I understand the need to exaggerate and embellish a little to make “good” television shows – after all, reality can be somewhat boring from time to time, and you want to ensure the people watching your show today continue watching it tomorrow and the next day. So you tweak a few little details: you have targets explode when they are hit with nothing more than standard full-metal jacket rounds, you add gas cans in extreme circumstances to get that Hollywood-esque fireball effect, and you generally hype your firearms until they are the most awesomest thing ever. I get it, and I can deal with it for the most part.
What I cannot abide, however, is outright lying, and in your most-recent episode, you lied, twice, in easily verifiable fashions, on network television.
First, this is not a “high-explosive” round for a 20mm cannon/rifle:
As anyone with a modicum of military experience (or access to the internet) would be able to tell you, all-blue ammunition is indicative of training rounds, which are completely, entirely inert, as explained quite nicely here: “Projectile Type: Target Practice (TP), Color of Painting: Blue, Blue, Blue, Blue.” For those more visually oriented, this *.pdf has a nice listing of all the main 20mm round types, and note how none of the “SAPHEI” (Semi-Armor-Piercing, High-Explosive, Incendiary), “HEI” (High-Explosive, Incendiary), or “MPT-SD” (Multi-Purpose Tracer, Self-Destruct) rounds are colored blue; in fact, if I remember my training accurately (I was never stationed on an actual “shooter” in the Navy), all high-explosive rounds have to have yellow somewhere on their round.
So, yes, Rich Wyatt lied to his gunsmiths (who should have known better, and thus may have been in on the lie) and the American public when he set that round down on the bench, and he lied to the customer and the American public when that not-at-all-explosive round “blew up” the pile of brush at the end of the episode:
Yeah. No. Nice display of remote-detonated pyrotechnics, though.
But it went downhill from there. Grenade launchers are tightly-controlled and regulated by the National Firearms Act as “Destructive Devices”, and grenades themselves are likewise controlled by the same piece of legislation – a background check, $200 tax stamp, and increasingly long waiting period is necessary to purchase both the grenade launcher and every single grenade. So you can imagine my surprise when Gunsmoke and American Guns made it seem like they sold Niki Jones of Austin Sure Shots a “grenade launcher” over the counter without all of the necessary paperwork and time.
Only it was not a grenade launcher. It was this:
And that, as the video clearly shows, sure as hell is not an “M203 Grenade Launcher”; in truth, that is a Spikes Tactical 37mm Flare Launcher. As in non-explosive. Non-lethal. Non-regulated. Not much more than a signaling device. And completely incapable of creating a detonation like this:
Hell, your average grenade launcher does not make booms like that.
So in the end, why does this bother me so much? Well, at the most basic level, I hate lies – there is rarely a need to break the truth this far, and the story, in this case, would not be greatly diminished with just straight-up honesty*.
However, my dislike goes even beyond that. Gunsmoke is now actively feeding and catering to the “gun control” extremist hysteria that anyone can simply walk into your average gun store and walk out with a grenade launcher capable of leveling a city block. I may hate the incessant drama-llama-ing in Sons of Guns, but at least they periodically touched on the requirements and regulations NFA-controlled firearms are subject to, and did not make their transactions seem like over-the-counter nothings.
Yes, 20mm rifles are “Destructive Devices” under the National Firearms Act, and require the purchaser to jump through all of the necessary hoops (none of which were even mentioned).
No, civilian-legal 20mm ammunition cannot do what they showed in the television show, not even if he could get his hands on some HEI rounds.
Yes, grenade launchers are also regulated under the NFA, and require all kinds of paperwork to transfer, as do their active ammunition.
No, that was not a grenade launcher.
No, that device could not have created that explosion.
No, your average real grenade launcher could not have created that explosion.
But now anti-rights cultists will have “definitive proof” to point to when they start screeching about how dangerous these “grenade launchers” we can supposedly buy over-the-counter (and you can buy flare launchers over-the-counter) can be, or how destructive 20mm rifles can be (and they are destructive, but not that destructive). Thanks, idiots.
In the future, how about you just stick to reality? Guns are fun enough on their own without you gratuitously inflating their capabilities to the point of ridiculousness, and we have enough trouble with “gun control” extremists spreading misinformation and lies without someone like an actual gun shop helping them out by feeding them ammunition. Stop that.
(* – Though, that said, I am not entirely sure where the “avalanche control engineer” can actually get HEI rounds for his 20mm, or that they would be sufficient to induce avalanches.)