In the third installment of the series, John Wick is caught in multiple shootouts. Two sections especially trouble me.

First, the fight alongside Sofia where they keep picking up guns off their dead enemies. On multiple occurrences, they seem to shoot multiple bullets in the head of their enemies or they simply shoot what seems to be already dead people. Isn't it overkill? One round seems enough especially since they rely on their looted weapons still having some ammunition.

Then, the shootout at the New York Continental. When Wick uses a shotgun with armor piercing ammunition, which takes terribly long to reload, he sometimes shoots multiple rounds on the same opponent when he is obviously already dead (or not in condition to fight). There is one scene where an attacker's body bounces on scaffolding and boxes in the underground "warehouse". This body gets shot on each bounce which would correspond to roughly 3-4 rounds. A bit excessive I think.

I haven't got exact memories of the previous movies but I remember John being much more careful with how he spent his bullets, focusing on getting a one shot kill or a first wounding shot before the killing blast.

Why does it seem Wick cares so little for ammunition in this movie? While I understand a single shot to the chest isn't always fatal, in some scenes the protagonists seem really carried away.

  • In 2 he also sometimes puts an extra round or two into someone unnecessarily.
    – Separatrix
    Jun 10, 2019 at 8:56
  • I also noticed it but it seems to be isolated cases. Parabellum on the other hand had much more occurrences of this behaviour.
    – z3r0
    Jun 10, 2019 at 13:44
  • Are you saying ammo was not wasted in versions 1 and 2? Jun 11, 2019 at 17:10
  • I did not observe this directly, but maybe sometimes John just wants to empty his magazine before reloading?
    – Ian
    Jun 12, 2019 at 14:13
  • @Ian I did not see it that way but it does make some sense. Rather than reloading and wasting ammo he makes sure every bullet counts. Although the shotgun ammo wasting still really bugs me.
    – z3r0
    Jun 13, 2019 at 7:01

3 Answers 3


I thought the same thing when he fired 6 shotgun slug rounds into the guy rolling down the scaffolding.

John seems to be of the belief that finishing someone off always involves at least one in the head or an equivalent finishing tap. But even as far back as the first one, he is known to put more than one in heads if he feels it is necessary.

About all we can assume on this subject is that John Wick has a certain reputation that was founded on his exceptional skill in this avenue and because of this we must assume that his choices in tapping are made because he is the best at what he does and during those encounters he was not satisfied until he stopped putting rounds into the victims. So to say, in the John Wick universe, he did what he felt was necessary to ensure his own survival.

His experience as a world class assassin may have showed him a thing or two about believing the target is finished. In these cases, maybe he just wanted to make sure.

  • I think this is answer is on the right track. Maybe John's training tought him to always finish off enemies. Incapacitate with a safe shot to the chest and seal the deal with a close-up headshot.
    – Ian
    Jun 12, 2019 at 14:13

In your first scene, you actually said the key point on why John Wick has the luxury to waste bullets, its because there are plenty of bullets!

The second one is based on my opinion, but I think John Wick is frustrated on fighting these guys because of their armor. First, he brought a hand gun and what I think is a MK7 Mutant. Do take note that his handgun too, has bullets that spread small pellets, they are like the 9MM shot gun shells if you may.

Now during the fight, you could see the frustration of John Wick when he fires precise shots on his enemies, but they don't die because his bullets cant even penetrate them, so he goes melee, with guns, and shots them either on the neck or in the face.

You can also see his frustration when he goes back to the room where Winston is... drinking.

He shouts to Winston to "open the door" and gets the shotgun.

In this fight too he is constantly fired A LOT. And I mean A LOT. His past fights, even the one you mentioned before (the one with Haley Berry), does not compare to how many bullets he has to dodge in the fight inside the Continental because in his past fights, a single shot or slash is enough to be a killing blow, double tap to be sure. AND the ammo is plentyful, because the bodies just keeps piling on every shot he does.

The Continental fight however, due to the body armor, the parts on where he can only specifically kill one guy is hard to reach. And I personally think that each of those guys wont like to be shot in those parts thats why they struggle when John Wick has pinned them down, which makes the fight EVEN more harder and makes John Wick even more frustrated.

The pool fight scene, the one where he fights the last armored guy? I think he shot 5 bullets in the guy's face, before he sighed a relief and move on upstairs.

All those emotions just builds up on our Calm John Wick, which makes him let you think he wastes bullets, but its just a big "F*** YOU AND YOU TOO AND YOU THREE" via bullets.

  • While your answer makes sense, I can't help but find it weird (cinematographic aesthetics aside) to literally empty one's mag in the baddies' faces. The whole frustration Wick shows doesn't require such "unprofessional" moves in my opinion. At least not so many. But then again, I'm no expert in the guerilla domain.
    – z3r0
    Jun 10, 2019 at 13:50
  • @z3r0 If someone shots you in the eye, you still have a chance to survive, a shot in the nose too, cheeks, those parts below your head. John has to find your head which is enclosed in a helmet, in the dark, while you are struggling to survive, and in the middle of a firefight, which makes the whole ordeal tiresome and frustrating.
    – Mr.J
    Jun 11, 2019 at 0:01
  • A number of the "wasted" shots on armoured enemies were to keep them off-balance so that they couldn't get an accurate shot on him. Armour or no, a bullet's energy still needs to be dissapated somehow, so those shots to the face would be quite disorienting, and a shot to an armoured limb can knock a gun arm off aim or knock a foot out from under to keep them unbalanced and unable to fight effectively, buying John time to close in to where he can dislodge the helmet. Dec 6, 2019 at 15:15

Carpe Diem

A few month ago, I watch a streamer playing a very hard game (moded to be even harder) in Ironman/hardcore situation.

For those unfamiliar with video-games, it means, one life, one save, every decision is final, and if you die (or get in a situation you don't have enough resources to go ahead), you have to restart from the beginning, losing all items and progression.

Early in the game, I noticed this streamer selling a lot of mid-game items (they cannot really use yet), in order to buy early-game items. At a deficit of course.
The game was even calling them on that, stating they might want to be careful as they will need those items later.

Being a 'story difficulty' player of this game, I ask them why they are doing this, without the certainty to get duplicates later, and risking to be stranded.
Their answer : If they don't spend those resources right now, they will never survive the following missions. And those resources will be lost anyway.

It's exactly the same with John Wick and his ammunition...
Being certain the enemy is 100% incapacitated is the most important thing.
You don't want an enemy being dazed, dropping to ground, but still able to press a trigger and shoot you in the back. And you don't have time to check the 'health bar'.
So you go overkill, as this is the only safe way.

Yes, you might be in a situation later... But it will still better than dying with 2 bullets remaining the mag.

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