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"That silver could have fed my entire tribe for a year."

The silver bullet is a common form of Depleted Phlebotinum Shells. It's often called for when supernatural creatures are around for whom silver is an Achilles' Heel.

Throughout mythology and subsequent fiction, silver has been a common ward against evil. Silver, especially if blessed, has been thought to ward off or harm certain supernatural beings (including vampires) since the Middle Ages. The use of silver bullets to kill werewolves has become popular only since it was invented by Curt Siodmak, the writer of The Wolf Man (1941).note 

For the details on the practicality of making and using silver ammunition, see the Analysis sub-page.

A Sub-Trope of Silver Has Mystic Powers and Depleted Phlebotinum Shells. See also Weapon of X-Slaying for slightly more metaphorical silver bullets. Can also be considered an aversion of Fantasy Gun Control.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Downplayed in 3×3 Eyes: Taoist Steve Long has a pistol with bullets inscribed with spells to harm demons and, at one point, uses silver bullets against the werewolf-like demon Quan Lang. However, since the latter dodged them, it's unknown if they were effective or not.
  • Bakuten Shoot Beyblade: The first season features Team WHO during the Europe arc. They and their bit-beasts are themed after classic Universal horror monsters and they carry the same common weaknesses said monsters have. The BBA Team was coincidently watching a horror movie where the heroes were using a cross and a silver candle holder to fight a vampire and a werewolf, inspiring them to use the same strategy to fight back against their assailants. Rei in particular throws a silver coin on his Bit Chip, coating Driger in silver in the process to defeat the werewolf bit-beast.
  • In Berserk, silver possesses protective properties against astral creatures, such as Trolls. Farnese and Casca wear shirts made out of silver mail for this reason, and the former has a silver knife to fight them off.
  • Case Closed:
    • Conan and Shuichi Akai are both called "Silver Bullet" by the Black Organization, particularly by Vermouth, a metaphor to describe how dangerous they are to the Black Organization. The term was also first dropped during a case where a murderer was wearing a werewolf costume and he was identified by the cocktail named "Silver Bullet". This case happened parallel to the incident where Vermouth was confronted by Conan and she would start calling him by said nickname since then.
    • In The Scarlet Bullet, sniper Shuichi Akai uses a specially made silver bullet to shoot along the tracks of the 'Japanese Bullet' linear train: not for any supernatural properties, but because silver will not be affected by the high-density magnets used in the maglev tracks.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Rosette's gun has three types of special bullets: Sacreds, which are hollow and filled with holy water, the more powerful Gospel, which are rune-engraved silver bullets, and Spirits, which were discontinued after one chapter after the demonic-energy filled bullets proved to be worse than useless.
  • Fate/Zero: Kiritsugu Emiya's Origin Bullets can be compared to silver bullets, as they are specifically designed to kill mages. Those who survive being shot by an Origin Bullet will be left crippled and are unable to use magic ever again thanks to their destroyed magic circuit. The Origin Bullet becomes more effective the more potent the target is in magic. The number of Origin Bullets however is relatively sparse, as they are made out of Kiritsugu's own rib, thus he cannot simply reproduce new Origin Bullets whenever he wants.
  • In the Hellsing anime, Alucard uses silver bullets from melted down crosses against other vampires; after a while, he is given a new gun which uses mercury ("quicksilver") bullets. Since mercury has about the same density as lead but is a liquid, the effect it has upon striking a body is quite horrific (it practically explodes). In the final volume, Seras kills the Millennium werewolf known as The Captain with a silver tooth (which was implied to have been taken from the skull of a concentration camp victim fifty-odd years earlier).
    • In real life, shooting mercury out of a gun would be very illegal due to it being more poisonous than lead and more difficult to clean up. You can however try using rounds made of gallium, which has properties very similar to mercury but isn't as toxic, though the damage they do will not be as spectacular since gallium isn't nearly as dense.
  • The Hunters Guild: Red Hood has a realistic take on this trope. Silver does indeed have a use against werewolves like the usual legends say as it prevents them from regenerating, but as the actual precious metal isn't very dense, it isn't a very effective weapon against werewolves' hide and flesh (which are much tougher than humans, hence why they're a threat). Thus, Hunters instead use the heavier wolfonium in their anti-werewolf weapons.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Astounding Wolf-Man, an assassin explains that even if the story about Silver Bullets wasn't true, silver bullets should at least hurt as much as regular ones. As it turns out, there are a few elements harmful to werewolves, but Silver is the most commonly known one.
  • The Golden Age Batman used silver bullets to slay the vampire/werewolf hybrids the Monk and Dala as they slumbered in their coffins.
  • Doctor Strange foe Silver Dagger not only wields his namesake knives as weapons but also commands a group of zealot commandos armed with automatic weapons loaded with silver bullets.
    • Doc nearly lost his own life to a silver bullet, fired from the very pistol with which Hitler committed suicide. The shooter was a Muggle, but he theorized (correctly) that the combination of the two was enough bad mojo to get through Strange's magical protections.
  • The protagonist of Fiends of the Eastern Front made a whole belt of silver bullets to combine this trope with More Dakka to take on Constanta and his minions.
  • An issue of Planetary had a The Lone Ranger expy who used silver bullets to kill the criminals who wanted the silver mine he owned. In an interesting twist, it's revealed that he tipped every bullet with mercury, a byproduct of silver mining. So, even if a shot was non-fatal, which many of them were, the victim would still die of mercury poisoning.
  • In Scare Tactics (DC Comics), the werewolf clan the Ketchums load their shotguns with silver buckshot when they ambush their runaway member Fang.
  • In the Solomon Kane comic book story "The Silver Beast of Tonkertown" (not based on one of Howard's original stories), Kane melts down an inn's silverware to create a silver pistol ball which he uses to slay a werewolf that is terrorising the town.
  • In a Two-Gun Kid special from Marvel Comics, Two-Gun uses a silver bullet he obtained from "Kid Clayton" (a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of The Lone Ranger) to kill a werewolf.
  • Subverted in a Wolverine annual that had Wolverine and Deadpool teamed up against a werewolf. After figuring out adamantium doesn't work, Wolverine grabs Deadpool's swords and hacks away. That doesn't work either.
    Wolverine: 'Pool, your swords?
    Deadpool: What? Silver's expensive! Chrome looks just as good!
  • In World's Finest #214, western-themed hero the Vigilante uses a silver bullet to save Superman from a werewolf.

    Fan Works 
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Duncan McSmurf carries around a silver dart that he could fling really fast at a were-Smurf if necessary. This is revealed in the story "The Night Of The Weresmurf" where Brainy is being transformed into a were-Smurf.
  • Ultraman Moedari is notable for the fact that silver bullets are used as a weapon by Father Leo. A twist on it is that he materializes them out of thin air and bombards his target with them. He doesn't use them when transformed into Ultraman Lugeno.
  • The Discworld equivalent — crossbow bolts with silver-plated heads — are used in Why and were against weres. Just to be sure, silver nitrate grenades are also deployed.
    • In the world of A.A. Pessimal, Ruth N'Kweze has cause to remember this strategy when she returns home to Howondaland, and is threatened by weres there. She employs a ceremonial spear, plated in silver, against one were. Then melts down all the silver she can lay her hands on and uses it to plate spears and crossbow bolts, so her personal guard can fight werecreatures effectively, if they have to.
  • In Codex Equus, Werebeasts are vulnerable to silver. However, Alpha Werebeasts are resistant, and thus mundane silver only hurts a lot and they require specially enchanted silver to kill. Divine Werebeasts are resistant to that and mundane silver can't harm them due to gods being resistant to anything without Primordial Quintessence in it, so they need divinely infused and specially enchanted silver to kill.
  • Vow of Nudity: In D&D, many demons and devils are resistant or immune to nonmagical weapons that aren't coated in silver. This comes into play when Haara gets trapped in the abyssal realm, where Fiora's silver dagger becomes her primary weapon of choice.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Averted, and mocked, in An American Werewolf in London: David, the eponymous werewolf, is advised by his undead victims to kill himself. When he asks, "Don't I need a silver bullet?", his dead best friend Jack replies, "Oh, be serious!"
  • In The Beast Must Die, Tom reveals to Pavel that her has had silver bullets made to hunt the werewolf. Exactly why he had the cases made of silver as well as the bullets is anyone's guess.
  • In the Blade Trilogy, Blade employs silver stakes as part of his vast vampire-killing arsenal. Downplayed slightly with his guns in that Blade himself mentions that the bullets aren't silver. He uses hollow point rounds filled with a mixture of silver nitrate and essence of garlic.
  • In The Breed (2001), vampires are sensitive to both silver and sunlight. Thus, cops expecting to deal with vampires carry not only silver bullets but also silver handcuffs and silver hand grenades.
  • In Brotherhood of the Wolf, Jean-François de Morangias uses a specially modified one-handed musket loaded with silver bullets as his signature weapon, for no apparent reason other than to show off. It's certainly not because he thinks the Beast of Gévaudan is a werewolf... And he really, really should have known better than to murder someone with them, especially after showing the victim's best friend the bullets a few days earlier.
  • Dr. Terror's House of Horrors: In "Werewolf", Dawson melts down a silver crucifix (which had itself had been made from the silver sword used to slay the werewolf 200 years earlier) and casts six silver bullets to slay the werewolf.
  • In Fright Night (2011), Amy tries using silver bullets against Jerry, who seems more amused than injured as he pulls the bullets out of his shoulder, chiding her: "Werewolves." She then throws a cupful of holy water in his face, responding in kind: "Vampires."
  • Hellboy (2004): Silver shavings are among the ingredients listed by Hellboy for the all-purpose paranormal monster-killing bullets he uses for the Samaritan revolver.
  • The Howling:
    • In The Howling (1981), silver bullets are the only kind that can permanently kill werewolves; regular bullets will incapacitate them, but they'll eventually recover. Chris gets his hands on a pre-made order of silver bullets and uses them to kill some members of the local werewolf colony and holds the others at gunpoint, forcing them into a barn he and Karen set alight to wipe them out though they don't get all of them. The werewolves initially don't take him seriously until they realise he does have genuine silver bullets.
    • The sequel Howling II: Stirba: Werewolf Bitch subverts the trope and reveals that while silver bullets work just fine against (relatively) young werewolves like the group in the first movie, with ancients like Stirba, they merely incapacitate the target for a while. The real metal of choice is titanium.
  • Juan of the Dead: While trying to figure out how to kill a reanimated neighbor, Lázaro suggests that they try shooting it with a silver bullet. Juan points out that they do not have a gun or any silver.
  • In The Legend of the Lone Ranger, the eponymous solitary range-rider uses silver bullets because they improve his aim.
  • In The Lone Ranger (2013), Tonto makes one for the Lone Ranger to shoot the Wendigo. (Of course, Tonto is insane, but he honestly believes that this will work.)
  • In Love at First Bite, Dr. Rosenberg tries to kill Dracula with silver bullets. Dracula then informs him he's thinking of werewolves.
    • There's a similar exchange in My Best Friend is a Vampire, between Professor McCarthy, a self-proclaimed vampire hunter, and Modoc, a centuries-old vampire who is completely unaffected by being shot.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun has the eponymous villain equipped with a golden gun (assembled from ordinary-looking parts) which is then loaded with custom-caliber, gold bullets engraved with the name of their targets. Downplayed because the bullets have no supernatural powers — Scaramanga really is that good.
  • The Matrix Reloaded establishes that stories about werewolves, vampires, and UFOs are based on now-defunct programs trying to escape deletion. The Merovingian employs several of these programs as muscle.
    Persephone: My husband saved them because they are notoriously difficult to terminate. How many people keep silver bullets in their gun? [BANG]
  • In The Monster Squad, one of the protagonists crafts silver bullets but neglects to bring a gun. Rudy, the oldest of the Squad, eventually has to use a gun from a fallen cop to deliver the fatal bullet to the Wolf Man. He most likely seats them into .38 cartridges with the intention of grabbing a dropped service revolver, as there are going to be plenty of those to go around once the cops show up. He belongs to a club formed around dealing with monsters, after all.
  • In Project: Metalbeast, silver bullets can kill werewolves but this particular one happens to be cybernetically enhanced, so it requires a silver-tipped bazooka shell to kill it.
  • In Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt, Antonio attempts to shoot Romasanta with a silver bullet, but Barbara spins and takes the bullet herself.
  • Silver Bullet is a 1985 film adaptation of Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf. It uses the bullet in same the way the book did. (see below)
  • Underworld (2003): Vampires are currently using traditional silver bullets against Lycans, but as the war escalates they upgrade to bullets that release liquid silver nitrate into the bloodstream, killing them faster. In the prequel, they used swords and arrows either made or coated in silver. By the time of Awakening, silver grenades and aerosol have been invented.
    • The Lycans used some sort of UV tracer round against vampires, that cooked them from the inside.
  • Silver is good against werewolves and vampires in Van Helsing, with silver bullets and stakes being employed against both.
  • Hilariously, in the MST3K fodder movie Werewolf (1996), after spending over 10 minutes going on and on about how the skeleton they discovered isn't of "your white man's movie monster werewolf", but a traditional Native American skinwalker, when one of the characters turns into one he's quickly killed with a silver bullet.
    Crow: "'ve got Coors Light in your gun?"
  • What kind of remake would The Wolfman (2010) be if it didn't have at least one silver bullet? And unlike the original, the silver bullet is actually fired into a werewolf's body! Though it's said that for this to work properly, the shooter has to be a loved one of the werewolf.
    • Sir John Talbot has his Indian manservant keep a chest of silver shotgun shells in case he loses control of his lycanthropy. When his son steals a couple of shells and tries to shoot him, Sir John reveals that he removed the powder from the cartridges years ago.

