Five Rounds Rapid

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Jenkins?
Jenkins: Sir!
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Chap with wings, there. Five rounds rapid.

It appears most good guys are Genre Blind. When military personnel or the police encounter the Monster of the Week, they invariably attack it with small arms fire. Unfortunately, this never works. The monster is always Immune to Bullets. This gives our heroes an opportunity to save the day with some Applied Phlebotinum.

An important part of this trope is that, in almost all cases, the good guys will only ever use small arms fire. Rockets, tanks, air support, artillery—all the things the military is known for—are hardly ever involved (unless the monster is a Kaiju, Robeast, or similarly gigantic). Not only are they more expensive for the producers to incorporate in to the film/show, in most cases, they might actually work, thereby stealing the thunder of the heroes of the story.

If the monster in question is absurdly slow moving, expect the soldiers to remember what their mommy told them about how you Do Not Run with a Gun. If, after they discover their guns are useless, the good guys still won't stop wasting ammo shooting the baddie, it's I Will Fight Some More Forever.

Very often in instances of this trope, a Technical Pacifist will urge the army/police/whomever to try and understand the monster before trying to kill it. Depending on the attitude of the series, they may either be considered a naive idiot or a paragon of virtue.

If the army just wants to Nuke'Em, the heroes' job will be to find a solution with less collateral damage before it's too late.

Named for a line in the Doctor Who episode "The Daemons," where Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart orders a UNIT soldier to shoot the Monster of the Week five times, quickly.

Compare with Shooting Superman.

Examples of Five Rounds Rapid include:

Anime and Manga

  • Both played straight and averted in the manga Parasyte. The creatures are tough enough to completely ignore bullets, but that doesn't stop a few police from opening fire and getting butchered. The main character takes them on by knowing their weaknesses, though, and the government soon learns their weaknesses and kills them off by the dozens with high-powered shotgun ammunition. Quickly Double Subverted by introducing a super-parasite that ignores THAT ammunition and massacres an entire platoon.
  • The small arms part is averted with a vengeance in Neon Genesis Evangelion: The first episode starts with the army opens fire with the heaviest conventional weapons in their arsenal at the Angel from the get-go, and the Humongous Mecha are not called in until after the trust-us-it's-not-a-nuke fails to stop the attacker.
    • Invariably, however, they will still unload all sorts of ordnance on the Angel Of The Week before the EVA's are called in, long after the Angels are shown to be invulnerable to such attacks. Commented on in Rebuild:

Ritsuko: "A waste of the taxpayers' money."
Misato: "I guess the military types just won't be satisfied until they've fired all their bullets."

    • To be fair, the missiles and such serve an actual purpose at one point in 1.0: at the beginning of Operation Yashima, they are used to distract Ramiel the Sixth Angel while Shinji gets ready to fire the positron rifle.
  • Happens way to often in Gravion Zwei. The Military will ignore all requests to kindly sit the fuck down and let the giant robot handle it. The Gravion itself partially follows this trope, for some reason they always try the tiny machine guns first, when even in a real robot show, that weapon would do jack shit.
  • Lampshaded in Fullmetal Alchemist. Late in the manga, Hawkeye, who specialises in firearms, expresses frustration as she runs into more and more enemies that are immune to bullets. The army does possess tanks and artillery, but they are rare or hardly used, since it is assumed that State Alchemists will do all the heavy lifting (they do).

Hawkeye: They [guns] don't work on anything these days...

