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Nothing Up My Sleeve

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Perfect for slitting throats and opening beer bottles.
"I didn't think you was stupid, Mister Vimes. [...] I know a clever copper like you'd think I'd got two knives."
"Yeah, right," said Vimes. [...]
"Mister Vimes? [...] I got three knives, Mister Vimes," said Carcer, bringing his arm up.

A character will have a weapon hidden in his sleeve. Occasionally extracted by a device attached to his arm that will eject the weapon into his hand when the situation calls for it; this can overlap with Blade Below the Shoulder.

Typically it's a knife, throwing star or a Little Useless Gun, though there are other options. This is especially likely if they have sleeves obscuring their hands.

Westerns, such as Louis L'Amour novels, use the gun version occasionally. Often called a "palm gun", a "sneak gun", a "gambler's gun", "gambler's draw", etc. This type of weapon was common among Mississippi riverboat gamblers. Derringers were the favourite as you really can hide one up your sleeve. Western or Film Noir Femme Fatales are often armed with this type of gun as well as, or instead of, a Chastity Dagger.

Sometimes the sleeve is a good way to access Hammerspace. If you find yourself wondering how the object being removed could possibly fit inside a sleeve, you know Hammerspace is involved. Shots where the weapon is revealed are often framed as a Menacing Hand Shot.

A knife in the boot is another variant. Anyone paranoid enough to have this many spare weapons is almost certain to have another one under their pillow and yet another by the bathtub.

The title is a common line for a Stage Magician, as a way to assure the audience that he has no hidden devices that would help him perform the trick. Don't expect characters hiding a weapon to say this line unless Hammerspace really is involved.

Not to be confused with Floating Limbs, although the two could potentially be used simultaneously in order to create more space. Subtrope of Hidden Weapons. May involve Cute Oversized Sleeves to hide a weapon under overlength sleeves, while the character appears cutesy. Compare Combat Haircomb.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fabiola Iglesias ('mini killer-maid') from Black Lagoon has two guns (MAG-7) hidden in her sleeves and EX 41 grenade launcher on her back.
  • In Bleach, a picture drawn by Kubo Tite shows Nanao drawing her as-of-yet-unseen-in-the-manga sword from her sleeve. Word of God is that this is what she was reaching for when Yamamoto knocked her out in the Soul Society arc.
  • Tooya from Ceres, Celestial Legend has a dagger embedded in his arm, which he can summon and use as he pleases. He says it never leaves him. He had acquired it because he was the human form of Ceres' mana, so it might have disappeared forever when he gave the mana to Aya.
  • In the first episode of Gunsmith Cats, Rally had a derringer up her sleeve, which she gives away in a disarming sequence.
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic: Ja'far has arrow-like blades connected to retractable ropes that wrap around his arms.
  • Shizune of Naruto has several spring-loaded needle launchers that she uses by pulling back a cord and letting go of. She has particular long sleeves to help hide them. After the timeskip, Naruto hides a kunai attached to a cord in his sleeve. Naruto first used the sleeve-roped-kunai in the first movie The Snow Country.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: In If the Angels Wore Swimsuits, Scanty and Kneesocks both reveal their Time for Plan B weapon; their Monster of the Week Sealed Army in a Can equivalent of Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!.
  • Mousse from Ranma ½ has tons of melee and ranged weapons that are never visible until he uses them. Not only does he have a virtually unlimited number of these, but the sheer variety of them can only be attributed to it being a martial arts comedy series. In his debut arc, among more traditional weapons he uses claws hidden in his shoes, a hook and wire concealed in his hair, and a training potty from his sleeves that he slams into his opponent's head before they can see what it is.
  • Yomiko Readman from Read or Die keeps pieces of paper up her sleeves.
    • It's not so much that she has paper up her sleeves, her sleeves are paper.
  • Snow White with the Red Hair's Obi always has a knife visible at his belt but he is always carrying far more hidden knives than that and keeps throwing kunai up his sleeves for easy access.
  • In Trigun, Meryl had dozens of single-shot derringers hidden on the inside of her coat. Ditto for Millie's stun gun.
  • The cyborg assassin Macaroni from Trouble Chocolate can retract his hands into his sleeves, and then extract either a Gatling gun or Wolverine Claws.
  • Not guns, but on Yu-Gi-Oh!, Bandit Keith has a remote armature up his sleeve to feed him cards. Earlier appearances just had him pull the cards out from his wristbands.