  • In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, President Lincoln, aware that vampire troops are fighting for the Confederacy, orders all the silver in the country to be melted down and turned into silver bullets and cannonballs.
  • In Ahriman: Exile, the titular Villain Protagonist Evil Sorcerer gets shot in the chest with a consecrated silver bolt round. This presents a problem, as his sorcerous powers can’t remove the resulting shrapnel and some of the shards are too deep for more conventional surgery to reach, meaning that it’s only a matter of time before they reach his heart and kill him.
  • Anita Blake uses silver bullets. Vampires and werebeasts can be harmed by normal bullets but silver negates their healing abilities. Anita also starts carrying iron bullets after encountering Fae, who are immune to bullets unless they are Cold Iron.
  • Silvered weapons feature in Anno Dracula as one of the few guaranteed ways to harm a vampire. These include silver bullets; in one of the books' many Shout Outs they're called "the Reid design". World War One causes a massive demand for silver bullets and bayonets, with the civilian population called on to donate their silver jewelry to be melted down for the war effort.
  • In Blood & Chocolate silver forms a powerful acid when it blends with werewolf blood, if it gets into the bloodstream it means a painful death. After Aiden finds out that Vivian is a werewolf he melts down his pentacle necklace into bullets, he shoots her but the pack's healer gets it out before she dies.
  • In The Chronicles of Amber, gunpowder doesn't work in Amber. In The Guns of Avalon, Corwin has discovered another substance which will work like gunpowder there. He also uses silver bullets because he figures it can't hurt. And Caine uses silver-headed arrows to shoot Brand during the final battle. It doesn't pay to take chances with that family.
  • Silver bullets are used to kill the title creature in King's Cycle of the Werewolf.
  • Death to the French: The French soldiers whom Dodd is facing mold silver bullets. They believe Dodd is a supernatural entity and can be defeated only with the use of silver bullets. In the book, the bullets have better performance than the traditional lead ball ammo.
  • In the novel Digital Knight, Jason Wood makes some silver bullets first to fight a vampire (which didn't work) and then a werewolf (which did). He ran out of silver bullets while fighting the werewolf king, and was forced to improvise with several buckets of silver chloride taken from an x-ray development room.
  • Diogenes Club series:
    • In "Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch", General Lord Hector Tarr insists the agents under his command go armed with silver bullets when dealing with the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, Geneviève, in case she turns out to be not so friendly. Charles Beauregard asks if silver bullets aren't for werewolves, and Captain Gallant informs him that in field tests the bullets have been demonstrated to stop "vampires, zombies, your common shapeshifters, ghouls, sundry revenants, and some of the more physical species of ghost" — not to mention ordinary people.
    • In Seven Stars, the villainous Bennett Mountmain shoots Geneviève in the chest with a silver bullet. He apparently misses the heart, and she survives, but it's several decades before she fully recovers.
  • Silver is confirmed to be dangerous to werewolves on the Discworld. Along with fire, it is one of the few weaknesses they have.
  • The Dresden Files's second book Fool Moon had a type of werewolf that had the traditional silver weakness. The catch is that it had to be Inherited silver. Luckily, Murphy had some silver earrings she inherited from her grandmother, which she had melted down and made into bullets. With the small caliber — she only has equipment to make .22 bullets — it doesn't kill the monster, but it does stop it in its tracks and make it reconsider its options. Fortunately, Harry figures out in the nick of time that a werewolf-killing projectile has to be inherited silver, but not necessarily an inherited silver bullet.
  • The Elemental Masters series is largely Urban Fantasy with a corresponding blend of mundane and magical threats.
    • In Reserved for the Cat, a female character employed as a maid carries a firearm loaded with silver, blessed lead, and iron bullets, which she teaches the protagonist to use.
    • Most of Rosamund's ammo in Blood Red is silver, as are her knives and boar spear. But she does specialize in killing werewolves...
  • In G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown story "The Dagger with Wings," a man speaks of using white magic against his enemy, and shows he had a blunderbuss specifically so he can charge it with silver bullets. He cites the legend of Dundee, who had sold his soul to the Devil and so could be shot only with a silver bullet. Father Brown debunks, thoroughly, and concludes he is the murderer, posing as the victim.
  • In Fighting Fantasy series, silver weapons are often employed to harm or kill werewolves, undead, and vampires. Memorable examples include Dead of Night (you're monster-hunting templar who starts the game with a silver crucifix), Vault of the Vampire (you can use a silver-plated stake to kill the Count for good), Magehunter (where a silver bullet is Mencius' sole weakness, via Boom, Headshot!) and finally Howl of the Werewolf (where you have to collect a series of silver daggers and you can be killed by a hunter armed with actual silver bullets)
  • An example that predates the Wolf Man: In the Swedish novel Gösta Berlings Saga (1891) a shape-shifting bear is killed with a silver bullet cast from a church bell.
    • "Magic bullets" are common in Swedish folklore - among other things, they are used against shapeshifters, against people who have been made "hard against shot" by sorcery, and against the animals "owned" by beings like Skogsrået, a wood fairy. Lead taken from church windows is popular, but the most famous magic bullet of legend was the one who killed Charles XII; according to folklore (reality is of course different) he couldn't be shot with normal bullets, but the one that killed him was made from a button from his own coat.
  • Averted in Harry Potter. Silver bullets are explicitly stated not to be any better at killing werewolves as regular bullets on Pottermore. Silver can, however, be used to help cauterize wounds sustained from a werewolf to prevent excess bleeding.
  • In the Moran & Moriarty story The Hound of the D'Urbervilles, there is talk of a supernatural dog, called Red Shuck. Part of the beast's legend implies it may be a werewolf, so Moriarty gives his gun, Moran, a box of silver bullets to use. The wolves (six in total) are totally mundane, and Moran never so much as fires a single silver shot.
  • In The Howling (1977), silver is said to be one of the only things that can cause permanent and fatal damage to werewolves. When Karyn calls Chris for help, she begs him to bring silver bullets with him as a precaution. Chris heeds her warning, going out of his way to find someone who will make him silver bullets today, no questions asked, and buying an entire silver ingot for the bullets (as he's unsure how much is needed). It's just as well, because when he gets to Drago Karyn is besieged by over a dozen werewolves and the silver bullets are their only defence, with Chris only wishing he'd had more than twelve bullets made.
  • InCryptid: The only thing that can kill a border imp is a silver blade or bullet. Good thing both Jonathan and Frances carry those.
  • Downplayed throughout the Instrumentalities Of The Night series, where in order to combat gods (or "Instrumentalities of the night" if you are into that One-True-God thing) the Papacy of Brothe manufactures iron bullets with a silver jacket. Making thousands of pure silver rounds is expensive, and so long the instrumentality is struck with a fast-moving silver object, he'll go down fine.
  • To defeat the creature only referred to as IT, the Losers Club decide to trap It in Its werewolf form and slay It with a silver bullet. As none of them know how to use a gun, they do the next best thing and make silver balls and use a slingshot. While they don't kill It, they definitely leave It badly wounded. However, the book reveals later that it was not the silver slug, but rather the children's belief in its killing power, that made it work.
