Follow TV Tropes


Shooting Superman

Go To

Prince of Space: Enough of this! When will you ever learn? Your guns won't work on me!
Phantom of Krankor: Shoot him!

While some believe that a villain who doesn't realize he can simply shoot the hero is stupid, the even stupider type is the one who does try it on a certain type of hero.

Mooks, the military, and other assorted gunmen have the tendency to repeatedly attack a monster, alien, or Super Hero with weapons that they themselves should know won't work from personal experience or at least from watching the news. What's worse, they'll simply stand in place and try the same thing over and over again as the hero or other threat to their safety advances slowly towards them, never trying something else or turning tail to run until the last possible second.

One often has to wonder how much money repeat offenders of this trope waste on ammunition. Sometimes it's explained as desperation, but most times, they really should know better and just accept the fact that their foe is (sigh) Immune to Bullets. It makes a touch more sense with characters who have protective devices like Wonder Woman's bracelets or Captain America's shield. At least with those characters, the Mooks can realistically think they have a chance at hurting them if only they could get that lucky shot, which never happens. Many mooks also decide to do this because they believe showing defiance is better than the (occasionally fatal, often MUCH more painful) alternative of disappointing their boss by giving up.

Named for the countless times crooks and other low-level threats have attempted to stop Superman by shooting him with regular guns. (One infamous scene from the 1950s Superman show had Superman confidently standing tall, absorbing bullets, only to dodge out of the way when the criminal threw his empty gun at him.) Particularly dense criminals also might try to pick up a chair and smash him over the head with it. This generally continues until Supes has had his fun and finally proceeds to twist them up like a pretzel.

Justified in circumstances where the monster of the week just has lots of hitpoints, or in circumstances where the attackers have no reason to know or believe that the enemy is really totally immune to bullets; in real life it would be unlikely for the world's collective military to take a few shots at him and announce: "Oh! He's obviously Immune to Bullets! How could we have been so Genre Blind?"

On rare occasions, it turns out that Shooting Superman does work, but only in a very specific manner; for those, see Achilles' Heel.

Check out "Real Life" below for some examples where shooting Superman is still the best option.

Compare Five Rounds Rapid, Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight, Suicidal Overconfidence.


    open/close all folders 

  • "Victory by Computer": Defied. When Superman and Supergirl capture Luthor's gang, a crook angrily tosses his gun aside because he knows he would be wasting bullets.
    Thug: "What's the use of shootin'— the bullets will only bounce off 'em!"

