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"If they've got a bazooka, don't run away, 'cause it's easier to hit someone from a distance. Run towards them! And grab hold of them. (trying to shoot the bazooka) 'Back off! Oh, we're both going together!' (explosion)"
Eddie Izzard, Glorious

A common demonstration of One-Dimensional Thinking. Reacting to someone a few feet away from you drawing a handgun by running away, in a straight line, out in the open, without taking cover. Contrary to what these characters seem to believe, this does not allow you to outrun bullets. At five yards or less it's better to duck, swoop in, grab their gun wrist, and push it up, since you actually going in is often the last thing your attacker expects. That way if they fire, it won't be at you.

That being said, running away isn't always a bad idea. The effective range of a handgun, in the hands of a poorly trained fighter, is less than ten yards. A lot of urban criminals have never been to a firing range, and barely know how to fire their weapons. Competent shooters may simply choose not to shoot someone who's running away (it's hard to plead self-defense for shooting someone in the back). In fact most survival guides recommend that if someone attempts to force you into a car with a gun, run away. (In a straight line is not compulsory.) If they're willing to shoot at you when you run away, they were probably going to kill you anyway.

Not to be confused with Do Not Run with a Gun.

Examples of Slower Than a Speeding Bullet include:


Film

  • Subverted in Inglourious Basterds: in the first scene, Shoshanna runs away from Hans Landa, who readies his gun... and doesn't shoot at the last second, bidding the target "AU REVOIR!" as they disappear behind a small hill.
    • Played straight in the first scene of the Basterds in action: after there are two Germans left, the first one tries to run away and is immediately gunned down.
      • However, he half-succeeds in that while he does die, at least he isn't clubbed to death by a baseball bat.
  • The torpedo version. During the climactic submarine fight of The Hunt for Red October, Marko Ramius deliberately turns his boat straight into the Alfa's second torpedo. This to take advantage of their safety features, that is to say torpedoes only arm themselves after having run a pre-set distance in order to avoid any risk of blowing up the ship that fired them - or worse, accidentally detonating inside their firing tubes.

Literature

  • In Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Drawlight attempts to flee from Lascelles in this manner, who simply shoots him with both pistols. The first hits him in the leg, the second in the head.

Live Action TV

  • Averted on the tv show The Master, starring Lee Van Cleef as a ninja. In the pilot, he his shown running away from gunfire in a zigzag pattern.
  • Those two chicks Mikhail shot in The Looking Glass at the end of Lost season 3 did this.
  • In The Wire episode "Unconfirmed Reports", after a last-second decision to try a Drive By Shooting fails to hit anybody they set out to kill, Snoop jumps out of the car, takes aim, and kills one of the thugs as he runs away.

Tabletop Games

  • If there's no cover to get behind this actually works somewhat in GURPS - you give the shooter a movement penalty to hit. In fact you can even get it when charging at someone.
    • Note to self: houserule that movement penalties do not apply if shooter doesn't have to adjust his aim.
      • Although the shooter might have to adjust his aim slightly to account for ballistic trajectory (specifically, that the bullet will fall farther vertically if it has to travel farther horizontally).
  • Similarly, BattleTech gives an accuracy penalty for firing at a moving target, no matter what direction they're moving. A Fire Moth running full sprint is hard to hit, even if it's running in a straight line away from you. Or straight down your throat.
  • Ammo gives a penalty for ranged attacks against a moving target (or if the shooter is on a moving vehicle). The penalty is halved if the target is moving in a straight line that include the shooter, making the rule slightly realistic. Some "Director" (GM) likes to apply more maths to odd running paths, but it's optional.

Video Games

  • Played straight and subverted (via player action) in both the Tsukihime and Fate/stay night visual novels. Protagonists Shiki and Shirou are both at some point faced with a choice of where to dodge Ciel's pilebunker or Rin's gandr shots, respectively. Taking the obvious route (away) is a one-way stop to a Bad Ending, while choosing to dodge forward actually buys time.
  • Due to complicated firing angles and whatnot, every once in a while, this tactic succeeds in Armored Core series. Particularly in 4/for Answer when provided that the range is close and you have the height difference to quick boost forwards, thereby making the opponent overshoot the target. Moving away is generally a foolish move however, especially with the introduction of different bullet velocities in the same game series. Take note: if you are being attacked with a railgun or a sniper rifle, expect evasive maneuvers to work less; their muzzle velocity will close the gap almost immediately unless the distance is too great.
  • In City of Heroes, once you've fired your attack, you either hit or miss, regardless of where your enemy is when it strikes. The main trouble is that this deduction starts as soon as your attack animation starts - which may involve crouching, spinning and other acrobatics.
  • Human sized or larger enemies that fight at melee range in New Vegas can spoil a player's VATS shot by running directly towards him/her. The weapon's barrel will be pushed aside by the enemy's body, usually ending up pointed over the target's shoulder when it fires. This happens most often with fast enemies and large weapons. Deathclaws, for example, or Legate Lanius and the Anti-Materiel Rifle.
  • On the medieval side of this trope, one might think that arrows have a relatively short accurate range, especially against a moving target. Perhaps. But one of your poor fellow condemned prisoners at the start of Skyrim finds out the hard way that running away and yelling "YOU'LL NEVER CATCH ME" isn't the best strategy when your escape route is a straight line that goes directly past three soldiers carrying longbows.
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