Weapons are used by many characters, especially during the actual Hunger Games event. At the beginning of every Games, weapons are among the principle supplies found at the Cornucopia, and are initially acquired during the bloodbath. Tributes who do not obtain weapons at this stage must then acquire them later, either from the Cornucopia itself (if any remain and the horn is unguarded), or from another tribute (by theft or killing). As a result, weapons tend to change hands as the Games go on. Weapons are also sometimes sent to tributes as gifts from their districts and mentors.
In the films, most weapons are made of a silvery metal, and sometimes feature black accents (such as hand grips).
Outside of the Hunger Games, the ownership of weapons is strictly prohibited. The only individuals who are permitted to own and carry weapons are the Peacekeepers, in order to prevent uprisings and rebellions in the districts. For this reason, Katniss Everdeen kept her bow and arrow hidden in the woods, rather than in her home, and although her father could have made a decent amount of money crafting and selling bows, he would have been publicly executed had he been caught. Despite this, she gets most of her food by hunting in the woods outside of District 12, and although this was technically illegal, the relatively lenient Peacekeepers of the district overlooked it, as they too desired the meat that hunters brought home. Ownership of utilitarian weapons, such as knives, seems to be permitted, since they are used for everyday purposes. It is also implied that the industries of certain districts involve the use of weapons under extremely close observation, including spears, nets, and tridents in District 4 (fishing), and axes in District 7 (lumber).
The main exception to these restrictions is District 13, which gained political independence from the Capitol during the Dark Days and was able to stockpile a vast arsenal of firearms, missiles, and other military equipment. During the Second Rebellion, spearheaded by District 13, the rebels were able to acquire sufficient weapons and support to wage war against the Capitol.
An awl can take various forms, but typically consists of a slender spike and some form of handgrip (similar in design to a screwdriver). More of a tool than a weapon, it is traditionally used in handicrafts such as wood and leather working:
- During the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss obtained an awl from the Cornucopia and gave it to Mags. After the group realized that the trees in the arena were full of water, the awl was used to bore holes in the trunks in preparation for inserting the spile.
An axe (ax) is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood. It has also been widely used as a weapon and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. Axes can take many different forms depending on their intended use, but generally, they consist of an axe head with a handle, or helve:
- In The Hunger Games film, the District 9 male briefly used an epsilon axe - named for its similarity to the Greek letter epsilon (ϵ) - during the bloodbath at the Cornucopia. He tried to kill Katniss with it, but Clove killed him with one of her throwing knives before he could complete the deed.
- In Catching Fire, Johanna Mason is shown to be highly proficient with axes, which she used to kill Cashmere. Coming from District 7, where the main industry is lumber, Katniss Everdeen muses that Johanna must have been handling axes since she was a toddler.
While axes are normally used as melee weapons, they can also be thrown, and some are especially designed for that purpose. The latter is never specifically mentioned in the novels, but some characters indeed use axes as distance weapons:
- During the 50th Hunger Games, Haymitch Abernathy was on the verge of defeat at the hands of the District 1 female, who was armed with an axe. When she threw it at him as he got to an edge of a cliff, he was able to dodge it, lulling her into believing that he would die first as he had been disemboweled. However, the force field surrounding the arena caused the axe to fly back and kill her, allowing Haymitch to emerge as the victor.
- In the 74th Hunger Games, the District 3 male acquired one, but Marvel stole it from him. It is speculated that the District 7 female acquired one also, both phases of the training and the bloodbath.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, Johanna Mason acquired a pair of axes from the Cornucopia, and was able to throw one so hard that it lodged in the body of the cornucopia itself. Her district partner, Blight, also obtained one.
A baton is a long, narrow rod that can be made from many different materials. As a weapon, a baton may be used to strike, jab, block, bludgeon, and aid in the application of armlocks:
- In the film of Catching Fire, the District 11 Peacekeepers are shown unsheathing collapsible batons to subdue the crowd after their public salute to Katniss and Peeta.
- During the 50th Hunger Games, Maysilee Donner acquired a blowgun with 24 darts from the Cornucopia. By dipping the darts in the numerous poisonous substances found in the arena, she made them fatal. Maysilee saved Haymitch from a Career Tribute who was about to kill him and the two became allies until they both made it to the final five.
A blow torch is a device that can produce a small, steady stream of controlled flame. They usually consist of some type of canister- for carrying fuel- a nozzle where the flame emerges, and an igniter:
- During the 50th Hunger Games, after Haymitch Abernathy teamed up with Maysilee Donner, they used a blow torch salvaged from one of the dead Career Tributes to cut their way through the foliage to the edge of the arena.
Bow and arrow
- Main article: Bow and arrow
The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures. Katniss learned her archery skills from her father, and she uses a bow to hunt for food. It also becomes her weapon of choice in the arena. Gale Hawthorne is also a skilled archer, which he learned from Katniss:
- Katniss uses bows as weapons in both the 74th and 75th Hunger Games and after she joins the rebellion.
- In the 74th Hunger Games, there was apparently only one bow supplied at the Cornucopia, and it was briefly used by Glimmer before being acquired by Katniss.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, multiple bows were supplied, since the Gamemakers only provided weapons. Notably, Katniss uses her bow along with a wire and lightning bolt to destroy the arena by taking out the force field.
A brick is a hard, heavy, rectangular prism typically made of clay. A common element in masonry construction, it can also be used as a blunt force weapon:
- In The Hunger Games film, a video depicting a previous games shows the District 2 male tribute smashing a brick into the District 10 male tribute's torso, causing bleeding and death.
The crossbow is a mechanized version of the bow and arrow that originated in China over 2000 years ago. Rather than being held upright, the crossbow is mounted horizontally across the handle, or stock, and equipped with a trigger. Although it takes longer to load and fire than a traditional bow, it can be learned much more easily and the missile, or bolt, can be launched at any time without the physical strain of holding back the string:
- Crossbows do not appear in The Hunger Games trilogy, but in Mockingjay, Gale uses a high-tech, military grade bow equipped with many scopes and targeting devices. The Mockingjay films interpreted this weapon as a crossbow.
Electrocution is a process involving electrical current and some form of conductor:
- In Beetee Latier's first Games, he was able to electrocute several tributes at once, and this strategy earned him the victor's crown:
- Beetee also uses electrocution in the 75th Hunger Games. He coils a metal wire around his knife and tried to stab the force field when a bolt of lightning strikes the coil at the top a tree. At the same time he prepared the shock to destroy the force field, he also prepared to electrocute the water in the arena to kill Brutus and Enobaria, but this failed as they cut his wire before Katniss and Johanna could reach the beach. He was then stabbed by an unknown tribute and Katniss tied the wire around her arrow, then shot it at the force field, which blew a hole in the force field of the arena creating an escape route.
- In Mockingjay, it also states that Johanna Mason was tortured using water and electrocution.
During the 74th Hunger Games, the Gamemakers unleashed a massive wall of fire to force the tributes closer together in the arena. Because of the fire's height and uniformity, Katniss could tell that it wasn't natural but machine generated. Aside from the main inferno, a number of fireballs were shot out to target the tributes directly. Running from the fire caused Katniss to severely injure her leg, and her palms also suffered burns. The Careers apparently got caught in the blaze too, as Katniss noticed their raspy voices due to smoke inhalation. Rue's forearm was seemingly burned during the fire attack as well.
During the 75th Hunger Games, one of the twelve hourly obstacles encountered in the arena was a poisonous fog. Any skin that came in contact with the mist instantly erupted in extremely painful swellings, and too long or too heavy exposure resulted in death (as happened to Mags). Submersion in water helped to dull the pain and draw out the poison, but the skin was left heavily scabbed afterwards.
Although the Gamemakers could seemingly control the direction and speed of the fog's movement, like all the hourly obstacles, it remained within its designated sector of the arena.
