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Unusable Enemy Equipment

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"That zombie's got armor! ...I want armor!"
Coach, Left 4 Dead 2

For whatever reason, the player is not allowed to pick up and use the weapons, ammo, and equipment of fallen enemies. Instead, he must either find the same weapons and equipment lying around by themselves or simply can't reality pick up weapons at all outside plot events that give them to him. Often this doesn't extend to ammunition; once the player has a gun, enemies with the same gun may well start dropping ammunition for it.


This is a staple of the stealth genre and is often hand waved/justified by the items having fingerprint scanners or some other form of user identification. Almost Truth in Television, in fact: there has been research done into devising firearm security systems that utilize biometrics or a chip (mounted on an accessory or even implanted under the skin) to prevent usage of a firearm by anyone but its owner.

In Real Life, a soldier would normally only pick up and use an opponent's weapon as an absolute last resort. This is because of a laundry list of issues that most fictional depictions skirt around. For one, you'd be using an unfamiliar weapon, and learning how to take care of it or make adjustments for optimal use is not something that you can quickly figure out on your own, especially not in the heat of battle where people are trying to kill you. Logistic issues come into play with ammo supply and there is a very real risk that the sound of your newfound weapon will mean your own side might mistake you for an enemy and engage you.note  Moreover, there is a very real risk that a weapon lying around on the ground may be damaged or booby-trapped. In the case of police and security forces, weapons owned by criminals are evidence and tampering with them could destroy a later court case, as well as becoming an easy cop-out point for lawyers.


On the other hand, as an absolute last resort when you're out of ammo for your own weapons and surrounded by enemies, and if escape or surrender are not options, then no reasonable person would criticize you for using whatever you can find. Similarly, in the context of a game, it will seem unreasonable if you cannot pick up a gun from the dead Mook next to you.

Also, while an individual soldier picking up an opponent's weapon to replace his own would be rare, it's been surprisingly common for an entire army to do so on a large scale. This was particularly the case in World War I and World War II, because nearly every nation involved fielding a much larger army than they ever had before and didn't actually have enough of their most modern weapons to go around. So if significant stockpiles of foreign weapons were captured, they'd generally be pressed into service.note 


Within gaming tropes, contrast Exclusive Enemy Equipment (for when the equipment can be used, but only obtained from enemies) and Random Drop. Related to Good Guns, Bad Guns. Compare Statistically Speaking. An inversion is The Enemy Weapons Are Better.

In other media, contrast In Working Order.


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    Action Adventure 
  • While the player character in Overlord is unable to pick up the enemy equipment, his minions can. And they'll pick up a lot, causing some laughs when you realize some of your minions are wearing pumpkins, beards (yes, beards), and a flower in a patch of dirt as headwear. Could be considered justified as you ARE the Evil Overlord, and no self-respecting one would be using such non-Doomy Dooms of Doom objects for their personal armament, plus the minions will happily fork over gold and other things that would be valuable and useful to you.
  • Partially Justified in the Batman: Arkham Series, for the Bat-family characters, but no explanation is given though for why villainous playable characters like Joker and Deathstroke can't use defeated Mooks' firearms. It also wasn't until Batman: Arkham Knight that the player could pick up thugs' clubs and throw propane tanks and stools for massive damage, and they still can't use their shields or stun sticks.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.
      • Some enemies do in fact drop weapons that you can pick up and use, ranging from simple clubs to a BFS that's more than twice the length of Link's body. However, you can't store them in your inventory and drop them if you leave the area.
      • It's played straight with Phantom Ganon's sword, which is only dropped in rooms where there are no other enemies anyway. Which is secondary to the fact that you don't want to pick it up anyway, since watching how it falls is a puzzle hint.
    • Installments from Twilight Princess onwards averts this with arrows. You can pick up enemy arrows that get stuck in the ground before they fade or burn away, and recover your own fired arrows from an enemy if you can see them sticking out of it. Also, two key items — the Gale Boomerang and the Ball and Chain — are received by beating the minibosses that use them.
    • Skyward Sword plays with this trope:
      • In the fourth dungeon, Ancient Cistern, you obtain a whip which allows you to retrieve items from afar. Unfortunately, it can't temporarily snag weapons from enemies, instead only stealing Monster Horns (for upgrading your equipment) from certain Bokoblins. Later on, the boss of Ancient Cistern (Koloktos) must be defeated by disabling its limbs, which allows you to pick up one of its swords (which are able to smash through pillars) and go buck wild on it. Unfortunately, you can't take the sword with you outside of the boss room.
      • And then there's a case of a boss reversing this trope on the player, and it's the first boss, no less! If the player is unable to break out of a struggle when Ghirahim uses his finger to parry your attacks, he'll steal the Goddess Sword from you and use it against you, forcing you to have to use a well-timed Shield Bash to knock it back out of his hands.
      • This game plays it straight in the case of the bow. Enemies use them from very early on in the game, but it is the last item that Link acquires.
    • Averted completely in Breath of the Wild. A combination of Breakable Weapons and an increased focus on survival encourages you to steal various weapons from enemies; in fact, stealing weapons from fallen or sleeping enemies is the only way to begin gaining a reliable inventory of powerful items.
  • Played straight in the first three Tomb Raider games. In the first Tomb Raider, you can't take any of the weapons used against you by your human enemies (Pierre's pistol, the Cowboy's magnums, the Kid's SMGs, Kold's shotgun; they all instead drop your version of the same gun when killed). This trope is epitomized in Tomb Raider II when you fight and kill entire armies of human enemies, and the weapons they use include silenced pistols, machine pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, and harpoon guns, which all stay clutched in their cold dead hands when killed, inaccessible to the player. Tomb Raider III continues the tradition, notably in the level Area 51, where upon jailbreak and getting Lara's signature twin pistols, she can kill a sniper guard wielding a laser-sighted automatic rifle and can't take it for her own (Lara has the similar MP5 weapon which she must pick up separately).
    • While the games from Crystal Dynamics notably avert this trope, Underworld plays it awfully straight. Lara's arsenal is limited to her own weapons. She can't get any ammunition for them (as a more realistic approach than finding mags for modern weapons in ancient, long-abandoned sites) nor equip weapons dropped by her human enemies. The latter one is quite annoying, as you burn through her ammo reserve pretty fast while fighting humans, but can't get any of it back.
    • The rebooted series lets you loot ammo and crafting resources off of enemy corpses, but taking their guns is still impossible. The first example of each weapon category can only be acquired in cutscenes at specific points in the story, and any advanced model after that must be assembled from weapon parts scattered across the whole game world (semi-randomly, in case of the first game).
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order largely justifies it due to Cal being much more deadly with a lightsaber than he likely would be with a blaster, let alone the bizarre melee weapons of many enemies. That being said, melee enemies are abundant enough in game that being able to pick up a blaster rifle or pistol, let alone that discarded rocket launcher, would be pretty useful. It doesn't even appear to be out of any adherence to the Jedi code, as Cal is a Combat Pragmatist who, in one pretty badass aversion to the trope, has no problem with commandeering an AT-AT and using its mounted guns to lay waste to an Imperial fortification.
  • Hotline Miami:
    • In the first game, playing as the Biker restricts you to only using a meat cleaver for melee attacks and three unique throwing knives for ranged attacks. You cannot pick up and use any weaponry from the environment or dead enemies.
    • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number:
      • Beard's levels stand out from the rest in that, while you get to wield a gun and a knife at the same time, you can't pick any weapons dropped by enemies, similarly to the Biker's example. In the case of the gun (which you choose at the beginning of each level), you have to look for ammo boxes to refill it once it runs out of ammo.
      • Dodgers are mainly distinguished from other enemy types in that they tend to use weapons that are specific to a playable character (e.g. the Gang variants use Alex's chainsaw, and the Colombian variants the Son's katana), as well as weapons of unusual wielding such as dual pistols (as in the Military variants' case). Regardless of the character you're playing as, you can't pick any of their weapons once you kill them.

