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The Enemy Weapons Are Better

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So that's why the Wehrmacht was running out of guns by the war's end!note 

"It's a damned ray gun—how come we don't have ray guns?"
Various UNSC Personnel, Halo 3

You're in a war zone, you're given your standard gear from your outfit, and then you carry out your mission. However, about a few minutes in, you promptly drop whatever guns you were carrying and grab the enemy's. Now wait, your side just handed you a perfectly good weapon! Why would you abandon the one you just had? Sometimes in video games (most commonly FPS games, in which you grab these weapons fresh off your enemies' cooling corpses) you're more than likely to just stop using the weapons you were issued and begin using anything you can procure on sight. This is usually for two reasons:

  • The enemy rightly does have a better weapon than yours, whether it is because they have a better assault rifle, or they just have an assault rifle and for some reason your side doesn't.
  • The more common reason: you can't find ammo for your gun. The enemy carries the guns you can pick ammo up from, why not use that and not worry about your ammo?

This essentially never happens in live-action media; when the hero brings down an enemy with better weaponry, he will usually continue to stick with his own.

For this trope to work however, the character must be able to be sent in fully loaded and then have the option of keeping their own weapons or exchanging them. Usually it's the latter because they find the enemy's weapons are, indeed, better. Related to Offscreen Villain Dark Matter, in which the bad guys get more and better stuff to preserve the Rule of Drama.

Inversion of Unusable Enemy Equipment. Contrast Flavor Equipment.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil:
    • Mage Companies all fly into battle armed with either bolt-action or semi-automatic rifles, with the 203rd Mage Battalion led by Tanya Von Degurechaff using the latter. During the Battle at Orse Fjord, Anson Sioux of the Entente Alliance was given a SIG MKMS submachine gun by his daughter to use as his primary firearm, which Tanya took for herself after defeating Sioux in combat and used as her primary firearm afterwards.
    • Averted later on when Anson Sioux returns to try and kill Tanya, this time coming equipped with a Winchester M1897 "Trench Gun" with which he nearly kills Tanya on several occasions.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: Naofumi Iwatami is the titular Shield Hero, one of The Four Cardinal Heroes meant to fight against the Waves of Calamity that threaten the world. However unlike the other Heroes who have skills and power suited for attacking, Naofumi's relies solely on Defense, meaning he has to rely on Raphtalia and Filo and the other members of his Party to pull the slack for him in taking down enemies and monsters to get stronger. As a result, Naofumi has to resort to either purchasing better equipment or to scavenge the corpses of their fallen enemies in order for his party to get better armor and weapons to fight with.

    Comic Books 
  • Something of a running theme with Garth Ennis' work:
    • The Boys has an exaggeration of the real-life M16's issues to point out the utter incompetence of Vought Corporation at just about anything they do. During Vietnam, one thousand American troops are slaughtered at Ia Drang, unable to fight back because their rifles cannot fire a single bullet. Adding insult to injury, the Viet Cong decapitated the dead and stuck the soldiers' heads on their own rifles, not looting a single one.
    • If it's a work set in WW2, the Germans have better weapons, period. Admittedly there is a degree of Truth in Television, but reading gives the impression that Allied troops might as well have been piloting vehicles made from plywood and cobwebs.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: While Steve Trevor's service weapon was taken by the Saturnians when they abducted, stripped and enslaved him it wasn't nearly as impressive as the Saturnain Ray Gun—capable of emitting a death ray or Gravity Screw ray dependent on a knob—that he steals as he's escaping and leading a minor slave revolt.

  • In The Swarm of War, Warboss Bugklaw gained his name for the habit of using weapons fashioned from Zerg natural ones.

  • Nearly all the Die Hard movies thrive on this. Fully justified too, when you consider McClane is a cop having a really bad Christmas Eve and only armed with his handgun, while his opponents are terrorists armed with fully automatic weapons, rocket launchers, C4... McClane inevitably has to swipe some enemy gear (and gloat about it) just to stand a chance. It also helps that their submachine guns and his duty pistol both use the same ammunition.
  • In two deleted scenes in The Avengers Captain America gives one of the Chitauri guns to an NYPD officer and tells him to see what he can do with it. The guy then uses it to blast away one of them in a single shot and radios the other officers telling them to get the guns and use them.

  • Averted in War of the Rats by David Robbins, when the Soviet sniper instructor says the Mauser K98k is an inferior sniper rifle to the Mosin-Nagant they use. However he points out that German snipers also use the Mosin-Nagant for this reason. "Your job is not to die and let these rifles fall into the enemy's hands. Let them keep using their German shit."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Generation Kill points out why this is generally a terrible idea in warfare, particularly with "Captain America"'s tendency to carry a stolen AK alongside his issued M16, for the reasons enumerated in the Real Life examples given below.
  • In Kamen Rider Build, Ryuga Banjou occasionally takes weapons from Guardians that he defeats and uses them against other Guardians or Night Rogue.
  • Played with in Deep Space Nine when Major Kira lectures on how the Cardassian disrupter is a more useful combat weapon than the Federation phaser rifle, which has more utility at the cost of fragility. The Bajoran Militia however are shown to use their own unique design, and it's not mentioned how it stacks up against either weapon. Kira is also a former guerilla who fought against the Cardassians, so it would make more sense for them to use weapons also used by their occupiers, if only for ease of obtaining spare parts and power cells.
