Gunplay has become a must-have addition to any film or comic book about dangerous people. It’s so overused and reliable that people that have never held a gun, like me, still seem to know a lot about firearms, including what kind of awesome sound they should make.


Or do I? At least, I know what the movies tell me.

A fascinating article on Dixonverse points out some inconsistencies with the fictional portrayal of firearms and the reality.

For example, Dixon notes that writes often use a phrase such as ‘the cordite was as thick as fog’, suggesting that there was so much gunfire, that the smell of cordite was predominant.

The problem is that cordite is now obsolete, and hasn’t been used in ammunition for around 100 years! From Wikipedia:

“Cordite is now obsolete and it is no longer produced. Production ceased in the United Kingdom, around the end of the 20th century, with the closure of the last of the World War II Cordite factories, ROF Bishopton… The smell of Cordite is referenced erroneously in fiction to indicate the recent firing of weapons.”

Dixon also mentions something that I’ve wondered about, having grown up with movies that feature violence in the black community, like “Dead Presidents” or “Friday”.

Speaking of Friday:

Well, there’s been a popular move to show gangbangers firing automatic handguns sideways, a stylistic choice, but one that results in complete inaccuracy:

“So they aim their handguns sideways and hunch over and kind of glare along their arm in lieu of actually aiming. In fact, when they do this their eyes aren’t even looking at the site but at their victim. Intimidating your intended victims is all well and good. But it comes to naught if, when you finally start busting caps, you miss the other guy by six city blocks.”

Great! Nothing to worry about in da Hood, then!