Created By: TriggerLoaded on September 12, 2010 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 8, 2016

Amusing Atrocious Aim

They couldn't shoot the broad side of a barn if their life depended on it.

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There are people with impossibly good aim. And then there are people with impossibly bad aim.

Some people have such atrocious aim that it becomes a joke that the safest place to be when they're shooting is where they're aiming at. Indeed, their projectiles (And it is by no means limited to bullets) may break the laws of physics to show how horrible their aim is. Unlike Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, this is a trait of an individual, and is often lampshaded, if not called out specifically.


Examples:

Comic Books
  • A joke used in some Archie Comics has the person (often Veronica) be such a horrible aim during snowball fights that she hits everybody except who she's aiming at. The comic usually ends with her throwing at somebody completely different, hitting their intended target.

Literature
  • The giants of Ettinsmoor in the Chronicles of Narnia novel The Silver Chair. Puddleglum suggests that he and the children would be safer if the giants were throwing rocks at them, instead of each other.

Live-Action TV
  • In The Flash Season two episode, "Welcome to Earth-2", alternate Earth Floyd Lawton is a detective at Central City P.D and is know for/shown to have atrocious aim - this is particularly humourous as Floyd's Earth-1 counterpart was Deadshot, renowned for his excellent accuracy.

Theater
  • The sheriff in the one-act play Possessed In The West has such legendarily bad aim that he was known to wing people standing behind him.

Western Animation
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Tweeg regularly bombards Newton Gimmick's house with a cannon from his tower. His aim is so bad that there's a neat, clean ring of cannonballs all around his house.

Community Feedback Replies: 48
  • September 12, 2010
    orngjce223
  • September 12, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Looney Tunes short "Daffy Duck And Egghead". Egghead tries to shoot Daffy, with Daffy teasing him by putting an apple over his head a la William Tell. Every shot Egghead fires, however, lands nowhere near Daffy, even as he steps closer with each shot. When Egghead misses at point blank range, Daffy puts sunglasses on him, puts a sign that reads "blind" around his neck, hands him some pencils to sell and walks away sighing "Too bad."
  • September 12, 2010
    EponymousKid
    In The DCU, there's a minor villain called Mr. Terrible, an Evil Counterpart to Mr. Terrific. While Mr. Terrific represents the pinnacle of human perfection and is incredibly skilled at any activity you can imagine, Mr. Terrible is... terrible. Everything he tries to do turns out bad. Case in point: In one issue of Villains United, he attempts to kill someone by throwing a knife at them. He was aiming for the head - it hit them in the leg.
  • September 12, 2010
    SpiritOfSahara
    The wide receiver Monta's inability to throw anything in a straight line is an in-verse Running Joke in Eyeshield 21.
  • September 12, 2010
    JoeG
    In F Troop, Private Vanderbilt was in charge of the cannon and was legally blind. Whenever he fired it he was infinitely more likely to hit the lookout tower than whatever he was aiming at.
  • September 12, 2010
    Ronka87
    May I suggest "Awful" instead of "Atrocious" for the title? It's a bit shorter and less clunky, without losing the added alliterative appeal.

    • In Archie Comics, Veronica sometimes has this trait. In one story, Betty keeps nailing Ronnie with snowballs, and Veronica tries to retaliate but ends up hitting her father and butler. Finally, her father tells her to aim at her unsuspecting mother. Veronica is afraid of beaning her mom, but of course, when she aims for her, Betty ends up with a faceful of snow.
  • September 12, 2010
    Yora
    Church from Red Vs Blue is amazingly bad with a sniper riffle. Often pointed out by Tucker and mocked accordingly.
  • September 13, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man, Death does this on purpose while playing darts (because people would get upset when he kept winning all the time)
  • September 13, 2010
    Arivne
    Film
    • Hudson Hawk. While Eddie and the butler are fighting Anna Baragli tries to shoot the butler but misses, hitting Eddie's belt buckle.
    Anna: Sorry!
  • September 13, 2010
    TooBah
    Five O'Clock Charlie from MASH. He flies by every day, and drops a single bomb, trying to destroy the ammunition depot that was placed near the camp. He is so bad, the 4077th members have a betting pool on how far away from the target he will be. The Other Wiki tells you all about it here.
  • September 13, 2010
    TriggerLoaded
    May I suggest "Awful" instead of "Atrocious" for the title?