Guns are never used in the Hunger Games, as they would give the wielder an unfair advantage, but are instead used by the Peacekeepers and are mostly manufactured in District 2, the headquarters of the Capitol's Military-Industrial Complex following the First Rebellion and the secession of District 13.
Although the novels never go into detail regarding the exact model of firearms used, in the film, the Peacekeepers are shown to be armed with FN P90 submachine guns, TAR-21 rifles, FN F2000 rifles, as well as Vector CP1 pistols. In some scenes, the armored trucks of the Peacekeepers are seen having M2 Browning machine guns mounted on top.
Having gained political independence from the Capitol, District 13 has its own supply of guns, and they distributed them to rebel forces in the other twelve districts during the First and Second Rebellion. The standard-issue infantry rifle is shown to be the Heckler and Koch G36K carbine (in the film), although rebel forces in the other districts are shown using all types of firearms, most of them being from the era of the Second World War, including M1 Carbines and MG-42 machine guns. An example of a non-conventional gun was some type of energy weapon used by Twill. This weapon, if necessary, could convert solar energy into deadly rays of power, providing a limitless power source.
A knife can take innumerable forms, but always consists of a sharp blade with a handle. The length of the blade can vary but is typically shorter than a sword blade. Depending on the design, a knife can be used as a weapon, a piece of silverware, or a tool (sometimes more than one):
- During the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss gained a knife as her first weapon; when Clove threw a knife at Katniss in an attempt to kill her, Katniss was able to block this knife with her backpack, where it lodged. It had a long blade and was serrated near the handle. This knife enabled Katniss to saw off the branch that a tracker jacker nest was attached to and dropped it onto the Careers sleeping below.
- In The Hunger Games film, it is briefly shown during the bloodbath that Glimmer was using a knife to stab the District 6 female and the District 5 male. Foxface used the blade of a knife from the ruins of the Cornucopia, following its destruction.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss obtained two long knives from the Cornucopia and gave one of them to Peeta Mellark. Peeta used the knife as his main weapon in the games, killing several monkey muttations while in the jungle. He also used it as a tool to draw a map of the area on large leaves, so they could keep track of the various obstacles that were released every hour.
A kukri is a style of knife made famous by the Gurkhas of Nepal, where the blade curves forwards and down, rather than backwards and up like other curve-bladed knives:
- In The Hunger Games film, Marvel is shown to knock down the District 8 male and then proceed to stab him to death with a kukri. He is shown later walking towards the Cornucopia with the kukri in his hand.
In theory, most knives can be used as throwing weapons, but some are specifically designed for the purpose:
- Although Katniss prefers a bow, she has some experience with wielding and throwing knives in order to finish off a wounded animal.
- In the 74th Hunger Games, throwing knives were Clove's preferred weapon. During the bloodbath at the Cornucopia, she used one to kill the boy from District 9 and attempted to do the same to Katniss, but Katniss blocked the knife with her backpack. At the feast later in the games, Clove was shown carrying an assortment of knives in her jacket, and she threw two at Katniss in a second attempt to kill her. Katniss blocked the first with her bow, but the second gashed her just above her left eye, throwing off her focus and allowing Clove to tackle her.
- In The Hunger Games (film), the knife thrown at Katniss during the bloodbath seems to be a conventional, Bowie-esque knife. Although similar in design to the book's description (a long, sharp blade serrated near the handle), it was noticeably larger and heavier than most of the other knives in Clove's arsenal.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, Enobaria, the female tribute from District 2, was able to land a knife in Finnick Odair's thigh. While the novels don't specifically mention if the knife was thrown, the film of Catching Fire clearly indicates that it was. The film also showed Cashmere and Gloss practicing with throwing knives in the Training Center.