    Anime & Manga 
  • Both an example and a subversion in AKIRA. When regular people such as Yamagata attempt to shoot Tetsuo, he either deflects the shot or reverses its direction. However, because of Kaneda's connection to Tetsuo, when Kaneda shoots him the bullet isn't deflected, with Tetsuo's reaction to being shot in the first volume implying that he HAD meant to deflect the shot and failed.
  • The title character of Birdy the Mighty has shown a resistance to bullets and in the remake manga, this was explained as a biological shield, though it's not invincible and with proper attacks, it can be pierced — and even then, the impacts hurt as Birdy flinched even a bullet hit her face in the OVA, and in Decode, she complained about them hurting in the first season and got knocked over for a second by a shot from a revolver in the second.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: A group of GSS soldiers find out the hard way that firing at Chuuya is equivalent to handing him a fully-loaded machine gun, since he can use his gravity powers to control the bullets the instant they make contact with him. What makes this especially stupid is that the soldiers keep shooting after Chuuya kills several men with their own ammo and several even make it clear they know who Chuuya is and what he can do, yet still keep firing.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Accelerator's past where everyone uses him as a Shooting Superman. It didn't work in the past, why would work in the present? Most of the time, Accelerator flat out ignores the majority of his attackers; his passive defenses will slaughter them all, they're not worth actually fighting.
    • People often ineffectually blast Touma Kamijou with magic or esper powers despite his ability to negate them with his right hand, Imagine Breaker. Ironically, it's easier to attack him with regular weapons because he can't negate them. Touma is also sometimes forced to run when faced with multiple attackers as he points out he only has one right hand.
    • In an early episode of sister series A Certain Scientific Railgun, the opponent of the week attempts to use a taser on Mikoto Misaka.
  • Happens constantly in Cyborg 009 by both regular criminals and Black Ghost. Even though Black Ghost should know better, having built the cyborgs.
  • Date A Live: The heroes comment on the organization AST constantly shooting and firing missiles at the Spirits to no effect, and get better results by talking and reasoning with them. However, DEM has heavier weapons that can harm the Spirits.
  • Death Note: In the manga and movie, the SPK/task force members think Ryuk is writing their names in the title book, and try to stop him. Bullets don't do jack against shinigami, but luckily for them, Ryuk was actually writing Light's name, having finally grown bored of him now that the game has run its course.
  • Demon King Daimao: Ganging up on the guy destined to become the Demon King — bringer of death and destruction, eater of babies, and ravisher of women — with pipes and other assorted items is one thing. He's not a demon king yet, and he might be all show. However, when said guy shrugs off a heavy blow to the back, mocks your efforts, and proceeds to turn your friends' feet into bloody pretzels with the power of his mind, charging in with a metal chain and cheap magical barrage probably isn't going to help you much either.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • This happens during the Majin Buu Saga. Fat Buu has pretty much trashed the world at this point, laughing off whole armies like they were cheap toys and wrecking cities at will. So naturally, when Mr. Satan (with the help of a stray puppy) manages to talk him down and get him on the verge of a full Heel–Face Turn... two mooks with sniper rifles decide to snipe the creature that laughed off tank fire on national TV. It didn't end well.
    • During the Cell Saga, Earth's entire army surrounds Perfect Cell and lay on him with continuous gun, tank and missile fire for almost a full minute. It doesn't work and he annihilates them all with a single swipe of his hand.
    • This is actually subverted in Dragon Ball Super, where Goku ends up in a fight with a couple of basic criminals with guns and, due to him not taking the fight remotely seriously, actually takes a minor graze from one of the bullets. This calls back to a moment in Dragon Ball Z where he bleeds after Krillin accidentally chucks a rock into his forehead, which demonstrates that Saiyans like Goku are not actually that durable if they're not using their ki as an active defense.
  • The mooks of Elfen Lied do this a lot. Mind you, part of this could be because their superiors might not have fully informed them about the massive Psychic Powers of the diclonius. Also, since they have to deflect every individual bullet, it's theoretically possible for one to get through as shown by the sniper that managed to nail Lucy in the head.
  • Zig-zaggy in Eureka Seven AO. The G-Monsters have some kind of energy field that makes them immune to non-mecha weapons. Sometimes the military listens to Bleu's warnings and holds their fire, but other times they cluelessly shoot at the monsters, which merely draws their attention and gets the shooter(s) obliterated. In one episode they try to capture one of the monsters, with predictable results. Pied Piper's AI lampshades their stupidity at least once.
  • Fist of the North Star: Generally, if the character being shot or attacked isn't an important member of the cast (or the episode's main mook), they won't be hurt too badly. If you're a standard mook, you can expect to die pretty quickly. Played straight during Kenshiro's introduction to Bat and Lin. After No-Sell-ing his way through a falling building, a Mook shoots him in the chest with a crossbow. Kenshiro merely looks down, rips out the arrow and throws it away.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, when a scientist fires multiple rounds at what he was just told was an army of immortal beings.
    • You have to feel sorry for Hawkeye: despite her being the badass gunslinger of the series, the main scenes in which she gets to show off her skills are against Homunculi who have more power to regenerate themselves than she has ammo.
      • The scene in Brotherhood where, in a fit of rage and grief, she empties every gun she has on her person into a homunculus to very little effect springs to mind.
    • Played for Laughs in another story, where a group of train robbers keeps encountering Al one-by-one and deciding that firing their machineguns at the big suit of armor is a good idea, DESPITE Al attempting to warn them. As it wears on, Anime!Al just keeps trying, while Manga!Al is a little more snarky (in the sense of "It worked out so well for your three friends...").
    • Turns out to ultimately be subverted with the homunculi. The Healing Factor they display initially make it look like shooting them is futile, but the ability to regenerate is powered by their Philosopher's Stones, which have a finite amount of energy. The result is that even if bullets don't look like they do anything, they still use up some of the Philosopher's Stone's power, it's just that other forms of attack obviously work better.
  • Hellsing:
    • Alucard, pretty much all the time. Even enemies who know he's an immortal vampire still try. Though they may imagine they have a chance of slowing him down, it's likely that all the drama surrounding his regeneration is purely for his amusement.
      Alucard: You'll need more than guns to stop me!
    • Also occurs towards the end of the series when Integra shoots Schrodinger, even though she had already seen Alucard blow his head off a few volumes early, so unless she was doing it because she didn't like him, she was wasting her time.
  • Heroman — In true comic book fashion, this is how it turns out when the police and the army shoot the Skrugg, and also when the Skrugg shoot Heroman.
  • The Mazinger series: Whenever a human army turns on Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger or UFO Robo Grendizer, they always shot round after of round of ammo in spite of they should already know conventional weaponry not even scratches them. (It was kind of subverted the first time Mazinger-Z was activated in the manga. The army could not know what that Humongous Mecha was made of. And in that time, the dome that should be protecting Kouji inside the cockpit was still open, so the pilot was still vulnerable. Shooting Superman in that situation could have worked.) Also, when a Robeast appears, the army insists on attacking them in spite of they should know after the first few times they are wasting ammo, men and money. It was kind of subverted in a Mazinger-Z episode, though: a squad of Iron Masks surrounded Aphrodite-A and threw a hail of spears against the fembot. They very obviously did not damage it, but they managed to slow Sayaka down (they were so many they were very distracting) what was their intention.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, after the titular Humongous Mecha cripples his own mech, Admiral Dozel climbs out of the cockpit & begins shooting at it with a rifle. This is more a final symbolic act of defiance, though.
    • Funny thing is, Dozel's Mobile Armour, the Big Zam (no, there is no Small Zam), is the target of this just a few moments earlier. With a Nigh-Invulnerable barrier called an I-Field Barrier that can block all beam attacks even from capital ships main guns, he just flies around and slaughtered dozens of Space Cruisers and Battleships along with its 28 beam guns mounted all over and with auto lock on capability. Thus it takes the sacrifice of a comrade so The Hero can get in close and stab the Mobile Armour with a beam sabre.
      • Though the I-Field Generator on the Big Zam can only last for 20 mins and cannot block solid ammunition, All There in the Manual.
    • More along the lines of the trope: Gundam 0080 demonstrates that even a single Mook piloted by a rookie can do significant damage to a Gundam if they use strategy and tactics. However, more often than not the enemy will just fire blindly and get trashed, with the Gundam receiving only light damage at worst.
  • My Hero Academia: Deliberately invoked during the fight between Tetsutestu and the villain, Mustard, in the Training Camp Arc. Tetsutetsu's Quirk, Steel, allows him to transform his skin into metal, which of course makes him Immune to Bullets. During the fight, Mustard is fully aware that his gun doesn't work on Tetsutetsu, but he keeps shooting him anyway on purpose. This is because the two of them, along with Tetsutetsu's classmate Kendo, were in the middle of Mustard's poison gas Quirk and Mustard managed to shoot Tetsuutetsu's gas mask in the initial engagement. He kept shooting him because Tetsutetsu no longer had a mask to protect him from the poison and was forced to hold his breath. He also kept shooting to keep Tetsutetsu at bay and prevent him from attacking. In addition, Mustard quickly took notice that Tetsutetsu's metal transformation was getting weaker after being shot repeatedly. As such, Mustard's strategy was to keep shooting Tetsutetsu until he either died of asphyxiation, died from breathing the poison gas, or until his transformation ran out and he could be killed by his gunshots. Thankfully, Kendo managed to distract Mustard long enough for Tetsutetsu to attack him and knock him out, automatically dispelling the poison gas in the process.
  • Played with in Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's established that all conventional weapons are useless against the angels and even the "Non-nuclear" N2 mines may or may not slow one down, depending on the episode and angel. The JSDF and NERV always shoot them anyway, but over time, it goes from foolish pride to a quite deliberate attempt to feel out a new threat's capabilities before they send in the Evas (because no two Angels are exactly alike, and all of them are full of nasty surprises).
    • Some lines from Rebuild of Evangelion suggest that the military stubbornly insists on having their shot at killing an Angel to feel satisfied. Ritsuko quips that the only thing they're doing is wasting money. There are, however, some occasions where NERV fires huge amounts of ordinance at an Angel to distract it or slow it down while they get the Evas ready.
  • One Piece:
    • Considering he has a one and a half billion beli bounty and is one of the most infamous pirates in the world, you'd think people would know better than to try shooting at Luffy. It's not like he hides the fact that he's made of rubber, either. Bullets that hit him tend to bounce right back at the same speed they hit him at while he just ignores them. It's particularly bad during Enies Lobby when literally thousands of Marines are trying to shoot him and he doesn't even seem to notice. Maybe they're aiming for his oddly indestructible hat to go for emotional damage?
    • It gets even worse in the Marineford Arc. After Luffy freed Ace, the Marines proceed to shoot Luffy and Ace. Keep in mind that Ace can turn into intangible fire, so while bullets just bounce off Luffy, they simply pass through Ace. (Some of the Marines seem to notice this during the arc and how the sheer number of superhuman combatants means all they're going to do is add more dead bodies, but Akainu kills any who does, so it is either the pirates, or him.)
    • The worst may have been the jailers in the previous arc; when Luffy briefly allies himself with Crocodile and Jimbei, the jailers open fire on Crocodile. (Not only are bullets ineffective against this guy as he can turn himself to sand, he has the reputation deserving of one of the cruelest men in Impel Down.) Crocodile simply grins at them in amusement with a Slasher Smile while smoking his cigar as the bullets harmlessly pass through him for a minute or two, then he proceeds to cut them down.
    • Subverted to high hell in One Piece Film: Z. The main villain, former Admiral Z, first shoots Luffy with a regular gun; Luffy, predictably, does his usual "bullets can't hurt me!" boasting... which gives Z enough time to whip out a revolver loaded with Seastone bullets and shoot him with it. Naturally, Luffy quickly loses his strength and eventually can no longer even move with the Seastone lodged in his shoulder and collapses, while Z chuckles at his arrogance.
    • It should be noted that when bullets do work they are very effective. Even among elite pirates, there aren't many who have an ability which lets them outright block bullets, causing many to dodge or deflect them and run for cover rather than tank them and risk severe injury. This would explain why Marines keep trying it even though to the viewer it seems silly. In fact, a large majority of important dead characters were killed by gunshots.
    • This trope is averted in the later parts of the story due to the fact that members of Yonkou crews are capable of imbuing bullets with Haki, which bypass the bullet immunity of Devil Fruit users. Izou from the former Whitebeard Pirates specializes in Haki bullets. Charlotte Katakuri from the Big Mom Pirates plays with this trope by using his Future Sight to actively create holes in his body with his Devil Fruit powers in order to make Haki-imbued bullets pass through him.
  • Overlord (2012):
    • Subverted repeatedly, in that the antagonists don't know they don't stand a chance... but Ainz' paranoia about not being the only max-level force around often leads him to take defensive measures that were not only unnecessary but a complete waste of time and mana.
    • During Ainz' battle with Shalltear, he tanks both holy and fire attacks (both of which he's weak to as an undead, but his usual gear resists fire). But for this battle, he actually used gear that resists holy and is weak to fire, faking a No-Sell when hit by fire and pretending to be damaged by holy (and used a skill that makes it look like the holy attacks did more damage).
    • Cocytus's final attack against the lizardman tribe ends with zero damage done to him, as he has passive abilities that negate damage from lower-level enemies. The lizardmen didn't know that, but they were willing to fight to the death against a vastly superior enemy, and for that Cocytus obtains their resurrection.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Throughout all of his encounters with Team Rocket, Ash repeatedly orders Pikachu to use electric attacks on them and/or their current Humongous Mecha or gadget. He always forgets that Team Rocket usually shockproofs their gadgets.
  • Averted, subverted, or maybe just zig-zagged in Princess Mononoke. Ashitaka uses his demon-enhanced reflexes to knock arrows fired at him out of the air while riding a swimming elk. One mook tells the others not to waste their arrows, and they stop firing. An odd example as this would seem to be a defense that should be penetrable; after all, he only has to miss deflecting one arrow.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Gyokuro spends a lot of time bragging about how her "Enemy Zero" ability lets her know all about her opponents' powers to the last detail, and then uses the Dimension Sword on Tsukune. If she had really been paying attention through that skill, she should have known that Tsukune had a way of No Selling the Dimension Sword.
  • In an anime episode of Saint Seiya, a bunch of rifle-armed goons try this on Cygnus Hyoga. He just pulls an Unflinching Walk while neutralizing bullets with his Cosmo, and grabs the rifle in a minor Mook Horror Show display. In the same episode, said goon tries to shoot Hyoga in the head from behind, but gets his bullets parried by Seiya. It does however imply that catching a Saint off-guard and hitting an unprotected part of their body would actually work.
  • Saiyuki: The villains keep sending wave after wave of underpowered Mooks to get slaughtered by the protagonists. Subverted in that their leader doesn't actually expect this to work — she just doesn't want her forces standing around doing nothing, and doesn't care about their survival one way or another. This is a significant point of conflict between her and Kougaiji, who actually does care about the safety of his troops and despises the senseless waste of life.
  • Tiger & Bunny: In episode 9, the villain of the week attempts to use a taser on Dragon Kid.
  • Tokkô: Lampshaded when a handful of Muggle rookie cops are being dispatched to a phantom attack site, one of them points out that bullets don't work against the monsters. Da Chief angrily snaps back: "I STILL WANT YOU TO SHOOT AT THEM!"
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Played with. Occasionally the bad guy will have an unassailable combo put together, but that won't stop the hero from sending in an attack, summoning a monster, or triggering whatever effect the opponent wants to activate. Most intelligent duelists are too smart to fall for the same trick twice. But a truly skilled duelist will fall into the trap on purpose, only to break down the strategy at some fundamental oversight.
    • Seen in Kaiba's first use of the Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon. Almost immediately after he creates it, Yugi is able to create an impenetrable defense of multiple Kuribohs. Kaiba continues to attack it even after seeing doing so neither destroys the Kuribohs nor lowers Yugi's LP. Then Yugi finds a way to slowly lower the dragon's ATK, and Kaiba still makes ineffectual and increasingly weak attacks.
    • Another example involves a duel against Leon. Leon's brother Siegfried slips Leon a banned card called Golden Castle of Stromberg (with extra-broken rewritten rules), and Leon activates it without knowing it was banned. To keep the banned card in play, Leon 'forces' Yugi to discard half his deck each turn. So Yugi beats the rewritten banned card with a long and ineffectual combo that purposefully mills his own deck down to a single card, making it impossible to discard "half his deck". The look on Siegfried's face is priceless.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: Justified. His skin is almost bulletproof and his costume is armoured, so shooting him isn't going to do much but annoy him and give him a little scratch. However, most people don't actually know how durable he is because, well, guns don't work underwater so he almost never gets shot. Therefore, some people do try and are pretty shocked to see the bullets just glance off him.
  • In Astro City story "Pastoral", the bank robbers furiously shoot at Roustabout. In spite of this not being their first encounter. Roustabout's banter is full of humor at their inability to learn.
  • Atomic Robo is a famous robot Action Scientist who is immune to small arms fire. That doesn't stop people from trying to shoot him.
  • Batman:
    • Oddly enough Batman has also been known to subvert and avert this trope as well as play it straight. In Batman Confidential 53, he subverts it after he attempts to punch Wonder Woman in the face. This being their first meeting he does not realize that she has super strength and super durability and he predictably ends up breaking his knuckles. However, he then quickly adapts with a significantly more effective kick to her diaphragm, deducing that even though she's super strong she still needs air. He averts it in Batman: Under the Red Hood, when he fights with Amazo, who at the time had the powers of both Superman and the Flash. Rather than trying to hurt Amazo with regular punches and weapons, he strikes exclusively with explosives and high momentum strikes to major weak points, e.g. a flying knee to the underside of the chin and plastique to the eyes.
    • During the storyline A Death in the Family, Batman, angry that Superman won't tell him what he knows about The Joker (who had just murdered Jason Todd), punches Superman in the face. The dialogue that follows is surprisingly funny, given the otherwise dark storyline.
  • The Boys: Subverted, where the X-Men expy and later most of the supers are actually entirely vulnerable to mundane weaponry, including bullets, flamethrowers, and crowbars.
  • After Marvel's Civil War crossover, a pissed off Thor picked a fight with Iron Man over Iron Man cloning him. Iron Man opens up by shooting at Thor with his repulsor rays and uni-beam, which Thor shrugs off like they weren't even there. Iron Man then decides to try fighting Thor hand-to-hand even though his armor's weapons failed to scratch him. Thor takes him down with two blows and zero effort, frying his armour with a monstrously powerful lightning based EMP.
  • An interesting use of the trope in issue 1 of the second World's Finest miniseries. During The DCU's "Year One", twin mooks break into tech companies in Gotham and Metropolis and are stopped by the local hero. They both fire a gun repeatedly, to no effect. The Metropolis mook assumes Superman is wearing a Bulletproof Vest, while his Gotham counterpart is so spooked by Batman's "Creature of the Night" image that this doesn't occur to him.
  • Deadpool: Deadpool is often shot by people both friend and foe, not so much to kill him as just get him to SHUT UP for a minute.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Played with in the Don Rosa story The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: The Vigilante of Pizen Bluff, wherein the Daltons (not them, the historical ones!) try to shoot a charging Scrooge McDuck. Although it should be impossible for them to miss Scrooge (he is directly in front of them, and coming closer), this has absolutely no effect on him. Sure, young Scrooge is badass, but that he even seems to be immune to bullets, comes as quite a surprise. The explanation: The Daltons where using pistols from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, which were only filled with blanks.
  • Earth X: Near the end of the series, Superman Substitute Hyperion makes fun of the Kree soldiers shooting him because not only was he immune to bullets in life, all of them are dead and in an afterlife dimension (where even massive injuries can only briefly incapacitate anyone).
