Immune to Bullets

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"Just once, I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets!"
Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, Doctor Who

The Monster of the Week cannot be killed with conventional ammunition, whatever "conventional" happens to mean for the show in question. Frequently, the script requires the police/army/whatever to demonstrate this with Five Rounds Rapid.

Zombies, mummies, and various other film monsters are routinely depicted as subject to penetration by bullets, but (especially if they are undead) not having a central nervous or circulatory system that can be critically injured by them. They have what is sometimes called "suspension of disbelief" damage limits. That is, they can take bullet after bullet, usually in spectacularly gory fashion, until their body is so damaged the audience will no long believe it can keep functioning.

The Chest Shots Only rule usually applies in these cases, particularly in B movies. That is, even if the monster obviously cannot be stopped by bullets or bullet wounds to the torso, all characters (except possibly the male lead, and often the female lead) will continue to shoot at the creature's chest until it kills them. This occurs even when the audience, not being Genre Blind, can see the obvious need to switch to another weapon or aim for the head or the knees and feet of the creature, where the bullets might do some good. Note that this rule allows for cheap special effects, as blood squibs taped to the chest are the simplest gore effects possible.

A common variation in science fiction has a Monster of the Week which is not merely immune to energy weapons (lasers, phasers, etc.), but can actually absorb energy from those weapons, making it stronger.

To kill them, there are various solutions such as Attacking Its Weak Point, or using fire or Depleted Phlebotinum Shells. The creature may turn out to be Not So Invincible After All. Contrast Colt Made Them Equal.

This is often set up as a surprise, so SPOILERS AHEAD.

Examples of Immune to Bullets include:

Anime and Manga

  • Luffy from One Piece is a Rubber Man, meaning that bullets will bounce right off of him. Cannonballs too.
    • Parodied in the video series Dub Piece. Luffy: "I've never heard of a balloon that... could survive a bullet..."
      • That is because the bullets here are little round balls instead of the drill-like things used in today's firearms.
        • Even so, they are basically lead gumballs and jawbreakers travelling at several hundred metres per second; upon impact, all of that kinetic energy is concentrated on a relatively small area. You'd have to be me made of some ungodly tough rubber to resist that kind of force.
        • Well, nearly everyone in One Piece is Made of Iron, so...
        • Everyone in One Piece is bullet proof. In one scene in Water 7, several of the Straw Hats run WITH the bullets. In a later scene in Enies Lobby, even the red shirts with the main characters can ignore bullets to the point that the whole group can raise their hands in the air and carry on entire conversations while having thousands of bullets fired at them.
    • Also immune to bullets are Logia users, since everything passes right through them.
  • In Slayers, due to his chimera transformation, Zelgadis is immune to bullets and cannonballs....though a cannonball will knock him out.
  • Full Metal Panic!: Fumoffu. After the school janitor goes berserk with a chainsaw merely because Sagara and Tsubaki fed him his pet koi that he'd been raising for fifteen years, the next day we see the two slumped against a shot-to-pieces school wall muttering "live ammo has no effect, live ammo has no effect..."
  • The Cowboy Bebop episode "Pierrot le Fou" is perhaps the biggest deviance from the relatively hard science approach of the anime; the titular villain is a Psychopathic Manchild who has been made Immune to Bullets (as well as gaining the ability to levitate at will) as part of a secret program to create enhanced assassins, apparently revolving around genetic manipulation. Mad Pierrot's bullet immunity is apparently a deliberate ability; when he wishes, he can generate a personal forcefield (which appears as a crackling field of green electricity) that absorbs the kinetic force and other nasty effects of attacks. When distracted, however, he can be hurt just like anyone else.
    • No, I've heard that it works differently. It only deflects high velocity projectiles like bullets. It lets in low speed things like oxygen and Pierrot has no direct control over it. Spike was able to kill him with a knife because it was slow enough to get through. Pierrot could have easily dodged if Spike didn't freak him out first.
      • Or, as another franchise would put it, "The slow blade penetrates the shield."
  • Protagonist Hei's Badass Longcoat in Darker than Black renders him Immune to Bullets.
    • Also subverted later in the series. The one time when Hei was shot when he wasn't wearing that coat, he spent the rest of the episode limping badly. And it was plain old vanilla guns that took down November 11, while neither Hei nor Maki managed it.
  • Protagonist Rin Asougi of Mnemosyne is regularly killed by gunfire. However, she just comes right back to life.
  • Played with in Fullmetal Alchemist the homunculi have regenerative abilities, and simply reform after normally fatal gunshot wounds, explosions, etc. They have limited number of times they can regenerate, and if they reach that limit then a gunshot will kill them.
    • Lampshaded in the manga where Hawkeye complains about this.
    • Greed's shield and Sloth's skin are outright immune to bullets, Sloth is still affected by heavy artillery though.
    • Subverted in the Final Battle: God!Father can block bullets rather easily and regenerate from them quickly but he still has to make a conscious effort to block them and is momentarily incapacitated by the injury, which is enough for some soldiers to divert his attention to save several major characters by just firing artillery and bullets at him. The constant, endless fire helped distract him and contributed to making him waste the energy he needed to keep his power in check.
    • Al, by the virtue of being an Animated Armor.
  • Possibly slightly lampshaded in the Read or Die OVA when Drake shoots at an enemy, only to have his bullet stopped in midair by electricity. He just stares at it for a little, groans exasperatedly, and starts the fight over.
  • Nearly every Angel in Neon Genesis Evangelion was immune to the standard pallet rifles carried by the Evas. A notable exception is Matariel, which, after some difficulties in getting a clear shot, was taken down with a few bullets. The actual immunity comes from their ability to generate "Absolute Terror Fields" which only EVAs are able to effectively neutralize.
    • To give you an idea of the massive amounts of firepower these AT Fields can soak up. During the first episode, the Fourth Angel (First Bad Guy) isn't even affected by shelling from at least a division of tanks, two battalions of VTOL fighter missiles, an uncountable amount of rocket artillery barrage, and even multiple Air-to-Ground SRBMs. They then Nuke'Em...which barely fazes him at all. Later, the 5th Angel shrugs off firepower that would put the above paragraph to shame.
      • Later, the 8th Angel is unscratched from even a 48 Nuke simultaneous barrage.
  • Chiropterans in Blood+ are shown to be completely immune to bullets. That doesn't seem to stop the human characters from trying to shoot them every time they come across one, even though they know it won't work.
    • Actually it is more of a Good Thing You Can Heal, the bullets don't cause a big enough wound to do any lasting damage which they can heel from, which is why Sora uses a sword.
  • The second and third chapters of Kamen Rider Spirits has Rider #2 blocking automatic weapon fire with his gloved hands to save the kids and doctors standing behind him. And before that - in the best two pages devoted to Kamen Rider ever - he stops a TANK ROUND with a punch for the same reason.
  • In Code Geass, Jeremiah Gottwald has this after being rebuilt. (C.C. and V.V. and later Charles also have this as a result of their "code", though it's more a case of Good Thing You Can Heal)
  • Everyone in Dragonball Z. Most obvious when Cell annihilates an entire army singlehandedly. Later, Gohan catches bullets and then dramatically drops them to scare a criminal s*** less. There are many other examples in the Dragon Ball series, but these are the most memorable.
    • Shoot, even in the first chapter of Dragon Ball, Goku proved to be Immune to Bullets as he shrugged off a headshot by Bulma's handgun, like a bee sting.
      • Subverted later on when Goku is shot in the chest by General White and actually appears to be hurt. This could just be due to the caliber of firearm...or not.
        • It is explicitly stated that the gun is specially made and much more powerful than other fire arms.
    • Upa's father is shown to be immune to bad guys's bullets due to his big and tough body.
  • In Gunslinger Girl. Section II's cyborgs have carbon-fiber skeletons, allowing them to use their arms as makeshift shields when being shot at. However, with each surgery required to replace their damaged artificial muscle tissue, their lifespans shorten and they become more dependent on the medication given to them.
  • Inverted in Cannon God Exaxxion. Bullets are just about the only thing that can penetrate Deflector Shields based on Artificial Gravity tech. They have to be really high powered, though, not just some run of the mill pea-shooters, as that poor special forces team in the first volume found out the hard way...
  • The Battle Butler in Black Butler is Immune to Bullets, as demonstrated when he takes several shots to the chest, plays dead for a little bit, and then spits the bullets out and throws them back with as much force as a gun. However, he still tends to dodge bullets, because they damage his impeccable suit.
  • Grave in Gungrave isn't completely immune to bullets, but can survive a barrage of gunfire because of his power of regeneration (he uses his body as a shield for Mika and the bullets simply fall out of him). Bunji finds a way around this--a gun that shoots bullets laced with pinkish goo that induces paralysis in Necro-Risers/Deadmen.
  • Subaru Nakajima of Lyrical Nanoha, due to being a Super Prototype Cyborg. Running wildly through a hail of gunfire only leaves scratches on her skin, and later in StrikerS Sound Stage X, she takes a direct hit from a Howitzer-style cannon that could destroy tanks in one shot, only for her to come out of the smoke with only cosmetic wounds.
  • In the notoriously bad series Chargeman Ken!, The Jural, strangely enough, are not affected by bullets, but they are by Ken's laser gun.
  • Mugann in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are immune to the mundane weapons of Grapearls until Leeron invents a Spiral bazooka.
  • Averted hard in Rurouni Kenshin. Badass ninjas that they are, The Oniwabanshu are most definitely not immune to bullets.
  • Pycal the Magician from the second episode of the original Lupin III is completely immune to any kind of projectile fired at him. Lupin and Jigen try pistols, machine guns, and even a bazooka on him and it has no effect on his body.
  • Phase Shift Armor in Gundam Seed and its sequel is designed to make any physical attack becomes useless which includes normal bullets and shells.
    • The Gundam is immune to Zaku II's machine gun attack in the series' beginning.
  • Averted with the Witches in Madoka Magica... Maybe... given how it's possible that said guns were magically enhanced and that thousands of explosives couldn't take down the strongest of them, it's likely that they are immune to bullets.
  • Given what they are, the Nations in Axis Powers Hetalia seem to be this. Especially since it's shown that France could shrug off a rifle round to the head.
  • The diclonii in Elfen Lied have the power to deflect bullets with their vectors, but their ability to deflect depends on the strength of the diclonius and the power of the bullet and gun. Lucy manages to deflect some of the force from a fatal .50 caliber anti-tank round, although she still gets shot in the head and develops a second personality.

