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One-Hit Polykill

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Liara: Did you really take out three Blue Suns mercenaries with one bullet?
Garrus: No, of course not. The third guy had a heart attack. Not fair to count him.

Otherwise known as overpenetration in gun-play circles, this happens when a bullet doesn't stop in a body or object once fired.

This can happen when one uses armor-piercing rounds on soft targets, but it is more Truth in Television than you might think, even without rifles explicitly using high-powered armor piercing rounds. One of the rules of weapons safety requires a shooter to know what is behind a target and always assume that a bullet will overpenetrate the first target and still retain lethal velocity.

Also a common weapon or Power-Up in Shoot 'Em Up games, especially when you've got a Charged Attack.

Contrast Bulletproof Human Shield, where the bullets should be able to do this but somehow don't. Also contrast Guns Are Worthless; a game's failure to implement (over)penetration may be a contributing factor to that.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In City Hunter a variant is used to establish how formidable the main character is: a perp had taken a hostage and when Ryo aimed his Colt Python .357 Magnum the perp pointed out that he had a glass window and a populated street behind him and that the bullet from such a powerful gun would certainly get through him and kill someone else, so Ryo shot him in the shoulder through his own hand (without hitting any bone, as he didn't fancy cripple himself) to bleed some energy off the bullet. The incredible shot also makes the criminal realize that he was dealing with City Hunter, someone he'd have never antagonized had he recognized him.
  • In Gamaran there's Zenmaru's Gurensen (Crimson Lotus Slash) coupled with the Sadanaga Kutaragi, which is used to kill something like 6 or 7 mooks in a single strike. Iori has also used a similar technique to slay two powerful enemies in one blow before they could actually whip out their techniques. An unseen example is given by Shingo Midou, who used his giant spear to skewer several mooks in apparently one thrust.
  • Hellsing:
    • How does Alucard kill a vampire hiding behind a hostage? Shoot through the hostage. Justified in that his handguns are custom-designed to take down enemies with Super-Toughness.
    • Rip Van Winkle shoots bullets that can accelerate midair and change its course, killing two helicopter squads with one and two jet fighters with other.
    • Seras can put a single round through an entire hallway's worth of Mooks, thanks to having an anti-tank rifle as her weapon of choice.
  • This is how the first battle in Dragon Ball Z ends, with Piccolo firing his Special Beam Cannon through both Raditz and Goku, killing both.
  • Similar to the Hellsing example, Akumetsu, also doubling as Shoot the Hostage, Jinguuji, in his "new body", held Sachiko against the Perfect One. The Perfect One, however, managed to hit him through Sachiko... without killing her.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • This is how Katsushiro accidentally kills Kyuzo in Samurai 7. Though it wasn't just one shot, he was firing a machine gun for at least five seconds before he stopped.
  • In ''Vinland Saga", Thorkell throws a spear from nearly over the horizon that manages to impale four people before stopping.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • In an early episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!, during Jounouchi's duel with Dinosaur Ryuzaki, when Ryuzaki summoned the Red-Eyes Black Dragonnote , the dragon somehow destroyed both Swamp Battle Guard and Lava Battle Guard with one Gokuendan. Lampshaded in the 4Kids dub.
    Jounouchi/Joey: How could he torch them both with just one shot?!
    Ryuzaki/Rex: Those that defend together are destroyed together!
    • An episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds featured main character Yusei in a 4-way Battle Royale duel. The rules of said duel allowed for any player to attack any other, although nobody could attack until a full round has passed. Yusei used his turn to set up a play. His opponents used their turns to hit him with burn damage, each turn stacking up with the previous turn (given they were all playing for the same side, this was intentional). Yusei then beats each one of them on his very next turn with his Nitro Warrior combo. He took 3 players from 4000 life points to zero (12000 total) in the space of a single turn. Marco dubs it "One-Turn Three Kill".
    • Jun Manjoume did this in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX in his 4 against 1 duel against the top 4 duelists of North Academy, who have him pincered at one point with 2 each of Marauding Captain, a monster that prevents a player from attacking another monster, in effect creating an attack lock due to the presence of multiples, and a Spell Card boosting the ATK of each monster based on the total number of Warriors present. That's 8 monsters with 2800 each, before Manjoume has even had his opening move! In short order, Manjoume summons Gyaku-Gire Panda, a monster that gains 500 ATK for each monster on the opponent's side, up to 4800, and from there, performs an OTK combo via Ring of Destruction and Ring of Defense, the latter shielding his own Life Points from the effect. Manjoume wins in an impressive flourish without losing a single Life Point.
    • "One-Turn Three Kills" happened a couple times in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.
      • Most notably when Shun Kurosaki went up against the LDS Trio. Only that time his opponents actually had wiped clean his field and hand and 3990 of his Life Points. And Kurosaki won as soon as he got his second turn using only the card he drew to Summon his ace monster Raidraptor - Rise Falcon, whose effect brought it up to 16,400 ATK and can attack all Special Summoned monsters!
      • Both, Yuya and Asuka, defeated three mooks each during their second turn by summoning a powerful beatstick that got rid of all their opponents' monsters while inflicting 1000 damage on each player for each of their respective monsters, and then attacking all three of their opponents directly with their beatstick whose number of attacks equals the numbers of monsters that got destroyed by the beatstick's effect.
      • Layra defeats three Security officers during his second turn, who are dumb enough to leave their weak Goyo Catapults in Attack Positions, by Special Summoning and replacing one boss monster after another, inflicting more than enough battle damage to win during the same Battle Phase.
      • Yuri also does this in episode 106, only against five people this time. During his second turn, he summons his ace monster Starve Venom Fusion Dragon, boosts its ATK up to 13,000 ATK and defeats all five opponents, while Yuri himself has taken no damage by the opponent and only lost Life Points by paying a cost of 800 Life Points once.
      • A more downplayed version happens during Yuya's duel against only two opponents, the two brainwashed Ruri and Serena, as it took him three turns to defeat two damaged opponentsnote . However, right before Yuya's Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon is about to attack, Serena says that there's two of them and that during the next turn— with Yuya abruptly cutting her mid-sentence that "there won't be a next turn!" Odd-Eyes Raging Dragon attacks both of the girls directly and has enough ATK to deplete all of their Life Points anyway even if they had been full.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In Asterix and the Cauldron, Obelix achieves a non-fatal, non-gun version of this; while Asterix fights with the crooked chief Whosemoralsarelastix one-on-one in a swordfight, Obelix manages to knock out most of the warriors in Whosemoralsarelastix's village with a single punch as they were all charging towards him in basically a straight line (the only villager still standing afterwards is the one at the very back of the queue).
  • Bullet Points: The entire story hinges on the idea that the Marvel Universe is changed when Professor Erskine is shot by a Nazi spy 24 hours earlier than he was in the mainstream Marvel universe. This actually causes two direct changes though, as the Nazi spy not only gets Erskine, but a young army private guarding him named Ben Parker. It's arguable which one is more important.
  • Grendel: At the end of the Grendel Tales story "The Devil May Care", Dana, after having been forced to kill her own son in self-defence and seeing her city reduced to ruins by the fall-out of her affair with Hack, kisses him and shoots them both through the head with a single bullet.
  • Superman: In a Bronze-Age Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen tale, Supes tossed a rock through seven of Victor Volcanum's pseudo-men robots, taking them all out with one throw.

    Fan Works 
  • A Darker Path: When Atropos is facing 15 of Bonesaw's spider-bots and has only 12 bullets left, she has to make every shot count, repeatedly taking down multiple bots with each bullet. She eventually finishes them all and has two bullets left over.

