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Only a Flesh Wound
aka: Just A Flesh Wound

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This is, of course, assuming your mooks can hit anything with their weapons at all.

Arthur: Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!
Black Knight: Yes I have.
Arthur: [exasperated] Look!
Black Knight: [takes a look, and another look; beat] Just a flesh wound.
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On television, as well as in movies, there seems to be this general idea that if someone is shot in the shoulder, or in the leg, then the worst that happens will be that the person will grimace and go on with what he was doing before he was shot. Getting shot in the leg may cause him to hobble around a bit, but no worse than a knee sprain. A "good guy" will sometimes shoot someone in the leg or shoulder, "just to stop him," and in television and movies, this is almost always nonlethal.

In reality, there's no "safe" place to shoot a person, not even in a seemingly non-vital extremity like a leg or arm. There are huge blood vessels in a human being's shoulder as well as lots of very delicate nerves and a very complex ball-and-socket joint that no surgeon on Earth can put back together once it's smashed by a bullet. The legs also contain large blood vessels; a shot that nicks the femoral artery will cause a fatal loss of blood in only a few minutes. And this is all assuming a "clean" through-and-through wound, disregarding the possibility of the bullet glancing off a bone or joint and deflecting or fragmenting into pieces, of which each can then hit something else more important inside. In short, there's no way for anyone, good or bad, to shoot someone and know that they will survive the wound. As they say, if you're shooting at all, you're shooting to kill.

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But this trope is so widespread that it's caused people to assume that it's an accurate reflection of reality. In truth, since there isn't any safe place to shoot at, police and soldiers usually aim for the center of mass (i.e. the torso) simply to increase the odds of hitting the person in the first place. Trying to intentionally wing a target increases the odds that you'll miss entirely or end up hitting someone else. When dealing with dangerous criminals and where innocent lives are on the line, presumably, hitting the target, and only the target, should be top priority.

Insofar as this trope has any truth to it at all, it comes from the fact that the largest muscle pads on the human body — about the only type of tissue which can take a wound of impressive visual nastiness that isn't necessarily incapacitating or life-threatening — are in the thighs and the outside (not the center) of the shoulder. The gluteus maximus also suffice, but that particular target zone is often felt to lack dramatic gravitas. This is despite it being a relatively common wound among retired soldiers — because of its size, and because getting hit there is (comparatively) less lethal. Hitting someone on the other side of their body, in the groin, on the other hand, pretty much guarantees they will bleed out very quickly.

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When the character insists on this, regardless of evidence to the contrary, he is saying I Can Still Fight! (which he does not, in fact, have to survive).

Video Games are usually an exception. Draining a game target's HP is quasi-realistic enough to kill/destroy it even if all damage was to the legs or arms. In games with dismemberment, taking off a limb may lead to instant death. Very few video games actually feature bleeding and those that do tend to be Overdrawn at the Blood Bank. Surprisingly, a person suffering a traumatic amputation in Real Life is often less likely to bleed out due to an autonomic muscle clamping response that closes major blood vessels. In these cases a clean cut or puncture is actually more dangerous.

Do note that many of the examples below are subversions or outright aversions. A small part of Reality Ensues.

See also Major Injury Underreaction, Hollywood Healing, Critical Existence Failure, Didn't Need Those Anyway!, Unexplained Recovery, and 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain. Contrast with Instant Death Bullet. Particularly egregious examples would fall under the category of No One Could Survive That!.


Examples:

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  • During the Compare the Meerkat advert, "Battle Of Fearlessness", Alexandr's grandfather is wounded and Sergei's grandfather holds him and screams to the sky. Alexandr's grandfather sits up and says:
    "Quiet down! It's just a fur wound."

     Anime and Manga  
  • Averted in Osamu Tezuka's Adolf: protagonist Sohei Toge gets shot in the shoulder and, since his nerves were hurt, his arm is rendered pretty much useless until the end of the story. Tezuka graduated in Medicine before becoming a full-time manga artist.
  • During Genesis' assault on Trident in the Air Gear manga, Benkei cuts off her own leg at the thigh. She later explains that she's not losing much blood because of her vegetarianism, and that she needed to lose some blood to lower her blood pressure anyways.
  • Played with in Berserk as a lot of the time (especially in the Golden Age arc) a single arrow or stab wound will realistically kill a regular person in this Dark Fantasy. But played straight with Guts the protagonist whose been struck with multiple arrows and crossbow bolts protecting Casca, stabbed multiple times, hacked off his own arm and lost his eye shortly after and in probably the most Nausea Fuel Guts has been impaled though both cheeks and out the other side of his head and only got pissed. The Berserker Armor makes this trope more apparent as it blocks Gut's pain nerves meaning he can have his limbs broken and the armor will just knit his bones and skin back in place so he keep fighting. Averted when he takes the armor off as the collective injuries put Guts out of action for a month and he almost dies.
    • Casca despite being a Fragile Speedster once took multiple arrow wounds and kept right on going like Guts, though she fell unconscious for weeks afterwards.
    • Played straight with the demonic Apostles and one member of The God Hand, Zodd The Immortal has had his forearm chopped off by Griffith and later the Skull Knight but just put his arm back on like he's made LEGO. Slan of the God hand was shot by Guts's Arm Cannon and then impaled by the Dragonslayer... and only got a orgasm.
  • Averted several times in Black Lagoon, notably when creepy twin Hansel gets shot in the leg and in the wrist, blowing his hand off. He dies within minutes (or even seconds) from the immense blood loss.
    • In spite of the series's attempts to keep to realism in regards to battle wounds, major characters tend to survive more grievous injuries. This may be justified, since those characters often note how lucky they were, or others remark that they must be superhuman (* cough* Roberta* cough* ). In one example, Rock once points out that although one of Revy's injuries wasn't fatal, it was deep enough where it wouldn't clot, so she would need medical attention as soon as possible.
    • Played slightly more realistically in regards to Roberta in the Roberta's Blood Trail OVA, where after being shot in her left shoulder during the final episode she can barely lift the arm, and the ending credits reveals it — as well as a right leg that was also shot — was later amputated. Normally you'd expect someone that badly injured to bleed out, however.
  • There are barely any fights in Bleach that don't involve a character getting cut through one or both shoulders (and eventually everywhere else). This is usually the first wound inflicted in the whole fight and the only explanation for this is that spirits don't suffer as much from wounds, being spirits and all.
    • See also: Kenpachi Zaraki.
    • Averted when Ichigo surviving Ulquiorra blowing a hole the size of his fist into his chest, lying there and breathing with a torn trachea for at least fifteen minutes or so before Orihime and Grimmjow arrive. However, as it turns out, Ichigo actually died in this instance, and only survives thanks to Orihime playing her "I Reject Your Reality And Substitute My Own" card and resurrecting him.
    • Ishida, despite fighting in his human body, seems to possess unbelievable hardiness as well, as he survives Szayel crushing his internal organs and still finds time to play comic relief for Mayuri (Renji observes how energetic he is despite his ah, condition). More recently, Ishida kept going against Ulquiorra, who had blown an even bigger hole in Ichigo's chest, in spite of having his hand blown off. It took Ichigo in psycho neo-Hollow mode to made Ishida fall over by stabbing him with his Zanpakuto. And Uryu still wouldn't shut up. Heroic Resolve, indeed.
    • Later in the series, a human — that is to say, not a ghost or reiatsu-powered superbeing — gets his arm cleaved off right at the elbow. He barely flinches. Although Inoue restores it moments later, those 'moments' would have been more than enough for a bleed-out if not instant death by systemic shock.
    • Lampshaded in nisinator1's "Bleach Ridiculously Abridged":
    "<injury> is not enough to kill a Bleach character!"
  • In Change 123, there is a scene where one kunoichi threatens another by stabbing her in the chest with a scalpel. It's a surgically precise stab done so that the scalpel, while not doing any critical damage, goes so near the heart that it's on the very edge of stabbing it. Justified by the fact that the kunoichi who does the stabbing has a formal training in medicine.
  • Double Subverted and justified in one epic City Hunter early scene: to avoid having his .357 Magnum round go through a random perp and kill a passerby, Ryo slowed down the bullet by shooting through his left hand. He acted like it was nothing until he was alone, at which point he started crying in pain; later at home, it's revealed it's literally a flesh wound because Ryo, being just that good with a gun, managed to shoot without hitting the hand's bone.
  • Happens to Mao in Code Geass, who is shot multiple times and comes back perfectly fine (albeit bandaged up a little bit) the very next episode; it's Hand Waved by mentioning advanced Britannian medicine and pointing out that the policemen were not ordered to shoot to kill. YMMV on whether or not this is bad writing, but it's later shown that Geass is a Literal Genie and has ties to the collective subconscious of humanity, possibly being more influenced by its intent than the individual user's. It is also established that Geass can be defied by an unusually strong will, so another explanation is that each policeman's subconscious engaged in Loophole Abuse.
    • Used a second time with Cornelia, who was shot multiple times in the leg.
    • Averted with Nunnally, though. She was crippled for life due to nerve damage to her legs from submachinegun fire. Or so it was set up to seem.
  • Cowboy Bebop's Spike usually only averts this if he's shot in the arms while using two guns at once. Any other time, he's more likely to play it straight.
  • Subverted in Darker Than Black Season II, when Dr. Pavlichenko, Suou's father is hit in the leg by a spear-like weapon. Although Suou manages to tightly bind the wound, it doesn't completely stop the bleeding, and he eventually dies from blood loss.
    • However, all bets are off when it comes to the resident badass, Hei. He once limped about halfway across town after being shot through the leg (unsurprisingly, Amber was involved), and in the interquel OVAs isn't even slowed down when he gets a foot-long shard of wood through his shoulder. He just pulls it out and walks off. Oh, and he managed to do a Ceiling Cling with a knife embedded in his arm.
  • Deadman Wonderland contains a particularly ridiculous example. When Genkaku wants you incapacitated rather than killed, he will impale you through the chest with a katana. And it will damned well work. Incidentally, he claimed to have missed his victim's heart and lungs with the blow, presumably because basic biology was scared enough of him to raise no objection.
  • Played with in Death Note. Matt gets shot several times by Takada's bodyguards. Even if one had missed something vital (and it appears several might have), there were lots more to make up for it. One even went clean through him!
    • Played straight with Light, who gets shot several times by Matsuda, and yet (despite being badly injured) manages to walk quite some distance before being killed by Ryuk.
  • During Goku's fight with Piccolo in Dragon Ball, he was shot by a ki blast that punched clean through his shoulder. He got back up, much to Piccolo's shock, saying that he missed his vital organs. He was also shot in his other limbs, and suffering from heavy blood loss. One senzu bean later and Goku is perfectly healed. He takes a similar beating from Vegeta, and until he gets another senzu, he's stuck in the hospital.
    • Frieza has it as an ability: he is able to survive and function in the most horrible conditions. He got his tail chopped off twice, got vivisected and lost his left arm, then was caught in the explosion of the planet he was on, resulting in the loss of half his head. When he was found floating among the debris, he was (semi-)conscious. And as if that weren't enough he survives for at least a few seconds after being vivisected again, vertically this time.
    • His brother Cooler was just as hard to kill, if not more so. At the end of the movie Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, he was actually thrown into the sun. There was still enough left of him for his consciousness to usurp control of a machine called the Big Gete Star and create a new body, returning in the sequel, but this actually made him more vulnerable; at the conclusion, he perished for good when Goku and Vegeta destroyed his body and the Big Gete Star.
    • Piccolo has regeneration so one mangled arm is no big deal, at one point he is turned into stone and then is unintentionally smashed to pieces by kid Trunks but a minute later Piccolo appears fine explaining he can heal from almost anything so long as his head remains intact.
    • It gets really nasty when the next major villain combines Piccolo's regeneration with Freiza's survivability, and the Saiyan ability to get stronger from being near death: Cell survives getting half of his torso and his full upper body blown up, and his own self-destruction as well.
    • Vegeta was able to walk after Krillin put a hole though him in Namek, and in Dragon Ball GT he even stayed conscious after Omega Syn Shenron turned him into a pin cushion.
  • Lampshaded in Durarara!!, when Shizuo nonchalantly shows up on Shinra's doorstep with a bullet in his side and leg, Shinra is understandably confused as to how he manages to even walk with so much muscle damage to his leg. Shizuo simply shrugs and says "'Cause I can."
  • In Elfen Lied, Nana loses all of her limbs while fighting Lucy, but she doesn't bleed to death even though it takes a while for her to get medical attention.
    • A lot of other characters get gruesomely wounded as well with much of the same result.
    • Oddly, there's also kind of a subversion. Someone shoots a scientist in the shoulder so he can force her to do what he says on the basis that he won't save her life if she doesn't.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist there is a scene of Mustang's crew going out of their way to avoid shooting soldiers in vital areas, but still shooting them just the same. You'd think being soldiers they'd know better.
    • When Ling and Lan Fan are being pursued by Wrath, Lan Fan manages to save Ling by cutting off her own arm. She survives by using her shirt to make a tourniquet, and it is mentioned several times that she nearly died.
    • Subverted during the fight between Ed and Kimblee. Kimblee blows up the building they're fighting in, and Ed gets blasted thirty feet down the shaft.
    Ed (slowly pushing himself off the ground): I must have fallen down the mine shaft. Dammit... I can't let Kimblee get away...! (coughs blood, looks back, eyes widen as he sees he's been impaled by a girder) Y-you're kidding... No!... (collapses)
    • Ed's arm and leg are both severed from his body, but he still manages to live long enough for the machine replacements to be attached.
      • The above statement is not quite true. During a flashback, Ed is shown in a wheelchair, stumps bound, before he receives the surgery. It IS worth noting though that, with two limbs completely severed, he still has time to bond his brother's soul to a suit of armor, his brother adjusting to being bound in said armor, the reasonable expectation of panic from such a young child in such a situation, and the fairly long run to the Rockbell house. Trope thoroughly in effect.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Scar gets both of his arms severed through alchemy. Globs of blood splash down for a few seconds, then the bleeding miraculously stops.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex plays it realistically with gunshot wounds, at least on non-cyborged individuals. In one episode, a soldier is shot in his upper-thigh by a sniper and bleeds to death on the ground while his squadmates are pinned down.
    • Quite nicely, there is also an episode that plays with the concept in 2nd Gi G. Togusa, while off duty, stumbles upon a violent domestic dispute. The attacker is a cyborg who turned off his pain receptors, and, despite Togusa just wanting the guy to calm/stand down, requires multiple shots of small arms fire to immobilize. In the farce of a preliminary examination that follows, he is forced to justify the number of times he shot by the resilience of cyborgs and the lawyer from the other side tries to turn that argument against him as prejudice towards cyborgs.
    • Cyborgs on the other hand often play this straight, such as Hideo Kuze in 2nd Gig', who in an early episode get shot into Swiss cheese, with visible bullet holes even on his face, but thanks to his subdermal armour isn't even slowed down. All in all, the only way to actually hurt "full" cyborgs is to damage their still organic brain, which is encased in a heavily armored shell that can resist being crushed by the weight of a 4 meter tall walking tank.
  • In Guilty Crown, Shuu at one point gets the arm severed clean off at the elbow, and instead of bleeding out or dying instantly merely sits and stares at it in shock, without so much as bleeding.
  • Averted in Infinite Ryvius. A character is shot in the shoulder and only survives because he's given emergency surgery right away. Even then, he has to undergo months of physical therapy, and is never again able to raise his arm above his head.
  • The eponymous cyborg assassins in Gunslinger Girl are for all practical purposes Made of Iron. During gunfights they tend to keep their arms up high to protect their eyes (the only weak spot). We've seen several of them shrug off multiple shots in the arms, Rico a shot in the neck and Triela stand up after taking a bullet in the gut. The mooks they fight go down pretty realistically. Triela ends up dying due to bleeding out from a gunshot wound.
    • In Gunslinger Girl - Il Teatrino, Guise is caught in a car bomb explosion and is quick to tell Henrietta that his wound is only a scratch. But then again, he'd noticed her finger tightening on the trigger of her handgun, so it was probably a good idea to do so.
    • Triela's handler Hilshire decides he doesn't have the moral right to expose her to danger, and tries to carry out a hit without her. He's wounded in the process and tries to brush it off as 'just a scratch'. Triela is furious because she's been conditioned to protect her handler at all costs, and views this as a betrayal of their trust.
    • Averted in the training sequence of the anime's first episode. Henrietta is told to just aim for the center of mass, because at close range, hitting the target anywhere will stop them dead.
  • Gray from Gunsmith Cats. Apparently getting shot half a dozen times in the arm isn't that big of a deal for him. He just flexes them out, and bandages it up.
    • The same applies to Bean Bandit.
  • Averted in GUN×SWORDMichael takes a bullet to the arm, and despite pulling his sleeve tighter to stop the blood flow, collapses from blood loss, possibly dying in Fasalina's arms.
  • Averted in the Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novels and The Movie, when Kyon gets stabbed in his abdomen with a knife and only barely escapes dying from blood loss.
    • Played straight with Yuki Nagato, who gets impaled by six sharp poles. Her reaction? "I am fine."
  • A variant of the 'Intentionally Shooting To Wound' theme occurred in Hellsing, when Knight Templar Alexander Anderson introduced himself by putting about a score of blessed bayonets through Seras Victoria's neck and torso while missing her heart to incapacitate her (and leave her in agony) while he entertained himself with Alucard. Heroic Willpower is invoked when she surprises Anderson by dragging herself away with her master's head.
    • Seras and Alucard are both vampires, Alucard in particular has no trouble healing himself after being chopped into dozens of pieces, decapitated etc. Even if Anderson was just aiming to incapacitate, he has no particular reason to care if she does get permanently destroyed, since his mission is to obliterate her eventually anyway.
    • Anderson in the Final Battle keeps fighting while missing most of his left arm. Anderson’s apprentice Heinkel survived a bullet fired by The Captain through her cheek mangling the side of her face and she was still able to talk.
  • Jonathan, Joseph and Jotaro from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure do this trope best. Jonathan tanks a Speedwagon’s spinning blade to the hand and gets a metal spike though the shoulder and mans though it. Joseph has his hand lopped off and uses his severed limb to beat Kars. Jotaro is stabbed mutiple times in Part 3 and is wounded during an explosion in Part 4 but regardless still beats the shit out of Yoshikage Kira who made the mistake of thinking a few holes would put Jotaro down.
  • Averted in Kinnikuman; Terryman takes a bullet to the leg, and it costs him the leg.
  • In Kodomo no Omocha, Hayama doesn't try to resist Komori's attempt to kill him by stabbing Hayama with a knife. Komori only stabs Hayama in the arm, prompting Hayama to remove the knife and give it back to him, telling him to do it properly. He then walks around for over two hours with a severed artery before passing out from blood loss. He still almost dies on the operating table and loses a good deal of mobility in said arm until the Distant Finale.
  • Zack, Tifa and Cloud in Last Order: Final Fantasy VII as all three of them get badly sliced/stabbed by Sephiroth and unlike a certain flower girl they live to tell the tale. Bonus points for Cloud since he literally pulls himself along Sephy's murasame and briefly remains conscious with the katana sitting in his torso.
  • Averted many times in Legend of Galactic Heroes: characters who get wounded in a limb either lose said limb or die, sometimes even after having received futuristic medical treatment. This is played in a very cruel way with one of the main characters, especially since the WHOLE episode of his death was made in a way that lead many viewers to believe he would still get out of this alive and keep playing a large role in the next season.
    • They play with it even further near the end of the show, blending it with the Determinator and I Can Still Fight! to good effect. Another main character is impaled through the chest with a massive sliver of glass, yet calmly pulls it out and tells his subordinate to stop shouting. Minutes later, it turns out the spike actually severed an artery between a lung and his heart, and though the doctors can stop the bleeding he will die without surgery and will probably die regardless. He ignores his doctors and keeps going in order to manage a withdrawal from a disastrous battle with such steely composure it seems he won't die, and then waits almost a whole day for his friend to return with such steely composure it seems he'll be fine, until he dies less than an hour before his friend arrives.
  • Hit and miss in Mahou Sensei Negima!. The really nasty wounds received are generally portrayed as such, but they're not very incapacitating once heroic resolve enters the equation. It's occasionally outright averted, however, such as when Fate spears Negi through the shoulder with a rock lance, and he instantly collapses into a bleeding pile. Then hits Fate with it and passes out again. The next 'three minutes' are a race against time to get Konoka's artifact out so he doesn't bleed to death while a semiconscious Negi holds himself together with what magic he can.
    • Played straight later on when Tsukuyomi cuts Fate's arm off. He's completely unfazed, although his subordinates freak out when they see him. Justified in that he is a doll. Also, he pats the head of one of his servants — with his cut-off arm hold in his other hand. Lampshaded in that his servants wonder if he is attempting physical humour.
  • In the finale of Mobile Suit Gundam, Amuro is stabbed clean through the arm with a rapier. It doesn't seem to affect his piloting skills at all when he resurfaces in seven years later Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam (although he is slightly superhuman & medical technology is presumably more advanced in the Universal Century).
    • Amuro also became rich during those seven years by patenting Haro's design, so it's not as if he was settling for minimum coverage, either. Char, though, survived just fine after getting stabbed in the face.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Heero Yuy gets shot, blown up, drowned, etc, and does not die. Ever.
    • Averted in Mobile Suit Gundam 00, when Setsuna gets shot in the shoulder it severely debilitates him despite his best efforts to tough it out. It eventually leads him to lose consciousness two times before he gets the proper medical attention.
  • Sleepy is frequent shot repeatedly in Mad Bull 34, but he shrugs off each injury like it's minor. This includes getting shot in the shoulder, shot in the arm, shot in the leg, and shot in the chest. During one shootout he's shot six times in the ass, but he just stands up and starts throwing grenades he'd tied to his pubic hair!!
  • Averted repeatedly in Monster. One character is shot in the shoulder and survives — but his arm is rendered useless for the rest of his life. Other characters bleed to death from a thigh wounds, stomach wounds, and shoulder wounds. For those that did survive, it was because a medical professional (usually Tenma) stopped the bleeding.
    • On the other hand, Johan gets shot in the head and survives (though only after intense surgery; the bullet was low-calibre and got lodged in his brain). He later has the same thing happen to him again and survives.
      • In addition, it's pointed out that Tenma, the doctor who safely removed the bullet, is the best neurosurgeon in Germany, if not the world, and that he's the only one capable of such a feat.
  • Naruto frequently does this when applied to the likes of stab wounds, the most blatant being Neji surviving being impaled just because he prevented it from injuring any vital organs and Kiba surviving stabbing himself in the chest (though the main character at least has the excuse of a Healing Factor). Subverted in that they spent weeks in the hospital afterwards. In Neji's case this came after a three hour surgery.
    • Deidara and Hidan aren’t bothered by the loss of major limbs and other body parts.
    • By the time of Boruto, Naruto isn’t troubled by a sword sitting in his gut.
  • Happens pretty often in One Piece.
    • Kohza is pretty underrated example, but technically he predates Whitebeard in terms being a bullet sponge being shot many, many times. However unlike Whitebeard Kohza is still alive by the end of the arc.
    • People seem to shrug off missing limbs all the time in One Piece: losing an arm like Shanks, Jozu, Zephyr, Nekomamushi, Perospero and Kidd or losing a leg like Zeff, Kyros and Inuarashi is more of a mild inconvenience than anything else in one Piece.
    • Zoro is one of the biggest examples of this trope — in the Arlong arc, Word of God is that he lost 5 liters of blood. The human body can hold up to six liters of blood at the very most. Let's assume Zoro has six liters at the very most. Zoro is stated to have lost nearly 90% of blood in the arc due to the wound Mihawk. That's more than twice the amount of loss to be considered fatal (even Arc Villain Arlong is shocked that Zoro is still alive.). Yet, a few stitches later, he's up and partying with the gang... pretty impressive for a guy who was downed by a little knife only a couple arcs earlier.
    • Luffy manages to avoid this, but in a stranger matter. Being made of rubber, bullets simply bounce off of him with little push to Luffy himself. Semi-justified in that the bullets used are still round, which means that less pressure is focused on Luffy when he receives a bullet. That still isn't sufficient enough to explain why they just bounce off him given the force involved when they are fired. But then all readers would know that One Piece is too cool to be tied to the laws of physics anyway. Granted, this only applies to bullets and usually punches; blades are more than capable of piercing and slicing through his rubber body, which is why Zoro's the guy who usually takes swordsmen on, but even then Luffy's taken some pretty impressive blows, including being impaled through the chest, and walked it off after some time. In Whole Cake Island he gets impaled in the middle of fight by Katakuri and unlike the time with Crocodile he stayed conscious and eventually won the fight since Luffy's stamina is nigh-unbeatable
    • Sanji deserves as much recognition for this trope as Zoro or Luffy do, especially since Sanji unlike Zoro is completely unarmed and unlike Luffy, Sanji doesn't have a Devil Fruit to protect his body from grievous injury. Yet at one point, Sanji takes a couple of Mr. 2 Bon Clay's kicks, which put big holes in whatever they strike and doesn't need any medical attention afterwards despite casually mentioning broken bones. It doesn't end there: Sanji has a been shot in the arm, had his feet shredded (Movie 2) and even shot clean though the chest with a laser beam by Pacifista and walked it all off. In the Thriller Bark arc, Sanji was stabbed in the back by Absalom with a knife long enough to go though his chest and still stayed conscious to defeat Absalom with ease (something Zoro in similar situation couldn't do, when stabbed by Buggy). Chef of Iron indeed.
    • Despite being the weakest Straw Hat, Usopp has taken abuse that would (at very least) incapacitate the trio above. In his introduction arc Usopp was shot in the arm, in Alabasta he had his face broken and ended up in a full body cast, in Enies Lobby Usopp got punctured by all ten (unlike Sanji he only got five) of Wolf Man Jabra's claws and recovered quickly, in Sabaody Archipelago Usopp is shot through the shoulder with a laser beam and remains conscious. The Funimation Dub, Chopper says the trope name word for word to a wounded Usopp after the battle with Mr. 4 and Ms. Merry Christmas.
    • Nami has two of these moments: first she gets impaled though the leg and then the foot by Miss Doublefinger... and walks just fine afterwards. Later and even more impressively Nami tanks a powered up Shigan from Dark Chick Kalifa and keeps fighting, worth mentioning the Shigan one-shot Paulie one of the strongest Foremen in Galley-La.
    • Franky was still moving after getting hit by a sea train and after becoming Cyborg he got all the skin on his face burned off and it was more traumatic for the people around him.
    • Whitebeard nuff said, though he's been treated to 267 sword wounds, 562 bullets, 46 cannonballs and having half his face melted off he is still able to kick ass until his dying breath.
    • Charlotte Oven is a tank plain and simple he recovers from getting pierced though the chest by Vinsmoke Ichiji's exploding laser-like ability and appears shortly later with only a little bandage at his side and still strong enough to fight the Sun Pirates. And this was after getting kicked though building by Sanji, then shot with a cannon ball and run over by Capone Bege.
  • Psycho-Pass has Shinya Kogami suffer from this.
  • Rurouni Kenshin is fairly realistic with limb injuries even though the cast is normally Made of Iron: In the Rajuuta arc, the first victim of his sword technique becomes almost permanently crippled (though he apparently recovers enough use of his arm in the Distant Finale to become an assistant dojo-master for Kaoru), and Kenshin himself doesn't react to being hit because he's doped up with painkillers; in the Kyoto arc, Saitou is injured in the legs and this reduces his efficacy, especially when Shishio attack him a second time in that area, and Kaoru breaks the knee of one member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad; by the time of the Enishi arc, Badass Normal Sano has to contend with the fact that using his ultimate technique shatters every bone in his hand since it still hadn't healed from trying it on Shishio right after his fight with Anji.
  • Used in fights in Soul Eater on characters lacking the advantage of the black blood. Black Star in every encounter with Mifune, Stein with Medusa (at one point I'm pretty sure she drills a hole in him or at least stabs him badly). Avoided somewhat when Mosquito cuts Kid's arm off. He's noticeably shocked (about the lack of symmetry), bleeding a lot, and unable to stop Mosquito injuring him further until Brew kicks in. When it does, marginally reasonable responses no longer apply — Rule of Cool and CMOA do.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime:
    • Rimuru takes "fatal" blows with alarming frequency, but he has three things going for him: He's a slime, so he doesn't have any valuable organs to actually damage, he has the Pain Nullification skill to ensure he's not incapacitated by any pain, and he has Self-Regeneration to quickly restore his destroyed parts. And that's how he starts off. Eventually, he gains abilities that grant him resistance and outright nullification to attacks that directly attack his soul and would make a lesser person Deader Than Dead.
    • Rigurdo gets half of his face blown off by a servant of the Demon Lord Carrion and just calls it a simple scratch. One healing potion a moment later and his damaged face is all new, though the healing potions in question are capable of restoring entire lost limbs.
  • In Those Who Hunt Elves, an inconclusive fight scene between Junpei and an elf ends with Junpei's arm bleeding. The English dub has him blow it off as "just a flesh wound".
  • Anak Zahard from Tower of God is stabbed in the shoulder by her mother's killer right above the heart. Three days later, she is a fit as a fiddle and has no problem moving.
  • Wounding to stop or incapacitate (temporarily) is Vash's main offensive tactic in Trigun. He may be justified in that he's incredibly old and an experienced crackshot, so he knows exactly where to hit... but once he hit a Mook in a non-vital area that still resulted in severe bleeding, and Vash was terrified at the extent of the damage. The most annoying example was in the final duel with Knives in the animated series, where Vash shot his opponent Knives through both shoulders (closer to the chest than to the outsides,) and through both legs. He survived and didn't even bleed much, just needing a few bandages to cover his wounds. It is made explicit in the Manga that Knives and Vash can heal themselves through their plant abilities. At one point Knives mocks Vash for carrying scars from encounters with humans instead of healing himself.
  • Averted in Vagabond. Kanemaki Jisai receives a slash to the arm and remarks after the fight that he'll never be able to swing a sword properly again. Also, during the fight with Inshun, Musashi gets cut across the face and eventually passes out from the blood loss after a few minutes.
    • Played straight: Musashi gets sliced up pretty good in his 70-man brawl, and yet is on the road to a full recovery.