Comic Books

  • Superman is probably the granddaddy of aliens who are Immune to Bullets, hence the trope Shooting Superman. The immunity is taken to such an extreme in Superman Returns that we are treated to an extreme closeup slow motion sequence of a bullet fired directly at Superman's eyeball which flattens as if it's struck an impenetrably hard substance, and then falls away. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Averted in the few instances when a villain (Metallo most notably) wises up and uses a Kryptonite bullet.
  • Wonder Woman is only technically immune to bullets, being simply fast enough to able to block them with her armored bracelets; if a smart criminal (like Lex Luthor) had the sense to simply shoot her in the foot, she'd be "hopping" mad.
    • Thanks to Power Creep, Power Seep, Diana's relative invulnerability changes depending on the story being told and the title it's being told in. Sometimes (such as when she needs to fight Superman) it's up to Superman's levels. Other times... yeah, she needs those bracelets. There was some attempt to explain that bullets, because they're much smaller and put pressure on a smaller area of skin are much more dangerous to her, but it's a pretty feeble Hand Wave for someone being vulnerable to bits of lead yet able to take a punch from a Physical God.
    • Played with in Justice League Unlimited, during the time travel episode where Wonder Woman, Batman, and Green Lantern travel to the old west. They are ambushed by thugs who shoot at them, and Wonder Woman remarks "those are the slowest bullets I've ever seen" while effortlessly fending them off with her bracelets.
  • Jesse Custer from Preacher (Comic Book) can make anyone obey him by speaking in The Voice Of God, so to win a gunfight all he has to say is Miss. Although they have to be able to hear and understand him.
    • In a more literal application, Cassidy, being a vampire, is quite immune to bullets, hand grenades, fists, and pretty much everything else, except for sunlight.
      • Not quite immune. They can't kill him, but they can tear him to pieces, if the calibre's big enough. At least, until his Healing Factor sets in. This allows someone to torture him by repeatedly shooting him with a Lee Enfield .303 rifle.
    • Forget Custer, what about the Saint of Killers? The man is immune to a nuke.
  • From Swamp Thing: "You can't kill a vegetable by shooting it in the head."
  • The titular Atomic Robo is all but unfazed by light gunfire, and even heavier weapons don't do much:

Soldier: Shooting's no good on this one.
(Shoots Robo in the face at point blank to no effect)
Soldier: See?
Robo: It's not like it doesn't hurt, you know.

  • Whilst not technically immune to bullets, Batman does wear a bullet-proof suit that protects him from most fatal injury. And he wears a Bat-shaped target on his chest, where the heaviest bulletproofing can be found.
  • The "heroes" in Sin City are not immune to bullets, but they can apparently get shot multiple times while only suffering minor injuries. Marv seemingly gets clipped or outright shot in almost every gun fight he gets involved in but he doesn't even slow down. Hartigan took about a dozen shots in the opening of Yellow Bastard before he went down and even then, he spent some time in the hospital but was otherwise fine. The finale also saw him getting clipped to no avail. Keep in mind that the guy is a senior citizen with a heart problem.

Fan Works

  • Any Remnan with unlocked Aura in Emergence -- a RWBY fanfic -- can shrug off Terran gunfire; bullets are almost below Weiss and Yang's notice, and Ruby says they sting. At one point, a Gemstone operative is told that if Team RWBY were to suddenly become hostile he should skip firearms entirely and go directly to anti-tank weapons.


