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Improvised Weapon

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Improvised weapon 2504
Quick! Use your fake guns as clubs!
Civil War Reenactors from The Simpsons
"If a minifig can't find a real weapon, Random Objects are better than nothing, although this is only because having nothing sucks to such an impressive degree."
Brikwars Manual on what to do when disarmed.

A creative fighting tactic used by unarmed people in any situation: Make what's around you a weapon. Even outside the dangerous environments, there's a lot of stuff to try. Anything can be used as a club if it's sturdy enough, and most stuff will develop a sharp edge if properly coaxed. For comedy value, go as wacky as you like.

Compare MacGyvering.

Depending on the setting, there's a lot of options:

More and more video games, especially those with Ragdoll Physics, allow the use of environment items as a weapon. Even in early Brawlers, it was a very useful tactic.

Super Heroes and Humongous Mecha have a penchant for using even larger objects, like light poles, road signs and mailboxes.

A person who uses one of these as their standard weapon may be an Improbable Weapon User. Or a Ninja.

On a larger scale, tools and machines not intended as weaponry can be converted into such, making a Superweapon Surprise. Combat Breakdown may involve this.

Compare Improvised Armour. Also compare Martial Arts and Crafts, which is like this, only sillier. And Abnormal Ammo, where the gun is a normal weapon, but the "bullets" it shoots may be improvised. Revive Kills Zombie is a subversion where normally helpful things like White Magic, medicine, or boo-boo kisses are used offensively.


Examples of Improvised Weapon include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Cilan, in an episode of Pokémon had his Pokemon incapacitated due to poisoning. So he had to fight off a Stunfisk with a fishing rod. He is able to keep the Pokemon at bay, and sufficiently weakens it enough to catch it.
  • When Tomo in Azumanga Daioh accidentally wacks Yukari in the face with a cafeteria tray, Yukari retaliates with Dual-Wielding trays!
  • Kirika from Noir is spectacularly good at this, able to take virtually anything at hand, even an item carried by her opponent, weaponize it and kill him in a second. On one occasion, she uses a mook's eyeglass earpiece as a shiv. In another, she takes apart a toy car at a dead sprint and drives the wheel axle into someone's spine. In yet a third, she slits an interrogator's throat with an ID card, while barely able to stand from blood loss after being gut-shot. Another time she snaps her opponent's neck with his own tie. And then there's the time when she piths a mook at a cocktail party by driving a martini olive skewer into his brainstem. And don't even mention the silverware. Probably her tamest improv gig features using popcorn as a field-expedient mook detector in a pitch black room (mook steps on popcorn, popcorn crunches, mook eats bullets).
  • Rurouni Kenshin
    • In one episode, Kenshin was asked not to use his sword while fighting. So, he used an umbrella.
    • Kaoru also tried to clock Enishi with a vase in the final chapters of the manga, but failed.
    • Saitou is probably the best example, as demonstrated when he used his belt to knock Kenshin's sakabatou out of his hand and later tried to strangle him with his coat.
  • In Detective Conan, Conan can kick anything at the bad guys and knock them out (granted, he does have power-boosting sneakers invented by his Gadgeteer Genius neighbor), and he was a pretty good soccer player anyway.
    • Subverted more than once, due to random effectiveness of the objects around him. Once, he tried to kick a cabbage, which promptly explodes. In a gaiden story, he had to resort to kicking a hospital bed since there was nothing else nearby, breaking his foot in the process. Luckily, one of the gadgets he gets his hands on later in the series is a belt that shoots self-inflating soccer balls.
  • Lucy of Elfen Lied does this using her vectors to throw things with blinding speed and accuracy, including pens on numerous occasions.
    • Which, while awesome, isn't nearly as improvised as Nana using her own prosthetic limbs for the same purpose.
  • David from Blood+ once escaped a tense situation by grabbing a hostage and threatening to stab him in the neck with a pen.
  • Kiri, the male protagonist of the manga Double Arts attempts this. He cobbles a sword together using a large number of much smaller knives thrown at him by the very guy he's fighting. Subverted in that, while impressive, Kiri's improvised weapon fails, breaking on impact.
  • Yomiko Readman of Read or Die lives by this trope, as she can turn any item made of any kind of paper into anything she likes. Notable examples include a bulletproof shield made from newspapers, a grappling hook and a Cessna-sized paper airplane from ungraded homework, a lockpick from a hair tie, a katana from $100 bills and several shuriken from 3x5 cards.
  • Inu-Yasha once threw a tree into the throat of a charging beast.
  • Chad's first Crowning Moment of Awesome in Bleach involves him beating down a Hollow with a telephone pole. Keep in mind this is before he gained any powers whatsoever.
  • Rokudo Mukuro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, during his fight with Tsuna, ended up disguising a stone as being an illusion, allowing him to smash it into Tsuna's eye area.
  • Despite being mainly a swordsman, Yaiba is not above using various things (including a flag-pole, kitchen knives, a flashlight and his sandals) as weapons.
  • Baccano!'s Claire Stanfield doesn't really care what he uses to kill people with, just as long as the end result is really, really bloody. Examples include guns, knives, scissors, rope, railroad tracks, his bare hands, and his own teeth.
  • Kaname from Full Metal Panic!, arguably. She knocked Sōsuke out using the second base from the school baseball field by throwing it and hitting him right in the base of the neck. Improvised Weapon Master, indeed.
    • Sōsuke does this sometimes. There was one occasion where he took down an attacking Savage by uprooting a tree and throwing it straight into the Savage's head. It counts because he did have a gun at that time. On another, he was forbidden from using weapons (in his interpretation, firearms) in a fight; he whipped out a fire extinguisher instead.
  • Gun X Sword: Ray Lundgren's Vulcan was originally a mining machine his wife built. In the series proper, it's a Mighty Glacier with a lot of guns and seems to be capable of producing more power than an Original Seven armor.
  • In Ranma One Half, there is a thin line separating any given martial artist from being a practitioner of this trope or an Improbable Weapon User. Of the main characters, however, Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendō are the ones who come closest to this, being ready, willing and able to pick up and use anything that is around as a weapon. Being practitioners of Supernatural Martial Arts may disqualify them though... how is a lawn roller (a large cylinder of concrete attached to an iron handle bar, used to flatten landscapes) an improvised weapon when you're strong enough to throw it?
    • Then there is Mousse, whose style is not only the ability to conceal all sorts of weapons, but to use any possible object as a weapon.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Shigure is told not to use bladed weapons against a group of attackers for obvious reasons. So she slices apart their weapons with a wooden rice spoon.
    • And later she defeats them with a sword controller.
    • She also used a newspaper and long light bulb against Kenichi for training
    • Once she used her hairband because she didn't have a weapon on her for obvious reasons
  • One Piece: Supreme Chef Sanji normally refuses to use knives in combat, despite being extremely skilled with them. He reasons that a chef's knives are tools for preparing food, not weapons. However, against one opponent that uses food as a weapon (which trips his Berserk Button, he hates people who waste food) he does not face this restriction.
  • Darker Than Black: Hei doesn't use this trope excessively in season one, but come season two and he pulls out all the stops[1]. He explicitly explains the concept of using this in combat, then demonstrates it by distracting Suou with a few thrown nuts and bolts, followed swiftly by a snowball flung hard enough to floor her and leave a mark on her face that persisted for the rest of the day.
    • Suou learns this trope well, and is shown using it with disturbingly effective results when rescuing July. She flings shards of glass like they were shuriken, hitting her target in startlingly vital and painful areas.
    • Someone had Hei disarmed and was trying to recruit him over lunch-- he Hannibal Lectured the guy off guard, grabbed a dull table knife, and slammed it through his hand, pinning it to the table.
  • Things that Durarara's Shizuo Heiwajima uses as weapons: crowbars, trash cans, traffic signs (up to and including those giant ones for freeways), guardrails, mailboxes, playground equipment, park benches, vending machines, motorbikes, van doors..the list goes on. If it has even a minor chance of breaking every bone in Izaya's body, he's probably going to use it as a weapon.
    • Shizuo is, naturally, not the only one to improvise weapons (although he is the only one so far to weaponize a Power Ranger) -- others resort to more manageable items like pens (Seiji, Mikado), Jimmy bars (Kida), soldering irons (Walker and Erika) or garden trowels (Mika)
  • Moribito Guardian of the Spirit: Balsa isn't above smashing your face in with a rock if she loses her spear in a fight. She will do anything to protect Chagum from harm.
  • Though it usually uses more-or-less conventional weapons, Neon Genesis Evangelion had one example of unusual weapon choice. Specifically, Asuka in EoE. Battery of self-propelled rocket launchers, meet the frontal armor of a naval battleship.
    • That triangular tower shield first used in the sniper mission? It's part of a space shuttle.
  • In Kuroshitsuji, Sebastian fights a mafia group in a mansion using the dinner plates on the dinner table and the forks and butter knives he snuffed out of Ciel's home. Result = Major badass.
  • In the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross serie, Hikaru Ichijyo once used the gatling cannon of his Valkyrie fighter as a club after finishing all the ammos. In some circles this procedure is called "Ichijyo's maneuver".
  • Edward and Alphonse of Fullmetal Alchemist frequently transmute spears out of stone when they need a weapon. On one occasion, Ed transmutes an elaborate sword out of a sea of blood. Roy using Havoc's cigarette lighter to make sparks when his gloves are wet (It Makes Sense in Context) probably also counts.
  • In the final battle of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Anti-Spiral throws entire galaxies around like throwing-stars.
  • In Heroic Age, the Silver Tribe gets major improv points for using an exploding planet as a weapon. When humanity ignites Jupiter in the hope that the fireball will consume the Silver Tribe fleet, they respond by using their shields to collapse the planet-turned-protostar into what appeared to be a gigantic nuke, and directing most of the resulting explosion at the human fleet.
  • In the Hetalia Bloodbath 2010, Spain grabbed whatever he could to protect Netherlands from the ominious figure that attacked Netherlands. *squee*
  • In The Movie of Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, the GaoKong mecha (a giant red gorilla) arises from an erupting volcano, which sets all the trees in the area on fire, whereupon he grabs the burning trees, twirling them Hawaiian-style before hurling them at the enemy. This scene inspired the Hawaii setting in the fanfic The Ultimus Adventure (which gives this show the Power Rangers treatment).
  • Karakuridouji Ultimo's Mizho used a crutch to beak a guy's arms....after using Pocky to attack another guy.
  • In episode 5 of Bodacious Space Pirates, Marika, the main character, uses the solar sails aboard the Odette II to blind a ship that's attacking them using optical sights (their electronic sensors were down due to being hacked). She stops short of having the concentrated solar beams melt the enemy ship. Before the Lightning 11 can recover, several other ships arrive to perform a Gunship Rescue.
  • In a flashback in Naruto, Ino used a flower as an impromptu shuriken.
  • The grocery store fight in Ultimate Teacher features coins and bananas as projectiles and one guy gets beaten with the microwave oven he was hiding in.


Comics Edit

  • A celebrated example from comics books: Superman once used the Empire State Building as a weapon against Doomsday. (It was evacuated beforehand, since this is Superman we're talking about.)
  • Watchmen: Rorschach. Hairspray. Cooking fat. Grappling gun. Toilet (twice). Numerous others. Hurm. Deconstruction. Lethal and gruesome results.
    • Similarly, Ozymandias. Ashtray. Fork. Bowl Cover. Place Mat. Less Than Lethal Results. Most of which probably wouldn't work in real life. But then again, it is Ozymandias.
  • Likewise, The Question. Potted Plant. Computer Monitor. Car.
  • Bullseye can use anything as a weapon, usually by throwing it. One example where he is in prison, with his hands restrained. He is using a straw to drink his fresh-squeezed orange juice. Occasionally, he sucks out a pit, and fires it through the straw. To kill flies. But when the ninja show up to kill him, he is all out of pits.
    • During another prison stint, he was not restrained, but he was denied access to any hard object. So he created his own ammo: he bashed his face into the concrete floor and spat one of his broken teeth in a guard's eye.
    • At another point when he was beaten to paralysis (it happens to him a lot), he had to be kept on liquid food so that he couldn't throw his stool as a deadly weapon... which Bullseye admits would probably work.
    • To take on Venom in Sinister Spider-Man, he lobbed a yap dog, which ended up clamping onto Venom's eye for the entire fight! Even more amazingly, the dog lived through the ordeal.
  • Hawkeye from Ultimate Marvel throws his fingernails through people's skulls.
  • Spider-Man has been known to use his webbing for offensive situations, such as forming a bat like object out of it, or more famously, Ben Reilly's "impact webbing".
    • Spider-Man's used quick drying cement to defeat Hydroman;
    • Fire hose on Electro;
    • Cathedral bell on Venom;
    • Whipped up acid to melt Rhino's suit and Doc Ock's arms;
    • Threw a doom bot at Dr. Doom;
    • Another, time he used a semi truck on the Juggernaut (didn't work).
    • Absorbing Man once got Spider-Man to back off with the threat of tossing a commercial airliner.
  • Rhino once bashed the Silver Surfer over the head with a gum ball machine.
  • The living brain tried to swat Spider-Man with an unhinged door.
  • World War Hulk has a flash back of the Hulk swinging an adamantium statue of himself at Thor.
    • World War Hulk: X-men had Hulk using the wreckage of the jet the X-men just crashed on top of him as a weapon against them.
  • The Flash will sometimes throw as many rocks, bricks, dishes, shoes, whatever on hand in rapid succession.
    • And failing at that he might just whip up a dirt storm.
  • Blade once stuck a vampire to the ceiling with an electric screw driver. Points for ramming it through him without turning it on.
  • In their first encounter, the Punisher managed to defeat the Russian (an ungodly powerhouse who shrugged off a knife to the gut like it was nothing and casually tore apart a pistol with his bare hands) using only a hot pizza and an extremely fat man.
    • Ennis's Welcome Back Frank is full of instances of the Punisher using improvised weapons with lethal results. The best example is when Frank gets trapped by mobsters in the Bronx Zoo without ammo and uses the animals to kill them off. He throws one guy at a snake, dunks another one head first in a piranha tank and leads the rest into a polar bear pit. Unfortunately, the bears are more docile and curious than Frank expects, so he punches a polar bear in the face to get it angry.
  • Hank Pym once used Pym Particles to enlarge coins and use them as throwing weapons. He specifically said he was "throwing big money at the problem."
  • The Tick in one of his early stories as related by the Ninja/victims, "And then he threw a chimney at us!"
  • In the X Wing Series Winter drove off a ronk by splashing it with "oratay", which seems to be a coffee analog. Even though she had her blaster at her side and had proved able to shoot without looking. Then again, later in the issue we find that ronks are extremely allergic to oratay, so maybe she just wanted to avoid unnecessary killing.
  • Gambit's power is custom made for this trope. Aside from his standard playing cards, he's charged a wad of gum, his credit cards, an anchor, poker chips, a bowling ball (stolen from a pair of guys who look suspiciously like Walter and Donnie), and in one particularly memorable scene, a boysenberry pie.
    • Does it really count as an improvised weapon, though, if you get to charge it with explosive psychic destruction before you throw it?
  • Death's Head from Marvel Comics is willing to improvise weapons from whatever is at hand, including furniture, barbecue skewers, and doors. If the room isn't empty, he's armed.
  • Marv from Sin City has made great use of his surroundings in order to bash enemies' brains in.
  • Tintin frequently makes use of this trope to get out of the unusual situations he's thrown into, for example, he knocks a butler out using a phone in Secret of the Unicorn.


