Everybody has their favorite movie firearm—and the variety of reasons is endless. Sometimes, it’s a great part of the plot. Sometimes, it defines the hero or villain of the movie. And sometimes, it’s just an awesome weapon.
Here’s a sampling of favorites—from the expected to the obscure—selected by the staff of Firearms Legal Protection.
M60E3 Machine Gun
Rambo: First Blood Part II
Ok, sure, if you’ve watched the movie carefully, the M60E3 has a full-length barrel when first viewed but it’s cut down when Rambo wields it. And who would seriously wrap a belt of 7.62x51mm rounds around their forearm? (Except Rambo, of course.) But if you’re looking for an iconic weapon used in an iconic way in an iconic movie? This is as good a place to start as any. Kick back, rock a mullet with a headband, and enjoy.
With all apologies to S-Mart, Ash identifies his shotgun as a Remington. (Available for $109.95 in the sporting goods section.) But in reality, it’s a Stoeger Coach Gun. And, it’s a special gun at that, because although it only holds two shots, it fires three in one scene, and four in another. Sure, a slight reload sound can be heard at one point, but a guy with one hand (and a chainsaw on the other) can’t reload THAT fast, can he? But it’s worth it for the “Boomstick” speech.
DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol
Hans Solo Star Wars saga
Star Wars fans can believe Hans Solo’s gun is a DL-44 Heavy Blaster until the tauntauns come home, but REAL firearms owners know that’s a Mauser C96. You know, pretty much the first practical semi-automatic pistol created. This pistol was originally designed for the 7.63×25 Mauser cartridge, and later in the world-standardizing 9x19mm—only in a galaxy far, far away did it shoot red lasers. Economic to produce, extremely reliable, and adopted by countless armies and police forces for decades. So, if it’s a good enough sidearm for Winston Churchill & Lawrence of Arabia, it’s good enough for a galactic smuggler, right?
Like many fictional movie firearms, the M41A Pulse Rife is a composite of several real world firearms. Built by actual British armorers Bapty & Co., the M41A is a combination of the M1A1 Thompson, with a Remington 870 as the grenade launcher. Then, the whole thing was covered with a space age shell. In the films, the M41A packs a punch—firing 10x24mm shells. The explosive tip, light armor-piercing variety packed into a 99 round mag. (But frequently loaded with only 95 to prevent jamming. Safety first when fighting aliens that spew acid, you know.)
Smith & Wesson Model 29
Dirty Harry franchise
Over five films spanning 17 years, Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan immortalized the .44 Magnum power of the Smith & Wesson Model 29. Even though careful firearms experts will note that Harry mentions that he uses a specially prepared lighter Magnum load for more control and less recoil. “The most powerful handgun in the world” in the first film, it’s arguably the most iconic firearm in film history. The title of “most powerful handgun in the world” has since moved on to the .460 S&W Magnum, and then to the 500 S&W Magnum, but we can’t deny that Dirty Harry’s 44 was quite the hand cannon! With its noted recoil, if you’re shooting one yourself, the question you have to ask is: “Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?”
When your job is dispatching supernatural creatures, you’ll need an equally supernatural firearm. And Hellboy’s Samaritan fits the bill. The massive 10-pound, tip-open revolver (like an old Schofield) holds four rounds—made with Holy water, garlic cloves, and white oak shavings, as well as a massive punch. Oh, but there’s more. It’s forged from Irish church bells, cold iron from crucifixes, blessed silver, and other random mystic metal. The grips are made not just from any crucifix, but THE crucifix. And be careful. The muzzle energy will break a mortal’s arm with recoil.
It really doesn’t seem fair when a cyborg from the future wields a weapon capable of firing 2,000-6,000 rounds per minute. But don’t blame the minigun, blame Skynet. With a Gatling-style firing system, and an electric power source, it’s only called “mini” because this rotary-barrel design is derived from the M61 Vulcan 20mm Cannon, designed by General Motors of all brands. The chainsaw grip used in the film is an adaptation that’s become somewhat standard in movies using any kind of high volume fire weapon or minigun.
