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Guns of Pop Culture: “Collateral” & the HK USP 45

In this guns of pop culture, we take a look at the Michael Mann film "Collateral" and the HK USP 45 wielded by Tom Cruise.

    In Collateral, Tom Cruise plays Vincent, an enigmatic assassin who has several stops to make during a single night in Los Angeles. 

    The film is a slow burn punctuated by several intense action sequences. Vincent receives a package — from Jason Statham, of all people — containing his weaponry, information on targets, and more.

    Tom Cruise in Collateral
    Tom Cruise in Collateral

    Vincent’s primary firearm of choice is the Heckler and Koch USP 45

    The Universal Service Pistol 

    The Heckler & Koch USP 45 used in Collateral
    The Heckler & Koch USP 45 used in Collateral

    The road to the USP is long and starts with the Mk 23 — an offensive handgun developed for SOCOM.

    While the pistol chosen for SOCOM would be the Mk 23, the USP was effectively already developed. 

    This pistol proved to be an extremely capable handgun — reliable and exceptionally durable in the harshest conditions possible. 

    Vincent holds his HK USP 45 to Max's head
    Vincent holds his HK USP 45 to Max’s head

    I can certainly see why a highly trained assassin would want such a well-made gun.

    Vincent’s life and his pay rely on the weapon, and thus he rightly wants the very best. Plus, the weapon pioneered the mechanical recoil reduction system via a dual recoil spring design. 

    at GrabAGun

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    This heavy spring design has become quite common with modern handguns.

    The recoil spring doesn’t just make the gun more comfortable, it also allows the gun to withstand tens of thousands of rounds without issue. 

    Vincent aims his HK USP 45, showing off Cruise's grip
    Vincent aims his HK USP 45, showing off Cruise’s grip

    Vincent conceals his weapon in his jacket despite the USP 45 not being a tiny gun. This beefy pistol features a 4.41-inch barrel with an overall length of 7.87 inches. On top of that, it weighs close to 2 pounds unloaded. 

    It’s not designed for concealed carry but rather for duty and service.

    With Vincent’s character’s elite level of military training, it’s easy to see why he’d choose this weapon. The chambering also fits his character. 

    Tom Cruise, as Vincent, confidently fires the USP
    Tom Cruise, as Vincent, confidently fires the USP

    A man like Vincent probably used the .45 ACP a ton as a solider and later special op bubba. It’s both a weapon and caliber he’d appreciate and be accustomed to. 

    The Fantastic Mr. Fox 

    Vincent wields the USP 45 exceptionally well. It shows that Cruise trained a lot to build confidence in his pistol handling skills.

    Some behind-the-scenes show Cruise being trained extensively by a former SAS commando and LAPD SWAT cop. 

    He also trained with live ammo at the LA Sheriff’s Department range, honing his skills…and it shows. Vincent wields the USP and other firearms quite well throughout the film.

    He uses the USP .45 to conduct a box drill against two thugs in an alley who stole his briefcase. 

    Cruise famously shot the scene over and over to fire five shots in 1.6 seconds. He ended up finishing the drill in 1.39 seconds.

    He defeats a cover garment, draws, fires from close retention, transitions to a standard shooting position, and more with a ton of skill. 

    Vincent also operates his weapons well in the nightclub shootout. He roles with the punches and fires from the ground, even working through a failure to stop.

    One of the most fascinating scenes is near the end when Vincent — who’s been shot several times — empties his firearm and, out of instinct, reaches for a reload that isn’t there. 

    Final Thoughts

    Like most Michael Mann movies, Collateral takes guns to an enthusiastic level of excellence. The USP .45 is an excellent firearm for a professional, highly skilled assassin.

    Vincent in the middle of a Mozambique drill
    Vincent in the middle of a Mozambique drill

    This neo-noir flick is a great watch anytime you want to see well-rehearsed action, greeting acting, and a slow burn of a plot punctuated by gunfights. 

    This is part of a weekly series on Pew Pew Tactical dedicated to the guns of TV and film. If you’d like more of this content, drop us a comment below. In the meantime, check out last week’s pop culture dive with “Miami Vice” & the Bren Ten.

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    2 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Steve Sherridon

      If I hear another person praise Tom Criuse's 1.39 seconds Mozambique "bul.....it".............
      - There were no live rounds in the gun! It's a movie!!! Had there been real rounds in the gun he would have hit jack ...it in 1.39 seconds. Yes my five year old can go bang 6 times in 1.39 seconds.........-but he can't hit squat.....

      April 14, 2022 6:31 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        JM says hold my beer!

        June 22, 2022 5:52 pm
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