     Comic Books  
  • Linkara fell into this trope in his review of Athena #1, where he claimed that Athena being shot in the arm isn't worth serious medical attention. While this is, well, Athena, at the time none of the cast actually knew this. Granted the bullet seemed to just graze her, explaining his objection, but women do typically have less muscle mass than men, so take it how you will.
  • There's a Golden Age Batman story that averts this trope. Batman takes a round in the shoulder; it missed his vest and he drops like a rock and is thought dead. He survives, obviously, but needs to break off from the fight to get immediate medical attention. Oh and for those wondering, Robin did not take Batman's "death" well.
    • Averted in one of the last Batman: No Man's Land comics. The Joker once paralysed Barbara Gordon (turning her into the Oracle), and has just shot and killed Commissioner Gordon's wife, and is facing down a furious Gordon with a gun. Commissioner Gordon shoots him in the knee. Unlike Barbara, the Joker was walking around without any problems in later appearances. Comics being still frames, he might have a limp we aren't seeing.
      Joker: My knee! I may never walk again! I- Oh, I get it! Just like your daughter! (bursts into laughter)
    • There was a later issue where someone visits him in Arkham and he's wearing a leg brace and walking with a cane. He may have recovered completely, but it wasn't immediate.
    • In an issue of JLA, Prometheus shoots both Flash and Green Lantern in the torso as he makes his escape. Later, Batman finds that Flash's speed suit stopped the bullet just fine, but Green Lantern's state is in doubt. After a cursory inspection, Batman declares, "Flesh wound. It'll leave a scar, but you'll live." Despite the pain, Kyle grins at the thought of his first battle scar.
    • In an issue of the Robin Series Tim gets hit by an ill defined electrical weapon that leaves him gasping, bleeding from his nose, ears, mouth and nail beds and gets up to continues fighting the much larger Lock-Up after a little wobbly pep talk to himself. He then makes his way to the graveyard to speak to his parents' headstone without a mention or thought to treating any injuries.
    • Played straight in the Final Battle against the Joker in Scott Snyder’s Batman: Endgame where Batman is stabbed though both shoulder blades and badly slashed in the back, then had his face burned with acid and his eye taken out with a with a playing card... but keeps on fighting. The Joker also survives grievous injuries though this is due to Dionesium which Batman also uses to heal his aforementioned injuries as well “rebirthing” himself.
      • Alfred gets his hand chopped off by the Joker in the same run and doesn’t even pass out. At the end Alfred also refuses to get his hand reattached, what a badass.
  • In an issue of Captain America, Crossbones takes three bullets to the chest and the Black Widow diagnoses the wounds as nonfatal less than two minutes later. Crossbones is merely Badass Normal, so three gunshot wounds to the center body mass is a coin-toss on whether he'll live long enough to get medical treatment, but for some reason everyone is confident that he'll be fine. Particularly egregious in that three bullets to the chest is what killed the original Cap just a few issues prior.
  • In Star Wars: Kanan Depa Billaba says she's fine despite getting part of her skin torned off by General Grievous. Later subverted that she was barely able to walk and had to go into a bacta tank right after the battle.
  • Averted in an issue of The Mysterious Darkhawk; the hero Chris Powell is shot in the leg and passes out from loss of blood and has to go to the hospital. He's later told that it was in fact just a flesh wound.
  • In the otherwise classic Popeye Wild West continuity "Skullyville", a gang of more than two dozen bandits are each shot in the shoulder and together dumped in a basement, the stated intent being to put them out of action without really hurting them.
  • The climax of Rawhide Kid: The Sensational Seven comes when the Kid confronts Big Bad Cresto Pike. Pike is holding two hostages in front of him: Wyatt Earp himself, and the Kid's own father. The Kid shoots them both, hitting them just so they would drop, eliminating Cresto's advantage before killing him. The unlikelihood is lampshaded, as the rest of the Kid's posse state in awe that no one else in the world could have pulled that off.
  • Green Lantern: The Red Lantern Bleez takes a pretty hefty energy attack — Saint Walker offers to heal her, but being healed is apparently for bitches. "Pain is power to a Red Lantern!"
  • Hawkeye was once shot god knows how many times and survived. He’s also been stabbed in the ears and kept his hearing (thanks to a little help from Tony Stark).
  • Viltrimites in Invincible can withstand truly horrific wounds and just use their Healing Factor to get better, Mark the protagonist in a bad case of Nausea Fuel is impaled though the stomach and has intestines flop out. Mark's dad just wraps him and waits a months and Mark is back to full health. Thragg and Battle Beast similarly had their guts cut open but unlike Mark that didn't stop them fighting.
  • Savage Dragon suffers almost lethal injuries in nearly any fight he's in. Good thing he can heal. Seen on this cover.
  • In one of the Serenity comic books, we discover that Agent Dobson managed to survive being shot in the eye by Mal, and had been rather obsessively plotting revenge ever since.
  • In Sin City, Marv is clipped by a barrage of gunfire while escaping from a hotel. He only needs a few band-aids and he's fine. In a later story, Dwight McCarthy is shot in the face and chest. While he has to be rushed to Old Town to receive emergency aid, including reconstructive surgery, he remains conscious and doesn't receive any long-lasting injuries. Likewise, John Hartigan, an old man suffering from heart problems, is shot many times in the beginning of That Yellow Bastard but it takes a while for him to go down. A brief stay in the hospital and he's fine.
    • This is also the same guy who took two jolts of electricity from an electric chair to go down, making the first, arguably, "Just a flesh wound."
      • Pretty much all the Sin City protagonists invoke this trope to point of being Immune to Bullets, subverted in “The Big Fat Kill” as Dwight gets shot in the heart by a sniper and only survives thanks to a police badge in his chest pocket.
  • Tintin has a habit of surviving mere flesh wounds. In Destination Moon he's shot in the head, but the bullet only grazed his skull, so he's fine and back to the base in a couple of days.
  • The Punisher of course invokes this trope frequently.
    • One time an old man shoots him in the chest with a shotgun and Punisher’s thought bubble states his rib is gone. Yet that doesn't stop Mr. Castle from wrestling with and killing the man who put a hole in him.
    • Discussed and subverted in Garth Ennis' The Punisher: War Zone mini-series. The villain, Tim, is injured during a gunfight with the Punisher, and has to retreat. He mentions that Bruce Willis movies make non-fatal gunshot wounds look like minor inconveniences, when in reality, the pain from getting shot anywhere is often debilitating.
  • Sometimes subverted in Ultimate Spider-Man. When Peter was shot in the shoulder, while he does possess super strength and resilience so it's not as bad as it should be, it's still treated as a very serious injury that may have been slowly killing him. But in a later story, Ox, who does not have any super powers, is shot in what seems to be his Achilles tendon and is still able to walk. Holy smokes.
    • Arguably Ultimate Spidey is more fragile than ol’ 616 Peter Parker who was once shot mutiple times by Bullseye’s mooks and was up and swinging later albeit covered in web bandages. It helps Spidey has understated Healing Factor.
  • Aside from Wolverine who has his Healing Factor, a lot of the X-Men shrug off or heal from brutal injuries:
  • Y: The Last Man: Yorick Brown tried to do this when confronted with an armed young Militia-woman in Arizona; they face each other, guns drawn, and they both fire. She manages to completely miss him and he only wings her in the leg. At first he cannot stop laughing — he is just so happy that neither of them is dead — until she begins to scream and bleed. He tries to patch the wound, but she is dead from blood loss before he can even get it covered (he hit an artery). He does not take it well: her death added to his already considerable emotional issues.

