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What weapons aren’t allowed in The Purge?

The Purge is a fictional annual event created in the movie franchise of the same name, where all crime, including murder, is made legal for 12 hours. During The Purge, many weapons that are normally prohibited are allowed to be used without consequence. However, even in this lawless event, there are still some restrictions around certain types of weaponry not being permitted. In this article, we will explore what weapons are off limits during The Purge and the reasons behind these restrictions.

Weapons Banned in The Purge

While citizens are free to use any weapons they choose during The Purge hours, there are some key categories of weaponry that are explicitly banned:

Explosives Over a Certain Size

Any explosive devices over a restricted size, such as large bombs, grenades, rocket launchers etc. are prohibited during The Purge. Smaller explosives and fireworks are permitted. The restriction is in place to try to limit large-scale terror attacks that could cause mass casualties.

Biological & Chemical Weapons

Weapons designed to cause widespread contamination and environmental damage such as nerve agents, mustard gas or weaponized diseases are completely banned in The Purge. Using these types of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) would go against the spirit of The Purge which is intended as a limited release of aggression, not a genocide.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Any weapons with the capability to kill thousands of people indiscriminately such as nuclear, radiological, or orbital strike weapons are off limits. These are seen as beyond the scope of what should be allowed even in a lawless Purge scenario.

Illegal Cyber Weapons

Hacking tools and viruses intended to take down critical infrastructure like the power grid, hospitals, transportation or defense systems are not permitted in The Purge. Tampering with these systems would risk the stability of society.

Reasons for Weapon Bans in The Purge

The above categories of weapons are restricted during The Purge for a few key reasons:

Maintain Some Order

While The Purge allows unrestrained violence, some lines have to be drawn to prevent outright anarchy and societal collapse. Banning WMDs maintains a minimum level of order and helps the nation return to normalcy after the 12 hour Purge.

Safety of Government Officials

By prohibiting large explosives, biochemical attacks and hacking of critical infrastructure, high-ranking government officials are afforded some protection during The Purge hours. This allows continuity of government after the event.

Avoid Damage to Infrastructure

Banning cyber attacks and explosives that could severely damage infrastructure ensures water, power, transportation, medical care etc. can quickly be restored after The Purge concludes.

Limit Scale of Violence

Restricting weapons of mass destruction constrains the scale of violence to mostly individual/small group attacks rather than city or nationwide devastation. This contains the societal impact within “manageable” levels.

Economic Stability

Prohibiting attacks that would cripple infrastructure or business operations ensures the economy can recover and continue functioning with minimal disruption after The Purge.

Enforcement of Weapon Bans

The restrictions around prohibited weapons during The Purge are enforced by:

Surveillance Methods

Authorities closely monitor any build up of banned weapons in the months prior to The Purge using wiretaps, drones, camera surveillance and tracking of purchases.

Raids & Arrests

Police and military conduct raids in the days before The Purge, searching properties for any stockpiling of illegal weapons. Anyone found in possession of them is arrested.

Gunfire Detection Systems

Urban centers deploy gunfire detection technology that can identify the use of explosive devices above a certain yield, enabling security services to immediately respond.

Signal Jamming

Areas with critical infrastructure systems have jammers in place to block remote detonation of explosives or cyber attacks during Purge hours.

Purge Patrols

Heavily armed Purge Patrols scout throughout cities during the event, neutralizing any attempted use of banned high level weaponry.

Punishments for Using Banned Weapons

Despite the prohibitions, there are inevitably some Purge participants who attempt to use banned weapons. If caught, they can face severe consequences:

Summary Execution

Anyone caught in the act of deploying a WMD may simply be executed on the spot by Purge Patrols without trial.


Surviving perpetrators can be permanently exiled from the country and deported if foreign citizens. Their family may also face punishment.

Prison Sentences

Up to life in prison or even execution for crimes using banned weapons. Some states institute a “three strikes” policy carrying automatic life imprisonment.

Financial Penalties

Massive fines upwards of millions of dollars for violations of weapons prohibitions.

Restricted Future Purge Participation

Offenders may have restricted future Purge participation, with non-lethal weapons only or excluded from certain exclusion zones.

Public Shaming

Publication of identities, crimes and photos of weapons ban violators to publicly shame them as deterrent.

Notable Weapons Ban Controversies

There has been some public debate and controversies around the limits on weapons during The Purge events:

Rocket Propelled Grenades

The restriction on RPGs, grenade launchers and large explosives has been contentious. Some pro-Purge extremists argue these should be permitted to allow “creative expression of rage”.

Weaponized Drones

Many have called for armed drones equipped with guns or bombs to be exempted from bans. Authorities have resisted this to prevent unchecked terror attacks.

Acid Attacks

While acid alone is not prohibited, its weaponization has caused controversy. Some Purge radicals have used concentrated acid as a blinding agent on enemies.

Improvised Explosive Devices

Homemade IEDs and pipe bombs toe the line of legality during The Purge. Limits on explosive yields try to restrict their impact, with mixed success.

3D Printed Guns

3D printing of illegal weapons and components to circumvent bans has increased. However, authorities have cracked down on downloadable weapon blueprints.

Notable Legal Weapons in The Purge

While certain high-level weapons are restricted, many lethal options remain permitted for use during The Purge:


All small arms are legal, including handguns, shotguns, hunting rifles, assault rifles, submachine guns etc. These are the most commonly used Purge weapons.

Bladed Weapons

There are no limits on bladed weapons like knives, swords, axes, machetes during the Purge. These tools allow for more “personal” attacks.

Bows & Crossbows

Traditional ranged weapons like compound bows and crossbows offer silent, discreet killing capabilities at close quarters for skilled marksmen.


Cars and trucks can be used as deadly weapons without restriction, allowing for road terror attacks and hit and runs.

Poisons & Traps

Ingestible toxins and mechanical traps trigger no legal issues, for stealthy or pre-planned Purge killings.


These incendiary devices are popular for arson and destruction during The Purge. Some models throw flames over 20 feet.

Concealed Carry Considerations

Many everyday weapons used in The Purge involve concealed carry by participants:


Revolvers, pistols and derringers small enough for concealed carry in clothes or bags are common and completely unrestricted during Purge hours.

Knives and Blades

From flick knives to machetes, blades concealed under clothes allow surprise stabbing and slashing attacks on victims.

Garrotes/Strangulation Tools

Discreet cords and wires can be carried then used for stealth strangulations of targets during the Purge chaos.


Small vials of ingested toxins can be concealed then slipped into drinks or food to poison unwitting victims.

Syringes & Spiked Tips

When filled with sedatives or toxins, concealed syringes and spiked rings/gloves become potent concealed Purge weapons.


While The Purge permits unrestrained violence, certain weapons of mass destruction remain prohibited to avoid societal collapse. Participants largely rely on small arms, blades, vehicles and improvised weapons to commits acts of violence during the annual event. However, concealed carrying of certain deadly weapons also allows for stealthy surprise attacks on victims amidst the Purge madness. The restrictions try to balance limited containment of violence with allowing “constructive” illegal aggression during the 12 hour span.