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Throwing Your Gun at the Enemy

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"You ever try just throwing something at a guy with a hostage? Of course not. Who the hell does that? But that is exactly why it works every time. So yeah, before he even knew what was happening, there was ten pounds of gun flying right into his face."
Kamina, DOUBLE K

The tendency to throw a firearm at an opponent after running out of ammo, or out of frustration, desperation or stupidity.

When mooks face a Super Hero they often fire all available rounds at the superhero, look at their now-useless gun, then throw the gun at the hero either in frustration, stupidity, or desperation. This is much more likely to happen against an Immortal Assassin by a victim, and almost always perpetrated by someone wielding a small gun, since larger weapons are more often used to attempt melee combat.


Hilariously, in live-action depictions the immune-to-bullets superhero may then quickly duck to avoid getting clocked by the empty pistol, implying that the gun itself is more harmful than the bullets it fires.

See also: Pistol-Whipping, Improbable Use of a Weapon. Related to Throwing Your Sword Always Works. Compare and contrast Throw-Away Guns, where the gun is dropped simply because it is empty or jammed. See also Shooting Superman, which can result in this.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the first episode, of Trigun, a bulletless Vash is trying to reload a gun taken from an unconscious badguy. Before he can re-arm himself a second one shows up on a nearby rock, forcing Vash to throw the gun at him. To his credit, it's a direct hit, but he's back where he started.
  • Attempted during the "End of the World" Special in RahXephon. In the ultimate futility, the thrown pistol doesn't even reach the target!
  • Black Lagoon: In a gunfight on the Cool Boat Revy throws a gun at a mook when it runs out of ammo. Eda lampshades this by asking if Revy is made of money, and Revy justifies it in turn by claiming "it's only a fuckin' Taurus". Both the mook and the gun probably end up in the ocean.
  • During a gunfight in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, a pistol lands next to Kira. Not wanting to outright shoot a guy, he throws the pistol at a terrorist who was about to shoot Andrew to knock his aim off, before kicking him in the face while he's dazed. One of the men involved in the fight shoots the now-unconscious terrorist anyway to Kira's discomfort, after which Cagalli asks Kira if he even knows how to use a gun.
  • In the first episode of Patlabor, Noa pulls out the Ingram's revolver to try and use for intimidation on the thieves who tried to steal it. Since they quickly realize it's unloaded, she throws it at them before she can pull out the electromagnetic baton to fight the other labors.

    Comic Books 
  • In Many Happy Returns, Supergirl mocks someone who tries this on her by briefly collapsing to the floor as though the empty gun had knocked her out, after the contents of the gun had already been emptied at her without result.
  • In the "Marvel What-The" parodies, we have this case of Genre Savvy:
    Punisher Expy: Wait until they are out of bullets!
    (gun hits Wolverine Expy in the head)
    Punisher Expy: Now they are out of bullets!
  • Lampshaded and justified by Tim Drake in a Batman comic after he knocks out a criminal with a thrown gun, taken after disarming another criminal. Tim notes how throwing guns in real life rarely works the same way it's depicted in movies, which is why Batman has him practice throwing guns.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2010): Ratchet does this twice to Zogg's robots once in the first issue and once in the fourth issue lamenting the fact it doesn't work.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Modesty Blaise, Willie "couldn't hit Venice with a pistol" but still managed to take down a bad guy with one — by throwing it.

