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Movie Prop Guns & Swords in Entertainment & Shooting Firearms in Movies

Read any detective, crime, thriller or urban special ops novels lately? All Glocks with an occasional Colt 1911. The whole entertainment industry, literature or movies, is Glockland. Unless the novel or movie is a period piece, there are no revolvers. Submachine guns are MP-5 with an occasional UZI or MAC 10. Only gangster movies have Thompson and WWII movies the British Sten. Rifles are AK’s and AR’s, sometimes a Vietnam theme will have an M14 still used today. Of course, most westerns have the 1973 Colt Peacemaker. Only a few have Smith and Wesson No. 3. Seldom seen are the Remington revolvers or cartridge conversions of the older cap and ball revolvers. Everything is 9mm or 45 ACP for pistols. Where are 10mm, 40 S&W and 357 Sigs? Not since Dirty Harry and his 44 Mag have we seen anything out of the norm.

Colt 1973 Army and Peacemaker Revolvers

The Colt 1973 Army and Peacemaker Revolvers were had in .38, .44 and 45 calibers. The only 38 was the old Bat Masterson TV show had him carrying a .36/38 caliber Colt. They converged with the Winchester 1973 with 38-40 and 44-40 cartridges. The .45 Colt was never reliable in lever guns, and 44-40 was probably the most popular cartridge of the day for compatible rifle pistols. With few exceptions, as Quigley Down Under, no other rifles beside the trap door used by soldiers and the lever actions do we see anything like the Sharps rifles or Remington rolling blocks.

Cap & Ball Revolvers

Like a 22 rimfire, early cartridges had a rebated tail referred to as a ‘heel’ allowing the bullets to be loaded with the same size diameter as the case. The cap and ball revolvers in .36 caliber would shoot a ball .375 to .380 in diameter. When cartridges came along the .38 caliber were .357 diameter and the case was .38 inch diameter case mouth. Earlier 38 calibers were heeled as well with a .381” bullet diameter, the same as the old .36 caliber cap and ball revolvers.

Break Action Revolvers

Most British military themed movies have the primary late 19th to mid-20th century Webley break action 455 or 38 caliber double action break open revolver and the excellent Martini and Henry or the British Enfield rifles. During WWI the US Army arranged contracts with Smith and Wesson and Colt for combat issue in 45 ACP in moon clips due to the shortage of 1911 Colt Auto.

Movie Prop Guns & Swords

Movie guns need to be modified to operate firing blanks or at the most wax bullets. It would be expensive to outfit a full cast and extras with actual operating weapons. Most weapons are non-working plastic moldings of real guns. Even in Zulu, many of the rifle closeups revealed the guns were never fired and recoil only was simulated.
Another area is the Japanese sword. It is heralded the finest blades in the world and are thus the primary blade type in most movies. Against a European medieval knight, they would be worthless, most breaking under the stress of European or Ottoman-Turkish warfare. Japanese samurai troops primary complaint was the swords propensity to break in combat. The price in ultimate cutting and keenest edges were a weakness in maintain integrity in combat. All edged weapons are a study in compromise. Indeed, the samurai legendary 17th century Musō Gonnosuke Katsuyosh used wooden swords as they were not as prone to breakage as the steel ones.

Firing & Shooting Guns in Movies

Aiming techniques in entertainment, are well entertaining, but not applicable to real life implementation. Gangsta shooting in the movies is comical. Holding the gun on its side doesn’t promote good sighting technique, accuracy and is considered haphazard, risky and leads to indiscriminate shooting. Hits are random, if you carry don’t emulate the side grip. Fanning the old single actions as seen in the moves is a recipe for disaster. No sight picture, mostly misses and it destroys the gun. Nothing is as damaging to a single action revolver than fanning it. Fanning can reduce a gun to junk in just a short while. Quick draw and demos shooters use specially modified firearms, and require considerable maintenance.

Custom Shooting Ranges for Firearms Training & Practice

We then observe that the movie and action thriller novels has bought into a very limited number of gun types and their techniques are haphazard to say the least. Shooting Range Industries designs and builds custom ranges for proper shooting practice and training. Contact us for more information today!

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