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Near Misses
When the baddies shoot at the goodie, they will miss in the following ways:

  • One goodie will shove another down to the ground, as the bullets whizz along a line where their chests would be if they were standing up.
  • Fired from a helicopter, the bullets land just in front and just behind their prone form.
  • The goodies are in the middle of two lines of cannon fire (especially common with the Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure).
  • The goodies run, the bullets hit just behind them.

See also Could Have Been Messy, A-Team Firing, and Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.

Examples:

Film
  • Used in the movie Support Your Local Sheriff, in which James Garner runs down a typical western wooden sidewalk while a dozen gunmen blast away him from across the street. Every one of dozens of bullets hits the wooden boards of the sidewalk just behind him.
  • In Harry Potter, especially towards the end, nobody can hit the broadside of a barn standing two feet from it, unless the plot or drama dictates that it should. This causes such mishaps as one of the twins losing an ear.
    • There's an interesting justification in the climactic battle of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Harry blew his stack of luck potion among his friends, who would've been dead five times over without it. Ginny actually said that everything just seemed to miss them.
      • A Hand Wave seemed more fitting when first read.
    • Although the books probably do fall under this trope, that particular instance is actually justified in that Snape cast the curse; being that he was The Mole, he didn't want to raise suspicion amongst the Death Eaters but clearly didn't want to cause too much damage. The presumption is he just aimed carefully.
      • He was actually aiming for the other Death Eater he was paired with, and missed.
  • Inverted in the 1989 Batman movie. Batman (in the Batwing) strafes the Joker who just stands in the middle of the street with his arms out, taunting him. Batman opens fire with everything he's got, but he just shoots the ground on either side. Even the missiles miss. Joker then fires one shot from his long-barreled revolver and Down Goes the Batwing!
  • Played for laughs (Like everything else) in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, where The Mole is trying to kill Mason Dixon as he slowly strolls down the sidewalk and ends up shooting everyone on the street except the guy he was aiming at.

Live-Action TV
  • The MacGyver opening sequence has a shot (from the episode "The Golden Triangle") of MacGyver ducking for cover as twin lines of gunfire from a helicopter pass either side of him.
    • Also from MacGyver, the episode "The Enemy Within" has a good example of bullets kicking up dust always just behind the running hero.
  • Of course, Richard Dean Anderson's other successful series, Stargate SG-1, repeats this, but with Goa'uld Deathgliders, the gunfire from which usually sends people flying.
  • Often seen in Xena: Warrior Princess, especially in the episodes "Livia" and "Eve," where Xena uselessly but dramatically catches daggers out of midair that seem to have been aimed somewhere over her shoulders.

Literature
  • Terry Pratchett's Nation justifies this during the Duel to the Death between Mau & First Mate Cox. Mau dives for cover in a lagoon. The bullets fired from Cox's gun are dramatically slowed down upon hitting the water, making them mostly harmless. Despite this, Mau loses an ear in the course of this scene.

Video Games

Western Animation
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, whenever a mook fired a machine gun at Bats (a semifrequent occurence), he would dodge to the side, while bullets ricocheted off the place where he had just been standing. The ground where he had just been standing, even if the mook was on the same level, and at close range.

Nail 'EmGuns and Gunplay TropesNever Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight

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