    Comic Books 
  • Golden Age Green Lantern foe the Gambler kept his trick derringer on a sleeve rig hidden in his jacket.
  • Kid Colt: The Scorpion wore a derringer fitted with a silencer on his forearm, with string leading from the trigger to his finger. With his hands gloved and his sleeves and jacket long, he would seem to "sting" targets merely by pointing at them.
  • The Joker has a tendency to do this, in fact- he keeps a knife up his sleeve (with hidden ejecting mechanism) in The Killing Joke.
  • A derringer up the sleeve is the typical armament of Professional Gamblers in Lucky Luke. In The Stagecoach, Scat Thumbs passes his off to Luke in a move that saves the day.
  • In the final showdown of Sin City's A Dame To Kill For, Dwight unloads on Manute, Ava's bodyguard, with a snub revolver hidden up his sleeve. He hits with all six rounds, but Manute is still standing. Shoulda aimed for the head, buddy.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Sangtee Empire P'Q'Rort/Governor Antar Ftt B'Jan hides throwing knives up his sleeves.

    Fan Works 
  • Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand: In chapter 18, Kairi is revealed to keep a hidden knife up her sleeve in the event that her hands should be bound.
  • In the crossover between the Discworld and The Big Bang Theory, The Many Worlds Interpretation, a Discworld Assassin visits Pasadena, California and makes new friends. She realises she's on a new world with a different outlook when Penny, Bernadette and Amy remark on the sheer amount of weaponry she habitually carries, during an Extended Disarming sequence. Johanna's personal weapons include lots of concealed blades, which are mainly but not exclusively up her sleeves. The ones on her legs also attract comment from her new friends.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Andrew Dice Clay keeps a nickeled S&W Model 38 up his sleeve in a spring-loaded gamblers' rig. Naturally, it never works right 'til that one time...
  • That guy in Alien: Resurrection had a pair of these strapped to his arms. Which made it difficult for him to drop his weapons when told. In the original script, he tosses the empty guns aside and ejects a second pair during his blaze of glory.
  • Assassin's Creed: The Assassins have the Hidden Blade springing from under their wrist, naturally. Callum Lynch inherits those of his Spanish ancestor Aguilar de Nerha.
  • The Assignment (1997). Donald Sutherland plays CIA agent Jack Shaw, who plans to kill Carlos the Jackal during a hostage exchange at Vienna airport, using the mechanical-derringer device trick. But as Shaw reaches out his hand to Carlos, the CIA Chief of Station shouts for him to stop, making Carlos instinctively point his submachine gun so Shaw doesn't dare move. After Carlos leaves the Station Chief (who was unaware of Shaw's intentions) cautions him against "appearing in a newspaper photo shaking that man's hand".
  • Blood Debts: Protagonist Mark Collins keeps a miniature grenade launcher strapped to his wrist during the final shootout, which he uses to kill the Big Bad in the final scene. It leads to the most sudden and abrupt endings in movie history, ever.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker is an outright Psycho Knife Nut. He conceals a blade in at least one shoe, and when he's arrested and searched, the cops find "Nothing in his pockets but knives and lint." Earlier on, when he visits the mobsters and they try to attack him, he reveals that the inside of his coat is lined with grenades that he's rigged to detonate all at once if need be.
  • In Day of the Outlaw, Bruhn intervenes to stop Tex pawing Helen, and probably raping her. Tex starts to reach for his gun, but Bruhn slides a derringer out of his sleeve and Tex changes his mind.
  • The Mariachi from Desperado used dual Ruger KP90s that he drew from his sleeves. He uses this twice, once during the Tarasco Bar shootout, and the other during the final showdown with Bucho.
  • Django Unchained has both Dr. King Schultz and Django use a sleeve-rig for a Derringer. Django uses the Derringer to kill John Brittle, while Schultz uses his to kill both Bill Sharp a.k.a. Willard Peck and Calvin Candie.
  • The Dragon Family pulls a variant in the final shootout, where Andy Lau's character is held at gunpoint by mooks... but it turns out, he had a shotgun in his trousers. Lifting his leg with his hand inside the pockets allows him to pull the trigger and blow away his captors.
  • John Preston from Equilibrium is the master of this trope— not only does he sneak a pair of fully-automatic pistols through a polygraph test this way, but he keeps a pair of reloading devices in his sleeves and the ammo to feed them.
  • In For a Few Dollars More, Colonel Mortimer carries a derringer in his right sleeve, which he uses against Wild in the bar at Agua Calinte.
  • Commodus of Gladiator pulls a knife from the armor around his elbow in the final duel.
  • In part 1 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry (disguised as Runcorn) drops his wand out of his right sleeve into his hand before casting Stupefy on Umbridge.
