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[[caption-width-right:300:Image by [[http://kdingo.net/champ/pics/main.php?g2_itemId=9158 Ian Samson.]]]]

->''"You stand around in the open? '''I shoot you in the face!''' You try to hide? '''I shoot you in the face!''' You touch my parrot? '''Right in the face!''' And if I'm feeling a bit down, I say a prayer to the forest... and THEN '''I shoot you in the face!'''"''
-->-- '''The End''', ''Webcomic/{{Hiimdaisy}}: [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater Let's Destroy The Shagohod!]]''

In real life, police and military personnel are trained to fire at the center of mass (read: chest/heart), as the head is a small target that likes moving around a lot, whereas the center of mass is a relatively easy target that moves with the subject and also has lots of vital organs in it. And even if you miss, you might hit a limb (or, yes, the head) instead.

However, since most games don't have problems with pesky gun sway and other stuff that screws with aiming and bullet trajectory, the head is the usual target of choice, a OneHitKill for most low level {{mooks}}, which makes it something of a ChunkySalsaRule. Even in more realistic series, it's better to go for the head instead of the chest. Although the Boom, Headshot was popularized by Real Life events such as the [[Film/ZapruderFilm Kennedy assassination]], this is really a gameplay concept more than anything else, as rewarding the more difficult shot encourages the player to shoot accurately; it should be noted that in video games it tends to be easier to score a headshot, since cycled walk animations are inherently more predictable than someone's real-life non-repeating movements would be. Additionally, because of CriticalExistenceFailure, it is important in games to kill targets as quickly as possible, whereas in real life a less lethal but more reliable shot might be enough to incapacitate opponents.

Rule of thumb: With weaker weapons (see StandardFPSGuns), people {{Cherry Tap|ping}} via sending a weak pistol bullet into your noggin.

Games that go for a... [[{{Gorn}} bloody]] experience may cause [[YourHeadASplode 'buckets of blood coming out of people's heads']] from headshots, or might outright have the human skull be MadeOfExplodium. Otherwise, they'll probably have PrettyLittleHeadshots.

The {{trope name|r}} comes [[MemeticMutation from a line spoken by]] "pro gamer" FPS_Doug on the ''WebVideo/PurePwnage'' [[WebVideo web TV series]].

There is also a common technique with semi-automatic firearms known as the Mozambique Drill (also occasionally called the Failure Drill, compare this to the DoubleTap), wherein two shots are quickly placed at center of mass, followed by (if the target still seems to be a threat) a third, more carefully aimed shot to the head (this is Creator/MichaelMann's trademark execution technique in almost all of his movies, from ''Film/{{Heat}}'' to ''Film/PublicEnemies''). However, this is mostly employed in combat rifle and pistol shooting, and military sniper rifles generally aren't semi-automatic.

Compare with TisOnlyABulletInTheBrain. A subtrope of AttackItsWeakPoint. Someone who AteHisGun by default has died to this trope. In the context of a ZombieApocalypse, this is RemovingTheHeadOrDestroyingTheBrain, and is one of ''the'' most solid pieces of advice for killing one.

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


[[folder:Action Adventure Games]]
* ''VideoGame/UnchartedDrakesFortune'' awards an instant kill on a headshot, and getting several headshots in a row (as well as hitting certain thresholds of career headshots) helps unlock bonus content.
* In ''VideoGame/InFamous'', throughout most of the game head shots (or head shocks, as you're using electricity) are instant kill and give extra xp. Especially if the target is in the air, which is one of the stunts.
* This is the preferred tactic of hammer or hunting horn wielders when applicable in the ''VideoGame/MonsterHunter'' series, due to their ability to knock out a monster temporarily with repeated hits to the head. The head is also commonly the weakest point on a monster, and exceptions to it are generally rather obvious.
* For ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', this trope is optionally self-inflicted. There is a section at the Snowpeak Ruins dungeon that contains cannons. If you load one with a cannonball and one of your bombs and position Link in front of the blast, he will die instantly, regardless oh how many hearts you have at the time.
* In ''[[TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild]]'', shooting an enemy in the head deals 2x normal damage while also occasionally incapacitating them for a few seconds.

[[folder:Action Games]]
* In one level of 2005's ''VideoGame/ThePunisher'' video game, the eponymous protagonist is accompanied by S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers. Whenever a criminal is shot in the head, one of the soldiers excitedly growls, "Headshot!" In another level that features head of S.H.I.E.L.D. ComicBook/NickFury, if the Punisher lands a headshot, Fury says, "Way to make it messy, Castle."
* Invoked by Pigsy in ''VideoGame/EnslavedOdysseyToTheWest.''
* In his ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamCity'' DLC, Nightwing is equipped with wrist darts that stun his targets, but a headshot is an instant takedown. Unfortunately, Nightwing's aim constantly sways, which is aggravated if you zoom in for a better shot.

[[folder:Adventure Games]]
* ''VideoGame/PoliceQuest SWAT'' (the FMV one) lets you practice the Failure drill on the weapons range.
* Future Purple Tentacle in ''VideoGame/DayOfTheTentacle'' always goes for a headshot, [[CoolButInefficient even though his weapon is nonlethal and has the same effect no matter where the blast hits]]. This habit leads to his downfall.

[[folder:Casual Games]]
* The trope is {{invoked|Trope}} in ''VideoGame/AngryBirds2'', which gives you a "Headpop!" reward if you land squarely on a pig.

