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9 Most Realistic Gun Scenes in Movies (And Some Ridiculous Ones)

Do movies ever get guns right? Find out our picks of the most realistic gun scenes in movies...plus some truly ridiculous ones.

Do movies ever get guns right?

Guns and movies have an odd relationship. Sometimes gunfights are portrayed realistically.

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Let’s face it, movies and guns can sometimes get pretty unrealistic.

But 9 times out of 10, the portrayal of firearms is often quite humorous (and entertaining) for those in the know.

That said, I always get a little giddy when a movie gets gun scenes and firearm handling right. 

Wanted, Curve the Bullet
Wanted, Curve the Bullet

So, let’s celebrate a few of the best, the worst, and the funniest examples of realistic firearms handling in films.

Table of Contents


Best Gun Scenes in Film

1. Any Michael Mann Film

Michael Mann is a stickler for authenticity.

One of the few directors who; Mann firearms seriously, Mann hires firearms advisors and makes his actors train before filming begins.

Guess what?

It pays off.

Most famous example: Heat.

Heat is well known for its extremely detailed and authentic firearm handling. The bank robbery scene, anyone??

Former SAS guys were advisors on the film, and it shows.

I’d GIF a section of it…but the whole movie is just too awesome. Take the time to watch the whole thing!

The best parts in my opinion?

  • The accurate use of automatic fire to suppress the police as the crew retreats
  • Val Kilmer’s reload is quite legendary (ok…GIF time)
Heat, Val Kilmer Epic Reload
Heat, Val Kilmer Epic Reload
  • Presence of the Mozambique drill (a Michael Mann favorite)
  • Actual trigger discipline!
  • This movie is quiet with dialog and general sounds…until the gunfire starts. Then it’s loud, nasty, and makes you really feel like you’re in the middle of a firefight.

Heat isn’t the only film that deserves credit.

Michael Mann’s first film, Thief, is another excellent example. James Caan actually trained at Gunsite for the film.

Old school but great.

Also, we can’t forget Collateral with Tom Cruise and his USP 45.

This includes one of the best on-screen Mozambique Drills, where he hits two targets in 1.39 seconds from concealment.

If you are a gun gal or guy, look no further than Michael Mann’s filmography.

Collateral, Mozambique Drill
Collateral, Mozambique Drill

If you are a gun gal or guy and you want to see accuracy in the handling and using of firearms look no further than Michael Mann’s filmography.

What We Learn

  • The importance of cover fire
  • Reloading under fire is a critical skill

2. The Way of the Gun

This film is best described as Heat Jr…and not in a bad way.

This small and unfortunately overlooked movie is one of the best portrayals of firearms in movies. Apparently, the director’s brother was a Navy SEAL and served as an advisor. 

First off, the guns in this movie are loud.

You feel them when they’re fired — especially near the end of the movie as a massive shootout occurs.

In almost every scene, the actual round count for the firearms they use is quite accurate. AND they reload quite often, sometimes with only one hand.

Way of the Gun, Reloading
Way of the Gun, Reloading

Near the beginning of the movie, the antagonists kidnap a woman and escape. 

At the same time, they tactically retreat, covering each other, laying down suppressive fire, and using wits to escape as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Trigger discipline is another near-constant in the film.

The characters obviously have firearms experience, so they practice perfect trigger discipline

Way of the Gun, Watch Where You Dive
Way of the Gun, Watch Where You Dive

Also, the bad guys wear IWB holsters which makes sense because they are criminals. Concealment would be absolutely critical to remaining inconspicuous to law enforcement.

There are also two lessons about using cover you learn…

First off, don’t dive randomly behind cover — you might get your arm filled with glass.

Second, make sure your entire body is concealed. The first “bag man” gets whacked because his toe is exposed.

What We Learn

  • Rifles beat pistols, so bring more rifle ammo
  • Cover only counts when your entire body is behind it
  • Know how to do everything one-handed

3. Lone Survivor

The true story of a tragedy involving a four-man SEAL team first appeared as a book by Marcus Luttrell. Later, it turned into a movie starring Mark Wahlberg.

Before shooting the movie, the four main actors attended a three-week boot camp where they trained with actual SEALs.

Lone Survivor
Lone Survivor

The training cleared paid off as these guys handled their weapons like pros.

And just when firing them, but when patrolling and being more casual. They look comfortable with their weapons and gear.

All weapons feature an optic, and the actors appear to use them.

They use aimed, semi-auto fire the exact way SEALs would. 

Lone Survivor, Smoke Out
Lone Survivor, Smoke Out

As they become more and more wounded, they improvise effective means to use firearms, grenade launchers, and smoke.

The tension constantly builds as the guys run out of ammo. This isn’t like the Walking Dead, where you constantly question the constant supply of ammunition.

You feel the tension as they keep fighting and run empty.

Lone Survivor, Slide Lock
Lone Survivor, Slide Lock

It gets to the point where Ben Foster’s character runs both his rifle and then pistol dry. The final shot of the M9 with the slide locked back gives you goosebumps.

My only gripe is none of these guys seemed to have a sling, which is an invaluable piece of gear.

What We Learn

  • Aimed accurate fire is critical
  • How to operate a firearm with one hand

4. John Wick

The movie John Wick suffers from the classic and unrealistic overpowered good guy syndrome.

But once you move past that, you get a movie full of gun goodness.

As an actor, Reeve’s skill with a gun cannot be overlooked. He looks confident; fundamentals are almost always flawless — nice high grip with thumbs forward and eyes opened.

His extensive pre-filming training with Taran Tactical paid off.

John Wick, as a character, is portrayed to be one of the best assassins in the world, so you expect a high level of competence.

