More Famous Movie Guns and Weapons
We wrote about 11 of the most famous firearms ever used in cinema. But there are many more classics to cover! This time, we’re covering guns and iconic edged weapons.
M41A Pulse Rifle
You’d think this multi-barrel, shoulder-fired rifle/shotgun/grenade launcher thing is pure science fiction – and well, it is. But the M41A Pulse Rifle from the quintessential 80’s sci-fi horror Aliens is, in fact, a real-life firearm under the hood. Actually, it’s two:
Take a closer look at the receiver and charging handle underneath the carry handle. If you’re into WWII history, you’ll notice the unmistakable receiver of the infamous .45 ACP-chambered M1A1 Thompson machine gun.
That’s not all. The underbarrel grenade launcher is actually constructed from two other iconic firearms: The Remington 870 pump-action shotgun, retrofitted with the handgrip from a SPAS-12 shotgun from certain other films below.
It’s arguably one of the most recognizable rifles ever produced: The M16 assault rifle – and its civilian counterpart, the AR-15 – saw use in Vietnam and, naturally, hit the silver screen in so many Vietnam dramas. Endless variants have gotten time to shine on screen, too.
In fact, between the most common AR-15 kits produced for both service and civilian ownership, the M16, M4, and AR-15 have collectively been featured in over 300 films and television shows.
It deserves its own entry, here: The French-production SPAS-12 shotgun just looks cool. Its uniquely folding metal stock, beefy curved handgrip, dual functionality, and extra-long tube magazine naturally give the SPAS-12 a sci-fi feel. Its looks have been leveraged in loads of science fiction and action films, notably The Terminator, Jurassic Park, RoboCop, and The Matrix.
Unique to the SPAS-12 and few other firearms, this 12-gauge can function as a semiautomatic or pump-action shotgun. Coupled with its pistol grip and folding stock, the SPAS-12 is, like on film, a devastating tactical weapon employed by police and military.
Italian Stiletto Switchblade
It feels right at home alongside some washed jeans, a black leather biker jacket, and some Doc Martens: The O.G. switchblade, the Italian Stiletto, is every back-alley villain’s best friend. This automatic knife flips open in an instant when the wielder presses a button in the handle, providing a menacing click as it shoots out a shiny dagger-profile blade.
The switchblade is prominently featured in 1990’s Nikita, used by Jean Reno as he threatens the titular protagonist, played by Anne Parillaud. It’s been used to stab, slice, pry, and pick in films like Reindeer Games, Tomb Raider, Die Another day, and even The Grinch and Anchorman.
It needs no introduction: The Japanese-forged Katana might be one of the most ubiquitous film weapons ever wielded. It’s been featured in films as early as 1917, in the oldest anime ever found (Namakura Katana).
Western movie-goers will find the blade more familiar in legendary titles like Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, Blade, Deadpool, The Crow, Sin City, and Batman Begins. These blades are renowned for their unique construction. High-end Katanas are still forged by hand, using two steels – one hard steel is used to produce a razor’s edge. One softer is used to craft the blade’s flats and spine. This gives the blade incredible sharpness and strength.
Often taking weeks to craft and costing thousands of dollars or more, a proper Katana constitutes one of the most devastating edged weapons ever made.
Bond fans will recognize the stamped-steel pistol seen wielded on screen by “Tiger” Tanaka, and in promo posters by Helga Brnadt in 1967’s You Only Live Twice. This seemingly sci-fi sidearm fires gyroscopically stabilizing rockets. Yes, it’s a handheld rocket launcher by definition. Tony Stark would be jealous.
Except the mini rocket launcher is real. The MB Associates-manufactured Gyrojet Pistol was produced in the 1960s, and was made fully functional. Using .45 ACP shells converted into self-propelled rocket projectiles, the Gyrojet could fire a comically slow rocket that took a noticeably long amount of time to ignite and exit the barrel, almost like a caricature from an ACME cartoon.
The Gyrojet was wildly unreliable and inaccurate and would often fail to fire. This resulted in an unburnt, still highly explosive miniature rocket left in the chamber, and it was up to the intrepid user to fish it out.
Dubbed the “Kraut Space Magic” gun in memeworld, the Heckler & Koch G11 is arguably the most complicated and unique firearm ever manufactured.
This borderline sci-fi space rifle fires caseless ammunition and uses a rotating bolt mechanism that looks like it could probably teleport anyone who touches it through space-time.
The G11 made its debut in Demolition Man, wielded by the overall-sporting antagonist Simon Phoenix, played by one pre-Blade Wesley Snipes. It can be spied in plenty of videogames, too, like Fallout 2, 007: Agent Under Fire, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Maker and Call of Duty: Black Ops.