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Guns of Pop Culture: “RoboCop” & the Auto 9

In this Guns of Pop Culture, we take a look at the RoboCop series and the futuristically cool yet somewhat functional Auto 9.

I grew up consuming media without much adult supervision. We had stacks and stacks of VHS tapes, and I cruised through a ton of 80s, and 90s action flicks as a child.

One of my favorites action flicks of this time was RoboCop.

RoboCop 1987
RoboCop (Photo: MGM)

RoboCop was a hyper-violent film series starring a police officer who is brutally gunned down but brought back to life as a cyborg who enforces the law!

The films are pure cyberpunk-style dystopia with large corporations, corrupt government, and violent criminals. 

RoboCop demonstrating his skills with the Auto 9 at the range
RoboCop demonstrating his skills with the Auto 9 at the range

A big part of RoboCop was the Auto 9. The Auto served as RoboCop’s sidearm of choice and was a very distinct “hero” gun. 

So let’s dive into the Auto 9 and RoboCop a little further…

I’d Buy That For a Dollar. 

RoboCop is a sci-fi filmed through the lens of the filmmakers coming out of the late 1970s and the 1980s.

This period was a violent time in the United States, and our view of the future was grim.

So it’s no surprise this film takes place in a near-future Detroit plagued by violent criminals and an overwhelmed police force.

Since the police can’t get the job done, the Omni Corporation reaches an agreement with the city to run the police force. 

Thus, a project to produce robotic police forces begins…including the famed ED-209.

However, they settle on a combination of recently slain police officer Alex Murphy and robotics to produce the law enforcing cyborg known as RoboCop!

Though the film series takes place in the near future, we don’t see many high-tech blasters — it’s all about pump shotguns, Uzis, and MACs.

RoboCop has his famed Auto 9 series handgun while bad guy goon Boddicker carries a futuristic Desert Eagle and later wields the Cobra Assault Cannon made from a Barrett M82. 

Boddicker's Desert Eagle in RoboCop
Boddicker’s Desert Eagle

The Future of Duty Sidearms? 

The Auto 9 is RoboCop’s massive machine pistol that he wields extremely well.

Through the power of robotics and technology, he can often handle it one-handed and even shoot it accurately without visually aiming. 

RoboCop fires his Auto 9 without visual aiming
RoboCop fires his Auto 9 without visual aiming

In real life, the Auto 9 is a Beretta 93R dressed to the nines.

The front half looks futuristic, but if you look at the rear of the gun, it’s clearly a Beretta. The massive trigger guard signifies it’s a 93R and not a converted 92 series.

In real life, the Beretta 93R made a machine pistol out of the 92 series, firing in semi-auto or in 3-shot bursts.

Beretta pictured the gun being used by close protection specialists who needed something with more firepower than a handgun but with similar concealability. 

Beretta 93R
Standard Beretta 93R (Photo: Paraxade)

Like most machine pistols, it was found to be unwieldy…at least by mere mortals! RoboCop wields it like an absolute champ, though.

I’ll give credit to the prop and armory guys. They made the Auto 9 both cool and practical, at least as far as sci-fi props go.

On the front, they added a big compensator and barrel shroud, but remembered to include a front sight on a vent rib. To keep it practical, they enlarged the rear sight. The grip was also extended.

Profile of RoboCop's Auto 9
Profile of RoboCop’s Auto 9 so you can see the modifications

In general, the gun was huge.

Fun fact: RoboCop was originally set to wield a Desert Eagle, but the director found it too small. (I’ve never heard a Desert Eagle described as small…)

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The Auto 9 

RoboCop absolutely chews through bad guys with the Auto 9. He controls the gun as it fires its three-round bursts with a single hand and never seems to miss.

Heck, his computer parts mean he doesn’t even need to aim. 

The Compensator on RoboCop's Auto 9
The Compensator on RoboCop’s Auto 9

The compensator delivers an extremely bright muzzle flash that’s incredibly distinctive and gives the gun its trademark look as it fires.

It certainly looks rad, but for many of us, it would likely cause issues shooting at night. RoboCop’s visor seems to do a good job at tossing flash to the side. 

Conclusion

The Auto 9 sticks around for RoboCop 1 and RoboCop 2, but in RoboCop 3 they use a Beretta 92. 

In the RoboCop series and later TV movies, the Beretta 93R comes back.

(Photo: MGM)

Although in this much less violent series, he shoots objects rather than people and kind of Macguyvers his way out of situations…with a gun. 

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 “The Professional” & the Beretta 92FS

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3 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim Heavey

    No mention of the pistol twirl as Officer Murphy holsters his trusty Auto-9? For shame!

    March 16, 2022 6:15 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Diego Fernandez

    Uh, Detroit may actually need a robocop today...or, yesterday.

    March 16, 2022 1:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    AJ Hodges

    One of the reasons Beretta 92s (and their derivatives) were so popular in movies was how easy it was to make them blank firing. Best part is that the modification is completely reversible if you want the gun fire live ammo again. Modifying a glock to do the same is more difficult and irreversible.

    March 16, 2022 12:58 pm
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