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A very common pose for movie posters is to feature the main character posing with a firearm, usually a pistol. See also: Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You.

It is also common to spoof this by having something else being held.

Examples of Pistol Pose include:



  • James Bond. Actually, there are a number of poses.
    • On the DVD covers, they even added arms with pistols. Sometimes it's pretty obvious.
  • The remake of 3:10 To Yuma featured a variant: the character depicted was holding on to a revolver, but by the chamber, not the handle.
  • The poster and DVD art for the film version of Undercover Brother, as shown above. Star Eddie Griffin complained about this, noting that the character never uses a gun.
  • Posters for You Don't Mess With The Zohan have the title character (an Israeli commando who wants to be a hair dresser) brandishing hair dryers. Interestingly, at least one poster shows him with a rifle strapped to his back.
  • The poster art for the Wesley Snipes movie The Art of War.
  • Not the standard "hand-on-the-elbow" pistol pose, but the posters for Wanted resulted in protests in the UK because of their glamorizing gun violence.
  • On the poster for The Killer, Chow Yun Fat combines this with Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Some of the promotional posters for Serenity show River posing with a pistol which, ironically, is used by Jayne in the movie, though she steals it from him and levels it at the camera in one scene.
  • Both La Femme Nikita and the English-language remake The Point of No Return both had movie posters that feature this trope.
  • The Matrix Reloaded had various characters doing so in their promo posters, including this good example of the trope featuring Agent Smith with the title plastered across his crotch.
  • A common subversion is to have the character holding the pistol loose in one hand by their side, indicating that they're highly tired:
    • The Jodie Foster film The Brave One.
  • The poster for The Untouchables has the other three Untouchables holding rifles in the back as Kevin Costner is about to shoot you and under a giant Robert De Niro as Evil Overlooker.
  • Posters for the Harry Potter films have done with with wands instead of guns.
  • Johnny English: the first film has Rowan Atkinson pointing a gun at the camera.

Live Action TV

  • Although it's not a firearm, some of the Publicity Stills from the new Doctor Who show the Ninth Doctor holding his sonic screwdriver in a similar manner. Although in the right circumstances, it's more useful than a gun. After all, you can only shoot the lock off so many times, and you can't shoot the lock on even once. (Except with Captain Jack's Sonic Disrupter.)

Professional Wrestling

  • Legend Mick Foley, in his Cactus Jack persona, does this with his fingers as his signature pose.

Real Life

  • One, the right arm pointing to the shoulder, is in fact the British Sign Language symbol for James Bond.
  • In nearly all instances of this trope in fiction, the characters depicted always have their finger on the trigger. One of the four Very Important safety rules of firearm handling is "do not put your finger on the trigger until ready to shoot". In Real Life, holding a firearm this way is very unsafe, and is a sure indication of an untrained and dangerous novice. Because of this, it's quite funny to watch a purported Badass Crew or James Bond type lumber around the movie being one slip of the finger from putting a round through the ceiling or their head. (Although before Jeff Cooper's Four Rules [1991], even professionals weren't always aware of gun safety.)
    • That said, there are a number of accepted methods of holding a weapon that do resemble this trope, albeit with little details like keeping ones finger off the trigger. The easiest ways to hold a weapon without pointing it at something unintentionally are to hold it pointing upwards or downwards. In the case of a longer weapon like a rifle or shotgun, the most practical method typically is to hold the weapon against your torso, with the weapon pointed across your chest and upwards ("Ready Arms") or downward ("Port Arms").

Video Games


  • Banksy's famous Pulp Fiction painting near London's Old Street. It depicted the characters of Jules and Vincent in their famous pistol pose, but holding bananas instead of guns... until the council decided it was graffiti, not art, and had it painted over.
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