  • Played with in Krabat, where the only thing that can kill a magic user is a golden projectile.
  • The title character of Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson novels uses homemade silver .444 Marlin bullets to kill werewolves. After gun aficionados wrote her to explain that making silver bullets isn't as easy as it sounds, Briggs actually went to the effort of casting real silver bullets with the help of a metallurgist for verisimilitude and blogged about the process. It required casting the bullets slightly larger than needed because silver has a greater thermal expansion coefficient than lead, as well as lightly coating the inside of the mold with soot to prevent it from sticking.
  • In Monster Hunter International, everyone uses silver in bullets, because it's the only thing that kills some type of monsters and generally has a stronger effect on many others. Theories why this is so are many, but no one knows for sure. The exact method depends: pure silver is crap as a bullet, so many Hunters use a modified Corbon Pow'RBall design. Originally a hollowpoint intended to mimic the reliable FMJ shape by pressing in a plastic bead that would crush and let it expand on impact, they replaced that ball with silver. The US government agencies use a different design for their rifle ammunition.
    • The justification: they don't need much silver, so the ball is enough. In the case of monsters that don't require any silver to kill, well, they still shot it with hollowpoints.
  • In Much Fall of Blood by Mercedes Lackey, Dave Freer and Eric Flint (part of the Heirs of Alexandria series, soldiers are seen making silver bullets to fight Prince Vlad of Valahia, a descendant of Dracula in this alternate universe. Whether this works or is purely superstition is never seen.
  • In Brian Lumley's Necroscope books silver is deadly to vampires, and the historical use of silver as a backing for mirrors is considered to be the origin of the whole vampires afraid of mirrors in folklore.
  • In the Night Watch (Series), Anton sometimes carries a pistol filled with explosive silver bullets, which are deadly against werewolves and low-level Dark mages. They aren't likely to kill vampires but still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.
  • Part of the local night team's arsenal in Night Watcher.
  • In Operation Chaos, automatic weapons can be used against were-creatures, by making "every tenth round argent".
  • In Sheep's Clothing, half-skinwalker gunslinger Wolf Cowrie is stabbed with a silver dagger and the point broken off in him. While it isn't immediately fatal, it cripples him badly and likely would have killed him had a local doctor not been able to get the piece out.
  • In the Silver John vignette "You Know the Tale of Hoph" by Manly Wade Wellman, John uses a silver bullet to slay the Hoph. Silver, not necessarily in bullet form, is generally effective against evil creatures elsewhere in the stories.
  • In The Skin Trade by George R. R. Martin, once P.I. Randi Wade figures out a vicious murder case involves werewolves, she orders custom-made silver bullets just like her cop dad did 20 years ago. Unfortunately, just like her dad, the town police department quickly got a report of custom bullets being ordered and since the town is run by wealthy lycanthrope families, Randi gets marked for death.
  • The Talisman features a weaponized silver coin used against Sunlight's son because in The Territories he is a horrible monster and thus vulnerable to silver.
    • Of course, its effectiveness as the only weapon that can kill werewolves is averted, as regular bullets are enough to kill Wolf.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome in There Shall Be No Darkness. The homemade silver bullets that the group uses the first night just jam the guns, and, in Palmer's case, make the weapon backfire rather violently. Fortunately Tom Newcliffe orders a load of assault rifles and custom-made silver bullets and has them delivered to his mansion by Learjet.
  • In the Thursday Next novels, silver bullets are used against vampires and werewolves.
  • In the Grimm Fairy Tale The Two Brothers, a huntsman loads his gun with his silver coat buttons to kill a witch who is otherwise Immune to Bullets.
  • Leon Ragnarson of Vampirocracy, being a good Hunter, of course has silver bullets for dealing with werewolves. He also has gold bullets, which have a similar effect on vampires.
  • In The Witcher series, silver is especially effective at warding off and causing pain for monsters. Hence, it's customary for Witchers, trained monster slayers, to fight them using silver-plated swords and to have silver lining their armor.
  • Mentioned offhandedly by the Crowe twins in A Wolf in the Soul. They were just joking around, not knowing there really was a werewolf out there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In American Horror Story: Coven, silver bullets are said to be the only things guaranteed to kill witches. Not that they can't die otherwise, but some witches have the ability to come back from the dead.
  • Cain the werewolf hunter in Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes his own custom silver bullets for use in plying his trade.
    • Fyarl demons are particularly vulnerable to silver and will die immediately after being stabbed with it. In "A New Man" Buffy grabs a silver letter opener to kill one, but it turns out to be a fake. Which is a good thing, as the fyarl demon was actually Giles.
  • CSI: In "Werewolves", the Victim of the Week is a man suffering from hypertrichosis (an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body) who is shot dead with a silver bullet.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Battlefield", the Brigadier needs to know if the UNIT armory includes silver bullets. It does and he uses them to destroy the Monster of the Week.
  • In an episode of Eerie, Indiana, a werewolf is shot with a silver bullet — in the foot. It instantly cures him of his lycanthropy, but he must then be rushed to the hospital to treat his gunshot wound.note 
  • In the Kolchak: The Night Stalker episode "The Werewolf", Kolchak improvises silver buckshot by melting down the silver buttons of a ship captain's uniform. The captain is not impressed.
  • The Lone Ranger used silver bullets. Not for lycans, but a much cooler calling card than a stupid white glove with a script "P" on it. ("Who was that masked man?") Another motivation: making the bullets valuable was a reminder that firing a lethal weapon (even when done without lethal intent) was not a thing to be done lightly. See the entry under "Radio".
  • MythBusters, based on a suggestion related to The Lone Ranger, tested the effectiveness of a silver bullet compared to a standard lead bullet. Since silver warps and shrinks when it cools, the resulting deformation made the bullet's flight path erratic, making for poor accuracy. They didn't test it on an actual werewolf or other supernatural creature, however. They also didn't test whether shotgun shells would get better results.
    • Additionally, during the same test, silver bullets were discovered to have less penetrative power than typical lead rounds. This led to the conclusion that the Lone Ranger used silver bullets because they were much less likely to result in a lethal shot.
  • Tony on NCIS once (facetiously) speculated that his boss, Gibbs, can only be killed by a silver bullet like a werewolf. He then subverted this trope, by concluding that even silver would be insufficient for Gibbs.
  • Port Charles vampires were weak to silver bullets. Caleb didn't die from one but was badly wounded by it.
  • In Supernatural, the Winchester Boys often use silver bullets, most commonly against shapeshifters. Characters cutting themselves with silver knives has become a common shorthand for "it's really me, not a shapeshifter" after they come back from something they shouldn't have.
  • Teen Wolf: Stiles thought that Derek got shot by one, which caused Derek to call Stiles an idiot.
    • Werewolves in Teen Wolf aren't actually vulnerable to silver, but rather their bane is the Argent family (Argent being French for silver). It's eventually revealed that the Beast of Gevaudan required very specific methods to kill it, including a silver spear-tip.