    Films — Animation 
  • Parodied in Rango, where Rango claims to have killed the Jenkins brothers with one bullet only to find out there were seven of them. He then has to make up an incredibly contrived tale of how such a thing could possibly happened, involving lots a richocheting and the last brother simply dying of infection. And they believe him.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, this overlaps with Disaster Dominoes, as Tack the cobbler uses a well-fired tack to destroy One-Eye's war machine and his army.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The ABCs of Death: In the "Z" segment, the Rice Girl fires one bullet that goes through the heads of all three men making sushi.
  • At the climax of Alien: Resurrection, the villainous Dr. Wren shoots Purvis, a crew member infested with a xenomorph embryo. As the xenomorph starts hatching, Purvis lunges for him, tanking several more bullets, grabs him, and holds him against his chest, forcing the xenomorph to punch through Wren's skull as well as his own ribcage.
  • In the "Guzman of the Dead" promotional video for Army of the Dead, the eponymous Mikey Guzman kills groups of zombies in Las Vegas this way for fun, looting and views on his YouTube account.
  • In the Shaw Brothers martial arts film, The Deadly Duo, one of the titular duo uses an Epic Flail with a barbed tip, that at one point kills 8 enemy soldiers with a single shot.
  • During the highway fight in Deadpool (2016), Deadpool has three mooks and One Bullet Left, so he lines them up and puts the shot through the first guy's forehead, the second guy's forehead, and the third guy's... no, wait, it doesn't have enough energy left to puncture his skull.
  • The assassins in Death on the Nile (2022) end up killed in a single shot.
  • The idea is toyed with by the main character in Freejack, who only has one bullet left and knows he will be greeted by a squad of Mooks once his elevator gets to the lobby. Obviously, it is not likely that they would helpfully line up in front of an elevator they're supposed to surround.
  • In Ghost Rock, Mattie kills all three Thompson brothers with a single shot from a buffalo rifle. Truth in Television as a buffalo rifle will do that at close range.
  • In The House That Jack Built, the Serial Killer Villain Protagonist tries to enact this as his crowning murder by restraining a dozen or so victims with their heads perfectly lined up and pointing a high-powered rifle in plane with them. Unfortunately for Jack, one of the planned victims is a veteran who points out that the bullet Jack is bragging about using isn't powerful enough to actually do this, and Jack is forced to leave his victims and has to go get the proper bullets. It's ambiguous as to whether Jack eventually pulls this off, as by the time he gets back the police are pounding down the door and Jack's spirit associate Virgil ends up guiding him down to Hell without witnessing the fate of the victims.
  • Two people end up accidentally killed because of this In Bruges, twice.
  • Indiana Jones accidentally pulls this on three Nazi mooks in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade because of the gun used. Indy is visibly surprised when it happens.
  • Jeepers Creepers 3: The Creeper takes time to aim his spear so he can kill two teenagers with a single throw, as if it's a sport for him (it is).
  • Done by accident in Killer Elite by the new guy, killing one of his associates.
  • During the church battle in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Harry impales three opponents with one pole.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Éomer kills two enormous war elephants with one thrown spear — killing the rider of the first, causing it to veer off course and smash into the second.
  • Subverted in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, as Harry and Perry are shot with the same bullet, but they both survive.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Avengers (2012), Hawkeye has a trick arrow that fires submunitions to achieve this effect.
    • Attempted but averted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Black Widow recounts how said assassin once attacked her and an engineer traveling with her on that mission. She threw her body over the engineer in an attempt to save him, but the Winter Soldier merely shot her through the abdomen. She survived, the engineer didn't.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Yondu's fancy arrow manages to pierce through about two-dozen of Ronan's mooks in one move. It helps that it flies autonomously and can turn on a dime, of course.
  • In the Indian film Magadheera, during the 100-on-1 fight scene, at one point the warrior Bhairava skewers two enemy soldiers in a single file with a flung spear.
  • Five Shaolin Masters: In the final action scene, Brother Hu (David Chiang) have to fight off General Chen and his Co-Dragons, a pair of twins who attacks in unison. Hu defeats the twins by sending his flail through both of them in one swoop, the weapon's head which embeds into a bamboo tree behind the second twin.
  • The Mighty One: In the final battle, the Water Knight throws a spear through five mooks, killing all and causing the remaining mooks to promptly go Screw This, I'm Outta Here
  • The opening fight of The New Legend of Shaolin has Hung Hei-kwun (Jet Li) skewering 3 ninjas all at once with his extendable spear.
  • Invoked for dramatic tension in the Johnny Depp movie Nick of Time: The Dragon and Johnny are in a van, guns drawn. He has his weapon aimed at her head, she has hers aimed at his five-year-old daughter in the seat in front of her. The woman says something to effect of her gun being strong enough to not only blow away the daughter, but the bullets will be able to travel another two miles and kill a few people on the street.
  • The Old Guard. The protagonists are immortal mercenaries who have been fighting for centuries, so have Improbable Aiming Skills. In one scene their sniper waits till a sentry walks behind another sentry (across his line of fire) and kills both with a single round.
  • Gruesomely illustrated by Revolutionary War era cannon (firing a 6 lb solid chunk of pig iron) in Mel Gibson's The Patriot (2000). Wherein a cannonball pulverized its first target, then proceeded to roll on the ground-crushing feet as it went, while coated with the entrails of its first target. It is arguable which soldier had the worse death: the one instantly reduced to chunky salsa, or the one that got to view the rest of the battle while screaming and trying not to bleed out from the stump where his ankle was, just to die from gangrene days later from the infected wound.
  • In Quigley Down Under, the title character does this with an experimental 1800s sniper rifle.
    "That bastard's been sitting up in the rocks all morning just waiting for two idiots to line up in his sights."
  • Schoolboy, the team's sniper in Rambo IV, uses an anti-material rifle firing .50 BMG bullets - which, being made to go through armor and engine blocks, are barely slowed down at all by soft bodies. Predictable results occur when he fires his rifle at an enemy soldier behind whom stands another enemy soldier.
  • In the Final Battle of Ready Player One, Art3mis uses a massive railgun to shoot through about a dozen Sixers in a line. For some reason this translates perfectly into the real world where the people playing said Sixers get kicked out of the Oasis in the exact same arrangement in IOI's war room.
  • Augie's doorknob-firing potato gun in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse shatters the heads of three zombies in a row, as shown in an awesome tracking shot.
  • In Schindler's List, during the raid of the ghetto, a group of soldiers force several Jewish civilians to line up they can see how many of them a rifle can penetrate. This happens in the BACKGROUND. It's incidental.
  • Insinuated in Shaun of the Dead, where after Shaun and Liz manage to evade the zombies in the bar (after accidentally torching the majority of rifle shells), Liz mentions they only have two shells, and Shaun thinks out loud, "Maybe we could take most of them out if they stand in a line."
  • Invoked in Skyfall, when Silva holds M's head against his own and puts a gun to his temple, begging her to pull the trigger and finish them both off.
  • Sniper: Richard Miller does this after Thomas Beckett, while being tortured, sees him looking through his scope and mouths to him to take "One shot, two kills." Tom survives.
  • The Spy Who Loved Me: During the breakout from the Liparus, Bond managed to get his hands on a Harpoon Gun Stromberg's mooks left randomly lying around, and launch a single harpoon, killing two mooks pursuing him in one shot.
  • T-34: In the Russian ambush against the German Panzer column, the opening shot of Nikolay's T-34 medium tank manages to pierce through a Panzer II's hull and catastrophically damage the Panzer III's engine block behind it, all in gratuitous slow-mo.
  • Tremors 2: Aftershocks: Burt Gummer fires an armor piercing bullet at one of the Shriekers. The little monster explodes from the impact; the bullet continues through a concrete slab and several empty oil drums, finally using up its energy by destroying the engine of the car they were going to escape in. Justified in that the gun and ammo used were designed with the intent of going through tanks; Burt was prepared to hunt 30-foot subterranean worms, not little runners.
  • Villa Rides: Charles Bronson executes 3 captured Mexican soldiers with a single bullet by having them standing in a straight line and firing at the first.
  • Occurs in The Viral Factor during the Action Prologue, when the hero, Jon, was betrayed by one of his ex-comrades who fires a single shot at Jon's direction. Said bullet hits Jon's fiancée through her head (in a Pretty Little Headshots way) before going through Jon's temple as well. Jon survives, but his fiancée doesn't, and later Jon finds out he now has two weeks remaining before the bullet in his head finishes him off.
  • Wanted uses it as a means of suicide near the end: a bullet fired at an angle in a circular room goes through several people's brains before finally lodging itself in the shooter's head.
  • In X-Men: Apocalypse, Magneto is in hiding trying to live life like a normal man, with a wife and child, but he outs himself by rescuing a co-worker and the cops come after him with bows and arrows. The daughter, a mutant who can apparently control animals, creates a distraction which causes one of the bowmen to lose his grip, sending an arrow through both her and her mother, who was trying to calm her down at the time.

