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The Necromancer, Evil Sorcerer, Mad Scientist, or Big Bad tests or demonstrates their latest weapon; not on beer cans or inoffensive paper targets like any decent Gun Nut would, but on live human beings!

Definitely a subtrope of Kick the Dog. See also Trial Run Crime, Unwitting Test Subject, Innocent Bystander and Disposable Vagrant. Professor Guinea Pig is when the thing being tested isn't a weapon, and the Mad Scientist uses it on themself. Guinea Pig Family is when the Mad Scientist uses their family. Note that this trope does not necessarily apply to humans only, any living thing can qualify.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Death Note, L uses a death row prisoner to "test" and locate Kira. Kira, obviously, has to use humans to test the capabilities of the Death Note.
  • Golgo 13: In the anime episode "The Masterpiece Assault Rifle", a Mad Scientist develops the next generation of assault rifle. To establish its reputation he hires two mercenaries to use it against Duke with his trademark M-16. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.
  • Gunslinger Girl
    • Raballo tests Claes' abilities by sending her to confront a couple of subway punks, telling her to only uses her pistol as a last resort. It backfires when one of them stabs her and she has to shoot them anyway. Raballo realises he screwed up; she was so focused on obeying him that she wasn't focused on protecting herself.
    • After Raballo dies, Claes becomes unsuited for field work as it would be too difficult to recondition her for another handler, so she's relegated to being the test bed for each new iteration of Cyborg technology. This means literally testing her body to the breaking point, whereupon they fix her up and do it all over again.
  • In The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, one case involves the group investigating a company in China that produces artistic mannequins made from actual human bodies. As it turns out, the company is a front for the descendants of Unit 731 (mentioned in the Real Life section below), who continue to perform experiments on humans. After capturing the protagonists, it's revealed they plan to keep most of them to test a deadly virus on.
  • 7 Seeds does a non-weapon version of this. Nobita gets picked up by Team Summer A and gets unknowingly used as a guinea pig by Ayu, to see which of the unfamiliar plants and fungi that are growing around the place are edible.
  • Samurai Gun: The evil Shogunate test their Steampunk gatling gun on a bound woman with large breasts.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul:Re, CCG has begun to develop their own Half-Human Hybrid soldiers as the answer to increasing Ghoul threats. The Quinx are advertised as "humans with an installed Quinque", but are essentially modified half-Ghouls just barely clinging to their humanity. As the story progresses, the unethical nature of the project has become more clear. The organization is not only using minors for their experiments, but it's revealed that Saiko's mother sold her daughter to the project in exchange for financial compensation. Several characters comment on how this shows that CCG really isn't any better than the enemy they fight.

    Comic Books 
  • A Love Like Blood: Vampire scientists develop new diseases in secret laboratories to ease the process of feeding, such as a hemorrhaegic fever that causes humans to bleed out within minutes.
  • Supergod. The Chinese government creates Maitreya, a Deity of Human Origin, and assembles a warehouse of political prisoners under guard so he can demonstrate his power over spacetime and matter. Instead Maitreya opens the door to let the prisoners escape, while simultaneously demonstrating to their captors that Evil Is Not a Toy.
    Reddin: He instead fashioned the guards into a vast musical instrument of entrancingly beautiful tone, then configured all the officers and scientists into a self-supporting worm-like structure and fired them into space using the musical instrument, where they journeyed as a biological probe of brains linked in a parallel that reported information about the solar system to Maitreya via quantum entanglement — until the structure, starting to break up, was identified as Comet Shoemaker-Levy and eventually smacked into the surface of Jupiter. Terrible, really.
  • Wanted has the supervillains abducting people for target practice.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Golden Age Dr. Poison tested her biological weapons on humans, and tested other things on human captives as well, rather like what Imperial Japanese scientists and doctors were doing in real life at the time.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • The Incredibles: Syndrome pays "retired" superheroes to come to his Island Base, supposedly to stop a rogue robot. Actually, he's using them to test the robot's abilities, constantly upgrading it with each defeat until the superhero is killed.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle: An Arms Dealer sells Fearless Leader a laser that kills Toons and imprisons their essence on the internet. The said laser is demonstrated on a toon weasel while he begs for mercy. He even leaves behind toon blood! Suddenly makes the shoe scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit seem tame, doesn't it?
  • A scene in Atomic Cafe shows footage of pigs being exposed to atomic blasts so their injuries can be studied. It's followed by a different clip in which U.S. Army soldiers are stationed out in the desert, with no protection, so they can be measured for radiation exposure after a nuclear detonation.
