Recently I was reading Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics (2007) and came across this passage from Chapter 2 “Movie Maker Mathematics–How Hollywood Shoots from the Hip.”
Getting Gunfights Right:
“Some movie makers do get gunfight scenes right, as in, for example, Black Hawk Down. The movie depicts 123 elite US soldiers fighting a desperate battle in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3rd, 1993, on a mission to capture a renegade warlord’s key associates. In realistic manner the characters rarely fire anything from the hip, even when firing fully automatic weapons. Large machine guns are actually reloaded and tend to be fired in short bursts lasting no more than a few seconds at most.
One scene lends an unusual touch of realism when the hot, empty cartridges eject from a rapid firing minigun in an overhead helicopter shower down on a hapless soldier, giving him minor burns. These weapons look like old fashioned, hand cranked multi-barreled Gatling guns, but that’s as far as the comparison goes. Unlike Gatling guns, miniguns are rotated at high speed by an electric motor, which gives them an incredible firing rate. Their multiple barrels are needed to keep them from melting. Even at that, empty cartridge cases ejected from them are too hot to touch.
[For the most part ed] Movie makers are intelligent, talented, and well funded. They can hire a busload of top experts for the price of a single supporting actor, but it does little good unless the experts are granted some power. In Black Hawk Down, the moviemakers didn’t just pay experts, they paid attention to them.”
Such recognition by a book dedicated to exposing Hollywood’s “best mistakes, goofs and flat out destruction of the basic laws of the universe” only adds to the pageantry of Black Hawk Down.