  • In Star Wars, while not immune to them if they get hit, attempting to attack a Jedi/Dark Jedi/Sith with a blaster is not only typically fruitless unless the plot demands it, but is in fact counterproductive. This is because they not only block blaster bolts with their lightsabers, but often reflect them back at the person that shot them.
    • Given that the Sith, the only other known people to use the weapon at all, had been extinct for a millennium prior to Episode I, it would seem that deflecting fire is probably the primary use of a saber in the first place.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, the AT-ATs. "That armor's too strong for blasters." - Luke Skywalker.
  • In the Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles, Bart gets on his gun belt to shoot the wild man, Mongo, but Jim warns him not to.

Jim: Oh, no, don't do that, don't do that. If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad.

  • Godzilla, and most other Kaiju.
    • The rhedosaurus in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a notable variation. It was quite vulnerable to conventional weapons, but its blood carried a disease that would surely kill us all, which meant that bullets and their like were right out.
    • Gamera: Guardian of the Universe has a rather odd use of this. The young Gyos are implied to be unaffected by bullets (in an early scene, a guard unloads an entire clip at an off-screen Gyos and still winds up eaten) but they are shown to be vulnerable to tranquilizer darts. One Gyos even dies after getting overdosed with tranquilizers. (How ironic: the only time the humans successfully kill a monster in this film, it's because they're trying to capture it alive.)
  • Iron Man repeatedly demonstrates the imperviousness of Tony Stark's suit to ammunition.
    • His suit does take damage still, getting very much scratched up and dented. He even has a bit of trouble getting it off again after the first time he takes it into battle due to the damage it took.
      • In defense of Tony's design, the suit by that time had taken hits from triple-A followed by a crash-landing, an air-to-air missile, and an F-22's cannon.
  • The zombies in Japanese movie Versus seem to have greater immunity the more recently they had died. In the beginning, two zombies take a three-gun barrage of shots to the chest, but the first one only dies when the hero shoots it once (blowing out most of its torso, despite him having a pistol like the others) and the other eventually gets up and wanders away.
  • The Terminator films use this frequently:
    • The T-600 from Salvation could be damaged by whatever bullets John Connor was using in his gun, as he head-shoots one to kill it near the start of the film.
    • The T-800 from the original movie and T2 and the T-850 from Rise of the Machines are strong enough to be unfazed by gunfire, although it does wreck their fleshy exteriors. Explosives and molten iron, on the other hand...
    • The T-1000 in T2, being made of liquid metal, is only "damaged" by bullets in that they splash its body on impact, ruining its disguise. Cconcentrated firepower or a point-blank shot will stun it, but even then it's only a few seconds before it reforms itself. It takes being frozen in liquid nitrogen, shattered, and then remelting to actually damage it, but you wouldn't know that unless you saw the director's cut (its camouflaging ability starts to break down, and it gets a little melty and sticky); those scenes were removed from the theatrical version. It's possible that it could have withstood that M-80 grenade blowing it apart given enough time to reform, but that vat of molten iron got in the way...
    • The T-X from Rise is pretty much completely immune to gunfire since it's a more advanced endoskeleton than the T-850 with a liquid metal exterior.
  • What Planet Are You From? parodies this: An alien boasts that "Your puny Earth weapons are no match for my great intellect," and is then shot dead. Turns out he was simply mistaken on this point.
  • A pretty humorous example is the title character in Prince of Space. In the original version, he was good at dodging attacks but wasn't immune to them. However, the American dub (as shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000) had him frequently exclaim "Your weapons are useless against me!" which made the aforementioned dodging simply look ridiculous.

Crow: Your weapons are useless, but scare the crap out of me anyway!

  • In the Alien series: the acidic blood of the aliens was specifically invented to provide a novel answer to the question "Why don't they just shoot it?"
    • Not that that stopped anybody in the first sequel.
      • Dealt with very clearly in the novelisation of the original film, where the response to "It's got a wonderful defence; you don't dare kill it," was "Not on board a sealed ship anyway." On a planet, in a breathable atmosphere, this is no longer an issue - the issue is keeping the spillage well clear of YOU (as the fates of Hicks, Vasquez, and Drake demonstrate).
  • That classic 50's schlock monster, The Blob.
  • This is the main advantage RoboCop has over conventional cops, along with Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Same trope except with lasers in Planet of the Dinosaurs. While much importance is placed on the lasers, and how they can kill almost anything, the dinosaurs of this planet just get really annoyed when shot with one.
  • Averted in Tremors: As Burt Gummer shows, graboids are not immune to bullets, you just need a big enough gun. One could actually see the defining scene as a deliberate parody of this trope, as Burt and Heather were emptying gun after gun after gun into the graboids to no effect, until the fight more or less became a stubborn pissing contest between a nearly immobile graboid and a couple with a hundred seemingly useless guns. Eventually Burt's stubborn-ness won out.
    • Also, while many weapons can wound it, graboids are shown to be very determined creatures throughout the film and don't give up easily. Considering its near impossible to kill it instantly, it's hard to tell if the elephant gun was actually needed to put it down or if it was just mortally wounded and continuing by pure determination.
    • Justifiably played straight when they're under the dirt, though.
  • Averted in the Transformers series, in which the US military is quite effective, resourceful, and Badass. It's the Obstructive Bureaucrats and The Men in Black who cause most of the problems.
    • Well, not quite averted. The special ammunition they use (sabot rounds) do more damage than normally, but aren't especially effective at bringing them down (anything less, they can shrug off or heal very quickly). This is especially evident with Brawl (i.e. the tank) in the first movie; who has dozens of rounds pumped into him, but is still on the winning end of his firefight with the military. In the end, it takes Bumblebee to come along and save their arses.
      • Somewhat referenced in the midquel comic series 'The Reign Of Starscream', in which Starscream is giving a speech to a bunch of soldiers about how he will spare them if they don't get in his way. Cue one soldier with an itchy trigger finger and a bazooka shooting him in the face. BAD IDEA.
  • The immortals in Highlander can be perforated by bullets, but this won't kill them. Using guns to take down your opponent long enough to chop his head off is explicitly against the rules, and only truly reprehensible characters attempt it.
    • In one case, an immortal who's somewhere between Vigilante Man and Well-Intentioned Extremist points out that he could use his high-powered gun to blow MacLeod's head off. MacLeod responds with "but you won't", and the two draw their swords and fight by the "rules".
    • Also, whether using guns in their duels is explicitly prohibited or merely considered dishonorable or unsporting by most immortals in unclear. After all, "the Game" had its rules set up long before guns were invented. And even the most vile immortals follow the prohibition against killing on holy ground (for example, waiting centuries for an immortal monk to leave his monastery before killing him), but some have no problem "cheating" with guns and other non-melee weapons.
    • It may be one of the Rules, but it's not entirely accurate to say that at least some Immortals won't bend or even break the prohibition about killing on Holy Ground; in Highlander III the Sorcerer requisite baddie, the Immortal Kane, attacks Macleod in a former Buddhist shrine - on Holy Ground, in other words. Even assuming that he were unaware of the building's sanctified status to begin with, he shows no hesitation in his attempt to take Connor's head even after Macleod informs him of as much.
      • If it's a former shrine then it's no longer holy ground, just by definition. Nevertheless, there's still Kell (see entry under Voodoo Shark).
  • The Neo-Vipers from G.I. Joe the Rise of Cobra walk through massed assault rifle fire with the rounds bouncing off harmlessly, and the Cobra gunship takes 50-cal triple-A without even a dent.
  • The Batman films often play around with the fact he wears a bullet-proof suit. Usually for dramatic effect.
  • Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus. The title monsters shrug off torpedoes, missiles, and shells which, they being kaiju, do precisely jack.
    • Another SyFy Channel Original Movie crapfest, Mongolian Death Worm, inverts this trope: the titular monsters except the gigantic queen can be killed instantly by single hits from small-arms fire, even though real worms have few non-duplicated vital organs and could easily survive comparable wounds.
    • In Skeleton Man, the titular monster doesn't even react to being shot with a mini-gun. In the same fight scene, the hero is able to judo throw the skeleton man.
  • In Howard Hawk's The Thing from Another World the titular 'Thing' is of course immune to bullets. "What do you mean guns are no good?!" a character demands.
  • Used straight and averted in The Mummy Trilogy. No mortal weapons can harm Imhotep—although that doesn't stop people from shooting him—but other mummies can be harmed by bullets. The Mummy can be incapacitated by a shotgun, but it's only temporarily and he will get back up.
  • In Firestarter, Charlie literally burns bullets before they touch her.
  • Lampshaded during a gunfight in Dead Heat, a cops vs. zombies comedy:

