Skip to main content

Report: Holding a Gun Makes Man Look Taller

Does a gun actually change one's outward appearance?

It's been long established that you can take any ordinary schmo, give him a gun, and suddenly he's James Bond. Even Dirty Harry may not have looked as "dirty" if it wasn't for his trusty Smith & Wesson Model 29.

Guns may make a guy look cooler -- but do they change anything else? According to a recent study, they do. Guns make guys look taller.


A team of researchers at UCLA concluded that holding a gun makes a man look taller and stronger in the viewers' eyes than a knife, saw or any other tools.


Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the study was conducted to understand human decision making when facing a potentially violent or life-threatening situation.

"Violent conflict with conspecifics is a fundamental factor influencing fitness in many social species, humans included," the study says in the introduction. "We can therefore expect that such species will possess adaptations that facilitate decision-making in potentially agonistic interactions, as the individual must determine whether is it best to fight, flee, or appease the prospective foe."

Participants in the study were instructed to judge the size and weight of a man holding various tools -- including a .45-caliber pistol and a .357 revolver, as well as a kitchen knife, a caulking gun, a saw and others.

Whether it's because of cultural stigma or the implied strength required to fire a handgun, researchers found that participants generally perceived those with guns to be taller and larger.


"Knowing that an individual possesses a potentially lethal object, be it a handgun or a kitchen knife, led our U.S. participants to generally conceptualize the target individual as taller and larger in overall body size and muscularity," the study says. "... These findings constitute preliminary evidence in support of the hypothesis that conceptualized size and strength act as key dimensions in a cognitive representation that summarizes the formidability of a potential foe, where possession of a weapon is one factor contributing to said formidability."

It's a given that staring down the barrel of a gun can be pretty intimidating, but who would have guessed just holding a handgun could make a shooter look bigger and stronger?

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The new Winchester Active Duty 9mm ammo is loaded to the same military ballistics specifications as for the MHS program and has a rated muzzle velocity of 1,320 fps and a muzzle energy of 445 ft-lbs.Winchester Active Duty 9mm Ammo Review Ammo

Winchester Active Duty 9mm Ammo Review

Jake Edmondson - July 17, 2020

The new Winchester Active Duty 9mm ammo is loaded to the same military ballistics...

With three versions, three barrel lengths, and three different finishes from which to choose, the Savage Renegauge is by definition a eumatic alternative for a variety of shooting situations.Savage Renegauge Shotgun Review Shotguns

Savage Renegauge Shotgun Review

Steve Gash - July 13, 2020

With three versions, three barrel lengths, and three different finishes from which to choose,...

The Rossi RB22M .22 WMR bolt-action rifle features a synthetic stock, a crossbolt safety, and a detachable five-round magazine. The rifle comes with scope mount bases installed.Rossi RB22M .22 WMR Rifle Review Rifles

Rossi RB22M .22 WMR Rifle Review

Joel J. Hutchcroft - July 10, 2020

The Rossi RB22M .22 WMR bolt-action rifle features a synthetic stock, a crossbolt safety, and...

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270 caliber (6.8mm) rifle cartridges  have not been introduced.5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges Ammo

5 Great .270 Rifle Cartridges

Layne Simpson - May 28, 2019

Considering how popular the .270 Winchester has become, it's a great mystery why more .270...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

With a new location and the new 6.5 Rebated Precision Magnum (RPM) round, Weatherby breaks new ground in cartridge and rifle development.Weatherby 6.5 RPM Cartridge Review Ammo

Weatherby 6.5 RPM Cartridge Review

Joseph von Benedikt - March 25, 2020

With a new location and the new 6.5 Rebated Precision Magnum (RPM) round, Weatherby breaks new...

A unique load for the .450 Bushmaster is Hornady's new Subsonic offering. It's loaded with the company's 395-grain Sub-X (Subsonic–eXpanding) bullet that is designed to expand and penetrate but not break up.Hornady .450 Bushmaster Subsonic Ammo Ammo

Hornady .450 Bushmaster Subsonic Ammo

Steve Gash - August 13, 2020

A unique load for the .450 Bushmaster is Hornady's new Subsonic offering. It's loaded with the...

In single-shot firearms, .35-caliber rifle bullets are great performers in the .357 Maximum cartridge.Put the .357 Maximum Where It Works Ammo

Put the .357 Maximum Where It Works

Allan Jones - March 06, 2020

In single-shot firearms, .35-caliber rifle bullets are great performers in the .357 Maximum...

The new aluminum-tipped ultra-low-drag Hornady A-Tip match bullet provides unprecedented performance.Hornady A-Tip Bullet Review Ammo

Hornady A-Tip Bullet Review

Jospeh von Benedikt - February 28, 2020

The new aluminum-tipped ultra-low-drag Hornady A-Tip match bullet provides unprecedented...

See More Ammo

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Shooting Times subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now