Ate His Gun

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Now that the smoke's gone
And the air is all clear
Those who were right there
Had a new kind of fear

Filter, "Hey Man Nice Shot"

There are lots of ways to do yourself in: jump off a bridge, hanging, stick your head in the oven. One popular method in Hollywood is to wrap your lips around the barrel of your favorite firearm, and pull the trigger. One obvious reason for this; not a lot of room for error. Of course, some people still screw it up. Whatever you do, don't type "failed shotgun suicide" into Google Images. Someone who wants to give you the chance to do this will Leave Behind a Pistol.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

If you came here looking at this as a way to off yourself, we highly recommend you get help. Please, put the gun down, and talk to somebody.

Examples of Ate His Gun include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Gankutsuou, Fernard tries to do this after everything has fallen apart on him, but fails. He later succeeds in killing himself, though this time by shooting the side of his head.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, a seriously traumatised Roy Mustang has to be stopped by his partner Hughes from doing this after killing Winry Rockbell's parents.
    • He also tried to commit suicide in the other continuities (manga and Brotherhood), but is stopped too by Dr. Marcoh.
  • In Serial Experiments Lain, a guy (using the drug Accela) at the club Cyberia kills himself this way... seemingly because Lain freaked him out somehow.
  • Almost happened by accident to Nagasumi in Seto no Hanayome.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's fifth part, Polpo is actually tricked into doing this by Giorno to avenge an innocent man's death. He leaves a banana for Polpo to enjoy, which he proceeds to do. Thing is, the banana is actually a pistol that Gold Experience transfigured. As Polpo peels the "banana"...

Comic Books

  • Arseface in Preacher got his distinctive looks by trying to kill himself by putting a shotgun under his chin; he was trying to emulate some famous music star's suicide.
    • His father's first words to him in the hospital? "Shoulda put it in your mouth, you dumb little fuck."
    • Also in Preacher, Jesse at one point tells a gun-toting pedophile midget thug to "eat his gun" using his Compelling Voice... and the guy starts chewing on the gunmetal. By the time the cops show up, he was bleeding heavily from his mouth...
    • After Arseface becomes a famous musician, several of his fans try to emulate him by mutilating themselves with shotguns and wind up dead.
  • Sergei Kravinoff committed suicide this way in Kraven's Last Hunt, letting us know that he meant it when he told Spider-Man he (Kravinoff) was giving up the hunt for good.
  • Mysterio killed himself this way after finding that Daredevil would not kill him for the death of Karen Page. He came back but with half of his head missing.
  • In The Goon, Buzzard attempts this after being mind screwed by the bad guy. Being an immortal "Reverse-Zombie", he got better.

