Conducting a Press Check

Of all the annoying things that movie actors do with their pistols, there is one that is the most unrealistic. This is when our “let's pretend” gun man senses danger and ceremoniously hauls out his Colt, Glock, Smith, Ruger or (you fill in the blank) from the holster and racks the slide back hard all the way.

Apparently, this is intended to strike awe in the mind of the audience, as “Omygawd, he put a round in the chamber!”

In real life, such an action would have put a round in the chamber, but not before you took the one out of the chamber and ejected it onto the deck. Real world autos usually ride with a round in the chamber.

On the other hand, I saw an old movie the other night where the protagonist performed a period-correct press check where he retracted the slide only far enough to see that the chamber was loaded. A press-check is good gun-handling.

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8 Responses to Conducting a Press Check

Eric wrote:
May 04, 2014

'A press-check is good gun-handling.'...Good Lord; really? Press checking is Hollywood crap. You shouldn't expect you firearm to be completely in battery if the slide doesn't go through the complete cycle. All press checking does is increase your odds of a malfunction. I do agree with the rest of your article however.

Hal wrote:
October 23, 2010

I did a write-up of this same subject myself: I completely agree with you. It's annoying.

Richard W. Hughes wrote:
September 15, 2010

Re racking a shotgun for effect, the effect is always "scorn" - because the shotgun is always empty! The sound of a shotshell being chambered is a unique sound, readily identified as the real thing. Racking an empty shotgun tells the enemy that he has nothing to fear.

Steven wrote:
September 02, 2010

How about the spinning of a revolver's open cylinder and it clicks like a roulette wheel? And also when a semi-auto is pulled or stuck in someones face there are clicks like a single action revolver being cocked. Exactly what on a Glock makes that kind of sound? I laugh ever time I hear those odd sounds on movies.

R Poirier wrote:
September 02, 2010

The one that bothers me the most is when the "lets pretend" gun man pulls out his Glock and while pointing it at his intended target, you hear him cock the hammer also intending to send fear to the target in question, that OMG he IS serious about shooting me. GLOCKS DON'T HAVE HAMMERS!

Bob Coyle wrote:
September 02, 2010

Where can I buy a hat like yours?

W Hatfield wrote:
September 02, 2010

Do not forget the pump shotgun- they are always throwing out a needed shell.

Terry Faugno wrote:
August 30, 2010

Michael Mann's directorial efforts have always had exemplary realism as far as gun handling and showing correct shooting techniques. Excellent example is all the firearms scenes in the movies "Heat" and "Collateral", as well as the original Miami Vice TV series. Kudos to Mr. Mann for being so exacting with his realism.