  • In The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, there's a story-within-a-story about an outlaw called Rattlesnake Jake. At one point he shoots a sheriff with a bullet which goes right through the sheriff and ricochets off several other objects before hitting (and killing) a bear.
  • The Brave Little Tailor famously killed "seven at one blow!" Unfortunately, he neglects to correct people's mistake when they assume he killed seven giants at one blow. It was actually seven flies.
  • Destroyermen: In Distant Thunders, Silva MacGyvers a flintlock rifle out of a salvaged anti-aircraft gun from the Japanese cruiser Amagi, which he nicknames the Doom Whomper. This weapon fires a quarter-pound, 1-inch-diameter minie ball, which Silva likes to use to amuse himself by trying to see how many "rhino-pigs" he can kill with a single bullet.
  • Daffyd manages to pull this off with a longbow in The Dragon on the Border. It's only possible because the Hollow Men are suits of armor with no body in them, and he designed a special arrow intended to pierce armor and keep going, which would be useless against any other opponent.
  • Barely averted in Flag in Exile. During Honor's exile on the planet Grayson, an attempt is made on her life. An assassin fires at her, hitting her in the chest. Her jerkin is fortunately thick enough to stop the bullet, but only because it went through someone else first and was slowed enough by passing through one body that it lost a lot of its penetrating force.
  • Used in the climax of the first Left Behind book, where the Antichrist displays his power by shooting two people with one bullet... and then makes everyone forget that this happened. Don't question how something that nobody remembers counts as a display of power. Also don't question how he pulled off this trick with a low-caliber hollow-point bullet, or how everyone accepted it was a murder-suicide.
  • In Legacy of the Aldenata, rounds fired from the rail guns used by the ACS, traveling not much slower than the speed of light, will rip through multiple Posleen before running out of kinetic energy.
  • "Muck-a-Muck," Bret Harte's parody of The Leatherstocking Tales, exaggerates Natty Bumppo's marksmanship this way:
    The crack of a rifle rang through the woods. Three frightful yells were heard, and two sullen roars. Five animals bounded into the air and five lifeless bodies lay upon the plain. The well-aimed bullet had done its work. Entering the open throat of the grizzly it had traversed his body only to enter the throat of the California lion, and in like manner the catamount, until it passed through into the respective foreheads of the bull and the buffalo, and finally fell flattened from the rocky hillside.
  • Invoked in Leo Frankowski's Conrad Stargard books when fighting the Mongols with shots from the steam-powered machine guns often blasting through 3-4 men at a time.
  • A minor example is seen in the first Winnetou novel when Old Shatterhand faces off against the Kiowa chieftain Tangua in a formal gun duel over previous grievances (using rifles rather than pistols, mind). Wanting to punish but not actually kill his antagonist, he announces that he's going to shatter the Kiowa's right knee, which the latter scoffs at. Then Tangua makes the mistake of turning sideways to offer a smaller target profile, ignores a warning about that as well, and as predicted by his protagonist opponent consequently takes the bullet through both knees instead...
  • The Wheel of Time has a supernatural version in the "Arrows of Fire" spell, which produces superheated filaments that punch through their target, carry through to anything behind them, and flicker over to a new set of targets. Rand's ability to maintain a hundred Arrows simultaneously is part of what makes him a Person of Mass Destruction.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel:
    • Non-lethal version in the episode "The Magic Bullet." Fred manages to free Angel from Jasmine's spell by shooting a bullet through Jasmine and into Angel, thus exposing him to her blood. Yes, it's named after the Kennedy bullet theory.
    • An earlier episode had Angel's cop friend going after a serial-killer vampire shortly after she discovered Angel's past (and thus no longer trusted him). Angel is also trying to stop the other vampire and struggling with him when the cop takes a rather large wooden beam and shoves it through both of their abdomens. She hits the serial-killer in the heart (turning him to dust), but Angel survives the blow and comments that she missed his heart. Turns out she wasn't going for this trope after all and missed on purpose because she had decided to trust him again.
  • An episode of CSI involves a shoot-out at a store between a cop and several armed robbers. At the end, the cop manages to kill all the robbers, but an innocent woman is also killed. At the end, it's revealed that the cop was tracking a moving robber and fired when he cleared an aisle. The bullet passed through the running robber and hit the woman standing behind him. The cop didn't see her because he was too focused on the robber. The cop got a medal.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), during the liberation of New Caprica, Galactica is heavily outnumbered by FOUR Cylon baseships. Then Lee pulls a Big Damn Heroes by bringing in the Pegasus. Eventually the Pegasus gets torn up so Lee orders an evacuation and points the Pegasus right at a baseship. the Pegasus destroys the baseship it rams into but its hanger bay, which was blown off during the ramming, flies into another baseship, destroying it as well.
  • Blake's 7. In "Warlord", a secret resistance video shows bored Federation guards using the drugged population of a conquered planet for target practice, competing to shoot people as they're passing each other on parallel elevators, killing two with one shot.
  • Burn Notice:
    • Occurs in a season 6 episode when a bullet intended for Anson overpenetrates and kills Nate.
    • To a (slightly) less lethal degree when in an earlier season, Jesse shoots Michael through the shoulder to kill a bad guy.
  • In Criminal Minds 8x12: "Zugzwang", when the round fired by the unsub while committing suicide overpenetrates and kills Reid's girlfriend, done on purpose by the unsub.
  • Both Hernán Cortés' and Ivan the Terrible's guns were able to kill two dummies with one shot in Deadliest Warrior.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "The Fortune Teller" McCrory the assayer shoots two robbers (one of them his own treacherous assistant) with a derringer which he'd purchased after Gisella's crystal ball warned him he was in danger of being robbed and murdered. His first bullet goes through both men, killing them, and McCrory doesn't need to fire a second time.
  • Parodied on Frasier where the cast is recreating an old radio drama with balloons being used to mimic the sound of gunshots. Niles eventually snaps at Frasier's constant direction and starts offing all of the characters.
    Niles: I'm just going to take this gun off the table. [fake gunshot] So long, O'Toole; I guess we'll never get to hear your fascinating piece of the puzzle. [two fake gunshots] Or yours, Kraegan and Peppo! Could the McCallister sisters stand back to back? I'm short on bullets. [fake gunshot] Thank you.
  • The Hexer: A few times throughout the series, Geralt manages to kill two mooks in a single slash when they try to blindly charge him. This however only works on poorly trained and unarmoured opponents.
  • Luke Cage (2016): In "DWYCK," Diamondback kills two of the crime bosses by shooting one through the side of the neck, the bullet then going across the table and into the head of the guy across the table.
  • In NCIS, Gibbs does this while shooting a hostage and her captor, with her silent go-ahead.
  • Angela from Obliterated kills two Russian bad guys in the first episode with a double headshot, blowing through one guy's head to get the guy behind him.
  • At one point in The Office (US), an irritated Michael claims if he had two bullets and was stuck with Hitler, Bin Laden, and Toby, he would shoot Toby twice. The other employees saying he went to far with the joke has him amend it so he shoots Toby and Hitler. After further complaints, Dwight claims that they could use one bullet to kill all three by lining them all up and shooting them though the throat.
  • Occurs in the season 1 finale of Rizzoli & Isles where Rizzoli shoots herself through the abdomen while grappling with the corrupt cop in order to shoot him.
  • In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, this was Lord John Roxton's greatest failure. While on safari, his brother William started getting mauled by a gorilla. John shot it, but the bullet went through and killed William as well.
  • In Spooks, Jo is grappling with a terrorist to stop him detonating a bomb; Ros (after Jo nods at her to take the shot) shoots the terrorist, killing them both.
  • In a Stargate-verse crossover episode, the teams try to establish a wormhole between a gate in the Pegasus Galaxy to the Ori supergate in the Milky Way. This requires a massive power surge on the dialing end. Suddenly, a Wraith hive-ship appears and attacks the human battlecruiser. Realizing that the proximity of a black hole is interfering with the Wraith's transporter jamming system, the humans take their ship around the black hole. When the hive-ship is near the floating gate, they beam a nuke aboard, vaporizing the hive-ship. The surge establishes a wormhole to the supergate. Moments before, Teal'c in a Goa'uld scoutship has lured an Ori mothership over the supergate. The resulting "kawoosh" of the opening wormhole destroys the mothership. So, yeah, two ginormous warships in two different galaxies with a single nuke.
  • In Strike Back: Vengeance, Scott kills two Mossad agents this way. For bonus points, it was a headshot.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • This trope is used to set up the big drama featuring Carl in the second season; trying to get close to a deer, Carl gets hit by a fragmented bullet when a hunter who hadn't seen the kid shoots the deer.
    • Rick has two dead walkers laying on top of him, with a live one on top of that. He is unable to directly shoot the third, so he shoots through the skull of one of the dead walkers. It should be noted that he fired multiple times, initially to get the barrel of his gun out through the other side of the skull, then the final shot killing the walker.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess has a bow and arrow example. After returning home from 10 years at sea, Odysseus has to fight off an army of mooks with his famous bow capable of cutting through 3 men. Cue a horrific set up where three randoms stand in a straight line behind each other with a precision and timing that would be the envy of any footballing defense, just in time to have a single arrow kill all of them.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Odyssey: Our intrepid hero demonstrates this tropes with a spear on some unwanted suitors to his wife's hand.
  • An interesting play on this trope: Geryon has three torsos and one pair of legs, so Heracles goes to his side and shoots an arrow straight through all three torsos.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Brikwars, if you do enough damage to count as Overkill, you not only annihilate the thing you were aiming at, but the shot also goes on to damage or destroy whatever was behind your target.
  • The big monsters in Call of Cthulhu don't do damage per se, they just kill a random number of victims per round (not counting the ones who are dying just by being near them).
  • Diana Warrior Princess) have special rules for mooks that allows damage to overflow if you take one out on to the next. This doesn't always represent shooting through someone, but if you're using a gun and you can't think of anything cooler, it often does.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Edition 3.5 has a feat and a magical weapon enhancement, either of which allows an archer to do this as long as they can keep making the attack rolls.
    • The game also has a melee version: Cleave. There's even a unique weapon called The Lance of the Unending Charge that lets you keep on charging until you fail to gib someone.
    • One of the supplement books had a spell called Greater Disrupt Undead. It was a single target spell that only hurt undead but if it killed the target and had damage leftover, the caster was allowed to make a second attack roll against another undead enemy that was on a straight-line path beyond the target, applying the excess damage to that target. This effect could keep going until you had used up all the excess damage, missed an attack, ran out of valid targets, or reached the end of the spell's range.
    • The spell Chain Lightning (or the Chain Spell feat, depending on what edition you're playing) applies this trope to a magical attack.
    • The spell Chaos Bolt has a one-in-eight chance to do this every time it hits a creature.
  • Any sufficiently powerful gun, laser, arrow or such can overpenetrate in GURPS but (if you're shooting it at appropriate targets) it's likely to be weakened considerably by doing so.
  • Hc Svnt Dracones: Weapons with the "-Annihilate" descriptor continue in a line until they've dealt a total of 1000 damage, salsaing everyone in that path. Fortunately the only weapon with that descriptor is the extremely expensive V-801 Mag Lance.
  • Cthulhu-like monsters in Pathfinder don't have automatic kills, but their melee hits attack anyone in the vicinity of their nominal target, and do such monumental damage that anyone not godly or epic is squished. (And, again, this is not counting the people who die or go insane simply from perceiving the monster.)
  • Completely averted in Star Fleet Battles, although this is quite reasonable when one considers that even two starships in the same hex are probably hundreds of kilometers apart—the precise lineup necessary for a polykill would be incredibly unlikely. On the other hand, if a shot does enough damage to completely destroy its target, the resulting explosion could do some hefty damage to nearby ships.
  • In Traveller the Plasma Gun, Man Portable and Fusion GMP both keep going after they hit something, applying any remaining damage (10d6 to 16d6) to whatever's next in the line. The rules note that practically any firearm can overpenetrate in this way, but it's only worth keeping track of at that level of firepower.
  • Warhammer:
    • Cannons in the game act somewhat realistically (as noted below). When the shot is fired, a landing point is determined, then the bounce. It's the bounce that usually does all the damage, especially against infantry.
    • Bolt throwers and certain magic bows also have a possibility to kill multiple units, but the bolt/arrow stops dead in its tracks if it doesn't kill anything.
  • Certain weapons in Warhammer 40,000 use special rules that specifically draws a line from the gun in the direction the player wants to fire for the duration of the range (or infinite in the case of heavier weapons or psychic powers). These were specifically made to hit multiple targets, and given that most of them either tear a hole in reality or create a black hole in the shape of a line, it tends to result in the death of its targets. In the game, it's actually harder to land multiple kills with these, as a unit is never in a straight enough line to cause enough hits to justify it; conventional ordinance weapons tend to have a larger chance to kill and hit more targets.
  • Warhammer Quest had the Deathblow rule: if your melee attack kills the target on the first hit, you can attack another enemy adjacent to the first, and so on until you either fail to kill an enemy or run out of targets. Against low-level mooks, it's quite common (and amusing) to wipe out a whole mob with a single swing. The video game adaptation even has an achievement for getting seven consecutive deathblows.

