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"It bounces? Who designs a gun that bounces?!"
Agent Washington, Red vs. Blue

A variant of Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics, where a bullet, arrow, stone, whatever, ricochets off several objects before finally hitting its target. Can be either accidental or just a sign of the shooter's skill. A sister-trope, Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball, describes instances when an item ricochets, causing random damage. That is not this trope; this always has a definite target, even if the shot hits the target as a result of pure luck.

To pull this off intentionally means you're either The Gunslinger or an exceptional (and highly unrealistic) Master Archer; pulling it off accidentally makes you incredibly lucky. This is often a characteristic of the Precision-Guided Boomerang, though returning to the wielder is not necessary. You may find one in a Trick Shot Puzzle.

Technically Truth in Television, but with a huge asterisk — see real-life examples. Most treatments in fiction are Artistic License – Physics at its finest, the biggest issues being the number of ricochettes, and the ability to control the angle of deflection.


Compare Reflecting Laser. Also see Bouncing Battler, where a character uses this as a fighting technique.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Both Train Heartnet and Saya Minatsuki of Black Cat are able to do this with a technique known as the Reflect Shot.
  • Hellsing: Rip Van Winkle's bullets go around in zig-zags until they hit their target, giving them a level of precision that shames homing missiles.
  • Mana Tatsumiya of Negima! Magister Negi Magi does this intentionally to gain advantage over the Mahora defenses (having One-Hit Kill proximity bullets helps).
  • Pokémon Adventures: Gold always carries a billiard cue with him and frequently uses it to launch his Pokeballs to a tactically advantageous position, often ricocheting them off of surfaces to get there.
  • In Ranma ½ the detachable blade ring of the Kinjakan is meant to be used like this. When Ranma steals it from the Phoenix people and tries to use it acts like a Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball, and a Phoenix woman tells him that it takes years of training to use the weapon properly. Then Ranma immediately uses it a second time, the ring bounces exactly where he wants it to go, and Ranma gives a smug smirk.
  • In Sailor Moon, the Amazoness Quartet used this to expose peoples' dream mirrors.
  • Umineko: When They Cry - The Seven Stakes of Purgatory are shown as part spike, part homicidal guided missile, and part this. And all Fanservice.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In Rescue Across Time episode 4, a goat fires a slingshot and the projectile bounces on the walls, hits kitchen items, hits a pole, and hits the rock underneath Wolffy's pot, causing the pot to tip over.
  • The characters play badminton in episode 21 of Pleasant Goat Fun Class: Sports are Fun. When Wolffy hits the shuttlecock, it ricochets all over the walls of the room before it finally lands on Weslie's side of the playing field.

    Comic Books 
  • Cyclops of the X-Men has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to cause his optic blasts to ricochet or reflect off of objects in a trajectory to his liking. He's reflected a single blast off of over a dozen objects before. How the objects aren't simply destroyed from the force is never explained, but it's one of his niftiest tricks. Predicting ricochets is an intuitive secondary power of his.
  • Lucky Luke occasionally demonstrates his Improbable Aiming Skills this way.
  • Judge Dredd's gun has special "ricochet ammo" for this purpose.
  • Bullseye can do this with ANYTHING.
  • Wonder Woman has been known to do this with her tiara.
  • Green Arrow does this with arrows.
  • Nightwing has done this with his eskrima sticks, having it hit a couple mooks then return to him, even though they're not meant to be thrown in the first place.
  • An unintended spoof version was a minicomic by Sergio Aragones taking on Superman: All shots ricochet "harmlessly" off him...he should have thought they ricochet somewhere where people are standing.
  • In one Archies Comics story, Coach Clayton sees Dilton Doiley effortlessly score hoops by bouncing the basketball off the floor. He recruits Dilton for the basketball team, but Jughead points out the flaw with Dilton's method- The other players can easily block bounced shots.
  • Captain America's shield. Due to its unique construction and lots of practice, for the most part - others who have stepped into the role, like John Walker, never really got the hang of it like the original did.
  • Daredevil himself can do it with his billy club on occasion. Most egregiously in one of Kevin Smith's issues, where Daredevil throws it through a glass window where, instead of shattering the window completely, it just leaves a small hole, approximately 1.5 inches in diameter. Then it bounces around, knocking out the mooks and returning through the exact same hole.
  • Miho from Sin City has done this a few times with her manji shuriken.