    Fan Works 
  • Didn't Expect That: Kanril Eleya wakes up with Section 31 Agent Franklin Drake in a chair in her quarters and immediately tries to shoot him, mostly on instinct. Drake holds up the power pack he removed from her phaser while she was asleep, then immediately has to duck when she throws the gun at him in frustration.
  • In Project Delta, Jane's forces are using a 4-km-long sized barrel extender on one of their ships for additional firepower. Their final attack with it (when they really need a lot of punch) is to launch the gun's barrel instead of a shell.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Naked Gun, during the insane rooftop shootout, Frank and some random Mook are trading shots from behind trash cans (which are roughly two meters apart) until both run out of ammo simultaneously. The mook throws his gun first, only for it to land in the can Frank is hiding behind. Frank then returns the favor and clocks the guy in the face, knocking him out cold. And then Nordberg blows up half the roof with the howitzer he constructed from his service piece.
  • In Casino Royale (2006), a Mad Bomber throws his (empty) gun at James Bond. Bond promptly catches it and throws it back and hits his face.
  • In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Blofeld runs out of ammo as Bond chases him down with a bobsled. He throws the gun itself at Bond, only to have it harmlessly bounce off the front of the skeleton.
  • Sgt. Horvath in Saving Private Ryan. He and a German soldier point their rifles at each other point blank, and both are empty. In a moment of Black Comedy they both drop their rifles and throw their helmets at each other, then start racing to unholster their pistols. Horvath wins... then gets shot by unseen assailants, then throws his gun at the guy he already killed.
  • The Mummy (1999)
    • Someone runs out of bullets shooting Imhotep and then throws their gun at Imhotep. Like that's any more likely to work than the actual bullets that didn't work?
    • Johnathan uses O'Connell's revolvers during the mummy fight and tosses the empty revolvers at them with no effect.
  • In the John Wick films, when John runs out of ammunition and there's no time to reload, he will hurl his weapon at the nearest mook to gain enough time to either draw another weapon or to rush forward and close the distance so he can engage in hand-to-hand combat.
  • In the final shootout of Unforgiven, William Munny throws his shotgun at Little Bill after it misfires with its second and final shot. When Bill instinctively tries to block it, doing so interferes with him drawing his pistol. By the time Bill recovers, Munny already has his pistol out and gets off a round at Little Bill.
  • In Central Intelligence Calvin runs out of bullets and throws his gun at the bad guy. The bad guy catches the gun in mid-air and pops in a fresh magazine. Oops.
  • Defendor: The only time Defender carries a gun into a battle he ends up just throwing it and knocking someone senseless.
  • The title character in Big Jake does this at one point, but it is probably justified- out of ammo, he was aiming for his assailant, hoping to slow him down in a life-or-death situation and thereby buy himself enough time to finish the guy off. He would have been easily able to retrieve the gun, once the assailant had been dispatched.
  • An odd example occurs in Billy The Kid Vs Dracula. The vampire proves immune to bullets, walking forward slowly while the shots apparently pass through him. Billy then hurls his revolver into his face, promptly knocking the vampire on his ass.
  • Near the end of Angels with Dirty Faces, Rocky throws his empty guns at the police in desperation.
  • In John Carpenter's The Thing while demolishing the vehicles and radio equipment, Blair uses a revolver to try and keep the other men from stopping him. After getting off a few rounds (none of which hit) he throws the gun at one of the men (and also misses). This is justified by the fact that he was under a lot of stress and not quite thinking straight.
  • Doc Savage (1975). The assassin throws his sniper rifle at Doc in frustration when he runs out of rounds. Man of Bronze that he is, Doc just lets the rifle bounce off his muscled chest.
  • In Kick-Ass, when Hit-Girl is annihilating a hallway full of gangsters with pistol fire and Combat Parkour, she runs out of ammo as she's charging one of the thugs. She promptly hurls the empty pistol in his face, knocking him out, scoops up his gun and goes right on fighting.
  • The Art of War (2000). The Dragon throws his gun at Shaw after running out of ammunition. It crashes through a glass panel engraved with the UN symbol of a pistol with a twisted barrel, and in further Dramatic Irony he ends up impaling himself on the broken glass shards.
  • Parodied in the 1985 comedy/adventure film adaptation of King Solomon's Mines. The female character throws a gun at the villain; he shouts: "Thank you!" and uses it to blast away at her.
  • Feeding Frenzy: After utterly failing to hit Jesse or Christine in a small basement with six shots of his revolver, Mr. Plinkett tosses the gun and hits Jesse square in the chest, causing him to yelp in pain.
  • Smokin' Aces: Agent Messner resorts to throwing his pistol when he runs out of bullets during another barrage of gunfire from the Cold Sniper. This is clearly out of sheer frustration, since the shooter is all the way up another hotel building nearly a mile away.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Lampooned in an episode of Police Squad!, where both the cops and the villains throw their guns away after they run out of bullets in a shoot-out — and someone gets clonked on the head by a thrown gun, because both sides were only about six feet apart. In a different episode, once the gun-throwing starts, both sides suddenly have a large supply of empty firearms to keep tossing, which still make the *BANG!* sound effect when heaved.
  • This trope became typified by George Reeves on The Adventures of Superman. Criminals would fire their guns at Superman while he'd just stand there with his fists on his hips and the bullets bounced off his invulnerable skin. Then, after failing to harm or impede the superhero, criminals would, rather comically, throw their now-empty guns at Superman, as if doing that could stand a better chance of stopping him than the bullets, yet Superman, more humorously, would always duck or dodge a thrown gun.
  • In Daredevil season 3, Dex uses this tactic a few times, either as a less-than-lethal takedown or a last ditch attack when he's run out of bullets.
  • Lucifer (2016): When fighting his way through a hallway of Mooks, the title character grabs one's handgun, ejects the magazine, then throws the gun to knock another Mook out. In his case, it's both to drive home that they don't stand a chance against him and because, as an (albeit Fallen) angel, he's unable to kill mortals.
  • Due South: While aboard a hijacked freighter crossing the Great Lakes, Chicago cop Ray asks Mountie Benton to grab the gun of a knocked-out hijacker. Benton refuses, because he isn't permitted to fire a gun in American waters, but Ray tells him "You don't have to use it, just carry it." Later, confronting another one of the hijackers, Benton disables him by throwing the same gun at his head. Ray responds, "You shoot a gun. Who in the hell throws a gun?"
  • In Married... with Children, Al makes fun of a Superman movie he is watching, calling the random mook an idiot when he throws his gun at Superman just after all of the bullets bounced off him.
  • Blake's 7. In "Rescue", Dayna finds herself locked in a room with the Monster of the Week, but the Villain of the Week has given her a gun with an empty clip. She throws the gun at the monster in an attempt to drive it away.