    Adventure Game 
  • The Quest for Glory series was notorious for this trope. Even if you were equipped with only a dagger and leather armor, and you just killed dozens of enemies carrying scimitars, spears, maces, scale mail, shields, ball and chains, etc. they would invariably be too 'damaged' or 'worthless' for you to pick up, if the game even acknowledged their existence in the first place. The fifth game finally averts this, though the vast majority of enemy weapons are going to be vendor trash anyway.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • Crisis Beat has the player defeating legions and legions of armed terrorists, but while they can use melee weapons like knives or batons, the only time players get to use firearms if it's picked off a crate (even then, it lasts for only two seconds as the player empties any Uzi they found almost instantly). They can defeat hordes and hordes of mooks armed with machine-guns, grenade launchers, flamethrowers and the like, but the players won't be allows to collect those weapons.
  • Hong Kong Ninja have a really odd example in the third stage. The boss is a hulking mercenary wielding a BFG larger than you, capable of firing grenades and bullets from a distance, but if you knock the mercenary over and relieve him of his weapon, you can collect it... and use it as a club, not as firearms. Somehow. If you get beaten down and the mercenary regains his weapon, then yes, he can continue using it to shoot at you.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness have enemy samurai being armed with spears and katanas, which the player cannot collect after defeating. Nope, those weapons will fade away together with the defeated samurai - the only time player can use weapons if it's picked off from a crate or purchased in a shop.
  • Raging Justice averts this trope for the most part until the Final Boss, the game's Hidden Villain Mayor Wilson who uses a chainsaw larger than you as a weapon. You can knock said chainsaw out of his hands, but any attempts to collect it to use against him will have Wilson knocking you down almost instantly and regaining his weapon.
  • Riot City and it's re-release, Riot Zone, for some reason follows this trope, despite most arcade-themed beat-em ups following otherwise. You spend the entirety of both games kicking and punching enemies unarmed, and smashing crates only yields bonuses, not weapons. Meanwhile your enemies can rough up up with knives, chains and sticks that you're not allowed to collect.
  • In Undercover Cops, the playable characters cannot wield knives, bottles, bats, or axes. This is kinda justified considering they can all shoot energy beams and wield weapons 2 or 3 times their size.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Many, many First-Person Shooter games. Nowadays it's less prevalent: the player character can pick up and use enemy weapons. In less modern shooters, however, defeated enemy grunts would often lie as corpses on the ground with their weapon in plain view, but you'd be unable to take it unless they spawned the appropriate weapon/ammo item while dying. As noted above, this isn't necessarily unrealistic.
    • Averted in the Granddaddy of them all, Wolfenstein 3-D. The game starts with the scenario that you take the pistol from a guard you shanked. All enemies in the game either use that same kind of pistol and drop ammo or, in the case of the blue SS guards, drop a different weapon that you can then take and use against them. The exceptions are the bosses, who are all Super Soldiers wielding weapons you legitimately couldn't use (i.e. several-hundred-pound Gatling guns, and even then you can get your own version of the same weapon).
    • Doom likewise averted this trope for the most part in that enemies that actually use weapons (that aren't grafted to their bodies) drop them, though the standard rifle-using zombies only drop ammo. For your pistol. The apparent reason for this is the player's starting weapon was originally a rifle early in development but was changed to a pistol without changing the sprites of the enemies wielding the same weapon.
      • The Brutal Doom and Project Brutality mods subvert this somewhat. Killing mancubi and revenants with either explosive weapons (easier, but not guaranteed due to the chance of your ordinance mauling said weapon in the process), or by killing them with the Chainsaw or your bare hands (Berserk-state only), allows the player to steal and use their weapons. However, they tend to be Awesome, but Impractical, because the only way to get more ammo is to kill more of them in the same specific manner in which you got the weapon in the first place.
      • Same goes for Doom³, to an extent. Former humans' guns can be picked up for ammo, as they're the same as yours (even the Commando's chaingun). In fact, the way you get the machinegun if you didn't open the locker at the end of the second level is to grab one off a Z-sec enemy. Though you can't pick up wrenches or additional flashlights from civilian zombies that wield them.
    • GoldenEye (1997) and Perfect Dark for the N64 avert this trope completely until it comes to dual-wielding. Even if you have one pistol, if you kill a guard also using that pistol, you only get ammo for picking it up - you must find a guard using two such pistols, kill him, and pick up both of the dropped weapons in order to dual-wield them.
    • Most Tactical Shooters will forbid you from carrying enemy weapons except to take as evidence. The reasons for this are simple: they are either poorly maintained, inferior to what the player character has (an old AK-47 vs a new M4 with accessories like optics and flashlights is a no-brainer), or simply wouldn't make sense for the player character to pick up in-universe.
  • It's zig-zagged a lot in BioShock series.
    • The weapons of Leadhead Splicers are blown away from the corpses when killed, letting you obtain them or refill your guns' ammo. The revolvers the Splicers use are smaller than Jack's Hand Cannon.
    • Nitro Splicers and Big Daddy weapons are too cumbersome for Jack to carrynote , while Subjects Delta and Sigma have their own heavy weapons so there's no need to pick them up. Nitro Splicer bombs can be used, however; Telekinesis can grab any active explosive / slow moving projectile in the air and throw it back at the enemies.
    • ADAM (and Plasmids) cannot be scavenged from Splicer blood, since only Sisters are capable of extracting and processing ADAM. However, you can learn how to harvest the organs of Splicers for use as medical supplies, and Big Sisters always carry some of their processed ADAM with them.
    • You can't get weapons from robots, turrets, and cameras, but you can get bullets, rockets, and Film.
    • Most melee weapons are too heavy to handle for Jack or less powerful than Jack's wrench, while Delta and Sigma start with a giant combat-customized drill, which makes every other melee weapon obsolete in comparison.
    • Finally, near the end of the first game, you are required to find a Big Daddy's suit: an audio log you find in the facility explains that the suits of the Big Daddies you find around are molded to them and thus cannot be reused, forcing you to look for a fresh set of armor.
    • BioShock Infinite lets you pick up the weapons dropped by Columbia's police and military along with the weapons of the Vox Populi but not their Tonics; most enemies down their combat Vigors and Tonics in advance, rendering them undrinkable to Booker.note 
  • In several WWII games set in the Pacific theatre (like Call of Duty: World at War or Medal of Honor games like Rising Sun and Pacific Assault), the player can and will see many Japanese officers with a katana, sometimes even using them, but they cannot be picked up or used by the player after killing the officer. Otherwise averted throughout both series: if someone can be killed, their weapons can usually be looted.
  • Played bizarrely straight in Star Wars: Republic Commando with three weapons. The first of these is the E-5 blaster rifle used by the battle droids, which cannot be picked up by Boss despite him being able to use any other ranged weapon he finds, including the Bowcaster (which is so hard for a non-Wookiee to cock that it's said they're used by circuses to show off abnormal strength, and that is before taking recoil into account) and the Geonosian Elite Beam Weapon (an Arm Cannon that is powered by the user's body fluids). More sensible examples exist with the huge Bowie Knives used by the Trandosan Slavers and the Magnaguard's Electrostaff - namely, there is no point using a melee weapon when you already have a more practical Blade Below the Shoulder to work with.
    • Played completely straight in Star Wars: Battlefront, where you are unable to use any enemies' weapon. Somewhat justified in that Universal Ammunition is in full force, and picking up certain weapons would be counterproductive (like a droid picking an EMP Launcher from a dead clone, someone who is not another Wookiee picking up a bowcaster for the reasons above) or simply impossible (Super Battle Droids and Droidekas both have arm cannons so don't have much use in using handheld ones, and Droidekas themselves are flat-out incapable of using anything else).
  • Pathways into Darkness is unusual in that YOUR equipment is the unusable stuff at the start of the game: due to making a hard landing thanks to a defective parachute, your M16 gets a bent barrel, the bag with all the spare ammunition is lost in the jungle somewhere, and your Colt .45 sidearm is empty for some reason. Oddly enough, when you reunite with your squad or rather their remains all of their M16s have bent barrels, too!
  • Marathon had all but one type of enemy weapon happen to break during its wielder's death animation.
  • Halo mostly averts this, but there are a few exceptions:
    • While the original Halo: Combat Evolved ignored this trope for the most part, some items and vehicles (fuel rod gun, energy sword, Jackal shield, Wraith) still cannot be used. Most of these became usable in later games.
      • The game actually justified why you can't use those weapons. The fuel rod gun and sword have self-destruct devices, blowing to pieces as soon as they're dropped. There is no way to snipe the Elites out of the sealed-shut Wraiths, and hijacking hadn't been programmed yet. The guns the Hunters use are grafted into their armor and therefore impossible to take. The Jackals' shields however are never given any justification, and none of the subsequent games have allowed the player to use them either.
      • It is possible at one point to snipe an Elite before he gets into his Wraith. You still can't drive it though. Unless you hack, which also reveals it to have the same crosshair as the rocket launcher.
    • In-story, the Elites will rather fight barehanded rather than used a loaded human weapon right next to them. This doesn't stop you from picking up human weapons when you play as the Arbiter in Halo 2, or giving them to your Elite allies.
    • The Shadows in Halo 2 and the AA Wraiths in Halo 3 are also undrivable by the player (unless you take advantage of a glitch).
    • Combat Evolved Anniversary has the Foreign Skull, which prevents you from using any enemy weapons. Good luck on Legendary.
  • Half-Life:
    • In Half-Life 2, after you're weapon-stripped, your only remaining weapon gains a weapon-destroying effect itself... which means every weapon dropped by dying enemies is disintegrated before you can grab it to rebuild your arsenal. Not that you really need to.
      • The same thing happens at the beginning of Episode One when your gravity gun is supercharged again. Bizarrely, though, enemies killed by Alyx during that portion of the game also have their weapons disintegrate, even though she wields an ordinary pistol.
    • Curiously, while most every other weapon in Half-Life 2 can be used in singleplayer, the stun baton favored by Overwatch cops cannot be - it only functions as a minor energy recharge the few times you can kill someone who drops it. But considering Gordon has a perfectly fine melee weapon already, it's understandable that they wouldn't bother adding it. It later became usable in Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, where it swings more slowly but deals more damage.
    • The original Half-Life has an interesting example with the Hivehand weapon. Unlike every other weapon, the player can't retrieve it from the corpse of an enemy that wields it, because it's literally attached to them. There are two Hivehands that have been previously removed and the player can acquire, but other than that they can't be used.
    • The Opposing Force Expansion Pack takes this a step further, as you eventually get to use multiple live aliens as weapons.
    • Gordon has yet to have been able to use a Combine sniper rifle and must make do with the Resistance's equivalent rebar-launching crossbow or letting Alyx cover him with a commandeered sniper rifle up in an area only she can access.
    • Half-Life: Alyx explains this as Combine weapons having genetic locks on them, meaning only people who've been subjected to Combine modifications can use them. When Alyx gets her own Combine SMG, it's one that's implied to be a prototype that doesn't have the gene-encoding feature. Scavenging ammo from enemy corpses is fair game, however.
  • Particularly noticeable in the Jedi Knight games, especially Jedi Academy, in which the ability to Dual Wield sabers was added. Despite the fact that the player is allowed to pick up any gun dropped by dead enemies, they are for some reason unable to pick up dropped lightsabers. Much like the sissy defaults for dismemberment, this can be overcome by the flipping of a few flags in one's INI file or entering a code in the console before loading a game. For anything aside from lightsabers, your primary method of acquiring weapons is to kill an enemy wielding them. If it's a weapon you already have, you get their ammunition.
  • While the rest of the Killzone series averts this trope, Mercenary plays it straight. You can't pick up weapons dropped by fallen enemies, though they'll still drop ammo which will increase your ammo pool even if the weapon they were using isn't the one you're using. Instead, you must use Blackjack's weapon chests to swap weapon loadouts, which costs you in-game money (fortunately, the cost for equipping a weapon decreases after the first time you buy it).
  • In Resistance: Fall of Man you can't get the fireball shooters used by Chimeran Titans when they die. Justified twice over, as said guns are as big as you are... and Titans die when their cooling units overload and explode, blowing them apart. It similarly justifies not being able to get the weapon Slipskulls use from their corpses by having it mounted onto their arm with metal bands. There's no obvious reason the Arc Cannon can't be recovered from Hardfang corpses, though — it's just not there when you try. If you look closely, they literally vanish in a puff of smoke; no, there's no apparent reason why. In the game's New Game Plus mode, both the Slipskull weapons and the Arc Cannon are available to the player, alongside a couple of other fancy new pieces of kit that you had no way of knowing existed.
  • Despite the cops using the same weapons as you in both PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2, you can't grab any of the many, many firearms they drop when they die. Justified because your guns are modded with valuable weapon attachments that the cops don't get and which you would not want to just drop, and at the very least you can take ammo from their guns.
  • Ghost Recon lets you choose a set of weapons at mission start, but you can't use the weapons your enemies drop after you kill them. In Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, you can at least scavenge the ammo out of them if they're the same caliber as one of your weapons, while Ghost Recon: Future Soldier lets you grab dropped enemy weapons as much as you want.
  • In Team Fortress 2 before the Gun Mettle update, weapons dropped by enemies acted like medium-size ammo boxes, giving you 50% ammo, 100 metal (Engineers), and 50% cloak (Spies). You cannot actually obtain the items collected this way, as in have them in your inventory. While the weapon drop system renders this a non-issue, it would break the fandom apart if you could get a hat by simply collecting it off of a corpse. The game does make one exception though: dominating someone currently wearing a Ghastly Gibus or any of its variants would grant you a Gibus of your own through the "Ghastly Gibus Grab" achievement. After the Gun Mettle update, weapons lying around actually can be equipped (by someone of the right class, even if they don't have that weapon, until they die), and the ammo is instead provided by players spawning a medium ammo box upon death. The most significant difference this has on balance is that dropped Mediguns maintained UberCharge, although a patch made it fade so fast (10% per second) that it would rarely matter.
  • The Borderlands series:
    • Generally averted in Borderlands. Not every enemy drops their gun, but it IS a common occurrence. As each gun has many randomly generated elements, and some rare guns have distinct effects, you can get a hint or even know outright what weapon the enemy will drop when you kill them. Characters cannot equip armor (besides a personal energy shield, which does drop from shielded human enemies), and therefore you can never take the armor worn by enemies such as the Crimson Lance.
    • In Borderlands 2, this is generally played straight. You're not bound to get precisely the weapon, grenade mod, or shield that your enemy is using (loot is entirely randomized), unless we're talking about a boss. Not that it's exactly a problem, as guns used by enemies behave all the same no matter the brand's gimmick when you're the one toting them; they're all one "nondescript" kind that doesn't have so much as elemental effect. Same goes for grenades.
  • Averted to a degree in Deus Ex. The game seems to be inconsistent at times about whether the guy you just stunned/kill will drop ammunition or grenades, for example, but almost everyone and their dog seems to have spare combat knives on hand, whether or not they pulled one on you. Very rarely do you get to actually scavenge a proper firearm, at least early on.
    • This is also played completely straight with the weapons carried by the MJ12 Elite Mooks — the weapons they carry (essentially portable rocket launchers on steroids) do exist as an item in the gamecode that can be acquired, but the player will never gain access to them in normal gameplay.
    • Treated rather strangely, actually — the game simply will not allow you to have duplicates of non-stacking weapons. If an enemy carrying a pistol doesn't have it when you search the body, drop your pistol and search him again — he will often suddenly have a pistol. If you pick yours up again, you will still have only the one you took from the enemy (yours will vanish, which could suck if you've been upgrading it).
    • Averted in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. All enemies drop their firearms when killed or incapacitated.
  • Played straight in Rainbow Six (or at least the earlier games), although justified. In addition to practical reasons listed above, most missions require suppressed weapons, which the bad guys rarely have. No ammo drops either, as enemies rarely use the same ammo, and when they do, it's generally a non-compatible magazine style. Annoyingly, you can't get ammo off from your fallen comrades either, even if they are using the same weapons. Made slightly more annoying since there are no One Bullet Clips. As with Ghost Recon above, this went away with the Vegas spinoffs, where nearly anything can have a suppressor removed and reattached as it's necessary and you can freely take weapons and scavenge ammo from bad guys (and the issue of taking guns or ammo off your downed teammates is avoided by making a dead teammate lead to a Game Over).
    • Rainbow Six 3 has the RPG-7, which is only used by certain enemies and isn't a selectable weapon for you. A strange case, too, since every other weapon the enemies have is available to you.
    • Siege doesn't let you take weapons off of other people as part of its shift towards a Hero Shooter, since the various CTUs, if not specific characters, are associated with their weapons, and in some cases, a character's unique gadgets require their specific weapons anyway since they're directly attached to them (e.g. Glaz's Flip Sight, Buck's Skeleton Key, or Blackbeard's Rifle Shields). The closest you can get is taking over Tachanka's Mounted LMG once it's been placed.
  • This is generally zig-zagged in the World War II Medal of Honor games, such as Frontline or Allied Assault, where what weapon goes in what slot is dependent on the mission. One mission involving a stealthy infiltration of a mansion or a u-boat hangar will start you with as few weapons as possible, letting you pick up MP 40s and Kar98ks from enemies and use them when the need arises, then the next will drop you into open combat on D-day, starting you with a Thompson and a Garand and preventing you from trading them out for an MP 40 or Kar98k (which instead will thoughtfully change the ammo they come loaded with so you can replenish your weapons).
  • In Syndicate (2012), you can't pick up shields dropped by enemies or the Subverters' Molotov Cocktails. Other weapons are fair game though.
  • Played painfully straight in most Delta Force games. Your choice of weaponry throughout a mission is the guns you picked or the guns you picked. Friendlies' guns or even their ammo can't be collected either. Some, like Land Warrior, do allow you to drop a weapon and pick up an enemy's, though there's rarely any need for it since there's a much wider selection of weapons you can start with or grab out of a weapons locker mid-mission than there is that you can pick up from an enemy.
  • Averted in the first PlanetSide, which let players loot other player's corpses to steal their weapons (which could then be stored in personal storage lockers accessible from any base) regardless of empire, allowing a Terran Republic player to pick up a New Conglomerate Jackhammer and start blasting, for example. Players could also hack and steal enemy vehicles if they had the certification for it. Played straight in the sequel, where players cannot loot enemy (or ally) loadouts for their weapons or even ammo.
  • Both Escape from Butcher Bay and Assault on Dark Athena feature variants on this. In Escape From Butcher Bay the guards' assault rifles are DNA-encoded, so trying to pick them up will only send a jolt of electricity through Riddick's body. At one point Riddick is able to get his DNA into the archive, allowing him to use the rifles, but this right is eventually revoked when he's sent to Double Max, and Riddick has to get his hands on a prototype rifle to use that weapon type again. In Assault On Dark Athena, there are drone enemies with guns attached to their arms, and while Riddick can grab the arm of a slain drone and use their gun that way (albeit with limited mobility since you're dragging a dead body around), you can't detach the gun and take it with you.
  • Played with in Far Cry 2. There is nothing stopping you picking up the weapons dropped from dead mercs, but their weapons are so beaten up that they are liable to blow up in your face within an hour and leave you defenseless. The weapons you buy from the gun shop are much more durable just because they are new, so there is very little reason to use enemy equipment outside of the start of the game or the first few minutes of getting to the second half, where you simply haven't had the chance to buy anything from that area.
  • The sequels, Far Cry 3 and 4, also zig-zag this in a different way. 3 still has a pretty solid distinction between guns that are available in the first half of the game and those that show up in the second half, but otherwise allows guns to be acquired just from picking them up in any form. This means that near the end of the first half of the game, where you get a sneak-peek of the privateers with their better weapons, you can pick up their new guns and use them, but won't actually be able to buy attachments for them or switch them out for another gun and then grab them back later until you actually get to the second island. 4 is a bit more lenient, where the same deal of stronger enemies previewing the second half's weapons show up slightly earlier than the second half of the game, especially Longinus' or DLC missions... but if you pick up their guns there, they actually do get added to your inventory, complete with the ability to modify them, store them and get them back, and the like. There's even one particular case for a mission set at a brick factory that's been repurposed as a drug lab, where if you do Amita's version of the mission you go inside, promptly going on a drug trip where your character hallucinates himself fighting off enemies with a randomly-rotated selection of weapons - all of which, if you didn't have them already, are added to your real inventory after the mission, even ones that are supposed to be held over until the second half of the game.
  • Black Mesa introduces soldiers who wield rocket launchers fairly early on, but the weapon disappears altogether after they fire a single shot or get killed, preventing you from picking it up. The rocket launcher remains off-limits until you come across one during the chapter "Surface Tension".

