"Just once, I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets!"
— Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, Doctor Who
Immune to Bullets is when a character cannot be killed with conventional ammunition, whatever "conventional" happens to mean for the show in question. Frequently, the script requires the police / army /whatever to demonstrate this with Five Rounds Rapid. This is especially bad news when it's the Monster of the Week who is immune, as opposed to our friendly protagonist.
Zombies, mummies, and various other film monsters are routinely depicted as subject to penetration by bullets, but (especially if they are undead) not having a central nervous or circulatory system that can be critically injured by them. They have what is sometimes called "suspension of disbelief" damage limits. That is, they can take bullet after bullet, usually in spectacularly gory fashion, until their body is so damaged the audience will no long believe it can keep functioning.
The Chest Shots Only rule usually applies in these cases, particularly in B movies. That is, even if the monster obviously cannot be stopped by bullets or bullet wounds to the torso, all characters (except possibly the male lead, and often the female lead) will continue to shoot at the creature's chest until it kills them. This occurs even when the audience, not being Genre Blind, can see the obvious need to switch to another weapon or aim for the head or the knees and feet of the creature, where the bullets might do some good. Note that this rule allows for cheap special effects, as blood squibs taped to the chest are the simplest gore effects possible.
A common variation in science fiction has a Monster of the Week which is not merely immune to energy weapons (lasers, phasers, etc.), but can actually absorb energy from those weapons, making it stronger.
Note that certain abilities can make a character effectively immune to bullets without, strictly speaking, being examples of this trope — they'd get hurt if a bullet actually hit them, but they're just too fast, agile, and/or alert to let that happen. (For instance, see the Wonder Woman example below.)
To kill them, there are various solutions such as Attacking Its Weak Point, or using fire or Depleted Phlebotinum Shells. The creature may turn out to be Not So Invincible After All. If the monster is immune to energy blasts, heroes may try to give it more energy until it explodes.
This is often set up as a surprise, so SPOILERS AHEAD.
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In Hunter × Hunter, any users of Nen will be able to withstand gunfire, though the ease and amount of which they can do so varies depending on their skill and type of gun. A more powerful Nen user will be easily able to shrug off sniper fire, well a weaker Nen user may last 7 to 8 shots from a pistol before taking damage. If another Nen user fires a gun infused with their Nen, it will do considerably more damage and usually negate the protection Nen provides.
Luffy from One Piece is a Rubber Man, meaning that bullets will bounce right off of him. Cannonballs too.
Parodied in the video series Dub Piece.
Luffy: I've never heard of a balloon that... could survive a bullet...
Also immune to bullets are Logia users, since everything passes right through them.
However, this is averted with Seastone Bullets, which bypass Devil Fruit powers.
In Slayers, due to his chimera transformation, Zelgadis is immune to bullets and cannonballs… though a cannonball will knock him out.
Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. After the school janitor goes berserk with a chainsaw merely because Sagara and Tsubaki fed him his pet koi that he'd been raising for fifteen years, the next day we see the two slumped against a shot-to-pieces school wall muttering "live ammo has no effect, live ammo has no effect..."
The Cowboy Bebop episode "Pierrot le Fou" is perhaps the biggest deviance from the relatively hard science approach of the anime; the titular villain is a Psychopathic Manchild who has been made Immune to Bullets (as well as gaining the ability to levitate at will) as part of a secret program to create enhanced assassins, apparently revolving around genetic manipulation. Mad Pierrot's bullet immunity only deflects high velocity projectiles like bullets. It lets in low speed things like oxygen and Pierrot has no direct control over it. Spike was able to kill him with a knife because it was slow enough to get through. Pierrot could have easily dodged if Spike didn't freak him out first. As another franchise would put it, "The slow blade penetrates the shield."
Spike only managed to cause Minor Injury Overreaction with his knife - Pierrot died by freaking out and getting stepped on by a giant mascot robot.
Protagonist Hei's Badass Longcoat in Darker Than Black renders him Immune to Bullets. Also subverted later in the series. The one time when Hei was shot when he wasn't wearing that coat, he spent the rest of the episode limping badly. And it was plain old vanilla guns that took down November 11, while neither Hei nor Maki managed it.
The homunculi have regenerative abilities, and simply reform after normally fatal gunshot wounds, explosions, etc. They have limited number of times they can regenerate, and if they reach that limit then a gunshot will kill them.
Greed's shield and Sloth's skin are outright immune to bullets, Sloth is still affected by heavy artillery though.
Subverted in the Final Battle: God!Father can block bullets rather easily and regenerate from them quickly but he still has to make a conscious effort to block them and is momentarily incapacitated by the injury, which is enough for some soldiers to divert his attention to save several major characters by just firing artillery and bullets at him. The constant, endless fire helped distract him and contributed to making him waste the energy he needed to keep his power in check.
In the 2003 anime version, the Homunculi actually are immune to bullets (and everything else) unless you have a piece from the bodies of the people they were meant to resurrect (i.e. to kill Sloth, they needed a piece of Ed and Al's Mom's body near her).
While they're rarely ever used, guns have a hit-or-miss relationship with the characters of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. One of its bigger bads, Dio Brando, is generally depicted as being affected by bullets (that is, if they can hit), but being a vampire he can regenerate. A more solid example would be with Kars of the Pillar Men. So fine is his control of his own body, he can harden his flesh so that bullets bounce off. And this is before he ascends to the power of a perfect organism. When it comes to most other characters, though, bullets can feasibly work; again, assuming they actually connect. Jotaro Kujo can catch bullets with his stand, and other character have stands that can similarly block or intercept such projectiles. It's largely for this reason that guns are rarely used. That, and because it would be too easy.
Possibly slightly lampshaded in the Read or Die OVA when Drake shoots at an enemy, only to have his bullet stopped in midair by electricity. He just stares at it for a little, groans exasperatedly, and starts the fight over.
Nearly every Angel in Neon Genesis Evangelion was immune to the standard pallet rifles carried by the Evas. A notable exception is Matariel, which, after some difficulties in getting a clear shot, was taken down with a few bullets. The actual immunity comes from their ability to generate "Absolute Terror Fields" which only EVAs are able to effectively neutralize.
To give you an idea of the massive amounts of firepower these AT Fields can soak up. During the first episode, the Fourth Angel (First Bad Guy) isn't even affected by shelling from at least a division of tanks, two battalions of VTOL fighter missiles, an uncountable amount of rocket artillery barrage, and even multiple Air-to-Ground SRBMs. They then Nuke 'em...which halts it for a bit, but it's no worse for the wear even minutes afterward. Later, the Fifth Angel shrugs off firepower that would put the above paragraph to shame.
A list of things that actually can breach an AT Field: another AT Field (via destructive interference), a shot from an antimatter cannon powered by the electricity from the entire Japanese power grid, and the Lance of Longinus (a piece of Phlebotinum built by Precursors that is specifically designed to not be affected by AT Fields). Everything else just bounces off the things.
Chiropterans in Blood+ are shown to be completely immune to bullets. That doesn't seem to stop the human characters from trying to shoot them every time they come across one, even though they know it won't work. Actually it is more of a Good Thing You Can Heal, the bullets don't cause a big enough wound to do any lasting damage which they can heel from, which is why Sora uses a sword.
The second and third chapters of Kamen Rider Spirits has Rider #2 blocking automatic weapon fire with his gloved hands to save the kids and doctors standing behind him. And before that - in the best two pages devoted to Kamen Rider ever - he stops a TANK ROUND with a punch for the same reason.
Everyone in Dragon Ball Z. Most obvious when Cell annihilates an entire army singlehandedly. Later, Gohan catches bullets and then dramatically drops them to scare a criminal s*** less. There are many other examples in the Dragon Ball series, but these are the most memorable.
The first chapter of Dragon Ball, Goku proved to be this as he shrugged off a headshot by Bulma's handgun, like a bee sting. Subverted later on when Goku is shot in the chest by General White and actually appears to be hurt. It is explicitly stated that the gun is specially made and much more powerful than other fire arms.
Upa's father is shown to be immune to bad guys's bullets due to his big and tough body.
Inverted in Cannon God Exaxxion. Bullets are just about the only thing that can penetrate Deflector Shields based on Artificial Gravity tech. They have to be really high powered, though, not just some run of the mill pea-shooters, as that poor special forces team in the first volume found out the hard way...
The Battle Butler in Black Butler, as demonstrated when he takes several shots to the chest, plays dead for a little bit, and then spits the bullets out and throws them back with as much force as a gun. However, he still tends to dodge bullets, because they damage his impeccable suit.
Grave in Gungrave isn't completely immune to bullets, but can survive a barrage of gunfire because of his power of regeneration (he uses his body as a shield for Mika and the bullets simply fall out of him). Bunji finds a way around this—a gun that shoots bullets laced with pinkish goo that induces paralysis in Necro-Risers/Deadmen.
Averted in Rurouni Kenshin. Badass ninjas that they are, the Oniwabanshu are most definitely not immune to bullets.
Pycal the Magician, from the first Lupin III manga, is completely immune to any kind of projectile fired at him. This was kept in the adaptation for the Lupin III (Green Jacket) episode "The Man They Called A Magician". Lupin, Jigen, and Fujiko try pistols, machine guns, and even a bazooka on him, but it has no effect on his body.
Phase Shift Armor in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and its sequel is designed to make any physical attack becomes useless which includes normal bullets and shells.
The Gundam is immune to Zaku II's machine gun attack in the series' beginning.
Same story with the 5 suits from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Part of the reason the Gundams were so fearsome was because their armor was made using a special alloy that conventional weapons couldn't even dent.
Averted with the witches in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, who are shown to be very much vulnerable to bullets and grenades... Except for Walpurgisnacht, which is so powerful it can take thousands of explosives and still keep moving.
The diclonii in Elfen Lied have the power to deflect bullets with their vectors, but their ability to deflect depends on the strength of the diclonius and the power of the bullet and gun. Lucy manages to deflect some of the force from a fatal .50 caliber anti-tank round, although she still gets shot in the head and develops a second personality.
Many targets Golgo 13 faces have bulletproof glass or something similar protecting them, though he always finds another way.
Macross 7 has the Protodeviln, who are completely invulnerable to normal weapons' fire. It is shown that sufficiently powerful weapons (such as the Macross Beam and "Reaction Weapons") can do some damage, but the human/zentran forces can't fire those quickly enough to actually kill them. Then it turns out that the Protodeviln are weak against singingnote The singing of one particular human, anyway, but even so....
Averted in the few instances when a villain (Metallo most notably) wises up and uses a Kryptonite bullet.
Wonder Woman is, strictly speaking, not immune to bullets — she's simply fast enough to block them with her armored bracelets. If a smart criminal (like Lex Luthor) had the sense to simply shoot her in the foot, she'd be hopping mad. Thanks to Power Creep, Power Seep, Diana's relative invulnerability changes depending on the story being told and the title it's being told in. Sometimes (such as when she needs to fight Superman) it's up to Superman's levels. Other times... yeah, she needs those bracelets. There was some attempt to explain that bullets, because they're much smaller and put pressure on a smaller area of skin are much more dangerous to her, but it's a pretty feeble handwave for someone being vulnerable to bits of lead yet able to take a punch from a Physical God.
Jesse Custer from Preacher can make anyone obey him by speaking in The Voice Of God, so to win a gunfight all he has to say is Miss. Although they have to be able to hear and understand him.
In a more literal application, Cassidy, being a vampire, is quite immune to bullets, hand grenades, fists, and pretty much everything else, except for sunlight. They can't kill him, but they can tear him to pieces, if the calibre's big enough. At least, until his Healing Factor sets in. This allows someone to torture him by repeatedly shooting him with a Lee Enfield .303 rifle.
The Saint of Killers is a man immune to a nuke.
From Swamp Thing: "You can't kill a vegetable by shooting it in the head."
The titular Atomic Robo is all but unfazed by light gunfire, and even heavier weapons don't do much:
Soldier: Shooting's no good on this one. (Shoots Robo in the face at point blank to no effect) Soldier: See? Robo: It's not like it doesn't hurt, you know.
Whilst not technically immune to bullets, Batman does wear a bullet-proof suit that protects him from most fatal injury. And he wears a Bat-shaped target on his chest, where the heaviest bulletproofing can be found.
The "heroes" in Sin City are not immune to bullets, but they can apparently get shot multiple times while only suffering minor injuries. Marv seemingly gets clipped or outright shot in almost every gun fight he gets involved in but he doesn't even slow down. Hartigan took about a dozen shots in the opening of Yellow Bastard before he went down and even then, he spent some time in the hospital but was otherwise fine. The finale also saw him getting clipped to no avail. Keep in mind that the guy is a senior citizen with a heart problem.
Subverted by Wolverine. Bullets can injure him and slow him down, but because of his adamantium-laced skeleton and Healing Factor, they can't kill him.
While they're not immune to them if they get hit, attempting to attack a Jedi/Dark Jedi/Sith with a blaster is not only typically fruitless unless the plot demands it, but is in fact counterproductive. This is because they not only block blaster bolts with their lightsabers, but often reflect them back at the person that shot them. Reflecting blasterfire has become the effective primary purpose of the lightsaber when the Sith aren't around, with entire styles of saber fighting designed around it.
This is averted however in the comic book Star Wars Infinities - in the alternate retelling of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader is killed when fired upon by Han Solo.
In The Empire Strikes Back, the AT-ATs are invulnerable to most weapons the Rebels have. One is destroyed by a well-placed shot to a weak spot above the neck joint, the next by Insert Grenade Here, and the third (in the novelization) by a snowspeeder pilot ramming the cockpit. The EU establishes that this was simply because the Rebels didn't have big enough guns, however: in X-Wing: Isard's Revenge four X-Wings destroy four AT-ATs in as many minutes and take no casualties at all.
In the Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles, Bart gets on his gun belt to shoot the wild man, Mongo, but Jim warns him not to.
Jim: Oh, no, don't do that, don't do that. If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad.
The rhedosaurus in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a notable variation. It was quite vulnerable to conventional weapons, but its blood carried a disease that would surely kill us all, which meant that bullets and their like were right out.
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe has a rather odd use of this. The young Gyos are implied to be unaffected by bullets (in an early scene, a guard unloads an entire clip at an off-screen Gyos and still winds up eaten) but they are shown to be vulnerable to tranquilizer darts. One Gyos even dies after getting overdosed with tranquilizers. (How ironic: the only time the humans successfully kill a monster in this film, it's because they're trying to capture it alive.)
Though the military firing at the giant monsters is visually impressive in Godzilla (2014), like this trope implies, it's not very effective.
Iron Man repeatedly demonstrates the imperviousness of Tony Stark's suit to ammunition. His suit still takes damage, getting very much scratched up and dented. He even has a bit of trouble getting it off again after the first time he takes it into battle due to the damage it took. In defense of Tony's design, the suit by that time had taken hits from triple-A followed by a crash-landing, an air-to-air missile, and an F-22's cannon.
The zombies in Japanese movie Versus seem to have greater immunity the more recently they had died. In the beginning, two zombies take a three-gun barrage of shots to the chest, but the first one only dies when the hero shoots it once (blowing out most of its torso, despite him having a pistol like the others) and the other eventually gets up and wanders away.
The T-1000 in T2, being made of liquid metal, is only "damaged" by bullets in that they splash its body on impact, ruining its disguise. Concentrated firepower or a point-blank shot will stun it, but even then it's only a few seconds before it reforms itself. It takes being frozen in liquid nitrogen, shattered, and then remelting to actually damage it, but you wouldn't know that unless you saw the director's cut (its camouflaging ability starts to break down, and it gets a little melty and sticky); those scenes were removed from the theatrical version to present it as virtually unstoppable. It's possible that it could have withstood that M-80 grenade blowing it apart given enough time to reform, but that vat of molten iron got in the way...
The T-X from Rise is pretty much completely immune to gunfire since it's a more advanced endoskeleton than the T-850 with a liquid metal exterior.
What Planet Are You From? parodies this: An alien boasts that "Your puny Earth weapons are no match for my great intellect," and is then shot dead. Turns out he was simply mistaken on this point.
Specifically, he was saying that his Ray Gun can deflect any "primitive" weapon. After he's shot, the protagonist admits that he always thought that was bullshit.
A pretty humorous example is the title character in Prince of Space. In the original version, he was good at dodging attacks but wasn't immune to them. However, the American dub (as shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000) had him frequently exclaim "Your weapons are useless against me!" which made the aforementioned dodging simply look ridiculous.
Crow: Your weapons are useless, but scare the crap out of me anyway!
In the Alien series: the acidic blood of the aliens was specifically invented to provide a novel answer to the question "Why don't they just shoot it?"
Dealt with very clearly in the novelisation of the original film, where the response to "It's got a wonderful defence; you don't dare kill it," was "Not on board a sealed ship anyway." On a planet, in a breathable atmosphere, this is no longer an issue - the issue is keeping the spillage well clear of YOU (as the fates of Hicks, Vasquez, and Drake demonstrate).
In Alien: Resurrection, Call takes a bullet to the gut and is A-OK. She's an android. No android in any of the movies is killed by bullets, but since Bishop was ripped in half and could still talk and grab Newt as she was about to be sucked into space, we can safely assume that it would have been pretty difficult to kill any android with any sort of small arms fire, and chest wounds in particular would be pretty useless.
That classic 50's schlock monster, The Blob is one of the most famous examples of this trope. The Blob wasn't just immune to bullets; it was also invincible to anything. If bullets ever affected the Blob, it would just become pissed off. Turns out that cold was its only weakness.
Same trope except with lasers in Planet of the Dinosaurs. While much importance is placed on the lasers, and how they can kill almost anything, the dinosaurs of this planet just get really annoyed when shot with one.
Averted in Tremors: As Burt Gummer shows, graboids are not immune to bullets, you just need a big enough gun. One could actually see the defining scene as a deliberate parody of this trope, as Burt and Heather were emptying gun after gun after gun into the graboids to no effect, until the fight more or less became a stubborn pissing contest between a nearly immobile graboid and a couple with a hundred seemingly useless guns. Eventually Burt's stubborn-ness won out.
For that matter, it wasn't immune to the smaller weapons, but wasn't being deterred by them. It arguably would have died from half the wounds it collected in that protracted shoot-out, just not immediately and it certainly would have eaten the Gummers first. The elephant gun was the only weapon they had that caused enough trauma to kill it instantly.
Justifiably played straight when they're under the dirt, though.
Well, not quite averted. The special ammunition they use (sabot rounds) do more damage than normally, but aren't especially effective at bringing them down (anything less, they can shrug off or heal very quickly). This is especially evident with Brawl (i.e. the tank) in the first movie; who has dozens of rounds pumped into him, but is still on the winning end of his firefight with the military. In the end, it takes Bumblebee to come along and save their arses.
Somewhat referenced in the midquel comic series 'The Reign Of Starscream', in which Starscream is giving a speech to a bunch of soldiers about how he will spare them if they don't get in his way. Cue one soldier with an itchy trigger finger and a bazooka shooting him in the face. BADIDEA.
The immortals in Highlander can be perforated by bullets, but this won't kill them. Using guns to take down your opponent long enough to chop his head off is explicitly against the rules, and only truly reprehensible characters attempt it.
In one case, an immortal who's somewhere between Vigilante Man and Well-Intentioned Extremist points out that he could use his high-powered gun to blow MacLeod's head off. MacLeod responds with "but you won't", and the two draw their swords and fight by the "rules".
Also, whether using guns in their duels is explicitly prohibited or merely considered dishonorable or unsporting by most immortals in unclear. After all, "the Game" had its rules set up long before guns were invented. And even the most vile immortals follow the prohibition against killing on holy ground (for example, waiting centuries for an immortal monk to leave his monastery before killing him), but some have no problem "cheating" with guns and other non-melee weapons.
It may be one of the Rules, but it's not entirely accurate to say that at least some Immortals won't bend or even break the prohibition about killing on Holy Ground; in Highlander III: The Sorcerer requisite baddie, the Immortal Kane, attacks Macleod in a former Buddhist shrine - on Holy Ground, in other words. Even assuming that he were unaware of the building's sanctified status to begin with, he shows no hesitation in his attempt to take Connor's head even after Macleod informs him of as much.
If it's a former shrine then it's no longer holy ground, just by definition. Nevertheless, there's still Kell (see entry under Voodoo Shark).
The Neo-Vipers from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra walk through massed assault rifle fire with the rounds bouncing off harmlessly, and the Cobra gunship takes 50-cal triple-A without even a dent.
The Batmanfilms often play around with the fact he wears a bullet-proof suit. Usually for dramatic effect.
Another SyFy Channel crapfest, Mongolian Death Worm, inverts this trope: the titular monsters except the gigantic queen can be killed instantly by single hits from small-arms fire, even though real worms have few non-duplicated vital organs and could easily survive comparable wounds.
In Skeleton Man, the titular monster doesn't even react to being shot with a mini-gun. In the same fight scene, the hero is able to judo throw the skeleton man.
In Howard Hawks's The Thing from Another World the titular 'Thing' is of course immune to bullets. "What do you mean guns are no good?!" a character demands.
Michael Myers from the Halloween series alternates between bullets hurting-but-not-killing him and bullets causing nothing more than a minor nuisance.
Played for drama in Unbreakable. David Dunn's son believes his dad may be a superhero, so he points a gun at him to prove it. Averted, since David is able to talk him out of firing and we never discover what would have happened.
In "Manos" The Hands of Fate, it seems guns are on the list of devices the Master does not approve of, given that bullets evidently don't harm him.
The 80s film, Maniac Cop had as the main villain of the movie as cop who murders people and is immune to all gunfire. The funny thing is, the movie isn't supernatural and explains that the cop was once sent to prison for crime he never committed. While in there, he was so badly beaten and abused by the other inmate, for obvious reasons, that he lost of the nerves in the body that give him the feeling of pain. Upon being stabbed and left for dead in the prison bathroom, he later awoke, somehow alive, and wanted revenge for what happened...which he did by murdering innocent people. Kinda defeats the purpose. Although in reality this explanation makes no sense (bullets are deadly not because they hurt, but because they put holes in parts of the body that can't function when holes are put in them), and relies heavy on the audience forgetting about real world logic and going along with the movie's train of thought.
The killer in Midnight Movie gets shot several times by Detective Barrens. He doesn't even flinch.
In Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, Monroe tries to destroy Pinhead by shooting him. Since he's shooting at a solid pillar statue it's virtually useless and Pinhead just spits out the bullets, asking him if they can now talk sensibly.
Played for laughs in Star Trek: First Contact. Data, being an android, is immune to bullets. When an Earth woman from the past thinks he's an enemy and riddles him with her machine gun, he shrugs it off and nonchalantly greets her. She faints in response.
Downplayed in End of Days. Handguns only mildly inconvenience the Devil but forces him to repair his host body and machine gun fire does take him down, albeit temporarily.
Walter in The Dark Tower, strictly speaking, is probably vulnerable to bullets, but has a magic power that causes all guns aimed at him to misfire 100% of the time. It only applies to guns from Mid-World, his original 'home'. When Roland goes for Jake's ruger, Walter turns the hell around and starts running. It's specifically mentioned that his power only applies to guns/bullets of his world.
In the novel Digital Knight, the hero, after facing creatures Immune to Bullets for 5 of 6 short stories, finally encounters something that can be killed by firearms, prompting him to declare, "Well, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, will wonders never cease; a horror from beyond time that I really can just shoot dead."
Of course, it's not that easy: "I should have known, I should have known, you can never kill a monster with bullets, never, it's in the friggin' Monster Union Rules!"
This applies to every incarnation really, except Satan who is in fact very mortal, but uses a complex plan to hide that fact. Chronos' (time) cloak ages anything (or anyone) that touches it into oblivion, turning them into dust. Mars (war) is the most gifted soldier alive, and immune to weapons of war (as each incarnation has supreme authority over its dominion).
Death in fact does not need the cloak at all, as Zane himself found out. The cloak is a placebo so to speak. Since he's the master of death, he cannot die unless he wills it so (every incarnation is the ultimate authority regarding its office). However, if, even unconsciously, the holder of the office of death is ready to die (and thus automatically go to heaven), any attack that makes it past the cloak will indeed kill him.
Death cannot be killed during his initial training period because he would have to retrieve his own soul. Death changes office by someone killing him, but only someone whose soul is in near perfect balance requires Death's personal attention. All others are handled by lesser agents.
In Singularity Sky, Charles Stross talks about the futility of attacking an enemy who had serious nanotech available to them. So-called bush robots made from fractally branching structural members which went right down to the molecular level tipped with nanomechanical manipulators would happily eat bullets and energy weapon fire and thank you for the additional mass and power you just gave it.
Of course, vague references to unpleasant nanotech weapons such as eaters, shapers and antibodies demonstrate that even these rather improbably resilient devices were still quite vulnerable to advanced weapons.
The War Against the Chtorr. The Chtorran gastropedes are very difficult to kill due to their Bizarre Alien Biology. At one stage the protagonist tries using a flechette rifle firing 3000 rounds-per-minute — after using up two magazines shooting out the Chtorran's eyes, breaking its arms, and disintegrating its multitude of teeth the alien still almost kills the protagonist by collapsing on top of him. And even then it's not dead. The Enterprise fish is not only massive (one is revealed to be twice the size of the aircraft carrier it attacks) but is covered in so many layers of blubber that it takes half an hour of concentrated bombing before it even realises it's being attacked. Two have been destroyed using low-yield nuclear weapons.
World War Z is a subversion: Zack was NOT immune to bullets, but to the psychological warfare tactics of modern warfare (e.g. "shock and awe"). It was the latter to blame for the global Oh Crap moment known as the Great Panic. Later, the best strategy the US came up with after learning its current strategies were useless was Napoleonic infantry lines.
Though Played Straight in a way as well: A ghoul could only be stopped by destroying the brain or completely shredding the body, so the center-of-mass shots the army was initially trained for (from fighting foes that did die from a gut-shot) were next to useless.
Inverted in the Humanx Commonwealth series, where researchers and botanoprospectors on poorly-explored wilderness planets prefer otherwise-outdated projectile firearms. That's because contemporary electric or neuronic weapons can't be relied upon, if one of the local predators turns out to lack a conventional nervous system. (They do pack explosive shells, though.)
In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, giant squids attack the Nautilus. Captain Nemo says that his bullets (electrically charged) will be useless, since they won't go off in that jelly. The crew attacks them with axes.
The 20th century outlaw Nikola Šuhaj - at least according to the book Nikola Šuhaj loupežník (Nikola the Outlaw) by Ivan Olbracht - reputedly possessed a charm that protected him from being shot. In the end, he was betrayed by some of his companions and killed ... with an axe.
In Tunnel in the Sky, Rod asks his mercenary sister for advice on what gun to bring for his off-world survival test. She recommends that he take only a knife, warning him of the false sense of security a gun provides. She explains that she had a gun on her first mission, lost it, and ran from a creature that she didn't know was Immune To Bullets rather then dying trying to fight it.
The creature in question basically has no vial organs; it's nervous, circulation, even assimilation systems are decentralized. If you wanted to kill it quickly you would have to grind it into hamburger.
Adventure Hunters: When a gun is pointed at her, Lisa is not afraid that the bullets will hurt her; she's afraid they'll bounce off her and hurt someone else.
Animorphs: In Megamorphs #3, the kids are transported to an alternate universe D-Day, where to their surprise they find that bullets won't kill them. They get put in huge pain for a second, then the next second they're fine. Ax deduces that this is because of the deal that Ellimist made with Crayak to allow their time travel: that one of the Animorphs would die, but only one.
Downplayed in a few books where they morph rhinos and elephants. The kids use them for scenarios where they expect to run into a lot of small arms gunfire, as both beasts are thickly built enough to tank a few shots.
In Smallville, Clark and other Kryptonians, obviously, although Clark likes to dodge or catch bullets when he's bored.
Doctor Who did this a lot. In fact, the trope is named after Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's quote from Robot.
In "Planet of the Dead", UNIT manages to take out three armored flying stingrays with guns and rockets. The UNIT commanding officer is very pleased to finally encounter a monster open to traditional killing.
Given that her scream of triumph is "Bullets that work!", her team might be packing special stuff. The effect is much the same, though - the stand-up fight to a victorious conclusion that UNIT has wanted (and needed) for so long.
One of the more marked examples, however, are with the new series Daleks. Daleks were already armored enough to withstand bullets unless you aimed for the eyestalk, but as first seen in "Dalek", they take this a step further with a shielding system that makes bullets disappear just before they even reach their casings.
In the Torchwood episode "Sleeper", the sleeper agents emitted a field that made them invulnerable to needles, scalpels and bullets - none could break their skin. However, by the end of the story, Torchwood had deactivated it, allowing them to fall to bullets.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (and later series) used this for the Borg, who would become immune to a particular phaser setting after the first (or sometimes second or third) time one of them was shot with it. Despite phaser immunities, the Borg were not actually immune to bullets, and actual firearms were quite effective against them. As was, surprisingly enough, melee combat with simple metal blades.
Technically, since the incident in question was on the holodeck, they were bullet-shaped force fields.
The changelings from Deep Space Nine are a race of intelligent slimes who can assume the form of other creatures or objects. Since they have no organs, they are immune to bullets, being stabbed, or blunt trauma. Even if parts of the body are cut off, they revert to ooze and remerge with the rest of the body. Energy weapons, fire, and electricity are the only thing that can harm them. Even then, a shapeshifted Klingon is shown needing an absolutely obscene amount of fire poured into it to kill it.
A similar case turned up in one of the Deep Space Nine novels: The frothingly xenophobic aliens known as the Bekkir are firearms junkies, but since everyone else in the Star Trek universe uses energy weapons, the Bekkir developed armor (even spacecraft-grade armor) designed to reflect energy weapon beams. The only ways to affect them: captured rifles, explosives (phasers overloaded into bombs), extreme heat, or an EMP.
The series used this for Anubis' Kull Warriors, which were basically indestructible by any weapon short of a heavy artillery shell (they can't fight physics). The Tok'ra and SGC had to develop a specialized energy weapon just to fight them.
Inverted with the Replicators, who were immune to energy weapons, but fell apart if struck by so much as a single bullet center mass. Human-form replicators play it straight, though.
Some Goa'uld like to use energy shields that render them immune to fast-moving bullets. But not to slower-moving thrown knives.
However that last part might be justified in that an energy shield that prevents ALL solid objects from penetrating it might prevent said Goa'uld from being able to partake in certain activities that are essential to life, such as eating, without deactivating the shield as demonstrated by Rodney McKay in the Atlantis episode "Hide and Seek".
The same idea was used in Dune, which is why learning to knife-fight was such a big deal in that universe.
The Wraith in Stargate Atlantis were first introduced as functionally Immune to Bullets due to their Healing Factor. After a season or so, however, Villain Decay set in, and now Wraith soldiers die just as easily as any other enemy Mook from a burst of P90 fire. Justified in that it was explicitly stated that their regeneration is based upon how long ago it was that they fed. With fewer supplies, most wraith haven't been feeding as much and thus, Villain Decay.
The Judge boasted that no weapon forged could stop him. The last time he got taken out, an army had to be brought to bear and most of them died. However, Xander figured out that the term was descriptive, not proscriptive, and that weapons technology had come a long way since then. The Judge gets one-shotted into a million pieces by a rocket launcher, effectively putting him down (sure the pieces were twitching, but they ain't doing much else).
Not quite true. A shotgun blast to the neck can decapitate a vampire, thus killing it.
Or immune to crossbow bolts, in Glory's case.
The Haxil Beast from Angel was a subversion: Early in the episode, Angel is looking up addresses for shooting ranges. Wesley then comments "Guns can kill it? Well, that does make things easier!" Even though it turns out that the monster itself is either immune or highly resistant to bullets, it gets brought down anyway when Wesley uses a gun to shoot a tank of liquid helium that Angel had thrown at it, freezing the monster, which is then shattered by blunt force.
Several episodes of Farscape hinge around energy belts, which protect their wearers against energy weapons, but leave them vulnerable to things such as bullets, rocks and falling into a pit of lava.
An interesting variation occurs because the energy belts are merely activated by energy weaponry and technically shield against everything when active. Thus, Crichton had to resort to firing at himself more than once.
Scarrans are immune to standard pulse fire, though if the gun overloads and explodes it can still kill them. One suspects the Doylist reason for the Scarrans allying with the Charrids is that they're not immune to bullets, allowing shoot-outs to keep happening.
In the original The Adventures of Superman TV series, villains would always shoot at Superman's massive chest, the bullets bouncing off, and then throw the gun at his head — and he would duck. This reflected the fact that the bullets were just special effects, but the gun was a solid prop. This is spoofed in Justice League Unlimited when several bank robbers are shooting at Wonder Woman who deflects the bullets. They empty their clips and one gets ready to throw the gun at her when she sarcastically comments "Yeah, like that's gonna work." This was also spoofed during Peter David's run on Supergirl. A bunch of mook villains were firing at Supergirl; when they ran out of bullets one threw his gun at her. Instead of ducking or the gun bouncing off of her, she fell over much to the shock of the mooks. After a beat she jumped back up again and said "I always wanted to do that" before dealing with the mooks.
The Visitors in V wore body armor to ward off small-calibre weapons fire. However, the Resistance eventually gets better ammo that can punch through while Donovan has a stolen energy pistol that is effective as well.
Any time in Power Rangers when the team whips out their big powerful team weapon (usually combined from each Ranger's personal weapon) to use on the Monster of the Weekbefore the end of the episode draws near, you just know it's not going to work.
The smoke monster in LOST is apparently immune to bullets, as demonstrated by an unfortunate redshirt mercenary who attempts shooting it with an assault rifle only to be dragged into the jungle and mauled.
A recurring joke character in Late Night with Conan O'Brien had ♪ bulletproof legs ♫. Another character would always shoot him in his gut.
Subverted in Jekyll: Hyde isn't immune to bullets, just extremely hard to kill; in the finale, he takes several hundred rounds to the chest, and survives just long enough to drive off his attackers before finally dying.
Subverted for The Orphenoch, though they need more than a standard amount of bullets to take down.
Justified with the Phantoms, who are immune to normal bullets due to being magical in nature and thus immune to conventional weapons. This even includes Mooks. They can only be truly harmed by a Magician or magical weapons such as silver bullets.
Almost every monster in Supernatural are immune to normal bullets. The only thing shooting reliably (if it isn't salt or silver) does is piss the monster off.
In one episode of Earth: Final Conflict reveals that Taelons, being Energy Beings, cannot be harmed by physical objects. As a demonstration, Zo'or lets a woman put a finger through his forehead, although he can obviously be seen reacting to this. This doesn't stop them from interacting with the world and people as a solid being would. The Atavus (ancestors to Taelons and energy vapmires) in Season 5 are immune not only to bullets but also low-power energy weapons. It takes Renee a number of shots from her energy pistol to take one down.
In the Masters Of Horror episode "Imprint", the disfigured prostitute and her evil mutant twin shrug off being shot and taunt Christopher that they'll follow him everywhere. This is because they're part of his deranged visions.
In a line of the song "Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars," "Weird Al" Yankovic warns a group of soldiers not to waste their bullets, because shooting only makes the titular hamsters angry.
SCP-1308 ("Hungarian Floater"). The Special Containment Procedures for SCP-1308 say that gunfire is of limited effectiveness against it due to lack of discernible vital organs.
Vampires in both The Masquerade and The Requiem games aren't quiteImmune to Bullets, but are highly-resistant — where other creatures take lethal damage (gouging and tearing) from bullets, vampires take bashing (blunt impact). This is because vampires don't have the vital function to make bleeding out a threat. Still, enough bullets will put them down... Werewolves are in a similar position (unless the bullet is silver), Mages not so much.
The squishiness of wizards is highly variable as well, sometimes changing abruptly with the addition of a single skill level. An advanced enough forces mage in Ascension, for instance, can simply declare that nothing moving over a certain speed is allowed to enter the space he's occupying that scene, making him effectively an example of this trope.
It's times like these that the Tau (Which fall over and die at the mention of close combat) become smug as hell, considering their standard infantry weapon is to the bolter, what the bolter is to the lasgun. And then we get into railgun territory...
Dark Eldar Grotesques, who are basically horrifically mutilated BDSM fans who have been weaponized and augmented with a variety of combat drugs and biological enhancements, have a special rule that allow them to ignore any and all shooting attacks that have a Str value below 5. They also have 2 wounds. Yeah. For the uninitiated, this means that they only die from shooting attacks which would normally kill them anyway. You need something more suited for destroying armoured vehicles to drop a Grotesque.
Any vehicle/walker with an armor value of 14. AV10 is enough to be immune to lasgun fire, AV11 shrugs off bolter fire, AV12 resists heavy bolters, AV13 assault cannons and AV14 laugh off even autocannons and plasma fire. It takes a lucky rocket or something even more powerful (meltagun, railgun) to even scratch it.
Deadlands. Virtually any sentient horror is going to have some form of the phrase "Immunity: Normal Weapons" in its description. Even some of the non-sentient ones do. Good time to go get those bullets blessed, compadre.
GURPS Supers had a section on how to make a character immune to bullets. Unliving (zombies), Homogeneous (blobs) and Diffuse (swarms) things are also extremely resistant to damage from bullets.
Mutants & Masterminds allows "Impervious" protection which automatically resists all damage below a certain threshold with conventional firearms topping out around 6 with pistol fire capping at 4. Alternately, there are characters with Immunity (Ballistic Weapons) for only a few more points. In 3E, a character needs 8 ranks of Impervious Toughness to be immune to pistols and 10 to be immune to all conventional guns that appear in the corebook.
Novas in Aberrant have several different ways of becoming effectively immune to conventional weapons.
This is one of the many "Immune to X" creature power schticks in Feng Shui.
Used in Devil May Cry, where the third installment's Dullahan animated armors and Fallen "angels" can't be touched by any projectile weapons, while Vergil has a move capable of nullifying Dante's guns. Averted with pretty damn much everything else, and indeed there are some enemies that invert this by being effectively immune to melee, forcing you to use guns.
And indeed actually used for Dante who gets shot in the head. It irritates him, but he's otherwise okay.
Fortune from Metal Gear Solid 2 causes bullets to swerve away from her for no apparent reason, which extends to any explosives in her vicinity (all duds). How she does die is all part of MGS2's Gainax Ending.
In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, cyborg technology has advanced so far that the carbon-fiber musculature of military-grade cyborgs can shrug off bullets with ease, and the only thing that can really damage them is the uber-sharp cutting power of High-Frequency swords, this and Rule of Cool explaining why everyone's fighting with swords in 2018. To hammer this home, a few police cyborgs holding Raiden at gunpoint decide to use lethal force, and promptly put away their pistols and prepare to thwack him with their reinforced batons.
Temperance, one of the bosses of House of the Dead 4, cannot be injured with bullets. Since this is a light-gun game, that bodes ill for the main characters. The only way to defeat it is to fight your way to the top of a clocktower, lure Temperance under a giant clock face, and drop it onto the monster's head.
In an early cutscene in Sonic Adventure, we find that Chaos, even in his weakest form, seems immune to bullets. Of course, this may be because they were shooting center mass, where there's nothing but water to hit. One wonders what would've happened if they had tried to shoot 'im in the head. They should have just chucked a hedgehog at him... because that works, apparently.
Half-Life 2's bigger synth enemies (Striders and Gunships) are essentially immune to any sort of normal ammunition, so they have to be dispatched with rocket launchers or energy orbs.
The large mechanical enemies are not immune to normal fire, but they're generally too powerful to be ditched by normal means. Also, the Hunters were specifically coded to take much more damage from physics objects than bullets.
This is an ability in the old strategy title Master of Magic. Missile Immunity is a fairly rare ability enjoyed by various units, the most basic of which is the low-level Skeletons (which have no vital organs and thus could care less about your arrows) and a few other units (such as units protected by wind magic). Interestingly, Missile Immunity wasn't immunity at all, it was just an immense amount of extra Defense that only worked against physical projectiles-the halfling slingers could get powerful enough to crack it.
Eternal Darkness, in one of the few boss battles it has, using bullets on the Black Guardian all but makes it mock you for even thinking or trying to harm it with guns.
Alma from First Encounter Assault Recon. Seriously, you've possibly emptied entire magazines into her, thrown a grenade at her, hell you even blew up a nuclear reactor. Trust me on this one, it isn't going to work. You're just pissing her off. Subverted at the end of the first game and in several encounters in Extraction Point: shooting Alma is mandatory to prevent her from killing you.
The skeletons from Majesty are almost impossible to hit with arrows, though it's not explained if this is from the lack of vital organs to hurt with them, or that the bony frame is genuinely hard to hit. Either way, don't try to fight skeletons with arrows, it doesn't work.
Many higher-level enemies in Ninja Gaiden are immune to standard shuriken or can block them if Ryu fires them off-the-cuff. Fortunately, he has more powerful stuff.
Though not completely immune to firearms, Alex Mercer can take a lot of bullets without much trouble - especially with the Armor evolution. It isn't until the tanks and missiles launchers and aircraft arrive that there's a real threat to him.
While enemies in Castlevania aren't bulletproof, how much bullets are actually practical against them generally depends on the game and the type of gun.
In the Sorrow games, the pistols Soma can use are generally impractical to use because, despite their range and how fast they travel, the firing speed isn't enough to compensate for the weak power. However, if you beat boss rush mode in either game, you can get the Positron Rifle and a Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher, both of which are quite awesome.
In Kingpin: Life of Crime, a particularly grating instance of this trope occurs at the end of the game. At the end, you fight against the Kingpin and his henchwoman (some claim girlfriend) Blunt. You can hurt the Kingpin just fine, but Blunt is completely Immune to Bullets. Fortunately, you can set her on fire with the flamethrower (it will not kill her), and she will run around screaming instead of shooting at you. When you kill off the Kingpin, a cutscene occurs in which Blunt will run off and escape via helicopter and warn you that you may become the new Kingpin, but she will be back. That is right, this trope was applied on her because the developers wanted her to survive and make a Sequel Hook. Were they truly unable to find a way to accomplish this without making her Immune to Bullets?
Lungfishopolis Citizen: "Good Lord! He is impervious to bullets... and love!"
The Lobstermen in X-COM: Terror From the Deep are virtually immune to most projectile weapons, taking only 50% damage from sonic weapons and less from all others (basic guns do 20% of their normal damage, and Gauss guns do 30%). The only thing the Lobstermen are fully vulnerable to is stun weapons (100% damage) and bladed melee weapons (200% damage). They also functionally ignore explosions (40% normal damage), and are immune to natural alien weaponry, like the Deep One's acid spit.
In Warlock: Master of the Arcane (a sequel/spinoff to the Majesty games), Skeletons (of which several variants now exist) are highly resistant to projectile-damage as before, and there are a variety of spells and skills that can give the same effect to other units - most noteably the Wind Shield, which in some cases can also be extended to all the units around you. However, the Ghosts raise the bar significantly by being COMPLETELY immune to both projectiles AND melee-attacks, what with being immaterial and all... and since they're dead, they're also immune to Death-type magic, leaving you with a relatively short list of damage-forms that'll actually work on them. Too bad they're also really weak.
In the first Persona, all Zombie-type enemies are completely immune to gunfire.
Worse, some enemies reflect bullets.
Most bosses in the Serious Sam series are immune to regular bullets, forcing the player to break out the rocket launcher or laser gun. Sam 3 adds a few normal enemies that also require explosives to kill - fortunately, at least one type is usually encountered around the same time the player finds crates of infinite C4 charges.
While a great many enemies in the Resident Evil series have proven to be particularly tough to kill, Nemesis is possibly the most bullet-resistant enemy in the series. If a player is feeling particularly aggressive, they could empty hundreds of bullets and plenty of explosives and all they would manage to do is repeatedly knock it out for a few minutes. Ironically, bullets do kill it in the end (if the player chooses to do so), but only after being doused in acid and shot with a railgun. Even then, it isn't clear if it stays dead until the town gets nuked.
There are a few enemies (mostly bosses) in Borderlands 2 have armor so tough that bullets bounce right off and have a chance to hit you. Normal bullets, anyway; Abnormal Ammo in the form of E-Tech and explosive rounds do the truck.
Most of the raid bosses are invulnerable to bullets to some degree or other, and have a trick to hurting them. Dexiduous has to be hit in a weak spot that moves now and then, for instance, while Master Gee can only be hurt by his own acid pools.
The first Syphon Filter has Girdeux and Rhoemer. The former is justified by having full body armor(except for his flamethrower tank), but the latter has no visible armor. The second game has the fully-armored Emergency Defense Squad soldiers who can only be killed by explosions, and Chance, the Final Boss, who has advanced explosion-resistant armor and must be defeated via Helicopter Blender. In the third game, Rhoemer returns in a flashback with the same advanced armor as Chance.
Bullets and even missiles or tank shells just bounce right off the dragon in Dra Koi. They have no effect whatsoever because only a Hero can slay a dragon.
In Homestuck, Jade's "dog" Becquerel plays fetch with bullets.
And now a bunch of the enemies have the same ability. Oh Crap.
We learn that Gamzee possesses this ability after he takes a few hundred machine gun bullets in the torso. According to Wordof God, he's virtually indestructible.
It's worth noting that he isn't bulletproof in a way that the bullets bounce off of him, but rather just continues to survive no matter how many times he's shot or wounded.
In FreakAngels they find out that their superpowers can help them survive any death; this is discovered after a few bullets to the head.
"He can't be ... I shot him through the brain. I stood over him and fired into his head."
"Yes, and he's apparently unhappy about that."
The title character of Schlock Mercenary, being a carbosilicate amorph, is not affected by bullets; they harmlessly pass through him (it does tend to piss him off though). The other mercenary's in the company wear "low-profile" power-armor (resembling cloth Star Trek uniforms) which completely protects them from small arms fire (provided they have deployed their retractable helmet to avoid head shots) but offers only limited protection against large caliber, especially powerful, or energy-based weapons.
Cloney the cloned alien has such a thick shell that it blocks not only bullets but also the heavier weaponry carried by Riff.
In "KITTEN II", people are using guns on the Satan-spawned kittens not to hurt them but to toss them away briefly.
Shadow Hawk from Epic Tales is immune to bullets. And everything else. Now, if only the writer would take better advantage of this, and put him in all sorts of deadly situations.
New York Magician: A lot of the magical denizens of the city can stand up to even Michel's Desert Eagle. So he sometimes has to get...creative.
Ebony of My Immortal not only seem to be unaffected by them physically, but also allow her to travel through time. No, really.
God told Roger, The Nostalgia Critic's guardian angel that nothing could kill an angel. In an aversion it turns out bullets work well enough.
Averted/Inverted in Red vs. Blue. Due to the show's massively comedic violence, the characters can withstand all manner of physical punishment (including super-powered punches, 800-foot falls, and being smashed in the crotch with a concrete divider) with only mild-to-moderate discomfort. Bullets, however, are one of the few things that can reliably and seriously injure a character. Even the Freelancer Super Soldiers can be seriously harmed by just a couple bullet hits, since they don't have energy shields like SPARTANs do.
The Demons in The Salvation War could soak up a lot of small arms fire. Their thick skin could take up over a clip of 5.56×45mm NATO rounds, meaning that infantry had little protection on their own against the Baldericks. The solution? Use bigger bullets.
Stan Smith of American Dad! was once denied a second chance at life, and then pulled a gun on a court full of angels. They all laughed and said an earthly gun can't hurt them, so Stan punches out a baliff and takes his heaven gun, which can kill anything (one may seriously question why they have those).
The Simpsons second Treehouse of Horror episode involved aliens attacking a disarmed human populace with bats and slingshots. It parodied the above line: "Your superior intellects are no match for our puny weapons."
Played for Laughs in an episode of Futurama, when a robot owes money to the Robot Mafia. They shoot until he is filled with holes, then the don says "Let that be a warning to you."
In one of the movies, the Don Bot catches his wife cheating on him with Bender. Both are shot with machine guns and buried in the desert. Bender later explains that the Don Bot did this twice as a warning.
Played with in Justice League Unlimited, during the time travel episode where Wonder Woman, Batman, and Green Lantern travel to the old west. They are ambushed by thugs who shoot at them, and Wonder Woman remarks "those are the slowest bullets I've ever seen" while effortlessly fending them off with her bracelets.
Played for Laughs in an episode of Family Guy. When Death sprains his ankle and is laid up, he can't do his job. Peter, being Peter, goes to the bar and deliberately pisses off some bikers. He gets shot many times, but doesn't die. Eventually this culminates in a Matrix-style John Woo shootout where everyone gets shot constantly (we see bloody bullet holes) but nobody dies.
Barring a lucky shot, massive animals such as rhinos, grizzlies, or walruses can easily soak up bullets from small-caliber weapons without stopping. Large crocodilians, which have bony armor plates under their skin, can be virtually unkillable with light ammunition; during WWII, Japanese infantry who'd retreated into the Pacific islands' marshes could be heard throughout the night, screaming and firing in vain at bellowing crocodiles. A small few made it back to dry land, for once content to surrender.
And the term is indeed soak up, a standard automatic rifle will kill anything, but a bigger body means that there's more area where an elephant or rhino can get shot and not be affected immediately.
Hippopotami. Their skin is so thick, that rifle bullets will literally bounce right off of them.
Elephants. Even with a proper elephant gun, which is much more powerful than an ordinary "gun" proper, you're supposed to fire into their mouths or ears since their hides are very difficult to penetrate even with weapons specifically designed for the task.
They're hardly invincible, but the rifles needed to deal with them at short range (panic distance) weigh upwards of fifteen pounds, fire a sixty-calibre slug nearly four times the mass of a .45 pistol bullet at over twice the speed, and are double-barrelled so you don't waste time working the bolt for your second shot. Earlier guns in the black-powder era fired a ONE INCH slug at about Mach 1.5. This is effectively a hand-held, double-barrelled 25mm cannon. The recoil is brutal.
WDM Bell, the most prolific elephant hunter of all time, demonstrated more than a thousand times how inaccurate this belief was. He regularly took down elephants with a single shot of .303 British (a round soldiers swore was incapable of killing humans) simply by getting close to the herd and calmly shooting his target in the brain to drop it on the spot. It turns out thrill hunters were both poor shots and had never bothered to learn anything about elephant physiology.
Though pretty much any animal can be killed with a direct headshot at close range.
North American bears are notoriously difficult to kill, giving rise to the term "loaded for bear" to imply a gun with very heavy ammunition.
Speaking of bears, polar bears are, in addition to being the largest purely carnivorous species of bear, also come with the further protection of hanging out in an environment where rifle chambers that aren't purpose-built will gleefully ice up and become inoperable with only minimal condensation. Like the rest of their species, they're quite well known for having bullets graze off their skulls (Because of the toughness of a bear's skull and sternum, experts recommend aiming for the shoulder joints rather than traditional "Kill Zones" to disable a charging bear).
Wild boars have such tough skin (and fiber layers underneath), that older type bullets sometimes bounced off.
Russian and Eastern European boars, which are gigantic in size compared to their brethren from other continents, often hitting 600lbs, are thought to be much more dangerous than Brown Bears - the bruin may fall after a well-placed hit to the heart or lungs, while the shot tusker may still have enough strength to rip the unfortunate hunter to shreds before dying.
Truth in Television with the notorious man-eating crocodile Gustave, which is recognizable because of its huge size and the bullet scars covering it. Okay, so you could probably kill it if you had a higher caliber gun, but the thing has been shot, a lot, and is still going.
The scars aren't that numerous one on his head and three on his flank. The problem probably is that he's so low-to-the-ground (as crocodiles tend to be) that the shots have been glancing. A standard automatic rifle would probably be enough to kill him if you could only hit him properly in the flank.
Perhaps moreso than Washington was Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson, who suffered many a bullet wound from all the duels he participated in (mostly over his wife's honor), but never had them removed. Legend was Jackson had so many bullets in his body that he rattled as he walked.
He dug one bullet out of himself during a boring Cabinet meeting and promptly sent it to the man who put it in him saying "You can have this back."
He was just too Genre Savvy for his era. Lead musket balls, as very slow-flying ammo, might have done horrible, but not life-threatening wounds, while the attempt to remove them with dirty instruments of the time would lead to septicaemia and death. By leaving the bullets in the body, Jackson did the most reasonable thing to protect his own life.
Bullets learned about Jackson's invulnerability and decided against challenging him, unfortunately for would-be assassin Richard Lawrence, whose guns both failed, earning him a Cane Fu beatdown from Jackson that only stopped when Jackson's own staff physically restrained him.
The Indian chief Crazy Horse (one of the chiefs responsible for the downfall of Custer, the other two being Sitting Bull and Gall) was of the belief that he was magically immune to bullets, apparently because he had miraculously avoided being hit by them when everyone around him was shot on various occasions. To be sure, he never was shot—he died by being stabbed.
Wyatt Earp: for all the gun fights he had been in, he still walked away without a scratch. Most infamous is a shootout with Curly Bill at the Iron Springs watering hole where Curly shot at point blank range and missed while Wyatt walked up and killed Curly with a shotgun blast.
In his fatal shootout with the FBI, Baby Face Nelson not only withstood 17 close-range bullet wounds (from a Thompson submachine gun and and a shotgun) without flinching but managed to kill both of his assailants before fleeing the scene with his wife and partner.
In Seven Pillars of Wisdom T.E. Lawrence recounts the Arab chieftain Auda abu Tayi being grazed by a dozen Turkish bullets, with his binoculars smashed and robes perforated, without serious injury. Auda additionally claimed to have been wounded 23 times in battle.
Pretty much all modern armoured vehicles are at the very least immune to attack from small arms. A few lighter vehicles are even capable of resisting mines and anti-tank rockets, though anything that isn't a tank is going to be taken apart by high velocity armour-piercing ammunition. In the case of main battle tanks, they're practically invulnerable to any anti-tank weapon that isn't current generation. The famed RPG-7 tends to have about the same effect on modern tanks as a pigeon, as proven in one case where a British Challenger 2 MBT took around seventy rockets and still managed to keep going. American M1 Abrams MBTs have been able to take multiple hits from their own gun in a number of friendly fire cases and are so difficult to destroy by their crews that it will often require the insides to be stuffed full of C4 to blow them apart.
In case your wondering, having their shells explode while inside them isn't enough to do an Abrams in, It'll just get turned into a fireball shooting upwards and out of the tank.
Speaking of modern armour, there's also body armour too - there's this video showing a soldier in Iraq who gets sniped centre of mass, only to get up again. Cue freaked-out insurgents.
Even better, the soldier they shot was an army medic, who proceeded to treat one of the insurgents for bullet wounds after the squad hunted them down.
While it won't make you IMMUNE to bullets, modern body armor is still a lot better than it's given credit for. Some heavier suits are incredibly resistant to rifle fire, and even "standard" military issue armor can keep its user alive and even combat ready after several hits from a modern rifle.
The eponymous Boxers of the Boxer Rebellion thought they were immune to bullets due to practicing a form of "Iron Shirt" qigong that is supposed to harden the body against most forms of physical attack. They were not.
Similarly, some more fanatical militiamen (including Child Soldiers) in West Africa believe they become immune to bullets if they take certain medicines before battle.
Selecting the proper caliber of gun is extremely important depending on the type of target. The lightest caliber bullets are only effective for target practice or extremely close range. Some of the most tragic police shootouts (for example, the North Hollywood shootout of 1997) have occurred because law enforcement had underpowered weapons against criminals with body armor.
A weird version of this trope popped up in at least one case of small-scale african warfare, when fighters armed with assault rifles could be seen wearing brightly-colored inflatable armbands ("floaties"), long blonde wigs, dresses, and other bizarre clothing items while participating in heavy streetfighting, with bullets zipping around them and all. Supposedly they believe that certain items grant their wearers magical powers, making them immune to being hit, etc. What more likely happens is that the enemy is too confused by the display to shoot.
This is what LAPD officers ran into when they attempted to stop a pair of heavily armed and armored bank robbers robbing a Bank of America in North Hollywood, California. The police found their service pistols and shotguns weren't penetrating their body armor. By the time both robbers had been killed (one by self-inflicted gunshot, the other bled to death), the police had fired over 650 rounds and the robbers themselves had been hit ten times.