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A-Team Firing

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Here, Uzi how not to use firearms.
"The great thing about Jeremy's shooting is that you are perfectly safe just as long as you stand right in front of the target."
James May, Top Gear

More Dakka is claimed by many to be the most reliable way of killing something, but strangely there are a lot of shootouts on TV where the number of bullets fired seems inversely proportional to their likelihood of killing or even wounding anyone. Heroes and villains can expend enormous amounts of ammo shooting at each other, often with automatic weapons and/or at very close range, yet everybody important is protected by Plot Armor. Only a mook or a Red Shirt has anything to worry about, and sometimes even they will be defeated or driven off non-lethally. It's not that the bullets aren't potentially lethal, but everyone's accuracy is so horrible that they seem to hit everything except their foe, even in situations where they have a clear line of fire and you'd think it would be almost impossible to miss. When the fight's over, all the property and vehicles in the area will be chewed up with bullet holes, yet there will be no perforated corpses to match.

This trope differs from Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy in that instead of just the bad guy's mooks being unable to hit the hero as he slaughters them with his own Improbable Aiming Skills, A-Team Firing makes everybody on both sides keep missing.

Perhaps this trope is employed as an alternative to the opposite extreme of Guns Are Worthless and Annoying Arrows. A writer trying to be realistic about how dangerous both arrows and bullets are in the right hands would have to make the people firing them unable to hit the broad side of a barn in order to draw fights out for dramatic effect. In the case of the Trope Namer, however, the real reason was that The A-Team was nominally a kid's show in prime time, and killing was a network no-no; it was overlooked at the time due to the Rule of Cool, and in fact, the movie remake was heavily criticized by fans for actually showing the heroes killing people. This trope can be related to instances where the goodies deliberately miss their shots because they do not wish to kill anyone, but ironically the intentionally non-lethal use of firearms tends to require the opposite trope — Improbable Aiming Skills — for tricks like Blasting It Out of Their Hands or winging the bad guys in order to invoke Only a Flesh Wound. Most of the time, A-Team Firing is depicted as unintentional.

The opposite of this trope is Improbable Aiming Skills, and the bladed weapon counterpart is Flynning, in which swords clash but nobody goes for the kill. See also Bloodless Carnage and Non-Lethal Warfare, which often motivate this trope. Compare Powerful, but Inaccurate, when the inaccuracy is canonically a property of the weapon. See also Amusingly Awful Aim.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Abunai Sisters: Although many rounds are fired throughout the show, the only things that ever actually get hit by bullets are the guns being held. The first episode has Mika crawling past a hail of machine gun fire without getting hit a single time.
  • In Aria the Scarlet Ammo AA, main character Akari begins as this. She is seemingly a hopeless marksman. Later at the end it's revealed she's descended from and taught in the techniques of a long line of assassins, and she can hit every lethal point on a body without even looking as she shoots. However, as Butei are supposed to capture criminals alive she desperately tries to suppress this instinctive skill and as a result winds up unable to hit anything instead.
  • In Assassination Classroom, the constant barrage of fire from military agents, professional assassins, an artificial intelligence, and a class of middle school students virtually never hits the target. Justified by the fact that said target is an impossibly fast octopus who is insanely good at dodging things.
  • Black Lagoon, on occasion, suffers from this trope. The best example is the gun battle between Revy and Killer Maid Roberta. Despite the fact that they fire countless rounds at each other without either taking cover (sometimes at near point-blank range), they only hit each other once, both times apparently only giving each other a minor wound.
  • The first episode of Burst Angel sees two opponents firing away at each other at point-blank range (like, four metres) like no tomorrow, without a single hit.
  • Kaori Makimura from City Hunter is horrible at shooting, with her bullets flying randomly and never hitting anyone. Though she's lucky enough to hit something which results in her knocking out the bad guys anyway.
  • Akane from Kmpfer fits this trope perfectly. Even with superpowers complete with Transformation Sequence, her expert gun handling hasn't served to hit a single target. To be fair, most of the missed bullets were dodged by her opponents at light speed.
  • Neither the militant Library Task Force of Library War nor their pro-censorship nemesis, the Media Cleansing Committee, ever seem to hit anything despite their constant barrages of automatic weapons fire, making it one of the most peaceful (and legal!) civil wars ever depicted.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team allows enemy Ace Pilot Norris Packard to hang a lampshade on this when The Hero Shiro Amada fires every weapon he has simultaneously at him, without managing to land a single hit.
    Well, that looked impressive.
  • Phantom Quest Corp. actually lampshades the trope, near the end of Incident File 02, when Karino unloads half a clip and fails to hit the demonically possessed doctor who's only 10ft. away!
    Ayaka: (incredulously) Where the hell'd you learn how to shoot?!
    Karino: (shrugs sheepishly) At the academy!
  • Resident Evil: Vendetta: There's a scene in which the battle between The Hero and his enemy takes place, with both using handguns and has lots of ammo, but none of the bullets hit them. Must be seen to be believed.
  • Trigun. Because the main character can dodge bullets and refuses to kill or seriously injure his enemies, 99% of the bullets fired in the series accomplish nothing besides property destruction. In fact, in the teaser to the first episode, a bunch of criminals unload countless rounds of ammunition into a restaurant. When they stop, the whole building's been demolished except for Vash, the stool he's sitting on, and the little bit of counter in front of him, which are all completely unharmed.
    • In the actual first episode, the reason that little slice of real estate is unharmed is that it was shielded by the tavern's very sturdy sign, which, when no longer propped up by the repeated impact of incoming bullets on one side, fell over. It wasn't so much that they all missed the target as that there was something bulletproof in the way.
  • Xabungle, like many, "many" mecha shows, uses this to a certain extreme — but subverts it with its usual comedy. Despite virtually every face character facing a hail of human-scale bullets at some point or another, the number who are wounded from it (let alone killed) can be counted on one hand. It isn't from lack of trying — they're all "really" good at dodging on foot.
    "I'm not gonna hit anything anyway! I'm just a minor character, dammit!"
  • Zoids: Chaotic Century has this on-and-off, generally when the bad guys are shooting. This might make sense with some of the mercenaries and generic criminals seen earlier in the series, but it really doesn't make sense when there are a few zoids lined up to defend the Imperial palace and the waves of zoids sent by Prozen can't even destroy them, despite vastly outnumbering the few Mulgas, Gustav, Command Wolf, and Zaber Fang that are lined up holding them off.
    Comic Books 
  • Lampshaded in Detective Comics # 858, which features The Question as a second-feature after the main Batwoman storyline. In the last chapter of a five-part story involving The Question breaking up a kidnapping/prostitution/smuggling organization, she is fleeing the home of the ringleader while being shot at by numerous members of his villainous entourage, only to simply run straight past the entrance gate without even a token roll to evade the gunfire. When she has run out of sight, one of the shooters turns to the others and states that they "are the worst shots ever."
  • Doubly subverted in Largo Winch. When Penny reminds him that Largo ordered them to do the operation without killing, Simon tell that there is no need to worry, because he has terrible aiming skill. Then one mook is shot, and Simon explains that this proves how bad he is because he aimed at the roof.
  • The Punisher: Frank is usually on the receiving end of this due to fighting lowlifes good at intimidating but bad at actually shooting a skilled soldier (and that's when they aren't firing Gangsta Style).
    • One arc sees him taking down a gang of criminal midgets and he actually notes that their shots keep going high because their guns are too big for them.
    Contrary old bitch, the Uzi. You won't hit jack unless you've got the weight behind it.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Swerve is a comically bad shot. He's only scored three direct hits in the entire run of the comic. Two were accidental headshots on the ship's psychologist and himself (both of them got better). He manages to miss the broad side of one of the largest Transformers shown thus far at point-blank range. He blames his lack of accuracy on the fact that he's quite small for a Transformer and most guns are made for someone larger. His accuracy does improve a bit after Brainstorm builds a gun specially crafted for him.
    • On the Decepticon side of things, there's Misfire, who can basically be summed up as "Like Swerve, but worse in every way." He's killed more Decepticons by accident than he has Autobots on purpose. Apparently when he's called upon to actually try to use a gun properly, he's very, very bad at it.
      Misfire: They call me Misfire. Long story. Actually, you know what? It isn't. It's a very short story involving a machine gun, a misunderstanding, and a dozen dead Decepticons.
  • Played painfully straight in the Two-Face: Year One comic. A SWAT team is sent into a room full of unsuspecting supervillains who are making phone calls on behalf of Harvey Dent's reelection campaign, with orders to kill everyone but Dent. In spite of the order, and the fact the illustration makes it look like they're spraying the room with bullets, the most damage that the team inflicts is shooting Scarecrow's horse and (non-fatally) wounding the Ventriloquist. Everyone else is brought in unharmed.
  • In The Walking Dead, this is Tyreese's biggest problem. Even given lessons on a makeshift firing range, he can't hit the broad side of a barn. Good thing he's capable with a hammer.
    Fan Works 
  • In the Pony POV Series, Shining Armor gets a stolen enemy machine gun at one point. He misses every shot... at point blank range... in a crowded train car. This is a bit of a Running Gag, as Shining Armor's aim stinks no matter what he uses, something he fully admits.
    Films — Animated 
  • Superman Unbound: In the opening scene, the terrorists and SWAT team fire at each other with machine guns from about 20 feet away and no cover for nearly ten seconds before any of them score a hit.
    Films — Live-Action 
  • During the takeover scene in Air Force One the Russian terrorists kill Marines and Secret Service agents without one of the terrorists being killed or, at least wounded, by government agents, who are supposed to be the best shots in the business.
  • While an aversion of this trope isn't usually notable, the fact that The A-Team film adaptation averted it is. Partially. When someone needs to get killed, they do, but there are sequences of a hailstorm of dakka failing to connect with anyone on either side.
