Here in the United States, gun culture is very real. Gun culture spans the spectrum of behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs about firearms. The contemporary American gun culture started with the Bill of Rights as a means to deter tyrannical powers. Today, guns are not just for protection but are a mainstream fashion and entertainment staple.
I challenge you to count every time a gun is seen or mentioned while consuming film or television. You, as a consumer, will be shocked by the pure volume of weapons presented. I am sure most of you are like me and yell at your TV set when you see improper weapons handling. Also, think about the layman that is watching and is being programmed with improper habits. This post isn’t to discourage or challenge the visualization or utilization of firearms in tv and film. However, Range University wanted to take some time to celebrate a few movies for getting it right.
This list comprises OUR favorite films… so don’t get your feelings hurt if we left something off… share below in the comments.
#1: Way of the Gun
First off, this is one of our favorite action movies at Range University. I have heard of it in Hollywood film circles referred to as, “Heat Jr. or Heat Light.” But I don’t believe you can compare these two films. Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe did a phenomenal job utilizing proper gun handling techniques and tactics on film.
Christopher McQuarrie’s brother, a Navy SEAL, was the technical advisor for this film. This film is so realistic that the characters are habitually changing magazines, reducing malfunctions, and manipulating the weapons while wounded. Muzzle awareness and trigger finger discipline are seen throughout. A high degree of tactical expertise is apparent in the manner in which they utilized cover and cleared rooms. James Caan shows a masterful manipulation of a revolver during his transitions and reloads throughout the film. A must see!!!
The Way of the Gun… Check out those reloads!!!
#2: 13 Hours
13 Hours is our second pick. We placed this film second because it was a real-life telling of an operation gone wrong therefore it required real training. Michael Bay used Harry Humphreys as his technical advisor. Harry Humphries, a decorated SEAL with over 200 combat operations under his belt, including running Phoenix Program PRUs. When asked about the weapons used on the set, Harry said, “For this production, aside from their reliability and simplicity factor, we used GLOCKs because they are the secondary weapons of choice for the GRS [Global Response Staff] and the CIA’s PSD contractor program.”
Again, an operator advised and influenced the action that was seen on screen. The tactics in this film are on point and accurate. The utilization of squad tactics, cover, and concealment was a depiction of real-world techniques. What made this movie stand apart was the utilization of lasers, night vision goggles, and vehicle tactics.
Michael Mann’s “Heat” is well known for it’s extremely detailed and authentic firearms handling. The final bank robbery scene, in particular, is acclaimed for its accurate gun handling and tactics. A SAS Operator was the technical advisor behind this cinematic thriller. You can see classic SAS tactics with the forward assault into the near ambush established by the LAPD. Val Kilmer displayed true technical expertise by utilizing engine blocks, A-pillars, and concealment during the final moments. Once again, an operator was a driving force behind realistic action in the film.
Val bringing the fight to the LAPD!!
#4: Blackhawk Down
Blackhawk is a combat classic film. This movie does a great job of capturing pre-9/11 tactics. The handling of weapons down to urban movement is fluid and dynamic. Pretty sure that actual warriors were placed in technical advising roles for this film. Nothing more to say… Operators were involved.
Check Your 6 And Move Out
Again, Michael Mann and James Caan make the list, this time with Thief. James Caan shows us another excellent example of driving the gun, sight alignment and wielding from the low ready. James Caan got to train at Gunsite Academy and learned from military and law enforcement veterans. He looks like a natural with a 1911. The tactics are on point with the times and very fluid. A classic film that is a must-see!
A Leather Jacket And A 1911
All of these actors received realistic training from professionals that have real-life experience. If the above filmmakers are wise enough to invest in actual firearms training for their actors, gun owners should seek out training as well.
These actors built muscle memory in order to be proficient in proven and proper techniques. It is becoming more commonplace to have operators as technical advisors on films. A Special Operations pedigree combines experience, muscle memory, and competence into an instructor. When seeking out instruction, consider your firearm instructor’s pedigree. Does your instructor have experience with a weapon off of the flat range?