I watched the 2012 Dredd movie last night and in the scene when he has a shootout with the two cops, he takes the ammo magazines from the second cop that gets killed because Dredd runs out of bullets. But, before Dredd had a shootout with the two cops, he was already low on bullets and faced one separate cop on his own. After he killed that first cop why didn't he take his ammo magazines?

It doesn't seem like a mistake Dredd would make in forgetting to take the ammo as he is very precise and particular with his actions.

  • "Fog of war". von Clausewitz Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 12:11
  • @DVK I can't see his being the case with Dredd as throughout the film he is fully composed and kills people while keeping a clear head with his decisions.
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 13:30
  • A mistake in the editing room Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 16:31

5 Answers 5


Having seen the movie recently, I completely agree: by that point, Dredd is low on ammunition and would have no compunctions about taking ammo from the outlaw Judge he killed. It also would not have taken long for him to do so, so he was not forced to leave it behind due to time constraints.

The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that he was unable to do so. Perhaps the Judge he killed first had no spare ammunition? If he had been on a busy patrol before being called in (or had been using rounds enforcing other illegal activities) he may have been low on ammunition, having only the clip in his magazine. It would seem pretty sloppy, but he is a corrupt Judge - he likely doesn't stick to the Book the way Dredd does. He also wouldn't see a need to have full ammo before confronting Dredd - he expected to kill Dredd without problem, ambush-style. A few rounds to the head and the job's done.

Thus, it's possible that he only had the rounds in his weapon. Getting the magazine clear of his Lawgiver might be a process that only he could do (or someone at the armory, with an override code). He also may have carried his additional ammunition in a pouch or pocket sealed by a similar lock that only he could open.

We can't be sure which it is, but the only reasonable excuse for Dredd not having his ammunition after executing the outlaw Judge is if there was no retrievable ammunition.

  • All the Judges wear a standard utility belt almost identical to modern day law enforcement patrolman's belts with at least a double magazine pouch on one side (in the later scene where he retrieves Judge Lex's magazines they do a close up of the mag pouches) the magazines appear to be secured with no special locking mechanizm.
    – Monty129
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 18:34
  • @Monty129: Even today, many police officers customize their equipment. I didn't suggest any bio-locked pouches were standard, just that they may have existed.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 19:05
  • They may customize the configuration of the belts, but the actual holsters, magazine pouches, handcuff holders, etc are almost universally required to be standard issue. At least throughout a specific department.
    – Monty129
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 21:28
  • @Monty129: Judges are universally required not to sell out to drug kingpins, too. If a Judge is going to break the big rules, he might break the small ones too.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 2:29
  • @Jeff If it was just a case of the corrupt Judge not having spare ammo on his person, it would of been better to have shown a scene for even a few seconds of Dredd checking for ammo and not finding any spare.
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 13:12

The reason he didnt take the first judges ammo is because he didnt have time.

Just before the first judge dies he gets onto his radio and tells his backup to "hurry". Then Dredd punches him knocking him right to deaths door.

After a cut scene we see the two judges who are his backup approaching the place and they see the first judge drop to his knees and die.

Only a second or two could have passed between Dredd punching him and him dropping to his knees and dying and that just wasnt long enough for Dredd to get the ammo from his belt.

We are so used to movies doing things sequentially that it seems odd to us when they don't.


If we use the comics as a reference, the Lawgiver (the firearm used exclusively by Judges) uses unique ammunition that is likely NOT compatible with most weaponry used in Megacity One. This lack of compatibility is a purposeful one allowing Judges to have access to multi-function ammunition.

enter image description here

  • A Judge will prefer to stay with his Lawgiver until it runs out of ammunition because it is a known entity. He knows how well its been cared for, the state of the weapon and the quality of the ammunition.

  • In the comics, weapons found in the hands of criminals are potentially quite dangerous to use and can explode in the faces of their users due to poor maintenance. No Judge wants that. If the 2012 movie Dredd were trying to stay closer to the source material, then Dredd would not even touch a non-Lawgiver weapon until he had NO OTHER OPTION.

In the Movies

enter image description here

The Lawgiver has been shown to be slightly less capable in most movie depictions where it has more than one feed chamber feeding a variety of ammunition, allowing it to run out of one type of ammo but retaining others.

  • At the Academy of Law, Judge Dredd (played by Sylvester Stallone) is seen demonstrating the Lawgiver, which has a clip of 25 rounds. The ammunition is referred to as "mission-variable" and "voice-programmed".

  • Apparently the ammunition is a generic multi-purpose slug that turns into a specialized type (High Explosive, Armor-Piercing, etc.) when it is verbally designated by the operator. The High-Explosive round was called "Grenade".

  • There is also a new "Signal Flare" ammunition (though it might be a different name for the Incendiary round). The anti-tampering boobytrap differed in that it gave a lethal shock rather than detonating an explosive charge.

  • The Lawgiver in the 2012 film Dredd resembles the MK II model. The "Hot Shot" round used in the standoff in the beginning of the movie, although carrying the nickname of the Heat Seeker round, is more of a focused pyrotechnic.

  • The incendiary round proper serves as a white-phosphorous cluster-grenade. It also has a digital screen that indicates what type of rounds are to be fired (e.g. when Dredd commands "High Ex", the display says "HIGH EX", showing that "High Ex" has been selected).

  • 1
    Unfortunately, the question is about the first Judge who Dredd kills, not about people other than judges. I've seen the movie - the Judge Dredd kills has a lawgiver, but Dredd is never seen taking his ammo.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 18:05
  • It isn't clearly defined that Lawgivers can be reloaded in the field at all. In the comics they never run out... It's possible they may require advanced tech to reload. Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 18:10
  • 2
    They reload their weapons in the movie.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 18:21
  • But did they reload from each other's guns? If the safety protocols are in place, you shouldn't be able to take ammo from anyone else's Lawgiver for the same reasons you can't use another Judge's Lawgiver. It could endanger the Judge. Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 18:47
  • @Thaddeus Dredd removes at least two magazines from a mag pouch on the side of at least one dead Judge to reload his own Lawgiver.
    – Monty129
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 18:53

I would bet on it being his resolute adherence to the law. The bullets aren't his, so he has a mental block against taking them. When he's entirely out of ammo, he's able to cast it in his mind as being appropriating necessary resources, something police are, in general, authorized to do.

  • But Dredd complies to the law and if someone tries to kill a judge then they are to be killed so I don't think he would mind taking ammo from a cop in that situation.
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 2, 2014 at 13:06

From an out of universe reason, it was to add tension to the later scene of him running out of ammunition, thus leaving him at a reduced capability to protect himself, and continue to hand out justice. Basically the writers needed a reason to have Judge Lex say the line about "quaking in my boots, if you didn't just run out of bullets!".

In universe there really is no justification for Dredd not resupplying on the spot. Ammunition would be considered for communal use, especially given the circumstances. Dredd is also shown to be a combat pragmatist, and maintaining fighting readiness would be a top priority.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.