    Video Games 
  • The Thunderbolt Laser in Agent Intercept, and how. Line up enemies correctly, and one shot of the laser is sure to earn you a Skillshot (one shot, more than one Takedown) bonus for your combo. This is shown in great detail in the side mission "Training Day," where one shot takes out 11-12 cars (judging by how many explosions there were and including the engine) of a train you've been whittling down for the whole mission.
  • Age of Empires II: Projectiles fired by the scorpion type siege weapons (and several other units) can do this, passing through multiple targets and damaging every one they hit.
  • The massively powerful maximum-level ability for archers in ADOM is just this, enabling their arrows (or even just rocks) to go on as long as they please without being stopped by creatures in their path.
  • The Special Weapons class in Alien Swarm gets the Piercing Bullets ability, which gives each shot fired a chance to do this.
  • In a non-death example, there is more than one way to get two outs at the same time in Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D (and we mean in the same split second, instantaneously, not just in the same continuous play like any ordinary double play). For example, lining out to a baseman standing on a base to which a runner must return (tag up) after the ball is caught, or lining out to an infielder diving towards a runner.
  • This is actually an achievement in Assassin's Creed III; the achievement goes as "killing three Mooks with a single musket instantly". You line up three mooks, stab through the first, and then shoot the second. The bullet will pass through and hit the third. That only happens if the distance is small enough.
  • Bloodline Champions has a number of abilities that pierce through enemies - most ultimates are capable of this. Always watch out about the formation your team is making.
  • Bloody Zombies allows you to kill multiple zombies with a single swing of your ranged weapons, or with explosives. When that happens your character will exclaim, "Sweet, two for the price of one!"
  • In the Bloons Tower Defense series, many towers fire projectiles which can pierce through several targets. Although the level of penetration is justified, as most enemies are standard balloons, it's still weird when you consider that, say, a blue bloon contains a red bloon, but an upgraded Dart Monkey throwing a dart at a bunch of blue bloons will pop only the blue layer, and it'll require a second shot to take care of the red inside. The games make a distinction between pierce and popping power: popping power is how many layers of one bloon a shot can pop through in one hit, and pierce is how many bloons a shot can pass through (this trope).
  • Zer0 of Borderlands 2 has a skill called "B0re" which allows for this to happen by allowing bullets to pierce through enemies to hit ones behind them. When this occurs the bullet also gets a massive damage buff for each enemy it pierces, making this trope even easier to pull off. It is also amazingly useful at killing gigantic bosses since it's possible for the damage bonus to apply on them multiple times.
  • Bulletstorm has multiple weapons that can do this. Pulling off these One Hit Polykills results in an exponential increase in points for each extra mook beyond the first two.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has this in spades, and players die from the effects of this trope all the time. The body of a fellow player will weaken bullets, but it won't stop them unless they have already lost a lot of momentum. For the more powerful firearms, such as the sniper rifles and the light machine guns, overpenetration is the norm.
    • In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, there are multiplayer challenges requiring the player to get two headshots with one bullet or two kills with one sniper shot, not to mention an achievement for doing so.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops ups the ante with an achievement for getting three kills with one bullet.
    • Many players of Call of Duty know of terrible impending deaths in multiplayer in which they saw an enemy player be in a position to shoot at them, but an ally (or allies) of the player was in the way. Due to Friendly Fireproof, you cannot harm your allies or anything behind them with bullets. The enemy can harm your allies and everything behind them (like you), though.
  • Some weapons in Cave Story can do this, most notably the Spur, which functions as a Frickin' Laser Beam or a Wave-Motion Gun depending on how long you charge it.
  • In the Munitions powerset of Champions Online, the Sniper Rifle power can take an advantage called "Tungsten Rounds", which enables it to hit up to three targets in a line up to the maximum range of the attack - against Mooks, this is often one hit polykills.
  • Civilization originally allowed attacking units to destroy entire stacks of units in a square, the exceptions being those within a city or in a fortress. In Civilization II, massed assaults became hard to perform based on better AI understanding of units. Starting with Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and Civilization III, there were attempts to make a collateral damage mechanic rather than a polykill.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, GDI railguns would penetrate through anything standing between the shooter and the target (read: Friendly Fireproof isn't in effect here), dealing equal damage along anything in that line. Because of the extremely high damage output invested in every shot, a railgun is quite lethal to fragile targets. Canny gamers would then set these weapons to force-fire behind the unit or structure they wanted to kill.
    • Another weapon that polykills is the GDI sonic emitter, first used by GDI Disruptor tanks from the same game. It's essentially a railgun with more sophisticated rules: the emitted sonic beam takes time to reach its target, hurts less to anything in between that's not an intended target, and hurts friends and foes alike, unless it's another Disruptor. In short, it's safe to cluster Disruptors among themselves, but not with other kinds of things. This reappears as the Shatterer (and upgraded ZOCOM-only version, the Zone Shatterer) in Kane's Wrath.
    • Dolphins in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 also have this trait due to practically using the exact same code as the above Disruptor, just with a very short firing time to give the illusion of a projectile rather than a focused beam. Much like them and the railguns, force-firing past targets will allow you to deal more damage through multiple ships (and squids), especially against shipyards since the pulses travel through rather than stop in the middle
    • Command & Conquer: Renegade's multiplayer has Nod's railgun used by Raveshaw that passes through multiple enemy infantry/vehicles that are hit by it (but not through the terrain), this gives it a distinct advantage over GDI's personal ion cannon used by Sydney.
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Natasha's sniper shots kill any and all infantry units in their path. Force-Wave Artillery is capable of it as well, albeit every target past the first unit hit will suffer less damage.
  • The powered-up shot in Cosmic Gate.
  • The GoldSrc version of Counter-Strike exhibited this with rifles and similar weapons, which could penetrate doors, crates, ventilation ducts, and other 'thin' or 'soft' materials, players included.
  • In Crimsonland, some weapons naturally fire bullets that go straight through the creatures they hit, and others will do so with the help of certain perks. This is essential, given the ludicrously-sized swarms the game is known for.
  • In Crysis 2, you get an achievement for killing two enemies with one bullet.
  • GoldSrc version of Day of Defeat allowed rifles to penetrate thin cover and other players, and so its One-Hit Kill bolt-action rifles were entirely capable of killing two or even three players with one shot under the right circumstances.
  • The Line Gun in Dead Space fires off a meter wide cutting laser. Unlike its kid brother the Plasma Cutter, this cutting laser is not stopped when it hits a target. A well aimed shot can take off both legs of several necromorphs.
  • The Sniper Rifle in Dead Trigger 2, can fell two or more zombies in one shot as long as they walk in the line of fire. However, it's exclusive to the Sentinel/Defend missions. Moreover, the Benelli (misspelled as Beneli) 828U is also capable of doing this in open-field missions despite being a shotgun.
  • The fusion cannon in Descent. Not only does it go through an enemy robot, the shot actually becomes stronger after doing so.
  • Devil May Cry 5: The shots from Nero's Blue Rose revolver and Dante's Ebony & Ivory handguns can penetrate other demons that happen to be aligned with the primary locked-on target. This trope becomes literal and more noticeable in the "Heaven or Hell" mode where everything dies in one hit; a single gunshot can simultaneously kill the target and another one behind it. These are justified in the lore and item descriptions of both guns, as they are stated to fire armor piercing rounds.
  • In Diablo II, the Amazon has a Bow skill called Pierce, which causes arrows to pass through multiple enemies. When combined with Strafe, which splits an arrow to hit multiple targets... carnage ensues. The necromancer's Bone Spear skill also allows overpenetration, due to how it exists partially in the Spirit World.
    • In older versions, this produced amusing results when used with the "guided arrow" skill - the arrow would hit the target, fly out the other side, and immediately turn around to have another go (and possibly repeat up to 5 times).
    • Some projectile weapons also have the Piercing Attack trait, rated 1 to 100% chance to pierce a target. The Buriza-Do Kyanon unique crossbow was the preferred weapon of many Amazons, called "Burizons", who specialized in Strafe and (when it worked) Guided Arrow.
      • As well as this works with bows, it works much better when the Amazon uses a Javelin. Her Lightning Fury skill makes a number of lightning bolts fly out towards the enemies and at high levels you get a very high number of bolts. Combine it with piercing and the javelin will go on to hit another target... and release the entire volley of lightning bolts again. And again. And again. The more enemies you have together the faster all of them will drop dead, making this perhaps the ultimate example.
    • In Diablo III, the Demon Hunter has several abilities that work like this. The Elemental Arrow, regardless of rune, is basically Area of Effect damage in a line, and some runes make that line narrow enough to resemble this. Some other shots can be modified by runes to hit multiple enemies in a straight line. However, it's unlikely to be a one hit polykill unless your character greatly outlevels the content or your targets are a very weak type of enemy. And if you kill enough enemies in one shot, you get a Mighty Blow and some extra XP, along with a badass send-off line by your character.
  • In Diepio, there's an entire stat, Bullet Penetration, which is responsible for just this. However, its main use is not in setting up polykills, but in allowing your bullets to pass through those of the enemy, instead of simply seeing cancelling each other out, or being overpowered by those with larger damage or a higher rate of fire.
  • Dirty Bomb only permits sniper rifle shots to overpenetrate enemies.
  • Doom: Shotgun can punch through whole columns of weak or damaged enemies in a single shot, since any dying enemy immediately becomes a non-entity to the physics engine, transparent to all of shotgun's multiple pellets.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Scattershot archer talent in Dragon Age: Origins also allows this, provided the enemies are weak enough. An archer can clear a whole group of Grunt type enemies with one shot — though a quirk of the mechanics means that that first shot has to targeted at something that will survive it, otherwise the spread effect doesn't happen.
    • The majority of blood magic seems based around crowd control. One of the most dangerous spells is one that does an ungodly large amount of damage, and spreads to other targets. Casting said spell on a crowd of Mooks usually results in a lot of dead mooks, and severely injured Elite Mooks.
    • In Dragon Age II, Varric describes himself doing this in one of his Unreliable Narrator moments. Any rogue (besides Isabela, who cannot equip bows) can also do this in-game with the upgraded Archer's Lance talent, which travels through enemies and one-shots all "weaker opponents" it comes in contact with.
  • The laser in Duke Nukem II could do this.
  • In Eagle Island, equipping Koji with a feather obtained from Zephara grants him the ability to pass through and kill multiple enemies in a straight line when launched.
  • Fallout:
  • The most powerful sniper rifles in Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 are anti-materiel rifles chambered in .50 BMG whose bullets don't stop until they've punched through quite a lot of obstacles. It doesn't even need to be a headshot unless the first target was a Heavy. Hostile outposts with their stationary guards are particularly susceptible to multiple bad guys being killed with one bullet, even if there's a wall in the way.
  • From the Depths models ballistics in high detail; shells can completely over-penetrate a vessel if they don't ricochet, fragment, squash, or otherwise run out of kinetic energy. Railguns are particularly apt at running straight through the entire length of a ship, especially when loaded with heavy ammo such as solid 14 meter long slugs. Particle Cannons fire subatomic particles at close to the speed of light, which can go straight through conventional defenses and out the other side.
  • In Gatling Gears, getting a Cannon Booster Powerup turns your cannon into a painful piercing 3-way shooter.
  • In Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, one of the side-effects of the sync-shot mechanics (that is, a target will die in a single bullet no matter what once you've marked and are locked onto them) allows for, with luck, players to kill an extra enemy or two beyond the maximum of four marked targets in some circumstances.
  • Ghost Squad (2004) offers a "Double Down" bonus for hitting two enemies with a single shot. This is only possible with shotguns and weapons with piercing properties.