    Light Gun Game 
  • In the first Time Crisis (and its spinoff, Project Titan), the dinky little pistol your character start off with is the only weapon available, despite spending levels killing entire armies of enemies, many whom are armed with grenades, machine guns, and bazookas. It's especially frustrating in the boss battle against Sherudo Garo, a Psycho Knife Nut who flings daggers at you with lightning speed, where a well-tossed grenade should get rid of him in no time, and later on when you do battle against a helicopter with your pistol that eats up almost a minute of your precious time — which could've been avoided if the game allows you to collect some of those rockets and machine guns from the mooks you killed a couple areas ago.
    • Downplayed in the sequel — there are two areas in which you can collect Uzis, to be used against armored vehicles, but you'll still be spending 90% of the game with pistols.
    • Averted from the third game onwards, thankfully.

  • RuneScape has Goblin Armor, which is one of the first items a player will find, but to low-level new players it seems like a decent drop, leading to many scams from the less-scrupulous higher-level players.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has enemies that can use classes similar to the player and use weapons with unique models that weren't available to obtain. A patch averted this by making the weapons available to buy at the Gold Saucer with MGP, though the weapons are at level 1 and are only useful as glamours.

    Platform Game 
  • Mega Man Zero 4 averted this. Zero's new weapon, the Z-Knuckle, is some kind of energized hand attachment that enables him to literally tear weapons off of enemies and use them himself. There's a huge variety of weapons and gadgets he can steal this way, but he can only use one at a time, and most of the projectile weapons have limited ammo (which a certain upgrade part can regenerate).
  • In Pitfall: The Lost Expedition, Harry passes by crates full of TNT throughout the game and is assaulted by enemies that throw it. You cannot use it yourself until a friendly character hands you some during a cutscene late in the game.
  • Justified in Iji, where part of the reason many later enemies explode is to stop enemies taking their weapons. You can also partially avoid this by hacking them so they still leave some/more ammo though.
  • Averted in Low G Man, where many of the Mecha-Mooks drop their weapons when destroyed.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Battle Zone 1998s normally allows players to hop out of their Hover Tank to use a sniper rifle to kill enemy pilots and steal their vehicles, which is particularly useful if the player's tank is destroyed behind enemy lines. Part of the Difficulty Spike when the Furies show up comes from their ships having no pilot, making them immune to the sniper rifle, and they make a beeline for foot soldiers, turning what was once a minor inconvenience into a death sentence.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon:
    • John Silver's flagship, 'Argentum' is only available to the AI in the campaign and is unusable to the player, even in the skirmish mode, although there are modifications that enable its use.
    • Depending on what side you are playing on certain weapons will be unavailable. The Royal Navy does not have access to Medium and Heavy Lancers, the Pirates do not have access to Mines, Torpedos, Nova Mortars, and Plasma Cannons, and the Procyons cannot equip their ships with Carronades.
  • Stellaris averts this, at least as far as ships are concerned. If you destroy a spaceship that was equipped with technologies you don't have, you can dispatch a science ship to scan the debris, gaining a small jump start to the appropriate research, and pinning the tech in your research queue for later development. If you scan enough additional debris fields with the same tech, you can even unlock the stuff completely without having to allocate your own research time to it. Some late-game technologies like Neutronium Armor, Dark Matter Thrusters, or the Psi Jump Drive can only be acquired this way.

  • Avoided entirely in NetHack: if an enemy is using an item, you can loot it off their corpse when they die. But they don't all leave corpses behind—which is far worse, since you'll need food a lot more than you'll need (say) even more rusty pig-iron broadswords.
  • Ancient Domains of Mystery has moloch armor, occasionally dropped by one of the nastier enemies in the game. Technically wearable, but heavy enough to crush many characters to death, and it slows you to a crawl. Though the PV bonus it gives is admittedly nice.