[[folder:First-Person Shooter]]
* According to Wiki/TheOtherWiki, the original ''Team Fortress'' is the Ur Example for this genre.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Postal}} 2'' a headshot with a shotgun makes [[YourHeadASplode the head of the victim asplode]].
* Averted in ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'', following the arcade FPS tradition.
** Same for other [[GenreThrowback classic Doom-like]] shooters, such as ''VideoGame/SeriousSam'' (which avoids the problem entirely for the basic {{mook}}s by making them all headless).
** And yet VideoGame/DOOM2016 plays it straight, with headshots dealing amplified-and causing the enemy's head to [[YourHeadASplode pop like an overcooked burrito]] on death.
* ''Assault Cube''. With booming "Headshot" announcement, and double kill-score.
* ''VideoGame/CounterStrike''. Oh, so very much.[[note]] This is actually the game FPS Doug was playing, making it the indirect Trope Namer.[[/note]] Indeed, the ''thwack!'' sound effect and special icon were firsts for FPS games, making this the TropeCodifier in some respects.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty.''
** Worth noting are the Juggernauts from ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare2'' and ''3''. Though they can stay alive even after multiple headshots from a Barrett .50 cal, a direct headshot from a Thumper or RPG-7 is still a OneHitKill. How you manage to line up that headshot between their MoreDakka and [[ATeamFiring the infamous difficulty of use/inaccuracy of those two weapons]], though...
*** Funnily enough, you're better off aiming for the centre of mass instead of the head in most Call of Duty games, since guns kill in about 1-2 seconds of constant fire anyway. Actual headshots generally were rewarded in multiplayer, however - ''Modern Warfare 1'' and ''2'', for instance, would both give an experience bonus and unlock a new camouflage pattern for the gun in question after a specific amount of headshots were made with it.
** ''World at War'' includes a Death Card for co-op mode that, when activated, causes enemies killed via headshot to ''explode''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield}}'': Generally, only the sniper rifle can really nail a OHK with a headshot, other weapons will just deal out more damage. Bad Company 2 gives you ten more points if you finish a enemy off with a headshot though (a kill is normally 50 points).
** In ''VideoGame/{{Battlefield 3}}'', several weapons can OHK with a headshot, and will get a headshot bonus for it. The bonus for Snipers is a marksmanship bonus for doing it at extreme ranges.
* ''VideoGame/UrbanChaosRiotResponse'' even had awards for attaining extremely easy headshots, thanks to the controls.
* ''VideoGame/Left4Dead'' has a few achievements based around this; one for scoring a certain number of headshots over all, one for killing a zombie who hasn't seen you by bashing its head in from behind, and one for killing a Witch with a single headshot (which basically has to be done with a shotgun from point-blank range. And if you screw it up, man is she pissed...)
** ''VideoGame/Left4Dead2'' has "realism mode" which (among other things) makes headshots much more important. While shooting the normal zombies center-of-mass enough times will still kill them, they don't go down nearly as easily as in the standard mode...and you also chew through ammo a lot faster. The "Headshot!" mutation plays this trope more straight: headshots are the only thing that will kill a common infected, including melee weapon hits to the head. Hitting them anywhere else causes them to just stumble back. Fire, explosions, and chainsaws can still kill commons in a single hit no matter in what body part.
* In the ''VideoGame/TimeSplitters'' games, zombies often need headshots to be killed. The aiming of that game can be a bit hard though, so the easiest way to kill them is with your fists. The reason is simple, one punch makes their heads ''fall off''.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' the Sniper is the only class that does extra damage on a headshot (triple, to be precise). Everyone else's weapons (with one sole exception, see below) do the same damage no matter where they hit.
** The "Meet the Sniper" video opens with shots of the Sniper driving his RV through the desert; inside, he flicks a [[MythologyGag TFC VIP bobblehead]] on his dashboard and says, "Boom. Headshot." Cut to the title card. Good things are in store.
** One of the Spy's revolvers, the [[HandCannon Ambassador]], is the only non-Sniper weapon in the entire game that can get a critical hit on a headshot. The unpatched Ambassador used to be able to overpenetrate targets, with hilarious [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxTLeLCentE results]].
** The Sniper does get one weapon that averts this though. The Sydney Sleeper can't headshot, but has the benefit of a faster scope charge and coating targets with [[UrineTrouble Jarate]] on a hit.
* ''VideoGame/GoldenEye1997'' is an early example of this, and certainly made console owners aware of it. However, headshots only do amplified damage, as showcased by it taking several of them to kill an enemy with 1000% health. The SpiritualSuccessor, ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'', plays it much straighter and had headshots be {{One Hit Kill}}s.
** So was ''VideoGame/{{MDK}}'', which was highly praised for its then-strong graphics and gunplay, which features a sniper option.
* The original ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament'' is responsible for the "HEADSHOT!" announcement so dominant in CS servers. ''VideoGame/UnrealTournament2004'', ''VideoGame/UnrealChampionship2TheLiandriConflict'' and ''VideoGame/UnrealTournamentIII'' bring this to the extreme by adding the "Head Hunter" award, for 15 consecutive headshots, which typically result in the offending extremity vanishing in an [[ChunkySalsaRule explosion of red chunks]]. ''[=UT2003=]'' also introduced the Lightning Gun as a replacement/alternative to the normal sniper rifle - headshots with it [[IncendiaryExponent set its victims' neck stumps on fire]] along with decapitation for good measure.
** Interestingly enough, in the '99 original, you can lop an enemy's head off with the Enforcer. [[NotAnExample It doesn't really count, though; it just so happens that the victim gets decapitated on a kill shot to the noggin, as shooting someone in the head with the Enforcer doesn't do extra damage]].
* Like most shooters, ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' encourages the player to aim for the head:
** The [[SniperPistol pistol]] was particularly infamous in ''VideoGame/HaloCombatEvolved'' for being a headshot ''machine'', while the ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' version came with a convenient laser-sight dot that appears when the head is targeted. ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians''[='s=] Warzone mode has some pretty powerful pistol variants too.
** There's also the "Noob Combo", which is [[GunsAkimbo where you shoot a shield draining shot with the plasma pistol before scoring a headshot with the regular pistol]], [[ComplacentGamingSyndrome which was overused to no limit]] in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}''[='s=] online gameplay.
** Later games feature a "skull" that, when activated, makes the heads of Grunts, the weakest enemies, explode into confetti with the sound of children cheering. It's a hilarious way to encourage selective aiming, since headshots are the most efficient way to kill them.
* In ''VideoGame/JediOutcast'', a headshot was usually a lethal take down. Good luck getting one with the stormtrooper rifle, which, as a sort of MythologyGag, was ''[[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy ridiculously]]'' {{i|mperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy}}naccurate).
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife1''. The pistol will require a few headshots to kill most things, but it's very accurate so you can stay well out of range. The magnum will probably do it in one with roughly the same accuracy. Then there is the sniper crossbow: much deadlier than it looks, and headshots can be surprisingly messy. ''Opposing Force'' replaced the magnum with the Desert Eagle which was likewise supremely accurate ''if'' you aimed using its LaserSight rather than your own HUD crosshair. And it had a true sniper rifle.
** In ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'', at least, not only do bodyshots towards headcrab zombies do less damage; they also risk leaving the headcrab itself alive to try to attack you. Father Grigori advises you to aim for the head. You will do well to listen to him. The crossbow's back, too. It's still the long-range terror against anything your size, and it now features heated rebar for bolts.
* ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime: Hunters'' shows HEAD SHOT! on the screen when you score one. The sniping laser, the Imperialist, obviously does a one hit kill if it's a head shot and one of the hunters has the ability to be invisible when idle if he has the weapon.
** In ''Metroid Prime 3'', the Nova Beam has the ability to kill certain enemies in one hit if you shoot a particular area (usually the head), and the X-Ray Visor highlights these vulnerable areas. You can even "headshot" Metroids, which are otherwise [[GoddamnedBats hard-to-kill nuisances]].
* The ''Delta Force'' series of games awards double points for knocking your opponent's block off in multiplayer. Especially amusing is the fact that this can be done with any of the guns - the knife can't manage it (but killing with that is so rare as to be worth triple points anyway) and nor can the various forms of Boom a player can leave lying around or throw into the other guy's path, but you can score a headshot with a LAW. As in, a rocket that is supposed to be for cracking open TANKS. It was also immensely satisfying to {{Cherry Tap|ping}} an opponent by sneaking to within ten metres of them and planting a 40mm grenade from the M203 InTheBack of their skull, since at that range it won't explode, but will do enough damage to kill the recipient.
* ''VideoGame/{{Resistance}} 2'' has a nice, squishy sound when you pop a cap in a Chimera's face, instant kill with even upper-tier enemies except the bosses, which is handy to know as those Ravagers can be damned lethal.
* In the InNameOnly FPS of ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'', there's an interesting twist on this--the Dwarves seem to be the only race that can survive a single headshot with a sniper rifle.
* The ''VideoGame/AliensVsPredator'' PC shooters both allow the [[Franchise/{{Alien}} titular xenomorphs]] to score MELEE headshots in which the player trains their crosshairs on the offender's cranium for a moment (causing teeth to appear all around the edges of the screen), then launches the alien's inner jaws at the target, EATING THEIR HEAD and TOTALLY HEALING YOU, all from up to 15 feet away! This can even be performed on corpses.
** All parties in the game can go for headshots. The Predator, however, can attack a killed enemy's head with his wristblade to take a trophy.
* Headshots in the ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' series are instantly lethal for human enemies not wearing helmets, and deal massive damage to everything else[[note]]a single well-placed shot with a Makarov can kill a boar instantly[[/note]], but are very difficult to score at anything moving at farther than point blank range. As opposed to most other shooters, though, hitting the center of mass usually makes the human enemy stagger. There's a reason why the Mozambique Drill is so popular in gameplay videos. Subverted, however, by the [[LeadTheTarget realistically detailed ballistics system]]; bullets are affected by weather and gravity, and any gun outside of the sniper rifles that is not tinkered with by a professional technician will make it frustrating for players to get a clean headshot. Therefore, in order for a gun to be considered a proper head-blasting machine, the gun itself must be maxed out in its stats by the map's resident technician to be truly effective. Depending on the gun, it can cost a fortune for upgrades, and to further complicate things, the upgrades are separated into tiers. Furthermore, once a particular upgrade is chosen, the other gets locked out forever, and a few certain guns can only be acquired once, thus forcing you to think your options wisely. This feature is only prevalent in ''Call of Pripyat'' and ''Clear Sky''; in [=CoP's=] case: you have to find the toolkits in all three maps of that game to unlock the tiers, while in CS, you have to find particular items requested by the giver to unlock the tiers.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx''. This trope can even apply with weapons like the minicrossbow, though rather than killing them when they, say, [[EyeScream receive a crossbow dart in the eye]], a tranquilizer dart [[InstantSedation will take immediate effect]] as opposed to taking several seconds to knock them out.
* This is a handy way to bring down enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Killzone}} 2'', as well; but first you often have to shoot off the enemies' helmets and reveal their big pale BaldOfEvil before you can actually score a lethal hit there.
** Unless your using the shotgun at close range, or the sniper rifle, speaking of which, score 15 headshots with the snipe rifle and you're rewarded with the 'Melonpopper' Trophy
* Inverted, sort of, in ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2''. While most weapons instant kill with a head shot, both the Tek Arrows, and the Cerebral Bore are Headshot, Boom weapons.
* In ''[[VideoGame/DarkMessiah Dark Messiah of Might and Magic]]'', it is possible to do this with a bow and arrow - assuming you can get close enough to both aim and avoid the sorta-subversion of NoArcInArchery, you can insta-kill opponents will a well placed arrow to the face.
** But if you miss... good luck getting your sword out in time...
** You can even do it with the Rope Bow. Sniping zombies from the rafters, hi-larious.
* Notably ''not'' used in the original game of ''VideoGame/RainbowSix''. ''Any'' shot could kill you or an enemy, or at least put you out of the game.
** It should be noted that the cross-hairs would automatically aim for the head.
* In ''VideoGame/CombatArms'', a headshot which causes a death results in a rather satisfying "HEADSHOT" plaque showing up. Often happens with the ridiculously overpowered L96 and [=G36E=] guns, but no one's complaining.
** Even better if it's [[OneHitPolyKill through two people's heads]].
* The FPS ''VideoGame/RedSteel'' for the Nintendo Wii had an automatic lock-on system, which would put box corners around the entire target's body and lock crosshairs in that region. If the target were standing up or even moving, it was EasierThanEasy to fire at head level (the upper middle portion of the box) and nail the target's head. The lock-on system worked through walls, and the location of the crosshair would scale to the size of the box - aiming at head level when the target was sitting would still be locked to his head when he stood.
* Nearly all headshots in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}'' will remove the head, and even sometimes destroy the entire body. This is sometimes a necessary gameplay gimmick, since some enemies will shrug off everything but a headshot. There are also challenges centered around getting certain numbers of headshots for bonus XP. As of ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'', we have [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVpg0vws10Y Face McShooty]].
** Averted on non-mammalian targets, though. Spiderants and varkids are more susceptible to abdominal shots, threshers are best dealt with by targeting the eyes (which can be in some pretty weird places - on their tentacles, for example), Hyperion Loaders quite literally fall apart when targeted on the joints, and crystalisks are virtually invulnerable unless you hit them on the visible crystals on their legs (it's hard to tell if they even ''have'' heads).
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/{{Rayman}}: VideoGame/RavingRabbids 2''s FPS segments. You can get the regular headshot, but can also get a buttshot by hitting them from behind.
* ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor'':
** The first ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor'' game had a way of naming the different places where you shoot someone the most (for instance, if you shot the Nazis in the arm the most in a level, one of the titles you could receive would be winger) so if you shot them in the head a lot, you'd get titles like melon popper, cap shooter, helmet plunker, etc.
*** A shot to the center mass could also OneHitKill enemies, especially with higher-power weapons.
** ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonorVanguard'' rewards the player with a medal if they get over a certain number of headshots per level.
* In ''VideoGame/SoldierOfFortune'', in addition to headshots, [[ChunkySalsaRule any shot that removes a limb or disembowels the enemy]], [[GroinAttack or a shot to the nether region]], is a OneHitKill.
* Headshots in ''VideoGame/{{Bulletstorm}}'' are the easiest skillshot to pull off, though also the least rewarding point-wise. You do however, get bonuses for the PMC's ChargedAttack (Overkill), the [[RevolversAreJustBetter Screamer]] (One-Hit Wonder for the primary fire, Enlightenment for the ChargedAttack]], the Head Hunter (Hotshot), the Flailgun (Grenade Gag), and the [[ThisIsADrill Penetrator]] (Root Canal).
* The game ''VideoGame/SniperGhostWarrior'' makes a definite point of forcing the player to think much like a real life sniper, though it somewhat averts this trope by allowing you to miss the sweet spot and simply remove a target's helmet without the insta-kill. Also averted in that a single center mass shot with the high powered rifle is typically enough to drop any target.
* ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho'' has the Achievements/Trophies named (Insert Adjective Here) Of Pop, where landing so many headshots nets you an additional character bio sheet in the extras section.
* Headshots in ''VideoGame/ProjectBlackout'' are instantly lethal if the target isn't wearing a helmet.
* Just like the movie it was based on (see below), if Jet makes a head shot in ''VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh'', it's almost always an insta-kill. The times it's not is when it's glanced off armor. Jet will also say something like "Ouch" or "Yes!" if he manages a perfect hit.
* Not only played straight but very nearly a GameBreaker in ''VideoGame/AceOfSpades'', as the hitbox for a player's head is enormous. The standard semi-automatic rifle is nearly as good as a SniperRifle, and headshots with it are a OneHitKill. Being hit in the head by the sub-machine gun "only" costs you [=75HP=], which is hardly better given that most players who wield it ''really'' believe in MoreDakka, and the shotgun... Well, let's just say it averts ShortRangeShotgun.
** As of version 0.75 the rifle was made much less accurate (making sniping with the submachine gun a viable alternative), the shotgun now follows its [[ShortRangeShotgun stock trope]] and the SMG is the most commonly used weapon around.
* The bots of ''VideoGame/PAYDAYTheHeist'' will encourage you to go for headshots, with shouts of "I want to see helmets flying!" Because yes, when you land a headshot, the hat or helmet worn by the victim will pop up as a "well done!" signal. Interestingly, the headshot-immune civilians are all bareheaded.
* ''VideoGame/KillingFloor'''s Specimens all have a weak point in the head. Blowing said head off doesn't guarantee an instant kill, but it does prevent them from using any special abilities (the clot's grab, the bloat's vomit, etc), causes them to stagger around blindly (they can still hit you if they find you), makes any further damage hurt more, and kills them after a few seconds anyway. So, aim for the head.
** The Sharpshooter perk is based around this - his weapons are typically single-fire or semi-auto fare which he gets massive headshot-damage and reload-speed bonuses for, from various pistols and {{revolvers|AreJustBetter}}, up to a crossbow and even [[{{BFG}} a breech-loading, .50-caliber sniper rifle]].
* In ''Day Of Defeat'' and ''Day of Defeat: Source'', shooting someone in the head results in a shhunk sound and the opposing player's helmet flying off (provided it wasn't knocked off prior by an explosion). All weapons are a one hit kill to the head, provided it didn't pass through any objects prior.
* ''Videogame/BioShock'' has headshots with the basic pistol deal quadruple damage. This is enough to put down most splicers in one hit-at least until the player reaches Farmer's Market, at which point every enemy gets a massive boost in health. Later on, the player gets a crossbow that deals ''ten times'' normal damage when aiming for the head, enabling you to kill even the toughest splicers with a single bolt.
** ''Videogamae/Bioshock2'' has a tonic that amplifies headshot damage with all weapons.
** In ''Videogame/BioshockInfinite'', each weapon has its own headshot damage multiplier. Whether or not it's an instant kill depends on the power of the weapon and the durability of the enemy being shot.
* In ''FarCry3BloodDragon'' [[AwesomeMcCoolname Rex Power Colt]] says this word for word as one of his phrases when you use a sniper and shoot an enemy in the head.
* Headshots in ''VideoGame/FistfulOfFrags'' not only deal twice the damage, but cause the victim's hat to fly off.
* In ''Videogame/{{Evolve}}'', hitting the monster in the head deals double damage. Behemoth is the exception, with its weakspot in its underbelly. Conversely, hitting a limb does half damage. This only affects projectile based weapons, as all other weapons deal flat damage regardless of where you hit.
* ''VideoGame/{{Nexuiz}}'' and its SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/{{Xonotic}}'' have the Nex and the Vortex, respectively, which are capable of instakilling by hitting the head, complete with the announcer screaming "Headshot!".