    • Averted though in the first battle with Sloth. After he makes the terrible mistake of accidentally burrowing into the Badass Army's base, they proceed to rapidly evolve their response to him, starting with guns, then a bazooka, then tank rounds. When that doesn't work, they douse him with chemicals, ram him with several Tanks, and knock him out of the base, the chemicals combined with the frozen weather freezing him near instantly. In the end, Sloth is defeated without an ounce of alchemy being used on him.
  • The military police in The Big O arrive just before Roger and Big O every time a giant monster or robot attacks Paradigm City and fire a massive barrage that does absolutely nothing. But they have to try each time, or else they'd have to admit they need his help.
  • In the Gundam metaseries, essentially every universe has some form of tanks, MLRS, and other modern artillery weapons. They are never useful against mobile suits unless a named character is at the controls. One such example comes in Gundam SEED CE73 Stargazer where Retired Badass Edmond Du Clos takes down a GINN with a tank (though he dies in the process).
    • UC Gundam sidestories tend to avert this: notably, in The 08th MS Team, a group of Zeon tanks uses clever tactics to defeat a Gundam in combat (though they don't manage to actually destroy it). And then there's MS IGLOO 2, which is pretty much all about the Earth Federation forces somewhat successfully battling Zakus with weapons like missile launchers and tanks. Though all of them do die in the process.
    • In a sense, Gundam has another example with vulcans/CIWS. About half the mobile suits ever made have them, but all they're good for are missile defense and occasional lucky shots to enemy cameras, and even then they aren't used all that often.
      • Vulcans are extremely useful as anti-personnel weapons (Amuro used them that way a couple of times). Of course, they are rarely used that way since showing the hero pulping enemy soldiers with vulcans would look really bad, and might raise the show's rating too high (though Stargazer does show Alliance mobile suits using foot-mounted CIWS for exactly this, complete with graphic detail).
    • A good example comes from the second episode of the original series. Char sees the new Gundam mobile suit destroy some Zaku's and sorties in his own machine to take it out. He effortlessly dodges its attacks and hits it with a burst of machine gun fire. From his facial expression, he was obviously expecting that salvo to take it down; he looks very surprised when the Gundam isn't even scratched. To his credit, he switches tactics from this point on, trying to take out the Gundam with physical attacks from his superheated battleaxe (which can get through the Gundam's armor), only using the guns to distract and intimidate Amuro.
  • In the Elfen Lied anime, security guards would just stand and shoot at Lucy with their MP5's till they either run out of ammo or get ripped to shreds. It wasn't until later they started using high caliber/armor piercing rounds against them even though a flashback shows they've known for years regular ammo doesn't work on a Diclonius.
  • In One Piece, Marines consistently fire their round musket-ball like projectiles at Luffy, even though it is proven time and again that it doesn't work.
    • In fact, Luffy often turns their bullets back on them, using the elasticity of his body to rebound the bullets toward their origin.
    • Even more so when they fire on Logia-type Devil Fruit Eaters, who are known to be invulnerable to conventional weaponry as even the Marine's own ADMIRALS employ this type of Devil Fruit.
  • Subverted in Those Who Hunt Elves. Our heroes are summoned to defeat the dragon because they have a tank. Dragons don't stand up very well to ammunition designed to take out other tanks and fortifications.

Comic Books

  • In Preacher, Starr attempts this against The Saint of Killers, several times. It does not go well, ever, but Starr refuses to learn his lesson and just keeps upping the ante; After waves of the Grail's elite troops have fallen without even slowing the Saint down, Starr commandeers a Tank Battalion, getting them all killed in the process. When that fails, Starr orders a Nuclear Bomb dropped. In the heart of the mushroom cloud, the Saint looks around, spits contemptuously, and growls "Not Enough Gun."

Fan Works

  • Averted in the Compelled - The Buffy/Angelverse Reshaped series by "Hotpoint" -- most demons are perfectly vulnerable to guns, even if some take multiple shots to bring down. And an entire cadre of the activated slayers become outright soldiers, trading off between firearms and melee weapons with ease and calling themselves the "gunslayers". Finally, the Trope Namer is deliberately invoked in chapter 17 of the third story, Compelled to Play With Destiny when, in a battle in Pylea, Wesley puckishly orders one of the Slayer snipers to take out a flying dragon with a sniper rifle that is actually closer to a small artillery piece (and has a five-found magazine):

[A] random thought crossed his mind and despite the gravity of the situation he couldn’t help but grin. ‘Rika’ he said. ‘Chap with wings, five rounds rapid’ he ordered.


