Created By: bobfrank on December 29, 2012

Hollywood Nail Gun

Portrayal of nail guns as *guns* that fire Abnormal Ammo

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In Real Life, a "nail gun" is a carpentry tool, and a rather misnamed one at that. It may be shaped something like a (rather bulky) pistol, but functionally it's a pneumatic power hammer: it uses compressed air to slam a piston forward at high speed, which drives a nail into a board or other surface all at once. Also, nail guns have a safety mechanism which prevents the hammer from working unless the "barrel" of the gun is pressed firmly up against a hard surface.

You'd never know that from watching TV, though. If a nail gun appears on screen, it is invariably depicted as a big pistol capable of firing nails across a room. This is something that a nail gun is specifically designed *not* to do; having one actually shoot a nail out when it's not pressed against a hard surface would require a serious Failsafe Failure.

Community Feedback Replies: 2
  • December 29, 2012
    It's not that hard to defeat the safety on a Real Life nail gun if you know what you're doing, and then it will send the nails flying across the room, but not on full auto, and not with enough force or accuracy to be a practical weapon. (I suppose it could be used for area denial -- the nails do go fast enough to be dangerous. Just not as dangerous as a real gun.) Or So I Heard.

    Video Games: the original Quake replaced Doom's chain gun with a gameplay-identical "nail gun," possibly to show off the fact that it no longer had to be a Hit Scan weapon.

    Literature: in Diplomatic Immunity, a construction worker uses an "automated hot riveter" as an Improvised Weapon, having systematically defeated all the safety features. Realistically, it is inaccurate to the point of being more dangerous to bystanders than the target. Also realistically, it doesn't look like a weapon at all, which is part of the point: the construction worker can carry it around the space habitat where the book takes place and nobody thinks anything of it.
  • December 30, 2012
    We already have this as Nail Em.