    Role Playing Game 
  • In Gothic players can always take and use the weapons of defeated enemies (even huge orc-axes), but never their armor. This leads to the best armor from the Old Camp being inaccessible. There are plot reasons why you'd never normally get it, but still...
    • It is interesting to note that you can't get the armor, but you could definitely wear it if you got it through other means (by using cheats, for example). Every armor on every human enemy is an actual, wearable item with its own stats — you just can't take it from them. This applies even to things that look like they should be part of the NPC model instead, like Xardas' black robe.
      • This was changed in the sequel, where this and some other kinds of "armor" don't actually exist as separate objects anymore.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Played straight in Arena and Daggerfall, where many enemies show equipment on their models that is not actually in-game equipment and therefore cannot be looted.
    • Largely averted in the series starting with Morrowind. For almost all enemies, you can access their inventory and take all of their equipment, including their weapons, armor, and ammunition. You can even loot some of the arrows you shot at them.
    • However, it is still played straight with Dremora, an intelligent race of lesser Daedra who are most commonly found in the service of Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. It's practically a series tradition that only the high-level Dremora drop the Daedric armor they wear (if even then), probably to avoid a Disk One Nuke situation, as Daedric armor is almost always the best regular set of heavy armor in the game. Also possibly because the armor is part of their bodies, as Daedric armor can be summoned by the player, literally summoning a Daedric spirit in the form of a piece of armor.
  • This is also present in so many video game RPGs that making a list of them would be useless. You can have a random encounter with an enemy who is a knight with sword and shield, wearing armor, but you're never going to get the sword, shield, or armor unless it comes as a random drop. Exceptions include:
    • Every single piece of enemy equipment in Titan Quest is a usable item. If they have a shiny weapon, you will get it. The quality of their drops ranges from junk to unique but middling to legendary.
    • Vagrant Story shoves this in your face, painfully. You can actually see each individual piece of equipment that each enemy has equipped, but you have only a tiny chance of any piece of that equipment being a Random Drop and hence obtainable. The game doesn't attempt to explain this.
    • Betrayal at Krondor allowed you to loot everything off of your fallen enemies, from weapons and armor to their rations.
    • An earlier counterexample is the Ultima series, in particular Ultima VI and 7 and their related sub-games, in which every single lowly guard drops his sword, armor, et cetera when killed. The effect is that you quickly stop looting the junk because you simply can't carry two dozen sets of armor around.
    • The Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games are examples since there are many enemies whose graphics show them wielding specific weapons and wearing armors, yet when they die they don't leave anything unlike more common mooks and critters. However, the games are also counterexamples since humanoid enemies will drop their equipment on death (except things for which it would not make sense, like ghosts. The final bosses are also exempt). The games even keep track of the number of arrows in opponents' quivers and the like: The faster you kill an archer the more arrows you can get to use yourself, and enemies can run out of ammunition and be forced to engage you in melee. However, it's also hardly worth the effort to pick every sword and armor up since they weigh a lot and don't sell for much. Normal ammunition can't even be sold at all.
    • In Fallout. all armor save for the Powered Armor worn by the Brotherhood of Steel could be looted. In Fallout 2, armor wasn't lootable; apart from the game-balance issues, presumably the idea of shooting the enemies through their armor and then using it yourself feels a tad unrealistic. The Powered Armor exception was pointed out in-game too: One of the paladins of the Brotherhood of Steel mentions that you'll never encounter a non-brotherhood soldier in their trademark power armor since with it fully encasing the wearer, the latter dying means the armor has been shot to unwearable bits.
      • Frank Horrigan in particular has a special unique gatling laser and knife that are the most powerful of their weapon types, but can't be pilfered off his corpse. Justified in that he is the Final Boss, but then again the player can continue with the game in the Playable Epilogue anyway. Presumably, it might also have something to do with the weapons being designed for a twelve-foot-tall mutant.
      • Certain robots also have built-in weapons, like Sentry Bots and their rocket launchers, and turrets and their dual miniguns. Not being able to take the weapons off of them is understandable, but not being able to pry them open after they're destroyed and take their remaining ammo is less so.
    • In Fallout 3, anything that the enemy carries, wears, or uses, can be stolen. Early in the game, it's a good idea to leave your dead enemies rotting in their underpants. This extends all the way up to the Enclave and Brotherhood armors, which you can easily pilfer off the dead. However, no armor you find this way will ever be in 100% top condition. You can even loot the power armor, but you can't use it until 2/3 of the way through the main story quest. Unless you have the Operation Anchorage DLC, which will not only give you Power Armor training much earlier but also a nigh-indestructible T-51b. Although played straight during the VR simulation, where enemy weapons disappear along with their corpses.
      • Which is justified, as it's an old military simulation, and for the reasons listed in the intro their soldiers would have been trained not to pick up and use enemy weapons anyway, so why should the simulation let them do so?
    • Continuing the tradition is Fallout: New Vegas, where the Scavenger World motif remains in full swing. Notable for actually applying faction reputation onto any armor you might pick up off enemies, so early on, where the main human enemies are two-bit thugs with dynamite who also happen to be universally detested by all other major factions in the game, it now becomes a consideration as to whether one should go about using what you loot or pickpocket off most humanoid enemies in the game. The Old World Blues DLC takes this to a rather weird inversion where NPCs will carry weapons the player can use, but that they can't. For instance, a robot without the hands or arms to use a melee weapon will somehow have axes in its inventory, and a robot dog can be found with a powerful electrolaser rifle, again, without the necessary appendages to use it.
      • Both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas play this straight with certain unique clothing and weapons used by NPCs, which cannot be looted or stolen and can only be acquired using console commands in the PC version. Also subverted in that some unique NPC armor and weapons can be looted but the version that the player character picks up is slightly weaker. In other cases, only the standard version of a weapon is available in an NPC's inventory when being pickpocketed or after they are killed, as opposed to the unique variant that they normally use.
    • In Fallout 4, you can loot power armour components from fallen opponents, but you'll generally have to spend steel to fix them before you can bolt them onto one of your few suits, since the process of getting the former user out of it isn't good for the pieces.
  • This is present to some extent in Knights of the Old Republic, where most weapons and armor (especially blasters) cannot be collected, but ancillary items (medpacks, stims, grenades, etc.) are commonplace drops. Since loot is randomized, this makes sense, but it also leads to the odd situation of an enemy dropping an item he isn't even carrying and wouldn't have any reason to use, such as Dark Jedi dropping a blaster rifle. Boss battles are a major exception to this trend, but this is the case sometimes even then (e.g. the Sith governor of Taris wields a double-vibroblade that can't be scrounged).
  • World of Warcraft has a notable quest where you need to collect weapons from specific monsters (which you could actually use, if you so wish), but as with all quest drops, the chance to get one is far lower than you'd expect. In fact, the chance of another weapon is higher.
    • Related are the boars that don't have livers.
    • And humans that don't have skulls. You'd think you could recognize which do by them not having floppy organ-sacs on the top end of their necks...
      • The standard Hand Wave is that you, in the process of killing the mob, destroyed the body part in question. In classic Blizzard style, this response fits all scenarios, ranging from the plausible to the... not.
      • Hard to imagine destroying a troll's ears or tusks in the course of killing it.
  • Flash RPG MARDEK is released intermittently in chapter format, with items and stats impressively being carried over from chapter to chapter. Unfortunately, chapter 2 stacks you with staffs - Unusable Friendly Equipment because no one in the act can actually use staffs, no matter how good they are.
    • In Chapter 3, however, Gloria can wield them, making it more of a Chekhov's Gun
      • However, the actual trope is played straight, as a number of enemy characters wield weapons none of your characters can, including knives, walking sticks, and guns.
  • Wizardry games show names of opponents' weapons, but those are just strings, not really equipped items and as such may or may not be reflected in loot. In Wizardry 7, T'Rangs poke Shock Rod, Stun Rod, and Psi Rod into PC. Shock Rod has Drain (stamina) 20% in their hands and Drain 50% in PC's. Cool, but as a weapon it's mediocre. Stun Rod is Paralyze 65% Drain 35% for them, but only Paralyze 20% Drain 75% for PC (same damage as for weakest foe armed). Attacks with "Psi Rod" are even more dangerous, but... oops, no such equippable item in-game. The same in Wizardry 8, with some numbers changed.
  • EVE Online:
    • This is for the most part averted. In the case of player ships, a subset of the gear that the killed player was using will drop and can be used by anybody with sufficient skills and a capable ship. However, NPC drops are only loosely related to the equipment they may have been observed to use during the fight.
    • Played completely straight by Rogue Drones, which only ever drop crafting materials, and The Sleepers who never drop their overpowered armor plating, missiles, or beam cannons.
  • Averted very, very well in Siege of Avalon. You can strip dead enemies down to their underwear (and sometimes take that too, though this doesn't change the dead enemy model having underwear) if you feel like it, though actually carrying that equipment in your bag can be problematic due to a bag of limited size and only being able to wear so much stuff at once. The same items can be thrown on the ground (and stay there until you come back for them!) if you decide you don't actually want them, but they can't be put back on the corpses. Unfortunately. That could have been funny, dressing up a dead enemy whose people are on a religious rampage against everything your people have touched in your old clothes and a silly hat...
    • The engine of Neverwinter Nights allows for this as well; any equipment a humanoid enemy possessed can be flagged as droppable, and looting the armor or weapons of a dead enemy will actually remove it from the corpse's model. The official campaigns go back and forth on this; generally, the expansions are more likely to let you loot enemy equipment, but it varies from encounter to encounter. Unofficial modules, of course, can run with it any way the creator likes.
  • In City of Heroes, you can't pick up any enemy weapons, even when your character is using guns rather than shooting lightning out of their eyeballs. Which is a shame, since a lot of those guns look extremely cool. Fortunately, there are various unlockable skins avaliable for those with the Assault Rifle powerset, and for the rest of us one can sometimes get a chance to wield a gun through temporary powers with limited ammo.
    • This trope is especially noticeable when you consider how lacking in offense some Archetypes are, particularly in the early game. A low-damage type like an Earth/Empathy Controller, for instance, could certainly find use for that fire axe or sword no matter where they are in the game.
  • In designs made with Unlimited Adventures, by default, goblins and brigands and other humanoid enemies have a lot of items that they drop after death and that can be collected. However, this just means that after making short work of a gang of orcs, you are faced with a giant pile of useless items (some literally useless, like the basic helmet, which does not do anything at all) which, if picked up, will just encumber your PCs until you find a shop and sell them for tiny amounts of money (unless the design author turned up the prices to Game-Breaker levels.)
  • Mass Effect
    • Mass Effect 2: You can't pick up the guns from enemies, you must wait for the weapons to show up lying around on their own somewhere. Once you do find one, however, every character capable of using it gets their own copy.
      • In the PC version, you can mod the ini file to make enemy drop their weapon (noticeably the Heavy Machinegun from enemy Guard Mech), but the weapon will disappear after a while, in your hands, even if you are in the middle of using it to blast at enemies. It's also an incomplete and incredibly buggy feature, so enable it at your own peril. The YMIR gun is Awesome, but Impractical, and most of the other guns aren't worth picking up.
    • Mass Effect 3 follows the same format as 2, with a few additions. The cannibal's Arm Cannon is attached to their body and made from a human corpse, so you obviously can't use it. The asari with PTSD at one point says that the gun used by marauders can't be picked up and used either. Tie in material lists that gun as the Phaeston, which you can use; so either they modified the guns so that only they can use them, or its a mistake. In a straight example, the shields used by Cerberus Guardians cannot be used.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, many magic items are usable only by characters of a particular alignment (Good, Evil etc.), and generally players are opposed in alignment with their enemies. This prevents the use of some Non-Player Character items by player characters.
    • In 2nd Edition D&D the magic weapons of the Drow (underground evil elves) turn to dust after being exposed to sunlight. Drow equipment based on radiation magic works just like magically enhanced items, but neither needs to be actually enspelled nor can be disenchanted as common variety. This disintegration doesn't bother Drow themselves, as they raid surface rarely and only at night anyway.
    • In 3.5ed, PCs, especially Rogues and Bards can train the "Use Magic Device" skill and somehow use it to fake an alignment... or race... or class. Making such gear merely difficult to use.
    • On the other hand magical equipment in D&D generally tends to grow or shrink to fit the wearer "from halfling to ogre size", effectively eliminating the most realistic reason for a player being unable to use enemy equipment.
    • And now, in 4th Edition, holy symbols — which used to be trinkets that did nothing but allow you to cast many of your divine spells — are now as scalably powerful as any magic sword, suit of armor, etc. However, this mechanic highlights the edition's Gameplay and Story Segregation: it's not really a moral qualm for any good fighter or even paladin to wield a sword or wear armor with Spikes of Villainy, but now clerics are left the option of either upgrading to a defeated enemy's evil-deity-specific symbol to get a power boost (even though it wouldn't actually change their religion), keeping their old junk, or going through an hour-long ritual to convert the evil symbol into a sort of "raw magic" that will only go 1/5 of the way towards creating the good version of the same item.
      • Although this seems to be at best a matter of personal taste more than an actual instance of this trope — 4E holy symbols are by all appearances functionally generic divine-caster implements in terms of game mechanics, and if you can use one by virtue of being the right class, you can use them all (though only one at a time, of course). Or the party can just happen to know about a simple ritual that swaps holy symbol properties.
  • In the Tabletop RPG Deadlands: Hell On Earth, the Black Hats use vehicles and weaponry equipped with self-destruct devices that trigger if anyone without an identity chip tries to use them. Said chips are surgically implanted in the Black Hats, and naturally self-destruct if anyone tries to remove them.
  • In Resonance of Fate, you can't pick up any of the guns from dead human enemies. You'd probably want to — their handguns do about 100 times more damage than yours and they have shotguns and assault rifles which you can't get at all — but they all vanish with the enemies when they die. Some large enemies will drop weapons, but they're broken and not human-usable anyway so they can only be used for Item Crafting (how the Tinkerer manages to make tank-sized weapons into normal gun parts, in such a way that you can disassemble the gun parts and get the tank weapons back is left unexplained).
  • Mostly averted in Final Fantasy XI, as many beastmen that you fight use weapons and shields that actually have the same texture models as player-usable equipment. On the other hand, some beastmen dropped items, such as the Quadav Helm, explicitly say that playable characters cannot wear them, and are generally either used for 20 Bear Asses quests or for synthesis materials.
  • Some Monster Rancher games have unusuable enemy monsters. In 2, there was a series of wild monsters whom you could fight and obtain cards for, but never own. In 4, in addition to your rivals having monsters you can't, several of the game's bosses are actually old monster species from past games—with proper movesets, even, although you're still not allowed to use them. In Monster Rancher EVO, this gets downright silly, as some of the enemy monsters are perfectly normal things you could theoretically get, but aren't allowed to. For example, a Piroro/Gitan crossbreed—it's an opposing monster, and Piroro and Gitan are in the game, but you're not allowed to fuse them.
  • Jade Cocoon, similar to Monster Rancher above, had some Mons that could not be captured under any circumstance, such as the bosses and the Poacher's minion.
  • White Knight Chronicles and its sequel revolve around a quintet of five 20 foot-tall suits of living armor known as Incorrupti. Each Incorruptus has its own human pactmaker—four of them are full-time members of the player's party, and the fifth is the Big Bad (Wannabe). But one of those four is a Sixth Ranger Traitor, who's hiding the fact that their Inccoruptus is the evil Black Knight. Its a poorly kept secret, even in-game, yet gameplay-wise the game treats it like the character in question just doesn't have an Incorruptus at all.
  • For the most part, the Dark Souls games avert this but in standard RPG drop-chance fashion. Almost everything you see an enemy use, you can use, but only if you're lucky enough for it to drop on enemy kill. Some pieces of enemy equipment is so rare that the chance for it to drop is in the single digit percentages, and even worse, some of these extremely rare drops come from enemies that do not respawn. However, should they drop, even the impossibly huge weapons and armour carried/worn by impossibly huge enemies may be used by players though they will be scaled down to player size when you use it.
    • However, one example in which the trope is played straight is in Dark Souls II, with the Falconer enemies. They are the same size as you and are dressed in an armour set that you can either buy from the first shop or start with, and use a shield that can be found as a treasure on a corpse. They can also drop all of that. Their swords, however, are completely unusable by the player.
    • Hollow Manservants in Dark Souls III use either giant bowls filled with gore or two-man saws, neither of which the player can obtain. Although, they do drop Great Machetes, which look similar enough to the saws that they're probably supposed to represent them, but unlike the saws, they do not have a serrated edge or cause Bleed, and are wielded in a completely different way. To make things even more confusing, Demon Clerics, an enemy type found much later in the game in a completely different area, actually use Great Machetes but don't drop them. It's possible that a developer simply goofed and accidentally put the Great Machete in the wrong enemy's drop table.