  • When he firsts encounters Imhotep in The Mummy 1999, Rick shoots the undead monster with a shotgun, before fleeing the room. Ardeth says it can't be killed by mortal weapons, but Rick insists, "I got him."
  • The film version of Transformers had a US special-ops task force fighting a Decepticon with average weaponry, to very little effect. Mind you, though: they did use the heaviest ordinance they had at hand (and actually succeeded in containing it for a few minutes).
    • Later on, they call in an airstrike against their pursuer. A-10 attack planes make a strafing run with their 30mm guns and air-to-ground missiles, and when they fail to kill it, an AC-130 gunship cuts loose on it, damaging it enough to force a retreat. Figuring out that it was HEAT (High Explosive Anti Tank) rounds that worked on it, they have themselves armed with them for the final battle, allowing the human soldiers to do some actual damage to the Decepticons.
    • In Revenge of the Fallen, the Army has seemingly gained enough experience fighting the robots that tank support alone proves effective enough to destroy several Decepticons.
      • Well, Tanks do tend to have higher calibre weaponry than an AC-130 for starters (120mm on an Abrams compared to the 105mm on the AC-130), and can fire a far more effective anti-vehicle round, the APFSDS shell, which cuts through even tank armour like a hot knife through butter. And if that doesn't work, they can fire HEAT rounds as well.
  • Cloverfield averts this. The first soldiers we see fighting the creature are using rifles, seemingly playing this trope straight. Moments later, we see a main battle tank, heavy artillery pieces, and dozens of missiles attacking the creature en masse in a spectacular wave of explosions. When THAT doesn't work, the army calls for close air support, hitting it with strategic bombers at point blank range When even this doesn't work, they just nuke Manhattan with the creature in it.
  • In RoboCop 2 the bad Robocop is running amok and shooting up the place, killing dozens and doing property damage in the tens of millions. The police force fights back with assault rifles, shotguns and pistols. It takes Robocop's intuition to end the threat in an elaborate way that, unsurprisingly, doesn't involve a Hellfire missile right in the bad Robocop's torso.
    • In the police's defense, sustained assault rifle fire did prove at least somewhat effective on Robocop in the first movie. Also, assault rifles would be about the heaviest thing you could reasonably expect to find in a police arsenal.
    • In fact, when Robocop appears shortly after Robocop II starts going nuts, he's clearly fully aware that bullets aren't going to cut it; he's packing one of the Cobra anti-tank guns that OCP gave to Clarence's gang to use against him in the first movie. It doesn't work.
  • Averted in The War of the Worlds, where the human armies try everything they have against the alien tripods, including tanks, rockets, and heavy artillery, all to no avail. They do eventually manage do destroy alien tripods with comparatively puny weapons (a shoulder-fired rocket launcher), but only because the aliens have been weakened (and have thus lost their shields) due to bacteria. This kills the aliens without any human assistance in the original.
    • Averted again in the original novel, written in the 1890s. The Martian tripods don't have energy shields, because no one had thought of those yet. Their heat rays and chemical weapons still let them slaughter armies and cities in Victorian Britain. However, one Martian war walker is brought down by British heavy artillery (and even then, that was a fluke), and the Royal Navy warship "Thunder Child" manages to take down two, one through the ever popular Ramming Always Works tactic. Of course, it's debatable whether this counts as an aversion, because the trope may not have been invented yet.
      • After each small human victory the martians change their tactics - after heavy artillery proves effective the martians start using Black Smoke. After the Thunder Child, they begin to experiment with Flying Machines.
    • Also, in the book the only reason the ship is so effective is because the martians did not know what it was at first. There were multiple fighting machines chasing and killing fleeing civilians, and then when they saw the ship they stopped and stared at it until it started shooting and blew one of them up. Then the other immediately blasted it with a death ray, and by pure luck the momentum of the burning hulk caused it to crash into the other machine and destroy it.
