AKA: The international sound of "You in a whole heap of trouble, son."
The dramatic gun cock is employed when a character is up to some interrogation work while holding a gun to someone's head. The subject of the investigation is invited to divulge some critical information. The subject refuses or spouts an insult.
Here comes the dramatic gun cock. The interrogator pulls back the hammer of the revolver or pistol, or racks the slide if the pistol has no hammer, then resumes pointing the gun to the subject's head. Usually, this is enough to thoroughly spook the subject into full disclosure. A pump-action shotgun may also be used for this purpose, sometimes with a One-Handed Shotgun Pump, albeit it's overall not as popular as doing it with a handgun - even more rare is racking the bolt of a fully automatic weapon. A bolt-action rifle may have a character dramatically work the bolt. Filmmakers who are aiming for dramatic effect over realism may even employ the dramatic gun cock with a gun that doesn't actually fire a projectile.note
In other situations, the dramatic gun cock serves to announce a character's presence, or (especially when taking place off-camera) to indicate that the tables have turned in some way. This is a *Click* Hello, and often occurs in conjunction with a My Name Is Inigo Montoya moment.
The sound effect is often added in by sound editors after filming. This can be especially noticeable when the character onscreen is using a gun that cannot be manually cocked. Examples include the Luger and the Glock.
The dramatic gun cock may be accompanied by a Pistol-Whipping. Subtrope of Kinetic Clicking. Can sometimes lead to Guns Do Not Work That Way when a (semi)automatic gun that has already been shown to be actioned recently is cycled again for emphasis, without a round being ejected. Also compare with Noisy Guns which includes many more mechanical noises from guns too, for no reason. Compare High-Altitude Interrogation, which also relies on getting information through death threats. Has nothing to do with a particularly dramatic Phallic Weapon, but it can overlap.
- The Big O: Used by a hostage taker in the premiere, to get across exactly how imperative it is that Roger Smith hand the phone over to the hostage's father. It works.
- Taken to the extreme in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, where the mere fact of rising a gun makes an audible, intimidating sound.
- Gunslinger Girl. Fiery Redhead cyborg Petra pointedly cocks her submachine gun when someone makes a snide comment about her handler Sandro, whom she is infatuated with. Afterwards Sandro warns her against doing this simply because she is angry.
- Outlaw Star: Gene does this to Harry once.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: It becomes the trademark sound for Yoko as her rifle has a crazy electronic whine when she cocks it after firing off an either impossible shot, or a hail of blue bolts of death.
- In Nightwing: Year One, Nightwing stops a group of carjackers, one of whom decides to be cool. He then mercilessly lampshades this by asking if the crook had seen that on TV, points out that he's just ejected a perfectly good round, and then continues to cock the gun until he's effectively disarmed. There's a reason they call him the Boy Wonder.
- SWORD: The conflict between dramatic necessity and the practicalities of technology is beautifully lampshaded in the X-Men spin-off.
Abigail Brand: Okay, this is a ludicrously high-tech gun so it doesn't have anything which makes a handily intimidating noise. So imagine a cllllick at this point.
- Mocked in Kevin Smith's The Green Hornet:
Green Hornet: I mean, I like drama as much as the next guy, obviously, but who the hell points an un-cocked gun at somebody?
- In Secret Warriors, Nick Fury has just told his men that they are going after their former comrades-in-arms. Dum Dum objects: 'But Nick, what will you feel when you shoot a friend!?' Fury answers with cocking his gun and a single word: 'Recoil'.
- In Preacher, Frankie gives a nice little demonstration of this trope as he's gunning down Cassidy. The Lee-Enfield Mk.III, as Frankie so joyfully explains, is a favorite piece of his not only because it's very reliable and powerful, but also because the sound of the bolt action doing its thing puts the fear of God in ya real quick:
- "Click clack... clack click."
- Secret Wars (2015): Frank Castle crashes a Villainous End of the World party.
Gentlemen, they say that when you die, you can't take it with you. Which begs the question: Exactly what am I gonna do with all these bullets? (CLAC)
- In Mutant, The shotgun click gets an entire line to itself.
- Four Deadly Secrets: In her duel with India, Ruby chambers a round once she stops playing with him, and her opponent barely has time to recognise her scythe is also a gun before hes out cold.
- Megami no Hanabira: Mai's demon Barbatos is a demonic huntsman with a bolt-action rifle, and chambers a round with a smirk when Mai asks if he's ready to fight.
- Parodied in The Emperor's New Groove, when Kronk's Shoulder Devil does this with his trident.
- This happens to Batman in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm when Bullock and his SWAT team corner him on a roof.
- Aladdin and the King of Thieves: To fend off the Forty Thieves as they ambush Aladdin and Jasmine's wedding, Genie demonstrates the trope with an elephant!
Genie: FREEZE, SANDBAGS! (cocks elephant's trunk like a gun) Don't make me use the other end!
(Wind blows out of the trunk, blasting several thieves away. The elephant's trunk deflates. Genie sheepishly puts the elephant down.)
- Parodied in the climax of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride; Timon and Pumbaa end up cornered by a group of Outsiders, and Pumbaa crouches in fear with his back facing them. This gives Timon an idea, cocking Pumbaa's tail like a pistol and pointing it at the Outsiders.
Timon: Don't anyone move! This thing's loaded! I'll let you have it!
(The Outsiders scream and run away in fright)
- The finale of American Gangster has Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) do this every single time he runs into someone. This works out to racking a shotgun with 4+1 capacity seven times.
- In The Avengers (2012), the trailer's Establishing Character Moment for Hawkeye (he also has a cameo in Thor), where he cocks his bow.
- In Billy Madison, Eric does this while aiming his revolver at Billy.
- In Black Hawk Down, one of the Rangers is shot and killed while manning the Ma Deuce on the Humvee's roof. A Delta operator takes his place and racks the machine gun's charging handle before he opens fire.note
- Dylan Dog: Dead of Night: Played with *Click* Hello and deconstructed. For Dylan's introduction, an angry husband puts a gun in his face and cocks the hammer...while Dylan is asleep. Waking up, Dylan comments that he cocked it too early, stating that the gun itself ought to be scary enough, and to save cocking for later to escalate the tension.
Dylan: What are you gonna do now? Shake it at me?Gunman: [screams and shakes the gun]Dylan: [unimpressed] See? Not as effective.
- The Blues Brothers: Around 100 rifles, assault rifles, and other firearms are pointed at the brothers in the climactic scene, and we get to hear a lot of them being cocked. Interestingly, the first click-click is the brothers getting handcuffed. Were the officers and soldiers going to shoot them while in custody?
