Hollywood gets everything right when it comes to guns. That’s why I get most of my gun-related information from watching TV and movies. Even after writing more than 1,000 gun-related articles, I still have a lot more to learn from the firearms experts in Hollywood.

Just kidding! On the whole, Hollywood does a terrible job of representing proper gun function and use. I get it, though—movies are supposed to be entertainment, not gun documentaries. But that doesn’t mean I can’t pick on those folks. After all, while making gazillions glamorizing guns, they can’t seem to want to take mine away quickly enough.

While there are thousands of bad gun use examples on the big screen, here are nine that stand out as particularly egregious to me. Just a heads-up—there might be some Hollywood violence in the following clips, if that scares you!

1. True Lies (1994): The MAC-10 of Doom!

Helen Tasker (Jamie Lee Curtis) can work a MAC-10 like Jimmy Buffet works a crowd of margarita-fueled Parrotheads. When her husband, super spy Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger), hands her a full-auto machine pistol, with comprehensive operating instructions of “Here, take this,” shortly followed up by “Shoot!” Helen torches off the MAC-10, almost immediately dropping it down a flight of steps. The gun fires a few rounds on its own accord each time it bounces on a step, killing terrorists with each and every bounce. Now that’s stopping power, right?

Even though I loved the movie, I have to call this one out. Everyone knows that the MAC-10 was banned in California. Oh yeah, and guns don’t start going off when dropped.

2. Wanted (2008): Bending bullets!

I know, the assassins in this movie are supposed to have some type of supernatural power, but I don’t think supernatural yoga moves while firing a pistol can make a bullet curve sideways and hit someone around a corner. With the right yoga moves, you can whip a pistol around fast enough while firing to make the bullet follow a sideways arc and curve around obstacles. Angelina Jolie did it with her Safari Arms MatchMaster .45 ACP, so it must be legit, right? Wrong.

3. The Walking Dead (Season 2, Episode 13): Unlimited shotgun ammo code unlocked!

Hershel from The Walking Dead would dominate 3-Gun if he was a real person. In this clip from the final episode of the show’s second season, his pump shotgun appears to have the shell capacity of 13,412. In the final battle for his farm, he unloads, and unloads, and unloads on dozens of zombies. I looked everywhere for the wheelbarrow full of ammo he was toting around, but couldn’t spot it in the scene. He must have fired off at least 50 pounds of 12 gauge shells within a minute or so.

4. True Lies (1994): The “through the van” shot

It may seem that I’m picking on True Lies, but I’m not. The movie is a brilliant form of spy-flick satire in which all the guns and secret agent moves stretch the boundaries of reality—on purpose. With that said, one scene has Harry Tasker dodging a group of bad guys while making his way down a snowy mountain to the waiting spy van. Circling to the far side, he’s talking to his spy buds in the front seat of the van through the open door. Spotting another short-lived henchman on the far side of the van, he casually asks Albert Gibson (Tom Arnold) and Faisil (Grant Heslov) “Can you lean back a little bit?” and blasts the nameless evildoer through the interior of the van, right across the faces of his spy buddies. Ow!

In real life, a True Lies move that like would stun the snot out of the two guys in front of the muzzle, not to mention preventing them from hearing much of anything until the release date of the sequel.

Extra Bonus Bad Gun Behavior: If you look closely in the scene just prior, you’ll see Harry firing at his attackers with a crossed-thumbs grip on his Glock 19; another bad Hollywood move! In real life, that would have cut the dickens out of this thumb.

5. Casino Royale (2006): The magic explosive handgun grenade bullet

In one scene from Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) fires a single shot from his Walther P99 and blows the Nambutu Embassy to kingdom come. It’s a great move if you’ve got a few dozen embassy henchmen covering you, and you need to create a distraction for a clean getaway. I use it all the time when trying to avoid yard work.

Unfortunately, it’s yet another example of Hollywood fantasy, mainly because there’s no country named Nambutu. Oh, and a propane tank won’t simply explode when shot with a handgun bullet.

Even though I’m picking on Hollywood here, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. In the first episode of The Walking Dead this season, tough-girl character Carol (Melissa McBride) does use a gun to blow up a large propane tank, but she did it in a way that made me a believer. She shoots the tank with a rifle, causing a major gas leak, then launches a large bottle rocket into the forming gas cloud. You can guess the rest (hint: epic kablooey), and I have to say I can believe this scenario. If you ever have to blow up a gas tank, don’t forget to bring fireworks.