     Fan Fiction 
  • Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami features a final battle in which Soichiro Yagami and Watari, having been irradiated, set on fire and taken unholy amounts of punishment beforehand, continue to fight each other after having hacked each other's arms off.
    "YOU ARE THE WORTHIEST BLOODY BUGGER I HAVE EVER FIT" watari gasped booting soichiro in the gut.
    "Well you are WORTHIER!" soichiro ground back doing a headbutt right into watari's face.
  • In a James Bond Fan Film Property of A Lady, one of the mooks is shot in the leg, interrogated (without the wound being bandaged or anything) and is then able to walk not 15 min. later.
  • Warriors of the World: Soldiers of Fortune averts this trope when Valkron gets a blade in his left shoulder. His left arm is rendered completely useless for the remainder of the time, he can't fight, he's bleeding profusely and the only thing stopping him from falling unconscious from shock is adrenaline — and even that was only for a while, since he eventually passes out.
  • When Tails refuses to hand over Cosmo to him in Episode 73 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Tsali throws him to the floor and rips his heart and lungs out of his chest with his bare hands. Tails responds by turning into Shroud Tails, immediately regenerates his wounds, and retaliates in kind.
  • Thoroughly averted in the Supernatural fic Down to Agincourt, in which a minor bite from a brownie (the fairy kind, not the chocolate kind) gives Dean a systemic infection that literally kills him twice and which he spends months recovering from.
  • Averted in Fire Emblem Fates fic A Brighter Dark where even "light" hits are enough to effectively remove a character from play for long periods of time. Though less noticeable than other examples due to frequent timeskips.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cars:
    • In Cars, a totaled racecar insists that he can still race as he's being towed away.
    • Happens to Lightning McQueen in Cars 3 when he crashes violently in the Los Angeles 500 as a result of pushing himself too hard. But after a 4 months recovery in Radiator Springs, he appears to not have any lasting injuries and is not paranoid about the crash itself but more about what that crash could mean for his racing career.
  • In the first Shrek, Shrek is shot in the ass with an arrow. After Fiona pulls it out, without any other first aid, he's fine. He didn't know it was even there until Fiona pointed it out.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children:
    • Cloud getting stabbed in the shoulder by Sephiroth with no ill effects, and worse, a few minutes later, Yazoo shoot's him in the back, with the bullet coming right out of his chest. He doesn't even get healed or anything...
    • Advent Children Complete is even more guilty of this. After Cloud gets stabbed in the shoulder by Sephiroth, He gets thrown into the air, stabbed around 7 times (through the arms, shoulders, chest, one stab going THROUGH his knee and continuing into his shoulder). He then falls to the ground in a puddle of his own blood, pulls out Omnislash and is apparently fine except for being exhausted and having a few cuts ....Until Yazoo fires at him. He gets a HEADSHOT and doesn't really care about it. His glasses are gone though...
  • Averted in The Transformers: The Movie, where Starscream shoots Brawl in the shoulder, killing him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This trope is named after the famous sketch of Arthur's confrontation with the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Even after having his limbs consecutively severed by Arthur, the Black Knight downplays his obvious injuries and attempts to fight. It's something of a subversion, since Arthur clearly intended to end the fight without killing the knight, but the profuse bleeding clearly indicates he's bleeding out, but the knight's reactions are completely incongruous (which is the joke, of course).
  • Played straight in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, where Alan gets shot non-fatally in the shoulder and is able to continue his confrontation with Pat.
  • Angels Revenge: While she's clearly affected by being shot, Trish is shown caring more about whether her actions earn her a spot among the Angels.
  • Beverly Hills Cop: Protagonist Axel Foley is shot through his right shoulder during the final confrontation with the film's Big Bad. After quite realistically falling over in pain, he manages to drag himself to his feet (leaving a trail of blood) and continues to pursue the villain, with the sole concession to the injury being to hold his gun in his left hand. Afterwards, Foley is seen hanging out with his friends, apparently oblivious to the gunshot wound, and hangs a lampshade on it when Chief Hubbard shows up. They do eventually convince him to go to the hospital, but not until long after he should have passed out or died from blood loss.
  • Awesomely inverted in Cellular, after Jessica Martin, a biology teacher, manages to rig up a phone line to make a call. Then one of the kidnappers stumbles upon the phone, and she slices him in the upper arm. As he looks at the wound, he asks "What did you do to me?" She informs him that she sliced open his brachial artery and he'll be dead in less than a minute.
  • Cloud Atlas: "The bullet went right through and killed nothing but his appetite."
  • Cloverfield. After searching for Beth throughout most of the movie, they find her impaled through the shoulder with a an iron bar. Realistically, they assume she's dead as soon as they see her, but she's just passed out and comes to shortly after they arrive. They pick her up and force her off the bar, and she runs down more than thirty stories of stairs and boards a helicopter, and only needing to lean on her boyfriend for support.
  • Subverted in Commando. Arnold's right shoulder is hit by a bullet, and his right arm is useless for most of the last fight. It's mostly fine by the end though.
  • In Con Air, Poe takes a grazing shot in the shoulder while doing his Slow Walk toward Cyrus. He doesn't even flinch.
  • Played ridiculously straight in the otherwise excellent film Copycat. Holly Hunter's police detective character is seen at a shooting range with her rookie partner, actually lecturing him on aiming for a criminal's shoulder rather than the torso. Nevermind that as stated, this would be extremely hard for even an experienced cop to do, it's also completely the opposite of what's taught in the police academy. To make matters worse, she suggests that he do this so as not to kill the criminal (but still disable him so that he's no longer a danger to others)—when a shot to the shoulder is almost guaranteed to hit the brachial artery, which would be fatal within minutes. It comes back to bite her in the ass later in the film when she attempts to disable a suspect this way—and he's able to use his uninjured arm to pick up a gun and kill another officer.
  • The Counselor had one occur in its only proper shoot-out. Two cartel members try to hijack a drug-smuggling truck. One is shot dead, another in the hip and takes cover by the roadside. He then proceeds to shoot the driver and the second guy dead, then gets up with no bleeding or even a limp gets into the truck and drives away. Later scenes show he's fine with his leg being only slightly patched up.
  • Daredevil. In the fight between Matt and Elektra, he ends up pinned to a wall by one of her sai. Minutes later, he's fighting an acrobatic battle with Bullseye, apparently little worse for the wear.
  • Spoofed in the movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid — when Rigby Reardon (Steve Martin) is shot in the shoulder, Juliet (Rachel Ward) sucks the bullet out, and then puts a band-aid over the hole. This happens three times, with Rigby getting shot in precisely the same spot each time.
    Rigby Reardon: This is never gonna heal!
  • Played straight and justified on different occasions in Deadpool (2016). The titular character can ignore his injuries due to his Healing Factor. Francis/Ajax on the other hand, merely has Feel No Pain yet continues fighting just fine even after injuries like being impaled through the shoulder or stabbed in the thigh.
  • The Die Hard franchise can't seem to decide how it feels about this trope, and will play it straight and avert it sometimes within the same movie. A gunshot to the leg is treated as horribly painful and keeping the character from being able to stand without leaning heavily on something, but blood loss also doesn't seem to be a problem for him. At the same time, when a character is shot in the shoulder, he hits the floor and can't move, and has to be dragged to his feet and held up by another character.
  • In Dresden the main character manages to escape the bombing of Dresden with serious injuries. As in, he digs himself out of rubble, runs and climbs a 40-50ft set of iron rungs... with a gaping wound in his side, a crushed foot, and while seriously drugged. Oh, and he also takes a detour in order to climb to the top of a cathedral in order to view the destruction.
  • In End of Days, Jericho Caine shoots his friend Bobby in the arm to confirm that he's not actually Satan in disguise. When Bobby rants at him afterwards for shooting him, Jericho tells him to stop whining because it's "just a scratch".
  • In Eraser, Arnie gets shot in the leg and second later he's running and jumping. He also gets shot in the shoulder during the final action sequence, yet is able to continue fighting, hold on to a chain to keep from falling several stories, and catch the heroine to keep her from falling as well.
  • In Escape Plan, Schwarzenegger's character Rottmayer only grunts in pain when shot in the shoulder and continues to fight no other consequences.
  • In Fast & Furious, Letty shoots Dom in the shoulder. He just digs the bullet out by himself, slaps a Band-Aid on top and acts the rest of the film as if it never even happened.
  • Played straight to a horrifying level in Fight Club. The Narrator shoots himself in the mouth to kill his alter ego. When his troops come to his aid, he insists he's fine, and stands calmly with his girl to watch the buildings around them get demolished by the explosives they planted. Of course, there’s a theory that the last scene is a Dying Dream.... Take it as you will.
  • In Forrest Gump, the titular character is lucky enough to be shot in the buttocks during the early part of the Vietnam War, ensuring that he'll be given medical leave for the rest of the fighting while still being able to make a full and relatively painless recovery.
  • Used to great Irony in Grand Canyon, as action film director Davis, whose films include this trope and Money Shot, is shot in the thigh. He spends the rest of the film either in a hospital bed or with a severe limp.
  • In the Soviet film Grozovye Vorota (Thunder Gate), 1st Lt. Doronin is shot in the lower abdomen (most probably with a bullet from an assault rifle) yet he is able to dress the wound, walk and give the rallying speech to his soldiers (he may be using combat analgesics though). However, when Pvt. Vyetrov is shot in the thigh, he is forced to hobble leaning heavily on the stick and when Pvt. Gorshkov is shot in the arm, he loses control over the injured limb, rendering him unable to reload his machine gun. Moreover, all wounded protagonists are still crippled when shown in the hospital.
  • Taken to absurd heights in the 1994 film Gunmen where the running gag between the Enemy Mines will have one trying to convince the other on a course of action, the other refusing, and the first shooting him in the arm or leg and tossing him the first aid kit, then demanding he "try and keep up".
  • In Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, LL Cool J survives getting shot in the head. It was only a flesh wound, after all.
  • In the final game of Happy Gilmore, Happy is hit with a car. The only loss he suffers is his ability to hit the long drive; he soon shrugs off his injuries and is able to win the tournament.
  • This works absurdly well in John Woo film Heroes Shed No Tears. One of the main characters, Big Dog gets stabbed in the leg with a spear at one point, but walks fine in the next scene. Similarly, Chin gets shot in the chest, then apparently hung up by his eyelids (or something of a kind), yet still lives.
  • Done to the point of absurdity in the climax of Hot Fuzz, where nobody was killed by the massive gun battle the heroes embark on—except maybe for the guy who triggered the sea mine, but that was a case of Karmic Death. This in itself may be part of the film's blatant but loving parody.
  • Parodied in the Hot Shots! franchise with Lloyd Bridges' character, "Tug" Benson. He's an old military man who's taken so many flesh wounds that he's practically artificial.
    Admiral Benson: Didn't see ya there. My eyes are ceramic. Caught a bazooka round at Little Big Horn. Or was it Okinawa? The one without the Indians.
    Admiral Benson: I don't have a clue what you're talkin' about, Phil. Not a fucking clue. I have a shell the size of a fist in my head. Pork Chop Hill. The only way I can make this goddamn toupee stay on is by magnetizing the entire upper left quadrant of my skull, so you just go ahead and do what you do.
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka pushes this line to the limit, as one of the heroes leaves for the final confrontation with more pistols than any sane being would take ("You can never have too many guns,") then promptly trips, falls on the ground, and shakes as an unknown amount of his guns go off. After a quick check, one of the other heroes declares, "They're all flesh wounds," and they walk off.
  • Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark gets shot in the shoulder during the Chase Scene and is not shown getting medical attention despite bleeding and being in great pain. Indy does get Intimate Healing from Marion though.
  • I Shot Jesse James features main character Robert Ford getting shot through the shoulder, yet he's able to ride dozens of miles from Kansas to Jesse's hideout in Missouri in only mild discomfort.
  • James Bond:
    • Spoofed a bit in Die Another Day. In a simulated hostage situation Bond shoots M's shoulder as a diversion to shoot her hostage taker. When Q comes in saying something like "You just shot your superior, Bond!" 007 answers with the trope. Funny in that Q is Monty Python's John Cleese (who played the Black Knight referred to above).
    • Skyfall: Unique inversion in a Bond film, since multiple people are suffering from bullet "flesh wounds" that don't go away in the next scene. James Bond's shoulder wound from the failed Turkey mission months before the bulk of the movie gives him trouble aiming his gun, hanging on to a lift, and affects his mental performance. Mallory's arm wound from the inquiry persists till after the movie ends. M meets an ignominious end, slowly bleeding to death from a stray bullet wound. Although it seems to be played rather straight with the other wound that Bond sustained in Turkey: he doesn’t even slow down after he’s shot somewhere in the right side of the chest.
  • In Last Action Hero, a character who's been realistically shot and is dying is relocated into the movie universe where, as Danny notes, "that'd just be a flesh wound" and not anything to worry about. The instant the victim swaps realities, a doctor scoffs at the flesh wound and he's healthy again.
  • In Lethal Weapon, Murtagh states his preferred method is to shoot a felon in the leg so he can question them later. This is mainly to differentiate him from titular hero, Riggs. As stated above, that's not how police operate if they've decided firing their weapon is necessary. Riggs' methods are correct. He just does it way more than any real police officer ever would.
  • Boromir in The Fellowship of the Ring gets hit by three arrows near the end of the movie. Granted, the wounds were eventually fatal, but he fights orcs for a good few minutes after, and survives long enough afterwards for Aragorn to kill his killer and then give a death speech.
  • Zigzagged throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • Nick Fury has been shot multiple times the first time in The Avengers (2012) was justified since he was wearing a vest, but surviving the two sniper rounds to the chest (breaking several ribs) in The Winter Soldier is slightly harder to believe.
      • Speaking of Winter Soldier Black Widow takes a bullet to the shoulder and remains conscious... though she rapidly loses blood and would’ve died without the Russo Brothers patching her up.
      • Also from the same movie Captain America gets shot multiple times but still has enough strength to stop HYDRA and lift a girder off the man who shot him. However unlike some superhuman examples mentioned below Cap is still gravely injured by every bullet and hospitalised shortly after.
    • The Incredible Hulk gets stabbed by the Abomination’s spikes in the Final Battle and bleeds but still wins the fight. However if you look closely in later films you notice Hulk still has a scar from the Abomination’s attack suggesting his Healing Factor isn’t perfect. Similarly in Thor: Ragnarok Hulk gets badly bitten by Fenris but still beats the undead wolf... worth nothing this was first time since his first movie that Hulk’s skin was pierced.
    • Thor invokes this at times: in Avengers he gets stabbed in the chest by Loki and not only still wins the faceoff but later on asks a comparatively uninjured (albeit exhausted) Cap if he keep going. But that’s nothing compared to Ragnarok where Thor loses an eye in mid-fight and keeps going.
      • The lady who took out Thor’s eye, Hela, doesn’t seem bothered getting impaled numerous times.
    • Special mention to Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron who seemed more angry than pained at losing his arm.
    • T’challa after getting Brought Down to Normal in Black Panther shrugs off a spear to the shoulder and still wins the duel.
    • Tony Stark despite ironically being well protected by Powered Armor, was impaled right though the torso in Avengers: Infinity War and unlike Agent Coulson or Killmonger survives (thanks to spraying some medi-gel on himself). Considering this was the same man who recovered from a shrapnel bomb to the heart it isn’t too surprising.
    • Captain America in Avengers: Endgame gets his forearm broken by Thanos (you can almost see his radius bones sticking out) but Steve ignores the pain and use his Shield strap as a splint so he can keep fighting.
  • In The Man Who Knew Too Much, the heroine's scream messes up the assassin's aim, and he ends up shooting the prime minister in the arm instead of the heart. One of the other characters then uses almost this exact phrase to let people know that the prime minister won't die.
  • In Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), John Smith is stabbed in the leg with a very large knife. He grimaces in pain and the wound doesn't bother him any more after that.
  • In The Naked Gun, Nordberg is shot up badly and ends up in the hospital. While he does spend the film recovering, Frank Drebin points out that luckily "the bullets missed every major organ", and indeed Nordberg is back in the next movie, none the worse for wear.
  • In National Lampoon's European Vacation, the Griswold family accidentally hit a man in their rental car on their trip to England. The man (who is appropriately played by Eric Idle in an obvious Actor Allusion), insists that "it was only a flesh wound."
  • At the end of Night Train to Munich, Randall is shot in the shoulder and it doesn't even slow him down.
  • 127 Hours, as pointed out below in the Real Life examples.
  • The finale of Ong-Bak sees Tony Jaa's character get shot in the shoulder with a pistol by the Big Bad at near point-blank range, but remains spry enough to vault off a piece of scenery and deliver dual-downward-knees to The Dragon hard enough to break through the piece of scaffolding they're standing on. This is Tony Jaa.
  • In the climactic battle of The Patriot, Benjamin Martin shoots Colonel Tavington in the left shoulder and the audience is treated to a slow-motion spray of blood out of the wound. Worse, bullets back then were softer, so they were likely to break apart in the body. It would have torn his shoulder to ribbons from within. Tavington just shrugs it off and almost beats Martin in hand-to-hand combat.
  • A Running Gag in Pineapple Express has Red seemingly die multiple times throughout the film, only to wake up and carry on with only minor discomfort and some crude bandages. In the end, after one final fakeout, the heroes agree that they really ought to get him to a hospital.
  • Predator:
    • Jesse Ventura's character got shot while raiding the guerrilla camp, leading to his incredibly awesome response "I ain't got time to bleed".
    • Dutch is also wounded by gun shrapnel from his M16 when it's struck by the Predator's plasmacaster. As in Commando the impairment to the arm is only temporary, later allowing Dutch to make and use a longbow.
  • Rambo:
    • In Rambo III, our hero had a chunk of debris embedded in his abdomen after an explosion and (after pulling it out) cauterized the wound by dumping the propellant from a large bullet into it and setting it on fire. Given that he was climbing mountains the next day, nothing John Rambo does can surprise me.
    • In Rambo, the title character is shot through the shoulder with a round from a large machine gun mounted on a nearby boat. He yells in pain, drops to the ground, then sees a truckload of soldiers coming towards him. He jumps back up, uses the machine gun he was mounting to shoot down trees and liquefy the soldiers, then continues mowing down more enemies. After the final confrontation, he simply frowns while holding his injured shoulder (which is really huge, thanks to Sylvester Stallone taking human growth hormone at the time of filming)
  • Subverted in a Harrison Ford film, Regarding Henry. The title character is shot twice during a robbery, once in the shoulder and once in the head. It is later explained to him that the fact he was shot in the shoulder first probably saved his life by reducing the blood pressure in his head. The lower blood pressure then prevented him from bleeding to death before he could get to a hospital. What's more, it's the wound to his shoulder that caused the brain damage, because it prevented oxygen from reaching his brain.
  • Return of the Jedi. Throughout the trilogy we see armies of Mooks getting blown away from a single blaster bolt. Leia takes one smack in the arm and grits out, "It's not bad." She then blasts two Stormtroopers.
    • Must run in the family, as Leia’s son Ben aka Kylo Ren tanks a shot from Chewy’s Bowcaster in The Force Awakens and in true dark-Jedi fashion uses the pain to drive him (even outright smacking his wound).
  • Rush (2013) depicts an example from real life, where Formula One driver Niki Lauda crashed and was caught in his burning car for over a minute, suffering severe burns and inhaling toxic fumes, and returned to the tracks after only six weeks. When he first arrived to the hospital he wasn't expected to survive at all, and Last Rites were administered by a priest.
  • Serenity:
    • During the opening robbery scene, Mal and the vault guard are discussing where the guard could be shot to make it look like he resisted, but keeping the risk of serious injury minimal.
      Mal: The leg is good. Lots of bleeding, and we avoid any unnecessary organs.
      Guard: I was thinking more of a graze...
      Mal: Well, we don't want it to look like you just gave up.
    • In the closing fight scene, Mal gets a sword through the gut, then (after fighting for a moment with it still stuck there) pulls it out again. And after that, he seems to suffer no ill effects.
  • Double-subverted in Seven Psychopaths. When Charlie arrives to reclaim his dog, he makes a show of being unarmed. Billy shoots him in the spine, and then is disgusted to find he was unarmed (save for a flare gun). For the next few minutes, Charlie's paralyzed and helpless, unable to move his legs... until Marty helps him back to his car. Then he's back to normal, revealing that Billy only clipped him ("Just a flesh wound, kid"), and grabs a gun from his glove compartment, as this is when the film hits the Decon-Recon Switch.
  • In The Sixth Sense: Subverting this is essential to the movie's big twist, although it isn't obvious when it happens. When an action-movie star like Bruce Willis gets shot, you just assume that it's just going to be a flesh wound... to the point where when it turns out he actually dies of it, it's a twist.
  • Happens twice in Sleepy Hollow. The first time, Ichabod is stabbed in the right shoulder, which is handwaved by the blade in question being supernaturally (and undetectably) hot, and thus it instantly cauterized the wound. The second time it happens, no supernatural entities are involved. He manages to take a bullet to the shoulder and hardly worries about it the rest of the movie.
  • At first seemingly avoided in Speed. Jeff Daniels' character is shot in the leg near the beginning; he carries a cane and walks with a limp for the rest of the movie. Later, he somehow manages to dress in SWAT gear and enter a house with a team.
  • A particularly ridiculous example comes from Starship Troopers. Carmen, the hero's girlfriend, suffers an alien pincer attack which impales her directly through the ball-and-socket joint in her shoulder. Yet she has no trouble handling a weapon with the afflicted arm. And she suffers very little blood loss. And she's able to Outrun the Fireball at the end of the movie. And happily skip away from the final scene as if she had completely forgotten about the gaping wound in her shoulder.
  • In Taken, Brian disarms a corrupt cop before casually shooting the man's wife in the arm to demonstrate how serious he is about recovering his kidnapped daughter.
    Brian: It's a flesh wound. But if you don't get me what I need, the last thing you'll see before I make your children orphans is the bullet I put between her eyes.
  • Terminator:
    • In the original The Terminator Kyle Reese takes quite a pounding before going down (including getting shot).
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day:
      • John Connor makes the T-800 promise not to kill anyone anymore. The T-800 from that moment on only shoots people in the legs to cause incapacitating but non-fatal flesh wounds. Handwaved by the T-800 later explaining that it has detailed files on human anatomy in its memory.
      • Sarah Connor is shot in the leg (and loses a lot of blood) and impaled in the shoulder. While the shoulder wound does realistically cripple the arm, the leg wound only makes her limp a little. This is ignoring the fact that the wounds plus blood loss should be sending her into shock.
    • In Terminator Salvation, John Connor gets impaled through his chest with a blunt object and stays conscious and talking. Later we learn that this did massive mechanical damage to his heart, and he has an impromptu heart transplant in a field hospital, and appears to recover instantly.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Steve Martin's character gets shot in the arm which doesn't bother him any more after that.
  • Three Kings plays with this trope. Two of the good guys get shot, one in the gut and the other in the shoulder. The one with the gut wound survives, the other does not. Not only is it directly called out in the beginning of the movie, but the fatal effects of such a wound on one's organs are explained at length, with a very detailed visual aid. That exact scenario (with the same level of visual detail) plays out when the wound is actually inflicted later. The guy with the gut wound survives thanks to a mixture of on-the-spot and later treatment. The other guy was dead within the minute from septic poisoning.
  • In the final fight of The Three Musketeers (2011), D'Artagnan is cut several times with a rapier across his limbs, at one point even gripping onto his enemy's blade and slicing his hand open across the full length, but afterwards requires no bandages or let alone a limp, with the wounds resembling minor papercuts.
  • In the 2010 version of True Grit, LaBoeuf is shot straight through the shoulder but is unhindered by it for the rest of the film. The only reason we even remember him getting shot are the bloodless holes on the front and back of his coat.
  • Both played straight and subverted in 28 Days Later, when the protagonist is shot in a vital area but seems to be able to survive with minimal health care from a non-qualified woman and a girl. The aversion comes from the original ending where the protagonist dies.
  • In 28 Weeks Later, Scarlet, one of the main group of survivors, gets shot in the leg and says, "It's only a flesh wound." Other than having a bit of a limp, she seems largely unaffected.
  • Douglas from Where the Wild Things Are gets his entire arm ripped off. Ironically, he's the only one who doesn't react that strongly to it.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Charles Xavier is shot in the back and remains conscious throughout the entire scene, albeit in great pain. He is permanently injured, though.
  • Averted in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Mystique gets shot in the leg. Not only does she have to go to a hospital to get the wound treated, but she has a limp for the rest of the movie.

    Literature 
  • In one of the Biggles books, Ginger Hepplethwaite is shot through the thigh but still manages to outrun his pursuers for over a mile, before collapsing into the arms of his chum and mentor Biggles with blood loss. note 
  • Partially justified in some Ciaphas Cain books: most people don't bleed to death from a shot in a "non-lethal" area because the heat of the laser almost immediately cauterises the wound.
  • Subverted in David Benioff's City of Thieves, in which a potentially humorous injury ends up causing the death of a major character. The handsome Russian soldier, Kolya, is shot in the buttocks by friendly fire. At first the situation seems mildly funny ("You know how much shit I'm going to get from my battalion? Shot in the ass by fucking amateurs straight off the assembly line!"), and Kolya tries to downplay the injury, but this seriousness sets in when it's clear just how much blood he's losing. As Kolya says, just before he dies: "not quite the way I pictured it."
  • Dave Barry's Guide To Guys has this anecdote about the co-founder of the World Famous Lawn Rangers Precision Lawnmower Drill Team of Arcola, Illinois and his manly attitude toward serious personal injury:
    But my immediate anecdote concerns Ranger co-founder co-founder Ted Shields, who was with some other Ranger on a fishing trip off the coast of Louisiana when he came down wrong on his ankle and broke it. Naturally he told everybody it was just a sprain. Guys always say it's "just a sprain," because this way they can avoid falling into the clutches of medical care. A guy could have one major limb lying on the ground a full ten feet from the rest of his body, and he'd claim it was "just a sprain." So, although Ted's ankle was painful and swelling rapidly and turning some nonstandard colors, Ted chose to remain on the boat and treat the injury himself.
  • Zigzagged in Deathstalker. The Masked Gladiator (Finlay Campbell) kills a genetically-engineered flying humanoid creature, which was carrying him high above the Arena to drop him on a flagpole, by stabbing the creature through his own belly. In his Gladiator persona, he shrugs the wound off, claims the head of his kill, and strides confidently back to his quarters beneath the Arena. Then he nearly collapses before his assistant and illicit girlfriend get him into his regeneration machine.
  • In the Discworld novel "Men at Arms", Lord Vetinari attempts to invoke this trope when he is shot in the leg. He fails.
    'There's no need,' said Vetinari, trying to smile and stand up. 'It's just a flesh-'
    The leg collapsed under him.
    • Subverted further in that future books have Vetinari walking with a cane. Although it's heavily implied he's faking it.
    • Played straight with Carrot in the same scene, who jumped in front of a bullet for him, got shot in the shoulder, and is barely slowed down at all. Maybe different rules apply to Carrot.
  • Inverted in False Gods where Horus isn't dying from being impaled through his chest on a piece of crashed starship, but rather from a comparatively minor stab wound to his shoulder that his superhuman healing factor should have handled independently. The shoulder wound came from an anathame, so it's supernaturally resisting said healing factor.
  • Dan Abnett supplies a nice quote on the topic in the Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel, His Last Command:
    Ayatani Zweil: Flesh wound? Flesh wound? They're all flesh wounds! No one ever says "Ooh look! I've just been shot in the bones, but it missed my flesh completely!"
    • Necrons do, with the exception of the Flayed Ones: rounds might not hit THEIR flesh, but they’ll still go through someone's dead flesh that they wear over the metal to intimidate their enemies.
  • The second book of The Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, had Lisbeth Salander shot three times: in the leg, in the shoulder and in the head, then Buried Alive. She manages to crawl her way out of the grave and hit Zalachenko, who shot her with the axe twice before finally collapsing unconscious. She lives because the bullets were low-caliber, she was found soon afterwards by Blomkvist, who taped over her wounds and she was operated on by one of the best surgeons in Sweden. However, it still takes her several months to recover, and the wound in the shoulder gets severely infected a week after the act.
  • This trope shows up in, of all places, Georgette Heyer's classic regency romance The Grand Sophy. Sophy's friend is worried that her cousin might challenge him to a duel, so Sophy shoots him in the arm, then bandages him up. It's only a flesh wound, and blood poisoning isn't even mentioned.
  • Y in Jam gets shot multiple times (including the head) with a sniper rifle but stays alive until he’s made sure that idiot who filled him with bullets is dead too.
  • In the Chris Ryan novel The Increment, assassinations are disguised by "clipping" one of the assassins' calf to make it appear that the suspect fired back and resisted.
  • In Julie Kagawa's The Iron Daughter, the nurse orders Puck to let her stitch his wound, and he tries this. She gives no quarter.
  • In the Star Wars X-Wing novel Isard's Revenge, Corran Horn is grazed by a blastershot from behind him. Though only a graze, it has enough force to ragdoll him to the floor and make his body seriously unhappy with the current state of affairs. Even as he berates himself for carelessness, he mentally insults the guy that had plenty of time to aim a proper shot at his back and very nearly missed him entirely.
  • In Zane Grey's novel, The Last Trail, Jonathan Zane gets shot in the shoulder and passes out, but is soon up and about. Blood loss doesn't seem to be a problem.
  • In Mastiff, the third Provost's Dog book. After many, many books where the protagonists are forced to spend a realistic time recovering, Beka cheerfully throws off concussions, broken bones, and torture. (At least partially justified by the fact that their party now contains a highly skilled mage who knows healing magic, admittedly.)
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, after von Horn shoots Bulan, and he collapses, Sing nevertheless assures Virginia that it's just a flesh wound — and he's right.
  • Jim, Meryl and Thaddeus in Mogworld aren’t bothered in the slightest by stab wounds, missing limbs or broken bones. Which is perfectly understandable since they’re undead.
    • Ax-Crazy Mr Wonderful can slice off his arm mid conversation and can keep cracking wise until he dies of blood loss. But then he just respawns.
  • Discussed in the Tom Clancy novel Patriot Games. Jack Ryan is shot in the shoulder and spends many weeks recovering. During his stay in the hospital, Ryan ponders how the heroes in fiction always seem to recover from a shoulder injury by the end of the show or novel or whatever.
  • Nelson DeMille's "Plum Island", wherein the antagonist is slashed through the abdomen, allowing his guts to spill out. This gives the protagonist enough time to pull some of the guts, place them on the antagonist's face and quip "Your guts." Later on we find out that the antagonist survived and is on trial. Nelson DeMille fails to understand things such as blood loss, infection (as this happens in a dark, underground, abandoned barrack near a disease research facility), the excruciating pain that would have caused the antagonist to pass out immediately.
  • Subverted in ''The Subtle Knife'', in which a character tries to inflict a non-fatal leg injury on his enemy only to nick an artery and end up killing him anyway.
  • Subverted in the novel Tandia by Bryce Courtenay. One of the protagonists, Pee Kay is shot in the shoulder and is able to put the arm in a sling and stop the bleeding and seems to be okay. However when he tries to climb up a mountain side to escape the shooter, the wounds begin to bleed again profusely and the pain becomes so unbearable that he collapses and soon after dies from blood loss.
  • Tarzan's injuries tend to be treated this way. Notably in The Return of Tarzan he takes two shots to the shoulder and side during a duel and just stands there.
  • In The Tenets of Futilism, Sasha recovers rather quickly from having her arms and stomach cut open, though she does feel pain in those areas for the remainder of the novel.
  • The Three Musketeers:
    • Some injuries are handwaved away by claiming that they closed very quickly due to the weapon used. Since all the protagonists like to put on a Made of Iron persona, they still occur to shrug off stab wounds to in-universe spectators.
    • A particularly ridiculous case is when D'Artagnan firstly lightly wounds an opponent in the duel three times in unspecified spots, then rams the sword into his belly. All the opponent does is close his eyes, and D’Artagnan proceeds to tie his unconscious body up and leaves him expecting him to survive, and he does!
  • Lampshaded in Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis: Orual sticks a dagger clean through her own arm to blackmail her sister and does not suffer permanent harm—but gives us an aside in her narration saying that if she had known then what she knows now about the inside of an arm, she might not have dared to do it, implying that she was extremely lucky.
  • Played bizarrely in Tyrannosaur Canyon, when a character is shot in the head and comes away just fine. The bullet skimmed his skull and may have caused a concussion, but that's it.
  • A lot in Warrior Cats, mainly because their way of life essentially revolves around fighting, and everytime a fight breaks out, everyone ends up bleeding from at least one gash. Justified because a cat's claws and teeth aren't nearly long enough to slice deeper than the flesh and muscle or cause major damage unless the injury becomes infected (and since these cats apparently have medical care, infection rates are low). Most injuries referred to in the series are relatively minor, and are true flesh wounds in every sense of the term.
  • Subverted in A World Gone Mad. After Griffin's partner is able to continue fighting normally for more than half an hour after being shot a couple times in the arm and once in the leg (with an assault rifle), Griffin walks up behind him and empties his pistol into the back of the guy's head as his failure to respond negatively to bullets suggests that he's not human. Then again, the author hedges his bets with regards to this trope since it's never clearly indicated whether Griffin was right, and one of the major plot points is that his Jack Bauer methods occasionally results in false positives.
  • In Keith Laumer's Worlds Of The Imperium, the alternate-world "Toth Convention" for duelists has the object of not killing the opponent, but inflicting painful (and humiliating) wounds. The hero subverts this by dropping his gun and punching the opponent out.

     Live Action TV  
  • Subverted in the short-lived series 10-8: Deputy Amonte intentionally shoots a suspect in the leg and is immediately chewed out by his experienced partner Barnes — deadly force is in play once guns are drawn, and aiming anywhere other than center-mass with intent to kill is dangerously irresponsible.
  • On The 100, Lincoln take a bullet through his shoulder and seems pretty much okay afterwards; he's even fighting on the front lines of a battle a few days later.
  • This trope is referenced in the 2001 The Bill (which has never suffered this trope, the one time where a wound is referred to as "a flesh wound" — in the 2005 Live Episode — the PC still has to go to hospital) episode "Gun Crazy". A character, who has just been shot in the leg by an AK-47 is being taken to hospital. DCI Meadows says to DS McAllister, "He says it's only a flesh wound. There's someone who's been watching too many dodgy videos." (Maybe he'd been watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
  • Deconstructed in The Bletchley Circle. Midway through the second season, Jean is shot in the leg. The wound is stated to be a flesh wound... but Jean has permanent damage to her leg; when she is next seen, she needs a cane to walk.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: Buffy is impaled with a sword and shrugs it off. Giles is stabbed in the side with a lance by one of the Knights of Byzantium. He appears near death during most of "Spiral," but is up and fighting the next day.
    • Angel in particular has been impaled frequently as a vampire; at one point Angel has a causal argument with Spike (with a sword stuck in his torso) over the fact the Spike “saved” Angel from a bug demon on his back by running it though without bothering to warn Angel.
    • Wesley is probably the foremost human example of this, as he gets shot in the gut and remain conscious for several hours before getting hospitalized. Wes at one point even has his throat slit and stays alive for ages before receiving help. Really getting stabbed and dying in the Final Battle seems like he should’ve walked it off compared to previous injuries.
  • Burn Notice tends to play with this. If someone gets shot, they'll clearly be suffering pain and be incapacitated in some manner, and even episodes later they can still be suffering from the injuries. That said, rarely are their wounds fatal, if only because they received proper medical care.
    • In the season one finale, Mike manages to shoot the bad guy in the stomach with his own gun. He mentions that if the gun uses normal bullets, he might make it. If they're hollow points..."I wouldn't make any plans."
    • Earlier in the series, he manages to get an assassin with roughly the same type of wound. The killer manages to get out of his house and dies later.
    • A later episode has Agent Bly get shot in the shoulder during a bank robbery, and is played fairly realistically; Bly is shown to be in danger of bleeding to death, and though he manages to disable two of the bank robbers later, he uses his other arm. He has his arm in a sling at the end of the episode.
    • In the series pilot, Michael finally deals with an annoying drug pusher by ambushing him and shooting him in the leg. He hands him some bandages and says if he binds the wound and calls an ambulance immediately, he stands a good chance of survival. The pusher is writhing on the floor in pain and obviously is unable to do much of anything but comply. He's fine the next time we see him, a month or two later, where he runs headlong into this trope again from taking four shots from assault rifles through his upper body and surviving, though it's noted he would have died had Michael not been there to get him to the hospital and he's out of commission in that hospital for the rest of the episode.
    • Mike Batman Gambits The Dragon of one of the marks into shooting his boss. He gives more or less the same "get to a hospital speech". As he's leaving, he says quietly to the client that he was lying; the bad guy is going to die.
    • At one point during Season 3, Fiona's brother Sean takes at least two shots from a rifle in his upper body. He's reduced to unconsciousness when we see Sam and Madeline trying to staunch the bleeding and remove the bullets (having told them not to get him to the hospital since it would take too much time to save Fi). By the end of the episode he's conscious again, but still clearly in pain and struggling to even prop himself up on his elbows and several cushions. Fi herself gets clipped in the arm at the end of the episode and requires stitches, and even in the next episode it's still affecting her to an extent that she can't serve her usual role as muscle.
    • During one of the season 4 episodes Jesse is forced to shoot a guard who had Michael in a death grip and in the process it hits Michael in the shoulder. Michael realistically bleeds out within a few minutes and loses consciousness and later on takes several weeks to heal from the wound in a hospital. Even then, he's still suffering from it when he finally gets discharged.
  • Spoofed on Chappelle's Show. One of the sketches was mock ESPN coverage of guys shooting dice in an alley, interrupted by gang members robbing them. When Dave's character talks back, the gangster shoots him in the leg. The "analysts" replay the shooting in slow motion with a football-style telestrator and comment "Smart play by the young man, shooting him below the waist, that is not attempted murder. This man knows the law."
  • Criminal Minds:
    • Subverted when Hotch was stabbed repeatedly at the beginning or season 5 (as it happens, the very same episode Reid gets shot in the leg), but is back to work in the following episode (though not yet fully recovered). But this is Subverted all the way in season 9, when Hotch suddenly collapses and it turns out to be because those same old stab injuries have ruptured again.
    • In general, the characters attempt to disable armed suspects by shooting them in the arm or leg quite often (often, the armed person is mentally ill, an emotional non-criminal attempting to get revenge on a serial killer that killed a love one, or otherwise acting out of mistake rather than malice). However, all shootings are necessary and the show seems to actively avoid showing whether or not the person that got shot actually survived, so the writers may be aware of this trope.
  • CSI:
    • Nick Stokes referred to a man with a GSW to the shoulder as having taken a "John Wayne shot", explaining that the Duke's shootouts often ended with this trope.
    • A straighter version in "Willows In The Wind". Catherine was shot in the side, but kept on going, just getting it cauterized with a curling iron. Doc did take a look at it later, and said she should be on some major antibiotics, but still...
  • A truly ludicrous example shows up in CSI: Miami: In one episode, Delko is shot in the head with a nail gun. In the very next episode, stated to be some six weeks later, he is back at work with a shaved head and some minor memory problems.
    • Though averted in another episode. A woman is found floating in the ocean with a gunshot to the leg which killed her. Eventually they uncover that she was a Cuban refugee who was travelling with her brother but was sick and unable to make it all the way. Her brother shot her in the leg, assuming this trope, because if she needed medical attention she wouldn't be sent back. He hit the femoral artery and she was dead within minutes.
  • In Dollhouse, unimpairing gut shots seem to be a motif. Adelle DeWitt gets shot in the stomach and barely flinches. Later she is being stitched up by Dr. Claire Saunders. Agent Ballard gets shot in the stomach in an early Season 1 episode (though admittedly he quickly passes out and takes few episodes to heal fully), and in another, Boyd Langton walks several miles out of the woods after taking a hunting arrow all the way through his abdomen.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: In a roundabout way in the final episode of the series "Opening Night At the Boar's Nest." The Malone brothers — angry that Boss Hogg's testimony had sent one of them, Floyd, to prison — kidnap Boss and, after demanding a $1 million ransom, threaten to kill Boss if any rescue attempts are detected. The trope kicks in when the Duke boys make their attempt: Floyd and Bubba are easily able to beat up Bo and Luke, after which Floyd fires a shotgun at Boss, who was using the distraction of the Malones' fight with the Duke boys to try to get away. Boss, who is tied to a chair, is knocked off the porch and for a second, appears to be unconscious, presumably to lead viewers to the conclusion that he had been seriously, if not fatally wounded. Alas, all is well: Bo and Luke tell Boss that he is not dead, much less even hurt: the bullet was lodged ... in Boss' wallet full of (no doubt phony) credit cards! While Boss is glad he didn't leave home without the credit cards, Floyd and Bubba now get to face kidnapping and attempted murder charges.
  • Farscape: Chiana is shot by Durka in "Durka Returns", although slightly justified by her survival being a hasty rewrite so that she could be made a regular character instead of dying as originally intended.
  • A complex example in The Finder. First, averted, as a rapper is shot in the leg and bleeds to death. Then subverted, as he had asked his brother to shoot him in the leg in order to gain street cred from a flesh wound. Later zig-zagged as it turns out a record exec had put the idea in his head with the intention of him dying.
  • Firefly:
    • In the pilot, Kaylee is shot in the stomach and the same doctor emphasizes how critical treating her soon is. Somewhat justified, as she's shot roughly in the middle of her stomach, while Mal's wound is almost in his side, where there are significantly less vital organs to worry about. In addition, Kaylee isn't used to such injury, and quickly starts going into shock.
    • In the pilot episode, Mal is shot but it actually is just a flesh would as explained in the end when Simon offers to look at it and Mal says "it's just a graze."
    • Subverted. Book gets shot in the shoulder in the episode "Safe" and is quite seriously wounded. As a result Simon and River are left to fend for themselves most of the episode leading up to the famous Big Damn Heroes moment at the climax.
    • Subverted in the episode "Shindig", where Mal, rather than doing the whole tough-guy "flesh wound" act, stresses to Inara how he was stabbed and that it hurt.
    • In the episode "Train Job" during the fight scene Mal has a knife thrown at him hard enough to stick into his shoulder, he then goes to pull it out and the episode closes with him whining while Simon stitches him up. You even see the scar in the movie during his Shirtless Scene.
    • Played straight when Book volunteers to help rescue Mal. 'Preacher, don't the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?' 'Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps'.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Arya gets shanked several times in the abdomen, yet only needs some bandaging by an amateur healer and apparently a few days of bed rest to be fit enough to perform feats of acrobatics, though her wounds reopen in the process.
    • Jon Snow recovers from three serious arrow wounds between "Mhysa" and "Two Swords" before wildlings who shot him can even make their next move. In "Watchers on the Wall," Jon also survives having his head smashed on an anvil hard enough to kill anyone not Made of Iron.
  • Discussed in The Good Wife, while Kalinda is teaching Diane how to handle a gun. Diane asks if she can simply shoot to wound; Kalinda responds by telling her that a gun should only ever be fired at someone with the intent to kill—if she doesn't want to kill someone, she shouldn't pick up a gun at all.
  • Surprisingly averted in the otherwise ridiculous Harper's Island when Booth accidentally shoots himself in the leg and dies within minutes.
  • In the second season episode of Hawaii Five-O, entitled, "All the King's Horses" an ambitious politician arranges for a crack shot assassin to shoot him with a rifle in the upper chest in a fake assassination plot to advance his credentials as a tough anti-crime candidate for a district attorney's job. Supposedly the bullet was aimed at a precise spot where there were no arteries, bones or internal organs to be damaged by its passage through the body, allowing the politician to be the apparent beneficiary of miraculous luck. However, the hydrostatic shock alone from a rifle bullet would be enough to cause a fatal injury, whether it struck anything other than "flesh and muscle" or not.
  • Subverted in Heroes by Claire Good Thing You Can Heal Bennet, of all people. She gets shot in the shoulder during the eclipse, and it's initially treated as just a flesh wound. However, later on she dies due to the infection, since her immune system is completely undeveloped because of her power. When the eclipse is over, her healing kicks in, resurrecting her.
  • Taken to extremes in an episode of Human Target where a Russian spy shoots her husband in the middle of the chest, "an inch from his heart", to make it look like she's trying to kill him without actually doing any damage. Chance repays the favor a few minutes later by doing the same to her. Both man & wife are shown to be fine in the last scene, although both have one arm in a sling.
  • On In Plain Sight:
    • Marshall gets shot in the lung, and promptly falls down. He manages to get up long enough to drive the bad guys off, then collapses and is incapacitated for the rest of the episode. He wears a sling for the next few episodes.
    • In the Season 2 finale Mary is shot in the gut, arrives at the hospital without a heartbeat. She makes a full recovery, though admittedly after a bit of time has passed. One scene during her taking-it-easy period has Marshal cracking a joke about her hobbling after a bad guy who is rather morbidly obese.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a medical drama (besides other things), so it downplays the effects, but still leaves in enough to provide drama:
    • Taiga is badly injured in a fight towards the end of the main story. He passes out from shock soon afterwards, has a life saving operation and can't fight for about two episodes. Then he is as good as new.
    • The second part of the sequel movie trilogy Another Ending has Emu shot through the shoulder. This leaves him bed ridden for the second part and he is still incapable of fighting in the third part.
  • Lost: Henry Gale gets shot through the shoulder. Granted, it was an arrow, not a bullet, but it did go all the way through. Michael shoots himself in the shoulder. Next episode he's leading a trek across the island. Sayid gets shot in the bicep in "Enter 77". Next episode he's leading a trek through the jungle. In "The Economist", he’s shot in the shoulder and a scar from the bullet wound (which was in same arm) is not visible.
  • Merlin (2008):
    • 'In "The Last Dragonlord," Arthur is dealt a fairly vicious-looking blow from a rampaging dragon. After it is treated, it causes him very little obvious pain and leaves him able to eat, sleep, ride a horse for miles and attack a would-be-burglar. A day later, it turns out he didn’t change the bandage and so is struck with the faints, allowing Merlin to do some serious wizard plot-expo without being overheard.
  • In the Mission: Impossible episode "Encounter," Casey (Lynda Day George) is shot in the shoulder by an assassin and says she's more surprised than hurt. She refuses any treatment, even a bandage, for the rest of the mission, and yet suffers no significant blood loss or mobility issues and only feels pain when her shoulder is touched.
  • A variation of this appeared in an episode of My Name Is Earl, when Earl not only got stabbed in the leg by a foot-long knife without losing consciousness, but actually encouraged the girl who stabbed him to do so, claiming that he had been stabbed in the leg before. He did complain about the pain and had to go to the hospital afterwards, though.
  • One case on New Tricks had a security guard helped some robbers rob the armored truck he was guarding and had them shoot him in the leg to throw suspicion off him. The leg wound healed fine but the bullet ricocheted and hit him in the back. He is paralyzed from the waist down until doctors are finally able to remove the bullet and he will be a cripple for the rest of his life.
  • On NUMB3RS, Agent Ian Edgerton seems to "shoot to wound" in most of the episodes he appears in. He is stated to be the third best sniper in the country, and he does tend to shoot at the hand or forearm rather than the shoulder...
  • Played straight repeatedly on Person of Interest: Reese is constantly shooting people in the thighs or extremities as a "non-lethal" takedown.
  • Psych Season 4, Ep 9 involves Shawn texting, using a crow bar to pry open a trunk, running through the woods, sitting around talking through the logistics of a robbery, scooting around on a garage dolly braced on his shoulder and holding onto the hood of a car in a high speed chase, all with a gun shot wound to the shoulder and a magically clean and blood free shirt. He makes it through the whole night and the next day without any medical attention other than a chamois and some duct tape.
  • In one 7th Heaven episode, Eric is shot in the shoulder at fairly close range. Aside from complaining to the doctor that it "really hurts," Eric seems to suffer no adverse effects at all. His doctor puts a bandage on it gives him an arm sling, and then sends him home.
  • In the Sherlock episode "His Last Vow", Sherlock takes a gunshot wound to the sternum as opposed to the head due to the shooter wishing to invoke this, not wanting to get her newlywed husband accused of murdering his friend and a powerful news magnate (as well as the fact she was fond of Sherlock herself). Of course getting shot in the chest is a terrible place to be shot even with the trope in effect (since, you know, your body keeps its lungs and heart there), Sherlock apparently writing it off as the shooter's exceptional marksmanship being "surgery", but he lives in spite of it (albeit not in the best of condition).
  • Early in The Shield, Vic was shot in the abdomen during one of his "extracurricular activities". He lived, but was shown to be recovering from his wounds for the next five or six episodes.
  • Spoofed in Jeff Dunham's stand-up Spark Of Insanity. While trying to convince Achmed that he was really dead and just a bunch of bones, Achmed replied that it was "only a flesh wound."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Played straight in the episode "Our Man Bashir", where Bashir shoots Garak:
    Bashir: You'll be fine. It's just a flesh wound.
    Garak: That was awfully close. What if you'd killed me?
    Bashir: What makes you think I wasn't trying?
    Garak: Doctor, I do believe there's hope for you yet.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • Subverted in "United"—the Andorian officer Talas is shot in the shoulder with a human phase rifle. At first, it seems to be a flesh wound and she is taken to Sickbay. It turns out that Andorians can get infected from phaser burns, and Talas dies.
    • Played Straight in "North Star"—Archer takes a bullet to the shoulder and can still run and fight.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Killing Game", Captain Janeway was shot in the thigh by a 1940's-era handgun and still able to run/hobble-at-a-ludicrous-speed.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Downplayed in the episode "Spirits" — at the start of the episode, O'Neill takes a metal arrow (size of a crossbow bolt) through the bicep. He falls down immediately, and is in significant pain for the rest of the scene (he has to be helped to sit upright, leaning on someone, and while he can talk, he is visibly woozy); a subsequent scene shows him lying in a bed in the infirmary, and he has to skip the mission that SG-1 was going to go on. (Later in the episode, however — either later the same day, or as little as a day later — he is up and walking around, with his arm in a sling, and he is able to participate in the action without much visible discomfort.
    • Done yet again in "Lockdown" — Jack shoots Daniel (who, unknown to all, is possessed by Anubis) in the shoulder to stop him from escaping through the Stargate, and he passes out almost immediately from the pain. In the next scene, he's still unconscious, and the doctor is reassuring the rest of SG-1 that "he's a lost a lot of blood, but his life is no longer in immediate danger," implying not only that the shoulder wound would have been fatal without treatment, but that there remains a possibility that complications can still do him in.
      • This trope is played semi-straight however with injuries sustained by the enemy energy weapons. Admittedly the wounds they make are basically large burns, and would cauterize the moment they hit, but a shot to the torso area is usually treated as instant death and the shot often goes right through the person. The main cast however are shot on a regular basis in the shoulders and rarely seem to suffer ill from it. Possible justification again in the cauterization, and in the fact the weapons are purposefully poorly designed for the tech-primitive slaves by their controlling masters, intended for use in putting down equally primitive rebellions. Human weapons are technologically inferior, but the design emphasises killing lots and lots of people very quickly, instead of enslaving them.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • In a season 1 episode, Rodney put on a device that creates an impenetrable personal shield, and he and Sheppard reveal that they tested it by Sheppard shooting Rodney. On the others' looks, Sheppard amends that to "in the leg".
    • In one episode, Kolya, a villain who was shot in a previous episode, unexpectedly shows up, and Sheppard is surprised that he is still alive. Kolya replies by invoking this trope"did you actually think a single bullet to the shoulder would kill me? I always thought you were smarter than that..." Realistically, it was perfectly reasonable to expect a single bullet to the shoulder to kill him.
    • In season 3 Colonel Sheppard, under the influence of a wraith hallucination device, shoots Rodney in the left shoulder. He then leaves him there and goes into a cave with Teyla, with Rodney lying on the ground bleeding to death from what appears to be a fatal wound. Later, after shutting off the device, we see Carson tending to Rodney, but he's apparently fine, already coherent and complaining about being shot. From a wound that, from all accounts, missed his heart by about four inches. Seriously?
  • Supernatural:
    • Played annoyingly straight in more than a few instances—for example, when the possessed sheriff's deputy shoots Dean in the shoulder in the episode where Agent Hendricks has finally caught and arrested the boys, they put pressure on the wound for a little bit (by themselves, with a towel. The cops ignore the fact that one of their prisoners has a life-threatening injury) and then he's fine to do battle with a vast horde of demons not an hour later. Yet, the show is otherwise pretty realistic about bruises, scarring, etc., but gunshot and knife wounds are often treated like minor injuries, only killing people when the plot needs them to.
    • In one episode, Bela shoots Sam in the shoulder to get Dean to give her something. When Dean freaks out (understandably) she says "I shot him in the shoulder. I know how to aim."
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles:
    • Averted in, very consistently. For example, when a character is shot near the shoulder, the bullet perforates the lung. The treatment for the sucking wound is also shown realistically (tube in a jar of water into the lung). Also, an episode is devoted to the aftermath of Derek being shot in the gut. Finally, When Sarah takes a bullet in the leg, she instantly falls down, and passes out from blood loss within a couple of minutes.
    • Played straight with the Terminators themselves, who routinely get filled with lead and keep on going. Because, y'know... robots, and all. Terminators have no internal organs whatsoever, but they do have living flesh over a near-indestructible metal combat chassis. Bullets fired at them usually just stop when they hit the metal part and have to be pried out before the flesh can heal over the wound. Therefore, any injuries they suffer are just a flesh wound.
  • Torchwood:
    • In the episode "Captain Jack Harkness", Owen is attempting to open the Rift, so Ianto shoots him in the shoulder. Owen opens the Rift anyway, treats the wound himself and mocks Ianto's aim.
    • He gets shot again in the first episode of season two, with about the same result.
    • Rhys takes a bullet in the shoulder in the season 2 episode "Meat." While it initially looks like he's pretty bad off, Owen fixes him up pretty quickly and he's pretty much fine, except for having his arm in a sling, by the end of the episode.
    • Gwen also gets shot in the midriff in Series 1 (Countrycide). Owen lampshades how easily he patched her up with "Could have been a lot worse. You've been bloody lucky, girl." She's up and about ten minutes later, albeit a bit limpy.
    • Played with in 'Fragments'. Jack actually says "Its just a flesh wound", in reference to the giant hole in his stomach. Suffice to say, early Torchwood are not fooled.
  • Due to all the Plot Armor and reckless gun usage in Trailer Park Boys, this happens quite a lot:
    • Ricky is shot in the leg by Mr. Lahey at one point and he has to wait for medical attention while the cops, Mr. Lahey, Randy and Julian all argue.
    • Ricky seems to be written for this trope. He's been shot multiple times, once with a homemade ARROW by Lahey, and at one point he was dead for 6 minutes.
      Ricky: So the fuck what if you were shot? I was DEAD you dummies. You should call a DUMBULANCE.
    • Ricky also survived being inside an exploding trailer once, even if he himself admitted that it was only because the full bathtub inside made him "fire retarded".
    • In the Countdown to Liquor Day movie, Randy is shot through the belly, but it's "only a fat wound".
    • Subverted late in Season 10 when Ricky is shot and ends up in the hospital showing minimal signs of life. Double subverted when he makes a full recovery after inhaling pot smoke.
  • The trope was averted in the short lived Rescue show, Trauma Center. In that series, of all the injuries that happen in the stories, gunshot wounds are always considered a major medical emergency and the paramedics and medical staff characters have to go full bore to save the patient's life.
  • Averted in True Blood. Lafayette is shot in the leg trying to escape from Fangtasia. Later, after Sookie secures his release, he's seen at home, he can barely walk, and he's taking tons of prescription painkillers. Eric makes it explicit that his leg has become infected, and he'll lose it without the Eric's regenerating blood.
  • Used in 24—too many examples to list extensively, most recently Jack shooting Tony twice in the latest season finale in order to stop him, once in the leg to knock him down and then in the hand to keep him from picking up his gun.
    • A character in Season 3 is shot at close range in the back of the neck and not only lives, but is out of surgery, conscious, released from the hospital, and back at work a few hours later. That's Tony also.
    • For that matter, characters are regularly tortured or beaten within an inch of their life and somehow still manage to be fully functional, and that's on top of the fact that especially towards the end of the season, they're usually highly sleep-deprived. A good example is one instance where Jack Bauer himself was chained up and tortured, his heart stopped and then revived, and yet somehow still managed to concoct a plan to get out of everything, kill all the bad guys, and then escape to save the day.
  • Averted in The West Wing — when President Bartlet is shot, although his wound is relatively minor he's still immediately rushed to hospital and undergoes immediate surgery to determine the extent of the injury. The doctors even note how miraculous it seems that the bullet didn't strike any major organs or do any damage, and he still has to spend several days in hospital and longer to recuperate. Josh Lyman's injuries are more severe — he takes a bullet in the stomach — but a similar principle is present; it's touch and go whether he'll even survive the night, it takes hours of surgery to save his life, and the next episode deals with his gradual, months-long recovery.
  • Generally averted on The Wire. Just in Season 1 — Prez pistol whips a teenager in the projects, who we later learn lost his eye as a result. While robbing the Barksdale crew, Omar Little shoots Sterling in the knee. Sterling limps and uses a cane for subsequent episodes. Omar later shoots Wee-Bey in the leg, who also is seen limping and using a cane for several episodes.
  • Multiple examples in The X-Files, both Played Straight and Played With.

    Music 
  • Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles
    He said Rocky you met your match
    And Rocky said, Doc it's only a scratch
    And I'll be better
    I'll be better Doc, as soon as I am able

  • Trapped in the Closet, Part 7
    He says "Son, we gotta get you to a hospital and take a look at that wound."
    Twan says "No, I'm okay. It's just my shoulder. All I need is a bathroom."
  • Trigger Happy by "Weird Al" Yankovic
    Oh, I accidentally shot Daddy last night in the den
    I mistook him in the dark for a drug-crazed Nazi again
    Now why'd you have to get so mad?
    It's just a lousy flesh wound, Dad
    You know I'm trigger happy, trigger happy every day

     Radio 
  • Bleak Expectations: Protagonist Pip Bin gets stabbed in a sword-fight and insists it's just a flesh-wound. A deep flesh-wound. In fact, so deep a flesh-wound that it's gone straight to some of his vital organs, "but a flesh-wound nonetheless!" He's fine shortly afterwards.
  • In the Magician episode of Another Case of Milton Jones, a rival magician shoots at our hero. Milton assures his girlfriend that he can catch the bullet... in his shoulder. "Ow", he adds.

     Stand Up Comedy 
  • Eddie Murphy deconstructs this trope in a bit from his club days captured on his eponymous debut album. He tells the audience about having seen a friend get shot, and contrasts how it happens in the movies with all the standard clichés, ("I'll be OK ... go on without me") including the name of this trope with how it happened in real life: his friend screaming endlessly and yelling "Motherfucker, I've been shot!"
  • In one of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's concert films, "Spark of Insanity", this comes up when one his puppets, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, explains that he has finished his job as a suicide bomber but insists that he feels fine and is not dead.
    Jeff: But you're all bone!
    Achmed: It's a flesh wound.

     Tabletop Games  
  • Averted in Aces And Eights. There are damage charts detailing four possible damage types: Gunshot, Slashing, Piercing, and Bludgeoning, and effects of different levels of damage inflicted depending on the body part. Typically anything around 7 and higher results either in a broken bone, severe bleeding, or a permanent injury regardless of location.
  • Dark Heresy's (fairly absurd) Critical Damage tables avert this. It's about as easy to kill someone with a leg shot as one to the torso, and hitting anywhere can often cause blood loss (and resulting death...).
  • Averted in FATAL. It's possible to damage the uterus ''on a male mook'' while avoiding everything else completely.
  • GURPS has an optional "Only a Flesh Wound" rule to deliberately invoke this trope in less-gritty games.
  • Damage charts in The Riddle of Steel are quite brutal; even glancing blows have the ability to knock out the target, and lower levels of damage still have the ability of tearing a muscle or breaking a bone. All damage dealt also causes the recipient to lose dice in their dice pools, effectively weakening their combat proficiency and further increasing the risk of injury or death.
  • Witch Hunter: The Invisible World has the "It's Just A Scratch" talent, which allows the user to ignore the penalties from Light and Medium wounds.
  • Averted in Cyberpunk. Much damage to an extremity will leave it useless, with the extra bonus of a saving throw to survive the shock. Besides this, damage is treated the same way as if you were hit on the torso (not in the head.)

    Theatre 
  • Invoked but ultimately deconstructed in Romeo and Juliet. Mercutio is wounded in his duel with Tybalt, who flies the scene, and fires off a string of darkly humorous puns, assuring his friends that it is "a scratch," yet "'Twill serve." He dies of the wound several lines later.
    Mercutio: Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.

     Video Games  
  • Just about every video game where the player's character has to fight someone, especially shooters. Bullet wounds are treated like nothing until your character runs out of HP and suffers a Critical Existence Failure. It is considered one of the most universally recognized Acceptable Breaks from Reality that make such games playable.
    • Common subversions are found on custom servers and mods, often "all-crit" and one-hit-kill servers that make taking a bullet a lot more serious.
  • Area 51 had especially gruesome death animations for its enemies after a single shot. More often than not, they would have their upper body explode, regardless of where they were shot.
  • Assassin's Creed invokes this trope when dealing with the main targets. After Altaïr delivers mortal damage to his targets, he then stabs them in the throat — whereupon every single target goes into a Motive Rant. Granted, they do die within a couple of minutes, but exactly how can you give a (not even remotely rasping) speech immediately after being stabbed in the throat? The only possible answer is justified by the implication that the Animus is reconstructing memories based on what actually happened, with the player's actions only affecting how they're reached. All the speeches take place in a blue background, and if you press a button when the screen glitches, you see the men walking around as though nothing happened. So it's very possible that the men simply hadn't been stabbed yet when Altaïr actually spoke with them. But that would mean Altair and his target are pontificating to each other while everyone else, guards and all, is just standing there watching, and only intervene when Altair actually makes the kill.
  • Hilariously in Brütal Legend, if a Headbanger unit is set on fire by an enemy fire unit, sometimes they'll say "I don't care, I like being on fire!"
  • The Bushido Blade series for the PlayStation had a "body-damage" system: if you were slashed in the arm, it became useless and your attacks were less effective one-handed. In the first game, you could be crippled in the legs, but this was removed in the sequel since it was no fun spending half the game crawling around trying to wield a katana.
  • Averted in Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. In which the character bleeds out, speed and aiming is reduced, color drains from vision, and bullets break bones which in turn slows down movement/ruins aiming (depending on the limb).
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare subverts this trope. During one scene in which the USMC and SAS are attempting to capture a young Russian man that is vital to their efforts to stop the game's antagonist, a standoff ensues. The commander orders the Russian man to put his weapon down, but the language barrier prevents him from understanding. Frustrated, the commander orders the player to disarm him, but not before Sergeant Griggs, a Marine support gunner, offers to shoot the Russian in the leg. That prompts a quick and sharp reply from the commander: "No, we can't risk it!" Though it makes sense: Griggs normally wields an M249 SAW, which in reality fires at a maximum of a thousand rounds per minute, and does not have a semi-auto mode. It's likely Griggs would end up putting more than one in his leg, leaving him to die quickly from shock or blood loss.
    • However, it's played straight in actual gameplay, where enemies hit in their legs will often stumble and stand back up (although they will die if shot multiple times). And of course, the player character regains his health within seconds after being shot, if the shot wasn't immediately fatal.
    • Zig-zagged in one mission of Modern Warfare 2, where you're trying to capture an associate of a gun-runner named Rojas alive to get information from him. A "non-lethal takedown" consists of shooting him in the leg to stop him from running. Justified in that they don't really care about his long-term well-being; all they need out of him is Rojas' location. Once you start chasing him down, Ghost over the radio offers twice to stop him in the same manner, only for Soap to tell him it's too risky (makes sense given that he's running across rooftops for the majority of that half of the mission, so tripping him up with a leg shot would likely end with his neck broken).
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II has two sections where you have a choice of shooting someone in the head and killing them, or shooting them in a leg or other "non-fatal" area and merely wounding them. Both cases are rather ridiculous given you are using a very large gun for the job — either a .50-caliber sniper rifle for Mason, or a shotshell-firing revolver for Briggs. In the latter case, however, you do have the option to simply not shoot him, which has the same net result as a non-fatal shot, since Briggs will try to jump Menendez and get knocked out via Pistol-Whipping.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day and Conker: Live and Reloaded, during the parody of the SPR Omaha battle above.
  • Darkest of Days got particularly silly with this. One major game mechanic is avoiding killing "blue-aura" soldiers, who are noted as individuals who survived the battle you're in and went on to do something significant or had descendants who did. Most of them, of course, are on the other side and have no compunctions about shooting you. You're given walnut-like grenades that home in on these sorts and then stun them, but those are limited. Shooting them in the leg or whatnot is also acceptable, but dangerous. One thing that consistently incapacitates a blue-aura soldier without killing them, however, is smacking them upside the head with a melee attack. The thing that makes this silly is that the game makes no distinctions for weapons that handle melee any differently — you can stab a man in the face with the bayonet on a Mosin-Nagant, and everything will be just fine and dandy as far as the game's concerned.
  • Taken to near extremes in Dead Space 2: Issac Clarke takes a Javelin spear straight through his palm, dropping his RIG into yellow. And he pulls it out, albeit with some difficulty. But that's not the worst part: he takes a second spear to the upper chest, collapsing his lung, and appearing to narrowly miss his heart. And even though his RIG is in the red with that second spear, he pulls it out, steals the gun, and finishes off his foe with a spear to the throat.
  • Averted in most games in the Delta Force series. You can survive three bullet hits maximum, and there are no instant heals. All of your guns, likewise, are pretty consistently a One-Hit Kill, even at ranges where the bullets start falling off.
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Lady — the only entirely human character in the game — gets stabbed through the thigh with an enormous bayonet. She's still up for a boss fight not long afterward, and then climbs up a building!
  • Downplayed in Deus Ex. Damage done to the player is seen in a damage readouts display for the various parts of your body. If the player's legs are injured severely, they won't be able to move quickly, and if damaged badly enough will have to crawl along the ground instead. Since JC is a nano-augmented superagent, lack of death from blood loss is understandable: nanites seem capable of stopping bleeding by themselves but require application of medkits, specialized programming from the Regeneratio augment or even energy from ingested food in order to properly reconstruct JC's damaged body.
    • Played straight, however, in that shooting enemies in the arm often makes them drop their weapons and flee. Shooting exclusively in one limb is lethal, however.
  • Die By The Sword, a 3rd person swordfighting game cheerfully plays this trope to its fullest with its detailed damage system that tracks the status of individual body segments while also retaining a traditional global HP bar. This makes it possible to lop off bits of characters without them immediately dying, to the point that you can end up with a Pythonesque armless, one-legged knight.
  • Dino Crisis has a damage system where the protagonist's mobility is impaired the more they are injured, i.e. broken ribs, limping. In addition, you can start losing blood and eventually bleed to death without treatment.
  • Doom, being a health-bar-based shooter, plays this straight with tougher enemies and averts with weaker ones: the latter have gruesome, exploding body death animations for grazing shots with small caliber arms.
  • Averted in Drakan. Don't wanna deal with the scavenger? Hack its arm off and find somewhere to sit so it can't bite you while it's bleeding out.
  • Dwarf Fortress averts this. It has an absurdly detailed wound mechanism, so it's quite possible to bleed to death from a large wound, to pass out from pain, or to go into shock. It's also possible for characters to lose arms and legs and continue fighting with their teeth. They can also survive disembowelment, recover from the blood loss, and trail their entrails for the rest of their lives.
  • Averted in Ever17. We're used to injuries to the legs and arms not being very serious, so when Tsugumi gets stabbed in the leg by a falling pole you might not think it's that serious. However, it's noted that it ought to require months of hospitalization before she can walk again and she nearly dies of blood loss. The fact that Tsugumi is the one hit is kind of important.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, it is possible to shoot a person in the arm or leg with the weapons that can be aimed in first-person, which is always lethal (and in fact often lops the limb off entirely).
  • Halo justifies the trope: Flood Combat Forms as zombies are people whose bodies have been infected by the Flood parasite, to which pain has no meaning. It's possible to shoot off the appendages of Flood, but they'll just either attack you with their remaining limbs, grow tentacles, or starting from Halo 2, have their infection form abandon the body to find a new host (to prevent the player from creating harmless "Flood Buddies" as in the original game).
  • The Fallout series has status effects for critical hits, depending on where the character was hit, but the characters do not die until Critical Existence Failure. A hit to the eyes could cause blindness and any of your four limbs can be crippled and require real medical care, not just Stimpaks or rest.
  • Zig-zagged in Far Cry 2. Your character can absorb dozens of bullets on the lowest difficulty, then heal instantly and completely with a painkiller syringe. If you get down to the last fifth of your health bar, it will start to constantly decrease until you fix yourself up, usually by removing a single bullet from some part of your body, not even bandaging the wound in many cases. One particularly silly thing too is that when a buddy is "rescue-ready", even something that would be immediately fatal to you, like being on a boat as it explodes, will become not quite fatal because your buddy is able to teleport in from nowhere, drag you to cover, and get you back up on your feet so you can heal yourself.
    • Enemies get in on the act too. Bare-chested mercenaries can absorb 5-6 assault rifle bullets to the chest before dying. It’s not unusual to see one go down after a few shots from a weak gun, then get up and continue shooting.
  • Two examples in Fire Emblem Tellius: First, Micaiah takes a full force knife wound to the upper chest and continues to stand, and only falls down after she tells Pelleas (who was being given euthanasia) not to kill himself. Also, when Deghinsea is defeated, he shrugs his wounds off as nothing, and dies after everyone leaves. But all your units in the series can take so much damage as to be on 1HP, and still fight at full ability.
  • Subverted in Hakuouki: Chizuru learns that Sannan was injured in battle while away on a mission, and is relieved when she hears that it was only his left arm that was injured. The other captains of the Shinsengumi, however, see nothing to be relieved about, and explain to Chizuru that the injury is more than enough to end Sannan's career as a swordsman.
  • It doesn't matter where you hit an enemy in Hitman: Blood Money—they still die. In fact, the only body part that receives damage differently is the head; headshots amplify the damage. Further, the game is nice enough to include a slightly squicky animation wherein a wounded character falls to the ground and pitifully rolls around a bit before bleeding out. This can even occur several seconds after being shot.
  • Averted in the Jagged Alliance games, where you can bleed to death from any unbandaged wound, become considerably less effective after even a minor injury due to stamina (and therefore action point) loss, and can be crippled by permanent stat decrease that remains even after the wound has healed. Healing also requires time and close medical attention — or a couple of weeks of bed rest.
  • In Mass Effect, shots to the legs will slow down organic enemies and make them stagger. That's the extent of it, though; there's no persistent bleeding, and they don't even fall to the ground. Partially justified with the built-in medical systems in everybody's armor. Also, it can be seen as an Acceptable Break From Reality in a game where enemies have health bars rather than simply dying when shot — if the killing shot is to the leg, enemies will collapse clutching their leg, dying seconds later.
    • It's also a well-known racial ability of krogan; each of their vital organs have backups, some of those have backups, and their Hyperactive Metabolism draws nutrients from the hump on their back so they can just walk it off.
    • Averted in a cutscene at the end of Mass Effect 2, though — if you didn't pick the right fire team leader in the second part of the last mission, said leader will take a bullet to the gut and die less than a minute later.
    • Also averted in Garrus's and Zaeed's loyalty missions — if you don't pick the Paragon interrupt to stop Garrus shooting Harkin, Garrus will shoot him in the leg. Harkin is visibly in pain and unable to move faster than crawling. In Zaeed's loyalty mission, taking the Renegade option results in Zaeed catching Vido, who is already limping from light injuries from an explosion. Again, a leg shot results in the target going down and staying down. In this instance, the shot man even points out that he will die from his wounds in a few moments. He dies, but in a rather nastier way. Zaeed burns him to death in a pool of spent fuel
    • Lampshaded in Mass Effect 3:
    Shepard: Anyone injured?
    Garrus: Just the usual minor fleshwounds.
  • Max takes a .50 caliber BMG round from a Barrett M107 sniper rifle in his shoulder in Max Payne 3. Keep in mind this is an anti-materiel weapon, meant to be used to disable transport vehicles (not to mention the same kind of rifle that completely severed Zakhaev's arm in Call of Duty 4, which is not an unrealistic depiction of the power of such a firearm). Max does start to bleed out following the shot so he doesn't escape entirely unscathed, but some bandages from Passos and a few painkillers later and he can move and shoot once more (with his injured arm, no less).
  • Exaggerated in the opening cinematic for Mercenary Kings, where your chosen character survives plenty of usually-fatal injuries, including head wounds.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty allows you to shoot soldiers in the limbs to limit their movement/combat ability, but if you take out both arms or both legs, or shoot them repeatedly in the single limb, they die (instantly from arms, from blood loss from legs). Later zig-zagged in one of the series’ biggest Tear Jerkers when Vamp deals Emma a single stab wound to the stomach before being shot by Raiden. Without any means to get her to a hospital immediately, she stays barely conscious before dying 20 minutes later.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 has the injury system designed to avert this, but it was hilariously underdeveloped. It's entirely possible to treat a bolt wound without removing the bolt itself, and letting the last bit of health damage heal 'naturally', leaving Snake running around with a number of crossbow bolts lodged in his body that cannot be removed.
    • Averted and played straight in Metal Gear Solid 4. Being a cyborg kind of justifies how Raiden survived cutting of one of his own arms and having the other crushed by getting buried under a battle cruiser; at the same time, though, being a cyborg is also why getting cut up as much as he does in the fight with Vamp in Act 2 has him out of commission for almost the entirety of the next two (he needs external equipment that Snake and Otacon don't have to dialyze his artificial blood). This does not stop him from showing up for the showdown, saving Snake while wielding a katana with his mouth and the ability to use electricity as a weapon, somehow.
    • Played massively straight when Big Mama gets shot in the chest during the motorcycle chase. Despite being hit by a .300 Win Mag round (a magnum rifle round that can drop a moose with one shot) on her bare chest, she seems to completely ignore it. Also played straight again in their final battle against the FROGs, when Johnny and Meryl each take at least half a dozen bullet wounds but continue fighting until they run out of ammo, completely ignoring the first one or two shots and being completely recoverable at the end.
    • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, your enemies are combat cyborgs, that are specifically designed to be able to continue functioning for at least a week as long as their brain is intact. As such, non-lethal takedowns consist of chopping off the enemy's legs and then running far away enough that they give up on trying to kill you and de-spawn.
    • In the same game Raiden has choice words at Jetstream Sam slicing off his arm.
      Raiden: Shit! Not again.
      • Though in the same fight Raiden was bothered at the loss of his eye since unlike his arms it was real, though he kept on fighting regardless.
  • X-Ray attacks in Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X can involve cracking skulls, shattering spines, breaking their rib cage, impaling their guts, stabbing their eyes, and/or making their crotch internally explode, but once it's over your opponent is still perfectly able to fight.
    • In the MK9 story mode, Big Bad Shao Khan gets punched though the chest by Liu Kang, and a few minutes later he’s up on his feet merely pissed off.
    • In the MKX story mode Big Good Raiden gets both revenant Kabal’s hookblades in his shoulders and he just uses the attack to remind Kabal that metal conducts electricity while Fujin gets his head mauled by a Netherrealm demon and isn’t bothered; since both characters are Physical Gods it’s to be expected.
    • In another cutscene if the player fails the QTE Kotal Khan will get stabbed by Kano’s massive knife, but since Kotal is a tank Kano still gets his shit wrecked.
    • Averted with Johnny Cage as he is stabbed by Revenant Jax and nearly dies despite being World's Strongest Man at that point.
      Johnny: Blood’s... s’posed to be... on the inside.
  • Ninja Gaiden II for the Xbox 360 plays this one seriously. Enemies whose arms Ryu has chopped off will assault him with kicks, while those missing legs will crawl up and attempt to kill Ryu with a suicide explosion. There is nothing Narmful about getting suicide-bombed by a Determinator that keeps going after losing his legs.
  • No More Heroes is well known for the killings of each boss. The first boss, Death Metal, gets his arms cut off while in mid-swing of his giant sword which would get stuck in the ceiling. Death Metal then has time to talk to Travis, but is later decapitated. An even better example would be Bad Girl's death. Travis completely pushed his light saber through her back and twists it. Bad Girl turns around, whacks Travis across the head, and continues to pummel him while on the ground so hard that Travis actually gives up, luckily, Bad Girl dies seconds later on top of Travis. During the second-to-last boss battle, Jeane punches Travis through the heart. Travis doesn't die, or show any pain, and instead is able to land the finishing blows on Jeane.
    • There’s also Shinobu. Travis, unable to kill a girl at this point, simply cuts off her arm. Granted, he does use a laser katana, so the wound was probably cauterised.
    • Continued in the sequel. The first boss, Skelter Helter, lives for about a minute after being decapitated by Travis, long enough to give a Hot-Blooded speech to him about revenge, then dies by tearing off his head again. Million Gunman also lives and speaks for some time after Shinobu sliced his head off.
  • In Street Fighter V Rashid gets stabbed in the back and poisoned by F.A.N.G, and still has strength to go One-Man Army on Shadowloo mooks protecting Black Moon's console. Rashid is also perfectly fine afterwards in the epilogue despite the deadly poison.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In the bonus fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the prosecution deals what seems to be a crushing blow to the defense's case, after which Ema will quip, "It's merely a flesh wound!" Naturally, it gets better. Later, after another seemingly crippling point is made, she says it again, with Phoenix replying: "You just said that!"
    • Semi-averted around the end of the fourth case in the first game, it's revealed that Manfred von Karma was shot in the shoulder some time ago, and was still able to shoot Gregory Edgeworth. However, he had to take a few months time of vacation to let the wound heal over the bullet since he didn't undergo surgery in order to not become implicated in the murder.
    • A more literal example can be seen with Franziska von Karma in the final case of Justice for All. During the case she's shot in the shoulder. After several hours in the hospital she seems completely fine, and is even swinging around her signature whip as if nothing had ever happened. In the anime, though, she's out of commission the whole day, and has her arm in a sling when she shows up in court for a Big Damn Heroes moment the next day.
    • This trope is subverted in case three of Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, in which the victim Romein LeTouse is shot in his right shoulder, yet he dies of blood loss hours later.
    • At the end of the final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, after the phantom is caught, he's shot by a sniper rifle before he can reveal his identity to the court, yet the sniper hit him in a "non-vital area" and the phantom was rushed to the hospital quick enough to survive.
  • Postal 2 zig-zags this trope. For civilians and weaker enemies, being set on fire, having their limbs hacked off, tazed for several seconds, stabbed with a knife, and more will either kill them on the spot or leave them bleeding to death while they run away in terror/crawl on the ground. Stronger enemies, however, can take a fair amount of punishment before these effects kick in, and the player is immune to all of it. Bullet weapons don't have any special effects beyond extra damage from a headshot (and destruction of the head in the case of a close-enough shotgun blast), and any character will stay in perfect condition no matter where or how much they get shot, until their health reaches zero and they promptly ragdoll to the floor.
  • Subversion: In PSP game Pursuit Force, falling of a car you are trying to hijack (normally falling off due to being shot repeatedly) will often result in your commander telling you over the radio that "it's just a flesh wound!". Unfortunately, it never is and you always have to restart the mission.
  • Resident Evil
    • Leon in Resident Evil 2 takes a bullet to the upper chest (shoulder in the remake) protecting Ada from Annette and after getting slightly patched up Leon is A-OK, still strong enough to use a shotgun or Rocket Launcher and even physically beat off monsters. The novelization tries justifying it by having the bullet clip Leon’s arm instead of his torso area, and even then Leon needs two aspirins and is in pain for the rest of the book.
      • Game-wise Leon at full health in Resident Evil 4 can survive the Iron Maiden’s grab attack which involves getting turned into a pin cushion.
    • Averted with Ada in the RE2make and Claire in Resident Evil: Degeneration as both women get something sharp inbedded in their legs and are immediately debilitated and respectively need Leon’s aid before they can recover.
    • Wesker in Resident Evil 5 doesn’t react to Sheva’s huge combat knife getting stabbed into his forearm, though since he’s superhuman enough to be only staggered by guns and rockets launchers it’s hardly surprising at that point.
    • Played with in Resident Evil 7: biohazard: Mooks survive almost every wound unless their head explodes (or they got a massive amount of damage otherwise) to the point of some of them crawling to the player without arms and legs, attacking with just their teeth.
    • The bosses play this entirely straight and unless hit repeatedly in their weakpoints, they won't even really react to the damage they receive. Jack getting a chainsaw into his face or Mia an axe into the neck are prime examples here. Justified, they are infected with a fungus that restores any physical harm in incredible speed to the point where Jack can restore losing his head and Lucas regrow a cut-off arm.
    • Ethan himself at one point during the beginning loses his arm thanks to a chainsaw wielded by his lovely wife. Not only does he manage to continue fighting and reloading his gun despite that, but he later gets his arm simply stapled back on. This is supposed to show early that Ethan is infected with the mold as well and thus got healing powers. His general health also regenerates slowly over time.
      • If Ethan gets caught by Jack near the crawlspace he will hack off Ethan’s foot with a shovel and make him crawl towards some given medicine to reattach his foot in probably the most horrifying and unintentionally hilarious first aid tutorial ever.
  • Averted in the cutscenes of Saints Row. In the first game, Johnny Gat gets shot in the leg with a shotgun and needs to walk with a leg brace for the rest of the game. In the sequel, he gets stabbed in the stomach with a sword and needs to be rushed to a hospital before he bleeds out. He's out of action for the next few missions. Played straight in regular gameplay, where all he needs to survive being knocked down by multiple sword wounds, gunshot wounds, and explosions, is a little beer poured on his face.
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming plays this one so straight it'll make you go "Wait, what?" Alex has no trouble walking or running after Judge Halloway shoves a spinning power drill through his leg. It's Gameplay and Story Segregation at its finest, too, because he limps heavily during a later cutscene.
  • Subverted in the first two Soldier of Fortune games, where severing an enemy's limb causes instant death, but in the third game, they can sometimes fight back after losing an arm or leg.
  • In Star Fox 64, the boss of Solar gets both of its arms shot off, and still keeps trying to kill you afterwards despite essentially being a giant flaming bug torso. Even more extreme is the boss of Titania, whose severed bits of arm will float up and reattach to the boss's body if you take too long to kill it after blasting all its extremities off.
  • Bandai Namco Entertainment's Soul Series, massively. Any of the complicated throws, stabs, etc. would easily kill a normal human being. Yet no matter if the fighters are guillotined, skewered, shish-kebabbed and then dragged across the floor, they stand right back up, unscathed, ready for the next hit. And the game's bloodless. The irony can be summed up by one of Siegfried's victory lines: "I avoided your vitals. You'll live." Keep in mind that his weapon of choice is a BFS.
  • Taken to rather horrifying extremes in The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning when fighting the Ice King. As you whittle away his health, you also whittle away his skin... near the end of the battle, his limbs are hardly more than stumps of exposed bone, and he's still able to fight you as well as or even better than before.
  • Averted in SWAT 4. Taking a round to the shoulder will degrade your already-suspect aim severely. Taking a round to the leg will reduce your movement speed from "leisurely stroll" to "barely above a crawl". On the other hand, you'll never bleed out as a result of being shot, and it's possible (although really not recommended) to convince suspects to give up by taking a leg shot and then shouting at them. Provided they survive the initial wounding, they can be handcuffed and left for several minutes without being any the worse for wear.
  • In the little-known Fighting Game Time Killers, it is possible to slice the opponent's arms off in the middle of a battle. Its semi-sequel, Bloodstorm, not only retains this but introduces the sunder, which, if performed at the right time, will destroy the opponent's legs. Neither technique stops the fight, and in addition, players will actually be rewarded if they win with missing limbs.
  • Double subverted in Tomb Raider (2013) when Lara is critically injured when she first goes to Shantytown. She is still able to fight enemies and perform basic movement due to her Determinator status, but when is unable to climb and otherwise do Le Parkour. She heals herself with some medicine she finds in a downed aircraft. Otherwise played straight with Lara.
    • Also played straight with Roth and Alex who both respectively don’t let the fact that their legs get mangled stop them going Guns Akimbo on wolves/cultists. They both still die however.
  • Surt from Treasure of the Rudra loses the lower half of his left arm at the start of Sion's Scenario and returns later with a claw replacing the severed arm.
  • Taken to extremes in True Crime: Streets of L.A.. After levelling up your shooting skills, you gain good cop points by shooting criminals in the legs, thereby disabling them to be arrested safely. You gain bad cop points by taking lethal blows to the head or torso. This ability carries over to include the trope Every Car Is a Pinto. However, with the Hollow Point Bullet upgrade and with the best pair of pistols available, your shots start doing so much damage that you may end up killing them with shots to the legs anyway.
  • In Transformers: War for Cybertron, there is a Multiplayer XP award named after this trope, for when you successfully kill another player despite being near death.
  • In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Chloe has a bullet from an AK graze her shoulder while rescuing Drake and Sully. She almost completely ignores it, and it barely bleeds. Contrasting this, however, is the shot Drake takes to the gut at one point, which bleeds heavily and, while technically not preventing him from doing any of his impressive Le Parkour, ends up incapacitating him for some time once he's away from danger. In fact, part of the series' explanation for Regenerating Health relies on averting this trope. Drake isn't literally healing from bullet wounds in a matter of seconds simply by not taking more of them for a while, so much as he's actually dodging bullets through sheer luck — as more and more of them come at him, his luck gradually runs out, until eventually one actually hits him and he drops on the spot.
  • World of Warcraft has an ability that death knights complain about constantly because of its logic failure. Death Knight ghoul pets can use an ability to "gnaw a limb off the target". It does ridiculously small amounts of damage. One would think that if you got your arm chewed off by a zombie, you'd do a little more than be stunned for 3 seconds and only minimal damage.
    • Probably the best example in World of Warcraft is a weapon, or a small number of rare weapons, with a random chance to do a substantial amount of extra damage on each hit. Sort of like a critical strike, but not affected by your critical strike chance or any of the usual damage modifiers. Seems normal enough so far, right? But the problem is, the item text describes the effect as follows: "Decapitate the target". One would think that even in a world with magical healing, decapitation would be more... final.
    • A boss in the 5-man Trial of the Champion is called "Black Knight", and he nonchalantly disregards damage to himself ("My rotting flesh was only getting in the way!") Justified in that he really is undead, and the moment he says it is when he turns into a ghost, who then resumes fighting you.
  • X-COM:
    • If it doesn't kill outright, getting hit is certainly not just a flesh wound. It will greatly reduce the soldier's fighting abilities depending on where he was hit and he will eventually bleed to death. He won't be fully effective even after stopping the bleeding and will require a long rest in the infirmary upon returning to base.
    • The best armor you get in the original game is a huge powered flying superthick shell impervious to all damage... wait, what did I say? Yeah, no, a pistol shot can still kill you. The armor does make you essentially immune to early human weaponry, but even the weakest alien weapon can kill the by-that-time superhuman soldiers in two shots. And since every shot, regardless of weapon, has a chance to damage the armor and reduce its effectiveness, it is still possible to get killed by a human pistol. The best way to survive is to not get shot. The best way not to get shot is to shoot (and kill) first. Even with extreme caution, you are likely to get gruesome casualties on the early missions. Once you get armor (the default one is a kevlar vest, which gives you near nil chance of survival if shot), it gets very slightly better — mostly, singular wounds will not be fatal. It still means a few weeks in infirmary though. And you can bleed out if you don't finish the fight soon enough or have medkits.
    • In Apocalypse, you start with armor on the level of the power armor from the first game. It means your soldiers rarely die if you're cautious enough. If you don't even have this basic armor, good luck — singular hits are very dangerous again, and you are often caught in auto-fire. So you're comfy in your suit of armor, only giving in to heavy fire or heavy weaponry (rocket launchers and mines tend to mess up your day). Then, the aliens bring devastator cannons — a gun on the level of a human rifle. It just goes right through the armor, often incapacitating or killing with a single hit, possessing deadly accuracy, recharging ammo, and autofire. On the other hand, your soldiers heal very quickly (using nanotechnology healing machines) — the worst non-killing injuries just mean a few days of healing. However, since the time scope of the game changed quite a bit since the original game, having realistic (without the nanomachines) healing times would mean you'd have to hire a replacement for the soldier anyway, since there are going to be hundreds of incidents in the time of his healing. Actually, even with this rate of healing you often send wounded soldiers to battle. And when it's base defense time, you sometimes have blood soaked soldiers trying to hold the base, easy to kill with single shots and having their stamina, accuracy etc. severely impaired by their wounds. X-COM is serious about wounds.
  • The 2009 Wolfenstein has an interesting aversion for normal enemies, who will realistically limp and bleed out from non-fatal wounds to their limbs. What makes it interesting is that it's nearly impossible to actually see this mechanic in action without modding the game to buff enemy health — even on the highest difficulty, every gun available to you kills every regular soldier in two shots maximum.
  • In the Yakuza series, the protagonists are generally treated as never killing others, no matter what ridiculously brutal melee moves they pull off, ranging from stomping on a downed enemy's face to suplexing them onto railings spine-first (and that's not getting into the things they can do with bladed weapons and even guns). Any regularly-fought enemy will be shown limping away after the fight. Situations where the characters do things such as get into shootouts that result in massive explosions or toss people off of buildings are just ignored by the story.
    • This is usually inverted in cutscenes, where guns are almost solely used by villains and show their trademark deadliness. A notable exception is in Yakuza 0 where protagonist Kazuma Kiryu is shot through the shoulder and thigh by an assassin and passes out only to wake up three hours later with his wounds bandaged by an ally. Cut to the very next scene as he walks out of the neighborhood, and he rips off his shirt to show not only have the bandages been removed, but there is no visible wound, and he goes straight back to his explosively dramatic martial-arts style unhindered. The gunshot wounds are not mentioned again in the whole game.

