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Hollywood has a way of making things that are stupid or terrible in real life look like they're awesome, like smoking, or fedoras, or Nicolas Cage. Well, this goes for most of the cool shit you see during action scenes, too -- turns out that if you tried to pull off some of the sweet-ass moves every movie hero does, even if you were a highly trained professional, you'd just end up making a clown of yourself. Or a corpse. Most likely a corpse.

So the next time you're trapped in a building with German terrorists, remember that you'd be better off not trying to do things like ...

6
Firing Two Guns at the Same Time

Daniel Wiedemann/Photos.com

What Hollywood Has Told You:

Want the hero of your movie to look like a bad motherfucker? Give him a gun. Want him to look like a worse motherfucker? Give him two guns, and have him shoot both at the same time, preferably while jumping in the air.

Oleksandra Voinova/Photos.com
Yup, just pop on your best cardigan, grab a couple guns and book your ticket to Badassville.

Obviously, we know that the whole "jumping in the air" part is probably a slight exaggeration on Hollywood's part, but the rest is simple arithmetic: If one gun can kill a lot of enemies, two guns should kill twice as many, right?

Why This Sucks:

Here's a quick challenge: Find us a photo of a police officer, soldier, or any other professional doing this on the job (and not just posing for a photo, either). You won't, because using two guns makes both of them useless.

George Doyle/Photos.com
"Count the number of guns motherfucker ..."

And don't try playing the "it'd be possible if you trained hard enough" card -- the problem is human biology. As you may have noticed, the binocular-like way in which our eyeballs work means we can't see independently with each one, a skill we'd need to aim two guns at the same time at completely different angles, all whilst dodging from cover-to-cover and experiencing massive amounts of recoil that causes the gun sights to bounce all over the place. Enjoy this clip of the certifiably insane hair-beasts over at Mythbusters trying to aim at two targets with two guns and hitting none:

This is the reason that you never see people who actually have to use guns in their day jobs go full John Woo on a group of gangsters during a shootout.

Golden Princess Film Production Limited
Only Chow Yun-Fat's severe astigmatism allows him to do this.

The boring truth is a controlled number of shots from a single gun held with two hands trumps the accuracy (and, therefore, number of bad guys killed) of any half-wit stupid enough to pull this bullshit in the field.

And don't even get us started on the task of reloading. There's a good reason why, in the classic lobby shootout from The Matrix, Neo throws away his guns after shooting them dry -- he'd look silly as shit if even tried to reload a weapon while holding another weapon in the other hand.

Warner Bros.
Also, it's best not to overload Keanu Reeves with too many tasks at once. Like, say, more than one.

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5
Using a Flamethrower

Wikimedia Commons

What Hollywood Has Told You:

A flamethrower is a gun that literally throws fire, allowing you to turn the thing that kick-started mankind into the avatar of its destruction. How could that not be the most awesome weapon ever? Why else would Chuck Norris use one?

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Why would Chuck Norris glue sawdust to his face and call it a beard? Frankly, the man does a lot of things we don't understand.

They're also a primary weapon in every Aliens film and are prized weapons in most shooting games. And unlike the two-guns thing above, we know real soldiers did use these babies in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, right?

Why This Sucks:

Yeah, they did. And they sucked. Out of 97 flamethrowers sent out in the Korean War, 65 were either destroyed by enemy fire or just dumped by the operators to save their lives. Seven more weren't even used because they never got an enemy within its effective range ... which kinda sucked, by the way.

Sergey Kamshylin/Photos.com
Unless you're fighting bees, that is.

Then there's the problem with weight. The standard M2 Flamethrower, which is the one you've most likely seen in movies, weighs 70 pounds when full. Imagine going around in a war zone with very small man on a very fat child on your back. Even worse, operators had to stand completely in the open since, unlike almost every other gun ever made, the flamethrower requires one to stand up to fire and it has the unfortunate side effect of giving your position by making you look like Satan taking a leak.

Military Factory
"I am the ghost amidst the combat!"

But hey, being shot at continuously with a huge dead weight strapped to your back was totally worth being able to yell fire-related puns as you sprayed liquid death at everyone in your way ... as long as you don't mind having less than 10 seconds to do so. Because that's how long most flamethrowers would work for before running out of fuel.

Pawel Gaul/Photos.com
Add gas prices to the mix, and it's getting to be that an honest, hardworking man can no longer immolate his enemies if he wants to.

The one upside is that, despite what videogames and Steven Spielberg have taught us, flamethrowers didn't explode when shot. Nope, they simply knocked the operator forward as the pressurized gas burst out. We'll let you decide which fate is more dignified.

