Movie Guns

5 of the Most Memorable Movie Guns From Cinematic History

These guns are as famous as the characters who used them.

Hollywood uses a lot of guns in movies of every kind.

Over the years, some have stood the test of time, becoming as iconic as the characters who wielded them.

These are some of the most memorable movie guns in cinematic history, at least as far as I'm concerned.

The Beretta 92FS: Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Robocop

In the 1980s, the Beretta 92FS was king on the big screen, in the hands of heroes and bad guys alike. The handgun was adopted as the M9 pistol by the U.S. military in 1985 to replace the aging M1911A1 pistol, and its popularity soared. At the same time, law enforcement agencies across the country were looking to upgrade their old-school .38 revolvers to semi-auto pistols with greater capacities.

Some departments went with Glocks, while others, like the LAPD, figured if the Beretta was good enough for the military it would fit the bill as a service weapon. And that meant movie cops began carrying the Beretta 92FS as well.

Det. Martin Riggs carries a Beretta 92FS in the Lethal Weapon series, and in the first film, it's touted as being a state-of-the-art handgun. Det. John McClane also carries a Beretta 92F in the first Die Hard movie, and a 92FS in the next two films in the franchise. Even sci-fi movies set in the near future weren't immune.

In Robocop, the titular character's "Auto 9" handgun was actually the burst-fire version of the 92FS, the Beretta 93R. The gun was heavily modified for the movie into a unique and memorable gun unto itself, but it's still a Beretta under there.

Rambo's M60 Machine Gun

Sylvester Stallone's most memorable action film character is undoubtedly John Rambo, and while he has a number of signature weapons, like the famous Rambo knives and a modern bow and arrow, the image of Rambo hip-firing an M60 machine gun is pretty much a part of pop culture history.

In First Blood, Rambo uses the M60, called "The Pig" by grunts in Vietnam, at the end of the film. He takes it from the back of a National Guard truck, along with several cans of ammo, and uses it to exact his revenge on the small town and its sheriff.

In the second film, Rambo uses an M60E3 in the film's final act, which he takes from its door-gunner mount on a Huey helicopter. He never uses an M60 again in subsequent three Rambo films, but those two films made it an iconic action movie gun.

The M41A Pulse Rifle from Aliens 

Not only is this one of the most memorable sci-fi guns of all time, it's a gun a lot of people really wish was real. While some sci-fi guns are pure Hollywood, this firearm is actually built from two very real guns.

The M41A Pulse Rifle carried by the U.S. Colonial Marine Corps was built from a WWII-era Thompson M1A1 submachine gun with a bunch of cosmetic appliances added to it, including an exaggerated carry-handle/sighting system, along with a different grip and stock.

The under-barrel grenade launcher, which fires 30mm grenades in the movie, is actually a cut-down 12 gauge Remington 870 shotgun with the heat shield and foregrip from a Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun added to it.

For extra badassery, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) also tapes the M41A Pulse Rifle to one of the USCMC flame throwers for an even more intense weapon when she sets off to take on the Alien queen and save Newt.

Dirty Harry's Smith & Wesson Model 29

Clint Eastwood's first famous gun was the signature revolvers he carried as The Man With No Name in the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. Those were all different Old-West appropriate revolvers with the same signature grips. But the gun he's most famous for is the .44 Magnum Model 29 handgun that he carried in five movies as the hard-as-nails San Francisco Inspector Harry Callahan.

When the original Dirty Harry (1971) was made, the Model 29 had been mostly discontinued because of poor sales. In fact, the movie guns had to be cobbled together from Model 29 parts scrounged from the S&W factory. They couldn't even build two guns that were alike, which is why Harry is seen carrying a gun with two different barrel lengths throughout the movie.

Dirty Harry was a huge hit, and so was the .44 Magnum, which was basically a character itself, and the subject of one of the most famous movie tough-guy monologues of all time. Eastwood carried a Model 29 again in Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988). In Sudden Impact, Harry's revolver is thrown in a bay, and he uses an AMP Auto Mag Model 180 in .44 AMP in the movie's final showdown.

James Bond's Walther PPK 

The most famous fictional spy in history, James Bond, 007, has been carrying a Walther PPK pistol as his primary sidearm since the first Bond film, Dr. No, premiered in 1962. Well, actually, in Dr. No, the dialog says Bond is carrying a PPK, but he's actually carrying a slightly older Walther PP.

Sean Connery, George Lazenby, and Timothy Dalton use the Walther in every one of their Bond appearances, along with other handguns in some scenes. Roger Moore uses the pistol in almost all of his Bond movies, save for two. In Moonraker (1979), which is largely set in outer space, Bond never brandishes his famous PPK, but he is holding it in some promotional images. In Octopussy (1983)Bond trades his Walther PPK for a more up-to-date Walther P5 pistol. It was brand new at the time and Walther convinced the makers of this film and the competing non-canon Bond movie, Never Say Never Again, starring Sean Connery, which was released the same year, to feature the P5. It was never seen in another Bond movie afterward.

When Pierce Brosnan took over the role from Dalton in the '90s, he began his run carrying the Walther PPK in 1995's Goldeneye. He begins Tomorrow Never Dies with the PPK, but by the end, he switches to the polymer-framed, striker-fired, 9mm Walther P99. He then carries the P99 exclusively in The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).

When Daniel Craig took over the role in Casino Royale, he continues carrying the P99, but he briefly uses a Walther PPK in a black-and-white flashback scene that morphs into the famous gun-barrel intro shot. Oddly enough, he again carries the now quite dated Walther PPK as his primary firearm in Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), Spectre (2015), and Bond has been seen with the PPK in promo photos for the long-awaited No Time to Die (TBD).

BONUS: The Minigun from Predator 

Predator (1987) is both a landmark action movie and sci-fi movie with the over-the-top energy of the 1980s throughout. This is exemplified in one of the most audacious screen-used guns of all time, the handheld Minigun carried by Sgt. Blain Cooper (Jesse Ventura).

The monstrous rotating barrel machine gun is a modified General Electric M134 Minigun, which is usually mounted on vehicles and helicopters. The gun practically cuts down swathes of jungle in the movie and is generally amazing. Of course, in real-life, nobody could withstand the gun's recoil or insane rate of fire, nor could they carry enough ammo to feed it for more than a scant few seconds of fire—plus, the gun is powered by electricity, so it also has to be hooked up to a power source to run.

Ventura actually had cables running down his sleeves and out his pant legs to batteries off-screen in shots where he actually fires the gun, and he's being kept upright by a custom brace.

While Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't get to shoot this monster gun in Predator, he later used the same gun, just refit a bit, in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991).