    Tabletop Games 
  • While throwing away weapons is typically highly frowned upon in the fluff for Warhammer 40,000 (a Guardsman losing his gun is a serious crime, Space Marines consider their weapons holy relics, etc.), the "Inquisitor" game unintentionally justifies this, as game mechanics mean a Space Marine throwing his gun at an enemy has better damage and range than just shooting them with it.

    Video Games 
  • Red Hood, a downloadable character from Injustice 2, has a move where his gun will jam, leaving him to throw the pistol into his opponent's head, catch the gun, reload it, and fire a shot that sends his opponent to the other side of the screen.
  • A character in the PlayStation game Clock Tower empties and then throws his gun at Scissorman. It doesn't stop him any better than the bullets themselves did.
  • Tediore guns in Borderlands 2 are an interesting case in that they weaponize this. Their guns are "cheap, plastic pieces of crap" that are thrown away rather than reloaded (with a fresh version of the same gun digistructed into your hands afterwards) and the gun will explode on impact with something living or after a short while. You can throw them at enemies when they don't have a full magazine, and they deal more damage depending on how much ammo was left in the magazine. This is often used as a viable tactic in combat, allowing a player to quickly eliminate a particularly powerful or annoying enemy. The tradeoff, however, is that it means reloading uses up the ammunition that was left in the mag, and indeed using the preceding strategy will burn through your ammo supply incredibly quickly if you have the habit of reloading compulsively.
  • BlazBlue: Noel Vermilion has one move where she throws one of her guns at the opponent, which flies back to her like a boomerang.
  • Elsword: One of Rose's "job" advancements, Bloodia, has a Special Active skill named Gunhawk where she throws her revolvers forward which flies back to her like a boomerang, and can be done 3 times. Bloodia's advancement Crimson Rose has normal attacks and skills that utilize her bladed revolvers attached by chains.
  • Sengoku Basara: Magoichi Saika throws her guns after firing. This only does Scratch Damage but it does serve to stagger whoever it hits and increases her combo chains.
  • This is the best thing you can do with gun items in the Super Smash Bros. series once they run out of ammo. The fourth game even has you automatically throw your gun if you try to shoot it when it's out of ammo (previous games required you to use the grab input to get rid of gun items).
  • An empty gun can be thrown with great force once it's empty in Enter the Gungeon, but must be retrieved afterwards before leaving the room, or it will be stolen, and you cannot take downed enemies' weapons.
  • Robo Recall's flavor of reloading is "teleport new guns to the player's holsters after a short delay", such that it encourages players to throw their empty guns at enemy robots to good effect. Hitting a robot with a thrown gun reloads the gun on impact, for no other reason than Rule of Cool as you grab the rebounded gun out of the air and shoot them with it.
  • Superhot has guns as part of its core gameplay, but no reload function. Emptied your gun? Throw it at a bad guy to stun him long enough to take his gun instead. If you're a bit Trigger Happy or the level is particularly busy, you can eventually end up braining half a dozen enemies with your discarded guns.
  • Used and subverted in Die Hard Arcade. If one of the players runs out of ammo for a gun, they'll either reload it if they have another magazine, or throw it at the enemies if they don't. Oddly enough, players can carry only two pistols (no Guns Akimbo here, though - they'll just draw the second gun when the first gun runs out) and as many magazines as they can find. Not only that, if they die, a gun falls out of their body at the continue screen.
  • Sengoku Basara has Saika Magoichi, who wields pistols, magnums, shotguns, machine guns, and rocket launchers. After some of her moves, she throws some of the weapons away (dealing damage to enemies if they're close enough!) and pulls out fresh ones to use. Even in the post-victory cutscene, you can see tons of discarded guns lying around.
  • Zeno Clash: Weapons are quite situational, and often it's a viable tactic to throw whatever you're holding at your foes instead, staggering them briefly and dealing a small amount of damage.
  • Throwing your gun always works in Hotline Miami. Thrown guns knock down any mooks hit by them, and can even continue their flight to knock over multiple enemies.
  • In Saints Row 2, Maero throws his gun at the Boss' face instead of reloading it when it runs empty. Since he had a massive minigun, the Boss is too busy dodging it to shoot a rushing Maero. It's also poked fun at - the minigun is one of your rewards for completing the mission because Maero threw his at you during it.
  • Stick Fight actually weaponizes this; once your gun's ammo is used up, you can throw it at an opponent for damage.
  • Mal'Damba from Paladins uses a venom-spitting cobra as his primary weapon. When he runs out of venom, he "reloads" by throwing the snake and having another one slither up his arm. Throwing his snake also has the nifty effect of stunning and damaging enemies that are hit by it.
  • Fighting Force allows you to do this with empty or even loaded guns, though a hit only takes away a minuscule amount of an enemy's health.

