Outdoor Hub: The 8 Most Realistic Gun Scenes in Hollywood

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I think that most shooters would agree that shooting a shooting scene in Hollywood is usually far from accurate. All too often magazines never run out of ammunition, aiming is as simple and thinking, and simple cover stops armor-piercing rounds.

But, some directors take the time to do it right. OutdoorHub has taken the time and diligence to rank the best scenes from Hollywood.

The winner? The shootout scene from Heat. To see the rest of the rankings, hit the link. 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • gggplaya

    I just watch “Fury” last week and I simply couldn’t believe how much time they spent to portray accurate tank battles, but spent zero time on showing people how to shoot a gun. They didn’t aim at all, and were shooting from the hip .

    • Ben

      To be fair, point shooting, firing from the hip, spraying full-auto, walking fire etc were all trained techniques at the time. As such the film was pretty accurate.

      Having the actors shoot a pistol using both hands with a high-tang grip would be more inaccurate.

      Even the original training manuals for the M16 advised troops learn how to quickly put the safety to full auto and mag dump when they came into contact in Vietnam.

      • gggplaya

        I’ve seen ww2 documentaries with video of soldiers doing this, but this was a tactic to scare the enemy and have them retreat or not advance. Soldiers would fire rounds into brush in full auto to make sure no one was there.

        The scene in fury was different. The knew exactly what they were shooting at in plain sight. It made far more sense to aim.

  • I can’t believe we’re still counting Act of Valor. Eotech’s off the whole movie, even when in first person? Red lasers with NVGs? I am disappoint.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      You know, honestly it was the bad acting that killed that one for me. Also the silencers making that “phew” sound.

      • Hollywood Silencers: Making gun-blasts into gopher farts since time eternal

    • Giolli Joker

      And the team running away on a truck that apparently is miraculously bullet proof?
      (unless it was implied that they armored it, but there’s no evidence)

  • dan citizen

    I can’t recall any film that had realistic enough shooting to allow me to suspemd disbelief for any amount of time. So I would say….

    On Golden Pond

    Least firearm inaccuracies.

  • avconsumer2

    Bonus points for Heat re: actual gun sounds.

  • Don Ward

    “Open Range” for most realistic western shoot out.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Good one

    • nadnerbus

      Excellent shoot out scene. Only ding on that one would be the bad guys flying ten feet when hit with a shotgun. Otherwise great. The sound, much like Heat, was extremely well done and true to life.

  • Michael R. Zupcak

    I have read numerous times that the shootout scene (specifically Val Kilmer’s reloading) has been shown to Special Forces units. Can anyone say FOR SURE whether or not that’s true?

    “Drop of a hat these guys will rock and roll.” -Pacino

    • Ben

      The usual story I see is that it was it was an instructor at Ranger School who would show it to students there. Can’t confirm any of this sadly.

  • Edward Franklin

    I was amazed when I watched the Expendables for the first time, despite playing fast and loose with nearly everything the characters were shown reloading and running out of ammunition as the fight progressed. I clearly remember Stallone’s character using a 1911 and firing the correct number of rounds and reloading, pretty surprising for an intentionaly over the top action film.

    • Yellow Devil

      I guess they had to do away with that in the second one because Chuck Norris makes a guest appearance and single handedly takes out a company of bad dudes and a T-72(?) tank. Than again it was Chuck Norris, so it’s still within the realm of possibility.

  • Don Ward

    It’s interesting sometimes when you stumble across “good” gun handling in movies.

    In the 1954 remake of “Destry”, apparently it was Audie Murphy who suggested to the director that they show him reloading his six-gun in between firing. You can see this in the final shoot out when he is moving under cover behind a bar.

    I wouldn’t recommend “Destry” as a good movie though unless you have a thing for B movies.

  • Steve Martinovich

    There was a time I would have rolled my eyes at Pacino taking the shot at Sizemore while he had the kid in his arm but cops today… they probably teach that in NYPD school.

  • kingghidorah

    “nice Luger”.

  • I’ve watched John Wick recently. It seemed pretty realistic as far as shooting scenes go. Extensive use of reloading as well, great pistol shooting stances, and the hero visibly running out of ammunition! Good stuff for me.

    • bernardg

      All the shooting scenes in the movie was fantastic. But, since he is using “gun-kata” technique. It’s borderline fantasy. Still, overall it was an awesome movie.

  • Manny Fal

    Can never forgive shooting through a moving cars windshield.

  • Manny Fal

    I was never sure if lying on the ground in a hallway is a good technique for surprising an opponent.

  • S O

    The muzzle flash was greatly exaggerated in “Heat”, similar to how they made P90’s look like flamethrowers in the Stargate SG-1 series.

    There were no bouncing bullets in “Heat”, a realistic portrayal would have seen most policemen hit by bullets passing below the cars and striking feet and lower legs.
    There was no screaming by wounded men.

    AR-15 full auto would likely have sprayed much more rounds above the police cars and left them much less perforated.

    AR-15s did not begin to smoke even after about 100 rds fired.

  • AznMike

    Ending of Zero Dark Thirty?

    • bernardg

      The SEAL operators in the movie are speaking too loud. Already a minus point.

  • USMC03Vet

    Mine is from predator when old painless (hand held mini gun) shot down the forest. As somebody with experience fighting aliens in South America it was very realistic.

  • Squirreltakular

    One of my favorite scenes is definitely in the Rambo remake, where he draws his concealed 1911 and smoke checks like six pirates while they’re being boarded. Always makes my naughty bits twitch.

  • AbeFroman

    I heard a story from a marine once about how his DI played a clip of Val Kilmer doing suppression and then a reload during the bank scene and said “If you’re not reloading this fast, practice more.

  • bernardg

    It’s the 80s. Nothing is realistic in the 80s.