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Lead the Target

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"I skate to where the puck is going, not to where the puck has been."

Guns are incredibly psychologically powerful as symbols, let alone weapons. Aim, pull, kill. However, The Gunslinger knows that this isn't some holy trinity of death, and is the more lethal because of it. When gunning for a fast-moving or far-away target, he won't aim at the target (often shocking companions) and instead aim where they are going to be. Instead of a Hero-Tracking Failure he will get the target cleanly because they almost literally ran into the bullet.

This is called leading (or windage), and is a Real Life tactic and training method. It's why you use clay pigeon traps for hunting practice, and is a key element in air-to-air gun combat. Video Games used to avert this trope with hitscan weapons, which were an Acceptable Break from Reality because of engine constraints; hitscan weapons didn't so much use "bullets" as simply hurt whatever was under the player's crosshairs at the time, regardless of distance. The alternative was the Painfully Slow Projectile, where the player not only has to lead the target, but actually shoot the bullet past where the enemy is, so the enemy will indeed walk right into it. But today games are much more complex and realistic, and a more moderate form of leading the target has reasserted itself. Slower projectiles obviously need more lead time, and sniping can be a real nightmare. The hitscan model is sometimes retained when energy, laser, or other lightspeed weapons are available.

This is also relevant in sea and air combat with broadside weapons: even if the target isn't moving, the shooter usually is. This is the source of the "firing solution" you'll sometimes hear shouted about on the bridge of naval vessels (or, less commonly, by artillery gun crews).

Lasers, due to moving at the speed of light, should not be expected to follow this rule. Regardless, plenty of space combat games ignore this. Perhaps they are taking into account very long ranges — 20,000 miles is a tenth of a light-second — and absurdly high speeds; a ship moving at Earth escape velocity covers a lot of ground in a tenth of a second. There may also be a delay between squeezing the trigger and actually releasing the beam.

See Hero-Tracking Failure for when the villains fail to do this and Wronski Feint for an aviation variant.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In early chapters of O-Parts Hunter it is repeatedly made a point that you should not dodge attacks by jumping into the air because then the other guy can just use this method to attack you as you're landing.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Princess Mononoke, Irontown's riflemen consistently do this while fending off San's assault. They only miss because San is more agile than a superball on speed, but every last shot is millimeters off (and the last one successfully blows her off her feet and stuns her). Additionally, Lady Eboshi specifically instructs the riflewomen flanking her to hold their fire while San is on the roof, and aim for her landing spot instead.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games, during the archery contest, Applejack points out to Human Twilight that she needs to do this to hit the moving target: aim where it's going to be and not where it is. This comes packaged with Sour Sweet remarking on how counter-intuitive this sounds.
  • In Voices of a Distant Star, Mikako is shown doing this against a target drone during her Tracer training.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Shows up in Free Willy 2. "Shoot where he'll be, not where he is". Of course, given the target...
  • Brendan Fraser brings this up in The Mummy Returns just before Rachel Weisz is about to cover him with a rifle.
  • Sukiyaki Western Django has the leader of the Whites not so much lead the target but boomerang his bullets by shooting 20% up and to the side.
  • Similar to Sukiyaki Western Django, Wanted had the assassins curve the bullets mid-flight as part of their Gun Kata powers, effectively leading and boomeranging shots.
  • Full Metal Jacket:
    Joker: How can you shoot women and children?
    Gunner: Easy. You just don't lead 'em so much. Ain't war hell?
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Legolas is naturally a master of this skill. One instance: he shoots at a distant Warg-riding orc, the arrow is in flight for about five seconds, and hits dead centre for an instant kill on a target that has covered about a hundred yards in the intervening time.
  • In Goldfinger, part of Oddjob's Improbable Aiming Skills with his lethal hat are because of this trope; he noticeably aims a significant distance in front of his moving target, and hits her cleanly on the neck despite the hat being much more slow-moving than a bullet or an arrow.
  • In The Last Starfighter, this is one of the things Grig tells Alex to do when he's getting used to operating the gunner's chair in their Gunstar.
  • Strongly implied in The Avengers by Hawkeye. One shot has him rather spectacularly looking at a target while apparently pointing his bow the wrong way. Careful analysis shows that he's aiming quite in advance of his (fast-moving) target to hit it dead on.
  • The photon torpedoes shot at the climax of Star Trek: First Contact are shot noticeably in front of the target... and miss just behind it, as the shooter intended.
  • In Quigley Down Under, Quigley, being established as one of the best long-range sharpshooters in the world, is a master of this. He kills several Mooks who are riding horses at full gallop perpendicular to his line of fire at ranges of several hundred yards...on the first shot. He is shown very carefully lining up his shot and adjusting his sights when he does so.
  • In Underworld: Blood Wars, Selene is training some Death Dealer recruits. They practice shooting holograms of Lycans. Selene tells them, "Don't aim, anticipate."
  • In Star Wreck, when Pirk realizes that twinklers (phasers) do nothing against the Excavator (Excalibur from Crusade), he decides to fire all of the Kickstart's (Sovereign from Star Trek) light balls (photon torpedoes) at it. While Dwarf is the weapons officer, Pirk wants to be the one to do it. He aims directly at the Excavator and fires. Every shot misses. Dwarf laughs and tells him that he should have been firing ahead of the enemy. Pirk angrily asks why nobody has told him that before and that the computer should've been able to lead the target for him, even though he purposefully switched to manual targetting before taking the shot.

