Video Game Guns Reality Check

By John Farnam

Video Game Riflescope Reticles
Of course, the foregoing is nowhere near they way it works in the real world!
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( “Virtual” Reality?

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said. The art of ‘reading-between-the-lines’ is the lifelong quest of the wise. ” ~ Alder

In every currently-popular video game that involves shooting, rifle optics always come effortlessly and perfectly sighted-in. And, the rifle is always absolutely steady, as if stabilized by a gyroscope, no matter how heavily one is breathing.

And as if by magic, your bullet ever establishes a trajectory that is perfectly straight (out to infinity), and perfectly aligned with, the reticle, no matter the range to the target.

Instead of traveling at 3,000 f/s, with its velocity constantly deteriorating as it goes downrange, your bullet magically travels at a constant 982,080,000 f/s (the speed of light), 327,360 times faster!

Gravity and air-friction never have the slightest effect, not to mention wind, rain, and ballistic drift! This applies to all firearms, even “ battlefield pick-ups.”

Of course, the foregoing is nowhere near they way it works in the real world!

Accordingly, I sometimes find young shooters (fifty and younger), accustomed to playing such video games and actually thinking they have thus learned something useful, puzzled when establishing and confirming genuine rifle zero with real rifles, real ammunition, under real field conditions..

The real process involves far more variables and frustration than what they expect.

My good friend and colleague, Dave Grossman, has always been critical of video games, for a variety of reasons. I’m now coming to realize he has been right all along!

These games are, I suppose, endemic to our civilization, but like Dave, I don’t think they are doing anyone any good, as they surely don’t prepare their devotees for any species of reality!

“Life is just as deadly as it looks. Fiction is far more forgiving.” ~ Richard Thompson


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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5 years ago

While I agree completely that shooter video games are much different from real life, BUT I love the sniping on Battlefield 4, more realistic than any other game I’ve seen. You actually have to account for some of the variables, distance, elevation, wind, caliber, suppressed or not, still or moving target. It’s an awesome game yet still different from real life. A lot of parents need to keep that in mind that their children are learning their firearm stills from a video game, while they sound educated they’re clueless about safety. Teach your kids firearm safety while they are young!!!

5 years ago

Try DayZ (or the ARMA game on which it is based).

Wobbly sight picture that worsens depending on your recent exertion level (like you just sprinted for a half mile and then decided to plop down try a 1000Y shot…good luck). Drop exists and must be compensated for. Use of mil-dot reticles that work (or are at least close to actual drop). The ability to change the zeroing distance (on some guns).

Of course, you’ll just be ganked by a new spawn with a pry-bar while you’re trying to figure it all out. 😉