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In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in the scene where Cap, Widow, and Falcon are ambushed on the highway by the Winter Soldier and his team of cronies at one point Captain America confronts one of the goons who is firing at him with a minigun. Cap uses his shield to angle the ricocheting bullets at some of the other goons, taking them out.

However in Captain America: The First Avenger, when Agent Carter test fires her 1911 Colt .45 at his shield for the first time, the slugs simply mushroom and drop to the ground at his feet rather than ricochet.

Is this just an inconsistency on the writer's part, or did I miss something?

  • 5
    It could just be the angle of impact. – PiousVenom Apr 17 '14 at 21:27
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    A bullet made of solid lead (as some practice rounds are) would be more likely to just deform on impact. Harder materials would ricochet. – pleurocoelus Apr 17 '14 at 23:08
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    All of these comments could be answers; comments aren't for answering the question, no matter how perfunctorily. – BESW Apr 18 '14 at 0:03
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    Since when? There are plenty of time people make comments which could be construed AS ANSWERS. Perhaps they aren't trying to put their suppositions in a role to be considered high quality answers. – Thaddeus Howze Apr 18 '14 at 3:34
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    @BESW Comments are often used to posit a theory when the user doesn't have time or doesn't care to spend time fleshing out a full answer – Izkata Apr 18 '14 at 23:17
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Apparently his shield, made from a rare metal called 'Vibranium' which absorbs and dissipates energy if directly impacted. This being the case, a bullet (typically comprised of a lead core inside a copper jacket, commonly called 'ball ammo') fired directly (90 degrees) at the shield surface would expend all it's energy into the shield surface, deforming the projectile but not rebounding because of the shield's energy absorption properties. But if the projectile were to impact the shield on a lesser angle, not all of it's energy would be transferred into the shield but rather be deflected at an angle, away from the shield. This is commonly called a ricochet.

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    You can also see that Cap lines it up carefully before it happens - he's planning the shot, and is actively trying to get the ricochet. In the First Avenger, he was trying not to die as a matter of reflex. – Jeff Apr 18 '14 at 3:35
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    Excellent answer. It's also correct; think of the difference between stabbing a shield, resulting in a bent knife, or hitting it with a glancing blow, which results in a parry. – James Sheridan Apr 18 '14 at 8:24
  • This makes sense, it could also go so far as to explain how he can throw his shield and have it bounce of a target and return to him instead of dropping to the ground on impact. – Monty129 Apr 18 '14 at 9:41
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    @Monty129 There are some medieval offensive shield striking techniques that Cap. uses to great effect. Using the outer edge of the shield as a striking surface is actually quite devastating and could easily crush a human skull. Cap. has taken this shield fighting technique to the next level and often uses his shield as a ranged weapon. Because of the shields energy transferring properties and his exceptional strength, he can cause the thrown shield to actually rebound and ricochet off of targets when the shield edge strikes it. He's apparently very good at geometry too. – Morgan Apr 19 '14 at 1:40
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    @Morgan I'd hate to play against him in pool. – TylerH Sep 29 '14 at 17:59

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