Why Does John Wick Tilt His Gun? Shooting Technique Explained (2023)

If you’re a huge fan of John wick movies like myself, you’ve probably noticed that John does several ‘odd’ things you rarely see in action movies. Well, apart from walking away after multiple gunshots or gashing sword wounds. One of the things that seem to interest fans the most, however, is why John Wick tilts his gun while shooting. Is there a real technique behind it?

There is a real shooting method called Center Axis Relock, or CAR. It was developed by an LE officer, Paul Castle, who created CAR as a Close Quarters Combat method, allowing the shooter to hold the gun more naturally when the arms are pulled closer to the body.

There are two main CAR positions – high and extended – and we’ve seen John Wick use both. The weapon is held with two hands and slightly angled to align with the opposite eye and to give the shooter better accuracy and recoil control when shooting multiple targets in rapid succession. Of course, the method is slightly exaggerated in John Wick, so let’s explore it a bit more.

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How did John Wick become so good at shooting?

Why does John Wick tilt his gun sideways?

(Video) John Wick Center Axis Relock Technique Explained

How did John Wick become so good at shooting?

There’s a reason why John Wick is so insanely good at what he does. You don’t get the nickname Baba Yaga (aka the Boogeyman) without putting fear in your enemies’ bones. In fact, they say that John Wick isn’t the Boogeyman – he’s the guy you send to kill the Boogeyman.

I haven’t done a kill count throughout the John wick movie series, but I’m sure the guy shoots and kills at least a few hundred people. So, how did John Wick become so prolific at shooting?

John Wick was in the military before becoming a professional assassin. After completing his service, John became a hitman for the Tarasov mafia boss, Viggo Tarasove. Years of military experience turned into years of assassin service, which John used to perfect his craft.

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However, things changed when he met his wife, and John wanted to get out of the business. Tarasov accepted under one condition – giving John the seemingly ‘impossible task’ of killing all of his enemies in a single night. Should Wick succeed, he would be free. Of course, Baba Yaga succeeded and was successfully retired.

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That is, until his wife passed away due to an illness and left him with a puppy to help with his grief. Iosef Tarasov then killed the pup during a burglary, and John came out of retirement seeking revenge. The point is, he never got rusty – in fact, his rage only fueled his skills even more.

Throughout the movies, you see that John Wick is a prolific marksman with almost every firearm you can imagine, but pistols seem to be his bread and butter. The technique John uses while shooting is intriguing to fans, and as it turns out, it also exists as a shooting method in real life. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Why does John Wick tilt his gun sideways?

So, John Wick doesn’t hold the gun straight up when he shoots, as we usually see in movies. He doesn’t hold it sideways, like in ‘gangster’ movies. Instead, John tilts the gun slightly to the side, holding it almost diagonally across his face. Why does he do that? Here are all the answers.

Center Axis Relock

Why Does John Wick Tilt His Gun? Shooting Technique Explained (1)

John wick uses a shooting method known as CAR or Center Axis Relock. It’s a shooting method for Close Quarters Combat developed by an LE officer (later detective and shooting instructor) Paul Castle, as a method to help deal with gun recoil, accuracy, and speed while shooting multiple targets in limited space – that is, in close quarters.

I’ll try to explain the method as easily as possible by giving you an example. Let’s say you’re surrounded by three or four enemies coming at you in a tight space, forcing you to hold the gun closer to your body instead of extending your arms all the way out.

If you try to hold the gun straight up while keeping it close to your body, it will result in an uncomfortable grip around the wrist area and an awkward position of your hands. When shooting, the gun won’t have enough support to tackle the recoil after every shot, significantly influencing your accuracy.

However, suppose you tilt the gun 10-45 degrees to the side. In that case, your wrist will be in a much more natural position, and the gun’s recoil will be supported and alighted with your lower arm’s bone structure, giving you much better control, resulting in better accuracy and quicker rapid fire.

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The method can also be used with the arms extended outwards, but never fully. You’d align the sights with remaining in the focus of the opposite eye’s focal point while the other eye remains obscured with the gun and your arm.

(Video) John Wick 2 one-handed press check

That resolves the dominant eye problem by allowing you to aim with one eye while using the other eye for peripheral vision – meaning you can aim and track moving targets simultaneously.

John Wick seems to be extremely prolific in this method, and there’s a possibility that it actually stems from his military days. Not that learner CAR is a standard military training practice. Still, there are some theories that even before it was officially developed, soldiers started using the tilt when shooting at multiple moving targets.

By tilting their guns sideways would allow them to ‘spray’ bullets at enemies directly when shooting in rapid succession, avoiding overhead misses due to recoil.

The McMillan Tilt

Why Does John Wick Tilt His Gun? Shooting Technique Explained (2)

CAR is always used with two arms, but another gun-tilt technique is used when shooting with a single arm in rapid succession. The technique was known as the McMillan Tilt and was developed by Bill McMillan, a member of the US Marine Corps.

McMillan was a professional competitor in shooting that won the Gold medal for his team at the 1960 Olympic games in the Rapid Fire 25 Meter Pistol category. McMillan used the slight tilt to alight the gun sights perfectly with his opposite eye, as he was cross-eye dominant.

It also helped align the forearm bone structure with the gun’s recoil more perfectly, giving McMillan better control of his weapon when shooting in rapid succession.

We don’t see John Wick shooting with a single-arm grip that often, but it happens on several occasions, and John always uses the McMillan Tilt.

Resolving the ‘dominant eye problem’

I don’t know if you know it, but every person actually has a dominant eye. The discrepancy is more evident in some people, while in others, it’s only a slight difference – but it does exist nevertheless.

The problem appears when some shooters are cross-eye dominant – meaning, their dominant eye is the opposite eye from their primary shooting hand. As Bill McMillan figured out, you can resolve that problem by tilting the gun slightly to align with your cross-dominant eye – the same goes for CAR, which always uses the opposite eye as the focal aiming point.

Perhaps John wick was also cross-eye dominant, and using CAR would help him resolve that issue without losing accuracy or speed.

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(Video) Are the Guns of John Wick 4 actually effective?

Looks absolutely badass

Lastly, the CAR method in John Wick movies is kind of exaggerated, and John uses it even outside of Close Quarters Combat. In all honesty, John uses it in such a highlighted manner because we’re talking about action movies – and the gun tilt looks absolutely badass.

It’s a unique technique that we don’t see other characters use, proving to us as viewers that John Wick is a unique assassin – one of a kind, that is.

Do soldiers really use the same technique in real life?

To finish it off, I wanted to mention that CAR exists in real life but is not part of standard military training. Theories suggest that soldiers started tilting their guns sideways when shooting at multiple targets to avoid the recoil, causing the bullets to fly over the heads of the enemy. That might’ve eventually inspired the development of said technique, but it was never confirmed.

As for the use of CAR, some schools teach it as an optional CQC technique. However, experts suggest that Keanu Reeves doesn’t really use CAR correctly because the technique wouldn’t work in the way that John Wick uses it.

There you have it – John Wick uses a real gun-tilt shooting method in the movies – but uses it incorrectly.

  • Why Does John Wick Tilt His Gun? Shooting Technique Explained (3)

    Luka Glavas

    (Video) How to Press Check like John Wick #shorts

    Luka Glavas is a professional writer for Fiction Horizon from Osijek, Croatia. He studied and got a degree in Media Culture at the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, Croatia, specializing in creative writing, journalism, and filmmaking. Luka’s expertise lies in all branches o...


Why Does John Wick Tilt His Gun? Shooting Technique Explained? ›

He posits that the stance is better at absorbing felt recoil and more reactive to threats in close quarters. The operator holds the weapon at a slight angle and the sights are aligned cross eye.

Why does John Wick tilt the gun? ›

John Wick uses CAR, or Center Axis Relock. It's a method of Close Quarters Combat (CQC) shooting that claims to bolster weapon retention and speed of target transition in extreme close quarters.

Why do people tilt their guns? ›

Some shooters with issues of ocular dominance will tilt the gun at a 15 to 45 degree angle in order to take advantage of their better eye; the gun held in the left hand and the sights aligned to the right eye, for example.

What gun style does John Wick use? ›

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) uses a Heckler & Koch P30L fitted with a custom compensator as his primary firearm through the film. He swaps it for a Glock 26 during the Red Circle Club shootout when the P30L runs out of ammunition.

Why does John Wick shoot twice? ›

John Wick follows the same formula, but with the addition of the double tap, i.e., that extra shot to make sure the enemy is dead. In other shooters, fight sequences often involve the parties shooting an insane amount of bullets before anyone gets hit.

Does John Wick ever use a Glock? ›

TTI Glock 34: Wick uses a Glock 34 pistol as his primary weapon in the first film. The Glock 34 is a 9mm handgun with a long slide and barrel, which gives it improved accuracy over shorter-barreled models.

What fighting skills does John Wick have? ›

John is a highly skilled judoka, and throughout the franchise often relies on various judo throws to catch his opponents off-guard. John also frequently blends his judo skills with his use of guns, throwing or sweeping an enemy to momentarily incapacitate them before putting them down with a bullet.

Why do people turn pistol sideways? ›

In theory, tilting a gun sideways—90-degrees counter-clockwise for a right-handed shooter—means that gravity works against the ejection of the spent casing.

Why do soldiers turn their rifles sideways? ›

Because their heavy recoil made them tend to climb when fired in full automatic mode, soldiers would hold them sideways so that the bullets would spread in a horizontal rather than vertical arc, hitting more targets.

Who taught John Wick to fight? ›

Reeves trained with the legendary Machado brothers to up his jiu jitsu game, and you see moves blended with gun fun many times. During the final fight in John Wick: Chapter 2, Wick catches his opponent in what looks like a triangle choke. He holds him there for a few seconds to shoot another enemy on the stairs.

How do I learn to fight like John Wick? ›

This involves practicing parrying, blocking, slicing, and stabbing. So if you're skilled with self-defense, Krav Maga, or any fighting system or martial art, pair it with edged-weapon training you're on target to achieve John Wick status.

Is Keanu Reeves a martial artist? ›

A veteran in the world of cinematic martial arts, Keanu Reeves has certainly earned his reputation as a Hollywood badass. First learning a variety of karate and kung-fu for The Matrix franchise, Reeves has continued his martial arts training over the years.

What does order 11111 mean in John Wick? ›

Kennedy's executive order (executive order 11111). JFK's executive order on June 11, 1963, provided "assistance for the removal of obstructions of justice and suppression of unlawful combinations within the state of Alabama." On November 22, 1963 (five months later), he was assassinated.

How many rounds does John Wick hold? ›

Heckler & Koch P30L (John Wick, 2014)

The model featured in the 2014 movie is chambered in the 9mm Luger cartridge and has a 15-round mag capacity.

Why does John Wick not talk much? ›

Excessive dialogue wouldn't be consistent with Wick's character or the John Wick franchise as a whole. Despite complaints, John Wick: Chapter 4 made the right decision in limiting Keanu Reeves' lines and letting the action and subtext of every fight speak for themselves.

How much are the coins worth in John Wick? ›

The gold coins, in and of themselves, have no inherent monetary value. A single coin can pay for many services or products, like a doctor's appointment, a cadaver's disposal, a drink, or a taxi ride, among other things. There is no dollar conversion rate for the coins, as they are more than just money.

What knife does John Wick use? ›

Balisong Knife: Also known as a butterfly knife, this weapon is recognizable by its two handles that rotate around the tang of the blade. John Wick uses this knife in films for quick and precise cuts.

What ammo does John Wick use? ›

John Wick predominantly uses 9mms, 45s and 5.56x45mm NATO bulk ammo in his firearms. . He also makes use of 7.62 NATO rounds for his AKM rifles, 12-gauge shotgun shells for his Remington Tac-14 combat shotguns, and 5.7x28mm FN rounds for his FN Five-seveN pistol. He has been known to carry an extra magazine of .

Who is the strongest person in John Wick? ›

John Wick: 9 Strongest Hitmen In The Movies, Ranked
  • 8 Ernest.
  • 7 Cassian.
  • 6 Sofia.
  • 5 The Shinobi.
  • 4 Ares.
  • 3 Zero.
  • 2 Caine.
  • 1 John Wick.
Apr 1, 2023

Who is the most powerful person in John Wick? ›

The Elder was the mysterious and mystical head of the High Table who resided in the deserts of Morocco. He is the overarching antagonist of the John Wick franchise.

Who is the highest power in John Wick? ›

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum introduced the man at the top of it all. The Elder is the highest-ranking individual in The High Table. He lives out in the desert, miles away from civilization.

Why do soldiers hold their guns backwards? ›

Military personnel at the funeral will often “Reverse arms” - a marching movement in which the weapon is held reversed/pointing backwards as a mark of respect or mourning. When resting on reversed arms the weapon points towards the ground and eyes are lowered.

What is Mexican carry? ›

Mexican carry refers to the practice of carrying a handgun inside the waistband without a holster. This may be either open or concealed.

Why is a front grip on a pistol illegal? ›

A “handgun” under federal law is designed to be held and fired with one hand. If you add a fore grip to it, then it is no longer designed to be held and fired by using one hand. It would now be classified as “any other weapon” (AOW) under the National Firearms Act. That weapon must be registered with the ATF.

Why do snipers cross their arms? ›

The crossed arm hand hold is popular in various competitive disciplines due to the steadiness the shooter can obtain from this position. Extremely heavy rifles and low recoiling cartridges enable the crossed arm hand hold to be used with acceptable results at a rifle range.

What is the 3 1 rule of combat? ›

The 3:1 rule of combat states that in order that for the attacker to win the battle, his forces should be at least three times the force of the defender. This somewhat vague statement has resulted in numerous interpretations and discussions from historical and military science points of view.

What does two rifles crossed mean in the army? ›

CROSSED RIFLES: The Crossed Rifles, crossed saltier-wise on the escutcheon of Pershing Rifles form a chevron, which has been noted as an emblem of service and of helping one another, here representing the spirit of friendship and the cooperative efforts of units in the Society in serving on another.

Why do Glocks always jam in? ›

One of the main issues that can cause a Glock to jam is if the gun is not properly maintained. If the gun is not cleaned and lubricated regularly, dirt and carbon buildup can cause the gun to malfunction. Another common issue is when a round is not fully chambered.

Why is the Glock 28 illegal? ›

The Glock 25 and 28 have never had sufficient point accumulation to allow import. Originally Answered: Why do Glock 25 and Glock 28 illegal for civilian in the US? They aren't technically illegal. They are just not manufactured or imported here due to the fact there is no market for them in the US.

Why does the FBI use Glock? ›

Glock has a reputation for being easy to use, reliable, and durable. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that law enforcement professionals, including the FBI, rely on Glock handguns as well. There are numerous Glock models available, and some of the most popular include the Glock 17 and a Glock 19.

What belt is Keanu Reeves? ›

Keanu, a black belt in Judo, has been intermittently training Jiu Jisu under Rigan Machado for the past decade. Keanu reports that it was the intense training for the role of John Wick that got him to engage in BJJ more frequently.

Is John Wick's suit bulletproof? ›

In the movies, the suits supposedly have Kevlar in them just like a real piece of ballistic body armor.

Who betrayed John Wick? ›

John Wick 4: Winston Didn't Try To Kill John In Chapter 3 - Theory Explained - IMDb. After Winston betrayed John Wick at the end of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but when Ian McShane's character returns in John Wick: Chapter 4 his true motives for doing so may be part of a shocking twist.

Why was John Wick so angry? ›

He killed people for extravagant sums of money, fell in love, got out of the assassin trade, then went on a four-movie rampage to avenge a personal slight. He's not out to save the world, and he's not interested in the morality of his actions. He's just angry.

Who taught John Wick shooting? ›

John Wick: Chapter 2 really offered the first look at Reeves' prodigious growth with tactical shooting. Master shooter Taran Butler was brought in to train Reeves, and by the end of it, Butler declared Reeves the best actor he's ever worked with in regard to his skills with a gun.

Who invented gun fu? ›

Hong Kong origins

John Woo originated the style that would later be called gun fu in the 1986 Hong Kong action film A Better Tomorrow.

Is Wesley Snipes a martial artist? ›

Snipes began training in martial arts when he was 12 years old. He has a 5th degree black belt in Shotokan karate and a 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido.

Does Keanu Reeves use a stunt double in John Wick? ›

And for nearly 10 years, the man behind Reeves building the bespoke world of “John Wick” has been Chad Stahelski, his longtime stunt double, who co-directed the 2014 original with David Leitch before solo-helming sequels “John Wick: Chapter 2” (2017), “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” (2019) and “John Wick: Chapter 4 ...

Is Al Bundy really a black belt? ›

But did you know he is also a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt? The American actor and comedian best known for playing Al Bundy on the Fox sitcom Married with Children is a long-time Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner and earned his black belt status back in 2007.

What rule did John Wick break? ›

John Wick earned that would-be death sentence because he broke The Continental's biggest rule: Do not conduct “business” – as in, don't kill anybody – on the premises.

What nickname do they call John Wick? ›

John became the top enforcer for the New York Russian crime syndicate, becoming an infamous hitman. He was nicknamed "Baba Yaga" after the supernatural Boogeyman-like entity in Slavic folklore.

What is the blood oath in John Wick? ›

Quod Debitum Sanquine.” These are the words written on the Blood Oath Marker from the world of John Wick. The Latin phrase translates to “The Blood Debt” but practically stands as the strongest and most dangerous promise that anyone could make.

How many kills did John Wick get? ›

The John Wick Kill Count Is 439

John Wick features 77 on-screen deaths at John's hands — a number that rose to 128 in John Wick: Chapter 2 as John made some powerful enemies.

Does John Wick use real guns? ›

"John Wick: Chapter 4" is filled with fight scenes and guns, but none of the shots you hear in the film are real.

What caliber is John Wicks P30L? ›

Heckler & Koch P30L

The model featured in John Wick is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum and uses the same 15-round magazines as the original.

How old is John Wick supposed to be? ›

The script's story centered around the character John Wick, a long-retired hitman in his mid-60s to mid-70s who is forced back into his former life. John Wick was modeled on actors such as Clint Eastwood and Paul Newman.

Why does John Wick always wear a suit? ›

John Wick typically wears a suit and tie in the John Wick franchise, due to both being a core part of his identity. Keanu Reeves first portrayed the legendary assassin in 2014's John Wick, in which the formerly retired assassin embarks on a revenge mission after his dog is killed and his car is stolen.

Is John Wick still excommunicado? ›

John Wick: Chapter 4

After John killed Vincent and wins the duel, the Harbinger announced that John's obligations to the High Table have been satisfied and he is a free man while all of Winston's demands were met, revoking his excommunicado.

Why does John Wick waste so many bullets? ›

He is restricted from kill shots by his enemies defenses. So he is taking the hit he can get. Also (but due to the fact it's a movie) many of these shots would take advantage of muzzle blast.

Why did John Wick pull the knife? ›

John gets the upper hand and drives his knife into Cassian's chest. John sat Cassian down, and explains to Cassian that the knife punctured his aorta and that he has a choice to make; either pull it out and bleed to death or leave it in and stop the hunt, which will give him a chance to live.

How many kills does John Wick have? ›

The John Wick Kill Count Is 439

John Wick features 77 on-screen deaths at John's hands — a number that rose to 128 in John Wick: Chapter 2 as John made some powerful enemies. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum found John on the run with only time for 94 kills along the way.

Who is stronger Rambo or John Wick? ›

Winner: John Wick

As mentioned, Rambo has been easier to take down through up close and personal means, but he hasn't been shown as an expert fighter in the way that John Wick and his enemies have.

Can John Wick beat Rambo? ›

John Wick would win if the fight happens in a city, where there are abundant supply of weapons. Rambo would win if the fight happens in a desert or a forest setting where the two fighters have to survive the elements and fight at the same time.

Can you survive a stab to the aorta? ›

Penetrating injury of the aorta is rare and lethal. The reported mortality rate is very high. Few patients survive and present to the hospital. Some of these injuries are salvageable if treated in a timely and aggressive manner.

Why did John Wick cut off his ring finger? ›

John Wick sacrifices his ring finger in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum to appease the High Table's Elder, but sparing his pinky was significant.


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