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While most Emergency Weapons are close-ranged melee weapons in the hands of characters who normally fight at long range, sometimes the inverse happens and a character who specializes in primarily close-range fighting lands in a situation that cannot be resolved without some manner of long-range striking ability.

The Ranged Emergency Weapon is generally not very effective as an attack (it's usually not an actual gun or bomb), but it may be enough to, say, flip a door switch behind that open mesh grate.

This is fairly rare, mainly due to the story wanting to focus more on the melee action: If a guy is an awesome swordsman why make him use a gun or bow? Also, there's a tendency for good guys in fiction to be great shots whatever their melee skills. However, a handful of characters graduated from the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy even as they kick ass at melee.

In movies, a character without such a weapon can always rely on Throwing Your Sword Always Works; unfortunately very few video games give you that option.

Examples of Ranged Emergency Weapon include:


  • Several such weapons appear in the Predator 2 film. There's a disk gun which could cut through multiple sides of beef and still take someone out on the other side, an expandable spear, and a net that could be fired to pin a target to a wall.


  • In the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Winter Night, when Sturm needs to buy time for Laurana to use the Dragon Orb, he decides that he needs to draw the attacking dragons toward him, and fires a bow at them to do so, even though he never otherwise uses a ranged attack.

Video Games

  • In Yakuza:Dead Souls the Pistol has infinite ammo, making it the Ranged Emergency Weapon for most characters. The only exception is Akiyama, whose primary weapon is a pair of pistols, which serves to ease the player into the game (since Akiyama is the first playable character).
  • The video game version of Lord of the Rings gives Gimli throwing axes. They're by far the least effective of the characters ranged weapons (with the possible exception of the hobbits knives in the Return of the King) and are slow to throw, but they're useful for dealing with archers or enemies who are a long way away.
  • Dragon Age Origins uses Strength to determine whether a character can wield big melee weapons and Dexterity for bows. There are also Strength-based crossbows to provide Warriors with an Emergency Ranged Weapon. Crossbows are universally and unconditionally awful.
  • Darksiders gives War a gun and a boomerang for long-range work, but there's no question that he's a melee-character - neither of them can do much of any damage, but there are a few situations where you're forced to use them on enemies you either can't reach, or don't want to be standing next to.
    • Additionally, the boomerang can be upgraded to ricochet many times between several enemies, tying them up well enough for War to finish what he's doing and come beat them up.
  • In the Dragonlance video game Heroes of the Lance, Flint Fireforge, similarly to the Gimli example given above, has a single axe he can throw in addition to his melee axe.
  • Throwing knives in Mount and Blade require no skill in throwing to use and take up 1 of your 4 weapon slot (opposed to a bow/crossbows 1 another for ammo) but do poor damage. Their primary use is to give a sword/shield/lance user some range. Many infantry units have a chance at having proper throwing weapons at creation.
    • And there are rocks for people who are really short of money.
      • Don't underestimate rocks, though. Many a new player has been undone by wild forest men with rocks and sticks.
  • Hand axes and Javelins in Fire Emblem have the attack power of the most basic axes/lances with lower accuracy and much lower durability, but have a range of 1 or 2 tiles, opposed to every other melee weapons 1 (There are stronger versions with the strength of higher grade weapons, but they are rare and typically can not be bought)
  • Possible in Diablo for the warrior. The bow is hardly his most useful weapon but it can be handy if an enemy is behind a grate or if you need to exchange fire with something that won't let you close enough to engage in melee for a meaningful length of time.
  • The Team Fortress Classic Engineer gets a railgun that doesn't share its ammo with any of his other weapons. Its practically useless due to its low rate of fire and damage output, suggesting it was included for this reason.
  • Many melee specialists in Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War have a ranged weapon or an upgrade that gives them one.
  • The pistol in Warhawk (1995 video game) is weak and can't damage vehicles, but has infinite ammo.
  • In Rune: Halls Of Valhalla and possibly Rune itself too, any weapon can be thrown with the obvious backdraw of not having said weapon in your hands anymore. In player versus player duels, throwing your last remaining melee weapon is usually unexpected and can bring victory, but if it fails you're weaponless. You can pick up one of every kind, giving you quite an arsenal to throw with. You can also pick up chopped off pieces of enemies and throw those. Ineffective, but funny.
  • Left 4 Dead features pistols with an endless supply of magazines as your sidearms and indeed Ranged Emergency Weapons.
    • The sequel adds an oddly low-powered Desert Eagle("Desert Cobra") as an alternative to your pistol(s), and should you decide to pick up a melee weapon to replace your sidearm? Get knocked on the ground and it BECOMES a single pistol. This is justified though, as melee weapons are a one hit kill against almost all infected, and being downed is supposed to put you at a disadvantage.
    • The chainsaw in the sequel also becomes a single pistol when it runs out of fuel. Clearly, in the south they've run out of places to stash their guns.
  • In City of Heroes when the custom mission creator was released it was possible to make custom enemies with no ranged attacks allowing a ranged character to fly up and fight them in perfect safety. Consequently all custom enemies with a melee attack set now get Throwing Knives or Shuriken as a ranged attack power.
    • Much earlier, a quintet of origin-based attacks was introduced to guarantee that all players had at least one (very weak) ranged attack.
    • Also averted elsewhere. A few of melee powersets available to players include a ranged attack (Super Strength, Stone Melee, Spines, Claws and Kinetic Melee) which is no weaker than their other attacks. Their range may be shorter than a Blaster, and they lack a full ranged attack chain, but the attack is more than capable of putting the hurt on a runner or an enemy that hangs back.
  • Not a single weapon, but Lenneth's ability to equip bows is likely this in the first Valkyrie Profile game. While there's no enemies that can't ever be reached by melee, an early boss battle has a powerful mage protected by a pair of very durable henchmen, which you'd have to break through to reach the mage with melee, during which the mage will be pounding you with spells. It's possible to have recruited an archer prior to this, but just in case you haven't, the game advises you to switch Lenneth from her usual sword to a bow.
    • The Valkyries are consummate warriors in the game's universe just like in Real Life (Real Myth?). There's a reason her Finishing Move has a bow version as well as a sword version.
  • In World of Warcraft all ranged weapons are this for all classes except Hunters. They consist of guns, bows, crossbows and throwing knives for warriors and rogues and wands for mages, priests and warlocks. The most common use of them is initiating battle from a distance in order to lure mobs to a more favourable position[1].
    • Most WoW or Lineage 2 inspired MMOs have ranged weapons serve this purpose for melee characters. In the case of the Party tank, a solo ranged pull is often safer than running into the middle of the room with the Taunt key held down as it allows the player to control how much aggro he gets and what mobs notice him.
  • All of the melee weapon styles in DC Universe Online offer some manner of ranged attack capability, via some combination of Razor Wind, Throwing Your Sword Always Works, Shockwave Clap, throwing rocks, shuriken, or a straight-up elemental Charged Attack.
  • While not deliberate, many Modern Warfare 2 players have been absolutely shocked when a knife rusher (commando-marathon-lightweight) actually shot at them, since they (usually) rely on One Hit Kills from their melee.
  • Back in the days of Quake 1, there were a lot of mods intended to provide a set of alternate classes and weapons to play with, usually including a melee fighter. As the game's maps used a lot of shoot-to-activate switches, the mods tended to include a key binding to throw a rock for minimal damage. (The "Hitscan sword" alternative was rare.)