  • In Batman: The Movie, the Penguin tests the Dehydrator on five henchmen — henchmen wearing "Guinea Pig" on their shirts, no less.
  • Combined with Leave No Witnesses in the film of Black Sunday. The terrorists are about to test the Flechette Storm bomb in an Abandoned Warehouse when an old man comes on the scene. So they pretend it's a new kind of panoramic camera and ask him to pose for a shot.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Lois Lane discovers that the US government is supplying mercenaries with experimental ammunition in order to field test it. The lab assistant who tells her this says the only surprising thing is that Lois can still be shocked about it. It's actually a government mole who supplied Lex Luthor's company, LexCorp, which then supplied the mercenaries.
    • Wonder Woman (2017): General Ludendorff and Dr. Poison test their new Deadly Gas on a roomful of officers and, for their own amusement, toss in a single gasmask for the victims to fight over, knowing it won't protect them anyway.
  • District 9: An off-hand comment made by the Corrupt Corporate Executive is that the protagonist is the first person to survive being incorporated with alien DNA. A more direct example (though it's a case of Tested On Aliens) is when one of the 'prawns' (with a target on his chest) is herded in front of a weapon, and the protagonist is forced (by having his arm shocked with a taser) to squeeze the trigger.
  • The Evil That Men Do opens with the Torture Technician demonstrating the use of Electric Torture on a dissident journalist for a roomful of army officers.
  • In the inaccurately-named Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe, Emperor Ming tests his Death Dust on some prisoners to see if it will only kill those with the will to oppose him. Those of 'lesser intelligence' survive. No wonder Ming always complains about being Surrounded by Idiots!
  • Played for Black Comedy in Holmes & Watson when Holmes feeds Watson a deadly poison to test his hypothesis on how the murder was carried out.
  • The Jackal: The eponymous assassin hires Lamont to build a remote-controlled mounting for his 14.5mm autocannon. Lamont makes the mistake of trying to blackmail him for more money, so the assassin tells him to run for his life to test the pan-and-tracking mechanism, then uses the cannon itself.
  • Jonah Hex. Turnbull tests his steampunk Weapon of Mass Destruction by wiping out a small town. It also has the benefit of demonstrating his willingness to attack civilians, so the US military will be spread thin guarding all the potential targets.
  • The Killing Room: Several volunteers are locked in a room for a psychological experiment, only to be killed off one-by-one. Turns out it's an evaluation program to identify people who can be brainwashed into becoming US government suicide bombers.
  • The Last King of Scotland: Amin's bodyguard forces a Child Soldier to swallow one of the poisoned headache pills Garrigan had prepared for Amin, causing Garrigan to give himself away.
  • In Lord of War, an Arms Dealer sells a dictator a cache of firearms. The dictator tests one out by shooting one of his own aides. The arms dealer is horrified, but plays his reaction off as a joke — "Why did you do that? Now you have to buy it. I can't sell a used gun."
  • Men Behind the Sun, based on true events that transpired within Unit-731 in occupied Manchuria, demonstrates how the Japanese researchers gleefully experimented on their captives. Not for the faint of heart.
  • Space Truckers. While the Danger Room Cold Open where a Killer Robot attacks a Mega-Corp's base was just a demonstration for the boss, this particular executive is so corrupt they used real weapons and real Mooks, all of whom are gruesomely slaughtered by the robot.
  • Spawn (1997): Wynn, on Clown's orders, blows up a North Korean chemical plant to see how its experimental toxins will affect the nearby inhabitants. Several diseases that had been wiped out suddenly re-emerge in the world population.
  • Star Wars:
  • Turkey Shoot: Jennifer brings along a tranquilizer pistol of her own design that she says is going to be used by the Secret Police after they've tested it Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. Secretary Mallory decides to try it out on one of Thatcher's prisoners.
    Mallory: May I?
    Thatcher: Yes, of course. Anyone you like.
    [Mallory shoots a prisoner in the leg. He takes a few hops before keeling over.]
    Mallory: Ah, quite... instant, hmm?
    Thatcher: Leaves them alive but not kicking.
  • Variant in Wanted: the Brotherhood makes Wesley train his bullet-curving abilities on a shooting range with human corpses, in order to desensitize him to death and the sight of bodies.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Judge Doom tests The Dip on a poor, innocent Toon shoe... except he already knows it works (and so does the guy who explains it to Eddie), so it's really just a gratuitous demonstration.

