Follow TV Tropes


Bullethole Door

Go To

In movies and television, it is possible to shoot around somebody's feet, or in a door shape at a wall, and create a method of escape.

Unfortunately, as MythBusters has proven, it requires many, many bullets and a lot of time to do this. With a BFG like a Vulcan gun or large-caliber machine gun, it might be faster; but more likely than not, applying that much stress to the wall would simply collapse it. After all, you're basically trying to saw through the floor (or wall), a task guns weren't exactly designed for.

See also Shoot Out the Lock and There Was a Door. Contrast Concealment Equals Cover, where bullets can't go through anything the shooter can't see through at all. See also Impact Silhouette for when one creates an opening physically.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Wei in Darker than Black uses his power to breach walls as needed, and once cuts a "trapdoor" in the floor under himself. Also, one Contractor operative in Shikkoku no Hana.
  • Scar in Fullmetal Alchemist uses his destruction alchemy to make holes in walls and asphalt as both a means of surprise attack and fast retreat.
  • During the Alabasta arc in One Piece, Miss Doublefinger uses her spike-growing ability to punch a hole in the wall separating her from her target.
  • Not a method of escape, but of infiltration: In Sonic X, Tails creates a perforated circle on the side of Dr. Eggman's headquarters, which Sonic "punches out" with a spindash. Perfect!
  • In Sound of the Sky, in order to escape a building, the girls use their huge Spider Tank cannon to blow an opening in its wall... taking down the whole building with it.
  • Trigun's Vash the Stampede uses his newly acquired arm machinegun to shoot through many floors of a starship to get at the bottom one. It works, but he ends up standing atop a tall pile of disc-shaped pieces of floor.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Lilo & Stitch, Jumba uses a "shoot-through-the-ceiling" variety, causing the large chunk of ceiling that Stitch was standing on to fall. He uses thrown dinner plates to make the holes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman (1989), the Batmobile uses its machine guns to enter the Axis Chemicals building. Somewhat more realistically, it doesn't cut out an outline or hole so much as shoot out the lower part of the door high enough to drive through.
  • Dog Soldiers in the final stand at the farmhouse, Wells and Cooper get into a wardrobe and shoot out the floor with a submachine gun after one of the werewolves starts shaking the wardrobe. "Open your mouth, watch the ears and mind your toes."
  • Dredd has a downplayed and justified example. Dredd blows a hole in a wall by firing at it. It's only a single shot, but he's using a Hi-Ex round.
  • Snake Plissken carves a hole in the wall with a machine gun as part of his Escape from New York.
  • In The Fifth Element, Ruby Rhod gets an oval floor exit from Korben Dallas and the opportunity to ride the piece down one level.
  • James Bond series:
    • Licence to Kill: Pam Bouvier (the Bond Girl of the week) fires a shotgun at a wall and creates a perfectly round hole to escape through, rather than just pock-marking it with a shot. Must be a mighty thin wall.
    • Skyfall, near the climax Bond is caught by the Big Bad Silva with another mook armed with a submachine gun atop a frozen lake. Silva is a decent distance away and has a gun pointed at Bond ready to kill him, so Bond quickly spins and grabs the mook's hands, forcing him to fire in a circle around them at the ice to weaken it enough so that their combined weight causes it to break and for the two of them to drop down into the cold water. Silva lets out a sigh and decides to move on, as while Bond has been a major obstacle he is not the main target of his ire — that would be M.
  • Jason X has a scene where Kay-Em uses dual automatic pistols to blast a rough outline around Jason in the wall behind them, then kicks him through it. At least, in this case, Kay-Em is superhumanly strong and Jason has to weigh a lot more than an average human.
  • The film version of Judge Dredd did this when Dredd enters the first room to take out the first group of baddies in a block war.
  • In The Long Kiss Goodnight, Charley Baltimore (Geena Davis) uses a submachine gun to shoot out a window to use to escape a bomb, then on the way down to the frozen lake below she uses it again (without reloading, naturally) to weaken the ice enough that she and Samuel L. Jackson's character don't kill themselves by getting splattered all over the ice when they hit it. Not that falling three floors into the water is much more enjoyable, but that's another trope.
  • Nemesis did the floor variety about a decade before Underworld (2003) did, and much more crazily, too, as Alex shoots his way through several floors at once, screaming as he plunges. It was probably one of Albert Pyun's most ambitious effect shots in his career.
    • Nemesis also has a pair of machine gun-toting goons shooting actual human outlines, Impact Silhouette style, to go through a wall.
  • Resident Evil: Retribution has two examples, one with Ada shooting a hole in the floor to escape a bomb and another with Alice shooting the ice out from under Rain's feet, causing a doorway to the monsters' layer below.
  • In RoboCop 3 the main character makes a bad habit of this. In his first action scene, he feels the need to shoot out a section of the roof of his car and punch a hole through it rather than open the door. Later on, he, a cyborg weighing hundreds of kilograms and who has repeatedly proven himself able to smash through walls with no damage, wants to enter the hotel room of a baddie. Instead of smashing right through the flimsy wooden door, he wastes dozens of bullets (all without reloading) in shooting out his silhouette in the door, through which he then enters the room.
  • As the heroes try to escape from a pursuing helicopter in Sahara (2005), they use an assault rifle to perforate an ancient rock wall so that their car can break through.
  • Ban does this in the Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger movie. When the villain starts a pretty impressive barrage even for that series, he fires at the ground in slow-motion and escapes through the hole - then jumps back up, returning fire, the first chance he gets.
  • Ultraviolet (2006) has a variation with an actual door: Violet uses a machine gun to shoot the hinges off a car door, and upon crashing the car into a subway entrance causes the door to go flying off.
  • Underworld (2003) uses the "floor" variety.
    • It was used as the example in Mythbusters. The movie used two 9 mm guns with one magazine each to escape; Mythbusters couldn't do it with over 350 9mm rounds fired by a MP5 submachine gun, even after using a 12 gauge shotgun to weaken structural support timbers. (After two guys worked on it for half an hour, including a great deal of stomping on the weakened section of floor, they broke through.)
    • Selene does it again with the bottom of a rapidly descending elevator in Underworld: Awakening. Subverted, it doesn't work. The elevator lands on her, but the bullets made the floor weak enough (and she's tough enough) that it doesn't particularly bother her.
  • Buzzsaw variation and subversion in Van Helsing. Van Helsing is trapped in a heavy bell and uses his buzzsaws to cut a hole in the floor. When Hyde lifts the bell to investigate the noise and sees the hole (which is too small for Van Helsing to pass through), it turns out that it was Van Helsing's plan to get Hyde to free him by hiding in the top of the bell.
  • Chris Vaughn (Dwayne Johnson) does the floor variant in Walking Tall (2004), blasting several times with a shotgun, then kicking the floor out.

  • In American Tabloid by James Ellroy, one character uses a shotgun to remove a small safe from an internal wall. He wears ear protectors and goggles.
  • Lensman Kim Kinnison does this in order to defeat enemies and enter a ship's control room in Children of the Lens, but he brings two heavy laser cannons and an exceedingly powerful machine-gun to the fight, and the scene realistically has him worrying about whether he'll drill through in time.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain Warhammer 40,000 novels, Jurgen's melta is often put to use to create these. Of course, since the melta was originally intended to penetrate tank armor, this makes a fair bit of sense.
    • In Duty Calls, a rogue Inquisitor makes his escape by blowing a hole in the floor. But not only was he using a plasma pistol, but he also fired at a hidden trapdoor, so it's doubly-justified.
  • Detritus uses the Piecemaker to do this in some Discworld novels (generally removing the door entirely rather than opening it). Since the Piecemaker is a modified siege crossbow, it's plausible.
  • In the original novel of Goldfinger, Ian Fleming has the villain planning to blast open the vault door of Fort Knox with a stolen tactical nuclear weapon! (In the movie they are trying to make the gold radioactive and thus unusable, instead of stealing it.)
  • In a magical variant from The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, the Norse god Thor uses his flying hammer to bash through a floor to which he's been superglued by Odin's lackey. It smashes its way up and down through the floorboards until he can walk away unharmed, albeit with wooden splinters coating his limbs and back.
  • Subverted in Phule's Paradise: Despite gunfire leaving many holes in the wall, somebody has to open the door from the inside.
  • In Snow Crash, Hiro carves huge holes in the side of a well-armored aircraft carrier using a nuclear-powered, Gatling-style, hypervelocity railgun. The weapon is named Reason because "everyone listens to Reason."

    Live-Action TV 
  • CSI: NY featured a group of robbers breaking into the lab vault in this way. Done slightly more realistically than most of the examples on this page, involving a .50BMG sniper rifle (i.e. a BFG) and taking most of the episode.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Doctor Dances" and "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" respectively, Captain Jack and River Song make doors with a sonic blaster (also called a "squareness gun") that can remove sections of wall and replace them with ease. This drains the batteries heavily, though.
  • Nemesis does this with arrows in an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
  • Done too, in all things, an episode of House (it makes sense in context). Though rather than using a gun, they use something similar to the Real-Life example below - a flat slab of directed explosives on wheels.
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: In the superhero episode, Mr. Potato Head's "Spudman" character uses Eye Beams to create a door to enter the Big Bad's lair.
  • In an episode of Stargate Atlantis, Larrin uses an energy gun much like Ronon's (in fact, her people is where it came from) to melt a door through a wall in an Atlantean ship. She has to burn most of the gun's power supply to do it, though, and it takes her a fair amount of time to pull off.

    Video Games 
  • In the game Battlefield: Bad Company it is possible to break walls down by shooting them, but this takes most of the player's ammo supply unless he uses explosives or a drill.
  • Bayonetta shoots a heart-shaped one when Luka and Cereza are trying to reach Isla del Sol after one of the security gates has just been shut.
  • BLACK, if you wasted enough bullets. Which, of course, is the whole point of the game.
  • In the game Cortex Command shooting at doors with weapons may break them granting entry to a base.
  • Technically doable with the destructible walls in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, although it takes a huge amount of ammunition and time as well as being very likely to alert any nearby guards, while Adam can get an augmentation that lets him punch straight through instead.
    • Explosions are very effective at wall-breaking, but generally, the only explosives that wouldn't be wasted breaking down a single wall are revolver rounds with the exploding ammo upgrade and possibly a frag grenade/mine. The aug is still arguably better because it will point out to you hidden, breakable parts of walls.
    • Curiously, you can also destroy doors with guns and explosives, but not with the wall-punching aug.
  • The second-tier archery skill in Disgaea 4 shoots a hole out from under the enemy this way. That's right, an archery skill.
  • This is the only way to open most doors in the Metroid series and you need different weapons for different colored doors. However, the blast usually just deactivates the color-coded force field and opens the door normally, rather than damaging it.
  • The boss Puppet from Odium introduces himself this way in a cinematic, by suddenly blasting his way out of a wall with a healthy dose of More Dakka. (And then, during the actual battle, he just stands there and doesn't move.)
  • Rainbow Six Siege is a game based around manipulating the highly destructible environment of maps to gain entry and advantageous angles over opponents. Every firearm can easily blast massive holes in soft surfaces like planks, plywood, and drywall, but the wooden supports inside can only be destroyed efficiently by shotguns, explosives, and mechanical gadgets to allow movement through them.
  • Taken to extremes in Red Faction. If it's not made of unbreakable metal (most things aren't), you can blow holes in it. Works for blowing a passage in a wall, but also for carving tunnels in rock and moving through entire areas of a level.
    • Gets especially hilarious with bulletproof glass. It's entirely possible to blast out all the concrete around it, leaving it floating in mid-air.
  • In the squad-level strategy Silent Storm, with destructible environments, cinematic physics, and big guns, blowing man-sized holes in the walls and floors is a viable way to maneuver. The risk of collapse is there, too. Additionally, this makes a submachine gun a far faster method to "open" a locked door than lockpicks (though the player IS penalized for excessive collateral damage).
  • The shotgun in Teardown can make perfectly human-sized holes in walls.
  • Most of the XCOM series has allowed the player to blast his way through walls to get to the hostile aliens - particularly viable once you get access to powerful, alien weapons. You can even drill your way through a yards-thick wall with a powerful enough gun.
    • A lot of players take this as doctrine; as aliens only recognize existing entrances, creating new ones can allow you to surprise camping enemies. Conventional explosives do it well in buildings. UFO hulls aren't breached on the first try even with a satchel, though it still hurts an alien standing behind the wall.
    • Especially good once you realize that the most powerful alien weapon can knock down the outer hull of a UFO. Combined with Flying Suits, this makes for excellent pincer attacks. Instead of going through a cramped UFO with lots of hiding places, you fly up and blast a hole in the top floor, swooping in and taking out the commander which not only makes your fight easier (commanders usually have the same weapon and high stats), it also decreases morale for the regular mooks, potentially making them panic and drop their weapons. Not to mention that UFO engines (and therefore elerium/zrbite) are usually located on the lower levels.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • When Numbuh 2 and 5 are cornered by a horde of zombie nerds in Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh 2 shoots out the floor around them. Causing them to fall through the floor just as they were about to be overrun.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Ahsoka deflects the shots from several Clone Troopers to blast a hole in the ceiling in order to escape from them. Unlike most examples of the trope she doesn't try an outline, but rather blows the hole wide enough to move through.
  • Taken to the extreme by Purple Dragons of the 2003 TMNT in Turtles Forever, when they hit the wall enough times that 2003's Leo can drop the wall on them and their boss, Hun, during the rescue of the 1980s TMNT.

    Real Life 
  • In the US Army's field manual on urban combat (or, as they call it, "Military Operations in Urban Terrain"), they suggest using the 25 mm autocannon on the M2 Bradley to make new doors for the troops to use. At least in an older version of this manual, it gives guidelines for creating loopholes (big enough to aim a weapon through, perhaps to stick an arm through, but not crawl out of) with rifle or machine-gun fire, and indicates this requires some 100–200 rounds. Creating a hole large enough for a person would probably require thousands, at which point you might as well just use a couple autocannon shells or just blow a hole with breaching charge.
  • The British Anti Structure Munition (A version of the Singapore/Israeli MATADOR) is a shoulder-launched rocket that can either operate in anti-structure blast mode (leveling a building) or in penetrating/mouse-holing mode to defeat light armoured vehicles and create "mouse-holes" in double thickness urban walls big enough for men to enter through.
  • The 'Harvey Wall Banger' as invented by the British SAS is a high-pressure air cannon that fires a plastic barrel of water at a wall, that will cause a hole large enough to walk through.


Video Example(s):


Don't move!

Ruby Rhod gets an oval floor exit from Korben Dallas and the opportunity to ride the piece down one level.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / BulletholeDoor

Media sources: