Burning hot pistol barrels and Hollywood

In a zillion Hollywood shows, good guy or bad guy tucks his pistol/revolver (I don’t know the difference) in the front of his pants behind the belt in front of his belly button or behind his belt right at the center of his back after a nice round of gunplay.

(It occurred to me that their pants must be way too loose in their un-gun-tucked-in state,) but that’s not my question here:

Aren’t the barrels of these weapons burning hot, so this tucking away of the weapon would cause extreme pain?

The barrel can get hot, but it won’t be burning hot after just a few shots. Growing up, we would fire a .22 automatic with a 12-round clip and a .357 revolver (six shots). Neither were uncomfortably hot when it came time to reload after target shooting.

I’m sure we could find movie scenes where a guy should be burning his parts off, but it would have to be a scene where he was firing pretty quickly and reloading. If the guy is only firing a few shots, it won’t be that bad.

If the gun is a semi-auto, I think the slide usually obscures the barrel, so that even if the barrel itself was smoking hot, it would be difficult to achieve direct skin contact. If it’s a revolver, then you probably haven’t fired more than six shots, so it won’t be very warm anyway.

Yeah, as long as he only fired a few times, there wouldn’t be any problem. Heavy shooting, on the other hand, could certainly make the business end of the weapon painfully hot. As one example, the barrel of my AR-15 can become too hot to touch after just one magazine (30 rounds) if it was emptied very quickly (say, by bump-firing). Put a few more through and it might become skin-meltingly hot. Of course, that’s a rifle and not a handgun, but I don’t doubt that any protracted firefight would leave our Hollywood hero (or villain) wishing that he had a proper holster.

It would probably take a bit more use than a revolver, sure, but it’ll still get hot in fairly short order. I have a Kimber 1911, and in my experience, putting more than a handful of magazines through it in quick succession leaves the front part of the slide much too hot to touch as well.

I’ve also seen a moviue where the bad guy takes a shot with his big looking pistol, then burns the guy he hash tied up with the barrel.

Not really related to the OP, but machine gun barrels such as those on an M240B can get hot enough to glow. These weapons are served by a crew, one of whom (the ammo bearer, I believe) carries a spare barrel to swap out after a certain number of rounds. In the film Saving Private Ryan, Tom Hanks makes reference to this phenomenon when engaging an MG42 emplacement in one of the battle scenes. His plan is to force the gunner to fire until he has to change barrels and then engage the emplacement with grenades.

Here’s a 249 with a suppressor.


This was shot:D at a recent silencer shoot.

It actually just started sprinkling rain a couple of minutes before, and thus the smoke.

Well, steam.

Vapor, actually.

Ah Hollywood, where people can fire 14 shots out of a six shooter, the hero can pick off a villain 200 yards away with a pistol that was only accurate to about 50 yards (while the bad guys can only hit the rails and walls around the hero from only 25 yards away), and a shot to the chest always sends the bad guy flying back 10 feet.

By the way, here’s an AK-47 that is shot repeatedly until it catches fire.

Steam is a vapor.

Which doesn’t matter, because if you can see it (as you can in the video), it’s not vapor; it’s an aerosol of condensed liquid water droplets.

It’s already on fire at the start of the vid; how much ammo did he go through before they started recording?

Concur, when I shot IPSC it was not unusual to see stages invoving 32 shots on targets so 3 magazines easy, and you were doing those 32 shots in 40-50 seconds. You had to lock your slide open and show action clear at the end of the stage, with a beretta 92fs, I had to make sure and grab near the back of the slide because the exposed barrel would be pretty hot. Using My Glock, not so bad, there is a decent amount of airspace around the barrel in a G19.

There are six drum magazines in a pile visible on the ground, so I’d say about 450 rounds.

I’d chalk it up to Hollywood ignoring physics as needed, like the six-shooters that have unlimited rounds of ammo.

Has anyone tried painting machine-gun barrels with one of those paints that changes color when it’s hot? Might be helpful.