  • In the Starship Troopers movie, the Mobile Infantry seems to have forgotten everything we've learned about combined arms warfare. The MI's only tactic is to attack in massed numbers using small arms and the occasional nuke. At no point in the movie is there any evidence of artillery or close air support, tanks or armored personnel carriers, special weapons squads with mortars or heavy machine guns. Nor do the ships seem to possess the capability of the orbital equivalent of shore bombardment, despite the fact that one scene has several bombers do a strafing run on the surface (which it's implied they could do at will if they weren't Jerkasses). We get the barest of a glimpse of such things in a flashforward near the end, where a trooper has what is functionally a grenade launcher.
    • In the original book, however, the MI equipment and tactics are futuristic and extremely effective, each trooper in powered armor probably being more than a match for a modern armored division, and any dozen of their equally-futuristic enemies. And that's before they start using personal nuclear weapons. Which one of many reasons is why the book is on the reading list for officer candidates in the US Forces.
    • The MI in the movie come close to having one special weapons soldier. One of the Roughnecks has a sniper rifle. Or rather, he has the same rifle as everyone else, but with a scope attached.
    • The bugs, however, do use combined arms tactics nicely (in the film). There are multiple scenes where warriors en masse are being supported by tanks and hover bugs. Not to mention the fact that the bugs seem to be the ones with the military training, while the MI use human wave tactics against a numerically superior foe.
  • Subverted in Monsters vs. Aliens. At first it looks like the US military is trying to attack the enormous alien robot with just a few infantrymen with small arms. Then the camera pulls back and you see them throwing everything they've got at it. Tanks, attack helicopters, jet fighters, the works. It doesn't work.
    • To cap it off, even after all that, the President fires a few rounds at the robot just for show.
  • Avoided in The Incredible Hulk movie, when the military throws everything they have at the Hulk. Granted, it doesn't work, but at least they tried.
    • The gunship support is an example of this however. Instead of using the rocket pods or the 30mm chain gun mounted on its nose the pilot decides to open up with a pair of pissy little 7.62mm mini guns mounted on the side. Sure they could cut a human in half but this is the damn Hulk we are talking about here. Why was the Apache armed with mini guns anyway? Wouldn't those hard points be put to better use housing anti-tank missiles?
      • Justified in that they don't want to necessarily kill the Hulk, just incapacitate him (of course, that's easier said than done) and their real objective is to incapacitate Banner before he can transform, with the heavy weapons as a plan B.
  • Independence Day followed this trope on a larger scale. The U.S. fighters use (or rather, waste) their air-to-air missiles on the outermost perimeter of a miles wide alien mothership, so that they only have two missiles left when it exposes its weak point. If you can figure out why their strategy wouldn't work, then you've got what it takes to be a top general in the movies.
    • The biggest mistake they made was using AAMs on the ship at all. There's no way in hell that an airbase would have that many AMRAAMS and Sidewinders and not have a stockpile of Mavericks and 2000 lb bombs, both of which would have worked fine against the alien ship despite it flying. (For comparison the warhead on an air to air missile is usually a eight-to-ten pound shrapnel warhead.)
      • If you accept the film's premise that the alien's enormous spaceship is vulnerable to air-to-air missiles when gets ready to fire then it would be much easier to destroy them from the ground than from the air. Even a WWII-era flak battery would probably do the trick.
    • Much less why a supposedly secret base would have all those aircraft to begin with.
      • Well it didn't look to be that secret by the end of it (the aliens were getting pretty close). Also, as probably one of the last surviving bases, maybe it just ended up as a sort of US Helm's Deep.
    • On a smaller scale, the same thing happens when the humans encounter the aliens face to face. This time, it works.

"Is that glass bulletproof?" "No sir." *BANG*BANG*BANG*

  • Very nearly every Godzilla and Kaiju movie ever. The army rolls in with tanks, infantry, bombers, and the kitchen sink, and rarely ever even scratches the monster they're trying to take out. The conventional military arms are just a courtesy before they roll out the special anti-monster laser tanks, giant robot, etc.
    • And to be fair, the science fictional maser tanks are effective at hurting kaiju enough to get them to flee, most of the time. (Except Godzilla himself, who's doesn't have a fight-or-flight reaction, just a fight reaction.)
    • However, in the original film Godzilla was driven off by an air strike.
  • In the British kaiju film Gorgo the military is particularly bad about this. At the beginning, when the monster is still in the ocean, they actually do use some pretty heavy duty weapons on it (with use of Stock Footage to keep costs down), like battleship cannons, bombs, and rockets. These have no effect. When the monster comes ashore they use tanks and machine guns on it, even though these are far less powerful than the naval and air weapons that had already been proven useless.


  • Played straight in Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, where the sergeant commanding a squad of Valhallan soldiers orders his men to fire on a World Eaters Chaos Space Marine, shouting "Big red thing, five rounds rapid!"
    • This is actually a bit of playing with version. It's implied that if the squad had all managed to connect they probably would have killed the Marine, but he's a Marine and thus leaps directly over the two meter tall Cain at a speed the Guardsmen are unprepared for. Other instances of lasgun fire against Marines tend to play it straighter. It will be interesting to see how Cain's laspistol fairs in the upcoming Emperor's Finest when starring opposite bolters.
  • John Ringo regularly averts, subverts, and otherwise plays heavily this trope in his books, which probably isn't surprising given that he writes a lot of military fiction, and served in the 82nd Airborne before becoming an author.
    • For example - In the first Into the Looking Glass novel, the humans realize that 5.56 does nothing against the invading aliens... but higher caliber rounds, even a .45 from a USP, will kill them. Of course, this only applies to the aliens' infantry. Their Organic Technology "Class Six combatants" laugh at your puny bullets, and their "Class Seven" can stand up to sustained fire from specialized antitank weapons. You don't want to know what their really big stuff is like.
  • Completely and totally subverted in Everworld: Mystify the Magician (the eleventh book of the series), in which a warband of white supremacists (the "Sennites") armed with small arms and hand grenades (not to mention a very healthy dose of ammunition) are brought into Everworld, where they accomplish several feats:
    • One of them, Keith, armed with an Uzi, unloads a storm of lead on fully-automatic into the back of Lorg's (a giant) head, killing him. This dumbfounds the Everworld denizens, who have no concept of firearms.
    • The Fianna, an order of elite knights, are sent out to dispatch the Sennite threat - and are quite overconfident. After they are ambushed and shot to pieces, they are not so arrogant.
    • The Sennites lay siege to a castle, and with some help from their witch leader, they take it and massacre almost all of the inhabitants.
    • The Sennites then hold said castle against Loki's huge army composed of himself, legions of trolls, and Fenrir (a wolf the size of an elephant, and son of Loki). After Loki's army breaks down the front gate, Fenrir walks in - and is promptly made the victim of a hail of gunfire, putting him down. Loki's army retreats.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 novel Grey Knights, Alaric becomes aware that bolter shells, armour-piercing and explosive as they are, aren't going to do much good against the reanimated body of Saint Evisser. Before him, Grand Master Mandulis recognised that bolter shells also wouldn't do any good against the true body of Ghargatuloth.
  • Played straight with the Dead in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom books. When firearms even work, they can only damage the bodies of the Dead; it takes Charter Magic to harm their spirits, and a necromancer (or Abhorsen)'s bells to send them back into Death.
  • The words, albeit not the spirit, are quoted (almost certainly as a shout out) in the Horus Heresy novel Fallen Angels - faced with an enormous mob of zombies, a squad of Dark Angels loads up their weapons, and beings doing a pattern of 'One step back, Five Rounds Rapid' until they run out of ammunition and are forced to go hand-to-hand.
  • Averted in E.E. Cumming's series of novels titled The Vampire Earth. While the reapers are immune to most small arms fire, heavier rounds push them around and fifty caliber bullets can actually pierce their cloaks. Unfortunately the series is set After the End so any weapons heavier than of bolt-action rifles ones are exceptionally rare.

