By Chris Serrano

A few conversations have been popping up on the forum and elsewhere around the web, particularly firearm based sites and forums. It’s on the subject of proper gun handling. Initially we thought, “Hey, maybe the dude is missing an arm or his hand is broken or some other injury is causing him to wield a handgun in that fashion.” Nope.

Just another example of an actor, untrained in firearms handling attempting to look like what he thinks is a “real badass.” Thoughts which came to my mind were watching a monkey trying to reproduce with a football, a football bat and of course a soup sandwich with extra cheese.

Gun handling on The Walking Dead has been the subject of much ridicule over the years. Mounting scopes and not using them, never using sights and just the slop in the handling between muzzling people and holding firearms as if they were afraid of them. Initially we ignored much of it.

After all, the majority of the cast of characters were not trained military or LEO types or even dedicated target shooters. They were normal people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

The problem with using that as a crutch is that sooner or later, people’s skills have to come up to par or they will not be around very long. If anything we have seen any pretense at skill deteriorate.

It really is a shame because TWD represented one of the few successful shows that depicted regular people using firearms for self-defense. The other really good one was True Blood.

At one time, just the old gun hacks, like your editor would have picked up on this and yelled at our televisions. Now it seems that there are a lot more of us out there who take our shooting and tactics seriously. AMC and a few others will have to step it up if they want to keep viewers.

This post originally appeared at imfdb.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

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66 Responses to IMFDB: When Firearms Handling Goes Bad

    • This! ^^^ I’m a huge fan of the comic. Don’t understand why they can’t transfer decision making and dialogue from there to the screen. So many ridiculously dumb decisions, poor gun choreography/handling, coupled with cringe-worthy dialogue had me dropping the show after a few seasons…

      • I stopped watching it during the fifth (???) season, just lost interest. The other day I was flipping through channels at someone’s house (I don’t have cable/satellite) and came across TWD. My fiancee was wondering what it was, and I was thinking, “Hey, it’s TWD, wonder what it’s like now, maybe she will see some cool zombie stuff or something.”

        Nope. Rick and a couple of cohorts were in a junkyard with a bunch of cultish people with bad haircuts that talked really weird and then pushed Rick off a heap of trash.

        Then we changed the channel. Can’t say I miss the show.

        • You made it to 5? I petered out during 2 when it seemed to be turning into a soap opera.

        • Rick was trying to recruit the trash people to help his group fight the new bad guy. The leader push Rick into a arena with a armored zombie for him to fight bare handed to test him, but you changed channels.

        • They dress weird, don’t talk and ride bikes. We, fans of the show, refer to the “trash people” as “The Heapsters” like Hipster but exchanged vowels.

        • Jeff, I refer to them as either Trasholes or Mad Max rejects. The sooner they’re dead & gone the better. Jusy really hoping they don’t replace the Whispers with those clowns.

    • Well, I still like it. I long ago stopped looking at Hollywood for things like Proper gun handling, political intelligence, or anything other than…

      Do I enjoy what I’m watching

      • I agree, i still like it, even though i am a Busse knife fan, and they long ago had Darrel lose his nice Team Gemini 😉

        That said, glad Rick got his Python back, classic.

        Also, enjoyed some of the firearms in that new movie “Suicide Squad” My favorite “weird scene” was Will Smith, who “never misses” using an AR set up for three gun, with the 45 degree mounted iron sites and alternating between them. The problem was, IMHO, the main optic on the rail was a unmagnified red-dot 😉 Oops.

    • I was going to quit this season but Negan saved it for me. He uses a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, terror, and comedy to kill stupid main characters and keep his people in line….. he’s the only character i identify with anymore.

      • Neegan, the idiot that makes his season premiere by showing up to the heavily fortified and draped front gate of Ricks place beating on the gate perfectly backlit by a strong setting sun. That should have been the end of neegan right there.

    • It’s a TV Show not reality. I watch it regularly. I don’t watch to learn shooting skills. The whole show can be dissected as fiction beyond belief.