A land mine is an explosive device, concealed under or on the ground and designed to destroy or disable enemy targets as they pass over or near the device. Such devices are typically detonated automatically by way of pressure from the target stepping or driving on it, though other detonation mechanisms may be possible. The device may cause damage either by a direct blast or by fragments that are thrown by the blast:
- Mines are deployed in front of the metal plates on which the tributes stand when they are delivered via the tribute tubes to prevent anyone from gaining a head start on the weapons and supplies at the Cornucopia. These mines are activated by pressure and are extremely sensitive. One year, a female tribute accidentally dropped her tribute token, a small wooden ball, resulting in her getting blown to pieces. Once the minute is up, the mines are disarmed by the Gamemakers.
- In the 74th Hunger Games, the unnamed male tribute from District 3 was able to dig up the mines, plant them around the Career's supply cache at the Cornucopia, and re-arm them as part of an arrangement he reached with the Careers to become part of their alliance. However, Foxface was able to determine where the mines had been planted. She was able to steal small quantities of food from the cache, though not enough to arouse suspicion. She had been doing this for some time before Katniss and Rue decided to cripple the Careers by destroying their supplies. Rue had been able to spy on the camp but could not deduce that the mines were being reused. When Katniss studied the camp, she saw Foxface make a supply run, during which she hopped over the mines. She overshot one of her jumps, but did not land on a mine. This tipped Katniss off that the mines were being reused. She targeted a burlap bag of apples and fired three arrows at it to release the apples, which landed on enough mines to set off a chain reaction, detonating almost all of them and blowing up the supplies.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, the tributes were launched from a saltwater lake with the Cornucopia at the center and the land mines were not deployed.
- In District 13, Simulated Street Combat training involved the possibility of triggering a mine in preparation for the assault on the Capitol.
- Mines and pods formed some of the defenses deployed in the Capitol when the rebels attacked. When Squad 451 was deployed there and in the midst of shooting a propo, Boggs stepped on a mine which blew off his legs, causing him to bleed to death. When their way out was blocked by a wave of black tar, Gale and Leeg 1 used their guns to sweep the street in an attempt to detonate any mines and enable them to escape.
A mace consists of a length of shaft topped by a heavy weight. Historically, there have been many variations of this weapon; some heads may be spiked or have angular striking surfaces, and others may place the weight at the end of a chain, which in turn is connected to the shaft:
- In one unidentified Hunger Games, spiked maces were the only weapons in the Cornucopia, and the tributes had to bludgeon one another to death.
- It is unknown if anyone in the 74th or 75th Hunger Games used them, but in the 75th Games numerous maces were supplied.
A bar mace is a narrow pole weapon consisting of a hand grip attached to two flattened metal bars intersecting at the middle, giving the weapon a "+"-shaped cross section. It is a simple but efficient weapon that can be used to bludgeon and hit opponents:
- Bar maces do not appear in the books, though they are used in The Hunger Games film: Cato is seen using a bar mace to injure the District 4 female, as well as during the final fight of the 74th Hunger Games. He also used one to kill the District 4 male.
A machete is a type of heavy, long-bladed knife which can be used as an agricultural tool and as a weapon:
- While not specifically mentioned in the books, machetes make appearances in the films and related material. The Hunger Games Tribute Guide lists a machete as one of Cato's weapons, though it is unknown when he used it (this is all before he acquires the sword he uses later in the games).
- During the 75th Hunger Games, Peeta is described as wielding a "long knife", originally obtained by Katniss from the Cornucopia. The film of Catching Fire interpreted this weapon as a machete.
A medicine ball is a weighted sphere used to increase strength and muscle capacity. It is commonly found in modern gymnasiums and is a component of certain workout regimens:
- While not technically a weapon, three sizes of medicine balls appear in The Hunger Games film. When Peeta falls during a climbing exercise, Katniss notices the Career tributes eyeing him as if he were a "meal", and orders him to throw a ball to show them that he's not such easy prey. He throws the largest ball into a rack of spears, which crashes across the floor and draws mildly impressed looks from the Careers.
- Although medicine balls do not appear in the novels, it is mentioned that weight-lifting is a station in the Training Center, so perhaps similar objects would be found there.
