As the FX channel’s well-crafted series “Justified,” based on an Elmore Leonard short story, winds toward its finale, there has been a boo-boo. Senior citizen crime queen Katherine fought rival gangster’s bodyguard Mikey to mutual destruction. She emptied her revolver into him but didn’t stop him from beating her to death before he died in the arms of his boss.
Thing of it was – and perhaps only a gun geek would notice – she fired one shot more than she could have in real life.
Her revolver was clearly a J-frame Smith & Wesson .38 Special, with an obviously visible five-shot cylinder – a Model 60 Chief Special, it looked like to me – and she shot him six times without reloading.
Things like that make the aficionado roll his or her eyes: it’s like spotting a wristwatch on a character who’s supposed to be playing Robin Hood. Gets in the way of that “willing suspension of disbelief” we all need for enjoyment of fiction.
Sure ain’t the first time something like that has happened. A couple which come to mind:
In “Tombstone,” Val Kilmer’s character starts the central shootout armed with a double barrel shotgun (2 shots), a Colt Single Action Army revolver (would have probably been carried with 5 rounds, but could have held 6) and in the actual gunfight near OK Corral used as backup a Lightning model double action .38 Colt (again likely 5, but 6 tops.) That’d be 15 rounds at most without reloading, but in the movie he gets three shots out of the double barrel, and with a revolver in each hand (he used them sequentially in the actual gunfight) fired over 20 shots total before I lost count.
On AMC’s popular zombie series “Walking Dead,” the firearms foul-ups were so frequent I lost count there, too. I found myself yelling at the screen, “There’s no rear sight on that rifle!” “Get your finger off the trigger, there’s nothing to shoot at!” It was Significant Other’s turn to roll her eyes and say with her patented long-suffering sigh, “You don’t accept a rifle with no rear sight, but you DO accept animated corpses?”
In the pilot episode of “Walking Dead,” the Rick Grimes character tells his brother officers to take off the safeties…on their Glock pistols, which normally don’t HAVE safeties. (Glock has produced the G17-S with manual safety, and I have and like Joe Cominolli’s patented thumb safety retrofit on one of my Glock 17 pistols, but the ones on the show weren’t so equipped.) Another fiction favorite is “I flipped off my revolver’s safety.” MOST revolvers don’t have manual safeties, but I have a left-handed Frank Murabito safety on one of my Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers, and the right-handed version works off the cylinder release latch.)
Gun people, what is YOUR favorite (or perhaps, most teeth-grinding non-favorite) firearms faux pas on TV and movie screens?