  • Godzilla: The Half-Century War: Averted, as the protagonists quickly figure out that conventional weapons do nothing to kaiju and only ever use them for distractions, if that. This backfires on them later, when they have to deal with a group of human villains; they’ve gotten so used to guns being useless that none of them thought to bring any on the mission. Kentaro even sheepishly mutters that he never thought of “bringing a gun to a Godzilla fight”.
  • Green Lantern: This happens in Green Lantern: Earth One, when after a botched arrest attempt, soldiers firing on Hal stop once they realize they're just wasting ammunition on someone who can erect bulletproof force fields.
  • Green Arrow: Subverted in "Night Olympics, Part One", a comic by Alan Moore, two criminals give themselves up to Black Canary rather than fight her because they're so terrified of being beaten up by a female superhero. "We surrender, Wonder Woman!" She's a bit perturbed, but goes along with it.
  • Icon: The titular superhero sometimes fights criminals who pointlessly try to shoot him when bullets can't harm him.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • The Hulk's adversary General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross considers this standard operating procedure. Every time he finds Dr. Banner, he orders his battalion to open fire on his raging indestructible foe, conveniently forgetting the previous hundred or so times where this only served to piss him off. He made a grand return in World War Hulk and proceeded to... shoot the Hulk. It doesn't really work, even with adamantium bullets.
    • There is one story where a policeman shoots at him — Banner is in control of Hulk at the time and he hasn't done anything, but the policeman panicked — and Hulk disarms him and berates him because bullets bounce off him and there are lots of people around — the ricochets can easily kill them. Besides, if he has been his old self, bullets would have done nothing, as noted above.
  • Iron Man: Iron Man wears a suit of metal armor that is invulnerable to conventional ammunition, and even better, shots may ricochet off it and hit the shooter or their comrades. Innocents, too, so he's had to remind his opponents of this more than once. By the time Latverian soldiers point their guns at him in Mark Waid's Daredevil run, all he can say in response is "really?".
  • Irredeemable's spin-off Incorruptible lampshades this when the invulnerable Max Damage punches a guard who was shooting him in the face, shouting "That's for wasting bullets!"
  • Justice League of America: During one arc, a General Ripper goes insane and orders a squad to kill the JLA. They comply, but after several minutes of watching bullets bounce off Superman's chest, they stop. One soldier explains why he won't follow the order: "I can't shoot #&*$ing Superman! What do you want me to do next, shove Mother Teresa in a gas chamber?" Didn't help that the JLA also had a (bulletproof) angel on their side at the time. The general had to tell his soldiers that the angel was "fallen" (sort of true but not the way they're implying). Subverted a few issues later, when several supervillains stage a prison break. Even though they are pretty successful (some stop rioting out of fear of Batman), they all stop immediately after Superman arrives. They just give up and go back to their cells. Even the guy who stole Green Lantern's ring just walks up and gives it back (although he'd been instructed to do so, as the ring had already been sabotaged).
  • Luke Cage:
    • Luke has super strength and unbreakable skin. Whenever someone tries to shoot or stab him, he'll just stand there and say "unbreakable skin." (Note, in the 70s, when Cage was a blaxploitation parody, he'd say "Unbreakable skin fool/turkey." And in the Max line, he says "Unbreakable skin motherfucker." A running gag is that people, mostly Spider-Man, will say that he needs unbreakable pants.
    • In an issue of Daredevil, someone tries to stab Luke Cage. Since the knife stops at his skin but the guy keeps stabbing, his hand slides down the knife and gets cut open.
    • In Silver Sable and the Wild Pack, Silver Sable defeated him by knocking him down and clapping a pistol to his eye, betting that his eyeball wasn't as bulletproof as the rest of him.
  • Marvel Adventures: Baron Zemo attempts to defy Captain America by punching him. However, he only has ordinary person strength and hurts his knuckles.
  • Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher: Deadpool is now a zombie and even less killable. Doesn't stop Frank from trying, cutting up his body and burying the parts all over town.
  • Mighty Avengers: A henchwoman tries shooting at Monica Rambeau, after her own superpowers already didn't work. Monica, for the record, can turn intangible. Naturally, it doesn't work.
  • New Warriors: Played with in issue #14 of the first series. Speedball mocks a crook for shooting at him despite Speedball's power being a kinetic energy field. However, it is implied that the crook simply doesn't know who Speedball is or what his powers are.
  • Paperinik New Adventures:
    • It happens whenever the Evronians are unlucky enough to have a run-in with Xadhoom, as she's invulnerable to almost anything (you could knock her out with enough blunt strength, but it takes immense quantities of it for her to actually notice). It's usually justified by them trying (and failing) to slow her down for the rest of the group to run away, but in one occasion she met a general that was stupid enough to shoot her and believe he killed her when she fell down (she was apparently trying to get him to call for reinforcements, as she stood back up when said reinforcements were refused by his superiors), and in another she appeared to have been Brought Down to Normal.
    • In two occasions Xadhoom was at the shooting end, namely when facing a new Evronian Super Prototype cruiser that could regenerate from whatever damage she dished out and when trying to execute an Evronian cyborg Super-Soldier who could absorb the energy of her attacks and had his natural Emotion Eater powers brought Up to Eleven. She quickly worked around the problem in both occasions: with the cruiser she faked having been killed until they brought her 'body' in (the story ends with her remarking the cruiser was invulnerable from the outside), while the cyborg found out her hate for Evron and guilt complex are so immense that her releasing just a little part of it overloaded his ability to absorb emotions.
  • Rising Stars: In one scene, Pyre (who has power similar to the Human Torch) is getting shot at, which, of course, doesn't affect him. He says the following: "Y'know, I remember watching the old Superman TV series with George Reeves, and the bad guys would always shoot at Superman, when he showed up. I used to ask myself, why? They know it's not going to hurt him, at most, it'll piss him off, so why shoot at him? You know what it comes down to? The bad guys are always stupid. Dirt-stick-stone stupid." Unfortunately, right after that a device is used on him that defuses his powers, and he's shot to death.
  • Kid Twist from Joss Whedon's run on Runaways killed two of the Street Arabs thanks to his Improbable Aiming Skills — his bullets never miss their target even if they have to change direction in midair. He thinks this is the most awesome power in the world, until he encounters another Arab, George "Deadman" Pelham. George, being a zombie, isn't affected by the bullets Kid Twist futilely fires at him. Then he bites into Kid Twist's skull to avenge the Arabs Twist killed.
  • Spider-Man: Played with in The Amazing Spider-Man (Dan Slott), during a team-up between Spider-Man and Daredevil. The villain Blindside — whose power is that he can blind people — grabs Daredevil's leg and declares to the world that he's robbed the vigilante of his sight. Spider-Man's response is to just sigh in disbelief. Blindside is thrown through a window in the next panel. Since Daredevil keeps his blindness a secret in his superhero ID, this is not a full-on example of this trope.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Lampshaded. Super Sonic fights the equally powerful Enerjak to a standstill, greatly frustrating the latter. Fed up, Enerjak decides to simply teleport Sonic away... deep underground. Sonic's response is to instantly dig his way back up to the surface, remarking; "He seriously tries to imprison a burrowing species by burying him? At least his brain is still as clever as ever!"
  • Suicide Squad: Subverted by Deadshot, who points out to a bulletproof mook that bulletproof doesn't mean invulnerable. Deadshot (who's an expert marksman) aims for the guy's eyes, mouth and balls. He also once fought a group of guys in Powered Armor, noting that all armor has seams. This was in a Suicide Squad excursion; his teammates Killer Frost and Firebug take out some of them by combining their efforts because the suits are resistant to extreme heat or cold, but not both at once.
  • Superman:
    • Supergirl lampshades it in Supergirl (1982) issue #12:
      Supergirl: I hate thinking of the fortune in ammunition thugs like you have wasted on me over the years!
    • This happened a lot during the early days of Supergirl's hero career. In The Death of Superman (1961) several thugs fire at her, and Kara suggests them to stop wasting bullets. In The Death of Luthor, Lex Luthor — who really should know better — picks a machine gun, shoots at Kara and notes furiously that "The bullets only bounce off!"
    • Many Happy Returns has the situation plays out as normal, right until the mook throws the gun at her — the gun hits Supergirl in the head, and she collapses. Then, she gets back up in the next panel. Writer Peter David has stated this was a deliberate joke referencing how Superman would always duck a thrown gun in the 50's TV show. Later in that same issue, super-villain Rebel shoots high-intensity laser beams at Kara Zor-El — the original Supergirl. The Kryptonian girl tanks them, asks if they were supposed to hurt or do anything, and he shoots again.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, a squad of Primeenian soldiers shot at Supergirl and the Guy Gardner's team... even though they had just fought other Red Lanterns and their strongest weapons didn't even slow them down.
    • Invoked and deconstructed in Supergirl (Rebirth) vol. 7 #1 when Director Cameron points out that bullets may hurt innocent people after bouncing off her.
      Director Chase: Bullets bounce off you. But where do they go next?
    • Bizarrogirl: Gangbuster fires at Bizarrogirl. It does nothing, he knows it will do nothing — he lives in Metropolis! — but he keeps shooting.
      Gangbuster: Tried to... get her away from everybody... Turns out she's not vulnerable... to bullets...
    • Superman is of course the Trope Namer, and it's been happening since Action Comics #1, to the point that, when a normal person punches him, he usually makes a point of rolling with the punch to keep the attacker from hurting themselves.
    • Some comics have Superman using his super speed to catch all the bullets being shot at him, not because they'd hurt him, but because he doesn't want them to bounce off and hurt bystanders.
    • Lampshaded in Krypton No More:
      Simeon: Move, you mugs! Shoot him!
      Superman: You're simple, Simeon! If flames can't hurt me — What good are bullets going to do?
      Crook 1: The guy ain't human!
      Crook 2: The slugs bounce offa him like popcorn!
    • Deconstructed by Superman himself in Justice when he says being bulletproof means nothing because the bullets don't stop after bouncing off him and they can hurt someone else.
    • A few years into the Golden Age, Superman's invulnerability came to be so well-known that the cover artists and writers started treating this as a joke. On one cover, for instance, as lots of people shoot at and throw various weapons at Superman to no effect, he frets to himself about the mystery of why people keep making these "insane attacks" on him knowing full well they can't hurt him, and how he needs to get to the bottom of it.
    • Lampshaded in the Superman vs. Predator crossover where a number of mercenaries see Superman coming and begin shooting at him, despite knowing it is ineffective, simply because they are being paid to "pull triggers".
    • Kryptonite Nevermore played straight and lampshaded this before subverting it:
      • Superman lampshades this when several crooks open fire in the first issue:
        Superman: Criminal types never seem to tire of shooting off guns! I shouldn't complain...a few cannon shells aren't even a bother!
      • Issue #234 gives a truly stupid example: A corrupt tycoon's hired guns shoot at Superman using 50 millimeter shells. Then one of them uses a shotgun. Later they try to punch him, and their boss headbutts' Superman's stomach.
        Superman: Oh, come on, fella! If your big guns didn't stop me, surely you don't expect that bean-shooter to do the job!
      • In Issue #235, several terrorists shoot Superman. When bullets don't work, one of them clubs his head with his shotgun's butt. Superman lampshades it.
        Superman: Oh...You shouldn't have tried shooting, either! My name is Superman...and bullets don't bother me a whole lot! But you've noticed that, huh?
      • In Issue #240, though, Superman is so weak than he can be injured by a bullet. Fortunately his costume is still bulletproof.
    • In Two for the Death of One, Superman gets dragged to the fourteenth century. Quickly he runs into a group of villagers who mistake him for a demoniac servant of Lord Satanis and try to bludgeon him to death with their construction tools. Seeing it does not work, another villager thinks his whip will succeed where picks and shovels failed, and he is shocked when it does not.
    • In Superman Vol. 3 #9-10: Superman is fighting Anguish, a girl roughly as strong and fast as him and able to turn intangible. Even after Anguish demonstrates that not even Superman is fast enough to hit her before she turns intangible, the arriving police continue to shoot. Both fighters request for them to stop (Superman because the bullets that go through Anguish are wrecking everything, Anguish because she thinks the gunfire is annoying), but the police refuse to stop.
    • In Superman/Wonder Woman #2, Apollo insults the latter hero for "slutting around" with an alien. Superman gives a brief "No More Holding Back" Speech, and Apollo hits him. Superman hits back. Apollo blasts Superman with the power of the sun. Superman is solar-powered. Cue a mild remark of, "You really don't know much about me, do you?", then an irritated Superman grabbing Apollo and hurling him straight up, through Mount Etna, and into orbit.
    • Superman: The Wedding Album features an example of someone not even bothering and just running...when, unbeknownst to him, Clark was Brought Down to Normal and could've actually been hurt.
    • There is a similar scene at the end of the Emperor Joker arc. After The Joker tricks Mr. Mxyzptlk into giving him reality warping abilities, he uses said abilities to continually kill and resurrect Batman, driving him utterly insane. After Superman makes a deal with Mxyzptlk after defeating The Joker, he takes Bruce's memories of the events. After Batman finds out and is furious at Clark for essentially robbing him of what makes him effective (psychosis, essentially), this exchange occurs, with Batman standing on the wing of his Batplane.
    • Subverted in the case of Daxamites like Valor. Same powerset as Superman with one slight difference: lead is outright fatally toxic to them, so shooting them is a perfectly reasonable course of action.
    • Ironically, one of Superman's recurring enemies, Bloodsport, knocks Superman around by shooting him with weapons powerful enough to stun, and in some cases even hurt, him. This is justified; Bloodsport has a literal Hyperspace Arsenal that can give him any firearm he can imagine.
    • Inverted with Brainiac. Superman is constantly doing this to him, forgetting that Brainiac's ship-mounted shields are not only basically invulnerable, but often hit back with more energy than they're struck with, damaging or killing the attacker. Superman eventually learns and tries different tactics. Played for Drama in New Krypton, where Zod (ignoring Superman's warnings) wastes hundreds of Kryptonian lives in a vain attempt to break through Brainiac's force fields.
    • Last Daughter of Krypton:
      • At the beginning of the story, Simon Tycho's mercenaries keep shooting at Supergirl, even though bullets, plasma beams...are clearly bouncing off her skin. Subverted when the last conscious soldier realizes that his firearm is useless and surrenders.
      • During the battle of New York, Reign is laughing off the police's bullets and the army's artillery fire. One tank shoots another shell, which Reign also shrugs off before tearing the tank apart.
    • Subverted with villain Reactron in Who is Superwoman?. Usually cops and soldiers keep firing at him, in spite of his full-body armor being clearly bulletproof, but Inspector Henderson manages to hurt him when he aims for Reactron's unprotected eyes.
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, the army keep wasting bullets, artillery fire and missiles on the Infinite Monster long after verifying that its shielding aura is impenetrable.
    • In The Killers of Krypton, Harry Hookum tries to stab Supergirl, prompting her to sneer at him:
      Harry Hokum: Die!
      Supergirl: A knife? Really?
    • Subverted in The Immortal Superman. When Superman arrives at future Metropolis, someone fires at him. Superman thinks their ray gun will not probably hurt him, but he dodges the energy bolts anyway because he is not taking the chance to be hurt by a future weapon that he knows nothing about.
    • In Superman vs. Shazam!, the titular heroes have been manipulated into fighting each other. Since they have gotten apparently mad, the USAF is deployed to shoot them down. One pilots reflects on the futility of shooting at both invulnerable heroes before firing his missiles with predictable results.
      Officer: If they don't cease their fighting, you'll have to try to shoot them down!!
      Pilot: Try is right! Superman shrugs off bullets like they were snowflakes—
    • Subverted in Starfire's Revenge, when Starfire's mooks shoot Supergirl. Since her powers were vanishing, she gets hurt, and seems to die... until her regeneration kicks back.
    • The Girl with the X-Ray Mind: When Lex Luthor gets Superman powers and breaks out of his cell, several guards futilely attempt to stop him, even after seeing he has become invulnerable.
      First Guard: It's Luthor! He shattered that cell to smithereens!
      Second Guard: It's no use trying to stop him! Our bullets bounce off him like raindrops!
    • In the beginning of Way of the World, Supergirl and Wonder Woman are taking down several bank robbers who liberally fire their machine guns at them like they had the slightest chance to hurt them.
    • In The Day the Cheering Stopped, Oswald Mandias' guards shoot Superman when he bursts into his employer's boat to rescue Jimmy. Of course, it is useless.
    • Day of the Dollmaker: The eponymous villain brandishes one crowbar to keep Supergirl at bay. Then a pair of scissors. A blast of heat vision takes care of both weapons quickly. To his credit, Dollmaker seems to know that resistance is useless but is desperate enough to try anyway.
    • The K-Metal from Krypton:
      • After Superman removes the rocks blocking the mine's entrance, Gordon orders his men to shoot him. Shortly after, Superman swoops down on Bronson, who warns him to keep back and away before shooting his gun. Naturally, Superman ignores the bullet.
      • Subverted when Gordon's criminal gang were shoving Clark into the mine to execute him. Shooting Superman could have worked then because he was still depowered, but they did not know that.
    • "Superman and Spider-Man": Superman moves to New York City for a short time and finds that NYC criminals are just as stupid as their Smallville and Metropolis' ilk, shooting at him even after checking that, yes, bullets bounce right off him.
  • The Ten-Seconders: Kane tries this on Malloy when he's become a God himself. Malloy just shrugs that he shouldn't have bothered trying to take him out with something as pitiful as bullets.
  • Venom: Venom is capable of shrugging off small calibre bullets without incurring "undue ballistic trauma" thanks to the symbiote, but it depends on the writer if he can do the same with high-calibre and armor-piercing rounds.
  • The Vision (2015): A man who was blackmailing Vision's synthezoid wife, Virginia, threatens her with a handgun. Virginia, aside from having super strength, has the same density powers as her husband and simply renders herself intangible. The man still shoots and ends up hitting his own son instead.
  • Wolverine: Happens a fair bit to Wolverine. Though granted he's not completely Immune to Bullets, just that the damage from them doesn't last. They can slow him down though if he gets enough bullet wounds, but mostly they will just serve to anger him.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Amusingly in the Golden Age shooting at Wonder Woman or any other Amazon was a complete waste of time due to their speed and game of "bullets and bracelets", however sneaking up behind any of them and hitting them over the head with the empty gun was much more effective.
    • The Silver Age "Earth One" Wonder was once stabbed with electrified spears by multiple giants at once, and was only mildly annoyed, meaning all but the most ridiculous caliber artillerally depleted uranium explosive shells should be useless against her, but she still blocks simple handgun fire and even knives from sedentary non super humans every single time.
    • The Golden Age "Earth Two" Wonder Woman has taken bombs to the feet, hands and chest without being so much as tickled by the shrapnel, meaning the back of the head weakness isn't even logical given the explosive shockwave should be hitting that area, but still blocks every last pocket knife and revolver shot with her bracelets. Given the Golden Age Wonder Woman in particular gets her powers from Supernatural Martial Arts, and "Amazon Brain Power", it gives one the impression conditioning has given her a mental need to block rather than a physical one. The other Amazons are not so prodigious in these arts however, "playing" bullets and bracelets with armor on.
    • Later versions got different weaknesses, in an attempt to make danger more believable. In the 1970s television show Wonder Woman needs a full Amazon uniform to have full access to her powers away from her island, and has a low tolerance to chloroform, but that still means that if she's fully suited up a gun is useless, which Wonder Woman mentions in the very first episode while turning away from an assailant with a loaded gun. Nonetheless she still blocks all bullets shot her way, seemingly out of tradition. The post crisis version explicitly has a weakness to "cutting and piercing" attacks, which led to a controversial scene where Wonder Woman fought a monster created by the Titans that could sink warships and level mountains, but could only make her bleed by getting its fingers on a handgun and shooting her shoulder.
    • As writers continuously try to decide on what Wonder Woman's weakness should be and whether shooting should be a factor in it, part of the appeal with the third Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, is that whatever is settled on for the moment does not apply to her. She's always 100% bullet proof outside of Clarke's Third Law or Abnormal Ammo situations. She sometimes doesn't bother to block with or even wear any bracelets (because Sandsmark's weakness is her mother).

