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Guns Do Not Work That Way
aka: Magic Bullets

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Why are those bullets still inside the cartridges? ...Wait, are those springs firing them?!note 

The player character in multiplayer reloads the M203 mounted under his M16A4. Note the fire selector set to "look I just broke the fire selector."
— Caption on IMFDB, on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 page

Guns and/or ammo, as depicted by fiction. Being among the most commonly employed weapons nowadays, they feature prominently in fiction — and often behave in ways that Real Life firearms/ammunition doesn't behave. This can be either due to authors not knowing how they actually behave, or because the story would not work with realistic behaviour.

For incorrect depictions of another common type of projectile weaponry, see Bows and Errors.

Tropes that fall into this category:


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon: Revy and Roberta both get their guns shot out of their hands by snipers and yet Revy's gun at least is perfectly usable later on, and neither of them have injured hands from it.
  • In Cowboy Bebop's first episode, "Asteroid Blues", a woman shoots her boyfriend in the head at point-blank range in their spaceship, splattering blood all over the passenger window. The window itself, however, isn't even scratched; however, it is a spaceship window that must be tough enough to stand up to orbital debris and micrometeorites. It isn't until the police open fire with their heavier ship-mounted machine guns that the glass shatters, and yet only the ship itself is noticeably affected by said barrage — the woman's corpse is somehow perfectly intact, save for the hole in her dress from earlier being slightly larger and actively spilling out the vials of Red Eye she had been faking pregnancy with.
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited: The Magun, wielded by Kaze, essentially acts as a conduit for conjuring Summons through the Soil Charge Triad.
  • Girls und Panzer: Unlike real tank ammo, Every Bullet is a Tracer and sparks brightly upon any glancing hit against armor, while all direct hits cause the same large explosions and small craters/property damage, be it from a 37mm, 75mm, or even 152mm gun. This is justified, because instead of military-grade ammo, all guns use ammo specially designed to be unable to penetrate even light armor. Since Sensha-do is not just a martial art but also a televised combat sport, it's likely that the rounds would also be tracers (which could create the sparks) and have a pyrotechnic payload that would create the smoke.
  • In Gravitation K-san fires three shots with a sniper rifle at the wall, which the protagonists are standing next to (he isn't aiming for them, though). Three holes appear in the wall, but not a scratch is seen on the window panel between K-san and the wall.
  • Lupin III: The First:
    • Uh, Fujiko, we know you're a strong girl, but how heavy is an airplane-mounted Lewis Gun? Why are you holding the exposed barrel like a rifle stock? And why is its pan magazine not rotating when you're firing it?
    • Geralt, your C96 does not have a single-action/double-action trigger. So it should NOT do useless hammer clicking just from you pulling the trigger if the magazine and chamber were emptied.

    Comic Books 
  • Scarlet Spider vol. 2 has a scene with three bullets close together in the air, inches apart, fired in succession from a pistol. Even with superhuman reflexes, it should be impossible to pull the trigger fast enough to make this happen.

  • Left 2 Die 4ever: Upon running out of ammo, Bob chucks his gun at the zombies, which explodes because it has gunpower in it.

