INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)

Credible Gunplay: Does my 16 year-old nephew know more about firearms than you?

hands holding shotgun-americansmallarm00farrrich_0352My nephew recently begged me to get Hollywood to include more realistic gunplay in action movies and TV shows.

He points out that the sound of a gun going off – especially in a confined space like a room or hallway – is deafening. Why do you think anyone shooting at a firing range wears heavy-duty ear protectors? Even one gunshot would render anyone nearby deaf for many seconds, yet the Hollywood meme features people blasting away at each other, often at close range, with no apparent effect to their hearing. In fact, they often whisper to each other amid the gunplay.

This kind of unrealistic action undermines the credibility of the situation, the characters and, frankly, your credibility as a writer.

Remember, a lot of people who watch movies about action and cops actually shoot guns – and they know the difference.

Also, he adds: when an automatic weapon is out of ammo, the metal thing that holds a new batch of bullets is not a clip, it’s a ‘magazine’.


One comment on “Credible Gunplay: Does my 16 year-old nephew know more about firearms than you?

  1. Dave Edlund
    March 5, 2015

    Absolutely right! I’ve done a lot of target shooting with just about everything from antique muzzle-loaders to modern pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Calling a magazine a “clip” is especially annoying. There are plenty of resources out there for an author seeking to write credible scenes. Since I have no military experience, I’ll often consult with my nephew (veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan) to understand things such as how long it takes to reload a weapon, what type of safety is on a grenade (there is one), and what does it take to set off sympathetic explosions in ordinance.

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This entry was posted on December 10, 2014 by in Science and tagged , .
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