  • In The Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley, the Iron Masters demonstrate the new firearms they're selling to the Plainfolk by shooting dead several condemned prisoners. When one samurai misses the target, he's used in the demonstration as well. Afterwards the protagonist Steve Brickman comments on how brave the men were in facing death. One of the Plainfolk replies dryly that considering the alternative, it was the best fate they could have hoped for.
  • Dead Man's Land by Robert Ryan. Knowing his famous role as the partner of Sherlock Holmes, Winston Churchill tries to interest Dr. Watson in "The Case of the Man Who Died Twice" — a soldier who was executed for cowardice, yet somehow turned up back in England dead of exposure after living rough in the countryside. On being told the place of death was near Porton Down, Watson comes up with an unpleasant theory. The soldier was told his life would be spared if he volunteered for top secret work, only to flee after discovering that he was to be a test subject for Deadly Gas weapons. While Churchill has no sympathy for a coward, he's shocked at the idea and promises to look into the matter.
  • In the Discworld novels, Unseen University routinely tests things on student volunteers, whether they volunteer or not. It's considered that this isn't unethical as long as the students don't know, and since it's the only way in which having students around benefits the faculty, it's probably what they're there for.
  • In Firestarter, a government organization called The Shop tests an incredibly dangerous Psycho Serum called Lot Six on volunteering college students, who are told that half of them will be injected with a small dose of harmless hallucinogenic drug and the other half will be injected with water.
  • Flashman presents a brace of pistols to an Afghan chieftain, and witnesses one of them being tested on a slave by the Big Bad. Even the amoral Flashman is shocked.
  • The Forever War starts with the recruits watching a lecture tape on "eight silent ways to kill a man". The protagonist thinks afterwards that some of the actors must have been convicted criminals who had been brain-wiped, as they were really killed.
  • In Galaxy of Fear: City of the Dead, a Mad Scientist tries to make zombie soldiers, which of course means Grave Robbing. But his zombies are smarter and more useful the fresher they are, so he murders a twelve-year-old boy wandering through the graveyard and then tries it on him.
  • In the Gatling series, Gatling is paid to test weapons under battlefield conditions. This includes using them on human targets, although he prefers to ensure his targets are people who deserve it.
  • Similarly to the Galaxy of Fear example above, in Herbert West–Reanimator, the success rate of Dr. West's research on the "freshness" of the corpses used as test subjects. Thus, in the chapter "The Scream of the Dead", West just walks out, finds the first best nobody that wouldn't be missed, drugs him, kills him later on the table and then instantly injects the serum into him.
  • In King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard, the king of the Kukuana people asks Allan Quartermain to show the effects of his rifle upon his assembled warriors. Quatermain replies by telling the king he would be glad to do so if the king volunteers to be the subject of the experiment. At which point it is decided to use an ox instead.
  • In The Master Sniper by Stephen Hunter, German sharpshooter Lt. Colonel Repp tests his StG44 rifle with newly-developed infra-red scope — first on some Jewish prisoners, then on an American patrol at the front lines — before carrying out the assassination he'd been tasked with.
  • In The Migax Cycle, Mililabs lures in human test subjects by luring desperate people into contracts with them.
  • In Outbound Flight, the Vagaari commander gets his hands on the battle droids stowed away in Car'das's stolen shuttle. Droids of any kind are completely new to this sector of space. One of the first things he does is test their firepower on Geroon slaves.
  • In Old Virginia by Laird Barron, a team of CIA black ops agents is assigned to guard scientists studying a Humanoid Abomination, but it turns out to be a field test to see if 'Virginia' can defeat Professional Killers like themselves. Though even that's a subversion, as both scientists and the black ops team are being offered as a Human Sacrifice to the Eldritch Abomination that Virginia serves.
  • The main character's father of The Switch is the CEO of a major pharmaceutical company, popular because none of his products are tested on animals. They're not just tested on humans, though; they're tested on homeless children that nobody will miss.
  • This is The Reveal in Terminal by Colin Forbes. A Swiss clinic is testing a Deadly Gas to be used against a Soviet invasion. They force terminally-ill patients at the clinic to wear a Soviet gas mask and run downhill while they shoot mortar bombs filled with nerve gas at them. When the hero is captured and used in a similar matter, he runs uphill towards the mortar, so they can't take the risk of firing for fear of their own gas.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Airwolf episode "Fight Like a Dove", an Arms Dealer is demonstrating a new anti-aircraft missile on an approaching fighter plane. The people he wants to sell it to say they aren't impressed with a missile that blows up a target drone, but the arms dealer informs them the aircraft is piloted by a mercenary who has been promised a million dollars if he can beat the missile. Let's just say the mercenary dies penniless.