    Fan Works 
  • At one point in Origin Story, Superwoman catches Ragnarok's hammer (which is a weaker copy of Thor's weapon), rips the head off the handle, and crinkles it into a ball. She then tosses it past Ragnarok's head. Ragnarok taunts her with a quick, "You missed." She wasn't aiming at Ragnarok. The metal ball that used to be the hammer's head bounces off a rock, and then bounces off a tree, only to smack into the back of Ares' head so hard the god of war is knocked unconscious.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Disney's Robin Hood (1973), Robin pulls this off by shooting an arrow that had gone off course with another arrow, correcting the trajectory of the first arrow and sending it straight into the bullseye, Robin Hooding the one that was already in there. Trigger, one of the Sheriff's vulture lackeys, does the accidental version a couple of times with his crossbow. Apparently even when the safety is on (or when he thinks that the safety was on his crossbow). In the final shot of the movie he attempts to "present arms", it goes off, and the bolt bounces around before hitting one of the hearts on Robin Hood's wedding carriage.
  • In The Thief and the Cobbler, the titular Cobbler Tack sends a tack ricocheting during the final battle. It eventually hits Evil Chancellor Zig-Zag's horse, who launches Zig-zag off its back, which causes his sword to cut a rope, which activates a catapult…

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alien: Resurrection, when Christie is held at point range, he puts his hands up as if surrendering, only to just shoot the roof. After bouncing two times on the roof, the bullet hit the guy that was behind him and holding a rifle, going through his helmet with ease, and killing him. Strangely, later, he can't hit a Xenomorph that's running straight at him. He should've tried to bounce it off something.
  • Captain America does this in his movies with his shield. Somehow, it looks even more improbable in live action. Also, given that the film explains away the unique properties of the shield by saying that it absorbs and deadens vibrations, should be even more impossible to ricochet than a regular disc. And never make any sounds on impact. But whatever, it works. Lampshaded by Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War: "That thing does not obey the laws of physics at all, does it?"
  • Playing up Chuck Norris's Self-Parody of his action-hero persona in Firewalker, this is how Max racks up one of his two kills with a gun, after missing five times from less than twenty feet.
  • This is Happy Gilmore's specialty after being trained to use it to his advantage. In his final match against Shooter, a lookout tower gets in the way of the final hole thanks to a flunkie Shooter hired to ruin Happy's shot. Instead of putting around it and going into sudden death, Happy studies the structure and decides to beat Shooter then and there by hitting the ball so that it ricochets and hits a chute where it rolls perfectly into the hole.
  • House of Flying Daggers: The daggers, and pretty much every other thrown item.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the tank driver is killed by an errant bullet that ricochets off several surfaces before hitting him in the forehead.
  • In RoboCop 2 during a raid on a drug lab, a criminal takes a baby hostage. RoboCop scans for a plot trajectory and uses a ricochet shot off a metal door to shoot the hostage taker in the head.
  • Soviet soldiers in Stalingrad (2013) shoots at occupiers using field gun and burnt tank to change trajectory of its shell.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope has a rather funny example, wherein Han Solo falls into the trash compactor aboard the Death Star, following all of his friends. He decides to blast open the door, and immediately after Luke says, "No, wait!" he fires, causing the bolt to ricochet all over the room for several seconds, inevitably pissing everybody off. The reason this happens with an energy weapon is explained as "magnetic sealing," technology which repels particles that try to pass through its electromagnetic field, including blaster bolts, since they are actually particle beam weapons.
  • In Suicide Squad (2016), Deadshot effortlessly executes a target this way with his wrist gun.
  • An epic one (it even gets a replay) in the Thai movie Tears Of The Black Tiger
  • In TRON and its sequel TRON: Legacy, the Identity Discs behave like this, although since the discs are computer programs and not bound by the laws of physics, this is to be expected. Also, they always come back to their owner when thrown.

