Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun series.

Leslie Nielsen as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun series.

For all the gun-related gaffes and myths Hollywood portrays in TV and movies, they can actually teach us a valuable lesson once in a blue moon. These are seven of my favorite “lessons” from Tinseltown and the films in which they appeared.

Lesson 1: Use proper technique to manage recoil

Example: Men in Black (1997)

Recoil always feels more substantial when firing a smaller and lighter gun. When experienced intergalactic cop Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) provides rookie Jay (Will Smith) with a weapon, Jay quickly learns that small guns can have serious kick:

Zed: Kay, give the kid a weapon.

Kay: [Kay opens a chest of large and intimidating alien blaster rifles] A Series Four De-atomizer.

Jay: That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Kay: [chooses a tiny gun and presents it to Jay] Noisy Cricket.

Jay: [stares at the puny gun] Hey, Kay, nah, nah. Come on, man, you-you get a Series Four De-atomizer and I-I get a little-little midget cricket?

Kay: [Jay is waving the tiny gun around] WHOA! Kid…

Jay: Feel like I’m gonna break this damn thing…!

Lesson 2: Handguns don’t have “stopping power” in the Hollywood sense

Example: Dr. No (1962)

About to embark on yet another mission to save humanity, British Agent James Bond, better known as 007, is chastised for his reliance on a handgun with no stopping power. Big Boss “M” summons armorer Major Boothroyd to present Bond with his new issue carry gun. Boothroyd explains:

“Walther PPK. 7.65mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swear by them.”

While I don’t particularly care to be shot by one, a .32 ACP is not a caliber that most would associate with massive stopping power. In fact, guns in general don’t have what Hollywood portrays as stopping power. They simply make holes, and don’t knock people off their feet or send them crashing through walls and windows. That’s a movie myth, just like the concept of “delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.”