Fan Works


  • Illustrating this page is Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, who kills himself this way after shooting Sgt. Hartman.
  • In The Film of the Book of V for Vendetta, one of the men involved in Lark Hill is said to have killed himself in this manner. Finch's exact words are "[He] gave his Beretta a blowjob."
  • Shaun in Shaun of the Dead briefly considers this when trapped in the basement with his girlfriend and best friend and outside a few dozen zombies are trying to break in.
  • In Cadillac Man, Tim Robbins threatens to kill himself this way, but Robin Williams talks him out of it.
  • The protagonist of Fight Club uses a variation of this to get rid of the antagonist. He fires into the back of his jaw area, symbolically "blowing the brains out" of his Split Personality.
  • The warden in The Shawshank Redemption does this, as he sees the police arrive to arrest him.
    • "I like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne got the best of him."
  • Harry does this In Bruges.
  • Subverted in Adam's Rib. Adam puts a gun he had trained on his wife and the man who was in love with her in his mouth... and quite literally takes a bite out of it, revealing that it's made of licorice.
  • In Titanic, it's mentioned that Caladon Hockley, Rose's asshole fiance played by Billy Zane ended up killing himself this way when the Great Depression drove him into the poor-house.
  • The character "Kid" kills himself this way in Land of the Dead after being bitten and infected; in Day of the Dead, another character does the same so he won't have to suffer the pain of being eaten alive.
  • Mr. French (Ray Winstone) in The Departed, had already been shot and then was trapped in his crashed/burning car, with the State Police closing in. "...fuck it."
  • In Michael Ritchie's Smile, Nicholas Pryor's character, at the end of his rope, has a pistol to his mouth when his wife smirks "Oh, that's right, take the easy way out!" He stops to consider the cause of his condition... and turns the gun on her.
  • In one scene in The Road, Viggo Mortensen teaches his son this method, in case he finds himself with no option.
  • Withnail and I originally ended with Withnail taking a drink out of a shotgun, then doing this to himself.
  • Downfall has loads of Nazis shooting themselves in the mouth rather than surrender. Downfall was also realistic in this regard as many of the Nazi leadership chose to go out this way when it became obvious they were doomed to either capture by the Allies or bloody revenge by the Russians.
    • The movie also included a scene where Hitler jokingly advises his secretaries on why eating your gun is the correct method for committing suicide (shooting yourself in the side of the head is tricky, as you are likely to missany vital spots in the brain.)
  • In the only memorable scene in Species II that didn't involve sex, an astronaut blows his brains out with a shotgun once he realizes he is carrying The Virus. Unfortunately, he doesn't get off that easily, and his head simply regrows from the jaw up, with the alien taking full control.
  • Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon contemplates this form of suicide early on in the movie, but can't follow through. He even has a special hollow-point bullet to make sure his brain is sufficiently damaged. But when he's partnered up with Roger Murtaugh, the latter is so exasperated with Riggs' Death Seeker attitude (which he believes is just a bluff) that he offers him his own revolver to do himself in—and Riggs promptly presses the barrel to the underside of his throat. Then he moves it to his mouth, because the other position still allowed for error, and very nearly fires until Murtaugh realizes he's not bluffing.
  • Robin Williams's character in Father's Day has the gun in his mouth and is trying to summon the courage to pull the trigger when he gets the call informing him that his son (who he'd been unaware of and isn't really his son) is missing. What follows is a very funny sequence where he holds the conversation, gun still in mouth.
  • In Scanners 2, the police chief is forced to do this to himself by a psychic.
  • In Creepshow one Jordy Verrill enjoys a breakfast of buckshot after a significant portion of his body is consumed by an alien moss.
  • Shock To The System, the second Donald Strachey movie, features Donald breaking down as he tells his husband Tim about how his former lover Kyle did this after Kyle and Don were discharged from the Army after their relationship was discovered.
  • Intolerable Cruelty. Leave it to the Coen Brothers to make this trope kinda funny.
  • George Wilson in the film of The Great Gatsby, after killing Gatsby.
  • In A Few Good Men, Matthew Markinson "got into full dress uniform, stood in the middle of that room, drew a nickel-plated pistol from his holster, and fired a bullet into his mouth."
  • Tommy Wiseau's The Room had main character Johnny go out this way after he found out about his fiancee's affair. Of course, this is after his wimpy rage against his home.
  • The Crying Game. Dil wants to kill Fergus, but her dead lover "won't let her", so instead, she turns the gun on herself. Fergus tenderly removes the gun from her mouth and stops her from committing suicide.
  • Diane Selwyn in Mulholland Drive does this after a miniature elderly couple crawl under her door, grow to normal size and chase her as a manifestation of her guilt.
  • Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove goes into a bathroom, and then shoots himself when his base is captured.
  • Reportedly, David Cronenberg considered having Martin Sheen's character do this in The Dead Zone, but decided that the gun in the mouth was a cliche, and it was more in character for Sheen to put the gun under his chin and shoot upward. He's the kind of character to go out with his chin up.
  • William H Macy's character does this in Boogie Nights after murdering his repeatedly-unfaithful wife.
  • According to him, Dr. Bruce Banner of The Avengers attempted this. "The other guy" spit the bullet out.


  • Jerome "Romey" Clifford at the beginning of The Client.
  • As mentioned in Film, the protagonist of Fight Club completes his Glasgow Grin this way.
  • Harold Lauder in The Stand.
  • In Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, a character attempts this. What the results turn him into get him the nickname "Bag Man".
  • In I, Jedi it's mentioned that the husband of one of the Big Bads suffered some kind of stroke or fit and was paralyzed. He worked for months at physical therapy until he regained the use of his hands - which one character muses must have been a goal of his, because he immediately performed this trope with a blaster.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191, Hippolito Rodriguez is able to rationalize his work as a death-camp guard for a long time, until a few questions from an elderly inmate he's grown to like force him to realize he is involved in genocide. He performs this trope because he can't live with that knowledge. Turtledove also mentions other guards "eating their guns"
  • He Who Would Sing at the end of Dreamspeaker.
  • Larry Lipinski in the 5th Stephanie Plum novel dispatches himself this way after shooting his co-worker to death.
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Dolphus Raymond's fiancée does this on their wedding day.
  • In Breakfast of Champions, Dwayne Hoover contemplates doing this, but takes the gun out of his mouth and turns it on his bathroom instead.
  • Discussed in Cryptonomicon: a World War Two special forces unit, members of whom know too much to allow themselves to be captured, receives instruction in the correct way to blow your head off with your general issue sidearm.

