Follow TV Tropes


Gun Twirling

Go To

"You know, when you twirl your gun like that, you kinda look like a dick."
Forum Roleplay, IC.

A character spins a gun around their finger by the trigger guard. This breaks pretty much every rule of gun safety at once, but at least it looks cool. A frequent comedy variation is for a gunslinger to do this successfully, and then have some hapless sap try it, only for something to go wrong.

This trope, like several other Guns and Gunplay Tropes, originated in Westerns. It was possible to do this relatively safely with the gun commonly used in the period — the single-action revolver — because it takes two actions to fire it: first cock the hammer, then pull the trigger. Also, it was common for the revolver to be carried with an empty chamber in front of the hammer to reduce the chance of accidental discharge; most "six-shooters" thus held only five bullets. Even so, accidentally dropping the gun while twirling it could result in it landing on the hammer, and if a live round was in position, it would fire.

With double-action revolvers, pulling the trigger first cocks the hammer and then releases it, so twirling a revolver around by the trigger is a great way to fire it in some random direction, such as at yourself, or the person standing next to you. Even if you get lucky and don't hit anything important, the recoil will probably break your finger.

With the earliest revolvers, this actually had a practical purpose: primitive cartridges tended to leave "fouling" (powder residue, pieces of the casing, etc.) in the barrel and firing chamber. Spinning helped shake them loose so they wouldn't accumulate and jam the weapon; but with any gun made after the mid-1800s, this is completely unnecessary.

Subtrope of Weapon Twirling. See also Reckless Gun Usage.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck:
    • Scrooge twirls two guns at once, before aiming and shooting on the spot.
    • When Scrooge happens upon Wyatt Earp in Alaska, the famous gunslinger introduces himself by twirling his gun. Scrooge responds by doing the same thing with his #1 Dime, causing Earp to lose his cool as he realizes just who he tried to impress.
  • Lucky Luke:
    • In one album, one guy tries this — and shoots himself in the hand.
    • In the album The Klondike, Soapy Smith has the habit of doing this. One gag involves Smith trying to shoot a Mountie only for Luke to shoot his gun, causing it to start twirling. This gives an habit for Luke and Waldo to make their enemies twirl their guns at gunpoint. Especially Smith, whose finger eventually swells up to the point of making him unable to shoot.
  • Vengeance features rookie hero and Young Gun the Ultimate Nullifier, who wields dual hip-holstered pistols that temporarily depower anyone hit by their bullets. He likes to spin them when he's bored, when he's trying to make a point, or when he just wants to look cool.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In 7 Men from Now, Bill Masters wears a pair of six shooters in cross-draw holsters and is constantly practicing his Quick Draw. He has a habit of twirling his guns before returning them to his holsters.
  • Jango Fett does this before holstering his blaster in Attack of the Clones. He even mimes blowing smoke away from the barrel. Given that he was wearing a (face-obscuring) helmet at the time, he probably did just to look cool.
  • Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen from Back to the Future Part III enjoys this little bit of showboating before his climatic Showdown at Eight O'Clock with Clint Eastwood, twirling his revolver forward, then twirling it back to smoothly replace it in its holster.
  • Hector, one of Reno Smith's thugs, does this in attempt to intimidate Macreedy in Bad Day at Black Rock.
  • In The Black Hole, Captain S.T.A.R. twirls his twin laser guns after beating Old B.O.B. at target shooting. However the android has to cheat to win, so it's a sign of boastful bravado rather than competence. V.I.N.CENT. one-ups him by spinning his entire body while still hitting the target, causing S.T.A.R. to blow a fuse.
  • Done by Clint Eastwood at the end of the Dirty Harry film The Dead Pool as an Actor Allusion.
  • Django Unchained has the title character do it a couple of times when he holsters his gun during practice. He never does it while actually drawing it, but since he only fires off one shot at a time (he's practising his quick draw) the gun should still be loaded, making it a pretty bad idea. However, Django is described in-universe as having "a flair for the dramatic", and since the film uses, deconstructs or parodies so many classic Western tropes, this one could hardly not be used at some point.
  • Dollars Trilogy: The Man With No Name does this every time he holsters his weapon.
  • Holland gives an impressive display of this to the young boy Moses at the start of Draw!. He then immediately undercuts this by telling Moses that it is a completely useless skill that any man with a finger can master. He does it again to holster his gun after the final showdown before collapsing as part of his Faking the Dead act.
  • Starting with Evil Dead 2, Ashley Williams adopts a habit of spinning his sawed-off double-barreled shotgun on his finger before holstering it on his back.
  • On occasion in Gang of Roses, both Rachel and Zhang Li twirl their pistols as they are returning them to their holsters. They never do it when drawing, however.
  • Played with in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. Ghost Dog has an... interesting way of putting away his guns. He is actually doing a version of the chiburi, the traditional samurai sword-cleaning twirl, adapted for handguns.
  • Chang-yi does this at several points in The Good, The Bad, The Weird; most notably before holstering his gun after killing one of his mooks who suggested that Tae-goo might have bested him a duel.
  • In Gunless, The Montana Kid has a habit of doing this whenever he draws or holsters his Peacemaker; seemingly to limber up his gun hand. It is never shown whether he does this in actual gunfights, however. (In one gunfight, he starts with his gun already drawn, and in the second he is trying desperately to avoid drawing.) There is an especially impressive extended sequence of him twirling Jane's gun after he finishes repairing it—presumably testing the balance—with enough long shots to show that it is actor Paul Gross doing the twirling.
  • In Guns, Girls and Gambling, the Professional Killer known as The Cowboy, being The Gunslinger, uses a pair of Colt Peacemakers Guns Akimbo. After shooting someone, he always twirls the guns around his fingers before holstering them.
  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983), Dr. Watson does this completely unnecessarily before putting his revolver in his pocket at 221B Baker Street. He's a former soldier who fought in Afghanistan, so should know better.
  • Used as a gag in House, when a bat-winged skeletal monster seizes Roger's shotgun and flies off with it. Rather than claw his face off as expected for such a bestial-looking critter, the creature performs a Gun Twirl with it and then Shoots The Rope from which Roger is suspended.
  • In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Agent Tequila spin-cocks a lever-action rifle to hold Eggsy and Merlin at bay in the Statesman rackhouse.
  • In the police comedy Kopps, Benny the Cop does this in his daydreams, combined with Juggling Loaded Guns, Guns Akimbo, Bullet Catch, etc. because his everyday life as a rural Swedish officer is not ''that'' exciting.
  • Lone Hero: The actors in the cowboy show at the ghost town know how to do this. John does it for real when he holsters his Colt SAA before his Showdown at High Noon with Bart.
  • Kid Blue in Looper twirls his (very heavy in real-life) gun in an attempt to intimidate Joe... and nearly drops it.
    "Did you shoot your other foot off?"
  • Lucky Luke does it in the Terence Hill Live-Action Adaptation, faster than his own shadow.
  • Subverted in Man Without A Star (1955). Dempsey Rae shows off his fancy pistol twirling and shooting skills for young Jeff Jimson.
    Jeff Jimson: Aw, Demps, when do I learn THAT?!
    Dempsey Rae: You don't! That's all a lotta hogwash, kid. Look, know this: twirlin' a gun never saved a man's life. There's only one thing you gotta learn. [pulls his gun and fires] Get it out fast! And then... put it... away... slow. Get what I mean, kid?
  • In The Mask, Stanley Ipkiss twirls several handful of weapons in each of his hands.
  • The Matrix Reloaded. One of the Humongous Mecha guarding the landing dock at Zion does this, even though its guns are too large to be holstered afterwards.
  • Mars Attacks!: After disintegrating a rude gambler, a martian twirls his ray gun and puts it back in his holster only to be killed by Barbara Land.
  • Maverick:
    • Bret Maverick demonstrates this ability in the movie.
    • Zane Cooper also does this after taking down the bad guys during the climactic card game. The fact that he does it the exact same way as Bret is a clue they're actually father and son.
  • An almost-Throw It In! moment in The Mexican has Brad Pitt's character drop his gun when he tries to do it. (He actually did do it by accident on set, but that wasn't the take they used in the film—just the inspiration.)
  • After committing the assassination that opens Naked Killer, Princess twirls the silenced pistol she used for the Coup de Grâce. Meanwhile the camera POV also twirls before we Smash Cut to the police at the crime scene.
  • In The Outlaw Josey Wales, Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) uses a trick called the "Road Agent's Spin" or "Border Roll" to gun down two men who have him cornered. He holds out his revolvers butt-first, slipping his index fingers into the trigger guards, then flips/twirls them to get into position and fires. Eastwood had clearly practiced a lot for the trick; on-camera, he did it so fast that his hands and guns are just a blur.
  • In Planet Terror, El Wray demonstrates his skills by twirling a pair of revolvers in various ways. Considering that the film is a throwback to 80s Grindhouse action films, it's pretty much justified.
  • Posse (1975): One of the posse does this trick to impress a girl in the town of Desoto. His partner performs the What Have We Ear? trick.
  • The Quick and the Dead features an entire cast of gunfighters who twirl their guns in varying degrees of fanciness. Plotwise the most notable occasion is when Cort is given a revolver and, despite having forsaken a life of violence, can't help twirling it before returning the weapon.
  • This is a Character Tic of Alex Murphy in RoboCop (1987). Murphy does this as he copies a move from his son's favorite TV show. He explains to his partner Anne Lewis that he does this so he can be a role model. After Murphy is killed by Clarence Boddicker and his gang, Bob Morton and his development team at OCP seize his body and transform Murphy into RoboCop. As part of the process, Murphy's memory is erased. However, certain elements of Murphy's past remain in RoboCop. When his sharpshooting skills are demonstrated by Morton at the police firing range, the other officers including Lewis all eagerly watch him. After he finishes shooting, we see RoboCop twirl his custom gun on his right finger before putting it on a leg holster. Lewis later uses it to identify RoboCop as the late Murphy.note  Also applied later as a Tear Jerker when RoboCop/Murphy goes to his old house and has a flashback of his son asking him to perform said trick.
  • In Seven (1979), Cowboy does this when he draws his gun before shooting Butterfly, and when he holsters it again afterwards.
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. Ricky does this while cackling maniacally after the "Garbage Day!" killing.
  • Used in Silverado to establish characters as being skilled with guns.
  • Solo. Tobias Beckett can draw and holster with style. Han Solo is impressed and asks him for some pointers, which he flatly refuses.
  • In Sunset, Tom Mix is seen doing this in the Film Within a Film. However, when he gets in a real gunfight at the ranch, he just draws and fires.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: In an homage to John Wayne, the Terminator uses a shotgun with an identical action. The armorer provided a regular Winchester 1887 and a modified one with an extra large loop on the lever; when Arnold grabbed the wrong one to do some flip-cocking for a scene, he nearly broke three fingers.
  • Whenever The Three Stooges find themselves in the old West, expect them to have... issues with handling their guns this way.
  • Tombstone:
    • Taken to a logical extreme in the scene where Doc Holliday and Johnny Ringo have a competition to see who can do the most elaborate Gun Spin. After Ringo does a flawless and incredibly elaborate session of twirling, Doc parodies him by using a tin cup to mirror all of Johnny's tricks, causing everyone around (even Ringo's friends) to laugh and applaud at the display.
    • Later in the film there's a scene on the street where a confrontation is brewing between the Cowboys and the Earps. Wyatt Earp is in the middle of arresting the leader of the Cowboys and is in a standoff with Ike Clanton when Ike's younger brother Billy tries to stop Wyatt. While this is going on Doc comes out to back up Wyatt, and Billy mocks Doc, saying he's just The Piano Player and that Doc's probably seeing double because of how much he's had to drink. To add onto things, as Clanton says this he menacingly draws a large knife. Doc responds by pulling a second pistol and spinning them in opposite directions at the same time, (a very difficult trick) accompanied by the awesome one-liner "I have two guns, one for each of ya." Young Billy Clanton decides not to try his luck with the drunken piano player after all. Watch the scene here.
  • The eponymous hero of the Trinity Spaghetti Western movies absolutely loves doing this.
  • Most famously in True Grit and Rooster Cogburn, John Wayne used a Winchester lever-action rifle with an enlarged cocking lever, allowing him to recock by spinning the gun one-handed.
  • In Valdez is Coming, Tanner performs a 'road agent spin' on one of his customers when he extends a pistol to him for his examination: seemingly for no other reason than he is a dick who enjoys showing off and pointing guns at people.
  • Most of the characters in Versus doing this at least once after pulling a gun or before holstering it, just because it adds to the Rule of Cool.

  • Discworld: Parodied in The Colour of Magic, as the head of the Assassins' Guild does this trick with a short blowpipe after firing off a poisoned dart.
  • In an effort to subvert this trope, Western writer Louis L'Amour has one of his characters twirling his gun and accidentally killing a man. When he's hanged, the townspeople put a sign around his neck saying "This was no accident".
  • Seven Stars: In the chapter "The Trouble With Barrymore", the villain Bennett Mountmain twirls his gun by the trigger guard as an intimidation tactic. The detective he's trying to intimidate, noting that the safety catch isn't on, privately marks him down as "a locked-room murder mystery waiting to happen". The gun goes off shortly afterward, but fortunately nobody is injured.
  • In The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern, John Rourke does the Road Agent spin with his twin Detonics Combat Masters when he's about to be summarily executed by a Vigilante Militia.
  • In "The Pistoleer" by James Carlos Blake, Wes (John Wesley Hardin) does Road Agent at Wild Bill Hickock.
  • Whateley Universe: As usual for Gun Tropes in this series, this is treated seriously: one of the first things Gunny Bardue sees when he is on campus the first time is a JROTC cadet pulling off stunts like this, in front of a bathroom mirror. He proceeds to rip the student a new one over it:
    Gunny Bardue: Cadet Captain Rogers, what is your malfunction that you are disgracing the uniform of my beloved Marine Corps? Did your mother drop you on that pointed head of yours? Did you not eat enough Ho-hoes before you decided to embarrass the uniform of my Marine Corps by playing with your weapon in, of all places, the head? What excuses do you have for this outrage, knuckle dragger?!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Like everything else to do with guns, Brisco from The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. is an expert at this.
  • Batman (1966) has one of the villains entertain a kid by teaching how to properly twirl a pistol.
  • This is how Scott, David's best friend in the first two seasons of Beverly Hills, 90210, died; he was showing off by twirling his father's gun at his birthday party when he shot himself in the stomach. All in front of David, who was pleading with him to stop. Is it any wonder the poor guy had so many problems in the years following?
  • Castle: The owner of a dude ranch demonstrates his skill at this for Rick and Kate in the Cowboy Episode "Once Upon a Time in the West".
  • The (first) Doctor does this in the Doctor Who serial "The Gunfighters". Steven attempts to copy him and drops the gun.
  • Godless has this in the first episode with a nameless extra and in the second with Whitey, who does it in front of a full-length mirror talking to an imaginary opponent Travis Bickle-style, then quick-draws both his revolvers at once, obviously impressed by how cool he looks. (His employer is far less impressed when he comes through the door and Whitey points the guns at him.)
  • The Heavy Water War. The Norwegians in the "Grouse" reconnaissance team are enthusiastic but can't hit their targets on the firing range. One of them puts away his Thompson submachine gun, draws his Colt .45 and advances on the target firing, then twirls the weapon with the slide locked back. The female British SOE captain is not impressed, draws her own gun and puts a bullet through each bullseye. She's even less impressed when the same guy shoots himself in the foot while twirling a revolver, leaving the mission short one man.
  • Sylar does this in an episode of Heroes... for bonus points, it's after he's just stolen Bob's ability and he turns the gun to gold while he spins it.
  • Kamen Rider Decade: Daiki Kaitou loves doing this, in an especially strange example since his gun is the Transformation Trinket that lets him become Kamen Rider Diend.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Frank Burns attempting this in a very clumsy fashion; he then hands the gun to Radar, who does it expertly.
  • Mission: Impossible: Both Jim Phelps and The Dragon do this in the Cowboy Episode "Gunslinger".
  • The Office (US): When Dwight is told that he can't wear a gun in a holster in the office, he twirls the gun and it discharges putting a hole in the floor and deafening Andy in one ear.
  • The one episode on Red Dwarf where the crew gets trapped in a Western virtual reality game, the Cat does this — with a gun in each hand.
    • Sammy Davis Jr. could spin two guns while singing. Danny John-Jules references this as an inspiration for the Red Dwarf example above.
  • Chuck Connors in The Rifleman was another example of the 'twirl a lever-action gun to cock it' variety.
  • Sledge Hammer! has the title character do this a lot, including once after giving a kid a lecture on playing with guns.
  • Square One TV has one segment of Mathnet set in an abandoned Southwest town — one episode began with George Frankly twirling his calculator.
  • Ronon Dex of Stargate Atlantis is quite fond of this. Given that his pistol is a Death Ray, this is even more of a bad idea than usual.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation features Chekhov's Gun Twirling in the episode "A Fistful of Datas": A gunfighter in a Holodeck western is seen twirling his gun several times. Later, just after the accident that leads to a Holodeck Malfunction, Data (who has also been corrupted) picks up a tricorder and imitates the same move with it.
  • Supernatural. Dean Winchester does this with a Sawed-Off Shotgun of all things, in a Season 5 episode. He also does it while dual-wielding flare guns (despite having been hung up by his wrists for some time — his fingers should be rather cramped) in the second episode of the series, "Wendigo."
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's Humongous Mecha, the Dekaranger Robo, does this with its Signal Cannon after its finishing move, followed by holstering it. For bonus points, it's a direct shout-out to the RoboCop example above, including returning it to a holster hidden inside its leg.
  • The West Wing: In "We Killed Yamamoto", after some time at the shooting range Simon Donovan (Mark Harmon) twirls his pistol, a .357 magnum, and sticks it down the front of his pants ... and promptly pulls it out again when he feels what the barrel of a pistol feels like after its just been fired.



    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Tabletop RPG Pathfinder there is a feat for that. It allows you to trick your opponents so they don't know who will you shoot.

    Video Games 
  • Manosuke Naitou (Horace Knightley in the fan translation) of Ace Attorney Investigations 2 is a master of this. If you call him on a lie he catches himself mid-twirl and fires a round near his face. During his breakdown, he tries to twirl his pistol increasingly fast before throwing it and everything in his pockets in the air and it all comes crashing down on his head.
  • In Advent Rising, this is how the character reloads his guns. All his guns. Yes, even the rocket launchers.
  • This is how The Kid reloads the Dueling Pistols in Bastion. Somehow.
  • Battlefield Hardline has gun twirling as part of one of its Easter Egg Unorthodox Reload animations with a ~0.01% chance of occurring. The .410 Jury revolver's easter egg has the user eject the spent casings, then start twirling the gun about their index finger while flicking shells into empty chambers with their other hand, including one shell which is flicked the wrong way and wraps around the screen to enter a chamber backwards.
  • In the Half-Life Fan Remake Black Mesa, Gordon does this as the Idle Animation for the Glock.
  • Incision has a special twirling animation available if you're using your revolver or magnum, by hitting reload and fire at the same time. This actually increases your weapon's firepower - twirled bullets somehow deals extra damage to enemies.
  • In Borderlands and Borderlands 2, characters wielding pistols will twirl them as they switch to a different weapon. Marshal Friedman spins his own revolver a few times after using it to execute a murderer.
  • City of Heroes:
  • Tanya Adam's Idle Animation in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has her spinning and juggling her .45 Colt pistols.
  • Johnny Silverhand frequently twirls his pistol in Cyberpunk 2077 while reloading.
  • Devil May Cry 4 features Dante twirling his dual pistols Ebony & Ivory prior to some rapid-fire action with a move called "Honeycomb." Nero is also shown twirling his massive Blue Rose revolver when putting it away after firing in cutscenes.
  • In DUSK, where in most FPS you'd find a reload button is a button that twirls your weapon. You can actually kill enemies by twirling a gun right in their faces.
  • Done in the first two Fallout games whenever a character holsters a handgun — or an SMG, in some cases.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, you meet Joshua Graham (the "Burned Man") in the Honest Hearts expansion with him doing this while preparing some Colt M1911s. Oddly, his twirling of the guns is done in a very safe way - even if it's ignored that the 1911 has a grip safety which requires constant pressure from the firing hand holding onto the grip in a proper manner to actually fire, he ejects the magazine and locks the slide before giving the gun a half-twirl to check the barrel, then twirls it back and reloads the gun once he's satisfied. Have a look.
  • In Final Fantasy VII, Vincent's Victory Pose contains this.
    • Vincent's attack animation with pistols also contains this. Justified, in that he needs to spin the gun to re-arm the hammer mechanism since his claw-like left hand is too bulky. It works fine for handling the pump action on his shotguns, however.
    • There's also the final flourish in the synchronized marching mini-game, where Cloud's sword twirl is recreated with a Mook rifle.
  • Balthier from Final Fantasy XII does this, with a predictably suave and gentlemanly manner.
  • Cater of Final Fantasy Type-0 spins her Magicite Pistol between shots of her Elementillery attack. It seems to be a way to stop the weapon from overheating, as she only does it between Flame and Voltaic shots.
  • Jagi in Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage will twirl his Sawn-Off Shotgun on a finger as part of his victory/idle animation. As those things are heavy and poorly balanced for spinning, it's anyone's guess how he manages without removing a finger or two.
  • Used in Gears of War on two weapons. The first is the Gnasher shotgun where after a non-active reload animation they spin it by the lever. In the active reload however they forgo the flair entirely to get back to shooting faster. The second one is the Boltok revolver in Gears 2 and onward with the weapon-specific execution. The character grabs the gun by the barrel, whacks the victim across the back of the skull, then spins it on their finger to return it to shooting position. More forgivable since executions are intended to be Awesome, but Impractical.
  • Goldeneye Rogue Agent uses this to reload guns, most prominently the Jackal .357 and the Mamba 12g. He only does it when he's dual-wielding.
  • In Guild Wars 2, idle characters wielding a pistol in the main hand will do this.
  • In both of the Gungrave games, leaving Beyond the Grave idle for a bit and he'll twirl his dual-handguns as an idle animation. He also does it at the start of each level ("KICK THEIR ASS!") as he draws them.
  • Happy Chaos from Guilty Gear ~Strive~ occasionally indulges in this. His cinematic Overdrive has him twirl his Guns Akimbo before unloading bullets on his opponent, and his round win animation has him spin his gun to holster it, with several possible results: He may holster it properly, drop the gun midway, nearly shoot his own foot by accident, or conjure multiple copies of the gun out of nowhere much to his confusion.
  • In Gunstar Heroes, Blaster Force is basically a gigantic pistol that twirls itself around.
  • In Honkai Impact 3rd, Kiana and Kallen Kaslana both twirl one of their guns as part of their victory poses; the main difference is that Kallen tosses her gun into the air to twirl it.
  • Tetra does this as part of her Victory Pose in Hyrule Warriors, twirling her flintlock gun a la Revolver Ocelot.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, and the sequel, pressing the x key (PC default) or Y button (X-Box) outside of combat with a pistol causes the character to do this. Equipped akimbo too, but with a different animation.
  • Landfall Archives have you twirling an AK-47 towards yourself to reload it, Somehow without shooting yourself in the chest.
  • League of Legends:
    • Lucian does this as his dance animation.
    • Mad Artist Gunslinger Jhin demonstrates the danger of this trope in his joke animation: He twirls his gun, but slips up and drops it, and it proceeds to fire everywhere as Jhin cowers in fear. He takes back the gun only once he's sure it has stopped firing.
  • Elie MacDowell in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV twirls her gun when she uses her Limit Break "Aura Rain".
  • Nakamura, the second boss of The Legend Of Tian Ding, who attacks with Machine Guns Akimbo, has an attack where he twirls both weapons while holding on the triggers, which quickly turns the boss arena into a Bullet Hell zone.
  • The Florian sisters of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny does this with their pair of Variant Zappers during one of their special moves. Amita also does it in one of her victory poses and during her Full Drive Burst as she switches them from their gun form to sword form and back.
  • For the sawed-off shotguns in the Marathon series, this is the standard method of reloading. How exactly does that work? "Your primitive mind could never grasp its complex nature."
  • Despite being perfectly able to wield two revolvers with the precision and effectiveness as John Preston, Max Payne does not twirl his weapons.
  • Revolver Ocelot of Metal Gear does this, seeing as how his weapon of choice is a single-action revolver. He does it during his entire introductory speech in Metal Gear Solid, and in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater he's seen twirling his original service pistol, and a crossbow at one point, and then with three pistols at the same time in some crazy variant of Russian roulette. Before his boss battle, he does a complicated series of tricks with a revolver in each hand.
    • In The Twin Snakes remake, Ocelot twirls his weapon with his off hand after his other hand gets sliced off by the Ninja. However, he ends up dropping the gun — then picking it up quickly and pointing it at Snake.
    • Solidus Snake gets in on this in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty where he twirls his P90 by the thumb stock.
    • In MGS3, Ocelot uses his twirling guns for a practical purpose: to protect himself from a swarm of hornets. He spins them as they fly at him and they fall down dead.
    • Snake can do it also, but only with the Single Action Army revolver, and not to the same impressive extent as Ocelot.
      • If you do that in first-person view while fighting Ocelot, depending on how well you did it, he will either mock you or be impressed. Either way, he'll start doing it, leaving him open to attack.
  • Arytom in Metro 2033 twirls his revolvers as an Idle Animation. Seeing how he's willing to toss around a fully loaded and very shoddily built submachinegun high enough to daze him when it lands on his head, this hardly comes as a surprise.
  • Model 1887 shotguns used akimbo in Modern Warfare 2 are flip-cocked after each shot.
    • In an homage to the motorcycle ride in Terminator 2, Alex Mason flip-cocks an 1887 Winchester during the escape from Vorkuta. He manages to fire two shots from the single-shot weapon before he has to reload.
  • Before Erron, Stryker's Victory Pose in Mortal Kombat 3 involved him firing his gun in the air, then twirling it on his finger before putting it back in his holster and crossing his arms. How this guy became a cop in the first place is anyone's guess.
  • Erron Black in Mortal Kombat X, being The Gunslinger, is basically required to have some twirling animations.
  • Overwatch has Tracer who does this when she reloads her Pulse Pistols.
    • One of McCree's emotes is a showy display of Gun Twirling. He'll also give his revolver a quick twirl when activating his Ultimate.
  • The trailer for the Butcher's Western DLC Pack in PAYDAY 2 depicts the Cloaker engaging one of the main characters in a Showdown at High Noon, with the main character handily losing. The Cloaker then begins twirling his revolvers in a tauntingly absurd manner.
  • In Persona 3, the Protagonist and Mitsuru spin their Evokers when they draw them. Seeing as how they are planning to shoot themselves in the head with them, gun safety isn't that big an issue.
    • It also isn't a real gun, so it isn't so dangerous.
  • Princess Eruca can be seen doing this in combat in Radiant Historia.
  • The Gunslinger class in Ragnarok Online did this when entering battle pose and each time he/she scores a hit.
  • Red Dead Redemption also features John Marston doing it whenever he shoots up an opponent in a duel. Granted, by that point he has usually fired off every bullet in his gun anyway, so at least he doesn't need to worry about shooting anyone.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 The player can do this manually by double tapping the holster button with a pistol or revolver. Arthur will flip the gun back a little, forward about half of a full flip, flip it a full rotation back and into the holster. It does absolutely nothing, but it looks damn good doing it.
    • In Red Dead Online, if you take on the Bounty Hunter Role, it's possible to learn tricks as you twirl your guns, such as reverse spins, spin ups, and twirling two guns at once.
  • The two main characters that use pistols as their default weapons in the western-themed third-person shooter Red Dead Revolver twirl their guns dramatically during the loading screens.
    • One of these characters is a professional shootist and sharpshooter in a circus and the other is a well-written version of the classic western hero archetype. The characters actually perform complicated gun-twirling routines (the hero with a single, large colt and the shootist with two smaller revolvers) during these loading "screens", and the routines change as you progress through the game. Red Dead Revolver, as a result, had arguably the single best and most entertaining load screens in the history of video games.
  • The Kusagari Kid from the Wii exclusive Red Steel 2 twirls his revolver (his first and main firearm) when drawing and holstering it. Considering he's a wide-brimmed hat, duster coat wearing samurai/outlaw/cowboy, this is hardly surprising.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis has a Shout-Out to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, from where they drew inspiration from the T-1000 while creating The Nemesis. Jill cocks the Western Custom shotgun by twirling it around like the T-800 did in the same movie, and the Western Custom is the same exact firearm used by him: a customized 1887 Winchester Shotgun.
  • Resident Evil 5 has the player fight Albert Wesker on a couple of occasions. He'll sometimes pull out his Samurai Edge handgun to shoot at Chris or Sheva, after which he'll put it away while twirling it.
  • The player character in Road Redemption will flip-cock their sawed-off shotgun whenever reloading (another nod to Terminator 2).
  • Twirling is an idle animation for the protagonist of Saints Row, and how he reloads akimbo firearms.
  • Ryōbi and Ryōna from Senran Kagura have a habit of doing this in some of their fighting animations.
  • The main character of Shogo: Mobile Armor Division does this every time he draws his dual pistols, as well as after reloading them.
  • One of Sly Cooper's ancestors, Tennessee "Kid" Cooper, does this in one of the game series' Cutscenes.
  • Soldier of Fortune's John Mullins randomly twirls his Silver Talon .44 semiauto. Mullins being an actual soldier before going merc, you'd think he'd know better.
  • Asagi can occasionally be seen spinning both her guns before holstering them in Soul Nomad & the World Eaters.
  • In Spyro: Year of the Dragon, certain cowboy-themed enemies spin and flip their weapons... which serves no purpose but to give the player an opportunity to attack.
  • Your player character in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat does this when pulling out any pistol equipped in the weapon slot. This includes even the Hand Cannon Desert Eagle. Although it is uncommon, NPCs can be seen twirling their pistols when idle and provided they do not have a rifle/shotgun/machine gun equipped (often when they get wounded severely in a fight with other NPCs and/or mutants and their main gun is taken away either by you or another NPC, as well as offering to revive them with a medkit).
  • All over the place in Star Wars: The Old Republic, entirely done for Rule of Cool. Mainly done by Space Western-influenced Smugglers in some of their ability animations, but the other pistol-wielding class, Bounty Hunters, get in on the fun occasionally too. And like many other sci-fi examples on this page, many of the blasters lack a trigger guard.
  • In Super Robot Wars Compact 2 and Original Generation, this is justified with the Weiss Ritter and it's Oxtongue Launchernote , which must perform this in order to switch firing modes. Of course, Excellen (it's pilot and an extremely cheerful sniper) likes to put a lot more flair into it.
  • Fox McCloud does this when finishing up his B special in Super Smash Bros. Melee, whether after one or more shots. Don't most blasters lack even a trigger guard (which might be useful)?
    • Mewtwo also does it each time he fires using the Ray Gun item in all games he appears in. It's not as unsafe as most of the other examples on this list, however, as he holds it telekinetically so it's just floating in front of him, and it appears to twirl from the recoil rather than anything intentional.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Patty Fleur does this before using her Variable Trigger arte. You can delay the attack by making her twirl her pistol longer, which also makes it stronger.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Heavy Weapons Guy does it with a shotgun... although to him a shotgun is practically the size of a handgun. There's also a popular glitch that allows him to twirl his Gatling gun. Makes you wonder what they put in that sandvich ...
    • The Scout does this in reverse when reloading his pistol, pointing the barrel downwards before removing the magazine and then twirling it the rest of the way after he's replaced it.
    • The Engineer does this in his taunt for the Pistol and the Wrangler, complete with blowing the smoking barrel out. The above-mentioned glitch lets him twirl his own shotgun in the same way... only Engie ISN'T so big his shotgun looks like a handgun in his hands!
  • Time Commando: In the Wild West level, the reload animation for the Twin Revolvers weapon (yes, it's a completely separate weapon from the Single Revolver) is to twirl them once. This is the fastest reload speed of any weapon in the game.
  • Turbo Overkill features pistols. When Johnny uses pistol's Charged Attack, he starts twirling one of his pistols.
  • ULTRAKILL has a sharpshooter revolver. Its alternate fire can be charged by twirling the revolver. Twirl multiple sharpshooter revolvers simultaneously and you can get an arilift.
  • One very common enemy (a cowboy-themed semi-Elite Mook) in Viewtiful Joe does this, as does recurring Miniboss the Joker.
  • Warframe has gun twirling as an Idle Animation for most pistols. The Marelok lever-action pistol is pumped by twirling the entire pistol about the lever, like the Terminator's Winchester. The Akstilleto dual pistols are twirled once about the trigger before the guns are slapped down onto new magazines on the user's hips.
  • Rubi Malone in WET does this all the time, often when going into an arena battle.
  • Wild ARMs 5: While in battle, Rebecca constantly twirls her gun as her Idle Animation, stopping only to perform commands.
  • Male Draenei in World of Warcraft twirl their rifle sized guns one handed in order to reload while auto-attacking in a clear homage to the John Wayne and Terminator 2: Judgment Day examples above.
  • In Xenosaga, Jr./Rubedo does a double gun twirl as he enters a couple of pivotal fights over the course of the three games: the effect is peculiar, bordering on silly, because 1) he performs it with two automatic pistols rather than revolvers, and 2) both times it happens, Rubedo ends up using his Red Dragon Power (his combination Super Mode, Sphere of Destruction, Sphere of Power, and Battle Aura) instead of the guns, meaning it seems to be more a Standard Power Up Pose and/or Ass Kicking Pose than an anything that has to do with the intimidation factor of his gunplay skills themselves.

  • In Cassiopeia Quinn, Zeke-the-Cyborg-Space-Cowboy (most of the time played completely straight, including the accent) spins Laser!Revolvers around his fingers while commenting on how ridiculous it is ("Won't help ya shoot").
  • Grrl Power:
    • After practice at the range, Sydney goes to twirl her still loaded gun. Seneca shuts that right down before Sydney even gets out of the windup.
    • After properly unloading the gun and clearing the barrel, Sydney gets to twirl the gun. It doesn't work out very well.
  • In the Hazbin Hotel prequel comic Dirty Healings, After Angel Dust shoots the mobsters, he does a showy twirl with one of his handguns.
  • In Suicide for Hire, Hunter does this. When Arcturus tells him to stop, he says he has it under control; and nearly shoots Codename Rudolph in the head just seconds after.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: The first thing Scanlan does when he gets his hands on Dr. Ripley's gun is to twirl it, which promptly results in the rest of the group deciding it's a bad idea to allow him to handle a firearm.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: While the mentally unstable Jinx doing this is par for course, even Caitlyn, a trained Enforcer, twirls her pistol while thinking.
  • Kevin from Captain N: The Game Master does this frequently. Which is odd, because the Zapper doesn't have a trigger guard.
  • In "My Little Duckaroo," Daffy Duck twirls his gun and ends up shooting himself in the head, showing why this is a bad idea. He makes the same mistake in "Daffy's Inn Trouble."
  • Being a cowboy-themed superhero, Vigilante of the Justice League naturally does this.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "Soldier of Misfortune" Dale talks about a phony story about how he supposedly performed a hit on a man to his gun club. Upon finishing his story he twirls the pistol he had used to tell the story; he ends up dropping the gun and it discharges, hitting a cash register.
  • Quick Draw McGraw has done this a few times.
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "The Cartridge Family", Homer acquires a revolver to protect the family, despite Marge's protests. In one scene, he enters the Kwik-E-Mart twirling it and whistling casually, and accidentally scares Apu in the process.
  • Captain Rex from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well as Sabine Wren, and Fenn Rau from Star Wars Rebels are characters that have done this at least once. Captain Fordo from Star Wars: Clone Wars does this as well as part of a Lock-and-Load Montage with his squad. Maybe it's a Mandalorian thing.
  • Hank in The Venture Brothers twirls a stapler in this fashion while helping Brock put up Christmas decorations.

    Real Life 
  • There are a small number of performers who do this as a trick both for shows and for movies. For example, here is Joey Dillon showing some Hollywood moves. Similarly, there are military rifle teams who do similar tricks with their rifles.
  • A little known fact is that Revolver Ocelot's famous gun-twirling tendencies were actually based on or even outright motion captured by "Tornado Yoshida", and when he actually decides to redo some of the scenes Ocelot had in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, it's almost in perfect sync. Here's a side-by-side comparison.
  • You can in fact do this with an M1911 handgun, due to the fact that the 1911's patented grip safety prevents the trigger from pulling all the way back while the safety is depressed. Still doesn't mean you should, though, since the gun can still discharge if the safety malfunctions or is inadvertently pressed. Remember, guns are not toys.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gun Spin


Murphy Practices Gun Twirling

Officer Alex J. Murphy practices twirling his gun to impress his son (also, because he thinks it's cool himself).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / GunTwirling

Media sources: