A creative fighting tactic useful by unarmed people in any situation: Make what's around you a weapon. Even outside the dangerous environments, there's a lot of stuff to try. Anything can be used as a club if it's sturdy enough, and most hard materials will develop a sharp edge if properly coaxed. For comedy value, go as wacky as you like.
Depending on the setting or the characters, there's a lot of options:
- The Bar Brawl — Pool cues (and balls!), beer bottles, darts, chairs, stools, Flipping the Table, essentially anything that isn't nailed down.
- At School — Erasers, eraser dustnote , pointers, AV carts, heavy textbooks, cafeteria food, writing implements, scissors, wooden or aluminum bats or any equipment from the gym, brooms from the janitor's closet, instruments from the music classes and/or marching band, desks and chairs, and even note paper. There's also the term 'the loaded backpack' for swinging a backpack weighted with books. Let's not forget tools from automotive shop class, carpentry class, or even chemistry class if there is one (bonus points if it's poured in the victim's eyes).
- In Prison — Real knives are hard to get and quickly confiscated, so convicts improvise a lot. All of the above is used, with the addition of mirror glass, plastic bags, elastic bands, gum, toothbrushes, and many, many other things. Notably, ingenious inmates have been known to make usable shivs out of papier-mache toilet paper (you can literally flush the evidence), a shotgun out of iron bedposts, lead gunpowder, crafted from curtain tape and match-heads, and a firing mechanism from AA batteries and a broken light bulb. (which was used to blow out a pane of bulletproof glass before they held a guard hostage), and best of all, a fully functioning crossbow (the components included rubber gloves, a wire coat-hanger, and ten toothbrushes).
- The Kitchen — knives and lots of 'em, hot pots of coffee, toasters (whacking opponents with the toaster is an option), bones from meat cuts, frying pans, rolling pins, any large, solid mass of frozen food (which gives a whole new meaning to Lethal Chef), Meat Tenderizers; when applying to silverware specifically, it's Fork Fencing, A fridge (A door the face or), The freezer (Literally putting somebody on ice a.k.a The human popsicle routine but Not recommended unless you intend to kill them), the microwave (bonus point for stuffing it with tin foil and oil and turn it on), deep-fat fryers, a hot stovetop (those things burn a LOT, as will the fryers), china dishes, plates (break one upon the opponent's head, then use the shards as makeshift knives or throwing stars). And don't forget loaves of bread. Food can also be used as Edible Ammunition if it's hard enough and propelled at lethal speeds.
- The Wilderness — branches, fire, rocks, avalanches, bears, sharks and other local wildlife, fishing poles and hooks.
- Construction Sites — wrenches, shovels, hammers, hatchets, pipes, bricks, iron bars, boards, pickaxes, paint buckets, blowtorches, aerosol flamethrowers, crowbars, hacksaws, portable drills, power cutters, rivet guns, sharpened metallic roadsign, welding equipment, bulldozers, excavators, trucks, forklifts, chains, gas cylinders, and many other tools.
- Farmland — pitchforks, hoes, shovels, rakes, pesticides, herbicides. Even a tractor.
- If you're a Damsel in Distress, always a vase. Maybe a small statue. Or a high heeled shoe. Or a handbag Especially when preloaded with a house brick (especially the makeup kit in there). Or a pen (we're looking at you, McAdams).
- If you have a spare stocking and a few blunt objects, you might as well Sock It to Them. Though a scarf, cloak or sash.
- At the store — Fresh produce, pop caps, anything in a can or glass bottle (especially soda), cash registers, depending on the store TVs, furniture, VCRs, heavy electronics, candy balls, toys. The Home and Garden and Hardware departments are veritable arsenals of melee weapons. Bee Spray makes a great alternative to mace and can shoot 15+ feet in a wide swath.
- In a Car. Slow or fast, as long as it's undodgeable, it's quite dangerous. Especially if it's laden with explosives.
- Anywhere in your own home — cameras (those flash bulbs are always a handy distraction), the couch, letter openers, the golf caddy, pet cages (especially if Fido or Fluffy is inside), the indoor fireplace (HOT HOT HOOOOT!!!), or towels, blankets, and curtains. The flashlight at the garage is also useful both as a blinding light and as a club. Hoses are useful with or without a water stream. Also beware anyone who shouts, "Batter Up!"
- There's also the use of tools and equipment not meant for violence as weapons anyway — such as cutters, spreaders, fire extinguishers, and defibrillators.
More and more video games, especially those with Ragdoll Physics, allow the use of environmental items as a weapon. Even in early Brawlers, it was a very useful tactic. In many Platform Games, even grabbing the enemies themselves is an effective tactic.
Superheroes and Humongous Mecha have a penchant for using even larger objects, like light poles, road signs and mailboxes.
A person who uses one of these as their standard weapon may be an Improbable Weapon User. Or a Ninja. Or someone with Homemade Inventions. Improv Fu consists of using this as your main style of fight.
On a larger scale, tools and machines not intended as weaponry can be converted into such, making a Superweapon Surprise. Combat Breakdown may involve this.
Compare Improvised Armour. Also compare Martial Arts and Crafts, which is like this, only sillier, and Abnormal Ammo, where the gun is a normal weapon, but the "bullets" it shoots may be improvised. Revive Kills Zombie is a subversion where normally helpful things like White Magic, medicine, or boo-boo kisses are used offensively. Contrast with Swords to Plowshares, which is effectively the inversion of this trope.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Live-Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
- The Kaiju Scylla uses her mouth of tentacles to pick up a severed antler in the battle, which she drives into the Many-infected Manda corpse's skull.
- Monster X breaks off a couple stalactites and wields them as sharp instruments against MaNi. They later run MaNi through with a broken off cross from the steeple of the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and Demetrius of Thessaloniki in Berezniki.
- In Crowns of the Kingdom, the Disney Princesses storm the Matterhorn to rescue their boyfriends armed with sports equipment and kitchen utensils.
- Diamond's Cut:
- Somewhat overlaps with environmental kills when 007 kills two final villains with sticks lying around: the arms dealer gets throttled with a fallen tree limb, while final villain gets stabbed through the stomach with a branch.
- Also, the chase scene at the supermarket earlier. The second arms’ dealer is running away and Bond would need a car to catch up, but he doesn’t have one. So what does he do? He picks up a shopping trolley and rides it downwards to catch up while staring directly at the camera as the Bond music plays.
- Terrorists throwing empty boxes at Bond, which he catches and throws back even as they both have guns.
- A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 7 of the sequel Diplomat at Large, near the end of the fight, Twilight utilizes a piece of the Storm King's broken armor as a makeshift shuriken to impale his wrist so he drops his staff.
- The End of the World: At the start of the climax in The Golden Mean, most of the mentors who the Peacekeepers try to arrest (Harris, Mindwell from District 10, and a few others use their bare hands and/or weapons they take from subdued Peacekeepers) fight back with anything they can grab at the moment, including a workbench, silverware, a Cloth Fu necktie, and a piece of a broken TV set.
Jack Anderson: Me and Haymitch just got through about a million Peacekeepers, using a tie and a piece of broken plastic.
- The main characters of FREAKIN GENSOKYO fight primarily with scissors and plant hangers. These later turn out to be viable melee weapon classes, with dozens of enchanted variants available for the collector.
- Byakuren occasionally uses her motorbike as a bludgeon.
- A chair leg becomes the weapon of choice in Home Is Where the Haunt Is.
- Leviathan in Manehattan's Lone Guardian displays a willingness to use whatever is around her to gain an advantage when her own capabilities and weapon aren't enough to cut it. During a fight against Gray Ghost, she distracts her in mid-attack by using a toy plastic ring from a swimming pool to muzzle her.
- In The Mouse of Konoha,, "always be prepared" is one of the three shinobi lessons Naruto learns when he starts trading scavenged weaponry for tutelage.
- Viridian: The Green Guide: When Izuku is fighting somebody who was about to rape a reporter, he uses a pencil in his jeans' back pocket to stab him in the hand and then grabs a nearby can of beans and beats the attacker in the head with it until he is unconscious. After the incident, Izuku starts carrying around a box cutter and some wooden dowels, and in chapter 7, he decides to go to a hardware store to get some actual weapons and a tool belt to safely carry them in. While he upgrades to a foldable knife and a hunting slingshot, he also buys two steel 30cm pipes to use as batons. Izuku also buys a large amount of marbles in bulk at a toy store to use as slingshot ammunition.
- The protagonist of ToyHammer is an artist with no combat training whatsoever, but when he needs to put out a fire, he subsequently discovers that the extinguisher works as both a bludgeon and (when sprayed) a stunning weapon. He wields it in almost every fight, to the point that it becomes a part of his mental landscape for more than one Battle in the Center of the Mind.
- In With Strings Attached, Ringo whacks Grynun over the head with a guitar to prevent her from castrating George.
- In The Eye of Argon, Grignr sharpens the pelvic bone of a rat and slashes one of the guards with it during his escape.
- In Forward, during a fight inside an infirmary, Jayne kills an opponent who is strangling him (and wearing low-profile Power Armor) by braining him with a bedpan and cutting his throat with a scalpel. Jayne improvising weapons is something he keeps doing over the course of the story as well; in his flashback to when six men tried to kill him, he ends up taking out one of them by rigging a massive incendiary bomb using gasoline and small explosives. Also, the whole crew ends up improvising an anti-ship missile out of a disused drone, shuttle engines, and a repurposed flight computer.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic Prison Island Break, Shadow is highly skilled at creating shivs out of anything, and tends to pick things up on his way in and out of rooms even directly after shakedowns.
- Inverted in the bizarre Half-Life 2 fic Quarter-Life: Halfway To Destruction. Gordon's signature improvised weapon, the crowbarb, is missing, so he instead uses a claymore sword.
- In Not In Kansas, Kara accidentally slays a vampire with a house. More accurately, she tried to force it into said house without first inviting it in, slaying it and leaving behind a pile of dust (which Kara noted didn't enter the house either).
- In Dreaming of Sunshine, Sakura knocks out an escaped prisoner with a vase, and Shikako wins a fight by strangling her opponent with her braid until he passes out.
- In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Tamaki says he once beat a known drug lord unconscious with a coconut after being separated from all sources of help.
- Omoito: Marisa uses one of Alice's drawers to swat away Hourai. Unfortunately, it turns out to be Alice's underwear drawer and Marisa has to explain why she was found with Alice's underwear everywhere.
- That Others May Tinker: Taylor's tinker specialty is in robots for exploring hostile environments, but she still finds ways to make them combat-effective.
It wasn't intended to be a weapon, it was supposed to be for terrain removal, but anything that could be used to bore holes into mountains could just as easily bore holes in people.
- In When Reason Fails, Shoto uses a Coca Cola can combined with his ice magic as an improvised grenade.
- In If You Only Knew Then (The Things I Only Know Now), Madame Jin fully harnessed the art of fighting with anything you can get your hands on, and gave her son some pointers. It makes Jin Zixuan the most qualified person to develop a fighting style revolving around a fan.
- In Doctor Steel's song, "Lament for a Toy Factory", Steel goes insane after being fired by a toy factory. He invades the factory with an army of toys and gasoline-filled Super Soakers.
- In Kevin "Bloody" Wilson's song about The Front Bar Featherbrain Non-Title Fight, a pool cue, broken off pool table legs and a toilet are all employed.
- The video clip for Operator Please's "Leave It Alone" sees this happen right near the end of an otherwise regular fistfight in a small warehouse (well, regular save for the paint in place of blood). Tim Commandeur uses his cymbals (taking an hand and a foot) and a drumstick (taking an eye) until his arms are ripped off by Amandah Wilkinson. Taylor Henderson ends the fight using her violin like a bow and arrow.
- In ''The Coconut Nut," the narrators relatives use coconuts as cannonballs when fighting off "theives."
- The Bible has several examples:
- Cain used a rock to kill Abel.
- Samson killed an army with a donkey's jawbone.
- Judges 3:31: Shamgar kills six hundred heavily armed spearmen with an oxgoad (a stick with a nail in it).
- Although not exactly a weapon in the usual sense, during a period of righteous fury, Jesus cleared out the temple in Jerusalem with a whip made out of belts.
- In The Cattle Raid of Cooley, the Irish boy hero Cu Chulainn kills Cur MacDalath with a thrown apple. One hurled with such force that it pulverises through his head like a modern bullet. Cu Chulainn is really badass like that.
- In Norse Mythology, Frey (or Freyr) didn't have his sword when he went to face the jotunn Beli (the brother of Frey's future bride Gerd)... so he improvised and killed him with a deer antler, which would become his signature weapon.
- In The Adding Machine, Mr. Zero stabs his boss through the heart with a spike-type bill file because, as he explains at the trial, it was conveniently right there on the desk.
- In Black Comedy (1965), the abstract sculpture Brindsley is hoping to sell to Bamberger has two large, detachable prongs- perfect for a livid Colonel and Harold to menace Brindsley with in the final moments of the play.
- In Act 2 of Black Friday, it's revealed the Wiggly cult's weapons of choice — both for combat and for Human Sacrifice — are the box cutters Lex and the other Toy Zone employees used that morning to unpack the Wigglies. An extra layer of Irony with Wiggly describing his desire to kill all humans as "I can't wait to unwrap all my presents".
- Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto: Cesare Borgia, 16, brings a cape to a knife fight, and wins. And does it while delivering a very suave lecture against racism. And it wasn't even his cape. (In the source material, the fight is a lot more brutal, and he strangles Henri with the cape, and catches Henri's ankles in it so Henri crashes his face into the ground.) The topper is, he did have a dagger, he just evidently didn't think Henri was worth it.
- EFX: The Morlock battle in the final segment is filled with these.
- In The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad, several fights involve the protagonists using whatever nearby objects they can find to whack the enemies with.
- In The Lion in Winter, John tries to kill Geoffrey with a candlestick.
- The T-800 in Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time at Universal Studios uses the Hunter-Killer as a weapon by throwing it at an attacking T-800, which causes its head to launch into the air.
- In the fourth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, the killer smothers her victim with Udon dough. Interestingly, the murderer has a deadly allergy to buckwheat, so if the victim had been preparing Soba dough instead, she would not have survived herself.
- In the second Hatoful Boyfriend Hiyoko can uproot a mailbox to use against a tank.
- In Broken Saints, Raimi defeats a deranged Kamimura by picking up a mirror off the ground in the alleyway and smashing it over his head.
- Tifa in Dead Fantasy. Hold on this might take a while... Ether bottles, bits of lava stuck to her shoes, a table, a garage jack, the same garage jack cut in half, and lastly the chains that where used to try and restrain her.
- Helluva Boss: In "Exes and Oohs", when Millie takes on a group of mooks when she's really angry, she uses a lot of improvised weapons. A lot of them are just organs torn from the mooks (did we mention she was really angry?) or still attached, but they also include a gas canister, festive lights tied to a car, Blitzo, and several dildos on poles.
- Red vs. Blue: "Protect me cone!"
- Volume 2, Episode 1of RWBY had Teams RWBY and JNPR utilize various foodstuffs as analogues for their traditional weapons. Nora uses a watermelon on a pole, Yang uses turkeys as gauntlets, Pyrrha uses a baguette as a spear, Weiss uses a swordfish, and… stop laughing!
- Flippy from Happy Tree Friends has a knack for this when he's not using his bowie knife. His list of killing methods includes stabbing someone through the heart with a drinking straw, stabbing someone through the head with a rose, and even disemboweling someone with a christmas cookie.