- James Bond
- Bond gets one of these in GoldenEye after fighting off Xenia. '*click* Take me to Janus.' Possible since this was in a bathhouse or bathroom, where one may not always carry a ready to fire a pistol. This most likely (in universe) was done for emphasis by Bond, since the Walther PPK is a double-action semi-automatic, meaning that if a round is in the chamber, it is ready to fire just by pulling the trigger. The only reason to cock it is to ensure an accurate first shot and/or to intimidate the target, both justifiable reasons.
- Die Another Day: Bond is interrogating Gustav Graves with his Walther P99. Miranda Frost walks up and draws her own Walther P99, which, despite being a hammerless pistol like Glocks are, makes the hammer-cocking sound.
- Used in both The Boondock Saints films: the McManus brothers hold their pistols to the back of their victim's head, and recite their family prayer before firing, such that the prayer ends like this: "In nomine patris, et filii..." CLICK "...et spiritus sancti." BLAM.
- In The Bourne Identity, one of the CIA mooks who fights with Jason Bourne in the stairwell has a dubbed Dramatic Gun Cock not once but twice, having no bearing on what he's actually doing with the rifle at the time. The first time, he has just finished ejecting the magazine and the sound is played shortly before he inserts the replacement. The second time, he is raising the rifle as Bourne approaches falling through the air while using the mook's team member as a human shield and crash pillow. At no point on camera do his hands touch the weapon's cocking mechanism.
- Cliffhanger: The clack-clack seems to happen every time the villains brandish their assault weapons at Stallone and company.
- Code of Silence: In this Chuck Norris action thriller, two thugs try to rob a bar. Only when they hear a chorus of gun cocks do they realize it's a bar where off-duty cops hang out.
- Happens in The Dark Knight Rises when Selina Kyle is meeting Stryver in the bar.
Selina Kyle: You don't count so good, huh?Philip Stryver: I count fine. [The thug standing next to Selina cocks his pistol and trains it at her head] In fact, I'm counting to ten, right now.
- Done briefly in District 9, as one of Koobus' mercenaries is pointing out that they were ordered not to use live ammunition in bringing Wikus down after Koobus himself announces that's exactly what they're going to do. And how does our good Colonel respond? While staring blankly and apathetically at his visibly concerned subordinate, no less, with the pistol being held off-camera at the time. He was actually in the process of loading his pistol as the merc spoke, so it's a matter of timing, and on that note it's hardly noticeable.
- In Tony Scott's Domino, a dramatic conversation between Ed and Choco results in Choco cocking his revolver not once, but TWICE, despite the tension level never dropping to a point where the gun is ever, well, un-cocked. Some revolvers have an intermediate hammer position between fully down and fully cocked (hence "going off half-cocked"); it could be that Choco's revolver is one of those, or it could just be dramatic license.
- When Laurence Fishburne's character in Event Horizon acquires a revolver-style bolt gun, he produces not one, but four extremely satisfying gun cocking sounds: He inserts the drum, spins it, snaps the back of the gun shut and then cocks it with a sound more appropriate for a small cannon.
- Also parodied in Evil Dead 2, where Ash cocks a type of gun that can't be cocked.
- In A Fistful of Dynamite John Mallory issues one of these before blowing away his former friend-turned-informant Sean Nolan with a shotgun.
- Ghostbusters (1984): Done with Energy Weapons in the climax. Having reached the Big Bad, the team confidently stride up to her seat of power and go through their proton packs' startup sequence slowly and methodically, which includes two versions of the gun cock: the simultaneous, distinctive whine of the particle throwers as they're powered on, and the mechanical extension of the wands at their business end.
"Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown!"
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: During the raid on the pit, Duke has the Baroness and Storm Shadow at gunpoint. When the Baroness approaches him, he thumbs back the hammer on his 1911, which means, up to that point, it was incapable of firing.
- Averted in the Michael Mann movie Heat, where the detectives pull back the slide just enough to verify there's a round in the chamber, a technique known as a Press Check, intended to confirm that a weapon is fully ready to fire.
- When The Hebrew Hammer enters the Kwanzaa Liberation Front's headquarters, the entire KLF points and cocks their guns at him. It takes several seconds.
- Joe Dawson does it in Highlander: The Source before opening fire on The Guardian. Rather silly example in the regard that he is using a pump-action shotgun, and ejects an unspent shell.
- Done a bunch of times by the hobo in Hobo with a Shotgun.
- Exaggerated to hilarious results in Hot Fuzz, where the townsfolk are all shown to be carrying full automatic weapons which make a cocking sound whenever moved, shaken, or aimed, sometimes multiple times in the same scene. One shotgun cock is filmed from seven different angles (which flash across the screen in less than two seconds).
- During the charge towards the supermarket, there is, shall we say, an inordinate amount of guns cocking (at least 11 times), with no one actually doing anything that would cock the gun. Played for laughs, but only if you're paying attention.
- Iron Man
- In Iron Man 2 when Iron Man charges up his one-use laser weapon, the emitters make a sound reminiscent of a shotgun cocking.
- In Iron Man 3 a bystander stands behind the Extremis-powered woman fighting Tony Stark and proceeds to give away his position by pumping his shotgun, resulting in her turning around and grabbing it before he can shoot. She then immediately pumps it once more before firing at Stark.
- She at least has a better excuse than the bystander: She's ex-military. Military personnel are trained to check their weapons before using it in combat. She loses points on account that it's a shotgun, but it can be chalked down as a reflex from training.
- In Lethal Weapon 3 the Dramatic Gun Cock is used for interrogation. One of the good guys wants to know where a submachine gun is coming from, and to extract this information from a baddie he proceeds to cock said submachine gun and point it at his head. In the same movie, later on, the two main characters are about to start shooting up the baddies' main hideout. They get their weapons, ready themselves... only to hear a Dramatic Gun Cock from behind them. They start to raise their hands, but it turns out it's another good guy (well—good girl, anyway) who's come to help them and is just scaring them for fun.
- In Lola Rennt, it's dramatically releasing the safety (and thus technically another trope, but used more in this way) that signifies that the titular heroine means Serious Business. Twice.
- Justified in The Lone Ranger, since they're all using single-action revolvers.
- The Longest Day: A rare example of one of these after the action: an American paratrooper fumbles around in the dark. He hears something rustling in the bushes, and uses a clicking device provided to GIs to identify friend from foe in the dark. He clicks once, then hears two clicks in return, indicating the reply of a friendly soldier. So then he stands up outside of cover - and gets shot in the gut. Cue a German soldier walking into the frame, working the action on a Mauser rifle: click clack, click clack...note
- The Mask: The record for most Dramatic Gun Cocks executed by a single character, in a single scene, certainly belongs to The Mask, wherein the title character responds to the bad guy's show of force... with his own — at least 28 weapons pulled from behind his back.