  • Downplayed in Sharpe where the protagonists use French equipment because it's better, but still use their own rifles which they are proficient with.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In BattleTech, when the Clans invaded with their superior technology, Inner Sphere pilots - and especially scientists and technicians - would salivate at the chance to steal or salvage a Clan Humongous Mecha. During Operation Bulldog, the Inner Sphere task force made heavy use of salvaged Clan mechs during their invasion of Clan space, both for superior performance and easy logistics, as they could just salvage spare parts off the battlefield. A century later, Clantech is still the best equipment available, but the Inner Sphere factions have begun producing their own, including some Clan-grade omnimechs.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Zigzagged with the Imperial Guard: Lasguns and flak armor (their basic equipment) are widely known as flashlights and t-shirts in fanon due to being the weakest of all standard gear, and vastly outstripped by even the basic weapons of other factions such as bolters (micro-missile launchers), shuriken launchers, plasma rifles, or simple claws and knives. In spinoff RPGs, they're top-of-the-line equipment, capable of blowing a man's arm off and blocking bullets (which is also the case on the tabletop, it's just that everyone else is so much more powerful than a Puny Human...).
    • Tau tech in particular is infuriating to the Adeptus Mechanicus because they work without the appeasement to the machine-spirits required of their own tech, not to mention that the Tau can safely mass-produce plasma weapons that they can only craft one at a time from ancient and half-remembered rituals (and tend to explode).
    • Orks have a tendency to loot enemy weapons and vehicles (not so much because they're better but because it saves a lot of time and work) and orkify them by adding guns, spikes, guns, armor, guns, faster/louder engines, and guns. Then they add some more guns.
    • The Tau once had a brief moment of this- for all their shooty infantry, they run like hell when the Imperium brings in Titans. Until they designed a fighter that managed to singlehandedly bring one down so easily the other Titans retreated.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in the Borderlands games; you can't loot the weapons off enemies you've killed, but you have little reason to want to, as weapon pickups are randomly generated (as are the weapons carried by enemies, but that's irrelevant). Weapons made by hostile manufacturers (Atlas, Hyperion, Bandit, Dahl, Maliwan, COV, etc) are no more effective against their own armies than other weapons.
  • Brothers in Arms: Several of the German automatic weapons are noticeably better than their American counterparts in terms of accuracy, rate of fire, and capacity. This is especially true with the MP 40 submachine gun and the STG 44 assault rifle, which have 32 and 30 round magazines in contrast to the Thompson and BAR with 20 round magazines, and are noticeably more accurate at mid range where most firefights take place.
  • In the World War II Call of Duty games, German weapons can be irresistible (especially when you're carrying around the Sten, which for some reason can't take ammo from enemy MP40s even though they both fire the same round). Since weapons only replenish ammo from other weapons of the same type, this means it's rare to get more ammo for your own weapons without either letting teammates die or lucking out on pre-placed stashes, while it's easy to collect more ammo than necessary for German weapons from all the mooks you're mowing down. You might pick up a Kar98K, which frequently one-shot kills, or the accurate and steady MP40, or both. If you're lucky you can find yourself a Gewehr 43 rifle.
    • For the original Call of Duty: the German Sturmgewehr 44. Superior accuracy for an automatic weapon, even over long range, quick to reload, and powerful. Fairly common during the later stages of the game. Never accept anything less. Or the FG-42, the only gun that has both automatic fire and a sniper scope. There's a reason why it's considered a Game-Breaker in multiplayer. Too bad it's so goddamn rare later on.
  • Downplayed in Modern Warfare, as ammunition tends to be shared. Swapping for an enemy weapon thus is reduced to preference (guns tend to do the same damage regardless). The game even attempts to play to both preferences; while you're almost always given a primary weapon that is set up perfectly for a mission (with the right set of attachments and enough ammo across the mission that you could just use that for the whole level if you wanted), your secondary will usually be a bog-standard pistol that you won't be missing if you trade it for your personal favorite or the most useful enemy gun. And heaven help you if you switch out your lovely silenced weapons when doing a stealth mission. That said, in multiplayer you are usually given only two to three full magazines for each weapon - meaning that you'll be forced to swap for enemy weapons when you run dry without appropriate perks or just using the same gun everyone else is using. One trick in Call of Duty 4 is to use the M9 as your sidearm if you're using a 9mm submachine gun for the main weapon - the bullets that the M9 comes with makes a de facto extra magazine; it also works with other guns that share ammo, but that typically requires use of the Overkill perk to start with two primary weapons, so may not be worth the trouble if the player prefers a perk like Stopping Power or Sleight of Hand.
  • Medal of Honor
    • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and expansions zig-zag this. Ammo is universal for each kind of weapon (pistols, rifles, machine guns and so on), though the game will, except for grenades (where you get stashes of both American pineapples and German potato mashers), restrict you to one weapon per type, and since you're typically far behind enemy lines and/or fighting on your own, your only options to fill out slots you didn't already start with a weapon in is by looting them from the enemy.
      • An In-Universe example happens in the Spearhead expansion, where, due to a shortage of weapons, ammunition, and other supplies, Barnes and his squad are tasked with raiding a German supply depot and taking as many supplies as as possible, including German weapons and ammunition. Thus, when the second part of the level begins, most of the paratroopers defending the line outside Bastogne are armed with German weapons.
    • In Medal of Honor: Frontline, the German-made weapons (namely the MP 40, STG 44, and Gewehr 43) tend to have larger magazines than their Allied counterparts, and don't slouch on the damage output as compensation. The Gewehr 43, in particular, is a straight upgrade from the Springfield rifle, as the former is semi-automatic and has twice the magazine size.
    • In Medal of Honor: Airborne, most Axis automatic weapons are noticeably better than their Allied equivalents, having larger mag capacity and lower recoil. The Axis weapons do deal slightly less damage than their American counterparts, but not enough that the number of bullets it takes to kill most enemies is any different.
    • The modern Medal of Honor games are a noticeable aversion, as enemy weapons are generally inferior to the American weaponry you start each level with, not handling as smoothly and often lacking Gun Accessories like reflex sights, IR laser sights, and suppressors. Similar to Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare, this is justified in that you play as American special forces soldiers while your enemies are relatively crudely-equipped terrorists and pirates. In fact, in Medal of Honor: Warfighter, you can't drop either of you starting weapons, enemy weapons going into a tertiary slot that's dropped as soon as you try to go back to either of your own guns.
  • In every Counter-Strike installment, it's not uncommon to see CT players drop whatever gun they're using for an AK-47 or an SG-552. That or the Terrorists dropping whatever they were using for an M4A1 rifle. It depends on the player's play style preferences and what team they happen to be assigned to.
  • You might see this in the World War II Half-Life mod Day Of Defeat as well. A lot of players would ditch their M1 Garand for the Kar98, or their .30 Cal for an MG42.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Common throughout the series, especially early in the games. Whatever Starter Equipment the game offers is usually of the lowest quality available, and as soon as you've slain a couple of enemies, you'll want to loot and equip their better weapons and armor. Further, in the games with fairly strict Level Scaling, higher quality equipment can be found on enemies and in loot at earlier levels than that same equipment will be available for purchase in shops.
    • Oblivion enforces this trope. The level at which certain items appear in shops is slightly higher than the level at which those same items randomly appear as loot in chests and on enemies. Additionally, you have to follow the Mages Guild sidequest line up to a certain point (which requires non-trivial progress) before you can start enchanting your own equipment. Presumably, this is to keep players from building up gold and creating their own Disc-One Nuke (a Nerf on enchanting from Oblivion's predecessor, Morrowind). However, enchanted items can be found on enemies without needing to progress in the Mages Guild. Why not just loot that slain enemy's enchanted weapon? The point about enchanting is even mentioned directly by NPCs, for much the same reason.
      • Yet also mildly averted in Oblivion with the dremora enemies. While at the highest levels these enemies are equipped with supremely powerful daedric weapons, at low levels they wield much weaker, though visually the same, dremora weapons. These weapons do come with some minor enchantments and ignore normal weapon resistances but are unfeasibly heavy for low-level characters to carry.
  • Halo:
    • Enemy plasma weapons kick unholy amounts of ass against shields, while bullets from your side's guns are best for squishing actual meaty bits.
    • The plasma pistol had the most amount of asskickery of all weapons in Halo: Combat Evolved considering it did more damage than the plasma rifle, could fire as fast as you pull the trigger (faster than the rifle if you could pull fast enough), could overcharge to instantly take out the shields of anything, was easily found in large quantities, and had the fastest melee attack of all the weapons. The only drawbacks are the fast overheating and short range.
    • This is actually one of the main ideas of the Halo series: You need to know what weapon to use where, and since you can only hold two weapons at a time, you need to learn how to plan ahead and when to use your weapons or alien weapons. For example, one such arrangement is known as "The Noob Combo," where you shoot a shielded person with a covenant plasma weapon, disabling the shield, and then shifting back to a human weapon to headshot the enemy.
    • Often played straight in the campaigns for the simple reason that you're often fighting deep within enemy territory, with no nearby allied support providing resupplies; there are numerous levels where you will be exclusively using the enemy weapons. Thankfully, Covenant troops tend to be weak against plasma weapons, and Promethean weapons tend to be among their games' most powerful guns anyways.
    • This is most noticeable in the original Halo: Combat Evolved, where the human assault rifle was virtually worthless at higher difficulty levels due to its ineffectiveness against Elites and even Jackals, its massive ammo count and fire rate doing nothing to make up for its pathetic accuracy and damage equivalent to a handful of tossed pebbles. Later games in the series do a better job of balancing the human weapons vs the Covenant ones.
    • Halo 4 and Halo 5 are noticeable aversions, as Forerunner weaponry is pretty much identical in effectiveness as human or Covenant weapons despite being advanced energy weapons belonging to Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. This is due to gameplay balance.
  • In Crysis, you nearly have to take the Korean's FY71 assault rifle instead of the US's SCAR assault rifle (unless you really use Stealth mode a lot, which can work pretty well). You start with the SCAR, which beats the FY71 in power, mag size, and how much ammo you can carry, but there is nearly no ammo for it, until near the end of the game. They mostly fixed this in the Expansion Pack, where SCAR ammo is available, but still less common than the FY71.
  • In World of Warcraft all enemy equipment is better. The players will end up using almost exclusively items looted off of enemy corpses, occasionally with a quest reward mixed in. Admittedly the faction leaders have some great stuff, but they're not particularly willing to part with it.
    • End-game equipment tends to reverse this trend lately, usually being offered as a reward by a faction for tokens gained from killing bosses. However, Legendary Weapons are exclusively Enemy Equipment.
    • Most current weapons are crafted by allies, with parts that just happen to be found in the main raiding dungeon, older ones however were all enemy-made.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: Moblin swords and flaming deku sticks make for more viable weapons than your starting equipment, since they're three times longer than your sword and stun enemies, respectively. Of course, their advantages are rendered moot once you get the Master Sword.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: This varies depending on the enemy and their equipment. While the Bokoblins tend to carry weak bone weapons, the Lynels carry very strong and durable late-game weapons.
