This has always amused me. A lot of times, while in the heat of battle, after the gun ammo runs out, the character looks at his gun giving it a slight shake. As if thinking this will fix a possible jam or add more ammo to it. What kind of reaction is that and why is it used so frequently?

I have just been watching another episode of Lost, and Sawyer did this exact thing when he ran out of ammo shooting at the 'others'.

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    It's the cinematic equivalent of wandering round the kitchen, making scissor motions with your fingers, in the vain hope it will make the scissors easier to find... – Tetsujin Mar 7 '16 at 18:15
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    My favorite though is from Buffy the Vampire Slayer... In one episode, Vampire-Willow comes over from another dimension and is seen by Xander. Later when Human-Willow walks in, Xander pulls out a cross and tries to stop her with it. Not surprisingly the cross doesn't work, so Xander looks at it, shakes it, and tries again. If shaking a gun seldom works, shaking a wooden cross to get it to work, is even more pointless. – Baard Kopperud Mar 7 '16 at 22:14
  • I can honestly say I've never noticed this and even now that you mention it I can't recall it specifically. – sanpaco Mar 8 '16 at 17:53

Probably to give the audience a clear indication of what's going on. If the guy said, "Oh, no! I'm out of bullets!" he'd look like an idiot.

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    I guess it's the same type of indicator as tapping repeatedly on the phone cradle when the line goes dead - like that would magically reconnect them. – Tetsujin Mar 9 '16 at 9:23
  • Or repeatedly pressing the brake pedal when your brakes are out. Or noisily jiggling a doorknob when a door is locked. How many of these are there, I wonder. – John Sensebe Mar 9 '16 at 13:57
  • I'm sure tvtropes.org must have a list somewhere, but I can't find it :( – Tetsujin Mar 9 '16 at 14:25
  • @John Sensebe I dunno about the others but if my brakes went out and my choice was to accept death or keep trying the brakes... I'd keep trying the brakes. – Andrew Whatever Mar 23 '16 at 22:32
  • @Andrew, but I don't know that pumping the pedal is the best strategy. Maybe a question for another Stack Exchange community? – John Sensebe Mar 24 '16 at 14:10

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