  • GoldenEye: there are several guns that can shoot through bodies, so if the mooks are lined up right you can easily takes down multiple ones with a single shot, occasionally facilitating accuracy scores above 100%.
    • Same applies in the Online (and local) multiplayer. The Golden Gun has infinite penetration of players (but not walls) and is a One-Hit Kill. Even the weakest Sniper Rifle (Silenced Pavlov ASR) can go for multikills, especially if one of them is a Boom, Headshot!.
      • Makes some game modes, such as the Protection Mission (for the bad guys, MI6 needs to destroy it) of "Black Box" fairly easy for MI6 on the wider maps. Mainly because the default gameplay is to have one person with said box (who then moves slowly and can only use a pistol), and everybody else clusters around bristling with automatic weapons to ward off surge attacks, cue 3 or 4 deaths with a single silenced round.
  • All sniper rifles in Grand Theft Auto V can overpenetrate targets. The lighter models require headshots to do so, which is difficult to do in most situations, but the Heavy Sniper can pull it off no matter where the initial target was hit. Some missions encourage you to pull this off, such as "Crystal Maze", in which you have to score a headshot on two of the O'Neills with one sniper round as part of the 100% checklist for that mission.
  • The Sawblade Cannon in GunGirl 2 exists purely to do this. One of the upgrades also increases the number of enemies the sawblade can chew through before being destroyed. Useful, since a major source of danger is gigantic hordes of zombies spawned from Clown Car Graves.
  • Hades: The spear throw and the bow pierce multiple enemies per hit by default. The Adamant Rail can be upgraded with piercing ammunition that lets it do it as well, while the spear and bow can be upgraded with explosive attacks that subvert this trope in return for massive area-of-effect damage focused on the primary target.
  • One of the world objects players can shoot with Half-Life 2's famous Gravity Gun are circular sawblades, most of which are found in the zombie-infested village of Ravenholm. Since zombies are slow, stupid and numerous, and these blades pack one hell of a punch, gibbing up to half a dozen of the shamblers with one shot is fairly easy to pull off.
  • Halo:
    • This can happen in with the sniper weapons, and you can download several people's replays of it.
    • Even more impressively, a single Spartan Laser shot in Halo 3 can demolish ten Warthogs at once.
    • On a larger scale, UNSC Super MAC orbital defense stations carry a railgun that fires slugs with sufficient force to overpenetrate a fully shielded Covenant capital ship and retain enough velocity to also kill the one behind it.
  • The Demonspine spell in Hellgate: London penetrates with perfect accuracy up to 30 meters, potentially killing anything in its path.
  • Hexen has one of the earliest truly distinctive examples in a 3D FPS: Daedolon's starting weapon, the Sapphire Wand, which combines infinite ammo, low damage, no loss of damage due to passing through an enemy, great accuracy at long range, immunity to attack reflection, and a very high chance of causing flinching. All of which means playing as a Mage involves a great deal of watching entire lines of enemies grunt and try to slowly approach through a steady stream of this trope.
  • One level in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin allows you to kill two targets with one shot if you line it up just right.
  • In Hogwarts Legacy, it's possible to learn all three of the Unforgiveable Curses, including the Killing Curse, Avada Kedavra, which can kill anything instantly. Combined with the right talents, you can upgrade it to kill multiple enemies at once.
  • Most The House of the Dead games give you a pistol, but The House of the Dead III gives you a shotgun that can damage multiple enemies at once. Doing so nets a "Twin Shot" bonus.
  • Hyperballoid: The Rail Ball bonus makes the ball break every element in one hit and not bounce off while doing so, leading to a lot of potential kills along the way.
  • Bullets do this sometimes in Jagged Alliance 2. In keeping with the game's complex, pseudo-realistic mechanics, this mostly happens with heavier bullets, armor-piercing rounds, and hits to unarmored enemies.
  • In Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony, the Beam (continuous fire) and Charge weapons (single shot) can do this.
  • This is very possible in JFK: Reloaded, since the point of the game is to recreate the magic bullet.
  • Each weapon in Kid Icarus: Uprising has a hidden statistic that determines how many times it can pass through another target before it stops. Staves are well-known for this, being essentially the sniper weapons of the game, and so are Clubs, which can often pass through walls even without the use of special powers.
  • In the 3D Web Game, it's possible to kill two players at once with a single shot from a sniper rifle.
  • In Armor Games' The Last Stand Web Game series, bullets from several weapons can go through (and kill) more than one zombie at a time.
    • The Last Stand: the sniper rifle and the Barrett rifle.
    • The Last Stand 2: the sniper rifle.
  • A large number of Champions in League of Legends have attacks that hit like this, but the most infamous is Ezreal's ultimate which, unlike most other projectiles, crosses the entire map, making it one of the few ultimates that can hit (and rarely kill) an enemy from one fountain to another, or earn a pentakill from a blind shot.
  • Left 4 Dead: All of the stronger weapons (including the hunting rifle) can overpenetrate, with varying amounts of effectiveness, from the "goes through anything, including walls" hunting rifle to the "as many zombies are within 50 meters" shotguns. Makes fighting those 30+ hordes of zombies easier than you'd think.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II has Rean one-shot three of the regular soldats with one swing as he's testing out his sword coated in Zemurian ore.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • MapleStory provides the page image for the trope.
  • If a shotgun in Marathon 2: Durandal killed a weakened enemy, it was likely to wound or kill those behind it as well, because only some of its pellets were "consumed" in the kill, and the rest immediately passed through the falling body. In the Game Mod Marathon: EVIL, the Railgun/Mass Driver was able to penetrate multiple targets regardless of their health, but also caused enough splash damage to potentially harm the player.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • It's possible to do this with the Javelin, Widow, and Black Widow sniper rifle models by default. Add the Rifle Piercing mod and suddenly every sniper rifle becomes at least capable of doing this, the probability increasing with the higher damaging rifles like the Valiant or the Mantis.
    • Liara and Garrus can have a conversation discussing this trope. She asks if a story about him killing three mercinaries with one shot is true; he says he only killed two of them, and the third had a heart attack ("Not fair to count him.").
    • Mods that add or improve penetration exist for all weapons (in the core game for pistols, assault rifles, and shotguns, and added via DLC for submachine guns. Most guns that aren't sniper rifles lack the per-shot damage potential to score a one hit kill, but most shotguns and a few pistols and assault rifles do. Catching a group of enemies at close range with the Claymore heavy shotgun is always entertaining, with the Shredder or Heavy Barrel mods this will almost certainly result in most of the group being obliterated. With the right weapons and a little luck, it's even possible to outdo Garrus and get three (or more) kills with one bullet. This can even happen through walls. The Javelin, for example, has a native penetration of 100cm. Stacking all the penetration mods, AP ammo, etc., the penetration can max out at 6.25 metres, enough to pass through the thickest walls in the game. Provided they can see the targets, player can put rounds through metre-thick concrete and still score triple headshots.
    • Every firearm in Mass Effect: Andromeda can accept penetration mods that enable the gun in question to shoot through obstacles up to a certain thickness, which of course includes squishies. Actually scoring polykills is a lot harder than it was in Mass Effect 3 because even tier X mods usually can't penetrate more than about 1.2 meters, but the real problem are the fast-moving, Incredibly Durable Enemies. Your chances of lining up a killshot on multiple sufficiently weakened targets are near zero, with one amusing exception: freshly spawned enemies. Humanoid hostiles often spawn clipped into each other and stay that way until they notice you, so if you have a powerful penetrating sniper rifle handy, one long-range headshot can result in at least half a dozen headless corpses suddenly flying off in all directions.
  • The fully Charged Attack of Mega Man's Buster weapon is capable of doing this, provided it doesn't hit a durable target.
    • 1's Thunder Beam is another notable example, as are the Rolling Cutter and Fire Storm. The Ice Slasher is a semi-example; it doesn't kill most targets, but it doesn't stop when it hits them, either.
    • Same with 2's Metal Blade, as long as it destroys the target. Most other weapons in 2 act this way, but most are too weak to destroy most targets with one hit. The Leaf Shield, most notably, tends to be either a one-hit kill or completely ineffective against normal enemies, with nothing in between.
    • ROM Hack Rockman 4 Minus ∞ has the Drill Torpedo and the Water Cutter. Drill Torpedo is justified because Mega Man fires drills. Water Cutter is an ultra-focused and ultra-quick water blast.
  • The Metroid games' Plasma Beam.
  • In Minecraft, crossbows can hold an enchantment called Piercing, which allows bolts shot from the item to pass through creatures that it hits, letting one arrow potentially do the work of up to five. Two advancements invoke this: "Two Birds, One Arrow", which calls for killing two phantoms with a single shot, and the hidden advancement "Arbalistic", which calls for killing five mobs with a single Piercing IV shot (it would also count if you used a crossbow with more than Piercing IV, but that's impossible to obtain without commands).
  • Monster Hunter (PC) allows players to kill multiple enemies with a single projectile, if timed correctly, with the sound of a bell going off when a double or triple kill is achieved. These tends to happen the most against ghosts, blobs, or gremlins.
  • Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks has a version of this. When the time comes to Finish Him!, you have a couple of Multalities you can perform, which will kill all enemies within range.
  • In NetHack, wands of cold, fire, lightning and death fired a beam that went through any creature in its path until it ran out of range. Thus, killing multiple weak creatures chasing after you in a single file through a corridor, and not lucky enough to dodge the beam wasn't too difficult. However, a multi-kill could easily end with the shooter's death: if a beam hit a wall before its allocated range was up, it would simply bounce off it, often going directly backwards.
    • Ranged weapons themselves typically stopped at their target (though missing it and hitting someone right behind it was entirely possible). However, archers/crossbowmen could fire two arrows/bolts at once at a Skilled rank, and three at Expert (four if they were Rangers), while characters Expert with daggers and/or knives would throw three at once, and those bursts would easily kill several enemies.
  • In Nintendo Land's Zelda-based attraction, it's possible to do this with a charged arrow. If it kills the enemy it hits, it will continue on its trajectory without losing any momentum or damage. As there are more enemies if you play with a friend/s, co-op play gives plenty of opportunities to do this. Mastering this technique is absolutely necessarynote  if you want to, well, master each level.
  • Not Dying Today allows you to pull this off when enemy zombies are clustered together, and if you're using a large caliber-firearm. The achievement ranges from double or triple-kill, and the most impressive being "hexa-kill"!
  • Railgun and Dart in Nova Drift will pierce through enemies when their projectiles kill the targets they hit.
  • Crossbows in Nuclear Throne will travel through an enemy if the shot kills them, and can cut through crowds of smaller enemies with ease. If that's not enough, the Heavy Crossbow can take out just about any enemy and keep going, too.
  • The Sniper Rifles in PAYDAY 2 allows this trope, with achievements for getting a double/triple kill, and another for shooting a Shield Special Enemy through his Riot Shield. These and shotguns using slug-based rounds are the only weapons that can pull this off, regardless of how high powered some of the other weapons might be.
  • The Valkyrie gun from The Persistence can shoot a needle powerful enough to pierce through an enemy's skin, into another, instantly kill them both, and pin them to a wall.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The Fume-Shroom's fumes will damage all zombies in range, which also bypasses the shields of Shield Bearing Mooks such as newspapers, screen doors, and ladders.
  • In Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time:
    • The Bloomerang's projectiles will damage the three closest zombies/obstacles when fired out and again on the return. The number of zombies hit increases with leveling up.
    • The Laser Bean's lasers will damage every zombie in the row. The same goes for the Shadow Peashooter's shadow beams when powered up by a Moonflower, but with an added slowing effect.
    • The Cactus' ability has been changed from Anti-Air in the first game to firing spikes that can go through 2-4 zombies.
    • Pokra is a Close-Range Combatant whose attacks not only hit all zombies in range and slow them, her fifth attack in sequence also fires out a large spike that penetrates all zombies in her lane.
  • Any multi-target move in Pokémon allows this. Earthquake, Overheat, Petal Blizzard, Lava Plume, Surf and others can defeat multiple opponents in double or triple battles and are a quick way to ev train with wild horde battles.
  • Quake's railgun is able to hit multiple people, often through walls.
  • In the Rainbow Six series, tangoes can wipe out an entire team with a single shot, especially on Elite difficulty.
  • The Sniper Rifle-type weapons in the Ratchet & Clank series are generally capable of this when upgraded.
