The best kind of movie gunfire is almost more felt than heard. Half sonic blast, half rib-punch. One of the best sounding handguns I’ve ever heard in an action film was fired by Tom Cruise in that back-alley scene in Collateral when he blew away two thieves (starting at 1:12 on the clip below). The sound was extra-effective because my first viewing was at the Arclight, and those cranked-up woofer speakers…man!
I’ve noted two or three times that the guh-BACH-ohwl gunshots in John Sturges‘ The Magnificent Seven represent the other end of the spectrum, as they’re totally without that special rumble-roar. Marlon Brando’s gunshots in a saloon shoot-out in One Eyed Jacks represent a slight improvement. But the cannon-like gunshots in George Stevens‘ Shane (’53) are still the best in my book. When Alan Ladd shoots the hell out of a little white rock on the Starrett property and later when he plugs Jack Palance and Emile Meyer in the big finale.
In a perfect world the rights owners of The Magnificent Seven would pay for a Shane-like redesign of the gunshots. The improvement would be wonderful.