Fan Works Edit

  • In With Strings Attached, Ringo whacks Grynun over the head with a guitar to prevent her from castrating George.
  • The protagonist of ToyHammer is an artist with no combat training whatsoever, but when he needs to put out a fire, he subsequently discovers that the extinguisher works as both a bludgeon and (when sprayed) a stunning weapon. He wields it in almost every fight, to the point that it becomes a part of his mental landscape for more than one Battle in the Center of the Mind.


Films -- Live Action Edit

  • In the 1992 version of Godzilla vs. Mothra, a freakin' ferris wheel is used as a weapon. That's how giant monsters roll.
  • In the movie Surf Ninja, the mysterious guardian Zatch finds himself without a weapon against ninjas. So he reaches for the nearest object at hand... a skateboard. Which he uses as a Bo Staff.
  • A more popular example can be seen in Shaun of the Dead; the titular hero wields a cricket bat for most of the film. There is also a scene in which Shaun and Ed hurl albums at two zombies, as the zombies slowly meander towards them.
    • In the scene at the pub, they fight the zombie bartender with pool cues, darts, and the jukebox.
    • The swingball pole Shaun used to hit a zombie with the ball was ineffective, but then impaled the zombie to a tree with the pole itself (which stopped the zombie as a threat and helped the group afterwards when they learned to imitate zombies).
  • Jackie Chan's characters are considered masters of the form, squeezing it for all its slapstick value. Notable occasions include this sequence using paste tables, his own jacket, a box full of paper, his opponents' fighting-sticks, sheets of plasterboard, a Chinese lion head, a broom and, most famously, a stepladder. Also see Jackie trying a series of items in succession, after which the mook surrenders when Jackie gets to the 15-inch pipe wrench.
    • Noodle Implements much?
    • Another example involved a tailor's tape measure as he continued to take measurements while using it to counter attacks.
    • In yet another, Chan subverts it. He's fighting in a department store, facing away from a series of vases on a shelf. He reaches behind him without looking to break one vase, then another over the heads of his attackers. He moves down the shelf trying to grab more vases but an employee is stealthily spiriting them away at the last moment. Every time he tries to grab one of the suddenly missing vases, his hands are in the perfect position to grab each oddly shaped vase, but there's nothing there. It's a beautifully timed bit of physical comedy.
    • In Shanghai Noon, he used antlers like a bat'leth, made a blunt rope dart using a lasso and horseshoe, and "piss shirt bend bar"...
    • Averted in one scene of Rush Hour, when Jackie is fighting amidst a collection of ancient chinese art, and must not only refrain from using it as weaponry, but also try to preserve as much of it as he can while fighting off the mooks.
    • If you fight Jackie Chan in a home depot, you're screwed. According to some quarters, about the only thing in an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny that could beat Batman with prep time is Jackie Chan, in a ladder factory, holding a baby, after saying he doesn't want any trouble.
  • In one of the most memorable scenes from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Casey Jones takes out Shredder's Dragon using a golf-club found in the crime-wave warehouse. (Casey's motif is usually other sports equipment as weapons; this gave him a new respect for golf.) Casey is in fact an Improbable Weapon User, as in the battle described above, Casey spends the first half of the fight getting his ass summarily handed to him. The exact moment when Casey turns the fight around and goes from being a punching bag to being a Badass, making quick work of The Dragon? When he finds the golf club in a pile of debris into which The Dragon knocked him.
    • In the sequel, in an act of major bowdlerization, the turtles do this throughout the whole movie, most notably in the shopping center at the beginning.
  • In Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, a man is beaten to death with a black rubber penis.
  • The famous scene from Braindead/Dead Alive where Lionel slaughters a horde of zombies with a lawnmower strapped to his chest.
  • In Oldboy, a man gets his throat slit with a broken shard of a CD-ROM.
    • ... and a toothbrush is turned into a lethal weapon.
    • A claw-hammer and a screwdriver are used as weapons.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas Angel knocks out an assailant with a flowerpot, and in another scene Doris Fletcher takes out a mad stock girl brandishing a box cutter by whacking her upside the head with a "Wet Floor" sign.
    • The sign probably said something more like "slippery when wet", considering the lesbian joke that gets made a second later. And the fact that it's Doris.
    • Later on in the film, a line of shopping carts becomes a battering ram.
    • There's also the Shoplifter being KO'd with a lobbed spray can. Nearly all of the murders are committed without traditional weapons: part of the church roof, gardening shears, a car and a combination of natural gas and burning food. Only once the NWA is found out do they use guns.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day Sarah Connor takes a psychologist as a hostage using a syringe full of cleaning fluid stuck in his neck, and threatening to kill him by injecting it if she wasn't left alone.
    • The same psychologist comments how she had earlier stabbed his knee with a pen.
  • You don't want to know what the Joker can do with a pencil.
    • "How about a magic trick? I'm gonna make this pencil disappear." * Slam* "Tah dah! It's... it's gone."
  • Jason Bourne is another master of the form. In The Bourne Identity, he is attacked by a switchblade-armed operative (who also knows kung fu), and has to defend himself with a ballpoint pen. He then disarms the assailant by brutally jamming the pen in between his knuckles.
  • The best thing in the Daredevil movie was Bullseye's mastery of the Improvised Weapon. Killing someone with a paper clip or a peanut? Badass.
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the title character's first kill, in the heat of the moment, involved him laying into Pirelli with a metal teapot and beating him into unconsciousness before stuffing him into a box. He has to finish him off with his razor because the beating didn't kill the guy.
  • 28 Days Later has Jim wielding a baseball bat (and later a crowbar), Hannah wielding what appears to be a vase of some kind in one scene, and makeshift Molotov cocktails wielded by Selena. Otherwise, real weapons abound.
  • Grosse Pointe Blank: Among his post-high school accomplishments, Martin Blank lists "kill[ing] the president of Paraguay with a fork." He later stabs an assassin in the neck with a souvenir pen, and smashes a still-plugged-in television over his business rival's head, electrocuting him to death.
  • Red Eye has a truly righteous incidence of this... with a pen. One of those punchy pens, with the little levers to push to make it punch... It doesn't kill the guy, but they are on a plane at the time and Jackson had already demonstrated how well he'd deal with Lisa's escape attempts. Later weaponry includes a pair of heels, too.
  • During the subway battle, the title character of the first Hellboy movie gives Sammael a good thrashing with a pay telephone.
  • In the 2007 Beowulf movie, the title character kills Grendel with a door. While loudly introducing himself.
  • In Die Hard 2, McClane kills a mook with a handy icicle.
  • The Chuck Norris movie An Eye for an Eye has Mako as Norris' sensei knock down one of several attackers, then render the Mook fully unconscious by hitting him with a desktop telephone (rotary, no less). He growls, "The warrior uses what is at hand!"
  • The climax of Arabesque shows Gregory Peck killing the villains with a ladder -- by jamming it down through the girders under a bridge into the rotor of their helicopter as they fly below trying to shoot him.
  • In Friday the 13 th Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason attempts to shoot one of his victims with a harpoon gun, but due to being at the bottom of Crystal Lake for five years, he is unable to draw back the rubber bands to fire the spear. So he stabs the girl with the entire harpoon gun.
  • Serenity has Mal face off against The Operative in the final battle. The latter carries a sword so the former pulls out a screwdriver from a handy tool box.
  • The Transporter specializes in these, or indeed anything with Jason Statham in it.
    • The best example is beating up a roomful of Mooks with a fire hose in the second film.
  • Indiana Jones lives by this trope. And he's not alone. As Marcus says, the pen is mightier than the sword.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick features the title character killing someone with a tea cup
    • When that doesn't scare the bad guys away, he nonchalantly picks up and threatens them with a sardine tin key.
  • There is a moment near the end of the original Stargate movie, when Jack killed Anubis using transporter rings. Yes, he used the local teleportation device to kill a guy. A really badass guy.
  • Smith, from Shoot Em Up, kills two people with carrots. He also has an interesting technique for firing bullets when his hands are busted up. He doesn't bother using a gun. He puts them between his fingers and puts his hand over a fire.
  • In Undercover Blues, Jeff Blue uses his daughter's stroller to beat up two muggers.
  • Blade Runner: Deckard is cornered in a bathroom with two broken fingers, no gun, and the villain Roy Batty has just walked in. His response? Wrest a lead pipe from the wall and beat Roy in the head with it. Roy's response? "Yes, that's the spirit!"
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, the big forest battle starts with Optimus wailing on Megatron with a couple of nearby trees.
  • In the 2009 Star Trek, Kirk uses his dropsuit helmet as a bludgeoning weapon when he loses his phaser on the Narada's drill.
  • In Scream Sydney takes out one of the killers by dropping a television on his head.
  • In No Country for Old Men, Anton Chigurh regularly uses a captive bolt pistol to not only kill people, but blast the locks off doors. He also strangles a deputy with handcuffs.
  • In District 9, Wikus and Christopher escape from the MNU genetics research facility when Christopher improvises a bomb out some random pieces of alien technology left sitting around. Later on, Wikus uses the Gravity Gun on a prawn mini-mech to hurl a pig at a soldier with rather devastating results.
  • In Kill Bill, after her sword is knocked out of her hands, the Bride kills Go-Go Yubari with a broken table leg with nails in it.
  • Ip Man may be a Martial Pacifist, but if pushed has no qualms against using a feather duster, a long bamboo rod, wood pallets etc. to fight.
  • In The Mist, an elderly English teacher clocks a delusional religious fanatic in the face with a can of peas, among many examples throughout the meat of the movie.
  • In The Incredible Hulk, the Hulk uses pieces of a broken statue to shield himself from the sonic cannons. He then uses the same pieces to take down one of the cannons and, later, a gunship. During the final fight, Hulk turns a police car into a pair of impromptu boxing gloves.
  • In the Jean Claude Van Damme film Sudden Death, he kills a man with a chicken bone (death #2 here).
  • In REC2 a teenager uses a bottle rocket to take out a zombie.
  • Dunston Checks In has one in the kitchen of a 5-star hotel. Among the implements used are a ladle, a whisk, and a 20-pound bag of coffee beans. And a wine bottle, almost:

 Rutledge brandishes a wine bottle.

Grant: NO! NO! That's the Chateau Lafite.

Rutledge: <looks at it> Good year. <puts it away, fighting resumes>

  • Both The Faculty and the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street feature the use of the arm of a paper guillotine as an improbably sharp bladed weapon despite the arm of actual paper guillotines being entirely blunt.
  • In Fatal Contact the Japanese fighter puts nails into his gloves and boots for use against the hero.
  • Occurs in the first Spy Kids movie here. Subverted in that the next movie reveals said device is a weapon, though we still don't see it fire.
  • Watson's pot or hat. See also Holmes' (attempt) with a hammer.
  • In Law Abiding Citizen, all that Clyde wants is his steak. His Porterhouse steak. Turns out, the bone is a pretty effective punch dagger.
  • Zombieland - Jesse Eisenberg's character kills his newly reanimated neighbour with the lid off a toilet cistern.
  • Twice in Captain America the First Avenger. Skinny, pre-serum Steve uses a trashcan lid as a shield against a bully. And post-serum Steve uses a taxi door as a shield against a Nazi assassin.
  • The 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left: Knives, wine bottle, roofing hammer, ottoman, mattress, lamp, hot water...
  • In Crocodile Dundee, the chauffeur who was driving around Mick yanked the in-car phone antenna off of the limo he was driving, and used it as a boomerang to take down a fleeing Mook.
  • In If Looks Could Kill, Zigesfeld uses a gold serving tray to kill the French finance minister during his meeting with Steranko at the beginning, bashing him upside the head so hard he's knocked out of his chair and send sliding across the floor and into the wall.
  • In Thunderball Bond and Colonel Bouvar attack each other with chairs, bookshelves, upholstery, and a fire poker. (Bonus points to Bond, who only pulled the bookshelf onto Bouvar because his jacket sleeve had been stuck to it with a throwing knife.) Later, in the movie's climax on the Disco Volante, Bond frantically pummels several henchmen with what appears to be a radio officer's headset, repeatedly slams a small hinged door on a fallen goon, and hurls a heavy-looking chair at another one.


