Are you curious about the most iconic and memorable guns that have gone on-screen? Do you want to see a list of the most famous firearms found in movies? If so, this is the list for all you gun enthusiasts out there.
In the US, 30% of the adult population owns a gun while 11% live with someone who does. A large percentage of gun owners buy a gun for self-protection. However, others in that group buy guns to amass a collection of their favorite movie guns.
In this list, we’ll talk about 15 of the most famous and iconic firearms used in movies. Keep reading to find out what these top movie guns are in no particular order. We also included some interesting facts about the firearms on the list.
1. M134 Minigun
Do you remember what gun Arnold Schwarzenegger wielded in Terminator 2? Here’s a clue. It’s the same gun Jesse Ventura as Blain uses in Predator.
The M134 minigun is one of the most powerful guns with a Gatling-style rotating barrel. Yet, despite it being one of the most famous movie guns, a big misconception about the gun comes with it. The problem with Hollywood movies is that they often make the minigun a handheld weapon.
In these fictional movies, a minigun often comes with a chainsaw-style grip. In reality, miniguns weigh between 41 lb. and 85 lb, making it impossible for one person to wield well. Many films also ignore the gun’s need for external power, which is often an electric motor.
2. Walther PPK and P99
We can’t talk about iconic movie guns without mentioning the famous Agent 007. In the 24 bond films released since 1962, the most prominent choice is the Walther PPK handgun. James Bond carried the PPK since Dr. No in 1962 until Die Another Day in 2000.
However, in 1997, Pierce Brosnan’s 007 began holstering the P99 pistol. It was a more advanced double-action/single-action semi-autos at the time. The P99 got developed for police use while manufacturers created PPK for detectives.
Did you know that US citizens own 40% of the global gun total? That makes around 393 million civilian gun owners. Those who do are likely to own a small handgun like the Beretta.
Before the PPK and P99, James Bond carried the Beretta in his first five adventures. It was novelist Ian Fleming’s real-life experiences that influenced this decision. He worked as a lieutenant commander and later a commander in the British Naval Intelligence.
Back then, British intelligence soldiers each carried a Beretta during the war. You can even see him reference his experiences in one of his book titles. Operation Goldeneye is the name of the special operation which Fleming used for one of his books.
4. Winchester Model 1873 Smoothbore Rifle
People still market this rifle as “the gun that won the West”. Its reputation comes from its success as a Winchester rifle in its day. It was also the first to use a .44-40 cartridge that was a centerfire cartridge.
It’s the rumored gun that Buffalo Bill Cody used. It doesn’t make an appearance in the 1944 Buffalo Bill movie by William Wellman. However, given that it’s well-known as a West-winning gun, we’re including it on this list.
5. Mauser C96
Protection is the top reason for owning a gun in the US. In some of Hollywood’s classics, the protagonists use it for the same reason. One such example is Han’s Solo’s blaster from Star Wars.
Instead of creating a futuristic prop for the sci-fi classic, they instead used the Mauser C96. This service pistol, also known as the Broomhandle Mauser, got a barrel shroud and a scope for the movies. Even in The Empire Strikes Back, Marl Hamill’s Luke Skywalker keeps one on his hip.
Here’s a fun historical fact about the Mauser C96. Did you know that Winston Churchill carried one in his military service in South Africa? He used it to protect himself during the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898.
6. Desert Eagle
One of the most iconic and best movie guns is the Desert Eagle or Deagle. It has a refined design and chambers the largest centerfire cartridge in magazine-fed pistols. It’s the most successful attempt at a magnum-powered semi-automatic pistol.
The Desert Eagle features in over 500 movies, games, and TV shows. You see it in movies like The Matrix, Demolition Man, Austin Powers, and RoboCop. It’s also a popular weapon featured in video games like Tomb Raider, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike.
7. .44 Magnum
Dirty Harry made the Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum famous. It first got built during 1955 but got discontinued in the late 1990s. Yet, after some years, the company began producing it again.
It generates powerful recoil and is often not enjoyable to shoot for many. If you want to start your movie gun collection, begin by getting a .44 Magnum or a Volquartsen alternative. You can choose your preferred Model 29 gun from a variety of barrel sizes.
8. McMillan TAC-338A
Now, let’s discuss one of the most awesome long-range weapons. The McMillan TAC-338A killed not only bad guys in the movie but also in real life. Navy SEAL snipers use this .338 Lapua Magnum sniper rifle.
The movie we’re referring to is the biographical war drama American Sniper from 2014. With the power and efficiency behind this bad boy, it’s no surprise that Chris Kyle was able to make 160 kills. Note, however, that creative license lowers the film’s accuracy by 43% or so.
9. Sharps Rifle
Here’s a rifle with a reputation that spans many decades. The Sharps rifle is a western dream. You can see it from the 1990 western Quigley Down Under to the 2010 movie True Grit.
In the 1840s, people used the sporting versions of the rifle. After the Civil War, Sharps created the 1869 and 1874 models for hunters and frontiersmen. Today, Shiloh Rifle Company and C Sharps Arms create reproductions of 1983 and 1979 Sharps rifles.
10. M41A Pulse Rifle
No matter how sci-fi movies make guns look futuristic, they need a base or inspiration for their guns. The same is true with Ellen Ripley’s weapon in Aliens. Note that she later adds an M240 Incarnate Unit to make the weapon more fatal to unknown life forms.
Wait, you say, isn’t the M41A pulse rifle a fictional weapon, too? Well, the good news is that companies are now creating replicas of the iconic Aliens blaster gun. Lage uses a 9mm submachine gun affixed to a short-barreled 12-gauge shotgun.
Another hobbyist uses the M1A1 Thompson with a Remington 12-gauge shotgun. It’s not too far from the movie’s distinctive pulse rifle. The originals used an M1A1 Thompson fitted with a cut-down Remington 870 shotgun.
11. Remington 1858
If you’re a big fan of guns, you’re sure to enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained if you haven’t seen it yet. Set in pre-Civil War American South, the movie features a lot of great guns. You may even notice that a good number of them are in actuality anachronistic or inaccurate.
Throughout most of the movie, Jamie Foxx as Django Freeman carries the Remington 1585. He uses the Sheriff’s model, which has a short barrel for a quicker draw.
The other firearms in the movie include the Remington 1585 New Army Cattleman’s Carbine and double-barrel derringers.
12. M60 Machine Gun
How can you forget Sylvester Stallone’s rampaging through a small town in First Blood? Also known as “The Pig”, this general-purpose machine gun can fire 600 rounds per minute. It’s John Rambo’s main weapon at the climax of First Blood.
13. Starr 1858 Army
If you like Clint Eastwood films, you may know the Starr DA from his film titled Unforgiven. It’s the gun Clint as William Munny uses to test his shooting ability. The film shows its self-cocking trigger.
The Starr 1585 is a three-chamber pistol with a .44 cylinder. Some call it the Starr DA to refer to its double-action model.
You may also see this gun in the 1994 film Wyatt Earp where the titular protagonist uses and carries it.
14. Colt 1872 Gatling Gun
Let’s take another trip back to old school films where Clint Eastwood is the man to beat in the industry. We’re going to talk about his movie The Outlaw Josey Wales. It’s the Civil War-era film where Eastwood plays a confederate veteran trying to escape capture.
Here, he uses the Colt 1872 Gatling gun to finish off most of his enemies. It uses a chamber of 44 Rimfire. Note that the gun wouldn’t exist during the period of the movie.
15. Heckler & Koch P30L
Let’s talk about one of the best action movies to come out in 2014 and beyond. It’s a movie that uses great fight choreography, violence, suspense, and a lot of awesome guns. If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s John Wick.
For this part, let’s take a look at Keanu Reeves’ character’s firearm throughout the first film. It’s the Heckler & Koch P30L pistol fitted with a custom compensator. It’s a fine-quality, semi-automatic pistol with a longer barrel length than the P30 model.
Get the Most Iconic Movie Guns Now!
That’s it for our guide on the most famous movie guns in the industry. Now you have a solid list of movie guns to hunt for the next time you shop for your collection!
We hope all you gun enthusiasts out there widened your knowledge on the movie uses of these guns. But it shouldn’t end here! If you’re one of the civilian gun owners and you want to know more, check out our other posts.