Planet Terror was MEANT to be an unbelievable, cheesy, drive-in thrill ride and nothing epitomizes that better than the Leg Gun. When Rose McGowan loses a leg to zombies, her boyfriend does what anyone would do. He pops a Bushmaster Carbine fitted with a Cobray 37mm Launcher on there. And the results are spectacular, if not somewhat implausible. But in a good way.
James Bond has been around so long, many won’t remember that he had to be FORCED to use the Walther PPK. In fact, they mocked his Beretta, and insisted that “the American CIA swear by” the Walther. But, despite his rocky start, 007 became indelibly associated with the PPK. Through 27 movies and 6 actors playing James Bond, he’s never been without it since. Bond accomplishes quite a lot (often to a fantastical degree) with a 7-round pistol chambered in the diminutive 9mm short (.380 Auto or .380 ACP to us Americans.)
When a movie needs a gun that’s big, bad, and imposing, it turns to the Desert Eagle. From Austin Powers, to Tomb Raider, to The Matrix, there’s no shortage of the Israeli Military Industries product in all its varieties to be found on the silver screen. 10 and three-quarters inches long, and weighing in at 4.4 pounds, it is available in several different calibers, with differing capacities to match those calibers. And just to help Hollywood a little, it even comes in some gold-plated varieties for the extra showiness that Tinseltown frequently requires.
If Tom Selleck is the star of Quigley Down Under, his Sharps rifle is the co-star. As Quigley himself tells all-time movie bad guy Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman), his Sharps 1874 Long Range rifle is unique. With a barrel four inches longer than standard, with specially prepared ammo, and even a Vernier sight. He’s superfluously accurate with it, and the report is sometimes heard seconds after a direct hit. Beware those in range of Quigley and his sharps. The sight is marked up to 1200 yards. “This one shoots a might further.”
The “Golden Gun”
The Man With The Golden Gun
A pen. A cuff link. A lighter. A cigarette case. Items any debonair gentleman might have on his person. But in the hands of world class hitman Francisco Scaramanga, and outfitted with a single golden bullet, these everyday objects become the parts of a gun that defies detection—while delivering maximum desired effect. For the film, three guns were built. One made for scenes where the gun was assembled. Another, for scenes where the gun is being brandished. And finally, one for when the gun was actually fired with the use of percussion caps.
The Holy Shotgun
John Constantine has big problems. Mostly, they involve trying to save souls that are being claimed by the underworld. So, he constructs a Holy Shotgun fabricated out of sacred relics. It fires gold shells engraved with holy script. And it features the “Dragon’s Breath” flamethrower. It’s inspired by the Armsel Striker, with drum magazines that spin more like a revolver. The drums hold 12 rounds but only fire eight before a reload. Those kinds of things happen with the supernatural, we suppose.
Charles Luther’s “Smart” Missile Gun
The gun here is unique, sure, but it’s the ammunition that makes it so. First, the bad guy—Gene Simmons of Kiss—fires the gun. The bullets are actually mini-rockets that contain a propellant—they’re all electronic “heat seeking missiles” that explode once they hit their target. They’re guided by valves on the projectile that control its radical movement. Expensive ammo, but considering it’s nearly impossible to miss, maybe it’s worth it? Even if you do have to purchase from Gene Simmons.
Smith & Wesson Mk II Hand Ejector
Indiana Jones & The Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Finally, the movie scene we all waited for. So simple in its execution (no pun intended) that we all wondered why it had never happened before. Or at the very least, why we had never seen it before. Although Indiana Jones carries a M1917 at parts of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, when he faces off against the machete-wielding bad guy, he does so with an Mk II Hand Ejector. Produced by Smith & Wesson for the British government.
There’s our look at iconic movie firearms. What are your favorites you’d add to the list? Just leave them in the comments section, below. Meanwhile, enjoy some popcorn and keep enjoying how the movies incorporate distinctive weaponry to make the movies more entertaining.