  • In Aftershock, Mrs. Martínez shoots Pollo once in the chest with her Glock-looking pistol, and the slide stays cocked back as it would if the magazine had been emptied. The slide is then shown returned to the forward position in the next frame. Someone with even rudimentary gun knowledge could have caught and corrected this easily during filming.
  • In the opening dream sequence of Ali G Indahouse: The Movie, Ali G is missed by a posse of gun-toting LA gangbangers, whose bullets form the outline of his body (including an excessively large organ).
  • The American: When Mathilda is adjusting the scope once figuring out the gun is a bit to the left, she uses... elevation knob, not the one for windage. In other words, the gun not only would still fire to the left, but now also slightly too high.
  • Anaconda: Jennifer Lopez is seen firing a bolt-action rifle in semiautomatic fashion. In reality, that kind of rifle requires you to manually eject each round, after each trigger pull. Sarone is seeing actually doing this, with the same gun, moments later.
  • Ant-Man: During a Mexican standoff, several characters can be heard cocking the hammer of their handguns... all of which are Glocks (which have no hammer). Extra egregious: One of the Glocks in this scene is used to threaten Ant-Man. A CGI shot shows ants blocking the hammer of a gun, stopping it from firing. The hammer then ceases to exist immediately afterwards.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 (1976): Wells says he was "clicking off empty shots all night and didn't know it" because of the silencer attached to his gun. Even if the silencer would suppress the flash and noise of a gun, it doesn't effect the recoil of each shot, which he would definitely have felt.
  • Hannibal Smith in The A-Team uses the firing pin from his gun as a lockpick to undo his handcuffs. He then simply shoves it into the back of the slide, which wouldn't actually be possible unless it was already missing one or two other important parts.
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Averted. Everytime a bullet passes *through* someone, it hits what is directly behind. In the first story, daylight even briefly shines through the hole-in-the-man, before he falls and the audience sees the hole-in-the-shutter behind.
  • In Blue Thunder, Frank Murphy is in command of a heavily armored Black Helicopter armed with a 20-mm rotary cannon, which has an uncanny ability to blow away cars, choppers, and aircraft without harming the people inside.
  • The Bourne Identity: When Castel assaults Bourne through the window of his apartment firing his Galil MAR, they begin to fight and the mag is emptied. After the last round, the hammer continues to reset and fall, producing a rapid "click-click-click-click". Needless to say, gas-operated rifles do NOT work like that.
  • CHiPs: Officer Perez wouldn't miss so many shots in the climactic gunfight if the flip-up rear sight of her AR-15 wasn't folded down.
  • City Hunter: Ryo Saeba (Jackie Chan's character) shoots off the Big Bad's gun from his hand, juggles it in mid-air with his Improbable Aiming Skills, only for it to fall right back down to the hands of his opponent. Hilarity Ensues after the bad guy catches the gun and tries to shoot Ryo, only to find out that the trigger is missing.
  • Cleopatra Jones: There is an Instant Death Bullet early on but otherwise these are avoided. One case of Guns Akimbo Doodlebug's Last Stand was due to the victim knowing it was an ambush, plus he was dazed by a car crash. The clever assailants shoot the victim till he stops moving, then one investigates with a gun ready while other goons provide overwatch in case he's playing possum. The other time (also an ambush) Cleo uses it to create covering fire to protect an injured Masters and get close enough to the Cool Car to get a better weapon. She selects a Mac-10 and rushes the building the shooters were on top of. She enters and avoids an old man pushing an old woman in a wheelchair just as they are leaving. All three turn with weapons drawn, but of course the bad guys are too slow. Although both assassins are killed, it is easy to assume that each took several hits.
  • The "unshattered glass" version of the trope shows up in Die Hard, when Takagi is executed.
  • Die Hard 2:
    • The infamous "Glock 7" description. Supposedly made of porcelain and wouldn't show up on X-Ray machines. Glocks have a polymer frame (not porcelain), but the slide (80% of the gun's mass) is made of steel. Glock pistols still have several metal parts, including the entire slide and barrel. Even if the gun itself was impervious to X-Rays (it's made of Polymer 2, which is radio opaque, meaning it shows up on x-ray), the ammunition and magazine spring wouldn't be. Glock is also based in Austria, not Germany, and does not offer a "Glock 7". The actual gun used in the film was a Glock 17. John's claim that it costs "more then what you make in a month" is also false. Glocks are actually some of the more affordable handguns on the market, with the typical market price of 400-600 dollars, barring extensive modification (which a "porcelain frame" would probably fall under, of course, John's explanation makes it sound like that is factory-standard).
    • In fact, the film's armorers actually tried to convince the writers to drop the "invisible-to-metal-detectors gun" as evidenced by this quote from armorer Mike Papac, whose company Cinema Weaponry supplied all of the firearms used in the film:
    Mike Papac: I remember when we did that scene, I tried to talk them out of it. There's no such thing as a gun invisible to metal detectors, and there shouldn't be, but they wouldn't budge. They had it written into the script and that was that.
    • When Stuart's men and Grant's platoon fake a firefight by switching to blank rounds, they only change magazines. In reality, automatic weapons need to be fitted with blank adaptors in order to cycle properly. Otherwise, they would function much the same as bolt action rifles.
    • The soldiers and mooks exchange fire with blanks and then switch to live ammo to fire on McClane. The guns used in the movie need an obvious blank firing attachment on the end of the barrel to enable them to fire blanks, or extensive modification which will destroy the gun if it's then used to fire a live round. Either way, when firing blanks, the barrel is physically blocked so that the gases will keep the weapon operating, but that blockage is a very dangerous thing when live rounds are fired through it.
  • Dogma: Loki's single-action Desert Eagle somehow manages to fire without having the hammer cocked. The behind-the-scenes reason for this is that the gun is a non-functioning prop. Also, all the shooting happens offscreen, so it never has to actually work.
  • Dutch: The sound of a shell casing hitting the floor is dubbed in whenever Doyle's pellet gun is fired. With air guns, the propellant is built into the gun and not part of the ammunition, so they don't leave shell casings.
  • Elysium: Max's 7.62 airburst rounds are used to improve fragmentation damage, but it's hard to imagine that fragments from a small bullet will be more powerful than a whole bullet.
  • Played in various ways in The Fifth Element. Zorg demonstrated a "replay" feature on his custom machine gun that actually makes its subsequent shots home in on the target of the first hit, regardless of which direction the gun is actually aimed (much to the surprise, then applause of the prospective buyers). Police fire ricochets off of Korben's cab early on, and Zorg successfully wounds Leeloo through a ceiling ventilation duct.
  • From Full Metal Jacket. Pvt. Pyle shoots GySgt. Hartman with an M14 rifle (a full-sized, powerful battle rifle) which does nothing to the bathroom wall behind Hartman even though the bullet would have passed straight through him at that range. Pyle then sits on a toilet, puts the muzzle of the weapon in his mouth and pulls the trigger, spraying the wall behind him with blood. In real life, Pyle's head would have been virtually obliterated and the wall behind him pulverized, between the supersonic shock wave from the round's passing and the propellant gases. Quite a major malfunction, when one thinks about it.
  • Game Night. Annie drops a revolver, which goes off and hits Max in the arm. Annie had dropped the gun because she was startled by the fact that she had just fired it, meaning the hammer was safely down on an empty cartridge. One wonders if there was a deleted scene with the characters making certain the gun had a full tank of gas, too.
  • Gigli has the Big Bad get his brains blown out and smeared all over the aquarium behind him, though the fish tank itself remained curiously unshattered. And somehow, his brains end up inside the fish tank. Amazingly, it's the least idiotic part of the whole movie.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Tuco shoots someone with a gun hidden under the bathtub bubbles.
  • Hard Target: The Armsel Striker appears as a weapon used by one of Fouchon's hunting squad during the middle part of the movie. For some reason, it is unrealistically depicted as a grenade launcher rather than a semi-automatic shotgun as the film makers apparently didn't do enough research of the gun at the time; they thought that the Striker looked like a grenade launcher because of the drum magazine and its menacingly unorthodox appearance.
  • In one scene of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, our protagonist shoots a tooth fairy with his massive handgun which fires massive bullets. Somehow the bullet doesn't carry on and hit anyone in the large crowd a few feet behind the fairy. The bullets are literally so big that you would be able to see it fall to the ground if it stopped when it hit the fairy. It must have just disappeared.
  • The High Sign: Or in this case, magic pellets — one shooting gallery customer uses his own double-barreled shotgun and wipes out the entire gallery with one shot.
  • Home of the Brave: During the ambush scene, one soldier is shown returning fire on insurgents with an M136 rocket launcher, but is holding it backwards. Also, several M2HB heavy machine guns are seen mounted on humvees nearly flush with the roof of the vehicle in a way that's never done on real military humvees.
  • Horrors of Spider Island: At least in the dub. The late professor's gun is an automatic pistol that is exclusively referred to as a "revolver" by the characters. One even does so just before inserting a magazine, all but forcing viewers to notice the mistake.
  • I Am Legend: The ACOG scope on Neville's rifle has a reticle from a Russian PSO-1 scope as used on the Dragunov sniper rifle.
  • Inception: Bullets fired at Yusuf's van will shatter one side of the windows, but not the other. The body of van itself is virtually bulletproof. Then again, it is a dream.
  • In the opening scene of Iron Man, a soldier is shot and killed as he exits a Humvee. The pellets penetrate the side of the vehicle yet don't harm Tony Stark, who is sitting at the other side.
  • It! The Terror from Beyond Space: Who knew that the M1 was so flexible?
  • James Bond:
    • Dr. No: A pair of scenes are taken almost verbatim from the novel, but with the guns replaced by ones that make no sense for the scenes in question.
      • The alleged 6-shot Smith & Wesson Dent uses (which correctly should have been a revolver) is actually a suppressed 7+1 Colt 1911 automatic, the slide of which locks back after the sixth shot anyway, and then returns to battery on its own after it initially leaves Dent's hands. Additionally, Smith and Wesson didn't manufacture a 1911 at the time anyway. Especially strange because the production crew did have Smith and Wesson revolvers on hand.
      • The Beretta M forces Bond to surrender is the M1934 in .380 ACP. In the books, Bond carried a 418 in .25 ACP, which got caught on his holster when he attached a suppressor, allowing his enemy to stab him with a poisoned blade (here, it's stated to have jammed). It's replaced by a Walther PP, in the same caliber, but is stated to be the shorter PPK in 7.65mm, which would in fact be inferior to the M1934. When he shoots Professor Dent, he is inexplicably using an FN 1910 in the calibre, with a (fake) suppressor mounted (the film's armourer could not find a suppressor that would fit the PP). He also simply twists the suppressor a little bit before yanking it off, which the threads of a real suppressor are too fine for.
    • Live and Let Die: Bond takes Rose's Smith & Wesson Model 19, then claims the serial numbers were filed off, yet he glances at the right side; the serial number on S&W revolvers is always on the butt plate. Later, when she finds another Model 19 on Quarrel Jr.'s boat, Quarrel tells her the safety was on, despite revolvers generally not having safeties.
    • Skyfall: The assassin assembles a bolt action rifle... which fires several times without manipulating the bolt during his hand-to-hand combat with Bond.
    • Thunderball: When Bond drops his gun off the roof, it fires. It would be very rare for that to happen.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies: When Carver orders Stamper to Sink The Life Boats, he reminds him to use the same type of ammunition carried by Chinese fighter planes. Since the 1950s or so, fighter planes have primarily carried autocannons firing 20mm (or larger) explosive shells, which would be all but impossible to load and fire from any gun small enough for a single person to carry.
  • Judge Dredd. The Double Whammy round, which is two rounds fired at once. How it works is anyone's guess. The Lawgiver in the film has a secondary barrel underneath the main barrel that can be seen extending as Dredd calls for the Double Whammy round. It still doesn't make sense as the gun would need two strikers or hammers to fire and shouldn't diverge in flight to hit two separate targets unless they were Heat Seeker rounds, which Dredd canonically does carry.
  • In the Christopher Walken classic King of New York, the main character ambushes David Caruso's Dirty Cop as he's starting his car outside a funeral. A shotgun blast graphically blows the victim's entire head off, splattering the windshield and the passenger side window with gore. Neither windshield nor window shatters, although the windshield is somewhat justified (Walken shot from his car window and through Caruso's lowered window, so one can assume that the pellets didn't spread enough or whatever).
