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Firearms Are Cowardly

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"These are loud and clumsy! These are the weapons of cowards!"
Batman referring to guns, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Often times firearms are useful for the modern Combat Pragmatist to wipe out their enemies. It's often used as a tool for self-defense and protection against malcontents and an efficient tool of offense. After all, Firearms Are Revolutionary. Surely they'll be respected objects, right?

Not in this case. This trope revolves around the circumstance where firearm users and/or firearms themselves are regarded with disdain as "cowardly" or lacking in respectable valor in a setting either by a group or an individual.

Depending on the story, there are many reasons why Doesn't Like Guns may be conflated with denouncing cowardice. Perhaps the detractor may see long-ranged combat as cowardly since the firearm user doesn't want to risk getting their hands dirty up close. Perhaps the detractor believes Guns Are Worthless because of various drawback issues with the weapon in action and believes those who need to rely on them to defend themselves are just as worthless. Perhaps the detractor has a romantic love for the Good Old Ways, Rated M for Manly, Sword and Fist type of combat and thinks anyone who needs to use a gun is weak, dishonorable, and ruins the spirit of honorable combat. The last point is often taken as the logical conclusion of firearms of Guys Smash, Girls Shoot, with firearms being viewed as unmanly/not masculine because they are associated with feminine types deemed too dainty for up-close combat.

Guns may also be looked at disdainfully by the Badass Pacifist, who believes real bravery means refusing to resort to violence at all, or the Technical Pacifist, who believes it's only brave to use nonlethal weapons. May also be why The Hero will often wield a sword. Con Men Hate Guns as well, believing they can rely on their wits to fast-talk their way out of any situation.

May overlap with The Lethal Connotation of Guns and Others, where the perspective is that guns are so inherently deadly (what with the Instant Death Bullets and all) that it doesn't take any particular courage or skill to just point and shoot.

Whatever the reason, don't expect respect for those wielding a gun by examples of the trope. Don't expect a Revolvers Are Just Better stance here. Can lead to examples of the trope demonstrating forms of Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age by using swords, bludgeons, and other melee weaponry in an age where guns are the norm out of disgust for firearms.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Crescent Moon in the Warring States, Nobuhiro Watsuki's debut work, shows Master Swordsman Hiko Seijuurou (who would later become the predecessor of Himura Kenshin's instructor Hiko Seijuurou) pulling a One-Man Army Last Stand against the army of the lord who destroyed his homeland Kitakata with only his wakizashi. Then the enemy lord shows up in person and shoots him with a musket; Hiko calls him a coward in disgust.
  • Durarara!!: Guns are not viewed highly in this series and often used and associated with the most dishonorable, cowardly, and downright rotten of characters. Examples include the following:
    • Horada getting ahold of the Awakusu's missing gun and shoots Shizuo with it while obviously scared shitless. He then falsely claims Masaomi ordered the hit and flees, hoping Shizuo will come after the boy for him.
    • Downplayed. Izaya using the Awakusu's gun to taunt Anri over her belief that she is a parasite incapable of love, threatening to shoot random people just to upset her. He also makes several underhanded jabs at her relationships before running off without ever actually attacking.
    • Mikado getting a gun and shoots up a police station and a yakuza boss' home as part of his plot to dissolve the Dollars. Despite being heavily injured with a broken leg, Masaomi easily beats the crap out of his friend to get the gun away, only for Mikado to pull out a second gun.
  • Grenadier: The sword-wielding Rōnin Yajiro initially stands by this trope. He believes that gun users are cowards since they do not personally feel the weight of the lives they take with their weapons as he and his fellow swordsmen do. Traveling with Rushuna, a master gunslinger, slowly changes his mind, however.

    Comic Books 
  • Action Comics (New 52): Superman stands by the trope. In issue #7, General Lane suggests Superman take some guns to deal with Brainiac who is holding the city of Metropolis prisoner. Superman responds, "Guns are for sissies".
  • Daredevil: Daredevil has sometimes expressed this opinion, particularly in regards to The Punisher, who's held in low regard by superheroes for his use of guns and willingness to kill people.
  • Doom: The story opens up with Doomguy tearing through demons with his fists and crying out he doesn't need guns because guns are for wussies. The trope is subverted when he gets to a Cyberdemon and his punches suddenly do nothing because his Berserker Pack wore off. He runs away with second thoughts, thinking maybe he does need a big gun after all.
  • The Shadow Hero: Mock Beak is shown as a scrawny, honorless, yet cunning gang leader. Late in the first book, he is pitted against the tough, brutish gang leader Big Cookie in a ceremonial fight to the death, with the winner inheriting Ten Grand's criminal empire. Mock Beak reveals that he snuck a gun into the arena, and he shoots Big Cookie, killing him instantly. One of Ten Grand's daughters is clearly shocked and disgusted by Mock Beak's underhanded tactics of violating the rules of the area and asks her father if they are acceptable. Ten Grand simply calls Mock Beak "resourceful," and allows it.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Downplayed. The British characters don't have a problem with single-action firearms; however, when it comes to automatic firearms, notable disgust is given.
    Quatermain: Automatic rifles! Who in God's name has automatic rifles?
    Elderly Hunter: Dashed unsporting! Probably Belgian.
  • Star Wars: In A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi voices his distaste of blasters, the eponymous firearm of the series, considering them synonymous with dishonorable and uncivilized aggression, preferring to use diplomacy and fanciful swordsmanship instead. In Revenge of the Sith, as a Call-Forward to his introduction to the lightsaber from the original trilogy, he immediately discards Grievous' blaster after desperately using it— to save his own life, no less—with a dismissive "so uncivilized".
  • Ocean's Thirteen The scene where LeMarc robs Linus at gunpoint on the roof of Bank's casino and Linus disgustedly remarks "A gun? Seriously?" Then immediately subverted in a way, as LeMarc responds by tossing the pistol (shortly revealed to not even be loaded) to Linus and then parachutes to the ground. And the diamonds he stole from Linus were fakes anyway.

  • The Moon of Gomrath: The dwarf Uthecar disagrees strongly with Colin's suggestion that they'd be better off with guns — he thinks killing at a distance means you don't appreciate the cost of each death, and isn't particularly happy even with the bows and arrows the elves use.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy: This trope is seen by various factions:
    • Bretonnia is famous for its disdain of any ranged weapons (especially firearms) ever since the death of Gilles Le Breton to a crossbow, forbidding gunpowder weapons on its soil and only permitting longbows to its peasant levies while the ruling class focuses on horseback combat. Thanks to the Lady giving them resistance to firearms, they can hold their own against gun-happy armies like Dwarfs, Skaven, or the Empire.
      • The Lady they worship is actually a Wood Elf priestess who's part of a centuries-long Let's You and Him Fight gambit and enforces the trope, keeping Bretonnia in a firmly pre-industrial setting to keep them away from the forests.
      • Subverted with the Bretonnian navy: Despite being helmed by the nobility, their ships are the most heavily armed of any faction, as the law forbids guns on Bretonnian ''soil''.
    • Chaos forces typically have little in the way of ranged weaponry as the War God Khorne does not like his followers to shed blood without risking their own. Exhibiting bravery in battle is the best way to get noticed by the gods and so gain their favor. Doing otherwise is the quickest way to lose Khorne's favor.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The forces of Khorne believe this trope for much of the time. Even Khornate forces use boltguns due to the high-tech setting, but only to have something to do as they close in for melee.
    • Subverted with the Blood Knight Orks, who are just as happy to attack with their ridiculously overpowered and inaccurate guns as to close in and get chopping with rusty axes. To an Ork, honor means nothing when it comes to fighting and winning.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry 4: Nero is the only Order of the Sword member who uses a firearm, being the most irreverent and despised member of the group. Fitting to their name, the other members only use swords as they feel guns are dishonorable and weapons fit for the feeble.
  • Persona 5: Played with. While most characters use model firearms that become functional in the Metaverse, only Akechi has used a real gun. After betraying the Phantom Thieves and getting Joker arrested, he goes to the interrogation room with a silenced pistol which is used to assassinate the Thief. However, the group actually knew of Akechi's two-faced nature and planned in advance so Joker survives.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss: Moxxie gets grief from fellow Imps because of this trope. In one episode, everyone goes to Millie's family's ranch to meet her folks. Unfortunately, the family is considerably unimpressed with Moxie's lack of physical ability despite his talent with firearms and he is constantly derided for it.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: Kitten thoroughly marks his hatred for the Tau, but one of his biggest grievances is that he sees them as a cowardly race who only fires at their enemies with extreme firepower from afar, use other species as meat shields to fight in close quarters for them, and refuse to fight in melee themselves. Of all his grievances, this is the one that actually infuriates the Emperor.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Batman rallies the former Mutes into the Sons of Batman Gang to bring law and order back to a riot-filled Gotham City. While he does he goes out of his way to forbid the use of firearms owing to his own Doesn't Like Guns stance, deeming them the weapons of cowards, and saying that the Sons must rely on their brains and fists to take back the city.
  • Street Fighter: Guile firmly believes this trope and the sentiment that Guns are for Wimps, preferring to settle things with his fists, boots, and Ki Manipulation. This did not stop Hasbro from packaging multiple guns with the action figure that was released for the cartoon (all of which were originally from their concurrent GI Joe action figure line).
  • The Venture Bros.: Brock Samson goes out of his way to avoid using guns, going so far as to outright refuse to fire one during his Kill License recertification, regarding it as "fruity". Right before grabbing said gun and throwing it to destroy one of the targets he was meant to shoot. Later on, however, he's a bit more pragmatic about this, stating that he considers guns to be a last resort in order not to escalate conflict with the Guild and will start looking for a gun when the situation is dire enough.

    Real Life 
  • A possible Ur-Example would be present in the case of Spartans against bowmen in Greek Antiquity. Spartan hoplites despised the bow, a weapon they had traditionally viewed as the preserve of cowards and women and the notable long-range firing weapon of the period. It was not until the humiliating defeat at Sphacteria by Athenian Bowmen in 425 BC that proved to be a turning point in Spartan military tactics and organization in regards to archers/bowmen being respected combatants, albeit one of begrudging respect. This disrespect for range-fighters has been expanded into all ranged weapons depending on the culture, which would include bows and arrows, throwing daggers, etc. The main grievance being that to be in close combat forces a combatant to literally put their body in the line of danger in a way that fighting from a distance doesn't. As such a combatant needs the muscle mass and physical fitness to take on a lot of damage which range fighters are denigrated for not having.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. cited this in his autobiography as his reasoning for giving up his gun ownership for self-defense and embracing a Badass Pacifist worldview:
    "I was much more afraid in Montgomery when I had a gun in my house. When I decided that I couldn't keep a gun, I came face-to-face with the question of death and I dealt with it. From that point on, I no longer needed a gun nor have I been afraid. Had we become distracted by the question of my safety we would have lost the moral offensive and sunk to the level of our oppressors."