Reloading is frequently seen in the film. John Wick also carried a small backup handgun that he transitions to when his primary runs dry. 

This was a nice touch that kept the gunfight flowing in the nightclub.

John’s primary method of shooting is called center axis relock, designed for close quarter’s combat. 

John Wick, House
John Wick, House

And he does seem to find himself in bad breath distance with enemies regularly.

Reeves seems to be confident using the style, oozing contained aggression.  He never loses momentum and keeps up the attack.

My gripe with this movie is that it portrays suppressors with a metallic pew noise and barely any other noise. Also, the gun karate gets a little silly in the house scene.

What We Learn:

  • Fortune favors the bold…be aggressive
  • Master reloading
  • Don’t mess with a man’s dog

5. Extraction

The Netflix original, Extraction, came out of nowhere as far as I’m concerned.

It was one of the best surprises of 2020, providing a John Wick-style entertainment with a new cast of characters, actors, and an interesting setting.

Extraction supplied some seriously pulse-pounding action scenes.

I could pick any of several for this section — the bridge scene at the end is incredible. That said, the scene that stands out to most comes roughly half an hour in.

In total, it runs about 12 minutes long and — using some awesome editing — appears as one continuous shot.

Not only is this a super stylish choice, but it’s also filled to the brim with brutal action.

What starts with a brutal knife takedown quickly turns into a mix of martial arts and gunfighting.

From there, the next 12 minutes are a freight train of action. The camera becomes a character witnessing these events, and I love that as an editing choice.

It puts the action in your face, delivering a mix of fantasy and reality. We see mercenary Tyler Rake play the song of his people with a Glock 17.

Tyler fires the gun from extremely close range; he hides behind cover and makes his shots count.

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In one scene, he uses his gun as a blunt fighting weapon. This predictably knocks the gun out of battery and causes a malfunction.

Tyler’s tangled up with these bad dudes, and guess what he does? He clears the jam by racking the sites on his plate carrier. (That’s why we ditch the crappy Glock sights.)

Whenever he has a moment to breathe, he reloads his Glock and keeps moving.

So, what are my gripes? Tyler has plenty of opportunities to pick up a bad guy’s long gun and have a much better tool for fighting but never does.

I’d much rather have an AK or Uzi over just a Glock 17 any day.

What We Learn

  • Malfunctions happen in the most reliable guns
  • Training for extreme close quarters is important
  • Reload when you can, even if you aren’t empty.

6. John Wick 2

You could include basically any scene from any of the three John Wick movies into this list, but the sequel included what might be my favorite scene of the series.

It’s important to remember that John Wick mixes gun fantasy with realism.

John Wick spent all his points in plot armor, making him a level 100 Warrior in a catacomb full of level 1 spiders.

Nothing he does in the movie is impossible, but it’s just crazy to believe that one man can do it all.

The catacombs see John Wick retreating from a superior force using just his pistol. Outgunned, he lays down his own cover fire. He retreats far enough to grab his rifle and engage.

Now he can fight back much more efficiently.

Long guns outperform handguns 100 to 1, and John makes the most of it. He zaps dudes left and right with his rifle.

He uses an LPVO and an offset red dot and reloads more than once, utilizing his coupled magazines, then those from his fighting belt.

Between reloads, he successfully and efficiently transitions to his pistol, engaging in buying himself some time.

Then he moves to my favorite part, the Benelli M4 shotgun, using the M4 like a trench broom.

John decimates these goons one after the other, constantly reloading the shotgun.

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Shotguns have low capacity and are slow to reload, and the scene shows exactly that. He executes a port load twice — once from a match saver device.

Another time he muzzle-thumps a dude, then port reloads into an execution.

Watch the scene closely; John realizes the bad guys are wearing armor.

Benelli M4
Good ole Benelli M4

Shotguns don’t penetrate armor well, so he changes his engagement tactics, aiming for the legs to slow them down. Then he hits them in the head.

Leg shots with most weapons suck, but shotguns offer a little spread and a lot of pain compliance versus a handgun or rifle.

It’s a sweet scene that shows the effects of a shotgun and what they can do in close quarter’s combat.

My biggest gripe is that John uses mostly 3-gun gear to execute his speedy kills, and most 3-gun gear isn’t necessarily combat-ready.

What We Learn

  • Shotguns require lots of reloading.
  • Long guns beat handguns.
  • Know your weapons and know them well.

7. Sicario

The movie Sicario was a sleeper hit that took many people by surprise – a tense, well-done thriller with some awesome action scenes and a brilliant cast.

We see a mix of DEA agents, Delta operators, FBI agents, Marshalls, and more, all gathering for one big mission into Mexico.

They must extract a bad guy but ultimately get stuck at the border, waiting their turn to get into the States.

This team of pros instantly spots two cars full of troublemakers. (“Troublemakers” being the nice way of saying armed cartel soldiers with ill intentions.)

What we see here is a brilliant display of situational awareness. They pay attention, so they pick up the threat early. This buys them time to react to the threat.

Situational awareness is a skill all of us should possess.

The team exits their vehicles, forming an L-shape around both cars.

An L-shape allows the team to concentrate fire into the car without the risk of friendly fire.

Our Delta, DEA, CIA, and special guests get the drop on these bad guys almost instantly.

The bad guys don’t seem to know it, though, and make their move. We see our good guys open fire and quickly kill the threat in a very professional manner.

Each team member only fires a few shots and all utilizing fire discipline. In a crowded environment, this reduces the chance of hitting an innocent person and conserves ammunition.

What are my grips with this one…Why is Jeffrey Donovan’s bolt locked to the rear while he’s in the car?

What We Learn

  • Situational awareness can win fights
  • Training ensures fire discipline
  • Positioning matters in a gunfight

8. The Outpost

This film is based on the true story of one of the bloodiest battles of Afghanistan.

A U.S. Army COP (Combat Outpost) gets attacked by 400 fighters, and The Outpost tells the story of shortly before, during, and after the battle.

The final firefight is one of the best depictions of firefights from the War on Terror.

There is no style here beyond chaos, and that’s often what a firefight feels like. This film captures that perfectly.

It’s loud, brutal, and bloody. The enemy is often tough to see and is seemingly everywhere.

We see the judicious use of cover, and the soldiers who don’t find cover are quickly injured or even killed.

One little thing I noticed was a SAW gunner chicken winging his gun as he moved and shot in close quarters.

It’s a valid tactic for the big full auto-only gun when trying to move and shoot.

We see the importance of combined arms and machine guns and grenade launchers in a firefight.

Scott Eastwood yells “Keep that gun up!” to his M240 gunner at one point as it delivers withering fire to the Taliban.

The final scene is brutal — made even more when you know it happened. These men fought their asses off in a terrible tactical situation in which they were outgunned and outflanked.

But heads up for people with experiences like mine in the war in Afghanistan…watching the scene triggered a little bit of my own anxiety.

You know I got gripes, and for this movie, it comes down to us seeing lots of shots of guys scoping bad guys in the open…but not taking the shot.

What We Learn

  • Firefights are chaos
  • Cover matters
  • The bigger gun is almost always better

9. Without Remorse

To be honest, Without Remorse was a terrible film and had almost nothing in common with the book of the same name.

While the movie sucks, the action scenes do have some flair.

In the first scene, we see the SEAL team on a rescue mission in Syria. Right off the bat, we see suppressors that are way too quiet.

It’s very much the James Bond-style…so quiet that no one in the next room can hear it. Okay, I can deal with that.

We do see some great CQB tactics.

When they toss a grenade, Michael B. Jordan shows the frontman what it is to make sure he knows what’s going on.

They toss the flashbang and clear the room well and in a rehearsed manner.

As they move through hallways, they use proper dispersion for the scenarios and spread out to focus fire to the front.

When they do fire, it’s with control and done in semi-automatic.

Then the Syria situation devolves, and wrenches get thrown into plans.

Two SEALs find themselves pinned down by bad guys with AKs. Keep in mind, this is a small room in a building with the AKs blazing away at full auto.

The two SEALs stop to have a nice conversation about movie plot points as bad guys fire at them from just a few feet away.

Nothing like some quick exposition in the middle of a firefight. Once their conversation is over, they decide to kill the bad guys and wrap things up.

The action has a lot of potential and is most certainly the film’s highlight. However, I don’t see the action redeeming the poor story and plot.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few other films that feature excellent firearms handling that didn’t make the list.  These weren’t necessarily better or worse films; it would have just become repetitive to list many of these.

  • Act of Valor: Using real SEALs, and SWCC guys is kind of cheating
  • Unforgiven: The scene where Munny tries to shoot a can after years of not firing a handgun is an excellent representation of how skill deteriorates.
Unforgiven, Shooting Practice
Unforgiven, Shooting Practice
  • Blood Diamond: Excellent gun handling from the trained professionals, including reloads, shooting positions, and well-aimed shots. Child soldiers and rebels handle their guns in the exact unsafe and inaccurate manner you’d expect from conscripts.
  • Ronin: Excellent constant use of firearm sights and well-aimed fire. De Niro running a SAW, firing short bursts is quite nice to see, even if it’s from the hip.

Hall of Shame: Bad Gun Scenes

I could easily write an entire article on how and where Hollywood got it wrong.

Instead, I want to point to just a few mess-ups and mistakes that I find kinda funny.

If you’re new to guns these can be fun to look for. But if you’re an old hand with a firearm, they can start to grind your gears.

1. Commando

I’m not sure if Commando is supposed to be a satire of 80s action movies or just a director’s cocaine dreams.

Either way, it’s full of great one-liners and silly action scenes, none better than the final shootout.

It encompasses everything great about 80s action movies in a roughly 3-minute action scene in which Arnold Schwarzenegger lays down the hate with a variety of weapons.

His character, John Matrix, starts with a Valmet M78/83 RPK-like machine gun, firing from the hip.

Yet every bullet seems to strike where he needs it. He faces down an army of men wielding M16s and kills dozens of them.

When Matrix runs out of ammo, he doesn’t reload; he just pulls the next gun – going from Valmet to an Uzi to a Desert Eagle to a Remington 870.

When he gets to the 870, he’s blowing men off their feet and hitting two men with one shotgun blast.

Heck, the movie gets even better when he’s out of guns and reverts to saw blades and pitchforks.

Commando goes so far into the bad territory it loops around and becomes good again. I could easily write an entire article on how and where Hollywood got it wrong.

2. American History X

A tragic and great film has a few very brutal scenes.

One involves the main character wielding a Ruger P94. This gun holds 10 rounds, but the main character discharges it 24 times without reloading.

Honorable Mention: Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing...the bullets keep coming.

Last Man Standing, idkfa
Last Man Standing, idkfa

3. Ant-Man

Hammers mysteriously appearing on striker-fired guns like Glocks (and/or the sound of a hammer cock with a striker-fired pistol) is an ole school Hollywood goof.

(Find out why that’s weird in our Single Action vs. Double Action vs. Striker Fired article.)

In Marvel’s Ant-Man, a stream of ants clogs the magically appearing hammer on a Glock.

Ant Man, Glock Hammer
Ant-Man, Glock Hammer

Honorable Mention: Though not a movie, Sons of Anarchy seems to do this every time a Glock is in a scene.

3. Terminator

Kyle Reese pumps his shotgun three different times without ever firing a shot in The Terminator — when he cuts the barrel off (which makes sense), when he wakes up, and when he starts shooting in the club.

Pump It Real Good
Pump It Real Good

Honorable Mention: Natural Born Killers has shotguns being pumped numerous times without a shot fired.

4. Open Range

The idea that a gunshot can send you flying off your feet is a ridiculous one.

Physics says if a bullet can throw a person, it will also throw the shooter.

I can forgive silly movies like Shoot Em Up and Sin City, but Open Range was a serious western.

The movie has a great shootout plagued by Robert Duval sending guys flying 3-feet from shotgun blasts.

Open Range, Shotgun
Open Range

Honorable Mention: Running Scared has an awesome firefight at the beginning that loses any sense of realism when one of the victims is thrown several feet by a shotgun.


The balancing act between action and drama and realism with guns in movies will always be a tedious one.

Certainly, filmmakers wise enough to invest in actual firearms training for their actors will always produce more accurate films.

Joe (left) and Gary (right) demonstrate how at close distance, only the front sight is critical.
Training going on at Gunsite.

Luckily, it seems more studios and actors are taking realistic gunplay more seriously, which is nice to see as an avid gun owner.

What are your fave gun scenes from movies? Are there films you think illustrate great gun handling? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re a cinephile, check out the Top 10 Famous Movie Guns, Best Survival Movies, and Famous Western Movie Guns.

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95 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    QuickDraw McGraw

    I’d like to see a follow on article on TV shows. Seal Team seems to really have their stuff together.

    November 22, 2021 9:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    kwong bam

    Lone Survivor: Has anybody been surprised that the four SEAL scouts decide the fate of the civilian Afghani prisoners by (somewhat eloquently) debating the options and arriving to a consensus? Is such tactical decision making really practiced by SEALs in such situations, or is it a cinematic dramatization? Shouldn't the decision be made by the commander or the senior officer of the team?

    August 29, 2021 1:08 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    kwong bam

    Lone Survivor: In a dramatic scene of one of the heroes running out of ammo in his pistol (the article has a movie clip), why the pistol is nor Sig P226 MK25, carried by US Navy SEALs until recent times? The pistol looks like a Beretta(?).

    August 29, 2021 1:01 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Depends on when the movie is set. Berettas were standard issue not so long ago. I never looked into the story or saw the movie, but I have to assume they based that choice of handgun on some similar facet.

      August 31, 2021 1:30 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        kwong bam

        Thank you!

        According to Wikipedia , the military operation on which the Lone Survivor movie is based, took place in summer 2005.

        According to Wikipedia , Sig Sauer P226 MK25 was adopted by US Navy SEALs in 1989. According to Google search on q=navy+SEALs+glock+19 , the decision to replace Sig P226 MK25 with Glock 19 for Navy SEALs was made around year 2016.

        Could SEALs still be issued Berettas around 2005?

        August 31, 2021 3:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      QuickDraw McGraw

      Marcus Lutrell was an advisor and even in the movie. I’d imagine he would have pointed it out if it was wrong. Yeah, I know they totally changed the ending from his book too. SEALs also have a lot of choices in their own gear from what I read.

      November 22, 2021 9:56 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    sound awake

    i really like the scene in the getaway where alec baldwin gets out of the van holding the bag of money in the same hand he has his 1911 in waiting for the other guy to make his move and when he does he drops the bag and empties the magazine on him

    August 27, 2021 6:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I somehow made it through the entirety of "Without Remorse". I really enjoyed the book back when it was published, and I suppose my optimism got the better of me. THAT MOVIE WAS NOT THE BOOK. I think the title had more to do with how the writers felt about making bank with that script. While some of the action scenes were decent, they in no way made up for the rest of that debacle.

    August 27, 2021 1:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I recommend adding a tenth to the top most realistic: Close, with Noomi Rapace. This Swedish actress is most known for her role as cyber-sleuth Lisbeth Salander in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc, but her opening scene in Close should put her in the big list. Caught in the open armed only with a secondary, facing multiple opponents armed with AKs, she takes the only path with any reasonable chance of success: charge the hostiles, thus taking them by surprise. Both her gun handling and martial arts are first rate.

    Belongs in Honorable Mention: The Quick and the Dead, with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe. The stars' performances aren't the main reason to include it, but the gun coach and armorer, Thell Reed, no question the greatest single-action quick-draw shooter of modern times if not of all time. I watched him hit a 12-inch balloon at 21 feet, drawing from the holster, at less than 0.50 seconds, time after time. Could do that with an M1911 as well.

    Just sayin' :)

    August 25, 2021 12:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The Outpost. I have been meaning to watch this but haven't yet. I was at Keating, but not with these guys. I was on a bird out of there in April (?) 2009. I was not with the outgoing unit but there with 2 of the psyops guys. I was an Army Infantry SSG at the time. It was a beautiful shithole if that makes sense. I remember when these guys were rotating in. That place was a mess and the taliban had constant support from Kamdesh. If not for the OP, we would have been constantly unaware of what was going on around us (even with patrols into the surrounding hills). We would get shots coming from the hills just walking a few hundred yards out the gate down to the meeting center. The "diving board" area seemed to be a favorite of the taliban. Need to get out of this area quickly? Negative ghost rider. Flying through the valley was difficult enough under full moon and NVG.

    I couldn't wait to get out of that place. I rotated back to FOB Kalagush in Nuristan and then eventually back to the states in September 2009.

    Those guys went through hell. You could never fully appreciate what they were up against until you stood in that valley and looked up all around you and all you could see was sky and rock.

    August 25, 2021 12:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Saving Private Ryan, the opening scene storming the beach…..

    August 24, 2021 9:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Agree with all picks but you have to include The Kingdom!!

      August 25, 2021 8:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      And I believe The Accountant scored with some very realistic gun handling as well.

      August 25, 2021 8:44 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    John Wick 2 - catacomb scene - what about hearing loss..? :) (it applies to sooomany scenes in sooo many movies..)

    August 24, 2021 8:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Willie Loman

    The scene in Reservoir Dogs where nice guy eddie gets shot but no one shot at him.

    August 24, 2021 7:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Hall of Shame: Every movie where someone racks the slide for no damn reason!!!!

    August 24, 2021 4:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Yep. My wife got tired of me saying. “Pick up the rifle” during Extraction.

    August 24, 2021 4:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I liked the scene from "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad".
    I have a message for ya from Vincent Ludwig! [fires his gun at Frank] Take that, you lousy cop!

    I'm sorry! I can't hear ya! Don't fire the gun while you're talking!

    August 24, 2021 3:32 pm
    • Commenter Avatar


      August 24, 2021 9:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Heat is an epic classic.

    Don't forget Den of Thieves!

    August 24, 2021 1:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    The Grammar Police

    Bad guys are “antagonists”, not “protagonists“.
    Hey, don’t blame me; I was raised by a high school English teacher.

    August 24, 2021 11:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      A protagonist is the central character of a book, film, play, etc. A protagonist can be good, neutral, or evil. The antagonist is the main rival to the protagonist and can be good, neutral, or evil.

      August 28, 2021 9:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Richard Evans

    The scene at the alpine cabin in Kingsman 2- The Golden Circle where they fire about 32 rounds out of two six shot single action revolvers. But, the whole series is meant to be kinda silly and unrealistic.

    January 30, 2021 8:27 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tom W Harris

    The ending shootout in the Charles Bronson film The Stone Killer. I'm not a gun guy but this one impressed me.

    September 17, 2020 3:34 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin Schneider

    I was particularly impressed with the firearm handling/realism of shootouts in a couple of scenes in Barry.

    September 15, 2020 2:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Martin A

      i was surprised as well, the scene when he shoots through the windshield and when he and the other guy cleared out the warehouse. Was not expecting that at all from a show with Fonzy in it.

      August 6, 2021 4:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Larry M

    Band of Brothers, particularly the Brecourt Manor assault. IMO, better than any other Hollywood gunfights.

    April 19, 2020 8:44 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    douglas salley

    One of the most recent FBI shows on TV. The star of the series came up on a dead gang member she said,"a Glock 19 , gen 5 MOS. You don't see one of these on the street very much. "I said...WOW that was a surprise.

    April 5, 2020 5:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The Punisher with Jon Bernthal.

    April 5, 2020 4:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    "we were soldiers" hands down beats anything I saw in this.

    But I didn't watch it for the "gun play".

    April 4, 2020 5:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    How can the Godfather restaurant scene not be on here? Or the opening assasination?

    January 10, 2020 8:31 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Agitator Dog

    My pet peeve is when a gun is moved or handled on most TV shows, the gun makes a noise like something is loose and rattling around. Doesn't matter if it's a rifle, revolver, or semi-auto pistol.

    If you've never noticed this before, you will now. And it will bother you too. :-)

    October 31, 2019 3:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    As someone who knows basically only what I read on the Internet (I'm pretty selective about who I pay attention but still, it's the Internet) I'm quite glad that directors are taking accuracy in firearm usage much more seriously than in the past.

    Even as a kid, I disliked the 1980's "Uzi from the hip/good guy hits/bad guy misses" kind of B.S. I don't mind a bit of unrealism (John Wick) as long as it matches the overall (unrealistic) aesthetic and story of the film.

    So, yeah...even from someone who has fired a gun maybe twice, there's a ring of authenticity to some movies and not to others. Directors and producers should pay attention to that because it almost always results in a better, more enjoyable, more rewatchable film.

    June 18, 2019 12:55 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    B W

    The p94 in American history X has a standard preban capacity of 15. There were and still are 24 round mags available. I did and still have them now.

    May 26, 2019 6:34 pm
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    One scene that personally drove me absolutely crazy was the shootout at the end of the first episode of the TV show "Lonesome Dove...The Outlaw Years" Newt shoots 9 shots from a Colt revolver then cocks it for a 10th shot before lowering the hammer and letting the bad guy crawl away. I've yet to see a 10 shot revolver (except maybe a 22lr lol!). And btw...he's faced off against 4 guys with rifles and doesn't get a scratch. Yeah, that's realistic

    April 15, 2019 9:30 am
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    April 14, 2019 7:43 am
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    I know I'm late to the discussion. Great list. Perfect mostly. I like how Lone soldier got the sound right on the silenced .556. The problem with it, and I do not want to disrespect those men, they are hero's to me and I do not know what their loadout was on that day was... I wouldn't want to be silenced and next to someone who isn't silenced. It ruins the whole point of it. Different four man team on my flank. Maybe.

    The one that gets me and I point this out to everyone is when they cock their shotgun or pistol in every scene. I'm like.. wtf where is the round popping out from them cocking it in the last scene. At least show it fly out and catch it in their hand for fun.

    Alright I gotta add this movie. Pretty good, but just straight good gun battle stuff.


    Can't believe I have never heard of John Wick. Been out of the loop for a while.

    January 6, 2019 4:40 pm
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    The heat had a lot of action in their "escape/firefight".
    However. You don't run a mile or more, and then get into position, SLOW your heartrate down, HOLD Steady and get GOOD sight alignment and Natural point of aim and then shoot the bad guy in the head while he is holding the little girl hostage.
    You would have to be better then a world class athlete to do this.

    December 24, 2018 9:59 am
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    TV series "Lethal Weapon" (not the movie). Main character is always finger off trigger and ready stance. Would like to hear your input on overall quality of scenes.
    There are scenes showing one handed reload etc.

    December 19, 2018 4:41 pm
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    The Rock in the Rundown. Dual Shotguns with pumping against his torso.

    November 17, 2018 9:29 pm
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    Well put. I am fairly familiar with firearms and have competed in pistol shoots and totally agree with most of your assessments on these films, but, I will say I’m not sure a shotgun blast at close range from a 12 or 10 gauge wouldn’t send a guy flying several feet.
    Not sure when you had produced this list but two films I would add to it are “Miami Vice” (the Michael Mann recent remake) and “WIND RIVER” which has a finishing shoot out that rivals anything on this list.

    November 17, 2018 4:26 pm
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      Bullets penetrate things. They do not push them. No gunshot, no matter how strong you perceive the blast to be, will send someone flying.

      February 17, 2020 1:31 pm
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    good stuff

    November 2, 2018 12:20 pm
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      Thanks Mark! Glad you enjoyed it.

      November 2, 2018 5:06 pm
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    Okie JOAT

    Angelina Jolie movie “Wanted”...curving bullets.
    Stallone shooting a LAW rocket through the wind screen of a helicopter with guys in the back in “Rambo” movie.

    October 15, 2018 11:56 am
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    check out Wind River on Netflix, the last 20 min with shootout is epic...

    September 22, 2018 7:19 pm
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      David L

      I haven't watched the whole movie but I did skip to the gunfight at the end. It's...very interesting. An odd mix of being very accurate and being completely false.

      Some interesting takeaways, 1) don't get into a gunfight in the middle of open snow! 2) Bring more ammo. 3) Body armor saves lives. 4) Reloading with clean hands and summer clothes is a lot different than reloading in gloves with a sweater and an overcoat on.

      And yet, there were some blatantly false things like the snipers .45-70 hitting people and throwing them 4ft. Also, the reloading was very off. Fresh reload, fire 6 shots, and then panic reloading a fresh magazine.

      Interesting movie though! Thanks for telling us about it.

      September 22, 2018 9:50 pm
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    For the ridiculous I would add the series The Walking Dead. The good guy and gal can shoot moving zombies in the head with a +90% rate of accuracy, one handed of course, and over 20yds. They rock! Also, I love the Colt Python (main character’s gun) and the .357mag, but it wouldn’t be my first choice in a shtf/teotwaki situation. Too heavy, and a higher capacity 9mm semi will get the job done as you must hit the “walkers” in the head anyway. You would also have more chances to find spare 9mm or .45acp vs .357mag cartridges. When it comes to rifles, it never crossed their minds that carrying weapons using the same mags and ammo would be helpful. I am not a huge fan of the series but from what I can remember they are also not fan of reloading their firearms. Tactics used by and against human ennemies are also laughable at times.

    September 19, 2018 8:48 am
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    Raimo Nieminen

    Punisher - War Zone?

    September 19, 2018 2:50 am
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      Raimo Nieminen

      Many people dismiss Punisher - War Zone because... you know, for reasons? But, check this out - it is a youtube featurette about Ray Stevenson training for the film, W/ Marine Corps trainer. Sure the film is full of ridiculous overblown violence, but have you read the comic? Shamelessly plugging the Marine Corps aspect here for the writer of the reviews, but... Check it out, please.


      In the film, there is trigger discipline, point-the-muzzle discipline, and when people do get shot, its not just a pretty little dab of red marker pen, and tactical reloads happen constantly. Also, the Parkour asshole gets blown up with a grenade launcher! In contrast, john wick was lame film full of gung-fu and not a single limb ever got amputated by a burst of 223 round, as far as I recall?

      September 24, 2018 1:06 pm
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    The couple of problems with Open Range does not ruin the movie for me. The flying guy with a shotgun blast but be sorta possible if Duval was firing both barrels at the same time but not like that. Costner also shoots his Peacemaker 9 or 10 times in one scene without reloading. The rest of the shoot out was pretty decent. No one took a hit to the chest and ran off, no leg strikes then a 100yrd dash that would make an Olympic sprinter proud. Just a final shootout scene that was fantastic in my view.

    The amount of training Reeves put into John Wick shows. The Jiu-Jitsu and Judo training he did shows in the close action fighting scenes and his reactions plus shooting firearms looks entirely natural. Kudos for trying and succeeding in getting it 99% right.

    Total Fail: Anti-Gun Danny Glover in one of the Lethal Weapons movies shoots a guy off the deck of a boat with his 38sp snub at what looks like a couple of hundred yards. I regularly shoot a SW Target Masterpiece and it shouldn't take me to tell you good luck with that silliness.

    June 17, 2018 10:33 am
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    One of my all time favorite movies that is realistic with phenomenal gun fundamentals, reloads, communication during firefight, etc is “Den of Thieves”. They use slings, communicate while moving to cover and reloading. They even explain some basic gun safety rules. By far one of my favorites.

    June 15, 2018 10:21 pm
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      lol that movie was a blatant rip from Heat......it wasn't horrible but nonetheless an imitation. To put it in an "all times" list is quite silly. See a few more movies first.

      August 13, 2018 5:24 pm
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        Thanks for playing Mike, but I agree with Back To Basics, Den of Thieves is a great movie and is honesty to me more like Usual Suspects than Heat. But regardless, don't be a d*ck people (even angry people like you) are entitled to opinions. To think that your opinion matters more than someone else's is quite silly. Try being nice once first.

        September 24, 2018 2:31 pm
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    Don't forget Equilibrium. Gun-Kata at its finest. LOL

    June 5, 2018 6:53 am
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      Eric Hung

      Yuuup! We'll definitely have it in a future article on all time favorite movies with guns.

      June 5, 2018 10:53 am
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      LMAO. I forgot about that movie. Oy!!!

      June 17, 2018 10:35 am
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    Mark Young

    The Wild Bunch! Best ever.

    April 28, 2018 4:48 pm
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    Recently Wind River had two phenomenal gun scenes (though if you don't like the "blow you backward' wire effect you'll be bummed at the end.) I thought Jack Reacher was pretty good, but thought it funny that at the end, when Reacher took over an AR with an optic, it also had rapid transition off-set sighst, but for CQB Reacher just ripped the optic off and went with the irons. I guess that's in character though, that guy's Old School. The Cinemax series Strikeback generally had pretty good stuff. Also Six on History Channel, and currently CBS has SEAL Team that's clearly well coached. Biggest Pet Peeve: when flat top ARs and other guns don't have any sights on them. WTF!! Honorable mention for biggest Loser: Olympus Has Fallen, with the ACOG sights on MP5s. Lame! Not to mention every single White House Guard rushing out from behind cover in the face of a surging crowd of gunmen firing SMGs.

    April 16, 2018 7:02 pm
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    The standard capacity magazine for the Ruger p94 is 15 rounds, which makes the P94 a 15+1 fully loaded. Not quite the 24 as mentioned in the article for American History X but significantly more than 10. Great article BTW.

    April 13, 2018 3:03 pm
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      Ruger shipped from the factory 10 round mags for the .40S&W and 9mm P94. They also made 15 round mags but they rarely shipped that way with the P94.

      IMFDB specifies that they were 10 round mags used in the film.

      April 13, 2018 4:50 pm
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        Bought mine used with the larger mag. My P89 had that capacity if I remember right,. Blocky, rattled but in true Ruger tradition tough as nail going bang everytime.

        June 17, 2018 10:41 am
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    SAS - best of the best. Just imagine how real special forces operate if this is info they give to movie makers. The classified material they’d put into action must be unreal!

    April 3, 2018 10:44 am
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    Racer X

    In Lone Survivor, Marcus Lutrell was involved in the actual filming. If you know what he looks like, you can see him a few times. He was the breacher when the door was opened and "Marcus" is rescued. You can bet that the film was accurate.

    April 1, 2018 3:48 pm
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    Yep as a VN Marine with 23 active I always laugh at the evershoots & 1 guy with a pistol taking out guys with full autos. Hollywood magic! Good article. It's good to see some decent skills & people actually reloading when required!

    March 26, 2018 6:59 am
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      Eric Hung

      Lol, yup!

      March 26, 2018 3:35 pm
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    I have to go against you on Heat. It was beyond irresponsible for the police to engage these guys in a heavily populated setting after seeing how well armed and willing to fire they were. The responsible thing would have been to let them escape and take them on with tactical units where the setting could be controlled. Every bullet hole in every vehicle could represent a wounded or dead civilian. I expect desperate criminals to act as such. I expect police to be first and foremost always aware of the danger to themselves and innocent people. These cops, the ones who survived, should all have lost their jobs and it wouldn't hurt my feelings if they were all put in prison. The gun handling may have been good but the scene was beyond crap!

    March 7, 2018 3:11 pm
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      Apparently you don't recall the North Hollywood shootout after the bank robbery there back in 1997, nearly 2000 rounds fired. Real life goes fast, not always time to let the bad guys get away, or worse yet get holed up with a lot of hostages. Experience has shown the longer a situation like that lasts, the higher the collateral damage. Letting the bad guys run off, almost always ends up with a barricaded suspect and hostages. Never good.

      March 28, 2018 9:04 pm
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      Terry T.

      The trigger discipline was poor in Heat. Everyone had their finger on the trigger throughout the entire gun battle.

      August 15, 2018 3:18 pm
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    Besides Heat, I always liked Leon in The Professional. Teaching Matilda how to handle a gun and become a “cleaner”.

    February 13, 2018 8:19 pm
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    12 Strong had unlimited ammo and not a single reload scene until the end,

    January 26, 2018 4:59 pm
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    Worst I've ever seen is Stargate... When the ship first lands over the pyramid. You can here about 100 rifles charging at every step they take.

    January 7, 2018 11:55 am
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      Eric Hung

      Lol, I might have to keep an ear out for that the next time I was SG.

      January 12, 2018 5:14 pm
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    R. J. Francis

    Great article, Act of Valor is a severely underrated movie. 2 scenes in particular, 1. When on the rescue one of the operators takes a round to the face, it demonstrates how brave the men and women who serve are because “in real life” a bullet is a bullet wheather fired from an elite soldier or a 12 year old. 2 When they show the overhead scene with the SWCC “boat guys” come in and give suppressing fire. It gives me goose bumbs lol, this is a top list add but it’s technically not a movie. The tv show the wire. In a scene a car was parked waiting for a “hit” the other gang drove up and fired one shotgun round into the passenger window and ruined everyone’s day. Also second the vote on 13 hours and Blackhawk down the delta operators holding court inside that Blackhawk. One thing I feel that movies get wrong is the concusive nature of discharging a shotgun in close quarters and the damage (carnage) for the guy on the wrong end. All that said i still rank commando and predator as must have in the collection, the one liners alone make up for all the over the top combat sequences. Love the articles guys keep them coming.

    December 13, 2017 6:34 pm
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      Eric Hung

      Thanks RJ!!

      December 14, 2017 1:04 pm
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    sze wei

    I was an action buff from 80s to 90s who is not particular with realism gunfights yet. When i catch heat for the first time ever, damn, it has more kick than cheesy schwarzenegger and stallone movies that i am so used to watching before that. Since then, todays hollywood action deployed more realism gunfights already. Todays latest l last catch in theaters are atomic blonde and hitman bodyguard. Heat will always be the pioneer of realism gunfights that other movies since follow suit like the bourne series and the john wick series. Both are my favorite action franchise.

    September 5, 2017 8:34 am
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    Pablo Danek

    Some good calls here. Not as impressed with Way of the gun as you.... For me, it doesn't get any better than Sicario (particularly the border scene) and 13 hours of Benghazi (GOAT, IMHO).

    August 21, 2017 7:05 am
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      Eric Hung

      Thanks Pablo! Yea Sicario was awesome...I believe they actually filmed it in night vision too.

      August 23, 2017 11:31 am
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    I as well enjoyed the article. The first time that I watched "Heat," I had not yet reached the level of firearm appreciation that I currently hold. As I watched it again recently, I also appreciated the use of FALs as opposed to the typical "Hollywood" black rifles. I would also like to point out yet another Keanu movie, "Street Kings." Now my one gripe with your list concerns "Lone Survivor." It is frustrating that all of the details are extremely accurate in the movie, down to point of Lutrell not having a reflex on his scope while Axe did have a Docter on his, and yet they are carrying M9s as you pointed out. I guess Sig Sauer, an operator's issued sidearm, did not feel like paying for product placement.

    July 22, 2017 7:59 am
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    Robert S Campbell

    Great article! There is a reference to a character from "Thief" in "Heat." Shout it out if you can find it?

    May 8, 2017 7:59 am
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    Eugene Dalton

    Do you know that the North Hollywood Bank Robbery (true event) was modeled after the movie Heat ? The bad guys rented Heat 3 times before their doomed attempt. They did use suppressing fire very effectively and the L.A. P.D. changed their policy on automatic weapons after they analyzed what had actually happened.

    December 12, 2016 4:43 pm
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      Thanks Eugene...did not know that!

      December 14, 2016 1:15 pm
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      I was down the street from that, at home with the wife. Hell of a thing to listen to.

      January 30, 2017 9:31 pm
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      Darth Snowball

      Considering the movie Heat was released almost 9 years after the North Hollywood Bank Robbery/Shootout. I find it very hard to believe that that is where the robbers learned their gun handling skills from...

      July 27, 2017 8:43 am
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        Not Miami 1986

        North Hollywood bank robbery: 1997
        Heat Movie: 1995

        August 1, 2017 7:46 am
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        Eric Hung


        August 6, 2017 2:03 pm
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        Not true. Right after the North Hollywood robbery, Heat was the number one rented video at Blockbuster in Orange County. I remember watching the video about 6 months before the robbery.

        February 13, 2018 8:14 pm
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      sze wei

      Indirectly we must thank heat movie for upgrading the LAPD officers shooting skills more and allowing rifles to be used for patrolling just like how the fall of John Dillinger had reshaped the FBI firing skills in the 30s depression era. By the way, mr mann also directed the JD biopic movie and i am glad he did so. Love the good old tommy guns and BAR rifles.

      September 5, 2017 8:48 am
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      T W

      LAPD never authorized automatic weapons for patrol (I have no idea what their SWAT team uses). Prior to the robbery, patrol officers were permitted to carry only 9mm handguns (Beretta 92F) and shotguns (Remington 870s and Ithaca Model 37s) loaded with 00 buckshot. Following the robbery, the firearms police was amended to allow officers to purchase and carry certain .handguns in .45 ACP, the use of slug ammunition was allowed by certified officers, and some officers were issued rifles in 5.56mm. The rifles, referred to as Urban Police Rifles (UPRs), were military surplus rifles. Armorers were remove the rifles' automatic fire capability before they were issued to officers.

      Officers who wanted to be issued UPRs were required to pass a very demanding rifle course designed and run by Larry Mudgett, a now-retired LAPD SWAT instructor who is now teaching at Gunsite, I believe.

      This info may be out of date, as I left LAPD in 2002. However, I highly doubt that the LA city council will ever let LAPD officers carry automatic weapons.

      November 22, 2017 4:11 pm
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    My favorite movie full of gun handling blunders is Denzel's, "The Equalizer". I can forgive the mispronunciation of ,"Heckler & Koch" but.....when he checks his revolver to see that it is loaded, he reveals all the rounds with dimpled primers. What???

    December 12, 2016 7:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Thanks Mark! Denzel gets the benefit of the doubt that they were all light primer strikes lol.

      December 12, 2016 2:41 pm
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    The shotgun battle scene from walking tall also seemed quite realistic to me. Two people without much firearm proficiency desperately trying to not get shot - at the cost of all offensive capability.


    December 11, 2016 9:00 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Thanks Chad, that was a great scene.

      December 12, 2016 2:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    This was a very entertaining article. I find myself asking "Where's the recoil?" in most shoot 'em up movies. Or I often question the positioning of the shooter's hands on pistols. Especially if they're portraying a special agent of some sort (FBI, CIA).

    December 11, 2016 7:21 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Thanks Jonathan. They are just so good that they completely manage the recoil with their teacup grips!

      December 12, 2016 2:38 pm
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