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6 Things Video Games Got Wrong About Guns

6 Things Video Games Got Wrong About Guns

Technology is constantly evolving and that means so are video games. Modern games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, PUBG, and Arma have come a long way in just the last few years. That being said there are some things that video games like these can teach you about using guns, which you can read about in our blog here. On the other hand, there are a few things we thought were worth pointing out that they just got wrong.

But, before we get into what video games got wrong about guns there are a few things to keep in mind. When you are playing a video game obviously you aren’t performing the task, such as reloading your firearm, rather you are telling the character to perform that task. So we are assuming the things video games got wrong are based on your character’s actions not your own, while you may play a part in what gun they use or action they take.

Second, keep in mind your character’s skills with combat and weapons is not always a reflection of your own skills. They are most likely modeled after a trained military or special forces personnel. Last, we have based this information off of first person shooter games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Arma, and PUBG this is not a reflection of all video games.

And with that let’s dive on into number one on our list, damage output.

1. Damage Output

When you play a video game you most likely are playing for entertainment, it’s supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Well if the damage a bullet could do in real life was equivalent to what it could do in the game you probably wouldn’t enjoy the game as much. That’s why damage output is the first thing on our list that video games just got wrong, although they do have a valid reason.

Depending on the type of bullet and place it hits, they can do a decent amount of damage to a person. If every person playing a video game died after one hit people would be rage quitting left and right. While there are some game modes and difficulty levels that are closer to being accurate to real life most of the time it will take quite a few rounds to get a kill shot on a character.

Developers and companies want to keep people playing their games, that is why the damage output in a video game is not equal to real life and is one thing video games got wrong.

2. Bullet Penetration

The penetration depth of a bullet depends on the type of firearm you are shooting and the type of bullet you are using. In some video games like Call Of Duty, Battlefield, PUBG, etc. they often don’t take bullet penetration into consideration. So if you play these types of games you may find the bullet either under or over penetrating characters and objects. This is one of the many things video games got wrong.

For example, in one instance of playing Call of Duty, a Barrett M82 .50cal with FMJ rounds was being used. The player was going through a hall and was able to fire one bullet that went through approximately five other players. Typically using this gun and type of bullet would not result in it going through five people in such a linear fashion. In real life scenarios, bullets deflect and rotate through objects as they pass through them causing varying trajectories.

Bullet Penetration -  Battlefield Gameplay

On the other hand, there are some bullets and firearms that would typically penetrate an object but instead they are underpenetrated. This plays into our next topic too but let’s focus on the penetration depth side first.

If you stand behind a car you may think that it would not provide you with protection because that's how it is in real life, but in many video games the opposite is true it will provide you with full coverage from oncoming fire. This is an example of under penetration. That being said let’s talk about what will and will not provide you with cover and how video games got it wrong.

3. What Will Actually Provide You With Cover

If you have any basic knowledge of firearms and various materials such as concrete, metal, etc. you probably have an idea of what would and would not provide you with coverage in a real shooting. Well if you are playing video games you can throw all that knowledge out of the window because things that would typically provide you coverage most likely won’t.

For example, in some games, you are able to shoot and hit another character through a concrete wall. Other times something as simple a light pole or bunk bedpost will provide you with ample coverage from oncoming rounds. Or like we discussed in relation to bullet penetration, a car that would typically not provide you with coverage in a video game oftentimes will.

So, if you are looking to base what can provide you with cover in a real life scenario versus one in a video game it’s best not to compare the two because they probably won’t line up. In real life, a light pole is probably not the best thing to hide behind to provide you with protection from oncoming bullets.

4. Recoil

When you shoot a real gun you will most likely experience some degree of recoil after a shot is fired. Depending on the gun and its caliber the recoil may be minimal or feel much stronger, this can affect your ability to get back on target. This is another thing video games got wrong because you are not able to feel the recoil of the shot being fired. Granted you may feel some vibrations through a controller but for the safety of the user, you can’t feel the full recoil.

Your in game character isn't affected much by recoil either. Meaning you can easily remain on target as you shoot unlike in real life where an intense recoil would make getting back on target difficult.

Recoil is definitely something to keep in mind if you are only familiar with playing video games but want to go to a range and practice shooting a firearm. It will be more intense than video games imply and getting back on target may be more challenging than you thought.

Recoil in videogames -  Overwatch

5. Effect of Suppressors

Suppressors may not do what you think they do. Whether in real life or a video game many people’s idea of what a suppressor does can sometimes miss the mark.

If you’ve ever watched a movie where someone uses a suppressor and it makes the gun completely silent you may believe that is true for real life as well. Or if you play video games like the ones we’ve been discussing you might think that in addition to making guns completely silent they reduce the damage range. Both of these assumptions are wrong.

A gun will never be completely silent because you will still hear the sound of the slide cycling, and afterall the firing of a bullet does involve a contained explosion. A suppressor makes a gun ear safe, meaning you can fire a gun without ear protection and the suppressor will help make the sound not damage your ears. It also does not have an effect on the accuracy or damage range as video games may imply. A gun with a suppressor will be just as effective at the same range if you weren’t using a suppressor.

So, a suppressor does not make a gun completely silent, it makes it ear safe. And a suppressor does not have an effect on damage range.

6. Malfunctions

Gun owners can tell you the importance of cleaning your gun regularly. The reason for this is just like anything with moving parts guns can malfunction. Regular cleaning can help reduce the chance of malfunctions. If you have played video games you may know that you don't have to clean your gun. You may not realize it but your gun never malfunctions in a video game either.

Malfunctions -  Escape of Tarkov Gameplay

Since you don’t have to clean your gun on the video game one might think that it would malfunction but most of the time it will not unless there is a glitch. If someone playing a video game has little to no experience with real firearms they might assume that guns can’t malfunction based on their knowledge from video games.

That’s why video games got gun malfunctions wrong. Most of them don’t make you clean your gun to avoid malfunction instead they bypass them completely.


Let’s recap, video games can be a great tool for learning the right and wrong things about guns. This article focused on all the things video games got wrong but you can read about what they got right here. But let’s go over what video games got wrong one more time.

  1. Damage Output - The damage a bullet does in a video game is not equal to what it can do in real life.
  2. Bullet Penetration - In video games bullets will either under penetrate or over penetrate characters and objects. The penetration depth does not match what it would be in real life.
  3. What Will Actually Provide You With Cover - In video games something as simple as a light pole or a car will protect you from oncoming fire but a concrete wall will not. In real life it is quite the opposite.
  4. Recoil - Recoil can be quite intensive depending on the gun and caliber, video games can’t reflect that very well for the safety of anyone playing but they also don’t make it difficult to get back on target based on the size of the recoil either.
  5. Effect of Suppressors - Suppressors don’t make guns completely silent they only make them ear safe and they don't affect the damage range of the firearm.
  6. Malfunctions - In video games you aren’t required to clean your gun which would typically result in an increased chance of malfunctions, but you won’t normally experience a gun malfunction in a video game.

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