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Did you happen to see the final episode of NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes that aired Monday night? I applaud the basic concept of the show but it was overproduced and ended up not being the most compelling TV . . .

My point: throughout the series it appeared to me that the producers were using a mix of live and dummy ammunition. Specifically the grenades they used were, for obvious reasons, fakes, but the rifle and pistol ammo looked authentic – until the final challenge. If you didn’t see it, they boarded a ship and shot targets off the decks amid stairs, wall and catwalks of steel. The ship was moored to a working dock clearly visible in the background; not really a safe place to be firing off live ammo that is bound to ricochet. You could see no targets hit –only poofs of pyrotechnic smoke when a contestant scored a “hit.”

Is this a scandal? Maybe. Maybe it would have been a scandal if they’d used live ammo on the deck of a ship moored to a working port.

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  1. I suspect they were using something like Simunitions. I can’t say I blame them for using non-lethal ammo in such an environment.

    The show was meant to be entertainment and likely a simulated competition. I’m sure many of the challenges were shot several times and heavily scripted. None of the “reality tv” programming I’ve seen coming out of Hollywood is “real”.

    This is the primary reason I’ve not watched too much “reality television”. I don’t find it to be interesting.

    • Actually it would be a scandal if they were using live ammo on a working dock lol
      I totally agree. On the range live is fine, but given the fact you have cast and crew all over the place, and tactical setting like the ship, it makes a lot more sense to use simunitions.

    • agreed on the use of simunitions, i watched all the episodes closely during the simulated missions and saw the blue bolt carriers on the rifles. however, when they where on the rifle/pistol range, i think the ammo was live. and yes the show was over-produced, but seeing as how this was on a major network where firearms are normally demonized, i wouldn’t mind seeing more of the same. i also thought they did a great job with honoring servicemen, it was something that was constantly reiterated.

  2. it’s entertainment. that’s all. i don’t hold clint eastwood or bruce willis to a high standard of gun safety in their movies. why should this tripe be any different?

  3. Didn’t host Wesley Clark say something about only people enrolled in the military should get to use military-style weapons? I guess his short list of “allowables” was expanded a bit to include celebrities…

    • Next season I want the three Brits to earn their stripes!! Hammond can’t handle much recoil, and I have to question May’s ability to do anything martial, but I’m sure the bombastic Clarkson will find some way to lose and blame it on the gun.

  4. If you look closely you could also see the rounds exiting the barrel. As soon as I saw the challenge, I began to question how they could pull it off. Simunition is the only way to do it safely in that environment.

  5. It looked to me like the targets on the ship were the Laserlyte type targets that detect hits by lasers. It would be easy to rig the electronics to set off the little pyrotechnics they had once a hit was detected. Though that wouldn’t explain why Dean Cain had to reload…

  6. How about the “pro” in the picture not wearing eye protection as he sits his face right in the path of ejected shell casings?

  7. I think the real scandal is how Dean Cain was matched against two awesome women, Picaboo Street and Eve Torres, who pretty much mopped the floor with his performance… LOL. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance.

    My wife, who normally abhors all things weapons related (guns, swords, even kitchen knives… sheesh) was impressed to see women do “guy stuff” like shooting a pistol. yeah it’s Hollywood flash and faux-drama, but the show was good PR for firearms as tools, not evil, demon-possessed objects of random disaster.

    More than anything, I appreciate the respect shown to the veterans (AKA “the ops) and that every celebrity was representing a legitimate charity. 100k to no small amount in these lean times, and it’ll be going to benefit our servicemen and servicewomen (+ their families). I can tolerate a bit of Hollywood cheese in light of that noble purpose.

  8. i noticed this in episode 2. they were shooting at targets and missing, but the backdrop which was loose dirt would give a puff of dirt. also you would hear a ban and see recoil, yet no strike on the target, but a 1/2 second later theres an explosion. if it were tannerite it would have been instantaneous.


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