Follow TV Tropes

Following

Improbable Aiming Skills / Live-Action TV

Go To

Improbable Aiming Skills in live-action TV.


  • Shooting the gun out of Bad Guy's hand was a routine shot in the kiddie TV Westerns of the 1950s. The title character in Annie Oakley never shot anyone in any other way. It made her even nicer as a heroine.


  • Alphas:
    • This is Hicks' special power. He can analyze the environment and then make the perfect shot. In the pilot he kills a man in a windowless room with a sniper rifle by shooting though a grate, down a ventilation shaft and then clipping a second grate in such a way that the bullet tumbles just enough to hit the target sitting under it. Later on when faced with a hostage taker he ricochets a bullet off a sign so it hits the bad guy in the back since it is the only shot he can take without hitting the hostage. Later accomplishments include shooting the hinges off a door using two pistols Guns Akimbo from across a street, and blasting a tiny box knife out of the hands of an enemy with Super Speed from across a room. He can also use his power for throwing objects and to execute incredible feats of acrobatics. (On top of having this as a superpower, Hicks is also a trained military sniper, so the odds of him missing any kind of shot with a gun are pretty low.)
    • Advertisement:
    • Also of note is Marcus from one of the first episodes. His power is a more extreme version of Hicks' (which has more psychological side effects than Hicks' does). In the first few minutes of the episode, he flicks a quarter and hits it on the precise spot on a bar that would cause it to fall and set such a chain of events moving that he would be able to escape the ambulance he was in. His aim is so naturally perfect that he can't understand how other people can do things accidentally and not see the repercussions.
  • Angel: Downplayed with Fred, but her shooting skills were enough that she was able to shoot Angel through Jasmine. She's also been pretty handy with a crossbow in other appearances, but this takes the cake.
  • In an episode of Arctic Air a drug trafficker and a hitman are both killed during the same night by long range rifle shots. The difficulty of the shots is magnified by the fact that it happened during a major snowstorm with heavy winds. The police suspect that the criminal group the men were working for hired a sniper to kill them. It turns out that the shooter was a young Native kid whose life was threatened by the criminals. His grandfather was a legendary hunter and marksman and he taught the kid everything he knew. Nobody suspected him since he never had a chance to demonstrate his skill since he left his village and came south to work for the airline.
  • Arrow, being based on Green Arrow, naturally has this. At one point he faces off against Deadshot, who actually averts this trope as his bullets are laced with a poison so deadly it doesn't matter where on someone's body he hits for him to kill them. Ollie takes cover behind a wall in the final confrontation. Deadshot starts shooting the cover (possibly averting Concealment Equals Cover), so Oliver draws in arrow, pops out of cover, lets the shot fly and quickly ducks back in. After not hearing anything, he glances out and sees Deadshot on the floor, "dead" with the arrow clean in his aiming lens.
      Advertisement:
    • At another point, Detective Lance has the drop on Arrow, slowly inching closer with his gun drawn. Arrow has no weapons at the ready. Then he suddenly lashes his arm out, and the gun flies out of Lance's hand, pinned to the wall behind him by a throwing dart.
    • Other members of the Queen family also display this ability:
      • Moira is one of the very few people in the entire show who has actually managed to hit the Vigilante when shooting him with a gun.
      • Thea knocks a mook unconscious by hitting him on the back of the head with a bottle thrown from at least 20 feet away. She even lampshades it.
        Roy: Where'd you learn to do that?
        Thea: I guess I have wicked aim.
  • Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies. In an episode where she's gotten angry with Mr. Drysdale for whatever reason, he shows up to try to arrange a truce. She shoots his hat clean off his head from the end of the driveway. Afterward, when he tells Jed "She shot at me!" Jed calmly replies, "Naw, she shot at your hat. If she ever commences to takin' shots at you, you'd be castin' a polka-dot shadow!" In another episode, he reveals that the whole family is like that, saying of Jethro, "I'm the only one that can outshoot him. Except for Granny and Ellie May."
    • On another episode, Jed is made a vice president at the bank so he can shoot in a skeet-shooting competition against a rival company. He does flawlessly in practice. Then Granny does just as good with a rifle. Then Ellie Mae does the same with a slingshot.