    Comic Strips 
  • In an old The Phantom story, the villainess holds the hero at gunpoint in the hold of her flying cargo plane. He'd be at her mercy if the Phantom wasn't known to be, well, a phantom, deathless and vengeful. She has no time for such claptrap, so she's like "love me or die", he's like "nah", so she shoots him. He just stands there dramatically with his arms crossed, doesn't even flinch. She briefly considers the wisdom of angering immortals in confined spaces, and kills herself. As it happens, the Phantom is a mortal man with no superpowers whatsoever; he gets the rep from being the latest in a long line to wear the mask, and goes with it since crime-fighting's easier when criminals are terrified of you. He slinks towards the cockpit, seriously thanking his lucky stars keeping still worked and all he has to do is land a plane with a severe chest wound.
  • Parodied in this scene of Mortadelo y Filemón. We don't see what comes next but it's easy to guess.

    Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars:
    • In chapter 55 several tanks shot at Asuka's Red Whilrwind. It did nothing. So what did they do? You guessed it, shooting again (although the half of the soldiers was smart enough to flee or surrender).
    • Averted when Misato and her troops seized the UN fleet. A soldier shot at her, and when everybody saw the bullet bouncing harmlessly off her Powered Armor they surrendered.
  • Discussed in But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci, where Jack is being chased by Superman and notes that while most criminals with a hint of sense know that shooting Superman is an exercise in wasting bullets, it does at least distract him. He then launches a car seat at Superman's face to give him a few moments to duck into a sporting goods store, whereupon he makes use of a rather more effective Kryptonite spray.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Satan Girl attacks a space ship. They fire at her, realize their weapons are useless and fire once again.
  • Here There Be Monsters: In the second chapter, a crook shoots at Shazam!. Not only is it moronic because he knew it was useless, but also because it gets him charged with attempted murder. His younger partner proves to be smarter by peacefully turning over his gun.
    Lennie scrambled for the window, stuck his gun out, and pumped four shots at the chest of the man who stood beside the car.
    As he expected, the shots ricocheted off the man's red-clad chest, doing some damage to the vehicles in the lot, but, thankfully, hitting no human flesh. Lennie had figured what had happened would happen, but he had to make sure, dammit. At any rate, it made him feel a little better.
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC:
    • Hilariously lampshaded in the short in which Rorschach shoots Deadpool only to find out:
      Rorschach: You don't die, do you?
      Deadpool: Nope.
    • Rorschach then continues to shoot Deadpool throughout the series. However, he never really seems to expect it to have an effect (though once he caused impact by shooting Deadpool's guitar). He usually just does it to shut Deadpool up.
  • In The Institute Saga, a bank robber tries to shoot Superman with predictable results.
  • It happens a lot to Madison in Intrepid due to her power. One guy even throws the gun at her.
  • Averted in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Spectrem gets so angry at Paul for being an Actual Pacifist in the middle of a war that he starts attacking him with different energy beams in an attempt to get Paul to take a swing at him, but stops when it becomes apparent that Paul isn't being harmed in the slightest. Later, when Paul and George have a messy little encounter with the diplomat Lee Ayson, Spectrem doesn't bother to even try to attack Paul, which irks Lee considerably.
    • Played more straight when muggers in Tevri'ed continually attack the four despite swords breaking on Paul's skin and sliding off John's water field. Though after a couple of days of being “fished” they do finally figure it out.
  • Lampshaded in this piece of Supergirl fanart:
    Supergirl: What is wrong with you?! Why do you keep shooting at me? Do you seriously believe that hidden somewhere inside those guns there's a bullet that can actually hurt me?
  • Last Child of Krypton: In this crossover Shinji Ikari is Superman. He gets shot several times, and to nobody's surprise, it does nothing.
  • A Man of Iron: At one point in the second book, A Crack of Thunder, there's an Overly Long Gag of this, as an Ironborn bandit empties a quiver of arrows into Iron Man's armor, breaks his bow in a blow against it, and ends up whaling on him with his bare hands, all to no avail while Tony looks on in bemusement.
  • Subverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide. When Kluge is about to shoot at Rei, he’s reminded that bullets will not hurt her, so he lowers his gun.
  • New Beginnings (Smallville): During his first meeting, Oliver Queen shoots one arrow at Clark Kent. Clark snatches it out of air. Oliver fires four more arrows before getting the idea and saying his bodyguard to not bother pulling a gun.
    Clark reached for the file he had hidden in his rear waistband ignoring the guard pulling a gun on him. "Relax, it's just a file," Clark said lifting his coat to show him.
    "Relax Diggle, I get the feeling shooting him would be a waste of time."
    "Thank you, Ollie," said Clark, passing the folder to Oliver.
  • In Origin Story, the SHIELD agents try to shoot Alex Harris with “Hulk Buster” bullets (designed to take down the roaring green rage-monster himself). As Alex is a Kryptonian, they have no effect at all. Alex even lectures them about how they are more likely to hurt themselves with a ricochet than hurt her with them.
    • Even better, after their bullets prove utterly ineffective, a couple of agents try hitting her with expandable batons.
  • Hilariously parodied in this piece of fanart, where the unseen crooks clearly do know that Power Girl is bulletproof. (Warning: NSFW!)
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: On multiple occasions, Mizore tries to use her ice powers on fire-based beings, only for them to No-Sell it. In Act III, Kuyou even lampshades it when she tries it on him after he goes One-Winged Angel, pointing out that she should know by now that her ice is useless against him.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: In this crossover Asuka is Supergirl. Shooting her works about as well as you'd expect. And to her irritation, thugs keep trying.
    • In chapter 8 one random crook tries to stab her repeatedly. Asuka asks him "you do know the definition of insanity, right?". Two chapters later, she actually praises the intelligence of another random goon who only shoots once before giving up.
  • In Thousand Shinji: During the Geofront invasion, a soldier squad shot Shinji. When they saw that he was not damaged and he was actually smirking, they kept shooting.
  • In Tiberium Wars, Nod militants try to destroy a Mammoth tank with their assault rifles and machine guns. It's described as being as effective as "Trying to dickbox the Mammoth to death".
  • In Warp, Oni Lee shoots Victoria Dallon knowing fully well she's protected by a bulletproof personal force-field. Vicky catches the crumpled bullet and just stares at him. Then Oni Lee shoots her again.

