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Sometimes, a bow and a quiver of arrows aren't big enough to finish the job; you'll need spear-sized arrows, or a more high-tech looking weapon. Thankfully, there's the Harpoon Gun for that. This is a realistic weapon for many underwater fight scenes, and may also show up elsewhere, often as a bit of an improvisation; killing an opponent with a big, barbed projectile can look either badass or horrific (or both), according to how it's presented. Harpoons can also fit the style for a heavily nautically-themed character.

In reality, hand-held harpoon guns used by divers generally use elastic cords to propel harpoons over fairly short distances to spear fish, a bit like an underwater crossbow. However, some firearms designed for underwater use are basically miniature harpoon guns, throwing slim darts — normal guns simply won't work for anything further than point-blank range underwater, if at all. (Not that darts carrying much further, but they can be optimised for the job.) Whaling ships, on the other hand, may mount big harpoon guns — basically low-power cannons firing big barbed spears. Some harpoons have cables attached so that the user can reel in anything the barbed harpoon latches onto, thus functioning like a Grappling-Hook Pistol.

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See Javelin Thrower for the stone-age equivalent.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Black Lagoon arc involving the neo-Nazis, Dutch gives Revy an underwater rifle, which amounts to a harpoon gun capable of full-auto.
  • Attack on Titan contains multibarreled versions intended to capture the Female Titan.
  • Duval from One Piece is armed with an harpoon gun befitting his large size, which can shoot multiple harpoons in a row. And just to be sure, these harpoons are imbued in a deadly scorpion venom, guarantee to kill a normal person in less than three minutes.

    Comic Books 
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Captain Nemo has both a typical (but quite oversized) harpoon gun and a model of his own design that is more akin to a gatling gun. Designing weapons is a bit of a hobby for him.
  • Aquaman foe Black Manta sometimes uses a wrist-mounted harpoon gun. The harpoons are sometimes electrified too.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien had one of these used in the ending climax to eject the titular creature out of an escape ship.
  • The climactic battle in Thunderball is fought by at least fifty men armed with harpoon guns. The use of a harpoon gun on a mook led to the immortal line, "I think he got the point." And the main villain is killed this way by his girlfriend. James Bond also kills a mook with a harpoon gun in Licence to Kill.
    :Bond: Compliments of Sharkey!
  • The final fight of Face/Off involves a harpoon gun.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: At the end of the movie, some whalers shoot a Harpoon Gun at the rescued whales. Their expression is priceless when it bounces off a cloaked Bird-of-Prey, which then proceeds to decloak.
  • Jeepers Creepers 2: Jack Sr hunts the Creeper using a homemade harpoon gun.
  • In Friday the 13th Part III, Jason uses harpoon gun to kill Vera, specifically shooting her in the eye. In the next film he uses a harpoon gun to kill one of the men — by stabbing him into the groin and finishing it by pulling the trigger. In Part VIII, Jason uses one to kill a teenager on the boat — but since he doesn't have the coordination to pull back the bungees, the unlucky schlub gets stabbed with the whole harpoon gun.
  • The Dead Pool. A deck harpoon gun is shown being fired for a horror movie. This is a Chekhov's Gun for when Dirty Harry (presumably because his .44 Magnum is no longer the most powerful handgun in the world) dismounts it in the finale as a BFG against the killer.
  • The killer in Happy Hell Night gets harpooned when he is stalking the protagonists in the attic.
  • Frequently used as weapons in Into The Blue.
  • Porno Holocaust ends with the mutant being anticlimactically killed by a shot to the chest with a speargun.
  • The scientists in Creature from the Black Lagoon bring at least two harpoon guns (probably for catching mundane fish specimens) on their expedition into an uncharted region of the Amazon. They're not terribly effective against the Creature.
  • In Silver Streak, Gene Wilder's character finds a harpoon gun in the title train's cargo car and shoots a thug with it in a Traintop Battle before getting knocked off the train himself by a signal light.
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    Literature 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events involves a harpoon gun in the twelfth book, even lampshading its status as a Chekhov's Gun. Dewey Denouement is accidentally killed with it. Esme also whips one out in the seventh book, failing to pop the balloons of Hector's flying house but succeeding at destroying Duncan and Isadora's notebooks full of secrets. It's also a major point of suspense in the final book as to when the last spear will be fired, and it finally does, mortally wounding Count Olaf.
  • Discworld book The Fifth Elephant features a small concealable weapon consisting of a tube, a spring and a crossbow bolt, which seems to be a sort of miniature harpoon gun.
  • Divers in The Memory of Sky is (temporarily) killed after an explosive-tipped harpoon is fired into its gut from an airship's corona-killing harpoon cannon