- The Matrix: This trope appears in all three films in the series:
Agent Brown: Only human.
- In the original film, there's a moment of incompetence from the SWAT team when our heroes fall into the basement - the SWAT team runs into position and simultaneously cock their guns before opening fire. Seconds later, the SWAT team turns on their laser sights after Apoc throws a smoke grenade. Oddly however, when the first SWAT member realizes that the heroes are in the wetwall and summarily unloads a magazine into it, he does not do a dramatic gun cock.
- That said, the original also gets bonus points for *Click* Hello:
Trinity: *cocks pistol* Dodge This!.
Trinity: You always told me to stay off the freeway.
- The Matrix Reloaded has Morpheus doing this for emphasis before the freeway chase starts.
Morpheus: Yes, that's true.
Trinity: You said it was suicide.
Morpheus: Then let us hope... loads magazine ...that I was wrong. cocks pistolThe Merovingian: Are you really willing to die for this man?
Trinity: *cocks pistol* Believe it.
- In the final scene of Natural Born Killers, a shotgun is pumped multiple times without ejecting a shell.
- Used in Phone Booth with the twist of the gun (a sniper rifle) being a good deal away from the protagonist and the sound being delivered by telephone. He then goes on to discuss this trope, its apparent flaw, and its psychological justification. He also perpetrates the mistake of cocking his gun twice without firing a round in between (presumably ejecting a live round). Considering the intent was to scare the protagonist straight, ejecting a live round is entirely justifiable.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: When Elizabeth threatens Cutler Beckett, she makes a point of pulling the hammer back on her pistol so that he'll know she means business. TWICE. And it's a flintlock. The first film, toward the beginning, had Jack Sparrow cock his gun while threatening Will in the smithy. The badass effect was mitigated by his frustrated "Please move!" and then soundly destroyed when the smith conked him over the head from behind.
- Pulp Fiction features a dramatic shotgun cock once Butch breaks Marsellus out of the Mason-Dixon pawn shop, immediately before the latter unloads on his rapist with the ultimate Groin Attack.
Marsellus: CHACK-CHACK Step aside, Butch.
- Plenty of straight examples in The Quick and the Dead, but subverted when the Lady is working herself up to shoot Herod under the dinner table with a derringer. She cocks her own gun, only to freeze when she hears an answering click. It turns out to be Herod clicking a silver matchbox lid to freak her out.
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark, just before Indy enters the temple at the beginning, one of his "partners" (Barranca) pulls a gun. The sound of him cocking the revolver tips Indy off that he's about to get shot in the back. Cue the bullwhip...
- Justified in that the revolver is single-action and has to be cocked each time it's fired.
- In Red Hill, Jimmy likes to announce his presence to his victims by pumping the side on his Sawed-Off Shotgun. This usually cues an Oh, Crap! moment as they realize that their time on earth is numbered in minutes, if not seconds.
- During the opening battle in Red Tails, a waist gunner on a B-17 is shown racking the charging handle on his machine gun at one point. It serves more to show the grim determination of the bomber crews than it does to precede any badassery, given how ineffective their defense proves to be.
- In The Revenant, Fitzgerald does this to Bridger after grabbing the gun Bridger was threatening him with. Justified in that, as Fitzgerald points out, Bridger hadn't properly readied the weapon in the first place.
- The Rock:
Mason: Your best? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen!Stan: Carla was the prom queen...Mason: Really?Stan *cock* Really.
- In Scary Movie 3 one of the characters dramatically cocks...a shovel. A shell falls out.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. After making Sherlock Holmes toss aside his revolver, Sebastian Moran invites him to take an automatic C96 Mauser pistol and even insert an (anachronistic — they used stripper clips at the time) box magazine. Holmes notes that the latter does make loading easier, but you'd still need to retract the bolt—Moran has his pistol cocked and aimed at Sherlock's head in an instant.
Moran: Easier done than said.
- Backfires on Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. When he's in the completely pitch black room with his night vision goggles, Agent Starling has no idea where he is, until he cocks his gun, at which point, she immediately aims and shoots him. Shoulda cocked it ahead of time, or simply pulled the trigger.
- The novel explains this — Buffalo Bill is a Serial Killer who does this with other women he's kidnapped. Cocking the gun draws out the anticipation of the kill. Of course, he's never stalked an armed woman before...
- Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 Ricky is threatened by a cop who cocks his revolver and says "Yeah, I know how to use this!" he then kills him and steals it.
- First subverted in Snatch., where one of the robbers of a betting parlor wastes rounds in the gun doing so. And he doesn't even get to use it and has it stolen from him. And even worse, it's the only real gun they had.
- Later the trope is played straight, when Tommy saves Turkish from a vicious beating (or worse) by pulling a gun on the attacking thugs. When the leader tries to talk him down, Tommy cocks the hammer to show he's serious. Justified as it's a bluff, the gun is either damaged/defective and doesn't work.
- In Sneakers, during Martin's escape near the end, one thug carries a shotgun which he grabs and pumps as soon as he gets it. But he never fires a round, and yet when he finally finds Martin, he pumps the shotgun at him again. Normally this wouldn't be very obvious if you weren't paying attention, but in this case, you can hear the loud CLUNK of the unfired shell hitting the floor.
- In Stagecoach, John Wayne pulls this off with a lever-action rifle.
- Used by Gordie in Stand by Me when defending himself against Ace and his switchblade knife. It would be justified example because the 1911A1 pistol he's using is single action and would need to manually cocked, except that Gordie already fired off a warning shot, so the hammer would've already been cocked back.
- Stargate: A fairly egregious example comes from the movie. During the scene where the commando team is investigating the temple, they cock their guns absolutely every time they hear a noise. Considering this is maybe a ten man team and there are maybe twenty gun-cocks per startling noise, this may be the result of a trigger-happy foley artist.
- Star Trek: Insurrection: Done to badass effect by Data: "Saddle up," (gun cock with a phaser rifle) "lock and load."
- A brief cocking (or at least readying) of a Klingon disruptor is seen in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, as eight or so of the last remaining crew of the Bird of Prey are sent to take over the USS Enterprise.
- The Star Wars version is the dramatic lightsaber activation. It's seen mostly, but not exclusively, with Darth Vader. Often, Vader will be standing stock-still and completely silent—save for the sound of his respirator—and with his face mask hiding his expression, an air of extreme calm. The only indication that he's about to ruin someone's day being the activation of his lightsaber.
- Striking Distance: A cop has just infiltrated a hijacked boat. Upon attacking one of the criminals, he asks how many other men are there. When the man refuses to answer, the cop says, "let me rephrase that," then cocks the shotgun he's holding. Needless to say, the guy talks very quickly after that.
