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And yet we both reached for the gun

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes we both

Oh yes, we both

Oh yes, we both reached for

The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun

Oh yes, we both reached for the gun

For the gun.
Roxie Hart, Chicago

A very simple dramatic scene which involves two characters and a gun. Each one reaches for it and grabs it. They grapple, vying for control, until BANG! A few seconds pass and one of the characters falls down dead.

Variations apply: sometimes the gunshot is a Bait and Switch Gunshot. Sometimes it comes from a third character watching the struggle. Sometimes it's non-fatal. Sometimes it's not immediately obvious which of the two was shot. But a gun will always go off. Because that's dramatic.

There is also a variation of this used for melee weapons, usually a knife.

Examples of Gun Struggle include:

Anime and Manga

  • Noir has variations.
  • This is what a murder suspect claims to have happened in Case Closed, but Two Mix accidentally overheard two gunshots (meaning that the murderer shot his victim, then put the gun into the victim's hand and fired again so that the victim would test positive for gun-shot residue).

Comic Books


  • Minority Report.
  • In the Star Wars Radio adaptation Leia struggles to get a blaster off of the Imperial Lord Tion. There's a zap...
    • ...and? ...AND?!?
  • This happens between 007 and a mid-level villain in Tomorrow Never Dies. Eventually, Bond gets control and points the gun at the villain's head, resulting in this exchange:

 Dr. Kaufman: Wait! I'm just a professional doing a job.

Bond: Me too. (Shoots Kaufman)

  • Die Hard, only they're fighting over the gun, and the issue is to see whose neck gets snapped when they roll down the stairs...
  • At the climax of Urban Legends: Final Cut, the Final Girl, her boyfriend, a friendly cop, and the Ax Crazy bad guy are all vying for the gun, which happens to have been mixed in with a boxful of prop guns and nobody knows which is the real one.
  • In the 1951 remake of The Racket, the villain kills a policeman after a gun struggle, leaving some ambiguity as to whether he meant to fire the shot. In the 1927 original, he just pulls his gun and shoots the cop in the back. Note the difference between pre- and -post Production Code standards.
  • Combined with Gun Kata in Equilibrium.
  • An interesting variation occurs in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy and the mook he's struggling with briefly cooperate to shoot another mook that Todt just ordered to "Shoot them both."
  • TV movies, The Perfect Tennant as well as the The Perfect Wife, has this near the end.
  • Juice: This trope occurs between Raheem and Bishop after robbing Quiles' liquor store.
  • This marks the point where things start to go bad in The Crazies (1973). The mayor of the town and his sheriff has arrived at the headquarters the military have set up, and start protesting their actions in rounding up all the townspeople. Colonel Peckham orders his men to go through the town confiscating all weapons -- starting with the police who the Mayor orders to resist. There's a tense but silent struggle with each side trying to get the others' firearms, culminating in a gunshot which reveals that the town sheriff has been killed.
  • Arthur and a dream Elite Mook get caught in one in Inception. In a rotating hallway. Followed by a hotel room.


Live Action TV

  • In the school shooting episode of Degrassi the Next Generation, this happened between Rick and Sean.
  • This occurred in the three-way free-for-all fight between Conan O'Brien, Stephen Colbert, and Jon Stewart on Conan's show. An outtake shows that somehow, all three of them were accidentally shot as a result of the struggle... but Stephen recovers quickly enough to grab the gun for himself.
  • Happens at the climax of the second episode of Wild Boys.


  • In Stan Rogers' song Harris and the Mare, there's a bar fight, during which one man pulls a knife and rushes the singer. The aggressor - the one who pulled the knife - is killed in the struggle.


Web Original

  • Done in a Freddie Wong video "Whose gun is it anyway?" They simultaneously shoot each other.


Western Animation

  • Happens during the Bar Brawl in the Disney movie The Great Mouse Detective. Being a children's movie, the inevitable shot hits the light rather than a person.
  • Two gangster rappers in an episode of The Boondocks each manage to shoot themselves during one of these.
  • The South Park episode "The List" has one between Wendy and Bebe. The gun accidently goes off but neither is shot. The stray bullet hits Kenny while eating his dinner, killing him instantly.

Real Life

  • An instructional video for the Modern Army Combatives program demonstrated one alternative for long guns... have the weapon pointed away from you, then punch the other struggler in the face.
  • Firearms retention training (for both hand guns and long guns) is to avert this... or at least the part about the gun going off and the trainee being the one to fall down dead.
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