Hollywood Useless

I remember once watching a movie where the bad guy screwed a silencer on to the muzzle of his revolver (!) and how people looked at me like I was the crazy one, when I burst out laughing during what was supposed to be a suspenseful scene.

All my Loyal Readers will know why I was laughing, of course, because we are all familiar with the term and concept of “cylinder-gap flash”.

I was reminded of the episode when I saw this GIF over at Kenny’s place:

Note the initial size of the gas explosion at the cylinder gap…


  1. I laugh when I hear a certain @$$ whole Hollywood actor say he COCK’d the hammer as far back as it would go without locking the hammer back, and that the hammer fell WITHOUT him pulling the trigger and BANG – unintended discharge. Dumber than a pile of rocks these Hollywood types are.

    Honorable mention of Hollywood stupidity – the semi auto’s in many movies have unlimited rounds in the magazine.

    1. Coffee Man,
      it annoys me that when the hollyweird actor wants to get serious in the script they rack the pump shotgun, semi auto handgun or pull the hammer back on a double action revolver and in the case of the pump shotgun or semi auto handgun, no cartridge gets ejected.


      1. Saw one just last week where the hero is holding his shotty on someone, decides not to waste that particular “old friend” and then when a couple of others show up he racks a round in to kill em.

        No ejection.

        And we can assume he really wasn’t going to shot the first guy even though he didn’t know he was an old war buddy?

        How did he live long enough up to that point to have an old war buddy?

  2. A really interesting question. What does a suppressor actually do on a revolver? Does it do nothing useful at all? Does it make the cylinder gap flash actually louder? brighter? Does it make the thing even a little bit quieter overall? Time to hit the primary sources … wikipedia and the internet … he said with a wink.

    On a slightly different note, I do recall one movie recently that actually tried to get the sound of a suppressed gun right. You could tell the sound effect guys were trying for the noise of the action. It’s rare they even try.

  3. I recently saw that in an old movie on TCM; one of their noir offerings.

    DW and I were watching, she was snoozing on the couch and was awakened by my mockery of the scene. Looked like a .38 with a six inch ‘silencer’ on it.

  4. Anyone who doesn’t understand that can get an olde tyme black powder cap and ball pistol and load er up (8 minutes later…..tick tock, tick tock, the injuns will wait)

    Then make the mistake of not greasing the cylinders over the lead ball after you’ve packed in your powder and ball.

    Doesn’t take much powder and a ball that isn’t seated so as to cover the powder charge behind it, and bang, you have a gang fire on, what’s left, of your hand.

    That video demonstration is a much kinder way of proving the point.

  5. “The Killers”, 1964 version, Lee Marvin and a cast of stars including Ronald Reagan (as the heavy, if I remember right). Marvin has a huge can on the barrel of his revolver. So does his sidekick, Clu Gulager I think. Maybe someone with more revolver knowledge than I have can Google images and tell me what kind of revolver Lee is using?

  6. The Mythbusters did an episode on this. The question was would the gap flash rip off a finger if you had it over the gap. The final verdict was plausible, but they did rip off a substitute finger with a S&W .500.

    1. 30-some-odd years ago, Dad and I were at one of the local gun ranges. I think it was when he’d just bought a S&W 686 (IIRC) and wanted to take it for a spin. He brought along a section or two from the day’s newspaper to show me what the gap flash would do, as I think the only other revolver he had at the time was a Ruger Bearcat… .357 Magnum’s a big step up from .22. 🙂 Load up, aim downrange, drape the paper over the gun like a tent, and fire.

      The gap flash shredded the paper rather impressively.

      I’d rather not find out what effect that blast would have on my fingers, especially since my revolver sends .44 Magnum pew-pews downrange. 🙂

  7. Came here to see if anyone mentioned the Nagant M1895 revovler. The cylinder moves forward as the hammer is cocked, sealing the space between the barrel and the chambered round to squeeze out a tiny bit more pressure. But it seals the cylinder gap, so it can use a suppressor. Only seen it used once in film as a supressed revovler, and that was on AMC’s “Preacher.”

  8. I haven’t gotten to the point of laughing out loud when James Darren screws the lawnmower muffler onto his pistol in The Guns of Navarone, causing it to emit a sound like a dying nonagenarian’s death cough, but I get closer with each passing year.

    1. Andy,
      cool link. Thank you. what’s the story behind range365? I can’t find anything about it. Thank you


      1. No idea. I knew that the Tunnel Rats had used (or tried to use) a suppressed revolver, I googled around and found that link with good info.

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