    Films — Animation 
  • This apparently happened to The Incredibles' Mr. Incredible a lot during the Glory Days — one of his souvenirs is a jar full of deformed bullets, labeled 'bullets that bounced off me'.
  • Played with in Megamind. After discovering Metro Man is still alive after Megamind supposedly killed him, Roxanne is furious he deserted the people of Metro City and begins throwing furniture at him. Nothing happens except the furniture getting smashed, naturally.
  • In Superman: Doomsday, this is actually lampshaded when a group of soldiers are about to attack Superman's clone. Superman himself has more luck at it, if only because he's using kryptonite rounds.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man, The Lizard gets one of these moments as an opportunity to prove his ability to regenerate. It's downplayed compared to other examples in that sustained gunfire does hurt him; it's just that a gap in the firing allows him to heal his wounds and keep fighting. It's later played straight when Captain Stacy confronts the Lizard.
  • Some of the Nazi soldiers in Bedknobs and Broomsticks continue shooting at the magically animated suits of armor even when it's become clear there's nothing inside to hurt.
  • Big Trouble in Little China: Well after its established the antagonists are supernatural beings capable manipulating fundamental forces of the universe, The Lancer still tries killing them with mundane weapons like it turns out two of them are vulnerable to such weapons, but only two)
    Jack Burton: Well, it was worth a shot.
  • The Curse of Frankenstein concludes with Baron Frankenstein fighting the monster, shooting it with pistol to no effect. He then throws the pistol at the monster. Again, no effect. Thankfully he throws a lantern next time and that seems to work.
  • Epic Movie (2007) parodies Superman Returns' use of this trope by recreating the later part of the scene; character Peter Pervertsky imagines himself as Superman, except this time the bullet goes straight through his eye, complete with a delicious sound effect.
  • In the film adaptation of Firestarter, the Shop agents keep passing the Idiot Ball from man to man, as one after another tries to shoot Charlie even though she's visibly vaporizing every round that comes near her ... not to mention roasting every failed shooter alive.
  • In a non-superhero example, it's a Friday the 13th tradition for Jason Voorhees, in the event his intended victims actually see him approach, to stand perfectly still as they shoot, strike, and/or throw things at him. If they put up a really feisty show of it, he might even tilt his head a bit, as if to confirm they're all done, before he strides forward, unaffected. However, in the beginning of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason is tricked into an ambush by the FBI, where dozens of agents shoot him before finally killing him with an airstrike. They were taking no chances with this guy, but unfortunately for the world, it still wasn't enough to put him down for good — all it did was turn him into a Body Surfing possessor. Played with in Jason X, with Kay-Em. Lots of bullets and cybernetically-empowered She-Fu kicks do a good job on zombie Jason... not so much on Uber-Jason.
  • Godzilla could well have been the Trope Namer if not for Superman. He faces the standard doomed assault by the Japanese military almost every time he appears (as an antagonist, at least), even though by the time of the sequels, they've had many opportunities to see just how utterly useless that is.
    • In The Return of Godzilla, somebody has the brilliant idea of dropping a nuclear bomb on him even though he was created by an atomic bomb and is powered by nuclear energy.
    • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus has Japan trying to use a Kill Sat that fires an Unrealistic Black Hole to kill Godzilla late in the film, even though the first time it didn't work and brought the other titular monster in the film, which was only stopped by Godzilla himself.
    • In Godzilla (2014), the military continues to use conventional weapons against Godzilla, who has survived multiple nuclear strikes, and even up to the end of the movie small squads of army dudes engage the skyscraper-sized MUTOs with small arms fire.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019):
      • The soldiers who attack Ghidorah with assault rifles. Granted, it's just emerged for the first time in recorded history, but their experience with other titans and the durability it would need just to exist at such a size should have let them know they'd be better off running away. Of course, since they're being stared down by a three-headed dragon the size of a skyscraper, they were presumably too terrified to think straight. Regardless, it has absolutely no effect, and they're disintegrated for their efforts.
      • Several other times in the movie, Rodan and Ghidorah are attacked by equally ineffective weapons. However, in these cases they are fully aware it won't do any damage, and it's just being used to distract them.
      • Early on, Monarch’s attempt to contain Mothra results in one of the soldiers present panicking and opening fire on the gigantic larva. Fortunately, unlike the examples above, she dispatches him and the other soldiers in non-lethal ways.
    • Also several times throughout the film, Dr. Mark Russell makes clear that he believes the film's plot would have been avoided had MONARCH done what it was meant to do and just killed any and all Kaiju that it found as soon as it's got the chance. Conveniently forgetting that most of said kaiju can shrug off and even feed off multi-megaton nukes. And the film hits its definitive From Bad to Worse point when Ghidorah is totally unaffected by the alleged "ultimate weapon" that was the Oxygen Destroyer.
  • Michael Myers of Halloween. This trope gets referenced in the commentary of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers — in a scene where a cop clumsily shoots at Michael, one of the commentators mentions that, as a lifelong resident of Haddonfield, the guy should have realized shooting Michael just pisses him off. Although from the very first movie, shooting Myers does work, as he does get knocked back by bullets. In the fourth Halloween movie, Michael is similarly riddled with bullets, until he falls down a mine. It takes a full year of medical care by a hobo who found him before he fully heals.
  • Hancock: The titular character is constantly being threatened with violence, even from people who know firsthand that he's a Flying Brick. He shrugs off high powered automatic gunfire and explosives, yet when he's in prison inmates think they can beat him up with their bare hands. Although he gets weaker over the course of the film, none of these people actually know that. Given when he arrives in prison they might have thought that he was Brought Down to Normal... but they really should have tested that theory before making threats.
  • Kelly's Heroes: During Oddball's tank squadron attack on the German railway outpost, the German soldiers fire their small arms and bigger machine guns at the tanks. All the bullets don't even faze the Sherman tanks.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • This routine runs throughout Tony Stark's escape from his captors in Iron Man: the guys shoot at his colossal suit of armor with rifles, to no effect, when one guy gets the brilliant idea to fire a pistol at him while he has his hand stuck in a wall. Cue the round deflecting and killing him.note  Then, outside the complex, another group of guys try doing the exact same thing, even when they're standing next to stockpiles of rocket launchers and explosives. One of them finally has the presence of mind to load a .50 Browning fixed machine gun, and even the luck to disable the actuator on his right leg. He still ends up dead from flamethrower and multiple explosions. You can at least understand the guy who shot Tony in the head's line of thinking. He was going for a hopeful weak spot.
    • General Ross's forces are very guilty of this over the course of The Incredible Hulk (2008). The most egregious example has to be the opening, where Ross sends in a special forces team that has not been prepped on the existence of the Hulk. When Banner is cornered and the inevitable happens, we get a close-up view of the tranquilizer darts they've been equipped with shattering on the Hulk's skin. The finale of the film also has General Ross attempting to "cut (the Abomination) in half" with a .50 caliber machine gun, despite the fact that it shrugged off a hit from a bazooka.
    • Captain America and his impenetrable shield get many such moments in his movies (Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War). In The Winter Soldier, Cap gets a minigun turned on him, and simply deflects the shots into the baddie's partners, then charges at the minigun toter and knocks him down. At least only one of his sides at a time is going to be invulnerable, which justifies the attempts. Additionally, there is the rare time where Captain America does get shot in the body without his shield being in the way in time. Usually then he's winded but his body armor is enough to save him.
    • In The Avengers (2012), when the Big Bad Loki shows up to steal the Tesseract, SHIELD agents fire at him with no success. Justified since they didn't know how durable Loki was, and for the rest of the movie they don't attack him small arms.
    • Zig-zagged in Ant-Man. The actual idea of shooting Scott when he's shrunken is pretty absurd (mind you, he's smaller than an ant; the bullet might be still able to hit him but aiming at something that tiny and nimble would be nearly impossible) but some goons try it anyway. However the circumstances of both attempts somehow turn this into a boon for the shooters as during the first attempt he's standing on a scale model that becomes trashed by the bullets, causing him to be harried by all the debris that's being kicked up by the gunfire. The second time it happens, the one shooting manages to shoot the exact ant that Scott is riding on, which was coming at him from a cloud of literally hundreds.
    • One of Thanos' first acts in Avengers: Infinity War is dishing out a Curb-Stomp Battle on the Hulk, without even using any of the Infinity Stones. By the time he finally arrives on Earth, he has gained all but one of the stones. In a justified example of this trope the Avengers desperately throw everything they have at Thanos, even small arms — the Avengers are the only things standing between Thanos and the last stone, and if he got his hands on it, he would kill half of all life in the universe. With no time to prepare they just threw whatever they had at Thanos in the hopes that something worked.
  • The Matrix: The Agents are established early on as being programmed to be fast enough to dodge bullets. This doesn't stop the heroes from unloading clips on them.
  • Rick O'Connell and various other characters in The Mummy (1999) waste many bullets shooting at Imhotep until they are informed by the local Mr. Exposition that the title mummy is, in fact, Immune to Bullets. At least the shotgun can knock him over or make him flinch.
  • RoboCop:
    • Generally speaking, there is no point in shooting at RoboCop with anything less than anti-tank weaponry. Of course this makes RoboCop's eventual fall all the more shocking. In RoboCop 2, RoboCop does this when shooting at... RoboCop II, as his replacement is even more heavily armored than he is. Noticing that doesn't work, even with big gun he's using, he at least shoots off his replacement's Shoulder Cannon since it fired explosive bullets. RoboCop II notices that the minigun it was using was useless in the fight so he resorted to using his hands.
    • In RoboCop 3, someone does have the bright idea that shooting RoboCop in the mouth would work, since its the only part of him not covered in armor. However, by this point, RoboCop is so Shrouded in Myth that some people think that he EATS bullets, and when he confronts the thugs in question, he's got them so panicked by his approach that the thug with the gun can't shoot at the approaching cyborg, and ultimately drops his weapon. It probably helped that RoboCop was ON FIRE at the time.
  • A non-human example pops up in Saving Private Ryan, where a critically wounded character fires his pistol at an approaching tank, since there's nothing else he can do.
  • In SHAZAM! (2019), Billy learns that he's bulletproof after a robber tries shooting him. He and Freddy are so excited by this discovery that they actually order the robbers to keep shooting him. Which they duly do until they run out of bullets.
  • Star Wars:
    • The original trilogy depicts fighters attacking large ships as this, when in The Empire Strikes Back a transport being sent out with only a couple of X-Wings to protect it against a Star Destroyer doesn't get much confidence from the pilots until it's brought up that a giant Ion Cannon will be covering them.
    • The battle droids and their ilk in the prequel trilogy just can't get enough of shooting their blasters at Jedi — who routinely deflect the relatively slow blasts away with their super-reflexes and lightsabres, often right back at the shooter. Of course, it's not like they have any better alternative. It does work sometimes, mostly when having an overwhelming advantage and not targeting main characters. Jango Fett manages to shoot a nameless Jedi knight (but has no luck against Mace Windu) in episode II, and overwhelming numbers of clone troopers successfully attack the Jedi temple in episode III, while at the same time a number of surprised Jedi around the galaxy are killed by their own troopers who suddenly turn on them. But normally, the average mook can never realistically expect such an outcome.
  • The platoon protecting the president in Superman II does this with the Krypton Criminals. They empty their clips into General Zod and company, and when the bullets all bounce off harmlessly, they reload and shoot at the three Kryptonians some more.
  • In Superman Returns, a criminal turns a freaking Gatling gun (and not just the usual 7.62mm minigun -- this was a full-on 20mm M61!) on Superman. Even after he's emptied an entire belt of high-powered ammunition into the guy's chest without so much as scuffing the insignia, he still thinks it's a bright idea to move on to a regular pistol and try to shoot for Superman's eyes. We're then treated to a Bullet Time effect of the bullet actually bouncing off Superman's eyeball. Golly. Superman takes a moment to flash a sardonic, "how dumb can you get?" smile at the thug just before giving him great quantities of what-for. Offscreen, however.
  • Done really oddly in Syngenor. Some mooks stand and shoot at the Super-Soldier monsters that are supposed to be Immune to Bullets, only to find that... bullets work on them. But then they get killed anyway because they keep standing still so that the surviving monsters are able to lumber up to them and attack at close range.
  • Played straight in the Terminator films. Small arms guns like pistols, shotguns and machineguns, at best, only stun the Terminator and knock it off balance. The only way to defeat them is with the use of explosives and the environment.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand subverts this twice. The first subversion occurs when the military uses plastic guns against Magneto so he doesn't turn their own weapons on them, prompting Magneto to sardonically acknowledge that they do learn. The second one occurs when Logan, who has an adamantium skeleton tries to attack Magneto and gets easily subdued by him. However, Logan was simply distracting Magneto so that Beast could sneak up behind him and inject him with the cure, robbing him of his powers.
    • In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the military scientists who made Wolverine immune to bullets decide to stop him by sending an assassin, armed with bullets, to kill the man who is immune to bullets. As they watch their plan fail, they comment on the fact that the assassin never stood a chance because he wasn't using the special adamantium bullets they had right there next to them!
    • In Deadpool (2016), Ajax's minions continue to try to shoot Deadpool with normal guns, to predictable results. At least at the beginning, it was justifiable, as Ajax's thugs didn't know that it was Wade Wilson that they were fighting, so didn't know that bullets were an annoyance to him at best. Afterward, when they know both who he is and what he can do, Ajax's commandos still try to fight Deadpool with assault rifles and shotguns, and he just as predictably charges through the bullets to cut them all apart.
    • In addition to the title character, Deadpool 2 has Juggernaut. Cable works with Deadpool because Juggernaut is too dangerous to fight on his own. Despite Cable's gun from the future doing no real damage to Juggernaut, everyone still resorts to using small arms against him, even though they never work.