    Amusingly Awful Aim? Does flow a bit better.
  • September 14, 2010
    Stratadrake
    There was a recent single-panel strip of Foxtrot depicting this, with Jason and Marcus attempting to launch a rocket pointed directly at them, and big brother Peter with 911 on the phone.
  • September 14, 2010
    jatay
  • September 14, 2010
    TriggerLoaded
    ^That deals with the nature of bad guys, especially Mooks to never be able to hit their target, and is never called out. This is a single character trait often directly referred to in-story, and mocked.
  • September 14, 2010
    AFP
    There's an old John Wayne and Robert Mitchum flick called El Dorado, where James Caan played a cowboy who didn't know how to use a gun (he was, in fact, a Knife Nut). At one point, he tries to shoot a mook, and instead shoots a sign hanging above the mook, smacking the mook in the head with it.

    On the television show Due South, Ray VecchioKowalski wouldn't be able to hit the broad side of the barn without his glasses, but with them on, he has Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • September 14, 2010
    randomsurfer
  • May 3, 2011
    LT
    Do we have a trope for this yet? If not, why?
  • May 3, 2011
    TBeholder
    • Eastwood in Exterminatus Now. And whenever he aims to miss he unerringly hits someone.
  • May 3, 2011
    DannyVElAcme
    • Kaori from City Hunter. It's safer to give the bad guy a gun than giving it to her.
  • May 3, 2011
    Stratadrake
    Added a laconic version.
  • May 4, 2011
    SKJAM
    Note that in the City Hunter example, it's enforced by Ryo tampering with the guns she uses for target practice every so often so that she doesn't learn to compensate.
  • May 4, 2011
    PaulA
    • In Modesty Blaise, Willie Garvin has such bad aim with handguns that someone once says of him that if he aimed at the ground he'd miss. He is, however, uncannily good with throwing knives. (In one story, he finds himself facing a mook with only a handgun for a weapon, and opts to throw it at the mook rather than risk trying to shoot it.)
  • May 4, 2011
    Augustine
    Going with the Red Vs Blue example above. Church is not only a bad shot with a sniper rifle, he can't hit a person from two feet away with an entire magazine of pistol ammo.
  • January 2, 2012
    TBeholder
    Or Cannot Hit A Barn
  • January 2, 2012
    Chabal2
    One Lucky Luke story has him coach a wannabe crimefighter, who's such a lousy shot that even standing directly behind him is not a guarantee of safety.
  • January 2, 2012
    Ryuuma
    What's the difference from Imperial Stormtroopers Marksmanship Academy? Or whatever the name was.
  • February 13, 2016
    DAN004
  • February 13, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Webcomics
    • Cat from Furry Experience on page 37 looses a barrage of snowballs at Ronnie, none of which even graze the target. It's revealed that, during girls' gym class, Cat paid no attention to lessons on how to throw. She gets a treeful of snow dumped on her as a penalty.
  • February 14, 2016
    PsiPaula4
    I think Amusingly Atrocious Aim sounds better for the title, I know it's such a minor difference but I think it flows better.
  • February 14, 2016
    Koveras
    ^ I agree.

    • In The Gamers Natural One, Leo plays the Utility Party Member, so when the villain hacks his brain and sicks him on the rest of the party, his teammates all have fun ridiculing his attempts to harm him, as he sucks at combat. To add insult to injury, he doesn't even get to demonstrate his atrocious aim, as his first gun jams and his backup is taken away before he can fire.
  • February 14, 2016
    Arivne
  • February 14, 2016
    Arivne
    Edit: deleted double post.
  • February 14, 2016
    gallium
    Seems like individuals featuring this trait could be listed under Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Anyway, here's an example from Reno 911! which is currently listed on that page under Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy but would go under this if this is deemed to be a trope.

