A non-fighter gets the drop on a bad guy who is threatening them or another sympathetic character. The bad guy is usually [[YouWouldntShootMe undeterred since they doubt the non-fighter could actually do it]] and will often try to talk them down or simply step in and [[DefensiveFailure take the gun away]]. But the pacifist holds fast, pulls the trigger, and shoots them.

Immediately afterwards, they feel the emotional weight of what's just happened. Perhaps a horrified or sickened expression settles on their face. They may go into a full HeroicBSOD, dropping the gun and bursting into tears. Sometimes they collapse. Alternatively, they may just stand there holding the weapon until someone more battle-hardened comes over to her and takes it out of their trembling hand. Sometimes that other is [[SubvertedTrope the bad guy themself]], who was [[OnlyAFleshWound merely wounded]] and is ready for Round 2.

The usual meaning of this trope is to signify that the person holding the gun has never shot anyone before (perhaps has never even held a gun before) and is emotionally unprepared for this moment. It is more likely to apply to female characters, who may act [[HystericalWoman shaky and hysterical]] even before the act. Where a man would look down the barrel and coldly say "IllKillYou", a woman in fiction will point the gun with a hand quivering in rage/fear and scream "I'LL KILL YOU!" with tears running down her face.

[[TruthInTelevision There is a real phenomenon, occasionally called "Killer's Remorse", that can accompany the first kill of someone not trained against it, punctuated by tears, shakes, and occasional vomiting]]. This is generally considered a healthy reaction, as taking a life is supposed to be a difficult and turbulent stigma to overcome, i.e. unpleasant in every sense of the word. Soldiers actively train to prevent this from happening, while sociopaths and psychopaths do not experience it at all. Of course, once that initial unpleasant experience has passed, ItGetsEasier. Which, depending on the circumstances, can be worrisome.

!!'''As a DeathTrope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.'''



[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* ''Manga/BattleRoyale'': Noriko Nakagawa bursts into tears when she shoots Kazuo Kiriyama, even though he had slaughtered thirteen people previously.
* In ''HighschoolOfTheDead'', Saya Takagi breaks down for a moment after killing her first zombie.
* ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': [[spoiler: As the Survey Corps are on the run from the Military Police after the failed attempt to rescue Eren and Historia, one woman in the Central 1st Brigade mangers to get Jean at gunpoint. Armin shoots her in the nick of time, saving Jean's life, but after he gets back to their hideout, he runs outside, vomits in the dirt, and tearfully asks Mikasa if killing for the first time was just as hard on ''her''.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/DCTheNewFrontier'': Shooting a North Korean is an extremely traumatic experience for fighter pilot [[Comicbook/GreenLantern Hal Jordan]], who blames himself for not remembering how to say in Korean that the war was already over.

* Seen in the JohnWayne movie, ''Rio Lobo''. Amelita (Sherry Lansing) shoots a corrupt sheriff repeatedly (and [[PreMortemOneLiner very coldly]]), then breaks down sobbing afterwards, making the point that enduring physical pain and overcoming the emotional trauma of killing someone are very different things.
* ''{{Shooter}}''. Kate Mara repeatedly shoots Elias Koteas, who is implied to have raped her earlier. Koteas' character was able to get the drop on her ''after'' she blew his mook away with a sawed-off shotgun--and [[PostVictoryCollapse went into shock over it.]]
* ''The Eye of the Needle'' (1981) ends with Kate Nelligan shooting Donald Sutherland (a Nazi spy who became her secret lover, only to murder her crippled husband and threaten the life of her young son when his cover was blown) to prevent him rowing out to a U-Boat with info about the impending D-Day landings. "I had to do it," she sobs, when reinforcements finally arrive (in a helicopter).
* In ''Film/TheGetaway'' (1972) , Ali [=McGraw=] stares aghast after emptying a Colt Model 1903 into the BigBad. There are factors influencing her emotions: she had been sleeping with him, and was supposed to have killed her husband.
* The Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme movie ''Film/HardTarget'' contains something of an aversion to this trope: Yancy Butler shoots one of the bad guy's henchmen and is admonished by Uncle Douvee (Wilford Brimley) for doing a man's work. He attempts to take the gun off her but she takes it back and walks grimly away.
* In ''Film/{{Legion}}'' there's a gender-flipped subversion. Jeep desperately ''wants'' to be able to shoot the bad guy because he wants to protect the MacGuffinGirl. But he can't. He ends up in the rest room sobbing and puking just from coming that close to firing a gun at someone.
* In ''Ride Lonesome'', Karen Steele's DeterminedWidow character points a rifle at the protagonists and tries to shoot, but Randolph Carter takes the weapon from her and convinces her that they're on her side.
* In the Rob Zombie version of ''Film/{{Halloween 2007}}'', Laurie shoots Michael in the face, then proceeds to scream like a crazy person over his body for a really long time.
* In ''Film/BladeRunner'', Rachel is very shaken after shooting Leon off Deckard.
* In ''Film/{{Unforgiven}}'', the Schofield Kid breaks down crying (in a somewhat delayed reaction) after killing Quick Mike while the [[CampingACrapper latter was using the outhouse]]. While he talks tough about his reputation as a stone-cold killer, this is actually his very first kill.
* Inverted in indie Western ''Shroud'': the heroine is understandably panicky when she is attacked and threatened with rape by a cowboy--but after she manages to snatch his gun from its holster, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome she grows visibly calmer with each shot as she empties the gun into him.]]
* In ''Film/{{Bound}}'', the feminine Violet has Caesar at gunpoint but seems reluctant to shoot him. He tries to talk her down in a most patronizing manner, telling her that she does not have the resolve nor the will to fire the gun. Violet does fire, but not before delivering a calm and collected PreMortemOneLiner.
* Harry in ''Film/KissKissBangBang'' breaks down after shooting a goon.
* In ''Film/ManOfSteel'', Clark, who has spent the entire movie trying to save everyone, breaks down crying after [[spoiler:he is forced to directly kill General Zod to keep him from murdering a terrified family]]. It's treated not as a [[ARealManIsAKiller rite of passage]] but a [[SadisticChoice terribly traumatic choice]] that forced him to do something strongly against [[TechnicalPacifist his]] [[ThouShaltNotKill nature]].
* [[spoiler:Veronica shoots Seth, by his own request, to put him out of his misery at the end of]]1986's remake of ''Film/TheFly''. First blam, then bawl.
* In ''Film/SnowWhiteAndTheHuntsman'', Snow White sheds tears after killing [[BigBad Ravenna]], despite having known she would have to do so and having prepared for it to a degree. The fact that she felt sorrow rather than hatred for Ravenna may have contributed.

* A variation exists in ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' and ''Empire''. A woman shoots a friend in order to stop him from [[spoiler:revealing a vital secret to the enemy]]. Then she cries for the first time since her childhood.
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse''
** When he's new to the Rebellion and to killing people, Luke Skywalker can handle shooting people down in his X-Wing or a firefight but has a lot of trouble after the fact when he kills someone at close range without giving them a chance to fight. ''Literature/ChoicesOfOne'' has him, after doing this, passionately think that doing this tears a fresh line across his heart every time, and he suspects it always will. ''Rebel Force'' heavily implies that he cries after unleashing [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke monsters designed to take out infantry]] on unsuspecting Imperials.
** This is also in sharp contrast to the Jedi of the Old Republic, who considered themselves safest from the DarkSide by repressing ''all'' of their emotions, including remorse.
* Jerin in ''Literature/ABrothersPrice''; it's not stated if he cries, but he stands in utter shock and horror for several minutes. The novel has a StereotypeFlip of most gender roles; the much more violent woman he's escaping with winced earlier at exposing him to what she does and apologizes that he has to be there for her killing people. It's only the need to save her that got him to shoot.
%% * Antoinette in ''Literature/ThePrisonerOfZenda''.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheProfessionals'' episode 'Runner' ends when a female character, played by Barbara Kellerman, shoots a bad guy (who killed her boyfriend earlier in the show) just before he kills one of the CI5 agents. She weeps mascara tears.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Sharpe}}'', a woman begins the episode by taking a boat from Ireland, riding on horseback across war-torn Europe up to the front lines, bullying her cousin Wellington into letting her stay at the camp, and beating everyone except Sharpe himself in a marksmanship contest. Then, when forced to shoot a man in self-defense, she bawls like a baby (and makes out with Sharpe). Furthermore, when Sharpe tries to tell her she "proved herself," she protests that women prove themselves when they have babies.
* In one episode of ''Series/CharliesAngels'', one of the Angels loses her memory. A group of men attempt to steal her bag; she fights them off, eventually finding a gun in her struggles and pulling it on them to convince them to back off. Although she doesn't shoot anyone, as soon as the danger is over she drops the gun and runs crying down the beach.
* Kimberly Bauer of ''Series/TwentyFour'' breaks out in tears when she shoots the man who attempted to kill her. More tears ensue when her father instructs her to shoot him ''again''.
* A ''Series/TargetWomen'' [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdjk0sviTHo segment]] parodies an "intervention"-themed clothing commercial by having Sarah shoot a friend to stop her from buying the wrong outfit, freak out, accidentally shoot the other friend she brought with her and then casually step over to the rack and start browsing.
* Tessa breaks down in ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' after she takes out a serial killer with her car.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': You don't get to see Jesse's reaction immediately after he shoots Gale, but he hesitates for a long time holding the gun and he's softly crying the entire time. The whole event shocks him so much that the resulting HeroicBSOD lasts for half the next season.
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' 1x17 has Fitz (a NonActionGuy usually afraid of combat) forced to fatally shoot a HYDRA agent in the back when it looks like the agent is about to get the drop on May. Having been reluctant to even pick up a real gun (as opposed to his tranquilizer gun, which he presumably lost while being searched earlier in the scene), Fitz quickly throws it back down after shooting the enemy agent, looking absolutely horrified. Of course, with everything that was going on [[TheWoobie the poor guy had already been in tears for most of the scene]], but he certainly doesn't get any happier after shooting someone.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Lara does this in ''VideoGame/TombRaider2013'' after killing Vladimir. However, ItGetsEasier soon after, to her horror.
* ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'': the main character apologizes for the first few kills.
* In ''[[VideoGame/DevilMayCry Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening]]'', this happens in the intro of Mission 20. As [[spoiler: Arkham]] falls from Hell to the top of the Temen-ni-gru tower, he is approached by Lady. He tries to talk her out of killing him, but she goes ahead and shoots him dead. Then she stumbles back and starts [[CryLaughing laughing and crying]], in one of the [[{{TearJerker/DevilMayCry}} saddest]] moments of the game. She's killed entire armies of demons up to this point, but it's still a shock to kill [[spoiler:her father]].
-->''"I promised myself I wasn't going to cry..."''

[[folder:Web Original]]
* When [[TheHero Michael]] is knocked unconscious during the battle at the end of ''WereAlive''[='=]s first season, [[DoesntLikeGuns Pegs]] is left defenseless when [[BlueOniRedOni Latch and Scratch]] come looking for them - or so you think, until she picks up Michael's SMG and kills Latch with it, leaving Scratch emotionally scarred (they ''were'' twins, after all). So far, Pegs is still being haunted by what she had to do that night to save Michael.