You would be amazed at how many people manage to botch this procedure.

  • This is how George McIntyre dies in the first Red Dwarf novel. Subverted as he wasn't trying to kill himself, he was simply bored and put the gun in his mouth thinking "it probably isn't even loaded."

Live-Action TV

  • Battlestar Galactica likes this trope.
    • Boomer attempts it in "Kobol's Last Gleaming". Doesn't quite work because 1) she's a Cylon sleeper agent and it was against her programming, and 2) she screwed everything else she ever tried up, so blowing a suicide attempt was just par for the course for her.
    • Brother John Cavil, ostensibly the leader of the (evil) Cylons, does it in response to his last hope of regaining Resurrection going straight down the shitter. To his credit, he managed to turn it into a spiteful "fuck you" to everyone still alive on Galactica and the Crowning Moment of Funny for the finale.
  • Once on The Incredible Hulk a guy with Napoleon Delusion thought he was Ernest Hemingway and was acting out scenes from his (Hemingway's) life; his friend didn't see any harm in a little LARPing until Banner pointed out that Hemingway killed himself.
  • A minor character in Reno 911! threatens to do this, almost by name.

"Did you ever hear the story of 'Reading Ron eats a gun'?!"

  • When one of President Bush's speeches was causing major mood swings, Stephen Colbert reacted to one of the bad-news parts by replacing the cigar in his mouth with a gun barrel.
    • On another show, he juggles around his three favorite "American" things—an American flag, a hotdog, and a hand gun—around and eventually ends up holding his hotdog in his gun hand and chewing on the pistol.
    • A third show featured a Formidable Opponent sketch where neither of his sides refused to back down. Both of them then pointed guns at the other, which culminated in Blue-tie Colbert sticking Red-tie Colbert's gun in his mouth.

Colbert: "I will See You in Hell!" *puts gun in mouth* "Go ahead!"

    • When he heard of a bill to allow firearms in baseball stadiums, he stated that he hoped he and Sweetness could get on the "kiss cam".
  • Plenty of people have eaten firearms in Twenty Four. One of them, Charles Logan actually survived it.
  • Ray Fiske does this towards the end of the first season of Damages.
  • Derek met Jesse when she saved him from killing himself this way in The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
  • Oz, When a white inmate is being bullied by a trio of black inmates, another prisoner sneaks him a pistol. When he's picked on again, he shoots two of the inmates, another random inmate, and a Corrections Officer. When the sort team, armed with guns and riot shields, corner the inmate, he realizes his chances and deep throats his handgun.
  • A living teddy bear on Supernatural chose this option rather than live in a world that has no place for living teddy bears. It didn't work.
  • Jim Moriaty does this in Sherlock so Sherlock couldn't Take a Third Option. In the previous episode, Russel Tovey's character nearly did the same thing but got interrupted by the main characters.
  • Occasionally turns up in Law and Order. In one notable episode, D.A. Schiff discovers that a judge in a murder case, who was a friend of his, was bought by the defendant's family to avoid conviction. At the end of the episode, Schiff somberly announces that the judge "ate his gun".
  • Kirby does this at the end of the Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns" under the effects of an Artifact of Death, while looking at a hallucination of his dead girlfriend.


  • The end of the music video to Disturbed's "Inside The Fire" has the subject (the lead singer) do this with a rifle.
  • Ludo's Save Our City has the mayor do this in desperation when the last vestige of humanity (his to protect) is almost certainly going to fall to the zombies:

"With a flash like the sun, his lips are unwrapped from the barrel of his gun..."

Buy a gun! (Like a boss)
In my mouth! (Like a boss)
Aww fuck man, I can't fucking do it, shit!
Pussy out! (Like a boss)

You'll never get used to the taste of a gun.

  • "Albert Goes West", by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, is about various characters traveling to across America. One of them "ended up in a bungalow sucking a revolver".
    • Off the same album, "We Call Upon The Author To Explain" has a line about the poet John Berryman, who "went the Heming way". Both Berryman and Hemingway died of this trope.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • On his posthumously released final album, Rant In E Minor, Bill Hicks does a bit about Jay Leno killing himself this way on The Tonight Show after a particularly soul-crushing interview with Joey Laurence.
  • Australian comedy trio Tripod. Yon does this during their one performances in 'Live At Woodford', using his hand as a gun. Some random starts yelling "Do It!"


