We've all seen people hit impossible targets at great lengths under unbelievable circumstances
. But occasionally, a hero will make a seemingly impossible shot, be congratulated on his awesomeness, and admit that he was aiming for something else entirely
Often used to subvert an awesome moment into a funny one. May be the result of the Pinball Projectile
. Contrast Exactly What I Aimed At
Common when something needs to be hit by a character with legendarily lousy aim.
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Anime & Manga
- Mihoshi of Tenchi Muyo! does this a lot, or at least enough fans associate her with this.
- Tousen and Shinji have a brief battle, and Tousen congratulates him for dodging an attack. Shinji turns his head to show a small cut above his eye and notes that Tousen had actually hit him. Tousen replies that he'd been trying to cut Shinji's head off from the eyes up, so that little scratch counts as a miss.
- A badly poisoned Ishida is able to take out the majority of Mayuri's body and his entire bankai in a single hit. Mayuri has no choice but to use phlebotinum to flee the fight. Nemu, Kurotsuchi's lieutenant, ends up giving him the antidote for the poison in return for the fact that he spared the captain's life by not aiming for his head (a head shot is a guaranteed kill). Ishida corrects her by saying he hadn't spared Mayuri's life, he had truly intended to kill him.
- Sōsuke Sagara uses this trope during Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. After firing a grenade at his opponent, which is subsequently dodged, the grenade lodges itself into a pillar and explodes. Debris from said explosion lands on and disables the opponent, who then praises Sōsuke for analyzing both his position after the dodge and calculating the trajectory of the debris. Sōsuke then denies the action and states that he accidentally fired a live round instead of a practice one.
- In Pandora Hearts, we get a variant of this: When Oz is kidnapped by the Baskervilles, Elliot and Leo come to rescue him. Toward the end of the ensuing battle, Leo fires his gun at Lottie and manages to skim her arm and cause enough of a distraction for them to escape. Directly afterwards, he reveals that he is genuinely surprised that he actually managed to hit her, as, according to Elliot, he's "hopeless with guns and swords."
- The titular heroine of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind finds herself in a besieged city, halfway through the manga. As enemy soldiers approach, she intends to fire a shot across the field to startle their mounts and force them back to their encampment —she does have Improbable Aiming Skills, after all. But, as luck would have it, she misses, and instead kills one of the soldiers with a flawless shot. This traumatizes her so severely she goes into Heroic BSOD for quite a while afterwards.
- During an early episode of One Piece, while testing out the Going Merry's cannon, Usopp(Known more for his Improbable Aiming Skills than his Accidental) manages to nail a far away rock formation sticking out of the ocean. He's actually surprised he managed to hit it, though that's primarily because he's never actually aimed a cannon before in his life.
- Y: The Last Man
- Hero shattering Toyota's sword with a bullet, and admits she was aiming for the head when complimented on it. (She was heavily tranqued up on painkillers at the time).
- In an earlier issue, she was riding with the Daughters of the Amazon who were chasing a woman riding on a bike. Hero fires an arrow that hits the woman's leg and causes her to spill. Victoria compliments her on this, but Hero sadly mutters she was aiming for the tyre. This doesn't help with her depression over killing another woman.
- In one Spirou and Fantasio comic, one of the characters (a circus-trained knife-throwing bear with permanent hiccups — long story) throws a knife so it cuts off a rope holding several empty oil drums in place, and they roll downhill to knock out a guard. Spirou tells his trainer it was an amazing throw, but the trainer replies that he told the bear to aim for the guard directly.
- A Lucky Luke story had the title character encountering a guy trying to become a gunfighter to impress his girlfriend. Problem is, he's an atrociously bad shot. He convinces Luke to participate in a mock gunbattle in front of his girlfriend only to want to fight for real once said girlfriend shows interest in Luke. The guy fires... and manages to kill legendary outlaw "Texas Killer" who happened to robbing a bank a block away. Luke rolls with it and lets everyone believe it was all part of a plan, and the guy gets the girl and becomes Sheriff of the town (his aim doesn't become a problem seeing as apparently everyone is scared of "the guy who killed Texas Killer").
- In De cape et de crocs, the pirate Captain shoots the rope Armand was dangling from, then comments to one of his subordinates who compliments him on the shot that he was actually aiming for Armand.
- Halo A Fistful Of Arrows: Jun-A266, Noble Team's sniper, aims for a car's driver, but hits the tire instead, causing it to plunge off a bridge. The rebel leader they were after still lives and is caught, but to him, it's his greatest failure.
- Summer Days And Evening Flames: Gilda needs to disable an escaping criminal kidnapper with a crossbow from his compatriot, despite never having wielded on in her life. She disables him, alright.
- Gundam 00: CB that cannot carry out armed intervention 2nd has Lockon Stratos (Lyle Dylandy) shown to have extremely lousy aiming skill with an accuracy of 8%. When he turns his guns onto Setsuna though, he starts hitting A-Laws with extreme accidental accuracy.