    Web Animation 
  • In Madness Combat, Hank often uses guns as thrown weapons once he run out of bullets. It's deadly effective, since he's a Blood Knight and Improvised Weapon master who can shatter a skull with a pistol grip from across the room. Other protagonists may also do that but not as often.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Comic Book Guy (playing a villain named The Collector) tries to shoot Bart (Stretch Dude) numerous times with a phaser. Bart easily avoids all shots with his elasticity, but is taken down in a second when The Collector throws the phaser.
    • Chief Wiggum gets mad at Johnny Carson making a joke about him being kicked out of the Be Sharps, and shoots at his TV in anger. His wife tells him to use the remote (in his gun holster), but the channel he turns it to is even more infuriating, and he throws the gun at the TV and actually succeeds in breaking it.
    • During the "Cops: In Springfield" segment, Chief Wiggum does this after he and his men are seen inexplicably fighting a mummy.
  • An episode of Justice League Unlimited had Wonder Woman deflecting bullets from a common mook with her bracelets. When he goes to throw the gun at her, even after seeing not a single shot hit, she sarcastically says to him, "Oh yeah... like that's gonna work."
  • In the subplot of one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), Queen Marlena is ambushed by snakemen. Due to the technical problems that make up the main plot of the episode, her gun doesn't fire. Instead, she throws it at them... and it knocks one of them down.
  • In Stripperella, after Pushy Galore expends all of her ammunition, she proceeds to throw all SIX of her pistols (she's a genetic physicist with six arms) at Stripperella at once to deter her, but to no avail.
  • In Archer, cyborg Barry returns to ask the gang to help find his biological mother. Archer shoots him, forgetting — again — that Barry is a cyborg and Immune to Bullets. Archer then throws his gun at Barry's face. He later tries to punch Barry, who simply shoots Archer in the leg.
  • The Venture Bros.: Brock rescues the boys from being held at gunpoint. The mooks start firing as they flee.
    [Mook 1's gun empties, he looks at it, then throws the gun at Brock and the boys who are no longer in range]
    Mook 2: I have more bullets you know. You gotta stop doing that.
    Mook 1: [sheepishly] I know, it just looks so cool.
    Mook 2: Well, go get it.
  • In the Christmas Special Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July, Lilly Lorraine throws her gun at the evil wizard Winterbolt. In a rare example of this tactic working, the gun breaks Winterbolt's scepter, the source of his powers. Justified in that Lilly's gun only had blanks and couldn't hurt anyone, while the gun itself was solid lead.
  • In the Æon Flux short "Tide," a character tries to shoot Aeon, before realizing she has no bullets. In desperation, she throws the gun. It works. Peter Chung designed that bit to see an instance where it actually was effective.

    Real Life 
  • Apparently Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the Boston Marathon bombers, threw his gun at the police after running out of ammunition.


Video Example(s):


Duel Failure

A possible (non-lethal) outcome to a duel.

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