  • La Tale has a few enemies that rarely drop soul urns, materials which could be used to craft unique weapons which were almost always more powerful than an ordinary weapon, in addition to several unique special effects. Possibly subverted, in that they would be weaker than a well enchanted ordinary weapon, since the special weapons tend to be difficult to enchant due to their rarity.
  • Turning Point: Fall of Liberty: You will almost never find ammo for American guns. In fact, you'll never find ammo for anything but the German MP-50. Enjoy playing the whole game having to use the one crappy SMG for everything.
  • Fire Warrior: This trope's use is odd, considering that the Tau are supposed to have the strongest basic weapons in the universe on table, but there's not much ammo. This lasts basically up until you get the Burst Cannon, which competes through sheer rate of fire, and the Rail Rifle, which was so good it got adapted into the tabletop game.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog: You can occasionally find a weapon in a box, but the most prevalent ammo source (especially for some of the better guns) was enemy units. Therefore, it's usually better to use a GUN weapon if you're following the dark path and a Black Arms weapon if you're following the hero path. Neutral path? Just use the best weapon possible.
  • Mass Effect: Played with. In the beginning, your starting equipment is the absolute worst possible in the game and will immediately be replaced by whatever you find in the first mission. Even after that, Random Drops will on average be superior to equipment you can buy yourself at the time. But after fulfilling the required conditions the best weapons can only be bought in stores.
  • Metal Gear: In all games, it isn't so much that the enemy's weapons are better as it is that your side sends you in with only a token amount of equipment, which includes one small pistol at best. If you want to use anything bigger (which you invariably need to do in order to have something capable of damaging certain bosses), you'll need to steal equipment from the enemy.
    • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake: This is explained in the manual. Snake follows On-Site Procurement procedures. There's a variety of reasons for this, first and foremost that because his operations are never really sanctioned, there can be nothing that traces him back to his parent organization. Using the enemy's own equipment denies them at least one avenue for discovering who sent him. In later games, when he's working of his own accord, he still prefers to follow this particular procedure, most likely because as a wanted terrorist (and especially later in the series when the Patriots start cracking down on things), it's difficult for him to acquire weaponry through other means.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty manages to give an explanation for why you can't just grab the weapon from a downed enemy: they all use biometric scanners keyed to their carrier, which forces you to hunt down weapons in storage which are not in active use and thus not locked out.
    • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots manages to mostly avert this. You're still primarily reliant on grabbing weapons from enemies and then finding ways to circumvent the biometric scanners, but overall some of the most versatile weapons in the game are the Operator, Ruger Mk. II, and M4 Custom you're given for free in the first fifteen minutes of gameplay; the only gun that fills a niche one of those three can't do just as well and remains viable beyond that is the M14 EBR Sniper Rifle, being the only one that both accepts a suppressor and doesn't use ridiculously-rare ammo.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Averted. Enemies carry the most basic of guns, especially the Soviets in Afghanistan. And thanks to supply drops, as long as your GMP is in the black, you can simply call Mother Base for more ammo instead of switching weapons. The only instance you would ever need to pick up a gun from a fallen enemy is in the Subsistance missions.
  • There's a reason that Gears of War fans like using the Hammerburst... and that's because the standard assault rifle, the Lancer, bordered on being a Little Useless Gun in the first game. While the two are both viable choices in multiplayer nowadays, it was really bad in the first game. To quote the wiki, "4 to 6 bursts will kill a Drone, while a complete magazine of Lancer bullets may sometimes fail to kill one."
  • In the Fallout series, it's a necessity to loot stuff from enemies. The reason is simple: most of the time there is not enough ammo to keep using a different weapon. As for weapons and armor, the third game and New Vegas require equipment repairs that can either be paid for (at merchants who only do a mediocre job and cost a ton of caps for significant repairs) or doing a field-repair by taking apart a similar item and using its components (depends on Repair skill and destroys the spare, obviously) which is a bad thing if no suitable spare is found because it's one-of-a-kind or your current enemies don't have it. Therefore, looting guns from enemies and using them is miles more cost-effective. Armors are a bit more flexible in this regard and they also play the trope straight in Fallout 2 and 3: Enclave gear is superior to what you can get otherwise, especially Tesla and Hellfire armors.
    • The Broken Steel DLC expansion for Fallout 3 gives us the Tri-Beam Laser Rifle, essentially a laser shotgun, and is only carried by Super Mutant Overlords. This weapon is literally better when wielded by the enemy against you, but it's still an excellent weapon regardless of who uses it. The same can be said for the mutant rednecks and dimwitted tribals of Point Lookout with their shovels, shotguns, and lever-action rifles.
    • The later games do avert this for unique weapons, which often have numerous advantages over the standard variants your enemies are likely to be using, but can also be repaired by those standard variants. Additionally, Fallout 3's final DLC includes the "Alien epoxy" that can be used to repair weapons without having to lug around replacements for it, though in limited numbers; New Vegas adds the weapon repair kit which works the same, but can be bought or crafted in unlimited numbers, and also adds a "Jury Rigging" perk to let you repair weapons with any other weapon of its kind, which is nice for unique weapons like "That Gun" and "This Machine" that don't have a standard variant without one of the DLC packs. It can also be used to repair the "Wild Wasteland" Alien blaster, of which there is only one; it requires the abundant and cheap Laser Pistols but it only goes as far as the ammo you have which hovers around 140 to 222.