A net is composed of fibers woven in a grid-like structure. It blocks the passage of large items, while letting smaller items and fluids pass. It requires less material than something sheet-like, and provides a degree of transparency. Nets can be used to catch fish, birds, animals, or for ensnaring people:
- Nets are mainly used by District 4 for fishing, but they were also utilized by Finnick Odair during the 65th Hunger Games. He wove a net from a kind of vine he had found in the arena to entangle his opponents with then spear them with his trident.
- Another person who used a net to kill someone was Marvel during 74th Hunger Games. He used the net to entangle Rue and killed her with a spear.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, Finnick again arms himself with a net and trident, weaving additional nets to use for fishing. Katniss fell into the coiled wire and thought she had fallen into Finnick's net, as at that point she believed Finnick and Johanna Mason were trying to kill her.
- Main article: Pod
A pod is an obstacle that can range from a bomb to a group of mutts. Whatever is in the pod is designed to trap or kill. They were created by the Capitol and deployed throughout the city as traps.
Rocks are items of nature that can be used as weapons:
- Thresh smashed Clove's head with a rock during the feast of the 74th Hunger Games, denting in her skull and ultimately killing her. Rue used a sharp shard of rock as a makeshift knife. They can also be used to start a fire, though this runs the risk of being discovered by other tributes.
- Although this weapon is not seen in the movie, it is seen in one of Isabelle Fuhrman videos where she and other actors talk about how they had to train physically for their role in the movie. As this is not in the seen in the movie nobody is seen using it or killing anybody with it.
- In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the District 5 male can be seen holding the weapon when approaching Katniss but was unsuccessful in killing her and was impaled with a trident by Finnick.
A sickle is an agricultural tool that is traditionally used for harvesting crops, but could also be used as a weapon. Typically, they consist of a short handle connected to a curved or crescent moon-shaped blade, and are used for slashing and cutting:
- They appeared in the 74th Hunger Games as weapons among the supplies at the Cornucopia. The District 5 male used one to kill the District 3 female by slashing the back of her neck with it. Thresh also used a sickle to kill the District 7 male during the bloodbath, while he made his escape.
- In the Catching Fire film, while the tributes are hanging onto the spinning island at the center of the area, the weapons in the cornucopia are scattered, and Peeta nearly takes a sickle to the head.
A slingshot is a projectile weapon that can be used to fling small objects such as stones at short distances. Skilled slingshot users, such as Rue, are highly accurate and can hit a target with each shot. After fleeing the Cornucopia, Rue fashioned a slingshot.
A snare is a rope or wire that is tied to an object to trap prey and kill it:
- Gale Hawthorne is an expert at making and using them to trap game, creating snares which trap the prey animal but keep it out of reach of predators until the kill can be retrieved. He and Katniss first met in the woods when she was about to examine a rabbit that had been caught in one of his twitch-up snares. Prior to knowing Gale, Katniss had not had previous success with snares, although her father had used them.
- In the Training Center just before the 74th Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss try out the snares station and worked there for about an hour until they master the basic snares that can catch some food and leave a tribute trapped. Katniss used snares to trap game while in the arena.
A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a long shaft and a pointed head. Depending on the time period and culture, the head could take many different designs and be made from a variety of materials; the end of the shaft may simply be sharpened, or the head may be a separate piece made of more durable material - such as stone, bone, or metal - and attached to the shaft. Spears are one of the few weapons that are always supplied at the Cornucopia:
- In the 74th Hunger Games, Marvel used a spear to kill Rue. which was then taken from the arena along with Rue's body. Cato was highly accurate with a spear and presumably killed other tributes with it. The boy from District 3 was also given a spear, however it is unknown if he ever used it. Peeta was armed with a spear when he was allied with the Careers but lost it after he betrayed them to aid Katniss. The District 7 male also used a long, pilum-like spear to attack Thresh, but ended up being killed seconds after it. Peeta and the District 3 boy were armed with spears that have single-edged blade-like tips and different shafts. Also, Marvel uses a spear to skewer the District 7 female's heart during the 74th Hunger Games bloodbath, killing her.