  • In Brimstone, Detective Ezekiel Stone has no problem shooting out the eyes of the escaped souls.
      Advertisement:
    • Justified in that in Brimstone, a soul escaped from hell gains supernatural powers related to the individual's history and/or mental condition. As a former cop, it's entirely conceivable that superhuman shooting accuracy is Stone's power (though this is never stated outright, as the series didn't last long enough to make a point of it.)
    • In one episode, he gets infected with a supernatural disease that affects his balance and eyes. He still manages to hit the escapee in the eye.
  • Parodied/Subverted in the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3. While trying to take down a vampire without the Slayer's help, Oz, Willow and Xander get beaten and the vampire starts running away. Oz stands dramatically with stake in hand, the music swells and he throws the stake only to have it clatter harmlessly off a nearby gravestone. He sighs and says "That never really works."
  • Averted in a late 3rd season Burn Notice episode "Good Intentions". The bad guy has Fiona at gunpoint a long distance off, and Michael draws his weapon, only to be talked out of it by Sam, who points out he'll never hit his target at that distance with a pistol.
    • Of course, Sam himself was capable of drawing a martini glass on a target at maximum range with a handgun.
      Sam: Did you notice the little olive?
    • Both Fiona and Jesse are pretty good with a sniper rifle. Jesse is able to shoot through Michael and kill the guy behind him, while only wounding Michael. Fiona makes a kill shot from afar while standing up.
      • In a darker turn of events one of Team Westen's enemies displayed this when he killed Anson and Michael's brother with the same bullet. When Michael interrogates this assassin he reveals that he was over a mile away looking at his target through the scope of a 50. caliber sniper rifle. At a distance like that a sniper would have to adjust his rifle to the left or the right to adjust for the direction of the wind so the bullet doesn't go off target, adjust for the rotation of the Earth, and raise his scope above the target by dozens of feet to account for bullet drop. The assassin actually mentions that he felt rather proud of himself for even managing to make a shot like that at all. Given who he killed though Michael is not at all amused.
    • Sam and Jesse think the former has this in "Forget Me Not" when he manages to hit a bad guy in a window with covering fire while shooting blind. Subverted, in that Michael made the shot with a sniper rifle from inside a car behind them. Fi picks up on this right away, though she doesn't see Michael for herself.
  • Castle uses The Magnificent Seven version of this mentioned above in the episode "Boom!", while managing a Shout-Out to Firefly at the same time.
    Beckett: Hell of a shot, Castle.
    Castle: I was aiming for his head.
    • Also in the episode "Home is where the Heart Stops", Rick Castle, in order to win access to jewelry photos"
      Beckett: If you put any of the next three in the 10-ring and I will give you the files...
      Castle: Yeah?
      Beckett: Yeah.
      Castle rips off 3 rapid-fire shots, taking out the X with a perfect cloverleaf.
      Castle: You're a very good teacher.
    • The pilot shows him to be a crack shot at a gun range, although it is believable that in Real Life he would have trouble properly aiming at someone who is about to kill his Love Interest. Adrenalin would also be a major factor.
    • Averted in an episode involving an apparent duel with antique musketball pistols. The supposed murder weapon is tested at the gun range... and it never hits its target, even when its stabilized to reduce recoil and has a laser sight added. The only target it hits is the one in another lane, completely by accident. This results in the detectives deciding that this couldn't be the murder weapon. In fact, the "murderer" reveals that the whole duel was done deliberately to satisfy honor, knowing that there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hell that either of them would be hurt. The real murderer fired a musketball from a modern weapon.
  • Charmed (1998) has a few instances of this, but many may be justified by the fact that they're witches. However, in the eighth season, Billie manages to throw a potion bottle in the partially-open mouth of a demon, while she's lying on her side after being thrown to the ground, about ten minutes after being beaten up by said demon. Since she doesn't seem to use her powers and is pretty much just winging it, this likely qualifies.
  • The Comic Strip Presents spoofed this in Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown. A detective from the gun-toting cop shows of The '70s shoots at a Nineties-era suspect at a hundred yards and misses, because reality has now taken over the genre.
  • Hotch on Criminal Minds is acclaimed, in-universe, as the BAU's best shot. He rarely misses, and once, while traveling in a moving SUV, shot an UnSub off of a moving freight train. The quality of JJ Jareau's shooting talent has a smaller sample size, but she *did* once shoot a guy between the eyes, from across a room, through a plate glass door. (Through the FBI seal, no less.)
    • However, there is debate over whether Reid's headshot of Phillip Dowd at the end of "LDSK" subverts this trope or plays it straight. The episode's subplot had revolved around Reid's lack of shooting acumen; however, when he gets a chance during the climactic hostage situation, he plugs Dowd between the eyes. The veracity of the following statement is dubious.
      Hotch: Nice shot.
      Reid: Actually, I was aiming for his leg.
    • Morgan, Prentiss and Elle are also pretty good shots in their own right. Elle, for her part, once got an UnSub to talk just by aiming her gun at his groin.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Sergeant Benton once hit a rooftop windvane across the village green and the Brig shot a man off a prison wall at about the same distance.
    • An archer in "The Time Warrior" managed to shoot the axe out of a man's hand just as he was about to bring it down on the Third Doctor.
      • The same archer later shoots the Sontaran in the probic vent from across the room. May not be as impressive as his previous shot, but you can tell he's had some serious archery training.
    • Sarah Jane displays a very mild example of this trope in "Pyramids of Mars". She's a newspaper reporter, and a companion to the Doctor, so there's no evidence she's ever used a gun before, but she still manages a slightly difficult shot on the first try. She does mention that she had some experience with guns due to an uncle, though this was the only mention of the event.
    • In "The Face of Evil" the Doctor passes the test of the horda, shooting a descending rope with a crossbow. Most of the time he's not even concentrating on the rope, then he abruptly turns around and shoots. It turns out he learned his archery skills from William Tell.
    • Leela shoots the dragon's eye with remarkable accuracy in "The Talons of Weng-Chiang", given that she was unfamiliar with the type of weapon used. However, she does take a few shots before she hits, which makes sense as we never see her using a handgun prior to the episode.
    • The Fourth Doctor's companion, Leela, kills a Sontaran by throwing a knife into its very small probic vent from across a room in the serial "The Invasion of Time". Earlier, a Time Lord had told her that a Sontaran could theoretically be killed that way, but of course, no one could throw a knife with such accuracy. Leela then throws hers at something equally small, hitting it perfectly.
      Leela: Why not?
    • The Fifth Doctor once shot out a dungeon door's padlock with a flintlock pistol.
      Tegan: You missed!
      The Doctor: I never miss. (nor had he)
    • The Tenth Doctor...
      • ...Threw a cricket ball that *deep breath* knocked over some scaffolding that fell on a plank that launched a brick that knocked over a barrel that stopped a pram and saved the baby from the falling piano ("Human Nature").
      • ...Disabled a Sontaran in "The Sontaran Stratagem" by hitting a tennis ball with a racket so that it ricochets around the room until it strikes the Sontaran's probic vent, in the back of its head.
      • ...Shot a tiny diamond with a pistol from across a large room in "The End of Time". Particularly improbable and/or impressive given the Doctor's aversion to guns.
    • River Song also displays some remarkable aiming skills, at one point, blindly spinning in a circle as she fires her handgun, and managing to kill all the enemies in the room — despite there being plenty of objects for them to take cover behind. It should be noted, however, that she did have training in being an assassin, so there is some reason for this.
      • She follows up by shooting one of these enemies, without looking, when it pops up behind her. The reason this is particularly significant is these creatures are "memory-proof", meaning you don't remember anything about them if you're not looking at them. Meaning River Offhand Backhanded a monster she could not possibly have even known was there.
    • The Twelfth Doctor takes the Robin-Hood-Arrow-Split Up to Eleven in "Robot of Sherwood". Robin splits the Sheriff's arrow, then the Doctor splits his arrow, and the pair proceed to split several more of each others arrows in turn until the Doctor gets sick of it — "Well, this is just getting silly" — and blows up the target with his sonic screwdriver. He confesses later in the episode that he planted homing chips in his arrows beforehand, subverting the trope for himself while proving Robin Hood's legendary skill even more.
  • On The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy was being tested for a job with the sheriff's office. She was given 5 bullets and told to hit the target as best she could. After firing all five rounds, she was told that she hit the bulls-eye once and missed four times. When checked, it was one hole but five bullets.
  • Fear the Walking Dead: John Dorie is a gunslinger who used to be a police officer, and before that a performer at Western shows, so he does having training and skill. However, even that is stretched to the limits of reality in the episode "Humbug's Gulch" — he has one shot left in his rifle and needs to save Dwight, who is some distance away, pinned under a dead walker with two more closing in. So, he has Dwight raise the ax he's holding and shoots at it, hitting the edge at just the right angle to split the bullet in half and cause each piece to hit and kill one of the walkers. Though to be fair, Dorie does admit that he'd only pulled such a stunt once before, and wasn't sure he'd be able to again.
  • Firefly runs rampant with this. A lot of shots are pulled from the hip, but nonetheless hit targets quite precisely; Zoe even manages to shoot a man's gun out of his hands from a good fifty meters off in "Safe," and Mal's quick-draw shots are legendary.
    • Zoe's shot is even more remarkable given that she does it as soon as the man draws the gun - from another man's holster.
    • Also, River killing three of Niska's men with one shot each, while her eyes are closed, and the bad guys are hiding behind cover...Jayne's disbelief is understandable. So is his line, "She killed them with math, what else could it be?", heavy on the sarcasm. Being a subject of a Super Soldier project, she only took a one-second look, memorized their positions, and shot them by remembering where they were and working out the math of how to angle the gun.
    • Also, one particular Noodle Incident: Jayne once hit a man in the neck at five hundred yards, with a bent scope.
    • Early in Serenity, Jayne gets hit with a harpoon fired by Reavers, and Mal shoots the rope to free him. But it takes him three tries.
      • Interestingly, it only serves to reaffirm what we know of Mal's skills. The first two times, he aims and fails to hit the rope. The third time, he's almost hit by a shot from the Reavers, and then fires at the rope without aiming, hitting it. So, yes, he's better off shooting from the hip than trying to hit something.
  • Olivia Dunham from Fringe almost constantly shoots people right between the eyes, regardless of how quickly they're moving, whether they're inside a car, or even if she just picks up her gun and fires (seemingly) at random. Interestingly, when she is in the Alternate Universe, and Walternate implants Fauxlivia's memories in her head, she suddenly becomes a crack shot and claims she normally sucks. Apparently, memories equal hand-eye coordination.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show gives us Anguy of the Brotherhood Without Banners, who "convinces" another character to come along with him with this demonstration.
      Anguy: Here's the thing, fat boy. [launches an arrow straight into the air] When I'm done talking, that arrow is falling down on your fat head. So I advise you move, because I'm done talking.
      [Hot Pie hastily steps aside. An instant later, the arrow hits the ground exactly where he'd been standing.]
    • Arya's Establishing Character Moment is hitting an archery butt from twice the range of her brother Bran.
    • After Edmure misses his first two shots, his uncle Blackfish takes over igniting Lord Hoster's funeral boat and even though its almost out of sight he's so confident he doesn't even wait to see the arrow land.
    • Tormund claims he's seen Ygritte split a rabbit's eyeball with an arrow at 200 yards.
    • In "Breaker of Chains", Daario kills a charging horse by throwing a knife into its eye from about twenty feet, tossing the rider into decapitation range.
    • Ramsay during "Battle of the Bastards" seems to be deliberately missing Rickon as the boy runs toward his brother Jon and Jon races forward to save him. Then Ramsay hits Rickon from halfway across the battlefield, just before Jon can reach him, all as part of his plan.
  • The Grand Tour: During a challenge at a Simulated Urban Combat Area, Clarkson manages to take out a distant sniper with a handgun. His celebration is short-lived when immediately after his co-presenter May electrocutes himself and they have to start things over.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • "The Even Chance": Captain Pellew shoots one Dirty Coward who was cheating in a duel and tried to stab his opponent In the Back with a dagger. In real life, the musket might not be even effective for such a distant range, or he could have easily killed anyone who stood in the group. His aiming skills are lampshaded though.
      Master Bowles: Exceptionally fine shot! If I may say so, sir.
      Captain Pellew: You may, Mr Bowles. You may.
    • "Retribution": Badass Adorable Lieutenant Archie Kennedy guns down a Spanish soldier with a single shot from a flintlock pistol. It's a really huge distance between those two. What a badass!
  • In the JAG episode "High Ground": Gunnery Sergeant Ray Crockett shots the rear mirror of a moving car at 1,000 yards distance.
  • Eliot Spencer in Leverage Doesn't Like Guns. However, in one episode, the team is ambushed by a group of armed Mooks in a warehouse. In order to let the others escape, he grabs two guns and proceeds to distract the enemy. This distraction involves moving quickly through the warehouse in a hail of bullets, while picking off Mooks with well-placed shots. One memorable scene involves him sliding on his knees in a puddle, while making precision shots. Apparently, just because someone Doesn't Like Guns, doesn't mean he can't use them.
  • The Lone Ranger used this to avoid ever having to kill an opponent.
  • In Lost, Locke is scarily accurate with throwing knives, in one early episode planting a knife in a chair right next to Sawyer's head, from a good 15 feet away, just to make a point.
    • Jack is also a good enough shot to shoot a rope, despite having no discernible experience with weapons.
    • The Others are also excellent shots, the anti-stormtroopers.
    • The mercenaries on the freighter in season 4 know their jobs (and guns) well, as shown in "The Shape of Things to Come" when they fire three instant death shots in a row. Then again, when the group turns their collective attention from extras to Sawyer immediately afterward, they start to fail.
  • In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Never Never Affair", Napoleon Solo demonstrates extremely Improbable Aiming Skills when, bound to a chair, forced to hold a pistol with his hands tied behind his back pointing the pistol behind him, and while having to look into a mirror to see his target, he nonetheless warns a THRUSH agent that any attempt to detonate an explosive booby trap in the face of other U.N.C.L.E. agents arriving at the scene would result in Solo shooting the THRUSH agent. The THRUSH baddie pooh poohs Solo's threat, and makes for the detonator, only to be shot by Solo. Solo then hangs a lampshade on it by looking surprised and muttering, "Well how about that!" when he sees the THRUSH agent go down.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • As in the comics, in Daredevil (2015), Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter (Bullseye) can turn almost anything into a deadly projectile, and never misses his target. In fact, his Start of Darkness is when he kills his baseball coach with a perfectly aimed baseball to the head.
    • In Iron Fist (2017), at the end of Season Two, Danny Rand is able to use the Iron Fist on a pair of pistols to shoot bullets out of the air after they've been fired.
    • While somewhat low on the scale of actual improbability, the pilot episode of The Punisher has Frank executing a long-range sniper kill on a target in Juarez, Mexico. What makes this remarkable is that he fired the bullet from El Paso; on the other side of the US/Mexican border.
  • Arguably one of the best examples was Rita Repulsa. In the original series of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, she would do her Make My Monster Grow by throwing her wand. Thanks to the miracle of Stock Footage, it would land in the exact same spot, every single time. Oh, and did we mention that she was throwing it from the Moon?
  • Misfits. The mysterious Super Hoodie is able to throw a paper airplane across Southmere Lake with enough accuracy to twat Kelly in the eye. After Super Hoodie's identity is revealed, Simon demonstrates that he is beginning to develop his superhuman aim by throwing a peanut in the mouth of the allergic Villain of the Week's mouth, all while being strangled.
  • Modern Family, after having suggested that Gloria was a very good shot, finally confirmed it in The Stinger for "The Day Alex Left for College" in the seventh season: Having apparently gotten her husband out of a family event neither of them wanted to attend by accidentally shooting him in the foot, she tells the interviewer in a Confession Cam sequence to watch the sippy cup on a nearby table as she gets up and walks away. When she does, she whips the pistol around behind her back and knocks the cup off the table without even looking.
  • The Musketeers constantly has the characters pull off ridiculously accurate shots with smooth-bore weapons. Often this is at distance, but there's a glaring example where a character shoots a villain who is holding another character as a human shield, in complete confidence of not hitting the hostage.
  • Several episodes of MythBusters had segments addressing splitting arrows with other arrows at range. They handily busted it, twice. Sure its possible and damage an arrow, but a complete Robin Hood style split can't happen.
    • In a similar vein, lighting a match with a bullet. except that it was done at extremely short range and still required precision with tolerances under a millimeter
  • In addition to making awesome (but plausible) shots with a sniper rifle, Gibbs and his NCIS team are routinely capable of shooting bad guys in the forehead with a handgun — even from behind a hostage (but DiNozzo did shoot off the hostage's ear in that instance), from the trunk of a car, or while running at full speed.
    • Tony misses sometimes, but usually he always bull's eyes whatever he is aiming at with whatever is at hand. Examples include the knife when Ziva is trying to teach them knife throwing skills, the straw paper war, McGee's food.
  • In NewsRadio, Dave puts on a knife-throwing act for a talent show as "Throwgali". He impresses his co-workers beforehand by turning off a light switch fifty feet away by throwing a knife, and then turning it back on again by throwing a knife even though the room is now dark. There is another knife thrower in the talent show called "Throwdini". He and Dave salute each other, saying, "To the sharp arts!"
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • While playing darts, the Sheriff/The Huntsman hits the bullseye three times in a row, then throws the fourth dart at the door right next to Emma's head. When Emma points out that he could have hit her, he claims that he never misses.
    • Prince Charming has also exhibited this, saving Snow White by hitting a guard on a galloping horse from a relatively long distance. In another episode he intercepts an arrow midflight with a sword.
    • Merida is so good with a bow that she manages to shoot three arrows in one single shot.
  • Person of Interest. John Reese is a very good marksman, but then he needs to be if he's going to keep Knee-capping people. His Distaff Counterpart Sameen Shaw also has this ability, but she tends to chafe at Team Machine's Thou Shalt Not Kill policy — one scene has her proud of hitting a man in the arm through a wall, only for him to die by falling out the window. Root gains the extreme version courtesy of The Machine calculating every shot, even the ability to hit targets she can't even see.
  • In the pilot episode of Psych Shawn Spencer displays this ability at the police shooting range where after watching a female officer slowly and carefully fire a number of shots he rapidly fires the same number of shots at the same target with each of his bulletholes overlapping one of hers.
    • Near the end of "Shawn Takes A Shot In The Dark" Shawn manages to shoot out the engine of a moving vehicle with just four shots. While laying on the hood of another moving vehicle. Both of which are moving at high speeds. While he's injured from being shot himself.
      • These are actually kind of Justifiable seeing as how Henry has trained him with every cop skill possible. It's not totally implausible that Henry would have started him at the gun range as soon as he could safely hold a gun and would have taught him how to shoot accurately in almost any situation.
    • Juliet O'Hara shoots a machete wielding crazy, in the HAND, during a windstorm at night with limited visibility while he was attacking Shawn. "Tuesday the 17th".
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "White Hole" Lister displays Improbable Aiming Skills when it comes to driving a planet into a white hole by stimulating a solar flare. While this sounds like a mindbogglingly complex procedure, it's basically the same as playing pool. Apparently. (He was even able to make it a trick shot!)
    • Note that the actor who played him, Craig Charles, also has them, as he actually did make the pool shot.
    • Improbable Aiming Skills are spoofed when the crew enters a Western VR environment in "Gunmen of the Apocalypse". Both the Cat (as The Riviera Kid, gunfighter) and Lister (as Brett Riverboat, knife-thrower) were able to do things that were clearly completely impossible... until the special skills were erased from the databank.
  • Jim Ellison in The Sentinel can shoot guns out of people's hands (by having the bullet enter the other gun's barrel) and hit a perp on a helicopter from another helicopter far away... with a standard-issue police 9mm. This is handwaved by him having all 5 of his senses be "hyperactive". Somehow, perfect vision translates into perfect hand-eye coordination, especially since it also somehow stabilizes a bullet fired from a handgun over long distances. When another cop (who isn't in on the secret) asks how the hell Jim can do that, Jim simply answers that he eats a lot of carrots. Then there's the episode of Jim facing off against a Russian sniper.
  • In the first episode of Sherlock, we are introduced to John's aiming skills when he shoots the cabbie through two windows in the head and just over Sherlock's shoulder, one handed. Wow. Sherlock should be lucky that he had John have his back. Gosh knows where he'd be without him. Probably dead already. Yikes.
  • Smallville:
    • Green Arrow is an impressive shot, able to shoot a specific country on a globe or into the opening of a soda can. Clark Kent also hardly ever misses, whether he throws a football, basketball, bowling ball, knife, can, anything. He even shoots a bullet out of the air with his heat vision. It is implied that his talent comes from his powers, as in one episode where he was Brought Down to Normal, he found that he now sucked at basketball. Heat vision is also hard to miss when you are faster than the speeding bullet and all you need to do is look directly at your target...
    • Black Canary with her throwing knives.
    • Deadshot, naturally. He once shot two officers simultaneously, with the bullets curving past either side of Chloe's face.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: When Bashir was revealed to have been genetically engineered all along, among the many other Marty Stu abilities he was immediately given were Improbable Aiming Skills, the most ridiculous of which was him walking out of a bar with his back turned towards the dart board (and at an angle because the door wasn't perfectly aligned with the dartboard), tossing the dart over his shoulder without looking and still perfectly hitting the bullseye.
    • A season earlier, Bashir managed to clip Garak in the neck so that while the shot was close enough that it looked like he'd been trying to kill him, it was Only a Flesh Wound. You may argue that Cardassian necks are different from humans (and they are), but he still shot a decent-sized chunk out of someone's neck without hitting anything vital. YMMV whether or not this was foreshadowing.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation on the rare occasions she fired a phaser in anger, Beverly always hit her target the first, giving rise to the Fan Nickname "One-Shot Crusher".
  • In Third Watch, Davis assumes Sully is practicing this trope when Sully shoots the gun out of a crazed gunman's hand. Promptly subverted when Sully answers his admiration with, "Yeah, but I was aiming for his head."
  • Torchwood's Captain Jack Harkness uses this trope to establish his pure awesomeness at the beginning of series 2.
    • There's also a few instances where Gwen pulls this off, namely shooting at a car repeatedly without changing stance and then running off when the driver realizes she's been shooting at the wheels and they've gone flat in Children of Earth.
      • Interestingly, a Season 1 episode has Jack teach Gwen how to handle a gun, as she has never done it before. When Jack incredulously reminds her that she's a cop, Gwen replies that she's a PC, and Police Constables aren't issued guns.
  • On Turn Benjamin Tallmadge fires a flintlock pistol while galloping on horseback and hits his target in the chest from a fair distance. Robert Rogers, a good marksman himself, is really impressed despite the fact that it was Rogers's friend who got hit by Tallmadge's shot.
  • Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks. He fires six shots at the range, leaving four bullet holes on the target.
    Cooper: I put four through the eyes and two through the nostrils.
  • Voyagers!: Despite limited experience with a bow, Bogg manages to shoot an arrow in half.
  • In the Walker, Texas Ranger episode "The Prodigal Son", a crime boss named Mancini becomes one of the few villains to hit Cordell Walker (one of the first, too, if not the first), which is in itself quite an achievement, but Mancini managed to do it with a handgun firing out of the window of a helicopter in flight from about twenty feet in the air. On his first try!
  • The Walking Dead follows standard zombie story protocol of the main characters usually scoring perfect headshots at the first attempt. The season 2 finale really pushes it though, with characters managing to nail several walkers while leaning out of the windows moving cars, in the dark.
  • Averted spectacularly in an episode of The West Wing. A group of white supremacists open fire with the intention of killing Charlie Young, because he's a black man dating a white woman who also happens to be the president's daughter. They miss their target (who is out in the open and in plain sight) and instead they hit the President of the United States as well as the deputy chief of staff, who was at least fifteen meters away and up a flight of stairs.
  • Played jarringly straight on an episode of White Collar, when Agent Peter Burke uncannily shoots the radio out of a mook's hand, with no damage to anything or anyone but the radio.
    • It is, sort of, a Running Gag on the show that Burke often exhibits abilities that impress everyone, even Neal, such as when he charms a Black Widow with a tango, while Neal and his partner are shouting in his ear to abort. These abilities usually come with no warning.
    • Neal has also exhibited impressive aiming skills. Most notably when he shot Keller. The bullet went through the leg of Peter's pants and never touched his leg.
      Peter: How'd you make that shot?
      Neal: Long story.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Justin is a crack shot with an alien blaster he picks up off the ground. Could also cross over with Informed Ability.
  • Wynonna Earp had already deviated slightly from reality by depicting Doc Holliday as a supreme marksman, but its season 2 finale hit this trope when he managed to — deliberately — shoot a magic bullet that had just been fired from another gun with such precision that it split neatly in two and each half hit one of the two bad guys menacing the heroes.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report