  • Nicodemus from The Dresden Files is Nigh-Invulnerable. We find this out when someone empties her entire clip of bullets into him, reloads, and does it again, while he just stands there, sighs, rolls his eyes, and waves his hand in a "let's get this over with" gesture. On the other hand, sufficient dakka proves to be capable of ripping him apart badly enough that he needs a minute to regenerate.
  • Drizzt of The Legend of Drizzt will punk a Mook who seems to think that he's got a shot against him. In Sea of Swords, for example, using just his scimitars, he twists the sword out of his opponent's hands, and then, still using just his scimitars, juggles it, before offering it back hilt first with some encouragement.
  • In Lilith's Brood, the Oankali have a Healing Factor that renders them Nigh-Invulnerable. This does not stop certain humans from trying to shoot them. Repeatedly.
  • Nemesis Series: In Dreadnought, the protagonist Danny is shot with a SMG by a liquor store robber she caught red-handed. Her only response is "Dude! Not cool!".
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, a group of constables attempt to subdue Daylen by shooting him with shotspikes when he resists arrest, but with his extreme Healing Factor, he ignores them.
  • Happens all the freakin' time in Secret Histories, when Mooks try to gun down a Drood, only to see their opponent's golden armor deflect or absorb every last bullet. If it's Battle Couple Eddie Drood and Molly Metcalf they're firing on, said Mooks typically shift from aiming at the former to the latter, only to witness her magical protections transform their bullets into butterflies en route.
  • In John Ringo's "Space Bubbles" series, the good guys do this a lot. After the first Dreen war, the found that small caliber weapons were ineffective against the larger Dreen. So when they go exploring space, what do they bring? Small caliber Gatling guns, capable of shooting a whole lot of bullets that do nothing in a short period of time. While on this first mission, they encounter aliens with shells that only Bergs .50 cal can penetrate. Later, they go off on a mission again, still wielding the same underpowered guns. Justified; after the first Dreen war personal weapons were up gunned. During the second book they never return to Earth to re-arm, they only have the weapons that are on the ship. After the second book the marines up gun again to .50 Gatling guns.
  • This occurs near the climax of The Spirit Ring. All right, the first vat of burning oil poured on the Living Statue of molten bronze is an acceptable result of soldiers resorting to training in a stressful situation. However, the second and third vat used while said statue is laughing at them...
  • In Ultimate Hero, this trope is subverted; the title superhero, Ultimate, is killed by a pistol. On the other hand, it was a gun specially designed to kill him.
  • In Witches Abroad, Granny Weatherwax seems to consider her sister to be doing this as soon as she tries a magical attack a second time on Baron Saturday, who was unaffected by the first.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Surprisingly subverted in the series finale of the Salkind's The Adventures of Superboy program. In the final episode, Superboy catches some crooks in the process of robbing a bank and they wisely put their guns down, something for which he compliments them. Ironically, his heat vision (as well as all his other powers) was going haywire that day and had to flare up just then, frying the surrendering crooks.
  • The Boys (2019)
    • In the second episode having captured superhero Translucent, the protagonists have to run through various methods of killing him (including shooting him with a specially-made bullet) because while each supe has a Weaksauce Weakness, it's unique to them and the problem is finding it.
    • A season 2 episode plays it for horror. When a special forces unit convenes outside an ISIS bomb manufacturing center, they're about to go in, when Homelander says he'll take over the operation. Homelander enters the building and announces himself to the ISIS gunmen, who immediately open fire. Homelander just calmly walks around the building using his heat vision to behead, dismember, and disembowel the terrorist who fire hundreds of rounds, that bounce off harmlessly, at him.
  • Doctor Who — No matter what century it is, and no matter how many times The Doctor tells them not to, people always unload clip after clip at Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, etc. When will they learn that Five Rounds Rapid doesn't work? Heck, the one time conventional weapons did work it got a Lampshade Hanging. On one occasion, the Brigadier commented, "Just once I would like to encounter an alien menace that wasn't Immune to Bullets."
    • On one occasion, the Doctor himself advises it against a Dalek on the basis that More Dakka might work — not that it does.
  • The first major appearance of the Reverse-Flash in The Flash (2014) has the cops point their guns at him, including Eddie. Reverse-Flash looks at him and asks him if he even reads his girlfriend's (Iris) blog, where she writes a lot about the Flash (MitYS has the same powers). Naturally, when the cops open fire, he easily dodges all the bullets and slaughters the entire team, except for Eddie and Joe. In the Season 1 finale, Eddie is smart enough to remember this and instead shoots himself, Ret-Goning the Reverse-Flash (his future descendant) from existence.
    • During their fight, Oliver succeeds in hitting Barry with arrows several times, but this is only because, as Oliver points out earlier in the same episode, Barry lacks tactical sense and doesn't bother to scout out an area first. Basically, Oliver is simply better prepared. Later, Oliver even manages to hit MitYS with arrows, although, once again, the element of surprise is involved.
    • Zoom displays the same feat as Reverse-Flash, being able to Bullet Catch the gunfire from an entire room of cops using one hand.
    • Later on, Vandal Savage manages to hit Barry with a thrown blade, but that's only because he throws a lot very fast at Barry's friends, forcing Barry to be more worried about them than his own safety. Besides, Savage had centuries to practice his skills.
    • On Earth-3, their version of the Trickster empties the clip of his submachinegun at Jay Garrick only for Garrick to catch them all with his helmet (taken from Zoom). However, the Trickster had one more, well, trick up his sleeve and revealed that he was strapped with a bomb about to go off. Luckily, Barry arrives and disarms the bomb in a matter of seconds.
    • It's actually played with for Savitar. His armor is bulletproof, but he's not. He meets his demise through Iris shooting him with a gun.
    • In the Crisis on Earth-X crossover, when Nazis from an alternate Earth crash Barry and Iris's wedding, Barry and Wally end up playing bullet-catch in order to protect the guests. At one point, Wally catches a bunch of bullets from an SMG and tosses one right back into the barrel, causing the gun to explode right in the Nazi's face.
  • This happens to Ralph Hinkley occasionally in The Greatest American Hero, with Ralph covering his face out of instinct; played with in that this only happens when he wears the super suit that was given to him by aliens in the first episode.
  • In the penultimate episode of Grimm, the team tries to do this to the Zerstörer, to no effect. Hank even reloads and tries again before Zerstörer reaches him and, let's just say... puts a stop to the shooting.
  • Appropriately enough, lampshaded in Lois & Clark. When a secret agent pulls a gun on Superman, he just smiles sympathetically and says, "Let me guess, you're new in town." In another episode, Lex Luthor's ex-wife points a gun at Superman and he says he thought she was smarter than that. It turns out she's smart enough to use a bullet made of Kryptonite but not enough to make sure nobody would remove the bullet before its radiation kills Superman.
  • In the Season 6 season premiere of Lost, Bram and his team shoot at The-Man-in-Black-who-is-Masquerading-as-John-Locke, who then reveals himself to be the smoke monster, killing Bram and his team. While it is unknown if they actually knew what they were dealing with at the time, it's pretty obvious that the writers set up to prove exactly this point — that the Smoke Monster is invulnerable to bullets. Bram even picks up the bullet from the floor during a lull in the battle. Once the smoke monster is made mortal after the heart of the island is uncorked, however, he's as vulnerable to bullets as anyone.
  • Played for Laughs in Luke Cage (2016). Luke, who has bulletproof skin, goes into Colon's Gym looking for Domingo. After fighting off a group of his men, two of them point guns at him.
    Luke Cage: I guess you guys haven't heard about me, have you?
    [Domingo's men empty their guns into Luke. The bullets just rip holes in his jacket and ricochet into everything else. Luke just stands there with a bored look of "Are you done?"]
    Luke Cage: ...I'm about sick of always having to buy new clothes.
  • Al Bundy hilariously lampshades this trope in a later episode of Married... with Children, while watching what was most likely an episode of the George Reeves TV series. He observes, "The bad guys shoot Superman a dozen times, see the bullets bounce off, so they throw their guns at him. It's like they can't kill him, so they think they'd give him a really bad bruise! What a bunch of morons!"
  • In Prince of Space, the villainous aliens constantly attack the eponymous hero with their laser weapons, despite his constant insistence that these weapons cannot harm him. And yet he continues dodging them anyway, because his "immunity" to their weapons is an invention of the English dub. In the original Japanese Language cut, he was just really good at evading gunfire.
  • Smallville: Occasionally trotted out in, particularly in "Exile," where Clark (infected with red kryptonite) robs a bank. When the cops get there, Clark pretends to go for a gun, and they shoot him. A lot. He just stands there for a while before getting bored and using heat vision to blow up a cop car. Although Clark seems to enjoy snatching bullets out of the air and showing them to look extra badass. Subverted in "Extinction." Clark hears someone shooting at him and turns to catch the bullet. He's visibly shocked when the kryptonite round goes through his hand and into his shoulder. Justified a lot, as a lot of criminals shoot at Clark, not knowing he's invulnerable. Also, in Season 1 this trope would be played with, as Clark was only just developing his invulnerability, so he would be as surprised as the villains when this didn't work. For example, in "Pilot" he is surprised (and a bit scared) when he survives being hit by Lex's car, and in the episode "Hug" a Brainwashed and Crazy Lex tries to kill Clark with an automatic rifle, and both Clark and his parents are shocked to learn he can survive automatic weapon fire.
  • While more technology than invulnerability, when going up against one of the Goa'uld in Stargate SG-1, the team unloads rounds of gunfire towards him, only to be deflected by the shield. Jack O'Neill then throws a blade (not the gun he was just firing, that would have probably fallen far short), which penetrates the shield.
    • This is explained in show — certain kinds of personal shield can be penetrated by slow-moving objects. Useless shooting seems to be SGC standard procedure for dealing with both Kull warriors and human-form Replicators, both of whom are completely immune to bullets. It's possible that the bullet-shooters are trying to act as distractions for whoever has the gun that will actually kill the enemy, though.
    • There is a straighter example in the episode where Teal'c is trapped in the virtual reality of the chair. The setting is an invasion by a Kull Warrior of Anubis. The military personnel keeps firing on it with ordinary weaponry (instead of doing something smart like evacuating or trapping the Kull Warrior in a corridor), completely ignoring the fact that the Kull Warrior can only killed by a special weapon. This includes O'Neill himself. For all its trying to be realistic, the program apparently makes its friendly AIs incredibly stupid.
    • Too many Jaffa (and sometimes even SGC personnel) seem to forget that energy-based weapons can't work on Replicators, and they need to use bullets. (Especially after it being proven that the P90 is better than the staff weapon at everything besides melee and intimidation.)
      • Staff weapons do work on Replicators (unlike Zats), but they're too imprecise for most warriors to have a shot at hitting a fast-moving target like a Replicator. Only someone as well-trained as Teal'c or Bra'tac can do so reliably (Teal'c once manages to hit a Replicator with a staff weapon without even looking).
  • Supergirl (2015):
    • This naturally happens to the title character, despite the fact that her cousin is already a well-known superhero in this 'verse. When Superman shows up, sure enough, a pair of bank robbers are dumb enough to shoot him too, and one tries to punch him too. Clark is amused.
      Superman: Now, see, if the bullets don't work, right...why the punching? Never understood that.
    • Subverted in a later episode when Supergirl confronts some robbers. Just as she scoffs about one aiming an ordinary gun at her, the other guy unleashes an electrical blast that knocks her back.
  • As mentioned in the Trope description, this initially came from the old live-action Superman movie serials and the George Reeves TV series. Superman would confront a crook, the crook would shoot at Superman, who stood there with his fists on his hips while the bullets bounced off his invulnerable skin. Then the crook would throw the now-empty gun at Superman, who would duck or dodge it. Of course, the real reason for this was that the "ricochet" effects were drawn onto the celluloid film stock after the fact, and the actors playing Superman had to duck so as not to get cracked in the head with a prop gun. Still, it does look quite silly... Later seasons, someone must have noticed and came up with having the mooks throw rubber or foam guns at Reeves so that they'd bounce off his padded chest. A played with version occurs in "The Evil Three"; one of the villains tries to kill Superman with his sword, but he's unaware Superman is invulnerable.
    • It COULD make sense that Superman attempted to dodge the empty gun, to prevent said gun from ricocheting and hitting a bystander.
  • In Supernatural using bullets or guns are generally completely useless. There can be exceptions such as the Colt and how various beings aren't immune to specific types of bullets, there are beings immune to both. However in situations where bullets do not work it is usually when the shooter is not aware they won't work.
  • Back and forth in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. When dealing with Terminators, small arms fire generally doesn't do much more than annoy them, and when the main characters use them it's either to slow them down or as a way to distract them, although in great quantities, More Dakka sometimes does have an effect. The only small arms that do have a reliable effect are shotgun slugs, special armor-piercing rounds, and high explosives. Of course, characters that don't know what they're fighting will frequently and continuously spray a Terminator with bullets even after they see how useless it is.
  • Wonder Woman (1975):
    • Often played straight, thus giving Wonder Woman a chance to do her "bullets and bracelets" stunt. Hilariously subverted in the pilot, however, where Red Buttons plays a shady showbiz promoter working for the Nazis. Wonder Woman tracks down the Nazi agents, most of whom have yet to encounter her. Understandably, they therefore open fire at the strange chick in the bathing suit, with predictable results. Buttons' character, however, previously saw Wonder Woman deflect an entire magazine from a machine gun. He does unload his revolver at Wonder Woman, but doesn't even bother aiming, with an expression on his face that clearly shows he's just shooting for appearance's sake.
    • Much like the Golden and Silver Age comic books, this version of Wonder Woman often endured far more punishment than any 20th century handgun could dish out. One episode has her take an unblocked shot from a laser strong enough to erupt volcanoes across the globe, which should a twenty five ton output minimum, and all it does is mess up her hair, yet she still insists on blocking every last bullet. There was another episode where she appears to fail to block a bullet and be seriously wounded, but then it's revealed that she was faking the whole thing. Still, her younger amazon sister with the exact same powers believed a bullet could hurt this woman.
  • The final season of The X-Files has a heroic version: Doggett always tries to shoot the completely invulnerable Super Soldiers no matter how many times it doesn't work. Eventually one of them calls him on it. Doggett, being the skeptic, presumably does not believe in the Super Soldiers or their invulnerability. He probably assumes that, despite being an FBI agent who is probably a pretty good shot, he's just been missing them all this time. Technically, they can be killed, but that requires one to be a very good shot and hit them right at the base of the neck right behind the jaw.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Definitely used against the player characters in Call of Cthulhu. Many of the monsters are horrifically powerful and have defenses which no player character can realistically hope to break. And if the near-impossible happens and you somehow defeat an Eldritch Abomination by, say, ramming it in the head with a ship, it usually has Plot Armor which means it will survive. Guns are useful only against the weakest Mythos creatures and cultists. And yourself. And whoever got you into this mess.
  • The Dresden Files RPG has a rule for players who end up doing this. If a player spends more than one fate point on an attack on an enemy that turns out to be invulnerable to that attack, they get all but one fate point back.
  • Justified in Dungeons & Dragons — and many other role-playing-games — in which literally any attack will hurt literally anyone as long as the attacker rolls a 20 on a 20-sided die (or a similarly rare optimal roll in games that use different dice for resolution). For example, D&D rules permits 1 in 20 attacks to hit a high AC target, where 10 thugs empty out revolvers at Superman, an average three of those shots will qualify as a hit.
    • Going by D&D rules, Superman would likely have a huge Damage Reduction (which a natural 20 does not nullify), rendering them just as ineffective as before. Furthermore, such high defenses would make it impossible to land a critical hit, resulting in no damage.
    • Some more amorphous entities, like golems or the undead, are immune to critical hits. Since crits are supposed to represent getting a lucky hit through your target's defenses or directly in a weak spot, this obviously wouldn't apply to a Determinator that doesn't stop short of Critical Existence Failure. Creatures immune to such critical hits are just treated as receiving normal damage.
    • This can happen with magic as well. Golems can only be affected by a tiny assortment of spells, and sometimes a creature has a quality which allows it a level-based chance to ignore a magical attack. A caster might have a zero-percent chance to affect an enemy. A spell caster can overcome this by using magic creatively, for example, disintegrating the bridge a golem is walking across rather than targeting the golem itself.
    • Early editions of D&D had some monsters that were completely unharmed by mundane weapons note , or even magic ones of an insufficient "plus". Such creatures' durability was often derided by frustrated players as the "you must be X tall to fight this thing" rule, and were ultimately supplanted by Damage Reduction as of the 3rd Edition.
  • In HeroClix, a roll of double sixes is a "Critical Hit" — it automatically hits regardless of what number you actually needed to roll, and deals one extra damage that can't be mitigated by defense powers. So, if you're suitably desperate, there's really no reason for your hapless mook to not take a swing at Galactus. Maybe you'll get that 12.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: the Superman Expy Legacy has the Fortitude card used to reduce damage taken, which depicts him No Selling a hail of bullets.
  • Averted in Warhammer and possible but uncommon in Warhammer 40,000. In the older editions of the later, if a unit's toughness stat is four points higher than the strength of an attack thrown at it, the attack can't hurt it. In the former, any unit can be harmed by a hit if the attacker rolls a six on a six-sided dice to wound, and no matter what, armor has a minimum 1 in 6 chance to fail. After all saves, any attack has at least a tiny chance to hurt the enemy. Interestingly, the current editions actually favor a big group of Mooks attacking a single powerful unit, since not do their mass of attacks and numbers mean they can beat it a battle of attrition, but they get automatic bonuses to their combat resolution meaning they can win without inflicting any harm on target.
    • Prior editions of Warhammer 40,000 did not allow troops to flee close combat from an enemy they have no chance in heck of hurting, meaning that the squad would refuse to try to flee an unwinnable combat and be locked in that fight until slaughtered or their morale broke and they fled. So if your Red Shirt Army Imperial Guardsmen — basically normal guys — were in close combat with a walking death tank they could not damage, they would continue to beat it with the stocks of their rifles for no damage until they were killed or their morale was broken. 6th Edition (current as of early 2013) allows tropes to choose to flee if they have exactly zero chance to damage an enemy in close combat. In either case, they have a chance to be swept off the table when they flee.
      • Additionally, in 6th edition, a unit can charge a unit which they have zero chance to injure. This might be worthwhile if tying up the enemy in close combat is more important than whatever lambs are being sent to slaughter.
      • Of course, this is all fully in keeping with the usual tactics of the Imperial Guard, who tend to operate on Zerg Rush and We Have Reserves. Depending on the story, this can be portrayed as callous and stupid commanders sending people needlessly to their deaths, heroism in the face of insurmountable odds when surrender would mean death or worse anyway, or good strategy where weak attacks may appear ineffective to being with but ultimately prevail as long as you have enough millions of men to throw into the fight (or are just a distraction until the overwhelming artillery and armour roll in).
      • Orks also tend to use the same sort of tactics, in their case simply because they enjoy fighting above all else. Your enemy may be completely invulnerable to everything you can hit it with, but hey, at least you're having fun hitting it.
      • When it comes to Warhammer, always specify which edition because things change. As of eighth edition Warhammer 40,000, and Age of Sigmar, this trope is Averted. Enough flea bites will down anything, as any attack has at a minimum a 1 in 6 chance to hit, a 1 in 6 chance to wound, and the enemy will fail to save 1 time in 6 at worst, doing one damage. It may statistically take thousands of shots, but it can happen with enough chances. We will see what happens in 9th Edition and in future Age of Sigmar products.
    • In the associated Warhammer 40,000 RPGS Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, Black Crusade, and Only War, this can happen to the player characters or to the mooks. Many supernatural creatures, technologically advanced aliens, particularly wealthy and important Imperial citizens, and Space Marines are simply immune to the weapons available to flunkies by virtue of armor, force fields, and/or superhuman toughness. Since these things exist in one continuity, it is entirely possible for the players or the enemies to unload lasgun shot after lasgun shot with no chance to do damage at all.

  • In Assassins, Hinckley fires his gun repeatedly at a photograph of President Reagan. Each shot causes the Reagan photograph to disappear, then reappear brighter than before.

    Video Games 
  • The manual for one of the original The Bard's Tale games had a hilarious warning/lampshade of this, pointing out "You are trekking across a frozen glacier, when a giant snow wolf suddenly appears, bares its teeth, and proceeds to chew your leg off. You have a bag of magical tricks to choose from, but one of them would be particularly effective. Hint: trying to freeze the snow wolf in an ice storm is not the best choice."
  • Used and subverted in the backstory to Batman: Arkham City. The Ratcatcher, a D-List supervillain with the power to control rats, ran afoul of the Penguin. For irony's sake, the Penguin tried to kill Ratcatcher by feeding him to hungry rats, only for the rodents to just leave him alone. The Penguin ended up settling for feeding Ratcatcher to his pet shark.
  • You can achieve this in Dark Souls 2 with this Anti mage build. Enemy spellcasters will keep shooting magic at you, which will do practically nothing. This can also happen with enemy players, if they can't really fight with anything but magic. You can still get staggered or knocked back from spells, though.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Giant Fist: Though none of the player characters are impervious to bullets, it becomes this when they can just as easily block or dodge bullets, use a special attack to cut through the gunfire, or just grab the bullet to flick back at the shooter.
  • In various Fire Emblem games, the AI enemies will always attack one of your characters should someone be within range, regardless of their own accuracy against said character or whether or not they can inflict any damage at all. This can easily be played around with, allowing you to place a unit with insanely high defense in the way and allowing the enemy to repeatedly attack you, while you counterattack and your weaker characters are safely too far away/blocked off.
  • Before enemies diversify their tactics later in The Force Unleashed, it's perfectly possible to win fights by standing still and deflecting enemies lasers back at them with Starkiller's lightsaber. The various Mooks you face will continue to fire, God bless their soul, even after all their allies have been downed by deflected laser beams.
  • In inFAMOUS, once you get Polarity Wall no bullet will ever hit you in that direction. Heck, if you upgrade it getting shot gives you health.
  • Cops in the Katamari Damacy games will shoot at your mountain-sized katamari to no effect.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: This trope angers HK-47. When asked how he would kill a Jedi, the start of his response is as follows: "Weapon selection is critical. If I see one more idiot attacking a Jedi with a blaster pistol, then i'll kill them myself.". He then goes on to name a number of tactics and weapons that could be much more effective than a gun if used creatively: land mines, grenades, painfully loud noise weapons, sniping, taking friends and loved ones hostage, etc. (Full scene here.) In-game however, blasters are still effective against Jedi and Sith, only less so than against other characters.
  • In LEGO Batman 2, certain characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman are completely immune to all damage. This doesn't stop everyone from random street thugs to evil genius Lex Luthor trying to kill them.
  • In the various MechWarrior and MechAssault games, infantry will attack your BattleMech with their rifles to no avail until you crush them with the Giant Foot of Stomping. In MechWarrior Living Legends, the default weapon for BattleArmor does almost no damage to tanks or mechs, but battlearmor players can use it to piss off mech pilots by spraying the cockpit with it to blind them with Bullet Sparks and prevent them from transferring C-Bills to their allies.
  • The flashback scene of PAGUI, where the Ghost King appears physically for the first time to a group of soldiers trying to massacre a village. The soldiers tries firing their rifles at the Ghost-King, who absorbs all their shots without even flinching.
  • In the Generation 1 Pokémon games, this could be the case. Because of the programming, trainers would always use attacks super effective against your Pokemon's type...even if your Pokemon's other type was immune, and even if the "attack" isn't actually an attack, such as using Amnesia relentlessly against Fighting Pokemon. As such, one could sweep through the entire Celadon Gym with a Level 5 Bulbasaur because every trainer, seeing that he is Grass type, would use Poisonpowder every turn, despite the fact that his Poison half makes him immune to the attack. Generation VI introduces the grass starters final form Chesnaught who's hidden ability Bulletproof makes it immune to any bullet or bomb based moves. The AI will occasionally ignore this fact even after several applications of a move it is immune to.
    • As Alex Mercer succinctly puts it: "Nothing can protect you from me! Not men! Not weapons! Not armor!" When Alex Mercer shows up, shooting is pretty much your only recourse. Running won't work either, nor will surrender. All tanks do is irritate him by knocking him over, he'll just hijack your helicopter — unless, of course, he decides to smash your tank in one blow and throw it at the chopper — and bullets might as well be Nerf darts. Hell, the guy survives a nuke to the face. While bullets are able to hurt you, the damage they deal is not significant unless you just stand there and let them shoot you.
    • And then, in [PROTOTYPE 2], this gets extended even further. Heller can acquire a passive power that works like Alex's shield, so anyone trying to shoot him with small arms will get killed by ricochets with no effort on his part. Heller then gets a shield that's improved over Alex's — it not only covers him completely, but it'll reflect tank rounds and rockets as well. Heller himself does this at the start of the game, when he decides he's going to try to stab Mercer to death.
      • Upgrading Heller's defensive ability will render him completely immune to small arms fire. Explosives will still hurt though.
  • The first Splatoon downplays this with two of its Limit Breaks. The Bubbler and the Kraken make their users temporarily invincible, and instead all damage sources make them suffer knockback. With a weapon that has the fire rate to support it (and outranges the opponent's in the case of the Bubbler) it's possible to keep them at bay, or even knock them out-of-bounds into water or a Bottomless Pit, by firing at them.
  • Played with in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League: The titular Suicide Squad are all D-List supervillains who primarily use guns that are tasked with killing the Justice League (who save for Wonder Woman are all now Brainwashed and Crazy). Naturally this initially doesn't work, which is why the story missions involve developing ways to counteract their abilities so that they're sufficiently weak enough to be killed by shooting them (including Superman, who is specifically dealt with via Kryptonite Bullets).
  • Averted in the Super Smash Bros. series: Grabbing a star makes you immune to damage, knock-back, and hitstun, and all the CPU players will avoid you to the best of their ability rather than waste their time attacking. Some human players, however, have a hard time figuring that out.
  • Superman: Shadow of Apokalips has an example that, oddly enough, does not involve Superman. When Metallo comes gunning for Lex Luthor, Luthor's big plan is to have his bodyguard Mercy shoot Metallo with a machine gun. This isn't meant to distract Metallo so that Luthor can escape or anything like that, Luthor genuinely seemed to think this would work and had an Oh, Crap! reaction when it didn't. What makes this worse is that in this continuity, Luthor was the one responsible for turning Metallo into a cyborg, would know exactly how tough he is, and has access to energy weapons powerful enough to hurt him. But no, just have Mercy use a machine gun.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • Regular Übercharges are indestructible. You will accomplish absolutely nothing by blazing away with that shotgun at the Medic while that glowing Russian force of minigun-wielding death incarnate shoots you to bits with his much, much more effective minigun. Doesn't stop people from trying, though, God bless 'em. However, stronger weapons can slow down the Übercharged pair, and weapons with knockback ability like explosives or Pyro's airblast can knock them around the air, potentially separating the Medic from his patient, or knocking one of them into a Bottomless Pit, so people with those weapons can give it a shot, even if it's just try to distract them while your Medics and Engineers run for it. Sentries, notably, also tend to auto-target Übercharged enemies — while not a useless tactic, since sentries have good knockback, it's pretty close, especially when less-invulnerable targets are walking around.
    • Downplayed with the Quick-Fix medigun's Übercharge. It doesn't make the Medic and his patient invincible, but instead VERY rapidly heals them. Things that kill in a single shot (sniper rifle headshots, crit rockets), enough stickies, or simply enough concentrated firepower to overwhelm the overheal can still finish them off, so shooting them is still a smart idea. If all you have is a shotgun, however, it is still a better idea to run for it.
    • Bonk! Atomic Punch is invincibility in a can (though you trade your ability to attack while active), but like with Übercharges Scout is still vulnerable to knockback while under its effects. Any damage blocked by the drink will temporarily slow the Scout after the effects end, so shooting him isn't a complete waste of time, if there's nothing else to shoot at. Before that effect was added, though, smart players averted this trope by ignoring Bonked Scouts completely.
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane has a combat system with damage types, units with resistances to damage types, and an AI that does not pay attention to them. This is most noticeable with ghosts, who are immune to physical and poison damage. Park a ghost in the middle of melee units that only deal that type of damage, and in a few turns they'll all be dead from the ghosts' counterattacks.
  • The World Ends with You: At the end, we get (the entirety of) a flashback to events before the game, which features Sho Minamimoto shooting at Joshua. This cutscene takes place in the RG, where Sho is Brought Down to Normal and assumes that Joshua is too, so his first shot is justified because he doesn't know that his target is capable of stopping the bullet in mid-flight. However, after said bullet stops, Sho empties the rest of his chambers in Joshua's direction, which falls firmly into this trope.
  • The number of players who try in vain to shoot at the front of a T95 or T110E3 in World of Tanks is mind-boggling. They are both known for being The Juggernaut in their respective tiers — slow, but well armed and almost impossible to kill head-on, thanks to the foot-thick slab of steel mounted on the front of the tank. Any tank with insufficient penetration power is simply going to end up bouncing round after round off these things. A well positioned T95 can cause even FV215b (183) shells — usually a One-Hit Kill to lesser tanks — to just glance off its thick armor plating.
  • Averted in World of Warcraft where enemies will not attack an invincible player if there are other players to attack. Other players in PvP however tend to whack at the invincible enemy for some time before realizing it isn't working and switch to hauling ass.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where in both cutscenes and gameplay, squads upon squads of soldiers fire on Wolverine, but he has a healing factor and indestructible skeleton. They don't.


    Web Originals 
  • Occurs in the DEATH BATTLE! episode Robocop vs The Terminator. Robocop still tries using his giant pistol against the Terminator, despite understanding that he's essentially shooting at a titanium skeleton, and the Terminator tries using guns against Robocop despite knowing he's shooting at something covered in titanium and kelvar. This trope is ultimately one of the reasons for Robocop's victory, he uses a number of explosives, the Terminator mostly uses small arms.
  • In Fine Structure, the appropriately named "Fight Scene" chapter has Flying Brick Arika take on a squad of Flying Brick Super Soldiers and endure all manner of hurt at the command of their leader. After she survives a cruise missile, she hovers over him and he empties his clip at the hero in what is explicitly a mere show of defiance.
  • Hero House gives us a classic example in episode one, using the Trope Namer himself.
  • On the Bro Trip spinoff of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Corvus Corax is sentenced to death, first by a Commissar's infamous BLAM-ings, then by a firing squad, then a BFG, and then by another firing squad. Only the BFG even scratches him. He even tells them that they're just wasting ammo.
  • Solid jj: In "Superman VS The Impostor", Lois Lane finds herself in a Spot the Impostor scenario with Superman and Bizarro, armed with a gun and unsure which to shoot. Superman's indignant fury that she can't tell the difference prompts her to decide he's the impostor and shoot him... with what turns out to have been a normal gun loaded with normal bullets, at which point Supes gets indignant all over again that Lois actually believed that would do anything.
  • In Episode 11 of Sword Art Online Abridged, the Big Bad's identity is revealed when an attack from Kirito demonstrates that he's flagged as an Immortal Object. After this reveal, one of the players tries to attack him. The Big Bad takes this as a cue to launch into a rant about being Surrounded by Idiots.
  • Part of Lancer's backstory in the Whateley Universe. Lancer is a PK superboy type, who grew up as an Army brat. When a troop of soldiers thought he was a supervillain holding his family hostage, they tried to kill him with everything up to a couple shots from an Abrams M-1 tank. You'd think you wouldn't try to shoot a guy who could shrug off a tank round.

