Yeah, but as an actor he simply has to point the gun at somebody and even fire it simply because its part of a script.
So there is no way around him firing guns in somebody's direction.
But more interesting thing is what kind of bullet was that because it was so strong that it went through one person and injured another? Does anybody know the calibre of that pistol?
It's not the caliber necessarily it's the design of bullet itself and shot placement. When you hunt animals with a more substantial body cavity a heavier projectile that expands is required. The idea is for it to expend it's energy in the target. A .357 Magnum using a 158 grain semi jacketed soft point bullet would be generally acceptable to do the job on a whitetail deer but you'd still have to hit it in a vital area or it'll pass through. It stays together upon penetration long enough to hit bone or body mass and then expands to a larger diameter to do the job it's intended to do. For a long time a .357 using a 125 grain hollow point bullet was considered one of the most effective loads a police officer could carry. People aren't built as substantially as game animals and a lighter faster bullet that expands rapidly is sufficient to get in the body, do it's job and stay there.
Military 'ball' ammo for a .45 or 9mm is a poor choice for most things, but will certainly kill. It was designed to wound
on a battlefield and it does. The non expanding smooth full metal jackets don't expand or deform much at all and are very likely to simply wound and pass through.
Handguns of the era the movie depicts would typically be in the .44-.45 caliber and the bullet in the 250 grain range but move at a much lower velocity - that's what the metallurgy and materials of the era allowed. Big soft lead bullet that expands like crazy and dumps all that kinetic energy into a human target. Excellent people killer. Who knows what they hell those idiots had in the gun, and that poor woman doesn't look like a very substantial backstop. Had a professional wrestler been standing there it might not have gone through.
Most who are not involved in the sport don't think past the handgun itself. The ammo is a totally different topic. Handloading is as much of a hobby as shooting is. It gets technical, there is no simple answer to that question. It's like asking what the 'best' or 'right' pair of shoes is - depends on what you are doing. People who buy handguns for home defense ( or AR/AK rifles for that matter ) often don't realize that the walls of your home are virtually transparent to those types of projectiles. Great, you neutralized the intruder but killed the family dog on the other side of the wall - or worse. That's why a shotgun with light birdshot is a better choice for that, in fact IMO a 20 gauge is a more sensible choice than a 12. BTW - a simple .22 rimfire has always been the #1 people killer by far.
A picture's worth a thousand words. I'll go root around downstairs later. Here's more than you ever wanted to know about blank ammo from what appears to be an experienced handloader. A cursory glance would tell you that you can't possibly mix up blanks and real ammo. Blanks don't have bullets. You read it you'll see why Brandon Lee died from mishandling a blank. To me it's glaringly evident that there were no professionals on set - the weapons were not secured, live ammo was present and quite obviously nobody checked the damned gun. Looks to me like the armorer and AD who said it was a 'cold gun' are at fault.
Making Blank Ammo | How to Make Ammo | Rifle, Handgun, and Pistol Brass