8 Firearms Myths Hollywood Still Can't Get Enough Of

7. Recoil Is A Nuisance, Not A Problem

Jason Statham Transporter
Tri-Star Pictures

Ever notice how Hollywood loves to fire its machine guns, such as assault rifles and sub machine guns, on full-auto? And, ever notice how accurate heroes tend to be with them?

In reality automatic fire is almost never used, and for good a reason – recoil.

Sub machine guns are notorious in this regard. The experience of firing a sub machine gun on full auto was once described by journalist Gene Weingarten thus: “Your entire vision disappears into a gassy, smoky blur, and you are no longer able to see your target. All you can do is wrestle desperately to keep the barrel down against the ferocious upward kick.” An assault rifle is only marginally more manageable. With that kind of vibration hitting a target at anything other than close range is down to luck or copious ammunition expenditure.

For that reason semi-auto, aimed fire is used. Recoil can be more easily handled and without the gun shaking your filling loose you can actually see what you’re aiming at. Also, you conserve your often limited ammunition. Full-auto, when used, is intended to suppress, that is prevent the enemy from returning fire or moving while friendly forces flank or withdraw, and even then rounds are fired in short, controlled bursts, not emptying an entire mag.

No matter how cool it looks, the image of 80’s action heroes firing general purpose machine guns accurately, one-handed, from the hip, or the Rock bringing down a helicopter with a minigun, is completely and utter fantasy. This myth belongs in the bin.

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