The use of guns in movies and tv shows have always gone hand in hand with each other. From dramas to action flicks, guns are used so often in Hollywood that it blows the mind how they can still get it wrong. The depiction of firearms use in movies is often inaccurate and misleading. From the way firearms are handled to the sound effects and the way they are portrayed, the use of guns in movies is often far from reality. In this article, we will explore some of the common mistakes that Hollywood makes when it comes to firearms.
1. The ultra, mega, super, duper, beyond capacity magazines.
We have all seen it, the actor on the big screen has a side-by-side shotgun with a capacity of 50. Never once do they have to take time to reload. Especially when shooting full auto these firefights go on for ever and ever. Do they realize how heavy ammo is? In literal seconds you can empty a mag and then do it again and again. You can go through hundreds of rounds, but the actor is in shorts and a t-shirt. Where the hell did they store all this ammo?
That’s not to mention the heat from sustained fire. I once tried to shoot 1000 rounds through a Springfield Armory Prodigy pistol as fast as I could. After three mags, the pistol was so hot I had to put gloves on.
2. The sound of B.S.
This leads into the next annoying mistake that Foley (sound) engineers love to make. When the big plot point is an empty gun, it is like movie law that they have to do that toy gun click click click sound. I am not even going to mention that the slide or bolt should have locked back, but hey, that never happens either.
Speaking of Foley work, how about when you have to cock the hammer on all movie guns—even striker-fired ones? It’s not enough to just point a gun at an intended target. Every on-screen gun has to make that cocking noise so everyone knows you now really mean business. But wait … that bad guy has a Glock, why did he cock it like a revolver? Damn it, you and your common sense!
Suppressors aren’t called silencers for nothing. In LALA land, suppressors are the realm of the assassin, so they can take others out on a whim with no one being the wiser. I am a big proponent of suppressors and own multiple versions for different purposes. I would not say any of them are quiet.
In fact, shooting a rifle caliber like a 223/5.56 you should still probably wear hearing protection. Most bullets including 9mm break the sound barrier. That means that as soon as the bullet leaves the suppressor it breaks the sound barrier and makes a cracking sound that everyone can hear. Even with some premium subsonic 300 Blackout, you still have a crack that is identifiable as a gunshot.
3. Everybody’s got a fun switch.
In the alternate universe of movie land, everything is full auto. Hollywood does not acknowledge the National Firearms Act. Everyone has a machine gun, and they just spray rounds with impunity. In the real world, that’s not going to happen. Not only has the ATF stopped the manufacture of new machine guns for private use, they have done so since 1986. So that full auto Kriss, nope not unless they are for manufacture, police or law enforcement use. A legal fully transferable machine gun can cost more than a car, and take you about a year or effort to get.
4. Nobody ever fills out form 4473.
Have you ever seen anyone do a background check in a movie? I am starting to get the suspicion that maybe Hollywood is purposely trying to spread misinformation propaganda. Even in Congress there are members who believe that just like in the movies you can just order guns off the internet. In reality the firearms industry is one of the most regulated industries there is. If an unscrupulous dealer just sells firearms out of the back door, they will be caught. Firearms are tracked and documented at every level. When a firearm is found at a crime, the ATF will ask the manufacturer when it was made and what distributor it was shipped to. Then moving on to the distributor they will know what dealer it was sold to, and then the dealer better know who they sold it to. Those records never go away.
5. You’ll shoot your eye out (or your buddy’s spinal cord).
Bad form is rampant throughout productions. One of the first things you learn in any firearms safety class: don’t point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy. Ohhh boy, how about police officers on screen pointing the rifle directly at the spine of the officer in front of them.
The next bad shooting habit has to be shooting from the hip or unaimed fire. Indiscriminately firing everywhere like I mentioned earlier. This breaks even the most basic of firearms safety. You must be sure of your target and your skill to make the shot. If you miss the target, that bullet will continue on its path until it hits something. I absolutely hate when Hollywood tries to make spray and pray cool. You can really tell which actors have never held a firearm before, look at their grip and stance. It is almost like the firearms training provided for actors include the saucer and tea cup method, or the thumb behind the slide hold. I have personally seen someone break a thumb having it behind the slide when they pulled the trigger.
6. PUMP IT UP!
Last and not least is the old trope of the shotgun pump. This one is so ingrained in popular culture that even some firearms enthusiasts believe in it. I can’t even count the times I have heard “oh all you got to do is pump that scattergun, the bad guys go running”. Usually from the Fudd Husband who is trying to buy the wife a pump super magnum shotgun.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give away my position. Secondly you are literally saying keep a firearm that is for self defense with empty chamber. Right, you never practice with the damn thing and you will have enough wits about you to be able to make ready? Watch—this one is so controversial someone will reply about how this is a great idea.
Sometimes you have to take cinema as cinema and nothing more. That said, my pet conspiracy theory is that Hollywood is so anti-gun that they just purposely keep perpetuating firearms bad habits and don’t care. What are your thoughts on this, and what do you hate about TV/Movie gun use?
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