Marvel movies are all about superpowers, gadgets, gizmos, space aliens, and more. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have guns.
How can a human go toe to toe with a super-powered individual? Well, the same way an angry raccoon beats space aliens: with guns.
The Marvel heroes use a fair bit of firearms, Captain America seemed to like his 1911, Black Widow might as well be called Glock Widow, and our vet-turned-hero Sam Wilson tends to like machine pistols.
Sam recently donned the Shield as Captain America, but before that, he served as the Avenger Falcon.
He wore a suit of super wings and used drones, gadgets, and guns to fight off world-ending events. His weapon of choice was the Steyr SPP.
Into The World of Steyr
While the Steyr SPP is portrayed as a machine pistol in the Marvel films, in real life, it’s a semi-auto variant of an actual machine pistol.
The Steyr TMP, or Tactical Machine pistol, was developed in 1992 for special operations, police, and high-end security details.
It offered a semi-auto-only version of the gun for civilian sales in the United States. The SPP is a closed bolt weapon firing the famed 9mm round. The SPP features a unique operating system.
It’s a short-recoil design with a locking, rotating barrel. This creates a lighter, more controllable platform than a pure blowback gun. The Steyr SPP seemingly has a long barrel extension or perhaps a form of flash can on the end of the barrel.
Like most machine pistols, the magazine fits into the pistol grip, which results in a more compact gun, but a rather bulky pistol grip. The weapon features rather small sights, but that’s not a major problem for our hero.
Steyr no longer produces the SPP, and the design was sold to B&T. B&T now produces the TP9, which is a more modern variant of the SPP.
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Why It Makes Sense
Normally, I would say the fact that Falcon wields two machine pistols is less about the efficiency of the guns and more about how cool it looks on film.
However, I did a slight deep dive into guns on flying vehicles, and after half an hour of reading, I feel like I’m an expert in aerial guns.
My expertise tells me that Falcon’s choice makes a lot of sense. Machine pistols tend to have a high rate of fire, and the TMP reaches 900 rounds a minute. Let’s assume the Steyr SPP has the same firing rate.
Back in the day, we used to strap the same machine guns used by infantry forces onto our planes. The main difference is the rate of fire. For example, the infantry version of the M1919 had a 400 to 600 rounds per minute rate of fire.
The aircraft version of the same gun had a rate of fire of 1,200 to 1,500 rounds per minute. The increased rate of fire was necessary for planes that only had limited time in a flight fight to put lead out.
When you are doing strafing runs at the ground or dogfighting, you don’t have a ton of time on target, so the rapid rate of fire helps you put as many rounds as possible out.
Apply that same theory to Sam as Falcon. He’s essentially a close air support asset.
He has two rapid-firing guns that allow him to put out some serious heat in the short amount of time he has in a dive. In fact, we see him do this more than once.
The little SPP tosses out a lot of lead, and he dual-wields SPPs to double up on that.
Let’s assume his fancy visor system has targeting capabilities that reduce or eliminate his need to use iron sights, making those strafing runs accurate and lead-filled.
That’s my 1,000-yard view of Falcon and his Steyr SPPs. They certainly look cool, and he tends to stick to those specific guns. I think it honestly makes a little sense.
Man-portable air-to-ground guns are a tricky accomplishment. For the role, a machine pistol makes sense. Good luck diving while trying to fire a rifle or LMG.
I’m not sure if that was intentional by Marvel or if it’s just a happy accident, but I’ll take it either way.
What did you think of Falcon and the Steyer? Give us your thoughts in the comments below. For more Guns of Pop Culture, head to our Fun Category!