    Live Action TV 
  • A Starfury can be seen doing this in the Title Sequence of Babylon 5, firing a couple of shots into space and starting to turn away as the enemy fighter flies right into them.

  • In Real Life throwing a ball is similar, with the ability to lead a teammate being an essential skill for quarterbacks in American Football. The ball has a certain flight time depending on factors like arm strength, throwing style, and how much it spins as it flies, so a QB has to throw to where his receiver is going to be in a second or two. Of course, in this case the receiver wants to be hit, and will adjust his own course toward where the ball is going to be.
  • Page quote: Wayne Gretzky was considered too small and too slow to play at the highest levels of hockey, but by anticipating the play ahead of him, he put himself in the position to score. He's now generally considered the greatest professional hockey player in history.

    Video Games 
  • The best-ever usage of this trope occurs in Operation Flashpoint, in which, true to its realistic nature, you not only have to lead the target, but if you're using a sniper rifle, you even have to take into account elements like elevation and even wind resistance. Needless to say, the game makes Nintendo Hard look like a walk in the park.
  • In Age of Empires II, this is a researchable upgrade called "Ballistics" which improves the accuracy of your ranged attackers by applying this trope. Without it archers and towers shoot at the target's current location, making most moving targets hard to hit.
  • Armored Core has two Camera Lock-On states: an orange "soft"-lock will make you shoot where your target currently is, while a red "hard"-lock takes velocity into account automatically. This is governed by your customizable Fire Control System, so different ACs can have different lock-on dynamics at work. A savvy opponent will try to zig-zag to fake out a hard-lock, though this means a soft-lock might still hit them. Also, some Difficult, but Awesome weapons can only be aimed manually, requiring you to do this yourself.
  • In the Battlefield series, this is the proper way to use the flak cannons. Unfortunately, some players are not aware of it and simply aim directly at the target aircraft.
    • Sniper rifles in the Battlefield series behave fairly realistically. The bullets have travel time meaning that your shots won't instantly hit your opponent, especially at long range. If you place your scope a certain distance ahead of a moving enemy and fire ahead of time then the enemy will run straight into your bullet. At long ranges, bullet drop affects the bullet and makes it go off target so you have to raise your scope high above the enemy so the bullet will drop onto the enemy and hit him. On rare occasions you can even lead the target and have the bullet drop and kill a moving target.
      • It actually is possible to shoot and kill a target who is hiding behind cover and you can't see by using the bullet drop and bullet travel time. Pulling it off, however, is another story.
  • Halo's precision weapons tend to be hitscan, but some of its weapons do still require you to lead a moving target, like the rocket launcher.
    • Halo 3 is particularly notable for requiring you to do this, since virtually none of its weapons are hitscan.
    • A (in)famous attribute of multiplayer in the PC version of Halo: Combat Evolved was that you had to lead your shots when sniping with the pistol or sniper rifle, despite the weapons being supposedly hitscan, due to consistent lag.
  • This is the tactic one should use to play Space Invaders and other games of the like.
  • Most space combat sims (such as the X-Wing and FreeSpace series) have a target reticule on the HUD showing where an enemy ship will be when it and your lasers converge, assuming it doesn't evade. Obviously, you want to be aiming for this.
    • At least one example of such a feature, in the Wing Commander series, places the reticule based on the average velocity of your weapon projectiles. Given that you have a variety of energy weapons mounted on your ships, with widely varying projectile speeds, and it is possible to bracket the enemy, simultaneously over- and under-shooting your target, depending on your weapons loadout.
    • Similarly, the Ace Combat series and other games about fighters typically have a targeting reticule for the guns that indicate where the bullets will go. Very important when shooting while making tight turns.
    • Starlancer, in addition to featuring the usual lead indicator, has an interesting twist on the mechanic: Several ships are equipped with the "Blind-Fire" abillity, which automatically leads your shots as long as you aim at the general vicinity of the target. However, this is balanced by the fact that only one set of weapon at a time can be used with Blind-Fire.
    • StarCitizen uses something a bit different. Rather than show an icon ahead of the target to line up with, you have a marker coming back from your aiming reticule, showing where your shots will be once they've travelled the distance between you and the target (ie; if the enemy's 400m away, the trailing aim point will show where your shots will be after they travel 400m). This lets you keep your eye on the target directly rather than focusing on a point ahead of them, this way you can aim for specific points of their ship based on things like their shield coverage, weapon and thruster placement, etc.
    • Elite Dangerous requires you to lead when aiming anything besides lasers and railguns. Fixed weapons have the hardest time since they have barely any ability to flex on their mounts, but have the highest damage output, whilst gimballed weapons can flex a bit and thus lead more easily but deal less damage, and then turrets can aim in a very wide field but are the weakest of the three types. It also gives pilots the choice of "leading" or "trailing" gunsight modes.
  • BattleZone has a lead-assist marker for targeted enemies. It also helps a player with a mortar-class weapon, which can use indirect fire, pick the proper elevation angle.
  • In Brütal Legend, Eddie needs to help a neurotic bouncer operating a mortar cannon hit his targets, not only by spotting, but teaching him how to lead moving targets.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl and its sequels have a realistic ballistics model almost similar to Operation Flashpoint and you have to account for gravity and lead your target. This is especially the case when using something like the AS VAL given its special subsonic ammo.
  • Sniper Elite, which puts you in the shoes of a American OSS Agent and sniper in Berlin during World War II, had simulated gravity, wind, breathing, and bullet travel time. All except the travel time could be turned off.
  • Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 has (fairly) realistic bullet and shell physics, requiring players to learn not only to lead their targets, but also to estimate ranges and compensate for bullet drop. Nailing a moving T-34 with a StuG III is hard.
  • Bullets have a slight delay in Fallout 3, but lasers, correctly, hit instantly. Plasma however tends to toe the line between this and Painfully Slow Projectile.
  • While not the spirit of this trope, it's definitely to the letter to try and play a multiplayer FPS with a particularly high ping. The server won't process your moves until a fraction of a second (or more, if the connection is bad enough) after you do them, so you may have to lead your target (and pray). This has been mostly averted by lag compensation, and is only common in older games like Quake and Doom. Still alive and well for players with satellite-based net, depending on the game.
  • The N64 versions of GoldenEye (1997) and Perfect Dark had this inverted; round-firing weapons worked with hitscan, while energy and laser weapons had to lead the target (primarily because the laser beams had to be animated traveling from barrel to target). It's hard to notice this because of both games' default auto-aim setting and slow movement speed, but it's there.
  • Flying Heroes, a flight-based fantasy shooter for the PC, required that you lead your target. However, you could get an "Auto-Aiming" spell that would display a target for its duration to show where you should be aiming to hit.
  • Bungie's Marathon series required you to lead targets with all of your weapons (perhaps except your fists). This is partly due to engine limitations. The engine did not support hitscan weapons so all weapons fired projectiles. Pistol shots in the game move less than 1/5 the speed of real life pistol shots (for the same caliber), and nothing in the game moves faster than pistol shots.
  • League of Legends requires this with every character that has a skill shot ability. Ezreal is a prime example, as all of his abilities are either a skill shot or a targeted blink, giving him a very high difficulty rating.
  • Team Fortress 2: You have to lead with the Soldier's rocket launcher, since the rockets are slow. The same with the Demoman's grenade launchers, the Medic's Syringe Gun and the Sniper's Huntsman.
    • And the Scout's "milk," the Scout's baseballs, the Pyro's flares, and the Sniper's jarate.
  • S4 League: The Railgun sniping weapon is extremely powerful but has a half second delay when shot.
  • Steel Battalion: 2nd-and-3rd-gen VTs have the Forecast Shooting System (FSS), which can be toggled on or off. The game has a built-in aimbot of sorts when locked on to an enemy target that keeps the weapons trained on said target regardless of where the right stick has its reticle, and most of the weapons fire Painfully Slow Projectiles that can easily be dodged with a slidestep, so FSS helps quite a bit, but is not so good as to make it a Game-Breaker. Without it, the weapon aiming is not compensated at all, effectively forcing 1st-gen VT pilots to aim manually without lock-on.
  • Silent Scope. Several levels take place on moving vehicles, further emphasizing this trope.
  • One of the stages in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! has frequent lightning strikes aimed in this way. When you see the lightning flash, slow down or Take Cover!!
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon:
    • After taking a couple of hits, Spike the boss of Midday Mountain will begin leading you with his third shot to trick you into running out of the path of his two previous shots and directly into the last one.
    • The final boss does this fairly well as well. If you run in a straight line for a while then those fireballs will hit you.
  • Done quite well by the enemy in the 3D tank games Specter and Specter VR.
  • MechWarrior 3 had a rather extreme example in ballistics-only online matches due to the typical Internet connection at the time being dial-up. Every player could adjust to bullet lag fairly easily if you loaded a targeting computer, but to be competitive online, you needed to be able to accurately read how much lag there was and adjusting your lead accordingly.
  • Banjo-Kazooie: One major source of difficulty in the Final Boss against Gruntilda is the fact that, in addition to throwing fireballs more quickly, and the fireballs themselves moving faster, she begins to start leading the target near the end of the fight, meaning the player will have to constantly be zigzagging to avoid anything.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, Banjo and Kazooie have to fight Klungo multiple times as a boss. The main source of his difficulty increase between the first and last encounters with him is that he'll throw his exploding flasks where Banjo is in the first duel, but he'll try to anticipate where Banjo will be in the last.
  • Vega Strike has wide range of velocities assigned to all bolt and beam weapons. Kinetic weapons mostly fire at several km/s, "Mini Grav-Thumper" bolt flies away at mere 400 m/s. Military radars have a tracking system that shows where to shoot to hit the current target. An expensive per-mount autotracker device also keeps its gun trained at this mark as long as the target is within the tracking cone and you maintain radar lock. Turrets use the same ITTS, so even those without beam weapons aren't here just for flashes. But the tracking is "fair", i.e. true only if the target won't maneuver (good luck with that), so autotracking can—and sometimes needs to—be toggled off.
  • In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, there are two weapons that have a significant curve to the projectile path: the crossbow and tranquilizer rifle. There is also an upgrade to help you lead your shots.
  • In World of Tanks, this is a necessary skill for hitting any target moving laterally in relation to you, as the shells take a second to reach their target.note 
  • Nearly every gun in Guns of Icarus requires this to some extent, unless you're at point-blank range. Some of the especially slow projectiles, like the Hades and harpoon launcher, actually require the player to take into account the movement of their own ship on top of the motion of the enemy.
    • A variation is used with the mine launcher. Skilled players can typically get the mines to deploy just in front of the direction the enemy ship is headed so that its own momentum will carry it into the mine before anything can be done to avoid it.
  • Tribes is one of the poster children of this trope. Very few weapons are hitscan (laser rifles and the like only), few projectiles are really fast, and most have significant bullet drop over long range. Combine this with the fact that everyone is skiing/flying around at 100+ kph, which of course also affects the trajectory of your shots, and you get more fun than you thought you could possibly have doing split-second vector calculations.
  • In Freelancer, a special targeting reticule pops up when you're aiming at where the target is going to be, so you'd know when to fire.
  • In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Palutena advises you to do this when fighting against the Phoenix.
  • Essential with energy weapons in the X-Universe series, since the shots are anything but hitscan. AI ships will do it automatically, as will turrets if the player isn't controlling them directly. For spinal mounts, it helps to install both Fight Command Software packages. Mark 1 adds a cursor to your targeting reticule that marks where the target will be when the shot gets there (assuming it maintains the same heading), and Mark 2 allows you to set the guns to auto-aim for that point.
  • In the Borderlands games, you're usually shooting from close enough range that the bullets fired might as well instantly teleport to their final destination. However, all of the guns in both games are projectile, meaning sniping from any kind of distance requires the ability to shoot where your target is going to be. Lilith, Maya, and Zer0 all have skills that increase bullet velocity to mitigate this, however.
    • There is actually a single weapon in the first game that is hitscan. It is the Eridian Lightning sniper rifle; it hits instantaneously from any range.
    • Torgue weapons in 2 all fire Painfully Slow Projectiles; they basically function as pint-sized rocket launchers. One of the loading screen tips emphasizes the important of leading.
    • Rock-slinging Bullymongs in 2 also take into account your motion direction when throwing a stone at you. They usually throw them long and slow enough to give you time to react and change motion, but you still have to be mindful of their direction.
  • Some enemy bombers in Gatling Gears attempt this trope by dropping their bomb prematurely, hoping that you would walk directly into the explosions. Unfortunately for them, they still do this even in the player keeps still.
  • While flying any aircraft in War Thunder, Leading is the only way to hit anything. This is occasionally averted by More Dakka.
