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Guns From Movies: Heat

heat movie
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Let's take a look at the coolest guns from Michael Mann's famous LA crime drama.

Heat, the landmark Michael Mann crime drama from 1995, showcases a number of famous firearms.

The film is widely appreciated as the catalyst that finally brought together the stars of Godfather Part II--Al Pacino, as LAPD Lt. Vincent Hanna, and Robert De Niro as master thief Neil McCauley--along with an incredible supporting cast including Val Kilmer (Chris Shiherlis), Tom Sizemore (Michael Cheritto) and Danny Trejo, among others.

Heat makes an awful lot of Top 10 lists for people, and rightly so. It's a classic that definitely holds up a lot better than much of Mann's earlier fare.

While Neil's crew is planning heists, Hanna's team is doing everything they can to get ahead of them. It's a fairly simple setup, but Mann's style, the incredible cast and the atmosphere of Los Angeles really makes this a special one.

It's technically a is remake of a movie Mann made back in 1989 called L.A. Takedown, and also includes a number reworked ideas from Mann's heist movie, Thief, starring James Caan.

The most memorable sequence in the film is the botched bank robbery at the film's climax that echoes the real-life North Hollywood bank robbery shootout that saw police engage with heavily armed and armored bank robbers in a gun battle that lasted far too long.

The Bank Heist Gone Wrong and Armored Car Robbery

During that sequence, Shiherlis and McCauley use short AR carbines: two Colt Model 733 carbines with 11.5-inch barrels. The two use the same firearms during the earlier armored car robbery, along with vests carrying a number of spare magazines.

The scene of Shiherlis doing an expert reload under cover is often used as one of the best examples of such a reload ever put on film and a testament to Mann's continued tendency to make firearms and their accurate use a big part of his films.

Cheritto has different taste in firearms. During the bank robbery, he uses an IMI Galil ARM Model 372 with a wood handguard (it's not an AK variant). Mann refers to it as a 7.62mm, though the Galil is a 5.56 firearm, so perhaps it was supposed to be an AK of some kind.

During the armored car robbery, Cheritto uses a paratrooper version of the FN FAL 50.61 rifle with a 20-inch barrel and a folding stock. However, Trejo (Danny Trejo) uses an actual 7.62 firearm, a Chinese Norinco Type 56-1 AK-47 copy.

On the law enforcement side, Hanna uses an interesting rifle, an FN FNC-80 assault rifle, which he uses to take out Cheritto when he heads him off by surprise. The gun was a select-fire FNC-80 rifle that was chopped down by the film's armorer to a paratrooper length barrel. Despite the fact that the gun was converted to full-auto for the movie, Mann instructed Pacino to only fire it in semi-auto, demonstrating a concern for bystanders, in contrast with the full-auto spraying of the criminals.

The other officers are carrying M16A1 rifles fitted with M16A2 handguards, including Detectvie Casals (Wes Studi), Detective Mike Bosko (Ted Levine), and Detective Schwartz (Jerry Trimble), as well as some SWAT team members.

EDC Handguns

As for handguns, Hanna has an interesting everyday carry: a Colt M1991A1 Series 80 Officers ACP pistol with a full-size trigger and a ring hammer. He carries it in a cross-draw holster, meaning the distinctive grips are usually visible when his jacket is open.

We see him perform an old-school 1911 press check, another trademark of Mann movies and something he picked up from Jack Cooper's Gunsite Academy of the day.

On the other side, McCauley regularly carries a Heckler & Koch USP as his regular firearm in his waistband, without a holster. We first see it during the armored car robbery, but he's carrying it in a holster on the front of his vest.

After the drive-in shootout, McCauley dumps his HK and carries a SIG Sauer P220 in .45 ACP for the rest of the movie.

During the armored car robbery, Waingro (Kevin Gage) uses a blued Star Megastar pistol. Later, we see him carrying a nickel version of the same pistol.

We briefly see the EDC pistol Shiherlis prefers when he wakes up from sleeping on the floor at McCauley's apartment, and it looks like a Beretta 85FS "Cheetah" pistol.

Shotguns

As far as shotguns, the Mossberg 590 is used a number of times. Detective Casals uses it on to breach the door of Hugh Benny's apartment.

Sgt. Drucker carries the same 590 during the firefight after the bank heist. As Hanna and McCauley prepare to face off in the field near the airport, Hanna grabs a 590 from a police officer and chases McCauley down with it on the tarmac, but tosses it aside when it runs out of ammo, relying on his Colt sidearm.

What movies should we look at next? Let us know!

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Guns From Movies: Heat