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Normally bullets are used to damage or kill whatever they hit, but there are special bullets that are not primarily intended to do that.

Compare Abnormal Ammo and Trick Arrow.

Examples of Trick Bullet include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Ghost in the Shell, Togusa likes to put these in his gun. In the first movie and an episode of the series he does it with a tracking device (fired into a car).
  • Some of the caster shells in Outlaw Star do things other than kill the target. Early on in the series Aisha is shot with one and it only paralyzes her, despite being a rather large caliber. Then again, she's an alien Catgirl ...
    • And that's ignoring the ones that create micro-black holes. Oh, and it's not enough to keep the Big Bad down for good, either.
  • Sven in Black Cat frequently supplies Train with these. Freeze bullets come to mind, as do paint bullets.
  • In the "Escape from Pain" episode of Trigun, Vash the Stampede is hired to kill a teenage runaway, but shoots the boy with rubber bullets to fool his employer.
  • One Piece's Usopp's "Stars" would fall into this category, fired from his preferred weapon, the slingshot. Standard ammunition include exploding pellets (needle and fire varieties), rotten eggs, Tabasco sauce, slippery oil, glue, and toy cockroaches. After the Time Skip, he gains seeds that form quick growing plants to terraform the battlefield or attack the enemy. Or make an emergency boat.


  • XXX featured both standard tranq rounds and a "blood drop" round that not only delivered a dose of tranquilizer but included a blood squib that made it look like the tranq'd target was actually shot with a standard bullet.
  • Phone Booth: The cops shoot Stu with a rubber bullet to trick the sniper
  • The mutant-cure delivering bullets from the X-Men films.
    • Amnesia bullets in Origins: Wolverine.
      • Although technically those weren't "amnesia bullets", they were regular bullets made out of adamantium, thus the only thing they had that could pierce Logan's Nigh Invulnerable skull. They were supposed to kill him but his brain was able to regenerate, just without a huge chunk of his memories. Anyone else would fair far worse than just amnesia.
  • The bullets in Wanted; the conceit is that some are multiple-stage bullets, like an Apollo-era rocket, and are designed to be able to bend, manuever or otherwise change their course in flight.
  • In The Rundown, The Rock's character is shot with bean-bag rounds.
  • Heathers has the Ich Luge bullets, which pierce the skin and tranquilize, without killing. Subverted in that they're actually completely ordinary bullets, and Veronica is being lied to.
  • Hellboy has the titular character shoot Sammael with a tracking bullet.

Live Action TV

  • The security guard on Wonderfalls carries a gun with rubber bullets. The effect is that they knock the target off his feet without wounding him.
  • On Law and Order Special Victims Unit, a man threatens several cops with a knife and Benson shoots him with rubber bullets in order to prevent them from killing him.

Tabletop Games

  • Paranoia cone rifle shells.
    • ECM: electronic jamming equipment - any electrical equipment (including robots) in the Area of Effect stopped working.
    • Smoke: smoke cloud that blocked normal vision.
    • Corrosion gas: damaged all metal in the Area of Effect.
    • Vomit gas: caused severe nausea in victims.
    • Gauss gas: laser fire through the Area of Effect is more effective.
    • Dirt gas: made laser reflec armor less effective.
    • Hallucinogenic gas: Oh look! Beautiful pink unicorns!
  • Shadowrun
    • Paintball rounds - used to mark enemies for later identification.
    • Gel ammo: does stun damage instead of lethal.
    • Ex-Ex: or (extra) explosive rounds. For when a grenade is too lethal, but regular ammo isn't lethal enough--or illegal enough.
    • Capsule rounds: for delivering a drug cocktail of your choice directly into the bloodstream.
    • The following rounds also exist in the game, but have real life counterparts
      • Dragon's Breath: shotgun -> flamethrower
      • Stick 'n Shock: taser rounds
      • Shock Lock: for breaching doors
    • Ultra-Tech has a truly amazing number: Aerosol, liquid, flare, memory baton, tangler, stingray (to disable robots), swarm, EMP, jammer, strobe, warbler, force, implosion, psibomb, stasis, vortex. Those are just the non-lethal ones.
    • High-Tech has basically everything realistic.
  • Warhammer 40000 (of course) has the Imperium employ these, specifically for the Bolters. Because having full-auto .75 caliber RPG-bullets wasn't enough, they also come in super-armor-piercing, anti-materiel, anti-psyker, incendiary, sniper and "mutagenic acid" flavors. The last one is pretty much official terminology for "Tyranid killers".
  • A scenario in the old Adventurer's Club magazine called for the PCs to be spies trying to infiltrate a company headquarters. This was actually a training mission, and the "guards" carried guns loaded with specialized ammo that felt like a normal bullet but didn't do the damage. The GM was told to tell the players they'd taken damage based on the caliber of gun they were shot with, but track the actual damage secretly until someone got around to checking the injury. (One option for this scenario involved real criminals trying to break into the "headquarters" while the PCs were in the middle of their infiltration ... and their weapons were real.)

Video Games

  • Ghost Trick: Cabanela fires a special bullet into Yomiel's body, which can be tracked by a modified pocket watch.

Western Animation

  • Hanna-Barbera's Ricochet Rabbit would fire bullets that - for example - would stop in front of the bad guy, open up to show a hand carrying a mallet, and bop the bad guy on the head.
  • In Duck Dodgers in The Twenty Fourth And A Half Century, Dodgers fires an Ultimatum Gun at Marvin, which shoots a bullet that stops in mid-air, opens and out pops a written ultimatum. Marvin responds with an Ultimatum Responder, which fires a bullet that stops and shoots a bullet of its own. Dodgers fires the Ultimatum gun again, and this time the bullet's message reads "Ouch!"
  • In one Halloween Episode of Gargoyles, Owen shoots a were-Fox with a gun, later revealing that it was neither a bullet nor a tranquilizer, but a tracking and monitoring device. There was also the episode where Dr. Sevarius shot Elisa's brother with a gun loaded with a vial of Mutagenic Goo that turned him into a pseudo-gargoyle (a flying cat-monster thing).

Real Life

  • These exist to some degree in Real Life; tracer rounds (which are essentially bullets with built in flares to help the gunner correct their aim. The US Military also uses them near the end of a magazine to tell soldiers when their clip is low.) See also rubber bullets and "dum dum" bullets. This kind of thing can be found in most calibers but shotgun shells take the overall award; ignoring stuff like grenades and other weapons we have;
    • Slug rounds
    • Rounds designed to breach doors.
    • Beanbag rounds (designed to be less-lethal).
    • More recently; Taser rounds, although they're still experimental (most recently seen in the case of Raul Moat.
    • Dragon's Breath, anyone?
    • Airburst rounds. Close enough to a grenade, the whole idea is to explode right after a barrier such as around a window, thus granting no cover to those hiding.
    • There are also military training rounds that have the same results as paintballs but are sized like normal rounds and fired from a slightly modified but otherwise standard issue gun (same exterior, slightly changed interior; you wouldn't know the difference otherwise).
  • Grenade Launchers can fire signal flares when needed.
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