  • Lethal Weapon 3: Thin plastic porta-potties stops armor piercing bullets while normal bullets go right through metal sheds. Then later the same kind of armor piercing bullets fired from the same gun blows enormous holes in a bulldozer scoop.
  • Lethal Weapon 4: No, a Laser Sight can not allow you to perfectly chart a ricocheting bullet's path. It can't reflect its beam off a rusted pipe, either. Suffice to say the Artistic License on firearms was rather heavily invoked throughout the entire series.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road has a subversion when Furiosa balances a sniper rifle on Max's shoulder and lets off a few rounds. As in, the firing mechanism for a large-bore rifle was next to Max's ear and he shows no lingering effects. Considering the attention to detail in the rest of the movie's firearm use, this stands out as unusual.
  • The Magic Crystal: Bullets, Do NOT work that way. Somehow Andy Lo can survive getting shot by an ice bullet because it melts harmlessly into water, without leaving a scratch on Andy Lo. Never mind the fact that the bullet goes straight through his brain...
  • Manhunter: When Graham shoots Dolarhyde, each round is shown to penetrate Dolarhyde's body, spattering blood on the wall behind him, despite the Glaser specifically being designed to avoid overpenetration.
  • The Matrix: In an emulation of John Woo, the lobby shootout in is famous for the collateral damage it did to the environment. The pillars themselves were designed to look like apple cores.
  • Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation: When bullets hit something they cannot penetrate, such as bullet-resistant glass, they still have to bounce somewhere or drop on the ground, right? Apparently they just disappear in the climax, as Lane is trapped in the glass box.
  • The Monster Squad features Rudy, the oldest and most badass of the title group of kids, using a silver bullet to kill the Wolfman. What pushes it into this territory is that the bullet in question was not fitted with a cartridge prior to its use, but yet is still somehow capable of being fired from the police-issue revolver that Rudy used in the scene.
  • Invoked in Most Wanted. Dunn is provided with a round made from ice. What stops the round from melting in the chamber long before it gets anywhere near its target is completely ignored.
  • By the end of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), both of Brangelina's bulletproof vests are covered in bullet marks, but somehow no bullets hit their heads, arms or legs. Possibly somewhat justified, as they were fighting operatives who would presumably have been trained to aim for the center of mass.
  • My Way: Many, many examples.
    • Shirai uses a German Karabiner 98 kurz with a ZF 39 scope. The rifle is not inherently wrong, but the Kar 98k was actually rare within the Chinese military by that point, as many had been used by the Nationalist's few German-trained divisions, many who were wiped out in the Battle of Shanghai in 1937, two years before Shirai shows up. Both Nationalists and Communists also armed themselves with local copies of German rifles, the most widely used being the Type 24 and Hanyang 88. The scope is also a bit odd, for the same reason as the Type 99 rifle. What's really strange, though, is how a cartridge is seen ejecting from Shirai's rifle at the exact same moment as her gunshot is heard. The K98k is a bolt-action rifle, meaning that the shooter has to manually open and pull back the bolt in order to eject a round after firing. A cartridge won't eject from a bolt-action rifle at the same time as its fired unless there's something very, very wrong with the rifle. Either the locking lugs that hold the bolt in place would have sheared off, or the firing pin would have been improperly installed, causing the rifle to fire when the bolt isn't fully closed and thus not locked. Either way, something is very wrong with Shirai's rifle, and it would be very unsafe to fire the rifle again without fixing it.
    • MG42 machine guns throughout the movie are heard firing at about half their actual rate of fire, which should be around 1200 rounds per minute. The real thing is famous for its report, which is often likened to a chainsaw or a piece of cloth ripping, because the bullets are being fired so quickly after one another that the human ear literally cannot distinguish the individual sounds anymore. Here, not only does the gun fire way slower than it should, it fires slower than even the predecessor of the MG42, which was the MG34. The MG34 also had a slower rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute, so even if the MG42s we see are meant to stand in for MG34s, the sound is still inaccurate.
  • The Negotiator: Sabian seemed to be going for a "stay to the side and don't go too deep" approach, but guns are not knives. Sabian points out that if Frost had shot him, it would have been worse.
  • Nighthawks: A close-up of DaSilva's partner Fox chambering a round in his sniper rifle is ruined by the fact that it's clearly a blank cartridge.
  • Nikita: A bodyguard in the Kitchen Chase drops a rifle grenade down the muzzle of a breech-loading M203 grenade launcher.
  • The Patriot: Flintlock firearms are loaded much faster than what is possible in real life. Case in point: after Tavington shoots Reverend Oliver with his pistol, he has his next round loaded and ready as soon as the reverend hits the ground. A real soldier from the era could have his gun loaded in 20-30 seconds, minimum. Doubles as an acceptable suspension of disbelief in order to keep tension high during action scenes.
  • Pineapple Express has the main character witness a murder: mobster is shot at practically point blank range by two assailants. He also happens to be pressed against a window, which suffers nothing more than a serious mess because of it.
  • Pulp Fiction:
    • One of the major plot points involves the "bad bullets" version of this trope, where a man empties a high-caliber revolver at Jules and Vincent (at almost point blank range), but completely misses them. After killing him, Jules and Vincent examine the bullet holes in the wall, which the camera could not see until they stepped back, suggesting that the bullets should have passed through them. Although this incident is considered freakish and miraculous by the pair. As in, one of them actually thinks it was divine intervention. There's a continuity error in this scene as well - looking closely at the previous scene shows the bullet holes in the wall before the gunman starts shooting. note 
    • A rather extreme example of the "unshattered glass" version of this trope makes an appearance immediately afterward, when Vincent accidentally and inexplicably shoots Marvin in the face while they are both inside the car. Bits of brains and skull are strewn all over the backseat, not to mention blood everywhere, but the window remains intact.
    • Another continuity error is when they show the scene at the beginning, Jules fires all the bullets in his gun and the slide is locked back. When they show it again at the end, Jules is not out of bullets and shoots the last guy.
  • The Quick and the Dead:
    • In the final shootout where Lady kills Herod, her shot puts a small, neat hole in him that allows the sunlight to shine through. In reality, handgun bullets from that era were slower and softer than bullets today, so it would have lacked the power or penetrating ability to go straight through him. In addition, if it had gone all the way through him, the hole would have only stayed open for a split-second before blood and internal organs closed it once more, and the exit wound would have been fist-sized or larger. He wouldn't have been in any condition to stand there contemplating his situation for several moments.
    • Even more absurd is Lady's following headshot, which somehow causes Herod to do a full backflip in midair. This of course is impossible no matter where a bullet hits someone in any part of the body. Furthermore, Herod starts screaming in terror before the bullet hits him, as if he somehow knew it would be a fatal headshot before it made contact.
  • Race for the Yankee Zephyr
    • A single bullet penetrates both Mr Brown's dingy and the various flotation bags supporting the Yankee Zepher, even through neither are directly in line.
    • The recoil of the AR-10 fired by Sally should have pushed the barrel up, not down.
  • In the Bollywood movie Rama Rama Krishna Krishna, Gauthami is shown being killed by a bullet that is still attached to the rest of the cartridge. Doubles as a Pretty Little Headshot.
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife: It is not possible to use quarters as a substitute for shotgun ammo. The bore of a 12-gauge shotgun is 0.729 inches; a US quarter is 0.955 inches. Using coins as shot is also hugely impractical and dangerous; they would do little damage against anything and it risks causing a catastrophic failure and damage to the gun and shooter.
  • In Road to Bali, a bullet shot out of a bent gun barrel starts whizzing around in circles, due to the Rule of Funny.
  • RoboCop (2014): The movie makes it seem as though a .50 caliber round is some sort of magical bullet that offers significantly more damage regardless of the medium, as it is specifically this caliber which can penetrate RoboCop's armor. In the big shootout, he gets into trouble when the bad guys pull out .50 AE Desert Eagles. Those actually deliver only slightly more kinetic energy than the standard 5.56 mm NATO rifle round, vs. a .50 BMG rifle round will punch with almost ten times as much energy. 7.62mm NATO rounds would likewise reach the threshold. In reality, if RoboCop can shrug off common rifle rounds, those Desert Eagles shouldn't do much to him.
  • Ronin (1998):
  • Rooster Cogburn: Gatling guns do not fire as fast as shown in the movie.
  • The Running Man: A minor example and difficult to spot for most people, but when Richards cocks a Steyr AUG before the final battle, he assists the cocking handle forward. Doing so is a good way to cause a misfeed unless you use the silent cocking button, which Richards doesn't.
  • These made an appearance in Brian de Palma's Scarface, when Tony shoots an assassin to keep him from blowing up a car containing their target's wife and kids; blood and brain matter appear on the window behind the assassin, but the glass stays perfectly intact.
  • Shoot 'Em Up:
    • Apart from the obvious Rule of Cool examples, the Counting Bullets scene doesn't match the actual guns being used by either Hertz or Smith.
    • Even the bullet count of Smith's broken hand is missed by 100%. He shoots eight times with four cartridges.
  • Snatch. has this played straight. When demonstrating that the replica 22 caliber pistols do indeed work, Sol fires one inside a 4-door sedan. Every window is blown out by the percussion, even though no bullet is actually fired (the replicas only fire blanks). The trio in the car then fall out of the damaged vehicle deafened and spend the rest of the movie asking people to speak louder (from lingering effects of this), which is the actual result of firing any weapon in a confined space.
  • Stand by Me: Gordie defending himself against Ace and his switchblade knife, despite having just fired a shot (the hammer is cocked automatically by the slide when fired).
  • Tenet: Minor case in the scene with the Protagonist and the concrete slab full of inverted bullets. When he makes one of the bullets fly back into his handgun by pulling the trigger, he finds it in the previously empty magazine although it should have been in the gun's chamber instead.
  • Terminator: In real life, bullets cannot knock someone down. They are designed to pierce their way through flesh, not send the target flying across the room. Yet bullets are repeatedly shown to knock Terminators to the ground (admittedly, the metallic endoskeleton would fully absorb the force of a bullet's impact, but it should also make the cyborg heavy enough to easily withstand it).
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day. As John and the T-800 escort Sarah out of the asylum, a law enforcement officer drives up in his cruiser; Sarah proceeds to carjack him, firing a round through the windshield (not aimed at the officer) to show she means business. The bullet goes through the glass, and then disappears- the seats and rear window are unharmed. This might be a gaff of a different kind. The creators may have believed that police cars habitually use bulletproof glass. They don't, but Hollywood might assume they do. If it did have bulletproof glass, the bullet might've ended up somewhere on the dashboard or bouncing around harmlessly in the cab.
  • That's My Boy: Chad talks about "emptying the clip" (any real Soldier or Marine knows the difference between a clip and a magazine). It's a hint that he's not actually a Marine.
  • Spoofed in Top Secret!. One of the Resistance fighters runs into a room where his comrades and the East Germans are locked in hand-to-hand combat with each other. He fires several burst-fire blasts from his machine gun. The East Germans all fall down dead, while his comrades are unharmed. "Nice shootin', Tex!"
  • Used in The Usual Suspects pretty much whenever anyone dies. It is however a story in universe.
  • Wanted pulls more than its fair share of Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics, including bullets that curve in midair, but the most ludicrous is a multi-stage bullet, which is fired from long range, somehow discards the first stage halfway through flight for...some reason, and then lands with pinpoint accuracy on a firing arc that makes zero sense.
  • In the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? this is parodied by Eddie Valiant pulling out a cartoon gun, with cartoon "bullets" that are alive, that he's able to talk to. After he shoots them, they go a distance then stop, trying to figure out which way to go. They make a 90 degree turn, the wrong way. Valiant remarks, "Dum dums."
  • You Only Live Twice: Blofeld tries to shoot Bond, and the gun gets knocked out of his hand with a ninja star, and goes off. The gun hits the ground, and goes off again. This is impossible for two reasons. The gun was never re-cocked, and the angle that the gun hit the floor would not have set the trigger off.

