The Biggest Things Hollywood Gets Wrong About Guns

Ant Man Hammer Fired Glock

I’m a computer and gun nerd so for me the two most hair pulling things that Hollywood loves to get wrong are computers and guns. For those of you who are interested in some common computer faux pas Wired Magazine has a great send up of the ever ridiculous CSI: Cyber here.

However for my fellow gun nerds below are some of my favorite examples of what Hollywood gets wrong about guns

Endlessly racking the slide or pumping the shotgun

Pumping the shotgun
Stop this Hollywood

If I was constantly racking a pump shotgun I’d be out of ammo before the firefight even started, not to mention that once a round is loaded you have to fire it or press a button before you can actually pump it again. Racking the slide or pumping a pump-action shotgun ejects the current round that is in the chamber. Unless the gun was just fired there should be no reason for a gun to be racked or pumped just to be intimidating. But characters in TV shows and movies are constantly racking their guns.


Hammer cocking

Cocking the Hammer
Points for muzzle control, points lost for finger on the tigger

Many pistols are double action single action, so they can be “cocked” like that. While I get that you want to convey that your hero is a badass when you start with a firefight and then all of a sudden have your hero cock his gun, people like me are looking at you like, did he really just decock his gun to do that? In particular I see this being done to 1911 style firearms. Look the 1911 is a single action gun, so you don’t carry it with the hammer down on a live round! It at best renders the gun useless until you cock it again and a safety issue at worst!

Pointless Cocking Noises

Cue gun cocking noise

This “hammer cocking” sound is also all too liberally applied to movies. If someone with a gun just raises it, bam, “hammer cocking” sound. For the uninitiated this looks and sounds badass, to me it sounds like there is a part loose and the gun is going to blow up. This gets even funnier when it’s a striker fired gun like a Glock that is supposed to be making the noise.

“Silent” Suppressors

NOT Silent

Every time I hear a suppressor in a movie it sounds like, “pfft” and the person using it just slinks away. No, suppressors are not that quiet, at all. They generally make a gun, hearing safe, but that does not mean quiet. You will still hear the gun go off and know what general direction the round came from.

The Pillow Suppressor

So this is a common one but is half-true. While a pillow will “muffle” the noise of a gun, it will not however be as effective as a real silencer. Above you can see Jerry Miculek try out this old myth first hand. While ¬†something like this would not be close to truly hearing safe, the old pillow suppressor is half-true, but still makes the list for silly Hollywood gun myths.

Bottomless Magazines

In real life shooting a full auto firearm until dry takes a fraction of a second, you will not be firing more than a moment then you will have to reload. Most troops deployed today have maybe four to seven¬†30 round magazines on them. At an average full auto firing rate of 800 rounds per minute a single soldier would expend all of his ammo in about one fifth of a second, not accounting for reload times. After that? No more ammo, just “click”.

Accurate Full Auto Fire

In reality full auto fire is hard to control and be accurate with as Hickok45 shows us in the video above. The most effective use of a full auto firearm is to create short controlled bursts. You will not be mowing everything down with a mini-gun and you will probably miss. Like those guys in Predator did.

Magic Gun Parts

Though I’ve only ever seen this in Ant Man, this is ridiculous and I just had to add it to the list. The movie literally changed the operating mechanism of the gun mid scene. Now this would not be on this list if they had just used a 1911, a Sig P226, a Beretta M9, or any of a myriad of other hammer fired guns. Besides, mister bad guy, do you really not have enough funding to afford better guns for your goons?

Ant Man Standard Glock
Standard Glock
Ant Man Hammer Fired Glock
Hammer Fired Glock?






Ok guys, these are some of my favorite Hollywood Gun tropes. Do you have any examples of your own to add? Do you know of any movies that actually depict firearms correctly?