5 Details Movies Get Wrong About Firearms


Movies Always Get These 5 Things Wrong About Firearms

Movies are a great way to escape reality. Unfortunately, that also means that movies tend to get some important details wrong when it comes to firearms. This could be a silencer that makes the spy impossible to hear, a giant flash with every shot fired, or a shotgun knocking the villain off his feet. See if you can spot these five common misconceptions during the next movie you watch.

Barrett M107A1 - GunBroker.com
Barrett M107A1 – GunBroker.com

Snipers: Loners with Lasers

A lone sniper sits on a rooftop with a Barrett 50 cal, waiting to hit the engine block of whatever bad guy he needs to stop in his tracks. The laser on the sniper rifle hovers over the hood of the car, and the shot rings out. In real life, the Barrett could indeed stop the car, but that is where the similarities end. The truth is, a real sniper would not use a laser, as it could give away their position. Snipers also work with a spotter, a partner who uses a higher-powered scope to provide information for aiming.

Fanning a Revolver is Easy and Accurate

In Westerns, it is not uncommon to see a cowboy fanning his revolver, one hand working the hammer while the other pulls the trigger. It certainly unloads the gun quickly. However, if you try doing that with a Ruger Vaquero, you might have a tough time hitting the broad side of a barn. Fanning revolvers was a technique rarely used in the Old West. Instead, it was mostly used as a trick shot for exhibitions. Though today there are competition sharpshooters that can quick-draw and fan their revolver, it usually is not a good idea and difficult to execute.

Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt Jeff Flannery Engraved - GunBroker.com Movies Get Wrong About Firearms
Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt Jeff Flannery Engraved – GunBroker.com

Shotguns Have a Wide Spread and Can Knock Your Target Back

Shoot a Benelli M4, and you might think you are guaranteed to have a huge spread and knock over just about anything it hits, throwing your target back a few feet. This sounds cinematic, but both of these assumptions are usually wrong. While some shells are used for having a wide spread, most shotguns have a fairly tight spread, aided with chokes. Meanwhile, any shotgun that would have enough power to knock your target back multiple feet would also have the recoil to knock you on your back. Thankfully, you do not have to worry about that.

Muzzle Flashes are Common

Muzzle flashes are a great way to show an audience that the gun is firing. However, most modern guns have very little or no flash, often thanks to a flash hider. An AR 15 would be useless to the military if firing it instantly gave away your squad’s position. The star pattern flash you see is all just part of the movie magic.

Suppressors Make Guns Silent

While people will forgive you for calling it a silencer, most gun enthusiasts prefer the term “suppressor,” as the accessory will not completely silence a gunshot. For the average handgun, a suppressor can reduce the decibel level significantly, but it will not silence the shot entirely. It can still be quite loud, though with some calibers, it means you do not need ear protection. If you are firing a 22 caliber with subsonic ammunition and a suppressor, you might be able to get close to what you might see in the movies and only hear the action of the gun itself.

Deadair Wolfman Suppressor DA 9mm silencer Dead Air - GunBroker.com Movies Get Wrong About Firearms
Deadair Wolfman Suppressor DA 9mm silencer Dead Air – GunBroker.com

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