  • In Tim Burton's Batman (1989), there is a rather campy scene where Batman goes into a dive in the Batwing, unleashes a hail of bullets at the Joker — who simply stands in the open — and completely misses. Otherwise, Burton's Batman has no problem killing (though he only does so a couple of times).
  • The Somali militia members in Black Hawk Down employ this tactic, relying instead on overwhelming numbers and an abundance of ammunition to get the job done.
  • In The Blues Brothers, almost the only shot that actually hits what it's supposed to hit is when the leader of the Good Ol' Boys shoots the Bluesmobile's rear window out. All the others — don't.
    • The Nazi leader doesn't even manage to hit the Bluesmobile. Then again, he's shooting from a moving vehicle at a moving vehicle, and his Luger isn't exactly a rifle.
    • Jake's bride fires an assault rifle at the Blues Brothers. On full auto. At short distance. She doesn't even hit once.
    • It takes the authorities two assault rifle magazines to shoot a door lock open because all they ever hit is the door itself. Justified because they shoot from the hip and try to correct their aiming while squeezing the triggers.
  • Used in the Der Clown movie Payday, but not played too straight: The German version of SWAT can fire their machine guns without hitting anyone. The unarmored villains can mow down most SWAT members in body armor with machine guns and shoot through steel ropes with pistols, but fail to hit the heroes unless by accidentally pulling the trigger. The heroes' firing is apparently so bad again, combined with their constant lack of dakka, that they have to resort to blowing up an entire aircraft to kill the baddies inside.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has the apes as pretty poor shots, mostly just spraying bullets. Considering that all of them have never held a gun before, it's pretty realistic.
  • The cheeseball action flick Deep Rising has the good guy miss every shot while trying to blast a villain with a machine gun — from about twenty feet away. His partner shows equally crappy marksmanship when he pops up behind her suddenly — from about ten feet away.
  • Also justified in Die Hard 2, where the commando team is again firing blanks.
  • During the climax of Dumb and Dumber, one of the protagonists survives a shot to the chest and empties a pistol at the villain from a few feet away, prompting the quote: "Harry! You're alive!... And you're a terrible shot!" Justified, as Harry was at the time working for the FBI. They were only trying to arrest the villain, so they might as well hire a complete idiot to do the job.
  • In the Michael Douglas film Falling Down, gang members attempt to get revenge on Bill Foster during a drive-by shooting, but end up wounding everyone else on the block but him; before crashing into a telephone pole and dying themselves. Foster is a bit bemused about how he, despite being their intended target, was the only person in the way of their drive-by that escaped unscathed:
    Foster: Get some shooting lessons, asshole.
  • Averted in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Again, not notable generally, except for the fact the original TV series and comics, being aimed at kids, used A-Team Firing as a matter of course; by the time Rise of Cobra came out, however, a Darker and Edgier GI Joe had been established in the comics and in animation, where the heroes were shown to be just as deadly and willing to kill as the villains.
  • In Godzilla, the military does this to the extent that they do more property damage to Manhattan than the monster does.
  • The Hallelujah Trail: Lampshaded by Col. Gearhart, after the Battle of Whiskey Hills, in which there were no fatalities, nor was anyone badly wounded:
    Col. Gearhart: It's a miracle — A miracle of the highest order that so many bullets could miss so many people in so small an area in such a short space of time.
  • Knight and Day has a shootout where the protagonists even manage to have a loving moment as the mooks are so bad shots.
  • The 2007 Australian film Noise ends with a realistic shootout, and it shows a lot of inaccurate shooting under pressure.
  • Played for Drama in a famous scene from Predator the heroes open fire onto the titular monster firing thousands of rounds into a jungle and only manage to tag its leg. Justified in the fact that the creature was invisible.
  • The two Michael Mann films Public Enemies and Heat have action scenes where the characters use lots of suppressive fire and fire and movement.
  • In Pulp Fiction, a random gunman takes the lead characters by surprise and unloads a large-caliber revolver at them, only for him to miss every shot and get gunned down after a Beat. Jules interprets this unlikely scenario as divine intervention, and decides to give up the life of a gangster and walk the Earth. Divine indeed: the two bullet holes over the shoulders are just coincidental. As for one bullet hole that suggests a shoulder hit and another that suggests a punctured lung, these can't be explained by science. It doesn't help that if you look closely during earlier scenes, you can see the bullet holes are in the wall before the gunman starts shooting.
  • In the climax of RoboCop 3, both the good guys (Detroit Police Dept.) and the bad guys (private corporate army and street punks) fire a crapload of ammunition at each other with few people getting shot.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2020), while stopping at a Western-themed bar, Sonic and Tom get into a game of darts. Tom hits the bullseye, so Sonic tries to one-up him by throwing multiple darts at the board in rapid-fire... and none of the darts hit the board, resulting in a mess of darts on the wall, the hat of a nearby waitress (though mercifully, none hit her directly), and the canned drinks she was serving.
  • Battle sequences in various incarnations of Star Wars are filled with rainbows of laser fire, but rarely do any non-clone/non-stormtrooper/droid characters get hit. This sometimes leads to particularly ridiculous moments where multiple Jedi characters casually converse with each other on ground zero. There is the Battle of Geonosis where in the mobs of the CIS and Republic armies you can see stuff being destroyed or soldiers getting killed. The Expanded Universe confirms that, yes, lots of Jedi also died in the battle.
  • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: "Bullets fired: 999. Human casualties: 0." Echoing a scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where John orders the Terminator to not kill anyone. Which leads to a scene where the Terminator fights off a small army of police with a Minigun, firing thousands of rounds and killing no one. The Terminator could have easily killed quite a few people, but he deliberately aimed to miss.
  • Justified in Tropic Thunder, where the protagonists, being actors in a movie, have all their guns loaded with blanks.
  • Parodied mercilessly in UHF in which "Weird Al" Yankovic as Rambo slowly stares down the man firing at him, slowly takes an arrow out of his quiver, slowly nocks it, and slowly raises his arm to shoot the arrow, only for the camera to switch to a wide cut so we can see the evil man who has been firing the Uzi non-stop for about 4 minutes now is standing three feet away. Later on, an entire line of enemy soldiers fire upon Al, and he actually rolls his eyes before he turns around to take them all down with a single burst from his rifle.
  • In Wanda Nevada, Beau and Wanda get into a shootout with Strap and Ruby. A great many bullets are fired at close range, but no one suffers anything worse than a nick.
  • In the 1632 series, Noelle Murphy (later known as Noelle Stull) is a famously poor shot. Including missing an aimed shot at a stationary body from less than seven feet away.
  • In The Bad Place, Ramussen's gunmen tear Bobby's surveillance van apart with More Dakka but he completely escapes injury by laying on the floor.
  • Blood Makes the Grass Grow Green, Johnny Rico's (real name) autobiographical account of a self-described hippie liberal serving as a US Infantryman in Afghanistan, plays this trope straight. It is, after all, Truth in Television. In one scene, the soldiers and Taliban exchange fire for over a half-hour. The soldiers engage with weapons they qualify with, most of them ranked Experts. The Taliban engage with weapons they've been carrying all their lives. Vehicle-mounted weapons and rocket-propelled grenades are fired. There were no American casualties and no enemy bodies or blood trails were discovered. In another scene, Johnny forgets Concealment Equals Cover does not apply and dives behind a haystack, but the Taliban repeatedly miss at short range. Finally, a soldier unloads his M240 (light machine gun) when his platoon is engaged into a nearby hill where there might be enemies, but none are visible. He didn't want to carry all that heavy ammunition around anymore.
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three takes a time-out to explain exactly why a mook misses with a fully automatic weapon, in realistic terms.
  • In The Dead Zone, Johnny has a clear view at fairly close range and a brand new expensive rifle. He misses every single shot when he tries to assassinate Stillson.
  • Played for Drama in the Dale Brown book Executive Intent. A Kill Sat is used to try and take out terrorists who have commandeered ballistic missiles, but misses and kills many civilians. Things get worse.
  • In Homage to Catalonia, everyone taking part in the Spanish Civil War was a terrible shot, according to Orwell. 'In this war, everyone always did miss everyone else, when it was humanly possible.' It saved his life on several occasions.
  • Seen in Malevil when the castle comes under siege and discipline fails for both the defenders and the attackers. Malevil opens fire when the gates are breached but before the enemy enters the Death Course, the invaders go prone and open fire despite not seeing any of the defenders. Both sides waste precious ammunition firing at nothing before their commanders can get them back under control.
  • Lampshaded in one of the Soldiers Of Barrabas novels when the SOBS have to break out of a police cordon without harming anyone. "It's going to be like The A-Team. Lots of bullets fired but no one dies."
  • This trope is the reason for "Try Again" Bragg's nickname in Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts series. Fortunately, due to his sheer strength, he is a heavy weapons trooper and usually totes a machine gun equivalent with ammo to spare.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alias used it for the first season and a half — then Sydney started killing people. It's not that Sydney missed her shots, though; in general, she used tranquilizers until the writers decided they preferred Sydney to off people instead.
  • Any enemy on Andromeda. To be fair, in one episode, the crew of the Andromeda Ascendant were shown to be wearing "ECM Generators" that "play hell with smart bullets." This is worst when automated defenses are used. These will track dodging enemies, but walking straight at them is perfectly safe. These are the main ship defense weapons used by the heroes, too. It got hijacked and used against them so many times in the first season alone that one of the characters commented something along the lines of: "Automated ships defenses. What kind of a retarded engineer had that put in?" while taking cover from said automatic defense turrets.
  • The Ashes to Ashes (2008) premiere has an A-team style shootout moments after Gene Hunt refers to his team as The A-Team.
  • The A-Team made this famous, with heroes and villains both firing ridiculous amounts of bullets at the climax of almost every episode, to practically no effect. This was due to focusing on a team of heavily-armed mercenaries using realistic firearms against similarly-armed foes, but was aimed largely at a younger audience and dealing with broadcast TV standards, meaning they couldn't actually shoot people. (Although, if you watch it with the sound muted, you'll realize that they're only shooting in semi-automatic mode. The sounds of machine gun fire were added in post-production.)
    • They hit lots of glass windows, car tires, radiators, and other such things. They just never hit any people. (Cracked speculated on "the hundreds of bystanders they likely gunned down with their hail of stray bullets.")
    • At least one episode ("Say It with Bullets") saw the team set up an elaborate ruse by making their antagonist Col. Decker believe they were hiding in the guest house on an Army base; the team had rigged a stereo system to play, by remote control, a sound-effects record where one of the tracks was machine gun fire. When Decker is tipped and brings his convoy to the guest house to call the team out, Hannibal cues the stereo, making the soldiers think they are being fired upon... and they return fire, heavily damaging the house. When nobody is found inside, Decker blows his stack, realizing that tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition had been wasted as part of a game played for Hannibal's amusement.
    • They were also pretty good at hitting those amazing exploding bushes which inevitably caused a jeep or car to flip over (without injuring the occupants, of course).
    • Subverted in the show itself, in that the times where characters did get shot on-screen, Face and Murdock in different episodes, though they got better, only a single bullet is fired each time. B.A. also took one in the leg once, although it happened off-screen, and it was a friendly-fire incident.
    • In many cases it's intentional, the A-Team isn't shooting to kill, but to lure the enemy into a non-lethal trap, or to divert their attention.
  • In Auction Kings, Cindy managed to hit the device which carries the target at the shooting range. Paul is a much better shot.
  • Everyone on Chuck sucks with their guns. Many of the fights devolve into hand-to-hand combat, and any stand-off is solved just by either side having an extra gun pointed at the rest.
  • Parodied in the first episode of Danger 5, when the heroes and villains fire directly at each other in a nightclub to no effect, other than killing every single random mook and Innocent Bystander. A Running Gag in the series involves the Big Bad always escaping via Super Window Jump after evading a hail of gunfire by Danger 5.
  • Doctor Who has some bad, bad examples of this trope.
    • In "The Gunfighters", seasoned cowboys repeatedly miss some people walking down the middle of a road.
    • In "The Caves of Androzani", the Doctor runs through a long mudfield with little cover except for a few hills, while about a gazillion rounds are fired at him by the pursuing gang of mercenaries, and still manages to escape relatively unscathed- so long as you ignore the terminal case of spectrox toxaemia..
    • There was also a lampshaded defiance of this trope in the more recent episode, "A Town Called Mercy", in which the Doctor questions the skill of a gunslinger who only hit the target's hat, only to be informed that it was deliberate. Later there was a justified example, in which said gunslinger somehow managed to shoot much faster than usual, blowing up the town's clock, several windows, a street lamp, and much more besides, without even coming close to the Doctor he was on his knees and flailing his weaponized arm in all directions due to the Doctor overloading him though, so YMMV on whether or not it actually counts as this trope.
  • F Troop: Everyone at Fort Courage shoots like this, which might explain why they were sent to Fort Courage in the first place. In one notable episode, every single member of a firing squad missed the person they were supposed to be executing, instead shooting the water tower.
  • The panicked wedding party in Harper's Island are all lousy shots. Once they work out they're being attacked, they break out the guns, hang onto them obsessively and all completely fail to hit the Big Bad, even from a few feet.
  • Hawaii Five-0: One episode had a particularly egregious example, in that this trope and Improbable Aiming Skills happen one after the other. The protagonists get in a shootout with a couple of thugs while protecting an old man whos using an oxygen tank. None of the heroes can actually hit either thug while they are not even taking cover and just standing out in the open firing at them, but when one of the good guys throws the old man's oxygen tank as an improvised explosive, another somehow manages to hit the much smaller and moving target with pinpoint accuracy to take out the thugs.
  • Ryutaros, who controls Kamen Rider Den-O's Gun Form, has a tendency to hold his gun sideways and dance while fighting. This causes a lot of property damage and very rarely hits the Monster of the Week it was supposed to. However, Ryu never misses with his finisher, which is a single, carefully aimed shot.
  • Parodied in a MADtv skit in which a veteran cop gets a new partner who's a rookie. The veteran cop is captured by a thug wielding a blade and the rookie tries to shoot the thug, only to hit his partner... repeatedly. The veteran suggests aiming for him instead of the thug and just ends up getting shot in the nut-sack. He declares that he'd rather take his chances with the blade, which is kind of dull, but the rookie cop insists he's not letting the thug get away. The thug eventually decides to leave the scene and he walks away. The rookie "pursues," but no matter how close he gets, he can't achieve the shot, and the ricochet bounces to the veteran. The thug picks up a penny off the ground and leaves. The rookie cop calls for medical aid for the veteran but reaches Domino's Pizza instead.
  • Mind of Mencia: Carlos Mencia once addressed the way gangstas stereotypically hold their guns. When taxed, one of them responded that he holds his gun like that when he shoots because it makes him look cool. He's astonished to find that the aiming guide on top of the gun lines up with his target when held the right way up. Then Mencia makes some remark about how only porn stars should look cool when they shoot.
  • Parodied in Police Squad!, one of which was where the lead and antagonist are missing shots while 1 foot apart before ducking behind cover. Repeated in The Naked Gun 2 1/2; same distance and same cover.
  • While being chased by the laser-zapping Monster of the Week on Red Dwarf, Lister laments "Why don't we ever meet anyone nice?" Cat asks "Why don't we ever meet anyone who can shoot straight?"
  • The Red Green Show: Red is stated to have terrible eyesight, and makes up for this by using a semi-automatic, implying that his hunting is like this.
  • In Reno 911!, Deputy Garcia is such a horrible shot that he once, using a Browning M1919 to shoot at some bottles a few feet away, lost total control of the gun and blew up his own squad car that was 30 feet off to the side. Another time, he missed so many shots aiming at a junker car that some rednecks were plinking at that Deputy Travis Junior has this to say:
    Travis: That has got to be some kind of Goddamn record!
  • Usually averted in Stargate, where the Red Shirt Army at the very least show a modicum of competence.
  • Threshold: The government agents just stun the bad aliens with electronic bullets.
  • The page quote comes from the Winter Olympics special of Top Gear, where Jeremy Clarkson decides that the best weapon to use at a biathlon rifle range is an MP5 set to fully automatic. He somehow manages to knock down a tree that was directly behind his target but never hits the target itself.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • The episode "The Jeopardy Room". When Kurchenko opens the door and runs out of the room, Boris (who had been earlier established as a crack shot) might as well have been firing with his eyes shut.
    • The episode "The Grave" has eight men lying in ambush for the outlaw Pinto Sykes and fires at him when he's in the open. Despite this only one of the eight shots fired actually hit him.
  • In The Wire there's a shootout between rival street gangs in which nobody gets hit, except from a kid who catches a stray bullet on the second floor of an apartment building. The Wire actually deliberately invoked this trope. At one point one of the police officers observes that most of the kids in the gangs are so untrained with guns that they're more likely to hit innocent bystanders than their intended target. (And we do see a few people like Chris and Snoop who do train, and are substantially more dangerous.)
  • In Zixx, during the virtual reality/game sequences, the heroes will often be chased by mooks ineffectively spraying laser fire at them. It tips over from Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy to outright A-Team Firing when the heroes are pinned down, with nowhere to turn and nothing to defend them, with enemy lasers still going in wild directions around their general vicinity, long enough for them to panic, work out a plan, and get out of there without being hit once.
    Tabletop Games 
  • In d20 Modern, automatic weapons get the shaft. Two feats are required in order to properly use an automatic weapon, one for proficiency with guns, the other to not suffer a penalty when firing full-auto. And even if you have those feats, you target a 10-by-10 area with an AC of 10, to make the opponents have to make a DC 15 reflex save (fixed, with no way to modify) to take no damage; you use 10-rounds to attempt to hit at most 4 halfling-sized enemies with 1 bullet each. A third feat is required for you to be able to burst-fire, which is actually not useless. Without that third feat, you can target a single target with auto-fire, but it is a senseless waste of ammo because only 1 round (of the 10 fired) can hit. Some guns even have a 3-round burst mode, but if you don't "know" how to burst-fire, then tough luck, you can't use that mode (you can, but much like auto-fire against a single opponent, it's a waste of ammo). To summarize: Without building your character to fully use automatic weapons, you will quickly get to the point where you can't do anything but spray-and-pray with automatic fire.
  • Dungeons & Dragons' 5th edition has optional rules for modern guns. While automatic weapons can fire one shot at a time, the Burst Fire ability fills a 10x10x10-foot cube (so up to four human-sized targets) with 10 bullets, the targets either taking regular damage or taking no damage at all.
  • In the second, third, and fourth editions of Shadowrun (as well as the first edition if optional rules from a later expansion were used), the more bullets you fired, the less likely you were to hit with any of them. This was because the number of bullets fired was added to the target number for the attack, and only one roll was made to see if that attack as a whole hit. Thus, firing a single round might have a target number of 4, while firing a ten-round burst would increase that target number to 14, and if you didn't beat that 14, all your ten rounds would miss. The reason for firing more than one round was that the damage caused would increase per round, so if you did hit with a ten-round burst you pretty much guaranteed instant death with most weapons. Fourth Edition also had the potential to avert it, since there were a large number of recoil-reducing weapon mods that could be added to a gun, in addition for rules to reduce recoil based on the shooter's strength. This meant that a particularly strong troll could potentially fire a heavy machine gun at full auto with the accuracy of a sniper rifle.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Orks + guns = hilarity. Orks in general tend to shoot more to hear the noise of their guns going off than to actually kill anyone with them. The Rogue Trader RPG points out that all Ork weapons are actually smoothbore, as their genetically-engineered technical knowledge apparently doesn't include that whole "spin-stabilized ballistics" thing.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle: Orcs + bows = roughly the same. Ironically (and/or realistically), Orks subvert the trope by compensating for their terrible marksmanship with use of heavy weapons or a large amount of firepower (or preferably large amounts of heavy weapons, if they have the resources for it). While machine guns or things that go boom can compensate for a glaringly bad marksman much of the time, a humble bow or carbine is a much more formidable weapon when wielded by every member of an infantry horde who can focus firepower.
