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Improbable Use of a Weapon

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Instrument of Murder gets a whole new meaning.
This is when a weapon is used in such a way that shouldn't work (or would simply be inefficient). It can be broken down into a few subtypes:

  • Where the writer, actor, or animator didn't bother to find out how the weapon is used (e.g. Using a rapier primarily for cutting, using a vehicle-mounted weapon as a man portable weapon). Or the user failing to understand how to use it In-Universe because of a lack of familiarity.
  • When the weapon does something it wouldn't normally (see Set Swords to "Stun" for the most common example, lethal weapons being non lethal) or works better than it should (e.g. destroying a tank with a pistol).
  • Using the weapon in the place of a tool when the tool it's replacing would do the job more efficiently (tools which are much more effective as weapons than they should be also fit). When this is done on a large scale, see Swords to Plowshares.
  • Using a weapon which shouldn't be available (e.g. being anachronistic or extremely rare and/or expensive). See Exotic Weapon Supremacy for the rare variant.
  • Using a weapon which wouldn't work in real life (e.g. BFS which are too heavy to lift).
  • Using a weapon for its intended purpose, but also using it for other purposes as a secondary attack (e.g. using a bow as a close quarters melee weaponnote ).

Compare Improbable Weapon User for when something that clearly isn't a weapon is used as one.

Supertrope to:

Not to be confused with the novel Use of Weapons.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: A couple of quincies have shown they can fire bows with less hands than a bow really requires. Ryuuken's default choice is a two-foot bow that he fires with his left hand. When forced to, Yhwach can produce a gigantic bow in the sky that is fired without any hands at all. Masaki was capable of shrinking her bow down to such a tiny size it could be nestled between her fingers and thumb, but used normal sized bows with two hands. The difference between Ryuuken, Yhwach and Masaki is that Ryuuken is the only one whose bow looks solid instead of energy.
  • Izaya of Durarara!! uses several switch blades as projectile weapons.
  • Maes Hughes in Fullmetal Alchemist fights with push knives but is always shown throwing them rather than punching with them.
  • Gamaran:
    • In the first series, Sasuke Sakakibara wields a kata-kama yari (spear with a sickle-like sideblade), a weapon which is most effective in slicing and held in melee. His trump card, however, consist in throwing the yari like a javelin, but works in his favor as it's usually too fast to be dodged and, since it's unexpected, the enemy rarely has the reflexes to counter.
    • In the second series Shura, member of a secret shinobi clan Jinkuu can use a secret technique which involves throwing the wakizashi at the enemy from below.... then grab it with your foot and use the momentum to slam it into the opponent's chest.
  • The title character of Golgo 13 uses M16 rifles for sniping assassinations, often ones that require absurd feats of marksmanship. This is more possible than a lot of people would think (assault rifles can still very accurate in semi-auto, especially when they're close-bolt like an M16), but still a bit strange, as a bolt-action rifle in the same caliber would be smaller, lighter, and easier to obtain (especially in countries which restrict self-loading weapons more tightly, or in the manga's earlier years before AR platforms became so widespread). Various explanations have either been that an M16 is very common for a specific standardized firearm, or Duke Togo simply wants the benefits of an assault rifle in the unlikely circumstance of an unplanned firefight.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Kira and Cagalli are attacked by terrorists while out on shore leave. Kira comes across a pistol, and promptly uses throwing it at one of the terrorists, then performing a flying kick in the follow-through. Lampshaded by Cagalli: "Do you know how a gun is supposed to be used?!"
  • Kaede Nagase in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is a ninja who mostly follows the rules of Hollywood Ninjas (kunai, explosives). Except for her being listed on BFS; it stands for BFShuriken. She does throw it, but it's normally used to shield her and smash her targets. Note that shuriken were used as make-shift blades for close-in defense in Real Life. They just happened to often be small and annoying. On one occasion she does throw it, she takes out a number of opponents. She assures some onlookers that the giant whirling deathball she just threw is totally nonlethal because she hit with the back of the blade. Do note that her shuriken doesn't appear to actually have a dull side, and that the onlookers still think it should be fatal.
  • One Piece:
    • Ben Beckman, a member of Shanks' crew, has only been shown wielding a flintlock rifle as a bludgeon.
    • The bounty hunter Jean Ango's fighting style involves picking up as many weapons as he can (various types of swords, maces, axes, polearms and so on) and then throw them like javelins with deadly accuracy, as he refers to himself as a sniper. This may or may not have just been because we saw him fight in a tournament that forbid ranged weapons.
    • Roronoa Zoro uses three swords - one in each hand, and one in his mouth, held by the grip between the teeth. This is somehow an integral part of his fighting style - when without his third sword, he mentions, "I'm not that familiar with two-sword techniques", and when he gets it back actually turns the fight around.
    • The sheer variety of things Usopp can fire from his slingshot push it into this territory - while it is a real-life Swiss-Army Gun, that doesn't extend to entire pint bottles of booze, rotten eggs or enormous strings of shuriken.
    • Buggy the Clown likes to wield three or four knives in each hand, held between his fingers. This is a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons.
    • Brook somehow manages to use his Cane Sword as a bow for his violin.
  • Slayers has rapid-fire muzzleloaders. It subverted the "used the blunt side" trope, though—Zelgadiss assures someone he's just cut that he didn't use the cutting edge, then pauses, and looks at his sword. "Wait... this is a double-edged sword. Uh, sorry?"
  • Death The Kid in Soul Eater holds Liz and Patty Thompson upside down and pulls their triggers with his pinkies. This might be because he uses them something like tonfa in close combat (so holding them the way he does would give him more torque) but that just justifies one example with another.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kamina's first impression of a gun is to use its butt as a hammer to bash his enemies note  After almost shooting himself in the crotch through that method, he realizes how it's supposed to be used (but still holds it upside down). Later, during his first fight against Viral, he more cleverly uses an arrow as a makeshift knife.
  • Lena in Zoids: New Century pilots her Gun Sniper, which as the name implies is a precision sniping mecha. Hers is decked out with twelve extra guns and missile pods which she fires all at once. In fact, she's never once shown using the sniper rifle built into her mecha's tail.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America uses his mighty shield as a throwing weapon because of its special qualities brought about by being made from a fictional supermetal. The fact that he's a Super-Soldier also helps.
  • Daredevil: Bullseye's the best assassin in the Marvel Universe and is capable of killing with any weapon or throwable object. Things that Bullseye has used as weapons include paperclips, toothpicks, paper airplanes, golf balls, peanuts, and his own teeth.
    Bullseye: They have me on stool softeners and liquid food because they're afraid that if I have a solid bowel movement I'd kill someone with it. And I would, too.
  • Elektra: There's an issue where an old martial artist she's staying with mocks her for using sharp-tipped sai instead of ones with blunt tips.
  • Hawkeye is the world's greatest archer (and one of the above-mentioned other people who can throw Cap's shield effectively) as well as an all-around expert marksman — and we mean all-around. He's subdued enemies with coins, normal playing cards, and even his own fingernails (in Ultimate Marvel at least). Once when his bow was broken by enemies, he managed to subdue them by throwing arrows like darts. And when cornered, he can easily use his bow as a melee weapon.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2010): Ratchet throws his pistol at Zogg's robots twice after it runs out of ammo. Once in the first issue and once in the fourth issue.
  • Robyn Hood: In Robyn Hood: I Love NY #2, Robyn is Caught in a Snare and unable to use her bow. She somehow manages to kill a Lizard Folk by throwing an arrow at it.
  • Y: The Last Man: One of the antagonists shows up for a fight Dual Wielding a pair of (two-handed) naginatas.

    Fan Works 
  • In My Immortal, James Potter somehow manages to pull out a knife and start shooting at Lucious Malfoy with it.
    • And "Snaketail" appears to have been stabbed with a gun.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Titan A.E., a rifle of some sort ends up being used to bridge an electrical connection. Of course, the person who does this dies.
  • During the battle at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the gargoyles build a catapult and, instead of using it to fire something, they just push it off the cathedral onto the enemies below, who manage to avoid it while it lands face down.
    Victor: Are you sure that's how it works?
    (the catapult triggers, causing it to flip onto some enemy soldiers)
    Hugo: Works for me!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In quite a number of martial arts films, when characters fight with weapons, they occasionally throw in a few kicks that would be better suited for unarmed fighting (roundhouse kicks, spinning kicks etc.), in situations where they would be better off attacking with the weapon than with a kick.
  • The Gamers: Successfully Back Stabbing a person with a ballista. In a tavern. It's technically possible in Dungeons & Dragons, unless the DM specifically forbids it.
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and the first Pumpkinhead have people being impaled with shotguns.
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux:
    • Topper's machine gun runs out of ammunition. He spies a crate filled with bullets and throws them at the bad guys... killing them. Unlike other examples, the improbability is the point of the scene considering it's a comedy movie.
    • In an even more ridiculous scene he's shooting at a guard with a bow, but keeps missing until he runs out of arrows. He grabs a chicken off the ground, nocks it in the bow, and shoots it right into the guard's chest.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Avengers, Hawkeye runs out of arrows and is forced to fight the Chitauri with just his bow instead. This one has some historic precedent — unstringed longbows, for instance, made pretty good quarterstaves. By the time of Captain America: Civil War, Hawkeye has a new bow that can turn into a proper quarterstaff.
    • In the trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), as in the comics, Rocket Raccoon is shown hand-wielding a minigun-type weapon bigger than he is. Not that a film featuring a gun-wielding raccoon and his buddy the talking tree should be held to a high standard of realism, but it may be justified as Rocket has been subjected to various painful augmentations.
    • Thor often makes creative use of Mjölnir outside of combat, usually by taking advantage of the weapon's Only the Chosen May Wield nature. In his solo movie he restrains Loki by placing the hammer on his chest, knowing that Loki is not worthy and won't be able to move it on his own. In Thor: Ragnarok he combines the worthiness clause with the hammer's ability to return to his hand when thrown as a God Test to expose the fact that Loki is disguising himself as their father (the real Odin being worthy of the hammer). Thor throws the hammer into the distance, grabs "Odin" by the neck and holds him in the return path. Loki opts to dodge and drop his disguise rather than risk having his face caved in.
  • In The Mummy Returns, they have flashback sequences to ancient Egypt, where two female characters duel with dual sai. Not only did the sai originate as a weapon in around the seventeenth century AD in East Asia instead of 2000 BC Egypt, but sai were typically blunt truncheon-type weapons mostly used for blocking and breaking swords instead of sharp knife-type weapons. Although there is evidence of sai-like weapons from ancient Egypt which were blunt, it's not likely they were used like that.
  • In Narc (2002), two detectives puzzle over the shooting death of a gang-banger until they reason out that he had tried to use his own shotgun as a bong and blew his face off.
  • In Predator, Jesse Ventura uses a hand-held GE M134 Minigun. It is impossible for anyone to really hold and use this weapon. In Real Life this gun is mounted on a helicopter or armored vehicle, it is far too heavy to be used otherwise. An even smaller version was actually designed to be man-portable, the XM214 "Microgun" of the 1970s, but even it was designed to be used with a tripod, and never made it past the prototype stage because it didn't offer any advantages over existing single-barreled machine guns that its own weight and extreme fire rate didn't circumvent.
  • In Prince Caspian, Susan throws an arrow at a soldier. It lands point in, in his heart and kills him. Justified by the arrows being a gift from Aslan. And Susan wields her bow like a staff when soldiers are up close and personal.
  • William in Snow White & the Huntsman frequently stabs enemies with arrows if they're too close to shot with his bow, despite having a perfectly good sword at his hip.
  • Shoot 'Em Up is built around this trope. Smith uses his gun for everything from opening doors to delivering babies.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-800 uses the same GE M134 Minigun. The Terminator's use of it can be handwaved by being a super-strong cyborg, though one wonders why Sarah Connor kept a helicopter's weapon in her arsenal to begin with.
  • The Toolbox Murders remake and The Sleeper both have scenes where characters have their throats slit with the claw-end of a hammer.
  • In Ultraviolet (2006), guns are used for everything, including opening doors, cauterizing wounds, and occasionally killing people.
  • The infamous curving bullets from Wanted.
  • Underworld (2003) is notable in the instance where Selene uses a pair of fully-automatic pistols to shoot a circle around her feet, creating an exit through the floor in a building when she tries to evade the werewolves and retrieve Michael.
  • ZombieNightmare has a teen hood who is impaled with a metal baseball bat.

  • Ben Snow: In "The Edge of the Year 1900", a blowgun dart coated in curare is used as the murder weapon. The murderer actually pressed the dart into the victim in the dark. Using the dart was an attempt to frame the blowgun's owner.
  • In Charlie's Monsters: Nightmare Academy, Charlie uses his rapier to slash at something.
  • In the Discworld City Watch Novels, Detritus the troll's weapon of choice is a ballista. He is able to use it like a crossbow just because he's so damn big. Sometimes it's used to fire the iron spears it was designed to fire, but most of the time Detritus loads it with bundles of arrows. Which shatter from the force of being fired. Then burst into flames from the air friction. When Detritus test-fired it for the first time, it wiped out the training targets, the hill behind them, and some birds that happened to be flying directly above him. He calls it the Piecemaker. It cannot be fired indoors, primarily because it's no longer indoors after he fires.
    Vimes: When Mr. Safety Catch is not on, Mr. Crossbow is not your friend.
  • During The Falling Kingdoms Series, a captured Cleo makes her escape in the fourth book with the assistance of several arrows. Being a terrible shot, she opts to just jab them into guards' eyes.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts' Trooper "Try Again" Bragg loves to use autocannon or heavy machine guns like they were rifles. He's certainly massive enough to swing it, and it helps make up for his marksmanship.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the weapon itself is not exactly improbable but the manner in which it is used definitely qualifies. When Harry and Ron rescue Hermione from the troll they have locked into the girls' bathroom with her, rather than using it to cast any sort of useful spell, Harry accidentally shoves his wand up the troll's nose (It Makes Sense in Context). The distraction caused by having "a long bit of wood up its nose" allows Ron to use his own wand in a more conventional manner, using "Wingardium Leviosa" to raise the troll's own club high into the air and knock it out.
  • In the Humanx Commonwealth novel The End of the Matter, Anti-Hero Skua September puts in his first appearance wielding a heavy military laser designed to be fired from a tripod. He wears the massive power supply as an impromptu backpack. He does comment that it's awfully heavy, which says something coming from a man as huge as he is.
  • In The Incredulity of Father Brown, this is actually the answer to the death of a millionaire that seemed to have been shot through a window by God. He was stabbed with an arrow where the angle pointed to the window.
  • This is a clue in the Lord Darcy story "Murder on the Napoli Express". A man is clubbed to death with his Sword Cane. Since it's far easier to kill a man with a sword cane by stabbing them rather than repeatedly whacking them on the head, this suggests to Darcy that the killer was someone who didn't know it was a sword cane.
  • In Ranger's Apprentice book 3, Halt finds out that Erak the Skandian actually has quite a lot of bows. He tried using them as fence palings, apparently, but found them to be too flexible, so he just packed them away. Halt dryly agrees that flexibility is something bows are typically selected for.
  • There's a similar case in Ngaio Marsh's novel Swing Brother Swing, in which a dart believed to have been fired from a gun turns out to have been used to stab someone to death at short range.
  • Jason impales a woman with a cleaver in Friday the 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat.
  • In the first The Wheel of Time book, Rand uses his father's Heron-marked sword to cut the tongues off a wagon to make a stretcher. He's astounded that it works, and doesn't ruin the sword, not knowing at the time that it was made with magic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: In "The Host", Kelly uses Ash's shotgun as a marijuana pipe.
  • MacGyver once used a revolver chamber as an improvised wrench, 70 feet up in the air. He even stated that he is afraid of heights and hates guns, and he happened to be in this situation.
  • Lampshaded in Merlin when Merlin, who in this version is a peasant boy about the same age as Arthur and realistically does not swordplay, just smacks the guy with the blade. It works, and Arthur's reaction is priceless.
    Arthur: Wonders never cease.
  • It's mentioned that a Korean War veteran in My Name Is Earl killed three enemy soldiers with one bullet and no gun. He pushed it into their skulls with his bare hands — which logically considering it probably would mean a person capable of that could have just killed them with their bare hands anyway rather than bothering to shove the bullet through three separate heads.
  • Robin Hood the BBC version: when the Sheriff's men are at a distance, the Outlaws shoot them with bows; when the Sheriff's men are close, Outlaws use their bows as quarterstaffs and hit them. The whole point of a staff is that it is solid; the whole point of a bow is that it bends (while war bows were rather stiff, they also had to withstand a lot of stress; using one as a bludgeon would be an excellent way to ruin it).

  • Eminem:
    • A common gag in early Slim Shady material:
      • In "What's The Difference", Slim threatens to "drop the sawed-off and beat you with the piece it was sawed off of".
      • In "Kill You": "Put your hands down, bitch — I ain't gon' shoot you. I'mma pull you to this bullet and put it through you."
      • In "Under The Influence" he'll "grab a knife at the blade and stab you with the fuckin' handle".
    • Much of The Eminem Show is dedicated to Eminem having a breakdown about his charge for pistol-whipping a man for kissing his wife. In real life, he (secretly) took the bullets out of the gun and waved it around to intimidate the man, wanting to scare him rather than actually kill him, and because he was not licensed to own a gun yet.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • This is seen a lot in professional wrestling as the participants are not actually trying to hurt each other. A sledgehammer could easily kill someone if you actually swung it at them properly and so a wrestler is more likely to hold it halfway up the handle and execute a weak jab. Matches where the objective is to make the target bleed normally focus on the participants hitting each other in the forehead with blunt objects rather than actually using something sharp.
  • A particularly silly example is when a wrestler takes off one of his boots and uses it as a sort of club. This is often sold as a devastating blow that will instantly KO an opponent. Of course a boot is an awkward weapon to hold and swing, plus human arms are weaker than human legs. Striking with a hand-held boot would logically do far less damage than simply kicking someone in the head whilst wearing it, which wrestlers do all the time...
  • Delirious inserted brass knuckles into his mask to deliver a headbutt hard enough to defeat Adam Pearce.
  • One of Lin Bairon's finishing moves involves grabbing a knight stick and then moon saulting a downed opponent in such a way that the stick goes into their throat when she lands. Needless to say, this one really hurts her if they move.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech and its expanded universe is fond of improbable weapons usage. Hanse Davion in The Warrior Trilogy fires his BattleMech's particle projector cannon at point-blank range despite the Arbitrary Weapon Range before using the cannon to bludgeon an enemy battlemech to death, then rips off an another enemy's arm and then beats it to death. Mundane Utility is present, as battlemech weaponry can make decent impromptu combat engineering tools; a dialed-down laser can weld metal, and long-range missiles can fell forests or clear minefields.
  • In Exalted second edition, the standard use for a daiklave is to take some time and commit a few motes to attune to it. This will allow you to wield this ridiculously big chunk of metal as if it weighed no more than a regular sword. Of course, if you're in a hurry, unattuned daiklaves are listed as acceptable improvised weapons by at least one martial arts style. In which case you can wield the ridiculously big chunk of metal as if it weighed as much as a ridiculously big chunk of metal.
  • Justified Trope in GURPS in several instances:
    • Weapons designed for use on a vehicle can be used as man portable weapons by a character with Super-Strength.
    • Area of effect weapons can be used at point blank by a character with Super-Toughness without too much trouble.
    • Super strong characters can also pull a One-Handed Zweihänder.

    Video Games 
  • Among the many weapons available in Akiba's Trip is an anti-material rifle...which is used as a two-handed beatstick.
  • The introductory mission of Battlefield 3 has a shotgun used to bar a door between the cars of a subway train. You don't even get to use it for its intended purpose, as five seconds after you remove it from the door an enemy ambushes you and throws it out the window.
  • In Betrayal at Krondor and its Spiritual Sequel Betrayal in Antara, you can thrust with slashing weapons and slash with thrusting weapons, but accuracy and damage increases if you a certain type of sword in the manner it was intended to.
  • BlazBlue features the cyborg girl Nu-13, who uses a throwing knife with a loop in the hilt to tie off her braid.
  • In Brawlhalla, some of the available weapons are used in odd fashions: the bow can be used as a melee weapon in combos, as well as used to fire an enemy you manage to catch. The rocket lance's exhaust can be used to attack the enemy and the cannon can be carried and used to clobber your enemy with it.
  • In Cave Story, the machine gun's most powerful upgrade has intense recoil... powerful enough that if you fire it downward, it propels you upward. In other words, you can use the machine gun as a makeshift jetpack, and it's actually better at this than the actual jetpack you acquire (unless you manage to get the jetpack's upgraded form, which is far more maneuverable).
  • In Dead Rising 2, the player can use machine-gun wheelchairs, pitchfork-shotguns, and chainsaw-paddles to mow down the undead.
  • The Dust Storm attack in Dust: An Elysian Tail, when performed on the ground, is basically weaponized Weapon Twirling, though the attack can't be performed for too long or Dust will actually hit himself with the attack by accident.
  • Dwarf Fortress brought in the German School of Swordsmanship mentioned in the Real Life section below, enabling Adventure Mode players to club opponents with pommels, the flat of swords and the shafts of polearms. And if you have a stack of bolts/arrows in hand, you can shank anyone that gets in melee range with them, so be careful about going melee on that crossbowman.
  • In Dynasty Warriors, Zhong Hui uses five floating swords that he controls seemingly through some form of telekinesis, although in the game anyone can use the swords like that.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy series:
    • Anna can whack her enemy with her bow (via the aptly-named Bow Whack skill) in Epic Battle Fantasy 5. Its complete inability to kill foes (leaving them at 1 HP instead), alongside its increased chance to get them to surrender makes it useful for capturing them.
    • Lance's Crush skill (renamed Armor Crush in EBF5) has Lance pull out whatever shoulder-mounted gun he has equipped and whack them with it. Matt and Lance both get quotes for this skill in the fifth game:
      Lance: Ouch, that attack takes a lot out of my back! (I need to lift more weights...)
      Matt: Do you even lift, bro? You'll break your back if you swing it like that!
    • Matt, meanwhile, has the ability to throw his sword like a boomerang via the Sword Cyclone skill. This can overlap with Improbable Weapon User, given Matt's arsenal features a guitar and a hockey stick, among other things.
  • Final Fantasy series (the older ones, anyway): The Ninja's Throw technique makes you able to throw weapons at the enemy. All weapons. Yes, even katanas. And it's even more effective depending on the power of the weapon. So, throwing a katana is more effective than throwing a dagger, and some weapons are only effective when thrown, like the Excalipoor.
  • Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage gets in on this with Jagi, the Dirty Coward Unfavorite of the Hokuto brothers. Instead of using his fists like pretty much everyone else, he elects to use shotguns and a freakin' bazooka as his weapons of choice. Sometimes this involves firing them like a proper gun-toting maniac. More often, though, he's clubbing people with them, or swinging the bazooka around like a club to wallop his enemies into the distance. Oddly enough, his regular attacks simply leave normal corpses behind, but his special attacks cause the series' traditional cases of Your Head A-Splode.
  • One of Gears of War 2's bosses, Skorge, uses a chainsaw staff to saw a tank in two.
  • In God Hand you can get the tremendously useful rocket launcher... which you use with the same animation as every other weapon and use it to beat someone's head in - after you've fired its single payload, of course.
  • Axl Low of Guilty Gear uses a kusarigama with a second sickle in place of the weight on the other end of its chain.
    • Sol wields his sword upside-down, in order to evoke the imagery of Freddie Mercury's baseless mic-stand.
  • The same issue is present in both Neverwinter Nights games. You can certainly use a rapier...but it has the same attack animation as a longsword, and the result looks as suitably ridiculous as you'd imagine.
  • Intrusion 2: Where to begin with Maku, she uses a laser cannon twice as big as her, twirls it around like a baton, swings around on a grappling hook while shooting it, uses it as some sort of jetpack, fires it at a disco ball to reflect and split the beam, and fires it into the ground to make molten lava shoot out of the ground.
  • Inuyasha: The Secret of the Cursed Mask: One of the team attacks in the game is Kagome using Miroku's staff as an arrow.
  • Kingdom of Loathing's strongest melee attacks are specific to clubs. With the rare Iron Palm technique, fighters can use swords as if they were clubs by making their hand impervious enough to grip the blade and pummel with the hilt.
  • The Bandana Dee in Kirby Returns to Dreamland twirls his spear like a helicopter to fly.
  • Vulcan Raven, one of the bosses in Metal Gear Solid, is codenamed after the M61A1 Vulcan rotary cannon he carries into battle. The weapon and its feeding system typically weigh more than 400 lbs. and was originally fitted on a fighter jet.
  • The characters in the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers SNES beat-em-up don't have any ranged attacks, which leads to the bow-wielding Kimberly just beating everything to death with her bow.
  • Bowguns and Bows in Monster Hunter can actually be used for melee attacks (sluggishly hitting monsters with your gun or your arrows, respectively). It's about as effective as it sounds and usually not worth the effort.
  • Odin Sphere: Cornelius twirls his sword like a helicopter blade to glide through the air.
  • Persona 3 has an example of the user not understanding how to use it: Junpei uses two-handed swords like they were baseball bats. The Evokers the party uses to summon their Personae are usually shaped like handguns, which they use to shoot themselves in the head.
  • Persona 5: Due to the Your Mind Makes It Real nature of the Mental World of the Palace, even prop weapons, such as a toy gun Ryuji gives the protagonist early in the game, are able to work as fully functioning weapons that can damage Shadows, although the amount of ammo it can fire is still limited. This also explains how Goro is able to use laser swords and ray guns as weapons.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 has a Photon Art titled "Crazy Smash" for launchers. What does it do? It makes you swing the launcher like a golf club, and has nice knock back to boot.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2]: James Heller is capable of ripping weapon mounts off of tanks and helicopters and carrying them around. In universe he's strong enough to punch out a tank, so this makes sense. However, in addition to carrying these weapons around and throwing them he can actually fire them which qualifies for this trope since these are vehicle mounted weapons that fired from inside the vehicle and don't actually have triggers. Many of these weapons (especially helicopter missile launchers) seem to have far more shots than you would expect from looking at them, which also counts.
  • Daria from Rune Factory 3 uses her hammer as a paintbrush.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, the Trinity Scepter is basically a scepter once used for channeling magic. But due to its massive size, it is used and classified as a Greathammer in-game for bashing your enemies.
  • Samurai Shodown has a bit of this in its repertoire, of course. Some are justifiable, like the swordsmen taking a cheap shot with the hilt (or, for Ukyo, with the sheath). Some are a little more Rule of Cool, like Earthquake tossing the blade end of his kusarigama. And a few are less than textbook, like Cham Cham using her boomerang as a melee weapon or Andrew fighting in sword duels using the bayonet of his musket.
  • Samurai Warriors has Hanzo, who swings the scythe-part of his kusarigama, Shingen Takeda, whose warfan can be used for slicing people and Nagamasa using Slice-and-Dice Swordsmanship with his lance may count as well .
    • Toshiie Maeda can use the two spears he carries on his back as boomerangs, just as his lord Katsuie Shibata can with his axes.
  • Vyse from Skies of Arcadia holds one of his swords in a Reverse Grip, but he holds it by the crossguard like a tonfa.
  • In Star Ocean: The Second Story, Opera has a laser rifle... That she smacks people with.
  • Aric Jorgan, the Trooper's ranged damage companion in Star Wars: The Old Republic, qualifies as his combat stance is referred to as "Sniper Mode." His weapon of choice is also a blaster autocannon held at hip level. Usually, people use sniper rifles to do their sniping, but not Jorgan. Then again, neither do certain real-life war heroes mentioned in the real life section of this page, but Jorgan doesn't even use a scope or bipod, and, again, shoots from the hip. As of the Knights of the Fallen Empire re-vamp of SW:TOR across the board, this is no longer the case.
  • Street Fighter III has Urien's Aegis Reflector, which is ostensibly an Attack Reflector, but since it deals continuous Scratch Damage for as long as it contacts the opponent, it's best used after herding your opponent into a corner to lock them into a Cycle of Hurting and open them up for combos.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The series has a multitude of ranged and melee weapons that can be used in a normal fashion (though nobody actually wields the Super Scope as the manual says you should)... or you can simply opt to throw them into your opponent's face instead. Amusingly, this frequently is a more effective method of KOing your opponents than using the weapon in the standard fashion, due to it causing more damage and/or being a lot easier to hit them in this fashion. The Home Run Bat is probably the best example, as while being wielded, the only notably powerful offensive option it has is its ridiculously slow One-Hit KO smash attack, whereas it can be turned into a speedy projectile with a strength rivaling that of many fully charged smash attacks when thrown.
    • Wario can eat any explosive item, which explode and damage nearby enemies (and himself).
    • This is a Discussed Trope in Snake's Codec call on Falco. Slippy informs Snake that Falco's Reflector is supposed to be held in place to reflect projectiles, which is how Fox uses it. However, Falco uses it by kicking it to send it flying around like a boomerang. Snake comments that there's no reason a weapon can't have more than one use, and adds that the Reflector's versatility shows just how well Slippy designed it.
  • Saki from Suguri also uses a grenade as a melee weapon. It has a 25% chance of exploding and dealing double damage.
  • Tales of Destiny 2: Harold Berselius's secondary weapon is a knife on a string, used similarly to a killer yo-yo.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    In-game Description: High-yield Scottish face removal. A sober person would throw it.
    • The sniper's taunt kill with his unlockable bow has him stab an opponent with the arrow. Another of his unlockables is a tranquilizer rifle, which he uses to fire piss-filled darts. They're as deadly as regular bullets, except they can't headshot.
  • In Tomb Raider (2013), the stealth kill animations show Lara using her bow as a makeshift garrotte to choke out enemies.
  • The titular Transistor is shaped like a BFS, and Red uses it to fire bursts of energy and projectiles, set mines, summon a Process animal familiar...everything except use it as a sword. The only thing she actually uses it like a proper sword on is herself.
  • In the final cutscene of Unreal Tournament III the protagonist kills the Big Bad by clubbing her to death with a rocket launcher.
  • In World of Warcraft:
    • The Warrior ability Heroic Throw does exactly what it sounds like it does - no matter what size or shape the Warrior's weapon is. One tie-in novel has a (granted, extremely skilled and demigod-blessed) warrior throw his giant two-handed sword like a spear.
    • The Paladin ability Avenger's Shield has them throw their shield Captain America style, although they might be using magic.
    • The ability Titan's Grip allows a Warrior to Dual Wield two-handed weapons. It gets a bit ridiculous when a gnome dual wields giant battleaxes.
    • Most magic users are unlikely to ever use their weapons to hit things, but somehow their high-level weapons greatly improve their magic even when sheathed. Makes sense for keeping things balanced with items, not so much in how it is applied to the game itself. Then there are feral druids using their animal-form fangs and claws to attack, but somehow still draw upon their weapon (and the rest of their equipment that disappears when they shapeshift) stats to determine how effective their attacks are.
    • Monks in Mists of Pandaria are similar, mostly attacking with their bare hands.
  • If you're smart while playing Zombies Ate My Neighbors, you will never once use the Bazooka to kill an enemy. It's simply too valuable for blasting open doors and cracked walls.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Suppression is an action that involves throwing a lot of firepower a target's way to dramatically reduce its aim. Normally those that get it are Heavies, who have light machinegun-style guns, and Supports, who tote semi/full-auto rifles. Depending on "Training Roulette]]", which randomizes what skills a soldier can get, Suppression may be available to Assaults (and while they can equip the same rifles as Supports, it also works when their loadout is a shotgun) and Snipers, whose basic weapon is bolt-action.


    Web Original 
  • Chaos Fighters has swiping, an type of attack which the weapon (usually a sword or a lance) is swung in a direction perpendicular to how its blade is aligned. In reality this would not work as well as depicted and could potentially break the weapon.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: At two points in the second campaign, Yasha uses her five-foot greatsword to shave Caleb's beard. The first time it goes well, but after her second attempt a few months later leaves Caleb with a large gash by his ear, they mutually agree to just use a straight razor from now on.
  • Vegan Black Metal Chef uses the weapon-used-as-a-tool variant. He crushes potatoes with a mace, chops mushrooms with an axe, and uses knives that would be more suitable as weaponry than kitchen utensils.
  • Similar to VBMC, in Cooking With Boris, Boris often uses a CS:GO-esque hunting knife to cut and carve various vegetables.

    Western Animation 
  • The Dragon Prince: In a flashback episode, some guards from Katolis are shown using their halberds (which are seemingly based on the Chinese ji and fitted with curved sideblades to slash) as javelins against the Magma Titan, tossing them across the air at the beast. The lack of effectiveness is apparently put on the fact that the target is made of living magma.
  • On Family Guy, when Peter becomes a professional jouster, he tries to fish toast out of the toaster and butter it with his lance. It works about as well as one might expect.
  • Kanan from Star Wars Rebels knocks out Fenn Rau by bludgeoning him with the hilt of an unignited lightsaber.
  • An episode of The Simpsons has Homer buying a revolver, which he promptly uses to do things like opening beer cans and changing TV channels. This recklessness causes Marge to leave with the children and gets him kicked out of the local NRA.
