Here’s our list of the most “Hollywood” gun moments.
Guns are used frequently in Hollywood, but rarely accurately. Narrowing it down was difficult, but we chose a few of our favorites from some of the most common gun myths out there.
Fair warning, most of these are pretty violent, and all are really ridiculous.
Guns Never Run Out of Ammo
These characters must have found a real-life cheat code, because they never run dry on bullets or shells. Even the most casual fan could tell you how many shots are in a six-gun, or classic Colt Peacemaker. But that doesn’t stop Kevin Coster’s character from firing an impressive 16 from his before reloading in this scene from Open Range (beginning at 3:00).
While we’re at it, someone needs to tell us all where to buy the shotgun that the character Hershel fires in this episode of The Walking Dead. While your typical pump shotgun has about a 4 shell magazine capacity, we see him firing at least three times that before reloading.
Guns Defy Physics
Granted, the movie Wanted proudly flaunted physics, but the scene where they curved bullets was too ridiculous to overlook. I pity the gun range owner that must’ve surely dealt with a fan of this movie emphatically flicking his wrist to try and duplicate the effect.
Guns Explode Everything
There are multiple cases of this in movies, namely where a characters shoots a car, fuel barrel, or dynamite to turn it into a massive fireball. And there’s this famous scene from Jaws, where shooting a scuba tank in the shark’s mouth turns him into a sushi party platter. Truth is, bullets really don’t explode much of anything without a lot of outside help.
As for shooting a compressed air tank, shooting it will only empty its contents, which would be more likely to cause Jaws to cough than to combust.
Severing a Rope with a Bullet
This is a common sight in Westerns, where a hero will sever a hangman’s rope by shooting it while the would-be dead man is dangling from it. Thanks to the notorious inaccuracy of period firearms used in Westerns or the fact that most men were killed instantly after the rope dropped, this has also been scientifically disproved. To break a rope, a single bullet must hit a rope in tension, which even then it is highly unlikely to sever it and even if so, would only serve to rescue a corpse.
Silencers Make Guns Whisper Quiet
Spy movies are full of guns that emit that quiet “pew pew” sound when an agent discreetly takes out a foe. “Silencers” aren’t really a thing, but there are suppressors. They primarily serve to mask the direction or range of a shot, such as in a military application, but are not practical and quiet enough to shoot someone in one room without someone in the next hearing.
If anything, they can usually only reduce the volume to just below harmful levels. Probably the most ridiculous example of a silencer comes from the movie Shooter, where a .22 rifle is made quieter than a library on finals week using only a plastic two liter bottle.
Cocking Your Gun Dramatically
The cocking sound is often made right as the person holding the gun draws on their opponent, sometimes coupled with a witty one- liner.
Since this sound usually indicates a bullet or shell being chambered, or a hammer being pulled back, it indicates the user was previously holding a gun that wouldn’t have fired. Either that, or if they pumped a shotgun, they just wasted a perfectly good chambered round. It’s one thing when your typical movie thug does this, but the Matrix displays an entire highly-trained SWAT team doing this before the lobby shootout scene.
Bullets Create Showers of Sparks
Bullets are primarily made of copper, which does not cause sparks. A rifle bullet may sometimes spark, but it’s rare and not near as flashy. But that doesn’t stop a ton of scenes like this one from the movie Hard Target, where a shootout fills a warehouse with more sparks than a welders convention.
Getting Shot Sends You Flying
While every gun should be taken seriously, Hollywood seems to believe every one has the power of a cannon. Shotgun blasts especially send people flying back with the force of a car crash, and in this scene from Independence Day, handgun calibers are even enough to fling an alien halfway back to his home planet.
These are just a handful of the most far-fetched Hollywood gun myths out there. What’s your favorite (or least favorite) depiction of guns in movies or TV? Also check out some common misconceptions about gun owners, and some famous guns from the movies.