best movie guns

7 Famous Guns In Movies

Getting guns in movies will make a gunmaker's sales shoot through the roof. It's actually worked in real life (which we'll go over) and has certainly helped make some pistols iconic despite some serious shortcomings.

Some of the most famous guns in movies are a magnum revolver, others are CCW pistols, and others are something else entirely. Here are 7 very famous guns from various films that just about everyone and their brother has seen or has heard of.

Beretta 92: Yippee Ki-Yay If You Aren't Too Old For This Stuff

beretta 92

One of the most-seen pistols in movies is the Beretta 92 and its variants, which has been in more films than can be counted. However, there are two films - actually, more like film franchises - that the gun is the most associated with. Granted, the gun is one of the all time great service and police guns as well.

That would be "Die Hard" and "Lethal Weapon." Bruce Willis' character John McClane carried a 92 in the first three films, and Mel Gibson's character Martin Riggs carried one through all four films in that franchise, in fact adding a laser in the final installment.

These are just two examples, of course; many, many other films have had a 92 in it. In "Training Day," a gangster compares his with that of a police officer! And so on and so forth.

Walther PPK

walther ppk

Today, most people know the Walther PPK from the James Bond series. Every actor playing the role from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig has carried one on-screen, even Sir Roger Moore who absolutely hated guns.

There's no accounting for taste, you know.

The gun actually had more ominous origins. Developed in the late 1920s, the Walther PP series was issued to police and to various personnel in the Nazi ranks, including regular army and secret police as well. In fact, Adolf Hitler killed himself with one.

Today, the PPK is known as a capable CCW pistol, though the double-action system gives some modern shooters fits.

The Model 29 For Those Who Feel Lucky

model 29

The Model 29 was made famous by Clint Eastwood in the film "Dirty Harry," and the character used it in every film in the franchise, except for the second half of "Sudden Impact" when he carried a .44 Auto Mag. The gun was deliberately written into the script by John Milius, the legendary and notorious screenwriter, director and certified gun nut. In fact, he refused to finish writing the first draft unless Warner Brothers bought one for him.

It is arguably the most iconic magnum revolver as a result.

At the time, Smith and Wesson could barely give Model 29 pistols away. The .44 Magnum was basically good for handgun hunting and as a backup in bear country, but not much else. A whole lot of people bought one, fired it a few times and decided .44 Magnum was too much for their liking. Every time a new "Dirty Harry" film came out, sales tripled.

Mauser C96, Aka Broomhandle Mauser: Never Tell Me It's Odd

mauser c96

If it wasn't for a certain film series, you wouldn't think of the Broomhandle Mauser - it's actual title is the Mauser C96 - as being one of the iconic guns in movies. It's in a few here and there, to be sure - such as "Joe Kidd" and "From Russia With Love" - but it's a heavily modified version that you're probably the most familiar with.

Add a barrel shroud and a scope and it's Han Solo's blaster from "Star Wars." Say whatever you want; that makes it one of the most iconic guns in movies. Mark Hamill's character - Luke Skywalker - even has one on his hip for part of "The Empire Strikes Back."

It was a well-regarded service pistol in its day, seeing service all over the world in various conflicts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In fact, Winston Churchill carried one during his military service in South Africa, defending himself successfully during the Battle of Omdurman. However, the gun has become inextricably linked to "Star Wars," just as the Sterling submachine gun will always be thought of as an Imperial Stormtrooper's blaster rifle.

Sharps Rifle

sharps rifle

Another example of guns in movies that became popular after being used in films is the Sharps rifle, a breech-loading falling block single shot that had faded well into obscurity until Tom Selleck wielded one in supposes it's a Western (though it's set in Australia) film "Quigley Down Under."

The Sharps carbine version was popular with the US military until it was replaced by the Spencer rifle, which wasn't single-shot. The full-size version was one of the best of the buffalo rifles, as it was known for being highly accurate at long range. Typical chamberings were .50-90 and .50-140 Sharps, and later versions were made in .45-70 and .50-70 Government chamberings.

In fact, a Sharps was the gun used by Billy Dixon to make the famous shot at the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, downing an enemy at more than 1,500 yards. Granted, he admitted that it was pure luck, but the hostiles were convinced to discontinue hostilities at that location.

In "Quigley Down Under," the rifle is wildcatted to fit a custom cartridge, a .45-110 with a .45-70 projectile in necked-down .50-110 brass. That load is now made by some custom shops, which is handy since a couple of reproduction companies - such as Shiloh Rifle Co. - make new Sharps rifles in .45-110. There's also a Billy Dixon edition or two as well...though Dixon performed his feat with a .50-caliber model, rather than .45-caliber like the models that bear his name.

Colt Single Action Army, Aka Colt Peacemaker

colt peacemaker

In most Westerns, the Colt Single Action Army - aka the Colt Peacemaker - is the gun everyone carries. Oh sure, you get the odd Colt Dragoon or Walker, or the odd Remington, but it's the gun people associate with the genre.

Contrary to popular belief, Wyatt Earp didn't have a Buntline Special SAA at the shootout at the OK Corral. He had a Smith and Wesson Model 3, aka the "Schofield revolver." In fact, there is no evidence that a Buntline Special ever existed until Colt actually started making them in the 1950s.

That said, it's one of the most iconic guns of all time. Replicas abound, and Colt still makes them...though the real deal will cost you a pretty penny. Or, if you want, you can get yourself a Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .41 Magnum, or .45 Colt that will outlast the owner.

Magnum Research Desert Eagle

magnum research

The Desert Eagle is the most successful attempt at getting magnum power into a semi-automatic pistol; the only other pistol you can mention alongside it is the Coonan pistol series. Okay, and maybe 10mm handguns, but that's about it.

The Desert Eagle is a highly innovative design, employing a gas piston and bolt instead of a blowback-operated slide. The hitch is in exhaust gases; too much exhaust gas and a semi-auto can break apart, too little and the slide can't operate. By bleeding some and using just enough to cycle the slide, the Deagle, as it is sometimes called, can operate safely with magnum rounds.

The Desert Eagle is actually single-action, with a slide-mounted manual safety.

Today, it's offered in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .50 Action Express, one of the most powerful handgun cartridges available. Formerly, it was offered in 10mm and .41 Magnum, but they proved unpopular.

It has been in dozens, if not hundreds, of films and has become iconic in its own right.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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