Shooter, the series first season, a short review

The book, “Point of Impact” became the movie “Shooter” starring Mark Walberg as “Bob Lee Swagger” aka “Bob the Nailer.”

The backstory for Bob Lee was updated from Vietnam to the “war on terror” but other than that the movie stayed pretty close to the storyline from the book.

The new series on Netflix, which has Mark Walberg as a producer and Ryan Phillipe playing the hero, diverges a bit more.

Spoiler alert, this is where I bitch about inconsistencies and factually wrong things…

The bullet in Bob’s hip goes from being “embedded” to destroying his hip leaving him with a titanium replacement. I think this eliminates the storyline of Bob having a veteraniarian pull the slug out of him and weigh it to find out that it was 168 grains, which given the switch from Vietnam and Cold War politics to the War on Terror with hundreds of different match bullets available on the commercial market, makes some sense for the writers.

Marine grooming standards don’t apply to Gunnery Sergeant Swagger, he has facial hair in all flashback scenes. So far that hasn’t been retconned into some sort of MARSOC modified grooming standards as everyone else in the unit is in compliance with facial hair shaving.

Bob goes from sending flowers to Donny’s widow to sending flowers to Donny’s Mother, because he’s already married to someone and has his daughter (which happens eventually in the books).

The “indestructible polymer bullet” is currently a bit of science fiction, it is in the realm of the possible but not with any known current polymer technology with which I’m familiar. Frangible polymer bullets are a reality, and there is company, Ecomass, that sells high density polymers to make frangible training bullets. At least one of the resin system polymers has a density equal to copper, and one equal to lead. But, for now the “indestructible bullets” will be lathe turned brass or copper since the tensile strength for the strongest polymer composite is about one tenth that of brass, although about five times stronger than pure unalloyed lead. So you could push a composite bullet a bit faster than a cast lead bullet, but not as fast as a jacketed or lathe turned bullet in terms of looking for accuracy nodes.

One thing that irks me about the show is how spotting scopes are used handheld. That’s NOT how you use a spotting scope, the magnification is just too much to get good observation with because humans wibble wobble and shake. That’s why people use spotting scope stands/tripods or even nest the scope on a sandbag for stability.

Interesting thing, the “sniper scope reticles” don’t always seem to match the scopes shown. The writers call this “custom optics” as a magic handwave.

Another complaint I have is the lack of recoil, which is always a Hollywood problem. Shooting a 338 Lapua Magnum even from a heavy tactical rifle is going to move you around some, no matter how stable your position. Even a 308 bolt action rifle is going to move you, so when they pull the trigger and you hear a bang but see no recoil it just kills your suspension of disbelief if you are an actual shooter.

Lastly, sometimes Bob’s tactics just absolutely suck. During multiple episodes he’s abandoned a perfectly good M4/AR-15 to run, essentially disarmed, back to a bolt action sniper rifle under enemy fire. The first because he had a bolt hold open malfunction which any Marine worth their salt could clear rapidly, and the second because an enemy sniper was closing in on his position, so he dropped his personal M4/AR which was the bulk of his ammunition, to run back to a gun with a total of 5 bullets…. Seriously bad tactics, and not something that a Marine would do in either of those situations.

And unfortunately we lost Nick Memphis, but gained Nadine Memphis. The backstory on Nick was that he was trained as a sniper for the FBI and screwed up a shot which hit a hostage, and Nadine’s backstory is that she shot a hostage but it is clear when Bob gives her some training that she isn’t familiar with being behind a long gun (which EVERY FBI agent should be fully trained on).

So there you have it, if you are shooter who can ignore the inconsistencies then it’s a pretty entertaining series, and I actually look forward to season 2 because for all its faults, it still did a darn sight better than most productions.

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1 Response to Shooter, the series first season, a short review

  1. DW says:

    Glad to see you enjoyed the series, I thought it was entertaining as well. You caught a bunch of tactical stuff I missed and I appreciate your “polymer bullet” analysis. I don’t know much about that and haven’t seen much online about any advantages. Especially as a sniper round.

    I thought the episode where he drove out to meet his old instructor and then the two of them take down a whole squad of hired mercenaries was a bit much and staged unrealistically. But I suppose the series hero has to prevail, so some slack is given?

    I was also glad to see Tom Sizemore back in show business. Although he plays a sleazy dude in this instance, I enjoyed his roles in other movies – Saving Pvt Ryan / BlackHawk down, etc. Hopefully he has overcome his addiction issues, although you can definitely see the impact on his appearance. It put some age/miles on the dude.


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