  • In A Streetcar Named Desire, this was how Blanche's husband killed himself after she confronted him over his homosexuality.
  • Moritz in Spring Awakening does this; it is known amongst fans to be the point in the show when regular audience members who have no knowledge of the plot gasp as Moritz does this rather abruptly after his infamous "So dark..." speech. It then fades into his funeral, with the equally sob-worthy "Left Behind".

Web Comics

Web Original

Video Games

  • Solid Snake does this if you wait too long at the title screen of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Why he would do it takes the whole game to explain.
  • In System Shock 2, someone ended his life that way with the shotgun (Three-barreled one), considering the position of the gun on the body.
  • Agent Stone of Twisted Metal: Black tries to do this during his backstory, but the gun is empty.
  • There's a corpse in an armchair in Half Life 2 Episode 2, with a shotgun on the ground and a large splat on the wall. Your Vortigaunt partner even comments on it.
  • One boss fight in Killer7 ends with the boss, crippled by falling debris, sticking his gun in his mouth and committing suicide.
  • The Serial Experiments Lain Playstation game ends (rather unlike the anime) with Lain committing suicide this way.
  • In one/several of the Halo games, if the Master Chief dies, one of the Marines can occasionally be overheard saying something similar to "The Chief is dead? I...think I'll go eat my gun now."
  • In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, you find the memo of a doomed police officer, David, who did or intended to do this:

When I finish this bottle, my old friend, Mossberg (a brand of gun), will be turning one last body into fertilizer.

Western Animation

  • The president in season 2 and the dentist in season 3 of Metalocalypse.
  • Family Guy: Stewie Griffin almost does this when Peter won't stop singing "Surfin' Bird". He sticks the gun in his mouth, and it cuts to commercial. He's fine in the next scene.
  • Parodied in South Park; Cartman, thinking he's lost his sense of humor, appears to be writing a suicide note, and puts the barrel of a gun in his mouth, then takes a bite out of it, and adds a P.S. to his mom to buy more chocolate guns (marshmallow, not peanut butter).
    • Another South Park example: in "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset," Paris Hilton's pet dog kills itself this way.
    • And Britney Spears. Not that it had any effect on her mental abilities.
    • Another example is in the episode "Le Petit Tourette"; this was after an ambushee on Chris Hansen's Dateline NBC segment "To Catch A Predator" committed suicide this way, and at the end of the episode, perverts keep showing up at a taping of his new special, then killing themselves this way when they find out it's him.
    • Played for laughs in an episode when a scientist shoots himself in the face to prevent from being attacked and joined by the homeless. No matter how many times he shoots himself, he just doesn't die.
  • In the Looney Tunes short Rabbit Romeo, a lovesick female rabbit keeps pestering Bugs Bunny for a kiss. He pulls a goldfish out of a bowl and thrusts it into her face instead. Afterwards, the fish pulls out a pistol, walks inside his tiny aquarium castle and seconds later a burst of bubbles erupts from the door.

Real Life

  • Kurt Cobain.
  • Hunter S. Thompson
  • Budd Dwyer. His on-air suicide inspired the Filter song "Hey Man Nice Shot", quoted at the top of the page.
  • Ernest Hemingway died like this.
  • Wendy O. Williams
  • Dead, the singer for the black metal band Mayhem died this way.
  • It was a relatively common occurrence amongst amongst officers right up to WWII (and beyond in some cases) to shoot themselves after a crushing defeat to save themselves from capture and die a 'noble death'. For example, after Nazi defeat by the Russians in Stalingrad, many high ranking officers shot themselves rather than give themselves up. Sort of inverted by Friedrich Paulus, the Nazi commander at Stalingrad. He begged Hitler to be allowed to surrender to save the lives of his men, Hitler refused and instead promoted him to Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal). No officer of this rank had ever been captured and the implications meant by this were clear, fight to the death and/or commit suicide or shame himself and become the highest ranking officer to be captured. He surrendered regardless stating: "I have no intention of shooting myself for this Bohemian corporal".
    • Airey Neave wrote in They Have Their Exits about watching a British Army soldier blow his own brains out with a rifle rather than face the Germans at the fall of Calais, not long before they were all rounded up and sent to POW camps.
    • In the British Army, when an officer wants to avoid a messy trial, he will often sign out the Mess Webley.
  • Terry Kath didn't intend to do this. He told his friends "Don't worry, guys. It isn't even loaded. See?"
  • There is a reason that the number one rule of gun safety is, "Never point a gun at anything you don't intend to destroy." Many people have accidentally gone out this way or in a similar fashion thinking their gun wasn't loaded.