  1. I quit watching after Merle Dixon was killed and reanimated and killed again. From what I hear it’s gone downhill since then. Oh well.

    • It was actually still good then, but apparently when they killed Glenn they stuffed his brain with all the good ideas and beat them to death too.

      • That show has been a shambling, zombie-like wreck since about halfway through season 4. I suffered through the Alexandria episodes hoping it would get better, but nope…when they pulled the cheap bait-and-switch cliffhanger with Glenn I knew there was no point in watching anymore.

  2. With all of the money spent on making movies, it’s hard to believe this is not intentional somehow. But then, I don’t watch TV or movies at all anyway. Got tired of ALL the nonsense 40 years ago.

  3. I have a friend who shoots something like that, but two handed and with his right hand dominant. He is missing most of his right index finger. He keeps what’s left of it straight along the frame (not the slide) and uses his middle finger to pull the trigger.

    A critically damaged booger hook requires adjustment to bang switch interface.

    • yup, the pain he inflicts on himself will worth watching. I say, give them 1 bullet and let them try out those crappy “ima baddass” poses. the problem will solve itself soon enough.

  4. It’s called “The Selfie” grip. It was created 50 years ago by the half-uncle to Jeff Cooper, as a means of providing a forward assist on semi–automatic pistols when you’re using a .45 Auto cartridge in a 9mm handgun during actual Armageddon SHTF conditions.

  5. The pilot episode of TWD was one of the best hours of televisions ive ever seen. The first season in general was pretty good. It’s gone downhill since.

  6. I used to love the walking dead. Now it’s just bad. I’m talking the show in general, not only the gun scenes. Why hasn’t anyone just decided to store up fuel they use to scavenge and get the heck out of Dodge? Geez, man, with enough fuel they could be 1000 miles away from Negan and his band of psychos in a few days or less if things go well (travel during the zombie apocalypse is slowed due to highway jams, fallen trees, fuel supply, etc.).

  7. Welp, let that actor try his grip with a gun firing blanks (that has a reciprocating slide for realism) and we’ll see how fast he learns.

    • no, i’d unironically agree. he’s the only character who doesn’t take the high-handed speeches from the main characters seriously.

    • Negan is a tool. I can’t take him seriously considering how much he smiles and laughs at everything negative happening in a psychotic kind of way. It’s just…dumb. Over reaching to sell his crazy.

      • I started watching again just for the stupid black comedy Negan provides.

        “Christ, that is disgusting! No wonder you cover that up. Have you seen it? I mean, have you looked in the mirror? That is gross as hell! I can see your socket. I want to touch it. Oh c’mon, can I touch it?”

        That was so wrong, it had me lmao. But what made it even funnier is that I had a specialist while downrange who said nearly the same thing to another mechanic, who had just gouged a huge hole in his hand after trying to use a large cold-chisel as a pry bar.

        “Wow man, that is gross-as-****! Have you looked at it?? Like, I can see your bones. It’s not even bleeding. Can I touch it? Oh c’mon brother, lemme touch it?”

        Cracked me up then too, which didn’t help as I was trying to keep the idiot private from going into shock.

  8. The interesting thing is they had a casting call for extras a few years ago where one of the requirements was “being familiar with firearms handling…”

    Guess no one showed up.

    That being said, isn’t it the job of the armorer to give the actors basic instruction so they don’t look like complete idiots?

    • You would think so! Think of how much time they spend teaching doofus actors how to speak with a certain accent or dance or do other physical feats that they were wholly unfamiliar with prior to the shoot, supposedly, so it’s pure laziness in my opinion to not train an actor to ACT like they know how to use a firearm. There are only so many ways to screw it up you would think, but they seem to invent new ones- perhaps on purpose just to mess with proficient people to yell at their screen, “THAT’S NOT HOW IT’S DONE!!”

      Anyway, TV is bad for you. All of it. The flickering images and constantly changing scenery changes your brain from a relaxed state to one of excitement and susceptibility to suggestion and removal of logical thought. That’s why people sit down and don’t get up for hours until they have purchased something nobody needs from a home shopping show.

      • What would appear more realistic…everyone one set being tactically proficient in proper use…holding, aiming, not flagging, knowing if the safety is on or off…or having a few dufusses not knowing squat? I appreciate the “realness” in the stupidity.
        T.V., may stimulate the brain in some into a catatonic state but most can separate entertainment from reality…take soap operas for instance. NOBODY, believes, that many people, can have that many problems, 24/7/365! Or wrestling! Don’t even get me started on that!
        It’s entertainment…

  9. Stopped watching TWD after S1, but that was enough time to see the worst shotgun cleaning scene in history.

  10. Hey I recognize that hand gun; that’s the one from the Yankee Martial. He doesn’t need to hold it right. He just needs to point it in the right direction and the gun will take care of the rest! Evil gun!

  11. There continues to be some interesting social evolution going on in the show’s narrative that continues to hold my attention. From the first, a lynch-pin question revolved around which kind of social groiup/organization would be the most adaptive and hence survivable in a societal collapse. Lately we’re seeing a conflict between Negan’s petty empire where he plays the role of tyrant and Rick’s tribe which has transformed itself into pastoral nomadism (think Cheyenne dog soldiers or Scottish clans) . While I can understand that in such a crisis average people would most likely not have good gun handling skills, the time-line of this story is years long now and logic would dictate that the survival of the band would have dictated more weapons skills than these babe’s-in-arms exhibit. I’m waiting for Rick’s crew to become dog soldiers.

  12. One reason I liked reading The Punisher comics and graphic novels were the comments on the lack of training and firearms proficiency of his opponents.

    One key scene was a gangsta completely missing Frank at a distance of a few metres by using the sideways grip. Just before Frank kills him he says “The sights are on the top for a reason”.

  13. I lost interest in it too. The zombies are essentially a side note now. And I can’t take the cheesy “who’s going to get a gruesome death next” shit, it’s become like the SAW movies were. Gore is fine and all, but when it’s done as constant heap it just gets tacky and stupid.

  14. Frankly, I love the show with its bad gun handling and all. If you compare their skills to those of TV shows of the past they are miles ahead. Ever watch “The A-Team”? I don’t think I ever saw someone shoulder a rifle on that show. Most shows from the 30years had people blown back 30ft from a single handgun and wasting hordes of enemies with full auto fire from the hip. I could go on but the greatest thing to ever happen to a Colt Python was Rick M**** F*** Grimes.

  15. Strike Back is probably the only show that got gun handling and tactics down fairly convincingly. It wasn’t perfect of course. Aimpoints don’t have magnification! Still, much better than a lot of crap on TV in the gun handling department.

    • In the third season (Cinemax), They show a scoped view during an airport sequence, but the gun is shown to have only iron sights. That’s a cringey moment for me.
      I love that show, otherwise.

  16. Someone needs to option John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising series and film that. Much better than TWD, and they actually say the word zombie.

  17. So poor firearm handling ruins the suspension of disbelief, but the fact that there are zombies roaming the land doesn’t? Or that a zombie bite changes you, but getting zombie blood all over you doesn’t?

    Sure I find it interesting that Carl can fire that FAL accurately despite shouldering it to his missing eye, but you gotta let shit go and just enjoy.

    As for plot lines, it’s a show about zombies and SHTF. People would complain it’s mindless if they just repeatedly chopped up the undead, and people complain when they try to find new ways of challenging the main characters without jumping a zombie shark.

  18. Geez, where do I start with TWD and it’s complete misunderstanding of how guns work!!

    I’ve got my top 3:

    Episode 301, when they must have decided it was more cost efficient to add the gunshot in Post. They are clearing the prison and the guns are firing, but the slides aren’t cycling.

    AK and AR rounds that “spark” on file cabinets and vehicles. And that must include people who take cover behind filing cabinets and other thin sheet metal objects.