[[folder:Fighting Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MortalKombatVsDCUniverse'', the Joker and Deathstroke both have {{f|inishingMove}}atalities ending in this. ComicBook/TheJoker uses his flag gun, then whips out a revolver and does a headshot, while Deathstroke stabs the opponent in the stomach with his sword, then pulls a headshot as a MercyKill.
** Sadly, due to a [[ExecutiveMeddling DC-mandated T rating]], the Joker's fatality had to be [[GoryDiscretionShot censored for the US release]].
** Shang Tsung has the Joker's fatality in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'', and with no pesky T rating to get in the way, the ChunkySalsaRule is in full effect.
* Getting a headshot in ''VideoGame/{{Divekick}}'' concusses the opponent, making them lose all their special meter and move slower the next round for a few seconds.

[[folder:Flash Games]]
* Many Flash "assassin" games, such as ''Sift Heads'' and ''VideoGame/AnakshaFemaleAssassin'' require you to shoot your target in the head.
** In Anaksha's case, it's justified -- with the amount of gun crime that goes down in [[WretchedHive Santa Lina]], many citizens have taken to wearing body armor.

[[folder:Light Gun Games]]
* ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'', being about zombies, encouraged this. In most games, you can kill them by way of pumping their bodies full of lead, but the quicker way to down them was to blow off their heads, which usually killed them in three shots.
* ''VideoGame/VirtuaCop'' is possibly the UrExample of headshots in video games.
** Inverted in ''Virtua Cop 3'', however, where headshots are actually the least lucrative, as they score low and don't allow for chains. The better alternatives are [[BlastingItOutOfTheirHands shooting their gun]], or just chaining 3 hits starting with any other part of the body.
* ''VideoGame/TargetTerror'' on the highest violence setting, had this. Multiple bullets in the head of a terrorist would result in YourHeadAsplode, a massive point bonus, and in the [[UpdatedRerelease Gold edition]], there's a combat medal for headshot streaks.
* ''VideoGame/SilentScope'', obviously. Double points and a decent time bonus, plus OneHitKill on the bosses.
** In the third ''Silent Scope'' game, your {{life|Meter}} / {{time|dMission}} meter will refill a bit on head shots.
** Headshots on most bosses are a OneHitKill, unless they are wearing a mask/helmet.
*** Certain bosses must be shot in the head on the first shot. Failure to do so results in retrying the stage (if it's a non-final boss in ''Silent Scope EX''') or a NonStandardGameOver (if it's a FinalBoss).
* Averted in ''VideoGame/PointBlank''; in stages where you shoot at human-shaped cardboard targets, shooting the center of the chest yields 100 points, the highest point value on the target. Shooting the head only nets 60 points.
* In ''VideoGame/TimeCrisis 2'', ''3'', and ''4'', hitting non-armored {{Mooks}} anywhere will [[OneHitPointWonder kill them]], but headshots yield the most points, followed by body shots, then limb shots. However, getting points doesn't stop at a headshot; shooting the head once and then shooting their body twice (you can hit a Mook twice more after the initial hit) yields the most points.
* In ''VideoGame/GHOSTSquad'', hitting an enemy on the head results in a "Good Shot" bonus, but like in ''Virtua Cop'', also by Sega-[=AM2=], headshots cannot be followed up with extra shots. There is a special but very difficult to achieve bonus known as "2 Body 1 Head", which is done by doing a Mozambique Drill on an enemy, plugging 2 shots into the torso and then 1 shot into the head.

* The Headshot skill in ''VideoGame/UrbanDead'' results in that zombie being forced to spend 5 more Action Points than normal to rise. However, a skill allows veteran zombies to circumvent this somewhat.
** In the ''Film/DiaryOfTheDead'' tie-in side city Monroeville (where the zombies are conveniently Romero-style zombies), a headshot is an instant kill.
** A headshot death used to cost the zombie experience. Painful ''indeed.''

* The multiplayer arenas in ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' (at least the N64 version) tracked these. Especially fun when the headshot was from crossbow or knife; the bolt or knife would be stuck in the head as they spun dazed.
** Also, due to stylization most of the characters were only about 3 heads tall, with their heads being the widest part of the body. That's right, in ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' heads were usually the biggest and easiest target to hit.
** Furthermore, during the main adventure, you can only kill zombies by shooting them in the head.
** As an added bonus, in the War multiplayer especially, the player character would often [[CallingYourAttacks yell dialogue for certain kills]], and headshots came with a raft of them, such as "Oooh, nasty!" and "Oho, headshot!"
* Anytime you run into a seemingly-invincible enemy in the ''Franchise/MegaMan'' series, his WeakSpot will inevitably be his head. If the enemy's head fills the screen, then it will be the eyes or an obvious gem somewhere on his forehead.
** The ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series in particular uses this trope at its most literal every chance it gets. Most large bosses can only be damaged by headshots, including many of Sigma's OneWingedAngel forms.
** You can use this trope in VideoGame/MegaManX8 to hijack Ride Armors. A well-aimed shot to the head blows up the pilot without damaging the mecha.

[[folder:Rail Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/StarFoxAssault'''s Sniper Rifle does bonus damage on a head shot. Of course, the thing is so powerful, you don't even need a headshot to take most opponents down. Wolf is the only multi-player character that can survive being shot at all, but he's also the fastest.
* Headshots in ''VideoGame/TransformersCybertronAdventures'' will outright kill the smaller enemies, while bosses and the [[GiantMook Destroyers]] can shrug an few off at the expense of an noticeable percentage of their health.

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* In the original ''VideoGame/{{Fallout|1}}'' creatures have a location map for called shots; critical hit effects depend on specific location, and head shots tend to be severe. But it's far from "always instant kill" and usually the head is the second hardest to hit location after the target's ''[[GoForTheEye eyes]]''. Other times it's more beneficial to aim for a different location even if it doesn't bring the enemy down as fast - you'll want to cripple that [[LightningBruiser Deathclaw's]] legs so you can survive long enough to try for a headshot.
** The [[ColdSniper Sniper]] perk exists to facilitate these, and gives a substantial bonus when using VATS to aim at heads, which combined with [[CriticalHit sneak attacks]] allows you to one-shot many enemies. The [[LudicrousGibs Bloody Mess]] perk on the other hand can cause victim's heads to [[YourHeadAsplode asplode]] even if you hit them in the ''foot''. [[RuleOfCool With a flamethrower.]]
** This trope is parodied in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' with the quest "You Gotta Shoot 'Em in the Head". A ghoul hires you to kill a bunch of humans who considers ghouls to be just like mindless zombies, and specifically requests that you shoot them in the head or else you're paid less.
*** The game also features Mirelurks, [[GiantEnemyCrab bipedal mutant crab people]] with a heavily-armored carapace. Shooting them in the head is the quickest way to bring them down, but said soft target is deeply recessed in their torso and often hidden when they're attacking, making pulling this off easier said than done.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' ''starts'' with this trope, as [[PlayerCharacter the Courier]] receives a double-tap to the skull, courtesy of Benny. Of course, seeing as that's only the start of the game, [[NotQuiteDead it doesn't quite take]]. The game later averts this with the "Three-Card Bounty" quest, in which headshots are discouraged because the questgiver wants the targets' skulls intact so he can verify they're dead. There's also the "Center of Mass" perk that gives the player a damage bonus to shots aimed at the enemy's torso.
*** The "Dead Money" DLC for ''Fallout New Vegas'' features "ghosts", which recover from being killed unless they're ''over''killed to the extent of being decapitated (or otherwise dismembered). The easiest way to do this is to cause enough damage to knock them down, then pull a Boom, Headshot on them.
** While attacks to the head in ''Fallout 3'' and ''New Vegas'' cause twice as much HP loss, the effect of [[SubsystemDamage specifically injuring the head]] is almost comically minimal: Perception is lowered by 4 (not that big a deal because Perception only matters before the battle starts), accuracy is lowered somewhat, and if it's the player character they also get an occasional InterfaceScrew in the form of an ImpairmentShot. For comparison, crippling an arm hurts accuracy far worse and a crippled leg can make melee enemies too slow to catch up with you backpedaling.
** ''Fallout 4'' has one of the most unintentionally ludicrous examples of this trope. The companion perk ''Killshot'' was supposed to increase the VATS accuracy of a headshot by 20%. However, due to a typo, it was increased by '''2000%''', making it almost impossible to ''not'' get a headshot, and essentially turning the player into [[Film/JohnWick John Wick.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FableI'' of all games, thanks to existent but heavily reduced sway of hands, you can headshot from a fair distance with a crossbow or even a ''bow''. It comes complete with a fountain of blood and the disembodied head spinning for another moment in the air. It's only if you can inflict a one hit kill with it, though (sometimes even more resistant normal enemies can survive a headshot when it's from a weak enough hero and when they're at full HP). For the more sadistic among us, you can also make enemies' head explode in much the same way with a Lightning spell.
** In ''VideoGame/FableII'', the last dexterous style is sub-targeting, which allows you to target specific spots on an enemy such as the hand (to disarm them), groin, or head. A headshot will often kill an enemy in one shot, decapitating them in the process. One acheivement actually requires killing a [[DemBones Hollow Man]] by first [[BlastingItOutOfTheirHands shooting their weapons away]], then blasting its head off before finally killing it for good.
*** You can boot the heads around when you shoot one off, too.
* A successful headshot in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' will cause [[CriticalHit critical damage]] to the opponent. For snipers, who are good at this sort of thing, it's almost a guaranteed OneHitKill. You can protect yourself from these types of hits by crouching behind sandbags or laying down in the grass where the enemy can't see you.
** Specifically, going into cover (grass or sandbags usually, but other things can give cover, too) prevents critical hits from actually happening, even if a character is actually hit in the head. Unfortunately, it works both ways. Enemies under cover can't receive criticals, either.
* Though you can't actually aim for heads in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', one of the death animations for humanoid enemies has the attacker make a wide swinging blow that [[OffWithHisHead slices the head off]] in a [[PinkMist huge gush of blood]].
* A finishing move when equipped with a sword in ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' is decapitation. It doesn't show where the head goes, but it does show a fountain of blood, which makes you wonder just how much of the head is intact afterwards.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect''
** Through the series, a headshot is (if not an insta-kill) a high damage hit. In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' if it is a kill shot your team mates will make impressed comments about it. One of the upgrades for sniper rifles gives an extra damage bonus to headshots.
** In the case of [[MechaMooks security mechs]], killing them with headshots causes them to explode damaging anyone nearby (useful, since they [[ZergRush come in packs]]). Headshotting [[{{Miniboss}} YMIR Mechs]] (which always explode on death) causes them to [[GoingCritical go critical]] and detonate with a ''massive'' boom.
** You can also score perhaps the ultimate headshot on the final boss. [[spoiler:Human-Reaper's]] head, meet [[NukeEm Cain]].
** There are even armor pieces to improve the power of your headshots ([[FriendlySniper Garrus]] wears one).
** Averted in a realistic sense by the Widow series, though: it's so overwhelmingly powerful that there's little incentive to go for headshots. ''Any'' hit will kill most enemies outright.
** Averted with Zaeed's backstory. His business partner double-crossed him and had six of their underlings restrain him while said partner put a gun to Zaeed's head and pulled the trigger.
---> '''Shepard:''' You survived a gunshot wound to the head?\\
'''Zaeed:''' Yeah, and you survived getting your ship blown up. A stubborn enough person can survive anything. Rage is a hell of an anesthetic.
** Contrary to the first game's relatively realistic PrettyLittleHeadShots with small entrance and exit wounds through the helmet, headshots on Cerberus troops in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' cause the entire head and helmet to disappear, leaving behind bloody neck and a bit of exposed spinal column.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'''s multiplayer mode managed to {{zig|ZaggingTrope}}zag this trope. Originally, bosses did not suffer from head shots, with the exception of the Geth Prime, which did due to a bug. A path removed this and some other similar bugs and people complained that it removed the incentive to aim, as the [[DamageSpongeBoss bosses]] where the main targets you needed head shots on. A latter patch added weakpoints for bosses in, but at a much lower bonus. Headshots did 150% bonus damage, and there were a few weapons and bonuses that could increase this. The new weakpoints(sometimes the head, sometimes somewhere else) did 40% bonus damage and were not affected by weapon or other bonuses to headshot damage.
** ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'''s new DLC weapon the M-11 Suppressor is built around this trope. While not as powerful as other pistols available, it has the largest headshot bonus of any weapon in the game. This essentially means that as long as you can aim for the head, it is guaranteed to kill in two shots if not instantly.
* In ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile2Silmeria'', the battle system lets you break off parts of monsters depending on what part you hit. If the part you break off happens to be the monster's head, it's instant death, unless the enemy is a zombie or skeleton or something.
* ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'': One gun has this technique. The effect is simulated by a chance of inflicting [[OneHitKill Curse]] damage.
* In ''VideoGame/Persona5'', the default NonStandardGameOver for missing a deadline ends with a mysterious man ([[spoiler:Goro Akechi]]) blowing your brains out in captivity. In the true ending, [[spoiler:this is how your Ultimate Persona Satanael disposes of Yaldabaoth in the end]].
* In ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', getting a headshot with a bow causes extra damage.
* All of the ranged weapons in ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarOnline2'' have the passive ability to deal increased damage to most enemies by scoring a headshot, which is accompanied by a distinctive sound and hitspark.
* ''Warrior Of Ras'' was an early RPG that required called shots for each attack. While the head was weak, it is still stronger than the neck which only had a few hitpoints.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'' has Sharla's Headshot art. While the name is mostly for flavor, fitting with [[FriendlySniper her sniper side]] and working regardless of the enemy having a head or not, the spirit of the trope remains. The attack has a very high damage output, [[CombatMedic especially for a medic]], and is the only attack the team has that's capable of inflicting [[OneHitKill Instant Death]] on the enemy.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' contains a boss battle against [[Film/{{Tron}} Sark and the MCP]] that has this trope as an option. Sometimes, Sark will put up a wall to prevent the party from fleeing. But a reaction command allows for Sora to climb that wall, leap off, and use the Keyblade to stab Sark in the head for a OneHitKill.