  • Railgun in Red Faction is most notable for its ability to sight and shoot enemies through the walls, (there's even a subway "duel" where you have to shoot a railgun user through a wall of another subway train passing by, before he one-hit kills you.) However, polykills are hardly out of the question.
  • Resident Evil 4:
    • The "Punisher" pistol (which can be obtained as a bonus for shooting out several blue targets hidden around the early levels) has the ability to shoot through multiple enemies as its special ability. Especially entertaining when said enemies are perched on an elevated platform and fall to their deaths all at once.
    • Although this is already achievable with the more mundane (but still awesome) rifle.
    • Most of the games in the series have at least one gun capable of this. Usually the magnum can plow through multiple zombies, and the shotgun can occasionally manage it.
  • Unlocking the Terror Scoped Rifle in The Saboteur requires the player to make ten such shots.
  • One fully charged cannonball from Serious Sam's cannon can penetrate dozens of enemies of size up to 5 meters.
  • In Silent Scope, it's possible to hit two or even three targets at once if the Mooks are standing in front of each other.
  • Silent Storm. Oh boy. The realistic damage modelling means it is entirely possible to kill someone standing behind a wall with a high-caliber bullet. And if there's no wall, the bullet can still penetrate multiple mooks and knock them back a few metres (bear in mind these are WW2 weapons we are talking about). Aaaand there's where the sniper's Shoot Through Cover (completely removes the advantage of cover for the target) and Always Inflict Ranged Critical perks come in handy...
  • Splitgate joins the ranks of games packing a portable Railgun that can and will instantly kill anything in a line once fired. There's even an achievement for the first time you kill at least two with one shot.
  • Sniper Elite V2 grants an achievement ("Double Dose") for killing two opponents with one shot. Given that the game's main selling point is realistic bullet physics, we shouldn't be surprised the devs included this. The sequels, Sniper Elite III and Sniper Elite 4 encourage you to attempt these as well, with achievements and weapon challenges. There's even a challenge in a specific mission in 4 to destroy the two gunboats patrolling the coast with one shot — by shooting one ship's torpedo warhead or depth charges in a split second window as they pass each other.
  • Splatoon 2: As of the 2.2.0 update, the Bamboozlers can now do this, though it's easier said than done not only because of how opponents can see your aiming laser, but because the Bamboozlers have rather short range for sniping weapons and cannot perform a one-hit kill. That means to do so with a Bamboozler requires your opponents to be lined up in a specific way and already damaged enough that the next shot will finish them. It does make opponents think twice about using someone else as cover though, and this trait is pretty effective against enemies in Salmon Run mode, who shamble like zombies in huge numbers and don't care if they're in the line of fire.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic's first expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, has a strange version of this. The expansion pack upped the game's level cap from 50 to 55, and each class was given a new ability at level 51. For the Dual Lightsaber Wielding Jedi Sentinels and Sith Marauders, they have "Twin Saber Throw", a long ranged attack that consists of them throwing both lightsabers at a target. The attack penetrates any enemies within 30 meters of the thrower, not just the actual target.
  • In Star Wars: Battlefront II, the Beam Rifle can pierce enemies, and generally is strong enough to one-shot its target (though at the cost of inconsistent hit detection).
  • Stellavanity in Type-S mode offers a Multikill bonus for killing multiple enemies with the Blade or Assault weapons.
  • Sunrider:
    • In Mask of Arcadius and Liberation Day, the beam of the Sunrider's Vanguard Cannon will keep going until it reaches the hex you targeted, dealing massive damage to every enemy in its path. Odds are good that at least a few enemy ships will go boom each time you fire the Cannon.
    • In Sunrider 4: The Captain's Return, maxing out Sola's affection level will make her rifle's shots punch through their initial targets and keep flying to the far end of the map. Each subsequent enemy in the bullet's path will get hit for half the initial damage.
  • Essential in Survivor: The Living Dead, as your have to carefully ration your ammo. It's also one of the determining factors in your score at the end of the game, and since getting a high score, or high number of kills is how you unlock some of the weapons and bonuses you'll need for the harder difficulty settings this makes mastering the One-Hit Polykill the most important skill the player can master.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Zelda's and Sheik's Final Smash, the "Light Arrow", will hit any characters in their line of sight, passing through everybody until it hits a wall or the boundaries of the stage, and gives enough knockback to Ring Out even the heaviest of characters at 0% damage, except on the very largest of stages. Not to mention it has the series' trademark satisfying "KREEEENG!" sound effect.
    • Ganon's final has him go One-Winged Angel, stomp, stunning everyone on the stage, and charge forward for a one-hit kill everyone in front of him.
    • Similarly, ROB's laser attack hits through anyone in the line of fire, making for a useful kill move, or at least knocking back several foes at the same time.
  • The Bridge level of Syphon Filter 2 requires you to perform a double kill with the sniper rifle to save a pair of hostages.
  • Tales of the Abyss: In the opening, Natalia skewers several flying monsters with a single arrow.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • While this feature has since been patched out of the game proper, in the "Meet the Sniper" video, the Sniper fires a bullet through a Heavy's head and into the Demoman's bottle, shattering it and causing him to panic (and then strike a wall while holding the bottle close to his face, getting the neck stuck in his eye, draw his grenade launcher and fire randomly, then fall off a ledge into a bunch of Exploding Barrels under it as his grenades fall there as well, and explode.)
    • However, they later introduced The Machina, a sniper rifle that can penetrate all targets—except buildings—with fully-charged shots. Unlike the old Sydney Sleeper, it can still get headshots. It even has separate kills icons for bodyshots and headshots that went through someone else first, and a special sound that plays to everyone in the server when you actually manage to get either (whether or not the target it went through died).
    • The Sydney Sleeper used to be able to do this with a full charge, but the ability was removed shortly after its release (and a while later it was given a shorter charging time to compensate).
    • One of the Soldier's secondary weapons, the Righteous Bison, fires energy bolts that never stop until they hit a wall, making it great for bottlenecks. Interestingly, the weapon deals damage to each target multiple times (one hit every 45 milliseconds it spends inside their hitbox), which allows it to deal more damage to targets running away.
      • An unlockable weapon for the Engineer, the Pomson 6000, used to have the same projectiles with an added Mana Burn attribute. Eventually this ability was removed in exchange for a non-penetrating but more powerful projectile.
    • The Spy's first unlockable revolver, The Ambassador, had piercing bullets and made it possible to headshot multiple snipers. Unfortunately, it was patched out (multiple times) soon afterwards.
    • In Mann Vs. Machine, this is a purchasable upgrade for any weapon that uses bullets as well as the Huntsman. For most weapons this is a single upgrade giving penetration through any number of enemies, but the Heavy's miniguns instead needs to be upgraded once for each additional enemy an attack is able to go through.
  • Kiai Scrolls in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989) penetrate everything and can 1-shot all but strongest foes. Boomerangs can also do this on weak enemies.
  • Terraria: Most of the best weapons and ammo are capable of piercing through multiple targets. The earliest bullet, for example, is the Meteorite shot that pierces an enemy or ricochets once while the best of this are Luminite bullets that pierce any number of enemies, it even ignores the split-second Mercy Invincibility against enemies that other piercing weapons/ammo are susceptible to which allows you to fire these with, say, the S.D.M.G. and not have shots wastefully pass through enemies after the first hit.
  • In Tomb Raider (2013), a late-game upgrade to the competition bow allows Lara to shoot armor-piercing arrows, which deal more damage to armored enemies and can potentially hit multiple targets standing in line. Actually scoring overpenetration kills is exceedingly difficult due to AI enemies spreading out as quickly as possible when they appear, but it sure feels quite satisfying on the rare occasion that Lara does manage to drop two or even three baddies with one arrow.
  • Total War games:
    • This is a reason to use Siege Engines outside of city battles, even if they have difficulty hitting a target more lively than a stone wall. Ballistae bolts and cannonballs aren't slowed down by men or horses, and can blow through several soldiers in one shot, making them deadly if they're shooting down the length of a bridge or up a city street. Catapults and trebuchets are even less accurate, but a lucky boulder can blow a chunk out of the middle of a block of infantry. And taking that many casualties in one shot is not good for the enemy's morale.
    • Ribaults and Monster Ribaults in Medieval II: Total War are basically several light cannon laid next to each other (and in the upgraded version, atop each other) on a handcart. They're slow to maneuver and slower to reload, but on a good day can reduce an enemy formation to paste in a single volley.
    • The Shimazu Heavy Gunners from Total War: Shogun 2 pull this off with their enlarged muskets, enabling them to kill multiple soldiers per shot.
    • Napoleon: Total War is, true to history, all about using 19th century field artillery to annihilate riflemen.
    • Total War: Warhammer III: The third game introduced Crane Gunners and others capable of doing this, along with the extensive old game faction reworks for the Immortal Empires Crisis Crossover giving the ability to old units like Razordon Hunter Packs.
  • In Touken Ranbu, ōdachi can hit up to 3 adjacent enemies in a row and naginata can hit the entire team. Subverted in that naginata's attack force grows very slowly and usually can't take out enemies at their level in one hit.
  • Transistor: The Penetrating nature of Breach() means effects connected to it usually mean going through multiple enemies at once.
  • Tropico 4 allows for this. If you've appointed a good Minister of the Interior, you may get a notice informing you that he shot all seven members of a famous gang with a single bullet. Word of his prowess spreads and causes a 15% reduction in crime around the island.
  • In Tyrian, the Mega Cannon did this. It could even damage larger enemies more than once as it passed through them.
    • Same goes for the Plasma Storm, a giant cloud of fire that did continuous damage to whatever passed through it.
  • In the original Unreal Tournament, it was not possible to do this with the InstaGib weapon (the modified Shock Rifle). However, UT2004 changed this weapon by allowing the beam to pass through multiple characters.
    • The Ballistic Weapons mod takes this one step further: the Tactical Infantry Cannon (big-ass scoped railgun), at full charge and using the scope, can shoot through the entire map and still overpenetrate a tank, insta-killing both the tank and whoever was standing behind it. And that's a man-portable weapon we're talking about here. Now imagine what it does against man-sized targets or lighter vehicles...
  • In Unworthy, the attack animations of your weapons do not stop once they hit a single enemy, and so it's possible to hit two or three enemies with a single swing of the sword, even if they are as large as Sentinels.
  • Vector Incremental: If the particle is fast enough and deals high enough damage, it'll be able to destroy several rings in one shot.
  • The first Vectorman game has a power-up called the bolo gun, a slow-moving shot which "crashes through enemy orbots" and continues going through any enemies until offscreen or hitting a wall. It also has the possibility to push the enemy and hit it multiple times.
  • Warcraft III units with the Missile (Line) attribute can do this.
    • The same attribute is present in StarCraft II. There is even an achievement for killing 50 mooks with a single penetrating shot in campaign.
  • Hunters in World of Warcraft can pull this off using the Power Shot talent which hits a target and all enemies between the Hunter and them for significant damage. This is no longer possible in World of Warcraft, as the Power Shot Talent was removed in Patch 7.0.3. Bonus points for knocking everyone it hits back a few yards.
  • In Warframe, Punch-through mods like "Shred" grant this effect for weapons and are absolutely crucial for Defense and Survival missions, where enemies will spawn in bunched-up fireteams, or when making a fighting retreat in narrow corridors to the extraction point. Some weapons, like the Lanka energy sniper and Miter Deadly Disc launcher, have innate punch-through ability up to several meters.
    • Special mention must go to the Ignis flamethrower, it's variant the Ignis Wraith, and the Arca Plasmor shotgun, which feature "infinite" punchthrough against enemies, but not terrain (that requires mods). This is balanced by the fact that those weapons fire streams or projectiles with relitevly short range even if they don't hit terrain. The Fulmin in semi-auto mode also has body-only punchthrough, but only for three meters. The Zenith assault rifle's semi-auto mode has full infinite punchthrough and effectively infinite range, meaning that the only things that can stop it are tile boundaries.
  • The rocket launcher in Wolfenstein 3-D's Mac and IIgs ports.
  • Crazy Monkey Games' web game Zombie Horde 2. The Decapitator can fire through (and kill) more than one zombie at a time.