Tabletop Games

  • This sort of thing used to be ridiculously common in Dungeons and Dragons, before Fourth Edition. In all earlier editions, the main factor in hitting with a weapon is your Base Attack Bonus (or THAC 0, in AD&D), which is the same value for melee and ranged attacks, so an otherwise melee-focused character could still probably hit with a bow or a thrown weapon if the situation called for it. Most characters would carry around a backup weapon, "just in case". In Fourth Edition, a character won't possibly hit with any weapon outside of that character's narrow focus, so the rules give most classes abilities that let them use their main focus somehow at range (often relying on the rule that any thrown weapon immediately reappears in the attacker's hand after it does damage, so the fighter would just gain abilities to throw his Infinity+1 Sword in the off case that he can't get up and beat someone down with it directly). Spellcasters, who would previously carry a crossbow in case they ran out of spells, are instead incapable of running out of spells.

Real Life

  • The Liberator Pistol, made during WWII was a crude, single shot .45 caliber pistol. It was intended to be dropped into occupied territory and be used by resistance groups to kill occupying soldiers and take their much better weapons. It never saw much use in Europe, but was employed in numbers in the Philippines and China.


  1. Technically that's the most common use that actually involves using said weapon. For most classes it's just another slot's worth of stat-bonus-granting gear.
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