Live-Action TV

  • Named after the following Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart quote from Doctor Who, spoken as the Brig reacts cheerfully unfazed to a stone gargoyle which is running around, disintegrating his Redshirts: "Jenkins! Chap with wings, five rounds rapid." (It is also the title of the first autobiography of Nicholas Courtney, who played that role.) This partly avoids the trope, since bazookas and a grenade are also used against the monster, which break it apart. But it reforms.
    • A particularly hilarious example was in the second Ice Warriors serial, The Seeds of Death. Despite being set centuries into Earth's future, apparently the only gun used by security forces are turn of the 20th century broomhandle Mauser pistols. Sure, the Ice Warriors are Immune to Bullets, but that's not even trying. In the last episode, one character does suggest arming the guards with flamethrowers instead, but (presumably for reasons of budget) the Doctor saves the day before this happens.
    • Lampshaded in the New Adventures novel No Future, in which the villain (who is not Immune to Bullets) is standing next to Paul McCartney. The Brigadier promptly orders "Chap with 'Wings', five rounds rapid!".
    • Notably, in the new series episode "Doomsday", British military forces are seen to deploy a rocket launcher against attacking Cybermen after small arms fail.
    • The Brigadier calls for tank support in Robot, but the titular menace disintegrates the first tank before it can get into firing position.
      • Brigadier later tried shooting it with the Robot's disintergrator, but the energy used enabled it to grow into a giant instead. At least the Brigadier is man enough to admit he made a mistake to the Doctor.
    • Double subverted in the Ninth Doctor's final story "The Parting of the Ways", where Captain Jack Harkness gives a group of volunteers under his command "bastic" bullets he is convinced will "blow a Dalek wide open". However, he fails to take into account the Daleks' new bullet-dissipating forcefields, which render the rounds useless. Bitterly lampshaded when a minor character despairingly declares "They're not working!" moments before she gets Exterminated.
    • In what may be a television first, a foe of the Tenth Doctor's attempts to lift off from London without enough power to activate her energy shield defences—and is taken out by a single round from a British Army tank! Even TV series set in World War II (Combat and Rat Patrol, for example) traditionally avoid spending money on tanks.
      • In The Scarifyers: The Nazad Conspiracy, an audio starring Nicholas Courtney, his character Inspector Lionheart utters the line "Sergeant, chap with fangs there, five rounds rapid!"
    • And finally averted in the episode Battlefield, where it is revealed UNIT has invested in specialised rounds for different alien threats, which work just fine. The new series adds 'rad-steel' rounds for counteracting anti-bullet fields. It's probably a subversion in the sense that said bullets are only deployed after normal bullets fail. On top of that, guess who gets to put the fatal Five Rounds into the Big Bad?.
      • Lampshaded in the Easter special "Planet Of The Dead", when Captain Magambo is heard to shout "I don't believe it! Guns that work!" as rocket launchers tear apart aliens.
  • Subverted in Stargate SG-1, where the advanced weapons of the Asgard have no effect against an enemy, but the relatively low-tech bullets of the SG team work quite nicely.
    • Particularly against the Replicators. The only reason bullets work is because the Replicators can't ignore physics. They may or may not take physical damage, but they still get shoved around, which can buy you precious seconds when they're chasing after you.
      • The Replicators can ignore physics just fine, they just hadn't gotten to it yet at that point. The humanoid versions can only be killed with Applied Phlebotinum.
    • In one episode, O'Neil trains some Jaffa in the use of Earth weapons and holds a demonstration at the firing range to compare them to the Jaffa's energy-based staff weapons. They're flashier than the P90s but are less accurate, have a lower rate of fire, and are unable to penetrate cover as well. Jack summarizes:

This (the staff weapon) is a weapon of terror. It's designed to intimidate the enemy. This [holds up P90] is a weapon of war. It's designed to kill the enemy."

      • Of course, the staff weapons being weapons of terror is more or less Justified: the Jaffa are an army of terror, whose primary enemies are the terrified populations of the planets they patrol (if you want to look godlike to what amounts to an ancient or medieval peasant village, a few dozen Jaffa in full armor with 2.5-meter-long staff weapons will do the trick) and the armies of other System Lords, which by convention are similarly equipped. Better staff weapons do show up later.
    • And of course, the trope is played straight with the second users of "killing" staff weapons, the Ori, whose ships (again) require Applied Phlebotinum to kill.
    • This originally applied to the Jaffa themselves, but it didn't last.
  • In Star Trek, The Borg shields adapt to normal phasers and other energy weapons, but prove ineffective against bullets. Sometimes it seems the Federation could have quickly ended the Borg threat by replicating a few million tommy-guns, or designing other impact weapons, they instead concentrated on randomized versions of their Zap Gun technology.
    • The novels of the Star Trek expanded universe (particularly Star Trek: Destiny) actually give Starfleet guns made around the same concept of Picard's idea. One character even refers to them as 'old technology given new life' as he sprays down a few dozen Borg drones.
  • In Power Rangers Time Force, a for-hire defense force called the Silver Guardians often arrives before the Rangers do. Invariably, they are able to dispense with some of the Mecha-Mooks but the Monster of the Week and/or The Dragon (whichever is present) are another story entirely and the Guardians are having the daylights bashed out them by the time the Rangers arrive. And they return again the next week with the same weapons and tactics, still not having learned their lesson.
    • Let's not forget that, like much Sentai, Shonen, and Monster of the Week stuff, ALL Power Rangers shows focus on the rangers going through their own private counterpart to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil. See that monster? Think you can actually just defeat it with a punch? Why not just whip out the combined 'Zord and stomp it into jelly to start with? Because then the show would be over before the first commercial break. A Hand Wave in the first episode of the first Power Rangers series mentions that they're not supposed to fight unless provoked, and not to escalate a confrontation unless absolutely necessary. To be fair, the Power Rangers aren't really a military force in the strictest sense.
      • There's a logic to this. First of all, think about the scale of the Rangers' mecha. How long do you think the people of Random City A would put up with the Rangers if they called out a skyscraper-crushing giant robot to step on a human-sized monster like a grape? Secondly, if the villains saw that the Rangers were going to bust out the heavy artillery straight away, they'd feel compelled to escalate their own attacks...
  • In the Lost episode "The Shape of Things to Come," at least one of the ex-military mercenaries fires at the monster, which is composed of thick black smoke. Naturally, it doesn't do much except get the guy killed.
  • Stargate Atlantis had a recent episode that actually subverted the trope; a soldier with a personal shield held off an entire Marine squad doing the Five Rounds Rapid treatment... for about thirty seconds, until the shield failed. Thus proving that whatever the situation, something will die if you shoot it enough.
    • Though our hero did not die in truth, as the shield failed AFTER they had stopped firing. Fortunately then, reinforcements arrived.