  • In Bloodline: The Last Royal Vampire, the Shengdi use silver bullets as their main rounds. There are also different kinds of silver bullets and one specific kind is capable of killing the main character.
  • Ivan Isaacs of Priest uses silver bullets against zombies. Priest zombies are immune to the traditional headshot unless the head is completely destroyed, but silver bullets will kill them regardless of where they hit.

  • In some epic folk songs about Bulgarian rebel leader Delyo, he is described as invulnerable to normal weapons, driving his enemies to cast a silver bullet in order to murder him.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Ur-Example is the from the hunting of the Beast Of Gevauden in 1760s France, a Real Life wolf (often regarded as a werewolf) that killed over a hundred people note . While in reality it was probably poisoned, an Urban Legend circulated after its death that it was shot by a bullet melted from a silver chalice from a church. An Unbuilt Trope in that it was the holiness of the chalice that killed it, not the silver.
  • In Bulgaria, Serbia, and Romania, the descendants of Judas are regarded as vampires that can only be killed with silver weaponry, because Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
  • After the myth of the Wendigo became Hijacked by Jesus and European vampire/werewolf folklore, the process of killing one became elaborated from a simple Kill It with Fire to an elaborate quasi-ritual that extensively utilises this trope. The method became driving a Wooden Stake or silver blade into its heart, cutting out and smashing its frozen heart, placing the pieces in a silver box, and burying the box in a churchyard. THEN you had to dismember it with a silver-plated axe, salt the pieces and burn them and scatter the ashes to the wind.
  • In Swedish turn of the century folklore, silver bullets were said to be able kill a variety of creatures, except werewolves! This being a country with a long history of werewolf-lore. Given Our Werewolves Are Different, they could mostly be killed by conventional means or turned back into a human by uttering their true name.

    New Media 
  • This series of articles discusses the trope in great detail, including a Real Life test.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Parodied by one The Far Side strip where a man futilely blasts away at a werewolf with bullets "Guaranteed to be pure silver" by a salesman who happened to wear the same tie as the werewolf.
  • In Frank and Ernest, Tonto tells the Lone Ranger that he oversold it and everyone thinks silver bullets are the solution to everything.
  • Modesty Blaise: The villagers use one to slay what they think is the vampire in "The Vampire of Malvescu".
  • In Monty, Moondog gets turned into a werewolf but is "killed" when the beer he drinks turns out to be a Coors Light Silver Bullet (rather than the Coors Extra Gold he ordered.)
  • The Wizard of Id. The wizard's Awful Wedded Wife demands something silver for their silver wedding anniversary. Cue the wizard arguing with the Lone Ranger, "Look, one lousy bullet's not going to break you!"