  • Hook: Peter Pan disarms Captain Hook and seemingly defeats him, but when Peter turns to leave, Hook pulls a spring-loaded sword out of his sleeve and tries to kill Peter one last time.
  • Hot Fuzz: During the climactic shootout in the village, Reverend Shooter pulls out a pair of derringers from his sleeves as his rebuttal to Nicholas' scolding.
  • Crossing over with Blade Below the Shoulder, Hudson Hawkhas Alfred, the Mayflower's Battle Butler, who conceals a pair of rectractable swords in his sleeves.
  • During the Mexican Standoff in The Immortals, Dominic gloats to Jack that he is last man standing as he is the only one who does not have a gun pointed at him. Jack responds by flicking his arm and a sleeve rig pops a second gun into his off-hand, which he proceeds to point at Dominic's face.
  • Inglourious Basterds. An OSS glove pistol is used to kill one of Hitler's guards.
  • The protagonist of Kill Bill keeps a straight razor in her boot.
  • In Last Action Hero Benedict has a knife up his sleeve and he loves - ahem! - whipping it out.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. In a deleted scene, Wormtongue kills Saruman with a knife hidden up his sleeve. The knife has a curved blade to fit against the curve of the forearm for better concealment, as weapons weren't supposed to be carried in King Théoden's hall.
  • In Maverick, one card player was caught cheating with cards attached to a sleeve device. Later, just after the titular character won the poker championship, Angel, who wouldn't admit defeat, thrusts his gun out of his sleeve, although Marshal Cooper was first to draw.
  • The Blue Raja of Mystery Men does this with silverware.
  • In One Foot in Hell, Con Man and pickpocket 'Sir' Harry Ivers has a derringer on a sleeve rig hidden up his sleeve.
  • Viktor Rostavili, the Big Bad of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Red Heat, uses a derringer hidden in his sleeve, also shot into his hand via a special rig.
  • When the Jedi confront Palpatine in his office in Revenge of the Sith, Palpatine drops his lightsaber out of his right sleeve into his hand before leaping toward the Jedi to attack them. He repeats the performance (with what may be a different saber) when Yoda confronts him later in the Chancellor's office below the Senate chamber..
  • In one sequence during Saw, Jigsaw deploys a hidden blade from a spring-loaded contraption in his sleeve when confronted by police.
  • The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958). The title character, a Gadgeteer Genius from a family of gunsmiths, has a derringer on a contraption up his sleeve.
  • In Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009), Professor Moriarty has a small gun on an "ingenious contraption" up his sleeve, that flips up and out with a certain arm movement. Also a few minutes before Irene Adler had used a club that dropped out of her sleeve to knock out a mugger.
  • In Smokin' Aces, torture-expert and Psycho for Hire Pasquale Acosta (Nestor Carbonell) utilizes a long stiletto hidden in his sleeve that is activated with a special device.
  • The Soldier (1982). The Renegade Russian has a sawn-off shotgun up his sleeve with a wire attached to the trigger, so it fires when he raises his hands in surrender when confronted by a police officer.
  • In a variant in Tango & Cash, Cash had a gun concealed in his boot that let him fire when he put his feet up on a table.
  • During the killing spree that marks the climax of Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle uses a small-caliber pistol hidden up his sleeve, which is drawn using a special rig that he made himself. He empties the weapon into the face of one of the men he kills.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki pulls twin daggers from his sleeves before he charges at Doctor Strange.
  • In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, Lara Croft is shown running a gun-training course on horseback. She shoots one target with a small gun that slides out of her sleeve.
  • Undercover Brother. During his final fight with the title character, Mr. Feather extended a wicked-looking clawed blade from each sleeve.
  • In the first Underworld film, the werewolf Lucian has a retractable, mechanical blade concealed up his sleeve, used several times during the movie.
  • In the film version of Wild Wild West Artemus Gordon, having a penchant for overtly complicated gadgets, starts out having an otherwise perfectly ordinary notebook and pen spring-loaded in his sleeves. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun after Jimmy West points out he could put a pistol there.
    Artemus Gordon: Then where would I keep my pencil?
    Jim West: I think you underestimate the convenience of a pocket.
  • War (2007). When a Yakuza goon baulks at taking orders from Kira Yanagawa, she drops a knife from her sleeve and holds it to his neck. She tries the same trick on Rogue only to find her hand empty. Rogue then casually hands her the knife. "You dropped this."