Tabletop Games

  • A standard tactic for the Eldar Dire Avengers in Warhammer 40,000 used to be steadily retreating while pouring a hail of small-arms fire into the enemy (primarily because Dire Avengers don't have anything else). It worked very well against most infantry, mostly due to the sheer volume of fire a Dire Avenger squad can get into the air (which would make this more like several billion rounds rapid). And then the new rules came along and made basic infantry fast enough to catch the Dire Avengers, rendering this strategy totally obsolete.
    • The Necron small arms' special ability that lets them blow up the most heavily armored thing in existence if you get really lucky might count. Except for the fact that it would take an average of around 160 shots from a basic Warrior squad to actually blow up a fully-upgraded Land Raider Crusader, so either you have eighty Warriors in rapid-fire range of the thing, you keep up a sustained bombardment over multiple turns, or you get really, really lucky.

Video Games

  • Occurs at the beginning of Sonic Adventure against Chaos Elemental Embodiment.
    • Justified Trope: There's not time for a SWAT team to come in before Sonic arrives.
  • The Shinra Army attempts this with bazookas and artillery fire when the naval base Junon is attacked by Sapphire Weapon. They succeeded when they fired the second shot of the Mako Cannon (the huge main gun of the base) at the Weapon point-blank range.
    • And later when they fire a single, mako-powered round (from the Junon Canon that had been relocated to Midgar) at the Northern Crater, shattering Sephiroth's protective barrier, while simultaneously landing the killing blow on Diamond Weapon. who merely happened to be standing in the way.

Web Comics

  • Lampshaded with the E1s (Reverse-engineered Mega Man-style units used by the government) versus Spike Man in MS Paint Masterpieces.

E1:Targets sustain no damage from shot. Calculating...
E1:Conclusion: cannot retreat. Keep firing out of spite.

Web Originals

  • Averted in the Internet novel The Salvation War where human weaponry proves devastatingly effective and it's the demons who are stuck with the pathetically outmoded and virtually useless weapons. Every time the demons try one of their "classic" weapons, it fails miserably and the humans hit back with something unimaginably more lethal. For instance demonic lightning bolts are countered by massed salvoes from multiple-launch rocket batteries, brimstone is countered by Sarin nerve gas. Though early on humanity does find out that standard 5.56mm isn't very good at stopping demons and has to adapt to using larger calibres.
  • Averted in the web RP, Insane Cafe: The Curse of the Haunted Hotel. When the characters have to fight a huge demon, they use everything from small arms to Molotov cocktails to anti-tank rockets. And it works.
  • Played with in the SCP Foundation. Most of the SCPs are fought with mundane, albeit powerful weapons – for example, SCP-076 is contained with what's heavily implied to be a Phoenix CIWS (basically, a computer-guided 20mm gatling gun used to shoot down antiship missiles), and it's working so far. However, the fact that SCP-096 appears to be immune to anything up to AT 4 antitank missiles doesn't stop them from chasing it down and trying to kill it with a sniper rifle when things go wrong.

Western Animation

  • In Generator Rex, Providence takes down EVOs by shooting at them with guns from takes and the regular providence grunts. It is implied several times that they are good at what they do. They seem limited when Rex usually has to come in and save everybody.
  • Captain Fanzone's attempting approach to fighting Professor Sumdac's roach monster in the pilot episode of Transformers Animated. When bullets don't work, he tries rockets. The monster just absorbs them. Luckily, they are soon saved by alien shipwreck survivors—the Autobots.