Movie Goofs: Firing the Whole Bullet

How do guns work?

BulletfixedModern guns fire a cartridge round. These consist of the the following parts:

  1. Bullet—The actual projectile
  2. Shell casing—Usually brass, it holds the whole thing together
  3. Propellant—BOOM! using gunpowder or cordite
  4. Rim—Just an edge to help the gun grab the bullet
  5. Primer—The gun’s hammer hits this to ignite the propellant

Sometimes movies get this wrong

How-Guns-WorkWhen a gun fires a cartridge round, the bullet goes out the barrel of the gun toward the target. But the rest of the round stays with the shooter. In a revolver, the shell casing stays in the gun. In an automatic, the shell casing is ejected from the gun, usually out the side or top. But movies sometimes get this wrong. Occasionally, a film show the entire bullet flying through the air or impacting the target. This page is devoted to collecting examples of this very specific goof.


Lethal Weapon 3

01:46:25—In the final scenes of the film, it seems Lorna may have been shot. But when Riggs checks on her, he finds that the bullets have not made it through the vest. This was a tense moment, because there were armor piercing rounds being fired by some of the bad guys. When we see the bullets, they’re represented by the brass shell casings, primers and markings visible.



The Naked Gun Franchise Posters

These might be intentionally wrong, since the films are parody. But here are all 3 Naked Gun posters making the same mistake.


The Abandoned (2006)

00:43:45—When shooting his own ghost, Nikolai finds the bullet ends up in his own leg. (Don’t shoot your ghost!) After hobbling away, he uses a hunting knife to extract the bullet. And what does he pull out? The shell casing.


Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)

00:49:14—Dr. Brandt is forced to perform emergency surgery on a Teenager from Outer Space. He extracts 2 bullets, both complete with a shell casing.


Did we forget anything? If you know of another movie that shows the whole bullet (casing and all) getting fired as a projectile, let us know in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *