I’ve been a huge fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise ever since it first blew my malleable high school mind back in 97′. Every subsequent release of the series has packed in more-and-more cars to crash, cities to explore, friendly faces to obliterate, and of course, triggers to pull.
Grand Theft Auto is one of those video games that some intellectuals might deem “unrealistic”…as if no one’s ever destroyed a dozen city blocks, taken 30 bullets to the face by two machine gunning police helicopters, and walked out of the hospital six hours later in perfect health with all of their wildly illegal class III firearms locked, loaded and right where they left them…
One element of the game’s realism that I did question, however, is the incredible amount of firepower that Michael, Franklin and Trevor (the games three playable “heroes”) are able to carry as they gallivant around the streets of Los Santos. I decided to take my curiosity and extreme dorkiness to the next level, and figure out just how much weight in guns and ammo they can pack into their pockets in GTA V.
First, I took inventory on all of the weapons in the game–with the exception of melee weapons, like hammers and ball bats (the difference is minimal anyway). I then checked those against the specs of the game’s real-world counterparts (e.g., the “Combat Pistol” is modeled after HK’s P2000); this step was made a heckuva lot easier by GTA Wikia, who had nearly all of that information on their site already. Once that was done, I researched and recorded the weight and dimensions of every matching real-world firearm and cartridge.
There’s one potential gotcha here. You see, in GTA there’s one generic caliber for each group of firearm types. For instance, you don’t buy 500 rounds of .45 ACP for one pistol and 500 rounds of 9 mm for another; you just buy 1000 rounds of “pistol” ammo. The same thing goes for SMGs, shotguns, carbines, and “sniper rifles”. That said, I had to choose one round to represent the dimensions of each ammunition type.
I guess this part isn’t that unrealistic; if a dude has the means to haul around more guns than an Apache helicopter, he can probably buy a handgun and a rifle or two with some custom fittings (ever see Knight’s SR-47?).
I went with .45 ACP for pistols, 9 mm for SMGs, 12 gauge 00 for shotguns, 7.62 x 54 mmR for machine guns, and .50 BMG for sniper rifles. I chose the aforementioned calibers based on the firearms representing each grouping (e.g., one of the sniper rifles is a Barrett M82, which fires the notorious 50 BMG round). When all of that hootenanny was in order, I tallied everything up.
Once their shooting skills are maxed out, each GTA V character can carry 9999 rounds of every ammunition type (but “only” 20 throwables and explosives, like grenades and rockets). When you do the math, you wind up with about 3634 lbs, give or take a few. That’s enough to pack a healthy punch; in fact, if the Pacific Ocean were filled with ballistics gel, you could shoot a hole all the way to the bottom of the Mariana Trench (35,994 ft deep) and back up to the surface with all of that ammo (disclaimer: I based that fun tidbit on a very crude calculation that was formulated with my elementary understanding of ballistics…I wouldn’t share that “fact” in conversation at too many parties).
One number I didn’t include in the total weight was the sum of all the magazines. It’s not really clear on whether or not the character has 50000 loose rounds in his pocket, and a chronically calloused, arthritic mag-loading thumb , or several hundred magazines already packed. Maybe I should have written the developers of the game to find out this critical piece of information, but I didn’t…please pardon my lazy journalism.
Upon arriving at 3634 lbs, I decided to see how that massive number matched up with some real-world fighting machines. As you can see in the infographic, Michael De Santa is able to carry 35 times more weaponry than a heavy-packing US Army infantry soldier, 10 times more than an armored Humvee, almost twice as much as an M2 Bradley, and nearly 600 lbs more than an AH-64 Apache helicopter (though I’m not sure how much it would weigh if Jan Michael Vincent were flying it).
So…pretty neat, huh?
I suppose the only bigger waste of time than playing 20+ hours of video games is spending 20+ hours calculating the hypothetical weight that a video game character would carry if he were living outside of the TV. But it’s worth all the effort just knowing that you’ve wasted five minutes of your life reading about it. Thank you for sharing that precious moment with me.by