  • Blitzfreeze by Sven Hassel. The protagonists don't give a Mercy Kill to a wounded Russian female soldier because she could have a pistol on a Bowden cable up her arm. Bend over to wipe the blood from her lips and give her a slug of vodka, and she could lift her arm and nail you through the kisser with a 6.5.
  • Burke:
    • In Dead and Gone, Burke produces a length of chain from up one sleeve when dealing with some punks.
    • Burke does this with rebar in Terminal.
    • In the first novel Cobra, he has a zip-gun in a cloth tube up his sleeve, sealed with Velcro. When the villain slaps him back into a chair, the weapon pops into his hand naturally. Fortunately Burke never has to use it, as the gun would blow his fingers off as well as anyone standing in front of it.
  • In Harry Harrison's Deathworld trilogy, every city-dwelling Pyrran, including little children, wears a gun on the forearm, with powered automatic extension for instant fire. They never take them off. Ever. The forest-dwelling Pyrrans lack the technology, so they used wrist-mounted crossbows instead. Then again, they have learned to coexist with some parts of Pyrran wildlife.
  • Discworld:
    • Inigo Skimmer from The Fifth Elephant; among his hidden arsenal is a dagger shaped to fit the shape of the edge of his hand (so he can remove people's heads with nothing more than a karate chop) which emerges from his sleeve when he shrugs his shoulders in a certain way. Vimes first realises that the clerk is more than he seems because he feels the palm dagger armor under his sleeve when he grabs his arm.
    • Double Subverted in Night Watch; Vimes knows Carcer always has a backup knife, and relieves him of it. But-
      Mr Vimes? I got three knives, Mr Vimes...
    • In the Discworld universe, the 'nothing up my sleeves' gesture is the traditional sign that the following spell will be performed the old fashioned way, with magic. It has also been likened to something less...friendly.
  • Raistlin from Dragonlance kept a dagger up his sleeve.
    • Mages are allowed to carry a single non-steel knife on them, and usually conceal them up sleeves of their own.
  • Morwen the witch in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles has her sleeves actually enchanted to function as a Bag of Holding. Being a pragmatic witch rather than the wicked variety, she keeps in them such things as specimen jars, emergency broomstick-enchanting balm, and a collapsible lantern, rather than anything nasty. No word on if she has a rabbit up there either.
  • In the Hammer's Slammers novel At Any Cost, Slammer Sergeant Bourne carries a knife on the underside of his left forearm.
  • In the Honor Harrington novel Field of Dishonor, Andrew LaFollet is shown to carry a small "holdout" pulser in a holster on his left wrist.
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: This is how Wells Dumont was able to poison Quinn Kirkland in Last Writes, despite being on set with Quinn in front of a live audience. Quinn's character offers Wells' character a box of doughnuts to eat, and Wells' character waves his hand to refuse. Wells, due to his experience as a magician, had a vial of rat poison up his sleeve, and used it to add a few new sprinkles to the box by using the motion in waving his hand.
  • A conversation in Jhereg implies this is standard in Dragaera.
  • In the Liaden Universe series, professional gambler Pat Rin yos'Phelium has a hold-out pistol in his sleeve.
  • In Ravenor, Patience Kys hides her kineblades up her sleeve or in the ribbing of her bodice when she isn’t wearing them in her hair.
  • Repairman Jack used a small sleeve mounted backup pistol in one of the short stories. He later expressed it being one of the best investments ever made.
  • The protagonist of the spy thriller Running Blind by Desmond Bagley has a sgian-dubh he keeps in his sock (where else would you keep a sgian-dubh?) that saves his life in the opening scene. His KGB opponent is annoyed when he's searched and the mook misses it. "I am Surrounded by Idiots. Stewartson, pull up your trouser leg and show him your little knife."
  • The Saint keeps his favourite throwing knife Anna here.
  • Simon Ark: In "The Man from Nowhere", the Victim of the Week is seemingly stabbed to death in the middle of the empty field. However, he was actually a Con Man who had been persuaded into Faking the Dead by bursting a blood pack under his shirt. However, his partner is the first to reach the 'body' and—under the cover of checking the body—stabs him for real using a spring-loaded bladed concealed up his sleeve.
  • In The Stand, Dayna has a knife holder she wears on her arm (covered by long sleeves), hoping she can gain access to Flagg. Problem is that when she does get within reach of him, he has somehow managed to swap her knife for a banana.
  • Star Wars Legends: Mara Jade, a trained undercover operative, typically carries a tiny blaster pistol hidden in her sleeve.
  • Tales of the Otori: Kaede keeps a special embroidery needle in her sleeve — it's strong and sharp enough to serve as a weapon if she aims for the eye or throat. She uses it to assassinate the warlord Iida when he tries to have sex with her.
  • Any protagonist in The Wheel of Time series not wielding a sword or magic can be expected to have knives stashed around their body and the ability to produce them at will. The most notable of those, Mat Cauthon, is stated to have 11 daggers stashed about his person, and in one particular fight goes through at least 6 of them. There is always at least one knife in each sleeve, no exceptions.
    • Enough daggers to make the Aiel nod approvingly when he removed his weapons for Rhuidean. And that was before he Took a Level in Badass.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Angel had spring-loaded stakes in both sleeves. They appeared fairly frequently in Season 1, before fading out in later seasons. They occasionally show up with new owners, first with Connor in Season 4, and then with Spike in Season 5. They would return in the Grand Finale, this time wielded by Gunn.
    • Wesley gets a collapsible sword that comes out of his sleeves during his darker period in Season 4, and has a Grappling-Hook Pistol there on a couple of occasions. The potential problems of this trope were shown in "Spin the Bottle" where an amnesiac Wesley kept inadvertently activating all sorts of weapons that came flying out of his sleeves.
      Wesley: Nobody move! Or touch my arms!
    • In "Sleep Tight", Holtz lets a knife surreptitiously drop out of his sleeve and into his hand as one of his followers starts questioning his orders; when she ends up agreeing with him he uses it to peel an apple.
  • The Centauri in Babylon 5 grasp each other's forearms in greeting, which serves as a way to check for hidden weapons similar to one of the Real Life examples below.
  • In the pilot two-parter Buffy slips a stake up the sleeve of her leather jacket, but takes off the jacket before her fight anyway.
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). In "Venus Pop", Spike has Five-Second Foreshadowing that the man in a white suit who followed him into the toilet is an assassin when he sees the tip of a knife sticking out of a sleeve when he goes to wash his hands.
  • In "Tomorrow I Die", a Fallen Angels episode adapted from a short story by Mickey Spillane, the protagonist is taken hostage by a gang of armed robbers. It turns out to be a case of Mugging the Monster when he produces two spring-loaded derringers and guns down the criminals. And then the remaining hostages so he can take the loot for himself. A criminal had given him a perfunctory pat-down earlier but missed the sleeves because the protagonist had his arms raised in surrender.
  • Fargo. Mike Milligan carries a spring-mounted derringer up his sleeve. We first see him use it in episode 4 to kill Otto's nurse (while the Kitchen Brothers each kill one of the Gerhardt soldiers escorting Otto). then in episode 7, when the Undertaker is sent to get rid of Mike, Mike comes out of another room, looking like he's about to shake hands with him...only for his derringer to pop into his hands so he can shoot him in the head.
  • Jonathan Creek: In "Mother Redcap", the killer uses a spring loaded spike to stab the Victim of the Week on the pretext of examining the 'body' (who was actually just stunned by an electric shock). The spike disappears back up their sleeve as they stand up and announce the victim is dead, thereby creating a Locked Room Mystery.