[[folder:Shoot Em Ups]]
* In [[{{VideoGame/Gradius}} Gradius and its spin-offs]], starting with Salamander and Gradius II, only one original boss per main series games (except in Gradius V) has the head as its weakpoint, as the announcer directs by shouting "Shoot it in the head!".

* Subverted in first-person hunter ''Deer Hunter 2005''. Headshots ''will'' kill the deer instantly, but you won't get the special slow-motion insta-kill bullet cam you get with a lung/heart shot.
* Later played straight in subsequent ''Deer Hunter'' games, notably ''Deer Hunter Classic'' (formerly ''Deer Hunter 2014''), where only the final animal you kill gets the special slow-motion insta-kill bullet cam.

[[folder:Stealth-Based Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid.'' Head shots are handled realistically in this series, all guns have meaningful recoil and idle sway meaning that you do have to adjust your shots at a distance especially if aiming for the head. Also head shots are always instant kills unless the enemy soldier's head is shielded in some way, and there is no gore so even with higher powered guns such as the Barret M82 sniper rifle there are no [[YourHeadAsplode flashy]] [[LudicrousGibs results]]. There's even a multiplayer mode for the hardcore enthusiasts, where head shots are the only shots that deal any damage.
** ''Metal Gear Solid V'', in keeping with the DarkerAndEdgier feel, averts the "no flashy results" part, with a headshot with any weapon except the tranq guns resulting in a massive blood spray and very nasty wounds.
* ''VideoGame/SniperElite'',''VideoGame/SniperEliteV2, VideoGame/SniperEliteIII complete with entry and exit wounds.
* In '"VideoGame/ManHunt'' when you shoot an enemy in the head with a shotgun their head explodes with bits of brain and skull fragments raining down.

* This is one of Caitlyn's quotes from ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends''. Her occupation? She's a sheriff carrying a sniper rifle. Her special ability? Every eighth shot she fires is... you guessed it... called 'Headshot', which does additional damage.
* Another one who quotes this is Kardel Sharpeye in ''VideoGame/DotA2'', aptly classed 'Sniper'. He also has a Headshot skill that is generated at a random chance that does additional damage and makes his target so dizzy they move and attack slower.

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* Obviously, most ZombieApocalypse games. ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'', ''House of the Dead'', and ''Umbrella Chronicles'', especially.
* In the remake of the original ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil1'', blowing off a zombie's head was one of the ways prevent a zombie from resurrecting as a Crimson Head (as opposed to burning it or blowing off its kneecaps). The headshots were random when using a handgun, but pointing a shotgun at a zombie's head was much more reliable. Additionally, [[TheGunslinger Chris Redfield]] is more likely to secure a headshot than Jill Valentine.
** It is actually possible to shoot off the heads off Hunters, Chimeras, and Cerberus, especially when using the Samurai Edge...although it doesn't serve any tactical purpose.
* In ''VideoGame/Condemned2Bloodshot'', getting a headshot will result in the unfortunate target's head bursting like a squeezed zit, even if you're using a dinky .22LR pistol. Considering how guns in the game are rare and mostly situational weapons, this is an efficient way of using them.
* In ''VideoGame/ColdFear'', the only way to kill a zombie is to shoot their head, or else they won't stop coming after you.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadlyPremonition'', headshots do more damage, interrupt enemies' attacks, and earn you bonus Agent Honor.
* Averted with the ''Franchise/DeadSpace'' series of horror games. Oh sure, feel free to ''ignore'' the ''multiple'' warnings of "Cut off their limbs" written in blood across the walls of the ghost ship Ishimura; watch as your delight turns to horror as the now ''headless'' space zombie ''continues'' charging at you to claw you into iddy biddy pieces.
* Literally so in the ''VideoGame/FatalFrame'' series: photo-shots centered around the target ghost's head will destroy the ghost quicker. Unfortunately, this usually means you're staring right at the ghost's face as he or she is about to touch you. [[GoddamnedBoss The final boss in the second game must be destroyed this way.]]
* ''VideoGame/TheEvilWithin'': The bad news is that your opponents are psychically mutated, so sometimes headshots don't work. The good news is, you can increase your critical rate (the probability that shooting a mook in the head kills them). Their heads explode in disgusting gore, if they aren't ripped into pieces by a weaker shot first. And considering the difficulty of the game, you will APPRECIATE their violent deaths.

[[folder:Third-Person Shooter]]
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' is the king of this trope. Unless you were using a particularly powerful weapon, it was nearly impossible to kill any Ganados without shooting them in the head, and even then in Professional mode it would still take around nine headshots to kill them. The only other way you were encouraged to shoot them was in the legs, so you could run up and melee them in the head.
** Unless they have a mask on, in which case it takes around 60 headshots to kill them.
** With the exception of the Wii version, where Leon's hand is as steady as you hold the Wiimote, there is fairly realistic gun sway. Even more annoyingly, if you pointed a gun at a Ganado's head for too long, they'd anticipate the shot and start covering their faces or move out of the way.
** Strangely, despite being able to take multiple bullets to the face, anytime an enemy was killed by an attack directed at its head, their noggin would graphically blow it up, complete with a nauseating splatting sound and chunks of head laying on the ground (strangely, this often doesn't kill them instantly). This includes everything from .50 magnum shots to 9mm bullets to the PC elbowing them in the face.
*** Likewise in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'' headshots are powerful enough to take heads clean off but enemies can take a few seconds to die resulting in still being hit or it can turn them into a more dangerous enemy.
** Subverted with the Regenerators and Iron Maidens, where shooting them in the head does almost nothing. Even if you use an extremely powerful weapon, or blow it's head off, it'll just regrow in a couple seconds.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/DeadSpace''. The Necromorphs can be decapitated with a headshot, but that'll just piss them off.
** Played straight when facing human enemies in ''VideoGame/DeadSpace3''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rune}}''. Remember the zombies in ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}''? ''Rune''[='s=] zombies are just like that, except since the game has a medieval fantasy setting, your only real options are fire and decapitation. Since normal blows just make them fall over for a few seconds (and you can't decapitate them while they're down,) you don't have access to fire weapons for many levels, and only a spinning jump-slash will reliably decapitate them (plus they're otherwise just harmless but annoying [[TheGoomba goombas]],) zombies get really old REALLY fast.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' cannot be forgotten, seeing as a head shot sometimes results in Marcus Fenix (at least in the Campaign) saying Boom Headshot. Or other [[BondOneLiner witty things]] such as, "look Ma, no face" in Gears 2.
** Everyone has headshot quotes including Baird's "Sorry, was that your spine?" and the epic "So good I should charge admission."
* ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter'' had this, too, even explicitly telling you that headshots in manual aim were more lethal. Especially needed when enemies started wearing flak jackets, which could take dozens of rounds to penetrate. Nothing says 'I hate you' like a headshot with the lethal taser.
** And the dread of seeing the HEAD SHOT indicator above your own head. Take cover, or [[ChunkySalsaRule your head's gonna be chunky salsa]].
* ''VideoGame/S4League'' features critical hits, which generally only occur when a player's shot connects with an enemy's head. On the other hand, ''VideoGame/S4League'''s entire setting revolves around unashamedly presenting itself as an online 'sport' played in virtual stadiums over the internet. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Which it is]].
* In ''VideoGame/TotalOverdose'', head shots give the most style points, and are the only way to rack up combos for multiple kills. The most points are awarded for delivering a headshot while airborne, twisting 360 degrees and getting another headshot before hitting the ground...even more if done leaping from a speeding vehicle.
* ''VideoGame/LostPlanet'' makes this the only way to liberate weapons from human enemies. Also, the Machine Gun does double damage if bullets hit the head.
* Played mostly straight in ''VideoGame/MondayNightCombat'', with a minor aversion: one of the upgrades for the Gunner class is a face-shield that drops down when it deploys, making headshots only as effective as regular shots.
** Invoked by name as a [[BraggingRightsReward ProTag]] and earned for scoring ten headshot kills in a Crossfire match.
* ''VideoGame/JetForceGemini'': If you aim correctly even with the pistol, you can blow an enemy's head off. You even get rewards for collecting heads. You can get a sniper rifle later on to make this easier
* in ''VideoGame/TransformersWarForCybertron'' singleplayer, the two other bots/cons with you make comment about how good your aim is, or the char you're playing makes a smartarse remark about it. In Multiplayer, it's worth a score bonus. Likely will remain the same in ''VideoGame/TransformersFallOfCybertron''.
* The ''VideoGame/StarWarsBattlefront'' games give a bonus weapon and medal of "Marksman" to a sniper who gains 4 head shots within one life. Snipers can often become GoddamnBats because of the head shots. The trooper's weapon doesn't instantly kill somebody if you shoot them in the head, but a head shot does more damage to an enemy than a body shot.
* As no one is really wearing armor in the game, ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' rewards this with increased damage. This generally turns rifle hits into one-shot kills, and being able to activate [[BulletTime Dead Eye mode]] makes it all the easier to line up a shot to the head. The player is also rewarded with rather graphic damage models showing large holes blown in the victim's head, something that is not done for hits on any other part of the body.
** A must in the ExpansionPack ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemptionUndeadNightmare.'' Playing its campy zombie inspiration straight, John must shoot the Undead in the head to put them down for good. That, [[LudicrousGibs reducing them to a fine red paste]], [[KillItWithFire setting them on fire]], or [[HolyBurnsEvil dousing them with holy water]] are all viable ways to end an Undead menace, but the headshot tends to be the go-to choice for players.

[[folder:Vehicular Combat]]
* ''Interstate 76'' centered on armed cars doing battle with each other. In addition to the usual complement of machine guns, rockets, and the like, the player carried a handgun which could shoot at a ninety-degree angle to the direction of travel. Kills with the handgun were preferable because they not only killed the opponent instantly, but left the opponent's vehicle intact to be scavenged at the end of the mission.
* Amusingly, the ''VideoGame/MechWarrior'' games (the computer games, at least) allow you to score headshots ''on HumongousMecha''. The head is a discreet section of the 'mech with its own armor, and generally has very little protection. It's tiny, but an instant kill if you do manage to destroy it.
** Probably a carryover from the original ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' where the maximum limit on head armor was the same (that is, quite low) for everybody regardless of size category. Weapons that could do enough focused damage to take out the head in a single shot were given a very high value compared to other weapons in the Battle Value system, used to calculate the overall effectiveness of a 'mech.
** In the ''[=BattleTech=] VideoGame/MechCommander'' video games, shooting a mech in the head tended to kill the pilot as well. If the mech was destroyed any other way, the pilot would usually eject the head as an escape pod and survive.
** Some 'Mechs have notoriously large cockpit hitboxes in their respective games, including the Jenner, the Catapult, and the [=UrbanMech=]. It was not uncommon for players to hit the heads of these models of 'Mech without actually trying to, and killing the target in a few clustered headshots instead of slugging it out with them. Don't get any ideas that it's easy though, because unlike humans, the actual 'head' on mechs may not correspond exactly to where one would assume the head is. Headshots are difficult enough that ''Mechwarrior Online'' considers getting ''a single headshot kill'' to be an achievement, whereas most other combat achievements require doing a particular strategy or technique at least fifty times.
* In the ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' game for the [=PlayStation=] 2, there is a specific Mini-Con upgrade that allows for Sniper rifle Head shots that are OHKO's for a great many units, though it does take 3 Headshots for the Heavy units, and a couple of Enemies have no head, being non-humanoid Mecha.
* The ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal'' reboot introduces the Sniper Rifle as a weapon pickup. The longer you keep an aim on the target, the greater the damage will be dealt. However, if you take aim long enough and let the weapon fully charge, you shoot the driver's head instead and [[OneHitKill destroy his/her vehicle instantly, regardless of how tough or how much health it has left]]. Yes, its possible to destroy [[BossInMooksClothing Juggernaut]] this way. The catch is that [[DifficultButAwesome the charging time is freakin' long, not to mention hard to take aim in a fast-paced game]].
** The SawedOffShotgun sidearm and the Shotgun pickup from the same game. Shooting at the target's windscreen earns you the Point-Blank bonus which deals massive damage. It's essentially headshoting a ''car''.

[[folder:Wide Open Sandbox]]
* This started creeping into the console version of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' starting with 3, which gave you an M16-type that could be freely aimed (other weapons either fired wherever you faced or targeted centre of mass). Both 3 and Vice City also had sniper rifles (although those would be instant kill even if you shot them in the foot). San Andreas let you aim any weapon manually, so even your lousy 9mm starter pistol can get headshots in. It seemed to vary on whether the victim's head survived such treatment, though.
** Reaches its peak in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''. Auto-target aims at center of mass, while holding the auto-target button allows you to move the crosshair slightly. It becomes laughably easy to get headshots in this way, making many of the game's missions incredibly easy.
*** ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony'' requires you to score a certain number of headshots each mission (which requires a shootout) to get the 100% score. "Chinese Takeout" in fact requires ''every'' kill to be a headshot.
** Similar to TBOGT, ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'' also uses headshots as a recurring gold medal objective.
*** In "Predator", the player has to kill all three targets[[spoiler:, the surviving O'Neil Brothers,]] with a headshot.
*** In "Meltdown", Michael has to save [[spoiler:Amanda and Tracey]] by killing their captors with a headshot.
* Headshots seem to do more damage in ''VideoGame/{{Bully}}'' too, when using the slingshot at least. A fully-charged shot to the head will drop almost any student.
* In ''VideoGame/TheGodfather'' game headshots are a OneHitKill, allowing you to go through enemies more efficiently. Given that Tommygun and shotgun users show up quite early and you don't become MadeOfIron until quite a bit later, this is important. You can even go through mob wars using just your .38 pea-shooter by taking cover and making precision headshots. Bonus assassination missions sometimes asked for headshots; this meant even more cash.
* ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade'' featured the ability to score headshots and deal critical damage with any projectile, including stones, arrows, crossbow bolts, throwing knives, ''throwing axes,'' and '''javelins.''' Now consider that sharp projectiles sometimes remain visible in an enemy's corpse...
* ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'': While it is certainly possible to kill things by severing their heads, in practice not only are called shots to the head with a ranged or thrown weapon considerably harder to achieve, but arrows and crossbow bolts will bounce off even a low-grade helmet. Melee attacks to the head, on the other hand, are significantly more reliable.
* ''VideoGame/ScarfaceTheWorldIsYours'' encouraged bold gameplay by rewarding you more Balls (which allowed you to build your Blind Rage/temporary invincibility meter more quickly). Using pistols gives a 4x bonus, as is manually targeting (the auto-target aims for center of mass but can be tweaked to aim for specific body parts). And targeting some body parts gives you more Balls than others (fits the trope because the head is a high-value target--it and the [[GroinAttack nuts]] have the highest value).
** On the flip side, taunting a wounded enemy gets Balls as well. Killing and taunting gets even more making it sometimes preferable to avoid the headshot, at least right away.

!!Non-videogame examples

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/{{Macross}}'' notably inverts the trope almost constantly, as headshots on Battroid-mode [[TransformingMecha Valkyries]] don't kill (though they do render Valkyries almost completely blind unless they switch back to fighter jet mode), yet center of mass shots do (as that's where the cockpit is in Battroid mode).
** ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' invokes yet inverts it even more with the Vajra when one of them gets its head blown off, leaving our heroes all thinking that the Vajra has been killed. Turns out it wasn't, and that the [[BizarreAlienBiology closest analogue to the brain the Vajra have]] is actually located in their ''digestive tract'', right in their center of mass.
*** The GrandFinale plays it straight though, with the death of the BigBad who had inhabited the head of the err... FinalBoss. Taking out the head killed the BigBad but left the Vajra Queen thing alive, due to not having any vital organs in the head.
*** To be more specific, they decapitated the Queen with a missile salvo before Alto blew the helpless BigBad (and the head via unexplained secondary explosions) away with a shot from Michel's sniper rifle. Mind you, the BigBad was [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill a human-sized target that was hit with a Valkyrie's rifle]].
* As with ''Macross'', ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' repeatedly subverts this trope as mobile suit cockpits are typically mounted in the torso, whereas the head normally contains sensors and (occasionally) vulcans and/or other weapons. As if that wasn't amusing enough, the first series reverts and then ''re''-inverts the trope during the final battle: Amuro shoots the Zeong in the torso, thinking it a kill shot, only to realize upon seeing the head detach and fly up that the cockpit had, for once, been placed there instead. In turn, Char fires back and blows the Gundam's own head away, to which Amuro boasts that all Char did was cost him his main camera (and vulcans).
** Kycilia Zabi shoots her brother Gihren in the head as payback for Gihren committing {{patricide}}. Char, in turn, takes out Kycilia by shooting her in the head with a ''rocket launcher'' as she tries to evacuate A Bao a Qu on her flagship.
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrahCm7UIa4 Lady Une is no slouch in crazy headshots either.]]
** In ''[[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam G Gundam]]'' it's an EnforcedTrope, since the rules of the Gundam Fight tournament say that losing your Gundam's head is ''instant disqualification''; any other damage to the machine can be repaired without penalty. For a more literal version of this, England's warrior Sir Gentle Chapman ''almost'' takes France's fighter George de Sand out with his sniper rifle, but just grazes the head of George's Gundam due to age and illness hampering his skill.
** Destroying a Mobile Suit's head is ironically ''usually'' a non-lethal way of taking it out of the fight, since the actual cockpit (with a few exceptions) is almost always in the abdomen. As noted with Amuro and the RX-78-2 above, some models have backup cameras and sensors, and can continue fighting even without a head.
** One of the more notorious cases came in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ'', when the [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]] got its head shot off, and Iino decided to replace it with the head of a salvaged Zaku II until a proper replacement could be built, resulting in the infamous "Zeta Zaku".
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': Baremos Q7 was a Mechanical Beast built with stolen samples of [[{{Unobtainium}} Alloy Z]]. However its head was made of a less sturdy metal since Dr. Hell had not enough alloy. During the battle, Kouji eventually noticed the {{Robeast}} was ALWAYS protecting its head. Logically, he aimed for it. Another example happened in one of the first chapters, when he was told Bikong O9 weak point were its horns.
* In ''Anime/PsychoPass'', [[spoiler:[[MadArtist Rikako]]]] gets shot in the face with a shotgun point blank.
* ''Anime/KiddyGrade'' pulled one off too in the finale. Namely, Alv became one with the [[TransformingMecha Deucalion]] so [[{{Technopath}} Lumiére]] hacked into the ship's left arm and used the cannons on it to score a hit on the bridge. Yes, you heard that right: Lumie '''headshotted Alv [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome with her own arm]]'''.
* Happens to Johan Liebert from ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' twice.
** Lampshaded by Martin mocking a gunman for ''not shooting someone in the head''. That someone was him.
* Justifiably so in ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex''. As a significant amount of individuals have cyberized brains that can be transplanted into fully prosthetic bodies even if the rest of the body is gibbed, completely annihilating the brain case of a cyber-brain is often the only way to completely "kill" a person and is often heartily encouraged.
* Manga/{{Golgo 13}} almost always goes for a head shot.
* In the ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' episode "Ballad of Fallen Angels," a Red Dragon mook who [[PutDownYourGunAndStepAway takes Faye hostage]] gets a bullet right through his skull from Spike, setting off a furious [[BloodstainedGlassWindows Church Shootout]] that ends with Spike and Vicious clashing for the first time in the series.
** The villain of "Sympathy for the Devil" also gets a bullet in the head. This bullet, however, is fashioned from a gem that was created from the energy released by the Gate explosion, the same energy which broke Wen's circadian rhythm and made him essentially immortal and unaging, and using it has the effect of rapidly aging him to death as Wen's true age is returned to him.
* Ami's dad in ''Anime/OccultAcademy'' manages to decapitate a chupacabra in episode 8... with a [[ImprovisedWeapon nailgun]].
* In the 9th volume of ''LightNovel/HighSchoolDXD'', Issei finishes the fight at Kyoto when he fires his Trianna Bishop ShoulderCannons at Cao Cao ''in the face'' just when he was about to retreat. [[BadassNormal Cao Cao survived]] but is missing an eye thanks to it.
* In the finale of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'', Teana takes out [[QuirkyMinibossSquad two Combat]] {{Cyborg}}s with this. Almost. [[PlayingPossum Deed proved to be more durable than expected]], requiring a second head shot from [[FriendlySniper Vice]]. [[StunGuns It doesn't kill them though]].
* Subverted in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', many Titans get their heads blown off by explosive cannon shells, but they survive and regenerate. The only way to kill them is to slice (or punch, if you're the [[spoiler:Rogue Titan]]) off a small area at the base of the neck. [[spoiler:Turns out that Titan brains are located in their spines]].
** Then played straight later on in the series, with the arrival of the 1st Central Squad. [[spoiler:Their custom CoolGuns are designed for blowing a sizable chunk out of a human target's head, which they quickly display by shooting several unlucky soldiers in the head.]]
* In ''Anime/AldnoahZero'', [[spoiler:Inaho]] and [[spoiler:Asseylum]] both die in this manner. [[spoiler:They get better in the second season. Inaho comes back equipped with a cybernetic eye to replace his damaged eye and Asseylum is seen again alive in stasis.]]
* In ''Manga/MotherKeeper'', Graham manages two head shots, once was [[spoiler:one of Silas's men]] and later [[spoiler:Silas]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Several times, notably on [[spoiler:Penny]], in ''ComicBook/BackToBrooklyn''.
* Played in Season 8 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', as it happens to Ethan Rayne and The General.
* In issue #10 of ''ComicBook/MegaMan'', After defeating Heat Man and taking his weapon, Mega Man shoots him point-blank in the face, with an evil smile. This clued Dr. Light and the others that something was very wrong with Mega Man.
* Subverted in the Marvel ''[[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel G.I. Joe]]'' comics where Scarlett survives a point-blank shot to the head.
* As expected, ''ComicBook/SinCity'' does this a lot to gruesome effect. Since it often averts the InstantDeathBullet, almost any quick kills involve bullets to the brain.
** Wallace was notorious about this; most of his kills being headshots. In fact, in the climax, he killed an entire warehouse full of assassins with headshots.
** Miho, likewise, often hit mooks in the head with her throwing-stars and arrows or simply stabs in the head them with her swords. In fact, in one darkly humorous moment, she shot a neo-Nazi through the chest with an arrow and he remained standing, marveling at the entire situation while the rest of the villains ignored him. She then finished him off with a shot through the head.
** In ''The Big Fat Kill'', Dwight killed a few mercenaries via shots to the head.
** Dwight also killed Ava Lord with a shot to the forehead.
** In ''Silent Night'', Marv killed the madame running the child-prostitution ring with a headshot.
** In Marv's first story, he wakes up in a hospital after receiving several bullets to the chest. He complains that, in order to kill him, the bad guys should've shot him in the head -- and enough times to make sure.
** It should also be noted that when John Hartigan committed suicide, he shot himself in the head even though he had already been shot in the back (Sin City heroes tend to walk away from other shots with ease).
** There are aversions, however:
*** When Jackie Boy's gun exploded, the slide went right through his forehead but he was alive for a few more minutes, prompting Miho to finish the job by chopping his head off completely.
*** Dwight was shot in the face with what appeared to be a glancing hit and while he needed immediate medical attention, he remained conscious and survived with a little surgery.
* ComicBook/{{Preacher}} is in LOVE with this trope. The results of headshots are always shown in the most graphic detail with skulls being obliterated, along with showing the victim's brains and eyeballs flying everywhere. Including a few darkly humorous scenes in which characters are shown surving headshots despite having their entire jaw completely blown off.
* In ''ComicBook/TheTransformersLastStandOfTheWreckers'', weapon designer Ironfist reveals that he invented "cerebro-sensitive bullets," which have an onboard computer and guidance system that causes them to automatically home in on the head of anyone they're fired at, insuring headshots with 100% success rates. However, because of their lethality, the Autobot Ethics Committee banned them and ordered him to turn in all the bullets and modified guns he'd produced. [[spoiler:When he's packing to join the Wreckers, he decides to "accidentally" switch one case and bring it with him. He also reveals to his team that [[HoistByHisOwnPetard he was shot with a prototype of the bullet]] that's slowly burrowing through his head and will [[DeadManWalking eventually kill him]].]]
* Subverted in ''ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW'' Spotlight: Hardhead. Hardhead is shot point-blank in the face by [[spoiler:a mind-controlled Nightbeat]] and shrugs it off completely while pointing out that he has a MeaningfulName.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Justice League 300|0}}1'' [[spoiler:Superman]] spends so much time boasting how he's going to kill a couple of aliens that they shut him up by doing this.
* Wallflower of the Comicbook/NewXMenAcademyX was shot through the head by a sniper as part of Stryker's preparations to attack the Xavier School in the aftermath of Comicbook/HouseOfM.
* Comicbook/{{Wolverine}}'s adamantium-reinforced skull ''prevents'' this. Shooting him in the head is only likely to piss him off.
** By contrast, his daughter/OppositeSexClone, Comicbook/{{X 23}}'s, skull is not. As a consequence, a headshot is just as messy for her as it would be for any normal person. However because of her HealingFactor she'll get back up again, and ''then'' come gut you. In ''All-New Wolverine'' she even has a WakingNonSequitur while her brain is knitting back together after being sniped.
*** She delivers them, too. In ''Target: X'' she drills a helicopter pilot right between the eyes (Laura was on the ground, the chopper pilot was ''in the air''). She also uses this as an execution method with her claws against a Purifier goon during Second Coming.
* ComicBook/{{Deadpool}} splatters ComicBook/WerewolfByNight's head with a shotgun for sleeping with his wife.
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersTillAllAreOne'': Has Ironhide defeat [[CombiningMecha Bruticus]] by launching a rocket into the giant's visor blowing his head apart and forcing him to separate into his individual components.
* ComicBook/IronMan is forced to do this to Mallen in the ''Extremis'' storyline to take him down for good. Tony's so pissed off having done this that he kicks Mallen's lifeless body in total spite.
** This is also how Obidiah Stane dies. Confronted by a recently returned Tony Stark armed with the Silver Centurian Armor and unable to fight Tony with his massive armor, he blasts his own head to spite Tony and rob him of a victory.
* One ''ComicBook/BatmanBlackAndWhite'' story tells of a boy who decides he's going to kill the Batman and goes into detail about how he'll do it, sniping him while he's preoccupied.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''[[FanFic/HalfLifeFullLifeConsequences Half Life: Hero Begginning]]'', when Henry Freeman's mom protests the Combines pointing their lasers at him, they shoot her and laugh at her. Despite this apparently destroying her head ("haha stupid humen girl with no head"), she's able to tell Henry Freeman to run away before she dies.
* In ''FanFic/RevengeRoad'', Hikaru shoots {{M|urderTheHypotenuse}}adoka in the head, [[InstantDeathBullet killing her instantly]]. She thinks Madoka has to die for stealing Kyosuke away, but doesn't think she deserves to suffer because she was her friend for a long time. As for Kyosuke, [[ColdBloodedTorture she's nowhere]] [[CruelAndUnusualDeath near as merciful]] with him.
* In Chapter 20 of ''FanFic/Team8'', Kurenai is killed by being hit in the head with a kunai after breaking Tsukuyomi.
* ''FanFic/CampNightmare'': This is Jerome's fate, thanks to the police.
* In ''[[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/109581/1/i-did-not-want-to-die/i-did-not-want-to-die I Did Not Want To Die]]'', several soldiers are killed in this way.
* In ''[[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins Origins]]'', a ''VideoGame/MassEffect''[=/=]''Franchise/StarWars''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Borderlands=]''[=/=]''[=Halo=]'']] MassiveMultiplayerCrossover, twice in one chapter! Tali shreds a commando's faceplate with a [[FlechetteStorm flechette shotgun]] followed by a heavier round to finish the job, and Legion follows up shortly thereafter with a "sickening 'pop'" from his railgun-amplified Widow.
* In ''FanFic/WorldwarWarOfEquals'', Race [[TankGoodness landcruiser]] commanders stick their heads out of the hatch, making them prime targets for snipers.
* ''Fanfic/{{Frostbite}}'' has a few instances of this with FrickinLaserBeams at close range, resulting in a number of [[YourHeadAsplode exploding]] [[FacelessGoons Breen]] heads.
* ''Fanfic/TheRiseOfDarthVulcan'': The titular VillainProtagonist ends his [[CurbStompBattle brief fight]] with [[spoiler:Tirek]] by shoving a crude gun, forged by his Diamond Dog blacksmiths, into [[spoiler:Tirek]]'s face and firing off both barrels point blank.
* In canon ''[[https://parahumans.wordpress.com/ Worm]]'', Taylor Hebert only uses guns a few times, but she finds herself unusually capable. In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10286919/1/Recoil Recoil]]'', she actually gets real training, and she becomes ''very'' capable. Headshots are now the order of the day.
* In ''FanFic/FourDeadlySecrets'' Ruby demonstrates this several times against Grimm.
* In ''Fanfic/OldWest'', Jake kills one of Tomson's fellow mercenaries this way. Later Tomson himself is [[ShootTheMessenger killed this way by his boss]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Collateral}}'' features extensive use of the Mozambique drill, which is a double-tap to center of mass followed by a headshot, and is Vincent's signature killing technique.
* Film/{{Tron}}: The titular character does this to Sark using his disc, which causes chunks of data to [[{{Squick}} bleed from his head]].
** This trope surprisingly appears quite a bit in the sequel, ''Film/TRONLegacy''. The most notable example however was when [[ActionGirl Quorra]] shoots one of Clu's mooks, leaving a rather graphic headshot during the [[OldSchoolDogfight dogfight scene]].
* ''Film/MysteryTeam'' implies the effects of a cherry bomb hitting someone in the face.
* In ''Film/CityOfLifeAndDeath'', [[spoiler:Kadokawa]] [[ShootTheDog kills]] [[spoiler:Mrs. Jiang]] by shooting her in the head.
* ''Film/JackbootsOnWhitehall'' showed you can even do this to marionettes!
* One of the most famous examples occurs in ''Film/{{Maniac}}'' when Creator/TomSavini's character Disco Boy gets his head blown off at point blank range with Frank's double-barrel shotgun.
* In the ''Film/TransformersFilmSeries'', Optimus Prime seems obsessed in destroying the heads of his enemies. Throughout the course of all three films, he decapitates Bonecrusher, shoots Demolisher in the head, tears Grindor's head in two, shoots off half of Megatron's face (with his own cannon), tears the skin off The Fallen's head, rips Shockwave's eye out of its socket, shoots Sentinel Prime twice in the head, and finally tears off Megatron's head and SPINE.
--> "''[[OutOfCharacterMoment GIVE ME]] [[MemeticMutation YOUR FACE!]]''"
* Both versions of ''Film/DawnOfTheDead'' feature shotgun-blast-to-the-head scenes. [[Film/DawnOfTheDead2004 The remake]] also has a scene where a character unerringly picks off a string of zombies with headshots, but he's a gun-store owner doing it from a safe rooftop, with a high-powered sniper rifle, while the zombies aimlessly mill around below. And it's all just a morbid way of killing time.
* Everyone in ''Film/TheZombieDiaries'' seems to know that the only way to stop the zombies is to shoot them in the head.
* In ''Film/WildWildWest'', Gordon has been taken captive, and Loveless ''will'' [[MundaneSolution just have someone]] [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim shoot him]]. Expecting this, [[BriarPatching Gordon attempts to trick the secessionist Loveless]] into shooting "[his] heart, that has loved this country so much", as Gordon is wearing the bulletproof vest he ''just'' invented. Response?
-->'''Loveless:''' Shoot him in the head.
-->'''Gordon:''' Damn.
* In ''Film/TheMatrix'', Trinity disposes of an agent this way by shoving the gun right against his head.
-->'''Trinity:''' [[VerbThis Dodge this.]]
* In ''Film/UnderworldAwakening'', an escaping Selene is shot in the head by a guard. Being a vampire, [[NoSell this just pisses her off]]. She proceeds to drain said guard, which quickly heals the wound.
* In ''Film/{{Thor}}'', the titular god performs one of these... as a DynamicEntry.
* A non-lethal variation occurs in ''Film/HomeAlone'', where Kevin [=McCallister=] manages to drive away Marv by shooting him between the eyes with a b.b. gun when he pokes his head through a doggie door.
* In ''Film/OpenRange'', Butler has just had time to gloat about killing Moose and injuring Button for a second when Charley puts a bullet between his eyes.
* Johnny Wong goes out this way by way of MoeGreeneSpecial in the finale of ''Film/HardBoiled''.
* In ''Film/{{RIPD}}'' the dead can only die from a headshot. Anything else is considered annoying.
* The opening sequence of ''Film/LordOfWar'' ends this way.
* Averted in ''Film/PremiumRush''. [[spoiler:CorruptCop Robert Monday]] walks around almost normally for a while after being shot in the head. It takes about a minute for him to realize what happened, and another minute for him to start stumbling and die.
* In ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', Magneto kills Sebastian Shaw by telemagnetically pushing a coin through his brain.
* Harry Hart delivers quite a few of these in ''Film/KingsmanTheSecretService'', and dies by being on the receiving end of one of these, courtesy of Valentine.
** In the sequel ''Film/KingsmanTheGoldenCircle'' it turns out these things are ''survivable'': Statesman has developed Alpha Gel and nanomachine technology to cure headshots, at the cost of amnesia that requires reliving a traumatic experience to regain their memories. [[spoiler:In Harry's case it was the prospect of shooting his beloved dog Mr. Pickle, and in Whiskey's case it was finding out his wife was dead. By the way, that gunshot to the head Whiskey got came from Harry, who realized Whiskey was a traitor.]]
* ''Film/BlueVelvet'': [[BigBad Frank Booth]] is shot in the head with a gun. We even get to see brain matter shoot out of the back of his head. Can't say the [[AssholeVictim bastard]] didn't deserve it.
* In ''Film/TheSuicideTheory'', Steve uses headshots frequently, as he is a trained hit man. Three men he shoots go down with PrettyLittleHeadshots, while Percival, who hired him to help him commit suicide, survives ''three shots to the head''.
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice''. During a melee, a mook runs up behind Batman and shoots him in the back of the head at point-blank range. Fortunately his cowl is bulletproof, though Batman flinches in visible pain.
* ''Film/JohnWick'' could alternatively be titled "Boom, Headshot: The Movie."
* ''Film/BringMeTheHeadOfTheMachineGunWoman'': Despite lying wounded and bleeding on the ground, the Machine Gun Woman saves Santiago by firing a shot that takes off the top of Panguinao's head; sending it flying high into the air.

* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
** Characters with firearms training occasionally double tap their target if they can get away with it. The most impressive headshot in the series, however, was in ''Literature/SmallFavor'', when Kincaid dropped ''two'' Denarians with ''one'' shot, through their heads.
** In ''Literature/ColdDays'', Harry finishes off an [[EldritchAbomination Outsider]] after [[CurbStompBattle winning]] a BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind by shoving his gun through its mouth, and firing a spell through it as he pulls the trigger. To the tune of Music/{{Queen}}'s "We Will Rock You".
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', when [[spoiler:Skitter executes Coil]].
* Averted in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' novel ''Literature/TheWasteLands''. When The Tick Tock Man is shot in the head, the low caliber bullet only grazes the person's skull, a fact which allows someone to revive the person, later.
* Before the beginning of Thomas Bernhard's grim novel ''The Lime Works'', the main character, who is a typical Bernhard character in that he's a dark and tortured DitzyGenius, has [[WhatTheHellHero shot his paraplegic wife in the head with the carbine he fitted to her wheelchair so she could fend off burglars.]]
* Played realistically straight in ''Literature/TheZombieSurvivalGuide'' and its companion novel ''Literature/WorldWarZ'': brain destruction is the only way to kill a zombie (even fire needs to cause brain damage to be effective, and the heads survive after decapitation), but it's not as simple as "Shoot in head, head explodes." It's perfectly possible to miss and shoot off the jaw, and one of the many demoralizing incidents in the Battle of Yonkers was soldiers panicking at the sight of zombies apparently surviving head shots, not realizing that their poorly aimed bullets were glancing off the skull. The fact that real soldiers are trained to aim at the center of mass is also touched upon: they have trouble unlearning that particular rule, and torso hits don't really slow zombies down all that much. Everyone, even the experienced marksmen, has to re-train themselves to shoot for the head. Real soldiers are also trained to fire at the head in situations exactly like those described in the book, though, as part of failure drills, especially at close range.
** It's even lampshaded in an entry detailing how a Chinese Army unit was up against a horde of zombies, but put them down quickly and efficiently from long range with their snipers, never realizing they were zombies. The Chinese snipers were trained to ''always'' aim for the head, so the zombies never got close to them and the soldiers didn't know what they were dealing with and had no reason to try and find out.
* At the end of ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' "Ashes of Victory" Thomas Theisman puts an end to the Committee of Public Safety's ReignOfTerror with one of these and one of the most immortal lines in science fiction.
-->'''Theisman''': [[PreMortemOneLiner Goodbye, Citizen Chairman.]]
* At the end of ''Literature/FevreDream'' by Creator/GeorgeRRMartin, the BigBad, thousands years old vampire Damon Julian, is killed with a point-blank headshot. From both shotgun barrels.
* In ''Literature/SpaceMarineBattles'', the Space Marines seem to prefer this, which combined with the fact that bolt rounds are explosive, leaves most of their targets headless.
* Lampshaded In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' trilogy when Peeta mentions his father liking buying game from Katniss because she always shoots the bird in the eye, thus preserving the edible part of the flesh - presumably included by the author to show what a good shot her heroine is, but one wonders how anyone, even such a star as Ms Everdeen, could guarantee to shoot at a bird on the wing so accurately!
* Literature/ShatteredContinent features these extensively, due to the abundance of things on Neue Erde that a center-mass hit will only slow down.
* The preferred method of hitman Sean Callan in Don Winslow's "The Power of The Dog". He sticks with a .22 pistol as his WeaponOfChoice, since he knows the .22 load is powerful enough to pierce the skull, but not exit it. That means the bullet rattles around the skull like a "pinball", shredding grey matter the whole time. Combined with his habitual DoubleTap, it makes him frighteningly efficient at killing.
* The title character of the ''Literature/DanShambleZombiePI'' acquired his "zombie" moniker after dying of a BoomHeadshot, inflicted from behind in a dark alley. He keeps the unsightly exit hole concealed with morticians' putty, and wears a hat over the entry hole.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
** In "The Bullet In The Brain" [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin (guess what it's about)]], The Gravedigger is headed to an appeal. Outside the courthouse she's shot in the head by a high-caliber rifle (as the name of the episode implied). The shot makes her [[YourHeadASplode head asplode]].
** Another episode deals with a victim possibly killed in this manner, but the team have to figure out how many gunmen and who the victim was. It might have been JFK.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': The General, via Simone, at the end of the ''Season 8'' comic.
* In the sixth season finale of ''Series/{{ER}}'', a cop on the scene of a mass shooting is shown doing CPR on someone whose brains were splattered all over the concrete. This ''is'' the show's typical subversion of WorstAid, since Dr. Kovac comes by and tells him to stop.
-->'''Dr. Kovac''': We'll never get her back with a head wound like that! Stop compressions!
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'':
** "Penelope": this is how J.J. takes down the crooked cop who nearly killed Garcia. She does so by ''shooting through a pane of glass'' while he isn't looking.
** "L.D.S.K": Reid manages to take Hotch's ankle-holster gun while being kicked, and then shoot straight through the [[ColdSniper sniper's]] forehead.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Theon's rescuer kills the leader of his pursuers point-blank with an arrow to the face.
** A peasant who makes fun of Cersei gets a taste of this from Gregor smashing the poor bastard's head to the wall.
* On ''Series/RookieBlue'' Andy is talking to a young woman when suddenly the woman gets shot in the head and Andy is splattered with the woman's blood and brain matter. The woman is brain dead and the doctors keep her body alive only because she is an organ donor and they need the police investigation to be closed before they can perform the transplants.
* A hostage situation in ''Series/BlueBloods'' is ended this way when [[PapaWolf Frank Reagan]] kills the crook with a gun to his daughter's head.
** Jamie Reagan stops a criminal from blowing up a room full of people this way in "Occupational Hazards".
* In ''Series/DegrassiHigh'', this is how Claude commits suicide. Snake, who found the body, mentioned later that only half his face was left.
* The last season of ''Series/{{Highlander}} had an episode where a guy was wearing a bomb vest wired to his heart rate. The female immortal bounty hunter guest-star shoots him in the head (she tells him that by shooting him there, she will have a few seconds before his heart stops and the bomb goes off), then tackles him out the window and into the water, where the bomb won't hurt anyone else.
* In the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' episode featuring ''Film/{{Gunslinger}}'', heroine Rose delivers the final blow on antagonist Cain by shooting him in the head. However, thanks to a bit of SpecialEffectFailure...
--> '''Joel''': ''[Rose fires, knocks off Cain's hat, Cain slumps over]'' Oh, shot him right in the hat.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' provides interesting variations of this.
** In one episode, Gibbs stops a computer by shooting it. When the computer boots back up again, Gibbs [[ComputerEqualsMonitor shoots the monitor to permanently shut it down]].
** This is what happens to the suspect that killed Chris Pacchi.
** At the end of Season 2 [[spoiler:Kate]] went out this way, courtesy of Ari after TakingTheBullet for Gibbs by means of body armor.
*** The event is recreated with [[spoiler:Gibbs's ex-wife Diane]] by Sergei Mishnev.
** In a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome in the Season 7 premiere, Gibbs does this to a terrorist who had taken [=McGee=], Tony and Ziva hostage. From a ''half-mile away''.
--> '''Tony:''' [[PreMortemOneLiner Remember when I said my boss was a sniper?]]
* Deconstructed in ''Series/NineteenTwo'', where Jean-Pierre Harvey gets shot in the eye during a police operation in response to an armed suspect, suffering severe brain damage that leaves him mentally and physically crippled before he passes away.
* In ''Series/TheWire'' Chris Partlow, TheDragon for sociopathic druglord Marlo, trains his soldiers to shoot for the head if they're close enough and have a clear shot, or low enough that they'll be able to kill or incapacitate even a target that wears a BulletProofVest, as several of the drug dealers and [[KarmicThief stick up artists]] tend to do. We see it play out several times, perhaps most memorably when Chris and Snoop distract Bodie, so that one of their men can sneak up behind him and shoot him in the head. [[DoubleTap Twice]].
* In the first episode of ''{{Series/Firefly}}'', Dobson, an Alliance agent, holds River hostage. He gets about [[KilledMidSentence halfway through his "nobody move or I kill her" rant]] when [[GoodIsNotSoft Mal]], without even so much as ''breaking stride'' on his way back onto the ship, whips his revolver out and and puts one right in Dobson's eye socket. The supplemental comic books reveal that Dobson somehow survives this, and gets tasked by the Hands of Blue with retrieving River, giving him a shot at revenge. He fails, and gets shot in the other eye by Mal, along with a few more just to make sure he stays dead this time.
* On ''ForeverKnight'', Nick gets one of these in 'Knight in Question'. He's a vampire, so he survives, but ends up with temporary LaserGuidedAmnesia. [=LaCroix=] has to help maintain the {{Masquerade}} by whammying the doctors with the idea that it bounced off Nick's 'very thick skull'.
* In ''Series/BreakingBad'':
** Hank does this to one of the Mexican assassins sent to kill him. Made harder by the fact that Hank's been shot and is more or less paralyzed except for his arms. Made ''easier'' by the fact that the assassin is literally standing directly over Hank in order to kill him with an ''axe'' (it's kind of a thing with him), and messier by the bullet Hank used to put him down: a hollow-point.
** Hank himself ultimately meets such a fate at the hands of Jack Welker. He's not the first person to meet this fate at the hands of Jack, as Jack had earlier ended Declan's life by shooting him in the face.
** Ultimately, Jack dies [[KarmicDeath the same way Declan and Hank died]].
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'': This is how Sherlock gets rid of [[spoiler:Magnussen]] in "[[Recap/SherlockS03E03HisLastVow His Last Vow]]", after the latter is [[spoiler:[[TooDumbToLive dumb enough to reveal]] that there are no hard copies of his {{Blackmail}} material, and it was all kept in his head]].
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' has a shocking example in the first season episode "[[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS1E24Conspiracy Conspiract]]": when confronted by Commander Dexter Remmick, who had been possessed by a parasitic lifeform, Picard and Riker both set their phasers to kill and fire on Remmick. One phaser beam focuses on Remmick's head, [[{{Gorn}} melting the flesh off of it before]] [[YourHeadASplode blowing it to pieces]].
* In ''Series/TheWalkingDead'' it's common to see [[NotUsingTheZWord walkers]] getting headshots, but a particularly brutal example on a human was the death of Axel, who was casually talking to Carol and is suddenly KilledMidSentence by the Governor from afar. MoodWhiplash indeed.
** In the episode "Coda", escaped-hostage Bob Larson gets executed by Rick in this manner. Also, from the same episode, [[spoiler:Beth's]] death. Dear God, [[spoiler:Beth's]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUYI7xBUYFI death]].
* Bennett Halverson gets shot by Whiskey in this manner in ''{{Series/Dollhouse}}''. [[TearJerker Cue the waterworks.]]
* ''Series/HouseOfSaddam'': The execution of several Baath loyalists. Even worse was that those that were spared were ordered to do the killing.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Ghouls can only be killed by a headshot. It is also a preferred method of killing [[spoiler:[[{{Ghostapo}} Nazi necromancers]]]].
* In ''Series/{{iZombie}}'', {{B|igBad}}laine is fond of killing other zombies in this manner. Justified, since this is a surefire way of killing a zombie. He is shown doing this to two of his underlings who try to steal his clients from under him. He also kills [[spoiler:Lowell]] in this manner, albeit in self-defense. Naturally, he doesn't do that to his human victims, since this would damage the brain, which is his primary commodity.
* In ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'', the unceremonious death of [[spoiler:Derek Reese]] after suddenly encountering an armed Terminator at close range.
* ''Series/MurderInTheFirst'': [[spoiler:Alfie Rentman]] dies this way, after holding a girl hostage and then threatening Hildy, at the hands of a police sniper.
* In the ''Series/EmeraldCity'' episode [[Recap/EmeraldCityS1E1TheBeastForever "The Beast Forever"]], Dorothy manages the impressive feat of landing a bullet between the eyes of her target without even holding the gun. [[spoiler:She tricks East into pointing the pistol at herself and pulling the trigger. When the other witches examine East's body, they wonder how someone carved [[PrettyLittleHeadshots a perfectly round hole into her forehead]] and wonder why anyone would do so]].
* ''Series/TrueBlood'': Jason Stackhouse and Jessica Hamby get into an argument when he realizes she's just fed on a complete stranger. It escalates to the point that Jessica bites Jason on the neck, prompting him to shoot her in the head with his duty gun to get her off him. As Jessica is a vampire, it heals instantly, but she is none too pleased. She later rants about it [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsqfJVsVrM4 in one of her vlogs]].
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'' and ''Series/ThePunisher2017'': Frank Castle was shot in the head at close-range by the operatives who were sent to kill him and his family when he was about to blow the whistle on war crimes his fellow Marines were involved in. Frank survived, as if by a miracle, but there's an implication that he's taken some brain damage as a result.
** Frank practices one shot-one kill, so many of his targets get this fate: Finn Cooley, Colonel Schoonover, and one of the guys that he lures to a diner by using Karen Page as bait, among others.

* The music video for "All About Us" by t.A.T.u, this is how one of the singers kills the man who almost raped, then beat and tried to kill her.
* {{Dubstep}}[=/=]Electro house artist Feed Me made a StupidStatementDanceMix for a rather exuberant FPS player (FPS Doug from ''WebVideo/PurePwnage'' again) going about how he pulls these off with gusto. It's aptly titled [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1BDGqIfm8U "One Click Headshot"]], and [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome it's awesome.]]
* "Aim For The Head" by Music/CreatureFeature is all about doing this to ghouls, and "A Gorey Demise" mentions "K is for Kim, who was shot in the head".
* In ''Music/WarrenZevon'''s "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner": "That son-of-a-bitch [[spoiler:Van Owen]] blew off Roland's head."

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* OlderThanFeudalism: Interestingly enough, this trope can also be found in ''Literature/TheBible'' in the story of David and Goliath. Though David go up and behead Goliath with his own sword, [[PragmaticHero just to make sure he was dead]].
* Similarly, in the ''Lebor Gabala Erenn'' or ''Book of Invasions'', an ancient Irish myth, Lugh of the Long Arm shoots a sling stone through his grandfather Balor's eye, driving it into his brain and killing him.

* Done to the T-1000 in ''[[Pinball/Terminator2JudgmentDay Terminator 2: Judgment Day]]'' when he tries to break into the elevator.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A combat technique of the same name in ''TabletopGame/PsionicsTheNextStageInHumanEvolution'' allows you to aim at an opponent's head. You get a penalty to the attack but it does double damage if it hits.
* In ''CyberPunk 2020'', headshots are either the best or worst combat option. There is an attack penalty, but most [=PCs=] are skilled enough at gunplay that missing is rare. On the other hand, helmets tended to be much sturdier than body armour, so the chance of doing damage is reduced. But it's often worth it, since headshots give the possibility of an instant kill if your gun is powerful enough.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' makes headshots a very tempting target with a 4x damage multiplier and even if the damage isn't lethal requires an immediate (nearly impossible) roll to avoid being stunned and knocked down. The penalty to hit, however, is very large.
** That said, you can invest in the "Targeted Attack" Technique to buy the penalty down. Additionally, trying to hit the Skull from behind is significantly easier.
* This is a called shot in TabletopGame/ShadowRun.
* In ''TabletopGame/HcSvntDracones'' a headshot deals triple damage if they're not wearing a helmet, but requires three successes on a Single Shot, in which case you don't get any extra dice for your gun's rate of fire and have to rely on your Trait dice (which have an unaugmented max of three dice). But you can still hit them somewhere else unarmored with just two successes, and the [[SniperRifle H-101 Long-arm]] deals 15 damage per hit, more than any other gun short of the [[{{BFG}} V-801 Mag-Lance]].
* ''TabletopGame/HeroSystem'' gives a -8 penalty to your roll if you're going for a head shot. For comparison, BlastingItOutOfTheirHands is only a -6. But a head shot also does double BODY damage, and five times the STUN damage, so unless your target is wearing a helmet it's worth trying.

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* Messier does this to a Meyer Security prison guard [[spoiler:while rescuing the rest of The Anarchists]] in ''WebVideo/DoorMonster'''s [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uam0KMyZh2E&index=3&list=PL0u5ZHidq4X4QhFAX9FzSiYJLRen74sLF The Guards Themselves]].
* This is one of [[TheGunslinger Percy's]] abilities in ''WebVideo/CriticalRole.'' Mechanically, he can take a headshot to impose disadvantage on attack rolls; he's also killed a stitch monster in the Underdark and [[spoiler:Clarota]] this way.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic does this to keep Roger the Angel from killing him in "[[ItsAWonderfulPlot You're A Rotten Dirty Bastard]]." Much to Roger's surprise since he thought angels couldn't be killed.
-->"Hmm... so God lied to me.... that seems like a bit of a dick move."
* ''Website/TheOnion'' takes this trope UpToEleven in their report on [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYQhvW-tjNM&NR=1 "Close Range"]].
* The audio drama, ''AudioPlay/WereAlive'' is a story set during a ZombieApocalypse with this being the most effective way to kill a zombie.
* How [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid Snake]] kills Liquid the second time around in ''WebVideo/StupidMarioBrothers''.
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', Sarge is struck down by Tex this way. He's revived by Grif. [[WorstAid Giving him CPR]]. Yeah, it's like that.
** In Season 14, this is how [[spoiler:Daggerknife]] is killed, [[spoiler:trying to show that he was so devoted to the Red cause that he ''shot himself to prove it''. Sarge accepts it and decides he's the best man to have the title of Sergeant, but since he's ''dead'', he gets it.]]
* In WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation's ''VideoGame/DayZ'' review, Yahtzee's {{Author Avatar}} is shot right between the eyes by a sniper after finding [[SchmuckBait a cache of guns and ammo in an abandoned building in front of a conspicuously broken window and a dead player with the same injury.]]
* ''WebVideo/HellsingUltimateAbridged''
** Alucard invokes this trope on numerous occasions, even quoting the trope verbatim during his first fight with Anderson. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] though when Anderson [[NoSell no-sells]] the shot seconds later.
** Jeb Forrest decides to interrupt Integra's orders to Alucard, and Alucard nonchalantly gives him one of these. Nobody cared.
* In ''Roleplay/NanQuest'', [[spoiler:Pablo]] is killed this way. Justified, as the target was standing still and had to be killed as quickly as possible.

* [[http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F070.jpg This]] page from ''Webcomic/ErfWorld''.
* [[http://rainchildstudios.com/strawberry/?p=1445 This]] page from ''Webcomic/StrawberryDeathCake''.
* The last panel of [[http://xkcd.com/654/ this]] ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' comic.
* [[Webcomic/DubiousCompany Walter's]] response to Mary's hypocritical ''InTheNameOfTheMoon'' speech.
* Cloud manages to pull one off in [[http://www.sandraandwoo.com/2009/08/24/0088-this-strip-has-been-partially-rewritten/ this]] ''Webcomic/SandraAndWoo'' strip, with amusing results.
* Early in chapter 1 of ''Webcomic/{{Terra}}'' sniper Grey O'Shea puts a round through the faceplate of an [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Azatoth]] soldier flanking one of his fellows. Then another Azatoth returns the favor and shoots his spotter in the back of the head.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'':
** Subverted with Uniocs, they don't have "heads" per say, but their eyes look a bit [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2008-08-10 like heads.]]
** One villain gets a bullet [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2011-06-21 through the mouth]], but thanks to some blood-nanites [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2011-08-19 it doesn't take.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10'', Gwen performs a G-rated version of this by using a squirt gun against aliens who are weak to water.
''[[Music/BonJovi Shot through the head, and you're to blame! Darling, you give guns--a bad name!]]''