     Web Comic  
  • Forcibly played straight in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Doc is shot multiple times, passes out, and nearly(?) dies of blood loss. He refuses to die by arguing with the Grim Reaper that none of his wounds are fatal and missed all his vital organs (and then immediately drags himself back to the clinic for stitches and a quick blood transfusion). When Death mentions his arteries, the good Doctor responds by ripping off his head and batting it away with his body.
  • Bob and George: Taken to extremes with Nate at one point - since he's a Yellow Devil who can shapeshift at will, even being splattered all over the walls is just a flesh wound to him.
    • Averted here, where the Helmeted Author tries to claim that a huge chunk of physical energy through his gut is just a flesh wound, as he's already visibly pale from blood loss and immediately keels over afterwards. He gets better a few strips later when Nate removes his helmet and releases his true form.
  • Concerned. Lampshaded near the ending when it was revealed that Gordon Frohman survived a ton of abuse and injury — up to and including zombification via a headcrab — because he was inadvertently using a cheat code that prevented his health from going below one. After he again-inadvertently turns the code off because "Buddha" is fun to say, he properly bleeds out and dies from all the wounds sustained from being thrown from the top of the exploding Citadel and then getting hit in the face with his also-falling shovel. Amusingly, an unofficial sequel set during Episode One then has him brought back by automatically reloading a checkpoint from just before he turned off Buddha mode.
  • This was BLU Engineer's reaction when the new RED Spy cut his hand off in Cuanta Vida.
    BLU Engineer: Relax, kid. I'm not gonna die.
    BLU Scout: Jesus Christ, dude! Your hand!
    BLU Engineer: I'll build a new one.
  • Averted in Get Medieval: Asher suffers a shoulder wound and is reduced to talking status for a while.
  • Girl Genius has a rather... extreme example.
    Gil: Seven broken ribs. Severe fracture, right leg. Fractured clavicle. Some crush injuries, but the kidneys appear unharmed. First and second degree burns on upper back and lower legs, third degree on the lower back. Four broken fingers, three broken toes, sprained and bruised muscles throughout — major and minor lacerations, and a concussion.
    Klaus: I've had worse.
  • Averted in It's Walky!: Jason is shot in the arm trying to help Sal escape prison. The wound becomes infected (Since caring for a bullet wound isn't like caring for a shallow cut) and gets steadily worse until he can be convinced to see a doctor.
  • In the Little Worlds comic named "Breaking In," Derby incredulously asks Eightball, "Aren't you supposed to be SHOT?" to which Eightball replies, "It didn't take." Apparently, a bullet wound ain't no thang.
  • The Order of the Stick often has characters getting SNEAK ATTACK run through with swords and being okay to keep fighting. Or frozen into blocks of ice like the rogue guild's leader. Very dependent on having a name. The characters aren't supposed to represent real animal physiology; their health and wellbeing is based on the hitpoint system used in Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Averted in River Passage, when a character bled to death from a single stab wound.
  • This happens to Set in Sonic the Comic – Online!. Tekno tries to murder him, by bashing his head in with a metal bar, and a few issues later he comes back and says that she didn't hit any major organs. He lacks any scars too..
  • Soul Symphony: John fractures his arm in battle, preventing him from playing basketball for the rest of the season. He says the injury is "totally worth it."
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Sigrun tries to pull this off after a troll bites her in the arm badly enough to require stitches. Unfortunately for her, Reality Ensues during a critical battle when the pain from the bite wounds leaves her unable to keep a grip on her dagger, and she's promptly slammed in the stomach by an attacking troll.

     Web Original  
  • This baby.
  • And Shine Heaven Now subverts it; in spite of her bravado, the character is knocked down in the very next strip.
  • Terrence of KateModern gets shot in the shoulder in "Answers". The pain causes him to pass out almost instantly, but he's up and about, and apparently unimpaired, a couple of days later. He is a former Shadow, though.
  • In Hero House, Vegeta isn't quite as concerned about losing his hand as he should be.
  • Naruto: The Abridged Series spoofs this in the first episode where Iruka-sensei gets stabbed by a gigantic shuriken:
    Iruka: Ow! That kind of stung.
    Naruto: Didn't that hit your spine?
    Iruka: Nope! It's only a flesh wound.
    Naruto: But it's pretty deep in there.
    Iruka: Eh. I've had worse.
  • In the First season of Red vs. Blue, Sarge receives a bullet wound to the head, and is resuscitated with standard CPR. Later in the early Second season, Caboose's toe is shot off, and is rendered fine after being rubbed with some aloe-vera. In season 3, we come across a group of 'capture the flag' players, who get up after a trumpet is played, even after being shot point blank with a sniper rifle. Even later, it is practice for the Red team to shoot Private Grif before enacting any plans. Regardless, it seems no injury is sufficient to render someone in the series dead indefinitely.
    • In most cases, this is just Rule of Funny, although sometimes it's played a little more seriously. During Reconstruction, Caboose shoots Agent South Dakota. After a few minutes of battle, they approach her. She says she can't walk on her own, but appears to be perfectly capable of standing (though that's partly due to the limitations of machinima).
  • Discussed in this Straight Dope article.
  • Tying in with Made of Iron, Survival of the Fittest often has characters shrug off wounds which, in real life, would be either severely debilitating or outright fatal. Jacob Starr is a good example of this, as he was able to take injury after injury yet just keep on coming.
  • Halfway through the ''Epic Rap Battles of History" between Romeo & Juliet vs. Bonnie & Clyde, Bonnie shoots Juliet in the stomach. She got up a few seconds later, happily singing that "[her] flesh was merely grazed".
  • In Void Domain, many injuries that would be serious for humans in Real Life are rendered far more harmless thanks to the existence of potions. Demons don't need to bother with potions, their enhanced regeneration abilities render the loss of limbs as literal flesh wounds.

     Western Animation  
  • Averted in the Batman: Gotham Knight segment Field Test. A bullet gets deflected off of Batman's new forcefield and into a gang member. What does he do? He rushes the guy at top speed to the ER and upon getting there says he has a gunshot victim with severe bleeding from the left shoulder.
  • The Batman: In the episode "Traction", Bats tries to play off the wounds he suffered from the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown he got from Bane as this. Alfred doesn't buy it.
  • In The Boondocks during a shootout with some Islamic convenience store owners, a police officer gets shot with a shotgun. Ed Wuncler III and the officer then begin quoting Holy Grail, with Ed grieving while the officer insists his bulletproof vest saved him. Then he gets riddled with more bullets. He survives that too.
  • Family Guy:
    • The episode "Believe it or Not, Joe's Walking on Air" features Joe being shot several times in various parts of his body while his wife attempts to re-cripple him. All he ever does is scream or yell "DAMN IT!!" before asking for the gun so he can properly shoot himself.
    • Subverted in the later episode "Joe's Revenge", in which Joe shoots a criminal in the legs and then says he's going to arrest him. He looks away for a minute and when he turns back, the guy has bled out. "Must've shot a femoral artery." Oops.
  • Spoofed in Futurama: the Robot Mafia guns down a fellow robot in cold blood. The robot then gets up, and the Donbot tells him that's a warning. (Robots can't bleed to death.)
    • Also, one episode has Fry get infected with worms that increase his intelligence, among many other benefits — the first of which, much faster healing, is demonstrated when he comes into Zoidberg's office with a lead pipe shoved through his stomach:
    Zoidberg: Well, if it isn't the hypochondriac. What is it this time?
    Fry: Well, my lead pipe hurts a little.
    Zoidberg: That's normal. Next patient!
    • Zoidberg may be basing this on his own species' physiology, which, if "Roswell That Ends Well" is any indication, has several redundant organs. As he is being vivisected by scientists at Area 51, he chummily tells them (referring to his heart), "Take, I've got four of them."
  • Gargoyles:
    • The episode "Deadly Force" is famous (infamous) for treating gunshot wounds in a mature and reasonable manner. The bullet wound that nearly kills a major character is very graphically described to have been to the collar bone, ricocheting off the bone, spiraling through her right lung and nicking the heart muscle. She's furthermore shown undergoing extensive surgery at hospital for the wound and is later seen on crutches as she recovers.
    • Other episodes of Gargoyles avert this trope while playing it straight. Though the heroes only have to put up with wounds until the sun rises, anything more serious than a graze tends to leave them incapacitated for the rest of the night. It's also implied in the comics, and in "Hunter's Moon," that really nasty wounds will leave them weaker than usual for a time even though they're technically healed.
  • In G.I. Joe: Renegades, Major Bludd has his right arm bitten off by an alligator in a swamp, only to calmly walk out of the river holding his stump, pausing only long enough to look back and say, "Hope ya choke on it!"
  • The outcome of the Looney Tunes cartoon, "He Was Her Man". Based on the murder ballad, Frankie and Johnny, about a girl named Frankie, who is abused by her husband, Johnny, who then leaves her for another woman. When she runs into him later, she pulls out a gun and shoots him. Unlike the murder ballad, as she mourns over him when he collapses, he gets back up and says, "Aw, you just grazed me." She then hits him over the head, knocking him out.
  • Played straight in Moonbeam City, with the four main characters, a mobster, and the piano player, all being shot in the left shoulder. The piano player's shoulder shot results in Dazzle losing his grip on a window ledge and falling from the Space Needle-like revolving restaurant, but he is saved from falling to his death by the piano player's flock of trained doves. The four main characters receive medals for their shoulder wounds.
  • Averted in the Season Two finale of Moral Orel. While drunk, Clay accidentally shoots his son Orel in the leg. He is able to stop the bleeding by taking off a piece of Orel's shirt and tying it to his leg. Afterwards, he has to wear a cast over his leg. In the series finale, the cast is finally removed, but Orel walks with a limp for the rest of his life.
  • On The Penguins of Madagascar, Skipper's wing is badly broken after a fall, but insists that he's fine, and that his flipper is bent like that because he's double-jointed. And he keeps insisting it even as he's in obvious pain while playing volleyball. And arm wrestling. And practicing hi-fiving.
  • Averted in Rick and Morty. Mr. Poopy Butthole still has trouble walking even months after getting shot in the chest/abdomen by Beth.
  • Pointed out and averted in Robot Chicken, when the Nerd dreams that he is in various The CW shows, starting with Arrow:
    Arrow: We need to take out those guards if we're going to rescue Felicity!
    Nerd: Cool, so, is this Season 1 where you kill every mother***er with a pulse, or Season 2 and 3 where you just give people crippling injuries that will make every day of the rest of their lives a hell on earth?
    Arrow: I'm not a killer. I know that now.
    Nerd: Got it, injuries, hell on earth, et cetera.
    (Nerd proceeds to accidentally shoot the first two in the eye; cue third guard finally taking the "non-lethal" arrow to the leg)
    Nerd: Yes! Consider him incapacitated!
    Guard: (starts bleeding profusely) Oh my God! My femoral artery! (falls down and immediately dies)
  • Spoofed on The Simpsons where Homer gets a job at the Kwik-E-Mart and Apu tells him that "in this job, you WILL get shot. Here's a tip: try to take it in the shoulder."
    • Apu himself is a walking parody/example of this trope. He's been shot seemingly dozens of times over the course of his convenience store career yet has suffered no permanent effects or even scars. In one ep, he is shot yet again, and poetically muses, "Ah, the searing kiss of hot lead! How I've missed you! Wait...I think I'm dying." However, he does survive since the bullet ricocheted on another bullet that was lodged there in a previous robbery.
      • Apu has numerous scars from his bullet wounds. He actually pulls up his shirt to show them off in one episode, complaining that the Springfield police need more funding so he won't get shot so much on the job.
    • Homer spoofs it again when he gets himself into a duel with a Southern gentleman. When he's shot in the arm he starts screaming like a stuck pig, but promptly forgets all about it when pie enters the conversation.
  • Subverted in an episode of Static Shock where a single bullet to The Smart Guy's thigh sends him to the hospital in agony to teach the audience a lesson.
    Richie: The doc said I was lucky. If the bullet had hit a little higher...
    Virgil: Don't even talk about it.
    Richie: Yeah. Anyway... maybe everybody's learned a lesson from all this.
  • Averted in a Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! parody infomercial for the "Tairy Greene Machine". At the start of it, Eric says his hands have been cut badly and has gauze applied. It somehow doesn't help, and the amount of gauze on his hands increases as the sketch continues — by the end, he ends up bleeding to death despite having boxing glove-sized mounds of gauze over his hands.
  • Transformers Prime, when Bumblebee is damaged by a Scraplet Ratchet says it's Only a Mesh Wound.
    (Arcee has just been shot)
    Daniel: Arcee!
    Arcee: I'm fine, Daniel. It's only an exostructure wound.

     Real Life  
  • Possibly the most famous legend about this trope is that of Grigori Rasputin, a Russian mystic famous for being able to survive deadly wounds. According to the legend, after surviving an assassination involving a stabbing, Rasputin's killers then sent cake and wine containing poison to a recovering Rasputin in a further attempt to kill him. After poison failed to kill him, he was then found and shot in the back and left bleeding to death on the floor; however, when the assassins returned to the scene to collect a coat left behind, Rasputin attempted to strangle one of his assailants, and was promptly shot in the back three more times, before Rasputin's killers attempted to pummel him to death when he survived the additional shots. After this then failed, Rasputin's killers eventually tied him in several sheets and threw him into the Neva river; Rasputin was found near the Neva several days later, wrapped in sheets he had managed to partially claw his way out of, dead from hypothermia. This is mostly exaggeration, but the tale is certainly this trope taken Up to Eleven.
    • The autopsy report says he couldn't have survived the single gunshot to the head inflicted by the sole English conspirator (who had a gun with a caliber unique among the assailants). However, Rasputin would hardly be the only person reported to have survived for substantial periods according to eye witnesses after injuries that a medical examiner insists would have been instantly fatal.
    • Earlier Rasputin survived being stabbed in the stomach by a crazed woman and fully recovered. In the early 20th century, before the discovery of antibiotics.
    • Still earlier he supposedly was beaten to near death (or beaten and left for dead) for being involved in horse theft, possibly more than once. Unlike the stabbing, there are no police records to confirm the severity of those beatings.
  • Many warrior cultures have existed throughout the ages, with numbers of tough men from Spartans to Samurai gracing this trope. However, honourable mention must be made for the Viking Berserker, a class of warrior repeatedly mentioned in historical accounts of friends and foes alike for never feeling pain and continuing to fight despite incurring mortal wounds. They were also extremely dangerous with such strong bloodlust that they could turn on their own men in battle, leading to eventual outlawing across the Norse world. Explanations from modern experts have ranged from them getting too drunk to reason or feel pain to adrenaline note  to using psychoactive mushrooms to a bizarre form of functional and conscious epilepsy. Whatever the cause, the effect was clear — they treated everything as just a flesh wound.
  • Military history is full of accounts of men who died from apparently minor injuries, but there's also not a few who actually seem to embody the straight version of this trope. Lachhiman Gurung reputedly killed 31 Japanese soldiers left handed. Why left handed? Because his right arm (and one eye) had just been completely destroyed by a grenade that went off in his hand before he could toss it back. He didn't let that stop him. Yogendra Singh Yadav killed seven Pakistani insurgents in close quarters and hand-to-hand combat after taking three bullets in the groin and shoulder along with heavy fire from rocket launchers during the Kargil War. According to Cracked, he is one of "5 Real-life soldiers who make Rambo look like a pussy".
  • The venerable Colt M1911 .45 was adopted by the US military because the Moro warriors of the Philippines were apparently shrugging off the smaller .38 Long Colt.
    • As one historian put it, "You shoot a man with a .38, and he'll be bloody angry at you. You shoot him with a .45, and he'll be angry on his back." There is still some debate over the legitimacy of this argument; hit a man in the right place with a .38, and he'll go down same as with a .45. Further in the debate is....
      • .38 Long Colt was notoriously underpowered as a result of some quirks regarding the bullet diameter compared to the chamber throat. The bullet was supposed to expand in the throat and then be swaged down as it entered the barrel. However, expansion was uneven, resulting in very poor accuracy and terminal performance. Without accuracy, it became understandably more difficult to get good shot placement. See also Antonio Caspi's attempted prison escape for another example of .38 Long Colt failing to be an effective stopper.
      • US Army procurement during the 1911 procurement trials was convinced that the reason that .38 Long was weaker than the older .45 was purely a matter of diameter, when .45 Colt was also significantly faster than .38LC (a situation that was reversed with 9mm parabellum and .45 Auto). People have shrugged off fire from and people have died from single shots from all four of these calibers.
  • US President Andrew Jackson acquired several bullets and even a bayonet tip in his body over the years. One of his secretaries jokingly wrote that he "rattled like a bag of marbles" when he walked.
    • He once got into a duel over his wife's honor. He was so angry that he allowed the other man to fire first so that he could take his time with his shot and kill him for sure. The other man's bullet hit him in the lung. Unfazed, Jackson aimed carefully and killed the man.
    • He is reputed to have once become so bored during a Cabinet meeting that he pulled out a knife and dug one of the slugs out, and later sent it back to the man who put it in him with a note to the effect of "I believe this is yours."
  • Theodore Roosevelt was shot by an assassin right before giving a campaign speech. It would have killed him if not for the eyeglass case and folded-up speech in his jacket pocket, which slowed the bullet down enough for it to only become lodged in his lung instead of passing clean through. In one of the most famous of his many feats of badassery, he went ahead and gave the 90-minute long speech as planned, with the opening line, "Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." Later, Roosevelt reasoned that it was safer to tell his doctors not to remove the bullet due to the crude level of surgery in those days (perhaps recalling the fate of earlier President James Garfield). He survived.
  • Another hero of The American Civil War, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, was shot on several occasions and was told he would die. His obituary was printed in the local paper, he received posthumous military promotions... and he lived. The bullet wounds had lasting effects — the worst, a bullet that traversed his pelvis from hip to hip, severely damaged his urinary system and caused him lifelong pain that eventually killed him, just shy of 50 years later at 86 years old — but it's generally accepted that you could not shoot this man and kill him.
  • Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart the man served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War... could not be put down. In WWI he was shot in the face twice, lost his left hand and three fingers off the right to frostbite (which he bit off himself). He was shot through the skull and ankle at the Battle of the Somme, through the hip at the Battle of Passchendaele, through the leg at Cambrai, and through the ear at Arras. None of which slowed Wiart down. Try to imagine Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees if he was on the side of the Allies. What did Wiart have to say about his horrific experiences? “Frankly I enjoyed the war”. Badass.
  • At the 1811 Battle of Albuera, Lieutenant-Colonel William Inglis of the 57th Regiment was hit in the neck by a four-ounce grapeshot. Believing the wound would kill him soon, he propped himself up on an elbow and shouted to his troops: "Die hard, Fifty-Seventh! Die hard!" For the next century and a half that regiment was nicknamed the Diehards. Inglis lived another twenty-four years.
  • Washington police shot and killed a knife-wielding man outside the White House in the 1990s. One of the CNN anchors reporting the story asked the police spokesman "Why didn't they just shoot him in the shoulder?" Co-anchor Bernard Shaw, a retired Marine, looked properly disgusted at the question. The answer is that firearms are lethal weapons. There is no reliable way to consistently shoot someone non-lethally.
  • Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations are trained to shoot only to kill, never to warn or wound, because the FBI's viewpoint is that "The person who is not justified in killing is not justified in shooting at all."
  • Interestingly, the guards at the Berlin Wall were ordered to shoot at the target's legs if possible (after giving a verbal warning and firing a warning shot). Civilian gun laws of Communist countries (and of modern 2000s Eastern Europe) say it explicitly, if firing the gun in self-defense or police action, the legs of the target have to be shot if possible. It has something to do with the need to interrogate the guy afterwards by very Communistic methods. In modern Eastern Europe, the laws regarding self defense are a bit different. Shooting someone in the legs (even if they end up dying) makes it much easier to claim reasonable self defense in court later on. Police tend to go for the legs, when possible, because of humanistic concerns — better to 'possibly' kill someone than to definitely kill someone. Important in countries where there is no death penalty. Besides, a knee-shot from a sniper rifle will incapacitate everyone.
  • In a widely publicised case, in 1992 North Dakota teen John Thompson had both arms ripped off by a piece of farm equipment. He walked back to his house, dialed the phone with a pencil in his teeth, then stood in the bathtub so as to not bloody his mother's carpet. His arms were reattached that night. Again, one is more likely to survive a limb being torn off then a clean slice, due to the clamping effect this has on blood vessels.
  • Louis Barthou, the French foreign minister who accompanied king Alexander of Yugoslavia at the time of the latter's assassination, was shot in the upper arm. Despite managing to run away from the scene and getting to a hospital, he still died of blood loss within less than an hour. Later forensic evidence showed that the fatal bullet was not fired by the assassin, but rather by one of the French gendarmes.
  • The difficulty associated with discouraging or injuring human subjects in non-lethal or non-crippling ways is one of the primary motivations behind the development of less-lethal weapons (such as Tazers or riot guns), though these weapons are still capable of causing serious injury or death even when properly used (and especially so if used improperly).
  • It is suggested that Neanderthals had a much higher pain threshold than Homo sapiens, and were able to shrug off broken limbs and carry on about their business (assuming the fracture wouldn't physically immobilise them). According to a coroner, the group of modern humans who have injuries most similar to Neanderthals are rodeo clowns.
    • For those who've never seen one in action, rodeo clowns are part of the safety crew in many animal riding events, and are traditionally dressed and made up as a sort of cowboy clown cross. Standard job hazards include being gored by a bull, repeatedly jumped on by a bull, repeatedly trampled by a bull, kicked in various parts of the body by an enraged stallion, repeatedly stomped on by an enraged stallion, and fallen on by an enraged stallion. This is risked to prevent it happening to the competitor who just fell off the animal in question. While police, firefighters, and soldiers are not normally put in jeopardy by their job every day, these guys have a very real chance of one or more of these things happening to them every working day.
  • Phineas Gage. The "American Crowbar Case", in which Gage, setting charges for blasting rock during railroad construction, had a large iron bar (not actually a crowbar but a tamping rod) driven through his face, through his brain, and out the top of his head when the gunpowder went off prematurely. Not only did he live for 12 more years, he was functional, although apparently he had some personality changes due to brain damage.
  • This guy walked out of a sandwich shop, got shot twice, and instead of going straight to the hospital, he decided to go home and eat his sandwich first. Bullets in the leg and groin? Psh! I've got a sandwich to eat, fool! Those must have been some great sandwiches.
  • Some notable aversions:
    • Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, commanding at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, foolishly led a charge against the Union army. He rode out of the shooting apparently unaware that a bullet had struck him in the back of the knee, nicking an artery that was bleeding profusely. No one knew that Johnston was wounded until he swayed in the saddle, at the point of passing out. His staff set Johnston down next to a tree, where he promptly bled to death. He was the highest-ranking officer to be killed in combat in the war.
    • British naval hero Lord Nelson lost an arm, sight in one eye, and finally died, quite slowly and painfully, to a musket ball in the shoulder: it drove inwards and broke his spine. Even with modern treatment, none of his injuries would be treatable. He might have been able to survive his last fatal shot, but he would have never been able to walk again.
    • NFL player Sean Taylor was murdered in his home in late 2007 by a would-be robber. Taylor was shot in the thigh, the bullet severing his femoral artery. He eventually died from severe blood loss.
    • Monique Berkley convinced her lover to shoot her husband; to throw suspicion off, he also shot her in the shoulder at the same time. Media reports don't mention any adverse health consequences, although it didn't really help as the police weren't fooled.
  • If it is an actual flesh wound, then by definition it will not have hit anything of importance besides flesh and muscle. The only way that could happen is if it had just barely grazed you, or if it had (by some miracle) gone through your lower abdomen in the perfect spot to avoid any internal organs or bones. While both scenarios are possible, they aren't likely to happen often. But then, what tropes in movies are?
    • Or, as mentioned in the Forrest Gump example, in the buttocks. As they contain no vital organs or major arteries, consisting entirely of flesh and muscle, it's one of the few places that would reliably be called a flesh wound.
  • A man was shot in the stomach by a police officer, but was still well enough to suppress the cop, murder him, and leave. He was later convicted.
  • This video shows the suspect shrugging off a taser to the face, and he is still standing after he is fired upon four times.
  • A man named Don Hamilton accidentally shot himself in the leg in a hunting accident, losing 60 percent of his blood. When he got into the hospital, doctors had declared him brain dead. His family refused to shut off life support, which was a good thing, since Don woke up and had a full recovery. It was considered so miraculous and improbable, it was put into an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
  • As shown in the movie 127 Hours, Aron Ralston had his arm pinned under a boulder in an accident and had to cut his own arm off and then start walking to save himself. He did it, and it doesn't take a lot to realize he had to take on this mindset when he did so.
    • He first had to break his own forearm bones, then take an hour to cut through the flesh with what amounts to a dull pocket knife. It's amazing what you can do when you've realized you are, without a shadow of a doubt, going to die if you don't do it.
  • During the 1886 Homestead Strike, anarchist Alexander Berkman stabbed and shot Henry Clay Frick. Not only did Frick survive; he insisted on staying at work for the rest of the day, impressing even the strikers and blunting their public support.
  • Modern medical care makes arrow wounds much less lethal than they were a long time ago; the presence of the arrow itself greatly slows bleeding, so the main problem if the initial strike is survived is reaching adequate high-level medical care before anything else happens. Konstantine Myakush took a flesh wound in the upper neck (side to side, clean through) that missed (barely) all major blood vessels and his brain. Liu Cheong survived an arrow through an eye socket that penetrated to the back of his skull and somehow missed his brain. Yasser Lopez survived being accidentally shot in the head with a spear gun because the spear missed all the major blood vessels. And the ultimate in flesh wounds, a boy who survived three days with an arrow in his heart before reaching medical care able to remove it safely, and made a full recovery.
  • This Irishman fought a sword-welding attacker before going to the hospital to have his severed hand reattached.
  • Austrian Formula One driver Niki Lauda. In 1976 at the racetrack Nürburgring Lauda crashed and was trapped in his burning car for over a minute, suffering severe burns and damage to his lungs from inhaling toxic fumes. When he arrived at the hospital Last Rites were administered due to the severity of his injuries. After only 42 days Lauda was back in his car, placing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix.
    • Sadly averted with another driver, Ronnie Peterson, who crashed on the Monza track in 1978. Peterson suffered injuries to his legs and minor burns but his life was not thought to be in any danger (the situation seemed much graver for the other driver involved in the crash, Vittorio Brambilla). Brambilla suffered serious head injuries and was initially comatose but made a full recovery. Peterson, who suffered several fractures to his legs, developed a fat embolism during the night and passed away less than 24 hours after the crash.
  • Among the 58 coroner reports released to the public following the Oct. 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas are 57 examples of people being killed from bullets to the chest, back and head - and one who bled to death within 90 seconds after simply being shot in the knee, despite a bystander applying a military-caliber tourniquet.
  • Lizards are known for doing this whenever their tails get bitten off, as well as shedding them to distract a potential predator. Why do they not mind? Because interestingly, when the tail grows back, it's just a solid replica of the original in meat, and nothing else. No bones, no nerves, nothing, so there's nothing it actually needs in there.


Oh, runnin' away eh? COME BACK 'ERE YOU YELLOW BASTARDS! I'LL BITE YOUR LEGS OFF!

Alternative Title(s): Just A Flesh Wound

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