Bigelow (cop): Hey, Roger! Remember the good old days when bullets killed people?
Mortis (cop zombie): You're just jealous, that's all!

  • Played somewhat straight in The Quick and the Dead, in which one of the duelists (called "Speckled Horse") is littered with bullet scars. He gives his opponent a shock when he carries on fighting, instead of dying immediately as expected.
  • Michael Myers from the Halloween series alternates between bullets hurting-but-not-killing him and bullets causing nothing more than a minor nuisance.
  • Played for drama in Unbreakable. David Dunn's son believes his dad may be a superhero, so he points a gun at him to prove it. Averted, since David is able to talk him out of firing and we never discover what would have happened.
  • Eric in Mystery Team.


  • Walter in The Dark Tower, strictly speaking, is probably vulnerable to bullets, but has a magic power that causes all guns aimed at him to misfire 100% of the time. It only applies to guns from Mid-World, his original 'home'. When Roland goes for Jake's ruger, Walter turns the hell around and starts running. It's specifically mentioned that his power only applies to guns/bullets of his world.
  • In the novel Digital Knight, the hero, after facing creatures Immune to Bullets for 5 of 6 short stories, finally encounters something that can be killed by firearms, prompting him to declare, "Well, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, will wonders never cease; a horror from beyond time that I really can just shoot dead."
    • Of course, it's not that easy: "I should have known, I should have known, you can never kill a monster with bullets, never, it's in the friggin' Monster Union Rules!"
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality series, the Deathcape, the black cloak worn by the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death while on duty, is impervious to bullets and anything else that could possibly harm the wearer (who is still a living human being).
    • This applies to every incarnation really, except Satan who is in fact very mortal, but uses a complex Plan to hide that fact. Chronos' (time) cloak ages anything (or anyone) that touches it into oblivion, turning them into dust. Mars (war) is the most gifted soldier alive, and immune to weapons of war (as each incarnation has supreme authority over its dominion).
    • Death in fact does not need the cloak at all, as Zane himself found out. The cloak is a placebo so to speak. Since he's the master of death, he cannot die unless he wills it so (every incarnation is the ultimate authority regarding its office). However, if, even unconsciously, the holder of the office of death is ready to die (and thus automatically go to heaven), any attack that makes it past the cloak will indeed kill him.
      • Death cannot be killed during his initial training period because he would have to retrieve his own soul. Death changes office by someone killing him, but only someone whose soul is in near perfect balance requires Death's personal attention. All others are handled by lesser agents.
  • In Singularity Sky, Charles Stross talks about the futility of attacking an enemy who had serious nanotech available to them. So-called bush robots made from fractally branching structural members which went right down to the molecular level tipped with nanomechanical manipulators would happily eat bullets and energy weapon fire and thank you for the additional mass and power you just gave it.
    • Of course, vague references to unpleasant nanotech weapons such as eaters, shapers and antibodies demonstrate that even these rather improbably resilient devices were still quite vulnerable to advanced weapons.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. The Chtorran gastropedes are very difficult to kill due to their Bizarre Alien Biology. At one stage the protagonist tries using a flechette rifle firing 3000 rounds-per-minute—after using up two magazines shooting out the Chtorran's eyes, breaking its arms, and disintegrating its multitude of teeth the alien still almost kills the protagonist by collapsing on top of him. And even then it's not dead. The Enterprise fish is not only massive (one is revealed to be twice the size of the aircraft carrier it attacks) but is covered in so many layers of blubber that it takes half an hour of concentrated bombing before it even realises it's being attacked. Two have been destroyed using low-yield nuclear weapons.
  • The global Oh Crap moment known as the Great Panic in World War Z was triggered by the limited effect that modern US ordinance was having against the Zack.
    • It wasn't so much that Zack was immune to bullets, but immune to the psychological warfare tactics of modern warfare. (e.g. "shock and awe")
    • Averted in that the best strategy the US came up with after learning it's current strategies were useless was Neopolic infantry lines.
  • Inverted in the Humanx Commonwealth series, where researchers and botanoprospectors on poorly-explored wilderness planets prefer otherwise-outdated projectile firearms. That's because contemporary electric or neuronic weapons can't be relied upon, if one of the local predators turns out to lack a conventional nervous system. (They do pack explosive shells, though.)
  • In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, giant squids attack the Nautilus. Captain Nemo says that his bullets (electrically charged) will be useless, since they won't go off in that jelly. The crew attacks them with axes.
  • The 20th century outlaw Nikola Šuhaj - at least according to the book Nikola Šuhaj loupežník (Nikola the Outlaw) by Ivan Olbracht - reputedly possessed a charm that protected him from being shot. In the end, he was betrayed by some of his companions and killed ... with an axe.
  • In Dale Brown's books, the Tin Man Powered Armor and CID Motion Capture Mecha employed by the heroes are immune to small arms, though anti-tank weapons still work.
  • In one Larry Niven short story, the startled protagonist fires his gun at an alien intruder who solemnly replies "Thank you for the gift of metal." Turns out the alien really can "Eat lead".
  • In Daemon, normal gunfire is worthless against the Razorbacks or first AutoM8. Nothing less than a 50-cal rifle will damage them, and even then you need multiple shots.
  • Jesus and His army of saints from heaven at the Battle of Armageddon in the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing. Even a missile couldn't stop Him from turning the entire Global Community Unity Army into bird food!

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who did this a lot. In fact, the trope is named after the Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's quote from Robot.
    • And indeed, in his last appearance on Who proper (the Brigadier has since guested on The Sarah Jane Adventures and in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe), the Brigadier showed the Doctor that The Cavalry now had a variety of special Genre Savvy souped-up bullets (armor piercing, explosive tipped, silver in case of werewolves, and gold-jacketed for Cybermen) to deal with this sort of thing.
      • Not only does he show off his toys, he finally gets to use them. And they work.
    • Subverted by the Sontarans, who were "immune" to bullets by way of using a special signal emitter that made Earth guns not work (they made the copper bullets expand in the barrel so that they wouldn't fire). The humans respond by getting bullets not made of copper. Much slaughtering of Sontarans ensues (despite the Doctor previously stressing that the Sontarans were masters of warfare who could not be defeated...).
    • In "Planet of the Dead", UNIT manages to take out three armored flying stingrays with guns and rockets. The UNIT commanding officer is very pleased to finally encounter a monster open to traditional killing.
      • Given that her scream of triumph is "Bullets that work!", her team might be packing special stuff. The effect is much the same, though - the stand-up fight to a victorious conclusion that UNIT has wanted (and needed) for so long.
    • One of the more marked examples, however, are with the new series Daleks. Daleks were already armored enough to withstand bullets unless you aimed for the eyestalk, but as first seen in "Dalek", they take this a step further with a shielding system that makes bullets disappear just before they even reach their casings.
    • Time Lords are apparently immune to regular bullets in the first few hours after regenerating, as lampshaded in "Let's Kill Hitler" by Mels. "Tip for you all: never shoot a girl while she's regenerating!"
  • In the Torchwood episode "Sleeper", the sleeper agents emitted a field that made them invulnerable to needles, scalpels and bullets - none could break their skin. However, by the end of the story, Torchwood had deactivated it, allowing them to fall to bullets.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation (and later series) used this for the Borg, who would become immune to a particular phaser setting after the first (or sometimes second or third) time one of them was shot with it. Despite phaser immunities, the Borg were not actually immune to bullets, and actual firearms were quite effective against them. As was, surprisingly enough, melee combat with simple metal blades.
    • Technically, since the incident in question was on the holodeck, they were bullet-shaped force fields.
    • Worf chopping off a Borg's arm and tying his damaged suit shut with the severed wires in Star Trek: First Contact.
    • The changelings from Deep Space Nine are a race of intelligent slimes who can assume the form of other creatures or objects. Since they have no organs, they are immune to bullets, being stabbed, or blunt trauma. Even if parts of the body are cut off, they revert to ooze and remerge with the rest of the body. Energy weapons, fire, and electricity are the only thing that can harm them.
    • A similar case turned up in one of the Deep Space Nine novels: The frothingly xenophobic aliens known as the Bekkir are firearms junkies, but since everyone else in the Star Trek universe uses energy weapons, the Bekkir developed armor (even spacecraft-grade armor) designed to reflect energy weapon beams. The only ways to affect them: captured rifles, explosives (phasers overloaded into bombs), extreme heat, or an EMP.
  • Stargate SG-1 used this for Anubis' Kull Warriors (in a blatant Star Trek ripoff taking place in a Lotus Eater Machine, they immediately adapted to the superweapon developed to destroy them, forcing SG-1 to create a "randomizer" for their superweapon, though this only occurred in a dream sequence where Teal'c was subconsciously making things harder on himself).
    • Also note that Teal'c might even have seen that Star Trek episodes. By that time, he had already often surprised people by showing off his knowledge of some Tau'ri popular culture.
    • Stargate SG-1 inverted this with the Replicators, who were immune to energy weapons, but fell apart if struck by so much as a single bullet center mass. Human-form replicators play it straight, though.
    • Some Goa'uld like to use energy shields that render them immune to fast-moving bullets. But not to slower-moving thrown knives.
      • However that last part might be justified in that an energy shield that prevents ALL solid objects from penetrating it might prevent said Goa'uld from being able to partake in certain activities that are essential to life, such as eating, without deactivating the shield as demonstrated by Rodney McKay in the Atlantis episode "Hide and Seek".
  • The Wraith in Stargate Atlantis were first introduced as functionally Immune to Bullets due to their Healing Factor. After a season or so, however, Villain Decay set in, and now Wraith soldiers die just as easily as any other enemy Mook from a burst of P90 fire.
    • Justified Trope in that it was explicitly stated that their regeneration is based upon how long ago it was that they fed. With fewer supplies, most wraith haven't been feeding as much and thus, Villain Decay.
  • The Judge in Buffy the Vampire Slayer boasted that no weapon forged could stop him. The last time he got taken out, an army had to be brought to bear and most of them died. However, Xander figured out that the term was descriptive, not proscriptive, and that weapons technology had come a long way since then. The Judge gets one-shotted into a million pieces by a rocket launcher, effectively putting him down (sure the pieces were twitching, but they ain't doing much else).
    • Vampires can't be killed by bullets. That said, they do hurt a lot.
      • Not quite true. A shotgun blast to the neck can decapitate a vampire, thus killing it.
  • The Haxil Beast from Angel was a subversion: Early in the episode, Angel is looking up addresses for shooting ranges. Wesley then comments "Guns can kill it? Well, that does make things easier!" Even though it turns out that the monster itself is either immune or highly resistant to bullets, it gets brought down anyway when Wesley uses a gun to shoot a tank of liquid helium that Angel had thrown at it, freezing the monster to death.
  • Several episodes of Farscape hinge around energy belts, which protect their wearers against energy weapons, but leave them vulnerable to things such as bullets, rocks and falling into a pit of lava.
    • An interesting variation occurs because the energy belts are merely activated by energy weaponry and technically shield against everything when active. Thus, Crichton had to resort to firing at himself more than once.
  • In the original The Adventures of Superman TV series, villains would always shoot at Superman's massive chest, the bullets bouncing off, and then throw the gun at his head—and he would duck. This reflected the fact that the bullets were just special effects, but the gun was a solid prop.
    • This is spoofed in Justice League Unlimited when several bank robbers are shooting at Wonder Woman who deflects the bullets. They empty their clips and one gets ready to throw the gun at her when she sarcastically comments "Yeah, like that's gonna work."
      • This was also spoofed during Peter David's run on Supergirl. A bunch of mook villains were firing at Supergirl; when they ran out of bullets one threw his gun at her. Instead of ducking or the gun bouncing off of her, she fell over much to the shock of the mooks. After a beat she jumped back up again and said "I always wanted to do that" before dealing with the mooks.
  • The Visitors in V wore body armor to ward off small-calibre weapons fire. However, the Resistance eventually gets better ammo that can punch through while Donovan has a stolen energy pistol that is effective as well.
  • Any time in Power Rangers when the team whips out their big powerful team weapon (usually combined from each Ranger's personal weapon) to use on the Monster of the Week before the end of the episode draws near, you just know it's not going to work.
  • Pretty much every Monster of the Week in Special Unit 2. And there is that gnome liaison, Carl who is immune to everything except diamond...
  • The smoke monster in Lost is apparently immune to bullets, as demonstrated by an unfortunate redshirt mercenary who attempts shooting it with an assault rifle only to be dragged into the jungle and mauled.
  • A recurring joke character in Late Night with Conan O'Brien had ♪ bulletproof legs ♫. Another character would always shoot him in his gut.
  • Subverted in Jekyll: Hyde isn't immune to bullets, just extremely hard to kill; in the finale, he takes several hundred rounds to the chest, and survives just long enough to drive off his attackers before finally dying.
  • Most demons in Charmed.
  • Many monsters of the week in Kamen Rider fall under this trope. Unless said bullets were fired from the show's resident Gun Slinger. Specifics include:
    • The Grongi, who after being shot at could just pop the bullets out of their bodies. Subverted when the police develop a bullet that can take down the Grongi.
    • The Unknown. The bullet doesn't even hit them. They just stop mid-way to their forehead and they explode. Including the bullets that could take down the Grongi. Subverted when G3 gets upgraded to deal with them. Not only can his bullets hit them, they can eventually kill them.
    • Subverted for The Orphenoch, though they need more than a standard amount of bullets to take down.
  • Almost every monster in Supernatural is immune to normal bullets. The only thing shooting reliably (if it isn't salt or silver) does is piss the monster off.
  • Monica Rambeau, after she passes through the boundary of the Hex for the final time in WandaVision. When Hayward shoots her, the bullets flow through her as though passing through a gel, losing their energy in the process and simply falling to the ground when they exit her body.


