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One-Handed Shotgun Pump

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Because a two-handed pump is for chumps.

Cycling a pump-action shotgun as done by the Rule of Cool. After firing, the wielder lets go of the trigger and holds the gun vertically by the forward grip in his other hand. He then jerks the gun sharply upward, letting its inertia and weight work the pump, then levels the gun and fires again. A variation involves a lever-action firearm, where the character does something similar but holds on to the lever only, letting the gun's recoil and weight cause the handle to pull itself.

As seen in this shotgun tutorial video, attempting this in real life is possible, but inefficient. It also puts a lot of unnecessary strain on the gun's moving parts, and it's unsafe, as a considerable amount of force is required to rack the slide. It's very possible to lose your grip and send a now-loaded firearm flying across the room. On the other hand, this can be justified if the user in question is handicapped.

There is an actual technique for cycling a pump action with one hand (only used if your other hand is incapacitated), but it entails placing the butt on the ground and cycling against it, which is far safer and more controlled. A similar technique can be used to cycle the slide of a pistol, using the edge of a table or something to press on the front of the slide while not blocking the barrel; like the one-handed shotgun pump, there's also a variant that's more common in Hollywood but also more likely to break something if you were to try it in real life (that is, catching the sights on the edge of a table).

Obviously, this move requires a pump-action shotgun (because pump-action rifles apparently don't exist in Hollywood), so a semi-automatic or bolt-action shotgun (yes, there is such a thing) won't work.

Related to Gun Twirling and Unorthodox Reload. Sub-Trope of Dramatic Gun Cock. See also Gangsta Style for a similar Cool, but Inefficient way to handle pistols. Contrast Lock and Load, which is going through a proper-use routine to show that character does know how to use a gun.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The giant hand at the end of episode 5 of FLCL reloads its giant shotgun one-handed.
  • Near the end of the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, as a result of having her other arm mangled by machine gun fire, the Major does this with a straight-pull bolt-action anti-materiel rifle (while the weapon is different, the effect is much the same) with one hand in a fashion rather similar to the "proper" way to cycle a pump-action shotgun with only one hand, though she braces the weapon against her thigh instead of against the ground and uses the recoil of the gun to lift it back up so she can cycle it again, no fewer than eight times while shooting a Mini-Mecha at point-blank range. The pilot of the Mini-Mecha is suitably terrified by the cyborg standing on his armored exoskeleton and suffocating him by caving in his frontal armor plate so far he can't breathe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Real Trailer, Fake Movie for Hobo with a Shotgun ends with a bloody, naked hobo pumping his shotgun this way.
  • Cheech Marin's priest character in Machete does this with two shotguns simultaneously.
  • The Hong Kong film Tiger On The Beat features an... elaborate version of this; Chow Yun-fat's character, Sergeant Francis Li, attaches a string to his shotgun's pump handle and trigger, so he can fire it from cover, in what can best be described as a shotgun yo-yo.
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme does this a few times in Hard Target during the climactic battle inside an old warehouse.
  • John Wayne was known for doing this in his films.
    • His introduction in Stagecoach features him firing a warning shot then spin cocking his lever-action rifle.
    • In True Grit, he spins his lever-action shotguns to reload them on horseback.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
    • While the T-800 is riding his motorcycle and chasing John and the T-1000 down the canal, he spins his lever-action Winchester 1887 to reload it. Justified in-universe by the T-800 having metal "bones" in his fingers that can withstand the stress of this action. Also justified by how mind-blowingly badass he looked doing it (also by the fact he was driving a motorcycle at the time and needed one hand to keep control of the bike; when both hands are available, the T-800 cocks the gun normally). The prop shotgun that Arnold Schwarzenegger carried for the scene had an enlarged loop on the lever, and a lighter aluminum barrel, allowing him to do the trick without breaking his fingers. At one point, he mistakenly flipcocked the non-prop shotgun and almost did break his fingers.
    • Sarah Connor does it at the end when shooting the T-1000 in the foundry; justified in that her right arm is wounded (though she still uses it for support while firing). Doubly justified in that Linda Hamilton spent a lot of time working out in preparation for this role, and wanted to show off her newfound skill.
  • Rick O'Connel does this in The Mummy (1999). It's not even during a battle, he's just getting the gun ready stating, "I believe in being prepared."
  • Ira, Harry and Wayne do this after killing one of the aliens in Evolution (2001). No practical reason, just to look badass.
  • The protagonist of The Rundown does this by way of necessity in the climax, given as he's managing to dual wield two pump-action shotguns.
  • Done in Max Payne for no reason at all, other than to look cool. In the commentary, the director and producer even praise Mark Walhberg for making it look cool.
  • Parodied in Scary Movie 3, where Anthony Anderson's character does this with his shovel... and somehow ejects a spent shell. Played straight earlier when a secret service member, played by Ja Rule, does this before blowing a hole in a painting of Mother Teresa.
  • Also spoofed in Hot Shots! Part Deux, where Ramada's attempt to do this causes the shotgun to slip off its grip and knock out a terrorist. She then tosses the now-useless grip at another terrorist and knocks him out, too.
  • Played straight but justified in Splinter. Dennis was infected by one of the black spines early in the movie, and he had to cut off his arm to stop it from consuming him entirely. He's only got one arm to work the pump, and he can't stop to brace it against anything.
  • Also justified in Shoot 'Em Up as Clive Owen is carrying a baby in the other hand.
  • In Equilibrium, Preston manages a variant of this with two shotguns at once while holding the pistol grip rather than the pump. According to the DVD commentary, Christian Bale actually pulled this off himself unaided.
  • Optimus Prime occasionally does this in the Transformers Film Series. He does it twice with his dual ion blaster pistols in Revenge of the Fallen. At the end of Dark of the Moon, he does it with Megatron’s handheld fusion cannon, which is even designed to resemble a shotgun; justified by his arm being severed a few minutes earlier.

    Live Action TV 
  • Fiona does this in the season 2 finale of Burn Notice.
  • Desperate Housewives: Gun-totin' Bree does this in the episode "That's Good, That's Bad".
  • Done by a mook in a bar in Due South.
  • Chin of Hawaii Five-0 pulls this off in episode 4 of the first season when going to apprehend an escaped convict.
  • Happens a couple of times in Supernatural, although the boys tend to maintain proper firearms discipline. Usually averted, in that they're often just using double-barreled or lever-action shotguns and pumping is not a factor, but Sam seems to prefer a sawed-off Ithaca 37 (although it's often being used to prop up the lid of the Impala's weapons compartment) in later seasons, so it does happen from time to time.

    Video Games 
  • Arknights: Executor reloads his shotguns this way when he's using his second skill Final Journey, adding on to his Terminator Impersonator reference.
  • The Assault Class' Model 10-A in Battlefield 1 is charged this way on an empty reload.
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the Stakeout is pumped in this manner when picked up.
  • In Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2, done by Cletus Samson and Carl Schliff respectively before their boss fights.
  • DUSK's single shotgun is a lever-action model, and whether you're using it solo or two at once, you reload them after each shot by spincocking them Terminator-style.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the player does this when reloading the Hunting Shotgun while in third-person mode.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker lets high-level Machinists upgrade their old "Spread Shot" ability into the slightly stronger "Scattergun", in which they pull out a shotgun via a one-handed pump before leveling and firing to hit enemies within a cone in front of them.
  • Possible (but hard!) if the player decides to dual-wield shotguns in the arcade version of House of the Dead 3.
  • This is how characters with the "Fat" body type reload their shotguns in Hotline Miami. Probably justified with their Stout Strength.
  • In The Last Stand, Jack does this after reloading the pump shotgun.
  • Marathon features a double barreled Sawed-Off Shotgun with an Unorthodox Reload via Gun Twirling. This allows the Security Officer to dual wield shotguns and reload with no problems. The manual lampshades this by saying that the in-universe mechanics would be too complicated to understand.
  • Done by Snake during the hospital mission in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain while on horseback with Ocelot being pursued by the Burning Man. Justified since Snake's left hand is missing and currently replaced by a Hook Hand.
  • The Movies gives this as an option in a shotgun firing scene.
  • Postal 2: Paradise Lost has this as a consequence of being able to go Guns Akimbo with most guns, with the standard pump shotgun getting new pumping animations where the Dude throws the gun back to grab the pump, works it with one hand, then tosses it forward again to bring it back up to fire again. The lever-action shotgun, being a Winchester 1887, also naturally gets the typical Terminator-style flip-cocking animation, whether you're using it one or two at a time.
  • In The Punisher the protagonist does this whenever he's wielding a shotgun in one hand and another weapon in the other. Guns Akimbo shotguns is possible making this look awesome, especially with alternating shots.
  • The Resident Evil remake for the Nintendo GameCube has a battle with a giant snake after Jill finds Richard bitten by said snake. If Jill can find some serum to tend to his wound, he'll rest for a while and then charge in when Jill meets the snake. When he does, he pumps his shotgun with one hand, owing to the fact that his other arm is still seriously wounded.
  • The Resident Evil 4 (Remake) has the "Skull Shaker" shotgun as a pre-order bonus, which is essentially the Winchester 1887. Naturally, Leon flip-cocks it after every shot.
  • This shows up thrice throughout the Saints Row series.
    • The Playa will do this in Saints Row when he's reloading a Tombstone or an AS12 Riot while running.
    • In Saints Row 2, the Boss will also do this when firing the Tombstone while they have a human shield.
    • In Saints Row: The Third, the Boss will perform the lever-action flip-cock when firing the Grave Digger while carrying a human shield.
  • In Sengoku Basara 3, Saika Magoichi does the Terminator flipcock reload after a charged shot from the shotgun. It counts as a melee attack if enemies get close enough to you.
  • The MMO Star Trek Online has the player doing this with the Klingon Honor Guard and Adapted MACO rifles when using the underslung pump-action grenade launcher on said weapons.
  • The Engineer from Team Fortress 2 does this with 2 shotguns in the "Mann vs Machine" Trailer.
  • Trepang2 has this whenever the player character uses the shotgun one-handed, whether because he's using an enemy as a Human Shield or using two at once.
  • Warframe's Marelok lever-action pistol is pumped like the Terminator's Winchester; by spinning the weapon about the lever one handed. The Grinlok lever rifle, however, is pumped in a normal manner.
  • In West of Loathing, Doc Alice pumps her shotgun in this fashion.
  • Assault-class soldiers equipped with a shotgun in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Rangers in XCOM 2 do this after each shot.

    Web Animation 
  • North does this, then throws the gun to South, who shoots in season 9 of Red vs. Blue. It makes sense, though—he's wearing power armor that greatly enhances his strength and the gun was picked up from someone killed earlier, anyway (so he doesn't care if it ends up in bad condition).
    • Wash also tries this in season 8 and again it does make sense. First, he was hanging on to a moving car and had a rifle in his other hand, so he only had one hand free to attempt a reload. Second, the shotgun in question belonged to Sarge, so much like the above, he wouldn't care much if he damaged it.

    Western Animation 
  • Big Mouth: After Jessi gets busted for shoplifting, Connie does this to emphasize her point after shooing the Shame Wizard away.
    Connie: Clack-clack!
  • In The Simpsons, a nurse at Grampa's retirement home fires, one-handed pumps, and refires a shotgun several times to drive off a gunman sent by Mr. Burns to kill Grampa.
    *cocks, fires* "Our residents!" *cocks, fires* "Are trying!" *cocks, fires* "To nap!"
  • Pam does this in Archer as part of an extended Shout-Out to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Justified by previous examples of her displaying almost superhuman strength.
  • South Park episode "Woodland Critter Christmas" has Santa Claus do this before killing the titular Satanic critters. He does it again when he's about to kill Kyle (who's possessed by the Anti-Christ). Stan stops him from pulling the trigger.

    Real Life 
  • FBI Special Agent Edmundo Mireles Jr. was forced to do this during an infamous 1986 shootout in Miami, after his left forearm was severely wounded. Ultimately killed the perpetrators with his sidearm, the bullets lodging in the suspects spines.