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Congratulations! You have been promoted from Mook to Human Shield!


Dixon: How did you know I was wearing a bulletproof vest?

Macgruber: You're wearing a bulletproof vest? Awesome.
MacGruber, after using Dixon as a human shield

Action Hero Bob is sneaking into the villain's secret base when he's suddenly spotted! As the enemies open fire with their automatic weapons, Bob grabs the nearest Mook and lets him take the shots instead. While the hapless henchman soaks up the bullets and twitches like a spastic marionette, Bob drags him along and heads for safety.

Fictional works love this trope, giving the hapless Mook the stopping power of twelve inches of reinforced concrete. It's popular with anti-heroes, as it serves to show off the hero's cold-blooded resourcefulness. It's also a trope used by a Jerkass Technical Pacifist; they aren't supposed to kill people, so they grab the nearest enemy and let their opponents take out a few for them. "I didn't kill anybody," says the blood-covered pacifist, after dragging numerous enemies into the paths of other people's bullets.

In Real Life, a Human Shield would probably work against small calibre weapons like handguns. On the other hand, army engineer manuals state that it takes 60 cm (2 feet) of soft wood to stop an M-16 and 120 cm (4 feet) to stop an M-60. But that wouldn't look very cool without some big guns blazing, would it? This trope almost always involves at least one automatic weapon, and the more there are, the cooler it looks. So in Real Life, Bob is likely to find himself in serious trouble; while some shots might stop inside his co-opted Mook, the automatics being fired would have enough power for others to pass through and into Bob. And considering the number of bullets usually taken by the mook, some would miss him and hit parts of Bob that are unprotected because Bob is now standing in one place, and his Mook is unlikely to be bigger than Bob to cover him completely.

The trope can be justified somewhat if the Mook is wearing protective gear like a Bulletproof Vest - the vest stops or slows the bullets on entry, they're slowed more by the body and stopped by the back of the vest. Unfortunately this only works for the areas covered by a vest, and a Mook wearing full body armour would probably survive as well, and won't appreciate being used in this fashion.

A Sister Trope to Human Shield, but while that trope talks about using bystanders as psychological protection, this trope covers the bullet-stopping tendencies of the bystander. Related to Concealment Equals Cover, with the mook serving as the eponymous Concealment.

Contrast with One-Hit Polykill, where the bullets do go through the Mook to hit Bob, Shoot the Hostage and Taking the Bullet. Also see Annoying Arrows, Concealment Equals Cover, Improbable Cover, Magic Bullets and Pocket Protector.

Examples of Bulletproof Human Shield include:

Anime & Manga

  • Lucy does this more than once in Elfen Lied, including the memorable opening scene where she uses the Dojikko's corpse.
    • Though subverted in that she's perfectly capable of catching bullets, and only uses a shield because she's Ax Crazy and enjoys it.
  • Although it's not really a 'human shield' scenario, Samurai 7 subverts viewer expectations about the ability of the human body to stop bullets at close range when Katsuhiro in one of his berserk periods near the end, having lost his sword grabs a machine gun from a fallen mook and fires repeatedly at point-blank range into an enemy. Kyuzo is on the other side of this enemy, and becomes very dead. This is why you should not be careless with guns.
  • Averted in Hellsing. The whole reason Seras becomes a vampire is an Emergency Transformation because Alucard shoots through her in order to kill the vampire priest using her as a shield.
  • In One Piece, Buggy The Clown used his own Mooks to shield himself from a cannonball.
    • Luffy himself isn't above using mooks or Buggy The Clown to shield himself from attacks.
    • When Luffy uses Buggy to shield himself from Mihawk, he wasn't trying to block Mihawk's attacks. He was using Buggy to break Mihawk's line of sight so Mihawk can't see where he's dodging. Mihawk's attacks still go through Buggy like butter and Luffy still needs to dodge it.
      • Luffy's rubber body makes him naturally bulletproof (as ogive bullets have not yet been invented), meaning it's not uncommon for him to become a voluntary Bulletproof Human Shield for his True Companions.
  • Done in the opening of Mobile Suit Gundam 0080 War in The Pocket with humongus mecha, one of the cyclops quickly grabs a GM so that another GM shoots him then hesitates. The Cyclops then shoots him through the GM.
  • Exaggerated in Fullmetal Alchemist. During the Ishballan War, Kimblee uses one of his own Mooks to shield him from an explosion, although the explosion killed the solider instantly, the only thing Kimblee complained about was that his uniform was messed up.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Batou casually stops high velocity, very penetrative shots from an SMG using a silent, nameless civilian appearing onscreen for about one second, which is the only screen time of the civilian during the entire franchise. The shots could be interchangeable with shots that passed through a police car door. By the way, the protagonists are all cops.
    • In an episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, members of an anti-cybernetics terrorist/revolutionary group scale ropes during an attempt to stop Section 9's assault on their base. The first group are easily gunned down in large numbers trying this and hang limp on the ropes. The second group to scale the ropes simply pushes the corpses of their allies in front of them to act as shields, drawing surprised reactions from the Section 9 team. A comment suggests this may have been the terrorists' plan all along to level the playing field against the small number of heavily armed Section 9 agents.
  • Code Geass: Apparently, Cornelia has no qualms about using one of her own subordinates as a Knightmare-flavoured shield should the need arise.
  • In Naruto, Danzo once used the corpse of a slain assassin attacking him to block several spears thrown by several others.
  • Gantz as the picture above demonstrates. A barrage of full auto can be easily stopped by holding a random corpse in front of you.
  • Noir features this VERY often. Kirika is probably the one who pulls it off the most, but Mireille and Chloe have used meat shields as well.
  • Mina uses this against two human attackers in the very first volume.
  • in MD Geist II - Death Force Geist uses a soldier for this purpose. Then he pushes his own gun through the man's chest and returns fire.
  • In a heroic example, Tita from Plastic Little uses herself as one to protect Elysse during the final confrontation against Guizel. It helps that she's wearing a bulletproof unitard (something Guizel was careless enough to mention while she was still barely conscious after he shot her earlier in the film). Tita isn't able to block the rest of the bullets, though (one did strike Elysse hard enough to possibly result in a permanent scar).