  • In a line of the song "Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars," Weird Al warns a group of soldiers not to waste their bullets, because shooting only makes the titular hamsters angry.

Tabletop RPG

  • Vampires in both The Masquerade and The Requiem games have vampires that aren't quite Immune to Bullets, but are highly-resistant—where other creatures take lethal damage (gouging and tearing) from bullets, vampires take bashing (blunt impact). This is because vampires don't have the vital function to make bleeding out a threat. Still, enough bullets will put them down... Werewolves are in a similar position (unless the bullet is silver), Mages not so much.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, small arms are little to no use against most of the "big things", to say nothing about Greater Daemons, Avatars of Khaine or manifestations of the C'tan. Considering that the standard Redshirt Army firearm is a flashlight laser equivalent of assault rifle, that says a lot about how nasty-tough the opposition is. Then you get into stuff that Eldar monomolecular-edged shuriken and Space Marine 0.75 cal armor-piercing explosive Bolter rounds still ping off... In the background material only, of course. In the game proper the right set of d6 rolls allows anyone to kill almost anything.
    • It's times like these that the Tau (Which fall over and die at the mention of close combat) become smug as hell, considering their standard infantry weapon is to the bolter, what the bolter is to the lasgun. And then we get into railgun territory...
  • Deadlands. Virtually any sentient horror is going to have some form of the phrase "Immunity: Normal Weapons" in its description. Even some of the non-sentient ones do. Good time to go get those bullets blessed, compadre.
  • GURPS: Supers had a section on how to make a character immune to bullets. Unliving (zombies), Homogeneous (blobs) and Diffuse (swarms) things are also extremely resistant to damage from bullets.
  • Mutants and Masterminds allows "Impervious" protection which automatically resists all damage below a certain threshold with conventional firearms topping out around 6 with pistol fire capping at 4. Alternately, there are characters with Immunity (Ballistic Weapons) for only a few more points. In 3E, a character needs 7 ranks of Impervious Toughness to be immune to pistols and 9 to be immune to all conventional guns that appear in the corebook. A character can also purchase "immunity" to effects with the bullet descriptor outright, which has the quirk of absolute immunity to bullets, including those accelerated to the speed of light, and bullets that do something other than cause direct physical trauma which includes fire and tear gas shotgun shells in the real world (and doubtlessly more exotic things in a Super Science heavy setting like Freedom City).
  • Novas in Aberrant have several different ways of becoming effectively immune to conventional weapons.
  • This is one of the many "Immune to X" creature power schticks in Feng Shui.