  • The Lone Ranger had these as a signature armament. In his case, it's not supernatural but symbolic. John Reid, the future Lone Ranger, was given access to a lost silver mine by his mentor. Reid used the silver to finance his career as the Lone Ranger, and made bullets from that silver to remind himself that life, like silver, was precious so he wouldn't waste his bullets. In later years, Britt Reid, the son of the Lone Ranger's nephew, inherited his great uncle's mine and used the silver to finance his own crime-fighting career as The Green Hornet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: The "Silver Bullet" Gauss rifle is named after this motif. Rather than silver (which isn't particularly magnetic and wouldn't do much against 31st-century armor in any event), this variant on the standard Gauss rifle fires special pre-fragmented ammunition that, while lacking the concentrated punch of the original, creates a hail of shrapnel that improves its chances of causing at least one critical hit especially against already-damaged targets and makes it an excellent anti-aircraft and anti-vehicle weapon in general.
  • d20 Modern: In the Urban Arcana setting, one of the numerous new bullets available (and the only type that can't be bought but must be crafted) are silver bullets. They are perfect against lycanthropes.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Starting in early editions of the game, the only mundane weapons that could hit a number of monsters are those made of silver. The monsters include not just the usual lycanthropes (e.g. werewolves) but also devils, night hags, and many undead (such as ghosts, wights, and wraiths). To prevent silver weapons being a Game-Breaker, the Dungeon Master's Guide says that he DM should impress upon the players that fighting with swords made of such a soft metal all the time is a bad idea...
    Guide: Oh dear, you stabbed that orc's plate armor with your silver sword and the blade bent!
    Guide: You know, you've been using that silver spear for so long that the point is dull. It's like hitting that ogre with a clumsy club, only it doesn't work that well!
    • In real life, silver is harder than bronze but much softer than steel. In terms of durability, therefore, silver would be somewhere between the two. In an iron-age setting against heavy armor (like plate), a silver piercing weapon like a short sword or dagger would stay effective longer than a silver slashing weapon like a long sword.
    • In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, the silver that worked against supernatural beings wasn't actually silver but "alchemical silver", i.e. a normal steel weapon plated with silver. The softness was also codified as a slight damage penalty to slashing and piercing weapons. So if you want a silvered weapon, a mace or hammer is usually a better choice than a sword. Alternatively, you could use the much more expensive mithral, which counts as silver for the purposes of damage reduction and doesn't incur the damage penalty, as well as weighing less.
  • GURPS: Silver bullets are hard to male but have no negative effect on range or damage, against werewolves they do multiplied damage. High-Tech points out one potential problem: because they are relatively soft silver bullets can mess up rifled firearms. Notably, this is wrong. Silver is harder than lead, but also less dense. It has also been discovered that a silver bullet will shrink while cooling, and thus a silver bullet cast in a regular bullet mold comes out smaller than the intended size. Also, silver does not "mushroom" in the barrel as much as lead does. Thus, the bullet does not form a proper seal against the grooves of the barrel, allowing much of the gas to escape around the bullet, and the bullet does not get as much spin imparted to it. As a result, a silver bullet has a shorter range and less stopping power (except against werewolves, of course) when compared to a lead bullet.
  • Pathfinder keeps the "alchemical silver" thing from D&D, but it's only really used at the lowest levels. Once you can afford it, mithral weapons bypass DR/Silver just as well, without the damage penalty. And weapons with a +3 or better enhancement bypass DR as though they were both silver and cold iron, regardless of actual material.
  • Rifts: A rule of thumb is that, "if Mini-missiles won't work, try silver." Silver is useful not only against werebeasts, but also vampires (damages, and a silver stake works just as good as a wooden one) and most other Undead, demons, and some gods. One country in South America actually issues silver-plated swords to its Humongous Mecha because they're at war with a kingdom of vampires.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Psycannon bolts are rare variants of standard bolt roundsnote  used by the daemon hunters of the Imperium. As well as being inscribed with runes of banishment and charged with psychic energy, psycannon bolts are tipped with silver to further enhance their effectiveness against daemons
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle: Witch Hunters load their pistols with thrice-blessed silver bullets that burst into flame on contact with evil magic. They sometimes use this as a quick-and-dirty way of telling if a subject is tainted by Chaos: if they burst into flame, they're evidently in league with the Ruinous Powers; if they don't, then their innocence is proved through their clean death.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Silver does aggravated damage to werewolves regardless of what shape it takes, and the Garou have no remorse about exploiting this when fighting each other. The only limiter is that wielding silver blunts a werewolf's magical effectiveness.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken has silver weapons of any kind do aggravated damage to Uratha once the silver touches blood. While using silver on other werewolves would be expedient, it's also a sin against the code of werewolf ethics. Still, the Uratha have a step up on their cousins, the Pure, who apparently can't even touch silver without it messing them up something fierce.

  • In The Emperor Jones, Jones boasts that only a silver bullet can kill him.
  • In Carl Maria von Weber's opera Der Freischütz, Max unknowingly makes a Deal with the Devil to win a sharpshooting contest. He forges seven silver bullets; six will strike their target unerringly, but the seventh is foretold to strike the one Max cares about the most.