    Live-Action TV

    • Reno 911: A Running Gag in the show is that Garcia apparently graduated from the Academy.
      Junior: (after Garcia empties the magazine of a G36 with an extended magazine attached at some targets and hits nothing but air) "That's got to be some kind of goddamn RECORD.
  • February 14, 2016
    Antigone3
    Cain's Last Stand: One of Cain's cadets has this reputation, but it's an Informed Flaw — the one time we see him shooting, he's hitting the heretics.
  • February 14, 2016
    HeroGal2347
    Can this trope be Played For Drama? I think I might have an example, but I'm not sure.
  • February 14, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    This has to be a pure comedy trope. We have A Team Firing for the drama of suppression fire: lots of bullets in the general direction to keep the enemy from shooting back. There's ISMA from Star Wars, which is where many mooks try to hit the target, but can't due to the target having Plot Armor. This is a case of horrifically bad aim for comedy purposes: shooter is trying, but the target is too wily, or the shooter is stupendously uncoordinated. In either case, it's Played For Laughs.
  • February 14, 2016
    HeroGal2347
    Why I'm asking is that there is a moment in How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse when Fishlegs has to shoot Hiccup with an arrow soaked in potato juices to cure him of a terminal disease. The narrator remarks that "this may have been the only time Fishlegs actually hit anything he was aiming at." So the situation is not funny, but Fishlegs' atrocious aim could still be said to be played for laughs.
  • February 14, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ it's drama coming from successful aiming rather than bad aiming.

    Though I remembered a movie about a cowgirl; in her past, her father, a sheriff, was hung by bad guys, and they trolled her into trying to shoot the rope that hanged her father. She's only successful in shooting him dead instead.

    That's one drama example of bad aiming.
  • February 15, 2016
    PaulA
    ^ The Quick And The Dead. Although I don't know if that counts as remarkably bad aim; it's not as if you'd expect an eleven-year-old who'd never picked up a gun before to have good aim.
  • February 15, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Newspaper Comics
    • One Doonesbury has Uncle Duke meet with an NRA official in Duke's bar. Duke shows him the handgun he carries with him, and it discharges while pointed at the man's stomach. The official Screams Like A Little Girl, but is unhurt. "Relax," says Duke. "It's Italian-made. Not accurate past six inches." Off-panel, someone else in the bar falls over with a thud.
  • February 15, 2016
    DAN004
    I believe The Major in Hell Sing is an example. Can't write context tho...
  • February 15, 2016
    Gamermaster
    Machinima
    • Church from Red Vs Blue is infamous for his terrible aim. The one time he does hit something, it falls under Improbable Aiming Skills, only for Washington to inform him that "it only counts if you call it."

    Web Comics
    • At one point in Ls Empire, Void misses an attack despite being less than a foot from his target (his attack turned at a 90 degree angle). Earlier, he missed every attack while training (except for the one spear head that ended up on the back of the target).
  • February 16, 2016
    captainmarkle
    ^ Expanding on the example from Red vs Blue:

    To put things in perspective, he fires an entire magazine from a pistol at a guard from only a couple of metres away... and still misses, forcing Wash to put the guard down.
  • February 16, 2016
    Omeganian
    One episode of Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog has shown Sonic literally incapable of hitting the broad side of a barn.
  • February 16, 2016
    AgProv
    Literature
    • In Mailed Fist, John Foley and his tank crew have escaped death in a blazing tank but discover they have been caught out by a British retreat and a corresponding German advance. Trying to evade capture and return to their own lines, Foley, a junior officer who has won pistol shooting competitions, runs into a German infantry section trying to get a machine gun into position. He tries to get them with his sidearm from possibly ten yards away... and misses. Fortunately, the Germans are scared enough by being shot at to drop the MG and run away. Foley then reflects that there's a world of difference between firing at paper targets on the range, and doing it for real. Mortifyingly, his crew then nickname him "Deadshot Dick" and reassure him not to worry, because we're not - as you don't get to fire the tank's gun, sir..
  • February 16, 2016
    DAN004
    So we're agreeing that this is just for comedic examples?

    Then I wonder if there's a trope for how misfire causes drama. If not, then one shoulf be made.
  • March 8, 2016
    captainmarkle
    Film- Live-Action
  • March 8, 2016
    ANTMuddle
    Someone with Storm Trooper Aim.
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