Comic Books

  • In one comic Metallo shoots Superman with a kryptonite bullet (the one kind of speeding bullet he is not faster than) and knocks Batman out with a blow to the head and buries the two alive. Batman comes to and blows himself and Superman out of the ground with his utility belt plastique, using Superman as a literal bulletproof human (er, alien) shield (along with the fact his batsuit is fully armored and fireproof).
  • In The Dark Knight Returns, a newly-resurgent Batman chases three bank robbers to an abandoned apartment complex. He pulls one robber beneath the flooboards, then uses him as a Bulletproof Human Shield while the other two open fire.
    • I always wondered about this. I mean, Batman supposedly won't kill the Joker (who kills hundreds of people in one act alone), but he clearly sets this mook up to be killed, then flings another one into a high-voltage sign. I guess mooks don't count as human beings... whereas the Joker... um, does?
    • I suppose he views himself as getting off on a "technicality" - he didn't pull the trigger, the mook's mate did. Dunno about the high-voltage one, though.
      • Word of God has it that Batman didn't kill anyone. The guy he flung into the sign must have lived.
      • Which just goes to how ridiculous the work of Frank Miller really is.
  • Used utterly ridiculously in one Batman story, where a character uses a crook as a shield against another, who appears to be shooting an assault rifle at him from pointblank range. What the hell was that guy made of?
  • A single-issue Punisher story released the same time as The Movie featured a shoot-out in a morgue, with Frank giving the rather sage advice of "Don't hide behind the thin guy."