    Video Games 
  • AMC Squad: Silver bullets exist, but only for weapons chambered in .45 ACP rounds. They are very effective against supernatural enemies such as Losts and Sorcerers, who are otherwise immune to regular attacks, but the bullets are uncommon in missions with supernatural threats. The player can also research silver bullets back at the AMC Base so they can equip the agents with them, and some special weapons come equipped with silver rounds in case the player cannot find .45 silver rounds out on the field.
  • Bloodborne uses the "vial of mercury" version, with a twist: it has to be cut with the blood of someone sick with Paleblood as well to have any effect. The hunter's "Bloodtinge" skill determines how much damage this actually does.
  • Daemon Summoner, being a game with vampires and werewolves in it, have these as weapons. There's even a stage where you escape an asylum, unarmed, only to be chased by the werewolf assigned by the vampires to guard your cell; you spend the stage evading said werewolf while trying to locate where a revolver filled with silver bullets is hidden, and when you eventually find it you then get to gun down said werewolf.
  • Dwarf Fortress allows weapons and ammo to be crafted out of silver. It is the worst material available for any type of edged weapons. Since it treats all weapons as a completely rigid item, it does make for very effective war hammers and maces.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, certain supernatural enemies such as ghosts and wraiths can only be harmed by weapons of silver quality (or greater), or by enchanted weapons. Items of greater than silver quality tend to have their own supernatural properties which justify their ability to harm these types of beings. (For example, Dwemer/Dwarven equipment was created and made to last using Reality Warping processes; Ebony equipment is made from the petrified blood of a dead god; Daedric equipment is made from Ebony which has been imbued with the souls of lesser Daedra, etc.)
    • Werewolves and other were-creatures are specifically vulnerable to silver, taking more damage from silver weapons. The werewolf-hunting Silver Hand in Skyrim always wield such weapons.
  • Enter the Gungeon has the unlockable passive item Silver Bullets. It makes all of your projectiles cause massive damage to the Jammed, regular enemies that have been corrupted by a curse. They also take many more shots before they die and they deal double damage. Great when you start accumulating Curse during a run, since the higher it is, the bigger the chance an enemy spawns as Jammed. As a small bonus, silver bullets also deal a little more damage to bosses.
  • Turns out vampires in Granblue Fantasy are weak to these, as shown in Veight's second Fate Episode.
  • In Hakuouki, silver counteracts the Healing Factor of the furies, something the Shinsengumi discover when their enemies start using silver bullets against them.
  • In The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Ganon can only be properly slain with a silver arrow. They are replaced by the more explicitly magic Light Arrows from the next games on.
  • Konami's licensed The Lone Ranger Action RPG allows you to use the show's staple silver bullets, which can drop almost anything in one or two hits. They are rather hard to obtain however, and as such are usually Too Awesome to Use.
  • Silver bullets are the go-to weapon for killing werewolves in Monster Hunter (PC). A single shot will suffice. You'll need three shots for killing King Mook werewolves, though, and for some reason the silver bullets wouldn't work on vampires, only stunning them for a few seconds.
  • In NetHack items made from silver deal bonus damage against vampires, lycanthropes, shades, and demons. This includes silver weapons (silver saber, silver spears, etc.), ammunition (silver arrows), and even items which just happen to be made out of silver (silver rings and wands. Fighting bare-handed without gloves while wearing a silver ring will apply silver damage).
  • Nocturne (1999) gives the Stranger these for taking on werewolves. He can also find mercury bullets to use on demons and "Aqua Vampira" bullets for vampires. Of course, any type of bullets can be used to kill any type of monster, but using the proper ammunition kills them much more quickly.
  • The Silver Shot ammo type in Pirates of the Caribbean Online deals increased damage against Undead enemies. It's particularly weak against living enemies, though...
  • RuneScape has several kinds of silver weapons.
    • The sword Silverlight, or its upgraded form Darklight, are required to kill the demons Delrith and Agrith Naar. It is also one of the only two things that can disable a tormented demon's fire shield. Silverlight and Darklight are also extra effective against other demons.
    • Undead trees can only be damaged with a mithril hatchet with a silver edge made from a holy symbol.
    • The silver dagger called Wolfbane prevents werewolves from transforming if you fight them while wielding it, but it has no effect on werewolves that are already transformed.
    • Ghasts require a blessed silver sickle to kill them, although you don't need to actually fight them with the sickle. The blessed silver sickle is used to cast a spell that allows you to gather items that are used to fill a magic pouch that makes ghasts visible and able to be damaged.
    • Vampyre juvenates cannot be harmed by anything except silver or blisterwood weapons, but you cannot kill them without a Rod of Ivandus, which is an enchanted staff made of a silver alloy that has the power to restrain vampyres and a Guthix balance potion, which has silver dust as an ingredient. This potion will either kill the vampyre, turn them back into a human, or turn them into an angry vampyre, otherwise they will turn into mist and escape. Elite vampyres, known as Vyrewatch, lose the ability to escape by turning into mist and are not affected as much by the Guthix balance potion, but are immune to all silver weapons except for the Ivandus flail, which is an upgraded version of the Rod of Ivandus, made by combining it with a blessed silver sickle attached to it with a chain. This is because vyrewatch have mind-reading powers, which the flail counters by being unpredictable. Blisterwood weapons are the only other thing that can harm them. Feral vampyres, angry vampyres, vampyre juveniles, and other vampyres outside of Morytania can be killed without silver weapons.
    • Silver crossbow bolts also exist but do not have any special use besides being able to harm, but not kill, vampyre juvenates like all other silver weapons. They are the only type of crossbow bolt that the player makes by casting them instead of making them on an anvil.
  • The bonus chapter in the collector's edition of Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Bane of the Family includes creating a silver bullet by melting a broken plate in a scale suspended above a fire and then placing a bullet mold on the other half of the scale so that the melted silver can run down into it. Quite a bit of work considering actually shooting the werewolf takes up maybe five seconds of the forty-second ending.
  • In Silent Hill 4, silver bullets are the fastest way to down a ghost, and without it, it becomes nearly impossible to pass the water prison the second time around... There are only three of them in the game (with the third being notoriously out of the way to get), so they are best saved for the Water Prison and Building World ghosts.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, one of the mementos is a set of hand-loading equipment next to some silver jewelry. The Big Bad waxes rhapsodic for a bit about how his men are now monsters that can only be killed with silver, before acknowledging the fact that there are loads of now-useless jewelry around Dubai and very little ammunition to be found, making silver bullets a necessity.
  • Terraria: Subverted; you can buy or craft Silver Bullets, but they don't do any extra damage against Werewolves or undead enemies.
  • Touhou Project: The Ninja Maid Sakuya wields silver knives; rather than fighting vampires, however, she works for them. This fact helps fuel the Epileptic Tree that she was a Vampire Hunter who came to Scarlet Devil Mansion to slay Remilia but ended up getting hired by her instead.
  • Valheim: Silver weapons like Frostner and the Silver Sword deal Spirit damage in addition to the regular damage. While most enemies aren't that affected, it essentially functions like poison against undead, dealing huge damage both upfront and over time to them. Werewolves are similarly affected.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Earthblood: Silver ammunition is a major tool in Endron's arsenal against the werewolves. Silver-loaded weapons glow white in Cahal's Penumbra Vision, and damage dealt by them heals much more slowly than regular damage.
  • West of Loathing has silver bullets made by melting down silver items at the Silversmith's Cottage. They do double gun damage against skeletons and demons. There is also a silver pistol that always fires these.
  • The Witcher: Like the book series that the games are based on, silver is especially effective against monsters. Geralt carries a silver sword for dealing with them alongside a steel one for humans, though as he puts it, "both are for monsters." In terms of a more literal example of an actual bullet, the crossbow bolts he fires are silver-tipped.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors trades out bullets for silverware for use against werewolves, which immediately kills them.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Dies Irae Shirou decides to make use of silver bullets to deal with Wilhelm who gains vampiric traits when he releases his true power and is normally Immune to Bullets. Sadly it doesn't work out. Not cause they weren't effective, but because Wilhelm was simply far too quick on the uptake and was able to tell that Shirou had changed the ammo.


    Web Original 
  • The Lonely Winds make extensive use of these against vampires. Interestingly, the author takes the trouble to mention a workaround for the problem of silver being a relatively soft metal that would perform poorly with modern firearms.
  • SCP Foundation: This is the only way to kill the shadow creatures in SCP-1983. And you have to be praying as you fire the bullet.

    Western Animation  
  • In Ben 10, when the Yenaldooshi, a Native American Werewolf, is on the rampage, Gwen asks if they need to use a Silver Bullet to kill it, only to get the response that it only works in movies. The real solution does require a silver pendant though. However, this is inverted when it turns out to be a alien that just looks like a Werewolf.
  • Parodied in one episode of Dilbert. Dogbert's been hired as a consultant to flush the "little people" (who are in fact ex-employees who were downsized, literally and figuratively, and subsequently became a colony of hippies living within the floor and getting high off of dry-erase markers) out of Dilbert's office. Dogbert claims the only thing that can kill them is a silver bullet. An employee points out the bullets he gave them are just regular bullets with silver spray paint, and another points out his "silver" bullet needs more paint (leading to Dogbert spraying paint into the guy's face).
  • Robot Chicken:
    • Spoofed in one sketch. While playing a pen-and-paper RPG, one player offers an... alternative... to the silver bullet to kill a werewolf. Even after reducing it to a puddle of viscera with a rotary gun, mopping that up into a bucket and lighting it on fire, snorting the ashes, then crapping it out, where it gets processed through a sewer system, the game master stubbornly insists that the werewolf is still alive through all of that, it has to be a silver bullet.
    • The impracticality is likewise lampshaded in the sketch the page quote comes from, where The Lone Ranger is challenged as to whether silver bullets are as good at actually being shot as regular bullets. The Ranger replies by shooting a can on the ground so much it flies up in the air higher than any of them are tall, hitting it with every single bullet... then after a short pause, Tonto embarrasses them all by interjecting with "that silver could have fed my entire tribe for a year".

    Real Life 
  • During the 18th-century hunt for the Beast Of Gévaudan, Jean Chastel reportedly loaded his gun with silver bullets. However, in this case the bullets were not 'special' because they were made of silver, but because the silver was obtained from a blessed medallion of the Virgin Mary (the creature was thought to be demonic in nature).
  • Silver has a density of 10.5 grams per cubic centimeter. Lead has a density of 11.3 g/cm3. In the ballistics game, higher density means better performance, which is why bullets are still made out of lead, though price is certainly a factor as well. Uranium, it should be noted, has a density of 19 g/cm3, which is why anti-tank rounds are made of the stuff.
  • Book author's husband researches making silver bullets. It's not as straightforward as casting bullets from lead. Silver melts at 1761°F (versus 621°F for lead), this makes just melting it a problem for home-made bullets. And silver has a different coefficient of expansion, and the hardness difference means the bullet has to be crafted more precisely. And silver jewelry and coins are made with silver alloys that are harder still. The bottom line is that silver bullets aren't something even someone who home loads can make in a hurry, from materials at hand; they take planning and preparation. Lousy werewolves have thought of everything.
  • During the 17th Century, many people believed that only a silver bullet could kill a king.
  • Count Jan Potocki, a Polish Gentleman Adventurer and author of The Manuscript Found In Saragossa, allegedly killed himself with a silver bullet made from the knob of his mother's sugar bowl and blessed by the castle priest.
  • For over a century it was common in parts of Russia to use low purity silver as bullets (and more commonly shot for blunderbusses since the metal was not worth refining at the time and so abundant a byproduct that it was cheaper than lead. Unfortunately high-quality platinum ore has similar properties, so many of these were actually very pure platinum bullets.
  • Some American pioneers made their own powder and shot. The native lead ore contained silver. This may be the origin of the Lone Ranger's ammo. Or not.
  • Some bullion dealers offer silver cast in various ammunition sizes. Ranging from as small as a .45 ACP (which weighs 1 troy ounce) to as big as a 30 mm shell (which weighs 100 troy ounces). However, in contrast to the above examples, these bullets and shells are solid silver the whole way through, and while they can certainly be loaded into a firearm, they don't have any propellant and thus will not work as ammo.
  • This trope can be seen being crossed over with Bling-Bling-BANG!, then taken to its logical extreme by YouTuber CodysLab in this video, in which an ounce of gold is melted down, cast into a working bullet and fired! As gold is twice the density of lead and is significantly harder, the physics involved are noticeably different, but at close range, you could certainly do some damage with it.
  • Aluminum cased and jacketed ammunition certainly looks the part as the aluminum is usually polished to ease extraction. Some brands are marketed like this.
  • In dire straits and when ball ammunition ran out, old-time cannons could be loaded with any old bits of metal lying around, up to and including tableware. (Although presumably you'd rather fire off your pewter and steel forks and spoons before resorting to the silver ones.)