So you're a soldier, lying in the middle of your base with nothing to do. Your tasks for the day are done, and you lay down to take a nap... when suddenly the enemy decides to attack, and throws the place into absolute chaos. Making matters worse... where's your gun? This trope has come to pass, and it is a massive Oh, Crap! to any poor unfortunate soldier or policeman that has it happen to them.
This trope basically occurs any time a character has to spend time looking for his weapon (and possibly getting killed in the process) when he should be doing something a bit more useful, like ya know, fighting. Sometimes however, it plays out because the gun in question is special to him, and he refuses to use anything else, even when there's piles of usable rifles at his feet.
Doesn't necessarily have to be a firearm, any time a character loses a weapon of any sort can certainly count here. A Properly Paranoid character trying to defy this trope will often keep a weapon under their pillow and/or feel like they Can't Bathe Without a Weapon.
- The two CIA agents at the start of Act of Valor certainly could qualify. None of them even bother with making sure they have a weapon at the ready when the one answers the door. Sure, they might have been only expecting food delivery, but that still doesn't excuse them from not being ready for things to go sour quickly.
- Happens in Enemy at the Gates to the last soldier that Zaytsev shoots in his introductory badass moment. Once he realizes that Zaytsev is there, and has killed 4 of his comrades, he quickly realizes that his rifle is not within arms reach, and tries to go for it... only to have Zaytsev introduce his skull to a 7.62mm bullet before he can get more then three feet from his starting position.
- In Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, the cadets find themselves scrambling to get weapons and live ammo in the face of a Covenant invasion. Making matters worse is that the storage locker for the weapons and ammo is password protected, and the system is malfunctioning. Clearly no one in the UNSC ever thought to use a simple key and padlock system, which can at least be smashed off in an emergency... like when genocidal aliens are invading.
- In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy is confronted by a massive Thuggee swordsman and cockily reaches for his revolver (in a Call-Back to the famous scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark). However, his smile vanishes when his hand pats his empty holster and he remembers that his pistol was taken off him when he was captured.
- Van Helsing has a scene early in the film where Prince Velcan used himself as bait to lure out a werewolf. It worked, but in the ensuing chaos that followed, he lost his pistol. While the villagers shoot at the trapped werewolf, he begins screaming at them to find his gun. Justified in this case as his gun is loaded with silver bullets, and is therefore, the only thing that can kill a werewolf. He eventually does find it, and manages to kill the werewolf in question, however he gets knocked off a cliff for his efforts, and later becomes a werewolf.
- Warhammer 40,000: In some sources, Guardsmen can be executed for not having their weapon with them, leading to them taking it with them even in the latrine.
- In Assassin's Creed II, Bartolomeo practically tears his house apart to find.... his Claymore "Bianca". All the while Ezio was busy cutting down their enemies just outside.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Vaike loses his axe prior to his first battle. Fortunately, Miriel soon arrives with it, leading to the tutorial on how to trade items between units.
- Halo: For being a cybernetic super soldier, the Master Chief seems to never have an available weapon on hand whenever trouble starts at the beginning of most of his games. He usually gets one within about five minutes of the player being handed control, but still, hasn't anyone thought to have at least a set of emergency pistols in the cryo rooms?
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary has Lara suspended in a trance when she gets all three pieces of the MacGuffin together and is shown a vision of the past that shows how Atlantis collapsed. When she returns to reality, Natla steals the artifact. Lara reaches for her guns, only to be confused when she sees that her guns are mysteriously gone before she gets restrained by Kold. Natla's goons show that they were the ones that stole her weapons.
- Sarge from Red vs. Blue is a serious offender here. While all of the other characters can and do switch weapons, sometimes on the fly, Sarge is the only one in the entire series that refuses to go anywhere without his Shotgun. Although the one time he didn't have it, when he could've used it he was acting as bait for Agent Washington (justified as Wash made him surrender it), most other characters would've picked up another weapon later instead of trying to swipe it back from Wash.
- Private Snafu: Happens several times to Snafu as a result of his general ineptitude. In "Fighting Tools", he has trouble finding his rifle, and the machine gun and howitzer are located a stupidly long way from his tent (although given everything else he has done to his weapons, not knowing their whereabouts is the least of his problems). In "Gas", it is his gas mask that he can't locate.
- Possibly one of the big triggers for some soldiers suffering from PTSD. Many soldiers in modern armies are trained to NEVER leave their weapon outside of arms reach (if they can help it), and in training are usually punished for doing so. After about three months of training, they deploy, and possibly go through about 2-4 tours in a hostile zone where they keep their weapon on them at all times. By this point, the weapon practically becomes a part of them, and when they finally come home.... the weapon is taken away from them. This leaves many soldiers feeling naked, and often leads to soldiers fearing things that they really shouldn't... but can't help it when they are not within arms reach of their weapons. Of course, coping with this by keeping a privately-owned weapon within arm's reach at all times while at home is far from a perfect solution.
- This trope is what cost a number of American Soldiers in Vietnam their lives. Not all of the time due to them leaving their M16 lying somewhere, but because the early M16s were notoriously unreliable, and as a result, often broke down in the middle of a fight. This left the soldier scrambling to try and find a working weapon, even if it meant taking an enemies weapon in the heat of the moment.