    Simulation Game 
  • Browser-based nation simulation game Cybernations has a variant: when troops engage in ground battles, the winner loots the loser's equipment, which is instantly converted into money.
  • Averted with nearly all weapons in Dwarf Fortress, and the ones your dwarves can't use themselves can be used up to ten at a time in traps. Armour used to play it straighter, as dwarves couldn't wear any other race's armor, but now they can use goblin or elf armor (because all three are the same average size). Kobold and human armor is still unusable. There are ways to get non-dwarven members of your fortress, however, so under given niche circumstances these armors aren't completely useless.
    • One curious example is in the weapons that are too big for dwarves to use. With the update that enabled individuals to vary in physical characteristics, some dwarves can get big enough that they SHOULD be able to use those weapons. But they can't, because the weapon only considers the average size of the creature's species. This is a bug, as individual sizes DO factor into the check for whether a creature is big enough to wield a weapon one-handed.
    • While there aren't "unusable" weapons there are weapons your Dorfs can't make. For example, take the whip: a simple chain or piece of leather attached to a handle with a spike at the end. Due to how weapons work the whip is able to punch through armor with its tiny point with its massive velocity but for some reason, your Fortress can't produce them (they are marked as "foreign") and therefore depends on goblin invasion to "deliver" them or buy them from human traders.
  • In the X-Universe games, Orbital Weapon Platforms, AGI Task Force fighter craft (Until X3: Albion Prelude), and Kha'ak capital ships cannot be acquired normally by the player; ATF ships never bail, and Kha'ak ships and weapon platforms cannot be taken by a Boarding Party. Xenon and AGI Task Force capital ships in X3: Reunion were impossible to capture normally as boarding did not exist at the time.
  • Fallout Shelter: You cannot scavenge guns off the corpses of the Raiders who raid your vault.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends's "Puretech" mode which limits the Clan team to Clan vehicles and the Inner Sphere team to Inner Sphere vehicles, neither side can make use of enemy tanks, helicopters, or aerospace fighters. While enemy Humongous Mecha can be stolen by Sniping the Cockpit or hopping in after the pilot uses his Ejection Seat, tanks and aircraft have no 'cockpit' hitbox so one cannot destroy the cockpit (by damage or ejection) to unlock it.
    • Averted for the most part with the MechWarrior games in general, and other BattleTech based games. If it's there, you can kill it, and very likely salvage equipment from it, especially once the series ended up primarily centered on Inner Sphere protagonists (from 2: Mercenaries onward, basically) since these were often mercenaries who would particularly value the opportunity to salvage enemy weapons and 'Mechs. The only exception is that none of the games feature salvageable vehicles but since the setting's focus is on the Humongous Mecha, this is understood as a stylistic choice. At least later games tend to let you salvage weapons from fallen vehicular foes.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Gloomwood: The description of the rifles that the Huntsmen carry outright state that they cannot be used by the player or the average human, stating how the rifle was built for the distorted proportions of the Huntsmen. The player can still take out the bullet of the rifle and use it for their revolver. This is averted with the axes they sometimes carry, which can be thrown for minimal damage.
  • In the Metal Gear series, the player is unable to use the weapons of fallen enemies.
    • Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Hand Wave this by explaining that all the guards' weapons use a DNA-based security locking system and therefore won't work for anyone but the original owner. To get the weapons the guards are using, you have to infiltrate their weapons storage areas and grab a fresh weapon that hasn't been registered yet.
    • The explanation given in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which is set in 1964, is that Naked Snake doesn't trust the reliability of weapons that may have been poorly maintained, instead preferring fresh weapons from armories.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, enemy guns are once again ID-locked by a worldwide system that renders it impossible to not only use an enemy's gun but to use any gun if you're not registered with the system and the gun's rightful user. Snake starts the game with an older handgun that lacks the lock-out system, and later fortunately finds a gun launderer who can unlock them, for a price; you also can still pick up their guns anyway, taking the ammo from it and trading the gun in itself to said gun launderer to gain the currency he uses for unlocking guns. Taking over this system and rendering everyone except his own private army able to use guns, effectively rendering all the world's militaries helpless and unable to stop him, is a part of the Big Bads plan.
    • At one point during MGS2, the protagonist must infiltrate the enemy's base by disguising himself as a guard. But he can't just kill one and take his uniform, he must be given one during a plot event - at the very least, this is explained in that the guards in the core area Raiden needs to infiltrate are issued entirely different gear from the guards he's encountered in the surrounding shells.
      • The same thing needs to be done in MGS3, but you must steal the uniform from a specific officer because you need his security clearance and it just so happens that you have a mask that matches his face. If you wear the mask and talk to Sigint at the beginning of the game, it's heavily hinted at that the mask was made to impersonate the exact same officer.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Snake can finally pick up enemy weapons at will since he's willing to do just about anything to get the job done. The only exception is Skull Face's Mare's Leg, which is only for use in a playable cutscene.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay also does the DNA-gun thing. Enemy guards actually do drop their assault rifles when killed, but the rifle electrocutes you if you try to pick it up. Guards with pistols and shotguns can be freely liberated of their arms once downed, though.
    • In Assault on Dark Athena, the rifles are no longer DNA-encoded, which means when you find a merc you can take his weapon no matter what. However, the most commonly encountered enemy, the Ghost Drones, have their rifles surgically attached to their arms. Semi-averted in that you can use their guns while using their body as a meatshield, but this inhibits your ability to move.
  • In the Splinter Cell series, Sam Fisher, for whatever reason, can't use the guns of fallen enemies. For ammo and weapons, he must find them laying around by themselves. This becomes ridiculous in the Xbox version of Double Agent, where at one point a choice made earlier in the game can net Sam a pistol carried by a guard... but it is impossible to take the pistols from any other guards despite them all using the exact same model.
    • This was lampshaded at one point in Chaos Theory, where Sam can find an email in a Korean missile battery yelling at a mook for somehow ordering Western rifle ammunition rather than anything their weapons actually use. By extension somewhat justifying the trope, given that all the weapons shown are modeled on real weapons, and very few of the enemies carry weapons that share ammo with the ones Sam uses. Also, no one in their right mind would trade an FN F2000 with suppressor and grenade launcher (specially designed for firing less-lethal rounds) for a terrorist's AK-47... except for Sam in Conviction, where he can now do just that whenever he wants.
    • It should be noted that Splinter Cell is a stealth game, and most of the guards' guns have no silencer. Using a loud machine gun that would attract every guard in the complex to your position wouldn't be very productive.
  • In a rather useful aversion, Oni not only allows you to strip and disarm enemy weapons, but the lack of One Bullet Clips means that it's advantageous to do so just after an enemy reloads. Likewise, if you see an enemy using a forcefield (the kind that stops bullets, but not punches), you can pick it up after you drop them, with same level of power remaining. Hence, making a punch to the face more effective, as it makes their equipment much more usable.
  • Nicely averted in Syphon Filter. Normally, shooting someone in armour will destroy said armour. However, if you shoot them in the head, the armour is intact and can be looted.