6. Almost every movie or TV show ever made: The sexy slide rack

You’ve seen this one. In fact, you probably see it daily. Just before the hero heads into some dangerous situation, he or she does a dramatic hair toss, makes a determined face and racks the slide. Come on, Hollywood! I get that you have to do something to make sure we watch the upcoming action-packed scene, but really? If you go around racking the slide on your guns all the time, you’re going to waste a ton of perfectly good pretend bullets! Ammo is hard enough to find without you ejecting it all over the floor.

7. Commando (1985): Blanks can kill!

I know those Hollywood guys have to use blanks when filming, but I don’t want to see them. Check out Arnie’s M60E3 machine gun and you’ll see a belt full of what are obviously blank rounds. I know, it’s a B movie, but still.

P.S.: Those blanks multiply like bunnies as the belt grows and grows on its own accord as the fight progresses.

8. Air Force One (1997): Airplane gun fights of fail

Harrison Ford, or as I like to call him in this particular movie, the Ass-kickin’ President, has numerous shootouts with evil terrorists aboard Air Force One. Yes, there are pistol and pistol-caliber submachine guns like MP5s, but also real rifles like Colt M4A1 carbines. With all this shooting going on for an hour or so inside a big metal tube, one might expect a lot more damage and chaos. No, a bullet hole isn’t likely to cause explosive decompression like in Goldfinger (1964), but you would think some of those fancy electronics and hydraulic lines might get a wee bit messed up. Even more glaring is the fact that with all that indoor shooting, no one seems the list bit fazed by the noise. Hmmm.

9. Kareteci Kız (Karate Girl) (1973): Worst gun death scene ever?

Last but not least, the grand finale! You can’t talk about worst gun portrayal ever without at least one example of the worst death by a movie gun ever. That award goes to a Turkish film. We’ll let the scene speak for itself. It’s well worth the watch.

 

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  • Mick

    Very funny!! This was hilarious! Even funnier-all the rubes that believe it all. How ’bout some excellent movie portrayals of firearm usage? Like “Unforgiven” with Clint Eastwood……

    • That’s coming up soon 🙂

    • Francis Morin

      Yeah the posse telling Gene Hackman that they can’t get any 30-30 shells from the general store on credit for the Winchesters- sure, in 1881 a .44-40, but the .30WCF- aka 30-30 didn’t arrive until 1894, 13 years later- Give me a break–

  • David Fisher

    The last guy went to the Sears school of acting out a gunshot scene. Lol.

    • I don’t know, you’re giving him a lot of credit with “Sears” Maybe Dollar General?

      • David Fisher

        True that.

  • That last scene must have been a prototype of the 9mm revolver that was just released. Everyone KNOWS that the 9mm has no stopping power. Aside from that I found the scene to be totally believable.

  • Danbo11B

    The one that I hate is “Die hard 2” where they’re going from blanks to live rounds and back without modifying the automatic weapons.

  • Razor

    Open bolt machine guns can fire if dropped. Stens were bad about it

    • Kevin Lund

      Thank you!

  • Razor

    Walking Dead first episode, Rick tell deputies to make sure you have a round chambered and safety off. Deputy racks slide then presses down on the slide stop, it is a Glock no manual safety

    • cargosquid

      Every single time Rick holds a gun in that weird limp wrist hold.

      I would LOVE to see him fire a real .357 magnum holding it like that.

    • slaed

      And you could see into the chamber, where there were no rounds in the magazine either.

  • Szabó Sándor

    As far as I know the rule says keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. While it is good to see, that actors nowadays show a good trigger discipline, since they have been trained, it makes me sick when I see them do this forced trigger discipline when holding a gun on a bad/good guy. It’s like “I sooooo want to shoot you. Not.”. They try to act professional too much.

    • While looking at come clips for this, I saw the Air Force general holding a group of terrorist prisoners with finger out of the trigger. I figured he was just being cautious about avoiding an explosive decompression, thereby launching Air Force One into low orbit 🙂

  • Mark G.

    The problem is that the anti-gun crowd thinks all of this is pretty real…

    • Kevin Lund

      I dont think any of their concerns revolve around true depiction of fire arm operation in the movies. However, this author’s an idiot if he pretends to know anything about guns and then says a gun won’t fire when dropped -_-

      • You nailed it! I’m the biggest idiot in history and don’t know a single thing about guns! That’s the only possible explanation, right? Yes, it’s technically possible that a gun can fire when dropped. Likely? No. Likely that it will fire in full auto a half dozen times bouncing down stairs? Umm, no. You have to work pretty hard to get even an open bolt to fire on a consistent basis with a simple drop. It’s just an example of Hollywood embellishment in a “light” article, so lighten up 🙂

  • Jerry

    That dude in #9 was on tough hombre!

  • I remember Rex Allen Jr. talking about his father in the movies with his .45,
    He said that 45 was not the caliber but how many times he could shoot beore reloading.
    I can remember the TV show Mannix fried 28 shot befoe ejection six empty cartridges so he could reload.
    I always got under my skin was the bad guy could have a scoped rifle on a roof top blocks away yet the cop with a stub nosed .38 could hit him and be a fatal shot.
    While the bad guy could not hit the braod side of a barn.

    • Henry Servatt

      They obviously weren’t using either one of my snubbie .38’s. My problem really isn’t the snubbie, but my eyes – I can’t even see a BG a block away, much less get a sight picture on him. Lol.

  • Henry Servatt

    Thank you, thank you, thank you… I needed that! The reminders are a wonderful bit of hilarity.

  • Dr. Obvious

    NCIS and Castle drive me crazy with the racking

    • HotHotHot

      For more “racking” fun watch the NetFlix series “Wallander” if you have the patience.

  • tarfu

    Best death scene EVER!

    Karate Girl

  • Timmeehh

    Shooting down a helicopter with a snub nosed .38 in “Long Kiss Goodnight”.

    Also, “Commando” Arnie hides behind the “bullet-proof” bushes when the bad guys are shooting at him.

  • Timmeehh

    I almost forgot “Lethal Weapon” (3 I think), when they use the Teflon coated 9mm bullets to punch clean through the steel blade of a bull dozer.

    • michael s

      However 2 kevlar vests they couldn’t penetrate.

  • Thom Raven

    Really Hollywood needs to spend some money on firearms consultants. Watching “Justified” (the TV series now on DVD) and so far the hero fastdraws from a thumbsnap holster, the girlfriend puts a pump 12 ga to her arm (not shoulder), the bad guy calls this same gun a “rifle”, and all villains are hit DEAD CENTER–I mean literally measured out! Wow, dig it! Of course I’m only on the 4th episode, I’m sure it gets better, right? I mean if they can afford 8 million dollars to make a movie, can they spend a few thousand for any of us to help them out with the ACTUAL details of guns/gunfighting? Like please do not BLINK when firing, it’s sorta difficult to aim that way!! Or how about “Desperado”, when he is shooting all the bad guys in the bar, he snaps his wrist each shot to make it come out of the handgun faster?? Tom you totally hit my funny bone!

    • Anon1

      Justified is awesome. Keep watching 🙂

  • Rickycardo

    The one I hate is the final scene of Rambo first blood where Sly fires a LAW inside a downed Huey and destroys a Russian HiND helicopter. The back blast should have killed everyone in the Huey and a LAW won’t really do much to the armored nose of a HiND. I first saw the movie on base while serving in the Army and we all burst out laughing when it happened.

  • Shawn Mccurdy

    I think top of the list is in the Matrix Reloaded, in the highway chase scene between the two Cadillacs. The white haired guy unloads with full auto rifle fire, I believe from an H&K G36. The CTS is littered with bullet holes and you mean to tell me not one of the three of the occupents isn’t even grazed by one of those rounds. C’mon Man

  • slaed

    Every time I see the Wanted scene, I always hear Scotty from Star Trek: “Ya canna change the laws of physics”.
    Walking Dead, season 5, episode 1, Rick used the infinite ammo cheat for his AK too. Looked like he only had one 30rd mag, but fired about 500 rounds.

    • HingleMcKringleberry

      Or how bout how the “Termites” were pulling off perfect headshots on the walkers with hip-fire? You can even see one dude shooting his AK (the same guy Rick takes it from I believe) and the angle he’s shooting would hit their knees! I hate TWD’s shitty gun effects. The muzzle flares are shitty and way too small, there’s no lighting effects in night scenes, and they couldn’t even get fake guns that had slides with blowback. Yet their practical fx are still really good most of the time.

      That show is definitely a love/hate relationship. I cringe every time a gun is shot.

  • firelooker

    In every western the guys always lever a round into the chamber b4 firing, you’d think they’d have enough brains to keep a live round in the chamber all the time.

  • Scott Douglas

    The scene in the drughouse in Bad Boys 2. Great movie overall, but, really?

  • Nick

    I am legend(and many other that’s just the worst example)
    Will smith is chasing a monster out of his house with an M4A1 on full auto, when he finaly runs out of ammo you hear a rapid click,click,click of the weapon theoretically attempting to fire in automatic. The problem is without a round firing to cycle the system the trigger won’t reset and hence only one click once ammo is expended

  • Matt Willoughby

    Clearly you forgot just about every scene in the movie US Seals (not to be confused with Charlie Sheen’s Navy Seals), it was literally good guys and bad guys standing at moderate distances killing each other with hip fire action. Worst movie ever.

  • HotHotHot

    Am I the only one that thinks Hershel looks like Joe Biden? It just adds to the hilarity.

  • Francis Morin

    Goofiest gun-wrong forever movie was Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” Richard Harris shooting released from a moving train rooster pheasants with his 1873 Colt Peacemaker- even Annie Oakley or Buffalo Bill couldn’t pull that off. Biggest Fubar was the scene with the posse and nasty Sheriff “Little Bill Daggett”- the posse tells him that the general store won’t give them any 30-30 cartridges for their Winchesters- Hell No- the movie took place in 1881 in Big Whiskey WY–13 years before the .30 WCF- aka 30-30 cartridge came out with the Model 1894 rifle/carbine- WTF??

  • Matt

    How about in Heartbreak Ridge when Mario Van Peebles is shooting and M16 from his crotch while doing a Gangnam style dance?

  • DRit

    Red Dragon ( Hannibal Lector movie) Will, played by Edward Norton, is teaching is wife to shoot a revolver of unknown caliber and it doesn’t recoil. Not even a little

    • Francis Morin

      Believe it was a version of the “Judge” .410 shot loads- or perhaps a snub nosed .44Mag- but you are right, no apparent recoil shown- she sure punched the Tooth Fairy’s ticket though..

  • Anton

    In the first Matrix movie when they’re firing the minigun into the building there’s a quick cut to the brass dropping to the floor of the helicopter and they’re obviously blanks.

    • Dang! I’ve seen that 100 times and never noticed that…

  • Butch

    Excellent! The only one I would contest is the scene of Air Force One. I agree that all that shooting would cause decompression, however it’s the last sentence that gets me. All of the others are locked up in a room and all there is roaming the plane are the hijackers. All of them probably know the situation via radio chatter. The one guy who saw the two down in the basement heard the shots; hell everybody heard the shots. However, only the one guy responded, simply because every other member of the team assumed the guys downstairs were doing their job. Then the watchman shouted out for his two teammates down below and he heard, “He’s dead, give us a hand.” So therefore he went down, none of the others responded because they thought the problem was taken care of. Just some thought, give me a shout with your thoughts.

  • 2BLDHDS

    Fantastic choices!!! Now we need to touch on “silencers” in moveis. The soda bottle method is perfectly silent and my goto choice. ‘Even funnier-all the rubes that believe it all. ‘

    • Did you ever see the original “Shaft” movie? As I recall, he stuck a potato on the end of a bolt action rifle to shoot out someone’s tire quietly 🙂 There, I just showed my age!

  • Francis Morin

    Yeah Unforgiven Big Whiskey WY 1881 and the posse is trying to buy cartridges for their 30-30 Winchesters- which didn’t appear until 13 years later- in 1894 WTF Gomer???

    • Mac Shtoudt

      Hey man we get your point for the third time. No one cares…. You hard asses are over the top. The guy that liked unforgiven referred to the usage of the guns. He didn’t refer to calibers or gun history, or even claim to be an expert. I don’t think anyone asked what is your professional opinion. The topic was worst Hollywood gun scenes not how much do you know about guns. That started with the d-bag that insulted the author of this article. As he said “lighten up”. It was still a good movie, with ‘relatively’ realistic gun USAGE. No revolvers with endless rounds, no outlandish accuracy, etc. I agree however the pheasant shooting was dumb-that was to create the image of how much a hard ass that character was. For the movie, not your “ballistic”egos.

      • Francis Morin

        OK- A-Holer– here’s another one for you, but not in tri[plicate- Val Kilmer as “Doc” Holiday in the movie “Tombstone”, the scene at the OK Corral where he takes the double shotgun (aka- 2 holer) and first fires the right barrel pointed skyward ( that means up towards the sky, numbnutz) to spook one of the Clanton gang members’ horse- then he fires two more shots from the same weapon without breaking it open to removed the expended round and reload, then close the breech and fire both barrels- ‘Splain that one– if you can!!

  • Richard Lakatos

    Demi Moore with a Gold Plated Desert Eagle in each hand in Charlies Angels. Now that was some shooting lol

    • michael s

      Copy of Pam Anderson in Barb Wire.

  • I have one for you. Most ridiculous anti-gun propaganda I have ever seen with complete and utter unrealistic ar-15s being used. Ok the firearms them selves look real but here is the thing. The guy dual wields 2 ar-15 rifles, He somehow can point shot one shot kill with no aim with each rifle.MASSIVE damage instant kills. Never reloads with I don’t know how many rounds shot. Way more than 2 30round mags. No way to reload since he is massacring a ton of people. No extra mags visible. Can keep complete control of each “ar-15” in full auto. His armor made out of what looks like thin pliable armor can stop rifle rounds. Even his motorcross mask can stop bullets. And here is the big part. They slow down the big fight scene at the end of the movie and the “bullets” are complete cartridges as big as my finger coming out of his barrel. OMG. The movie name is Rampage :Capital Punishment. It is suppose to be a serious movie. Saw it on netflix last night beyond my own better judgement. That should have be number 10 but number 9 was pretty funny.

  • ben

    Smoking aces .50 cal sniper rifle flinging
    people across rooms……

  • michael s

    I enjoy how when a character pulls out a Glock ,Springfield XD,Smith and Wesson M&P or any striker fired pistol you hear the hammer drop.

  • Dave

    In most every tv show and movie from the past 30 years when a character has a gun and moves around a corner and/or brings his sights in on a target you hear the weapon being racked. It’s some form of gun magic that the weapon racks itself without any help from those carrying them. I want one cause I’m to lazy.

  • DaveP.

    Missed a good one: In the 2000 remake of ‘Shaft’, in the final big gunfight, you can see a gangbanger with a 1911 wobbling the gun around like it’s firing and with ‘generic pistol’ noises playing on the soundtrack like he’s firing… and the slide’s locked back. Ain’t gonna hit much like that, homie.

  • Pete

    Great list, lots of fun. But shooting a hole in a propane tank and then igniting the escaping gas does not result in an explosion no matter how it is done. It turns the tank into a big blowtorch, until the propane burns off. Busted completely on Mythbusters.

  • Dr What

    Man, they just don’t make em like they used to. hahaha

  • Jay

    Taken 2. Liam definately fires that pistol without loading way too often. He did fire it as though it always had about 7 rounds in it, but I only seen him reload once throughout.

  • Sargonarhes

    Ammo in movies is purely a plot driven device, a weapon will have unlimited ammo unless the plot calls for it to run dry. And what kind of fool carries a gun without a round already in the chamber?

  • Mike Lyno

    Right up there with worst of them is the TV show Shooter. I cringe every time I see Ryan shooting the sniper rifle with no kick whatsoever. Ruined the whole series for me.

  • tom

    Another example of Hollywood crap, and in literature also, is the guy that is flung bodily into a wall or through a window (for example) by bullet impacts. Bullets or shot never do this as the projectiles lack enough mass to do so. Any hunter or shooter knows this, but writers and film makers would prefer to make it more dramatic, even if it is utter BS. What jackasses!

  • Bill Smithem

    Speaking of Commando, I just loved the ultra-slo-mo closeup of what were obviously blank shell casings flying through the air. Come on guys, how about touching up that blank brass for the slo-mo shots?

  • strawdog

    One of my peeve scenes is FMJ when the VC sniper makes precision hits with an iron-sighted AK at 400 yds…yeah, right!

    • Sarge McVey

      The Russian AK is notoriously inaccurate beyond 300 yards with no wind. The US Made version of the AK 47 is made from a machined parts and is capable of hitting a target out to 500 yards with iron sight, but the Russian Stamped version, no-way. I have fired both and own the US Made by Century Arms, and I have gotten good solid hits on a target at 500 yeards.

  • Mikial

    You left out Desperado. A totally fun flick, but one of the least believable in the history of Hollywood gun fights.

  • Nikola

    Everyone seemed to really like the show 24. I decided to give it a shot when it came on Netflix. In the first episode there’s some bad guys in a house with a prisoner they want information from. the bad guy must have racked the slide on his pistol 4 or 5 times, to show he really meant business. he would ask a question then rack the slide to show he REALLY meant business.. Then he would do it again, then again, and again, never ejecting an unfired cartridge. I only made it half way through episode one of that show. I couldn’t handle so much superfluous slide racking, it made me want to scream STOP ALREADY !!

  • Mad Mac

    A common error that cracks me up is when sunlight is shining through bullet holes and the sunbeams go in different directions. Beams of sunlight would be parallel, but a bright light behind the bullet holes would create different angles. This one is from The Son, which otherwise seems to be faithful as to the period firearms being used and the gun handling.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/aabaa0b5edb9a7df930e5bf1c91ba706293820e74ed970179994d1990e6fef12.jpg