    Light Novel 
  • Sword Art Online: When Death Gun prepares to shoot Sinon, he pulls back the slide and keeps his hand on it as it moves forward. Automatic pistols are designed around the tension of the spring, and this could cause it to jam. Though it did add to the drama.

  • Bernard Samson Series: In-universe example. After killing a KGB agent, Bernard Samson has to explain to his superior that no, he couldn't have just shot to wound, hitting someone with a gun is difficult enough without aiming for specific body parts.
  • The Dark Tower:
  • The Executioner: Bolan goes to a lot of trouble to protect police and innocent bystanders, but it seems unrealistic that no-one is ever harmed by stray bullets or flying shrapnel, especially when he's using military weapons in inner-city areas.
  • Jack Reacher: While Child does very well to avoid erroneous gun depictions, such as the frequent Hollywood Silencer trope, he has made some errors in his books:
    • The Killing Floor and The Enemy depict the Ithaca Roadblocker as a pump-action shotgun instead of a semi-automatic one and has it in the hands of both a cleaner and an AWOL soldier; those guns were designed for law enforcement and while it's possible that a civilian could get his hands on one, it's very unlikely that one would be in the armed forces.
    • In Tripwire, Reacher gets his hands on a Steyr GB, then later screws on a suppressor stolen from a gun runner on the end of the barrel; The Steyr GB has a ported barrel to allow its gas delayed-blowback system to function; a ported barrel would interfere with the effectiveness of a suppressor, since the device is meant to hold the explosive gases and slow them down in order to reduce the noise of the pistol. Then again, a German gun company attempted to put a suppressor on a licensed copy of the GB, though its effectiveness is unknown.
    • In Die Trying, Reacher says that the Beretta M9 has more stopping power than the Glock 17 he tested for the army; thing is, both guns should have the same stopping power because they both use the same caliber (9mm). To be fair, Reacher was a little prejudiced towards the Glock for being mostly made of plastic.
  • Red Dragon: Glaser Safety Slugs are nowhere near the invincible manstopper described in the novel.
  • The Tomorrow Series: Throughout both series Ellie finds numerous revolvers featuring slides and magazines.
  • In a Wax and Wayne flashback sequence, Wax at one point has a bullet in a cartridge (but no gun), and uses his allomancy to ignite the primer, firing the bullet out of the cartridge to kill a bad guy. In reality, without a gun barrel to channel the gases released from the gunpowder explosion, the bullet would pop out but never pick up enough speed to really be dangerous. You can't have a gunshot without a gun.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel "The Magic Bullet": The Slow Motion bullet fired out of Fred's gun is clearly a rifle bullet rather than the much shorter round that would be fired from a revolver.
  • Babylon 5: It is briefly mentioned that the special-effect powered "PPG" weapons fire plasma rounds so that they won't accidentally breach the hull. In universe, that's a good idea because they're on a space station (and shooting holes in it is a good way to end up breathing vacuum). It just happens to have the real world benefit of not having to worry about scenery damage as much, although more powerful PPGs are shown to penetrate thinner materials like those used for air ducts.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Leonard shooting himself in the shoe. Penny clears the pistol, then inserts a magazine, but does not actually load it, making it impossible for Leonard to have shot himself.
  • Blindspot: The villain in the pilot rapidly fires multiple shots from a 3D printed plastic gun. While such designs can actually fire a bullet, they can only fire a single round due to the pressure and heat from the shot damaging and warping the plastic. This may be an example of And Some Other Stuff; the cops would probably like it if some moron ended up with a useless gun after one shot.
  • The death of Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As shocking and tragic as it is, there's still a certain amount of Fridge Logic as far as how Warren was able to accidentally shoot her in back, from the side. Unless it was a really improbable ricochet.
  • The Columbo episode "Double Exposure" has the episode's murderer use a calibration converter on a .45 gun from his own office in order to shoot a .22 bullet at his victim. The "calibration converter" would not work at all (and is misnamed). Caliber conversion kits do exist for many guns, but they require disassembly of the weapon, because the whole barrel gets replaced, and often other parts.note  It's not as simple as dropping a tube down the muzzle of a gun like the killer does in this episode, it would just fly out when the gun was fired. Of course, that in itself would probably still kill someone.
  • Daredevil (2015): Right in the opening teaser of the pilot episode, Turk loads his bullet with the slide conveniently letting Matt know where he is and that he has a gun. But two minutes later he does it again even after having fired bullets and not putting in a new magazine.
  • In the Dollhouse episode "Spy in the House of Love", DeWitt gets shot, with the bullet grazing the side of her abdomen. Blood splatters the window behind her, but the bullet itself mysteriously vanishes before it breaks the glass.
  • Where the bullet went is the MacGuffin in an episode of Dragnet. One character claims to have been shot at and returned fire, yet no bullet could be found. Eventually, it turned out to have lodged in the wall right under a bookshelf, making it impossible to find without a detailed examination of the scene.
  • The Flash (2014): In the second season episode where the Doctor Wells of Earth-2 first meets the team, Joe sees him and assumes it's Thawne, quickly drawing his pistol and firing three rapid shots to try and kill him. Barry catches all three bullets, calms Joe down, and starts to explain. However, Barry is shown catching the third bullet first,, then the second, then the first bullet mere inches from hitting Wells. The problem is, at that range the first and second bullets would have struck and killed Wells before the third bullet even left the gun, much less traveled as far as it did before Barry managed to catch it. Of course, this whole scene was intended to show how much faster Zoom is than Barry, as Zoom was later shown to be able to effortlessly catch dozens of bullets fired at him simultaneously by multiple police officers.
  • G-Men '75: In Episode 1, the bullets apparently lodge themselves into a Bulletproof Vest without flattening on impact.
  • Hawaii Five-0: Usually averted pretty well, but "Hookman", the episode written by and guest-starring Peter Weller as an ex-sniper-turned-bank-robber who lost his hands and now wears prosthetics, and is seeking revenge against the cops who crippled him, goes completely off the rails:
    • He doesn't know the difference between a clip and a magazine, something that gets unforgettably hammered into every military recruit during basic training. Again, his character is supposed to be a retired Army sniper.
    • Weller's character makes precision shots with two prosthetic hands. Accurate shooting with any weapon requires very fine trigger control, as jerking, slapping, or otherwise improperly engaging the trigger will send the shot wild. The shooter needs to feel the tension of trigger pull and the breakover point (even "hair triggers" have some travel before they engage) in order to keep their aim steady and fire at their respiratory pause. This is impossible with even the most advanced prosthetics.
    • His first shot in the episode is said to be extraordinarily difficult. It was a center-mass hit on a motorcycle rider moving towards the shooter at low speed, inside of 150 yards, at a slight downhill angle. Actually not very difficult at all for a halfway-competent shooter, provided they have two working hands, which he doesn't (though the team doesn't know that).
    • Weller's character engraves the name of the intended target on each of his cartridges, because he's serious. Except that anybody should see how that's a bad idea, considering that the cartridge case contains a small explosive charge (gunpowder), which explodes in order to launch the bullet. So grinding a bunch of weak spots in the side of the case is... perhaps not something an alleged highly-trained professional would ever do. The resulting case rupture would have some kind of bad result, ranging from (at best) jamming the weapon so badly that you need to field-strip it in order to clear the stoppage (and need a gunsmith to make sure it's safe to fire again), to the receiver literally blowing up in your face (shooters poetically refer to this event as a kaboom).
  • Justified: In the season 6 finale, Boyd attempts to pull the trigger of his Beretta 92, only to hear a click and discover it is now empty. Thing is, the Beretta's slide should have locked back upon firing the last round, a very visible indicator that the weapon is empty. Never mind why his handgun with a capacity of sixteen rounds only had about four or five in it.
  • Lost Tapes: For some odd reason, the MP5 that Elise often uses acts like a shotgun rather than a submachine gun: it fires once, and there is even the sound of a slide being racked between each shot.
  • M*A*S*H: In Klinger's first scene, he does a Dramatic Gun Cock on his M1 Garand when his dress gets cut by a prisoner with a scalpel, forcing the prisoner to drop the scalpel. No round is seen ejected. The M1 rifle works by inserting a clip and allowing the bolt to close, which chambers a round. The only way one could rack the bolt and not eject a round is if it was empty.
  • The Mist: During the gun fight with the homeowner in episode 9, he fires a shot from his double-barrel over/under shotgun. Off-camera, the sound of a shotgun racking is heard. This would be quite difficult to do, considering it's not a pump action...
  • In Monk, in one episode Monk and Stottlemyer discover a single 7.62x39mm shell casing and immediately deduce that the shooter was using an AK-pattern rifle, that the ammunition is military-grade, and Stottlemeyer orders an investigation into a Russian connection as their first lead. Too bad the 7.62x39mm cartridge is actually extremely common, used in many popular and legal rifles in America (even in California with their tough gun laws, it's a popular hunting cartridge, since even their extra bans don't target specific ammunition types that aren't already banned at the federal level), and you can buy that type of ammunition at any Wal-Mart.
  • Person of Interest:
    • Donnelly's gun audibly cicks when he uses it to capture Reese and Carter...even though he's carrying a Glock 19, which doesn't have a safety catch or external hammer.
    • Carter fires several shots from a bolt-action sniper rifle, without working the bolt.
  • Reno 911!: Happens in pretty much all the bulletproof vest testing skits, from cartoon physics to Junior describing a gun as a ".357 Magnum, 50 caliber".
  • Seibu Keisatsu:
    • Daimon's weapon of choice is a Remington M31 shotgun with a pistol grip and a scope. While it does look cool on screen, Daimon frequently treats it as if it were a sniper rifle.
    • A lot of the show's villains use bolt-action rifles that fire in semi-auto.
  • On Get Shorty two police officers lampshade this as they investigate a supposed suicide. The victim supposedly first shot himself accidentally in the leg and then killed himself with a bullet to the head. They discuss the fact that given the angles the bullets entered the body at, the victim would have to have been a contortionist to have fired the shots himself.
  • Stargate SG-1: In "The Tomb", Jack O'Neill and a Russian SG team officer working with SG-1 compare weapons, during which Jack incorrectly describes the standard rounds for the FN P90 as Teflon-coated. FN Herstal only makes its proprietary 5.7x28mm round in copper-jacketed. And contrary to Common Knowledge that probably brought this on (SG teams fight a lot of heavily armored opponents), Teflon coatings were meant as a solution to increased barrel wear from firing harder bullets, and actually reduce penetration of typical Earth body armor. (Though they do work better against harder targets, like the metal armor typically used by Jaffa and Ori soldiers in the show, so that part is a piece of Accidentally Correct Writing.)
  • Supergirl (2015): While the armed robber in the pizza joint is waving his shotgun around, you hear the clack-clack sound of a pump-action shotgun being cycled... except he's clearly carrying a double-barreled break-action shotgun.
  • Teen Wolf: In Season 4, Agent McCall shoots an assassin into the back of his head to keep him from killing Stiles. In reality, the bullet would also have hit the person he is trying to save.
  • In "Everything Changes", the first episode of Torchwood, Captain Jack gets shot in the head. A spatter of blood comes out of the back and some of his blood can be seen on the fountain behind him. However, the fountain itself is undamaged.
  • True Blood: Wooden bullets are used in the same way as regular bullets against vampires. Although wooden bullets do exist and have been deployed by various armies, they were generally used for crowd control similar to rubber bullets. In reality they were mostly non-lethal, rarely raising anything beyond a bruise or a welt and disintegrated a short distance after being fired.
  • The Vampire Diaries: A gun that fires little tiny stakes may sound really neat, but the writers seems to be unaware of the fact that guns work by slamming a firing pin into a metal case filled with a combustible material, creating a small explosion enclosed and focused by the chamber and barrel. This explosion is strong enough to deform a hunk of lead and force it into the rifling. Even if the bullets are just wood-tipped or are fired from an airgun, one section of the Geneva Convention agreement specifically bans the use of wooden bullets, because of the fact that they shatter on impact and cause horrific injuries, meaning it wouldn't be a neat stake through the heart.
  • The Walking Dead: Rick says this, almost word for word, to an overexcited cop during the high speed chase at the beginning of the first episode. The gun in question (Glock 17) does not have a safety, though Rick also has to tell him to load the chamber so it may have been hazing the new guy.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech inverts the real life mechanics of large calibers of projectiles being more accurate at range; instead, the smallest class of Autocannon, the 6 ton AC/2, has significantly more range than the 14 ton AC/20. Justified by the writers, as they didn't want BattleMech combat to turn into a sniper duel with mutual one-hit-kills that the larger weapons would enable.
  • The 'Call of Cthulhu introductory adventure "Dead Man Stomp" opens with the PCs sitting at a table in a speakeasy with a man who gets shot in the head, and the text directly calls for one player to sustain mild mental trauma as blood from the victim's gaping exit wound splatters over him or her. Why they don't sustain physical trauma from the bullet that caused the exit wound is not mentioned.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken's model's shotgun has both box and tube magazines.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War: At one point, Perrault fires a Beretta 92F pistol and his gun clicks empty after firing only six shots, despite the real Beretta 92 having a 15-round magazine.
  • Area 51 (FPS): Like in the Half-Life series and the first Red Faction, the SPAS-12 shotgun's alt-fire can fire 2 shells at once despite the gun only having one barrel, with the developers presumably mistaking the magazine tube for a second barrel.
  • Batman: Arkham Origins: The pistol that Joker steals fror Captain Gordon during the finale is clearly modeled on a Glock, which has no external hammer. Despite this, Joker visibly cocks the hammer once, and cocks it a second time without moving his thumb (the sound of the hammer can be heard if the player takes too long during a QTE of Joker holding Batman at gunpoint).
  • Battlefield: Several accounts, but the most notable are RPG-7s with homing warheads and an MG-3 with an ammo box that blocks the ejection port, and magically ejects brass to the right instead of downward.
  • Battlefield Play4Free: The Engineer class' RPG-7 fires rockets that home in on tracer dart-tagged vehicles, despite none of the rockets fired by the real RPG-7 having any kind of guidance after launch. The game also uses the Bad Company M16 model, which has the ejection port and brass deflector on the wrong side of the weapon. Several weapons are also shown firing more rounds than they would be able to carry in real life; like the HK416 holding 35 rounds in a 30-round magazine.
  • The shotgun's damage upgrade in Bioshock 2 entails cutting down the barrels, which the game insists makes it more powerful. This raises the question of why the developers think long-barreled shotguns are so commonly used in both sporting and military applications. Cutting the barrel down on a shotgun widens the spread a little (not as much as you'd think, though), but it also drastically reduces the muzzle velocity, making a Sawed-Off Shotgun considerably less powerful compared to a longer-barreled version.
  • BioShock Infinite: Weapon barrels have a tendency to get extremely hot much faster in the game than they will in reality, but no example is more absurd than the Rolston Reciprocating Repeater, whose heat shield starts glowing bright red even before a full magazine is spent while the barrel underneath mysteriously remains cool throughout.
  • Taken to ridiculous levels in Borderlands, where bullets can paint the wall behind an enemy's skull a delicious crimson color with minimal effort or even splatter their entire body if powerful enough, but can't penetrate rusty sheet metal walls.
  • Brawl Stars:
    • Jessie: Her Shock Rifle looks like a weird combination of bolts, wood, wires and a magnet. The gun doesn't even seem to be connected to anything, so how the hell does it shoot energy orbs? Or it's powered by movement, which is a possible thing, i.e kinetic energy.
    • Rico(chet): His pinball projectiles gain range (and firepower, with his Super Bouncy Star Power) upon ricocheting off a wall. This is contrary to real life where projectiles actually lose firepower and range (and velocity) after bouncing off a wall, if it actually does bounce.
  • Brink!: Some of the weapons work differently from how they would in Real Life.
    • The Drognav, which resembles the DSR-1, is depicted as being a semi-auto rifle with the magazine in front of the trigger, despite the real thing being a bolt-action rifle with the bullpup configuration.
    • The CARB-9 bears a resemblance to the PLR-16 and SU-16A (both by Kel-Tec), neither of which are 9mm Submachine-guns.
    • The Tampa SMG and Galactic SMG both have their charging handles move while firing. The G3 and TMP families have non-reciprocating charging handles. The Galactic was also modeled with two ejection ports, for some reason.
    • Similar to what Call of Duty: Black Ops II would do a year later with the M1216, the Hjammerdaim (modeled after the shorter M1208 if IMFDB is to be believed) fires automatically per-tube. This is only true of the MLE-12, a select-fire variant of the M1216.
  • Call of Duty has inspired a trend of forcing the player to aim with ironsights for any semblance of accuracy leads to the effect that not aiming while firing somehow makes bullets veer off at sharp angles away from where the gun is actually aiming.
  • Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare has a particularly egregious example in the futuristic energy weapons that fire bolts of energy yet eject spent cartridge casings after each shot. Kinetic weapons plausibly do eject spent cartridge casings after firing, but directed-energy weapons are not supposed to utilize kinetic cartridges and eject their casings the way kinetic weapons would, as they're supposed to utilize battery packs as their ammo and, due to not utilizing any ballistic cartridges, should lack a casing ejection port (and thus have no spent casings for ejection after firing). This is made all the more egregious with the classic WWII-era M1 Garand featured in the game, which is depicted as firing bolts of energy instead of the traditional bullets it usually spews out. Another unusual weapon falling into this trope is the Karma-45, a futuristic pastiche of the KRISS Vector in previous Call of Duty games that is modified to hold two magazines at once and has double firing barrels. This is taken further with the suppressors, which can be mounted in any weapon that is not a grenade or rocket launcher. Suppressors cannot effectively be mounted onto a directed-energy weapon in Real Life as the directed energy can destroy the suppressor and possibly the firing barrel, and there is no plausible way to reduce, let alone silence, the firing report of a directed-energy weapon.
  • Control: Control, like so many others before, makes the mistake of calling the Hiss Troopers' minigun a chain gunnote .
  • The Curse of Monkey Island:
    • Elaine blasts LeChuck's sword out of his hands from a good few hundred yards away. With what appears to be a blunderbuss (notoriously inaccurate, intended for short range), to boot.
    • Likewise, recruiting Edward Van Helgen involves challenging him to a duel, with one of the options being pistols at ten paces. He's unbeatable, easily shooting the gun out of Guybrush's hands.
    • Even timid little Wally is very quick on the draw, though he never fires.
  • Cyberpunk2077: Real Life revolvers, barring some very rare exceptions, are generally incapable of mounting a suppressor due to their lack of sealing between the cylinder and the barrel making it useless. CP 2077 not only ignores this completely, it turns revolvers into the best stealth guns in the game thanks to a combination of massive single-shot damage and often enormous headshot damage multipliers enabling easy One-Hit Kills on all but the most elite enemies.
  • darkSector:
    • Hayden's "Tekna 9mm" and "Tekna Burst" have "Cal .45 Auto" stamped on the slide.
    • The "Clip Extender" upgrade works on anything - even the break-open, breech-loading shotgun that very clearly could not hold more than two shells in reality without extensive modification to add an actual magazine.
    • "Ok, how about the C4?" "For Yargo, I'll give the Semtex..." Erm... Semtex is not C4.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: The classic revolver is stated to do more damage than its modern counterpart thanks to having a larger bore. This is despite both weapons using the same caliber ammo.
  • Where to start...
    • The whole process for making top-of-the-line modern firearms out of a couple types of scrap is obviously ridiculous, and that is before we get into uranium being necessary for the creation of most of them.
    • Desert Eagle is a straight-up upgrade to the 9mm pistol, and uses the same ammo, even though the whole reason for its famous lethality is the extremely large ammo it uses, whether the .44 Magnum or the straight-up .50 Cal.
  • In the classic Doom games, the sound of a shotgun being cocked can be heard every time you pick up a weapon (other than the chainsaw). Only two of these weapons are actually shotguns.
  • In Fallout 3, during VATS bullets can burst skulls, sever limbs, sever heads, and send the opponent flying across the landscape in beautiful slow motion, but they can't damage stationary scenery beyond bloodstains and cosmetic pock marks. It is perfectly viable to dodge gatling fire behind a broken plaster wall or wooden door, and you can even hide behind a dead tree or lamp post that is narrower than you - as long as you can't make eye contact, they won't fire. Grenades and missiles are the only observed exception.
    • If you've taken the Bloody Mess perk, your bullets patently defy common sense: shoot a guy in the head and his legs might fall off. However, in a rare display of sense, Blasting It Out of Their Hands does damage weapons.
  • The "Service Rifle" in Fallout: New Vegas, and by extension the unique 12.7mm "Survivalist's Rifle" in Honest Hearts, has a charging handle mounted directly to the bolt or its carrier, but the ejection port has not been lengthened to allow for the travel of the charging handle, therefore the bolt wouldn't be able to cycle far enough back to extract or chamber a 5.56 round. In other words, it couldn't possibly work.
  • Fortnite: Unfortunately, while the guns are cool, some of them do not work as intended. One of the fully-automatic shotguns is based on the Kel-Tec KSG, which is pump-action only, and feeds from twin tube magazines rather than a removable drum.
  • The shotgun from Gloomwood might appear to be this trope. With it being a break-action pump-action shotgun. It actually isn't, it's based on an existing folding shotgun that is a pretty rare gun nowadays. Even Forgotten Weapons has covered and talked about the weapon. See also the below Mystery Skulls example, for another strange shotgun that actually exists.
  • GoldenEye (1997): The RCP-90's magazine becomes a huge white block that's wider than the gun frame, and the weapon ejects right instead of down. Additionally, certain guns have an incorrect magazine size. In the RC-P90's case, it has 80 bullets instead of 50. This is probably because Rare entered the amount of ammo as 50 in hexadecimal, which is 80 in decimal. (For the record, 50 in decimal is 32 in hex.)
  • Gunman Clive: All your guns will show an empty cartridge ejecting every time you fire. This includes the revolvers.
