Given enough time and typewriters, a barrel of monkeys could write the script for Dumb and Dumber. I’m guessing it might take three monkeys with a used Smith-Corona Speedline about an hour. Following similar logic, with enough movies, even the folks in Hollywood are bound to get some gun handling scenes right.

It’s probably too much to ask for those folks to get a whole movie right when it comes to guns, so I’ll focus on scenes only here – a few shining examples of where they managed to recreate realistic gun scenes.

Air Force One: Trigger discipline!

Here’s one from a movie that made The Top 9 Worst Hollywood Gun Scenes Ever list a couple of weeks ago.

Air Force Major Caldwell (William H. Macy) displays some actual trigger discipline when the @ss-kicking President (Harrison Ford) hands him an MP5A3. Believe it or not, Caldwell aligns his trigger finger along the receiver as they head off into the plane to kick some terrorist butt.

William Macy in Air Force One


Act of Valor: All of it.

The movie Act of Valor was made by a couple of former Hollywood stunt men with cooperation by the US Navy. In fact, all military personnel in the movie are played by active military personnel. That’s right; there are hardly any real actors in this movie, which explains why the gun handling is so good throughout. It also explains why the acting leaves a little bit to be desired, but that’s OK. As a side note, it took over two years to film the movie because the actors (all US Navy SEALs) had to keep going on deployments overseas.

Not only are the actors actual SEALs, many of the scenes in the movie were filmed using live fire. Rather than mock up everything for a movie, the producers filmed a number of live training exercises.

I’m only identifying scenes in this movie as I promised scenes only at the beginning of this article, but the whole movie is on target so to speak. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Blanks? Who needs blanks? When the SEALS lay down a little bit of covering fire on the bad guys from their boat-mounted General Dynamics GAU-17/As, you’ll see real brass flying, not that crimped nose movie prop stuff. That was one of the live fire scenes, and it sure was impressive.

Real pros use semi-automatic, aimed fire. You’ll see this throughout the movie, along with actual magazine changes. This scene shows a brief example of the good guys aiming at bad guys and using rapid semi-automatic fire for maximum effect.

As you might expect, the gun handling in this movie almost qualifies as an instructional class as opposed to entertainment. In another scene, two of the heroes even manage to execute perfect muzzle discipline while diving away from a terrorist suicide bomber. That’s focus!

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