  • In Total Recall, when Arnold Schwarzenegger's character is attacked by goons while on an escalator, an innocent bystander catches a bullet while next to him. Ah-nold grabs the man and uses him as a shield. He even spins the dead man around to block more gunfire from the other direction.Although the initial bullet may not have been lethal, the several dozen bullets he took next definitely did the job.
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. After an innocent bystander is killed by machine gun fire, John Slade grabs his body and uses it as a shield against the incoming fire. Watch it here, starting at 2:00.
  • In Thunderball, James Bond is dancing with villainess Fiona Volpe when one of her henchmen attempts to shoot him in the back. Bond spins her around at the exact right time that the bullet kills her instead.
    • Spoofed in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Austin uses Robin Swallows (one of Dr. Evil's agents) as a shield against a thrown knife, submachine gun fire, a bazooka round, and breaking his fall from a five-story building. Justified in that she's actually a robot assassin. Watch it here, starting at 8:00.
      • In a deleted scene, Austin and Felicity are driving around when Dr. Evil's hitmen drive up and spray their car with bullets - but Austin grabs Robin's body out of the trunk to block the salvo.
    • Bond also does it in The Spy Who Loved Me, quite disturbingly as the woman may have been meant to be working with the bad guys, but it isn't made clear.
    • Subverted in Tomorrow Never Dies. Bond kills a guard, then dangles his lifeless body out of a doorway. Sure enough, the henchmen mistake the dead man for Bond and empty their guns into him. However, Bond wasn't hiding directly behind the man, and in this case, he WANTED the villains to think he was dead.
  • Happens in the martial arts action movie, The One, with the Big Bad using a Red Shirt cop as a shield from incoming bullets. It actually shows a close-up of the bullets clearly failing to penetrate said shield's bulletproof vest.
  • Subverted in The Shadow. At the beginning of the movie, a rival opium producer, desperate to escape a confrontation with Ying Ko, grabs Ying Ko's accountant and uses him as a human shield, noting that Ying Ko's men "aren't marksman enough to shoot around him". It doesn't work, since Ying Ko orders his men to shoot through the accountant, which kills him as well as the opium producer.
  • At the end of the post-bank robbery running gun battle in Heat, Michael Cherito (Tom Sizemore) picks up a small girl to use as a human shield. Didn't do him any good for protection because Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) was already behind him and drawing a bead.
  • Happens in Sherlock Holmes during the first fight scene, when Sherlock spots a mook coming towards him with a revolver and uses some fancy martial arts technique to maneuver the mook he is currently fighting into taking the bullet for him.
  • In The Adventures of Pluto Nash, the protagonist wanders into a trap, at which point he grabs a Mook and tries to use him as a bulletproof shield and a deterrent. The bad guys simply choose to shoot both of them. Despite their futuristic guns, they still fail to kill Nash. Possibly, because everyone seems to wear thin Kevlar-like undershirts that protect against any weapon.
  • In Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Powell grabs one of his Mooks to block a thrown spear. One he could easily have dodged.
  • South Park The Movie had "Operation Get Behind The Darkies".
  • V for Vendetta: V uses this tactic to outmaneuver the constables in Jordan Tower.
  • In Crank, Chev Chelios uses his friend's dead body as a shield.
  • During the Omaha Beach scene in Saving Private Ryan, medics use the body of a dead soldier to successfully shield a wounded man from machine gun fire. The wounded soldier's helmet, however, is completely ineffective.
  • In the film version of Sin City, a federal agent is used as a shield while Heroic Sociopath, Marv hacks up his teammates with a wood ax. This actually seems to be unintentional on Marv's part since he was busy killing one of the agents when the human shield basically ran into the path of the bullets.
  • Done literally in MacGruber to escape some thugs MacGruber uses Piper as a human shield, and they both survive as Piper was wearing bullet proof vest, but MacGruber didn't knew that.
  • Subverted in Die Hard 4.0 where John McClane while being held as a human shield forces the Big Bad to shoot through a previous bullet hole McClane had already taken and kill himself


  • Granny Weatherwax implies doing this with an unconscious Diamanta when fleeing Fairyland in Lords and Ladies. She gets praised for rescuing the girl by carrying her over her shoulder, but instantly claims it was to shield herself from fairy arrows. (Since this is Granny Weatherwax both interpretations are probably equally correct.)
  • An interestingly realistic subversion happens in a Lonely Winds story: a powerful villain known as the Crown of Thorns grabs a soldier to protect herself from a volley of bullets fired by the rest of his squad. When she drops his mangled remains, it is clear that some of the bullets did indeed pass through the soldier's body and hit her — but any sense of victory the soldiers might have felt is immediately quashed when the Crown races forward to attack them, only slightly injured.
  • Subverted in Alistair MacLean's novel The Satan Bug, where the protagonist points his gun at a suspect, and then tells him not to "worry" about the Scotch tape over the barrel, since the bullets from this gun are strong enough to pierce, if necessary, even throw two persons standing one behind another.
  • Subverted in the book The Bourne Legacy, as a terrorist attempts to use a fallen guard as a human shield, but is mowed down when the blast go right through the body anyway.
  • In one of the Drizzt Do'Urden books, a drow weaponsmaster uses one of his own men as a shield when a dwarven battlerager launches himself at him from a small siege engine pointy helmet first. While the weaponmaster is still injured by the attack, the bulk of the damage was absorbed by the mook.
  • In Septimus Heap, when Queen Etheldredda tries to shoot Jenna and Alice Nettles jumps in between, the bullet stucks in her heart. Justified, since the bullet was primed for Jenna but the tag (the initials: IP for "Infant Princess") worked for Alice as well (since her actual name was "Iona Pot").
  • In Mossflower, Tsarmina uses an unlucky Mook to shield herself from arrows.

