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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Say Goodbye to Hollywood...

Tam riffs on a Kounterstrike Kiddie's comments about dual wielding. Much hilarity ensues. And it leads to a thought or two about Hollywood/video games/TV/etc. and firearms, and why one should never get their information about guns/ammo/shooting from them...
  • Guns need to be aimed. The John Wu "firing a gun in each hand" crap might make for interesting cinematography, but as a shooting method it requires either an insane amount of practice to get even moderately decent at (since you have to be REALLY good at point-shooting with both hands) or a willingness to expend ammo with no effect on accuracy. And keeping the rounds actually on the range...

  • There is no "shoot the gun out of his hand" nonsense. Personally, I blame the Lone Ranger for this little doozy. Yes, we get it; he's a good guy and won't kill the bad guy. That's great - for FICTION. Try that in a high-stress situation like a gunfight and you'll find out quickly why they're the bad guy - they aren't going to aim for your hand.

  • Guns need ammo. Revolvers very rarely hold more than 6-8 rounds. Pistol magazines rarely hold more than 15-20. It's not an endless well from which to draw sound effects. This goes triple for anything full auto - even 100 round drums only last a short while when firing out of something with a 600 round-per-minute cycle. A 20 round stick magazine is empty in frighteningly short time.

  • Which leads us to the next myth: Full auto firearms are difficult to shoot even passably. There's usually a formidable amount of muzzle climb (except on 50 pound guns like the Thompson) and keeping the gun on target takes a lot of practice and even more ammo. The thought of an untrained shooter grabbing a FA pistol (think True Lies) is frightening.

  • Carrying a firearm by tucking into one's waistband is a horrifically bad idea. The reason it works in the movies is simply that they lie. The protagonist doesn't actually HAVE the gun in his waistband while he's running/jumping/bouncing/etc. It's gone back to the prop table until it's needed again. It's the same principle behind how Harry Callahan can carry a 6" barrel N-frame under a light suit coat and never print.

  • Guns are incredibly loud. Firing a gun in an enclosed area - like a car - is going to cause significant hearing damage. And that muzzle flash is actually burning powder - not something you want mere millimeters away from your face.

  • Suppressors do not actually make the gun any less powerful, nor do they make it absolutely silent. Even with subsonic rounds, there's still somewhat of a report as well as the sound of the gun cycling. Revolvers generally aren't suppressed, as the gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone tends to leak noise...

  • Shotguns are NOT the be-all, end-all. They generally do not remove limbs, blow dinner-plate-sized holes through people, nor do shells explode on impact. Shotguns also need to be aimed, contrary to popular belief. A standard 12 gauge 00 buckshot round will only expand approximately 4" over a 25-30 foot distance. It will not cover an entire room, nor will each pellet be capable of felling a 200 pound person.

  • Firearms do not blow people through windows/walls/etc. If there was sufficient force to knock the recipient down, there would be an equal amount of force as recoil. Pistols just don't have the force, and rifles tend to zip on through.

  • .22LR can indeed be deadly, and .44 Magnum doesn't always kill. Shot placement is key. A .45 - or .223 - will NOT "hit in the arm and tumble through the entire body" or any other nonsense. Ballistics is a science; it's pretty much pure physics, and as such contains no "magic bullet" that can ignore force, momentum, and vectors...

  • A snubnosed revolver is very difficult to shoot, even more so from a moving platform. The short sight radius, combined with the double action trigger pull, can be daunting to even the seasoned gunnie unless one practices regularly. And hitting an object the diameter of your bullet from 200+ yards is pretty much right out...

  • Belt-fed machine guns are quite unlikely to be hand-held weapons, especially single-handed. Rotating barreled mini-guns are even less likely... Fully automatic weapons in rifle calibers are hard enough to control in a stable platform. Trying to contain a belt-fed with a single hand? Highly improbable.



That's a good start for dispelling some of the BS that Hollywood likes to perpetrate with regards to guns and shooting. There's a ton more, as there is pretty much no end to the ignorance and bigotry displayed towards anything even remotely connected to firearms from the Hollywood elite. The only cure for ignorance is knowledge, so when it comes to guns: [Hollywood]'s the disease, I'm the cure...

So, what's your favorite Hollywood gun myth?

That is all.

25 comments:

wolfwalker said...

So, what's your favorite Hollywood gun myth?

Bottomless magazines. Huge numbers of full-auto AK-47s and M-16s. Handgun rounds causing explosions when they puncture steel tanks full of explodable stuff. Big guns automatically more dangerous than little guns -- even if the big one is a .22 match pistol and the little one is a .357 Mag. Oh, and never ever ever a misfire.

Which is one of many reasons I like NCIS. They get the gun-handling right. Or at least closer to right than most other TV shows and movies. In one episode, a major misfire became a critical element in the story.

Rick R, said...

Two closely related ones.

1. CONTINUALLY working the bolt on the same autoloading weapon. Once you've charge teh Glock, you don;t need to charge it again until you empty it. Samo-Samo for open bolt machineguns -- your Uzi doesn;t need it's bolt locked back every 30 seconds for dramatic effect while you're just waving it around and monologuing.

2. COCKING A GLOCK. Worse -- with the Foley soundtrack of a Colt peacemaker! Samo-Samo for the "CLICK!" of a Glock being "taken off SAFE".

Mike W. said...

Guns are incredibly loud. Firing a gun in an enclosed area - like a car - is going to cause significant hearing damage. And that muzzle flash is actually burning powder - not something you want mere millimeters away from your face.

Remember the elevator scene in Terminator 2. Apparently Linda Hamilton didn't have her earplugs in during the scene and suffered quite a bit of hearing loss.

from personal experience, shooting a 9mm pistol at an indoor range w/o hearing protection is ridiculously loud. Bad enough to cause ringing & discomfort for a day or two. I can't imagine shooting in a small enclosed space w/o ears.

Even a .22 fired indoors w/o ears is uncomfortably loud.

Rick in NY said...

Personally, I love how the "bad guys" can shoot thousands of rounds and never hit the "hero" while said "hero" never misses, even with a pistol used at incredible ranges. Bonus points if the "hero" holds it sideways...

Atom Smasher said...

I can live with both of these because it's only a movie, but...

1) Handgun lethality. I got a copy of Taken a few months ago after hearing it was so "realistic". It was fun, but I guess all of Liam's shots were dead-on heart-shots because his targets collapsed like they'd been spine-blocked.

2) Noise. The street fight in Heat is the only movie I know of that actually gets the noise level even remotely right. Those speakers HAMMER you with every shot.

Real Life anecdote: My first time firing my Blackhawk .357 with Magnum rounds instead of .38. Outdoors with a buddy, gave him the ear muffs, I didn't want to bother with digging my spare set of plugs out just yet. Aim. Squeeze trigger. Felt like a mule had kicked me int he ears. And that was outside. Never, ever, ever did that again.
Fake life anecdote: College, paper & pencil role playing game, my spy guy/James Bond guy is hiding in the basement of a house after Ninjas (yes, ninjas) have attacked. 90% of what I know about guns at this point is Hollywood and books. My character gets in firefight, firing many times. After that the GM tells me I'm down on my reaction %. I demand to know why. he tells me "You just emptied two guns IN A BASEMENT. Shut up and be happy the game doesn't have deafness tables or something."

Heh.

Brett said...

My "favorite" -- defined as the one that makes me want to throw things at the TV -- is when a semi-auto handgun "runs out of ammo" at a dramatic moment. This is indicated by the gun emitting an audible "click" as the user pulls the trigger despite the slide being closed. Oftentimes the user will then pull the trigger a couple more times, getting a couple more "clicks" for his trouble, just to assure the audience that the magazine is, in fact, empty.

I don't think I have ever once seen a TV or film semi-auto slide lock back when gun's magazine runs dry.

Old NFO said...

Wolfwalker beat me to it, but the bottomless mag is the classic... sigh... Also changing guns in mid-shot, then changing back to the original (the continuity folks screwed the pooch on that one).

Having actually fired a pistol inside a car, trust me, your ears will ring for three days, and you will be sneezing for 15 minutes...

HK_USP_45 said...

One thing that chaps my ass...when you see the hero or a squad of heroes, or whatever, go through this 15 minute scene where they have their guns out and in the ready, and are doing all this tactical stuff -- clearing rooms, alleyways, etc -- then they get to the room, building, etc where the bad guy is -- the moment of truth -- then they'll rack the slide on the pistol, pump shotgun, auto, or whatever. Are you telling me you just went through all that, and you had an unloaded gun? (I think I see it most with pump shotguns)

Going further on this, I saw one really bad movie, where as the hero was about to enter a room, the music would get more tense, he'd rack the slide, and enter... no bad guy. So then he'd walk further through more rooms, he'd come to another room, the music was more tense...and he'd rack the slide again. Where is the round that was in the chamber after the first racking? He actually racked his shotgun 4 times in the one sequence. Movies tend to get a little carried away with the sound of a pump shotgun.

Reputo said...

On a similar vein, I am always amazed at the problems that can be solved with single and multiple nuclear detonations.

wolfwalker said...

Brett: "I don't think I have ever once seen a TV or film semi-auto slide lock back when gun's magazine runs dry."

I have. In both Tomb Raider films, Lara Croft's twin HK USPs do that, very visibly, when they're empty. In fact there are a couple of shots where the camera focuses on the locked-back slides, so the audience can see very clearly that they're empty, leaving her up that proverbial creek.

Also saw it in an episode of "Highlander," I think.

Patrick said...

My favorite is the corollary to the bottomless magazine: the weight of all the rounds being fired. For example, there's the scene in Predator when the group clear-cuts the jungle via firearm (including the above-referenced rotating mini-gun.) The weight of the ammo fired by the mini-gun itself would have had ol' Jesse staggering a bit.

Mikael said...

Just for the whole rambo thing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4nfZu8VqgQ

But yeah hollywood does stupid things with firearms, not exactly news. They do the same with swords(especially the soundeffect they use for swords being drawn...)

WV: mambulas

ASM826 said...

In "Last Man Standing", Bruce Willis is shooting two 1911s, held close together, up in front of his face.

http://www.filmweb.no/bilder/multimedia/archive/00101/Bruce_Willis_i_Last_101991o.jpg

I have two 1911s, and have tried this a few times. You have to hold them very close together so that you can keep a sight picture on each one. So close that the slides are a hazard to both thumbs.

That being said, it is possible to alternate shots and put all rounds on a paper plate target at 25-30 ft. I'm not that fast, and like I said, I've only done it a few times. I'm much better off with just one. But it was fun and funny to try it.

Most of what you see in the movies and on TV is crap, and you'll dump it all the first time you try going fast at a USPSA match.

Weer'd Beard said...

How about the Glock or other DAO "Battle Rattle".

Once a Glock is readied to fire it will make no other sound than the report of a fired round.

No "Click" of a cocked hammer, or a flicked safety as the gun has neither.

zeeke42 said...

I hate endless dramatic hammer cocking and decocking. The absolute worst offender in this is Jack Bauer on 24. Numerous times, he is holding someone at gunpoint that he needs to get information from. When he does this, he cocks the gun. Why he can't make a DA shot at contact distance, I'm not sure. The worse part is that when they give in, he decocks the gun with it STILL POINTING AT THE HOSTAGE'S HEAD. I keep rooting for him to ND/AD and blow away the key witness, but it hasn't happened yet.

Strings said...

I've always loved the "shoot it out of his hand" crowd, as many expect us (as armed citizens) to do this if we ever are forced to draw.

And Hollyweird isn't the only source:
http://gizmodo.com/291329/badass-sniper-cleanly-shoots-the-gun-out-of-a-crazy-mans-hand

Willing to bet that officer had a LOT of people pissed at him...

Reputo said...

Strings,

The difference with that sniper is he had a bolt action rifle probably less than 100 yards away. With a 9x or better scope that had a zero line for his distance. He was shooting from a stable platform with little to no distractions. The decision had already been made to try to disarm him so it wasn't spur of the moment. It was a clear sunny day with little to no wind and the shooter was certain of what was beyond his target. A handgun has a target profile of 1" to 6" depending on how it is oriented. A 1" to 6" relatively stationary target at 100 yards should not be a problem for a trained sniper (doesn't mean it is easy though). I would be willing to bet that the sniper had 15 to 30 minutes (or more) to set up his one shot. Compare this to the Hollywood fantasy of someone fast drawing a snub nose and DA firing it from 25-50 yards and cleanly shooting the firearm out of someone's hand while simultaneously taking fire from the perp. Big difference.

The Duck said...

Hmm
Firing 1911's with the hammer down, and the ever popular cocking the Glock before firing, and firing while the slide is locked backed

Bruce said...

After firing a couple rounds from a pump shotgun, racking the slide during a break in the firefight (with no shell ejected, of course) and then continuing firing.

Anonymous said...

Any episode of the late, unlamented A-Team: Here is a group of SF operators who fire (on average) 10,000 rounds per episode and nobody, ever, gets hit.

Now, considering they were using Mini-14's instead of a real rifle, that might be possible, but after the first or second episode you'd think they'd find a rifle they could actually hit something with.

Kim said...

Revolvers which can shoot more than six rounds without reloading, or cowboy movies where they shoot more than five ditto.

But hey... if gangbangers use Hollywood bang-bang movies for their "training manual" while ordinary shooters go to the range, so much the better for us.

Rick R. said...

Hell, Patrick --

The BATTERY PACK for that rig would have pretty much taken up the "backpack o'ammo" space.

That's a big damnned gyroscope, and getting it up to speed isn't something for a couple of "D" cells. Think "deep cycle marine cells" in teh 6 or 12 volt range.

********************

Patrick said...
My favorite is the corollary to the bottomless magazine: the weight of all the rounds being fired. For example, there's the scene in Predator when the group clear-cuts the jungle via firearm (including the above-referenced rotating mini-gun.) The weight of the ammo fired by the mini-gun itself would have had ol' Jesse staggering a bit.

November 17, 2009 6:04 PM

George said...

The constant racking of semi-auto slides. A non-gun friend always referred to the chambered round, as the 'Barney Bullet'. Shooting friends have run with this, i.e., slide racked-unneccesarily "Oops, there's another Barney Bullet loose! Must be loose rounds all over, watch your step!"

Phenicks said...

Anyone see the new Jonah Hex preview? Two Gatlings mounted like saddle bags on horseback. Cool idea, but pick a soft spot to land the first time you touch that off.

mcthag said...

I have seen one case of dual wielding that worked very well. At a Cowboy action shoot a guy was aiming with one while his other hand was cocking the other. Increased his rate of fire on the course about 50% over just using the one gun.

Of course, he broke Hollywood's #1 gun rule and used the sights...