One of the essential rules of firearm safety is to never point a gun at anything or anyone you do not intend to shoot. It also seems to be a consensus that whenever it wouldn't be lawful to shoot someone in self-defense, brandishing a gun would also not be lawful.
I would like to clear this question more. Is there a conceivable situation in which it would be completely legal to point a gun at a person, but not be legal to pull the trigger?
I know that the two have different severity. I also know that brandishing a gun, even in a situation it was illegal, could have a lesser chance of prosecution, mainly because there is less evidence (while shooting someone will leave plenty of evidence). So, it can happen that in a situation both are illegal, but only shooting will be prosecuted. This is not what I'm asking. I'm asking whether it can be that one would be legal but the other not.
I'm mainly interested in the USA and Europe, if there is a difference.
This question is purely theoretical, it was inspired by a comment on this answer. I would also like to keep it in the realms of civilian self-defense.