Live Action TV

  • Lampshaded in the Human Target episode "Victoria", when Guerrero uses a startled mook as a human shield against a sniper on a nearby roof. When the EMT they're protecting at the time manages to drag the mook in for inspection, he comments that the bullets passed straight through the mook's bulletproof vest, and that Guerrero's lucky they didn't hit him as well.
    • Happens again in the episode "Run," when Chance uses a mook both to shield himself from a guy who's firing at him from across the room, and to fire at said guy via the mook's gun. There's no lampshade this time, though.
  • John Crichton from Farscape, during an Enemy Mine situation with Magnificent Bastard Scorpius, grabs him and uses him as a walking talking piece of cover. Justified as Scorpius is half Scarran who are bulletproof to anything smaller than anti tank weaponry, even before taking into account his body armor.
    • Scorpius even compliments John on remembering this fact.
  • Bryce Larkin uses a human shield to get into the Intersect room in the pilot of Chuck.
    • Shaw uses poor Morgan as a shield to absorb a Taser strike in Season 3. Was anyone actually surprised he turned evil?
  • Subverted/shown correctly in Spooks when Jo Portman manages to restrain a terrorist who is trying to blow himself and everyone else up. The only way to avert the explosion is for Ros to shoot the man, however (as both Jo and Ros realise) the bullet will go straight through him and kill Jo as well; which is what happens.
  • In the final episode of Starsky and Hutch, Hutch is ambushed by two hitmen, one with a gun and one with a knife. He manages to take advantage of this by maneuvering the knifewielder between himself and the gunman, just in time to take the shot.
  • Brutally subverted in NCIS, when the Genre Savvy human shield gives Gibbs permission to shoot through her. And he does. Repeatedly. Sheesh.
  • Played ridiculously straight in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. A young woman has been taken hostage and placed in front of a shotgun set to go off at a certain time. Walker finds the villain's hideout, beats him up, and drags him in front of the gun just in time to protect the girl and make the bad guy take the blast. Of a shotgun. True to form, only the bad guy is killed, when in real life, the shot probably would have gone through him, Walker, and the poor girl.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki: Takeshi Asakura loves doing this to anybody he sees as an obstacle to him. Best shown when he uses Kamen Rider Gai to protect himself from Zolda's Final Vent before killing the latter. He does this again in the Kamen Rider Brave special, using Beast and Sasword when they get in his way.

Tabletop Games

  • Played amusingly straight in indie Role Playing Game @ctiv8, which has a section listing how much damage is stopped by various forms of cover. A human body used as a shield provides more protection than bulletproof glass.
  • In Dungeons and Dragons, merely crossing swords with somebody grants you cover from anybody behind them. Justified, as the most powerful projectile you're likely to encounter is a crossbow bolt, but the person PROVIDING you said cover doesn't actually take damage from the attack they stopped.

Video Games

  • Crysis allows the player to use Korean soldiers as shields (and improvised throwing weapons if the situation calls for it). Is reasonably justified, as said soldiers seem to be well-armoured, and won't be struggling out against you very well with the strength granted from your Powered Armor.
  • The Metal Gear Solid games use both this trope and Human Shield, depending on who you capture. In Portable Ops and 3, attempting to shield yourself with a higher-ranking officer would cause enemies to hesitate, while shielding yourself with a scientist does nothing and they'll still shoot you freely.
  • The Punisher has both the hero and the bad guys able and willing to use Bulletproof Human Shields
  • Cyborgs in Syndicate could use a Persuadatron to make innocent bystanders follow them around and attack enemies. Since they were almost all unarmed, they were really only useful as (very short-lived) meatshields once the shooting started.
    • They started unarmed, but would happily pick up any loose weapons and use them on hostile targets. A crowd of 50 or so civilians even with the weakest pistol can lay down some smackies pretty quick.
  • In Zone of the Enders you can grab enemies and use them as Giant Robot Versions of a Bulletproof Human Shield. The enemies will still shoot, causing them to hurt their allies instead of you, and you still can hurl your grabbed foe and destroy both.
  • Saints Row 2 allows you to use just about anyone as cover. Taking a Banger causes the others to open fire and kill their friends while you take them apart.
    • Enemy gang members will do this too. Unfortunately, they tend to grab random civilians rather than members of your gang, meaning there's little emotion and more "Man, having to waste random bullets". One boss fight does use a human shield to turn it into a sort of Puzzle Boss, though.
    • The Boss in a cutscene uses a bartender he/she has just sat down in front of when a SWAT team begins raiding the place with lethal force.
    • Taking a cop or civilian will cause other cops to not shoot. Unless they're behind you. They also think nothing of running you both over with a car.
  • Dead to Rights and the sequel have human shields as a major source of armor. Enemies don't stop shooting, but you really, really do need the shields. Really.
  • The video game adaptation of The Bourne Conspiracy uses both this trope and Human Shield, depending on the fire discipline of the enemy.
  • In Gears of War 2, Marcus will actually say "Hope you're bulletproof," when grabbing an enemy for this move. Just don't try it against a Grinder. That minigun will rip the guy in half in seconds.
  • A wild variation occurs in the video game Blood Rayne. There, one of the titular hero's special moves is to grasp a enemy goon, bite down on his neck (she is a vampire Dhampir Dhampiresa, after all), and while wrapped around him, spin him around to block enemy shots, using him as a Bulletproof Human Shield and gaining health at the same time.
  • Half Life 2 lets you do this when you have the Super Gravity Gun. After you kill an enemy with the "pick up" function, his levitating corpse makes a great temporary shield against his friends' weapons. Especially the heavily armored Elites.
  • The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games uses this directly, and Ages uses it and Human Shield at the same time. Twice. In Seasons, Onox shields himself with Din's imprisoned body, and virtually any attempt to hurt him before knocking her away with the Rod of Seasons will "hurt" her instead. All damage supposedly done to Din is actually taken out of Link's health, either because of the prison or because you're slashing up Din with the Noble Sword. In Ages, instead of using Nayru as a shield, Veran possesses her; again, harming Nayru's body hurts Link instead and does nothing to Veran, but this time, there's no explanation other than that Link is mutilating an Oracle, which heroes just don't do.
  • All of the Splinter Cell games allow you to take hostages. Most of the time, the mooks will shoot through their friend, harming Sam. In the one instance in the second game where Sam takes the enemy leader hostage, they will circle around, terrain permitting, and still shoot him.
  • Bio Shock 1 and Bio Shock 2 lets players have fun with this, basically kill a splicer or big daddy, use telekenisis to life body and you have an instant human shield, and when your close enough just toss that body at the attacker to hurt or kill them.
  • Victor Zsasz uses Dr. Young as a human shield partway through Batman: Arkham Asylum. The Batman takes him down anyway.
  • Appears in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II in the "Battle of Endor" level. Starkiller uses Chewbacca as a shield against Han Solo's blaster.
  • Painkiller has Skulls, enemy monsters who can pick up and use lesser mooks as shields.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops has Mason use a Vietnamese soldier as a shield while escaping a POW camp.
  • F.E.A.R. lets you do this, if you can get the drop on your enemy.
  • Time Crisis 2 had part of the final boss battle feature him using Christy as this. You're peanlised points if you tag her, and if you spend more time shooting her than the boss you get a time over, but that's about it.
  • Operation Thunderbolt (a sequel to light-gun game Operation Wolf) had this at the end; the villain used the hijacked plane's pilot. You get the Bad Ending if you kill the pilot.
  • In the trailer for Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, a member of the Special Forces is caught in the crossfire after dodging a grenade explosion. He grabs a convenient nearby zombie, which takes a few bullets for him, allowing him to run for cover.
  • Assassin's Creed III employs this as a combat mechanic. Connor can grab enemy soldiers and use them to absorb a volley of musket fire, then drop them to close on the remaining soldiers before they can reload. The E3 trailer also shows him using a horse for this purpose—while riding it.

Web Animation

  • This happens in an early episode of Madness Combat, despite the characters being usually Made of Plasticine.
    • Also happens many more times in future installments. Bullets can't seem to penetrate bodies very well, but can tear through cover easily.
  • Agent South in Red vs. Blue picks up a soldier's corpse at one point and uses it as an impromptu shield against snipers. None of the bullets end up hitting her anyway, but even with the body armor soldiers wear, you have to wonder what good it would have done against a sniper.

Web Comics

  • This happens very early on in Looking for Group, but rather than a hero using Mooks, the Chaotic Evil character Richard smugly drags an innocent peasant into the path of several of Cale's arrows (even though he wouldn't be killed by them anyway, being undead), and enjoys the expression on his face when he realises he's killed an innocent. He even suggests going after the son and wife to make the complete set.
    • Cale'Anon has recently pulled this trick using Maikos. Too bad Maikos is turning mortal again.

Western Animation

  • In Drawn Together, Captain Hero's "Hero Shield" consists of grabbing a random civilian and holding her as a shield. Despite having superpowers that make him Immune to Bullets.
  • In the Beast Wars episode "Code of Hero," Dinobot is under attack from Blackarachnea's eight machine guns. He grabs the already semi-bisected Inferno to absorb her last bullets before using Inferno's gun to shoot her down. Then he uses the poor Predacon's gun against him, blowing his head sky high.
    • Justified as the Inferno is quite literally Made of Iron (or some much tougher metal).
    • Bulkhead of Transformers Prime does this with several Vehicons when he attacks the Nemesis in "Darkness Rising".
  • In the murder mystery episode of Family Guy, Stewie shoots through Diane Simmons with a sniper without hitting Lois who was standing right behind her. But hey, Rule of Funny.
  • In an episode of Archer, Archer is teaching Cyril how to act like an agent and shoots cubes of ice at Cyril with a slingshot. Cyril grabs a nearby call girl and pulls her into the line of fire. Archer is delighted, the call girl less so.

 Cheryl: (screams)

Archer: Shut up! That vest is bulletproof!

Cheryl: Oh. (gets shot in the arm) Ow!

Archer: But it is, you know, a vest.

  • Justified in the Justice League episode "Twilight of the Gods." The Martian Manhunter punches his hand through the head of a robot, then uses its body to block shots from the other robots. He even keeps holding onto it after its legs fall off.

Real Life

  • Expanding ammunition flattens on impact to increase the size of the wound (and therefore its lethality) while reducing its penetration. Such ammunition would be absorbed by a Human Shield.
    • Soft Point Ammo has the jacket removed from the nose while Hollow Point has an internal cavity. Cruciform ammunition has an X shaped incision in the tip, causing it to split and expand in a controlled fashion. While the Hague Convention prohibits the use of expanding ammunition in warfare, it is permitted or even required in certain circumstances such as hunting or law enforcement, where quickly disabling the target may prevent loss of life and over-penetration may put bystanders at risk (though the latter point isn't nearly as significant as people make it out to be - even if your bullet won't over penetrate, many of the other bullets you shoot can still easily miss and hit a bystander—a source of civilian casualties more common than over penetration by orders of magnitude).
    • Frangible bullets are designed to disintegrate into tiny pieces when they impact a hard surface; this can protect against the danger of ricochets in close quarters, and limit the chance of, say, shooting through the skin of an aircraft. Air marshals would be likely to carry such ammunition.
    • Smaller calibers may not be able to penetrate a human body.
  • Myth Busters once did a test to see how much tissue a bullet went through (based on myths that a very fat or very muscular man survived a gunshot). 16 Inches of fat couldn't stop a bullet, nor could 14 inches of muscle. I think they were using a .223 round.
    • The reality is a little different; 12 inches of penetration in ballistic gelatin is considered the absolute minimum for a law enforcement pistol round, simulating passing through a target's arm at an angle and still wounding the heart sufficiently to incapacitate them. This is because Michael Platt survived such a shot.
    • a .223 Remington, a rifle round, could easily penetrate non-plated body armor, so the results aren't surprising.
  • Of course, even if the bullet or fragments of the bullet do make it through a human shield, it could still reduce the lethality of the shot.
    • Or increase it, as the bullet will likely be tumbling when it comes out of its first victim.
  • BBC reporter Kate Adie was in Tiananmen Square when the army started shooting into the crowd of demonstrators. She was slightly injured by a bullet that had just killed the guy in front of her (and possibly others).
  • In David Simon's Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets, Simon relates the story of detectives who were called to investigate the death of a man shot thirty-five times and the wounding of a man shot four times. It was ultimately revealed that a drug dealer and his muscle had gone to meet with another man. When an argument occured, the dealer ordered his muscle to open up on the man with a MAC-10. Thinking fast, the man grabbed the dealer as a human shield, and the muscle ended up riddling his own boss with bullets. Only four passed through to wound the man, who survived the ordeal.
  • the FN 5.7×28mm bullet (used by the sci-fi looking FN-P90) deserves mention because it was designed to expend all its kinetic energy in the first person it hits, so if it hits your human shield in the center of mass you're going to be okay.