A few sessions into our campaign and somebody noticed the Hit Location rules are in the Melee Attack Options section of the rules:

Basic Campaigns, pg 369:
Hit Location
It is assumed that you are attacking the target’s center of mass unless you specify otherwise...

This resulted in a small discussion about whether or not these rules are actually applicable for Ranged attacks, as there was no solid reference for this that could be found in the book.

After a cursory search on google returned only side-comments in unrelated discussions, and my own perusal of the attack rules in Basic Campaigns turned up nothing of note, I decided to put it to the wealth of knowledge here.

Can a character make a ranged attack against a specific hit location - such as the Eyes - and as such can they buy off the attack penalties for such a maneuver with the Targeted Attack technique?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very relevant: Aiming at specific body parts \$\endgroup\$ – Fivesideddice Mar 31 at 2:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fivesideddice Not very relevant - that's a completely different system. \$\endgroup\$ – Adeptus Mar 31 at 6:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus you’ll notice that the first answer (if not the rest) is not system-based. Yes, a GURPS-specific answer might be good, but there are lots of relevant things in there that should be talked about before moving to system-specific answers. Particularly pertinent is “if you can do this to enemies they can do this to you.” \$\endgroup\$ – Fivesideddice Mar 31 at 6:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Fivesideddice The picked answer to that question says, "Remember that there are other games [besides D&D 5e] that support this type of combat." GURPS is one of those systems. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 31 at 7:38

Yes, You Can

Sorry, the tables can sometimes look like they're being exclusive. But ranged attacks most definitely can be targeted at specific hit locations, and there are even Techniques that can be improved to become better at specifically such attacks.

For example, High-Tech page 252, in the Gunmen Appendix, has this:

Targeted Attack


Default: see below.

Prerequisite: Guns (Any); special maximum.

Hits on “high-value” targets – face, chinks in armor, weapons, etc. – are effective fight-stoppers. [ . . . ]

And goes on to describe the nuances of the Technique.

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