    Strategy Game 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate does not let you pick up Chaos Weapons on the grounds that (to quote the manual) "No self-respecting Space Marine would deign to touch a weapon used by a minion of Chaos". In fairness, canon would insist that the weapon would turn against the righteous bearer or cause him to sprout tentacles or something anyway. Chaos-tainted artifacts are the ultimate in non-user-safe.
    • Which is odd, because Logan Grimnar, head of the Space Wolves is explicitly stated to use a Daemonic axe he looted from the corpse of a chaos champion, and mastered using only his willpower (although it was also melted down, reforged and reconsecrated). Guess the rules don't apply to Chapter Masters. Then again, the Space Wolves may as well have their motto be "Screw The Rules." Logan was looked upon as out of his damn mind even by his fellow Space Wolves when he decided to do it before they realized "holy shit it WORKED."
    • Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior averts it as all weapons can be used indiscriminately. La'Kais doesn't suffer any of the consequences for using Chaos Weapons since the Tau are almost completely unaffected by the Warp.
    • And then there's the Ork weapons, which only work for them because they actually shouldn't work for anyone at all, like "guns" that are simply a jumble of barrels, without a single receiver or even a hammer to ignite the bullets! That's the joke at least. The literature's consensus is that, while crude, ork equipment is usable by non-orks, but the orks' psychic field makes it work better.
    • The Tau also got something for their Battlesuits and Stealthsuits as they have a fail-safe system that will fry any human/ork who tries to steal the armor. One guardsman learned it the hard way.
      • And, at least in human case, it would be pointless anyway, as somebody openly using reverse-engineered alien equipment would piss off either Adeptus Mechanicus or Inquisition, or if less lucky, both.
      • And for everything else, it clearly stated attempts in reverse engineering let alone using it has ended in the grisly demise of the user. Case in point are Necron Gauss Weapons which vaporized techpriests dabbling with it.
    • Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising features an interesting example: if Techmarine Matrellus is the traitor, he drops his corrupted Servo-Arm on defeat. None of the other playable characters are Techmarines, so none of them can use it. It's only good for cashing in, and doing so gives you back a weapon you can use.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 features an aspect of this trope. Late in the game one will get access to an experimental rifle that fires small explosive rockets. This features a trigger mechanism that reads the fingerprint of the first person to use it and then limits its use to that person. Said mechanism can be reset by a PC or NPC with sufficient skill in electronics.
    • The beginning of the game was also made artificially harder by the fact that, while your mercs started out with peashooters, the enemy had rifles and body armor that would much more often than not disappear with them. It's only after you finally get access to your own supply of rifles that the enemy would start dropping them regularly. The v1.13 mod includes a game mode setting that allows every item the enemy mooks are carrying to be picked up...
    • One of the ways to get around this was to literally STEAL the equipment from a desired enemy by using one of your more stealthy mercs to sneak up on the enemy, loot him, and run.
  • Shining Force II has a few bosses that can drop items. These items can't be equipped, but one of them can be used to cast spells.
  • In the X-COM series, all equipment used by the aliens will show up as an 'Alien artifact' and will be unusable. It is still possible to interact with these items... usually by accidentally blowing them up, which prevents you from looting them post-battle. After researching the specific weapons/items, you will then be allowed to outfit your squad with those weapons in addition to looting them off the corpses of your enemies. This is basically how you "level up" your weapons as you precede through the game.
    • To lesser extent, alien ships aplies as well. You can secure several intact flying saucers trough the game. You can can pillage them for artifacts and raw materials, but you are never allowed to keep one, even if it is superior to your fighters/transports and you have the scientific expertise to make it fly.
    • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the weapons of killed enemies will self-destruct, even if the death didn't involve getting shot at or blown up (e.g. Mindfray), implying a failsafe mechanism meant to prevent the weapons from being captured. The only way to capture intact weapons is to stun the alien. Even then, they'll start out unusable due to strange ergonomics: Plasma pistols are designed to be mounted on the wrist of something with really narrow arms, heavy plasmas are too cumbersome to use without a few new grips, and so on. Once you've researched a weapon, all the copies of it brought back to base will be adapted by your engineers for human use (adding grips, stocks, proper sights, etc.) free of charge and off-screen.
    • Ditto for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (which is a Third-Person Shooter), where Outsider weapons are destroyed when their wielders are killed. This is even mentioned by the Bureau's resident Mad Scientist when he gives you a bracelet designed to allow you to map your biometrics to alien weapons. He tells you that you must find un-mapped weapons, though.
    • Obtaining enemy equipment intact is completely impossible in XCOM 2 because you no longer have any way to take enemies alive. The most you can get is Elerium Cores, which are used in crafting specialized items (ammo, grenades, secondary weapons, etc.) and somehow even those will be destroyed if you don't pick them up after a few turns. Primary weapons are instead created purely through advancing your Tech Tree.
  • There are often weapons which enemies in Fire Emblem are seen using, but the player cannot actually obtain.
    • Major antagonists often have unique personal weapons that cannot be acquired in normal gameplay. While most can be acquired in post-game, bonus, or spinoff material, the Ereshkigal, Creiddylad, Circe Staff, Valaskjálf, Élivágar, Hreiðmarr, and Risyl have never been obtainable under any circumstances.
    • This trope is justified with the beast enemies. In these cases, the "weapons" are fangs, claws, or other parts of the beasts' anatomy.
    • The Swarm, Meteor, and Drain tomes, in Book 2 of Mystery of the Emblem, are unusable.
    • Thracia 776:
      • The Poisoned Weapons will turn into basic Iron weapons if the player steals one from an enemy. Later games would avert this. In addition, all dark magic other than Jormungand automatically transforms into Fenrir when stolen.
      • Raydrik's Lopt Sword is a double subversion; you can steal it from him, but nobody in your army can actually use it. Makes a nice trophy, though.
    • In The Binding Blade, the Brave Sword, Spear, and Fenrir are restricted to certain enemies. The Runesword, Tomahawk, Fortify, and Fimbulvetr are also enemy exclusive in the main story, but certain Secret Characters in Trial Map mode come packing them. They become fully obtainable and usable weapons in The Blazing Blade, which is odd because said game is a prequel to the sixth.
    • A Bishop in the final chapter of Path of Radiance carries the ultimate Light tome, which initially seems like an example of this trope... but it is possible to obtain it through extremely convoluted application of Video Game Stealing. It's a Bragging Rights Reward since it's midway through the final battle by the time you get it and only one character can use it, but it's still something. The Wishblade (the ultimate Lance) plays the trope straight, being used by Bryce in the final chapter and unobtainable outside of using him as a Secret Character in the Trial Maps.
    • In Shadow Dragon, Brave weapons are exclusively wielded by enemies on the hardest difficulty. While you used to be able to buy them from the online shop, Nintendo removing Wi-fi support for the original DS means that owners of the original release are out of luck. (The Wii U rerelease, on the other hand, still provides them.)
    • Fire Emblem Fates has kukris, kattas, maces, star axes, shortbows, hankyu, nageyaris, and special javelins that can attack from 1-2 range without the drawbacks of player-obtained ranged weapons. None of these weapons can be obtained by any means.
    • In Fire Emblem Heroes, no playable character has been released who wields the Thoron+ tome.note  Rexcalibur+ also had this status upon the game's initial release, until Soren was released in an update on 4/26/2017 and came packing the tome.
  • A common staple in Nippon Ichi games, though considering everyone and their grandmother (sometimes coming up as a storypoint even) is portrayed as having Cthulhu-sacking prowess, it's generally accepted they simply annihilated the other person's equipment along with the entirety of the enemy. Which doesn't explain how it comes back when you get them revived at the hospital, but there you go. If you see something you like, you must either steal it with a special item (it doesn't have to be used by a thief, but it's much harder otherwise) or capture the enemy and take the items away.
    • The Disgaea games in particular have Geo Panels that can clone your characters - the clones are hostile and replicate the original exactly, down to the equipment. It is impossible to steal their equipment even with the specialty items listed above, and only a weapon in the third iteration has the potential to knock only one of those items off the enemy when they do die to it; if you could freely steal equipment from the enemy, it would (much sooner than usual) snap the game in half.
  • 4X game series Space Empires, and possibly other games that use tech trees, allows you to capture enemy ships and study them for new tech. However if they have Ancient Ruins, or Racial, technology you can't use it because only empires with that tech tree have access to it. If you're lucky you might have found those ruins as well or are the same sort of race.
  • Sword of the Stars got Boarding Pods and the ability to capture enemy ships in an Expansion Pack. But the captured ships will inexplicably vanish after the battle is over so you can't use their (possibly superior) technology.
  • Sniper Elite V2 is weird about this — you have access to everything the enemy can use (unless you count vehicles), and a couple of things they can't, but only submachine guns and the Lugers used by German officers can be picked off enemy bodies. That enemy sniper? His rifle disappears when you kill him - you have to wait until you find the same rifle in an abandoned weapon stash somewhere to get your hands on it. And you can't take that guard's grenades, either, or at least not the ones on his model. This is probably to keep you from switching rifles mid-mission or getting too many grenades, but where it gets weird is that he may or may not have ammo on his person that doesn't make any sense for him to have (a guard armed with a Luger and MP40 may have Russian 7.62mmR ammo or, with DLC, even British or Japanese rifle rounds in his pocket, instead of the 9mm rounds his guns actually use). Additional weapons must be found in a level, though you can bring any weapon you've found with you in future missions and replays.
  • Valkyria Chronicles II gives the enemy forces a completely separate set of equipment to your own. No matter how many dropped weapons you pick up, you'll have to wait for an Ace to drop the blueprints for an advanced weapon and then reverse-engineer it. Justified in that the rebels are being supplied by the Federation and, being at war, they probably have their home-made weapons chambered for a different round precisely so the enemy can't easily steal them.
  • War Craft II: Averted in one level where (as the Alliance) you grab some Orc catapults.
    • In one of the most glaring cases of Cutscene Power to the Max, one scene has a human footman sneak up on and backstab an orc guarding a catapult, notice a goblin zeppelin flying nearby, and cut the rope on the catapult to take down the zeppelin in a giant fireball (you can't claim units in a normal game, catapults aren't fired by cutting the rope, and, of course, catapults can't hit air units). The credits for Warcraft III had an extended Hilarious Outtakes version of this.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics is mostly an aversion. You can steal any piece of equipment that an enemy is carrying, unless they have Maintenance/Safeguard, and if a human enemy dies and turns into a treasure box, you can obtain one (but only one) random piece of their equipment by grabbing the box. If they turn into a crystal instead, then no dice, though you can gain their abilities.
    • The PSP version makes a jarring move by giving Safeguard to Elmdore of all people. The catch? In the original he was the only source of the whole set of Genji Armor. Unless you're playing a hack that removes that ability from him, or you have a partner for Multiplayer (where you can freely get that set), you're utterly screwed.
  • Advance Wars does it three different ways:
    • Played straight with some properties, as it's impossible to place any of the Black Hole structures (Black Cannons, Factories, Labs, etc) on created maps or to use the Black Hole's insignia or black coloring (though your units take on the Black Hole "appearance" if you use one of their commanders).
    • Subverted with the Black Hole units such as Neotanks, Black Boats, and Oozium 223, which can all be obtained for use in Campaign and created maps once they're unlocked.
    • Inverted with the Megatank. It's developer, Green Earth, points out now that they've used it on Black Hole it won't be long before it's been reverse-engineered and used against them. Sure enough it happens about two maps later.
  • Front Mission has the "Sand Vapor" units that, despite being labelled as Huskies (Which you can use), are utterly unique, as well as Driscoll's monstrous Type11DS, that are all unusable by the player via normal means. With save state hacking or a cheat device you can obtain the parts and, provided you're careful with which Driscoll parts you usenote , they are fully functional.
  • Harebrained Schemes' Battletech normally averts this, but plays it straight with the equipment carried by Story Mode's Final Boss and many Bonus Bosses added in the expansions' Flashpoints — Victoria's King Crab and its pulse lasers cannot be salvaged, the Steel Claw cannot be salvaged (only obtained from one outcome of the Flashpoint), the 'mechs in Head Hunters cannot be salvaged (though much of their equipment, luckily, can), and all the 'mechs and the vast majority of equipment in Natasha Kerensky and The Bounty Hunter's lances cannot be salvaged either, especially all their Double Heat Sinks.

    Survival Horror 
  • In Alien: Isolation you meet various armed survivors, some of them will be hostile and shoot at you. If you kill them, you can't pick up their handguns. You can only get a revolver at a certain point in the story. Even then, you can't loot corpses for bullets.
  • At one point in The Last of Us, some U.S. Army soldiers you face will be armed with assault rifles - except every one of them just so happens to be in an unreachable location, such as a high balcony. You can still kill them, but you physically can't get to where they drop their gun. Not every soldier has an assault rifle- some are only armed with pistols or revolvers (the same equipment the player will have at the time). It's strange how under-equipped many soldiers are - just being armed with handguns. Well, the military probably has some equipment shortages, since it's 20 years after the Cordyceps outbreak. Still, it is odd that these soldiers just so happen to be the only ones you encounter up-close.
    • Even more annoying is how rarely firearm-toting enemies drop ammo. Sure, you might hand-wave it in a firefight (oops, guess you killed him right after he shot his last round), but what about the numerous mooks you dispatch before they can even shoot? Are you supposed to pretend they were just carrying guns for show?
  • There was oh so much stuff lying in the background of the Resident Evil series. Most notably, you find a squad of dead soldiers in the sewers of Resident Evil 2 with MP5s you cannot claim. Also, it seems odd that none of the hundreds of zombified police officers are carrying their sidearms or ammunition, though since freshly killed police (that is, bodies that haven't animated yet) do tend to carry ammunition it's likely other survivors plundered the ammo before those zombies reanimated.
    • Resident Evil: Gun Survivor introduces the Trashsweeper units, Artificial Human enemies armed with machine guns and sniper rifles that you cannot use even if you killed them. The most likely justification is that since the Trashsweepers are born and bred artificially, their weapons are genetically encoded just for them.
    • Justified in Resident Evil 0 when you find a decent cache of assault rifles in the basement of the Training Facility. They are either in disrepair from years of moldering in a damp basement or in pieces, and neither Billy or Rebecca have the knowledge, means, or time to restore even one to a usable condition.
    • Done in a seemingly intentional way to tick you off in Resident Evil: Outbreak: You find a dying policeman with a submachine gun who will give it to you if you're Kevin (another cop) or Cindy (who he mistakes for his girlfriend). If you're anyone else, he just dies with the gun in his lap and no reason is given why you can't just help yourself to it.
    • How about one of the farm tools that the Ganados were using as weapons. They just seem so much more effective than the knife...
    • In "Separate Ways", Ada does eventually get the option of buying one of the crossbows that the enemies are always using on you. With some slight alterations.
    • Face it: Wesker's Samurai Edge would've been a nice spoil of war after facing them so many times in 5, though outside of a healthy application of cheating you can't get it yourself until two games later.
    • Resident Evil 6 contains an even more frustrating example in Jake/Sherry's campaign. Both work their way out of a laboratory with little more than the hospital garb they're wearing and have to avoid the armed J'avo infesting the place. If you do manage to kill any, though, their guns and machetes dissolve along with them, so you're forced to take them on hand-to-hand until you recover your gear. In a truly "WTF?!" moment atop this, Sherry starts out her scenario with a stun baton — that she took off a dead J'avo.
  • In Outlast II, Blake can't use the flashlights he finds near villagers' corpses, although he can pick up the batteries to use in his camcorder. If you think about it, it makes sense: he's on the lam from a whole commune of violent and relentless religious fanatics, and a flashlight's beam would draw a lot of undesired attention. The camera's NV mode is far less conspicuous.
  • The original Siren does this, where so long as a shibito is holding onto a weapon, be it some variety of gardening tool or a police revolver, there's no way for you to normally pry it out of their cold, undead hands — one objective in a level even requires you to take out a specific shibito in a particular way to get him to actually drop his gun so you can take it, and beyond that your only means of acquiring a firearm is hoping you find one in the stage (Naoko's Type 26 revolver) or just starting with one (Akira's hunting rifle, Tamon's .38 revolver). In later games, this is averted, as you can take weapons from shibito at will, but with the caveat that you can only carry one weapon at a time, so unless you're completely unarmed before somehow taking out a shibito, that means giving up whatever you've already got to take their weapon - and some objectives or archive items do require you to give a gun to a shibito so you can take whatever necessary tool they were using before.
  • Cold Fear has an odd example regarding the MP5, which shows up relatively early as the preferred armament of non-infected Russian soldiers, but you can't take it from them - you'll just find ammo for a completely different weapon whenever you try. The MP5 is usable, you just have to wait until near the end of the game to find one in an armory.
  • Justified in the final chapter of Deadlight when you're unable to claim an M16 from any of the fallen soldiers, yet a previous chapter has you find a usable shotgun on the body of one. In flashbacks Randall is shown to have only been familiar with a shotgun from his time as a Park Ranger, and had to be taught how to use a handgun by his buddy Ben after the outbreak began, meaning he simply doesn't know how to use an M16 and would have figured such a hectic time wasn't exactly the right time to grab one and try and use it.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • In the Crusader games, you can get ammunition, ordnance, medical supplies, money, and other equipment off of dead enemies... but never weapons or shields.
  • In darkSector, the trope is somewhat averted by being able to pick up the guns, but they all have "magnetic governors" somewhere on them that are meant to keep the weapon out of the hands of the hands of infected individuals, so once you yourself are infected after the first chapter they all blow up in your face after about thirty seconds. You can't even loot ammo from them for your governor-less weapons purchased from the black market (though on a lot of the weapons the sensors are shown to be near the magazine).
  • Averted in Shellshock Nam 67. You actually can pick up and use enemy guns. On the downside though it means you have to leave your current gun behind.
  • In Warframe while you can use enemy equipment, you can't take it off their dead bodies. You have to find blueprints and materials to build them. Somewhat justified, in that the player's version of the weapons are handwaved (in their Codex description) as having their limiters removed and other safety measures made unnecessary through reconstruction, not to mention the Tenno's exclusive ability to apply Mods on them, further boosting their innate strength. Meaning that, in an inversion of this trope, you have the best variant of the weapons used by the enemy.
    • Zigzagged by a few rare instances, like Grineer Bombards using a different version of the Ogris rocket-launcher, with auto-homing ordnance, something that not even the Tenno have been capable of replicating (yet). Oddly, seeking rounds for other weapons exist. The Hand Wave is that the Tenno went all-in on firepower, requiring the omission of the seeking system from the projectile.
  • The Octoling enemies in the Splatoon series use the Octo Shot which, like the own player's single-player only Hero Weapons, aren't available for purchase in Sheldon's arms dealership — you can only purchase a replica (which in the Octo Shot's case is just a reskinned version of the Tentatek Splattershot weapon). Justified in that actual Octo Shots, like the Hero Weapons, are built for actual military combat, which would be a bit overpowered for your regular, friendly sporting match. The escape from the Deepsea Metro in the second game's Octo Expansion lets you use a real Octo Shot, which was likely confiscated from one of the many Octolings that 'visited' the Deepsea Metro, if not your playable Octoling's own.
  • Star Wars: Bounty Hunter has Jango Fett not attempting to pick any blaster pistols and most rifles but very much willing to pick up anything else an enemy has on hand. Somewhat justified in that Jango is already using a pair of Ace Custom blaster pistols and has no reason to swap them out for commercially available weapons. He also doesn't pick up rocket launchers but he doesn't since he normally has Jet Pack he can fire the rocket he grabs from just fine but Universal Ammunition is another trope.
    • One odd case of this being played straight is in the No-Gear Level in Gardulla's Palace. You would he pick up an axe from the first Gammorean he kills to give a temporary edge (no pun intended)against his enemies until he gets his stuff back but he decides to use his Fists instead.(He apparently forgot he has a flamethrower on his arm can be used as more than a blowtorch)

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Assassin's Creed games, neither Altaïr nor Ezio can use the bows archers drop. Brotherhood continues the proud tradition with the new crossbow- and arquesbus-users, though you can loot their ammo for Ezio's use.
    • On the other hand, you can snatch enemy melee weapons almost at will. While usually their weapons aren't anything special, spears can be thrown and be used to disable large groups of enemies with a single spin.
  • Scarface: The World Is Yours. A 'boss' in the last level can and will spam you with rockets if you have bad luck. Once you neutralize him, only one rocket is available for use despite the territory you must cover from then on. In the majority of the game, weapons can be looted and tossed in the back of special cars. See how many chainsaws you can collect?
  • In Minecraft, Zombie Pigmen's gold swords and Skeleton's bows would once never drop upon their deaths. The 1.2 patch made these items Rare Drops, with a chance for these weapons being enchanted.
  • Justified in inFAMOUS and inFAMOUS 2 where Cole can't use his enemies' guns because, thanks to his Power Incontinence, they would blow up in his face the second he grabbed them. He actually weaponizes this when dealing with turrets as he can just touch them and disable them.
  • Played with in Boiling Point: Road to Hell. Everything an enemy is carrying can be picked up and used once they're killed, including weapons and ammunition, but their guns are almost always in ridiculously poor condition and will jam every two or three shots, forcing constant reloading that will end in Saul Myer's death in a pitched firefight. Repair kits do exist, but they're rare and can be expensive to buy, and thus should only be used on weapons you intend to stick with for the long haul. You're much better off just hauling all the enemy guns to the nearest shop and selling them for extra cash to buy any new guns.
  • Endless Sky: Downplayed. Any ship that blows up scatters only a few cargo items, which usually are merchandise and not actual equipment it had. But if you disable it without blowing it up (or find one already disabled), you can board it to strip it of what you want, limited only by the size of your hold, or attempt to hijack it instead. It sells only for a fraction of its original value, but nothing stops you from using it yourself. Played straight if the ship in question can't be disabled, or self-destructs when boarded.

    Non-Video Game Examples 
  • The Lawgiver from Judge Dredd. The gun is encoded to fire only when its registered user pulls the trigger. Any attempts by anyone else results in the loss of a limb by way of a small explosive charge (or, in the 1995 film, a nasty electro-shock). It is possible to override this function in an emergency, as Senior Judges have access to instructions on how to do this. However, at times it has been a plot point that while the Judges' guns are coded to only work for their owner, their ammunition is not, so a Judge low on ammo can still grab a few mags off one of their downed fellows.
  • James Bond examples:
    • Licence to Kill has Bond equipped with a gun disguised as a camera, which has a fingerprint-recognition mechanism built into the pistol grip to prevent anyone else from firing it. This comes into play when a Chinese agent gets his hands on the gun and tries to fire it at Bond, with no success.
    • In Skyfall, for most of the film Bond has a PPK with a custom grip that includes a similar palm-recognition mechanism, so when a mook picks up said gun just as a komodo dragon approaches, the result is inevitable.
  • Adventurers! features an inverted example, when Drecker steals a huge sword off an enemy mook. Not the sword the mook was wielding, but another, much bigger and better. The mook complains that he would have used that sword (instead of his usual, which appears to be made of wood) if he'd known about it (likely also a Lampshade Hanging on the Impossible Item Drop).
  • In Old Man's War, the Colonial Union's troops were equipped with multi-purpose assault rifles that would only fire for somebody with a particular wireless cybernetic "signal".
  • In the gamebook Space Assassin, you can come across a Zark warrior and a powerful monster called a Deity, both of them armed with a Disintegrator Ray that can inflict a One-Hit Kill on you. But if you defeat them, you find out their disintegrator ray is made with alien technology that you can't activate.
  • In the Tabletop Game, Warhammer Quest, the enchanted weapons used by Chaos, Skaven, Greenskins and Dark Elves aren't usable by your heroes. This is justified for the most part by the game stating that these evil races use weapons that are tainted with dark magic that'll kill a hero outright if they pick one up.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: The Heliorian Ultra armor only works if synchronized with its rightful owner's brain waves. Will U4 Buu find a way to bypass that security measure?
  • One of the more interesting Real Life examples was the Russian habit of deliberately building railroads at a different gauge than the rest of Europe. This was to prevent them being used by invaders.
    • The British used a similar tactic in Sudan: Sudan was theoretically an Anglo-Egyptian co-dominium, but in reality Egypt was a British protectorate—and not a happy one. Since the Sudanese had a history of revolting and the Egyptians would probably be glad to rise against the British if they could get the chance, the British used a narrower gauge in Sudan than in Egypt (whose rail system was older and built to standard gauge).
    • Averted, however, in the USSR's Winter War and Continuation War with Finland. Both sides used variants of the Mosin-Nagant—Finland had been part of the Russian Empire, after all. While the cartridges used were a little different, they were similar enough that captured Finnish ammunition could be used in the Soviet ones.
    • In a similar vein, after the world standardized 81mm mortars, the Soviets designed an 82mm mortar. The Soviet weapon could use captured enemy shells, at reduced efficiency, but the enemy weapon could not safely fire Soviet shells.
    • Similar was done in The '50s when the Soviets adopted a new pistol cartridge, although more by accident - at the same time most Western armies started standardizing around the German 9x19mm pistol cartridge for handguns, the Soviets adopted a 9x18mm cartridge. In theory, this would have allowed for the Soviet 9mm to be loaded into Western 9mm pistols and safely fired, which had already happened to the Soviets during World War II (due to 7.62x25mm Tokarev being higher-pressure but otherwise identical to 7.63x25mm Mauser, meaning German units were able to turn a lot of stolen Russian equipment against their makers during the siege on Stalingrad) - but since the Soviets measured caliber in a different manner than the West (according to the thinner lands in a rifled barrel, rather than the grooves as typical in the US) the Soviet 9mm cartridge actually ended up being 9.22mm by Western measurements, meaning neither side could use captured enemy pistol ammo without also acquiring enemy weapons chambered for them.
  • Attempts to make this trope Truth in Television with Skyfall-style lockout systems have so far met with failure. Biometrics are very expensive, and military, police and civilian consumers alike are reluctant to trust lower-tech options like magnetic or infrared lockouts because of their dodgy reliability in tests; to paraphrase one firearms journalist: "A gun that doesn't fire 100% of the time that it's supposed to is not a smart gun; it's the dumbest gun in the world." The most reliable example of these mechanisms was a prototype modified from the Heckler & Koch P7 handgun that in effect added a second safety catch that could only be disengaged with a key, but that never went anywhere because it offered no particular benefits over just putting a lock on whatever it was stored in when not in use.
    • Another issue is that the primary purpose of said lockout systems as far as police are concerned is to prevent someone from taking a gun from a cop and immediately turning it back on them. Most workable schemes either rely on the weapon being unlocked until put away or relying on the proximity of some sort of signal - neither of which helps to prevent someone from grappling with a cop and shooting them with their own gun at point-blank range, which is the scenario that the police are trying to avoid. The most practical solution to date has not involved modifying the actual weapons at all, but instead on designing a holster that is shaped so that trying to pull the weapon out is difficult and awkward unless you are the one wearing it. Of course most police forces around the world have an even simpler solution - when they carry guns, they aren't loaded.
  • In the era of flintlock muskets it was often the case that soldiers of the army with the larger calibre could in a pinch use captured enemy bullets, but the army with the smaller calibre had to rely only on its own ammunition, such as the British Brown Bess musket being able to use the French Charleville's 17.5mm musket balls, while the Charleville couldn't use the Brown Bess' 18mm ones. The bullets of the time tended to be simple lead balls that could be melted down and recast in the appropriate caliber, which meant capturing enemy ammo from a successful battle would be a logistical boon, but it wouldn't save a French soldier's life if it depended on stolen Brown Bess bullets in the middle of a fight unless he'd also lucked upon a Brown Bess to fire them as-is.
    • A similar phenomenon persists to this day, as there are hundreds of different ammunition cartridges. Even the "ubiquitous" 9mm cartridge actually comes in more than half-a-dozen cartridge lengths that are completely incompatible with each other. Short of a few intentionally interchangeable ammo variants (such as the .50 S&W being a low-recoil option for guns designed for the 10MM cartridge) rare is the gun that can fire anything but exactly what it was designed for.
  • The Romans made one of the bolts that fixed the long iron point of the pilum (the legionary's throwing spear) to the wooden shaft of wood so that it would shatter on impact, thus loosening the connection of point and shaft of the pilum and making it impossible for enemies to pick it up and hurl it back at the Romans in battle. The point was also made of easily malleable iron, thus twisting upon piercing your shield and making the shield unusable, as a large piece of iron and a bit of wood was pointing out of it.
  • Medieval arrows and bolts intended for war often had the arrowhead attached to the shaft with bee wax so that the head would separate from the shaft after impact. This had the added "benefit" of leaving the head lodged inside the victims' wounds.
  • In the novel of Logan's Run, Sandman guns used palmprint recognition to make them unusable to anyone else.
  • Warhammer 40,000: An Imperial raid on a Tau base saw one guy attempt a Gundam Jacking of a battlesuit. The suit recognized his DNA as non-Tau and fried him.
    • Justified for most Imperial forces, since xenos and Chaotic equipment is literally against their religion; Chaotic stuff has the additional drawback of regularly causing mutation and corruption, while most xenos weaponry will either refuse to work (aforementioned Tau DNA scanners, Eldar weapons being psychic and thus hostile, Tyranid weapons being biological and thus uncontrollable and Ork weapons being plain nonfunctional outside of Ork hands due to their gestalt field helping out), and in some cases actively dangerous to the wrong user (explosives are tiny, powerful and can be placed everywhere).
  • Star Wars has lightsabers generally fall under this trope for non-Force users, as the blade being completely weightless and not having any safe areas to touch requires a particular type of Badass Normal to wield one without killing yourself with it; the only non-Force-using character to make extensive use of lightsabers is General Grievous, and it's otherwise typically a one-time affair, usually for utility purposes such as Han borrowing Luke's lightsaber to cut open the tauntaun carcass at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back.
    • The Empire also invokes this with their stormtroopers' thermal detonators, by requiring a code to activate them and then not having any of the buttons on the detonator labelled, so even if it is captured the enemy can't use it since they either won't know the code, or won't know how to enter it if they do.
    • In New Jedi Order this trope is justified, in that despite its usefulness (who wouldn't want a weapon that could coil up out of the way, spit poison, be used as a whip, cut up metal, and block a lightsaber blade?), using Yuuzhan Vong equipment generally results in a lot of pain even (or especially) if you do it right. And that's not even counting things like the Vonduun Crab Armor, which will usually try to kill anyone but a Vong who wears it.
      • Averted in the chronologically later Star Wars: Legacy, as several characters, most notably Jariah Syn, do use Vongtech regularly, and it's pretty useful, especially against Jedi or Sith, though by that point the Vong were much friendlier and more willing to share their secrets — Jariah had a Vong warrior as a mentor who taught him a lot.
      • This trope is also used by the Yuuzhan Vong themselves, as the mere existence of any non-Organic Technology is a race-wide Berserk Button for them.
  • Invoked in The Last Star: an EarthForce officer warns the soldiers to not pick up and use Minbari guns, as it fires a green beam that works as a "shoot me" call for any nearby Earth soldier (EarthForce standard issue fires in red pulses).
  • Invoked in Paperinik New Adventures by the Evronians, who, as explained in an insert of the first issue, build their guns with a DNA lock that makes them unusable for non-Evronians (generals take it up a notch, as the DNA lock of their sidearms is specific to that one general). Turned up as a plot point in one issue, when Paperinik and some humans tried to take an Evronian general as hostage with his own gun and the general gleefully informed them of the fact.
    • Averted in another issue, in which some Evronian-made guns didn't have the DNA lock. Justified as the Evronians were supplying them to a Banana Republic, so for once they skipped that safety only for it to bite them back in the ass when Paperinik grabbed one faster than Zondag.
  • Enforced in Dungeons & Dragons, at least within Adventurers' League rules. The aim was to prevent players from grabbing NPC weapons and armor unless the Dungeon Master ruled otherwise for the sake of the story and balance. Justified in the case of armor, which has to be custom-fit to the individual wearer.
  • Your enemy's weapon will probably sound different to the one your side usually carries, and soldiers with even a small amount of experience start to hear the difference. If your buddies hear that weapon and can't see you, they may start firing at your approximate position (or calling in even heavier fire on you). Andy Rooney told a story of such an incident, wherein an American platoon during World War II borrowed several German weapons - and promptly got annihilated when a nearby friendly mortar team, based on the sounds of their guns, mistook them for Germans.
  • An overdraw device such as the Korean tongah, Chinese tongjian, Byzantine solenarion, or Turkish majra enables an archer to shoot an arrow that is shorter than their bow's draw length, which isn't normally possible. The typical form is a wooden gutter or tube that the short arrow travels along so that it doesn't hit the bow or the archer's bow hand. There are various advantages to using "baby arrows", notably that they fly longer distances and can be made out of regular broken arrows, but the notable one for this trope is that an enemy archer cannot shoot your baby arrow back at you unless he also has an overdraw device or a bow with a short enough draw length.
  • In one scene in Space Vulture, Captain Corsaire finds himself unable to use his captor's ray gun, because his captor belongs to an alien race and the gun is designed to be fired by wrapping a tentacle around the base several times and squeezing.
  • Carmen Sandiego: When Carmen confronts former friend Crackle in the pilot, she disarms him and gets ahold of his stun rod. He coyly reminds her that this VILE equipment has finger tip recognition. Carmen just roundhouse kicks him in the head.
  • Babylon 5: "Exogenesis" has this for even ally's equipment. The communication devices Babylon 5 personel wear on the back of the hand is coded to the owner's DNA. When Marcus and Dr. Franklin are captured, Marcus gets back Franklin's device to use it to call for security. The device informs him of this unauthorized use and refuses the order, only for it to then tell him security has been alerted to the device's location to detain him for the unauthorized use.
  • Inverted in the Infinity Blade books, by Brandon Sanderson, in which the protagonist encounters enemies with equipment that he can use, but they can't.