    Western Animation 
  • In Archer, the protagonist often forgets that Barry Dylan is a bulletproof cyborg, usually with an immediate Lampshade Hanging.
  • Queen Veranke remarkably subverts this trope when attacking Nick Fury and Iron Man in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. After she takes down the former with a big gun, Iron Man points out that she will only hurt herself more than him if she shoots at him. She answers that she knows... and then reveals that she already had a virus uploaded inside his armor, thus incapacitating him without a shot.
  • Happens in every episode of the spoof series Batfink, giving the chance for the titular superhero to use his catchphrase: "Your bullets cannot harm me! My wings are like a shield of steel!"
  • In an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, two crooks aim their guns at Batman... only to give up, knowing that no matter what they do, Batman will beat them up anyway. And if they can avoid getting beaten up, they will. Bat-Mite, however, has other plans for them.
  • Ben 10:
  • This happens rather frequently throughout the DC Animated Universe, as the different shows feature many heroes that are immune to one attack or another, including the eponymous Superman:
    • Superman: The Animated Series:
      • Towards the beginning of the series, when people are still getting used to what Superman can do, he stops a museum heist in "A Little Piece of Home". When he appears, the thieves start throwing spears at him, grabbing them off the displays and hurling with all their might. The thieves do manage to escape the museum, since Kryptonite made its first appearance and conveniently knocked Superman out, but the hand-thrown weapons worked about as well as you would expect.
      • This trope isn't limited to Superman himself in this series. In "The Way of All Flesh", we have the police shooting at Metallo, after he had walked in front of train and stopped with his hands without getting so much as a scratch on him. Superman himself, desperate enough to try anything due to Metallo's kryptonite power source, resorts to something along these lines by ramming Metallo with a car, which does at least push him off the highway bridge they were fighting on, though it doesn't hurt him.
      • In "My Girl", one of Lex Luthor's lackeys is selling a bunch of futuristic guns that can make anything explode to a couple of crooks when Superman suddenly shows up. The crooks shoot Superman... and nothing happens. After Supes incapacitates the crooks, the lackey points the gun at him only for the latter to say "I should warn you: it's been done." The lackey then spots a train in the distance heading towards a bridge and shoots said bridge forcing Superman to save the train while he gets away.
      • In "Tools of the Trade", Darkseid's agent Kanto provides Bruno Mannheim and his gang with weapons that can hurt Superman. In the end, Bruno zaps Superman with a raygun that cripples him with pain, but then foolishly gloats about how he can kill him now for several seconds, buying enough time for Dan Turpin to tackle him before he can fire again.
      • Turns up in "The Late Mr. Kent" when the Big Bad tries to fight Superman off with the armaments of an attack helicopter. The cannon and missile fire is enough to knock Supes around a bit, but ultimately doesn't stop him. Could be legitimately justified as desperation, since the bad guy knows his role in killing/trying to kill several people has just been exposed. Letting Superman haul him in means the death penalty, so that may explain why he keeps the firing button mashed despite nothing working. At the very end, he realizes this was how Clark Kent really survived the car bomb he tried to kill him with, but while being executed.
      • In "Superman's Pal", a thug who's attacking Jimmy Olsen actually attacks Superman with a nightstick. Supes simply snatches it off him, saying "You're kidding, right?" before flinging it into orbit.
      • In the next episode, "A Fish Story", Superman is drawn by the sound of gunfire to two of Lex Luthor's mooks who are trying to kill Lois Lane. They promptly turn their guns on Superman and start pulling the trigger. He waits for a few seconds as they waste their ammo, then reaches forward and crushes their guns, explaining that "That's enough."
      • There's one hilarious instance where a mook is threatening Superman with a gun that he boasts can kill him — instead of pulling the trigger, the mook gloats about how he can kill Superman with the futuristic raygun. Cue Super-Speed.
    • Justice League/Justice League Unlimited:
      • Lampshaded (and justified) in "Hereafter" by a pair of police officers as they lament the futility of their guns against a group of supervillains during Superman's absence:
        Cop 1: This is hopeless! We might as well be throwing candy corn at them!
        Cop 2: So what do you want to do? Give them the city?
      • In "Hawk and Dove", a thug empties his gun at Wonder Woman, who contemptuously deflects all the rounds. When he runs out of bullets he prepares to throw the gun at her and earns a contemptuous, "Yeah, like that's gonna work."
      • In "Fearful Symmetry", Supergirl is threatened by a man with a single-shot kryptonite gun which probably could kill her. Green Arrow intervenes by standing between them, leaving his only option to waste the shot on an ordinary human while leaving a pissed-off Supergirl unharmed. Later on, Galatea confronts the man and casually disarms him before he even has a chance to fire.
      • In "Ultimatum", an unstable metahuman with hydrokinetic abilities tries to kill Aquaman after he harms his sister; however, his method is to try to drown him with a jet of water. Granted the blast was powerful enough to punch a huge hole in the wall behind him, but Aquaman stands unaffected: "King of the Seas, remember?" The meta refuses to relent and tries a few swings. Aquaman just slaps him to the other side of the room.
      • Another Wonder Woman example: In "The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales", Green Lantern, Batman and Wonder Woman are transported back in time to The Wild West, whereupon they are immediately ambushed by local bandits. Since they obviously refuse to part with their valuables, a couple of bandits with period revolvers shoot at Wonder Woman. She simply smirks as she bats the shots aside effortlessly, commenting, "Those are the biggest, slowest bullets I've ever seen."
  • In DC Showcase: The Spectre, the Big Bad fires several shots at Jim Corrigan, who doesn't even bother to dodge. The shots go right through him and break the window, since Corrigan is a ghost.
  • In a Whole Episode Flashback of Defenders of the Earth, one of the past Phantoms teamed with a woman he didn't fully trust, so he replaced the bullets in her guns with blanks. When they're in a plane and she eventually does turn on him, she's so horrified by how ineffectual the weapon is, seemingly confirming the whole "Ghost Who Walks" myth, that she jumps to her death.
  • In DuckTales (1987), Fenton's Gizmoduck suit is referred to by the suit's inventor Gyro Gearloose as being "bulletproof, fireproof, and knuckleproof".note  As a later scene in "Super DuckTales" reveals, it can also withstand bombs, as the Beagle Boys find out the hard way.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "Society of the Blind Eye", Old Man McGucket has a moment of this when Blind Ivan tries to shoot him with the memory eraser gun, only for McGucket to reveal that his mind is so broken from being hit with it before that it won't work.
  • Much of the tension in Invincible (2021) comes from the GDA's awareness that this trope is in full effect against Omni-man.
  • In the Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) episode "Bot Transfer", Cut Man, Guts Man, and Snake Man (in Mega Man's body) show up at an auction that Dr. Light is at. He yells "No!" and throws his gavel at Guts Man, who is completely unphased and replies with a resounding "Yes!"
  • Popeye: As part of a plan to steal Olive Oyl's heart, Bluto disguises himself as Superman and uses several tricks to make it look like he had Supes' powers. That includes wearing a metal plate under his costume and daring Popeye to shoot him. As part of the Popeye vs. Bluto/Superman challenge, Bluto gets to shoot Popeye back but the bullets are stopped by Popeye's can of spinach, which he then opens and eats.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): This happens in the episode "Stuck Up, Up and Away" when the girls arrive to stop a bank robbery. Naturally the robbers open fire on them to no effect. To be fair, the girls' durability is very inconsistent. Some episodes they take getting sent through a building with no major injuries, and other times getting hit by an ordinary human can hurt them.
  • Parodied in Robot Chicken:
    • Red Skull is firing a machine gun at Captain America, who is clearly bored as he simply lets the shots bounce off his shield... unfortunately, all the ricocheting bullets are hitting civilians.
    • In the first DC Comics Special Superman simply laughs off a robber's attempts at shooting him with a machine gun ("Haha, that tickles!"). The robber starts shooting at Superman's crotch (the bullets continuing to bounce off anyway), much to Supe's confusion ("What, uh, what's going on here?").
  • In the opening titles of Secret Squirrel, bullets bounce off Secret's trench coat because it's bulletproof.
  • The Simpsons: In "Treehouse of Horror X", Bart and Lisa get superpowers and have to fight 'The Collector' (I.E Comic Book Guy). He shoots Bart (with a laser!) who manages to dodge every shot. In a subversion, though, when he throws the gun, it hits Bart and knocks him out.
  • Parodied in an episode of South Park where Butters, as Professor Chaos, is fighting Mysterion on a construction platform. One of the officers says he has a clean shot of Professor Chaos, but the captain stops him saying, "You think your bullets can hurt him?" In reality, "Professor Chaos" is just a nine-year-old boy in a costume; the fact that people suddenly thought he had taken a level in badass was meant to be a joke.
  • In Spider-Man (1967), Doctor Octopus throws Spider-Man out of a window and promptly declares him dead, before Spider-Man immediately returns through the same window.
  • Superman Theatrical Cartoons:
    • In the cartoon "Billion Dollar Limited", train-hijackers start out by shooting Superman. Fair enough, naturally it doesn't work. Then they start tossing tear-gas grenades at him. Since Supes hadn't yet gained Super Breath or the like in his power set, they work surprisingly well. THEN they go back to shooting at him again. Sigh.
    • In another cartoon, "Showdown", a crook posing as Superman comes face to face with the real deal. He empties his gun on Supes, but of course the bullets bounce off his chest. The crook then throws his empty gun at him, and Superman doesn't even flinch as it too bounces off harmlessly.
  • Transformers: Animated:
    • It's become something of a Running Gag that Bumblebee will always try to use his stingers (weapons that shoot beams of electricity) on Decepticons even though they never do anything (until he fought Swindle which was in the 24th episode).
    • There's also the time Sari tried to take on the Constructicons with a hockey stick.
    • Averted in the Animated game for the DS. If you shoot an enemy with your stingers for a little while they eventually do die.
    • In the third season premiere, it was revealed that the stingers have two settings, the higher one meant for combat bots, which Bumblebee currently is not. Optimus gives Ratchet a little flak for changing the setting, but Ratchet simply snaps back that Optimus is hardly in a position to complain, given the situation.
  • The Transformers: The humans repeatedly try to use conventional weapons (bullets) against the Decepticons, to no avail. The shots just bounce right off, every time. In the two-part Season 2 episode "The Key to Vector Sigma", the Centurion Droids are completely unfazed by any attacks at all. The Decepticons keep shooting at them despite the blasts having no effect whatsoever. Megatron eventually manages to gain control of them using the Key, and the Autobots manage to trick them into diving off a high cliff after some reanimated zombie-bot corpses, but since they are programmed to guard Vector Sigma it's probable that it would take extraordinary means to destroy them.

    Real Life 
  • Barring a lucky shot, massive animals such as rhinos, grizzlies, or walruses can easily soak up bullets from small-caliber weapons without stopping. Large crocodilians, which have bony armor plates under their skin, can be virtually unkillable with light ammunition; during WWII, Japanese infantry who'd retreated into the Pacific islands' marshes could be heard throughout the night, screaming and firing in vain at bellowing crocodiles. A small few made it back to dry land, for once content to surrender.
  • Due to the way their bodies are designed, must bullets tend to slide off a hippopotamus while doing minimal damage. Poachers recommend nothing less than an elephant gun for those risking hippopotami attacks. Some criminals are so afraid of the animals they refuse to go into their territory without rocket propelled grenade launchers!
  • Pretty much all modern armoured vehicles are at the very least immune to attack from small arms. A few lighter vehicles are even capable of resisting mines and anti-tank rockets, though anything that isn't a tank is going to be taken apart by high velocity armour-piercing ammunition. In the case of main battle tanks, they're practically invulnerable to any anti-tank weapon that isn't current generation. The famed RPG-7 tends to have about the same effect on modern tanks as a pigeon, as proven in one case where a British Challenger 2 MBT took around seventy rockets and still managed to keep going. American M1 Abrams MBTs have been able to take multiple hits from their own gun in a number of friendly fire cases and are so difficult to destroy by their crews that it will often require the insides to be stuffed full of C4 to blow them apart. At least once, a crew had to abandon their tank and their fellow soldiers attempted to destroy it to prevent it from falling into enemy hands — an effort that proved to be entirely unsuccessful. Eventually, they gave up and the tank was later towed back to base to be restored to working condition.
    • The common version seen in video games that seems suicidally useless actually does have a true purpose in reality. Shooting a tank with machine gun fire has the advantage of forcing the crew to button up and seal themselves up inside the tank which severely limits their situational awareness and forces them to look through small periscopes, thus making them more vulnerable to things such as anti-tank mines or soldiers sneaking up to plant charges on the tank's vulnerable treads or engine rear armor. This is less limiting with modern tanks due to their more sophisticated thermal sights and cameras. Before tanks had laser sights, machine gun fire was also used to "Zero in" the main cannon, as both were often mounted in the same Mantlet and were both aimed at once.
    • Modern vehicles have relatively few vulnerable points thanks to the time and money spent in development by comparison, but pretty much every tank in history has been vulnerable to track or external optics damage that can render them immobile or blind with far less effort than it takes to actually pierce their armor. An RPG-7 is unlikely to penetrate a modern tank, but it can detrack one more often than not.
    • Even the famous A-10 Warthog's 30mm Avenger cannon is of only limited use against modern tanks. It was of limited use against the modern tanks when it was brand new in the 1970s as well, although there were plenty of older tanks still in service at the time that it was more than adequate against. Which is why the A-10 was also designed and upgraded over time to carry various specialized anti-tank missiles and guided bombs. As alluded to above, however, the many many things on the battlefield which aren't tanks are still very vulnerable to the 30mm gun.
  • Speaking of modern armor, there's also body armor too — there's this video showing a soldier in Iraq who gets sniped centre of mass, only to get up again. Cue freaked-out insurgents. Granted, modern armor doesn't necessarily make you "invulnerable". Such armor is rated to take a certain kind of fire from a certain distance for a certain number of hits; it is still being damaged and will break with more or concentrated fire. Additionally, the armor will have gaps where a bullet can enter. Even Type IV Armor (the highest level of protection) leaves certain important areas exposed, like the eyes, extremities, the face, and so on. Additionally, its defense against armor-piercing rifles depends on it having ceramic plate inserts, and these are worn in front of the chest and back. Had the soldier been hit in his side by an AK-47, it would likely penetrate. See this for an example of modern type IV armor.
  • Selecting the type and level of penetration a bullet can achieve is extremely important depending on the type of target. The lightest bullets tend to only be effective for target practice or extremely close range. Some of the most tragic police shootouts (for example, the North Hollywood shootout of 1997) have occurred because law enforcement had underpowered weapons against criminals with body armor.note  Before the North Hollywood shootout, there was the Miami shootout of 1986, where the two criminals didn't have body armour but still survived multiple gunshot wounds long enough to kill two FBI agents and injure five more before they finally died.
  • Standard operating procedure in The American Civil War when faced with an ironclad was to either gather many, many other ships to shoot it with, or get another ironclad and settle down into an hours-long duel. Thick armor of the time was effectively impenetrable, but the wood that supported it (usually oak) could only withstand so many blows before it broke. The classic example is the CSS Tennessee, which, after having her exposed steering chains shot away, was surrounded by the Union fleet and pounded on until the supports for her 6" thick iron armor started to break, forcing surrender.
  • In 2017, some people tried to shoot a hurricane.


Video Example(s):


The Flash vs Bullets

Captain Boomerang, a longtime enemy of the Flash, knows that simply shooting the fastest man alive isn't going to work. Deadshot and Quinn decide to try anyway, despite his advice.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShootingSuperman

Media sources: