in the frequent occurrence that she doesn't have manpower or time to put a prize crew aboard.
  • In the BIONICLE novel Island of Doom, Reidak snatches one of Lewa Nuva's Air Katanas and breaks it in half together with Lewa's attempt at a Badass Boast, which Reidak then one-ups with a boast of his own.
    Lewa: Why don't you make things ever-easy and surrender? We are Toa Nuva, after all. We quick-defeated the Rahkshi. So —
    Reidak: Rahkshi, huh? I pick my teeth with Rahkshi.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The Adventures of Superman after the villain got done Shooting Superman, Superman would often grab the barrel and twist it into a curve so it's unusable.
  • In The Beauty Queen Of Jerusalem, after witnessing an innocent Arab passerby being murdered by the Irgun group she joined, Rachelika leaves but has to give her gun back to the group. So Rachelika destroys her gun before giving it back. Hey, they didn't tell her that the gun had to be intact.
  • In Better Call Saul, "Pimento", when Mike is hired as a bodyguard for a drug deal, his fellow bodyguard is a Gun Nut who thinks Mike will be useless on the job because he didn't bring a gun. Mike says "If I need one, I'll take one of yours", and the Gun Nut dares him to try, pointing a gun right in his face. Mike easily takes the gun away from his attacker and ejects the magazine and the bullet in the chamber. He then uses the empty gun to hit him in the throat and take him out of the fight completely.
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). In the Action Prologue of "Cowboy Gospel", there's a variation where Spike Spiegel hits the magazine release button of his opponent's rifle during a fight.
  • Eliot Spencer from Leverage can do this and does it on a regular basis. Justified because he's one of the world's best fighters and he Doesn't Like Guns.
  • In Lost, Kate does it with instruction from Sayid in the second episode, right after Sawyer shoots the polar bear. Later we learn she didn't necessarily need it.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, Khan grabs Kirk's phaser out of his hands and bends it in half.
  • In the Vengeance Unlimited episode against a rogue IRS agent, during the final confrontation Mr. Chapel snatches his gun and empties it.
  • Daredevil (2015):
    • Matt Murdock has a tendency to dismantle guns mid-combat to keep his enemies from using them.
    • When taking out the Albanian hitmen who ambush Wilson Fisk as he's being transferred, Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter dismantles one of their guns and uses the pieces as daggers to kill two more of the attackers. Later in the season, after killing Jasper Evans with Karen's gun, he removes the slide from the gun before dropping it on the ground.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Luke Cage can take a gun and then use his strength to crush it in his bare hands.
  • Person of Interest. In "Booked Solid", Reese removes the slide from Hersh's pistol after stabbing him non-fatally, taking it with him so Hersh can't reassemble it.
  • In one episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson laments that he used to be able to do this, but lost the knack after dying and being resurrected.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Phases", Buffy finds herself up against a werewolf hunter. Annoyed by his misogynistic manner, she takes away his rifle and bends it in half.
  • One episode of Criminal Minds has JJ eject her opponent's magazine and pull off the slide in one fluid motion, preempting a gunfight and allowing a prolonged hand-to-hand Designated Girl Fight.
  • The Punisher (2017). Downplayed in "Nakazat". When a porn photographer tries to pull a Sawn-Off Shotgun on Frank Castle, he grabs the shotgun while simultaneously opening the action so it can't fire. He then decides to keep the shotgun for his own use rather than destroy it.

    Video Games 
  • In Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman can learn the Disarm and Destroy special combo move, which allows him to destroy weapons (including steel pipes, knives, and tower shields) during combat. When he uses it against henchmen armed with firearms, he pulls the weapon apart before dropping the pieces. In Origins, henchmen can pick up and reassemble their guns even if they've been destroyed this way, so keep your ears open for the Dramatic Gun Cock.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, The Boss does this to Snake at least twice in cutscenes, destroying his sidearms in the process even while he was still wielding them. She does it to Ocelot once, but then gives him back the parts she removed rather than throwing them away. She also uses it as a tactic in the final fight if she manages to knock you onto the ground while you're holding a weapon. For gameplay reasons, this just means The Boss will scatter your intact weapon and its ammo around the battlefield, forcing you to scramble and retrieve them; it's also an incentive to use CQC on her rather than trying to shoot her.
  • In Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, if Evan picks up a gun, he'll either disassemble it or unload it and toss the ammo to the ground.

  • Discussed in Grrl Power in reference to Maxima's Super-Speed.
    Maxima: And what if some yahoo with a concealed-carry decided to play hero?
    Arianna: With you there? You could've disassembled his gun and done his taxes before he had it clear of the holster.
  • Near the end of Leftover Soup, Jamie is held at gunpoint by Roscoe Knight who thinks he killed his son Richard.note  Jamie suddenly grabs the slide and yanks it backwards, before wrenching the gun out of Roscoe's hand, dismantling it, and tossing the pieces down a disposal chute.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Jorgi disarms a Wulfenbach airship captain and then crushes her gun in a display of his Super-Strength during the siege of Mechanicsburg.
    • Terebithia disarms the "Queen of Dawn" off-hand without even giving away to those around them that Zola had just tried to shoot Agatha and then "accidentally" snaps her small delicate gun in two.
  • The titular character of Schlock Mercenary subdues an entire group by disassembling all their guns.

    Web Original 
  • Metal Gear Awesome has Snake take Meryl's gun, turn it into a balloon animal, and then eat it in front of her. Doesn't turn out to be the smartest solution when they then get surrounded by guards.

    Western Animation 
  • In Gargoyles, Goliath does this to Elisa in the pilot episode, snatching her gun from behind and crushing it to scrap.
    • Broadway does the same with a mook's gun in a later episode, having developed a great fear of guns after he accidentally shot Elisa with hers.


The Boss

Naked Snake's mentor quickly demonstrates why she's called The Boss.

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