    Homer: Honey, a gun is just a tool, like a screwdriver, or a crossbow, or an alligator...
  • Of the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, only Leonardo comes close to fighting appropriately with his weapon. Donatello is decent, but never uses half the techniques for a bo, Michelangelo is missing 95% of his nunchuku skills since he dual wields them, and Raphael uses his sai as knives instead of defensive bludgeon tools. The last one varies somewhat by work: in the 2012 series Raphael actually uses his sai to catch and break weapons (and limbs), although he still occasionally uses them to stab as well.

    Real Life 
  • Historical fencing involves a lot of maneuvers that look strange but were actually practical.
    • The Mordhau involves grabbing the sword on the blade, swinging it wrong way around and smashing the opponent's face with the crossguard or pommel, turning the sword into an improvised hammer or pick. Likewise, the crossguard can be also used on tripping the opponent.
    • The Halbschwerten or half-swording technique means grabbing the sword with one hand on the hilt and another on the blade to wield it essentially like a short spear or dagger, allowing for thrusts into unarmoured points such as the joints or eye slits.
    • Swords designed to be held by the blade often have a noticeable ricasso, an unsharpened section near the hilt specifically for the user to grab (some larger swords can be used like polearms this way).
  • On MythBusters, shooting an escape hole in the floor or shooting out a lock proved possible but far, far more difficult than using the proper tools (a boltcutter and circular saw) and required fairly impressive firepower.
  • Carlos Hathcock, a famed Marine Corps sniper (one of his famous achievements being a Scope Snipe), once used an M2 heavy machine gun modified and mounted with a scope as an improvised sniper rifle. He set the record for the longest combat kill at 2,286 meters, a feat not surpassed until the Afghanistan war, in which dedicated sniper rifles firing the same .50 caliber round were employed. This counts as a trope example since the M2 was not designed for precision sniping, but does have considerable range.
  • The Finnish RK-62 assault rifle magazines make excellent bottle openers. The IMI Galil ARM, which is based on RK-62 design, has a bottle opener built into its bipod because of problems with soldiers using magazines of other rifles as improvised bottle openers, damaging the magazine lips in the process and causing feed problems.
  • Before the invention of the Bayonet, the only thing musket users had when the enemy got close or they were out of ammo was to use their guns as clubs. Many were fitted with a metal piece on the end to make sure they are very good clubs.
  • The British-designed Sten Gun, particularly the wartime Mark II version, was notorious for not just discharging but emptying its entire magazine if dropped. It was also extremely cheap and easy to make. Partisans in occupied Europe would sometimes turn this bug into a feature; dropping a spare one out of an upstairs window into the midst of a German patrol was a pretty good field-expedient grenade substitute, and one that could usually be reloaded and used again afterwards.
  • A "shotgun bong" is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin, when someone takes a shotgun, unloads the weapon and puts a bowl in the receiver, blows on the bowl and uses the barrel as a pipe for a makeshift bong. This isn't a good idea, for what we hope are obvious reasons.
  • Jerome M. Hauer, the Director of Homeland Security for the State of New York, made headlines in 2013 by using a 9mm Glock pistol as a laser pointer while giving a presentation to a foreign delegation. This incident took place at a highly secure state emergency operations center under State Police headquarters, to which Hauer had brought his gun in violation of state law. The foreign visitors (three emergency managers from Sweden) became rather alarmed when, in the course of his presentation, Hauer swept the gun's laser sight across their heads. Hauer later justified his action by saying that the gun wasn't loaded and he didn't see any other laser pointers nearby, but admitted it wasn't the smartest thing to do.
  • During World War II, a Russian private Vataman captured a German panzerfaust from its fallen previous owner. Upon finding it broken and unable to fire, he reportedly improvised and used it as a club to beat several German soldiers to death. As a Panzerfaust can weigh up to 9.4 kilograms, this probably worked a lot better than most would expect. Please note that the Panzerfaust is an anti-tank explosive rocket, and best used when fired at a large armored target from thirty meters away as opposed to hitting an infantryman with it.
  • In late WWII, the Australians installed Hedgehog depth charge launchers on Matilda tanks. They found out depth charges, originally intended to destroy submarines, made excellent bunker busters.
  • Shoulder-launched anti-tank weapons, such as RPG-7, make excellent anti-helicopter weapons. The Somali insurgents downed two MH-60 Blackhawks in Mogadishu with shoulder-launched anti-tank rockets.
  • One well-known instance of this trope is the Wehrmacht using 88 mm anti-air guns as anti-tank weapons, because in many instances it was the only thing that could get through Allied tank armor.
    • This proved so successful that the Americans and the Soviets both later followed suit, turning the M1 90mm anti-aircraft gun into the M36 tank destroyer and the M1939 85mm gun into the T-34-85.

Alternative Title(s): Improbable Weapon Usage


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