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Author Topic: How to hold a gun  (Read 527 times)

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Kuildeous

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How to hold a gun
« on: July 19, 2017, 07:27:18 am »
+1

Theatre help: Seeking tips on how to portray a homeowner who owns a handgun. Need advice for how he would carry himself when a) approaching his door where someone is screaming for help and b) talking with someone who isn't threatening while still holding the gun.
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Kuildeous

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 08:01:35 am »
+1

As an added challenge, I'll be holding a baseball bat in my other hand. There are a couple of moments where I need a free hand, so I tuck the bat up under my arm, but mostly I won't have a free hand.
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Awaclus

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 08:17:07 am »
+3

If it was me holding the gun in those situations, I would always point the gun at the floor/ground but nowhere near my own feet and keep my finger off the trigger at all times (assuming the guy never actually shoots). I think this much should be pretty obvious to any gun owner to the extent that they do it automatically without even having to think about it, even under stress. I guess it's pretty standard in fiction for people to point guns at other people in order to intimidate them even when they're not planning to actually shoot because it looks very dramatic, but it's worth keeping in mind that a really small mistake on the part of the gun owner or just the gun malfunctioning in some rare cases could kill someone, so people are more reluctant to do that IRL than you might think. 

In scenario a), I would remove the safety and load the gun before opening the door, and turn the gun where I'm turning my head so that I'm ready to react to anything I see (but still keep it pointed at the floor). Depending on the environment and what I expected to face, I might crouch or crawl but that's probably not necessary since I would have to reveal my being there by opening the door anyway and I would be a trivial-to-hit target at such a close range even if I made myself a little smaller that way. In scenario b), which presumably comes immediately after scenario a), I would turn the safety back on and stop worrying about whether I look in the direction where I'm pointing the gun, but still make sure I'm pointing it at the floor and not at anyone's feet. If I was running or otherwise not able to control the gun as well as I would like, I would turn the safety on for as long as that continued to be the case.

I don't know much about the shooting stance and hand positioning and such for handguns though, I've only ever shot assault rifles and anti-tank rockets and a heavy machine gun.

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 08:20:02 am »
+1

put it in your mouth and keep your tongue on the trigger
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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 09:31:03 am »
+5

To properly utilize either the baseball bat or a hand gun as a weapon you really want to use two hands. Holding a baseball bat and the gun at the same time really just reduces the effectiveness of both items. Do you need the threat of using the gun or will the scene require you to shoot? If you are able to, I would consider holstering the gun and holding just the bat with two hands. Or keeping the bat in arms reach and holding the gun with two hands.

Either way you will want to be standing in any athletic pose, one foot slightly in front of the other with your knees bent. Which foot is in front will depend on your dominant arm/eye. As you approach the door, you will want to maintain this pose, always ready to react/engage a target.
 You would never approach the door too quickly or erratically, but in a controlled, "smooth" way. In situation B I would definitely holster the weapon if possible, otherwise just keep both hands on the gun pointed away from people.
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Kuildeous

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 09:50:43 am »
+1

Pretty solid. Thanks. Especially about the athletic pose. I've been delivering the lines without having the actual props, so I can already see some changes that need to be made, especially when I have the props in hand.

I really wish the playwright didn't have the character hold a gun and a bat. It makes sense that either one would require both hands, and this would be so awkward.

Holstering the gun makes sense, and the script calls for a gun belt, but I'm not sure he would have a gun belt over his pajamas. I suppose it could go in the pocket of his robe, as long as the safety is on. Fortunately, the gun gets lost when I leave the stage, but there's a lot of dialogue before that happens, including handing someone a handkerchief and starting for the phone.

I feel like this could have all been done easily without involving a gun, but it's not my script. There are no shots fired. The situation is that he lives in a bad neighborhood (in his mind; he's a bit racist), so he's afraid that the cry for help is a trick to get him to open the door. Once he does open the door, he's a bit startled at how desperately the victim rushes into the room but otherwise realizes that she's not a threat. The director suggested briefly that he could put the gun down on the table, but we concluded that if he's still uncertain about her intentions, he wouldn't leave her near a loaded gun.
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DG

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 10:22:11 am »
0

See if the script creates tension from your character almost shooting the innocent victim. If that's the intent then you'll need to be pointing the gun at her even if it's not entirely realistic.
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Dylan32

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 05:11:19 pm »
+3

If a person were to be opening a door expecting a trap like that and someone bursted through the door like that, they would almost certainly at least have the gun pointed at the person no matter who they are; if the person has any amount of training, their reactions would probably take over and end up shooting the person.  So at the very least, that tension of him almost but not shooting probably should be there if the goal is for any realism in his actions.  But I would also agree that I don't know of any reason anyone would ever grab both weapons like e pointed out.

To add to what Awaclus described, when walking and looking around, the arm with the gun should be bent up where it is in front of your chest with the barrel pointed at the ground in front of you (finger off the trigger, extended along the side of the barrel), so that when you aim, you aren't having to raise your arm from your side, but rather are just extending it straight in a line away from your body to the target like the gentleman in the picture, except the off hand will be holding a bat I guess.

When/if you aim, hold the gun with your wrist at a slight natural angle inward, like between 20-35 degrees from straight verticle.  Some might not do this or have likely never heard of this, but that is a more natural position to be able to lock your wrist in place to control the recoil better when having to shoot 1 handed.  This is a slight detail that probably 99% of people wouldn't catch in a movie though, because as long as your stance and basic gun safety is good, even most gun enthusiasts wouldn't pay that much attention to details like that in a movie.

Most importantly though, just don't hold it horizontally movie gangster style.  It's just wrong.

(link above is to a random concealed carry training website that just so happens to have the best pic of what I was describing that I could find)

edit: typo
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 05:12:40 pm by Dylan32 »
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Kuildeous

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2017, 08:35:05 am »
0

I also took into consideration that when armed with a gun and a bat, the person would be likely to fire the gun when surprised by someone running in. The play has some good emotional bits in it, but I'm thinking the author has no idea how to deal with a potential home invasion. I couldn't believe it when I read that the script called for holding a bat and a gun.

Our next rehearsal is Saturday, but I pitched the idea that the character only has the bat. He mentions the gun when yelling at the person outside to leave. We're going to try it a couple of rehearsals where my character has no gun but is desperate to scare her. The rest of the cast agreed with my idea, and it also maintains the integrity of the script since we're still saying exactly what was written.

But yeah, if this playwright is still open to ideas, I'd tell him to ditch the gun. The bat is actually referenced again later, so that has to stay.

Thanks for all your advice. It validated my discomfort with how this scene was written.
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Witherweaver

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2017, 08:52:34 am »
0

I think the relevant question is whether the individual has training (like, has gone to a gun range).  Most gun owners would, I think.  Though writers like to have characters be a little excessive in their traits.. so if they're unprepared, then they're super unprepared.

If the owner had any kind of training, he'd hold the gun correctly (two hands) and eschew the bat.

Edit: A slight relevant thing.. when holding with two hands, you don't wrap your thumbs around each other. (The hammer (or whatever) can tear the skin when it recoils.) Rather, your dominant hand would be on top, it's thumb wrapped around the handle, and the other hand would fall below it (so it's thumb is lying under/aside the dominant one).

Well, that's what I learned from my one (really unenjoyable) trip to a gun range.

Another aside: I really don't like guns.  I've never touched one before I ended up at this thing with a group of people.  Everything about it felt wrong.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 08:56:17 am by Witherweaver »
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Awaclus

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2017, 09:20:55 am »
+1

Another aside: I really don't like guns.  I've never touched one before I ended up at this thing with a group of people.  Everything about it felt wrong.

That's really strange.

Kuildeous

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2017, 09:53:12 am »
+1

I also have a friend's cop son willing to watch me and coach me, so that'll be good.

I had considered that the character could simply be clueless enough to not handle a gun properly, but that isn't really covered in the script. It's a short play, so there's not much of our 10 minutes that we can dedicate to me fumbling about with a weapon that isn't the focus of the main story.

Also, I want to portray this correctly because a) I don't want the audience to lose focus by noticing how terrible the character is at guns and b) I don't want to promote any bad habits; movies do a great enough job of portraying guns incorrectly. I may not be a gun user, but I'm all for gun safety. I can forgive movies for silly things like noiseless silencers and unlimited ammo, but I don't like it when movies promote unsafe usage, like horizontal guns or especially two-gun shooting (I'm looking at you, Boondock Saints).
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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2017, 10:10:31 am »
0

(I'm looking at you, Boondock Saints).

What?  Boondock Saints was completely realistic and totally safe in all gun usage.  Haha
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Witherweaver

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2017, 10:38:25 am »
0

(I'm looking at you, Boondock Saints).

What?  Boondock Saints was completely realistic and totally safe in all gun usage.  Haha

Not for those guys in the penthouse.
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pingpongsam

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2017, 12:41:44 pm »
+1

I would never try to arm myself with both a gun and a bat. Given the choice I will take the gun, although having the bat as a backup lying around is still good.

Finger out of trigger guard is the most important bit if you ask me. Depends on context but assuming I sensed an immediate threat to life I would not have the gun pointed at the floor but leveled and ready to fire. Lots of context missing but in a home invasion scenario I'd likely try work with some concealment behind doorways and probably be crouched down to present the smallest target without impeding on my own ability to make effective shots. If I were just investigating a noise I'd likely have the gun holstered or carried as Awaclus outlined.

If we actually get to the shooting, controlled bursts of 2 to 3 shots until the threat is eliminated. I would want to assess between shots how many attackers there were and their positions and change up as needed. I'd rather meet them with plenty of room to retreat so that I could seek cover as needed and force them to follow a path more familiar to me and preferably create a line instead of a flanking situation. I will shoot to kill and if I am aiming a gun at you then I am going to shoot it, no threats beforehand.

If I had not yet seen the threat I might announce that I had a gun and if I do see you I am going to shoot. I think in such a situation as described above I would probably be more inclined to shoot more than "necessary" to insure death if for no other reason than to make sure my story is the only story when the cops do arrive. I also think this can easily happen instinctually which is a good reason to use a high capacity handgun and have extra magazines nearby.

In practically all gun fights the vast majority of bullets are misses. In most cases are there are multiple rounds in the ground in front of the shooter as he began firing as he raised his weapon. I'm not sure how realistic you want to make this thing. One shot one kill calm, cool, collected mr macho and I'm not deaf from firing indoors or psychologically distraught from taking a human life is pure hollywood bullshit.
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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2017, 12:44:35 pm »
0

Final thought, my home defense weapon is a 12ga shotgun with a lighted fore end. Highly recommended over a handgun for practically every application but especially in close quarters multiple assailant situations.
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Awaclus

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2017, 01:35:51 pm »
0

I would never try to arm myself with both a gun and a bat. Given the choice I will take the gun, although having the bat as a backup lying around is still good.

Finger out of trigger guard is the most important bit if you ask me. Depends on context but assuming I sensed an immediate threat to life I would not have the gun pointed at the floor but leveled and ready to fire. Lots of context missing but in a home invasion scenario I'd likely try work with some concealment behind doorways and probably be crouched down to present the smallest target without impeding on my own ability to make effective shots. If I were just investigating a noise I'd likely have the gun holstered or carried as Awaclus outlined.

I really wouldn't not point the gun at the floor unless I knew for certain that I wanted to kill everyone that could possibly be behind that door. At such a short distance, you don't need to aim through the sights to hit a human-sized target, so even with the gun pointed towards the floor it takes you longer to react than it does to aim and pull the trigger a couple of times.

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2017, 01:43:44 pm »
+2

Mostly agreed. As I said, I'd have to perceive immediate threat to life. But the reason is...
In practically all gun fights the vast majority of bullets are misses. In most cases are there are multiple rounds in the ground in front of the shooter as he began firing as he raised his weapon.
While I do use sights on the range when I am shooting unfamiliar or target specific weapons, for carry and home defense weapons I train to shoot without sighting (point shooting). While I may not be able to make ragged holes in paper with this method I can reliably hit 8" circles from any meaningful distance. I train these methods after sprinting to get used to increased heart rate, sweaty hands, and rapid breathing. I also train loading an empty weapon under duress and racking out dead rounds using dummy rounds to simulate jams.
I get an immense amount of enjoyment training with guns but the truth is if there is ever a life and death, clutch situation my body's base level programming will take over and muscle memory will be all that I have to work with.
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Kuildeous

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2017, 01:30:49 pm »
+11

In case anyone is interested in the outcome of this play. We managed to change the blocking while keeping the script intact (this is generally a big deal in theatre).

We decided on having my character come out with a bat. He's yelling through the door for the person to get off his property. He yells that he has a gun, but I was able to convey the tone where he was fumbling around to find some way to intimidate the person.

So no awkward one-handed holding of a gun and a bat. No unlikely scenarios of the gun not firing when someone rushes into the house. No bad gun habits being portrayed on stage.

All in all, I feel we were successful, even though the playwright didn't know how to handle home invasion scenarios.
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pingpongsam

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2017, 01:48:27 pm »
0

Nice!
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Asper

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2017, 11:12:47 am »
+3

When I suspect somebody to break into my house, I always hold a gun in one hand, a baseball bat in another, and a sword between my teeth. More weapons = more safety.

Kuildeous

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2017, 11:35:10 am »
+1

When I suspect somebody to break into my house, I always hold a gun in one hand, a baseball bat in another, and a sword between my teeth. More weapons = more safety.

UR HOUS IS THE SAFFEST!
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Awaclus

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2017, 11:39:21 am »
+3

When I suspect somebody to break into my house, I always hold a gun in one hand, a baseball bat in another, and a sword between my teeth. More weapons = more safety.

How about holding a grenade in one of your feet? It might get inconvenient to throw it if you have the safety on though so you should remove the safety so that you can just throw it whenever you want. That way you'll surely be safe!

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Re: How to hold a gun
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2017, 04:34:17 pm »
+3

When I suspect somebody to break into my house, I always hold a gun in one hand, a baseball bat in another, and a sword between my teeth. More weapons = more safety.

How about holding a grenade in one of your feet? It might get inconvenient to throw it if you have the safety on though so you should remove the safety so that you can just throw it whenever you want. That way you'll surely be safe!

I wear the granades at a belt around my waist. There's also a whip around my neck, some ninja stars under my left armpit, a chainsaw under my right. When I sleep however, I always wear one shoe with steel caps and another with a small poisoned knive in it.
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