  • Discworld:
    • In Pyramids, a young assassin decides to flunk his exam when he finds out that it will end with killing a live target. He misses the target intentionally, but the arrow ricochets a few times in this manner and ends up hitting the target anyway. The examiner misunderstands and thinks that he was just showing off, and lets him pass. (And, to round up a happy ending, the victim turns out to have been a fake too.)
    • In Reaper Man, Bill Door is very good at pool, but realises that when it comes to a friendly game at the pub, you get more friends by losing entertainingly, and uses his skill to set up shots that "accidentally" send the cue ball flying off the table and ricocheting around the room before landing harmlessly in somebody's pint mug.
    • There are the trick shots Archchancellor Ridcully sets up on his pool table. Being a Discworld wizard, his "trick shots" involve bouncing the cue ball off of passing seagulls, the back of the Bursar's head (last Tuesday, no less!), and possibly even itself.
    • Ridcully manages to invert this once with the help of Ponder Stibbons. A bit of magical trickery allows the cue ball to pass through the various piles of paperwork and junk on the table, by rolling into a flat parallel universe when it would normally bound off something. Ponder set up this stunt to impress Ridcully into accepting his department's budgetary needs.
  • One of the novels in The History of the Galaxy series mentions that there is special software installed to do exactly that with the Real Robots when the enemy is hiding. Why an explosive projectile blows up only when hitting a target instead of a rock is not explained. Presumably, they're smart bullets or something.
  • Many Jedi are skilled at deflecting blaster bolts back at the shooter, but in Labyrinth of Evil, Obi-Wan demonstrates proficiency in bouncing bolts off his lightsaber, then watching them go through several more ricochets before they hit their target.
  • The Worst Shots in the West has bullets pinging all over the place, yet still somehow managing to hit targets. All the more ludicrous as it's completely unintentional.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the pilot of Alphas Hicks is faced with someone using a Human Shield, so he uses his Alpha ability to bounce a bullet off a sign behind them.
  • In Band of Brothers, Major Winters was hit in the ankle by a ricochet. The Medic that pulled the bullet out even said he was lucky it was a a ricochet, since the 7.92mm Mauser bullet could have just as easily taken his foot off. It was no comfort since he would be limping the rest of the battle.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Pretty much the only possible way Warren Mears could've hit Tara Maclay with that stray shot.
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who once threw a cricket ball, and it bounced around all over the place. Admittedly the effect bordered on a Rube Goldberg Device instead of this trope, but it probably still counts. Not only that, but he did it while his Time Lord mind was entirely suppressed and he believed that he was human.
  • Tested by the MythBusters with firearms. For the record, bullets lose a lot of energy when they ricochet. The "three ricochets and kills the firer" myth they were working on was solidly Busted.
  • Seen in Red Dwarf. In the famous "Gunmen of the Apocalypse'' episode set in a computer-simulated Western town, The Cat pulls off non-lethal trick shots in this manner. Also done in the episode where Lister plays pool with planets by shooting a thermonuclear device into a star to create a solar flare, which knocks a planet into another one which then goes on to hit a third one which plugs up the white hole and saves the ship while "potting" all planets in to orbit around another star, much to the surprise of the rest of the crew.
    Lister: [to an utterly astonished Rimmer] What? If I'd told you I was going for a trick-shot you'd have had one of your spasms.
  • Invoked In "Rivals" of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a device has "changed the balance of luck in different rooms": Chief O'Brien demonstrates this by throwing a ball in a completely random direction in the holodeck. It bounces off the walls several times before returning to O'Brien's raised hand.
  • In V.I.P.:
    • Vallery Irons tried imitating Xena with her headband. Four enemies knocked out despite wearing a helmet. At least she was impressed.
    • Hard Val's Night: At one point Allen Shellenberger hit a golf ball on top of a table inside a building. The golf ball bounces off various surfaces before finally landing in Jeremy Popoff's martini.
    Jeremy (sips martini with the golf ball still in it): "It's a little dry."
  • Xena's chakram from Xena: Warrior Princess, which bounces off rocks, pillars, and mooks' heads before returning to her hand. Exaggerated in an episode featuring a "Groundhog Day" Loop. To break the loop, Xena had to (among other things) stop a young noblewoman from committing suicide with a vial of poison. However, the distance from where Xena wakes up every morning to where the girl does the deed is too far to reach in the time allowed, in addition to stopping everything else going wrong that day. So she spends at least one day ignoring everything else to take measurements, angles, and distances. So that when she wakes up again, the first thing she does is go outside, gauge the wind, and throw her chakram across, through, above and between several city blocks in order to be exactly where the poison vial will be when it gets there, as well as putting a stop to everything else along the way. And it returns to her hand afterwards.

  • One of the animations in Gottlieb's Tee'd Off shows a golf ball careening wildly among a grove of coconut trees.
  • The playfield for Harlem Globetrotters On Tour shows one of the players throwing a basketball that bounces off the heads of five other Globetrotters before flying up the left lane.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, you can get a Charm that does this. Some weapons don't even need a Charm.
  • This can be taken as a cinematic skill or special power in GURPS. Plus the frisbee grenades from Ultra-Tech.
  • In both 5th edition and 6th edition Hero System, you can do this with any ranged attack you have Combat Skill Levels for, unless you specifically take a Limitation on the attack that says otherwise.
  • Available via the Ricochet feat in Mutants & Masterminds.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: One Specchio charm allows a Princess to do this with her ranged attacks, bouncing the projectile to strike weak points or hit enemies in cover.
  • In Rifts, a popular sport for Juicers is Deadball, a variation of Handball where the ball may randomly extrude spikes after a bounce or ricochet. Eventually, somebody got the idea to (further)weaponize them with versions that can be set to automatically release Vibroweapon spikes(or better yet, explode) after a set number of bounces.

  • In the Inika arc from BIONICLE, Toa Hewkii gained a Mask of Accuracy. One of the things he did with it was shoot a pebble he created (being the Toa of Stone) and ricochet it off a dozen surfaces before hitting his intended target in the back.
  • Cue sports (such as Billiards) calls successful attempts of a pinball projectile to be trick shots. One variation, three-cushion billiards, requires this because a scoring point is awarded by hitting an object ball and three cushions before the second object ball.
  • Both NERF Elite darts and RIVAL ball projectiles can ricochet after hitting a surface. Averted for the suction darts, which sticks to the surface instead.

