There are a lot of gun myths out there. These myths can arise either because of common misconceptions about guns or because of what we see in shows and movies.
Regardless, these kinds of myths create the wrong idea either about what firearms are capable of or can cause people who don’t know much about guns to become more unsafe when using them.
Here are five common gun myths you should stop believing:
People Get Flown Backward When They Are Shot
Anyone who has seen a few action movies has no doubt seen when the main protagonist draws his pistol or machine gun and opens fire on the bad guy’s henchman, causing them to fly back when they get hit.
At the bare minimum, most movies depict people getting thrown back when they are hit at close range with a shotgun.
While this may be satisfying to see the villains get vanquished in the movies in this way, it bears no truth in reality. The reason is because of simple physics. For each action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.
This means that for the bullet from a gun to throw someone who gets shot backward, the person firing the gun would have to get thrown backward just as hard as well from the recoil of the gun.
In reality, it doesn’t matter how much recoil your gun generates, it’s not going to generate enough to fling a bad guy who assaults you across the room. Furthermore, there’s not enough mass in the bullet to prevent a full-grown person from flying backward either.
If a Gun Drops, It Will Go Off
A major accurate way of saying this is that if a gun drops, it *might* go off.
The truth is that most modern-day firearms have what are called ‘drop safety’ features so they cannot fire unless the trigger is pulled.
And even if a gun without a so-called drop safety feature is dropped over a hard surface, the chances of it going off are incredibly minimal.
That being said, accidents can happen and you should never just casually toss a gun onto the ground (even if the gun doesn’t go off, doing so would surely damage the finish on the outside of the gun).
Machine Guns Lack Accuracy
Both movies and video games are to blame for this myth, which commonly shows bolt action or ‘sniper’ rifles as highly accurate while anything with fully automatic capabilities is significantly less accurate.
Here’s the truth: just because a gun has fully automatic capabilities and a high capacity doesn’t mean it’s going to be inaccurate. Quite the opposite.
In real-world combat scenarios, fully automatic machine guns are commonly used to provide cover for advancing infantry forces by directing concentrated fire over an enemy’s position.
The common tactic is to aim the machine gun directly at the enemy’s position and open fire to pick hostile targets off.
A fully automatic weapon is as inaccurate as the person shooting it is. If you shoot an automatic assault rifle from the hip like we commonly see in movies too, then sure, you’re probably not going to hit anything. And if you allow the muzzle of the weapon to gradually rise from the recoil, then your shots will be shot off target as well.
But raise the gun to your shoulder and carefully aim your shots with quick bursts of fire while controlling the weapon so the muzzle is kept down, and you should be able to place your shots accurately on target.
Furthermore, fully automatic weapons can be used as ‘sniper’ rifles too. It’s a big misconception that only bolt action rifles can be sniper rifles. The .50 BMG Browning M2 machine gun was used as a sniper rifle during the Vietnam War when it was mounted with a scope to view targets at longer distances.
A Suppressor Completely Silences a Gun
This is something else we see in movies, shows, and video games: the hero in a secret agent film, for instance, approaches the bad guy’s compound at night.
Armed guards are patrolling the outside. Our hero, dressed completely in black, affixes a suppressor onto the end of his pistol and picks off the armed guards one by one, each guard oblivious because of the silence of the pistol.
When you mount a suppressor or a silencer to a gun, it completely silences the weapon, right? Wrong!
While it is true that suppressors have been used for decades to dampen the sound of guns going off, they do not completely silence the gun. For example, a suppressor cannot reduce the supersonic noise that the bullet creates when it is fired out of the gun.
The real reasons for suppressors are threefold:
- They make it slightly more difficult for enemy combatants to detect a shooter’s location by noise
- They help to tame the muzzle flash of the weapon
- Since they at least reduce the noise of a gun, they can make them more bearable to shoot when hunting or at the range
Additionally, it’s a common misconception that when you affix a suppressor to a gun you don’t need to wear hearing protection. Don’t make this mistake either. Always wear hearing protection when you go to the range.
Bullets Cause Sparks Upon Impact
If you’ve seen enough action movies, you’ve no doubt seen a squad of villainous henchmen open fire on our hero with automatic weapons, and the bullets cause sparks to fly when they strike the environment around the hero.
The truth is that not all bullets cause sparks when they ricochet off of targets. While it undeniably looks cool in the movies, just because a metal bullet strikes another metal object doesn’t mean that it will cause sparks to fly.
Guns may not do everything we see them do in the movies, but that doesn’t make them any less useful (or deadly) in real life.
The realities of the above myths should help to clear some major misconceptions that you have had about firearms in the past.
Simply picking up a gun isn’t going to turn you into an invincible movie character, and it’s still important to fire essential firearms safety protocols as well.
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