  • World of Tanks requires the player to do this, unless the target is stationary. That goes double for artillery, whose large range and long reload times mean they have to anticipate enemy movements by a large margin. So much for the "arty noob" myth.
    • World of Warships also requires this to an even larger degree; learning to lead your target is the very first skill you need to learn when you first start playing. Not just for guns but torpedoes as well. The community has even developed the "circle method" to explain target leading theory, in which you visualize an imaginary circle flat around your target and aim at the circle's borders instead of your target itself.
  • Most Human weapons in Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds don't do this unless specifically ordered to by the Force Fire function, meaning that Martian units on the move (particularly flying machines) are quite hard to hit. This is balanced by the Martians being generally short ranged and subscribing to Do Not Run with a Gun.
  • In Jedi Starfighter, Saesee Tiin actually explains the principle to you in the tutorials.
  • The Tank in Left 4 Dead will do this against you when throwing concrete blocks.
  • In Max Payne 3, this is necessary to hit targets during the Sniping Mission if Bullet Time is not available.
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has two examples: the Alpha Splinter, who only uses this tactic before it gets possessed by the Ing; and the Power Bomb Guardian, who tries to throw its Power Bombs ahead of Samus as she navigates along Spider Ball tracks.
  • In Super Mario Bros., Lakitu normally throws Spiny Eggs straight down, without any horizontal momentum or really aiming at Mario. However, there is a patch that unlocks some unused Lakitu behaviour that makes him take aim at Mario by taking into account the relative positions and speeds of himself and Mario. The added horizontal momentum also allowed the Spiny Eggs to bounce off vertical surfaces such as the sides of pipes.
  • Archer Lords in Hexen II do this by principle, and can only be thrown off by moving very erratically, jumping and crouching at random.
  • Pinky in Pac-Man doesn't target Pac-Man's position, but rather four spaces in front of him.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild requires this for archery for any enemy that moves or if Link is moving while shooting. Enemies will attempt to track Link's movements with varying levels of success as well — Bokoblins are pretty bad about it (to the extent that Link actively dodging in any way will make them more likely to hit their allies), while Octoroks are experts — if Link's movements are in a straight line, Octoroks will accurately shoot him on the move.
  • In Mascot Racer games, such as Mario Kart, this is the intended way to use unguided projectiles—nearly all of them are Painfully Slow Projectiles, so to get an accurate shot any further than point blank, you need to figure out how much time must pass for the projectile to reach its target and shoot where you think the target will be at that time. One notable exception is Ice in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which travels absurdly fast, though if the distance is sufficiently long, you will still need to lead the target. There is an Achievement/Trophy/Sticker for hitting an opponent ahead of you by 600 meters or more with Ice, which DOES require leading.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon:
    • Leading the target is often required to hit when using Mortars and Grav Charges, especially when firing Mortars at long range, due to their low velocity projectiles.
    • Gunners will do this automatically when ordered to fire, more skilled gunners will lead their shots more accurately, where as less skilled gunners may fire directly at moving targets.
  • This is the main thing that sets Veteran Bullet Kin apart in Enter the Gungeon. Normal Bulletkin will just fire wildly in your general direction, something that in this game is not exactly hard to dodge (the problem is that all mooks have a nasty habit of ganging up on you), but Veterans will lead you and can and most probably will catch you off guard the first few times.
  • Requirement to shoot farther away targets in Super Scope 6.
  • In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, one room in the third stage of Shiver Star has three Shotzos in the background of a cyclical room. Not only do they shoot much more often than other Shotzos in the game but they predict where Kirby is likely to be going and shoot there instead. Since they're the only Shotzos in the entire game, if not the entire series, to behave like this it's practically guaranteed to catch you off-guard the first time, but thankfully you can take refuge behind some objects to keep out of their line of fire.
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, Michael takes control of a special turret to shoot down a plane. He acknowledges that due to how far-away said plane is, the turret’s bullets won’t reach the plane’s turbines if directly shot at, so the turret creates a red square for him to shoot at so the bullets will hit.
  • The siege engine in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion will fire projectiles aimed ahead of you from a disance and will hit you if you run at the same speed.

    Western Animation 
  • This is how Fry loses the "real life" game of Space Invaders in the Futurama episode "Anthology of Interest II".
    Lrrr: Instead of shooting where I was, you should have shot where I was going to be!!

    Real Life 
  • This is known as Gun Laying in the armed forces. The gun laying problem consists of estimates of target leading/speed (knots), rate of change of range (m/s or yds/s), estimates of target range (m or yds), observations of target relative bearing (degrees or milliradians), spotting corrections, own ship's heading (degrees), own ship's speed (knots), apparent wind speed (knots or m/s), apparent wind direction (degrees), adjustments to range (for wind along, etc), air temperature (degrees C or F) and air pressure. The gun laying solution consists of the elevation of the cannon barrels (degrees) and azimuth (horizontal gun laying angle) of the cannon barrels (degrees). The first scientific approach on the solution was the dumaresq mechanical computer of the Royal Navy in 1913. It was soon superceded by Admiralty Fire Control Table, a mechanical computer. By WWI, all major navies had mechanical computers (differential engines) for solving the firing solutions.
    • By the time of the First World War (almost a hundred years ago), capital ships were engaging each other at ranges which their shells would take over a minute to cover. By the middle of World War II, the British were masters of the art; HMS Warspite opened fire on an Italian battleship at over twenty six thousand yards and hit with a shell from the first salvo.
      • Radar-controlled gunlaying revolutionized the firing solution problem, and it was the reason why USS Washington and USS South Dakota sunk Japanese battleship Kirishima almost leisurely. Even later, the electronic computers superseded the mechanical fire control tables, turning naval artillery effectively into pure mathematics.
      • Because the first torpedoes were unguided, all torpedo-equipped vessels needed to get close to the enemy or make very hopeful guesses as to where the target will be and fire on those locations instead. The introduction of guidance systems was a desperately needed improvement which increased the probability of a hit by allowing torpedoes to correct their path mid-flight.
      • Despite the existence of automatic targeting solutions provided by computer, being qualified as a submarine commanding officer in several navies still requires that officer to demonstrate that they can produce a torpedo firing solution purely through periscope observations, a stopwatch, and manual calculation.
    • Range (130 km) and flight time (three minutes) of the German Paris Gun meant Paris was effectively a (predictably) moving target due to the earth's rotation. Their first shots kept missing until they realized they had to factor in the Coriolis Effect when calculating their shots.
    • Anti-Aircraft Gun Laying is the most challenging since an airplane is an object that moves in three dimensions instead of two like a ground object. The revolutionary advent of the Proximity Fuse has made this significantly easier.
    • Stadiametric Rangefinding was the most common technique for aiming guns used by the army. This has since been largely superseded by electronic devices such as Laser Rangefinders but not completely replaced due to the threat of electronic countermeasures.
    • During World War II, the US military purchased a large number of hunting shotguns and incorporated skeet shooting into the early stages of aircrew and naval anti-aircraft training, so that gunners would already be used to the idea of leading the target before they moved on to training with machine guns.
    • During the Korean War, one of the advantages held by the F-86 over the MiG-15 was its radar controlled gunsight that automatically calculated lead.
    • The Tracking Point Rifle uses a combination of laser rangefinders, wind detection, thermometers and digital optics to accomplish this task. The shooter locks onto the target, then pulls the trigger. The gun doesn't immediately fire, instead it directs the shooter where to move the barrel. The moment the barrel crosses the point the gun calculates it needs to be the gun fires if the trigger is still being held down. The gun sports a near 100% accuracy to distances of 1000 yards and hits on targets over a mile away are not uncommon with the gun. Its control computer runs on Linux.
    • Done in space when communicating with spacecraft at great distances with narrow radio or laser beams; and also when setting up a flyby or rendezvous trajectory. To get from Earth to Mars in the shortest possible amount of time, you launch on a trajectory that leads where Mars is by a large fraction of its orbit - because that's where Mars is going to be when your spacecraft gets there.