  • In Justified Quarles has a spring-loaded sleeve gun mechanism strapped to his arm. He likes to tell people that he is unarmed and to demonstrate this by raising his hands up as he approaches them. As his left arm reaches face level, he activates the mechanism which propels a small gun into his hand. He then shoots his victim in the forehead from close range.
  • Not a weapon but a gadget: in the first "Kenny Rogers as The Gambler" made-for-TV film, Brady Hawks (Rogers) exposes another poker-player as a cheat by showing that the man has a card-switching device concealed in his sleeve.
  • Professional Gambler Ezra from The Magnificent Seven had a derringer mounted on a sleeve rig.
  • The Professionals. In "Rogue", the eponymous Rogue Agent is shown to have various Hidden Weapons in his apartment. Turns out he also has them hidden on his person. When Bodie is holding him at gunpoint, he drops a knife from his sleeve and throws it into Bodie's shoulder.
  • The Punisher (2017): Billy Russo sports a spring-loaded knife up his right sleeve. The first time he uses it is in episode 7 to kill Colonel Bennett after Bennett is rendered a liability, with the scene staged to look like death by BDSM gone bad. The second time he uses it is to kill Sam Stein, taking advantage of Sam's shock at seeing his face upon unmasking him. In the climatic fight with Frank at the end of Season 1, he grapples with Frank and springs it fully through Frank's forearm. Then he puts it through Frank's shoulder as well. It doesn't save him.
  • The Stargate SG-1 episode "The Devil You Know" has returning Big Bad Apophis kill two Jaffa guards with a blade that appears out of his sleeve, although it stays fixed on his wrist rather than falling into his hand.
    • In a much later episode, Carter kills Lord Yu with a blade that comes out of her hand. And by comes out of, we mean her hand morphs into a blade.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series. In "Wink of an Eye", Deela carries her handweapon in a fold in the single sleeve of her dress because We Will Not Have Pockets in the Future. Captain Kirk fails to get the weapon off her while kissing but is successful later by appearing to reach over to take her hand.
  • Treadstone. When a North Korean officer makes an unexpected visit, Soyun Pak grabs a knife from her kitchen and holds it hidden up her sleeve, and we're shown a trickle of blood running down her wrist from where it's cutting into her arm.
  • Twin Peaks: At One-Eyed Jack's, Québécois gangster Jean Renault demonstrates a spring-loaded, sleeve-knife to Blackie O’Reilly with which he later stabs her, in a fatal embrace.
  • Jim West in The Wild Wild West often had a Derringer up his sleeve, which he sometimes used as a Grappling-Hook Pistol.
  • In Wolf Hall, Thomas Cromwell is shown to carry a sleeve knife; he instantly draws it on a man who accidentally startles him in a dark courtyard. Later, when told that Henry has (apparently) died in a jousting mishap and the court is about to dissolve into civil war, Cromwell takes a knife from his desk and slips it in before going to the scene.
  • A variation appears in Xena: Warrior Princess with the small knife the heroine kept in her original costume's bodice. It was spring-loaded to pop out from her top, with the trigger being just under her chest. Presumably it required exact pressure so as to keep from triggering if she got punched. Notably, as Xena continued her Heel–Face Turn during the series, the dagger was phased out.
  • In Yancy Derringer, the title character's weapons of choice are three four-barrel Sharps Derringers. One is carried up his jacket's left sleeve in a wrist holster. Another is held in a spring clamp inside his hat.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons Complete Fighter's Handbook offered three solutions ranging from the simple leather thong that untied with the right arm motion to a more complex mechanical rig which shot the weapon out with more alacrity to a pair of magical rings to allow the same trick.
  • Pathfinder has three varieties of wrist sheath: a basic one that's easy to hide, a spring-loaded one that's faster to deploy but slow to reload, and a magical version that stows its contents in Hammerspace.
  • Shadowrun has an arm holster that will automatically drop the pistol into your hand with a single gesture. It works exceedingly well with the ubiquitous piece of 'Runner fashion-wear: the Armored Longcoat.

    Video Games 
  • Anonym, a sinister nun from the fighting game Akatsuki Blitzkampf, fights with revolvers that fall from her sleeves in her opening animation.
  • The signature weapon of the protagonists of the Assassin's Creed series is the Hidden Blade, an extendable knife used to silently kill enemies. Later games have protagonists wield two of them to kill two enemies next to each other as well as various upgrades to it such as adding the ability to fire projectiles or inject poison.
  • BattleTech re-imagines the Hatchetman as this- while the classic version of the mech has its signature hatchet always equipped in the mech's hand, the computer game has it retracted into the mech's forearm most of the time, only to pop out when the mech makes a melee attack.
  • Brawl Stars: Bonnie stores grenades up her overly-long sleeves.
  • Hsien Ko from Darkstalkers, asides from having giant claw gauntlets, can produce from her billowing sleeves bombs, knives, weights, flails, statues...
  • Governor Tekagi from Freelancer kills Ozu with a blade hidden on his sleeve.
  • From Guilty Gear, we have Baiken, who uses a whole assortment of gizmos hidden in her sleeve along with her katana. Justified in that there's no arm in the sleeve, leaving more room for concealed weapons.
  • The King of Fighters: Xiao Lon has an assortment of bladed weapons inside her oversized sleeves and she doesn't need them as her sleeves themselves can hurt.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, the Commandos have knuckle plate vibro-blades as a melee weapon.
  • Street Fighter V: One of F.A.N.G's most recognizable traits are his comically large sleeves that make him look like a big, goofy cartoon villain when introduced. But then he pulls up his sleeves, and it turns out his hands are infused with a highly lethal poison that will inflict a slow, painful death onto his enemies.
  • Nash in Suikoden III has what's apparently a spring-loaded a knife-launcher in his sleeve. Despite being established as a master swordsmen in his Gaiden Game, he never uses his swords in this one.
  • In Tales from the Borderlands, Fiona has a derringer that is attached to a mechanism on her right forearm.
  • Billy Lee Black of Xenogears He hides a long arm up each of his sleeves of his habit (and keeps a shotgun under it, too).

  • In Angels 2200, Captain Kurosawa, while being confronted by Toat, hides a pistol in her sleeve. Toat later takes command of the bridge at gunpoint at a crucial point in the last battle of the first part, but after Loser's death distracts her for a moment, Kurosawa manages to shoot the gun out of her hand and send her to the brig.
  • Unsounded: While loading up on stolen weaponry and other goods Sette slides a dagger up her sleeve, which she later uses to stab Starfish in the crotch when he assaults her and thinks he has her disarmed by grabbing her more obvious knife.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Mai, who uses both throwing knives and stiletto-launchers hidden under her sleeves.
    • The Dai Li also hid weapons in their sleeves, including what seemed to be stone handcuffs on long chains.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: The episode "Pretty Poison" provides two examples.
    • First, Poison Ivy fetching the lipstick antidote from her glove.
    • Second, Batman retrieving a knife stored in his to cut at Ivy's flytrap.
  • On at least one occasion in The Batman Joker had empty hands, but big baggy straitjacket sleeves covering his hands. Arms up, sleeves flap down, and presto! He has razor-sharp playing cards in his hands!
  • The title character of Carmen Sandiego uses a specially designed grappling hook to get around. It pops out of her coat sleeve whenever she needs it, and retracts back when not in use.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: Employed by Donald Duck to summon flutes in The Band Concert and hats in Modern Inventions.
  • Bat Lash had a small gun hidden up his sleeve in Justice League Unlimited that came into play after his cheating at poker was revealed.
  • In The Legend of Korra, villainess Ming-Hua—who is missing both arms and uses waterbending to form versatile prostheses—wears a long coat with oversized sleeves when posing as a bounty hunter.
  • Lampshaded in a series of transitional scenes in Rocky and Bullwinkle. As he prepares to pull a rabbit out of his hat, Bullwinkle drops the trope name word-for-word while ripping off his sleeve to demonstrate the truth of his words. (He never does manage to complete the trick correctly, however; though he always pulls something out of his hat, it's never a rabbit.)
  • One of the many places that Secret Squirrel hides his spy gadgets, as lampshaded in the Title Sequence Theme Song.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, a saloon produces derringers, some from their sleeves, and proceed to blast each other. No one is injured because the tiny derringers are weak. Powerful weak!
  • An episode of Superfriends did a variation on this with their version of Mr. Mxyzptlk: One of the heroes asks, rhetorically "I wonder what Mxyzptlk has up his sleeve this time.." Cut to Mxyzptlk, who is eavesdropping: "What do I have up my sleeve?" Pushes the sleeve back, leaving his glove floating unsupported in midair. "Why, nothing of course!" Cue Evil Laugh.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: the tradition of shaking hands came about as a way for people to check if the other person had a dagger in their sleeve. Which is why in older settings you see two characters grabbing each others' forearms.
  • The sleeve gun which, as per its name, was essentially a silenced pistol barrel tied to a person's arm. It was developed during World War 2 as an assassination weapon and, unlike a true arm cannon, was triggered by being pressed against someone's body.
  • When a stage magician goes to great lengths to illustrate that there is nothing up their sleeves, it's basically always one of two things; either the trick could easily be accomplished with a gadget or gimmick of that sort, and they're attempting to impress upon you that they're not doing it that way, or, much more likely, it's a distraction so you're looking in the wrong place when you try to spot how the trick is done.
  • Performance artiste Ursula Martinez does a set-piece in her stage act that sends up the conventions of both stage magic and striptease, where she is bothered by a red handkerchief that keeps disappearing and reappearing from ever more improbable places. As she strips off completely while searching for the pesky red hanky, its final appearance is apparently from the oddest place of all. This is literally a case of a stage magician demonstrating that there is nothing up her sleeve - as there's no sleeve there at all. note 
  • Exploited once at a UN meeting, where the North Korean representatives kept AK-47 assault rifles hidden under their jackets. Instead of confronting them, the Americans took delight in jacking up the room's heat to equatorial levels just so that they could see their adversaries, unwilling to expose their weapons, squirm and sweat in their heavy clothes.


Video Example(s):


Not without incident!

Preston has guns hidden in his sleeves complete with an ejection mechanism.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / NothingUpMySleeve

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