An amateur only shoots once. A professional always shoots twice. A subtrope of Boom, Headshot!, this is usually the difference between a sniper and a more up close and personal silenced pistol assassin. Better safe than sorry, after all. The Double Tap seems like overkill, but in both real life and in fiction it is an example of pragmatism. It's rare that the target survives a shot to the heart or brain, but it happens, and there's nothing like someone surviving their attempted killing to ruin your carefully laid plans. Similarly, there have been occasions where despite shots to the chest or head, people have continued to be coherent and capable of retaliation for some time thereafter. Some training methods insist on at least two shots to the torso and one to the head, a technique known as the Mozambique Drill. Being shot in any vital organ is bad but being shot twice in one is worse. Two to the head tend to be just as effective... Usually.
Usually shown as a portrayal of a professional making sure the target is dead or will be in short order. Expect at least two shots to the head or chest from said professional. Thorough professionals may be depicted putting two in both the head or chest. (In case of film or TV, the target may vary depending on the rating of the show in question as naturally a headshot will be far more gory than a torso shot; if someone is double-tapped in the head, it's usually shown from a distance or not actually shown on screen at all.)
Sometimes used to show a tough enemy or monster really is dead by shooting them twice in the head or chest to make sure they stay dead. Anyone worth shooting once is worth shooting at least twice.
Compare Multiple Gunshot Death. Contrast Once Is Not Enough. Compare and contrast Coup de Grāce and Kick Them While They Are Down, which is similar in confirming a kill but usually is seen as having more negative connotations. Naturally, this trope is what happens when Instant Death Bullets are not a thing.
- Batou double taps a surprised Special Forces fighter near the end of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
- In a stand alone episode in the middle, he quickdraws and neatly double taps three targets in a row before they can get a shot off.
- In Change 123, Fujiko was trained by her father to shoot every target twice; once in the head and once in the heart.
- In Jojo's Bizzare Adventure Part 5 Prosciutto shoots Mista three times in the head after going down
- Referenced by name and performed by Gun nut Kohta Hirano in High School Of The Dead. He doesn't even wait for the first bullet to finish its faithful journey before firing the second.
- When Vanessa learns to shoot in Madlax, the eponymous heroine explains that double-tapping is more efficient than single shots.
- Specifically emphasized by Tenma's trainer in Monster.
- Kiriyama does this at times during Battle Royale. No matter where he shot you, one shot in the head extra won't harm you. Later chapters subvert this, as he tends to kill people with one shot to the head.
- In Jormungand, many of the professionals do this, Chiquita in particular is quite fond of doing so.
- Present in full force in Gunsmith Cats. Rally is a professional bounty hunter and bona fide gun nut who can regularly Shoot the hammers off guns. She still double taps just about every shot that doesn't count as an example of the aforementioned Improbable Aiming Skills. When her partner Minnie-May starts doing it with grenades, though...
- Not usually present in City Hunter due a combination of the protagonists usually trying to take their enemies alive, not having the time, and having an almost uncanny ability to kill with one shot (it helps they normally use .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum guns), but when Ryo teaches Kaori how to shoot, the first thing he demonstrates is the Mozambique Drill (see Real Life below). With a .357 Magnum.
- Used liberally in the first Union Teope arc, in which the enemy had the habit of dosing Mooks with a drug that made them insensible to pain and capable of coming at you until they bled out or hit them in the head.
- Mikazuki of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has a tendency when firing his sidearm to always shoot twice. Never once: twice, everyone he has ever killed it has always been with 2 bullets. Special mention goes to the third guy he killed, with 3 bullets.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist after failing to stop Lust's approach with a bullet to the knee Roy Mustang swiftly performs a Mozambique Drill on the charging homunculus.
- Almost everyone killed with a gun in 91 Days is shot at least twice. The only exceptions are kills that occur at point-blank range that hit obviously vital organs such as the heart and the head.
- In Empowered, Thugboy guns down the ninjas who kidnapped and were about to dismember Ninjette. As Empowered tends to her, Thugboy is shown in the background walking up to each ninja and shooting them in the head.
- In '71, Captain Harris shoots one of the provos in the chest twice, even though he was probably already dead.
- Zombieland has this as Rule #2 for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Despite the zombies in the movie being of the Technically Living variety, the characters frequently make sure to Remove The Head Or Destroy The Brain. This is seen performed with guns, giant mallets, and even a car at one point.
- Near the beginning of Beverly Hills Cop, Mikey Tandino is executed by two shots in the back of the head. Axel Foley's captain notes that it was a professional hit.
- Seems to be favored by Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects; although he doesn't make the connection as he says it, Kujan reveals that this is also how Edie Fineran was killed.