Video Games

  • Used in Devil May Cry, where the third installment's Dullahan animated armors and Fallen "angels" can't be touched by any projectile weapons, while Vergil has a move capable of nullifying Dante's guns. Averted with pretty damn much everything else, and indeed there are some enemies that invert this by being effectively immune to melee, forcing you to use guns.
  • Fortune from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty causes weapons to misfire 100% of the time, which explicitly extends to any explosives in her vicinity (all duds). How she does die is all part of MGS2's Gainax Ending.
    • Bizarrely, they don't always misfire. When they don't, the bullets just swerve to miss her for no apparent reason.
  • Temperance, one of the bosses of House of the Dead 4, cannot be injured with bullets. Since this is a light-gun game, that bodes ill for the main characters. The only way to defeat it is to fight your way to the top of a clocktower, lure Temperance under a giant clock face, and drop it onto the monster's head.
  • In Gears of War, the berserker locust can only be killed by the hammer of dawn.
  • Bryan Fury from Tekken cannot be harmed by bullets, and can even survive explosions without so much as a scratch on him. This is less because he already died once (though he did) and more because he was revived as a cyborg. Of course, he can be brought down in hand-to-hand combat like any other character.
  • In an early cutscene in Sonic Adventure, we find that Chaos, even in his weakest form, seems immune to bullets. Of course, this may be because they were shooting center mass, where there's nothing but water to hit. One wonders what would've happened if they had tried to shoot 'im in the head.
    • They should have just chucked a hedgehog at him... because that works, apparently.
  • The game Return to Castle Wolfenstein features a nearly identical subversion to the Buffy one. In the game's opening cutscene, it's shown that the Sealed Evil in a Can had to be sealed because none could kill him—but that was in 943, and the game takes place in 1943. Killing him is much more possible when he's confronted with an improbably vast arsenal of real and fictional World War II-era weaponry, as it turns out.
  • Half-Life 2's bigger synth enemies (Striders and Gunships) are essentially immune to any sort of normal ammunition, so they have to be dispatched with rocket launchers or energy orbs.
    • The large mechanical enemies are not immune to normal fire, but they're generally too powerful to be ditched by normal means. Also, the Hunters were specifically coded to take much more damage from physics objects than bullets.
  • Master of Magic has unit ability Missile Immunity. It's not absolute, only gives an immense (+50) Defense bonus vs. Ranged Missile Attack (but not Ranged Boulder from catapults or various Ranged Magical attacks) and e.g. the halfling slingers could get powerful enough to crack it. Missile Immunity is more rare: from Normal units, all Magicians and Warlocks, from Fantastic ones, low-level Skeletons and Demon (but not Demon lord for some reason), 7 heroess, plus "Guardian Wind" Item Power for the heroes, and "Guardian Wind" spell for anyone.
    • There's also Weapon Immunity that gives high Defense (unless already better with all buffs/debuffs) vs. Ranged Missile, Ranged Boulder (those often break through anyway due to high strength, it's just less of a Curb Stomp Battle) and normal Melee attacks, and it's more common: Air Elemental, werewolves, demons and many undead have it, plus 2 spells (Invulnerability gives it along with Damage Reduction and "Wraith Form" with non-corporeality) and similar item powers. It sounds more versatile, but is negated by most attack/to-hit buff spells on the attacker, all Fantastic units, and even Normal units with improved weapons (built in a city with Alchemist Guild or Alchemist wizard).
  • Eternal Darkness, in one of the few boss battles it has, using bullets on the Black Guardian all but makes it mock you for even thinking or trying to harm it with guns.
  • Alma from F.E.A.R.. Seriously, you've emptied two full clips into her, thrown a grenade at her, hell you even blew up a nuclear reactor. Trust me on this one, it isn't going to work. You're just pissing her off.
  • The skeletons from Majesty are almost impossible to hit with arrows, though it's not explained if this is from the lack of vital organs to hurt with them, or that the bony frame is genuinely hard to hit. Either way, don't try to fight skeletons with arrows, it doesn't work.
  • Many higher-level enemies in Ninja Gaiden are immune to standard shuriken or can block them if Ryu fires them off-the-cuff. Fortunately, he has more powerful stuff.
  • Though not completely immune to firearms, Alex Mercer can take a lot of bullets without much trouble - especially with the Armor evolution. It isn't until the tanks and missiles launchers and aircraft arrive that there's a real threat to him.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Medic's Ubercharge, which grants immunity to bullets for eight seconds to whoever he's healing at the moment.
  • While enemies in Castlevania aren't bulletproof, how much bullets are actually practical against them generally depends on the game and the type of gun. In the Sorrow games, the pistols Soma can use are generally impractical to use because, despite their range and how fast they travel, the firing speed isn't enough to compensate for the weak power. However, if you beat boss rush mode in either game, you can get the Positron Rifle and a Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher, both of which are quite awesome. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has Albus, who subverts this with a rapid-fire pistol that makes up a good deal of the reason why he's a Game Breaker.
  • Some enemies in Final Fantasy XII have a passive ability that makes damage from guns be practically worthless, forcing you to find other ways of hurting them.
  • When any of the L'cie of Final Fantasy XIII use a guard ability, they envelope themselves in a Beehive Barrier that makes them highly immune to damage, up to and exceeding machine gunfire.
  • "Chaff Field" boost ability in MS Saga is a skill that makes any bullet attack become ineffective.
  • The dog from Duck Hunt, much to the player's rage when the son of a bitch laughs at you for the hundredth time!
  • Certain armored personnel carriers in the Modern Warfare series are bulletproof and even immune to frag greneades and grenade launchers.
  • In Kingpin Life of Crime, a particularly grating instance of this trope occurs at the end of the game. At the end, you fight against the Kingpin and his henchwoman (some claim girlfriend) Blunt. You can hurt the Kingpin just fine, but Blunt is completely Immune to Bullets. Fortunately, you can set her on fire with the flamethrower (it will not kill her), and she will run around screaming instead of shooting at you. When you kill off the Kingpin, a cutscene occurs in which Blunt will run off and escape via helicopter and warn you that you may become the new Kingpin, but she will be back. That is right, this trope was applied on her because the developers wanted her to survive and make a Sequel Hook. Were they truly unable to find a way to accomplish this without making her Immune to Bullets?
  • Psychonauts gives as this gem:

Lungfishopolis Citizen: "Good Lord! He is impervious to bullets... and love!"

  • The Lobstermen in X-COM: Terror From the Deep are virtually immune to any weapon weaker than the aliens' Sonic Weapons.
  • In the new Prototype 2, one of the upgrades available for Heller is being immune to bullets.
  • In Warlock: Master of the Arcane (a sequel/spinoff to the Majesty games), Skeletons (of which several variants now exist) are highly resistant to projectile-damage as before, and there are a variety of spells and skills that can give the same effect to other units - most noteably the Wind Shield, which in some cases can also be extended to all the units around you. However, the Ghosts raise the bar significantly by being COMPLETELY immune to both projectiles AND melee-attacks, what with being immaterial and all... and since they're dead, they're also immune to Death-type magic, leaving you with a relatively short list of damage-forms that'll actually work on them. Too bad they're also really weak.

Web Comics

  • In Homestuck, Jade's "dog" Becquerel plays fetch with bullets.
    • And now a bunch of the enemies have the same ability. Oh Crap.
  • In Freak Angels they find out that their superpowers can help them survive any death, this is discovered after a few bullets to the head.

Jacks' alive.
He can't be ... I shot him through the brain. I stood over him and fired into his head.
Yes, and he's apparently unhappy about that.

  • Carbosilicate amorphs in Schlock Mercenary are too malleable for regular bullets to do any harm to them, instead passing harmlessly through their bodies.

Web Original

  • Shadow Hawk from Epic Tales is immune to bullets. And everything else. Now, if only the writer would take better advantage of this, and put him in all sorts of deadly situations.
  • New York Magician: A lot of the magical denizens of the city can stand up to even Michel's Desert Eagle. So he sometimes has to get...creative.
  • Ebony of My Immortal not only seem to be unaffected by them physically, but also allow her to travel through time. No, really.
  • God told Roger, The Nostalgia Critic's guardian angel that nothing could kill an angel. In an aversion it turns out bullets work well enough.
  • Snowy the Frostman is immune to bullets, as he is a snowman. When he is shot, he calls out the shooters on their stupidity, pointing out what he is made of. For that same reason, he's vulnerable to flamethrowers, however.
  • Averted/Inverted in Red vs. Blue. Due to the show's massively comedic violence, the characters can withstand all manner of physical punishment (including super-powered punches, 800-foot falls, and being smashed in the crotch with a concrete divider) with only mild-to-moderate discomfort. Bullets, however, are one of the few things that can reliably and seriously injure a character. Even the Freelancer Super Soldiers can be seriously harmed by just a couple bullet hits, since they don't have energy shields like SPARTANs do.
  • The Demons in The Salvation War could soak up a lot of small arms fire. Their thick skin could take up over a clip of 5.56×45mm NATO rounds, meaning that infantry had little protection on their own against the Baldericks. The solution? Use bigger bullets.

Western Animation

  • Part of the Cartoon Physics trope in numerous Warner Bros and M-G-M cartoons. Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, and even Bugs Bunny himself have at various times been shot point-blank with a gun, and invariably suffer nothing more than slight bewilderment and Ash Face.
  • Stan Smith of American Dad was once denied a second chance at life, and then pulled a gun on a court full of angels. They all laughed and said an earthly gun can't hurt them, so Stan punches out a baliff and takes his heaven gun, which can kill anything (one may seriously question why they have those).
  • One Treehouse of Horror episode on The Simpsons involved aliens attacking a disarmed human populace with bats and slingshots. It parodied the above line: "Your superior intellects are no match for our puny weapons."
  • The "Tyrannosaurus" from the 1940s Superman Theatrical Cartoons cartoon The Arctic Giant, created twelve years before Godzilla.
  • In the 1980s G.I. Joe cartoons, just about everyone, good guy or bad, and regardless of their supposed training or area of specialization, shows themselves to be quite competent when it comes to flying and dog-fighting with advanced jet aircraft. Just about everyone has their aircraft blown out from under them at least once (gotta wonder about the cost involved, even in 1985 dollars), and yet even the bad guys manage to eject - always just in time - without a scratch on them, or even a mild case of smoke inhalation...
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades features the Bio-Vipers, which except for a massive explosion or some industrial weed-killer, are nearly indestructible.
  • The Powerpuff Girls are immune to bullets.