    Web Originals 
  • In The Guy Who Cried Grendel, two of Grendel's feats involved this:
    • When fighting two Bloodletters, Grendel disemboweled them with one strike from his knife.
    • Grendel blows a hole through an Ork Warboss, igniting the ammunition behind him, which proceeded to explode and kill an Unbound Daemonhost.
  • Halo x Metroid Fan Vid Haloid takes this to the max with a combination of two thrown energy shields (the kind that reflect bullets) and one sniper round result in a massacre of several dozen mooks. Probably all head-shots, too.
  • Denied in Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG:
    1269. Even if the guy I based my character off was famous for doing it, I can't kill eight guys with one bullet.
  • In DEATH BATTLE!'s 136th episode Red vs. Blue, after Church, rather predictably, misses all his shots on Donut, he throws his sniper rifle to the ground, allowing Caboose to pick it up and attempt to help Church despite his very vocal rebuttals, culminating in Caboose firing a round that, through multiple richochets, manages to kill Agent Texas, Donut, Tucker and Church himself, leaving Caboose and Sarge as the only ones left.

    Western Animation 
  • In episode 54 of Code Lyoko, "Lyoko minus one", William effortlessly defeated three of his Xanafied classmates with only a wooden stick and one kick. This is even more badass knowing that William was only a secondary character back then.
  • In one of the Futurama movies, The Beast with a Billion Backs, Bender engages in a duel against Calculon, both of them using weapons called planetary annihilators. Bender cheats and shoots his weapon early, completely disintegrating Calculon's left arm, as well as several buildings, which presumably had people inside (though only one death was shown on screen).
  • In Reboot, during the war between Mainframe and Megabyte, several of Mainframe's soldiers driving vehicles are ordered to travel single file in a straight line. A number of Megabyte's soldiers respond to this by flanking them on both the left and right in similar single-file lines. This allows a pair of fully-charged laser cannons from a distance to shoot right through both lines, eliminating all of the Megabyte soldiers simultaneously while leaving the Mainframe fighters safe.
  • The Simpsons did a spoof of The Odyssey with Homer as Odysseus, Marge as Penelope, etc. When Homer returns home, he kills all the evil suitors with a single spear throw, because they were standing in a line.

    Real Life 
  • There is no question that even common, normal pistols shooting non-specialized ammunition will exit a human body with enough force to continue and penetrate whatever is behind them. A typical handgun can easily wound a second person after exiting the first victim. Ball or armor-piercing ammo may exacerbate this, but are not necessary for this to occur. Ironically, a very high-powered weapon may have its bullets shatter inside the first victim, causing less injury to the target behind it.
  • Some musket-balls do this. Historically, given that they were shot at two and three rank lines (or even eight-deep columns) it doesn't seem all that hard to believe.
    • One rule of Roger's Rangers was to march far enough apart such to prevent a musket ball taking out two soldiers at once, so it's very probable.
    • It is pretty hard to achieve through-and-through hit with relatively low-powered spherical lead projectiles, especially fired from black powder muzzle-loaders; contrary to myth, contemporary quality plate armor could protect against these, it was just less practical to mass-produce than it was to raise more troops with guns of their own. Glancing multi-hits on the other hand were pretty probable.
      • Military historian John Keegan once visited a museum with a collection of weapons and armor. He remarked to the curator, an expert in historic firearms, that through most of the Gunpowder Age, the most common debris cleaned out of battlefield wounds was the bones and teeth of the victim's fellow soldiers ("wet shrapnel"). "I constantly recall the look of disgust that passed over [his] face .... He had simply never considered what was the effect of the weapons about which he knew so much, as artifacts, on the bodies of the soldiers who used them."
  • Round-shot ("cannonballs") very often did that, often getting an average of more kills than rounds fired. As they had more heft than musket-balls, it isn't hard to imagine. Perhaps you do not wish to imagine what it looked like.
    • By "more heft," it means "a twenty-pound sphere of pig iron." One-shot polykills were common. Even six-pound field artillery projectiles were known to drill a straight line through the enemy, not difficult when the enemy is standing in massed ranks before you.
    • A twenty-pound cannon ball would likely have only been encountered in the heaviest of field artillery or permanent fortifications due to the weight of the guns (which had to be moved by man or animal). That said, even a smaller cannon firing a three-pound ball was going to do a world of hurt to anything in front of it. Before the advent of explosive shells, the use of artillery against ground forces wasn't unlike a very bloody game of bowling, with the shot skipping across the ground and carving a path of destruction. As for those heavier guns, when used in naval combat, much of their damage came from the cannon ball smashing through an enemy ship and sending forth a wave of deadly splinters from the ship's hull and contents (which is one reason why warships would "clear for battle" by rounding up any loose cargo and equipment and stowing it belowdecks).
  • This trope is the reason why "crossing the T" was a favored tactic in ship-to-ship naval battles as late as World War II. it involved positioning your ship to fire across the length of the enemy ship rather than broadsiding, the idea being that a 20+ pound high-velocity ball of iron bouncing along a ship's decknote  is going to cause more collateral damage than if it simply went through and fell into the ocean on the other side. Also, in this position, it's harder for the enemy ship to retaliatenote  - Age of Sail ships had most of their guns in broadside mounts, with only a handful of "chase" guns, while later warships, mounting their guns in turrets, could still only direct a portion of their firepower forward or aft since trying to shoot aft turrets forward means shooting through one's own ship.note 
  • The "single bullet theory" of John F. Kennedy's assassination, which argues that a single bullet passed through the president's body and then struck John Connally, who was seated below and forwards of Kennedy. Recently demonstrated on the History Channel via computer simulation to be plausible.
    • Also almost entirely replicated by an expert sharpshooter for a Discovery Channel special. The only difference between his shot and the real one was that the bullet didn't have quite enough energy to get into the Connally model's "leg" at the end of the trajectory. Examination of the models showed why: Connally had a single rib broken by the bullet as it went through him, while the replicated shot had hit two ribs as it tumbled, losing just enough energy to prevent the additional penetration.
    • The tendency to do it was a known flaw of the rifle used: most variants of the Carcano Modello 91 rifle (like the 91/38 used by Oswald) were chambered for the 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge, which, when produced with decent quality, was extremely accurate but tended to pierce the target without inflicting incapacitating damage unless it hit a vital spot (like the neck and the lung), hence a short-lived attempt at replacing it with a variant chambered for a bigger bullet abandoned due simple lack of time.
    • There is a game based entirely around recreating the shot. It's not an easy task..
      • Then again, Oswald was barely rated as a "sharpshooter"-level marksman (the second rating from the bottom) while in the Marine Corps. Maybe he was just REALLY lucky that day.
  • Rather chillingly invoked by the Nazis for mass executions, in order to save bullets. Turned out it was still too traumatic for the soldiers tasked to do it, hence the development of the Final Solution.
  • Simo Häyhä once shot eight Russian soldiers with one bullet. They thought they were being attacked by multiple snipers and ran away.
  • This is the reason why police (unlike soldiers) use hollowpoint and other such controlled expansion/frangible rounds. In war it's assumed that the man behind an enemy will usually be another enemy, and in any case even a relatively primitive Bulletproof Vest will No-Sell a hollowpoint without doing much more than bruising the target. The police shoot people in an environment where the person behind their target is likely to be an innocent bystander, and body armour is fairly uncommon in the hands of criminals.
    • Soldiers also aren't allowed to use frangible/hollowpoint/etc. rounds because of the Hague Convention of 1899 (which predates the Geneva Conventions) prohibiting the use of expanding bullets in warfare. It's often held up as a bitterly ironic comment on how War Is Hell yet we insist on using "humane" ammunition when waging it, but that's mostly because it's Common Knowledge (i.e. falsely assumed) that hollow-points are inherently the deadliest and most effective ammunition in any situation, and many people are unaware that they're almost useless against body armor, which a lot of military combatants wear by default nowadays.
    • For the same reason, American police officers are trained to aim at the centre of a suspect's mass (the torso) rather than attempting to disable them by shooting them in the limbs, as a bullet which hits a limb is far more likely to go straight through the target and potentially hit an innocent bystander (also, the torso is a much bigger target).
  • This was pretty common in jungle combat during the Pacific Theater of World War II, especially on the American side. The 30-06 cartridge the American guns used was absurdly overpowered for short-range use, and no one had body armor, so firing into a tightly packed mass of Japanese troops could cause two or three casualties with ease. The Japanese guns, having only about half the muzzle energy, were much less likely to do this.
  • A hunter in Sweden got into trouble with the law, because he killed two moose with one shot. He was only allowed to kill one.
  • Can sometimes occur when using a shotgun. The spread from the pellets can often hit multiple targets grouped closely together.
  • Heavy machine guns used on troops in the open can result in this, given the size and weight of .50cal and 14.5mm rounds.
  • A German sniper in North Africa, with a warped sense of humour, painfully surprised a British officer who had left his trench and walked downwind with a shovel and a roll of toilet paper. Although he could have killed his mark outright at any time, he chose to wait until the British colonel had dug a hole, dropped his shorts, and squatted. The German bullet passed through the fleshy part of both buttocks, leaving, as the target ruefully described later, One bullet. Four holes. We knew the Jerries were short of ammo, but that was taking it to extremes.
  • In December 2013, a British sniper in Afghanistan killed six Taliban fighters from a range of 930 yards with a single shot. The sniper identified a potential suicide bomber from long range and shot the trigger switch on the bomber's explosive vest. The resulting explosion killed the bomber and five other insurgents.
  • Ace Pilot Chuck Yeager, originally the Trope Namer for Danger Deadpan, once had a No Hit Polykill. He lined up a shot on a German pilot, who jinked the wrong way and crashed into his own wingman before Yeager could fire (Yeager reported that both pilots bailed out successfully). He scored three other kills that day, making him "Ace in a Day."
  • Besides man-made weapons of mass destruction, the Universe in spades. Things begin with asteroids that can level a country and simply go up (and very truly up) from there.
  • On 7 January 1981, during the Iran–Iraq War, an Iranian Air Force F-14 Tomcat destroyed three Iraqi Air Force MiG-23s and damaged a fourth with a single missile. This was possible primarily due to the unique design of the AIM-54 Phoenix: namely its extremely long engagement range and oversized warhead for the time, originally meant for engaging Warsaw Pact bomber formations in a naval air defense role, aided by the MiGs flying in such close formation that the F-14's radar still read them as a single contact.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Over Penetration, One Hit Multi Kill


Indiana Jones vs. Nazis

Indy makes his one bullet count against three Mooks.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneHitPolykill

Media sources: