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Good, Bizarre, and Bad Tactical Reloads in Movies

Friday, May 20th, 2022

Hollywood gets a lot wrong in regards to guns. So much so that we give them a ton of credit when they get it right. Today we are looking at tactical reloads in movies and TV shows. I started looking for good examples of reloads, but then I got deep into the subject and found some very bizarre examples of reloads and some examples of the lack of reloading that are hilarious.

I’m betting most people expect to see John Wick on this list regarding reloads. Yep, lots of great reloads, but I’m making an exception and leaving John Wick off because I could complete the entire best reloads portions with the three John Wick films. So let’s take a peek at the Hollywood Reload and the good, the bad, and the bizarre.

The Best Hollywood Reloads

Tactical Reload from Heat

The bank robbery escape firefight in Heat is legendary. It’s huge, with loud and brutal gunfire, and full of good tactics that might be dated today. However, Michael Mann always does firearms and tactics well, including accurate magazine sizes and appropriate reloads. In Heat, we see one of the best reloads come from Val Kilmer.

Tactical reload from Heat

Amid a gunfight with the police, ole Val runs dry with his Colt 733. Not only does he reload quickly and efficiently, but he does so smartly. First, he takes cover behind a vehicle, and on the way to his knee, he manually strips the magazine from the gun. Then, he grabs a spare, jams it in, hits the bolt release, and keeps on rocking and rolling.

According to internet rumors, this tactical reload was shown at Army/Marine Corps boot camp, but I never saw it at boot camp. Even so, it’s an impressive reload, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s used as an example of a speed reload.

Tactical Reload from Wind River

I took way too long to watch Wind River. But, holy crap, is it a great movie and a solid modern western. The film stars Elizabeth Olsen as a rookie FBI Agent paired with a professional tracker investigating the death of a Native American woman. It’s not an action flick, but the action scenes are well done. The movie is very not Hollywood. It’s not all dolled up and clean, and that reflects in several scenes. One of these scenes is a tactical reload committed by Olsen.

Wind River fight

Hot damn, being maced and in a gunfight would suck

She’s just been maced, and she charges headfirst, by herself, into a run-down trailer with multiple potential threats. Her vision is crap, and the film shows it, yet she charges forward, Glock at the ready. She uses cover, moves carefully, and even keeps her distance from cover. When someone takes a shot at her, she empties her magazine into the guy.

Tactical reload by Elizabeth Olsen

Olsen does a great job with her tactical reload

On the move, she reloads. It’s not super fast or sexy like a Wick film, but it’s pretty realistic. She’s a rookie agent, and most FBI agents aren’t gunfighters. She just got maced and shot at, and adrenaline is jacked. Her reload isn’t a time setting best, but it’s competent and realistic for the scene.

Tactical Reload from Wonder Woman

Yep Wonder Woman, the 2017 film, has a little gunplay. Our titular character doesn’t sling guns and prefers a sword and shield. However, her compatriots are soldiers, and her love interest, pilot, commando guy Steve Trevor carries the legendary Winchester 1897 Trench Gun. A weapon made famous and downright legendary by its use in the trenches of World War 1.

Tactical reload in Wonder Woman

Running a shotgun dry would suck, but knowing how to reload makes things easier

Shotguns require constant reloading, and admittedly the movie doesn’t show much reloading, but it also doesn’t show the trench gun dropping two dozen rounds without reloading. In a scene, Trevor runs his gun dry, and the enemy is fast approaching. With an empty shotgun in hand, what does he do?

Winchester 1897 Tactical Reload

Trench guns are too cool

He slams a 12 gauge round into the port, runs the action forward, and deals with the situation. This is maybe the second port reload I’ve ever seen in a film, with John Wick 2 having a notable port reload.

The Bizarre

Terminator 2 – The T-1000 Multitasks

I don’t know anything about piloting a helicopter, but I know a thing or two about reloading a gun. The T-1000 knows how to fly a chopper and reload and do so simultaneously. In the scene, he chases Sarah Connor and company in the helicopter, and he fires an MP5K through the windshield.

Terminator T 1000 Tactical reload

Multitasking is a lot easier when you can grow extra arms

When the gun runs dry, he reloads. It takes two hands to fly a chopper and two hands to reload. So what does he do? He grows extra arms to both fly the chopper and handles the gun. The T-1000 has hands down the coolest of the movie reloads.

Tomb Raider – Akimbo Done Right

Wielding two guns simultaneously is a prevalent movie trope and part of the Tomb Raider Legacy. Laura Croft has always been a two-gun gal, and the films reflect that with the HK USP Match pistols. However, the film also solves a problem long plagued by dual wielders…how do you reload?

Tactical reload Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider figured out how to reload akimbo guns

You need to drop one gun, reload the other, then rinse and repeat. Laura has two magazines installed on each side of the belt, facing forward, allowing her to slam the guns downward onto the belt to reload. It’s an efficient solution to a real problem.

Mad Max Needs a Friend

Mad Max Fury Road is one of my all-time favorite action flicks. In an early part of the film, Mad Max tangles with Furiousa. They get into a nasty, all-out brawl, and it’s one of the best. It involves Max chained to a War Boy as he brawls it out. Then, Furiousa frees a Glock 17, and they tangle over it.

Mad Max Glock

Everyone needs a friend sometimes

The magazine gets ejected, and the round in the chamber gets fired into the air. They fight, the War boy recovers the mag, and Max gets the gun. They dive together, and the War Boy holds the magazine as Max slams the weapon on it. Finally, he racks the weapon by slamming the sights against his belt or boot and fires a warning shot. This ends the fight, and they all become friends.

The Bad (The Lack of Reloads)

The Walking Dead Infinite Ammo Hack

In season 2 of the Walking Dead, Hershel carries a magical pump shotgun. As the zombies approach, he calmly stands his ground and fires what feels like 50 rounds of 12 gauge. Even when he’s not on the screen, we can hear the gun firing. He doesn’t even look stressed, and recoil isn’t an issue as he gently pumps the action and pulls the trigger. Reloads? Herschel needs no reloads.

Hershel shotgun

Hershel’s magical shotgun doesn’t need to reload


Is Commando the ultimate 80’s action flick? It sure feels that way. Like all great 80’s action flicks, our hero is shirtless, muscle-bound, and firing an M60 from the hip. He doesn’t need to reload in this scene because his ammo belt continually grows between shots. It’s an impressive feature, and Arnold makes it work.

Rambo Machine Gun

Arnold’s belt of ammo is like his biceps… constantly growing

21 Bridges

21 Bridges is the other Russo Brothers movie with Chadwick Boseman where no one is a superhero. In the film, two thugs rob a cocaine stash, shoot some cops, and everything goes to hell. Those two bad guys with SMGs seemingly firing hundreds of rounds without reloading. It’ gets absurd for a movie that takes itself so seriously. The Scorpion and Micro Uzi Pro are cool.

21 Bridges no tactical reload

No reloads, but hundreds of rounds fired in full auto

Tactical Reload It

Hollywood might not get it right often, but it’s worth mentioning when they do. When they don’t get it right, I can at least appreciate the creativity they use. When they get it wrong, it’s a great way to get dragged out of the movie. These are just a few of my favorites. What are yours? Share below.

About The Author:

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner, a lifelong firearms enthusiast, and now a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor. is the world’s Okayest firearm instructor, and a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

Travis Pike

First Spear Media Range Day

Monday, January 14th, 2013

First Spear, along with Renegade Armor, Wilcox, and Aimpoint, sponsored a media range day at the Las Vegas metropolitan police department firing range. Three ranges were set up, with the first two featuring rifles by H&K and LMT, and pistols by Nighthawk Custom and SIG Sauer. The third range featured something a bit more exotic: rifles by FERFRANS, who are known for their Delayed Sear Activation System. This system made the 7.5″ 5.56 SCW PDW very controllable when fired in full-auto. It’s also very likely this system was responsible for reducing the felt recoil of the 7.62 SOACR near 5.56 levels. Wilcox also had demonstrations of their breaching torch technology; seeing the torch used to melt through rebar as quickly as it did was impressive. Overall, it was a great media day that offered the chance to try out some truly fantastic firearms.

FPSRussia’s Manager Found Dead

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Keith Ratliff, manager of Kyle Myers AKA Dmitri Potapoff of FPSRussia, was found dead yesterday with a single gunshot to the head. Although currently being treated as a homicide, the details surrounding Ratliff’s death are being investigated. Besides being FPSRussia’s manager, Keith Ratliff also held the FFL that allowed the popular YouTube personality access to the firearms he used in his videos.

Hat Tip: http://libertyandsuch.com/manager-of-fpsrussia-found-murdered/

The Stopped Dead – A ‘The Walking Dead’ Infographic

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Richard Johnson and Andrew Barr of ‘The National Post’ created this infographic that details all the on-screen carnage against zombies in the AMC series ‘The Walking Dead’, split up between seasons, characters, and tools of use. Click to enlarge.

The National Post – Stopping The Dead

The Ultimate Survival Gun?

Friday, November 16th, 2012

This is an attempt by ‘Petersen’s Hunting’, a hunting publication based under Intermedia Outdoors, to create the ultimate, most versatile survival firearm possible. They started with a Stoeger’s Double Defense as a base, then added modifications which include: drilled holes in the stock to accommodate spare gun parts, accessories, and chamber inserts for the use of multiple shotshells and calibers of amunition, inserting a compass into the stock, a fire steel inlaid into the forearm, a micro tool held in the forend with a magnet, replacement iron sights, a laser/light combo, red dot sight, and stock mounted cartridge sling and cheek pad/pouch.

Petersen’s Hunting – Is This The Ultimate Survival Gun?

Laser Cut Dollar Snubnosed .38 Revolver

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

This is part of a collection of laser cut sculptures made from US currency by Brooklyn-based artist Scott Campbell. Although the rest of the collection seems to be missing any additional firearms-based imagery, there’s plenty of kick-ass skulls, bones, and reapers that more than make up for it.


Here’s A Couple Of Great Cracked.Com Articles

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

I was visiting Cracked.com and read a couple of humorous articles on common Hollywood-inspired weapon myths and unorthodox weapons used by militaries:

5 Weapon myths You Probably Believe (Thanks To Movies)

5 Military Weapons Clearly Designed by a 5-Year-Old

Drones+ Rejected By Apple For App Store

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

Drones+ iPhone App from Josh Begley on Vimeo.

Drones+ is an app designed by Josh Begley that has a simple premise: actively mark (via a ‘pushpin’) on a map the locations and other data on/facts about U.S. drone strikes. The information that’s used is already compiled by and pulled from the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism. However, Apple’s review team has denied the app availability on the app store not once, but three times. The reasons given included: “The features and/or content of your app were not useful or entertaining enough… or your app did not appeal to a broad enough audience.”. Later, an additional attempt yielded this response: “We found that your app contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines”. While I don’t have any opinion on whether the app’s rejection is a good or bad thing, it seems pretty clear that Apple feels this app may incite controversy with some groups and is trying to avoid any potential issues.

Hat Tip: Wired.com

SPP-1 Underwater Pistol

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The SPP-1 is a Cold War-era firearm of Russian make, designed specifically for use by Soviet Frogmen. It fires 4.5mm steel darts from four individual barrels. The pistol uses a double action firing mechanism and fires each barrel one at at time, with the striker (mounted on a rotating base) rotating to each barrel as the trigger is pulled. Also developed was the Avtomat Podvodnyi Spetsialnyi, an underwater assault rifle that fired 5.66mm darts and was fed using a 26-round detachable box magazine. Of course, the Soviets weren’t unique in their development of multi-barreled underwater firearms: the Underwater Defense Gun Mark 1 Mod 0 and H&K P11 were designed and used by the United States and allied nations for similar purposes.

Hat Tips:


Small Arms Defense Journal

Chris Costa X Tactical Distributors

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Tactical Distributors has just announced their partnership with Chris Costa and Costa Ludus. First up is ‘Costa’s Corner’, a dedicated page that highlights gear selected and used by Costa himself, including tactical lights, headlamps, clothing, and weapon accessories, all available for sale on the TD website. Also, Tactical Distributors will be the exclusive provider of Arc’Teryx gear that’s embroidered with the Costa Ludus logo.



Maxpedition Bags In The New Die Hard Movie

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Here’s an AP pic from the set of ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’, the fifth movie in the ‘Die Hard’ series, which features the Maxpedition Sovereign Load-Out Duffel; other Maxpedition gear will be featured in the movie. In regards to the title of the upcoming ‘Die Hard’ sequel: yeah, the title’s a bit of a groaner, but hopefully it’ll be better than the last one.

Weapons Of Mass Creation

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The ‘Weapons of Mass Creation’ series is a set of prints by Justin Kamerer of Angryblue that each feature items related to a subject which form the contents of a different weapon: ‘Music’, ‘Cooking’, and ‘Art’ are a tank, grenade, and bomb, respectively. The prints are available for individual sale or as a set, and are limited to 150 pieces each. They’re pretty damn cool looking regardless of any message the artist may or may not have been trying to convey.


Maxim Hometown Hotties: Hotties Shooting Guns

Friday, October 14th, 2011

This is a preview of the Maxim Hometown Hotties: Hotties Shooting Guns video. Supposedly the full video was available here, but at the time of writing the link was down.


World War II In Photos – A Retrospective In 20 Parts

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

‘World War II In Photos – A Retrospective In 20 Parts’ is a collection of photo essays on In Focus with Allen Taylor of The Atlantic. Each essay features 45 photos relating to subjects such as Operation Barbarossa and the North African Campaign. The essays were relased each Sunday, starting on June 19th, with the final four still to come until the 30th of this month.


The Science Behind Gears Of War

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Gears of War 3 came out on Tuesday, and it’s a blast. A lot of the enjoyment has to do with the ridiculous weaponry, like chainsaw bayonets, guns that shoot living grenades and orbital laser cannons, and insane enemies, like the Locust Drones, Corpsers and the Lambent. Obviously, when you’re dealing with such fantastical elements there’s a (rather large) degree of implausibility, if not outright impossibility, you just have to accept, right? It seems that’s only partially true. According to this Gamepro article at least a few of those elements are somewhat plausible according to several PhDs. So, the chances of there being independently evolved Homo Sapien-esque organisms on another planet is greater than finding an underground Godzilla and raising him as a pet? Bummer.

Prince Harry The Action Figure*

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Hornby, a UK-based model company, is set to release a collection of eight 3-inch figures depicting British troops in Afghanistan along with various vehicles including tanks and helicopters. Interestingly enough, one of the troops being modeled is Prince Harry. More specifically, a famous picture of him on patrol in Helmand Province in 2008 is being used as the basis for the figure. Although his uniform and equipment will be featured on the model, his likeness will not. The collection will be available in February, 2012.


Original Story- Express.co.uk

*This figure does not feature Kung-Fu grip

Everybody do your part: Join Skynet!

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Yes, you too could contribute to Skynet (not, according to its staff, the one that was supposed to kill us on April 19th).

The website says Have a computer? Want to help astronomers make awesome discoveries and understand our Universe? Then theSkyNet needs you! In fairness, this could be a great idea, but personally we think it sounds better if you read it with the voice of the narrator from the Starship Troopers movies.

Contribute to real scientific research and help scientists unlock the mysteries of our Universe!

Your computer is bored. It has spare computing power nearly all the time that could be used to do something cool. So why not let it? By connecting 100s and 1000s of computers together through the Internet, it’s possible to simulate a single machine capable of doing some pretty amazing stuff. That’s what the SkyNet is all about – using your spare computing power to process radio astronomy data.

The Skynet.

Nothing could go wrong here, right? It’s not like it could become self aware (Google will be doing that).

This article is credited to Richard Kilgore of breachbangclear.com.

How to Live Like James Bond For a Weekend

Friday, September 16th, 2011

This i09 article, written by Steve Kamb, shows how with a bit of know-how and smart use of multiple credit cards with rewards points, he was able to spend a weekend in Monaco playing James Bond, just without all the killing and sneaking around (IMO, the best part of being Bond). A pretty good read. He even gives away the names of the cards he used along with some basic instructions, if you were so inclined to also act like Mi6’s best.

Designer Diapers In Camouflage

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Apparently designer diapers are a really big thing right now. This naturally has led to Huggies coming up with camouflage diapers (since camouflage is always fashionable, amirite?). Now, while I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of this Navy-esque pattern for your toddler in the field, there is a good cause behind it: every package sold equals a diaper donated to a needy military service family. If you’re looking to buy some of these, they’re available exclusively at Wal-Mart.

Hat Tip: USA Today

The Crown Vic Retires

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

One of the most iconic police cars in the US, the Crown Victoria, is finally being retired by Ford. Although the Crown Vic wasn’t available from licensed dealers since 2008, Ford continued to sell to police departments until this year. The cars Ford is replacing the Crown Vic with? A Tarus variant and the Explorer SUV. Commence laughing at any time; the Tarus sucks. Some good news comes from this though, since I’ll no longer have to wonder if any old dudes rocking Crown Vics on the highway are just playing cop or really driving an unmarked car.

Hat Tip: freep.com

Game up for Gaddafi? Rebels enter Tripoli

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Take a look at NMAWorldEdition‘s unique take on the recent events in Libya.

Thanks to @PredatorBDU for the link.

A Brief History Of The Ancient Science Of Sword Making

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

This i09 article details a brief history of sword making, from bronze to iron, including the ever-elusive ‘Damascus Steel’. A decent read, and a great reminder that humanity’s had no problem with killing each other before the invention of gunpowder.

Peter Thiel Puts Funding Into Seasteading Institute – All Guns Allowed

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, has just sunk $1.25 million of his own money into the Seasteading Institute, an organization that essentially wants to create an above-the-ocean version of Rapture. Lack of genetics-altering, stem cell-loaded sea slugs aside, this seems like a fantastic idea, especially after reading this quote: “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.” Honestly, you’d figure billionaires would be rich enough to sit down and play more video games. Andrew Ryan tried this in the 50’s and he ended up with a civil war on his hands… wait, “…few restrictions on weapons.”? It’s decided, I’m sold! Now, where do I apply for citizenship?

Hat Tip: News.Yahoo.com

Ares Armor Company Promo Video

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

This excellent promo vid by Ares Armor Company showcases their products not by blatantly stating their intended uses, but by getting out in the field and using them. Ares’s full range of slings, packs, rigs and the EFFIN-A compensator are featured in full force, but not by name, forcing curious viewers to actually search for the items, which potentially drums up more interest. A smart move on Ares’s part that sets a new standard for promo vids.


Mission First Tactical Outbreak: Omega 4 Trailer

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Check out this trailer for the upcoming two-part series of Mission First Tactical attending the DPMS Outbreak: Omega 4 Zombie Shoot 2011. From the looks of the trailer, if you like the following: guns, bravado, a bit of humor and a fun shoot with plenty of zombie targets, then this is a video series worth checking out when its released.