Blossom, as bankrobbers' bullets are bouncing off of her and her sisters: "Why do they always wanna do it the hard way?"

  • Captain Hero, the expy of Superman, from Drawn Together is, but that doesn't stop him from using a Human Shield.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Futurama, when a robot owes money to the Robot Mafia. They shoot until he is filled with holes, then the don says "Let that be a warning to you."

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.
    • And the term is indeed soak up, a standard automatic rifle will kill anything, but a bigger body means that there's more area where an elephant or rhino can get shot and not be affected immediately.
    • Cape buffalo. If you're hunting them, bring something fired by lanyard. Pretty much anything bigger than Bambi on the African continent will kill you before it goes down if you're careless. The buffalo are just notable in that they're mindlessly aggressive and ludicrously difficult to kill.
    • Hippopotami.
    • Elephants. Even with a proper elephant gun, which is much more powerful than an ordinary "gun" proper, you're supposed to fire into their mouths or ears since their hides are very difficult to penetrate even with weapons specifically designed for the task.
      • They're hardly invincible, but the rifles needed to deal with them at short range (panic distance) weigh upwards of fifteen pounds, fire a sixty-calibre slug nearly four times the mass of a .45 pistol bullet at over twice the speed, and are double-barrelled so you don't waste time working the bolt for your second shot. Earlier guns in the black-powder era fired a ONE INCH slug at about Mach 1.5. This is effectively a hand-held, double-barrelled 25mm cannon. The recoil is brutal.
      • Curiously, enough, there's an outlier. 6.5×54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer and 6.5×52mm Mannlicher-Carcano rifles and carbines were popular among the big game hunters, as they work well on tough game like African Elephant or Cape Buffalo (Walter Dalrymple Maitland Bell/"Karamojo" Bell scored 300 or so elephant kills with it, and abandoned only due to dubious quality of ammunition, per That Other Wiki). Not particularly energetic, but prone to overpenetration. In a large target this bullet goes straight through the skull and deep into the brain. Most of these rifles weren't very accurate, and on long range a cartridge with modest powder load and round-nosed bullet wasn't great, but they didn't kick as much as high-powered rifles, so at common hunting ranges it was possible to reliably hit vital organs.
    • North American bears are notoriously difficult to kill, giving rise to the term "loaded for bear" to imply a gun with very heavy ammunition.
      • Speaking of bears, polar bears are, in addition to being the largest purely carnivorous species of bear, also come with the further protection of hanging out in an environment where rifle chambers that aren't purpose-built will gleefully ice up and become inoperable with only minimal condensation. Like the rest of their species, they're quite well known for having bullets graze off their skulls.
    • Wild boars have such tough skin (and fiber layers underneath), that older type bullets sometimes bounced off. It helps their reputation that when angry boars may ignore whatever injuries they do suffer for a while (the reason why hunting spears had crossbars is that a boar won't mind shish-kebobing himself all the way through to get back at you).
      • Russian and Eastern European boars, which are gigantic in size compared to their brethren from other continents, often hitting 600 lbs, are thought to be much more dangerous than Brown Bears - the bruin may fall after a well-placed hit to the heart or lungs, while the shot tusker may still have enough strength to rip the unfortunate hunter to shreds before dying.
      • Hunter S. Thompson hunted wild boar with a scoped .44 Magnum revolver.
  • Truth in Television with the notorious man-eating crocodile Gustave, which is recognizable because of its huge size and the bullet scars covering it. Okay, so you could probably kill it if you had a higher caliber gun, but the thing has been shot, a lot, and is still going.
    • Some of Gustave's wounds are said to have been caused by machine-gun fire and shrapnel from grenades and rocket launchers. And he still hasn't been killed! How much higher caliber are ya gonna get outside of trying to blast him with a tank?!
      • The scars aren't that numerous one on his head and three on his flank. The problem probably is that he's so low-to-the-ground (as crocodiles tend to be) that the shots have been glancing. A standard automatic rifle would probably be enough to kill him if you could only hit him properly in the flank.
  • Fred the Baboon survived being shot fifty times.
  • A positively eerie Real Life example is George Washington.
    • Also Rasputin (who was said to be immune to pretty much everything, really).
    • Blackbeard soaked up a lot of punishment before he dropped, too.
    • Keith Richards, of the Rolling Stones, cannot be killed by conventional weapons.
    • Perhaps moreso than Washington was Andrew Jackson "Old Hickory" Jackson, who suffered many a bullet wound from all the duels he participated in (mostly over his wife's honor), but never had them removed. Legend was Jackson had so many bullets in his body that he rattled as he walked.
      • He dug one bullet out of himself during a boring Cabinet meeting and promptly sent it to the man who put it in him saying "You can have this back."
      • He was just too Genre Savvy for his era. Lead musket balls, as very slow-flying ammo, might have done horrible, but not life-threatening wounds, while the attempt to remove them with dirty instruments of the time would lead to septicaemia and death. By leaving the bullets in the body, Jackson did the most reasonable thing to protect his own life.
    • The Indian chief Crazy Horse (one of the chiefs responsible for the downfall of Custer, the other two being Sitting Bull and Gall) was of the belief that he was magically immune to bullets, apparently because he had miraculously avoided being hit by them when everyone around him was shot on various occasions. To be sure, he never was shot—he died by being stabbed.
    • Wyatt Earp: for all the gun fights he had been in, he still walked away without a scratch. Most infamous is a shootout with Curly Bill at the Iron Springs watering hole where Curly shot at point blank range and missed while Wyatt walked up and killed Curly with a shotgun blast.
  • 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.
  • Speaking of modern armour, there's also body armour 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.
    • Even better, the soldier they shot was an army medic, who proceeded to treat one of the insurgents for bullet wounds after the squad hunted them down.
  • The eponymous Boxers of the Boxer Rebellion thought they were immune to bullets due to practicing a form of "Iron Shirt" qigong that is supposed to harden the body against most forms of physical attack. They were not.
  • Selecting the proper caliber of gun is extremely important depending on the type of target. The lightest caliber bullets are only 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.
  • A weird version of this trope popped up in at least one case of small-scale african warfare, when fighters armed with assault rifles could be seen wearing brightly-colored inflatable armbands ("floaties"), long blonde wigs, dresses, and other bizarre clothing items while participating in heavy streetfighting, with bullets zipping around them and all. Supposedly they believe that certain items grant their wearers magical powers, making them immune to being hit, etc. What more likely happens is that the enemy is too confused by the display to shoot.