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used several times by Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt, and in the similar shows The Aquanauts and Malibu Run.
  • In an episode of Gilligan's Island, it's revealed that a man the passengers of the Minnow all had reason to hate was killed with one of these just before the boat left on its "three-hour tour." In the end, we learn that the man was killed by accident, and not murdered.
  • Used by Delano's mooks in the season 3 premiere of Hawaii Five-0.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The early whaler's harpoon gun (cannon actually) described in GURPS: High-Tech comes with two caplocks and a brass cover for them due to it being used on ships where the spray was likely to prevent the simple caplock mechanism from working.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • Dark Heresy has the Impaler-an unreliable weapon constructed of scrap metal and used by hive gangers too poor to afford even a blackpowder weapon. Being little more than a rough metal tube and salvaged springs, these unwieldy weapons are nonetheless effective; launching meter-long spikes of sharpened metal at sufficient velocities to puncture carapace armor and pin bodies to plasteel walls.
    • Gorkamorka has two types of harpoon gun that can be mounted on vehicles, the rapid fire spear gun (consisting of racks of steam powered tubes stuffed with spears) and the powerful but short ranged harpoon gun. These weapons are cheaper and easier to maintain than more complex weapons and are therefore popular with inexperienced and down on their luck mobs.
    • Necromunda:
  • Unsurprisingly, 7th Sea has harpoons, harpoons guns, grappling pistols, and a Swordsman school or two based around using them.

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE: Vezok's Water Harpoon and Hahli Inika's Laser Harpoon

    Video Games 
  • Harpoon Guns are one of your starting weapons in X-COM: Terror from the Deep. They quickly become obsolete.
  • The harpoon gun in the first Devil May Cry. Entering water with it caused an Unexpected Genre Change to FPS since it was the only weapon you could use.
  • BioShock 2: the Spear Gun, with uses normal spears, rocket spears, and trap spears.
  • In Half-Life 2, picking up a harpoon with the gravity gun automatically orients it in a "impale whatever I launch this at" position, making it into a makeshift harpoon gun (rather than the usual "large heavy objects" or sawblade gun).
    • The harpoons seem to be surprisingly glitchy (it can kill friendly NPCs, for instance). See this forum thread (go to "Appendix 1") for details.
  • More than one quest in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King involves shooting down proto-drakes with a harpoon gun. Most notable is the boss Skadi the Ruthless, who has to be shot down before your party can properly fight him on the ground.
  • Your first ship in Skies of Arcadia has one. Mind you, it's a ship-sized centerline-mounted harpoon cannon capable of impaling a battleship.
  • Used in God of War III in a puzzle.
  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect has a harpoon gun with retrievable ammo.
  • Crackdown had one as DLC. You could stick thugs to walls to use as stepping stones, or stick them to cars for an achievement.
  • A few of the early Tomb Raider games have this as one of the many weapons you can get. Naturally, this was the only weapon you could use while swimming in the water, but it was as weak as the default pistols.
  • Dead Space 2: the Javelin Gun, and its secondary fire electrocutes whatever was punctured by the javelin.
  • Dead Island: Riptide has one early on.
  • Your main weapon in the NES Jaws game.
  • Used by Dimitri Lousteau in his underwater levels in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves.
  • Bubble Man from Rockman No Constancy uses a Harpoon Arm Cannon.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: The insanely powerful, armor class-ignoring Blade Launcher.
  • Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines and Beyond the Call of Duty gives one to the Marine. It silently kills enemies at very short range. He can use it as well in Commandos 2. The weapon can only be selected underwater but once it has been used underwater, the Marine can fire it on land using the Ctrl key.
  • The old arcade title Pang, aka Bros Buster Bros, aka Pomping World, and its sequels features characters popping giant balloons with harpoon guns.
  • The Helsing of Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light is called a pneumatic crossbow, but in function it's more like one of these. It loads arrows in a pepperbox-like arrangement and uses pressurized air to launch highly lethal metal bolts. They are mostly silent and powerful enough to be a One-Hit Kill on human enemies, and have recoverable, reusable ammo. Its main downside is cost, with arrows being expensive to purchase or lose.
  • Mass Effect 3 has the Harpoon Rifle Kishock, a multiplayer-only (though it can be added to single-player by buying a DLC) sniper rifle which fire harpoon. It's incredibly powerful and transform the Cerberus Guardians into pushovers.
  • One of many weapons that can be added to levels in Happy Wheels. Often you will have to dodge a barrage of them.
  • Warframe:
    • The Grineer Harpak assault rifle fires fairly compact harpoons in a three-shot burst, with a Secondary Fire that launches a tethered harpoon that violently yanks back whatever it hits. The infested Paracyst 'rifle' is functionally identical.
    • The Plains of Eidolon update introduced actual fishing spears, which are spears that are mechanically designed to fire with the force of a firearm to spear fish without killing them. It's even possible to get critical hits and boost them with Volt's passive. The Fortuna update continued the trend with EMP-producing fishing spears to catch servofish without damaging them.
  • In Fallout 4's Far Harbor DLC, the Harpoon Gun is a ship-mounted harpoon gun what has been modified to be able to be carried by human hands. It can be modified to fire barded harpoons to apply bleeding effect or fire entire Flechette Storm of harpoons.
  • In Evolve, the trapper character Griffin carries one of these that can link the monster to himself with an energy cable, allowing him to stop it in its tracks or restrict its movement until it breaks the cable. Maggie uses harpoon traps, a combination of his harpoon gun and land mines that can snare the monster from multiple angles at once.
  • One of the aquatic weapons in Guild Wars 2 is the harpoon gun, utilized differently by the four professions that can wield it.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon has a Harpoon Gun as a light weapon, it enables the player to grapple enemy ships, which can be used for manipulating the movement of hostile ships and is a prerequisite to boarding. Grappling hooks can even tear ships apart if two ships grapple one and move in the opposite direction.
  • Solatorobo: The Fishing Minigame involves firing a Mini-Mecha-mounted harpoon at a giant lobster-like Flying Seafood Special, who use derelict battleships as shells.
  • In Cold Fear, you can find early on a custom harpoon gun given to you by a survivor: the harpoon includes a tank containing a special gas that attracts Exocell-infected towards them and keep them there for a while. It's very useful to get them off you if you're overwhelmed, to lure out invisible specimens or even to draw them towards an hazard to deal with them. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on Crawlers (who just ignore the gas) and Brutes (who go berserk and smash the harpoon).
  • One of the strongest crossbows in Bravium is called "Harpoon Gun" and is a massive crossbow shooting huge harpoons which can possibly stun enemies or even stab through many of them at once.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Lisa and Cody use them in the game they play in 'VRcade'.

    Web Comics 
  • In Homestuck, Jade Harley owns one of these and uses it as a Grappling-Hook Pistol. Additionally, Eridan Ampora (and later Liv Tyler) wields a legendary harpoon gun called Ahab's Crosshairs, which fires lightning.
  • In Waterworks, Surge's harpoon has this functionality. CC uses this as a grappling hook to help her navigate the goo-flooded basement.

    Western Animation 
  • In Action League Now, team member Stinky Diver would often wield a harpoon gun; half the time, whatever problem the Action League was facing that week would be solved by Stinky simply harpooning it.
  • In Tuff Puppy in the episode "Mission: Really Big Mission" D.O.O.M. uses harpoon guns against Dudley and Kitty.

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