The gun conversation

Those of you who have played shooting games for over a decade, considering them as a favorite genre; PRIOR to becoming a gamer, had you ever held a real firearm? (rifle, shotgun, handgun?) If your answer is honestly “No but [you] have used one sometime after getting into gaming”…personally would you say that games have had any effect on you or how you use/want to use A firearm? Do you feel encouraged at all to use guns because of gameplay, as if to re-enact the game OR would you agree that having never held a firearm until later perhaps better educated you, inadvertently through quality games.

  • Can you tell the difference between fire modes? ([Full] Auto/ semi-auto / burst fire, without looking up references) Those who are newer than a decade to gaming pls answer honestly too; Do you know what “Machine Guns” or “Assault Rifles” are?
  • Can you explain (even just brief) what the difference is between a Rifle and a handgun/pistol/revolver or Shotgun? Furthermore if you can, surely you can explain which is more for hunting and which is more for personal protection (and which is best for home too even, right?
  • When you held a real gun for the first time, did you think at all that it would / wouldn’t be the same as in video games you play? (Pls honest only)

I’d really like to know what other gamers experience… as I believe gaming could be even more useful for education and lead to more real-world innovations thanks to video games than we comprehend at this time. Please if you can, be thorough and honest when answering… Thanks

I honestly think of guns as a more fictional item than anything. I live in the UK so pretty much have no access to guns (though I grew up in a rural community so I’ve seen them used for hunting). Guns are exclusively in entertainment for me and after playing years of shooter video games I still have no urge to use a gun ever really. I wouldn’t say no to using a gun in a controlled/safe environment but it’s not something I’ll ever seek out


No. Not at all. For what even? I could only imagine to use it for sports. And I hate sports. :yum:
But I imagine playing shooters would make it easier to use them irl. But this will stay a guess I guess.


I have a pretty extensive knowledge of firearms prior to playing shooter games (because I’m a super secret SAS trooper :shushing_face:), so I’m probably not the best person to ask, but I thought I might make for a useful control group in your study :slight_smile:

My experience is with handguns (semi-automatic pistols), assault rifles (including carbines), submachine guns, sniper rifles (bolt-action and magazine-fed) and some limited experience with civilian shotguns. I appreciate firing them, but also understanding them on a mechanical level. If any of you read my work, you’ll find that I go into so much detail on my guns, that it’s almost pornographic :smile: I even design firearms!
Video games don’t always accurately depict the recoil of guns (nor the appropriate use of selective fire), but I’ve always found the sound effects to be accurate, even as far back as PS1 games. Kalashnikovs, M4s, Berettas, they all sound correct - even the reloading sounds!
Video games work well to depict firing rates for most assault rifles, but give players usually large clips to compensate. For example, you can chew through a whole clip in an AK47 in about five seconds. Shotguns are always depicted as having super short range (to balance out their power, in gameplay), but as @TheContractor probably knows, the sporting varieties can hit a disk from 50m away.
With the current technology, video games can prepare you for the look, function and sound of a gun. But not the feel. Nothing can prepare you for when the recoil punches you in the shoulder, or for how heavy the firearm is. That’s something that comes with experience. A user with years of experience firing a particular weapon can fire, reload and field strip their gun blindfolded (not advisable!).
Video games also never educate you on dealing with malfunctions, or teach you gun safety. That’s probably because a lot of shooters are frenzied ‘shoot-em-up’ style war games, so it wouldn’t be cool to go “Okay so where do we put our hands to avoid exhaust gas?”

I’m all for realism in video games, but we have to weigh up the possibility that having them too accurate could be teaching people how to use guns. If it’s done safely and for the purposes of self-defense, then great. But not if it’s teaching you to fire a grenade launcher or an RPG.
I hope this helps provide a contrast to the answers given by people who have fired guns after playing shooter games; or maybe a correlation! Either way, I want to go to the range now :grin:


I’m not sure where you’re going with the idea that games could be useful for education related to gunhandling. Why should they be?

I played all kinds of shooters for years and had no idea of how real guns work for the longest time of that (and gaming did not spark any interested in real guns either).
Now that I have some years of real gun use experience, I even think playing shooting games is detrimental to understanding how real guns work, at least in terms of handling. That’s okay, as I’m playing for fun and competition, and not to learn real life gun handling.
Just look at game guns. They have stats that are important for the game, but these are 99% unrelated to how a real counterpart would handle (talking about bullet spread/dmg per shot…/reloading). Also attachments and stuff that seems cool and important ingame turns out impractical in reality and vice versa. Even “realism milsims” might portray squad tactics and stuff, but no way do they teach how to use a gun properly.

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Nah, the hunters have to get right up behind the pheasants before they pull the trigger, and if they’re feeling extra lucky they’ll go for a 360° no scope :wink:

But yeah it never occurred to me how different film shotguns and the few real life ones I’ve seen are :thinking: I just kind of accepted them in the fiction :man_shrugging:

“Press Square to Reload” is something I wouldn’t mind having in real life haha :slight_smile:
Do you play shooters differently after learning to use the firearms? Unless I’m covering someone with suppressive fire, I never use full auto (I’m almost always 3-round burst. Going 100% full auto just feels alien to me).

Add them to their montage :smile: I’m not an expert on shotguns, but I do know video games drastically reduce their range to make them more fair. Anyone caught crossing through a farmer’s field knows that shotguns have got range!


Oh yeah I wouldn’t mind that either :smiley:

Not really, gaming and hunting/shooting clays are almost 100% separated hobbies for me. Like you, I despise the full auto mode, but in some games it is still the best choice, so I don’t mind it there (R6 Siege is one I remember having full auto on ARs and SMGs always).
I do prefer and enjoy realistic models and appearances more now in games though.

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I have hold real guns, namely a Mossberg 500, a couple of .38 Special revolvers, a Browning HP, a Luger and a .32 ACP pistol wich name I can’t remember. Still, only shot the Mossberg myself but got to see the others in action and it was a pretty fun experience.

About the videogames, unless it’s a pretty good and serious simulator, most of them nare unrealistic in their ways to handle firearms. Still, there are many good enough examples on what to expect from shooting or at least give a pretty general idea.

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The situation here is almost like with driving in video games. If you want to drive in real life, you should learn about this more than just videogames


I highlighted a key point which you mentioned and thank you for bringing it up :slight_smile:
There is one game that comes to mind that I adored back as a teenager called “America’s Army” which you’ve likely heard of the reboot since then which is TRASH in comparison but the 2002 “AA” was the most perfect firearm-simulator video game (it focused on all military realism aspects; having the player actually go through a boot camp training simulation to be authorized to even access & use each weapon class in multiplayer, so if you wanted to Snipe, you had to QUALIFY on the long range course and all its realism mechanics… If you wanted to use a SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon aka Rambo’s iconic gun lol) you had to also separately qualify on that range/weaponry or else u couldn’t use them in multiplayer. I think I recall even having to qualify with an M4 (standard US military weapon) before even able to play Multiplayer. I could go on regarding just that fact you had QUALIFY via simulated training PER CLASS with mechanics that felt so well balanced being a game; actually having the player deal with well coded random jams, overheating, recoil… Of course like I said it’s a game but balanced, so the only thing it couldn’t simulate weight distribution (and no game ever should) more than affecting player speed w/ larger, heavier weapon classes. Aside from weight, [I hope] no game tech is currently at the point to even try to implement bullet physics any more realistic than games like portrayed in America’s Army, Battlefield, and PUBG. I hope and assume these games and such have devs who do have at least looked up how the weapons (they create in their games) truly function; hands-on research is obviously what I/we kinda expect or hope for though. Hitman even could be considered as such game, just not as extensive in weapon simulation as it is stealth oriented. Then there’s ones like CoD, prior to latest launch has had realistic sounds and default visual art as it’s most accurate aspects of realism depicted but not more than that… But it suits its gameplay style it (was) going for. (I’m a BF & Hitman guy lol)

I see no practical/reasonable application for games to be 100% accurately simulated. After all its a game and we play them because it’s not real. That’s the whole point - to do things that don’t affect real life but can experience for the almost precise emotional stimulation as good action films. Which if I wanted to push into politics more I’d go on about how much more UNREALISTIC (yet more popular than games) films can portray gun scenes; movies almost always show standard handguns but apparently never have to reload except every 50-100 shots (from the same gun lol). Games however don’t exaggerate very frequently on weapons that actually exist.

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