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Hollywood has quite an influence on how people view things, right or wrong, people formulate notions based on what they see at the movies or on television. In my gun class I will dispel some of these notions. I start by saying something like; I am now going to ruin some of the things that you believe to be real because you have seen it on TV all of your life. Remember, Hollywood is entertainment, nothing else.

For example, I am sure everyone has seen a James Bond flick, when he is scuba diving underneath some mad zillionaires, super-sized yacht, complete with its own 18 hole golf course,  and naturally the madman who owns the yacht is out to rule the earth, (every villain worth his weight in enriched uranium wants to rule the earth in these shows) and every mad zillionaire naturally has his own highly trained army of thugs to command. Well, here is James Bond trying to sneak up under the yacht, and he is spotted by the madman’s sonar array, which would put the British Navy’s technology to shame, this army is now eagerly waiting for Bond, all heavily armed with every kind of  gun known to man, (and some I can not recognize) up on deck.

As James gets closer they spot his bubble trail and all hell breaks loose as they start shooting hundreds of thousands, (maybe millions) of bullets into the water! The camera pans below the surface to show how James is doing under this massive onslaught. The bullets are whizzing past him all around, leaving little bubble trails as they zip to the bottom of the sea killing flounder and other hapless bottom dwelling creatures fathoms below. Of course they all miss James.  HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Do bullets really act that way in water? Hollywood would have you think so, it makes for cool special effects, and at the end of the movie your not told otherwise in the credits, they might say that no flounder were hurt during the making of this movie to calm down PETA, but that’s about all.

Bullets can travel at very high rates of speed as we all know, some types go faster than others. At speeds that can be between 1000 fps to 4000 fps they will all have one thing in common when they are shot down into water. The water will have the effect of hitting a hard object on the bullet, it will shatter or deform, and lose all forward motion and kinetic energy within about 8 inches and sink harmlessly to the bottom, where the bottom dwellers will suck it up and may eventually die of lead poisoning if they are lucky enough to live so long,  (don’t tell PETA). So if James is swimming at least ten inches under water he should be safe, I personally am a chicken and would be at least 12 inches under……. sorry if I ruined your movies/tv shows.

OK, we are now watching a spy movie, a sinister looking character in the shadows wearing a trench coat and black leather gloves, a hat pulled low barely showing his evil eyes, he reaches into his coat to extract a pistol, next he pulls out a black tube and starts threading it onto the business end of the gun. From the look of things we think that his goal will be to assassinate someone, we are correct. The assassin inches down a darkened hallway in an old hotel and carefully opens a door, inside someone is asleep on the bed, he takes careful aim and lets six shots rip into the victim, each shot is almost completely silent with only a ‘putt’ ‘putt’ ‘putt’ ‘putt’ ‘putt’ ‘putt’ sound that can not even be heard by the people in the next room. He silently leaves the room, and a long string of commercials suddenly begin for your viewing pleasure.

Wait just one minute! Is that what would happen in real life? You have seen that type of thing from Hollywood so often you probably believe it. For one thing what you call a ‘silencer’ is really known as a ‘suppressor’, it dulls the sound a little but does not even come close to what is depicted in the movies. People in the other room would have instantly been awakened by the sound of gunfire. A suppressor works best with subsonic ammunition, that is ammo that travels under 1125 feet per second, if ammo is used at or above that speed a suppressor is very loud indeed. Sorry about wreaking your Hollywood fluff…………

Hollywood bullets are the best for ending the usefulness of cars for any bad guy trying to escape, one or two shots and BOOM,  the car is blown to smithereens along with all inside! Sometimes the car will even put Olympic gymnasts to shame with spectacular flips and twists! On another note we often will see bullets sparking off everything they hit, even off trees in the forest, like little fireworks all around the good guy as he runs for cover! This sparking feature is so the bad guys can see exactly where they are missing so that they can correct their aim, (just a little theory of mine). HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Do common everyday bullets have these super abilities? In Hollywood they do.  In real life they do not, you can riddle a car and never do more than put holes in it with your garden variety citizen weaponry. As far as all those sparks, sorry, only Hollywood bullets put on these Fourth of July displays, (another reason I want some). More movies etc. ruined for you, oh well…..

Another Hollywood cool special effect deals with bullets and fire. We have all seen what happens when some good guy on TV throws a handful of bullets into a campfire, (or other hot place).  All around the fire are many bad guys sitting and planning their next atrocity against mankind, this is to ensure that you will have no sympathy for them when the fireworks start. Within a couple seconds, or jussssssst enough time for the good guy to find cover after the bullets hit the fire, all hell breaks loose, naturally. The bad guys are dropping like flies in every direction as if those bullets had eyeballs. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!  Do bullets really react to fire that way? Hollywood has been selling that scenario for a very long time and people believe it hook, line and sinker.

In actuality the only thing that would happen, (after about 40 seconds) would be dull popping sounds, some sparks would rise from the fire and no one would be shot off any logs. The cartridge(s) will become hot, and if there is nothing to direct the gasses behind the bullet, (like the barrel of a firearm will do) it will merely separate a few inches from the shell casing harmlessly. Many military studies on the effects of fire on ammunition bear this fact out. So if the Fire Department ever comes to your burning home, (and I hope this never happens to you) they may ask you a few quick questions. 1. Is anyone in the house? Hopefully ‘no’. 2. Are there any pets in the house? Again, hopefully ‘no’. 3. Are there any loaded firearms in the house? Be very honest with this answer, they have a very dangerous job, they run into a burning building while everyone else is running out of  it, the job is dangerous enough without adding the possibility of being shot into the mix. A loaded firearm getting hot from a fire will discharge a bullet just the same as if you pulled the trigger yourself. So hopefully the answer again is ‘no’, because if it is yes they will all sit back and toast marshmallows instead of taking the chance of being shot, and you will be charged with a felony! If there are no loaded guns in the house they will fight the fire, knowing that any stored ammo will just be ‘popping’  away harmlessly. Again, sorry for ruining your movies……

Hollywood bullets for the bad guys vs. Hollywood bullets for the good guys. I would love to buy some of the good guy bullets, just one box would do. If you know where they are sold please let me know.  No matter what kind of firearm you put them into you will never ever miss again! They have the added benefit of being able to self- perpetuate, constantly, from second to second, you will never run out, never needing to inconveniently load again! They make shooting look as easy as falling off a log. The bad guys on the other hand don’t have it quite as good with their ammo, occasionally they might wound a good guy, and once in a great while may even get lucky enough to kill a good guy, (if no sequel is planned) but by all accounts this is extremely rare.

The bad guys don’t always have the luxury of never ending bullets, but where they lack accuracy in hitting the good guys, they are pretty good at hitting rival bad guys, which makes it easier for the good guys to mop up the remaining bad guys. But for the most part, the good guy bullets have the advantage of  going through virtually anything while the bad guy bullets wont even make it through an overturned kitchen table if there is a good guy behind it.

The Hollywood western bullets have a quirk more unique or prevelent to them,  they always ricochet, every shot, it  astounds me. Watch any ‘spaghetti’ western for the most ricochets, even the direct hits ricochet! So if you don’t want to depress your friends, avoid buying the Hollywood western era bullets, that way it wont look like you miss everything you shoot at. You definitely would not impress your friends with this kind of bullet.

The effects that Hollywood bullets have on the people they hit is amazing also. In almost every case, when someone is unlucky enough to be written out of the script, they need to exit in a particularly memorable way. When a hapless bad guy catches a load of buckshot from a 12 gauge shotgun for instance, it will undoubtedly throw him back thirty feet, at least four feet off the ground, and most probably put him  through a brick wall, memorable enough? A single bullet for instance will instantaneously kill any bad guy it hits wherever it hits, no ifs ands or buts, unless of course it is a good guy, then its merely a ‘flesh wound’.   HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! Do bullets or buckshot really effect people in this way? Not exactly. In Hollywood they always do, for the added drama meant to keep you interested, they have to keep the action moving quickly along. Bullets are traveling so fast that the  thing that actually happens is that a person may not know what happened immediately, it takes time for the body to shut down,  people are not as fragile as the movies depict them. They do not fly backwards or die instantly unless it involves a head/heart shot, and in many cases not even then. In war, soldiers have been documented as being hit multiple times, still fighting effectively, even rescuing others and living to talk about it.

If you can think of any other wonderful or quirky things that Hollywood bullets can do that I may not have mentioned please leave your comments for our entertainment.

All in all though, I would still like to have a box or two of the good guy Hollywood bullets, it would mean that I would no longer have to work on keeping my fundamentals sharp, what could be better than never ever missing again, or never having to buy ammo ever again? Great for your budget.  Of course if too many people had them there would no longer be any need for firearm instructors 🙁

Sincerely, Mark Shean,

If you want to add something I missed feel free, its all in fun.

About Me

submitted on 11-2-2010

www.mafirearmsafety.com

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Gun Sense #24, Hollywood Bullets vs. Real Bullets, 9.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

3 Responses to “Gun Sense #24, Hollywood Bullets vs. Real Bullets”

  • PsychoDad says:

    Of course the most famous Hollywood bullet trick is a cowboy managing to fire several dozen rounds from his Colt six-shooter!  Mythbusters did an episode with the bullet-into-water routine, and as you note, the impact of a bullet on water slows it quite a bit and/or shatters it beyond usefuleness.  If I recall correctly, the .50 cal actually fared the worst of the several different kinds they tried.Unfortunately, Hollywood seems to believe their own special effects too much — seems they all think themselves that guns are so dangerous they have to be forever isolated from human contact — I assume they regard conservatives the same way….

    NOTE: Thank you for your comments, yes Hollywood ‘elite’ would ban gun ownership and delete the Second Amendment in an instant if they could, but its OK to them if they use/misuse guns in order to make mega money on movies/tv to line their pockets. They are beneath contempt. MS

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  • Iain Schnaible says:

    Let’s not forget the best Hollywood bullets you can buy. The ones from “Wanted” that, with just the right sweep of the barrel across the target area, will curve around the target’s cover and take out the bad guy! I wish we’d had these when I was in the Marine Corps. I don’t know how many times I could have used something like this to get to a bad guy behind a solid wall.

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  • Mark Shean says:

    That would be nice, but of course you know democommies would want to ban them…..

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