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9 Things Video Games Got Right About Using Guns

9 Things Video Games Got Right About Using Guns

With new video games being released frequently we thought it was only fitting that we discuss what video games can and cannot teach you about guns. You can check out the article “6 Things Video Games Got Wrong About Guns” here, but in this article, we are going to talk about what they got right about using guns.

You may be wondering, can video games be a useful learning tool? What can you learn from video games? Well, we aren’t saying video games are going to help you practice shooting a gun nor are you going to be a pro shooter after playing video games, but there are a few things you can pick up from them. First, some things to keep in mind before we get started.

When you are playing a video game obviously you are not performing the task, such as reloading your firearm, rather you are telling the character to perform that task. So we are assuming the things you can learn from video games 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, Arma, Battlefield, and PUBG this is not a reflection of all video games.

That being said let’s get started and discuss 9 things video games can teach you about using guns.

1. The Difference Between Various Ammo Types

You may have heard of ammunition like hollow points, armor piercing, incendiary, or full metal jackets. Well, the difference between them is one thing many video games got right. What we mean is some of the ammunition you use in video games will perform very similarly to the way it would in real life.

For example, incendiary rounds ignite when they are fired, causing the target to ignite in most cases. In real life typically these are used for igniting flammable materials like gasoline. In some video games using this bullet will blow things up from the round, igniting or causing damage over time to the enemy target.

Knowing the reaction and intended use of each ammunition type can help you not only in video games but in real life too. If you play video games and decide that you want to practice shooting real firearms, learning the difference between different types of ammunition is something you may have a head start on.

2. Caliber

Each gun has a specific caliber bullet that it can shoot and different bullets have different weights. Video game creators got this right when they were designing a lot of modern games and this is one thing you can learn from playing video games. Now when you are playing games like Call of Duty or Arma you may not see the exact name of a real gun, but it is modeled after one and in turn uses the same caliber bullets as its real life counterpart. So, if you know what caliber bullet your favorite gun is chambered in, you can probably find the counterpart to it in the game and it will be the same caliber.

The grain of a bullet is another way of saying the weight of a bullet. Various weights will make them have different reactions. Similar to shooting real bullets, oftentimes the bullets in video games will act differently according to their weight and caliber. For example, a heavier bullet of the same caliber will have a lower velocity. Whereas a lighter bullet will have a higher velocity. Some heavier calibers may have lower velocity but more damage per shot.

So if you want to buy a gun or try shooting in real life, a video game can help teach which caliber a gun shoots and how grain affects the bullets reaction.

3. How Modifications to the Gun Can Change How it Handles

Have you ever heard of flash hiders or compensators, also known as muzzle brakes? Maybe you don’t know their names but you know what they do. A compensator or muzzle brake reduces the vertical recoil of a gun. A flash hider, well it does what the name implies, it reduces the flash you see from the muzzle.

Whether you are in real life or a video game if you want to do a covert mission or are shooting at night you may want to use a flash hider. It can help keep you hidden from other shooters. An intense recoil can make getting back on target difficult. Using a compensator or a muzzle brake can help reduce the vertical recoil allowing you to have quicker follow up shots.

In video games if you add either of these to your gun they will behave in a similar way to what it would in real life. So this is another thing that video games can teach you about guns. A compensator will reduce vertical recoil and a flash hider will reduce the flash when you shoot.

4. Ballistics

All these gun terms can get confusing so let’s refresh on what ballistics is before we talk about how it relates to what video games got right. Ballistics deals with the trajectory of bullets and how they behave. So, how does that relate to video games? Bullet penetration and damage will vary dependant upon the caliber, type, and grain of the round.

For many calibers, video games correctly demonstrate the reaction and penetration they would have in real life. For example, in real life a 9 mm round will do less damage and have a smaller penetration depth than a 556 would. Video games minimic this reaction to players which is why you can learn about ballistics from playing video games.

Ballistics can be beneficial in helping you know how you need to aim at a target and what caliber round you should be using for different targets or environments. Video games can teach you some things about ballistics that you can apply in real life if you choose to shoot a gun in the future.

5. Gun Handling & Transitions

If you are carrying a rifle and a sidearm in real life there is a certain way you would switch between the two guns. There are also certain ways to hold, reload, and manipulate a gun, these are all things that video games got right for the most part.