    Someone holding people at bay/threatening to shoot someone with a 1911….with the hammer down.

    • Yeah, I noticed those things too. Ridiculous! The scene at the prison was horrible. Same thing with people taking cover behind a toppled over table (on tv/movies in general). Sorry, but 1″ of wood won’t stop anything.

  19. Never thought of this but I wonder how a gun designed with the trigger meant to be pulled by the middle finger would work.

    I assume the recoil could be reduced since it would put your hand higher on the gun but the trigger pull would probably be so awkward since it is hard to independently move your middle finger from your pointer finger.

    • If you look closely at the TV coverage of Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK’s assassin for you youngsters) you can see that he laid his index finger along the frame of the revolver he used and pulled the trigger with his middle finger.

      • i figured that’s because Ruby had gripped the pistol in his pocket early while approaching Oswald, and he had to have it still lay flat (important I suppose in a crush of lawmen and reporters). To test it, I tried a 2″ barrel Rossi .38 in my old suit jacket. Gripping it properly made a distinct bulge, but as Ruby did, it allowed the garment to stay fairly flat. It would’ve been much faster to approach someone and shoot them in the belly, than approach with empty hands and try to withdraw the pistol with a proper grip fast…. especially when it’s floating around in a pocket without a holster, which I highly doubt Ruby was using. It also put my finger dangerously close to the cylinder-gap, but I also doubt Ruby was much concerned about that.

  20. The missus and I still never miss an episode and impatiently anticipate each new season. It’s one of the few popular TV dramas that isn’t merely a Trojan Horse for leftist agendas. We gladly trade some portrayals of improbable gun-hygiene for respite from incessant smug insinuations about climate change, CCW permittees, conservatives, Southerners, et cetera, ad nauseum. Besides, it’s still has lots of good ol’ shoot ’em up fun.

  21. Aw, come on guys! These are people that have been thrown in a situation that they’ve never seen before! Most, have probably never ever SEEN a gun, much less HELD one. Some even admit it. Just because they found one, or stole one or even had one, doesn’t mean they know how to use one.
    Waving them around, flagging their compadres, pointing rediculously & getting full on head shots while running away…but not hitting the broad side of a barn while in a cover posistion, is filmography leighway. After all, professional trainers are probably hard to come by in the zombie apocalypse!
    Daryll’s RPG launcher was priceless though!

  22. I don’t understand why folks actually “want” to watch something so ugly. I get it that it’s escapism and fiction; but why such an ugly tour? Everyday shit is ugly enough. We live in a world where children’s parents put bomb vest on them and send them out to blow up “infidels”. Where carrying a firearm is just the prudent thing to do. Isn’t that ugly enough?
    I’m full of ugly. It’s on the damn news.

  23. Folks, it’s Hollywood. If it’s the lack of reality in gun handling that’s got you in a tizzy, then maybe you should re-evaluate some things in your life.

  24. I gave up on TWD when they got bogged down in that soap opera village run by Tovah Whatsername. I guess I miss the guaranteed hour of sleep it gave me, but at least I don’t have to wonder anymore why on earth someone would carry an old school crossbow in a situation like that. Daryl – don’t you know the reload time on that thing? Something quiet, sure, like a compound bow, maybe. Just not something guaranteed to turn you into a bag of Purina Zombie Chow.

  25. This happens often enough to reveal the “creatives” who just regurgitate bad cliches:

    The racking of the slide for dramatic effect, signifying that up to that moment, the chamber of the gun was EMPTY.

  26. The Walking Dead; the show so utterly crap AMC had to make Fear the Walking Dead so it wouldn’t be the dumbest show on television.

    The first season was so good because of the executive producer, Frank Darabont. AMC then figured it would be a good idea to tell the guy making their most successful show to do twice as many episodes for less money and then tried to tell him how to do it. He didn’t like that, so they canned him. Which is why every season after the first is a soap opera with the undead wandering around.

    • “dumbest show on television”. I would disagree, have you seen “Portlandia”? I would call that the dumbest show on television.

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