Rapid Magazine Changes with Travis Tomasie

Mythbusters has been on the air since 2003 and is a favorite of many viewers not only because they prove or disprove myths and experiment with special effects but because they get to play with guns and explosives on a semi-regular basis. Among their various gun-related episodes was one dealing with the reality – or lack thereof – of what they termed the “modern version of the quick draw.” According to hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman viewers had repeatedly asked whether the rapid magazine changes done in movies are actually possible. Although we can all accurately predict the outcome of this one, it’s still an interesting video (and it includes competitive shooter Travis Tomasie, which is pretty cool).

Adam and Jamie start out by attempting to replicate the aforementioned mag change on their own. At one point they reference the fact that they’ve put a fair amount of lead down-range in their years on Mythbusters which is probably true but doesn’t explain why certain things appear to be, well, outside their area of expertise. Terminology swings back and forth between accurate and grating – clip versus magazine, anyone? – and there are obvious reasons why they cannot manage a rapid magazine change themselves. So how do they put it to rest once and for all? They bring in a pro.

Travis Tomasie is a competitive shooter and the captain of Team Remington. Of course, he’s not just any shooter, he’s a World Champion. Watching Travis shoot is always awesome and this episode of Mythbusters is no different.

Of course, if we’re on the topic of truly ludicrous gun-related movie issues, one of my personal pet peeves is endless ammo. Then there’s the sound of a hammer being cocked – on hammerless guns. I could go on, but you get the idea. What’s your biggest gun-related pet peeve in movies?

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  • Jsmith

    The endless racking. The would have ejected every round by the time they were in a fight.

    • Chris Steele

      Yes. Related to that. A character will threaten another with gun, then at a dramatic point in the conversation they will rack the action, and no cartridge comes out! Meaning they were holding an empty gun on their adversary the whole time.

  • Rokurota

    A close up of a Glock hammer (Ant Man), ballistics testing that can determine the model of a gun from a recovered bullet (Lincoln Lawyer), non-existent calibers (The Dark Knight), shotguns that blow a person across the room (numerous), “safeties” on revolvers (numerous), and slides that don’t lock back on the final round (numerous).

    • “ballistics testing that can determine the model of a gun from a recovered bullet (Lincoln Lawyer)”

      Certain guns do have very specific rounds only for them. So the bullets are unique. I have a revolver that would baffle the majority of forensics depts in the US since the round is only for that revolver and despite it coming out in 1895 it is virtually unheard of in most of the US.

      ” “safeties” on revolvers (numerous)”

      They do exist. The OTS-33 silent revolver has a safety hence why you can carry it half cocked. They maybe rare and more seen in custom jobs but they do exist.

      “slides that don’t lock back on the final round (numerous).”

      Many semi autos don’t have slide lock back on final round. Hence you have to practice combat reloading with the last round before you pop in a new mag if you don’t want to waste time with the slide. Guns that do have a slide lock advertise they do in the spec sheet.

      “A close up of a Glock hammer (Ant Man):

      Once again custom job just like with manual safeties on certain glocks.

      • Prax

        Okay, there’s custom jobs and then there’s converting a striker fired Glock into a gun with a hammer, which has simply never been done. None of these corner cases that you’ve highlighted excuse the films in which the mistakes appear. Lincoln lawyer included a .22lr round being matched to a Colt Woodsman sight unseen, and no one in Walking Dead is carrying a Russian wet works revolver.

    • Squirreltakular

      The revolver safety one showed up in The Walking Dead once. Seemed even worse than their normal gun goofs.

    • Twilight sparkle

      Some revolvers do have safeties. im pretty sure there were plenty of British revolvers with safeties and as far as revolvers that are still in production heratige makes a .22 revolver with a safety.

      • Spencerhut

        Only one I know of, built special just for the Hong Kong Police. Total POS.

        • Twilight sparkle

          I remember at least one type of webley revolver had a safety

          • Spencerhut

            Yeah, the Webley built for the HK police.

    • In regards to Lincoln Lawyer it was a gun registration for a 22 caliber pistol. The detective disliked a character and seeing that a 22 was involved figured it was that gun that was used. It wasn’t ballistics testing that determined the model of gun it was the gun registration of a gun that belonged to a person.

  • Jsmith

    How cow, I know they shoot on the show, but there running those Paras like brand new shooters.

    • Anton Gray Basson

      Either they dont do much shooting off set or they were putting it on for the show

      • They said they have some exp. Note if they had never fired those models before they would have to adjust to them.

    • movarth

      They probably vastly underestimated how much range time it requires to build some skill.

  • William Johnson

    I have a friend who is a very good shot, but when he went to get his concealed carry had problems. He was so used to slow aimed fire that the rapid fire was a problem. He just had never done anything “tactical” in his life.

    • Bill

      That’s almost “good” – it implies he had halfway reality-based training, and not one of those classes that requires 18 rounds of .22 out of whatever’s in easy reach in the used gun case.

  • Tassiebush

    All guns apparently having a double action trigger when empty ie click click “i’m out”. Needless pumping a Shotgun when it already has one chambered or definitely already should have.

    • Tassiebush

      Invariably thin reticles on nearly all scopes. Taking boltactions and leverguns off the shoulder to work the action. Snipers using laserpointers.

      • iksnilol

        Oh, don’t get me started on reticles.

        I would love for Western manufacturers to use a PSO-1 style reticle as often as they do in movies. Person of Interest (a really good show nonetheless) is especially fond of the PSO-1 reticle. Even in one instance using it on an Eotech.

  • Sianmink

    How nobody, detectives, James Bond, etc, seems to ever carry with one in the pipe

    • Certain guns you don’t carry with a round in the chamber due to no manual safety like the Tokarev which was issued to police in several countries or you are trained to do so like with the 1911 when in the military.

  • iksnilol

    The results if you can’t watch the video for whatever reason.

  • Timo

    Rifles without sights (hello Walking Dead).

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    I can’t think of a movie with particularly fast reloads. Collateral is about as good as it gets. And how is it a myth if you see them (actors or doubles) do it in-camera?! They obviously wanted an excuse to do another gun “myth”.

    • Nicholas Chen

      John Wick had some decent mag changes.

      • Jared

        I feel like John Wick is one of the most accurate firearms movies.

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        Yep, another great gun movie, but you take my point; superfast mag changes are hardly a “movie myth”. Most movies don’t even show reloading & those that do aren’t exactly Miculek level.

        Never running out of bullets, getting knocked over by bullet impacts, massive muzzle flashes, these are all actual myths. Would you have mentioned quick reloads if I’d said ” name some movie gun tropes”? I wouldn’t have.

        • LarryNC

          I remember an episode of highlander, where a dirty cop shoots Duncan and Amanda with what looked like a large frame Glock. And just before he fired it, you hear what sounds like a double-action revolver being cocked. Total B.S..

    • Ken

      Way of the Gun

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        Pretty damn good (and one of my favourite movies) but hardly the “mythical” level they’re implying.

      • LarryNC

        Thanks, I’ll have to watch that one.

  • Nicholas Chen

    There are a lot of movie gun issues but my biggest issue is that Travis is not that fast at magazine changes. I have seen mag changes by Grandmasters in USPSA that seem inhuman. Travis mag change is ok but not that spectacular.

    JW Aguirre reloads better and he is only 9.

  • Nicholas Chen

    Here is Grandmaster Matt Trout doing a drill. Watch the reload.

  • MontieR

    Two words, Jerry Miculek. you tube.

    • jcitizen

      Yep! Heck, he can reload a revolver that fast!

  • My pet peeve is the lack of recoil. It’s bad when a 90-pound bony gal rapid-fires 3.5″ magnum slugs through a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. It’s especially egregious when the slow-motion shot shows the muzzle not even rising.

  • Mc Cain

    Always a favorite subject..pet gun related peeves in movies or TV.

    If I think about it, here is the order of my peeves:

    (1) Guns must ALWAYS make a noise once they are about to be fired: always. They are always apparently empty and must be cocked, pumped, or racked, maybe all three? Always must make a noise before they go bang.

    (2) 10-12 shots out of a six shot revolver, or 25 shots or more out of a 17 round magazine. And if the firearm is on full auto that 30 round mag under it transform into some kind of invisibly belt fed miracle.

    (3) It is always easy to carry on a relatively normal conversation over the sound of gunshots from firearms being discharged inside a car, or a room, or next to the conversants.

    (4) Bullets usually always strike the target no matter how far away, especially handguns, fired from the hip, at a fleeing target, thirty meters away.

    That should do for now.

    • SoulInvictus

      Those bug me too.
      My favorite, small calibre, short barreled pistol used to take down distant aircraft.
      Not. Happening.

    • uisconfruzed

      Please add, someone shot with a 9mm and they are lifted off the ground. Yet the diminutive dame that shot with one hand isn’t moved.
      Every action has an equal and opposite reaction?!?

    • Vanns40

      Might I offer #5: No action star EVER winds up with severe or even moderate hearing loss as I have, after years of shooting and using explosives, and I use hearing protection!

  • Hugo Stiglitz

    One of the worst myths perpetrated by Hollywood is that one shot stops any attacker immediately. The media jumps all over cops for shooting assailants multiple times. Headlines implying that shooting someone 8 or 10 times implies police brutality really piss me off.

  • uisconfruzed

    Her outside is very attractive… I won’t comment on the rest.

  • Vanns40

    All well and good and he’s far faster than I’ll ever be but let’s not forget one or two very important facts; he’s using a $3-4,000 race gun AND he’s not in a tactical situation where he is either moving to cover, ducking to avoid incoming or trying like hell to get out of the area. He’s in a “sterile” invironment where nothing matters but concentrating on what he’s doing.

    • There is a video of him doing a sub-1 second reload with a Glock that had a stock mag well.

      Also a guarantee that his skills in your non-sterile environment are better than yours. Because if you can’t do it in a sterile environment you can’t do it in a non-sterile environment.

      Finally virtually all USPSA mag changes are on the move, standing mag changes particularly with open and limited guns are rare.

  • James Madison

    The movie John Wick, while epic glorification of violence, did have quite a few mag changes during the shooting scenes.