- In the 75th Hunger Games, Brutus used a spear when he attempted to kill Peeta by throwing it at him. In the film of Catching Fire, the spears that Brutus trains with are similar in appearance to the ancient Roman pilum.
A sword consists of hand grip, or hilt, attached to a blade. Depending on the design of the sword, it may be used primarily for cutting and/or thrusting, and the blade may have one or two edges:
- Cato, the male tribute from District 2 in the 74th Hunger Games, used a sword as his primary weapon; described as "a short, heavy blade", he used it to severely injure Peeta Mellark's leg. In The Hunger Games film, this sword was shown hanging inside the wall of the Cornucopia, which ties in with Katniss' observation that the most valuable supplies were not easily accessible.
- At the Bloodbath of the 75th Hunger Games, Enobaria got a sword from the cornucopia that she later uses to slash vines out her way and keeps it on her back.
A serrated sword consists of a short hand grip attacked to the blade, which is black with a white stripe running down the middle. One side is smooth and sharp while the other is serrated and pointed:
- Cato obtained one in his game and used it to kill the District 6 male. The District 4 female also used one to amputate the District 3 female’s leg.
A trident is a three-pronged spear that can be used both as a weapon and for spear fishing. It was carried by various religious figures throughout history, such as the Greek Poseidon, the Roman Neptune, and the Indian Shiva. In addition to stabbing, the prongs on a trident can be used to trap other weapons and deflect them away from the wielder:
- During the 10th Hunger Games, both tributes from District 4, Coral and Mizzen, used tridents as their primary weapon. Working together they successfully managed to kill many tributes with their tridents, including a member of their alliance, Tanner.
- During the 65th Hunger Games, a golden trident was delivered to Finnick Odair. Katniss described it as possibly "the most expensive gift" she had ever seen given to a tribute, and it helped Finnick to emerge as the victor.
- During the 75th Hunger Games, numerous tridents and a net were provided at the Cornucopia, which Finnick also used. In the Catching Fire film, the design of Finnick's trident included 3 blades protruding from the side of the shaft, as well as a long point extending from the top. With this design, the weapon could slash like a sword, as well as stab and be thrown like a spear.
- Later in District 13, Beetee designed a special trident for Finnick which could be retrieved after it was thrown by pressing a button on a metal cuff on his wrist. It also has a lot of special features, such as an automatic blade sharpener and more, but these are not described.
A water cannon is a device that shoots a high-pressure stream of water. Typically, a water cannon can deliver a large volume of water, often over hundreds of feet. They are used in firefighting and riot control:
- Water cannons do not appear in the books, but are used in The Hunger Games film by the Peacekeepers to suppress the uprising in District 11.
A whip is a weapon, mostly used for punishment but also for combat. It is used by "cracking" the whip through the air, making it hit an opponent painfully. Whips also typically feature a hard butt that can be used as a bludgeon:
- Some Peacekeepers hold public floggings, which Romulus Thread did to Gale Hawthorne, for crimes such as poaching. These both punish the offending party and scare the local community into submission by setting an example. In Catching Fire, Gale is whipped forty times and passed out at around thirty lashes. Darius tried to stop the whipping and was knocked unconscious with the butt of the whip. The whip used by Romulus Thread bears a strong resemblance to a Roman flagrum.
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 1
- Catching Fire, Chapter 19
- Catching Fire, Chapter 20
- The Hunger Games (film)
- Catching Fire, Chapter 23
- Catching Fire, Chapter 14
- Catching Fire (film)
- Mockingjay, Chapter 5
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 13
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 15
- Catching Fire, Chapter 10
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 4
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 11
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 21
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 16
- Mockingjay, Chapter 18
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 3
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 7
- Catching Fire, Chapter 15
- The Hunger Games, Chapter 8
- Catching Fire, Chapter 8