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4
Using Laser Sights on a Sniper Rifle

undergroundw/Photos.com

What Hollywood Has Told You:

Thanks to movies, the universal sign for "someone's about to get their head blown off" is making a red dot show up in that person's forehead -- as soon as you see that, you instantly know that there's a professional sniper pointing some sort of kickass rifle at them. For instance, in The Dark Knight, Gotham City's badass SWAT snipers all have laser sights as they point at the Joker's henchmen (actually disguised hostages) from another building.

Warner Bros.
Admit it, you just assumed there was some dick with a laser pointer in the theater the first time you saw this.

So when you think about it, being a sniper is actually a super easy job: You just have to know how to sit tight, position a red spot, and pull a trigger. Shit, it sounds way cooler than being a Batman.

Why This Sucks:

First there's the obvious: If you do this, you'll be shining a visible dot onto the forehead of person you need to kill, and all it would take to blow your super-secret covert mission would be for someone to tell the target to just, you know, duck. The whole point of a sniper is that they're not supposed to see you coming.

Olaf Herschbach/Photos.com
Sure, assassinating people at raves would work, but some day you might want to kill somebody who's older than 16.

Also, even if you somehow cap the bad guy, that laser sight has just ensured that everyone knows where you're hiding. Laser sights only work well in low-light conditions; if it's too bright, the shooter won't be able to see the dot. However, this also means that it's quite easy to follow the laser beam from the dot all the way back to the shooter. In other words, that beam is going to prove a handy way for all the pissed-off goons of the guy you just shot to find your ass. This is something that the movies forget to portray a lot, probably because it's quite a buzzkill to witness a hero pull off a near-impossible sniper kill and then, seconds later, be blown apart by the revenge artillery and gunfire that goes to rake their position. And even worse is the fact that the laser isn't actually going to tell you where the bullet will land. As we've covered, sniper bullets tend to fly in every direction but straight -- wind and gravity have that effect on a physical object, but not a beam of light.

TU-KA/Photos.com
Most real snipers use a spotter, aka "a second body to absorb return fire."

So laser sights are fine for handguns, when you're in the same room with your target and are just such a terrible shot that you don't have the confidence to just aim the thing the normal way. Just keep in mind that your enemies might make fun of you, though.

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3
Trying to Kick Ass in a Suit and Tie

LuminaStock/Photos.com

What Hollywood Has Told You:

No assassin, spy or henchman can be serious about their craft unless they're wearing a sharply pressed suit and a tie. Look at Jason Statham in The Transporter. Tom Cruise in Collateral. Ninety percent of the characters in Tarantino's movies. James. Fucking. Bond.

Eon Productions/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
This man does not look impressive in track pants and a U Miss sweater.

By the way, there's an entire website dedicated to the suits of James Bond. That's how boss a suit makes you look: People are perfectly willing to painstakingly watch their way through clips of Bond's wang in motion to decide which suit pants he's wearing.

Why This Sucks:

For looking good, a suit is undeniably the best thing to wear. For fighting people, not so much. This is mainly because wearing a suit gives you a giant hanging weak point around your neck more suited to a Gradius-level boss than an action hero: your tie.

Tatjana Pilate/Photos.com
Can you gamers spot the weak point?

Neckties are such a liability in combat that most law enforcement agencies around the globe refuse to use them in lieu of clip-ons. Sure, James Bond would mock their lack of style, but they'd presumably just grab Bond's tie and smash his face with their fist until he pissed martinis. Basically, anything in a fight that your opponent can grab onto is a liability, but moreso if that thing gives them the ability to yank your head around. We'll let Jackie Chan give you a visual explanation of why:

But even if your opponent isn't a trained martial artist, having a piece of cloth attached to your throat that anyone can twist around and choke you with is still a terrible idea. How about just a shirt and pants combo with a nice waistcoat, then? Nope, you're still going to be at a disadvantage, simply because you won't be able to throw a punch or kick as fast as the other guy. As anyone who has worn a suit will tell you, doing the splits in one of those things is only going to end with you looking like you have a chainsaw for a dick.

The same goes for you ladies. Like with neckties, long hair is a surefire way to give opponents something to grab onto in a fight ... only instead of being wrapped around your neck, your weak point is attached to your fucking skull. What's the point in wearing a skintight suit if you have an easily exploited weakness on the part of your body that controls motor function?

Oleg Mitiukhin/Photos.com
Well, maybe we could overlook the impracticality just this once.

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2
Shooting Locks off with a Handgun

Jupiterimages

What Hollywood Has Told You:

Picture the scene: Our hypothetical action hero is quietly infiltrating an enemy base when he finds a locked gate/door standing in his way. Does he force the lock with a pick? Blow it open with C4? Seduce it, using a gambit known as the "007"? No, no, and sadly, that's not possible. He's going to pull out his handgun and blow that fucker apart with a single well-placed shot.

We've seen heroes do this in movies like Speed, Die Hard 2, and Big Trouble in Little China, but villains are wising up, too: In No Country for Old Men, Javier Bardem's character goes around blowing door locks apart with an air tank gun. So why aren't real hitmen following the example of this guy?

Miramax/Paramount
... because if they did, we'd all be fucking dead.

Why This Sucks:

Because it's not possible. Bardem's air gun isn't strong enough to break a lock, but it turns out that even real handguns like the ones John McClane or Jack Burton use shouldn't be able to do it. If you've ever seen a padlock/door lock, you might remember it being made out of strong, thick metal. Well, handgun rounds suck absolute balls at getting through material like that. Thanks to several reckless denizens of the Internet, we know exactly how many balls.

The Box O' Truth
At least this many balls.

In scenes that resemble Tim "The Toolman" Taylor from Home Improvement going postal, one website blasted several padlocks with 9mm rounds (the same type as used by 99.9 percent of action heroes), a .45 ACP pistol, and a .44 Magnum, all to no avail, even when fired at close range. In fact, most locks couldn't be opened at all after being shot.

The Box O' Truth
Bullets actually make these things more secure.

As for door locks, Mythbusters found exactly the same result: that when confronted with a locked door only a rifle can do the trick, but even then you'd be better off tossing the gun aside and trying to headbutt your way through the damned thing, because at least then you'll have something to show for it other than a suspiciously-shrapnel-shaped hole in your head.

Whenever this is done in real-life by the police or military, they have to use shotguns. And, because the military is nothing if not a stickler for efficiency, they even invented a special shotgun that attaches to the underside of their assault rifle barrels, the "Masterkey." Yes, the one out of Call of Duty. No, that doesn't mean that the army also has giant robotic machine gun-wielding dogs. Yet.

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1
Using a Large Caliber Handgun

Robert Mroczek/Photos.com

What Hollywood Has Told You:

Want to make the ultimate statement about how badass you are? Then just whip out the biggest gun you can lay your hands on and shove it in the face of your opponent. Like the automatic Desert Eagle Arnold is using here ...

Columbia Pictures
Your gun must be greater than, or proportionately equal to, your virility.

Logic just dictates that having a bigass gun that fires bigass bullets is still better than having a small one, simply by virtue of it being a bigass gun that fires bigass bullets.

Why This Sucks:

And that's about where the benefits end. In terms of being an actual usable weapon, large caliber handguns like the ever famous Desert Eagle fail on all counts, to the point where even criminals avoid using them. The main reason is the sheer weight of such a gun. Fully loaded, a Desert Eagle weighs 5 fucking pounds -- it's like taking a Chihuahua out of your pocket every time you wanna shoot something.

Thinkstock/Photos.com
Then again, criminals rarely see the ol' "face full of Chihuahua" attack coming.

If you don't understand why that's a problem, grab some 5-pound object from your house, hold it straight out in your hand, and try to keep it perfectly still (you know, the way you have to keep the sites perfectly still when aiming a pistol). It doesn't matter how huge your biceps are, a heavy gun is always a worse choice.

That, coupled with the fact that it's almost a foot long (thus making it awkward as hell to draw from a holster) and that it only carries seven bullets makes it an incredibly poor choice for any self-respecting military unit, law enforcement officer, or even gas station robber. Also, the recoil is so hard that you're going to be pointing at the ceiling after every shot. Watch this lady get hit in the face by her own gun:

For comparison's sake, the Glock 19 weighs less than half, is half the size, and carries twice as many bullets, so you can see why the police use them instead these days. The fact that the giant bullets in the Desert Eagle will do more damage when they land makes no difference when everything else about the gun ensures you'll never actually hit anything.

In fact, remember the iconic scene in Pulp Fiction where the young guy opens up on Jules and Vincent with a gun the size of a baby and misses every shot? Yeah, they were right to mock his choice of gun -- if he had been carrying something less heavy and with more bullets, that scene would have played out a little differently. Once again, you can't trust a Hollywood prop department to tell you what to bring to your next violent crime.

Miramax
You know what divine intervention is? It's God telling you, you chose the wrong fucking gun ...



For more from Adam, take a look at his website or feel free to bother him on Twitter. You can also hire him to write words for you by emailing adamwearscracked@gmail.com. If you want to check out more work Karl has done, you can check out his profile on Gunaxin.



For more reasons we shouldn't listen to movies, check out 6 Life Saving Techniques From the Movies (That Can Kill You) and 5 Ridiculous Gun Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies).

Or if you're pressed for time and just need a quickie, check out Why the Car That Runs on Facebook Could Backfire Horribly.

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