    • Inverted Trope in Fallout 4. 90% of Super Mutants, Raiders, Slavers, and Institute Synths (i.e. pretty much any given mook who isn't carrying an Awesome, but Impractical heavy weapon) carry variants of three weapons: the .308 hunting rifle, the .38 pipe gun, and the Institute laser gun. There are variants of them due to mods being slapped on (e.g. a pipe gun could be a rifle with a stock, scope, and bayonet, or it could be a sawed-off machine pistol with an automatic rate of fire), but they're all essentially the same weapon firing the same bullets. Even with the best mods (which almost never spawn on enemies), these guns pale in comparison to the guns you can buy from merchants, get as part of quests, or create on your own. This was likely done to force the player to indulge in Item Crafting.
  • X-COM
    • Subverted then played straight in X-COM: UFO Defense. While you can take weapons from dead aliens, your soldiers can't use them until you've researched them. Once you've done that, you'll be able to steal spare ammunition and other gear from the aliens. One tactic players have developed involves researching the guns first and researching the magazines (except for Heavy Plasma) later, so their soldiers can quickly pick up guns from downed enemies and use them; the generous magazine capacity means the inability to reload is not a major concern.
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown
      • Stunning an armed alien with the Arc Thrower yields its weapon (and grenades if it has any) to your inventory after the mission is over, though you have to conduct research on the weapons before they can be retrofitted and used by your folks (except for grenades, those can be used by XCOM right off the bat). If you just kill the alien, the weapon simply breaks into fragments that are useless as weaponry (but are very valuable for research, especially later on when you need as much as 75 for a single research projectwhich? ). In the last leg of the game, it's an excellent way to save money since plasma guns are so expensivenote , although you're out of luck when it comes to the Plasma Sniper Rifle and the Alloy Cannon, both projects exclusive to you.
      • Also goes for the EXALT weapons in the Enemy Within Expansion Pack, though there's no way to capture them alive and you can just plain kill them to get their stuffcaveats . Aesthetics aside, they're identical to XCOM's own ballistic and laser weapons, but sometimes the Council will make big offers for batches of them (presumably for launching False Flag Operations against EXALT or research their origins). Again, you need to have completed the respective beam weapon research projects to use the laser weapons from the EXALT Elites.
  • In UFO After Blank your soldiers can steal weapons and other gear from dead enemies, but there are some kinds of equipment that require special training in order to be used.
  • The Disgaea series. While you can pass bills to upgrade the items available in shops, the best equipment in the game is stolen from high level enemies. In fact the very best stuff must be acquired by stealing the second best stuff from an enemy, using the Item World to travel into that stuff, and then stealing the stuff of the enemies in that stuff.
  • Mega Man starts off with a wimpy plasma pellet gun (though in some games he can use a Charged Attack), and by defeating the bosses in the game will acquire many new weapons, most of which are more powerful than his starting gun (which he may nonetheless need to fall back on, as it's the only weapon with infinite ammo).
  • Almost every single level in Goldeneye 007 starts with James Bond equipped with the PP7, a decent but relatively weak pistol which you'll quickly stop using in favor of an assault rifle or SMG as soon as the first opportunity comes along. The 2010 remake makes the P99 pistol more viable in stealth due to the suppressor that can be attached whenever the player wants rather than depending on the level, but still requires them to pick up weapons from enemies if they want to stand a real chance in a firefight. The P99 itself cannot be replaced (you are normally given two weapon slots in your inventory, with the P99 acting as a third weapon selection), which makes it more of an Emergency Weapon given its large ammo pool.
  • Perfect Dark initially goes the same way as its predecessor Goldeneye, as you start most missions with an average pistol, and proceed to take bigger guns off the enemies; the most common enemy weapon is an SMG with a lock-on feature that's one step down from an aimbot. But this is eventually subverted in the late game, when the player's faction develops some of the most downright overpowered guns in FPS history; this includes an assault rifle with a 120-round mag and built-in invisibility cloak, and an X-ray sniper rifle that shoots through walls and one-shots everything. The enemy weapons scale up to pretty powerful levels too, but not this absurdly unfair.
  • Pathways into Darkness plays with this trope. You get separated from your unit at the start of the game due to a botched airdrop which gives your M16 a bent barrel and makes you lose the bag of spare ammo for your Colt .45, leaving you with just a survival knife. You end up defending yourself with weapons found in the labyrinth taken off the bodies of previous explorers, including 50+ year old WWII weapons (this takes place in 1993). When you finally reunite with your squad or rather, the remains of your squad, the only working weapon they have is an M79 Grenade Launcher. While a good weapon, it's not nearly as effective against groups of enemies as the 6-year-old AK-47 you found.
  • America's Army provided an unusual example. Until Special Forces maps introduced the option to play as indigenous forces, the perspective for every player regardless of team was that of an American soldier using American weapons. The only way to use foreign weapons (with their own unique stats) was to take the weapon from a dead enemy soldier. In some incarnations of the game, there's an accuracy penalty for using an unfamiliar weapon, so maybe they aren't actually better after all.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, this can become the case when the PureTech mutator is enabled - the Clan team can only buy Clan assets, and the Inner Sphere team can only buy Inner Sphere assets. Clanner tech is generally superior in regards to raw firepower and speed, while Inner Sphere tech has more cool weapons, armor, and is much less expensive to buy (some Clan Medium mechs cost as much as an Inner Sphere Assault mech!). Inner Sphere players will sometimes try to blast Clanners out of the cockpit of their Battlemech so that they can steal the mech for themselves, as in most cases Clanner mechs are better for straight-up combat. The same can happen in reverse with Clanners, as the Inner Sphere has some stupidly durable mechs (like the Atlas) and awesome specialized equipment (like the Heavy Gauss Rifle and Rotary Autocannons) that the Clanners cannot buy.