  • The SPAS-12 in the Half-Life series. It has a Secondary Fire where it shoots two shells at once (even though the SPAS-12 only has one barrel, the lower tube is the magazine and does not actually fire).
  • The Heckler & Koch MP7 in Half-Life 2 features an amusing oversight where during its reload animation, Freeman never actually loads new ammunition into the gun; instead, he just slaps the bottom of the gun and a new magazine magically loads itself inside. In contrast, when NPCs reload the gun, they can be seen removing a magazine and putting in a new one... except that they load it into the gun's foregrip. This too is an oversight, as originally the MP7 was going to be a Heckler & Koch MP5K instead, and the animations for reloading it were simply copied over.
  • Haunting Ground: Riccardo's pistol is a flintlock so it should only be able to fire one shot, necessitating a lengthy reload time. Instead, Riccardo fires it like a semiautomatic handgun.
  • Haze: When you mount a red-dot reflex sight on a weapon you're generally supposed to turn it on. Oddly, this exact error was also in Haze's cousin Blacksite.
  • L.A. Noire: The M1 Rifle holds 16 rounds before reloading in-game while in reality it holds just eight.
  • The Last of Us Part II: In the name of preserving the game's cap on the ammunition you can carry, you end up constantly walking around with one full magazine loaded in your gun and, for whatever reason, a spare mag loaded with only a few rounds—even though there's no reason not to fully load both magazines.
  • Maneater: In reality, when hitting water, bullets are almost immediately stopped as if hitting steel. They do not pierce the water and continue with any speed as they do in the game. It's an Acceptable Break from Reality, however, as the game would be too easy if all the shark needed to do to avoid gunfire was to go more than a foot underwater.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 has the Single Action Army revolver, which the player obtains late in the game (and can obtain for use in the New Game Plus if a certain choice at the final gameplay segment after the Final Boss fight.) In order to replicate Ocelot's ability to ricochet bullets to hit targets, Naked Snake shooting a hard surface will cause the bullet to bounce and travel in a different direction. Sometimes the bullet will bounce in ways that violate the laws of physics (such as shooting a wall straight on will make the bullet bounce way off to the side).
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Slow-motion scenes of The Boss firing the Patriot show the bullets tumbling in flight tip over tail pretty much from the moment they exit the barrel. There is absolutely no reason the gun should do that to the bullets, and there would be no practical benefit to be gained from firing bullets that behave like that.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The Javelin. The real missile is a self-guided fire-and-forget system while in game it's command guided for its entire course, and when reloading you're supposed to detach the launch tube from the CLU and attach the next tube, not throw the entire assembly away.
  • Modern Combat Domination: Multiple examples typical of an FPS that wasn't exactly a realistic tactical shooter to begin with, but the most Egregious instance is how the grenade launcher works: frag grenades double as grenade launcher ammo, meaning that your player character jams fragmentation grenades down his grenade launcher.
  • The player character in Modern Warfare 3 reloads the M203 mounted under his M16A4. Note the fire selector set to "look I just broke the fire selector."
  • Nocturne (1999): The shotgun Stranger uses is a double-barreled boxlock, which he handles and fires like a pump-action.
  • ObsCure: The most powerful shotgun in the first game appears to be some kind of hybrid of a double-barrel and pump-action shotgun that, in real life, could not exist as a functional weapon. Likewise, you attach flashlights to guns by simply duct-taping them together; if the recoil alone didn't cause the flashlight to go flying (unless the teens used the entire roll of duct tape), the operation of a semi-auto pistol's slide would do it instead. The only gun that should've been able to hold onto its flashlight was the pistol found in Friedman's safe, which had a light built in.
  • Overwatch: A Viper lever-action rifle is seen self-cycling its action when fired outside of aim mode. The action is manually worked only when fired in aim mode.
  • Perfect Dark: The Tranquilizer is a dermal spray injector that uses liquid sedatives contained in capsules to operate. This makes sense when your using the weapon in secondary mode but when you're using it in primary mode... well, let's just say that Hollywood Science somehow allows the Tranquilizer to shoot the sedative drugs as liquid bullets without the need for darts as a delivery system.
  • Pirates Vikings and Knights:
    • None of the pirates seem to reload their guns correctly. Somewhat Justified by the fact that realistic reloading animations would probably take even longer than they already do.
    • Both the Skirmisher and the Sharpshooter seem to forget the powder when reloading their pistols. Also, they both don't use the ramrod.
    • The Captain does use the ramrod when reloading his blunderbuss, but he also uses no powder, and he only uses a single bullet which then magically turns into grapeshot upon being fired.
    • And then of course he throws all realism out the window when he loads an explosive cannonball into his blunderbuss
    • While the Sharpshooter's rifle reload does look the most logical (powder, bullet, ramrod) he does not fill powder into the flashpan.
  • Parodied in one of the promotional videos for Portal 2, specifically the one advertising turrets. "Plus, we fire the whole bullet. That's 65% more bullet per bullet." A close-up schematic shows the turrets actually flinging cartridges forward using springs! The ones in the game do seem to actually fire them, at least going by the muzzle flashes, though knowing Aperture they're equipped with fake muzzle flashes for "the authentic bullet experience." Presumably, this is how Chell manages to tank bullets from these things and survive.
  • Project Reality: The FGM-172 SRAW missile launcher used by the US & British Armies requires the player to keep the target in the crosshairs until the missile hits it, despite the real SRAW being a fire and forget weapon.
  • Project Zomboid: Optionally averted, in some respects. Zomboid is not a shooter game, and guns are not dwelt on. There are only five models in four classes, for example, compared to more than a dozen melee weapons. And yet, apparently more thought was put into portraying firearm use realistically than into many games that pride themselves on their Gun Porn. See All-or-Nothing Reloads and One Bullet Clips for details, but the most telling detail out of the gate is that the player is allowed to choose how realistic they want their reloading to be: Easy, Normal, or Hardcore, with Hardcore venturing into territory normally associated with Receiver.
  • Resident Evil 2:
    • Many of the guns either don't hold the right ammo, hold too much, or just flat out wouldn't work that way in real life— turning a pump action shotgun into a gas powered semi-auto is the biggest offender. Right behind that is Claire's S.A.A. revolver, which is able to rapidly dump all empty brass and reload as if with a speed loader, even though the Single Action Army has a fixed cylinder and each round has to be loaded and unloaded one at a time in real life (an obvious concession to convenience, albeit a very blatantly unrealistic one).
    • The shotgun upgrade is implausible, to put it mildlynote , but that doesn't stop the Custom M1100 from being one of the coolest damn weapons in the game.
    • It has a scene in which a protagonist's gun is shot out of her hand, and after a short Cat Fight with her attacker, she recovers it (we know she didn't take the attacker's gun, because the attacker still has it later in the game). True to form, it still works like a charm.
  • Resident Evil 3 (Remake): The red-dot sight for Jill's handgun is mounted in such as a way that empty brass wouldn't be able to properly clear the ejection port, and is based on a rather impractical design which mounts to the Glock's takedown tabs, making it impossible to disassemble the weapon.
  • Resident Evil 4:
    • The TMP submachinegun is said to fire 'custom 9mm' rounds which are distinct from the standard 9mm ammo used with handguns. In real life, the TMP and Leon's other 9mm weapons would be able to share the same ammo.
    • Leon always recocks the shotguns when he reloads them, which should spit out a shell if he's doing it while there are still chambered rounds. Also he always reloads the same number of rounds for single cartridge reload animations (three for the Broken Butterfly, five for the Handcannon, and two for the shotguns, the latter of which can reload up to 100 shells if the Striker is maxed out).
  • Resident Evil: Gun Survivor: Overlooking that it was only ever chambered in a smaller 8mm round to start with, even if someone did go to the bother of rechambering a Nambu Type 14 to fire 9x19 Parabellum, the pistol was not built to handle the higher-pressured cartridge, and in reality it would blow apart on the first shot.
  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2: If you fit the level 3 Capacity mod to a Magnum, it can somehow hold 14 shots. The same holds true with the double-barrel shotgun, which can be modded to carry more than two shells.
  • Saints Row:
    • The MAC-10, appearing as the "SKR-7 Spree", is missing its stock and the charging handle is uncocked, yet the gun is still capable of firing.
    • The SPAS-12, appearing as the AS-12 Riot, reuses the reload animations for the Tombstone, despite the former being depicted as a semi-auto shotgun.
    • The AWM appears as the "McManus". It's depicted as a semi-auto rifle, albeit one with a long refire delay.
  • The Mk. 13 Mod 0 appears in Saints Row 2. Strangely, it's attached to the AR-50 Special (the standard version, the AR-50 XMAC, is an XM 8). Worse, the Boss loads the grenades from the muzzle, as if the launcher was a GP-25.
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider: With a side of It Works Better with Bullets thrown in. The Umbrage is a powerful, accurate and above all, natively suppressed assault rifle that, for some reason, completely lacks a magazine in its well. It can look quite jarring to players with even basic interest in firearms, especially since the Umbrage's menu icon does show it with a magazine loaded.
  • The infamous introductory cutscene for Shadow the Hedgehog starts off with what is most likely, the strangest submachine gun of all time. It starts of with shadow putting a mag in, twisting it a bit to lock it in place, giving the mag a tap for good measure and then pumping the foregrip.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Unless it's an integrated suppressor like some unique guns, the Val and the Vintorez have, expect your shots to (realistically) pack less of a punch and (unrealistically) be less accurate.
  • Starlancer: Late in the game, there's a cinematic depicting Alliance infantry attacking the Coalition base on Titan. Said infantry are armed with flamethrowers, complete with pilot light blazing below the barrel of the weapon. While there's a simple Doylist explanation for this — the weapons look awesome — it's hard to come up with a Watsonian reason for why every infantryman is equipped this way, despite the opposition canonically having Frickin' Laser Beams, Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better, and other armaments that don't have an Arbitrary Weapon Range.
  • Team Fortress 2's "Meet the Spy" video. When the BLU Soldier takes out the BLU Spy at close range with his shotgun, only blood spatters on the glass window behind the Spy.
  • Tomb Raider (2013): Choke on a shotgun can't be adjusted on the fly like that.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: XCOM operatives tend to be rather lax about gun handling.
    • Assaults cycle their shotguns one-handed, by holding it by the pump and shaking it. They do that even with the considerably bulky Alloy Cannon.
    • Heavies hold their machineguns properly until they have to shoot them, at which point they hip-fire it while holding the front end by the carrying handle.
    • Snipers use an odd "wrap-around" posture when aiming their rifles. It's also halfway in Reality Is Unrealistic, as the posture does exist in real life... it's just that it's used when prone and using a bipod for extra stability.
  • XIII: The introduction shows the game's resident sniper rifle as a bolt-action rifle, which is already incorrect (the real gun it's modeled after is semi-auto), but also shows it being cycled in the wrong direction (it starts out open, it gets cycled forward to chamber a bullet, then it gets pulled open again, without ejecting the bullet).