- The Godfather:
- When Michael goes to kill Solozzo and his bodyguard McCluskey at a meeting, Sonny instructs him "Two shots in the head apiece."
- In Godfather III, Vincent shoots Joey Zasa twice, then aims carefully and fires a third shot to finish him off.
- There's a Hong Kong action movie named Double Tap, about a series of murders where the victim always had two bullet holes in the head, close enough to form an '8'.
- In The Boondock Saints, a Boston detective is able to distinguish the target of a hit from the assorted dead mooks because he was offed this way:
Duffy: He was the only one done right. Double tap, back of the head.
- Vincent from Collateral shoots the chest twice and the head once (the Mozambique Drill, mentioned below in the Real Life section).
- The robbers in Heat shoot their victims twice in the chest and then once in the head, in a manner similar to Vincent from Collateral (Michael Mann directed both movies). Detective Vincent Hanna notes this as one of several things that marks them out as serious professionals.
- Morgan Freeman's character Charlie in Nurse Betty lives by this:
"Two in the head, you know they're dead."
- Pacific Rim: Taken to There Is No Kill Like Overkill levels. With a plasma cannon. Into the chest of a Kaiju. Justified because his failing to do so earlier cost him his brother Yancy.
Raleigh: Let's check for a pulse. [fires plasma cannon into its chest until most of the internal organs are ash] No pulse.
- Anti-Hero Danny Archer from Blood Diamond, who is former South African special forces turned mercenary, does this regularly. This is probably the most notable example.
- Pan's Labyrinth: Whenever a battle is won, the winning side always takes the time to shoot the fallen enemies in the head, be they rebels or fascists. Vidal even has a moment where he points his gun at a soldier who's been shot in the trachea and he can only weakly bat away his gun, Vidal resets the position and it happens back and forth until he executes him.
- In the 1986 TV movie Sword of Gideon (based on the below-mentioned book Vengeance), a Mossad firearms instructor stresses the importance of this, as their Weapon of Choice is the .22 calibre Beretta, firing underpowered cartridges for a quieter gunshot.
"Rule-Number-One. When you pull your trigger, you pull it twice. If you aim right in the first place, there will be two bullets in your enemy. If not it doesn't matter — if you miss with one bullet or two, you are dead. Make it always twice: fumph-fumph. Always twice. Fumph-fumph never goddamn fumph!"
"There's one problem. It only goes fumph and not fumph-fumph!"
- This becomes a Brick Joke when they have to use a single-shot zip gun hidden in a bike pump.
- John Wick almost always shoots mooks multiple times, with at least one Boom, Headshot! to boot.
- In The Suicide Theory, Steve typically uses the double-tap on a target, though when he takes out Percival's attackers he hits eat of the confederates with a single headshot. Then he double-taps the leader's groin.
- Major Mitchell performs a double-tap on a downed alien in Independence Day.
- Seen frequently (overlapping with Make Sure He's Dead) during The Purge in Casino. When the mob bosses decide to leave no loose ends and kill everyone who could implicate them, the assassins take no chances that their targets might survive. Most of their victims are shot enough times to be killed several times over. For an idea of how thorough they are, the first person killed in the montage is shot twice in the back of the neck/head, and then after he falls to the ground the assassin casually shoots him another six times while walking past his body. Most of the other victims in the montage don't get off any easier.
- In Scream 2, after the other killer turns out to be Not Quite Dead, Sidney shoots the probably already dead Mrs. Loomis in the head.
Sidney: Just in case.
- In Olympus Has Fallen, after the terrorists seize control of the White House, they headshot every downed Secret Service agent, in order to Make Sure He's Dead.
- Murphy mentions (and does) this several times over the course of The Dresden Files.
- In the book 'Vengeance' (the basis for the film Munich), the author recounts his shooting lessons during Mossad training. The instructor told the class to always fire two shots at a time. "Always BANG BANG...Never just god-damned BANG!"
- John Kelly of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series uses this technique extensively in Without Remorse, largely because of his SOG/SEAL training, with his Colt .45. When he configures it as a .22 with a home-built suppressor, his especial reliance on the double-tap headshot is mentioned as particularly necessary given the .22's relative weakness—and as an indicator to the investigating policemen that they're dealing with an experienced professional. When he switches it over to .45 configuration, he changes to two in the chest, one in the head, a sign that he's discarding subtlety for the last push.
- In Artemis Fowl, Butler's preferred technique is a quintuple tap: two to the chest, three between the eyes.
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's Autumn Visits, one of the characters is a contract killer. When another character gets thrown from a roof to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, he follows up with a headshot, just to be sure. Especially, since the killed character is not entirely human.
- Discussed several times in Don Winslow's "The Power of The Dog", specifically by hitman Sean Callan. He refers to the second shot as "correcting" the first, in case it was off (interestingly, this is the opposite of what most firearms instructors teach: usually the first shot is the most accurate).
- In The Killer Ascendant, a former Federal Air Marshall shoots John Rain twice in the chest, but the rounds are stopped by his Bulletproof Vest. Fans of the series who were Federal Air Marshalls informed the author Barry Eisler that this trope was incorrect, as procedure was to keep firing until the target was no longer a threat.
- It's not called the Mozambique Drill, but Victor Cachat favors two rounds center-of-mass and a third aimed round to the head.
- If Thandi Palane is an accurate representation, the Solarian Marines teach the double tap. During the Mugging the Monster incident in Cauldron of Ghosts, her "always double tap" conditioning is strong enough that she ends up blowing limbs off the people she's been ordered to capture alive.
- The Mozambique Drill (see Real Life) has also been used in Dexter.
- The Mozambique Drill is also excellently demonstrated by Jim Zubiena in the Miami Vice episode "Calderon's return."
- In Revenge this is used by Takeda to execute a wounded Tyler on the beach. Also used by Daniel, who shoots Emily twice in the stomach and lets her fall overboard during her honeymoon cruise.
- In The Wire, this tends to be the preferred method for the enforcers of the notorious Stanfield drug empire. Chris Partlow tends to execute with two shots to the head, and new soldiers are trained to either shoot for the head if they're at point blank range, or to disable by shooting under a potential Bulletproof Vest and then finish with a head shot. That said, they're sometimes sloppy about actually following this.
- Person of Interest. When Control orders The Dragon to execute Shaw. "Two to the head, please. And be careful of the blood spray."
- In one skit on That Mitchell and Webb Look, a Grammar Nazi shoots a man for pronouncing "H" as "Haitch", then shoots him another two times when he's on the floor.
- In 24, Kim, under the instructions of her father, guns down the man who's been trying to kill her all day. She promptly breaks down in tears, and is less than pleased when her father orders her to shoot him again.
- In Borderlands fourth DLC, the Claptrap Ninja Assassin does this to the arms merchant just before the final boss battle. Also, the Jacob's brand of weapons (which have the highest damage) uses the lack of this as their selling point; "If it took more than one shot, you weren't using a Jacobs".
- Mass Effect:
- If Wrex dies on Virmire, his killer ( either Shepard or Ashley) will shoot him three times when he's already on the ground. This is a pretty good practice with krogan enemies in regular gameplay, too; if you don't see the XP payout, they're still coming.
- At the end, Shepard tells his / her companions to check if Saren is really, absolutely dead after he has already either shot himself in his last lucid moment or been impaled through the chest. One of them will give the body another shot to the head. But anyone being slightly Genre Savvy knows right away that if the developers added that scene, the body will get up again.
- In the opening level of Mass Effect 3, Liara suspends a few Cerberus troopers in the air with Singularity, shoots them, then puts a few more rounds in them when they're on the ground.
- The protagonist of Fallout: New Vegas gets doubletapped at the beginning of the game - and survives.
- Follows-Chalk shot a White Leg in the head twice after bludgeoning him with his club the first time you meet him. Apparently, Joshua Graham has trained the Dead Horses tribals to do this, as can be seen in the final battle.
- The Ghost People in the Dead Money DLC require this treatment, due to their unique ability to continuously come back to life unless they've lost a body part.
- In Fallout 4, members of the Brotherhood of Steel will often advise the player character "If it looks dead, put one more bullet into it, just to be sure."
- Call of Duty
- In zombie mode, there is the Double Tap Root Beer item, which causes every pull of the trigger to fire two rounds, even when using pump action shotguns or bolt action rifles. While doubling your rate of fire sounds fun, scarcity of ammo can to push this into Awesome, but Impractical.
- Black Ops II changed it to Double Tap II Root Beer, which now doubles your bullet mid-flight.
- Call of Duty 4 and World at War multiplayer had a perk named "Double tap", which caused every weapon you had - even one taken from an enemy - to fire slightly faster.
- A Sniper with the "Croc-O-Style" item set in Team Fortress 2 will not be killed by headshots and thus will require a double-tap to kill.
- A Spy wielding the Ambassador can kill weaker classes in as few as 2 shots.
- Most weapons in general take at least two shots to kill any class at (standard) full health: point blank the Rocket Launcher, Scattergun, and the Grenade Launcher all do just under 125 damage (health of the Scout, Sniper, Engineer, and Spy) in one hit.
- In Spec Ops: The Line, one of your Finishing Moves is this.
- In Thwaite, a balloon or MIRV that has split into three pieces may require more than one missile to destroy. The reliable way to blow them up is to put one missile between two of them and another in front of the third.
- In Saints Row: The Third, this is one of the Finishing Moves on Brutes - backhand the Giant Mook onto the ground, then shoot it in the head repeatedly until it explodes.
- This is a handy tactic to use when playing Dead Island. From time to time, you'll come across Walkers pretending to be dead. Kicking them will help expose them, and if you've acquired the head stomping ability, you can tromp on their heads when they're down.
- No attention is drawn to it, but in The Last of Us, Tess does this to Robert when she executes him.
- Not doing this to a Neo-Mitochondrion Monster almost screws Aya over in the beginning of Parasite Eve 2. Fortunately, Rupert shows up and blasts the NMC in the face with a .44 Magnum revolver. He then proceeds to shoot the beast five more times while it's on the ground.
- Episode 2 of Batman: The Telltale Series shows this happen three times, with the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, Carmine Falcone, and Mayor Hill. Particularly brutal in the case of Thomas Wayne, whose assassin puts two bullets in his chest and a third in his left eye.
- Played for Laughs in Homestuck. Caliborn use a double tap with a Machine gun on Gamzee's corpse... after blazing at him with full auto for an indeterminate amount of time, at least several panels straight.
- Made even funnier by the fact that Gamzee ISN'T EVEN DEAD after all that, because he's a Monster Clown and They. Never. Die.
- Jonny Quest episode "A Small Matter of Pygmies". After downing a black leopard, Race Bannon shoots it again to make sure it's dead.
- There's the Mozambique Drill, which is a quick double tap to the chest followed by an aimed shot at the head, designed for close-range encounters. Particularly helpful if your enemy happens to be wearing a Bulletproof Vest and/or you are using a less powerful gun (rifle rounds can penetrate most soft body armor, but handgun ammo has quite a bit more trouble with this).
- British Special forces are taught to double-tap the head, if possible in the "T" (a line from temple to temple, then down the nose), because body armor has become an awful lot easier to get hold of nowadays.
- This training is said to have originated around halfway through the century; back then the standard issue pistol for British Special Forces was the Browning Hi-Power, a reliable and accurate gun, but with dreadfully low stopping power caused by its usage of smaller 9mm cartridges that had trouble taking a man down with a single shot, even at center mass. As a result, agents were trained to fire twice in rapid succession, thus the double-tap became standard in British intelligence.
- Osama Bin Laden reportedly took one to the chest, one to the eye.
- Many firearms instructors now teach students to shoot until the threat is neutralized, regardless of how many rounds that is, so some people now shoot triple taps or just punch out five or six rounds rapidly per target.
- Due to the prevalence of the Double Tap in pop culture, some schools and even military training now emphasize such drills as the 22422 drill in order to prioritize shooting til the threat is neutralized.
- Standard police training in most American districts is that if you are in a situation where you're actually shooting at someone, you always pull the trigger twice. Sometimes cops will end up firing much more than that, if it's not clear that the suspect is dead (such as if he ends up falling against a wall or a vehicle), hence the meme of trigger-happy cops unloading dozens of rounds into someone.
- There are records of up to 17 shots being fired into people.
- In one case, a suspect was hit with .45 ACP rounds in the heart, right lung, left lung, liver, diaphragm, and right kidney, as part of 14 hits up to that point. He was still attacking. The officer then took four carefully aimed headshots, which finally caused him to drop. The threat was over, but not because the guy was dead. Even after all those vital organ hits and headshots, he made it to emergency surgery. He couldn't be saved.
- A tactic used by American pilots in the Vietnam War was "ripple fire", lobbing off one missile followed by another at a target. This was due to the less than spectacular performance of most of the guided missiles of the time.
- Also a common tactic in bombing missions - if one bomb was a dud, the other would probably work. If the first bomb worked, the other would fratricide in the explosion.
- This account from page 51 of the March 16, 1957 issue of the Calgary Herald. On May 10, 1953, a Canadian native woman named Bella Twin was hunting some small birds near Lesser Slave Lake, Alberta, when she realized a grizzly bear was stalking her. Hiding in a pile of brush, she hoped the bear would move on, but it kept coming closer and closer. When it was only a few yards away, Twin shot the bear with her .22 caliber Cooey Ace 1 rifle note and dropped the beast with a single headshot. However, as .22 caliber ammo isn't exactly an ideal defense round, she made sure to shoot another 6 rounds into the grizzly to make sure it was dead. More details here.