  • In Warmachine, any Menoth unit with a ranged attack is guaranteed to have laughable accuracy. This is most notable in the case of the Zealots, whose whole strategy is throwing remarkably unstable explosives at ludicrously short range.
    Video Games 
  • In Air Rivals, most mook attacks that are based on guns/laser beams/rockets are unaimed, and in those cases, a simply strafing move will make them miss. It gets ridiculous in a case where the new nation defense systems (nation-aligned mooks that attack invaders only) from BCU are far worse than the old ones, simply because they use unaimed laser machine guns with a visible charging period instead of the quick, auto-aimed attack the old ones had.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, if you don't finish lining up a shot with the Hidden Gun, it's more likely than not to miss, even at close range. Ezio seems to have gotten better by Brotherhood, though, where he integrates it into CQC without needing to stand around aiming. While finely designed and constructed even by modern standards, that pistol is by necessity unsighted, is affixed to the forearm rather than handheld, and probably has enough recoil to require a braced arm... that is not an easy weapon to aim, much less to snap shots off with.
  • Seen in the Battlefield series due to its use of realistic firearm accuracy. Automatic fire from a shoulder-fired weapon will have little chance of hitting the target, doubly so if you are shooting on the run. Heavy support weapons have even worse accuracy when fired from a standing position and will have problems hitting a target even at point-blank range. This results in numerous instances of soldiers circling around each other at arm's length burning through their entire magazine without hitting a thing.note 
    • Shooting from a prone or crouched position increases accuracy, along with using controlled semi-automatic fire or short automatic bursts, just like in Real Life.
    • Taken to ridiculous, possibly parodying lengths in Battlefield Heroes; unless using the scope, the Commando's sniper rifle can actually hit things behind the gun's barrel.
  • Momo in Breath of Fire III was the only character in the game who suffered from horrible accuracy rates. Incidentally, her weapon of choice was a bazooka.
  • In Borderlands: Multiple:
    • In the first game, Borderlands, at least two unique guns have a 0.0 accuracy rating, meaning that the process of using one involves pulling the trigger and, if used beyond point-blank range, praying fervently to your weapons deity of choice that any of your resulting shots hit a target. Both are shotguns and boss weapons besides, meaning you will definitely see them in use against you, and that being shot by them is probably not what's bound to kill you:
      • Sledge's Shotgun
    • Gaige's Anarchy skill from Borderlands 2. It increases your damage at the cost of your accuracy. Up to -700% accuracy without using a specific item. If you do have said item, at around -900% accuracy the bullets stop being ridiculously inaccurate and start being impossibly inaccurate. They'll take sharp turns in mid-air, zig-zag, land behind you... Anything you hit will be either by pure luck or sheer weight of numbers, but anything you hit will also die. Gaige herself comments on this.
    "God help you all if I actually hit something!"
    • Several guns have accuracy ratings so low that firing them anywhere other than point blank with them is little more than a loud, entertaining waste of ammo. A Gunzerker who brings out dual Bandit Spiniguns will eventually start spraying large volumes of ammunition with only a relatively minor chance of actually killing anyone. And if you're playing as Gaige, here's some advice - use Jakobs Coach Guns or Vladof assault rifles. The former has massive recoil and gigantic damage, the latter has massive fire rates and therefore, not very good accuracy.
  • In general, the Call of Duty-inspired trend of forcing the player to aim with ironsights for any semblance of accuracy leads to the effect that not aiming while firing somehow makes bullets veer off at sharp angles away from where the gun is actually aiming. Sniper rifles have generally been like this for even longer, mostly as a balancing measure because of their extreme power and long-range accuracy, which in some extreme cases can have bullets exiting the barrel at close to ninety-degree angles. Call of Duty's success also ensures that all dumb-fire rocket-propelled grenades in games released since are incapable of hitting their target unless the shooter is close enough to kill himself with the explosion, simply because dumb-fire rocket-propelled grenades in Call of Duty were similarly inaccurate.
    • This is discussed by Sergeant Foley during the tutorial for Modern Warfare 2, where he admonishes the Afghan militia for just randomly firing from the hip and never hitting anything.
  • This is how the dodge mechanics in City of Heroes work: Your character doesn't so much actually dodge rather than the enemy completely failing to hit you. Taken to the extreme, it is perfectly possible to dodge a flamethrower in melee range, just because its user inexplicably aims it over your head!
  • Most unit firing in Company of Heroes falls under this. Especially with tanks and vehicles firing on infantry - mostly for balance reasons. Of course, the moment you enable the Direct Control feature for most vehicles by using, say a mod... and are, for example, controlling a Wirbelwind Flakpanzer (four x 20mm) or an M3 Halftrack with the Maxson Mount upgrade (4 x 12.7mm, aka .50cal) then infantry will get PULVERIZED by your attacks.
    • The American and Wehrmacht Engineers epitomize this in the game - their chance of hitting enemies at long range is 0.1 with their submachine guns. Reasonable for long-range, right? Well, even if at kissing distance, their accuracy's best is 0.3. Moving multiplies their accuracy by 0.15. They are unable to hit anything while moving, no matter how close. Standing still only makes them lackluster.
      • Though after spending a few munitions, they can get their hands on a Flamethrower, and they become dangerous. They don't call it Pyro Spam for nothing.
      • Lampshaded by the Rangers upon receiving the Tommy Gun upgrade: "Spray and pray, the SMG way!" However, since accuracy is inversely proportional to distance, they give up some medium- and long-range firepower (which is what Riflemen are for) for being absolute infantry-shredding terrors at short range.
  • Played straight in Crisis Core when Zack not only stands still when facing a hail of bullets but TALKS ON HIS FREAKING CELL PHONE! The incident takes place during a virtual training mission, so one wonders if whether the event was merely overconfidence on Zack's part, or whether something was wrong with the simulated opponents' targeting algorithms — obviously no aimbots here! — or whether it's an accurate reflection of the average Shinra trooper's marksmanship.
    • The trailer for the remake of FF7 shows Cloud in a similar situation, though with real bullets this time. While he's at least making himself a moving target, it still boggles the mind as to how he managed to get through that without a single scratch. Either his Mako enhancements had something to do with it, or Shinra Infantry really are that bad of a shot.note 
  • A case of this afflicts Eliphas the Inheritor in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade at the end of the Chaos base assault (although this may be a result of the Warp portal). As his daemonic patron is telling him off, Eliphas flips out and begins firing his plasma pistol, apparently carefully aimed at a spot two feet to the daemon's left.
  • In a subversion, this makes certain enemies in Descent 2 harder than its predecessor. In Descent 1, all the enemies fire right at you, which means you can dodge their shots (which is difficult but still possible with homing missiles). In Descent 2, certain enemy robots simply spread a lot of bullets in your general direction, which means that even if you evade there's still something heading for you.
  • In Dune II, House Harkonnen's ultimate palace weapon was a long-range missile that could easily wipe out a decent chunk of a base. It was also so horrendously inaccurate that targeting dead center would, in all likelihood, hit an area that wasn't even on the screen (assuming you don't move the camera after firing). This is totally unacceptable considering it's a fucking missile, the kind of thing that is supposed to have computer guidance. You would think they have a pair of drunks in the control room trying to eyeball it. You had to either aim away from your target, or build more than one because the game didn't limit you, and Carpet Bomb the whole enemy town.
    • This actually works for you in the final level, where the enemy can (assuming you don't play Harkonen) have two such structures pitching missiles. If they were properly accurate, the mission would be unwinnable. As well, this is Dune - computers are forbidden on the pain of your planet getting nuked.
  • Empire: Total War is set in the 18th century and therefore features relatively inaccurate muskets and cannons. To offset this, commanders deploy their troops in large blocks of massed line infantry who fire at their enemies in volleys.
  • Played straight in Fallout 3, where assault rifles spray wildly, submachine guns even more so, and even sniper shots in VATS frequently go wide from their target, especially on lower experience levels, after which you may gain Improbable Aiming Skills. The inaccuracy is much worse with shotguns, even the Double-Barreled Shotgun from Point Lookout. You can even miss at point-blank range in rare cases. Worse, in Fallout 4, miss shots will sometimes pass through the target.
  • In Far Cry, this is why selective fire weapons such as the M4 are best used in semi-auto mode at long range.
  • Full Spectrum Warrior uses the suppressive fire tactical variation, given its roots as a military simulation. The game often required you to order your soldiers (individually, or as an entire four-man squad) to lay down suppressive fire on any enemies in a given direction in order to advance; any enemies in that direction will be forced to remain behind cover and will not return fire while being suppressed. While suppressive fire might, on rare occasions, score a hit on an enemy, this was typically so your other soldiers could safely advance, flank, and shoot the enemy with a more precise volley without being shot at themselves. This was counter-balanced by the fact that suppressive fire burned your ammo quickly, and you could only resupply at specific points on the map.
    • In contrast, you can also order your soldiers (again, individuals or entire squads) to engage in much more accurate point fire, which would typically kill any enemy that isn't behind cover.
  • Tactical Dolls armed with Machine Guns and Submachine Guns in Girls' Frontline fire in full auto. All the time. No exceptions. It's no coincidence that their accuracy is among the worst in the game, compounded by the fact that some of them don't even try to aim down the sights. Compare with Assault Rifle T-Dolls, who fire with measured three-round bursts, resulting in much higher accuracy. It's possible to avert this by giving them red dot sights and adding accuracy-boosting T-Dolls to the echelon, though for most SMGs, maximizing accuracy contradicts their role as evasion tanks.
  • In The Godfather game, your accuracy will go to hell quickly if you try to fire sustained bursts. This is probably the key reason why tommyguns are Awesome, but Impractical in this game. It also reflects the intended usage of the gun types: the long arms are meant to be assault weapons for going centre-of-mass, as opposed to the handguns which are generally meant for staying behind cover and popping heads with.
  • Halo:
    • The Assault Rifle, particularly its original incarnation. That said, when it was re-introduced in Halo 3, it became considerably more accurate. While Halo: Reach further improved its accuracy even more, it also added the so-called "bloom" mechanic; weapons quickly become rather inaccurate if you keep spraying instead of using controlled bursts. While bloom indeed has a negative effect on spraying, the AR's massive bullet magnetism (a function of the game's aim assist that directs bullets towards the target if your aim is off) made players who preferred single-shot and burst-fire weapons loathe the AR. This short video demonstrates exactly why the AR was loathed that muchExplanation . Subsequent games have managed to fine-tune the AR's accuracy while simultaneously toning down on its bullet magnetism.
    • The Submachine Gun originated as the Assault Rifle's Halo 2 replacement and managed to be even more inaccurate, since the barrel would climb if you fired it on full-auto (even more if you were firing two of them at once, which was especially bad since it was designed to be used two at once and thus pretty terrible on its own). However, it eventually evolved into a semi-precision weapon; Halo 3: ODST's version was actually the first automatic weapon in the series to come with a scope!
    • The Scorpion in Combat Evolved had a ridiculously large reticle, meaning that the co-axial machine gun was ludicrously inaccurate even at medium range. Depending on the game, even the main cannon had a ridiculously wide spread for what it did.
    • Depending on the game, the Needler may have trouble hitting non-close-range targets despite its homing capabilities, due to how relatively slow its projectiles travel.
  • Knights of the Old Republic uses a modified version of the Star Wars d20 rules, except when you fire a blaster your character will let off three bolts for every unmodified attack roll, which means that at best you will hit with one in three shots.
  • The Assault Rifle in Marathon, with it being handwaved as a "manufacturing defect" in the ammo.
  • The MG-42 gunners in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault fire aimlessly for several seconds before actually hitting you, at which point they kill you almost instantly. Averted with the other games. Conversely, Nazis wielding MP 40's have improbable accuracy even when blind-firing, while you're reduced to spray & pray or using it at close range.
  • One of the main gameplay mechanics behind PAYDAY 2 is that weapons have stats determining how accurate they are (how close to the center of the screen the bullets land) and how stable they are (how much recoil causes them to pull upwards). Attachments can be added as well to modify their stats, but for the most part, increasing one stat means decreasing another, meaning that to make a gun stable under automatic fire, or heavily concealable for stealth, the player will almost always have to sacrifice any semblance of accuracy; failing that, focusing on high accuracy will usually impact the stability, requiring slow and careful shot placement because the weapon will pull up a noticeable amount with each bullet fired, especially in full-auto. The fire-mode-locking mods exemplify this further, with the one to lock a weapon in semi-automatic increasing accuracy while decreasing stability, and the one that locks one in full-auto doing the opposite.
  • In Perfect Dark Zero, both the player and enemies exhibit this trope when spraying with automatics other than mounted turret guns. Even the bosses, such as Mai Hem.
  • The submachine gun in Quake II has recoil-induced muzzle climb (one of the first in a shooter to have such), forcing you to fire in bursts and "walk the burst" (aim lower than where you want your shots to hit).
  • In the Rainbow Six series, most of the player's submachine guns (other than the standard MP5) fire with the accuracy of a blind epileptic. Even the normally deadly-accurate tangos occasionally exhibit Stormtrooper marksmanship. The Vegas series allows you and the enemy to blind-fire weapons from behind cover, which, while it has protection advantages compared to popping out of cover to aim, is horrifically inaccurate and only really useful when enemies are close enough that they would instantly kill you if you popped out to aim - the only two reasons you really have for doing so are to either suppress enemies (best done with a light machine gun) or to try and get CQB points to unlock new weapons.
  • In Return of the Obra Dinn, four seamen participated in the execution of Formosan passenger Hok-Seng Lau by firing squad for the murder that Second Mate Edward Nichols actually committed. Played straight when three of them missed but averted when Seaman Henry Brennan managed to fire a gunshot that hit Lau... and was therefore labeled as a murderer. Surprisingly, of the other three who missed their mark and are not labeled as murderers, only John Naples (himself a murder victim) is rewarded for his valiant efforts, while Patrick O'Hagan and Aleksei Toporov are fined for other crimes such as kidnapping and attempted desertion.
  • Intentionally invoked in Shadow the Hedgehog. The two fighting forces you find on each level will shoot at each other, but none of them will hit anything. Of course, the second they turn their guns on you...
  • In Soldier of Fortune II, automatic weapons are wildly inaccurate at long range in the player's hands, but not so for the mooks. Ditto for other ID Tech 3 engine games, such as Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. Conversely, in the first game, the enemies, excluding the snipers, tend to suffer from Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy syndrome unless at close range.
  • According to the in-game encyclopedia, Edge Maverick from Star Ocean: The Last Hope suffers from this, which is why he prefers to fight close-range with a sword. It's later revealed that Edge is genetically engineered, with reflexes that are much, much faster than a normal human. The flip side is that Edge's reaction time is so fast, he instinctively aims at the spot where the enemy is going to be instead of where it actually is; hence this trope.
  • Glitched to the point of hilarity in Star Trek: The Video Game. The idea is that if either Kirk or Spock is downed while in battle, they can be supported by their partner to a safer location, and provide some covering fire in the process. Unfortunately, the actual end result is less "lucky shot by the injured victim saves selfless rescuer" drama and more "Beam Spam meets Ragdoll Physics" comedy. The bolts actually start to fire everywhere but where Kirk is aiming in that particular instance. The enemy AI's inability to aim worth a crap only lends itself further to this trope.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The CPU players tend to do this when armed with the Cracker Launcher, simply firing it off at random rather than trying to aim up or down towards anyone else.
  • In Sword of the Stars, kinetics are generally inaccurate compared to energy weapons even at close range. Targeting techs help somewhat.
  • The Syphon Filter goons will never hit you, no matter how many shots they fire as long as the "Danger" meter doesn't get filled. Conversely, certain Elite Mooks will instantly spike the danger meter, especially on Hard difficulty. The player's weapons shoot like a blind man in a hurricane at full-auto and when moving, even with auto-targeting, so it's best to use semi-auto or bursts.
  • Definitely seen in Team Fortress 2 when firing The Heavy's minigun at any target beyond short-medium range. You can kick out an absurd amount of ammo, and watch as maybe a tenth of them hit a target. Can be useful for suppressing a group if they scatter on taking damage, but don't expect to kill anything until you reach short range. Unless you get crits, in which case everyone dies.
  • Similarly to Momo, in the Super Famicom Tenchi Muyo! RPG, Mihoshi is the only character whose attacks can miss — namely, her basic attack is a three-round burst from her gun. She even has an embarrassed reaction when it happens.
  • Played straight in Time Crisis and Crisis Zone with the standard enemies. In Time Crisis, they're all armed with handguns (a world-threatening terrorist organization that gives almost all of its members handguns. Riiiiiiight) and will miss almost every single shot, very rarely firing one that hits the player and often landing them more than two feet away. Crisis Zone has an even worse problem in that they're armed with assault rifles, and yet fully-automatic fire at point blank range has a very low chance of hitting. Averted with some enemies using machine guns in Time Crisis, as well as the shots that will hit the player in Crisis Zone. The Time Crisis games have machine gun-wielding enemies that will miss dozens of shots, but then hit perfectly with dozens more. The same is done in Crisis Zone when the enemies finally get their act together, going from several bursts going over your head to five rounds hitting perfectly in a row. Some boss enemies will never miss their bursts, requiring you to duck until they stop aiming at you. In two-player installments, if only one player is playing, the unused player character will be shown attacking and hiding...yet every shot will miss.
  • All bosses in the Touhou Project series, who are fond of firing more bullets than you can count, many of which are fired in the opposite direction to you; this isn't so much a terrible aim as to force you to dodge in certain areas, but they sure as hell will be causing a lot of collateral damage. Special mention for Cirno and "Icicle Fall -Easy-".
  • Even with maxed-out fire control systems, upgraded radar, and the most advanced guns available, 20% chance to hit is considered excellent for ships in Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts, and if it's any higher than that it means you're fighting at point-blank range and the enemy will have no problem hitting you, either. This is accurate for the time period depicted; it was very difficult to hit one ship from another with any sort of unguided weapon when both ships were moving, maneuvering, pitching, and rolling on the open sea, a problem that wasn't solved until the invention of guided munitions in the 1940s and '50s.
  • This trope could easily be called X-COM Firing, given the terrible accuracy of rookies who go the route of Dakka. Fortunately, the aliens aren't much better at hitting their targets.
    Web Animation 
  • Doom wastes a lot of ammunition on Arenas. Few shots actually hit the opponent.
  • In Lackadaisy, a lot of bullets are spent, on both sides, of a lengthy shootout between the Lackadaisy whiskey runners and the Marigold Hired Guns, particularly from young Freckle's Tommygun mowing down the Marigold car, and Marigold Seraphine's indiscriminate firing of her Browning Automatic Rifle, but nobody seems to hit anyone. Even all the dynamite thrown by Lackadaisy Wild Card Rocky causes nothing but property damage. The only significant injury anyone receives is when Consummate Professional Mordecai grazes Freckle with a ricochet.
  • On a smaller scale, Church in Red vs. Blue. A man who can point his gun at a guard, empty a full magazine from less than three feet away, and still manage to completely miss.
    Church: Uh, hey, can I get a little help, I'm... out of bullets.
    [cue Wash staring at him for a moment, then dropping the guard with a single shot]
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja generally plays this straight for the main characters, but one episode features a subversion. A Batman parody called the Beeman leaps at a trio of bank robbers, who open fire with automatic weapons, killing him. The Alt Text for that comic reads "How many times have frustrated Batman writers typed this out, stared at it for hours, sighed, and then deleted the script?"
  • In Bob and George, Mega Man complains that Roll is moving too much, he can't hit her.
  • Inverted in Homestuck: Caliborn is able to shoot and hit Gamzee repeatedly with his machine gun. It just has very little effect.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent gives us Emil Västerström of the "close eyes, scream, spray and pray — while moving" school of barn-door missing. Mikkel Madsen is not quite as good with the quantity of collateral damage, but he's rather good at hitting his teammates with iron pipes by accident.
  • In Sunset Grill, a gang member who usually hits his target on the second shot is considered a pretty good shot. The author's comment on this highly-spoilery page explains:
    A note on guns: what Darwin (and pretty much the rest of the gangsters here) is carrying is an automatic-fire needle weapon, better known as a gunther or popgun. There are certain advantages to gunthers — they're extremely easy to get ahold of, they're cheap, they're light, they're recoilless, and their design simplicity means you really have to work at breaking one — but these are offset by their utter lack of range, accuracy, or power. Your best bet with a gunther is to wave it in the general direction of a target and pull the trigger a lot. Since this is how most gangsters shoot anyway, gunthers are the street weapon of choice.
    Web Original 
  • Parodied in a Door Monster sketch based on XCOM 2. The soldiers have such poor aim that they actually had 'better luck'' while firing in a blind panic. Of course, firing in blind panic also meant that they were liable to dismiss orders and fire at allies, something their commander found out the hard way.
  • French Baguette Intelligence: Whenever guns are used, they never hit their target, likely due to the videos being adaptations of Discord conversations.
    • In Another Typical French vs English Debate, Fuck Cares attempts to shoot Bowl but misses when he ducks under the desk.
    • Lampshaded in Vegan Cannibalism is the Future, Harry empties the entire cylinder of a revolver at Vegan, but doesn't hit anything.
      Harry: Don't take it personally. With my terrible aim, I could have killed anyone.
  • Parodied by the Game Grumps in part three of their Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek series. Arin and Danny speak to a man who thinks the titular wolf is causing their problems, describing how he inexplicably missed a chance to shoot it. Danny then begins to play it up.
    Man: Yesterday I went looking for it. I tracked it and finally found it, sitting across the creek, not twenty yards away from me, just staring at me. So I raised my rifle, drew a beat, and fired. Easiest shot I've ever taken in my life. And I missed. So I fired gain. And I missed. And then I missed again.
    Dan (in the man's voice): And then i fired again. And then I missed. And then I fired. And then I fired. And I missed. I missed both times. Then I fired. And I missed. this went on for several hours. And then I fired. And then I missed.
  • Kickassia is slightly less extreme, in that at one point one person was hit.
  • Parodied in the New Grounds video Mr. T vs Superman, in which Mr. T pulls an AK-47 out of thin air and despite Superman only being a foot away from him, misses with the entire clip, Mr. T forgetting about this trope, though Superman points that wouldn't have worked anyway. Later we have members of the A-Team shooting at bad guys that believe in this trope, but it's subverted, as the A-Team learned how to aim.
  • Mahu: In "Crownless Eagle", the Commonwealth's main ranged troops (a mixture of regular infantry and militia) only manage to hit a few men after each volley at the start. As technology and training improve though, their aim begins to improve.
  • In Suburban Knights people unload machine guns at each other for several seconds and fire guns at each other from point-blank range without ever hitting. Occasionally sparks indicate that bullets are bouncing off of the swords people are holding, but never hit an inch to the right or left.
  • This proud tradition is upheld in To Boldly Flee, where once again, with a few rare exceptions, the only time anyone gets close to hitting anyone else with standard guns is when the target has a chance to block it. Except when Angry Joe shoots the weapons guy.
    Western Animation 
  • Pretty much the entire cast of Archer is guilty of this, especially Lana and her dual guns, but any time Cyril gets his hand on a rifle this happens. "SUPPRESSING FIIIIIIRRRREEE!"
  • Several episodes of The Boondocks showcased this. It should be noted that at least one Spear Carrier level character has been shot in scenes that would otherwise be pure examples of the trope.
    • Example: Two pissed-off Black guys take semiautomatic guns, point it at each other (one is directly against the cheek, the other directly up the nose) and fire for about three seconds, completely missing.
      • Even when they were looking away while firing in sheer terror, something should have connected, unless they jerked the guns totally out of the way. Of course, it was used to demonstrate the idiocy of pulling out a weapon over nothing, and then unfairness (or prudence?) when a pair of cops plug them despite their having made up.
    • Example two: Ed Wuncler and Gin Rummy with semi-automatic assault rifles versus three Middle Eastern store owners with handheld automatics. None of the gunmen are hit, Huey and Riley took cover and are apparently OK, and the one policeman? He got hit, but he was OK because of his body armor. In fact, he managed to stand up and get shot again - and survived that, too.
    • Another amusing example of this was the Gangstalicious episode, where Riley discovered his hero was not only not gangsta, but also gay. Gangstalicious' jilted ex-lover and his crew tried to execute a naked, tied-up 'Licious, only to empty their guns from six feet away and miss. The Latino banger in the group lamented, "Man... we suck."
      • In the same episode, Gangstalicious and his rival E-Dirt get into an argument in a club. They pull out their guns and... each of them proceeds to accidentally shoot himself.
  • Bullit in C.O.P.S. (Animated Series) fits this to a T, at least according to his toy's Action Figure File Card. He's a gun nut in the extreme, wanted on illegal weapons charges for his love of powerful belt-fed machine guns, but he doesn't have any actual violent crimes on record because he's a really, really crappy shot.
  • The DC Animated Universe version of Batman frequently swung down to kick automatic-weapon-toting enemies, inexplicably not being hit by the massive amounts of lead coming his way. Bullets coming his way seem to vanish into the aether milliseconds before they should rightfully swiss-cheese him.
    • In the comics, the main reason Batman operates at night as well as the massive cape he wears are to cause this trope by having the darkness plus their fear cause the shooters be unable to effectively aim at him, the heavy body armor deals with the few shots that do get through.
    • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja referenced this directly, with more logical results.
    • Gotham Knight has some fun with this, where Bats tries to run straight at Deadshot while the latter is blazing away with a two-barreled automatic Arm Cannon... and connects. Cue Deadshot quipping about how this was the first time he had ever seen anyone try to dodge his bullets by running at them.
  • Generally averted by Exosquad, if only because half the time the energy weapons would be shown blowing up ships and E-frames with no visible survivors.
  • The episode of Family Guy where Peter and friends dressed up as the A-Team lampshaded this, which then turned into something like a deconstruction. When Peter explained to some loggers what they would do to stop them from cutting down some trees, referring to actions from the show such as driving them off a road, causing the logger's vehicle to tumble over only for them to climb out dazed but unharmed, the main logger explained how a friend of his suffered debilitating injuries from a low-speed crash. Actually averted earlier, when a girl's cat is stuck in a tree, what does the team proceed to do? Unleash their full armament on the tree's trunk, eventually whittling it down enough for the tree to topple over. They don't miss a single shot.
  • This trope runs rampant in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The only exception is when shooting at robots or a manned vehicle, wherein the people inside get to escape before the vehicle is destroyed... often making their escape before even coming under fire, let alone the vehicle actually taking any damage.
    • Homestar Runner parodied G.I. Joe in a commercial for the Cheat Commandos. The Commandos and their perpetual enemies, Blue Laser, have their vehicles lined up only a few feet from each other and firing like crazy, but nothing gets hit.
    • Parodied in an episode of Twisted Toyfare Theatre when Spider-Man says "You'd actually hit something if you aimed lower", physically pushes Duke's gun down, resulting in a dead Cobra trooper and everyone staring in shock.
    • Also parodied in Robot Chicken Series 4 where both Duke and Cobra Commander note that their respective "Walls of Honour" don't list a single name (aside from Junkyard the dog who died after eating too much chocolate)
    • But averted in the later Resolute mini-series which not only shows most shots by the Joes hitting their targets, but several Joes — including "kind-and-gentle" Scarlett — killing unaware soldiers in cold blood in order to infiltrate a Cobra base.
    • Parodied in the Community episode, "G.I. Jeff", where Jeff Wingman outright kills Destro during a firefight, instead of just allowing him to perform a Villain: Exit, Stage Left as usual, and gets court-martialed for this act. Jeff tries defending himself in court by pointing out that abstaining from killing Cobra members just means the war will go on forever, lampshading Status Quo Is God, but this just ends up getting him thrown into prison. The Cobras, meanwhile, are in a state of shock since this is the first fatality they sustained in all the years of fighting the Joes. It also causes financial problems for the Cobras since their insurance rates go up and their soldiers now demand hazard pay. It is also inverted when Jeff fires his submachine gun in order to lay some harmless suppressing fire and instead kills a squad of Cobras and accidentally sets Lifeline on fire.
      Cobra Commander: All I want to know is: How did G.I. Joe do this?! We have been shooting at each other and missing for twenty years!
    • Averted in The Venture Bros.' parody of the G.I. Joe opening sequence. Not only are OSI agents shown gunning down SPHINX goons, there's also lots of blood to go around. OSI is also depicted as extremely brutal, with a couple of Kick Them While They Are Down moments like shooting an ejected pilot, multiple agents ganging up on one downed goon and beating him with their rifle stocks, etc.
  • In Kim Possible, neither Shego with her green plasma whatevers nor Duff Killigan and his exploding golf balls appear to do any damage at all ever, except to the background. More because Kim Possible is a cheerleader-ninja with Badass Normal dodging skills. And because it's pretty hard to hit a target-like a person with a golf ball, even exploding ones.
  • Happens very often in Samurai Jack to a point where shooting at Jack is almost like Shooting Superman. He always manages to run faster than the people trying to shoot him can move their arms.
  • Lampshaded in Stroker and Hoop where Hoop explains that he "always aims just slightly above the head" to avoid actually killing someone. This lampshade then leads to a subversion where Hoop manages to actually kill someone despite aiming slightly above their heads.
    • Subverted in another episode where the only time Stroker and Hoop actually manage to shoot someone is when their guns discharge after being dropped.
    • They also shoot Hoop's girlfriend and David Copperfield.
  • Happens a lot in TaleSpin. Everyone uses real guns, and the Sky Pirates especially do a lot of filling planes with bullets, but miraculously no one ever gets shot, though there are a lot of dramatic near misses.
  • For all that they're programmed and trained war robots who've been through millennia of combat, the Transformers seem to have an awfully hard time hitting anything; particularly the Decepticons, especially considering that not only are they the military bots and should have the better hardware and accuracy but also that their leader (Megatron) transformed into a gun himself. Granted, they're a bit better than the cast of G.I. Joe in that they can actually aim at all, but still.
    • Check out this fan video to see a glorious Lampshade Hanging on the use of the trope in Transformers. It uses nearly every single clip of Shockwave firing his laser at the Autobots.
    • In the latter half of the G1 two-parter "Dinobot Island", the Decepticons not only succeed in hitting the Autobots but essentially pin them all to the ground with a sustained round of gunfire. Apparently they just had their guns set to "tickle fight"... at least, until the movie.
    • During the aforementioned movie, the Decepticons succeed in overrunning an Autobot ship filled with cast members from the previous series and are able to land dead-shot bulls-eyes on their opponents in what seems like mere seconds. Given that there are 20 years between the previous season of the cartoon and the movie, this would logically seem to suggest that after millions of years of war on their home planet... it took landing on a foreign planet to learn how to aim.
    • This has been somewhat improved upon in recent years over the varying versions of the franchise, often through using robot parts. Transformers: Energon, though, had copious amounts of laser-dakka getting sprayed all over the place to no effect.
    • Subverted in Beast Wars: Rhinox was so obviously aiming high that even the other Maximals (who are at best very very guilty of this) could spot he was aiming high, whereupon the delicate application of dakka caused a significant chunk of cliff dropped on the Predacons' heads.
    Real Life 
  • The (in)famous Hawthorne Inn Shootout, which occurred in the Chicago suburb of Cicero in 1926. Al Capone's greatest rival, Dion O'Banion, sent a motorcade full of gunmen to directly assault Capone's headquarters, a big, fancy, hotel. In all, over 1,000 shots were fired but no gangsters died at all (in fact, the only casualty turned out to be an innocent bystander). However, the hotel's restaurant area was pretty much annihilated.
  • Pretty much embodies battlefield tactics from the 17th century to the mid-19th century. The average infantryman of the period had a muzzle-loading musket that was troublesome and slow to reload, as well as literally being unable to hit the broad side of a barn at 200 yards (the average effective range of a smooth-bore long gun shooting at a man-sized target was about 100 yards). Most muskets were made with sights little more than a little bit of metal at the end of the barrel, the remainder without any at all. Instead of the popular "ready, aim, fire", "aim" was replaced by another word along the lines of "point your gun in a general direction" or omitted altogether. Rather than rely on any sort of individual marksmanship, massed fire was relied on to overcome these inherent disadvantages, and so a soldier was incessantly drilled and trained like an automaton to fire as fast as the man next to him.
    • Any attempt at accuracy was further botched by the enormous amounts of smoke black gunpowder would produce. After more than a few volleys of men doing this, the battlefield was shrouded in gray-black smoke.
    • The number one source of casualties in the musket era was from artillery fire, especially when artillery were used as giant shotguns firing canister or grapeshot.
    • This trope was inverted during The American Civil War, where newer rifles actually tended to hit what they were pointed at, with disastrous consequences. This was the result of infantry weaponry recently becoming more advanced and deadly, but the doctrine of their use was still based around that of massed volleys of musket fire. Whoever shot first tended to inflict more casualties, assuming all equipment was well maintained.
      • The reason for the rather unsophisticated (even for the time) tactics employed in the Civil War was that the armies consisted almost entirely of raw conscripts. Normally an army during that period would consist of mostly thoroughly-drilled line infantry, lots of cavalry, and very effective artillery. Furthermore, the chief mode of employment for line infantry would be to fire one massed volley at the enemy and then charge with bayonets. The point was not to spend much time under the enemy's fire. Because generals on both sides had mostly infantry of at best suspect quality at their disposal (and the low quality and experience of the officers themselves made any coherent movement on the battlefield difficult) this kind of charge was pretty much out of the question; most times it was tried, it ended in complete disaster for the attacker, e.g. Pickett's infamous charge at Gettysburg. So with really no other options, generals in the war were forced to just line their troops up right in the opposing side's fire and hope their own men outlasted the enemy. European officers embedded with the American forces were appalled by what they saw, but there was very little practical advice they could give with the limited resources available.
  • This was actually an accepted strategy for naval gunnery for the half-century from the first armored warships in the late 1850s until after the construction of the Dreadnought in 1906. Simply put, despite improvements in guns and propellants that allowed warships to shoot farther than in the days of Wooden Ships and Iron Men, there was no way of guaranteeing that you could actually hit anything at ranges much beyond a mile or so. The initial solution was to fit large numbers of small but relatively quick-firing guns to supplement the handful of BFGs carried as the main armament, because the more shells were in the air, the more likely it was that some of them would hit the target. Ranging shots had to be fired first, and these were expected to miss enemy ships almost all the time. After the ranging shots were fired, the fire-control director would order the gunners to set their sights and gear to match a calculated range and relative heading of the target. If the target and/or the attacking ship changed course and/or speed, ranging had to be redone. This process was rendered moot by radar-assisted gun-laying.
  • Supposedly what separated First World soldiers from Third World enemies... although this has been unfortunately averted, and not simply by heavy volumes of fire that by chance happen to hit.
    • Untrained militia in Islamic countries use spray and pray techniques. A lot.
    • Third World fighters will also be stuck by the "boomstick" effect, assuming that something that puts out more bullets faster than something else can will naturally kill anything without additional skilled input from the user.note 
    • As a product of studies conducted since WWII, which revealed either the "reluctance" or "lack of skill" plus "shooting-under-stress" factors cited above, modern training practices for professional militaries now train weapon-handling drills into soldiers' rote-memory as a matter of course... though even with knowledge of proper aiming techniques, marksmanship standards do tend to suffer in nominal peacetime, when bureaucracy and cost-cutting measures often mean troops aren't allowed enough live ammunition or range-time to establish/maintain proficiency.
    • Most First World armies now emphasize fire-and-maneuver and copious use of suppression fire. The reason a large portion of gunfire doesn't impact the enemy is that it's not meant to impact the enemy but to force them to duck and cover to allow somebody to go around and fire into them at close range. The other option is to force the enemy to stay still until something bigger comes onto the scene (artillery barrages, vehicular assault, or air strikes).
  • This was the subject of a Ron White anecdote. He saw a shootout on CNN where an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer and a deputy sheriff fired on a pair of men hiding behind a Suburban. After the shootout was over, neither still hadn't been shot. In fact, not even the Suburban got hit.
  • During The Troubles in Northern Ireland, military intelligence agents and plainclothes police once got into a shootout due to mistaken identity. Over 100 rounds were fired, and no one was hit.
  • The NYPD is quite infamous for its poor overall marksmanship, hitting what they shoot at less than a third of the time, over all ranges. The closer the range, the more accurate they are, but even then accuracy is abysmal.
    • Notably, this incident where two officers fired at a lone gunman saw 9 people wounded by the officers. Thankfully none of the gunfire from the police killed anyone but the gunman.
    • Police forces in general tend to lag far behind military or militarized organizations in this: police are generally meant to do mundane things like direct traffic and ticket people that (usually) do not involve ballistic exercises. Police firearm doctrine absolutely dictates firing at center-of-mass until the person is no longer a threat, with the understanding that this is often coincident with the person's death or mortal wounding. Their typical poor marksmanship has a lot to do with the different conditions in which they're using their firearms - soldiers typically have rifles in their hands and ready to fire at all times, and rarely have a conversation with a person who inexplicably pulls a gun and starts shooting - and the understanding that their marksmanship is poor and their best chance is to focus on volume of fire rather than well-aimed shots.
      • Accuracy in any firefight is abysmal. Also, they don't train with their firearms as much as a front-line unit would, which can be reasonably expected to be practicing, either in a simulation (EST systems are good for this) or with live ammunition on a more regular basis. The police are still far more accurate than most perpetrators, though.
    • Another factor is that most police officers use pistols which are not the most accurate weapons in the world, comparatively speaking (a modern 9mm pistol is only good to about 50 meters, while most assault rifles used by modern militaries can reach 500 to 600). In addition, police officers tend to use ammo with poor penetration power (to prevent bullets from passing through a target and into something behind like civilians) and relatedly trained to be concerned with what's behind their intended target (to prevent missed shots from hitting something behind their target like civilians). And lastly, police officers are also trained to try and talk people down from dangerous situations first with gunplay as a last resort or defensive option (for themselves or others) - even SWAT teams, typically much more heavily-armed and armored than the regular police and sent in when the perpetrators are highly dangerous, will prefer to subdue and arrest rather than kill.
  • There are three main reasons for poor accuracy in a high-stress environment: First, the instinctive reluctance of most people to use lethal force. Second, the stress itself ensures that you aren't steady while firing. And finally, recoil alone kills accuracy. As a note, Heinlein's factors to thousands of rounds to kill a single man are from studies done during the Second World War.
    • The training methods used by First World military forces to train accuracy involves a number of factors to improve accuracy.
      • First, instead of standard targets (i.e. precision bullseyes), targets such as the US Armed Forces E-Type silhouette are used. This trains soldiers to fire at human-shaped targets. It also trains them to aim for center mass, increasing the likelihood to hit the target.
      • Second, rewards for good performance on the range ranging from shinies to add to the uniform (or keeping the shinies, like marksmanship medals), to added pay (old method, still used for specialized marksmen such as snipers in some cases), to unofficial rewards such as a three- or four-day pass.
      • Third, training to react to fire: You get shot at, you return fire if you can see the enemy (or know where the enemy actually is). This training method alone raised the firing rates to up to 95% in Vietnam.note 
      • Fourth, training in "accurate" un-aimed fire, or SRM. This is basically snap the weapon up, double-tap, snap it down. Ranges vary from service to service but are designed to build the habit of bringing the weapon up and already having it aimed more or less towards center mass, without the aiming part.
      • The final part is the stress shoot. Using physical activity, and possibly other factors, such as explosive simulators (which can be loud for the Artillery sims), to force the heart rate up and shoot accuracy to hell. It is also timed, and you are graded on accuracy and speed.
  • In his book on the Congo rebellion, mercenary commander Mike Hoare defined "reconnaissance by fire" as "firing wildly at everything in sight to see what's not there" — however he does note one incident where failure to use this technique led to his men driving into an ambush.
  • The North Hollywood Shootout in 1997 was considered the greatest shootout in Californian history between the police and two heavily armed and armored bank robbers, with thousands of rounds shot during a 44-minute period. Although about a dozen people were injured, NOBODY was killed except for the two robbers, one of them actually committing suicide after he was shot and surrounded, though he reportedly received a potentially fatal hit at the same time he shot himself.
    • Contrast this with the 1986 FBI Miami shootout, with less than a hundred rounds fired by the robbers and the agents combined, which saw both robbers dead as well as two agents, plus all but one of the agents wounded to some degree. The perps, Michael Platt and William Matix, were ex-military, unlike the simple range enthusiasts that Larry Phillips Jr. and Emil Mătăsăreanu were, and were actually using the tactics they learned from their service instead of spraying and praying like the former two did note . The agents for their part were also hitting their targets, but a number of factors didn't stop the fight right away.
  • The American M2 Carbine (a full-auto-capable version of the World War II-era M1 Carbine) was still a standard-issue weapon during the Korean War. Soldiers who used it were suddenly very critical about a supposed lack of stopping power - in reality, most soldiers were simply missing with the majority of their shots, firing in full-auto beyond the weapon's effective rangenote .
  • In the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War, the American fleet fired some four to six-thousand shells at the (mostly stationary) enemy ships, and only about eighty to 141 (estimates vary) of them actually hit their targets, due to a lack of training and effective fire-control. However, it was no less of a Curb-Stomp Battle and the Spanish lost. To the American fleet's credit, when the Spanish flagship note  attempted to ram Commodore Dewey's own flagship, it was quickly shot to pieces.
  • "Project SALVO", a U.S. government research program that eventually led to the adoption of the M16 assault rifle, encouraged this. Analyzing thousands of battle reports from the Second World War, the researchers determined that traditional marksmanship training was of little use in maneuver warfare, that the chance of being hit by small arms fire in combat was essentially random, and that the single largest predictor of success in a firefight was the number of rounds fired. Due in large part to the troubled history of the M16, the Project SALVO report is highly contentious, with many claiming it was falsified or based on faulty data, and many others claiming it was accurate, but suppressed due to the ground forces' heavy emphasis on the rifle range. The rifle it spawned would lose its full-auto capability and gradually increase over time both weight and effective range.
  • The United Federated Forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a left-wing militant organization had their hideout come under attack by Los Angeles police on May 17th, 1974. The shootout that ensured remains one of the largest in U.S. history with roughly 4,000 shots fired by the SLA and 5,000 by the police...and even more impressively, absolutely no one was harmed by the SLA's gunfire or homemade grenades at all.
  • In the course of a documentary, Jeremy Clarkson opened up on a (stationary, unoccupied) van from a couple of yards away with an AK-47 (or something that looked like one) and didn't hit it once. He would have done more damage if he had just flung the gun at it.
  • On September 23, 1989, in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington, resident Bill Foulk, a U.S. Army Ranger Staff Sergeant, was having a cookout with several of his friends (also Army Rangers) and their families. He and his party were attacked by local drug dealers in retaliation for Foulk's attempts to organize neighborhood watch and protection programs, which included videotaping of a nearby "crack house". In a gun battle lasting more than 10 minutes, over 300 rounds were reported to have been fired from semiautomatic pistols, rifles, and shotguns; without a single injury resulting on either side. Foulk's party was not prosecuted for their participation in the shooting, as city officials deemed it a clear case of self-defense. Their commanding officer was less forgiving, however, and ordered them to spend several months of extended time on the firing range for failing to hit their targets.
  • Televangelist John Hagee will happily retell an incident, caught on camera, where a gunman from a "successful counselling session" stormed his church during a live broadcast, pointed a gun at Hagee, and demanded he get on his hands and knees and pray to Satan while denying the existence of God (which is ridiculous, since the official Church of Satan acknowledges that God created Satan). When Hagee refused, the gunman opened fire, and caused considerable property damage but failed to hit Hagee. Upon running out of ammunition, the gunman dropped his weapon and fled, right into waiting police officers, responding to the incident. Police forensics checking the footage and doing ray-tracing analysis concluded that Hagee should have been hit, repeatedly, and possibly killed. Hagee insists divine intervention for the fact that he was not.
  • John Foley, a British tank commander in WW2, related in Mailed Fist how he was graded "marksman" with the Webley pistol, and that his men frequently cleaned up on bets on his winning shooting contests on the ranges. But in the aftermath of his tank being destroyed in Normandy, he was leading the remnant of his crew back to British lines when he encountered a group of German soldiers trying to emplace a machine gun. In the heat of battle, he shot at the Germans from barely six feet away - and missed by miles. The Germans did abandon the machine gun and run for it, which, given the circumstances (angry Englishmen in their faces), was a rational course of action.
  • The M247 Sergeant York self-propelled anti-aircraft gun is infamous for its habit of only being able to hit things it wasn't intentionally targeting. Even when presented with a target floating stationary at point-blank range or drones with radar reflectors on themnote , it still managed to miss. This is likely because of issues with the electronic hardware (including the targeting computer and its radar interface) not being moisture-resistant and having been adapted from the hardware used in the F-16 fighter. The resulting scandal that came out of the military establishment not performing effective research caused the Army to scrap the M247 altogether. The Bofors 40mm L/70 autocannon is known to be highly accurate and is widely used for other nations' anti-aircraft batteries. But those other systems that use the gun actually have functional targeting control radars and computers. The irony of it being named after someone who received the Medal of Honor when he killed 17 enemy soldiers with 17 shots is not lost on anyone.
  • The Villar Perosa M15 was a WW1 Italian submachine gun. It had two barrels meant for use as a light flak gun when fired from a static mount. A mobile infantry version was created with a largely useless bipod and few other changes to make it usable by soldiers on the ground. Each barrel fired independently of the other, and the only sight was a small hole. When shot, particularly when both barrels were fired at the same time, the gun would bounce all over the place, rendering the sight useless and making it virtually impossible to aim. This would be rectified by the dedicated tripod, but this rendered the gun immobile.
  • The Lee-Metford Mk I rifle, when updated to Mk I* standard to accommodate the new cordite-powered cartridges in service with the British Army, was found to miss targets a lot owing to the practices of the era. The iron sights were forged and marked to match hypothetical bullet trajectories without any live-fire testing being done at all.
  • Happens quite a lot with poorer countries and, even more commonly, non-state militants. Setting up firing ranges, giving soldiers practice rounds, and dealing with the added cost of gun maintenance all cost money that isn't readily available. Insurgents not only have to deal with these issues but also with the fact practice firing is noisy and even rudimentary training bases make tempting targets for enemy strike aircraft. Many of these fighters are only given a quick lesson about how their guns work and how to properly aim without firing rounds, which, combined with often poorly maintained and improperly sighted guns, leads to wildly inaccurate fire.
  • Range is an issue. Characters in movies generally shoot at each other from close range, so you can see everyone's face and things feel appropriately dramatic. In real war, it's much more common to shoot at far-away enemies whom you can barely see, which of course reduces your accuracy.
  • It's no surprise that most shots fired from machine guns (or auto-cannons) at moving aircraft (unless one counts airships and hovering helicopters) tend to miss, as gravity and weather conditions mess with ballistic trajectories. And, of course, the target is moving. There is a good reason why anti-aircraft mounts have ring sights.
  • French anarchist Émile Cottin tried to assassinate the prime minister of France, Georges Clemenceau, on 19 February 1919 by firing on him when he was leaving his house. Despite firing seven shots at point-blank range, Cottin only hit with one shot (and that bullet missed all vital organs, so Clemenceau survived). Clemenceau would later joke about Cottin's bad marksmanship, suggesting that Cottin should be forced to take shooting lessons in prison.
    Georges Clemenceau: We have just won the most terrible war in history, yet here is a Frenchman who misses his target 6 out of 7 times at point-blank range. Of course this fellow must be punished for the careless use of a dangerous weapon and for poor marksmanship. I suggest that he be locked up for eight years, with intensive training in a shooting gallery.

Alternative Title(s): Spray And Pray


Vegan Cannibalism

Harry empties an entire cylinder without hitting anything.

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