    Video Games 
  • In the movie-editing minigame at the end of the first chapter of Make It Big In Hollywood the hero's bullet ricochets off a broken wagon, a blacksmith's sign and a windmill before hitting the saloon sign, causing the latter to drop on top of the bad guys.
  • Demonstrated to a hilariously impossible extent in this video of a Source mod by Jimbomcb, wherein the bullet ricochets off the ceiling and floor repeatedly, losing no momentum from the impacts, resulting in bullet impact decals in a pattern not unlike a spirograph.
  • The original Atari home system came with a game simply called "Tank", where two players control tanks that fire missiles at each other. On some levels the missiles bounce, and intricate trick shots are possible.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins: Deadshot, who makes his entrance by shooting down a police helicopter and killing a SWAT officer with the ricochet. His boss fight, which is handled as a Predator encounter, has him regularly lining up shots with three or four ricochets.
  • The Juggler gun frame from the Boktai series has laughably weak stats (C Damage, C Stun) but fires shots that ricochet for a very long while. Given the game's emphasis on stealth and puzzles that involve shooting switches, it's one of the best frames in the game if given the chance.
  • The Borderlands series:
    • In Borderlands 2: With multiple classes:
      • Sirens have a skill that causes enemy bullets to do this, reflecting them back at other enemies. Another one of her skills also allows her Phaselock orb to pinball between targets.
      • Mechromancers have two skills that cause bullet ricochet, one of her trees even encouraging this practice.
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: Multiple weapons can do this:
      • The Viral Marketer line of Legendary Weapons guns have their shots ricochet, and deal damage on hit, if it doesn't hit an enemy, referenced in its Flavor Text, and name:
        Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: Lol check this out guys
      • "Trick Shot" prefix guns have bullets that bounce if they don't hit an enemy.
      • Min Min Lighter Legendary Lasers fire ball lightning that shock nearby enemies, and bounce off things if they don't dissipate before they hit the object
    • Borderlands 3: On top of their hat as the Critical Hit Class of the manufacturers, any Jakobs firearm you find will be capable of this; as soon as you score a critical hit, that shot will bounce off to a nearby target.
  • The aptly-named Ricochet Stone subweapon that appears in a few games of the Castlevania series. There's an enemy in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin that uses a rifle that shoots ricocheting bullets.
  • GDI Grenadiers throw Disc Grenades in Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, which bounce a few times before detonating. This can be used to your advantage if you force attack the ground in front of them, causing their discs to bounce and allow them to effectively out-range lower tier defenses such as laser turrets.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 has this as the overlooked special ability of the "Power Weapon" category of firearms. With a Ballistic Coprocessor hand cyberware piece, ricochet angles will be automatically calculated, and will aim-snap to targets, even when firing from the hip. Building up an intuition of "simple geometry" as the trope image caption entails can enable a player to ricochet easily and frequently on the fly, most commonly with a simple bounce off the ground. A modification for eye cyberware, the Trajectory Generator, can display ricochet trajectories for these weapons when aiming down sights for more complex ricochet shots, or serve as "training wheels" for building up the angle-eyeballing intuition.
  • Descent's Phoenix Cannon ricochets twice off surfaces. A skilled player can use it to shoot robots around corridors. A less skilled player is likely to try to use it to open a door (which works fine for other weapons) and get his own shots bounced back in his face for a highly embarrassing death.
  • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, main character Dante in a cutscene hurls a pool table into the air, then shoots the white ball. This causes the white ball to rebound off every single other ball, which then hit and kill a Mook each. The special Gunslinger attacks for Spiral lets him ricochet the bullets on what seems to be thin air around a certain area.
  • Your main weapon in D Generation is a laser that can bounce off walls up to three times per shot.
  • Dragon's Dogma has the Ricochet Seeker/Hunter skill used by the Magick Archer, in which they fire off bolts of lightning magic that bounce around walls and actually get stronger the more they ricochet. As a skill, it is extremely useful in tight indoor environments such as dungeons and caverns and can make short work of enemies (especially those with a weakness to lightning).
  • Final Fantasy XIV's Machinists learn a skill that lets them throw a bunch of magnetic plates at an enemy and shoot them, making the bullet ricochet between all the plates and damaging all enemies in the area.
  • Flaming Zombooka: The Bouncy projectile, as the name implies, bounces off walls several times (though it can't harm zombies).
  • Frobot: Frobot's energy shots will bounce off any walls they hit, as do energy shots fired by enemies.
  • The Reflective Shot powerup in Gauntlet games allows players to do this.
  • Gunfire Reborn has the Prism throwing knife, which rebounds off floors, walls, and other pieces of scenery. It will even pierce through enemies and occasionally ricochet right back for a second go-round, allowing particularly crafty players to throw one or two Prisms and just let the bouncing knives turn a hallway into a killzone.
  • In Half-Life 2, the Energy Ball ammo for the pulse rifle (and the energy globes in the Citadel) will ricochet until they hit a target.
  • In Halo series, a single sniper rifle shot can make multiple ricochets, to the point where players have occasionally killed multiple enemies with only one round (usually by complete accident); the beam rifle is capable of something similar. Additionally, the Scattershot (introduced in Halo 4) is a Hard Light shotgun whose rounds will ricochet off surfaces (which is almost mandatory due to its piss-poor range), making it very deadly in enclosed indoor environments.
  • The Marksman in Hellgate: London can learn to bounce shots off the environment with 100% effectiveness, and ricochet between multiple targets.
  • Iron Brigade:
    • Certain Sniper Cannons with the RICOCHET and RICOCHET+ can act like this.
    • The "Rise of the Martian Bear" DLC adds all sorts of oddball weapons, including RICOCHET+ Machine Guns (the "80-UNC3 Indirect MG"), of which the flavor text says, "One would think that years of technological advances were involved in the creation of this weapon. In actuality, we just filled it with spring-loaded bullets, and somehow it worked."
  • Jak and Daxter, specifically Jak 3's Reflexor gun. That thing will bounce off anything, forever, and if you spam the screen with bullets its a veritable party of yellow lines. And if you buy the upgrade to make it bounce off things more… hoo boy. Then again, the Jak and Daxter series doesn't seem to pay attention to reality much anyway.
  • The Nomad pistol in Journey to the Savage Planet can be upgraded to have this as its level II Charge Attack. It bounces among clusters of enemies until they all die or it hits a wall or floor, or flies off into the sky. At the highest level, it also explodes when it hits the final enemy in a mob.
  • The laser copy ability in Kirby series is capable of ricocheting from slants. Kirby Nightmare In Dreamland mentions this in its description: "Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation (and it bounces off hills too!)".
  • Lost Dimension gives the protagonist, Sho, an ability called Ricochet, which allows him to pull this off by using his clairvoyance to determine how the bullet will bounce before firing.
  • The Green Shell in the Mario Kart series will bounce off walls until a certain amount of time has passed, it hits an obstacle or another racer, or it falls off the track, whichever comes first.
  • Kurt from MDK can collect ricocheting ammo for use with his sniper helmet. Doctor Hawkins in MDK2 can use a loaf of bread together with an atomic toaster to shoot projectile toasts that can bounce off surfaces a few times before sticking to one and exploding.
  • Mega Man 10: Strike Man's Rebound Striker qualifies for this- on the third bounce, it heads directly for Mega Man.
  • Mega Man 11: After defeating Bounce Man, Mega Man acquires the Bounce Ball, a weapon that fires three balls (six with the Power Gear active) that ricochet off walls. Unlike the Rebound Striker from 10, they don't get stronger with each bounce, functioning more like a combination of the Triple Blade from the same game and the Mega Ball from 8.
  • Mega Man 8: the Mega Ball produces a small ball that, upon being shot or slid into, launches at an angle and bounces off of walls. The weapon also appears in Marvel vs. Capcom as one of Mega Man's moves, where it functions the same way (albeit bouncing off of the sides of the screen).
  • Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid can bounce bullets off the wall to hit the player around corners. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater lets you do this as well once you get your hands on a Colt Single-Action Army, though it's usefulness doesn't go far beyond Rule of Cool since it's 100% reliant on your own ability to use it with no auto-aiming feature.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain brings back the Ricochet Revolver as the "Tornado-6". It's based on the Mateba 2006M (made by the same company that made the Model 6 Unica semiauto revolver) and named after "Tornado" Yoshida, Revolver Ocelot's motion capture actor.