  • The Boys (2019): It's gradually revealed that not only are superheroes created by being injected with Compound V as infants (with the secret consent of their parents) but that experiments are being conducted on adults to create Super Soldiers. This is shown to have a high fatality rate even under controlled conditions (which many of the experiments aren't, as they're being done by criminals and terrorists).
  • Blake's 7:
  • Breaking Bad. The Cousins meet with a talkative arms dealer who is selling a wide array of weapons from the back of a trailer truck. They ask for bulletproof vests which he has, and he shows them he's even wearing one of the vests he's pitching. Without changing expression, one of the Cousins shoots him in the chest to test it. When the arms dealer survives, they purchase two vests and leave him on the floor complaining about a possible broken rib.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Stolen Earth", Davros tests his multiverse-destroying, matter-vaporizer gun on people collected from the streets of London. (The Daleks don't even have to hit anything, just turn it on and bye-bye multiverse.)
  • The Expanse: This is The Reveal of Season One. Eros Station, a Wretched Hive of crime and unemployment on an asteroid far from Earth, is being prepared as a testing ground for the protomolecule, as the population is expendable and the conspirators figure no-one on faraway Earth will care.
  • In one episode of Freaky, a girl objects to the 'cruelty' that comes from running rats in a maze. Her science teacher and the other male student scoff at this and begin to eat the rats in the maze. Mortified, the girl runs for her life, only to find that the doors are not real and she cannot open them. When the girl is cornered by the teacher and student, she is lifted into the air by a giant green hand. It turns out that the school is actually a maze, with 3 aliens studying the students... including a female one that objects to the cruelty of running humans through the maze.
  • Game of Thrones: Just to remind the audience that Ser Gregor Clegane is a huge brutish killing machine when he reappears in Season 4, he's introduced using lowborn prisoners as living practice dummies. The prisoners are given weapons, but half-starved men with no training in swordfighting have no chance against the dreaded Mountain That Rides. So it's Laser-Guided Karma when a dying Clegane ends up under the 'care' of Qyburn, a disgraced former maester expelled from their order for conducting experiments on living subjects and eager to test out his theories.
  • In Gotham, Victor Fries tests his cryogenic techniques on humans, such as the pharmacist who'd refused to give him medicine for his wife without a prescription. He tells his ailing wife it's mice that he's freezing.
  • Towards the end of The Heavy Water War, Werner Heisenberg is shown a file of concentration camp inmates who have been deliberately exposed to radiation to study its effects. The irony is the German nuclear project has long since been ineffective due to lack of support and Allied efforts to sabotage heavy water production.
  • In Helix, while a team of CDC researchers were ostensibly sent to a remote research base to contain an accidental outbreak of The Virus, their army liaison tells a CDC teammember that he and his superiors suspect the outbreak may have begun as a deliberate effort to test a developed Synthetic Plague on human subjects that got out of control.
  • In Highlander, an Immortal walks into an antiques shop that sells assorted bladed weaponry. He asks the proprietor to show him an authentic sword that can stand up to the stresses of combat. The Immortal then tests the Toledo sword by stabbing the proprietor with it.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus. The Funniest Joke in the World was tested on a low-level military grunt.
  • Murder Rooms: A quack doctor has a bullet-deflecting device he's trying to patent, and volunteers one of his servants for a demonstration. To the relief of the terrified woman, Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle convince him a demonstration is unnecessary.
  • The basic idea behind the Mads' experiments on Joel and Mike in Mystery Science Theater 3000 — find the perfect movie to crack the test subject's resistance, then release the movie on an unwitting populace.
  • Roar: Longinus invents a gunpowder bomb and orders his servants (who have no idea what it is) to stand in a circle around the bomb until it explodes, to demonstrate to Queen Diana the weapon's ability to kill in all directions.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man: In the episode "Population Zero", the villains try out their sonic device on a small town. The initial test just renders the population unconscious — the final test will kill them.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: After Worf's spine is crushed and he is left permanently paralyzed in the episode "Ethics", a neurologist named Dr. Tobey Russel offers to perform a risky procedure that would completely heal him despite the fact that the success rate in simulations was only 37%, and Starfleet refused to sanction the procedure. After realizing that Worf would rather die than live with a disability, Doctor Crusher very reluctantly allows Russel to perform the procedure. At the conclusion of the procedure Worf flatlines, and only his very redundant Klingon biology allows him to survive and recover.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise: Our introduction to the evil Mirror Universe characters in "In a Mirror, Darkly" has them watching a demonstration of the newly invented Agony Booth on a Tellarite crewman. When asked what the crewman did wrong, Mirror Reed admits he doesn't really know. "Late for his duty shift, I expect. Aren't all Tellarites guilty of something?"
  • In Ugly Betty, Marc briefly became someone else's assistant. He did not enjoy it:
    Marc: Fabia doesn't believe in testing her products on animals, but she does believe in testing them on assistants.
  • An example of the good guys using this is in V: The Final Battle. The dust used to kill the Visitors is tested on an alien prisoner. Then, while the others are busy arguing about whether they should find a human collaborator to test it on, one of the human scientists willingly steps into the chamber instead.

    Video Games 
  • In the first Soviet briefing of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Stalin and his officers discuss the results of a test of Deadly Gas on a civilian village.
  • Occurs in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: Uprising, when FutureTech Corporation, the Allies' main Private Military Contractor, uses Soviet Prisoners for this purpose. The act is enough to push Dasha's Berserk Button, resulting in her calling up what few Kirovs the Soviets have left.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins "Warden's Keep", Avernus found a way to use Blood Magic to weaponize the Darkspawn Taint and prolong his own life to delay the Calling for two centuries. And all it took was using the other Wardens trapped in the Keep as test subjects. What little we see of the experiments is ghastly: cages, bloody knifes, electric torture, etc. By the time Avernus made his breakthrough, he was the only Warden left.
  • This was done many times in the Fallout universe, by the pre-War United States. Even something innocuous like the new soda flavor Nuka-Cola Quantum ended up killing most taste testers.
    • When America was working on the Forced Evolutionary Virus (eventually repurposed to create Super Soldiers for the war against China), they tested it out on political dissidents and military prisoners. Most died due to terrible mutations or becoming so stupid they forgot to breathe, but the most stable results were hulking brutes with a caveman's intellect. When the military force guarding the base running these tests found out about them, the soldiers mutinied and executed the scientists.
    • During the Sino-American War, Chinese-Americans were rounded up in concentration camps occasionally used for such a purpose. In the Old World Blues expansion for Fallout: New Vegas you can explore the "Little Yangtze" camp, whose bomb-collared prisoners have lingered on for two hundred years as ghouls.
    • Perhaps the most egregious example would be the Vaults themselves. Though marketed as the ultimate bomb shelters, most Vaults were secretly the testing grounds for sadistic social experiments, to see if humans could survive prolonged space travel to another planet, which was the American government's real plan for surviving nuclear war. Some experiments make a twisted sort of sense — an all-powerful Overseer, infrastructure requiring constant and inconvenient repairs, low-light conditions — but what about the Vaults with grossly imbalanced gender ratios? Or the Vault without clothing dispensers? Or the Vault assigned one man and a box of puppets?
      • In fact, in government and Vault-Tec records the Vault project is often referred to as the Vault Experiment — every Vault is part of the experimentation, whether for social or biological science, with the Vaults that seemingly escaped either having a slated experiment with fairly benign consequences or being one of the 17 Control Vaults (as in 'control group').
  • In Mass Effect 2, Mordin's former assistant uses humans as test subjects to develop a cure for the genophage. It's also what they initially think the Collectors are doing with the colonies they abduct. Actually, they're being used to make a new Reaper.
    • Mordin himself acknowledges the logic behind using human test subjects (humans are more genetically diverse than most other species and so make excellent lab rats), but disagrees with it on moral grounds. "Never test using species capable of calculus. Simple rule. Never broke it."
