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Movie Gun Mistakes

Movie Gun Mistakes that Directors Make

Hugh LaurieWith the exception of directors like John Milius, Walter Hill, Ridley & Tony Scott, and a very select additional few, firearms depictions on film has been sadly lacking in realism. It takes a good understanding of firearms mechanics to properly represent them.

Several of the more glaring, continuously committed mistakes are detailed below.

The Silenced Revolver

Negant SuppressedFrom Lee Marvin's Walker in "Point Blank" to the original "D.O.A.", this specialized firearm is the preferred hit-man tool. Problem is, except for the Nagant M1895 Revolver shown at left, a revolver cannot be silenced much less suppressed. The depiction of an actor twisting on a suppressor to a pencil-barreled Colt .38 Revolver and when shot, produces a muffled report, is the result of an incomplete understanding of firearms.
Even suppressed submachine guns that operate in a slam-fire mode like MAC's and Uzi's are depicted as making a barely perceivable sound.

The Super Dooper Sniper Scope



The Billy Zane fired HK91/MSG90 7.62 mm. rifle depicted in Sniper was shown with a scope that somehow displayed everything from distance to target to the ambient temperature. A rifle scope that automatically adjusts point of aim to point of impact regardless of speed, distance, inclination of target and can tell you wind speed and it's direction at target, does not exist.
The whole idea that by just placing the cross-hairs of the scope on the upper chest of the target no matter how near or far is one of those film faults that expose the misinformed director as a gun novice.

The Sideways Gun Hold

Sideway HoldSteven Segal is the most graphic violator of this one. In every movie, he is in a scene where he walks through a house looking for bad guys while holding his 1911 Colt sideways. In reality, there is a viable reason for such a hold. When held slightly above eye level with elbow bent, the pistol is still directed forward yet the person maintains an unobstructed 210° view. This was an old Navy SEAL taught method, which Segal brought to his character. Problem was that every punk gang-banger thought it looked BAD and copied the hold. Nowadays, it's commonly referred to as a PERP HOLD. This method of aiming a handgun is extremely inaccurate and the resultant twisting of the gun in the hand from the effects of the barrel's rifling would not facilitate additional round discharges in hitting the target.
Any urban inner city, drug culture storyline has a scene where the protagonist shoots his rival using such a grip. What's amazing is that everyone gets hit.

The Endless Magazine

DominoIf it is a low budget film or one directed by a Hong Kong Director, you can be sure that a 12-round pistol magazine will hold 50 cartridges or more, depending on the severity of the gun-fight. Submachine guns never run out and M-79 40mm Grenade Launchers will fire every time you pull the trigger. The best is the LAWS Anti-Tank Rocket-Launcher that must be magazine-fed because it fires 3 times.

No Recoil Effect

Crime SceneIt seems silly, but most RKI's (Reasonably Knowledgeable Individuals) know that when you stand in the booth of your Crime Lab's firing range and press the trigger on a S&W .44 mag revolver, the muzzle of the gun will flip violently upward after each and every shot. No matter if it's Miami, Las Vegas or New York, Crime Lab Technicians all have the forearms of Superman.

Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry Calahan loaded his N-Frame Smith & Wesson with "a light Special load" as in .44 spl. When he finally kills the Scorpio Killer (Andy Robinson), the revolver properly kicks from the recoil.

The Non-Lethal Bullet Wound

BruceGet beat with a baseball bat, stabbed with an 8" kitchen knife, run over by an oil truck and shot with double-oh (00) buckshot or catch a .308 in your upper chest and you can still save the world. It doesn't matter whether you were passing your last breath a minute ago, you can still heed the cries of distress emanating from the movie's heroine. Jump up, wipe a little blood from the bullet wound and you're ready to fight the good fight.
Even if a round creases your skull and trims your hair, the concussion from the glancing blow would knock you clean out. The shot to the hand that knocks the gun away from you would have destroyed everything from the wrist down. There is no way that you could make a fist and punch the bad guy out.

The 12-gauge Rocket Launcher

Dam HardSven-Ole Thorsen points the Streetsweeper Revolver 12-gauge Shotgun towards the Bayou shack and boom, it's gone; no more Hard Targets. Whether it's a monster M-16 (USAS12) carried by Universal Soldiers that shoot High Explosive Rounds or full-auto Beretta 93-R pistols (the real thing only has a 3-round burst feature) in a Face-Off, shows creative license abounds among Hollywood directors.

Nah, nah, NAH-NAH nah, You can't Hit Me
Flame GunXM191 Multishot Portable Flame Thrower is not a 4-shot rocket launcher. It looks good on film but Vietnam veterans spotted the flaw when the movie premiered. It's one thing to use obscure weapons in a futuristic storyline such as Troopers on a Starship (AC556 & 870's) or Time-out Cop .50 caliber exploding ammo hand-cannon (full-auto converted Beretta 92F's), but storyboards set present-day should rely on present-day firepower.

Crossing Fields of Fire/ WHATS THAT?

Gaunt ShocklyAs the Cross-Country Bus drives down the street getting ever closer to Police HQ, Cops on both sides of the street unleash a hellish fusillade upon the hero and heroine, none of the cops get hit in the cross-fire. Such a dramatic mis-representation of the practicality of two people shooting at the same target from opposite sides are standard nowadays. Wearing a Gauntlet is not enough protection for such foolishness.

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