- In A Kingdom Divided Vinyl Scratch after becoming an airship gunner. During her first flight, she somehow manages to injure Cloud Kicker while aiming at Star Hunter.
- In The Legend of Total Drama Island, the dodgeball match has a couple of examples:
- Played for drama when Lindsay scores the first kill of the match, hitting Bridgette despite aiming for the nearby D.J.
- Played for laughs when the last ball of Tyler's wild fusillade comes hurtling straight for Leshawna’s head. Tyler was actually trying to hit Cody, who was halfway across the court.
Films — Animation
- It helps Rango convince the people of Dirt that he killed seven people with one bullet when he accidentally kills a giant hawk with one.
Films — Live-Action
- Most of the time this trope is invoked, they are directly referencing this scene. Especially if it is a Western movie.
- In Pyramids the main character tries to fail his assassins guild test with style, by firing away from the victim. The arrow bounces off a nail (and a few other things) before embedding itself in the victim. The exam proctor marks down that Teppic was showing off.
- In Reaper Man, Death can hit anything he aims at first try, but uses this ability to pretend he has Accidental Aiming Skills after he realizes that people resent people who are too good at something. He even ponders the implications of this, he manages some utterly improbably bad shots "by mistake" that would require far more skill than "good" shots, but no one notices.
- Sam Vimes's own brief experience with this trope in The Fifth Elephant when he shoots a bandit holding his wife hostage in the head with a small, concealable crossbow. He later reveals that he was aiming for the man's shoulder. Another character mentions that particular crossbow "tends to pull a little to the left." Not that that would have helped.
- Vimes and others within the series also have a tendency to make cracks about this trope, often warning the current antagonist about rookies; "You never know where it might hit..."
- The main character of Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse threatens a cannibalistic farmer by shooting his ear off. He aimed for the man's knee, but the ear's better motivation.
- Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE - ah, what's the use) managed a headshot while aiming for the chest. Well, if you're going to duck when being shot at...
- Kip in The Black Prism fires a flintlock at a musketeer at the bow of a ship, only to snipe the captain off the wheel at the stern. Bonus points as his reply when asked is "Aiming?"
- In the Harry Potter series, Ron is praised for beautifully stopping a Quaffle from hitting a Quidditch goal with some kind of airborn barrel roll... except he later reveals that was a complete accident, and Ron himself believes that he's a horrible Keeper. He kicks the Quaffle (not that Quaffles really matter, but whatever) while dangling from his broom. In truth, he'd fallen off and was climbing back onto his broom - the ball happened to fly into his foot.
- In his autobiography About Face, Colonel Hackworth mentions how he accidentally added to his Bad Ass reputation by shooting the head off an axe on the downswing. In truth he didn't even know the pistol had a round in the chamber.
- The fantasy novel Knights Of Dark Renown features a swordsman- formerly the King's Champion, and one of the greatest warriors around- who's lost his right hand, and is having serious trouble training himself to be left-handed. At one point he's facing some charging cavalry, throws an axe and kills a soldier. "I was aiming for the horse."
- Jake Spoon of Lonesome Dove gets a reputation as a deadly marksman after shooting a bandit in the throat at an extremely long range, but the shot was really just a lucky fluke. This trope also bites him, as he is introduced while on the run from the law after firing a buffalo rifle during a bar fight, which completely failed to hit Spoon's antagonist and instead went through the wall and killed the mayor of the town, who was walking down the opposite side of the street.
- The long and illustrious, and undeserved, reputation of Flashman in the series of novels started when he was trapped into a duel. He arranged for the pistol of his opponent to be loaded without a ball (bullet), while his was. Then he aimed away from his opponent and hit the top off a whiskey bottle. He had only intended to miss his opponent. However, this incident was interpreted as Flashman intending to show that he was a expert marksman by intentionally shooting the whiskey bottle, and missing his opponent.
- Kurik in David Eddings' Elenium series does this when he hits an enemy officer right between the eyes with his crossbow, only to admit that he was aiming for the chest.
- Done a couple times in Wyrm; the other characters compliment Ragnar on his good aim only for him to admit each time that he was aiming at something else entirely.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss threw a knife at a wall and it landed in the seam between two panels making her, in her words, "seem a lot better than she was" at knife throwing.
- In The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer, Nicky regrets having missed a housebreaker:
I never touched him, but I did shatter his lantern, and that would have been pretty fair shooting, I can tell you, if I had been aiming at it.
- The Worst Shots In The West has Tim and Tom using this to kill a hundred men bandit gang. Without noticing.
- In Jaga Jazzist's "Airborne" music video, the protagonist is completely unaware that he's being pursued by a gun-wielding assassin. Just as the gunman is about the fire at him, he opens a champagne bottle. The cork flies off and hits the assassin's head, knocking him out.
- In Warbears Mission 2, throwing the rock at the target mook will cause Agent Kla to complain "I was trying to hit myself and play dead!"
- The AI players in the Worms franchise are notorious for making astoundingly stupid shots, failing to take into account things like intervening obstacles, bouncing of weapons, and the presence of their own teammates in the line of fire. Occasionally these will result in some hilariously spectacular shots, wiping out half the worms in the level or killing their entire team. Human players have been known to pull off some of these as well.
- Unless they decide to use a grenade. Then they can bounce it of more than eight different walls and the fuse burns out just as the 'nade hits the player.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. See this. Welcome to war, soldier. Beware of random flying knives.
- In the old Text Parser Adventure Game Hugo 2: Whuddonit, one of the items you collect is a handgun. Whatever you try to use it on, you get the message "Sheesh, you missed." However, during a sequence when you mysteriously teleport into an episode of Doctor Who, you're supposed to use it on a Dalek (who are Immune to Bullets). Doing so results in the message "Sheesh, you missed... no wait, the bullet rebounded off a rock and hit the only vulnerable spot on the robot! It explodes!"
- Gameplay example only. In Halo: Reach, the sniper rifle rounds will deflect off surfaces, even multiple times, if the angle of incidence is large enough. Some videos show that that the angle can even be around 35 degrees and still work.
- Team Fortress 2 has a Sniper achievement for delivering a One-Hit Kill to a fully invisible Spy, which is almost bound to be complete luck.
- Sniper Elite, Sniper Elite V2, Sniper Elite III: On higher difficulties when you don't take the wind into account, it's perfectly possible to aim for the man on the right and shoot the man on the left instead.
- In the original Doom games, picking up a "partial invisibility" item had a chance of giving this to your enemies. What it does is add up to 20 degrees to the spread of every enemy's attack, which is good against bullet-firing enemies but very bad against fireball- and rocket-shooting ones; veteran players will find themselves dodging into the projectile at the worst of times.
- Happens now and then in League of Legends, especially champions with a long-range "skillshot" attack such as Ashe or Ziggs.
- This is the only way that Church from Red vs. Blue can hit a target. At one point, he fired a sniper shot, missed badly, set off a series of ricochets, and only then hit his intended target.
- To further add insult to injury, that same ricocheted shot only managed to hit the ankle of the target as he was walking away.
- Adding further insult to that, Church is then told that it only counts if you call it.
- Invoked in Furmentation when Xodin goes off the beat up the demons. "Yes, but now I'm a coward with unpredictable disastrous magical discharges".
- In Concerned (pictured above), at one point Gordon Frohman is pinned down by three Combine soldiers who believe him to be a rebel. Fed up with being victimized, Gordon lashes out and blindfires three rounds out from cover, and kills all three Combine soldiers by accident.
- If there is a trope that perfectly describes Vallant from Teh Gladiators, it's this one. Entire Arena matches have been won on the strength of his Pinball Projectile. A raid group was defeated because he accidentally hit the tank with Tranquilizing Shot. He is a living example of why you don't hand a gun to a complete idiot.
- Whenever Eastwood from Exterminatus Now aims to miss a target, the shot generally ends up being fatal, or at least inconvenient.
- In Bobwhite, young Lewis has a near-supernatural ability to shoot animals without trying.
- In Commander Kitty, while aiming for a skyfly, CK puts a torpedo right into the exhaust port of a Triple-I space station.
- This trope is the reason you have to call your shot when hitting the 8 ball in pool.
- This man shoots his earmuffs off with a .50 BMG rifle.
- Another one is from Kansas where the basketball coach is set up for a prank where he is blindfolded and asked to shoot. The crowd would then cheer no matter how badly he missed so that they can screw with him when he starts to believe that he actually made the shot. He actually does make the shot. Funny thing is, a reporter making a report on it, for emphasis, tosses the ball behind him without looking and it goes in the basket.
- In Spike Milligan's war memoir Monty: his Part in my Victory, Milligan recalls being in an artillery observation point in the front lines when German tanks attack. The imperturbable officer with him in the fox hole radios co-ordinates and calls in an artillery strike. Within two shots, a direct hit has landed right on top of a moving German tank, totally destroying it. Heavy artillery pieces are not designed to be used in an anti-tank role with this sort of pin-point accuracy - the feat was akin to scoring a bullseye, blindfold, on a moving dartboard. Milligan recalls saying "bloody good shot, sir!" at which the officer shrugged modestly and replied "It wasn't the one I was aiming for." Actually an Enforced Trope given that the battery would've kept on firing until they disabled or destroyed it.
- One high school kid in Canada was recording himself (using his cellphone) trying to dunk a basketball and failing miserably. Disappointed, he went to retrieve his phone from the stands and threw the basketball backwards over his shoulder in disgust...and saw the ball hit nothing but net on the screen.