    Visual Novel 
  • Lucky Dog 1: Humorously lampshaded by Bakshi in Giulio's route, after the latter has just shot rapid fire multiple times with a bolt action rifle; Bakshi understandably calls him a cheating bastard.

  • BACK: Abigail just grabbed the bullet between her fingers, and then immediately loaded the bullet she caught into her own gun and shot it back.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Dan intentionally draws Grace's pistols like hairdryers when they are pointed at close range at Susan because that makes them easier to draw and it makes him feel better about drawing such a situation.

    Web Original 
  • The Bad Assassin: TJ says that the only reason he tried to hold up the Russians with an empty pistol in episode 1 is because the gun jammed which he think happened because he forgot to put bullets in the magazine.
  • Chapel: In "Extremed," when Burke literally has to bite a bullet: "What if it goes off in my mouth?" "That's impossible! You know how unlucky you would have to be?"
  • ChickenPika: In "Michael's Jamacian Rampage", when Mike decides that gunning down a drug dealer who scammed him by selling him rabbit shit instead of weed is a good course of action, he takes an AK-47, chambers a round, disengages the safety, and goes to town on the dealer. One problem; Kalashnikov rifles can't chamber a round while the safety is engaged, as the fire selector obstructs the charging handle when it's on safe.
  • Film Reroll "The Rock": The Rerollers question what type of gun would cause people shot by it to fly backwards. The answer is — of course — a Michael Bay gun.
  • Forgotten Weapons: This video seeks to dispel several gun myths that even This Very Wiki propagates.
  • Freeman's Mind: The series is generally well done, but it's clear that both Freeman and Ross Scott don't know anything about firearms.
    • While fighting the Black-Ops assassins, Freeman says that he thinks their armour could protect them from his 9mm submachine gun, but not his buckshot-spewing shotgun. It should be the other way around; the 9mm round, especially the standard-issue NATO type, has relatively high penetration (at least compared to other common stubby pistol rounds in use in the '90s like .45 ACP or .38 Special), to the point of being able to breach lower-end (class II-A/II) soft body armour with multiple closely-spaced hits. Buckshot, on the other hand, consists of low velocity spherical pellets that are almost completely ineffective against even the most basic types of body armour.
    • When he first picks up the pistol, Freeman calls it a Glock, and notes that the safety is off. Glocks don't have manual safeties that can be freely toggled on and off, they have built-in safeties, including a "safe action" piece on the trigger to prevent the gun from going off without a user having their finger on the trigger and properly pulling it.
    • In Episode 12 of Freeman's Mind 2, Freeman attempts to shoot a Hunter-Chopper with his magnum revolver, guessing that the heavier-calibre weapon would succeed where his MP7 failed. Two problems with that. One, any armoured helicopter is going to at bare minimum be proofed against 7.62x39mm ball and 5.56x45mm ball (some of the most common rounds in the world) which, as rifle rounds, have far greater penetration than nearly any pistol round (bar novelty guns and certain tungsten sub-calibre penetrators), to the point that a weakened subsonic 5.56x45mm round can still zip through multiple class III-A vests like so much paper when just one of them can stop a .44 magnum round cold. Two, the MP7's 4.6x30mm rounds, while not as penetrative as high powered rifle rounds, still have better penetration than most pistol rounds (including .44 Magnum) due to their 700-800 m/s muzzle velocity and steel cores. Though, because the Hunter-Chopper is likely constructed of a similar material to other Combine technologies and structures, any form of small-arms fire likely won't even make a dent, to begin with.
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Uncle Lance's shotgun appears to be this trope at first, but it's actually based on a real gun - specifically a Remington 1740, but with one of the triggers and loading ports removed to simplify the animation.
  • The Necro Critic: Somehow, his handgun is fully automatic.

    Western Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast: A blunderbuss is a single-shot weapon, but Gaston is able to get off several shots without reloading.
  • Family Guy:
    • Joe once shot a bird right in front of Peter without the bullet going through (though this was probably intentional).
    • And they once went paintballing with actual guns... inside the house. Despite mysteriously impermanent excessive property damage, only one person was shot.
    • Joe once shot Brian with a bullet from a shotgun.
  • King of the Hill: In "Dog Dale Afternoon", when Dale claims to have killed Rusty Shackleford, a police officer makes a pumping motion on the forestock of his weapon like a pump-action shotgun. Granted, there are actually shotguns, including pump-action models, with detachable magazines like his gun has - but the weapon in question is otherwise a straight animated copy of the M14, which is an automatic battle rifle, not a manually operated shotgun.
  • Rango: The Colt Single Action Army revolver used by Rango has a swing-out cylinder, which is not what the gun has in real life.
  • The Rescuers Down Under: McLeach apparently has a double-barrelled, pump action, side-by-side shotgun with a scope. And a foresight.
  • The Simpsons: Parodied. To ease Marge's worries about his new gun, Homer turns on the safety, causing it to discharge into a photo of Marge. Then he notices that he actually turned the safety off, turns it on, and causes another misfire. After a stunned second, he decides to gently set the gun on the table...and a couple of seconds later it goes off anyhow, ricocheting off several surfaces before striking a nearby knife which embeds itself in the picture, right between Marge's eyes. As Lisa says, "No offense Mom, but that was pretty cool." Note that Homer's gun was a revolver, which require long trigger pulls to fire and (without aftermarket modifications) don't even HAVE safeties.
    Real Life 
  • A Discovery Channel documentary actually took Oswald's rifle as well as ammunition from the same factory lot that was found in the book depository, and duplicated six of the seven wounds. The seventh would have occurred as well had the bullet not expended extra energy striking and breaking two rib bones of Governor Connolly compared to only one in the original incident. Striking all debate about the surroundings of the assassination, the Discovery Channel's accomplishment in catching a single bullet on high-speed cameras striking seven separate targets and doing so within half an inch of the bulls-eye certainly qualifies for the trope.
  • The Carcano Mod. 1891-series rifles like Oswald's gun (a 91/38) were actually infamous for this kind of thing, and the munitions produced for the Royal Italian Army tended to either be not penetrate things they should (if the quality was bad) or to pierce the target all the way and exit without actually taking it down (if the quality was good), and universally compensated their extreme accuracy with poor stopping power. For this and other reasons the Italians adopted the Mod. 1938, basically a Mod. 1891 chambered for the new 7.35×51mm Carcano round (with more stopping power than the 6.5×52mm Carcano round of the Mod. 1891) and other improvements suggested by the experience of World War I... Except Italy entered World War II before they could build up any significant stock of the new round, prompting its abandonment and the switch to the 91/38 (a Mod. 1938 chambered for the old round) for logistic reasons.
  • Syndicated advice columnist Ask Amy was once lambasted by gun owners for incorrectly saying that hollow point rounds are "exploding bullets".

Alternative Title(s): Magic Bullets, Bullets Do Not Work That Way, Artistic License Firearms