In John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, after he went to the doctor and was chased by some guys, who are most likely assassins, they arrived at some shop full of weapons. There they fought and he finished them all off.

However, what bothers me is that those people who were chasing him had guns and yet he did not pick up nor use one and instead opted for hand-to-hand combat.

He was injured during his encounter with another assassin in the library. I assume that his main goal at that time was to run away from everybody. Therefore, time would be very precious to him.

So why would he opt for that, which takes too long, when he can finish them off faster with just guns? Is there any reason for this? Or did I miss something from the movie?

  • Are you asking why he did not take weapons from people he defeated or are you asking why he did not attempt to use weapons on display in the shop?
    – krb
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 17:56
  • @krb I'm asking why he did not take weapons from people he defeated. IIRC, there were only knives/blades on the part of the shop/building they were at but the guys chasing him had guns.
    – I. Am
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


In universe...

It is somewhat strange, but throughout all 3 films, he only grabs and keeps dropped weapons during a single battle, in the chase after Santonio in the Art Gallery (and even then drops them when no longer needed), and that is probably because he only had 7 bullets for his own weapon

Picking up a random weapon might be a bad idea for several reasons

  • Taking up a few seconds that could be used to run further away, there might be 20 guys coming up that staircase, and a single pistol doesn't have that many bullets
  • You don't know how many rounds are in the magazine, it may be an M4 and it may hold 30 rounds in the magazine, but what if the previous owner fired all but 2, you expect it to last and it doesn't, now you've got a stick... not bad, but not ideal in a gunfight, maybe going in knowing you've got nothing is better for John
  • Maybe John's holsters are fitted for certain weapons and therefore they won't fit other pistols, this is reasonably common to be honest, so picking one up means carrying it in public
  • Maybe John didn't like them, he has a certain manufacturer that he likes or trusts such as Glocks in JW2, and the bad guys are all running around with Berrettas.

Maybe its a little bit of all these reasons and more that the character of John doesn't pick up the bad guys weapons, I know that most if all of these reasons are slightly contradicted in various scenes through all three films but...

Out of universe

Having guns means there's no need for John to suddenly become a horse whisperer and have many requirements for horse kicking to death, or almost death in the next scene.


Having guns means no biker horse riding katana fight scene, and while ridiculous it was very well done (he does grab a gun eventually but before that).

Guns are a VERY powerful tool, so they tend to be ignored or nerfed severely in films to make the action seem more intense.

In the final battle, John needs armour piercing shotgun shells to kill the sweeper teams. Yet he was using an AR-15, a 5.56 rifle which has very good penetrative ability and he was shooting people in the head through clear goggles which would definitely NOT stop a 5.56 round.

So they made the armor "better" or "improved" to make a better-looking scene.

  • 1
    Note that wasn't a 5.56mm rifle in the Continental shootout: imfdb.org/wiki/…
    – jonrsharpe
    Commented Jun 5, 2019 at 11:25
  • IIRC the "shop full of weapons" was this antique weapons exhibition. I wouldn't count on those weapons to 1.) be loaded and 2.) be even still working. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 7:32
  • 2
    @XtremeBaumer Those guns explicitly aren't working; they've all been made safe by plugging barrels, removing firing pins, etc. Even those that do work might not have the right kind of ammo available. That's why he has to hastily disassemble a few different guns and use the parts to put together one where all the parts are in working order. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 15:21

Something to remember about John Wick is he's a man of focus... har har...

But in that focus you may have to figure he has his reasons for making such choices. You mention the knife fighting scene, but didn't question why he chose to assemble a specific revolver and load it with one bullet. Weird choice, right? Especially since he has thus far disarmed everyone trying to get him in close quarters.

Numerous points in the films he does secure weapons from others as he needs them. He appears confident in his ability to secure the next weapon, so for the purpose of the film and his own boogie man behavior, having him ignore the fallen weapons of others seems rather inconsequential.

Other things to consider -

  • Nobody in the John Wick world seems to have heard of a sniper rifle except Willem DaFoe's character.

  • Nobody seems to aim for his head

  • Much of the villains in this world have a "Dr. Evil" complex about them and decide to "kill" John in ways that leave so many options for escape it makes you wonder how they ever became crime lords in the first place (think plastic bag in the church)

  • John is wearing a magical suit that causes kinetic energy to just disappear.

  • Nobody would have their sense of hearing left if this was the kind of thing they did day after day.

  • Pills seem to prevent him from feeling pain in full force and seems to prevent bones from breaking. (by this point every rib he has should be dust).

As just a few examples showing that the John Wick universe is not one to compare to the one we live in now. His is more like a video game, and probably is best to allow it to be that way. Scrutiny in this universe would work best as a drinking game that would land you in a hospital before the first half of the movie is over.

So... Why does he ignore them? Because he's a world class assassin who can turn hot air into a lethal weapon. He ignores dropped weapons because he deemed it so. In the John Wick world, that seems to suffice in many applications.

  • "Nobody seems to aim for his head" That's actually pretty reasonable; the head is a lot harder to hit (and tougher; a glancing shot may not penetrate the skull, reducing the effective target size further), and you can disable a person plenty quickly with torso shots, so taking aim at the head is a higher risk shot; you might get an instant kill, or you might get nothing. Aim for the heart, and if you hit dead on, you get effectively the same result, and if you're a little off, they're still very disabled and can be killed with follow-up shots. Commented Jun 10, 2023 at 15:37
  • @ShadowRanger Well, in the real world yes. But in the John Wick world, he is constantly smacking headshots left and right like it's a secret only he figured out. There's plenty of times when John is just ambulating about and not in like a full sprint juke. Surely someone out there could have actually cared to aim. I mean aside the ones in the movies that do aim and still manage to miss the mark.
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Jun 28, 2023 at 21:06

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