Let’s go back to if you have a rifle and a sidearm and want to switch between them. If you are going from using the rifle to drawing your sidearm traditionally you would swing the rifle down with your non-dominant hand and reach for your sidearm with your dominant hand. In video games, a character will often change guns in this same way.

Eventually, a gun will run out of ammo and need to be reloaded, there is a way a gun is manipulated to do this and many video games have an accurate simulation of this. Additionally, if you change hands or perform a grip transition video games have their characters do this the same way someone would in real life.

So, number five on our list and something that video games got right about using guns is transitioning between a sidearm and rifle, reloading a gun, and grip transitions.

6. Effect Physical Exertion Has On Accuracy

After a workout session or run you are probably quite tired and if you tried to aim a gun you would probably not be as accurate as if you had not just worked out. Well typically in combat situations if someone was running around and had a heavy backpack on their back they would eventually get tired and their accuracy could suffer as a result. Many video games did a good job reflecting this.

Games like the ones we are referencing today don’t allow unlimited sprinting and have a somewhat accurate representation of how running for a long period, leaving you tired, will affect your accuracy. Some more advanced games will even take your character’s “heart rate” into consideration when it comes to accuracy.

While not all games are a good reflection of the effect physical exertion has on accuracy many of them like the ones we are talking about got it right. In real life you don’t have unlimited energy to run around and some games don’t allow that either.

7. Time It Takes To Reload A Gun

Coming in at number seven on our list, the time it takes to reload a gun is another thing some video games got right. Reloading a gun with an empty mag is a task that takes time, how much time can vary based on the size of the magazine and if you have one in the chamber or not.

Some games make reloading instantaneous or don’t make you reload your gun, but the video games we are talking about like Call of Duty and Battlefield require that players reload their guns. Many times the time it takes your character to reload their firearm is comparable to the amount of time it would take someone to reload the same firearm or magazine in real life.

For example, if you have one in the chamber and are reloading in real life it will take you less time than if you had to reload without one in the chamber. These video games have an accurate representation of that.

Of course not every person takes the same amount of time to reload a magazine but video games get pretty close to an accurate representation of how long it would take in real life. Especially when it comes to the difference between reloading with one in the chamber versus an empty chamber.

8. Aiming & Sight Alignment

Shooting a gun is a little more complicated than just holding it up and pulling a trigger or in the case of a video game pressing a button. If you shoot without aiming, what was the point in shooting? Video games can teach you a little bit about aiming but beyond that they can show you how that would be done in real life.

When you go to shoot a gun in real life you aim it at your target by aligning the front and rear sights. Aligning them means the gun is level and you can then look through them to aim exactly where you want the bullet to hit. Video games, while they align the sights for you, provide a good visual representation of how to aim a firearm.

Having a general idea of how to aim a gun, even if it’s from video games, can put you one step closer to knowing how to properly shoot a gun in real life.

9. Tactical Methods

When you are in a tactical situation there are certain actions you take to be aware of your surroundings and defend yourself and your base. Video games can teach you some of these same tactical methods. There is one main tactical method video games can teach you so let’s talk about it.

Scanning a room or building when you enter. When you are playing first person shooter games like the ones we are talking about, you can learn a few different tactics. Scanning a room for people when you enter it is one of these methods. In real life situations, people like military and police are trained to scan a room as they enter to check for any possible threats.

Scanning a room when you enter is a real life tactical method that video games can teach you and that is why it is number nine on our list.


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

  1. The Difference Between Various Ammo Types - The different types of bullets and how they behave when you shoot them.
  2. Caliber - What caliber round is associated with a gun’s real life counterpart and how different grains react.
  3. How Modifications to the Gun Effect Shooting - Adding a flash hider or compensator to your gun has different effects that are accurately mimicked by video games.
  4. Ballistics - How different calibers have different penetration depths and degrees of damage.
  5. Gun Handling & Transitions - Transitioning between a sidearm and rifle, reloading a gun, and grip transitions.
  6. Effect Physical Exertion Has on Accuracy - You don't have unlimited sprinting and there is a somewhat accurate representation of how running for a long period, leaving you tired, will affect your accuracy.
  7. Time It Takes To Reload A Gun - Reloading a gun takes a different amount of time based on the size of the magazine and if you still have one in the chamber.
  8. Aiming & Sight Alignment - There is a good visual representation of how to align sights and aim a gun.
  9. Tactical Methods - When you enter a room you want to scan it for potential threats before you let down your guard.

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