• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
Popovich's first rule of firearms is pretty simple: The man who tells you he's going to shoot you will not shoot you., "The Lear Jet Repo Man"

Alice has Bob at gunpoint... and he calls her bluff. Sometimes bravado will make him mock her into the bargain, or even do something dramatic, like stepping forward and placing the muzzle of the gun against his forehead and daring her to pull the trigger.

There are two possible outcomes - Bob's right, and the gun wielder is humiliated as he walks up and takes the gun right out of her hands - a possible cue for Not with the Safety On, You Won't or It Works Better with Bullets.

Alternatively, Bob's wrong;

A snappy One-Liner from the gunman is almost mandatory at this point - this counts as Talk to the Fist for the first few versions and Bond One-Liner for the last.

Related to Defensive Failure. Will often result in someone being Killed Mid-Sentence. Not related to Like You Would Really Do It, which is an Audience Reaction Trope.

It's worth noting that in real life, this is a very good way to get yourself killed.

Examples of You Wouldn't Shoot Me include:

Anime & Manga

  • Monster: Roberto says this to Tenma, who has a gun pointed towards him:

  Roberto: "You can't do it. You're a doctor, you can only give life. It's my job to take life. You can't do it."

    • He was wrong.
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla

 Akira Ichinose: You can't do it. You wouldn't shoot me!


 "You won't shoot-"

  • At the end of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, defeated villain Gouda attempts to leave the country and is not impressed by the police squad that tries to arrest him, because he is under the protection of American diplomats, and Aramaki wouldn't dare to touch them.
    • But Aramaki has a direct order from the Prime Minister to keep Gouda from getting away under any circumstances. The Major is more than happy to make sure of it when he refuses to be taken into custody.
  • Lelouch does this to Kallen in the two-part opening of Code Geass. She holds him at gunpoint, demanding to know if he used his Geass to gain her loyalty, but he just calmly walks up and takes the gun from her while explaining that her loyalty is her own.

Comic Books

  • In one Batman story, Catwoman is pointing a gun at Black Mask, and he confidently says she won't shoot him, since she's just a thief with altruistic leanings, not a cold-blooded murderer. Turns out that horrically torturing her loved ones was a really bad idea.

Film - Animated

  • In Disney's adaptation of Tarzan, during the climactic fight, Tarzan steals Clayton's gun and points it at him. Clayton mockingly tells him "Go on, be a man!" Cue a gunshot which was just Tarzan imitating the sound with his mouth. He then breaks the gun, saying "I'm not a man like you!"

Film - Live Action

  • In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of the bad guys starts one of these when the protagonist has picked up the man's gun. The protagonist was very pissed however, and doesn't even let him get halfway through his speech.
  • Elektra King does this one in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough: "You're not going to kill me. You'd miss me." Bond's reply, of course, is "I never miss."
  • The Losers. Max says while holding the trigger for the snuke. "Now, since you can't shoot me." Cue Clay shooting him in the arm.
  • A variant occurs in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy threatens to shoot the Ark of the Covenant with a panzerfaust if the Nazis don't release Marion. Belloq refuses, taunts Indy to blow it up, and points out how Indy can't do it because of the Ark's archeological value. Indy thinks about it, realizes Belloq is right, and gives up.
    • To prove his point, Belloq even helps Indy by holding the German soldiers at gunpoint with a submachine gun when they try to shoot Indy or get in the way of Indy's line of fire.
  • Hudson Hawk. After Almond Joy uses curare darts to paralyze Eddie and Tommie Five-Tone, Anna Baragli shows up and points a gun at her.

 Almond Joy: You're not gonna shoot little ol' me, are you? You're not gonna shoot little ol' anybody. [snip] I read your dossier, sister. [shoots Anna with a curare dart, paralyzing her instantly]

Note: Anna didn't shoot because she's actually a nun.

  • At the climax of The Sound of Music, Rolf has Captain Von Trapp at gunpoint. The captain calmly says this to Rolf, claiming that Rolf is merely a boy trying to be a soldier and not a full-blown killer like his fellow Nazis. He's right...but then Rolf calls the other Nazis to do the job for him.
  • In Mean Streets, "you don't have the guts" - followed by the target fleeing the premises sharpish, only to set up a drive-by in revenge.
  • In Mystery Team, Jason goes up to the man holding him and his friends hostage, and tells him that he wouldn't shoot them, because he's not a killer. He gets shot in the shoulder.

 Jason: HE'S A KILLER!

  • Sexy Beast has a scene where the young pool boy threatens Don with a gun. Don, being terrifying as hell, is pretty sure the kid doesn't have the guts to pull the trigger. He's right, snatches the gun from him and pistol whips him with it. Unfortunately for him, Deedee (who is standing behind Don with another gun) isn't quite so reserved about pulling the trigger.
  • Casablanca has two variations (incidentally, both with the same gun): Ilsa visits Rick to try to get him to give her the letters of transit, when he refuses, she picks up his gun and threatens to shoot him. Rick's response: "If you'll stick at nothing to get those letters, then go on. Here, I'll make it easy for you." She doesn't shoot. Variation because Rick is saying (paraphrased), "If you're the Ilsa I knew you won't shoot me, but if you will, then I have no desire to live." The second case is at the airport, Rick threatening Major Strasser. Strasser doesn't say anything, but continues his (phone) call and seems to be calling Rick's bluff. He gets shot.
    • It's awkward to observe from the angle, but Strasser also attempts to shoot Rick.
  • "Come on John, I know you're not going to kill me. I don't hear a red ball."
  • In the 1944 Fritz Lang movie Ministry of Fear. "You wouldn't shoot your own brother, Carla."
  • In the 2003 Disney movie Holes, Trout Walker, after demanding Kate Barlow take him to her loot and she goads him into shooting her, tells her he won't shoot, but she'll wish he *had* after he's done with her.
  • Loaded weapon one parodies this along with every other action movie trope. The heroine has the big bad (Played by William Shatner) at gunpoint. He smugly declares "You won't shoot me, you don't have the.... (BLAM! he takes a bullet to the shoulder) ....guts!"


  • In The 39 Clues, only Ian Kabra is talking to his mother Isabel and saying that she wouldn't shoot her own daughter Natalie, which is what she was threatening to do. She does.... But Natalie lives; she only shot her in the foot as a warning.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, when Tywin Lannister is held at crossbow-point by his son Tyrion, he ignores his warnings not to use a certain word, and is genuinely surprised when he gets shot.
    • In A Dance With Dragons, Theon gets the successful variant. A spearwife becomes angry with him and threatens his life. For the first time in about a year, he outright grins and tells her that she needs him to get past the guards. She disgustedly lets him go.
  • In All the Flowers Are Dying, the novel's antagonist is in a confrontation with one of the protagonists. She has a gun, and he is convinced that she's not going to shoot him. The fact that the scene is told from his perspective, and therefore we can see just how certain he is, in his mind, that she's not going to shoot, and how confident he is in his ability to psych her out of shooting him, makes it all that much more awesome when she shoots him while he's still finishing his thought.
  • In a Nancy Drew book, the gang is held hostage by a crazed football coach. His prize student very slowly and calmly walks toward him and takes the gun out of his hand. What especially makes this a Crowning Moment of Awesome is that the guy has basically been experiencing one disaster after another throughout the book and basically been reduced to a sniveling wimp because of this, but manages to pull off a Hidden Badass moment.

Live Action TV

  • From Lost, "The Beginning of the End": Jack is threatening Locke with the same gun Locke pointed at him before.

 Locke: You're not gonna shoot me, Jack, any more than I was gonna shoot--

Jack pulls trigger. Gun clicks.

Locke: It's not loaded.

  • In the Supernatural episode Bad Day at Black Rock, there are two mirrored cases when Dean tells the person "You're not gonna shoot anybody. You see, I happen to be able to read people. Okay, you're a thief, fine. But you're not a killer." In the first case, it works and it looks like he can read people. The second time, the person shoots before he can finish saying it.
    • Masterfully used by Sam in "When the Levee Breaks": when he escapes from the panic room, Bobby catches up to him and threatens to shoot. But of course, he backs down and gets a Pistol-Whipping by Sam.
  • Michael Westen of Burn Notice gets this from time to time. In one case, someone he'd been unable to bring himself to kill once before was proven wrong while in the middle of shouting "Your trigger finger has RUSTE- (bang)". It was Just a Flesh Wound, but still pretty awesome.
  • From Doctor Who:

  The Master: "You never would, you coward."

    • In the 2011 Christmas special, a group of workers doesn't believe a mother would shoot them. Then she mentions that she's looking for her kids, and suddenly he's a lot more concerned about his life.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kivas Fajo tries this on Data. After having kidnapped him as a trophy of sorts and killing a woman Data became friends with, Data has the villain at gunpoint. He believes Data is incapable of doing it, and goes on to claim he'll just keep killing people if Data doesn't behave. Data declares that he can't let him live, and pulls the trigger... right when he's beamed back to the Enterprise.
  • Boardwalk Empire has another cruel subversion of this trope.

 D'Alessio: Oh, tough guy! What, are you going to shoot me just for mouthing off?

Jimmy: Well, I wasn't going to do, but you kinda talked me into it. *BANG*

  • Magnum, P.I.: At the end of "Did You See the Sunrise?", Magnum confronts Ivan, a Russian agent who's about to walk free after murdering a POW, masterminding an attempt to turn Magnum's friend TC into an assassin, and killing one of Magnum's friends with a car bomb in a misaimed shot at Magnum. Ivan is unconcerned, chiding Magnum that he's far too honorable a man to shoot someone in cold blood. Right? Wrong.
  • Warehouse 13: When H.G. Wells attempts to destroy the world, Myka forces a gun into H.G.'s hands and points it at her own forehead, convinced there is enough good left in H.G. that she won't be able to pull the trigger.

 Myka: If I am wrong, then kill me. Do it! Kill me now! I mean, we're all going to die anyway, right, so what's the difference? So shoot me. Just shoot me now. Kill me, but not like that. Not like a coward. I want you to look me in the eyes and take my life.


Video Games

  • Paco Mendes tries to pull this on Madison Paige. He's right, the Origami Killer does. But not after Madison squeezes his balls a little...
  • From Hitman:

  "You can't shoot me, 47. I'm just like you..."

  • In Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory: Douglas Shetland: "You wouldn't shoot an old friend, Fisher." You can choose to either stab or shoot him here.
  • Commander Shepard really likes pulling his sidearm during conversations. Usually, those on the receiving end say something like this, only to have Shepard remind them that they're above the law.

 Asari Merchant: "You can't shoot me!"

Shepard: I don't give a Vorcha's ass about your security cameras!"

    • Alternatively, Shepard can find another way to kill people who say this.

 Eclipse Guard: "I've got nothing more to say to you. If you shoot me..."

(Shepard pushes the mercenary out the window.)

Shepard: "How about 'Goodbye'?"


Web Original


  Popovich's first rule of firearms is pretty simple: The man who tells you he's going to shoot you will not shoot you.


Western Animation


 Brock: "You two don't want to shoot me. You know what I'll do to you if you do."

  • Beast Wars: "You SHOT me!" For context, Silverbolt, a Maximal, invokes the trope with Blackarachnia, a Predacon, though admittedly one infatuated with him. She shoots him in the leg just to prove him wrong. He rationalizes this as a good thing, though, since she could have shot something important.
  • In Men in Black: The Series, J and K end up in this position several times, with J holding the gun on K. Inevitably, J can't bring himself to shoot his partner, but he usually finds another solution.
  • The Family Guy two-parter where Stewie simulates killing Lois, ends with Lois holding Stewie at gunpoint, but can't kill her baby.
  • When a madman with a gun threatens the boys of South Park while they're pretending to be superheroes, Mysterion actually tells his friends to leave, walks up, presses his own forehead against the barrel of the gun, and dares the man to shoot. Not that he really had to worry because he reveals in the same scene that he can't die. Turns out Mysterion was Kenny. and the Running Gag of him dying and coming back was a legitimate superpower.

Real Life

  • More like "you wouldn't stab me". This troper remembers one story about a father and son who got into a very nasty argument with each other, and the father gave his son a knife and basically said "If you hate me so much, kill me". The son put the knife down. The father gave it to him a second time and told him to do it. Apparently "Would you believe the kid did that!?" were amongst his last words to the paramedics who tried to save him.