  • In the X-Universe games, players frequently ditch their Commonwealth or Terran heavy fighters for Xenon heavy fighters, as the Xenon LX fighter is in most regards superior to comparable (non-Prototype/Enhanced) Commonwealth fighters (It probably helps that the LX looks cool). In the late game when players can out-produce most races, some switch over from buying (or boarding) capital ships from the six main races and instead start to produce Xenon capital ships, though this is mostly because Xenon capitals take a fraction of the time and resources to produce.
  • In the original Homeworld some enemy ships have an advantage over what you can build: the Taiidan destroyer and assault frigate have better turret emplacement (enabling them to fend off enemy strike crafts somewhat better than the Kushan ones), the Turanic Raiders' carrier is the best armed one in the game, and the Kadeshi Swarmer-class fighters (both light and advanced) and multi-beam frigates are just plain overpowered (thankfully the swarmers have little fuel, giving you an easy way to defeat them by taking down the fuel pods before they can refuel). On the Motherships parts, however, it's more balanced: the Kadeshi ones are the best armed and more mobile but has no apparent construction ability, the Kushan one is the physically tougher but takes time to release newly-built supercapital ships due the large hangar door, and the Taiidan one, lacking the hangar door, can pop out destroyers, carriers and heavy cruisers as they're built but has an enormous weak spot in the form of the undefended supercapital ship hangar.
  • In Vietcong, some missions have Steve Hawkins separated from the rest of his team, and forced to crawl through large segments of enemy-infested jungles or tunnels. Since ammunition for his original weapon is depleted rather quickly with no means of replenishing, ditching it for AK-47 or some other weapon from the VC arsenal is a necessity to make it through these missions.
  • In PlanetSide 1, it wasn't uncommon to see players looting the bodies of enemy players to steal their guns and ammunition (as almost all kinetic guns were chambered in 9mm). Terran Republic soldiers, for example, almost always immediately ditched the wretched Cycler assault rifle for the far superior Gauss Rifle used by New Conglomerate soldiers. Heavy Assault weapons were universally looted by every side, as each had a unique weapon with a twist on room-clearing; the TR got a chaingun, the NC got a triple-barreled shotgun, and the Vanu Sovereignty got rapid fire Plasma Cannon with splash damage. Unfortunately for players using looted weaponry, they often got blasted by allies due to their very distinctive firing noises.
  • Zig-zagged in Stalker. In Shadow of Chernobyl, other stalkers frequently have better equipment than yours, and looting them off their corpses is far better than waiting to purchase your own. This goes doubly so for the unique guns that you usually pry from their former owners' fingers, and even more for the unmodded game, which doesn't let you repair anything at all, so the enemy weaponry may be better simply because they're in a better condition. For Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat, where there are many techs to repair your guns and you have a whole upgrade system, this is only played straight when you make a big leap in progress, such as going from the Great Swamp to the Cordon and suddenly finding plenty of assault rifles that generally trump the shotguns you've become used to. Using all this and some Sequence Breaking can invert this, if you in an area with higher-end weapons.
  • In Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, it's yes and no. If you use the option to fight strong enemies in your initial playthrough, you can often end up obtaining weapons or armor that are better than what you have at the time, simply because these enemies will drop weapons and armor of a higher classification than what you've learned to imbue at the atelier. However, once you do learn how to imbue them, you can easily imbue weapons and armor that blow anything that was dropped out of the water.
  • Averted in Far Cry 2, not least because enemy mercs all use the same guns available to you depending on which half of the game you're at, so there's no specific "enemy" guns to be better in the first place. Moreover, one of the game's major mechanics is weapon degradation, which would be bad enough with some weapons like the USAS-12 shotgun or dart rifle visibly corroding with every individual shot you make with them; add on the fact that weapons taken from an enemy will invariably be at an incredibly terrible stage of reliability, jamming every handful of shots and not very long until blowing up in your hands. There's enough of them that it is possible to rely on stolen weapons for a while and not be particularly screwed, but you're far better off saving up diamonds to buy your own weapons, which you can pick up any time you visit the Arms Dealer and will always start off at perfect reliability, as well as technical manuals that increase their accuracy and make them more durable.
  • In Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, while enemies are again all only using the same guns you can get, the Elite Mooks are equipped with some of the best guns in the game. Stealing some from them can let you get those guns much more quickly and for much cheaper than unlocking or just buying them at the weapons shop, especially in Far Cry 4 where certain optional missions let you fight those elite mooks noticeably before the point where their guns are normally made available to you.
  • Averted in Far Cry 5 where the enemy weapon selection never upgrades itself the further you progress in the game (as the gameplay follows a far less linear structure; you can tackle each of the three territories in any order), so when the time comes, you probably won't be using the enemy's weapons in favor of store-bought superior equivalents of their respective classes.
  • In Dark Souls, the weapons wielded by the enemies are usually better, or at least look better than your plain, dull shortsword, with the sole exception of Broken Straight Swords.
  • Einhänder has several powerful weapons wielded by the enemies that you initially don't start out with, this includes the Grenade and Flash. Of course, one of the game's main mechanics is killing those enemies and grabbing said weapons for yourself. It's also subverted in that you can start out with these weapons in your initial loadout once you manage to obtain them once.
  • An Invoked Trope in the opening level of Wolfenstein: The New Order. When preparing to breach Deathshead's island fortress, Fergus Reid instructs Allied troops to grab and use any Nazi weapons they see, because they're "bound to be better than ours". Considering that the Nazis of The New Order are armed with incredibly advanced technology, he makes a valid point.
  • Sniper Elite:
    • Sniper Elite III's Downloadable Content campaigns have the Schutzvollstrecker, who carry far more advanced weapons than Allied soldiers such as Karl's, regular Afrika Korps Infantry, or even the Elites. Most notable among these is the Teufelsfeuer rocket launcher, a Super Prototype that fuses the firing rate of the MG42 with the rockets, tube, and mechanisms of the Panzerschreck.
    • In Sniper Elite 4's Downloadable Content campaigns, we have the Valkyrie Jager, who carry much better weapons than the ones normally carried by Lt. Karl Fairburne, including the difficult to obtain FG42 and the rare Neunfaust launcher. Even the officers and the snipers carry much better weaponry, with the former wielding machine pistols that outclass all revolvers and semi-automatic pistols in terms of rate of fire, and the latter wield custom Swedish Mauser sniper rifles that have a better overall performance than the Springfield Karl uses.
      • The regular Jager Troops themselves carry a much better arsenal already, with their standard weapons being the MKb 42 assault rifle and the aforementioned FG42, both of which outclass the Thompson and most Allied submachine guns in terms of damage.
    • Sniper Elite 5 continues this trend by giving the already good German weapons access to nightvision scopes, larger magazine attachments, and customizations that do far more damage.
  • In Endless Sky you'll likely resort to looting advanced technology from hostile alien ships, since the peaceful ones know better than to sell theirs to your warlike species.

    Web Comics 
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has this page; not the first time a video game has steered the comic.
  • Discussed in Concerned #173, where the author's notes for the comic talk about whether scrounging better weapons and ammo off of dead allies without checking if they're actually dead makes you - and, by extension, the player character - a dickweed:
    "One of the first times I played Oblivion, I was fighting alongside some NPC soldier inside the first Oblivion gate. This NPC died during a battle, so I stripped him of his armor and weapons, which were better than my current ones, and left him dead and naked on the blasted planes of the underworld. A little later I died, and hadn't saved my progress. So, when I reloaded, the NPC was there, alive. And, this time, he didn't die in the battle. He was pretty, you know, beat up, though, and since he had died the last time, I sort of thought it was okay to, you know... totally bludgeon him to death and take his cool stuff. Now that's being a dickweed."

    Real Life 
  • In Real Life this practice carries an increased risk of friendly fire, particularly if the guns have distinctly different sounds. Under real life combat conditions, soldiers spend a lot of time shooting at enemies they cannot see clearly, if at all.
  • This was a particular problem in the early to mid stages of The Vietnam War; until the vastly-improved M16A1 arrived, several American soldiers actually preferred enemy Kalashnikov-pattern rifles to their own M14s and M16s. The original M16 had numerous issues: the guns themselves were issued without cleaning kits as the US Army Ordnance Corps had intentionally advertised the weapons as "maintenance free" or even "self-cleaning", even though the gas system directly shot gasses and powder residue from firing into the receiver to push back the bolt (made worse because of a switch immediately before adoption to a dirtier-burning form of gunpowder than the rifle was designed for), and their hollow polymer butt-stocks were delicate due to the recoil-buffer tube taking up a good chunk of space within them. The M14, meanwhile, suffered less from powder fouling as it was issued with a cleaning kit, but was too heavy for constant patrols and had poor ergonomics to support firing a full-size rifle round in full-auto, not to mention that its all-wood lower receiver and stock would warp from the humidity of the jungle as the climate wreaked havoc on the stock's linseed oil finish. In addition to this, the M14 wasn't mud-proof as the rear end of the receiver was exposed to the environment (this open area housed the recoil spring and the trigger sear, items that would not do well if covered in mud). In comparison, the Kalashnikov-pattern rifles were sturdier and much easier to clean (while the AK and the Norinco-produced Type 56 assault rifle would jam if mud got onto and into the receiver, users could just pull up the top cover and then wash the mud out with clean water), while also being easy to carry and keep on target. The Kalashnikov-pattern rifles were also often used by LRRP fireteams and MACV-SOG operators, the former who operated in enemy territory for long periods of time, the latter who often disguised themselves as enemy soldiers.
  • World War II:
    • German soldiers tended to prefer just about any Russian weapons or American semi-auto rifles over their standard-issue weapons if they had the option, most likely due to reliability in winter. The Russian PPSh-41 was widely loved (thanks in part to its ability to load 7.63mm Mauser), to the point that a 9mm variant (using box magazines rather than the famous drum) was made for the Germans. The SVT-40 was likewise popular, enough so that Walther took hints from the Tokarev-designed rifle to improve their own attempt at a semi-auto rifle, making the Gewehr 43 with a detachable magazine and a short-stroke gas piston with a conventional gas port drilled into the barrel as opposed to the previous design's annular gas piston and gas trap muzzle.
    • Conversely, the MP40 was a popular prize for British soldiers, since they could use the same ammo from their otherwise cheaply made Sten guns. In fact, the British specifically designed the Sten to use the same ammo as the MP38 and MP40 (the magazines were direct copies of those for the MP38, though contrary to what many have been lead to believe they weren't interchangeable with MP40 mags). Luger P08 pistols were similarly popular among American soldiers, though these were mostly as war trophies rather than a replacement for their own sidearms; the Luger is a good-looking pistol, but American soldiers were quite attached to .45 ACP for a long while. Allied soldiers of other nations, however, are a more debatable case – at least one Brazilian soldier picked up a Walther P38 as his sidearm of choice until he came back home.
    • In addition, German soldiers in WWII preferred American "Pineapple" grenades because they were less bulky and thus more could be carried, while American soldiers preferred German "Potato Masher" grenades because their shape aided in throwing them farther. The grenade is apparently always greener on the other side.
    • American and British troops significantly preferred the German Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon over their own anti-tank weapons, the bazooka and the PIAT. The Panzerfaust was lighter than both, making it easy to carry and operate- it only needed one person to use (unlike the bazooka, which needed a crew of two). It was also a single-shot weapon that could be fired and discarded, so that the soldier no longer had to lug the extra weight around or deal with the PIAT's extremely strong spring mechanism, which made it extremely difficult to reload and also gave the weapon tremendous recoil that could dislocate a soldier's shoulder if it were used incorrectly. By 1944, enough Panzerfausts had been captured by American troops that some units switched over to using them exclusively, and they led to the development of more refined LAW systems after the war.
    • The de Havilland Mosquito, a British bomber made of wood that outperformed German planes. Quoth Goring:
    In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set – then at least I'll own something that has always worked.
  • During both World Wars, Italian troops preferred enemy machine guns due the extreme unreliability of the Italian-made ones (with the Breda 37 being one of the only exceptions to the trend, as British troops liked it as a truck-mounted machine gun).
    • Conversely, in World War II Italian submachine guns (especially the Beretta Mod. 38) were favored by both Allies and Germans, as they were unerringly reliable and robust designs that tended to have superior safeties, plus the Italians used them with an overpowered variant of the 9mm Parabellum round to give better punch and range. When they occupied the country after Italy switched sides, the Germans decided to confiscate most of the production facilities of both the Mod. 38 and the overpowered cartridges.
    • Played with by the Italian Resistance: German and Fascist-issue machine guns were superior to the Stens they received from the British via airdrop... So they took to building their own, mixing characteristics from multiple designs and comparable to the MP40. Which they would still steal if given the chance.
  • During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Communist and Nationalist-aligned warlord troops were often so badly equipped that stealing Japanese gear was considered a high-priority mission. While Japanese weapons were considerably inferior to the European gear crack Nationalist troops had, they were still lightyears better than the outdated rifles the Communists and warlord soldiers were armed with. Indeed, there is a common folk song extolling the virtues of fighting a rich enemy because of all the cool weapons you can steal from them:
    "No food, no clothes, the enemy will provide us."
    "No guns, no cannons, the enemy will build for us..."
    • Interestingly, the American Marines sometimes used Japanese weapons as well, owing to some screw-ups in resupplying during island campaigns. They weren't really enamored with the Arisaka family of bolt-action rifles or the tripod-mounted Type 92 heavy machine gun, but the Marines did like using the Nambu Type 96 light machine gun (and the later Type 99) and also whined to their superiors about the lack of an equivalent to the Japanese Type 89 grenade discharger (better known as the "Knee Mortar").
    Why do we have to wait for artillery support to arrive and save our asses while the Japs barrage us with grenades fired from way down range out of their little mortars!?
  • During the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, Israeli soldiers often preferred the AK rifles they captured from the Arabs to the FN FAL that was the most common combat rifle in service with the IDF at that time. The AK had the particular advantage of being much more reliable in the sandy, gritty conditions common to the Near East. After '67, the Israelis decided to replace the FN FAL with the Galil, an Israeli design largely based on the AK, but, in any event, the M16 ended up becoming the most common rifle in the IDF.
    • The Israelis also repaired and put into service substantial numbers of Soviet-made T-54, T-55, and T-62 tanks captured from the Arabs, although whether these tanks were better is not clear. They certainly had technological capabilities, in particular infrared scanners, that were not available on the Centurions and Shermans that made up the bulk of the Israeli armored corps at that time. On the other hand, their round dome-shaped turrets limited their ability to depress their barrels, which did not fit well with Israeli tank doctrine or the rougher terrain on which they tended to fight.
  • The Iran-Iraq War saw a lot of this. The Iranian military was equipped with holdover weapons purchased by the Shah from NATO countries while Saddam's forces used Soviet and French made equipment. Early on, Iranians would play the Good Guns, Bad Guns trope straight, using H&K G3 rifles and Colt sidearms against AK wielders but thanks to the new sanctions, the only country that was (openly) willing to sell weapons to them was China, who mostly supplied them with Norinco AK clones. With their standard issue guns using the same ammo but not being as reliable as the Iraqis' Russian-made weapons, it would be pretty stupid not to loot.
  • This is a general tendency of soldiers at war, to hype up the enemy weapons and scorn their own. This is because soldiers experience every aspect of their own weapons, including the various faults and niggling annoyances they have to deal with to use them, while only feeling the positive (for the user, at least) effects of enemy weapons.
    • As discovered by the Soviets, the Finnish L-35 were not exactly better than their own Tokarev pistols. Field testing done to the L-35 revealed that its performance suffered in mud and sand. The only reason Soviet conscripts hyped up the idea that the L-35 was good was that it was the most encountered pistol in Finnish hands.