Literature Edit

  • In Artemis Fowl, Captain Holly Short uses a cot to beat her way through concrete so she can reach bare earth and plant an acorn in it to regain her powers.
  • In the second book of the Old Kingdom Trilogy, Lirael, Sam and his classmates fend off zombies with cricket equipment. (Note: the book pre-dates Shaun of the Dead by three years.)
  • In the Stephen King novella The Langoliers, Albert (teenage violin player) not only uses his cased violin as a weapon at one point, but improvises an even more destructive one from a tablecloth and toaster.
    • Carried over in the screen adaptation. Albert swings a mean toaster.
    • Also, at least in the novel, coins/keys between the fingers were pondered as a weapon. The character in question is basically Michael Westen, though.
  • Another King example is The Mist, where apart from one handgun, the protagonists have to scrounge monster-fighting weapons from the supermarket in which they are trapped. One elderly woman has great success using cans of Raid.
  • Lisbeth Salander uses a nail gun and a golf club to save herself or other people, at different points in time.
  • The Bourne Series, with Bourne using kitchen knives, pens, magazines, hand towels and goodness knows what else, to lethal effect.
  • In one of Dragonlance novels, Tika the barmaid defeated a Draconian with a frying-pan. Although she only did it once, it's now seen as her defining characteristic.
    • Well, she did graduate to Shield Bashing.
  • Discworld has a number of examples. There's Vimes' creative use of a signal flare in The Fifth Elephant, Susan Sto Helit's magical poker in Hogfather, three elves being defeated with a fourth elf in Lords and Ladies. Oh, and Rincewind's judicious use of a half-brick in a sock in Sourcery. And Truckle's wooden log in Interesting Times. And probably many other but this should do for now.
    • Vimes was taught by the best improvised-weapon user he'd ever encountered in a bar fight, a heavily scarred man named Gussy Two Grins, who could even see the weapons in a piece of cloth or a piece of fruit (as mentioned in Night Watch).
    • Also in Night Watch, where Vimes kills a man with a ruler. A ruler! In a segment on technology for prisons, a case of cell-made shanks were shown; one was a wooden ruler that had been perfectly sharpened from the six-inch point on. So this isn't quit so unreasonable. The area the rebels led by Vimes are 'holed up' in includes the city's main butchery shops. Falls somewhere between Kitchen and Farmland, and maybe edging towards Nightmare (a sword is the sort of weapon you expect to deal with, a meat-hook will probably catch you off-guard), especially when they're used by men with as much or more experience with them (20 odd hours a week or more) than most soldiers have with their swords.
    • And then there's Conina the Barbarian Hairdresser from Sourcery. "The one she stabbed with the scissors was probably better off than the one she raked with the (steel-toothed) comb."
    • There's also Tiffany Aching, who takes out elves with a frying pan.
  • Mariel, the spunky anthropomorphic mouse girl of the Redwall series. She was thrown into the sea, tied to a piece of wood. The wood floated to shore, and she was attacked by a seabird, which she proceeded to beat away using nothing but the knotted end of the rope she'd been tied with. She took the rope as her favoured weapon, calling it the "Gullwhacker".
  • Jonathan Hemlock, of the Eiger Sanction and the Loo Sanction, is the master of this. None of the martial arts instructors can figure out how he keeps passing his requirements, until they try to teach him a lesson.
  • In A Proper Taming, Portia Haverall whacks Conner Dewhurst, the Earl of Doncaster, over the head with a bedwarmer, knocking him senseless. An image of a bedwarmer can be seen here.
  • Slippery Jim DiGriz, in a Stainless Steel Rat Goes To Hell. Not to spoil too much, but there's a need to go to an area that doesn't let electronics or machinery work. So Jim arms a company of Marines with three-foot-long salamis. After they are used to smack down the bad guys, a secondary, peaceful application are found.
    • Plus there's the time he's on the Big Brother planet and can't smuggle in weapons. He improvises a sap by stuffing coins in a sock while hidden from prying eyes under his bedsheets.
  • In Treasure Island, Long John Silver throws his cane at a man to knock him down so he can finish him off with a knife.
  • In William Boyd's spy novel Restless, the main character is trained as a spy but her handler tells her she doesn't need actual combat training, and that her survival instincts will serve her well enough if she's in a dangerous situation. Later in the book she kills an armed assassin by stabbing him in the eye with a pencil
  • World War Z has the Lobotomizer, essentially a bladed shovel made of old car steel. At this point, the government is so badly reeling that it accepts the "Lobo", and it becomes a signature anti-zombie weapon.
    • Truth in Television: During WWI, those fighting in the trenches would sometimes sharpen their entrenchment tools (AKA small shovel), since they were often better weapons than the bayonets.
    • One soldier mentions the time he once saw The Big Guy of his squad use a zombie as a club.
    • Another anecdote mentions a tiny nun defending her Sunday School students with a six-foot candleholder. She's later mentioned to have joined the army.
  • In Wolf of the Plain, Temujin and Khasar kill the man who hired the Tartars to kill their father and his bodyguards by ripping off plates of their own armour and slashing their throats with them.
  • Specialty of BND agent Karl Hahn in Phoenix Force.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Winds of Fate, Kerowyn makes a point of training Princess Elspeth to think of anything around her as a weapon, which promptly proves its value when an assassin attacks her and she breaks a vase and cuts his throat with it.
    • Later it becomes a bit of a joke between the two of them.
  • The second Gears of War tie-in novel, "Jacinto's Remnant" features a battle in a general store between COG and Locust forces in a flashback to the year 1 AE. After Marcus's bayonet breaks trying to pierce a Drone's tough hide, Tai saves him with a nearby circular power saw. This served as the in-universe inspiration for the series's signature Chainsaw Bayonet.
  • In Ice Station, gas-powered grappling hooks are used as weapons at one point. Very effectively.
    • In Area 7, broken pieces of airplane are used as swords and shields.
  • Innocent items put to lethal use are one of humanity's distinguishing traits in the Known Space series. It particularly makes a point of how any high-tech equipment that involves a laser can be modified into a lethal weapon (including a highly advanced adjustable flashlight), but it also has a lot of smackdowns with mining equipment.
  • A professional hitman in Safe Harbor by Eugene Izzi has taken this trope to heart, since infiltration's a lot easier when you're not obviously armed. His Weapon of Choice is a credit card that he meticulously sharpened one edge of, and he can actually slit people's throats with it.
  • Played with in Pest Control, when the hitman-hounded New York protagonist realizes that his best weapon to fight back is New York City, itself. Say, by slipping through a certain restaurant's back door with a killer hot on his heels, luring the gunman through the kitchen, and then ducking for cover as both emerge into a dining area packed with mafiosi and their trigger-happy bodyguards.
  • In Dean Koontz' "Odd Thomas" series, the titular main character states that he hates using guns, but can, will, and has used anything else on hand as a weapon.
  • Julio Poertena from the Prince Roger series carries a big wrench, which he uses to adjust the attitude of malfunctioning gear and enemies in close range with equal fervour and precision.
  • In Blackout, Cal Leandros, who is normally happiest using large-caliber firearms, kills a spider the size of a German shepherd -- with a fork.
  • In The Honor of the Queen, Honor uses a metal tray as a thrown weapon against Protector Benjamin's would-be assassins.
  • Time Scouts prefer to stay invisible. Failing that, they prefer to use their favorite weapons. Failing that, they'll use whatever they can lay their hands on.
  • In an explicit shout-out to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Dresden tries to turn his recently-broken blasting rod into two stakes for fighting vampires. It doesn't work. He's also been known to hold mouthfuls of garlic and let vampires tackle him, and use a (steel) letter opener and nails to ward off Fae. He's killed a demon with an elevator. He was much more fond of this earlier in the series.
    • Toot Toot saved Harry from the skin-walker when Toot Toot tried to attack the skin-walker with a box-cutter and wearing makeshift armor. Remember, Toot Toot is the size of a G.I. Joe action figure, the skin-walker is (at the moment) about ten feet tall, and is always one of the heavy-weight eldritch abominations in the series.
    • Thomas Raith broke a chair over another White Court vampire. The chair was made of metal.
    • A badly constructed Entropy Curse will do this. Bees? Electric shock in a pool of your own blood? A car, while you're jet-skiing?
  • In the Savannah Reid series, Atlanta saves her sister Savannah's life by smashing her guitar into the murderer's leg, breaking both the leg and the guitar.
  • In Manly Wade Wellman's short story O, Ugly Bird John uses his guitar to kill the monster. It's strung with silver, and when he smashes it onto the creature, the silver kills it. John removes the strings and puts them on a new guitar.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Lampshaded in the Cop Parody Police Squad! In one episode, mobsters would attack Leslie Nielsen with improvised weapons of various ridiculousness, escalating from a knife, to a golf club, to a signed Picasso, to Herpes.

  "Look out, he's got a cold sore!"

  • Many Police Procedural episodes have a plot twist in which the murder weapon is something unexpected. An episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Lamb to the Slaughter", one of several episodes based on short stories by Roald Dahl) had the police actually eating the evidence, a previously frozen leg of lamb.

 "What we're looking for is something about the size of a large club. chew chew"

"I've got a feeling it's right under our noses."

  • Among television shows, MacGyver was noted for his ability to ad lib weaponry, although he favored more complicated solutions than most TV heroes.
  • The series The Equalizer had as its main character a middle-aged retired spy who helped New Yorkers in need as penance for being such a lethal character over the years. He preferred non-violent solutions to his problems, mixed with a little gunplay. However, to establish how dangerous a man he was, the stories occasionally showed him improvising weaponry. In one case, he was being held hostage and asked to be escorted to the men's room. Once inside a stall and out of sight, he unscrewed the coat hook from the door and clutched it firmly in his fist so the less-than-an-inch long screw projected past his knuckles. As he left the stall, he punched his terrorist guard directly in the forehead, killing him instantly.
  • In Chuck, Casey has knocked out thugs using a refrigerator door, a microwave, a piece of a headboard he'd been cuffed to, and a radiator he ripped out of a wall.
    • Sarah makes a subspecialty of this. She's attacked people using wooden skewers, a bar of soap in pantyhose, a plate used discus-style, a frying pan, knives she found in a pile of wedding presents, a pipe she ripped out of a shower, a bust of a cougar, a broken CD, and anything else she could get her hands on. Oh, and she once hit a steering wheel so hard the airbag went off and knocked her opponent unconscious.
    • Chuck once used his own casted foot and a cane to knock a guy out.
  • One of the all-time classic examples is the Star Trek episode "Arena", where Kirk, who's stuck on a planet with an angry Gorn there, finds the ingredients for gunpowder and builds a makeshift cannon.
    • Galaxy Quest naturally skewered this one: Jason Nesmith (who played the Kirk-analogue Captain Taggart) is unarmed and running from a huge rock monster. When he asks the crew on the ship for advice, one of them tells him to see if he can "form some sort of rudimentary lathe" (and is promptly shouted down by his less Genre Savvy companions). Both are based on the short story "Arena" by Fredric Brown, published in 1944. The Star Trek version is closer to the original than the Galaxy Quest one, so much so that the credits for the Star Trek episode carry a story credit to Mr. Brown, in order to avoid copyright issues.
    • Also spoofed in the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before, in which their improvised weapons (including a bow with a bowstring made of caterpillars) all fail in practice, so Kirk has to resort to making out with his opponent.
    • Also in Star Trek Original Series episode "Space Seed" Kirk uses a piece of equipment grabbed from a engineering console to beat up Khan.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Gray 17 is Missing", Garibaldi (who has a few bullets, but no gun) defeats a monstrous Zarg by stuffing the bullets into a steam pipe and using the head and pressure to fire them one at a time. Don't try this at home -- if they fire at all, it'll be all at once, and slowly. And you'd also be likely to blow your own hand off in the process.
    • In a more dramatic event, during a battle in the Earth-Minbari war a Minbari shuttle lures an Earthforce strike group to a precise location...and at least one vessel is destroyed when Minbari warships open jump points that intersect their hulls. (The Minbari were obviously just showing off at that point. Unless they Warrior Caste is much less like humans than they seem, there was probably a bet involved.)
  • In Lost, Sayid kills someone with a dishwasher... more precisely, a row of knives faced up in the dishwasher tray.
    • On Lost Hurley once memorably threw a hot pocket at Ben.
  • In one episode of Stargate Atlantis, Ronon Dex is trapped on his homeworld, being hunted by Wraith. Although he soon finds a large assortment of weapons, he begins by fashioning a crude knife by tying a shard of metal to the broken off handle of a saucepan.
    • In another episode, he's cornered by a Wraith in the SGC base without a weapon. So he rips a pipe right out of the ceiling.
  • In an episode of Sanctuary, Helen Magnus is trapped in a warehouse by a masked assailant. She defends herself by screwing a bunch of pipes together to make a billy club.
  • Among other things, Michael Westen on Burn Notice has improvised stainless steel knuckles from a butter knife, a silencer from a tin can, a trigger spring from a bobby pin, and explosives from a wide range of unknown materials.
    • He claims you can make many of these explosives from things available under most kitchen sinks.
  • In one episode of The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg takes out one bad guy with a vending machine and another with a restroom door.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampires can be killed by driving any sharp piece of wood into their heart, and Buffy frequently exploits this. She has used (among other things) sticks, a wooden 2x4, a mop handle, a drumstick, a pool cue, and a #2 pencil. Occasionally, she will instead decapitate a vampire with an improvised weapon, from a thrown cymbal in the pilot, to closing a car door on a vampire's neck in season 6.
    • Willow also used the #2 pencil. With a little telekinetic magic.
    • Buffy did it first, in Ep: 306 "Band Candy". Buffy and Giles are sitting in a graveyard, studying for Buffy's SATs, (homework... with vampire slaying!) when a vamp appears behind Giles.

 Buffy: Roll.

Giles: What? (turns, sees vamp, and rolls away)

Buffy: (after dusting the vamp with her pencil) Hmm. I broke my No. 2 pencil. We'll have to do this again sometime.

    • Buffy also hit Xander with a desk (offscreen) while he was under the influence of the hyena spirit in Season 1.
    • Spike lampshades this in "Halloween". He arranges for a mook to videotape Buffy in action, then reviews the tape so he can learn how to defeat Buffy. He is particularly impressed when she stakes the vampire with a signpost.
    • In fact, improvised weapons are frequently the order of the day on the show. Apart from the various items used to stake or decapitate vampires, the various characters have used baseball bats, crowbars, kitchen knives, fire axes, ice skates, frying pans, tables, and a wrecking ball.
    • Buffy also mentions an incident prior to her arrival in Sunnydale, where all she had to work with was a nail file to cut a vampire's thick neck.
    • She once used a shard of broken church glass as an improvised chakram to cut the gauntlet-wielding hand off an ex-Watcher.
    • A particularly memorable case comes when she uses a ceramic unicorn with a wooden horn. Lampshaded when Buffy looks at it in confusion afterward and throws it down.
  • This is in Angel, when Angel kills a werewolf with a pen he borrows from Wesley. Later, when they're discussing the werewolf:

 Spike: I had a wee spat with a werewolf myself once. Fought for over an hour. Brutal, vicious. (holds up his hand, wiggles his fingers) Almost lost my--

Fred: Angel killed him with a pen.

Spike: ....

    • Also on Angel, Harmony fights another vampire in the Wolfram & Hart cafeteria. After a few rounds of vampire fisticuffs, they both grab chopsticks. The best human analogue would probably be steak knives.
    • Angel throws a spoon at one guy that lodges itself in his head and kills him.

