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What Does it Mean to Dream of Shooting or Being Shot with a Gun?

There are times where dreams are so intense that they seem real. Upon opening our eyes, there’s a sense of panic, fear, and worry that grips us. You might even check your body to see if you’re injured.  Dreams that involve a shooting can be extremely disturbing, but they don’t mean that you’re going to go on a killing spree or that someone is coming after you. Only in extremely rare circumstances would that ever be the case. In fact, these dreams are associated with other aspects of your life, most notably your emotions. 

Dreams about shooting and being shot meaning

It’s Not Literal

If you’ve recently had this kind of dream and you’re looking for answers, first calm down.

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A dream that involves a shooting, of any kind denotes some sort of target. It can also be a reflection of your feelings for another person. It never actually translates to literal killing.

However, regardless of the circumstances, your emotions are so strong and powerful that they’re coming out in a dream about shooting. In this respect, it may definitely have a deeper symbolism that can reflect anger, a sense of helplessness or an expression of risk-taking behavior.

General Interpretation

Whether you’re doing the shooting or witnessing the shooting, these dreams can indicate a target you must reach, a confrontation, a loss of trust or suppressed feelings. Shootings can also be warnings from your psyche telling you to avoid certain things that are presenting a danger.

It’s not infrequent for our unconscious mind to pick up on hints and signals that we may not take notice of in waking consciousness. Therefore, in some cases, dreamtime shootings can reflect red flags we hone in on in the background.

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Alternatively, though, shootings may be a way for your psyche to “shoot away” problems, concerns, blockages, and inhibitions getting in your way.

Breaking the Dream Down – The Details

Details of shooting dream

You Are Shooting at Others

This dream can hint at a hidden conflict that’s bubbling to the surface, but it can also mirror your ambitious and goal-driven nature. Shooting a gun in a dream can be your subconscious revealing your true self.

Dreams about shooting someone can reveal a lot about you and how you cope under pressure. When anxiety is present in the reverie, this may be indicating that what you’re facing in real life is difficult. Shooting with the intention to kill in a dream can mean you may be having issues with people you don’t get along well with.

Shooting at a Stranger

If you’re shooting at a stranger, the dream may be representing your desire to solve problems. Like the stranger being shot at in the dreams, there are issues niggling in your mind that you wish you could solve and put away.

Alternatively, this dream could represent self-rejection over some part of your personality. You may not like something about yourself and wish you could change that aspect of your personality. You’re ‘shooting’ the part of yourself that you reject.

Shooting at People You Know

If you know the person you’re shooting at, the dream can give you an indication of your relationship with that person in your waking life. There may be unresolved or unaddressed issues with that person, and your subconscious may wish to “shoot” them away. If you were shooting at friends, it’s an indication of an argument that happened or an indication that one is looming on the horizon.

Shooting at Family Members

Shooting at your relatives in a dream can mean that someone close to you is facing serious trouble and you’re picking up on the warning signs. It could also mirror your frustration at this person.

It can be distressing if you see your mother as the target, however, remember that this isn’t literal. It could reflect repressed anger toward her. If your mother shoots you in the dream, this could be an indication of your subconscious reflecting the signals you’ve picked up from your mother in waking consciousness.

If you shot at your father in the dream, your subconscious may be helping you get a handle on your innermost thoughts and feelings. These are either directly linked to your father or could indicate that you have a similar character as him. Getting shot by your father suggests making stern changes in your life.

Witnessing or Hearing a Shooting

If in the dream you see or observe a shooting, it may be indicating unfulfilled goals and unhappiness, the kind born from carelessness, willful ignorance, or selfishness. But this could also indicate that someone you care about is experiencing trouble and your unconscious mind is aware of it.

Gang or Police Shooting

Gang or police shooting dreams may indicate that you have issues with self-control.  Drive-by shootings can suggest a need to listen to your intuition more.

Mass Shooting or Massacre

Seeing a mass shooting is a negative sign and suggests heavy burdens in your life or that an abrupt change is about to take place. If you were a victim in the massacre, a new start in life is on the horizon.

If you carried out the mass shooting, you could have deep anger toward society or just other people in general. Alternatively, this dream may indicate that you believe people don’t deserve your attention and they should get out of your way.

Someone Else Shoots at You

Someone shooting at you suggests a problem that’s directly aimed at you from someone in your immediate sphere of influence. If someone shoots at you with the intention of killing, it’s a warning to avoid fights in waking life.

Being shot at or chased with a gun can illustrate the hidden feelings you have of yourself. If you were hunted, you may be subconsciously punishing yourself and your psyche wants you to forgive yourself.

Target Shooting

Target shooting dream

Shooting at a target is symbolic of a target you need to reach; it indicates you’re on the right path so long as you didn’t shoot anyone. It can also mean you have a need to protect yourself.

If you shoot clay targets, it’s a sign of happiness and joy. It may also indicate a positive outcome at school or work.  

Shooting During War

Being in a war in slumberland denotes conflict with others. If you aim at an enemy target, you are preparing for a long-worked for goal. However, if you are in the military and have experienced conflict firsthand, such dreams may be expressing PTSD.

Getting shot in a dream war denotes a sense of protection or guardianship over something you either believe is yours or something you feel responsible for. However, this may not be your job and your subconscious is bringing it to your attention.

Details of the Gun In Your Dream

Gun in dreams

The characteristics and operation of the gun, or lack thereof, will also be important to understanding what this dream means.

  • If the gun was fake, like a toy or water gun, this can be a wakeup call to organize your life.
  • If the gun was a pistol, revolver, or a small silver gun, it denotes a small, yet important target.
  • A rifle suggests the stress and weight surrounding your target and the trouble you have in being able to reach your goals.
  • A machine gun indicates quick action – each bullet released can symbolize an opportunity for growth. If it’s belt-feeding, you are about to come upon more opportunities than you might be able to handle.
  • If the weapon is a stun gun or an air gun, it depends on if you were shooting or being shot at. A stun gun can symbolize healing whereas an air gun can indicate a possible threat. If you see someone using an air gun, you may have a false sense of belonging.
  • Shooting a shotgun can convey a need to protect yourself or others in waking reality. It can also symbolize built up anger or insurmountable pressure to make a correct choice. The shotgun itself could represent the decision but also the control you have. If someone shoots you with a shotgun, you can no longer procrastinate on an important choice.
  • A laser gun reflects success or your perspective on a very basic level. Lasers not only indicate light and the ability to see clearly through difficult times but also the frequencies and wavelengths you encounter in waking life. If the laser gun was loaded with the intention of shooting people, your subconscious is crying for rest. Seeing another person shoot a laser gun means you are diverting your focus. If you know the person, they have the best perspective. To play a game with a laser gun indicates a new start in life. If you visit a laser gun shooting range, you are on point, accurate and truthful. Your understanding of things is dead on.

Problems With the Gun

If the shooter had problems using a gun in your dream, this may be a call to review long-term plans and modify goals. You may not be on the right track or may be taking ineffective action on your journey towards those goals. For men, it could mean that you feel adrift in life and are looking for an anchor.

Not being able to load the gun or the bullets kept slipping out of your hands may reflect your victimhood at the hands of someone’s jealousy. It could also project your own jealousy toward others.

If the gun won’t fire, this may imply your loss of control, or it could symbolize your stubbornness in waking consciousness. But if this problem occurred with a shotgun, it connects to your deep need to feel protected.

Where Was the Victim Shot?

Body shot in dream

Different areas on the body can also have a special meaning for this kind of dream. A shot in the chest may foretell heartbreak, as it indicates ‘shooting’ in the heart figuratively.  This can be from anyone you care about, and not just a romantic relationship. If you’re shooting others in the chest, your dream may be telling you that you have to learn how to control your emotions and stop breaking hearts.

Getting shot in the head is an indicator of rejection. If you’re shooting yourself in the head, it suggests self-scrutiny and your approach to life.

A shot in the leg or hand, according to older dream interpretations, signifies an obstacle in your way. Newer theories suggest that the hand represents creativity. If you were shot in the knee, you feel you lack support from others; especially if you knew the shooter.

A shot in the neck suggests a need to align your heart and mind. These two parts of your being may be in conflict, with your thoughts and feelings in a state of separation.

In Brief

Dreams of shooting can be debilitating and worrisome, but as you can see by the possible interpretations above, it signifies something more than literal killing. The intensity of such a dream can reflect the seriousness of your own emotions. Therefore, analyzing the different elements, what they mean to you, who was part of the shooting and how you felt upon waking will be the keys to understanding the dream.

Affiliate Disclosures

Apsara Palit
Apsara Palit

After completing her post-grad in Values, Ethics and Indian Culture, Apsara is sharing her knowledge of symbolism, mythology, history and culture through her blogs. Apsara lives in India and believes in getting a first-hand understanding of culture through travelling.