Guns Kill from a Distance


You can stand more than a foot away from someone and still shoot him, right?

If so, then why do so many movie and TV show plots hinge on (or at least use as a device) the person being held at gunpoint simply moving kinda quickly and knocking the gun away?

I just saw it again with District 9. Boo.

13 Responses to Guns Kill from a Distance

  1. JB September 2, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    Sometimes it’s meant to be that the character holding the gun wasn’t actually prepared to shoot, so the other guy could take the gun away.

    Sometimes the guy swatting the gun away is just supposed to be that fast, even though that’s hard to get across on film or tv.

    Sometimes it’s just dumb, yeah.

  2. weeklyrob September 3, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    But “that fast” wouldn’t matter if the guy holding the gun was fifteen feet away. My point is that people in movies are always too stupid to stand back a bit when holding the gun.

  3. Kevin September 3, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    If we’re talking pistols, from 15 feet probably 80% of the population would miss the target, even if it stood still.

  4. weeklyrob September 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    If someone is holding a gun on you from 15 feet away, you’re going to do what he says. But you don’t have to stand 15 feet away to be safe from the “smack-the-gun-away move.” Make it 6 feet.

    Anyway, the gun in District 9 was an assault rifle. I think it could have done the trick.

  5. BruceS September 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    It’s the shooter, not the gun, that makes the biggest difference. I found I could hit a torso-sized target reliably from 25 yards with a revolver. That’s still close enough to make the delay of the bullet inconsequential. From 6 feet, a head shot would be a no-brainer. I think we can expand on Kevin’s statement though. I suspect that 80% of the population would miss a human target from 15 feet, even with a rifle. The drive-by scene from Falling Down was hilarious, but likely not far from the truth.

  6. weeklyrob September 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    If a random person was standing 15 feet from you holding a gun, I predict that you’d stand still, or put your hands on your head, as commanded to you.

    There’s no need for that person to come put the gun actually within touching range. Can you guys really not understand my point?

  7. Kevin September 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    No, we totally get your point, but I really don’t think I’d stop just because someone was pointing a gun at me. In fact, I’ve had someone point a gun at me (more like 25 feet and he was drunk, though, not 15 feet and sober) and I did what I think most people would do: I jumped out of the way and hid. The person fired the gun but the shot went nowhere close to me. If someone walked into my front door holding a gun and telling me to freeze, I would not freeze, I would move like crazy. Unless they had a badge, of course.

    Now, in action movie world, the guy would probably be able to hit a moving target while holding the gun sideways, so I’d be dead.

  8. weeklyrob September 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    No, I don’t think you do get my point. And I can’t believe that I’m still trying, but here goes.

    We’re not talking about a person bursting in your door. This isn’t a big action moment. As I said in the post, we’re talking about someone “being held at gunpoint.”

    Not someone bursting into your house with a gun. Not a drunk waving a gun around 25 feet away. But two people, one of whom is HOLDING the other one at gunpoint.

    Being held means that you have already made the decision NOT to move. No one is saying that you should “stop” doing anything. You’ve already stopped. There you are, there he is. Gun trained on you. You are not moving and neither is he. There is no action. You’re being held at gunpoint.

    For the love of all that’s holy, am I the only one who’s seen this at the movies?

    But instead of standing back a few feet, the person with the gun stands 2 inches from the other person while they have a nasty conversation. Then the guy without the gun moves to knock the gun away. And the plot changes.

    Good Lord. Blogging is hard work.

  9. weeklyrob September 4, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Incidentally, I’ve also been shot at! By a guy with a shotgun in Greece. Many many feet away, but he didn’t ask me to stop. He didn’t say anything, just fired away a couple of times, reloaded, fired again.

  10. Kevin September 5, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    I guess you just need smarter commenters.

  11. weeklyrob September 5, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    Since all three people who commented missed my point, it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t make my point very well.

    In my head it was so clear. I don’t need smarter commenters, I need more telepathic ones. Please improve.

  12. BruceS September 6, 2009 at 3:38 pm #

    I thought I got your point, but didn’t address it as it seemed too obvious. I was going along on the tangent. So, to play along…the whole movie/tv bit of moving within arms (!) length when holding a gun on someone is one of those things that ticks me off. It’s ridiculous for the gunman to do that! What, does he think his gun is a knife? Does he intend to use it as a club? Sometimes, I even complain out loud about it, but not at the cinema and seldom while alone. Anyway, it’s stupid, like putting together some complicated way to kill someone, and telling him your plans. I’ve never pointed a gun at a person, but if I did, it would be from a “safe” distance. Oh, and the whole B&E bit; that annoys me too.
    BTW, one of the very few times anyone has pointed a gun at me, it was a cop. Nobody’s shot at me with an actual firearm, and I hope to keep it that way.

  13. Rohit September 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm #

    I would say it’s easier for the camera to focus and get the action or like you said …the action changes

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