 Spike: A spoon? That's just - (butler pulls spoon out) Well. Okay, that's more - (butler falls over dead) disappointing, really.

    • Fred kicks a lot of ass when it comes to this. For example, she designed a giant mousetrap-like device that fires an axe when stepped on. Because she was Crazy Preparing for the possibility of fighting an enemy while armless.
  • Done several times in Highlander the Series. There are only so many ways to cut off a head with a sword. If said head gets in the way of a wrecking ball, or stuck in a motorboat prop, well, whatever gets the job done.
  • Leverage, "The Wedding Job":

 Nate: Did you just kill a guy with an appetizer?

Eliot: I don't know. Maybe.

    • Note that he earlier disarmed his knife-wielding opponent with an egg whisk.
    • Also, Eliot's Foil Mikel Dayan would mop the floor with you. Because she once killed a guy with a mop.
  • An episode of Life features a female contract killer who is very skilled at this. Her entire shtick is using household objects to kill people. One really good scene features Charlie talking to her in her kitchen, and constantly looking around at everything in the room that he could be killed with at any time. He then one-ups her by asking for a soda as he leaves, and pouring it in her gas tank so she can't get away once she disables his less savvy partner.
  • During an episode of Power Rangers RPM a bunch of the Grinders attack a mom sitting with her baby, the baby in the carriage. 2 of the Rangers show up, and Scott at one point in time picks up the carriage and swings it around at the grunts, managing to knock them down. All this is done while said baby is still in the carriage. And yes, he looks inside at one point to make sure the baby is okay.
    • This happens pretty consistently in RPM. If they can get their hands on it, it's been used as a weapon. Bus doors, vegetables, a beach umbrella, suran wrap, Flynn's transformation explosion. If it can smash, cut, entangle, entrap, or otherwise inconvenience the Grinders or the Monster of the Week it has.
  • In an episode of Jonathan Creek, the title character stops an armed man with a thrown playing card. Lampshaded and slightly justified in that he got the book "Cards as Weapons" by Ricky Jay at the start of the episode, was seen practicing the moves during the show, and admitted after his success that he had actually missed the target he was aiming for.
  • Firefly loves this trope. Mal, Zoe, and Jayne make heavy use of improvised weapons, Wash manages to improvise the mule to knock out a Mook at one point, and Book uses a hose and a water pump to incapacitate multiple thugs. Mal also has a tendency to turn opponents' weapons against them, at one point choking an Alliance soldier with his own rifle's strap and the chains on his handcuffs to break a Reaver's neck. And don't even get started on River.
  • The short-lived TV series Spy Game has Lorne Cash doing this all the time, including a scene where he faced off against his teacher, and they were declaring what could be used in that fight. "Kick that garden hose away." "Get rid of the comb in your back pocket." "Take off your watch..."
  • In the Battlestar Galactica Reimagined episode "The Farm", Kara Thrace uses a shard of broken mirror to stab a Cylon in the neck.
    • The most iconic Battlestar Galactica example has to be Adama beating Leoben to death with a flashlight in the Miniseries.
    • Leoben also gets a pair of metal chopsticks in the neck from Kara after he locks her up in a mock apartment and deprives her of anything else he thinks can be used as a weapon (including steak knives).
  • In an episode of McCloud, Sam McCloud used a couple gallons of liquid detergent and a firehose to defeat a small army of armed killers breaking into poilce headquarters.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron in particular and the Terminators in general use various improvised weaponry, often because conventional weapons just do not work on them. Cameron has used weapons like a ripped-off exhaust pipe from a truck, a loose high power cable, and an elevator, while other Terminators use weapons like a bar of coltan alloy, or barrels of radioactive waste.
  • This trope pops up a lot in Misfits, sometimes played for comedy (Nathan attacking the security guard with a stapler for instance), and sometimes through sheer necessity -- such as when Kelly incapacitates Tony with a paint tin, or when Simon uses a broom to break the lightbulbs in the community centre (though that one was more for creepiness value than anything).
  • In Flash Forward, Mark Benford is blackmailed into coming to a deserted area with no support or weapons by the genius Dyson Frost. When they meet face to face, Mark asks to take a drink of water, then spits into Dyson's face, revealing the bottle to have been filled with gas from his car.
  • In one episode of Legend of the Seeker imprisoned Kahlan makes herself a weapon by folding a plate and proceeds to kill a guard with it.
  • On the 1966 Batman, improvised weapons were a recurring part of the fight choreography, used by heroes and villains alike. Batgirl, however, was especially prone to using them, most likely because the producers wouldn't allow her to give or receive punches. Whacking a bad guy over the head with a handy prop helped add a little variety to Batgirl's ballet-influenced Kick Chick/Dance Battler fighting style.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, the newest Dragon uses a handful of coins to shatter special UV-protective glass in front of a local vampire hangout, causing the patrons to immediately fall to the floor screaming.
  • Sammo Law of Martial Law employs this to great effect, much like his fellow Peking Opera House graduate Jackie Chan. The pilot involves a jerk cop reading his jacket and finding that it declares he can turn anything into a "deadly weapon". He loudly and publicly challenged Sammo to fight him with a blackboard eraser. He lost. The shows premise specifically says he can't have a gun, just so they'd have an excuse for this trope.
    • The team later encounters an assassin who has a reputation much like Sammo's, including improvising a garrote from a paper napkin. Turns out it's all hot air.
  • This happens in Primeval. A lot. Cutter's make-shift flame thrower, Helen's exploding milk carton (or whatever that was), Claudia and her Golf Club of Death...I could go on and on.

 Claudia: Hole in one!

    • Connor seems to do this more than anyone else. The Electric Footstool of Doom, the slushie cup, and the very scary Dart of Death, just to name a few. Oh, and that time when Stephen has a gun, Abby has a gun, and Connor gets...a shovel. Possibly justified by the fact that Connor never gets a gun. No wonder, after he shoots Abby and a man in a bear costume.

 Cutter: Any questions?

Connor: Can I have a gun?

Cutter: Take a guess.

Connor:...No?

Cutter: Good guess.

  • In a flashback during the episode of NCIS where Director Vance recovers from a shooting, Eli David manages to take objects from around Leon's apartment in Amsterdam and forms them into a functioning Claymore antipersonnel mine as a defense against enemies pursuing them.
  • Mohinder from Heroes is fond of these, having used a ceramic elephant, a wall-sized map, a fire extinguisher, a car door, and a tuning fork (Makes Sense in Context). Sylar also likes his improvised weapons (broken glass, beer bottles, and assorted kitchen implements, among others), but almost anything's a projectile when you're telekinetic.
  • In the first episode of Young Blades, Jacqueline beats D'Artagnan by throwing a melon at him and squirting him in the face with milk from a strategically placed cow.
  • Alias - prime examples from the pilot being a car aerial and a chair (that Sydney was tied to at the time).
  • In Breakout Kings many of the escaping convicts use weapons made out of things they can obtain in prison; shivs are just the most basic of these. An explosives expert made a grenade from a lightbulb and flour. Another one build a trap in his cell that caused sharpened plastic spoons to pierce a guard's throat.
  • In Grimm, Juliette makes good use of a pot of boiling water against an ogre attacking Nick.


Music Edit

  • In Doctor Steel's song, "Lament for a Toy Factory", Steel goes insane after being fired by a toy factory. He invades the factory with an army of toys and gasoline-filled Super Soakers.


Myths & Religion Edit

  • In The Bible Cain picked up a rock and killed Abel with it, and Samson killed an army with a donkey's jawbone.
    • Swords <-> Ploughshares
    • Shamgar's act of killing six hundred heavily armed spearmen with an oxgoad (stick with a nail in it). (That would be Judges 3:31, if you've never heard of him.)
    • Although not exactly a weapon in the usual sense, during a period of righteous fury, Jesus cleared out the temple in Jerusalem with a whip made out of belts.


Pro Wrestling Edit

  • ECW employed this frequently, with everything from "Singapore canes" to fire extinguishers, staple guns, stop signs, barbed wire, and, on one occasion, a Sega Genesis. The style was later aped by WWF and WCW, with their hardcore matches; they added implements like galvanized-steel trash cans and cookie sheets to the mix. One infamous hardcore match between The Rock and Mankind saw Rock pummel Mankind with the handset to a pay phone while screaming, "It's for you!"
    • The original ECW Arena was located near a thrift shop, and for a while, the management held contests for the most original fan-brought foreign object -- not only the above, but a laptop, a plastic lawn-santa, a hobby horse, etc. (This undoubtedly made the thrift-shop owners happy.) Unfortunately, one fan didn't really get Kayfabe... Foley said that he had become accustomed to swinging cheap alumimum pots and pans, that when this happened, he has a cast-iron skillet in his hand and didn't know it until mid-swing. His opponent was The Sandman, and ended up with a concussion that kept him out of action for two weeks.
      • Speaking of skillets, that was how "Mighty" Molly (Holly) became one of the few women to win the Hardcore Title, by defeating her mentor, The Hurricane (she lost it shortly after when she ran into the upper half of a door that Christian was opening. He looked guilty at first, but then pinned her to claim it anyway.)
      • He mentions in his autobiography Have a Nice Day that the best improvised weapon he used was... a two-man kayak. Which just goes to show that you can have your kayak and beat it.
        • He also mentioned a WWE match against Owen Hart where they attacked each other with giant bags of popcorn. POPPED popcorn. It was mostly intended as a joke.
    • One memorable match in Sy Fy's ECW had Tommy Dreamer ram Christian into a hotdog cart and start hitting him with the contents inside, taking a break to eat. Christian came back and finished him off with a car door.
  • Most "traditional" wrestling weapons are improvised, anyway. The ubiquitous folding steel chair is one of them -- jostle someone sitting at ringside, fold, swing. Need something hard and heavy during your title fight? You earned a title shot-- go grab the belt and give one to your opponent! The guy with the microphone talking too much? Hit him with it! It's actually rare when a real 'weapon' is ringside, although some performers do have their trademark items.
    • Chains show up from time to time, as do brass knuckles and kendo sticks.
  • Chris Jericho pulled off one of the rings on the ropes used to lift the steel cage and then beat Batista bloody with it.
  • Jillian Hall bashed Mickie James over the head with a water cannon in what was supposed to be a joke match.
    • Mickie also knocked out Lita with a super sized sausage.
  • Eugene shot Armando Alejandro Estrada in the crotch with a T-shirt gun. Accidental or not, it was effective.
    • Stacy Kiebler once did the same to Steven Richards. It was unquestionably on purpose.
    • And Miz to Hornswoggle, again unquestionably on purpose. Also hilariously funny to many people.
  • There's always some "random" stuff under the ring, ostensibly left there by the crew who set things up in the arena that night. Jim Ross once lampshaded the hell out of this:

  J.R.: "If I live to be 100, I will never understand why they keep so many damn weapons under the ring. It's like they want the wrestlers to use them on each other..."

    • Good ol' J.R. himself managed this once, by taking a glass candy jar to Tazz's head during the latter's match with Jerry Lawler.
  • Expect any injured wrestler (or wrestler feigning injury) to use their cast, face protector or crutches as a weapon.
  • Chavo once pelted Hornswoggle with penny loafers. Theodore Long was infamous for striking with his shoe too.
  • When falls count anywhere, expect to see some strange things. Luna Vachon found a scanner and made several copies of Ivory, who retaliated by burning her with a clothing iron. Road Dogg went after Mankind with a dog dish. John Cena once chased Eddie Guererro with a pushmower (what it was doing in a parking complex is anyone's guess). Cena also duct-taped Batista's legs around the ringpost in a last man standing match. Oh, and Kane with the car battery and jumper cables.
    • In a last man standing match between John Cena and Umaga, a ring rope broke. Cena later choked Umaga out with it.
  • Stone Cold driving a beer truck into the arena and hosing down the McMahons remains a memorable Raw moment.
    • Kurt Angle would end up giving a heel-turned Stone Cold a taste of his own medicine (with a milk truck, no less!) in a similarly memorable Raw moment.
  • At one TNA PPV, Tommy Dreamer knocked down Bully Ray (the former Bubba Ray Dudley) with a weapon that an audience member handed over... a giant plush toy of a minion from Despicable Me.
  • During a Hardcore Title match between Al Snow and the Road Dogg Jesse James, which eventually saw the pair fight in the snow outside, both a box of toilet paper and a set of small potted plants were used as weapons.
  • In an empty arena match between Mankind and The Rock, the finish saw Mankind pinning a still very much conscious Rock by using a forklift to keep him down.
  • Look up videos of CZW on youtube and be horrified as the wrestlers use weed whackers, stacks of fluorescent lights, panes of glass, and anything else to cause each other to bleed buckets.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • The Battletech Humongous Mecha wargame has rules to allow the 'Mechs to pick up arms and limbs that have been shot off other 'Mecha (although, there's nothing stopping a 'Mech using it's own amputated leg, come to that).
    • If your 'Mech has hands and is in a forest hex -- hey, insta-club! Sure, it's only good for one use, but they're like Doritos: crunch all you want, they'll make more.
    • There's also the option for an Assault class 'Mech to even use a lighter 'Mech as a melee weapon, in the Humongous Mecha version of Grievous Harm with a Body.
  • The Orks of Warhammer 40000 have their entire civilisation based around this (and getting More Dakka). Everything is improvised, and everything is a weapon.
    • An Imperial assassin of the Eversor temple was once assigned to eliminate a planetary governor and his family after it was discovered that the colonial leader was financing pirate raids against his neighbors. Attacking during a family festival, the assassin ended up butchering all three hundred and seventeen members of the governor's clan, ages ranging from one hundred and forty-two to three weeks old, though he had to resort to using a silver soup spoon and a butter knife before he was finished.
    • The annihilator pattern of the Predator tank originated as this, ironically. It was the result of a long ranged long fang assault against a group of chaos space marines, where they were unable to get in range with their lascannons, and the predator destructor they had at hand were not an effective enough tank-hunting weapon. So what do they do? Rip out the weapons of the tank and link their lascannons there instead! While the Adeptus Mechanicus were enraged at even thinking of modifying their tanks, the pattern soon grew in popularity, and soon became one of the most popular predator patterns in the 41st millenium once other chapters started copying this idea.
    • The Apocalypse datasheet for the Land Raider Ares has a backstory a bit like this. A vanilla Land Raider is heavy APC. The Dark Angels were bogged down in siege warfare (which doesn't answer why they didn't just have their strike cruiser torpedo the enemy fortress into scrap), and they had the techpriests build them a weapon designed to penetrate the rubble-strewn defenses. A day after the Areses were deployed, with their heavy flamethrowers, epic machine guns, and massive short-ranged artillery weapon, the enemy surrendered.
  • In fact, most roleplaying games allow characters to wield anything they can reasonably lift as weaponry. Generally, however, unless the item was designed to be a weapon, the attack is penalized.
  • In In Nomine, Malakites of Creation (and any other Angel with their Choir Attunement) explicitly have the ability to pick up anything and use it as a weapon, the effectiveness determined by their stats rather than the object in question, the explanation being "they fight creatively."
  • In Scion, a character with sufficient Epic Strength can use anything ranging from a motorcycle to a nuclear aircraft carrier as such.
  • Scion's pseudo-progenitor Exalted has a lot of the same, only in one case, it's so much cheesier. The core rulebook's set of Exalted, the Solars, have their titular martial arts style, Solar Hero Style, have a minor focus on improvised weapons. The Lunar Exalted are much, much worse. Not in Lunar Hero Style, but because anything they can pick up, they can make a perfect attack with using one of their Charms (a perfect attack is Exactly What It Says on the Tin -- it just hits, unless you use a perfect defense to stop it). Including doing so with improvised versions of weapons they have absolutely no idea how to actually use in the first place. For Full Moon Lunars under their anima effect, this includes picking up decent-sized buildings and hurling them so very hard that the attack is unblockable and undodgable. Or as a melee weapon. Or, if you have a ballista on hand, as a ballista bolt, even if you don't know the first thing about siege artillery.
    • Meanwhile, a good chunk of the Exalted types get Melee and Thrown Charms. Under the right circumstances, these can apply to dessert forks and fruit. Similarly, the Sidereal Exalted get an Archery Charm that allows them to turn anything shorter than their arm -- such as a table leg, a handful of sand, or a shout -- into an arrow, granting that arrow properties of the material you used (you aim for someone's face with a sand arrow, they're gonna be blinded).
  • Besides the normal improvised weapon rules GURPS: Powers spends two whole pages on the effects of using improvised weapons that are bigger than you are (like cars, or I-beams).
    • An in the Dungeon Fantasy setting Ninjas can temporarily make improvised weapons just as effective as proper weapons.
  • Always at the cutting edge of tavern brawl technology, Seventh Sea features a school of fencing dedicated to the use of improvised weapons. Note that it doesn't give any advantage to combat with real weapons. Rather, at a low rank it allows the fencer to wield anything as if it were a weapon -- anything at all. More amusingly, at higher ranks the character can become more dangerous with a broken bottle than he would be with a sword.
  • In Paranoia, Bouncy Bubble Beverage cans explode if you shake them enough, making them popular among citizens not cleared to use actual grenades.
  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • The Complete Thief's Handbook had statistics for some tools such as crowbar and some climbing implements.
    • Sourcebooks concerning sailing usually pay at least some attention to boarding, which often includes statistics of belaying pins and gaffing hooks as weapons.
    • In the Urban Arcana setting for D20 Modern, there is an advanced class called the Street Warrior that gains proficiency with improvised weapons and at later levels can do extra damage as if it were a size category larger.
    • One prestige class in 3.5 edition, the Drunken Master, has the special ability to use any improvised weapon, but deal damage as if he were attacking with a Monk's unarmed strike (At the Monk level when this ability is possible, you may be dealing 1d10 damage with fists; the improvised weapon damage die is 1d4). This ability has one caveat; It is only active when the character is drunk. A secondary ability of the Drunken Master is to be able to drink a pint as a move action.
    • The Complete Warrior splatbook sort-of creates the ability to treat specific improvised weapons as Exotic Weapons (one of the Prestige Classes includes Exotic Weapon Proficiency - Manacles as a bonus Feat for a Class Feature). The back of the book also includes rules for improvised weapons such as table legs and barrels, giving rules for transmuting weight of the object into damage dice, and specifying that sharp objects deal double damage. Exotic Weapon Proficiency - Boat Anchor has never looked quite so fearsome.
    • In 4th edition, the Arena Fighter can use anything as an improvised weapon with a fair degree of skill. There's also the Belt of the Brawler, which allows the wearer to use any improvised weapon as though it were a club. Combine that with the Iron Soul Monk and you're basically Jackie Chan in a ladder factory.
  • In Feng Shui, the Everyman Hero character type gets a bonus when fighting with any improvised weapon.
  • Mutants and Masterminds includes rules for improvised weapons, as well as a couple of feats to make them more effective. However, a super-strong character is likely to destroy whatever they were holding after a swing or two.
  • The weapon charts in Post-Apocalyptic Hero (5th edition Hero System) include such items as parking meter maces and "swords" made by sharpening the edge of a traffic sign pole. Well, it is post-apoc.
  • Changeling: The Lost has the Bloodbrute Kith, who gain the ability to fashion anything they find into a crude weapon. The book mentions an Ogre ripping a stop sign out of the ground and fashioning it into a great axe as one example.
  • Starblazer Adventures, based on the 1970's-80's British science fiction comic book.
    • The "Whatever's On Hand" stunt allows the use of the Fists skill when fighting with improvised weapons.
    • The "Anything Goes" stunt allows the use of any kind of improvised weapon without penalties.


Video Games Edit

  • Project Zomboid: Hammers, baseball bats, and boards of wood can be used as weapons. With some nails, you can put some spikes on the bat.
  • In the Mega Man main serie, many Robot Master's weapons are actually industrial tools.Many character sheets show that their weapons were intended for entirely different uses.
  • The Half-Life series has Gordon Freeman's trusty crowbar. Half-Life 2 turned this into an artform by adding to the player's arsenal the "Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator", more colloquially known as the Gravity Gun, which can grab objects and hurl them at enemies with considerable force. Obviously lethal projectiles, such as buzzsaw blades, propane tanks, and the ubiquitous Exploding Barrels, are littered throughout the game, but it's possible to kill enemies with wrenches, chairs, paint cans, live grenades, orbs of disintegrating energy, other dead enemies and yes, the kitchen sink.
    • There is a Steam achievement for killing an enemy with a toilet.
    • Father Grigori's various contraptions littered about Ravenholm. Some of them need to be temporarily disabled in order to proceed.
    • At one point, the player gets the chance to turn a gigantic magnetic crane into a weapon. Few things say "you're fucked" like having a shipping container dropped on your head.
  • None of the Left 4 Dead 2 melee weapons was originally designed for whacking zombies, to say the least.
  • Dead Rising for the Xbox 360 has this as a main selling point. Any item that Frank can lift can be used to kill zombies, up to and including a deck parasol. An X Box Achievement is actually called "It's Raining Men" and involves using the deck parasol to push a number of zombies out of the way. It's actually a great item to clear a path. Bowling balls will knock over zombies like bowling pins. In a pinch, park benches will kill a dozen zombies in a single swing - and then break. Now, burning zombie faces with a heated frying pan, throwing soda cans at zombies heads or embedding a ketchup bottle there... that's just silly. To say nothing of the Shower Head, now. Zombies seem to have High-Pressure Blood, so jamming one in their head causes them to give themselves showers. And at later skill levels, the player learns a skill that lets him pick up zombies and throw them.
  • Bioshock includes a Telekinesis skill, which allows you to kill enemies by smashing a bag of potato chips into their heads at high velocity. Also, your first weapon is a pipe wrench.
    • How about killing someone by hitting them with their own hat?
      • It also features projectile weapons cobbled together from everyday objects, including a crossbow made of, among other things, a labelled cigar box and security systems made of food crates, office chairs and tennis ball launchers.
      • You can also make ammo out of things like screws, petrol and rubber tubing with the u-invent machines.
  • All Isaac's weapons in Dead Space are modified mining tools, except for the pulse rifle. You can also use another tool, kinesis, to pick up and throw anything not nailed down. Including dead zombie babies at other zombie babies.
    • Most of the tools seem to be designed to cause grievous personal injury in case of pirate attack anyways. Give me one reason why the Ripper would ever need to launch a sawblade at mach 1 otherwise. And the rivet guns from the Rail-shooter prequel clearly have the contact-safety pressure switch disabled. One theory is that their previous owners or Isaac modified them for weapons use, we just didn't get to see said modification.
    • Dead Space 2 drives it even more, the plasma cutter, Isaac's main weapon is made from a flashlight and a surgical tissue laser.
  • The MMO Vindictus runs away with this trope. The player can pick up virtually any object lying about and use it to beat the hell out of their enemies, including vases, sticks, signposts, cauldrons, boulders, small trees...needless to say, the results are spectacular. There are even several titles that can be earned this way. It's based on the Source engine, so perhaps the developers thought they'd pay their respects to Half-Life 2 in this way.
  • In The Punisher many interesting objects can be picked up and used for a quick -- and graphic -- kill, including pipe wrenches, baseball bats, kitchen knives, beer-bottles, crowbars, billy-clubs... Oddly enough, all of these items -- including the metallic ones -- will shatter into tiny fragments after one use.
    • This was also present in the older arcade game, in which Frank could use anything from baseball bats to bags of sand to flower pots as weapons. They all broke eventually, but at least they last more than one hit.
  • The characters in Siren and Siren 2 generally use random objects they find as weapons. Examples would be umbrellas, wooden sticks, crowbars, fire pokers, shovels, hammers, wrenches, shoe horns, trophies, and pipes. Other characters might have guns or special objects instead, or might lack weapons entirely.
  • The Hitman series have increasingly featured outlandish methods of killing 47's targets. In addition to our bald friend's regular weapons, he can use anything found in a kitchen, crush people with falling chandeliers and, on several occasions, push them over railings to their deaths. Later games, allowed the player to use implements such as meat hooks, pool cues and garden shears to kill targets with.
  • Slave Zero for the PC. The main character is a Humongous Mecha who can use metal girders, pipes, cars and indeed people as both thrown projectiles and melee weapons. It is not explained how holding a screaming, flailing tiny person causes a punch to deal more damage. Such things are obviously only good once if thrown, but will last for several hits if used in melee. Note that people who get thrown on walls leave a satisfying bloody mess. Also note that gravity has no influence on the trajectory of launched items: they all travel in a straight line.
  • Fighting Force is an old videogame in which the main character can use a lot of the level's objects to bash his enemies' heads in (both by smashing and throwing), including (but not limited to) handrails, girders, fire axes, subway tokens, luggage and fire hydrants. In an interesting twist, shooting a car with an explosive weapon will cause it to explode and lose its tires and engine block, all of which can be used as weapons.
    • Really, just pick a Beat'Em Up at random and it's bound to feature at least one handy barrel to toss at the opponents.
  • Jade Empire allows the character to pick up legs from broken tables and similar wreckage, but these shatter into tiny fragments after one use.
    • This was really only doable in the Tea House fight. You could backflip to break furniture and pick it up, the character shouting "I'll improvise!", and pummel the bad guys with chair legs and hams, but this was the only place where you could do this.
  • Def Jam: Fight For New York lets you use everything in the area as a weapon against the opponent, from beer bottles to sledgehammers. You can even win fights by throwing an opponent in front of a subway train on one level.
  • Phantom Brave by Nippon Ichi makes this an art form. Everything on a given stage can be used as a weapon, from swords and axes, to rocks, pillars, clumps of grass, and the bodies of your allies and enemies. Not only that, but these weapons and ordinary items have their own magic and special attacks. So if you pick up a log, for example, you can not only use it as a club, but if you level it up, it also becomes a BFG.
  • The computer game Freedom Force and its sequels, based on Golden and Silver Age Superhero comics, has characters who can pick up pieces of the environment as weapons including electrical poles, cars and trees.
  • In Saga Frontier Gen somehow cuts through a thick rope using a rusty length of pipe. Somewhat lampshaded when T260 remarks upon the absurdity of such a feat and nearly Logic Bombs itself trying to figure out how it's even mathematically possible. .
  • SaGa Frontier 2 allowed you to use the terrain you were standing on for magic. Standing on grass allowed you to use tree magic, snow allowed you to use water magic, etc.
  • The cult RPG Earthbound for the Super Nintendo practically epitomizes this trope, as the main characters (all of them young children) have to defeat enemies using improvised weapons such as baseball bats, frying pans and bottle rockets, just to name a few. The game even goes one step further, when, during the final boss battle, the character must use the power of prayer to help them get an edge over the last enemy. To be fair, the last boss of said game had become Evil Incarnate by eating an apple of knowledge. You'd be praying for humanity and any good willed divinity you believed in as well if you had to fight this.
  • In the classic NES beat-em-up River City Ransom, you can use various objects like pipes, tires, trash cans, baseballs, boxes, rocks, even unconscious foes as weapons. You can either throw them or use them as a club, leading to tons of wonderful fights where you knock someone out by tossing a tire at their head, then picking up their body and whacking their buddy with it.
  • The bread-and-butter of the combat system in First-Person Shooter Condemned: Criminal Origins, where the main method of arming yourself is by ripping something off the environment. Considering the game's themes and dark setting, not at all done for comedy (unless it's of the dead baby variety). Some of the more... memorable weapons include the "cutter" part of a paper cutter, the fireaxe, the sledgehammer, and the butcher knife. And also mannequin arms. See that gun, Officer Thomas? You can't reload it.
  • The Super Smash Bros series feature a large variety of items that can mostly be used offensively in some way. Among other things, a Paper Fan, Mr. Saturn (from Earthbound), Smoke Bombs and Pokéballs (not only to release the Pokémon inside, the ball itself can hurt characters). Even Springs can be thrown at enemies for some damage. And keys. And then there are characters that use things like an umbrella (Peach), turnips (Peach again), Pikmin (Olimar) or a chair (Mr.Game&Watch) to fight their enemies.

    Every single one of Mr. Game & Watch's attacks is an outrageously over-the-top weapon, from his manhole cover to a can of bug spray to various hammers (grand total three... not including the hammer items) to cooked meat out of a frying pan and the frying pan itself to a turtle. And they're all taken from actual Game & Watch games. Mr. Game & Watch is the honest-to-god embodiment of this trope.
  • Pokémon is full of these.
    • Cubone and Marowak use a dirt-covered bone (they're Ground-Type for some reason), and Farfetch'd uses a Stick, which became an actual Item in Generation II.
    • Introduced in Gen IV is the move Fling, which makes you throw your held item- any held item- at the enemy.
  • Nethack permits you to use any in-game object as a weapon. Whack someone over the head with a potion of blindness, and the bottle will shatter, blinding the target -- if the target monster has eyes. Tap them with a cockatrice corpse, and they'll turn to stone. Toss a boulder at them, and they'll go "splat". Proper weapons generally do better than improvised ones, but there's just something satisfying about killing off the hardest monsters in the game with a can-opener.
  • There's a few of them in Indiana Jones and The Emperors Tomb, including a shovel.
  • Justice League Heroes lets your chosen hero pick up a variety of items, from pipes and such (for heroes such as Batman and the Flash) to cars and dumpsters (for Superman and Wonderwoman).
  • Shadow Hearts: Covenant has professional-wrestler vampire Joachim use whatever he can carry. He starts with a timber, and upgrades to a locker, a red mailbox, a frozen tuna, a giant earthen pipe, a clay idol (to the horror of Kurando, whose village venerates the idol in question)... You don't actually have to buy weapons for Joachim, as you can find them in various locations. From The New World goes one step further. That swordfish stuck on the deck? Your Brazilian ninja will stick a sword hilt up its rectum and swing it around.
    • One of the high points of said Brazilian ninja's weapon-collecting tendencies is when the party finds the actual Sword in the Stone. Rather than pull the sword out of the stone, Frank (the ninja) attaches a sword hilt to the already-existing hilt of the sword. While it is still in the stone.
  • Don't forget Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, where you beat Big Boss with a lighter and an aerosol can used to make a flamethrower.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 gives us the fork, which is first used for hunting rats to fill up stamina and for self-defense. SIGINT even lampshades this by wondering why Snake continues to carry it around even after getting his gear back.
  • In War of the Monsters your giant monster playable characters can pummel opponents with a wide variety of building wreckage and detritus. These include girders, TV antennas, trains, explosive petrol tankers, water towers, and the wooden breasts of a giant cartoon woman used to decorate a casino.
  • Some of the seemingly benign assets offered to commanders in Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 are supply drops, UAV scans, and vehicle drops. BF2 commanders learned early on that stray vehicles can ruin an enemy runway, preventing jets from taking off. Many a sniper or flag capper found themselves the victim of a precisely aimed supply crate. And rooftop soldiers in BF2142 fell to the otherwise harmless UAV, which either pushed them off or crushed them against the building. The most damning point is that many of these "attacks" were lethal in a way that artillery strikes weren't.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction featured "weaponization", which allowed the Hulk to transform various objects in the game's world into weapons. Examples include fashioning a pair of gauntlets out of a car or turning a truck into a shield/surfboard.
    • Prototype by the same developers, involved them sitting down and going "what if the player could weaponize himself? In addition to his powers, Alex can pick up cars and throw them at foes, as wel as using them as a shield to charge through a crowd.
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II had "Force Throw", which let you throw crates and other debris at enemies.
  • Despite them being intentionally equipped as weaponry, most of the melee weapons in Team Fortress 2 could be considered improvised. The Scout uses a baseball bat, the Soldier uses an entrenchment shovel (you can't actually entrench yourself in-game or anything...), the Pyro uses a fire axe, the Demoman uses a bottle of whiskey (he can drink from it in his taunt... even when the bottom of it is smashed open), the Engineer uses his wrench, and the Medic uses a bonesaw. And those are just the default weapons; some of the unlockable melee weapons are downright bizarre.
    • To date, some of the stranger melee weapons include a candy cane, a riding crop, a rake, a mailbox, a LIVE grenade on a stick, a golf club, and a bust of Hippocrates.
      • A fish, a roll of wrapping paper, jars of piss and milk, an icicle, and a frying pan, to name a few more.
  • In Persona 4, the default weapons of the protagonist and his friend Yousuke are a golf club, and a pair of wrenches respectively, though they do gain more probable weapons later. Kanji, on the other hand, is just ridiculous.
    • For a full list: the heroes can use (alongside swords, knives, kicks, bladed gloves, and guns (Naoto)) Baseball bats, golf clubs, kitchen knives, wrenches, shoes, wooden/paper fans, fans with blades, spiky-ball(?) glove, shields (as a bludgeon), folding chairs, and a school desk (note: the last 3 on the list are the only weapons that Kanji uses)
  • In the 2008 Alone in The Dark, most enemies can only be killed by fire. If no fire is around, the player must use inventory items to improvise. Alcohol can be poured on bullets to make fire bullets, or the bottle can be thrown and shot midair for an explosive weapon. There are also classic examples, such as the flamethrower from a aerosol can and lighter, or using cloth and a bottle for a molotov cocktail.
  • In Crysis, the player can kill people with almost anything, including floorboards and live animals. Building materials are also an easy way to go because an apparent lack of nails in the South Pacific makes the buildings rather flimsy.
  • In Silent Hill: Origins, one of the tips from the beginning of the game is that you can pick things like TVs up and throw them at enemies...
    • All the Silent Hill games have at least one weapon like this; the most improvised of 'em all being the plank from Silent Hill 2, which James quickly plucks off a wooden barricade and uses to beat a monster's head in. The most disappointing being the "paper-cutting knife" from Silent Hill 4 (you'd think it'd be that enormous hinged blade like in Condemned, but no; it's actually just a damned box cutter).
    • It'd probably be shorter to list the melee weapons in the series that don't fall under this. In which case, there's the katana from multiple games, the Great Knife from 2, the mace and laser sword from 3, the spear from Origins, the combat knife from Homecoming, and... well, that's about it. The rock drill from the original and chainsaw from multiple games also fall under their own tropes, but are also improvised weapons, being that they're not intended for use as weapons and your character just picks them up from the environment because they might need them. (Once you unlock them, at least)
  • The Force Unleashed. Anything that isn't bolted to the floor can be lifted up with the Force, charged with Force Lightning and thrown into enemies. Anything. This goes up to grabbing a strafing TIE Fighter and throwing it at a group of enemies.
  • In Fallout 3 you can obtain schematics for various weapons to make out of the junk which litters the game's After the End setting. These weapons themselves qualify to a degree (such as a crossbow made from a paint gun and a toy car and a flaming sword made from a lawnmower blade and a petrol tank) but the straightest example of this trope is the Rock-It-Launcher, which can fire anything you put into it as a projectile.
  • In Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64, the SpyCam is a tiny, floating camera that can be used to go into hostile territories. Once it's part of the mission is over, you can find some bad guys. Float in front of a guard's head and his partner will recognzie the Spycam and SHOOT IT. The explosion kills the first guard.
  • Lego Indiana Jones lets you pick up random objects, and beat enemies to death with them if you fight while holding said objects. This includes a banana.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, if you can hold it, you can kill someone with it. This includes a handful of sand, a handful of vomit, a handful of gravel, and the enemy's own pants. That applies mostly to throwing the improvised weapon - swinging a pair of pants does what it sounds like it would do, unless you are exceptionally big and strong (bronze collossi have been known to beat dwarves to death with a sock), but it isn't as effective as punching. However, throwing seem to turn everything into deadly projectiles.

 - My favourite thing in adventure mode is being able to take water out of a waterskin, throw it such that it spins, and then watch it break the arm of my target.

    • Also, miners' picks are not only useable as weapons, but are very good as weapons.
  • In Persona 3: FES, the most powerful gloves in the game are... skulls. And appears to be able to hold without you ACTUALLY HOLD THEM.
  • In Higurashi Daybreak, the fighting game of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, you can choose between having your character use his or her Weapon of Choice and giving them another item that can be used in the same manner. And if Keiichi trading in his baseball bat for a golf club doesn't do it for you, you can go for a character without a Weapon of Choice, who instead gets items associated with him or her and is forced to use these as weapons. Rika running around with a mop and spray bottle and Tomitake blinding people with the flash on his camera is fun. The anime is about to adapt this arc in its OVA.
  • Also featured in Resident Evil Outbreak and File #2, Brooms, Crutches and length of pipes can be used as improv weapons against the zombies and a certain character can combine these with other weapons to create Spears, Sledgehammers and Stun Rods.
  • Spelunky. If you can pick it up, you can throw it as a weapon. This includes Distressed Damsels, cavemen, valuable gold idols, treasure chests, stolen dice... and not only as weapons - you can also spring traps by throwing stuff, including the damsels. Ladies first...!
  • Kazuma Kiryuu from Yakuza is capable of beating the crap out of people with a range of unconventional weaponry including, but not limited to: bowling balls, flowerpots, briefcases, traffic cones, tea kettles, and salt shakers.
  • In the Ultima game Savage Empire, it is possible to build grenades out of clay pots and rifles out of bamboo.
  • Pey'j's wrench in Beyond Good and Evil:

 Jade: I didn't know your wrench came equipped with the club option.

Pey'j: Model D23, my li'l lady. Slices, dices -- and pounds.

  • Although you're supposed to use the Master Sword to deflect Agahnim's magic blasts back at him, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past, the bugcatcher net will do quite nicely at this, as well.
    • In Ocarina of Time, Link can use a Deku Stick as a Joke Item. And for deflection, a bottle.
      • A Lethal Joke Item at that. It's twice as strong as the Kokiri Sword (which makes it on par with the Master Sword), and under certain glitches, you can sometimes use a single stick indefinitely instead of having to pull a new one out after each hit.
    • In most Games, you start out with a Wooden Sword.
  • In BloodRayne 2, the eponymous character uses mounted animals' antlers/horns, a ventilation fan, and a garbage truck(which explodes after a certain amount of "feeding") to dispose of her enemies. Oh, and you get more powers(via the Carnage/Experience meter) the more enemies in a row you kill(with more unusual deaths providing greater base amounts to be multiplied), within a certain time limit...
  • Kratos from God of War doesn't really need to improvise weapons, but he occasionally does anyway. Most notable might be from the second game, where he kills Theseus by repeatedly slamming a door into his face. Ripping off a Gorgon's head and using it to petrify enemies also counts.
    • He'll also use an enemies whole body as a projectile, ranging from kicking dogs across screen at someones heads to impaling footsoldiers and flinging them at larger groups.
  • Psi-Ops is another case of telekinetically-fueled improvisation, as anything not bolted down -- including enemies, live or dead -- can be thrown about with impunity. For bonus damage, set it on fire first You can even improvise a hovering power by standing on a crate, lifting it with TK and then surfing it across the room!
  • A defensive example: Marky of Backyard Sports makes shin guards out of newspaper. (It actually helps him.)
  • Metro 2033 has a host of improvised weapons fashioned by the inhabitants of the postapocalyptic Moscow Metro. There's the unreliable homemade assault rifle (It uses 5.45x39 bullets, so it's an AR, not a sub-machine gun), prone to overheating and known colloquially as the "Bastard", the shotguns -- one of which appears to be made of some pipes -- and the pneumatic spearguns and sniper rifles, which you will actually have to duck into a sheltered corner and pump up during a firefight, besides reloading the spears/ball bearings. It's pretty evocative and demonstrated improvised weaponry very realistically.
  • Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII manages this at one point of the story and in a few sub-missions at Costa Del Sol. Zack has to defend the area armed with nothing but a BEACH UMBRELLA. Which happens to be as powerful as his sword!
  • In Alan Wake, because your enemies are darkness, anything that creates light can be used as a weapon, usually your flashlight. At one point, the Plucky Comic Relief defends himself by wearing a headlamp ("It's my flaming eye of Mordor!") and wrapping himself in Christmas lights ("For protection. Like garlic against vampires."). And in a Crowning Moment of Awesome, the pyrotechnics of a rock stage help blast away the enemies' protective darkness.
  • In Assassin's Creed 2 Ezio can liberate people of items like brooms and farming implements and use them perfectly well as weapons. In Brotherhood you get an achievement/trophy ("Spring Cleaning") for killing a guard with a broom.
  • In World of Warcraft there are at least four daggers who use a model of a broken wine bottle.
    • In Varian Wrynn's short story, he picks up a shard of Deathwing's armor, and later in the story, uses it to kill a drakonid trying to assassinate him.
  • In Rule of Rose Jennifer is almost exclusively limited to these, from kitchen knives to steel pipes. The first weapon found in the game must be the most pathetic example in all gaming history, however: a dessert fork!
  • Action Doom 2 Urban Brawl is all about these - you have fists and a gun, but most of the time you'll be using various weapons, though they break quickly. These include chains, pipes, knives, bottles, broken bottles, pool cues, sledgehammers, baseball bats, two-by-fours, bronze statues, and fire extinguishers that freeze enemies.
  • Ever Stage in Shadow the Hedgehog has some bit of the scenery that can be broken, picked up, and used like a sword. Light Poles, Street Signs, Torch Stands, you name it. They are one of the weakest weapons in the game and break after four hits...
  • Mundane items in Divine Divinity, such as pots, pans, and brooms, are programmed so you can equip them as (not very good) weapons and armor.
  • Minecraft: ANYTHING you pick up can be used as a weapon, even blocks of dirt and pork chops. Anything that isn't a pickaxe, sword, axe, or shovel does 1 heart of damage only, but you can still kill any enemy with any item obtainable in the game.
  • As the trailer for Psycho Waluigi points out. 'With your newfound psychic powers EVERYTHING is a weapon!'
  • Touhou is well known for being full of Improbable Weapon Users, but Elly flinging floor tiles at you in Lotus Land Story probably qualifies for this trope.
  • Elvira 2: Jaws of Cerberus allows you to use a mop as a weapon. It's not a very good one.
  • Saints Row 2 gives you the option to use these lying around Stilwater. These can range from road signs, to chairs, to cash registers and toilets and TVs.
  • Power Dolls original story was that the eponymous walking vehicles are built on chassis of heavy loaders, which colonists on Omni already had in production when a war of indepencence started. Which is why they were called "power loaders" and used despite being inferior in head-on fight to proper tanks used by Terran forces (their only Spider Tank is recon vehicle). Later games turned into run-of-the-mill Humongous Mecha show, however.


Web Animation Edit

  • In Broken Saints, Raimi defeats a deranged Kamimura by picking up a mirror off the ground in the alleyway and smashing it over his head.
  • Tifa in Dead Fantasy. Hold on this might take a while... Ether bottles, bits of lava stuck to her shoes, a table, a garage jack, the same garage jack cut in half, and lastly the chains that where used to try and restrain her.
  • Red vs. Blue: "Protect me cone!"


Web Comics Edit

  • In Sluggy Freelance, when storming Hereti-Corp head-quarters, Oasis went from being unarmed to "sorta unarmed" after she killed two mooks with pencils.
    • See also the fight between Gwynn and Oasis, where the former uses her telekenetic powers to attack Oasis with... well, anything at hand, including the chunk of wood with which the assassin gets impaled, before being knocked off a cliff.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, the the title character's ninja clan were formed from Irishmen who fought off pirates with frozen shamrocks, which they used as shuriken. At one point, the doctor recreates the trick... though as he does, he laments, "This is so retarded."
  • Walkyverse: Sal uses the door.
  • Order of the Stick: So does Thog.
    • O-Chul has also taken a bar from his cage and Smite Evil'd Redcloak's right eye out, as well as offed Jirix and a demon-roach.
    • In a possible Shout-Out to the Chronicles of Riddick scene described in the film folder, Belkar once intimidated an angry mob into not attacking him... while armed with nothing but a pebble.
    • In the same arc, Belkar lists all the ways he can think of to kill someone with a "nonlethal" wooden sword. It's a disturbingly long and well-thought-out list.
    • In the prequel Start of Darkness Xykon beats Fyron to death with an award statuette.
  • Gnoph: Abbey threatens some gun-toting gang members with silverware. At first they laugh at her. Then comes the Eye Scream...
  • Warrior princess Zeetha in Girl Genius is delighted to make use of this trope in a "no weapons allowed" bar fight. ("Tankard! Not a weapon!")
    • Also, Higgs is lethally powerful and accurate with a wrench.
    • Klaus himself is not above using non-combat units when he hasn't got any siege weapons ready. Either he taught Gil to think the same way, or their talent for compilation and adaptation of ready solutions makes it automatic.
  • Goblins. MinMax has "Weapon Proficiency: Furniture" (traded in his ability to wink).
  • As well as spectacular acrobatics and surprising blood pressure strength, Lycosa occasionally uses stuff she finds lying around to beat the crap out of her enemies. The twist is that she - and her opponents - are spiders. Therefore, a piece of glass becomes a huge sword, and a pill becomes a gigantic club.
  • Silent Hill: Promise used a curtain rod. It hasn't worked so well.
  • In Cuanta Vida, when Bleu and BLU Scout are attacked by Rojo, Scout uses his crutch as a weapon. And then gives a 'delightful' Slasher Smile.
  • In El Goonish Shive Elliot used a broom stick and a screwdriver to fight the Bloodgrem.
  • Rusty and Co. has as a running gag gnome palming off various garden equipment (rake, hoe, shovel) as "magical weapons", Madeline the Paladin buys it and ends up so good at killing monsters with this stuff she never have second thoughts about its efficiency.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Kevyn (and evidently someone before him) once figured how to turn a wormgate into single-use gravity gun. Whether emitting a Planar Shockwave counts as "gun" or "shaped charge" is debatable, but it still can make a mess of everything in rather impressive radius.

Web Original Edit

  • In a borderline ridiculous example, the first episode of Cause of Death featured the killer using a granola bar during the fight.
  • Happens from time to time in Survival of the Fittest, especially when students who are assigned useless weapons simply make new ones out of available materials, such as Niniko Kishinawa (v1) and Dan Brent (v3) making spears out of nearby items and, in Niniko's case, a shaft of bamboo. Walter Smith of v2 also used his assigned rock to smash a window and make a knife out of the biggest, sharpest, fragment he could find. To top it off, Dominica Shapiro killed Nigel Gillespie with a frigging ocarina, while Blake Ross killed Gregory Moyer by hitting him in the face with a bible and knocking his head onto a rusty nail. And lets not forget the most recent case where Shameeca Mitchell killed Boxer Carvahlo with a customised double-ended dildo!!.
    • Less immediately fatal, no less impressive, V4 example, combined with Product Placement: Jimmy Brennan and the can of Moxie.
  • LG15: the resistance Chapter 3, "Trust Fall" includes a scene in which Jonas and Sarah fight off security guards using the camera and the Samsaran Doctrine.
  • Kate Modern often features Improvised Weapons, such as Terrence's garden gnome in "Seven Dials: 5pm - 23rd November 2007" or Lauren's cricket bat in "Batwoman". At one point in The Last Work, Charlie uses an ornamental sword that just happens to be on hand.
  • Chaka, in the Whateley Universe, has control of Ki, so her aim is unnatural. She disarms a sword-wielding super-powered ninja using a handful of playing cards. And then there's her aim with a sewing needle...
    • She's been known to shelve books by throwing them just right without getting up. This tells us everything about her ki-powered Improbable Aiming Skills that we'll likely ever need to know.
  • The Internet based RP Insane Café 3: The Curse of the Haunted Hotel features the characters using a lot of improvised weaponry.
    • Strut using a crowbar then a shovel to subdue a super powered Human who had tried to pick a fight with the entire hotel.
    • Rime using a machete to protect Spyro
    • Zachary using a fire ax to take down a magically summoned knight.
    • Haresh using a frying pan to knock out an enemy mage.
      • Also him throwing lawn darts, rubble and furniture at the mages from the 2nd floor during a massive battle.
    • Ms. Swimmer throwing furniture and rubble (also from the 2nd floor) at the mages during the same massive battle.
      • Also her killing two mages with a toilet and a radiator, also thrown from the 2nd floor.
      • And her Crowning Moment of Awesome, fighting off and killing six assassins sent after her. In the bathroom with a baby changing station, a stall door, a metal paper towel dispenser and an end table.
    • Franz, Werner and Hans fighting off some summoned creatures using a piece of rebar, a pickax and a fire ax.
  • This.
  • This is extremely common among the protagonists of Darwin's Soldiers.
    • Nietzsche's Soldiers -- Eddie kills someone with a mop handle.
    • The first RP:
      • James' team shorts out Cale with saline solution.
      • Zachary kills a terrorist by ambushing him and beating him to death with a pipe.
      • Sharon kills a terrorist by ambushing him and beating him to death with a steel rod.
      • Arguably, Shelton's use of Lockdown's hand to disintegrate a rogue soldier counts.
      • Joey (an unspecified experiment) uses a piece of rebar to attack terrorists in the final battle.
    • The second RP:
      • Shelton and Dr. Kerzach use a waterlogged mattress to temporarily disable two guards to escape from prison.
      • Dr. Rawlson/Dr. Jeston tries to kill Dr. Zanasiu with a crowbar.
      • Kerzach kills Dr. Gallo with a letter opener.
      • Only the aftermath is seen but two construction workers beat a Dragonstorm scientist to death with a chunk of concrete and a piece of rebar.
    • The third RP:
      • Alfred uses a table then a chair to knock out some punks who decided to pick a fight with the group.
      • Aimee kills two soldiers with a sharp stick during an ambush on a lonely Oregon road.
      • Zachary kills another soldier with a chunk of concrete during that same ambush.
      • Hans uses a MRI machine to trap Subject 19.
      • Subject 19 kills someone with an operating table. She also has the habit of using nearby large items like tables as projectiles.
      • Alfred throws a metal trolley then an oxygen tank at Trinity whe he runs into her at the hospital.
      • Alfred throws a small trailer pulled cement mixer at some Dragonstorm agents.
      • Shakila takes out two reptilian guards with her own laptop at Trinity Facility.
      • Shakila makes use of Trinity Facility's power room, followed by the sprinkler system to destroy Project Zeta
      • During the battle at Lab 101 Alfred throws a boulder at a Dragonstorm experiment.
      • During said battle, Alfred also uses a sledgehammer to behead another Dragonstorm experiment.
      • Again during said battle, he throws an oil drum at a Chimera. It is not very effective. Then follows it up with a pickax. It too is not very effective.
      • Aimee uses a broken pickax handle to kill one of the Lab 101 guards shooting at Alfred.
      • Alfred kills the remaining Lab 101 guard with a log.
      • Gustave subdues Slash with a tool box then a mechanic's cart.
      • Shelton subdues and then kills someone with a pot of boiling coffee and the coffee maker.
      • Gustave's use of a handicapped parking sign as a club probably counts.
      • Sharon uses a hammer intended for breaking the glass on a box containing a fire ax to kill a guard.
      • Dr. Zanasiu uses a fire extinguisher as an impromptu smokescreen to get past a group of guards. He also uses it to bludgeon a guard.
      • When Famine turns everyone on each other, Zachary and Gustave proceed to try and kill each other with a variety of improvised weapons. Zachary with a welding torch and then a fire ax. Guistave uses a filing cabinet and then Zachary's dropped ax.
    • Fools Gold:
      • Dr. Kerzach sprays lubricant into an assailant's face.
      • A rogue worker attacks Dr. Kerzach with a fire axe.
    • New Divide:
      • Rhino throws a motorcycle at Subject 18.
  • Ruby Quest has a few of these: Ace's harpoon, Ruby's heavy gloves wrapped in barbed wire, and the BLUDGEONY CANESHOVEL.
  • Unlikely Eden manages to make an axe one of these - as wielded by a ten year old girl.
  • Ask a Ninja has many examples; Gift cards, playing cards(sorry, working cards), folded flags, a boiling hot burrito, two cowboy hats and a walnut... Ninjas have a saying, "if you can't kill it with paper you cannot kill it with steel".


Western Animation Edit

  • In The Venture Bros, Brock, the tough bodyguard character, often uses anything to kill people (often nearly anyone.) Once he is pinned under a man with a samurai sword in a hotel room, but then Hank opens the hotel room's end table drawer. Brock remembers what a pastor told him earlier that day... "The only weapon you'll ever need is the bible." He reaches in, taking the hotel bible and bludgeoning his attacker over the head.
    • One episode has Brock kill a group of The Monarch's guys with a lawnmower.
    • One episode has Brock kill a guy by swinging around a guy who's hand was inside Brock's rectum.
  • In Archer, he and Lana lost their duffle bag full of ammo in a swamp with a very pissed off, wounded gator. All they had was a cooler full of beer, bottled water, and dry ice (to keep the beer extra-cold!). Lana thought they were stuck with no weapons, until Archer pointed out that dry ice combined with undiluted water in a sealed container (like a closed beer bottle) causes a pressure buildup until it explodes and essentially makes a glass-based frag grenade. Archer is actually correct in his chemistry here, and after some measuring trials, they are ready for the gator, but they never get to use one on it as they run out of bottles by the time the figure out a combination that will be destructive enough but still safe enough to deal with.
  • Tom and Jerry has the the eponymous cat and mouse making constant use of this trope.
  • The show Jackie Chan Adventures pays obvious homage to Jackie Chan's movies, as the hero can and will use whatever is at his disposal. The first of many examples of this has Jackie defeating three mooks armed with high-tech weaponry, with a pair of wind-shield wipers.
    • "Diiid we mention he had windscreen wipers!"
    • That's barely the tip of the iceberg. He once trounced a guy with a soup spoon and a toothbrush
  • Any character with some sort of telekinetic powers will use this trope to hurtle stuff at the bad guy.
    • Raven's preferred method of combat in Teen Titans.
    • Static Shock;
    • Used by Cosmic Boy during his guest spot on Superman: The Animated Series.
    • Jean Grey uses it a lot, especially in X-Men: Evolution.
    • This sums up the "Propel" attack in City of Heroes. Extra hilarity because the projectile looks like a different stock object to each player, due to a programming quirk.
      • The object is fully random, but occasionally funny events occur like a vampire being KO'd by a speeding coffin.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Great Brain Robbery", Flash and Lex Luthor swap minds. While trying to fend off his pursuers at the Watchtower, Luthor, in Flash's body, runs to the cafeteria and starts throwing food at them. At first it seems useless, since Green Lantern has created a shield around his teammates to avoid being hit. Just then, he picks up a dish filled with yellow pudding and throws it at him... And the pudding easily goes through the shield and splats GL squarely in the face! This is due to the one great limitation of GL's power ring: it doesn't work on anything that's yellow (since it symbolizes fear, which is the essential opposite to willpower, whose token color is green).
    • Also in JLU ("Divided We Fall"), Wonder Woman uses a Javelin - the League's standard transport/fighter/spaceship - to stop the fused Brainiac/Luthor from completing his plan to assimiliate all of Earth's knowledge. How? By throwing it at him.

 Brainilex: having disposed of the rest of the League without slowing down his data transfer "...now where is Wonder Woman?"

cut to Javelin toss. Explosion ensues.

    • This trope is taken to the extreme when Batman uses the Justice League Space Station to take out a gigantic thanagarian wormhole-generator by destabilizing it's orbit and then manually steering it to it's target.
      • Which is similar to him steering a giant toy robot into a kryptonite Asteroid in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
  • Prowl of Transformers Animated occasionally improvises; in his first fight against Lockdown, he came at the bounty hunter with a metal pole he picked up from a pile of scrap, and his toy comes with a traffic light he can use as a mace.
  • Dinobot from Beast Wars manages to smack the MacGuffin out of Megatron with a stick with a rock jutting out of it. One of the proto-humans winds up using this as a weapon/tool.

 Megatron: Face it, Dinobot! You're old technology, obsolete. What could you possibly do?

Dinobot: Improvise.

  • Any of the handful of "real world" battles in Code Lyoko apply, since the characters are Middle School students, and swords aren't exactly commonplace. However, Odd and Jim gain a special commendation for shooting monsters with a nailgun in the last episode of Season 1.
    • See also the Season 3 episode "The Pretender", where Ulrich, after losing his katana to a swarm of Frelions, still manages to destroy three of them and a Manta with a shard of virtual stone.
  • Used in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, when the Phantasm attacks the Joker, and he has two possible weapons to defend himself with: a kitchen knife, and a loaf of bologna. Guess what he chooses.
  • In one episode of the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the turtles are imprisoned and stripped of their weapons, and therefore have to resort to fighting with cleaning supplies. They manage to take down a whole squad of alien triceratops guards this way, with Raph, of all turtles, getting in a Shout-Out to The Tick: SPOOOON!
  • Parodied in The Simpsons. Bart is pinned down in a scuffle with Milhouse, and starts groping around behind him for something to use as a weapon. His hand passes over a brick, a broken bottle and possibly various other suitable objects, and settles instead on a Magic 8-Ball.
    • Also, a recently-fired Chief Wiggum attempts to rob Homer at gunpoint, but it's revealed that the gun has no firing mechanism. He continues to threaten Homer anyway: "I can throw this pretty hard."
  • Swat Kats has some examples of this trope.
    • In "Bride of the Pastmaster", the SWAT Kats are Trapped in the Past without regular ammo, so they trick out their Cool Plane the Turbokat with whatever's at hand, including pepper stew.
    • The SWAT Kats' civilian ally, Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs, may not carry a weapon, but she's been known to attack supervillains with a money bag ("The Wrath of Dark Kat") or her briefcase ("The Ci-Kat-A") to defend herself or her friends.
  • In the first S-Force episode of Megas XLR, Coop is surprisingly able to take down two of the members of the group without his mech. His weapon of choice is a novelty talking fish.
  • In Lilo and Stitch, Stitch uses many household objects in a fight, and makes a doll into an IED.


Real Life Edit

  • The most famous swordmaster in all of history, Miyamoto Musashi, occasionally chose to fight with a bokken (wooden sword), and consistently won with them. In his most famous fight, he wielded a bokken carved from the oar he used to row himself there.
    • And he in turn allegedly lost only once - to an elderly monk wielding a hoe.
    • Supposedly at some point the famed swordsman came to eschew steel swords in favor of wooden ones, and no matter whether he used a steel or wooden sword, still only suffered the one defeat.
  • Perhaps one of the most infamous and iconic improvised weapons in the real world is the Molotov Cocktail, a weapon which has such ordinary components as gasoline / petrol, a glass bottle, and some sort of wick or fuse (often a cloth rag). It was successfully used by the Finnish against intruding Russians.
    • The original recipe was a cocktail, in that components were mixed and shaken up, particularly, a small amount of tar was added to the gasoline to make it stick to the target. Leslie Thomas gives the full recipe in one of his stories where a Spanish Civil War veteran is teaching British Home Guards in World War Two how to make them and disable tanks with them.
    • In fact, it was so effective that it was later mass-produced specifically for tank-killing purposes.
    • One of the other methods of disabling tanks in the absence of a proper anti-tank weapon was to simply cram a log in the tread assembly, which caused the tank to throw a tread and become immobilized.
    • Another World War II improvised antitank weapon was the "sticky bomb", a sock filled with TNT, rigged with a simple fuse, and dipped in Kerosene to make it sticky. Soldiers would run up alongside an enemy tank, attach the bomb to the tread, light the fuse, then run like hell.
    • The sticky bomb wasn't a very effective "improvised" anti-tank weapon. Although it was made with simple materials, the British soon issued sticky bombs to their troops, with adhesive to make it stick better. It was ineffective because it had a tendency of going off prematurely or sticking to the user when lighted.
      • Prime example was in Saving Private Ryan: in this case, it falls in line with holding a grenade for too long...
  • Pipe bombs. As their name suggests, made from a short length of metal or PVC pipe packed with explosive material. The Unabomber was famous for making ones with nails. One person killed himself with a pipe bomb stuffed with shredded playing cards.
  • Potato guns.
  • Shivs, MacGyver-like knives typically made by prison inmates out of ordinary things such as sharpened toothbrushes, spoons, styrofoam, pieces of paper, and chicken bones.
    • Prisoners occasionally show remarkable ingenuity when it comes to designing makeshift weapons. An episode of Myth Busters successfully demonstrated the potential of a crossbow made from rolled newspaper and an elastic waistband.
      • Prisoners have been known to shit and piss into a bucket and keep it in their cell for days or more, allowing it to fester and become truly disgusting. Just so they can throw it at the guards.
    • Not to be confused with the Healing Shiv.
  • The Pen Gun, a testament to Norwegian ingenuity, is made from standard office supplies and can launch a pencil through a soda can. More than enough to penetrate the tranchea or temple.
  • Roman senator Tiberius Gracchus was killed with a bench. A little later, the tribune Saturninus and his followers were murdered while being held in the Senate house--some impetuous aristocrats climbed onto the roof and threw clay roof tiles down on them.
  • In WWI, soldiers in the trenches would sharpen their entrenchment tools (small shovels) and use them in hand-to-hand combat.
    • An American knife company makes a reproduction of the Soviet MPL-50 entrenching tool, with particular emphasis on the fighting and generally offensive applications of it.
  • The British Army has achieved respectable results when called upon to perform crowd-control duty by issuing its soldiers with pickaxe handles. The practice apparently began when security was needed for the officer detailed to collect the garrison payroll from a bank, as rifles would tend to over-penetrate.
    • On Deadliest Warrior, the Green Berets were shown to use entrenchment tools. These were pre-sharpened, and they were trained in their effective use as weapons.
  • The Millwall Brick, a testament to human ingenuity in coming up with a way to kill each other with newspapers snuck into football events.
    • Robert Rankin has a scene in one of his novels where an SAS veteran folds a newspaper into a dagger and uses it to stab a hole in a bar counter. This was probably based on the Millwall Brick.
      • More likely the Chelsea Brick popularized by W.E. Farbairn while he was training the S.O.E.
    • For more improvised weaponry, consider the first two sentences of the history article of that page:

  "In the late 1960s — in response to football hooliganism at matches in England — police began confiscating any objects that could be used as weapons. These items included steel combs, pens, beermats, Horse Brasses, Polo mints, shoelaces and boots."

  • 'Chechnyan Firecrackers'- otherwise known as home-made guns. If you have something explosive, materials and tools to work with and maybe even bits of actual guns, with the right know-how any enterprising rebel, terrorist, gang member or ordinary person can build a usable firearm of some sort, though safety is not a guarantee. As the nickname suggested, Chechnyan rebels are well-known for creating and using guides to build these. The Other Wiki has an article about this.
    • Britain's heavy restrictions on firearms (handguns are illegal and the police make spot-checks to ensure owners haven't got careless about storing their weapons under lock and key) severely limit the black market supply of proper firearms, so the next best thing for your average would-be armed robber are crude derringers kludged together from starting pistols and replicas. Firing one is either an act of great courage, great foolhardiness or both.
  • Leon Trotsky was eliminated with the use of an ice ax. To be fair, the assassin did bring that with him, it wasn't snatched up on the spur of the moment.
    • On another occasion, Indian soldier Yogender Singh Yadav used his ice axe to hack down opponents in an assault on a enemy position during one of the Kashmir wars.
  • Do not try this at home (even though you will anyway, fun disclaimer): There's a YouTube video floating around of a person who filled a Super-Soaker tank with WD-40, attached a flaming rag in front of the nozzle, and made a pretty effective flamethrower.
  • Low-quality softair guns powered by a small gas tank are known for discharging their tank in a few shots if fired upside-down; instead of the small puff of gas that is normally used to propel the pellet, they dump a third or so of the tank, emitting a jet of ice-cold gas. The nozzle for refilling the gas tank has the same size as the one for refilling butane lighters.
  • The term "platik" in the Philippines refers to both improvised firearms created in back-alley workshops and homemade guns. According to The Other Wiki, the term originated late in the Philippine-American War when guns and ammunition had become scarce. The most common form of the weapon was a gas pipe attached to a rifle stock. Wire was usually wrapped around the barrel to keep the pipe from expanding when the gun is fired. It was muzzle-loaded and fired a medium sized bullet or musket ball. A small hole at the breach end of the barrel accommodated a cigarette or match that was used to ignite the primer, making aiming difficult. This also gave rise to the nickname, "Cigarette Gun". Modern paltik guns can range from crude constructs of pipe and metal to functional copies of real guns. The construction of such weapons was so common in the Danao city area that the government just decided to legalize the clandestine gun-makers rather than go through the headache of trying to clear out all of them.
  • Irregular Vietnamese forces in the Vietnam war used a vast array of homemade and converted weapons, some as simple as a length of pipe fitted with a crude breech and a rubber band and nail to act as the firing pin, firing shotgun cartridges. They would then set up a trap designed to ensnare or otherwise disable an enemy soldier, lie in wait near the trap, and once the trap is sprung they would just walk up to the poor guy and execute him, "liberating" him of his weapon. They'd then hand off the improvised weapon to the next poor guy who has to make do with it.
  • Home-made guns in the USA were called "zip guns" they were very unsafe, and as handguns have become more readily available they are mostly forgotten.
  • There was a CCTV recording showing a hotel clerk successfully fought off robbers with a fire extinguisher when they think they have everyone under control.
  • Technicals, which are usually nothing more than civillian pickup trucks with salvaged guns or rocket tubes welded on, have proven to be effective in combat in the Middle East and North Africa whenever proper fighting vehicles are hard to come by. What technicals lack in armor, they make up for with speed and maneuvability, and are much less costly to produce, allowing belligerents to deploy them in large numbers to compensate for their fragility. Although as some such forces have learned from time to time, even a large number of such technicals are no match for proper armored vehicles in a force-on-force battle. Most machine guns will do little more than get the attention of a tank, and many of the rocket launchers will lack the penetration required if fighting armored vehicles head-on[2].
  • Many medieval weapons descended from more peaceful implements: scythe set on a pole straight (fauchard or naginata), sharpened pitchfork, flail with a few extra iron bands, hammer...
  • Many of the classic weapons of martial arts were improvised, as their origins dated from a time when swords were forbidden to anyone outside the samurai class. The bo staff was a wooden pole used to carry buckets of water; the sai was a piece of metal that kept wagon carts attached to the wagons. Tonfa were handles taken from wells. Nunchaku were implements used to whip horses (or to ground up grains; history is a little unclear on this one).
  • The self defence manual Street Ninja, by one Dirk Skinner (if that's his real name I'll eat my hat) uses the term TOYS for Tools Of Your Surroundings to mean a bunch of sand or coins slung in an assailant's face, a bottle snatched from a bar, a key between your knuckles etc.
    • On a side note, NEVER hold a key between your knuckles and try to hit someone. The key will twist and at best go down, and at worst, go up and slice into the webbing between your fingers. Hold the key between your thumb and index finger, much better for stabbing.
      • Israeli author Eugene Sokut recounts a tale where an old man uses keys between the fingers to open the face of a young troublemaker. The old man was a former commando with enough expertise that the keys were likely unnecessary as a weapon to begin with, though. Ultimately, the author used the tale to underscore the point that using keys between the fingers was not a favorable tactic for a novice.
  • Tyre irons. The lever-type can be used as a cosh and the cross-type can be used as a giant shiruken (or vampire repellent), in addition to having hand-guards. It's also great to parry with, what with all the angles.
  • With knowledge in in human anatomy and physiology (particularly concerning arteries), any rigid pen or pencil can become a lethal weapon. It is for this reason that the pens issued in prisons are the bendable kind.
  • Probably half of the hand weapons in any book of medieval military technology first started out as this trope, when farmers who didn't own any decent weapons adapted their agricultural implements as pole arms, nunchaku, caltrops, etc.
  • Even honest-to-goodness guns can be used this way, if circumstances arise that prevent you from using them for their designed purpose (out of ammo, weapon malfunction, bad guy inside the effective range, etc.). Members of the armed forces are trained to use their firearms as melee weapons, including a fluid set of four melee attacks for use with a rifle [3]
    • And bayonets initially were an example of turning a rifle into an improvised weapon, in this case, you make it into a short spear by sticking a knife on the end. The Plug Bayonet was rammed into the end of a musket after it was fired for charging into close quarters combat. It was quickly realized that it was rather better to have a bayonet that could be attached before firing the gun, since time is rather short in the middle of a battle, and bayonet lugs were invented.
  • In September of 2010, Sergeant Dipprasad Pun of the Royal Gurkha Rifles apparently beat a Taliban attacker off a rooftop with the tripod of a heavy machinegun. The thing weighs about sixteen pounds and is made of solid steel, so smacking somebody with it is probably a lot like whalloping them with a warhammer.
  • This poster on the Jeet Kune Do Talk forum used his own piss as gross and embarrassing but effective defense when he was attacked while using the urinal.
  • The Dutch were infamous throughout their history for using their own country as a weapon. Because most of the populous west lies below sea level, more than one war has been won by breaching the right dike at the right time and flooding or cutting off enemy troops. Once, they even sailed their own fleet inland to liberate a besieged city.
    • In a similar vein, the Russians have repeatedly used their merciless winters (promoted to General) against invaders. Both Napoleon's and Hitlers armies have been savaged by them. One of the few nations to use this successfully against Russian troops were the Finns during the Winter War, when they would (among other things) systematically destroy field kitchens of Red Army detachments. Having no hot food in -40C conditions is very bad for you.
    • Inverted by king Karl X Gustav of Sweden in 1658, when he used an unusually cold winter to march the entire Swedish army across the normally open sea and invade Denmark.
  • Older Than Dirt, unsurprisingly. The oldest unequivocal weapons known to archaeology are the Schöningen spears, approximately 400-375 millennia old. They were simply carved from wooden poles, and don't have any points hafted on them.
  • This story shows a machete-wielding masked thug attempt to raid a shop, and getting fended off by a man in his fifties using a mop, who is joined shortly by his son with a hockey stick. This clip also shows an admirable amount of Combat Pragmatism, as he manages to keep the door between him and the machete, rather than letting the thug get an advantage. A true Crowning Moment of Awesome and a Crowning Moment of Funny double-whammy!
  • The 1933 "Battle of Stockton", a clash between facist Blackshirts and pissed off locals, involved a great deal of improvised weaponry, ranging from sticks, pickaxe handles and stones, to at least one potato studded with razor blades. The latter actually managed to take one facist's eye out.
  • During the assassination of King Carlos I of Portugal, Queen Amélie struck back at the assassins with the only object at her reach: a flower bouquet.
  • Mass driver (a variety of coilgun), was invented as a way to make Lunar mining more affordable: shooting containers with ore upward to pick them up by orbiting spacecraft is cheaper than using rockets that burn through tons of propellant (which itself needs to be delivered there by blasting away even more of it). Coilgun got weapon prototypes even before there was any chance to use it for the original purpose.

Notes

  1. since he suddenly has to be a little more creative...
  2. For most armored combat vehicles, the bulk of the armor is on the front, with the assumption that they will most often be facing their enemy. There is less armor on the sides and back, and the weakest armor is typically on the top and bottom of the vehicle, which is why the most effective way to kill a tank is often to use an airplane or a helicopter with missiles.
  3. These are called Buttstrokes (Stop giggling), You swing the butt of the rifle up, then thrust the butt forward, then swing the barrel down, slashing them with either the barrel or an attached bayonet. Then you can either try to hit them with the butt again, or jab them with the barrel (the last two moves make a lot more sense with a bayonet attached)

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