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Pistol Pose

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A very common pose for movie posters and game cover art is to feature the main character posing with a firearm, often a pistol. A pistol is usually used to convey that the character is armed and dangerous and has intent to shoot, but not as overpowering as an assault rifle would be. Sometimes this is done for marketing reasons: a character may be known for their martial arts or other character traits, but if they hold a pistol anywhere in the story it'll be presented in promotional art to make the work look more action-focused and appeal to a broader audience. But since a pistol is small, it's also easier to downplay it visually by holding it to the side.

This isn't exclusive to pistols: assault rifles and shotguns are also used for more aggressive characters, but they're more limited in how they can pose and express with them. It is also common to spoof this by having something else being held, like a banana or finger-guns, but still pose with the same serious reverence as with a real firearm.

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See also: Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You, the more audience-aggressive variant.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Arts 
  • Banksy's famous Pulp Fiction painting near London's Old Street. It depicted the characters of Jules and Vincent in their famous pistol pose, but holding bananas instead of guns... until the council decided it was graffiti, not art, and had it painted over. A version was promptly produced with Jules and Vincent actually holding guns... While wearing banana suits.

    Films — Live-Action 
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    Literature 
  • US editions of The Lost Fleet invariably have someone who's presumably meant to be the protagonist dressed like a Space Marine and doing some kind of heroic pose on the cover. nothing remotely like this event ever happens in the book, and later volumes in the series actually start Leaning on the Fourth Wall to complain about it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Although it's not a firearm, some of the Publicity Stills from the new Doctor Who show the Ninth Doctor holding his sonic screwdriver in a similar manner. Although in the right circumstances, it's more useful than a gun. After all, you can only shoot the lock off so many times, and you can't shoot the lock on even once. (Except with Captain Jack's Sonic Disrupter.)
  • Such a pose is part of the standard Charlie's Angels logo, although it's often just one of the three.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Legend Mick Foley, in his Cactus Jack persona, does this with his fingers as his signature pose.

    Video Games 

    Real Life 
  • One, the right arm pointing to the shoulder, is in fact the British Sign Language symbol for James Bond.
  • There are a number of accepted methods of holding a weapon that resemble this trope, albeit with little details like keeping ones finger off the trigger for safety. The easiest ways to hold a weapon without pointing it at something unintentionally are to hold it pointing upwards or downwards. In the case of a longer weapon like a rifle or shotgun, the most practical method typically is to hold the weapon against your torso, with the weapon pointed across your chest and upwards ("Ready Arms") or downward ("Port Arms").

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