- In Sudden Impact there's one of these in what seems like every scene/in which Dirty Harry brandishes his gun.
- The Terminator franchise:
- Sarah Connor does this several times in succession in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, blasting the T-1000 with a Remington 870 shotgun and interjecting each shot with a forceful, one-armed pump (her other arm was too injured to do it normally).
- The T-800 itself in the same film dramatically flip-cocks his shotgun, a lever action Winchester Model 1887. Doing so with a factory production gun would result in broken fingers, as the handguard is too narrow—the shotgun in question was custom-altered for the movie, much like the shotgun from The Rifleman. He does this because it's cool, and to fire one-handed on the bike.
- In the first film, Reese does one after sawing off the stock and barrel of his shotgun. He pumps the shotgun three times: Once when he cuts the barrel off, once when he wakes up from his dream, and once in Tech Noir before he starts blasting. It would seem that he pointlessly ejected two good shells, or he was walking around with it empty and was, ahem, pumping it for fun. Or he had the chamber empty for safety reasons. A good precaution if you have nightmares that make you rack the action of your shotgun.
- There was another one in Tech Noir. Right before he attempts to shoot Sarah Connor, the Terminator cocks the pistol.
- A somewhat downplayed example in We Were Soldiers. A group of North Vietnamese soldiers sneaking through the woods don't realize they are right on top of the American troops they are trying to find until one of the Americans thumbs his rifle from "Safe" to "Auto" with two barely audible clicks. One NVA trooper recognizes that sound, but it's already too late.
- Both villainous and heroic versions appear in White House Down.
- In the Wild Wild West movie, when West realizes that the President is not who he appears to be, he points a gun to his head:
West: Who are you, mister?Gordon: (in Grant's voice) What do you mean, who am I? I am the President of the United States.West: Wrong answer. (shoots ceiling, points the gun back at Gordon) Who are you?Gordon: I am the President of the — (*click*; in normal voice) I'm Artemus Gordon.
- X-Men Film Series:
- X-Men: Taken to the extreme by Magneto when, after yanking all the cops' guns out of their hands and pointing them at their owners' heads, he cocks every one at once. His younger self repeats this action in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but with the firearms of the Secret Service agents who are assigned to protect President Nixon and his cabinet.
- X-Men: First Class: This occurs when Erik Lehnsherr asks Charles Xavier to shoot him in the head during their training session.
- Invoked in 13 Tzameti (and the American remake 13). Players in a Deadly Game of Russian Roulette stand in a circle with their guns pointed at the man in front of them. They cock the gun on command, then fire on another signal.
- In the 1980 film adaptation of The Dogs of War, one of the mercenaries is smuggling automatic weapons across the border sealed up in oil drums. To add tension to the Border Crossing, he racks back the slide on a pistol when the customs officers appear to be taking too close an interest in the drums. This is despite the fact that the whole point of sealing them in drums was so customs couldn't find any weapons if the van was searched, so why have an illegal pistol in the first place?
- In The Curious Case of Sid Finch, the title character (a skilled human parrot, among other talents) tries to scare a burglar by imitating the sound of a taxicab. He later wishes he had thought to make the sound of a rifle bolt being drawn back.
- Backfires pretty badly on the protagonist of Richard K. Morgan's Market Forces. Holding some thugs at bay with a shotgun, he pumps it in attempt to intimidate them... and the gun, having been previously damaged, conspicuously fails to chamber another round, thus rendering him visibly defenseless.
- Lampshaded in one of the Track novels by Jerry Ahern (a gun writer and action-adventure novelist). Track's Action Girlfriend takes out her pistol, and Track thinks to himself that in the movies she'd pull back the slide dramatically. Of course she doesn't do this as a round is already chambered.
- Invoked and explored by Terry Pratchett in Nation, in which the dramatic cocking of a gun is referred to as "the two-pound noise." As the ship's cook explained "Because when a man hears that in the dark, he loses two pounds of... weight, quickly.
- Parodied in The Last Continent, when Ponder Stibbons rolls up his sleeves at a dramatically appropriate moment, which is explicitly described as the magical equivalent of checking the action on a pump-barrel shotgun.
- Backfires on the antagonist in Patricia Cornwell's Hornet's Nest, when he cocks his AR-15 twice, jamming the bolt open and preventing it from firing. This mistake costs him his life.
- A character in Tim Powers' Expiration Date is taught to rack a pistol every time she draws it, partly to ensure that there's a round chambered and partly for exploiting this trope. Every time she does this, she ejects a round onto the floor and has to retrieve it after the situation defuses.
- Played with in Rudyard Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West," when Mohammed Khan warns the Colonel's son that in Kamal's territory, "ye may hear a breech-bolt snick where never a man is seen." The Colonel's son then proves how badass he is by riding onward despite hearing unseen rifles cocked three times. This proves not to be a Harbinger of Asskicking, because Kamal chivalrously refrains from signaling his men to shoot.
- In The Road by The father invokes this when a bandit/bloocult holds his son hostage. It's specifically stated he knows he doesn't need to, as his revolver is double action, but he tries to use it for intimidation.
- In Caliban's War, Prax tries performing a dramatic gun cock in the middle of a tense standoff because that's what heroes in action films always do — and inadvertently turns the Mexican Standoff into a Blast Out.
- Discussed in the Jack Reacher novel The Affair, when Reacher, sneaking up on someone, does this to hopefully avoid a gun fight. He mentally compares the advantage (hopefully avoiding violence) with the disadvantage (if it does come to a shoot out, he'll have ejected a perfectly good shell he might end up needing).
- Sherlock Holmes gives us the description of Colonel Moran assembling and loading his massive air gun, which gives off several sharp clicking and grinding noises in the process. For added drama, there was near pitch darkness in the room, so Watson could only see him in very general details.
- 1632: The first time Scottish soldiers confront future Americans with modern-day shotguns, they see them cock their guns dramatically. Though the Scots are unfamiliar with such weapons and the cocking motion, they immediately realize that these menacing-looking guns are now primed and ready to fire.
- In Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle, it's mentioned that the guns issued to the troops of Baron Wulfenbach have been deliberately designed to make this sound as intimidating as possible.
- Lampshaded in Forging Hephaestus, where a robber tries to theater Ivan by pulling back the hammer on his gun. Ivan wonders about the pointless gesture, as the weapon is automatic. He then reasons it's probably supposed to be dramatic. Not that he feels threatened in any way, being a Retired Badass. The only reason he doesn't kill them all on the spot is because it's his day job and he'd rather like to keep it.
- Jack Bauer did this on 24; as Lauren Proctor was getting ready to exit the room, Jack cocked his gun and told her he was more dangerous than he seemed because he'd killed two people since midnight last night.
- In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Shadows", Dum Dum Dugan gives a Dramatic Gun Cock with his shotgun while intimiating a bunch of HYDRA goons.
- Every time someone draws a weapon or points it at someone in Andromeda there's a "power up" sound, presumably the energy weapon equivalent of a gun cock. However, this doesn't seem to be the result of any action on the part of the person holding the gun.
- In the Angel episode "Release", when Angelus is about to shoot Faith point-blank with a shotgun, he delivers his little speech, then dramatically pumps the shotgun. Then he does it again. And again. Only once all of the shells have been ejected does Faith kick it away and resume fisticuffs.
- Yeah, just count how many times that shotgun was fired and then had shells ejected. Someone in the production team wasn't keeping close count.
- Done effectively, and correctly, earlier in the episode when Wesley and Faith are interrogating demons in a Bad-Guy Bar. Faith is roughing up one demon who notices another demon sneaking up on Wesley...only for Wes to shoot the second demon in the face with a shotgun. Without Looking.
Wesley: Strom demon. Face should grow back. (cocks the shotgun) Eventually.
Faith: Think yours will?
- Also done with those pistol crossbows the Fang Gang carry, though it's not quite clear what they're supposed to be cocking.
- Human PPGs in Babylon 5 have a very distinctive capacitor charging whine when powering up. Hearing it usually means that some ass is about to be kicked. And much like in other examples, just about anything you do with a PPG makes it do its version of this. In one episode, you hear the sound repeatedly just from Garibaldi removing and re-inserting the cap (as, according to Word of God, he's seriously considering shooting himself).
- Brennan on Bones once weaponized a gun cock, without an actual gun. A suspect was holding Booth at gun point and she came up behind him, a gun cock noise sounded, and she gave a speech about the type of gun it belonged to, which made the suspect stand down. When Booth asked her where she got the gun (she's rather infamously not allowed to have one in the field), she eagerly shows him the sound-effects app she was using. She told him she'd debated a shot gun, but felt that would have been overkill.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- In "Homecoming", Buffy cocks a pump action rifle for dramatic effect repeatedly. This bites her in the ass when she quickly runs out of ammo. It also makes sense, given that she's almost certainly never used a gun before.
- In "Touched", there's a Dramatic Gun Cock sound when a homeowner brandishes a shotgun at Buffy. It's a hammerless double-barreled type that should not produce such a sound.
- Seems like Fiona does this with a shotgun every other week on Burn Notice. Jesse also does it, thumbing back the hammer on his pistol before not shooting Fiona in the face in "Blind Spot".
- John Casey in Chuck is fond of cocking guns for emphasis. As is everyone else in the show.
- Lampshaded by Alexei Volkoff who admits it's useless, but loves the sound.
- On Cold Case, Serial Killer George Marks is holding Lily hostage. As Scotty threatens to tear him apart should he harm her, George raises his gun to the receiver and cocks it, as "A gentle reminder to mind your manners".
- CSI: Miami did this twice.
- A whole subplot was built out of this when someone pointed a gun at the back of Calleigh Duquesne's head and cocked it. She spent the rest of the episode listening to gun-cocks until she was able to successfully identify the type of weapon pointed at her.
- When Horatio Caine had an enemy literally under his foot, he cocked his gun while pointing it at his face and said "your move."
- On CSI NY, Mac was on the receiving end. A rich guy tazed him, kidnapped him, blindfolded him and drove him to a bad part of town before doing it. He then drove off and left Mac. Naturally, Mac doesn't intimidate that easily.
- Doctor Who:
- New-Who is severely overloaded with this trope. Pretty much every time anybody points a gun at anything, there is a dramatic gun cock. If they turn and point at something else, there's another one. It would seem that firearms in the Whoniverse not only have to be manually cocked, but the slightest motion will cause them to uncock without firing and force them to be cocked again. Exceptions are sometimes made for ray guns and other non-standard firearms... although the number of energy weapons that have to be pumped like shotguns is really quite remarkable.
- "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End": The BFGs being wielded by certain characters are pump-action, with the pumps being used for extra emphasis at times.
"Do you like my gun?"
- "The End of Time": During a standoff, the Doctor acts particularly indecisive and remarkably careless when deciding who to shoot... and seemingly re-cocks the gun every time he aims it at someone else. While he Doesn't Like Guns and might not know how they work, it's a revolver so that shouldn't even be possible.
- It gets worse. If you look close, you can see the way he's holding the gun he has the trigger pulled all the way.
- "The Big Bang": River's nonchalant and very feminine way of setting her ray gun to, presumably, the "terminate with extreme prejudice" setting is an unusual but quite chilling variant of this trope.
- "Let's Kill Hitler": Rory does this. Against Hitler.
[pointing a revolver at Adolf's face] Sit down, [cocks gun] shut up.
- Done by Riddell in "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" as he and Amy prepare to face down the titular dinosaurs. Done later by Nefertiti as she emerges from his tent (presumably post-coitally) for no real reason.
- Jayne seems to speak almost entirely in dramatic gun cocks.
- Mal also seems fond of doing it at times, either to make a point (such as in the "Big Damn Heroes" scene in "Safe") or as a way of saying "Cut the bullshit" if someone is trying to con him. It's particularly noticeable in his interactions with Saffron.
- Played for laughs when Wash cocks a tiny pistol rather dramatically in "War Stories".
- "Jaynestown": take notice of the sound when "Stitch" Hessian points his shotgun at Mal's face. Seeing as Stitch doesn't pump the action (he's holding the shotgun one-handed) and that model doesn't have an exposed hammer, what exactly is creating the cocking sound?
- Many of the weapons in Firefly have, in place of a dramatic gun cock, a dramatic electrical whine (regardless of if the weapon appears to be purely conventionally mechanical or not.)
- In "The Message", Jayne invokes this by racking a shotgun to get a hostage taker to turn towards him, allowing Mal a clean shot without having to Shoot the Hostage. It is notable that he is actually holding two guns at the time and only cocks the second.
- The interrogation aspect is inverted in Serenity, where Mal is trying to talk down River in Ax-Crazy mode as she has a pistol pointed at his face.
- Blatantly overused in Heroes, where you know someone is going to cock their gun only after pointing it at someone for ten seconds. The only exception is Noah Bennet.
- Averted by Guerrero on Human Target, who shoots a client in the back without any warning at all after selling him info about Chance's first case. Made up for in spades in one scene of another episode, where the entire roomful of armed and unfriendly men cock and re-cock their weapons at every awkward pause in the conversation.
- Detectives in the Law & Order franchise have been carrying Glock pistols and cocking them since the original series' 1995-96 season. As noted above, these pistols have no external hammer, making the Dramatic Gun Cock impossible. The early-season detectives - Greevey, Cerreta, Briscoe, Logan - carried double-action revolvers and often cocked them as well.
- Locke uses the gun cock to get Ben to reveal information in the Lost episode "Confirmed Dead". Kate uses it in "Not in Portland" to get Aldo to tell her Karl's whereabouts.
- One storyline on Miami Vice has Crockett suffering partial amnesia. He forgets he's really a cop and falls into his undercover persona of a facilitator of drug deals. While in this state he shoots his partner Tubbs, apparently killing him. Of course Tubbs turns out to have been wearing a Bulletproof Vest. After that Crockett's memory begins to return. Guilt-ridden, he makes his way to the police station. He walks into the squadroom and stops. His fellow officers, believing him to have turned rogue, draw and cock their weapons in succession. CLICK. CLICK. CLICK. CLICK.
- Characters on Money Heist do this a lot, both protagonists and antagonists alike.
- Person of Interest. Reese's Batman Gambit has failed. He takes a pump-action shotgun from a bag labeled "Plan B".
Reese: When I give the signal, cut the power. [pumps the action] That's the signal.
- The television adaptations of the Sharpe books are a bit prone to this. Made even worse by their use of flintlock muskets, pistols and rifles; generally these make only a pronounced "click" when pulled back to half-cock (safe position from which the pan may be primed), followed by another when pulled to full-cock. Trying to get a flintlock to make the characteristic set of three closely-spaced, sharp clicks the series uses is... not easy.
- Sherlock pulls one off, beautifully.
Moriarty: No one ever gets to me. And no one ever will.
Sherlock: (click) I did.
- Shan also does it to John Watson in "The Blind Banker", and it definitely works as a scare tactic.
- Used before half the commercial breaks in Sons of Guns when a member of the crew test fires a recently built or repaired gun.
- While not a firearm, Stargate SG-1's version of this trope would be the staff weapon's distinctive "Bzzzt" sound when it is armed, as well as showing arcs of energy along the tip of the weapon. The Goa'uld and their Jaffa love doing this to prisoners before executing them.
- As with the staff weapons, the 'TEEE-UNG' sound of a zat being activated definitely qualifies.
- And of course, the 'FWOOOAAAEEE' sound of Ronon's gun powering up in Stargate Atlantis. And, to a lesser extent, Teyla cocking her P90 upon realizing she can't buy more time when she was being forced to execute Sheppard by a not-quite-herself Weir.
- In the original-series Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action", a gangster lets Kirk and Spock know they're being covered by cocking his weapon. Spock suggests they lower their weapons because he "just heard the sound of..." which Kirk finishes "...the sound of a machine gun bolt being pulled back."
- Inverted in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, where John has to quietly and carefully pump a shotgun while Cromartie is walking around his house. The not-so-dramatic noise nearly reveals to Cromartie where John is hiding.
- Another time, Cameron is seen simply moving a Glock in a threatening manner, and you hear a loud "click". Note that she never moves her thumb, and even if she did, Glocks are guns which have neither a hammer (striker-fired) nor even a manual safety (the trigger is a "safe-action" design that makes a traditional safety redundant), meaning there is nothing to cock, short of using your other hand to pull the slide back and chamber a new round, thereby either wasting a bullet, or showing that the gun was completely harmless before.
- Kelso does this with a golf club in an episode of That '70s Show before screaming "Burn!"
- On Top Gear's Polar Special, James May cocks his shotgun for the camera as he keeps watch while Jeremy Clarkson is enthroned on a portable toilet affixed to their truck's back bumper. Clarkson immediately calls out: "James, are you showing off, or are you actually looking for bears over there? Because I can't run."
- From What It's Like Being Alone:
"What happened to my booze? Did I black out and join AA?" (cocks gun) "Better unjoin it."
- The playfield for the "X-ile Zone" table in Obsession Pinball shows the unnamed heroine dramatically holding a large-barrel grenade launcher upright.
- In the Discworld Role-Playing Game, the type of repeating crossbow used in the swashbuckling seaports of the Brown Islands is stated to make a sinister kerr-chunk noise when operated — apparently its most important feature.
- Spending a shot to do this with a shotgun (the "KA-CHINK!" rule) in Feng Shui gets you an extra damage point on your next attack with it. Bonus points for requiring that the player must audibly imitate the sound to get the bonus.
- Spycraft gives pump-action shotgun owners a bonus on their Intimidate skill at the start of combat. Guess where it comes from.
- The World of Darkness actually gives you Intimidation bonuses for cocking a pump-action shotgun. Not so for any other type of gun, however, as they aren't nearly scary enough.
- The 20th Anniversary Edition of Mage: The Ascension even includes a Rote that allows you to draw on the resonance of a cocked gun (or a drawn sword) and channel it into attacking more targets with more force; by incorporating a Mind effect, you can also get someone to stand down with the sound alone.
- In the final prologue mission in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Khaled Al-Asad gets quite a badass one right before executing the Arabic president Al-Fulani on national TV.
Al-Asad: (in Arabic, towards camera) This is how it begins. *Ka-Click, BLAM*
- In Modern Warfare 2 and 3, switching to a weapon's under-barrel shotgun attachment is always preceded with pumping it, even if it already has a shell loaded (or, hilariously, if it's empty). Only the player doing so can hear it, though. Likewise, picking up a new weapon for the first time results in your character pulling the handle or whatever back; switching back afterwards just brings it up normally. Also done by General Shepherd at you during a period of Controllable Helplessness at the end of the second game.
- Leon Kennedy does this in the first chapter of Resident Evil 6, while holding his custom handgun on his zombified friend. In an interesting bit of Showing Their Work, Leon's handgun doesn't actually have a hammer, but the VP 70 Z (one of the guns it's modeled on) has a notoriously stiff trigger pull, and Leon is actually setting the trigger (his finger can be seen tensing) as the last step he needs to take before firing.
Helena backs away from her zombified boss slowly, shaking her head in disbelief.
Leon, pointing his handgun at Adam, visibly horrified: "Stay where you are." His finger tenses on the trigger, producing an audible click.
Adam lunges at Helena.
Soldier: Ma'am, squad leaders are requesting a rally point. Where should they go?
Keyes: *Ka-Click* To war.
"I believe that the sound of racking the pump of a shotgun is universally recognized as 'kiss your ass goodbye'."
- Averted in Halo: Reach and subsequent games. Only the first time you draw your weapon, be it a pistol, an assault rifle, or anything in between, does your character cock it. Every subsequent time, or until you drop the weapon and pick it up again, you'll simply heft it to its ready position; the most action you'll take is flipping the safety off if necessary.
- The M90 Close Assault Weapon System is usually nicknamed the Universal Translator. Why?
- Every time you switch guns in Counter-Strike, your character automatically cocks the gun as soon as you equip it. Exceptions are the sniper rifles in earlier games, and the Desert Eagle in Global Offensive. This is a gameplay mechanic: you're vulnerable while your character cocks the gun, and as a result, you should think twice before trying to sidestep your main gun's movement speed penalty by running around with the knife and switching to your gun as soon as you see someone.
- In Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, right before Vlad kills Alfred Woden, and he and Max both fall through the floor, Max finds a Desert Eagle and cocks it, even though it was being used moments ago.
- The third game gets worse. Not only does cutscene Max often rack the slides of guns he was firing moments before, but the animation is the same if he is holding a revolver... which doesn't work that way.
- Overplayed in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. In an attempt to find the location of the C4 bombs along the complex, Raiden interrogates Fat Man. As Fat Man pushes a remote, Raiden cocks his gun and demands an explanation. He does this at least twice more.
- Both justified and subverted in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
- The first time Major Ocelot racks the slide on his pistol during the Virtuous Mission (before he kills a KGB team), no bullet comes out of the ejector port which gives the idea that Ocelot doesn't chamber a bullet until he's going to shoot someone (presumably so he can avoid shooting himself while spinning it for a full minute).
- When he's about to shoot Naked Snake, Ocelot reloads and tries to rack the slide before he fires, an uncommon Middle Eastern technique used to ensure there is an unjammed bullet in the chamber. Since he is obviously trying it for the first time, the gun stovepipes on him. Snake later chastises him for trying a technique he had only heard about and never tried before in the middle of a fight.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, whenever Snake (or any other player) reloads a non-pistol gun, he uses the technique demonstrated by Ocelot in MGS3, above, when he ejects the unspent round.
- This is a game mechanic in Metal Gear Solid. Using the Run-And-Shoot technique, Snake will hold his gun ready to fire while moving around (it's very useful during the battle with Ocelot, amongst other times). However, if he turns around 180 degrees, he does a cinematic-style dramatic gun cock, causing him to stop in his tracks a little (preventing it from being a total Game-Breaker).
- From the Team Fortress 2 video "Meet the Spy", the Soldier dramatically cocks his shotgun, while claiming that the BLU Spy was the RED Spy all along. Notably, he cocks the gun after shooting the Spy, meaning he doesn't waste a round, and is also ready with his next shot, which is rare enough in fiction that it's actually worth mentioning.
- Incidentally, the only time this trope is played straight in-game is with the Pyro, who pumps its shotgun every time you pull it out (other classes with the same weapon simply ready it). This gets a bit absurd if you combine the Reserve Shooter and Degreaser, which makes it so Pyro can put away his flamethrower, pull out his shotgun, pump it, and ready it in less than 0.2 seconds.
- At the end of the introductory highway stage in Mega Man X, the sound of Zero's blaster charging up replaces the click.
- The title screen clip for Shadow the Hedgehog. And then the introductory cutscene has Shadow cocking a submachine gun like it's a shotgun. Even stranger, there are no shotgun-type weapons in the game at all.
- In the beginning of Valkyria Chronicles, this is present in Alicia's introductory scene, where she thought Welkin (who was on his way to help his sister, Isara, move to the capital, and stopped to sketch a trio of fish) to be an imperial spy.
Alicia: Freeze. Put your hands in the air. Slowly.
- With the new Dual Pistols powerset in City of Heroes, you cock your guns whenever you draw them, or switch ammo.
- You can cock your gun in battle in Mass Effect 2 whenever you want (to elaborate, the character actually smacks a button on the side or bottom of the gun to eject a heat sink). This also happens frequently in cutscenes.
- In-universe, most of the weapons Shepard's crew carries are carried in a collapsed state (presumably to make carrying four different weapons considerably less of a pain in the ass then it would otherwise be). Whenever a weapon is brought out, it automatically telescopes to its full length with an appropriate sound effect.
- In Odd World, Sligs are armed with shotgun looking devices that fire full-auto from Bottomless Magazines. That said, they have an animation which is three quick gun-cocks - thus, it appears that the only reason they have the bottom part of their weapon is so it can make cocking noises.
- Left 4 Dead 2 uses this in its opening cutscene:
Coach: Barricade your homes...Avoid all contact with infected individuals...Wait for official instructions...*Laugh* Wait, my ass.
Eilis: Kill all sons-of-bitches. *Racks shotgun* That's my 'ficial instructions.
- In Dungeon Fighter Online, the Gunner character class cocks his gun every 5 seconds when in town. There are usually at least ten of them.
- In Dynasty Warriors 7, Guo Huai cocks his hand cannon before he is about to kill Xiahou Ba.
- Averted in Receiver, where you have a different button for every part of your gun, including cocking the hammer and the slide. Pulling the slide with a bullet in the chamber makes your precious ammo fall to the ground.
- Parodied in Lego Lord of the Rings where Gimli cocks his axe, which causes a shotgun cocking sound effect to play.
- There's a moment in Sly 2: Band of Thieves when Bently does this, the problem? He does it to an Automatic Crossbow.
- Project Zomboid will punish this trope if you opt for "Hardcore" reloading. One key ejects or inserts a magazine, while another works the action. Working the action while a round is already chambered will eject unspent rounds to the floor. Better not forget that you're using a semi-automatic pistol and not a pump shotgun.
- Dawn Of War: The Commissar's Execute ability (which kills a squad member to increase firing speed and instantly restore morale to it and surrounding squads) is heralded by a loud metallic clank before the actual gunshot.
- Even though the Chicago Typewriter in Resident Evil 4 has a Bottomless Magazine and infinite ammo, you can still reload and dramatically cock it for no purpose beyond evoking this trope for Rule of Cool.
- In DOOM Eternal, the Doom Slayer tends to pump his shotgun in placement of a verbal threat. When confronted by Hell Priests who lambast him for getting in their way, he simply turns to face them and pumps his shotty, which is enough to scare them away.
- Problem Sleuth: DING.
- Schlock Mercenary: Can also happen with Energy Weapons, such as Sergeant Schlock's Plasgun and its Ommminous Hummmm. "I like the soothing sounds I get out of this one."
Enireth Comm Tech: What is that noise?
Schlock: Damage, looking to take out a loan against some collateral.
- In a Mexican Standoff in Sluggy Freelance, everyone's guns makes a "CHAKAT!" noise when they point them at each other, because the guns have a "Mexican Standoff" setting. As the standoff gets increasingly absurd, one character's axes and another character's fingers make the same sound for no apparent reason.
- Justified in Void Dogs, with Cicada's GSMR. The gun fires self-propelled rocket rounds so there's no reason for it to cock, but it has a button that makes ominous, attention-grabbing noises so she can do this and *Click* Hello.
- Cracked: Deconstructed here.
- That page links back here.
- Filthy Frank uses this as the basis for a Rap's beat. Needless to say, it's kinda catchy and very NSFW.
- The Simpsons
- Parodied in "The Fat and the Furriest": a hunter says something dramatic, and pumps his shotgun, visibly expelling a shell. Cletus the Yokel tries to copy him, and then he and the hunter start bickering about whether his comment added anything, and they keep expelling shells at the end of each sentence!
- In "Homie the Clown", while threatening Homer and Krusty with a revolver, a Mob boss cocks his gun, scaring Homer. After some patter, he cocks the gun again, eliciting the exact same response. In the DVD Commentary, the writers mention that they thought it was hilarious that a gun gets more frightening the more often you cock it.
- Upon learning the book to end a zombie curse is in the library, Homer swing-cocks a shotgun in "Treehouse of Horror III".
Homer: To the book-depository!
- Taken to ridiculous extremes in Marge's story from "Margical History Tour", about the Lewis and Clark expedition. When Sacagawea's party runs across a band of hostile natives, the explorers' weapons all cock their guns dramatically...after which the natives cock their bows and arrows with the same soundbyte.
- South Park: parodied several times in "Lil' Crime Stoppers" when the boys are playing Cop games. Stan makes a dramatic line and to double the drama pumps his shotgun... of course they don't actually have shotguns so Stan just pumps his imaginary one and makes the "Ch-ch" sound himself. And then there's the time Stan cocks a real gun...
- SpongeBob SquarePants: When Patrick catches Spongebob stealing his secret box, thinking he's a clam burglar.
"Hand over the goods, Secret Box Bandit! And prepare for the most unpleasant pillow fight of your life! (cocks his pillow)
- After Bill, the pathetic neighbor on King of the Hill, fails to kill himself, Dale, Hank, and Boomhaur start a suicide watch. Dale's turn involves him sitting on a chair with a shotgun watching Bill all day.
Bill: But I have to tinkle.
Dale: Not on my watch. (cocks shotgun)
- Happens several times in Batman: The Animated Series. In "Almost Got 'Im", Batman disguised as Killer Croc signals the ambush and a bar full of police officers all cock their guns and point them at the villains. What follows is a ten-second-long pan shot of officers cocking everything from automatics and revolvers to shotguns and Thompson SMGs.
- Daffy Duck in Aqua Duck as he forces the mouse to give back his gold nugget with his revolver.
- The Venture Bros. parodies this in "The Devil's Grip". When surprised by rustling while camping out, Gary picks up a roughly gun-shaped branch as a bluff. Sgt. Hatred is not impressed, and proceeds to enlist Gary's help in rescuing Dr. Venture.
Gary: Yeah, I'm in. Let's bring him home. Chk-chk.
Sgt. Hatred: Did you just cock your stick?
Gary: Yeah, whatever, I just—so what.
- Almost all military units, the world over, keep a round chambered at all times while in the field. The only exception are peace-keeping forces, because the sight and sound of an entire squad cocking their weapons is usually enough to scare any would-be troublemakers back into line without the force having to resort to violence. Double-action handguns give you the best of both worlds. The Beretta 92FS handgun - the weapon/sidearm of choice for John Woo and the US military — is usually carried with a round chambered but the hammer down, and you can either do this trope with the hammer or just pull the trigger; the gun will work fine either way without wasting a bullet.
- Handguns have three typical variations: Single-Action, Double-Action, and Double-Action Only. Single-action requires the hammer be pulled down with each shot; simply pulling the trigger will not do anything useful as there's no mechanism for the trigger to pull the hammer back.note For double-action handguns, while the hammer can be pulled back manually, it doesn't need to be: instead, pulling the trigger will set the hammer into place automatically. Double-action-only works the same as double-action, except the hammer can't be pulled back to act in single-action mode, so there's no dramatic gun cock option available unless you deliberately leave the chamber empty. Revolvers and some older automatic pistols may have single-action triggersnote , but more modern automatic handguns are almost invariably double-action or double-action-only, the latter usually being striker-fired rather than having a visible hammer.
- Similarly, militaries doing guard or security work use an escalation of force that begins with verbal warnings and escalates, step by step, into finally using lethal force (shooting the enemy). The idea is to use the most minimal force possible to defuse the conflict. One of the final steps before actually shooting the enemy is cocking the weapon and chambering a round: this is done to tell the enemy, with absolutely zero uncertainty, that soldier is willing and able to use lethal force if the enemy doesn't back down. Typically the enemy gets one final warning in the form of a warning shot before they're taken down (contrary to what's seen in movies, soldiers really don't want to shoot people unless there is absolutely no alternative). This is done in spite of the weapon already having a round chambered in the first placenote : it has such a psychological effect that actually hearing the weapon rack a round is extremely effective at making people back down.
- This is one reason why law enforcement officers and elite police units, who are always supposed to use the aforementioned protocol when dealing with criminals, like pump-action shotguns despite their reduced firing rate: because racking a shotgun is loud, spectacular, and makes all but the most cold-blooded and drugged up thugs tremble at their feet.
- The Mauser C96 pistol came with a detachable wooden stock that doubled as the carrying case. However the gun was meant to be transported unloaded with the hammer uncocked and the safety disengaged, and wouldn't fit in the stock holster with hammer cocked. This wasn't so much a problem when the C96 was used as its intended role as civilian handgun but became a liability when hundreds of thousands of them were used in combat. So instead the users would uncock the hammer after loading the weapon so it would fit in the stock holster. The C96 then needed to be cocked after it was drawn before it could fire. Given the C96's reputation as a Hand Cannon, you can bet this act was dramatic.
- One officer at least claimed to do this in a real manhunt. He was wielding a shotgun that was already primed to fire, but the suspect was hiding somewhere. The officer worked the slide (and ejected a round) to persuade the suspect to give up.
- Another officer did this when a driver refused to turn his car around while approaching a bridge with a suicidal individual.
- Deputy Bud Staple credited the sound of a newly-arrived Army unit's simultaneous loading of their M1 carbines with intimidating the mob trying to keep James Meredith from registering at Ole Miss.
- One reason the noble shotgun is an attractive choice for home defense is the loud, terrifying, and instantly recognizable sound of the pump action at work. Only an extremely stupid home invader (or maybe a cold-blooded one on lots of cocaine) would stick around after hearing the distinctive K-CHK CHK sound, meaning the owner of the shotgun likely won't have to actually fire the thing in the first place.
- The M82 Barrett is an absolute beast of a gun that fires a 50 caliber round, designed to be used against lightly armored positions and vehicles (and occasionally people with...fun results). Anyone who has heard it cock can verify that the loud, clanking sound of chambering the first round is certainly dramatic, and very intimidating.