  • Moon Knight's X-Treme attack in Marvel Ultimate Alliance takes this Up to Eleven. Basically, it's this trope combined with More Dakka, turning the whole screen into a bouncing, ricocheting Bullet Hell for the enemies. Pretty much an instant boss-killer too, especially if it's used in an enclosed room.
  • Muri: The Laser ammo splits when hitting a surface head-on, then bounces off at 45 degrees and then keeps bouncing around three times. They don't bounce if they manage to damage a target.
  • Nuclear Throne: Shell-using weapons fire projectiles that bounce off walls. The Shotgun Shoulders mutation increases the range and speed at which they bounce. The "Pop" weapons, though bullet-users, fire projectiles in the same manner, and are similarly affected by Shotgun Shoulders. The "Bouncer" weapons are another bullet-using variant, with slow-moving, spinning projectiles that bounce off the first wall they hit. The Disc Gun's sawblades also bounce off of walls.
  • Overload has the Reflex Cannon, which fires reflective plasma orbs. These orbs can reflect towards the general direction of enemies when upgraded, making a fully upgraded Reflex a convenient way to clear out rooms with many enemies.
  • Hanzo from Overwatch used to be able fire a special projectile, the "Scatter Arrow". Upon hitting an obstacle, the arrow split into bouncing projectiles, which was useful for taking down enemies in a large area. Too useful, which is why it was eventually removed and reworked into "Storm Arrow", which just lets him fire multiple arrows in a quick burst, making the lethality based off of player skill rather than geometry. He still retains the ability in Heroes of the Storm, however.
  • Perfect Dark's grenades are rather humdrum until the secondary mode, "Proximity Pinball," is activated — after which they start bouncing throughout the level until an enemy gets close enough to set off the proximity trigger. Multiplayer matches including them taught players to dread that innocent little "boing" sound…
  • The Harrier attack in P.N.03 shoots multiple ricocheting projectiles.
  • In Project Eden you can use the disc launcher to kill enemies around corners. It looks similar to a certain movie.
  • Magoichi Saika is The Gunslinger of Samurai Warriors, but only recently has he shown off the truly ludicrous ricochet skills... at bouncing his own bullets off each other mid-flight, resulting in a cloud of impossible ricochets. Observe.
  • In Senran Kagura, Ryōbi's strong attack is a single sniper shot that bounces around the stage.
  • During the final chapter of Sierra's Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist, when Freddy accuses a villainous poker player of cheating locals out of their homes and businesses in card games, the guy pulls a gun on him, leading to a standoff in the saloon where the player must find something to ricochet their gun off of while taking cover behind a table. Aim wrong, and the bullet bounces all over the place and eventually kill an innocent bystander - but instead of issuing a Game Over for this (as one would normally expect from a Sierra adventure game), it rewinds the scene (ricochets and all) so the player can try again.
  • In Space Quest IV, if you die by entering the hatchway of the patrol ship instead of the landing gear, you get this message, "The young shuttle pilot, his seat suddenly humidified by your surprise entry, fires his pulseray. The shot just misses you and then bounces off the reflective surfaces of the cabin… eventually managing to fatally perforate you. Just as you fade from the living organism club you think, in amazement, 'So that's what my spleen looks like!'"
  • Splatoon 2 has the Curling Bomb sub weapon, which, as its name implies, is a bomb that resembles a curling stone. When thrown, it quickly slides forward along the ground and can bounce off walls before detonating when in range of an opponent.
  • The Mutalisk in StarCraft I and its sequel has an attack that bounces 3 times, each time doing less damage.
  • A game before Super Mario Land, Super Mario Bros. 3 has Wendy O. Koopa's bracelets act as a pinball projectile, bouncing off the walls and floors. Unlike the previous bosses, these take longer to despawn.
  • In Super Mario Land, instead of the series' standard fireballs you throw ricocheting balls. Mario's fireballs in the Super Smash Bros. series bounce off walls and floors in reference to this.
  • Prevalent in the Touhou Project series. Mai and Reimu Hakurei in the PC-98 games, for instance, both have projectiles that pinball everywhere. One of the possible Stage 4 bosses in Mystic Square, some of Mai's attacks have bouncing ice spheres that shatter into pieces. She uses this attack pattern at least twice in her battle. However, in Lotus Land Story, the stage 4 boss in Marisa's playthrough, Reimu's yin-yang orbs bounce everywhere in her battle, making it even harder for Marisa to dodge them because there's so many of them.
  • In TowerFall, laser arrows can bounce off walls and ceilings. After several bounces, the arrow loses its power, and unlike regular arrows, disappears if left alone for more than a second.
  • Tribes's Blaster rifle fires energy bolts that ricochet off of walls and terrain. It's particularly dangerous to the user, as there's nothing stopping the blaster bolts from ricocheting straight back into the user in cramped areas, especially since the bolts go straight through shields. The Spinfusor (the blue exploding frisbee launcher) in all games will ricochet off of water surfaces at shallow angles (and explode at high angles), allowing skilled players to bounce discs under cover or nail plays from unexpected angles.
  • TRON 2.0 gives you the legendary Disc as your primary weapon. Bouncing shots off the floor or walls is one of the best ways to control them over longer distances.
  • In Turok 2 an upgrade to the shotgun, the Shredder does this.
  • Ricochet Bombs in the Twisted Metal series. In earlier incarnations (Pre Twisted Metal: Black) the bombs would last forever until hitting a vehicle, and each undetonated bounce would increase the power of the overall bomb. With the unlimited ammo cheat….
  • In Vindictus, the Ricochet Shot skill. Lampshaded in the description, which outright says that it defies the laws of physics and offers no explanation.
  • In Warcraft III, the thrown glaives of the Night Elf Huntresses bounce twice normally and can be upgraded to do so once more. It's based on the Mutalisk attacks from StarCraft, which makes sense considering both games were made by Blizzard.
  • Warframe features the Cedo, a magazine-fed automatic shotgun with the unique property of an alternate fire mode, launching a glaive that ricochets off walls, floors, and enemies to cover its victims in horrible miasmas that load them down with debilitating status effects. A single glaive can bounce between half a dozen victims and ruin everyone's day accordingly.
  • In Wii Play's subgame Tank, you can shoot bullets that ricochet on walls twice. Not only that, but a some of the enemies' shots can also ricochet off walls.
  • Wipeout's non locked-on missile and shuriken (The latter is eliminator mode only).
  • World of Warcraft:
    • During the Warlord Zon'Ozz encounter, the primary encounter mechanic is bouncing an orb between two sets of players; the orb does increasing damage each time it hits a player, divided between all players. After a certain point, you must hit the boss with an orb, putting a damage-increasing debuff on him. If the orb hits the wall of the arena without hitting a player, it will damage all players, and this most often resulted in a wipe when Dragon Soul was current.
    • On Heroic, the Iron Juggernaut's sawblade bounces between players.
    • Demon Hunters can use the Throw Glaive ability, which ricochets a demonic weapon across three enemies.
  • Jr. from Xenosaga has a few of these attacks. One of his "normal" attacks in the first game involves flipping a coin and shooting it, hitting an enemy with the ricochet. One of his special attacks, however, involves throwing a handful of coins at the enemies and firing a single bullet, bouncing it off all the coins in order to hit multiple enemies.
  • In Xexyz, the 45B Ball weapon fires balls that bounce at 45-degree angles.
  • X Rebirth's Inertial Hammer fires a shotgun-spread of particles wrapped in ferromagnetic fluid, which will ricochet several times after striking targets. It's particularly useful when you have wedged your ship in some narrow space of an enemy capital ship, allowing you to double or triple the effective damage of the gun by ricocheting it. Annoyingly, stations will get angry at you if the ricochets hit their station while you're defending it from Space Pirates.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE! has this happen in Red VS Blue courtesy of Caboose that nails Donut in the head, along with Agent Texas, Tucker and Church.
  • Haloid has this as two of its many (many) awesome moments.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In Reconstruction, Church lands an impossible ricochet shot on the Meta... by accident, and it ricochets nine times before hitting the Meta in the foot. Hardly an ideal shot, even if he meant to do it, though it does prove to be helpful... by providing the heroes with a trail of blood to follow.
    • Played with and subverted when Agent Washington picks up a gun in Project Freelancer that fires ricocheting energy pellets. He declares it the worst gun ever. Of all time.

  • In Boyfriend of the Dead Action Survivor Alex takes out three zombies with the head of a fourth in a single ricocheting shot. She's probably right that she could have been a pro golfer.
  • Grrl Power: An accidental example when Sidney reactivates her Deflector Shield just as an alien monster fires on a building close to her and a piece of shrapnel grazes her cheek. Problem is, the fast-moving shrapnel is still inside the shield when it erects, ricocheting inside the barrier until it hits Sydney in the gut.
  • Magick Chicks had Cerise summoning a venomous stinger-shooting giant bee during a fight with Skye and Tiffany seeking revenge. Tiffany being a Badass Normal type, she paddled the thing away. Because the stinger on its way out accidentally hit her previous summon, Cerise instead of a deserved beating receives praise, as the other girls thought she planned this. Melissa comments this with "You are the luckiest bitch alive".
  • The lucky shot variety is subverted in this strip of The Order of the Stick, where a stray poisoned arrow nearly hits several things, including Vaarsuvius.
  • Vallant, of Teh Gladiators, takes Accidental Aiming Skills to a new level of insanity when his shots ricochet around the Arena like buzzing flies until they finally hit something — never what he was aiming at but always something that helps Teh Gladiators win.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens occasionally on Archer with bullets deflecting off metallic surfaces — usually resulting in Brett catching it in a painful way. One time, Archer manages to track a stray bullet's path down across a steel door, a drinking fountain, two separate corridors, Cyril's pocket watch, a fire extinguisher, two levels of stairwell, and then hit Brett.
    Archer: Come on, this is awesome! It's like we're the Warren Commission!
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "The Mask of Matches Malone!", Huntress (who is dangling from a crane and being lowered into a Shark Pool), fires her crossbow and ricochets her bolt off several objects so it rips the gag off Black Canary's mouth.
  • Exaggerated in the Bugs Bunny short, Wild and Woolly Hare. After explaining to Yosemite Sam how his next shot was going to bounce off about half the town's buildings before coming back into the room and part Sam's hair right down the middle, Bugs fires. It does exactly what he said it would, including splitting Sam's hat in half during the parting of his hair.
  • An episode of Family Guy has Brian and Stewie trapped in a bank vault where they accidentally fire a gun and the bullet ricochets all over the place while Brian and Stewie hide under a table. The episode cuts to commercials before the bullet stops.
    Stewie: How long is this going to take?
    Brian: No idea.
  • Happens in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flash and Substance": Batman fires a flare into the air, seemingly aiming for Mirror Master, but it ricochets off various objects before falling into a mirror. Mirror Master jeers, "You missed me!", not realizing Batman launched it in the mirror so the Flash, trapped in a mirror dimension, could find his way back and kick butt.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Crystalling - Part Two", the baby alicorn Flurry Heart keeps firing off uncontrolled blasts of energy, and an especially unfortunate one ends up ricocheting off Rarity's hand mirror, Shining Armor's defensive shield, Starlight Glimmer's protective bubble, and burning a big old hole through Twilight's MacGuffin book.
  • Justified in The Owl House episode "Eclipse Lake", where the Anti-Magic properties of the Titan's veins cause projectile spells to continuously bounce off of them until they hit something that isn't resistant or run out of energy.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Isabella does this in a foosball match, after saying that the next shot would go in.
  • Zigzagged in Ricochet Rabbit And Droop-A-Long. Ricochet Rabbit himself bounces off of objects; his bullets do things such as hover in midair and produce a mallet to conk the villain.

    Real Life 
  • The Hollywood image of intentionally hitting a target by deflecting a bullet off of dozens of randomly angled surfaces after mere seconds of observation with a random firearm is generally deemed impossible.
    • Here's why:
      • Ballistic projectiles lose energy when ricocheting (the same way a bouncing ball never goes as high as its first bounce) and eventually will drop to non-lethal speed before ultimately succumbing to air resistance and gravity.
      • With each deflection, the spin of a projectile is altered; this can have varying effects depending on how and by how much the spin changes and the type of projectile. This is not entirely unpredictable—for instance, professional pool players often use backspin and sidespin to control how balls deflect and the curve of their path by striking them at the proper angle- but it is extremely difficult to learn even in this example.
      • In addition, for metal projectiles like bullets, each deflection further deforms the projectile. This alters the aerodynamics of the projectile, and the angle of future deflections.
      • All of which means one or two deflections is theoretically possible for someone with absurd levels of skill, and if a geometry wiz with plenty of time and an extremely steady hand pulled the trigger a three or four bounce lethal shot may be plausible, depending on how extreme the curve is note . After more ricochets than that, a bullet's flight path can be considered essentially random, and it probably won't have enough energy left to be lethal.
    • Of course this all goes out the window if there's even a little Applied Phlebotinum or Unobtanium involved—physics just passes the remote to its brother and grabs the popcorn.

Now that the physics majors are (hopefully) appeased:

  • A handful of professional trick shooters have successfully performed stunts involving hitting a target by ricocheting a bullet off of one or more metal plates. It is one of the most difficult and dangerous trick shots, requiring years of practice, precise preparation, extreme levels of skill, and a well maintained firearm to successfully perform.
    • For comparison, throwing a coin into the air and shooting it before it lands is a stunt which many professional exhibition shooters master early in their careers. To repeat: people who consider shooting coins out of the air an entry level trick, consider a one or two deflection shot an impressive display of skill.
    • Bullets hitting a hard surface (such as a wall or roadway) at an angle tend to move parallel to the surface. It's possible to bounce bullets under cars to hit people hiding on the other side. Soldiers in urban environments don't stand too close to walls for the same reason.
  • The Francisca, a medieval throwing axe, was actually designed to allow it to be used in this manner. The hatchet-like weapon features an long, thin, extremely heavy head, and a relatively short handle. When thrown properly, this odd design caused the axe to tumble and bounce upon impact- allowing them to strike foes carrying heavy shields from below or behind after bouncing off of other shields or the ground.
  • When a target is behind impenetrable cover, one military option is to shoot walls, the ceiling, the roof or vegetation. None of the bullets fired will hit the target, but stone or wood fragments will, possibly injuring or incapacitating the target. That's why soldiers wear helmets: to protect them against debris flying around - not against bullets (helmets are bullet-proof in video games only).
  • Depleted uranium shells lose just enough power upon impact to keep them from exiting whatever enclosed vehicle they've struck, usually tanks. This, combined with the impact, causes them to shatter into razor-edged shards that bounce around inside, shredding components and crewmembers.
  • The "Magic Bullet" conspiracy claim concerning the assassination of John F. Kennedy tries to argue for a second shooter by claiming the "Lone Gunman" theory has one of the bullets do this. However, this is based on the mistaken belief that everyone was sitting at the same height and facing forward; when the trajectory is traced with everyone sitting the way they actually were (Kennedy sitting slightly higher due to his custom chair for his back injury, with everyone turned around, ducking, and otherwise rotated), the bullet bounces once.


Video Example(s):


Splatoon 2 - Curling Bomb

The Curling Bomb slides along the ground much like a curling stone, ricocheting off of walls and obstacles as it goes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / PinballProjectile

Media sources: