Social media has grown over the years and now helps ideas spread fast. That isn’t always good when those ideas aren’t reality. We have come up with 12 gun myths from movies and other places that are, well, myths.
The movies and society can make us believe a lot of things about guns. Oftentimes we see things like guns with an apparent infinite magazine because you never see the character reload their gun or rifles that are put together on the spot and are automatically accurate. A lot of things that relate to guns in movies are what we like to call movie magic, they can’t happen in real life but the movies make it seem so real.
Don’t get us wrong there are some movies that are accurate when it comes to firearms but unfortunately that only makes up a small portion of movies. So, let’s dive into some of these myths and uncover the truth behind them.
1. If you drop a gun it will go off.
Starting off with myth number 1, a gun will go off if you drop it. This isn’t completely a myth but it isn’t completely true either. A gun will go off if the trigger is pulled. The most common reason a gun goes off when it is dropped is because someone reaches to catch it and pulls the trigger in the process. So, if you drop a gun just let it fall.
Many modern guns like Glock actually have a drop safety in them to help prevent the gun from going off when dropped. Manual and internal safeties can also help prevent an accidental discharge from occurring.
Another thing to mention in regards to this topic is what condition the gun is in when it is dropped meaning does it have one in the chamber or is it unloaded etc. If it has one in the chamber when it is dropped and it by chance goes off then it may cause more harm than if it is unloaded and is dropped.
So, a gun is not guaranteed to go off any time you drop it but it is possible depending on a few things: what type of gun you have, what condition your gun is in, and if something or someone pulls the trigger as it is falling.
2. If you put lube on your bullets they will go faster.
Yes, you read that right although it’s not the lube you might be thinking of. We are talking about gun lubricant. You may have heard or been told that putting lubricant on your bullets will make them go faster, it will not.
There are a few negative impacts lubing your bullets can actually have on your gun. First, if there is too much lubricant it can get into your striker channel, potentially causing mechanical issues. Second, putting lubricant on your bullets may cause an interruption in your gun feeding the bullets. Lastly, the lubricant can build up in your magazine and chamber causing an excess amount of dirt and debris.
So, lubricating your bullets does not make them go any faster. Instead it may cause mechanical issues with your gun.
3. If you shoot someone the bullet will knock them down.
We’ve all seen it in the movies so it must be true right? Wrong, if you or someone gets hit with a bullet the force behind the bullet is not going to knock them down. In the movies, you may have seen someone get shot and kinda stumble or fly backward to the ground. That is more of what we like to call movie magic.
Let’s talk about the science behind this. We all probably know about Newton's third law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, the force of the bullet leaving the gun is equal to the recoil of the gun. Meaning, the faster the bullet the bigger the recoil. So we’ve established that the equal and opposite reaction of the bullet’s energy is the recoil of the gun.
A bullet is very small and therefore has a low mass compared to an average human. Meaning there is enough energy to penetrate a surface but not enough to knock someone off their feet. They may eventually fall to the ground because of the shock and depending on where they were struck but they will not immediately fly backward as the movies make us think.
So, while the movies make it seem possible that the force of a bullet will make someone fall or fly to the ground when it hits them it just isn’t likely.
4. Suppressors make a gun almost completely silent.
Movies have a tendency to make us think things that aren’t actually real, all that movie magic we’ve been talking about. Well, another thing movies make us think is that when someone puts a suppressor on a gun it makes it completely silent.
The reality of it is that suppressors make a gun ear safe but even with a suppressor, the gun is going to make a loud noise when it’s fired. You may be thinking what about subsonic ammo?
If you aren’t familiar with it subsonic ammo is designed to travel below the speed of sound which helps reduce the sound produced when the bullet is fired. Even with subsonic ammo and a suppressor you will still hear the sound of the slide racking with each shot.
So unlike the movies may make it seem, a suppressor will not completely silence a gun in reality it only makes it safer for your ears.
5. You should aim for the legs.
You do not want to kill anyone you just want to protect your family so you should aim for the legs right? You’d think that if someone got shot in the leg they wouldn’t be able to walk and you could get away. Well, these are all myths so unfortunately, that belief is incorrect.
Similar to how bullets do not actually make someone fly to the ground, getting shot in the leg isn’t going to make someone fall to the ground rendering them unable to walk. It’s going to catch them off guard but only for a few seconds. The same thing goes for the arm or shoulder, if they too have a gun getting shot in one of these places probably won’t stop them from using it, it might only make them more likely to. It should also be known that a major artery, called the femoral artery, runs through both legs in a human body. This is a large artery which if severed or nicked, can cause severe bleeding and may be more fatal that a center mass shot.
If you are in a self defense situation it is best to aim for center mass. This is the largest part of the body making it easier to aim for and more likely that you will hit it. Aiming for center mass doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to kill anyone, it’s possible, but it increases your chances of stopping them from harming you or your family.
So, as much as you may think aiming for the legs is a good idea when in a self defense situation the reality is that you have a better chance at stopping someone if you aim for center mass.
6. Shotguns aren’t effective at long ranges.
You may have heard or believe that shotguns aren’t effective at long ranges. While this may be true for some shotguns, others can travel 2000 or more feet and still be lethal. It all depends on the type of shotgun and the type of the round. Now at 2000 feet the velocity of the bullet is going to be significantly lower than when it left the muzzle of the gun but it may still travel that far and have enough energy to be deadly.
According to the NRA, a slug from a shotgun can be accurate at approximately 100 yards. So if someone had a shotgun aimed at a target on the opposite end of a football field you may think that they will miss the target or their accuracy will be off. But it's quite the opposite, shotguns are still quite accurate at even the length of a football field.
So, do not assume that because someone is using a shotgun and they are quite a distance from their target that they won’t hit it with a decent amount of accuracy because they quite possibly can.
7. A clip and a magazine are the same thing.
People will oftentimes refer to a clip and a magazine interchangeably. We are here to shed some light on that statement. They are similar in that they both are related to guns and loading guns, but they are two different things.
A magazine is loaded into the gun with rounds in it, it uses springs to help load the chamber as the slide or bolt is racked. A clip is used to help load a magazine, it’s more of a holder for the ammo. An easy way to think about it is this, a clip feeds a magazine and a magazine feeds the gun.
So, while both of these deal with guns and loading your firearm they are not the same thing. If you hear someone call a magazine a clip you’ll probably know what they are referring to but you can teach them something new.
8. A gun can be full semi-auto.
Maybe you’ve heard someone say it before or read it on the internet so it must be true right? Wrong. How would a full semi-auto gun work? Well, we are busting myths so it wouldn’t. There is no such thing as a full semi-auto gun.
Semi automatic guns are quite common these days. Many pistols, rifles, etc are available as semi automatic weapons. What this means is once you load the first bullet into the chamber each subsequent round is automatically loaded into the chamber as the gun recoils.
A fully automatic firearm would be one that after the first round is loaded into the chamber and the trigger is pulled rounds will continue to fire until the trigger is released or the gun runs out of ammunition.
So, even though you may have heard someone refer to a full semi-auto gun it isn’t a real thing. There are only semi automatic or fully automatic guns.
9. You should shoot warning shots.
As a gun owner you are accountable for every shot that leaves your gun. So while you may have seen warning shots happen in the movies are they really a smart action to take? No.
We all know how gravity works, right? What goes up must come down. So, that bullet that you fire into the air as a “warning” is going to come back down and land where? Most likely you aren’t going to know, it could hit you or another unintended target.
Additionally, the time it takes you to fire a warning shot could be the difference between life and death. A warning shot can actually be considered deadly and illegal.
So, if you’ve heard someone say you are supposed to shoot warning shots first or if you have seen someone do it in a movie don’t believe it. It’s a myth and definitely not a good idea because you could hurt yourself or someone else in the process.
10. Turning a gun sideways when you shoot makes it more accurate.
You've probably seen a movie where inexperienced gun owners are shooting and they turn their gun sideways. It is sometimes believed that turning your gun sideways makes it more accurate or will be a “killshot.” In reality it does not make it any more accurate, it instead could have the opposite effect and decrease your accuracy.
When you turn a gun on its side you can’t use the sights correctly, unless you have side mounted sights. The iron sights are usually lined up from the factory and calibrated while the gun is upright. This calibration is going to be based on the bore axis or a vertical axis. When you turn your gun sideways it is now on a horizontal axis, so even if you use your sights while the gun is turned they are likely not going to be accurate.
Now, there may be some people who can hold their gun sideways and still be accurate but unless you have trained like that it is not likely.
So, turning a gun sideways is not going to make it more accurate. It will most likely make it less accurate because it makes it harder to use the sights and they are not calibrated for a horizontal axis.
11. You have to cock a gun every time you want to pull the trigger.
Let’s go back to all those movies we’ve been talking about. Sometimes in older movies especially ones set in the west people will cock their guns after they take it out of the holster or each time they want to shoot.
While yes some older gun models do require you to cock the gun each time, which would be single action revolvers, most modern guns are semi-automatic meaning you only have to cock the gun for the first shot and each subsequent shot is automatically cocked as the slide racks.
Additionally, many people choose to carry with one in the chamber. That would mean that the gun would not need to be cocked upon drawing it from a holster.
So, while the movies may make it seem like you have to cock a gun every time you draw it from your holster to shoot or any other time you want to pull the trigger that is a myth.
12. The bigger the caliber, the bigger the recoil.
While it is sometimes true that a larger caliber gun will have a bigger recoil, this is not always the case. Beyond caliber the size of gun and grain of the round can play a part in the recoil too.
Sometimes a smaller gun can actually have more recoil because there is less to absorb the energy from the firing sequence occurring. So, a bigger may actually have less recoil because of its ability to better absorb the energy from the firing sequence. The manufacturer's design of the gun can play a part in how big of a recoil it has as well.
When referring to guns and more specifically bullets, grain is the weight of the bullet. A heavier grain bullet can produce less recoil because it does not come out of the gun as fast. A lighter bullet will spend less time in the chamber and travel faster creating more recoil and muzzle rise.
So, while caliber can play a part in the amount of recoil produced there are a few other factors that can influence the recoil.
BONUS - 13. Moving your gun in a forward motion when you pull the trigger makes the bullet go faster.
We decided that 12 gun myths just wasn’t enough so here is a bonus myth. You might have also seen this in the movies When someone shoots their gun they move it forward as they are pulling the trigger. As a result some people believe that if you move your gun in a forward motion as you pull the trigger the bullet will go faster.
The average bullet travels at a few thousand feet per second meaning that the motion of you moving a gun forward is not going to increase the bullet's speed by much if at all.
In fact, doing this can actually damage the recoil system of a gun. Many modern guns have a recoil operated slide, meaning they use the natural recoil of the gun to rack the side with each shot. This is designed to occur while the gun is stable, to a degree. Moving the gun forward when you shoot goes against how the gun was designed and can damage it.
So, moving your gun forward when you pull the trigger won’t make the bullet go any significant amount faster and it can actually damage the gun instead.
We have busted A LOT of gun myths in this one article so let’s review the basics of each one.
- If you drop a gun it could go off but it is not likely unless someone tries to catch it and pulls the trigger in the process.
- If you put lubricant on your bullets they will NOT go faster. It can instead create a buildup of dirt and debris that damages your gun.
- If you shoot someone the force of the bullet will NOT knock them down or send them flying backward.
- A suppressor will NOT make a gun completely silent even with subsonic bullets you will still hear the sound of the slide racking.
- You should NOT aim for someone’s legs, getting shot in the leg will not stop them from being a danger to you or your family.
- Some shotguns are effective and accurate for 3000 or more feet, it depends on the gun and type of ammo.
- A clip and a magazine are NOT the same thing but they both deal with loading a gun.
- There is no such thing as a full semi-auto gun.
- Warning shots are NOT a good idea.
- Turing a gun sideways does NOT make it any more accurate.
- You do not have to cock a gun EVERY time you want to pull the trigger.
- A large caliber ammo does NOT mean the recoil is going to be bigger.
- Moving your gun in a forward motion when you pull the trigger does NOT make the bullet go any faster.
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