  • In The Sims 2, this is implied to be what Loki and Circe Beaker are doing with Nervous Subject in Strangetown. The house they have has a lab filled with science-y looking things (actually aspiration rewards) and Nervous lives in a basement room under the lab.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Forsaken are notorious for their signature plague. Initially designed to destroy the Scourge, the plague was prepared from fungal extracts, and of course, tested in Undercity on captured Alliance and Scarlet Crusade personnel in cages. Sylvanas Windrunner, Queen of the Forsaken, has personally tested it on two victims, a human woman captured from Alliance ranks and a Forsaken criminal.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation is extremely fond of this trope. They routinely acquire convicted criminals taken from prisons all over the world, transferring them to their secret research facilities as "D-class personnel"; which means they become disposable slave laborers and expendable test subjects. They are frequently forced by scientists to handle all kinds of potentially-dangerous supernatural phenomena in lab experiments, and to assist containment of these SCP anomalies just so that Foundation employees don't have to risk their own lives. Occasionally a D-class prisoner will become indispensable, and thus forced to spend the rest of their life containing specific SCPs. The downside is, some D-class are actually non-violent criminals or even innocent people; who may have been illegally abducted against their will, because they meet specific criteria for testing an SCP, or were homeless people whose disappearances would go unnoticed.
  • Implied in Season 1 of Within the Wires. People are sent to the Institute's "Extensive Studies Lab," but the Narrator of the Institute's "Relaxation Cassettes" tells a patient not to think about what's happening there.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, a flashback shows Dr. Kreiger testing a new Bulletproof Vest on an ISIS intern. Unfortunately, as it turns out, said Armor Is Useless.
  • In Batman Beyond, Derek Powers developed a chemical weapon. When the potential buyer asked about its effect on humans, Powers told him that local human testing laws weren't so "liberal" as those of the buyer's home nation, but Powers had footage of an "accident".
  • Exo Squad. J.T. Marsh (a military officer and good fighter) is captured by Neo Megas near the Antarctic Neo Lord breeding facility and pitted against a Neo Lord to test the latter's combat abilities. It is clear that Marsh was never meant to survive.
  • In Street Sharks, Dr. Paradigm figures out that using his gene-slamming technique on humans would let him eliminate some steps, so he he tests it on the first person available — Dr. Bolton. He also tests it on Bolton's sons and a few other people, before figuring out that gene-slammed humans can't be controlled. He's working on it, though.

    Real Life 
  • The very prospect of it led to the development of bioethics.
  • Samurai would test their swords on criminals who'd been sentenced to death. It might have also been tested on a random peasant at night, a practice called tsujigiri. This was more common in the Sengoku period, but how common it actually was is up to debate.
  • The outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II, The Holocaust, and the disregard for human rights of prisoners kept in concentration camps allowed Japanese and German military scientists to conduct experiments otherwise prohibited.
    • The scientific value of many 'experiments' — particularly those conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele, a depraved sadist with an honorary doctorate in (Aryan) racial theory — was dubious. However, much of the work did confirm or invalidate numerous theories about the workings of the human body, e.g., the circulation of blood, human metabolic rates, survival capacity in extreme conditions and when wounded, the stopping power/lethality of various weapons and the lethality and most contagious means of transmission of diseases.
    • Unit 731 of the IJA is perhaps the best-known example of these wartime research units, having run through an unknown number (somewhere in the thousands) of people of various Chinese and occasionally European ethnicities for use in the aforementioned research. Vivisection without application of anesthetic was advocated as it produced the most accurate results, and they were a bit short on that kind of thing (medical supplies) anyway. Field tests of disease delivery methods and resultant effects had terminal effects on some 200k to 600k Chinese civilians in urban areas designated for biological research.
    • The Nazis carried out scientific explosive decompression experiments in the death camps, with a view to working out survival techniques for submariners at great depths, or for aircraft crews in planes that were going ever higher and higher and subjected to diminishing air pressure. Unlucky and dispensable test subjects were placed in atmospheric chambers and subjected either to massively increased atmospheric pressure, or to the sort of atmospheric pressure to be found in deep space. Quite often they were used to test prototype high-altitude flight suits and survival systems, and most of the conclusions drawn above were in fact scientifically proven by a regime that viewed some people as expendable lab-rats. While nobody wants to admit it, this Nazi research was in fact vital to post-war America and Britain, who reaped the benefits of Nazi science for their own military use whilst keeping their hands clean and staying morally spotless. Also, there's at least one Nazi surgery book that's become very handy for surgeons to use, as it contains the best anatomical drawings in the world. Better not ask in which circumstances it was made.
  • Possibly just a legend, but there is a saying about the Russian Mafia, they'll shoot you just to see if the gun works.
  • Richard Davis, the inventor of Second Chance body armour, would demonstrate his product for police departments by shooting himself while wearing the Bulletproof Vest, usually with a firearm provided by whatever agency he was demonstrating for.
  • The Russian Navy is known for using Somali Pirates as live target practice, as a form of field testing.