Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission to help support our testing. Learn more.

Guns of Pop Culture: “Heat” & Colt Model 733

The Colt Model 733 has a starring role in the movie "Heat" and we take a look at its iconic status in this film.
We review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission to help support our testing. Learn more.

    The best part about watching Michael Mann flicks is the guns.

    I could do an entire article on Heat and the various firearms used, but that’d get way too long, way too fast. Instead, I’m going to focus on the rifle that seemed to get the most amount of play, the Colt 733. 

    Shiherlis fires Model 733 over top of car
    Val Kilmer’s Shiherlis fires Model the 733 in Heat (1995)

    Heat is a movie about cops and robbers, but it’s much more dramatic, and a bit of a slow burn between the action scenes. 

    The criminals are sophisticated, well-armed, and intelligent. They plan their robberies to a T and utilize the best equipment they can get their hands on.

    In this case, two characters wielded Colt 733 carbines in the final bank robbery scene in the 1995 flick. 

    Modern For the Time 

    While it might be considered old school these days, the Colt 733 was a very modern rifle for the time.

    Colt Model 733 SMG
    Colt Model 733 SMG

    This gun served as an extension to the many CAR-15 models of the M16 rifle. The Colt 733 rocked an 11.5-inch barrel, making it an extremely lightweight and compact rifle

    It weighed less than 6 pounds empty — short and sweet for those close quarters battle scenarios. The barrel profile fits the pencil moniker and helps keep the rifle light and balanced. 

    McCauley muzzle flash Heat 3
    Robert De Niro’s McCauley fires his Colt Model 733

    The collapsing stock predated the M4, making the weapon fairly compact.

    Colt used parts from the A1 and A2 series to build the gun, and it’s a bit of a mutt. The upper is an A1 with a shell deflector. Not to mention, we get an A2 flash hider, pistol grip, and a forward assist. 

    Model 733 during bank heist scene
    Colt Model 733 during the bank heist scene

    The Colt 733 is also known as the Commando because it was intended as a close-quarters use weapon by special operations forces.

    Famously, the Delta Force commandos in Mogadishu carried the weapon and favored it for its light and short design. 

    US Navy Seal with Colt Commando
    US Navy Seal with Colt Commando

    At the time, it was as light and compact as a rifle could get.

    The 733 reportedly ran well for such a short carbine and helped replace SMGs as the go-to weapon for Special Operations and Counter-Terrorism forces. 

    The main downside to such a rifle was a loss of velocity for the 5.56 rounds and a massive increase in muzzle flash, concussion, and noise.

    .223 Remington and 5.56 were both designed for a 20-inch barrel.

    Shiherlis muzzle flash heat
    Heat showed that muzzle flash quite authentically

    As the barrel gets shorter, we see an increase in muzzle flash, concussion, and the like. For close quarters and urban environments, the loss of velocity isn’t a big deal but notable. 

    Rock and Roll at the Drop of a Hat 

    In the film Heat, Shiherlis and McCauley carry the Colt 733, making use of its specific design.

    First, they use the short nature of the weapon to conceal under suit jackets for a low profile. 

    As they rob the bank, they make an almost clean escape before the cops show up.

    Inside the escape vehicle, they fire out the front and rear windows with little issue. The short size of the carbines makes that possible. 

    McCauley aims Model 733 from car
    McCauley aims his Model 733 from the car

    As the situation gets worse, the two men abandon the car and engage police.

    First, the tactics and use of cover, covering fire, bounding, and communication are outstanding. I almost want to cheer for bad guys.

    These short little guns are lightweight and easy to maneuver around vehicles and cover. 

    Plus, I’m sure the users appreciate a lightweight rifle when carrying pounds of money.

    The baddies engage their rifles in full auto, firing short, relatively controlled bursts as they make their escape.

    Val Kilmer makes his famed reload. I’ll give it to Mann, he captured the increased muzzle flash well in the film. 

    Val Kilmer reload Heat
    Val Kilmer’s famous reload

    Final Thoughts

    The Colt 733 was a fantastic rifle for its time — lightweight, short, and super handy. Without a doubt, these are a realistic and smart picks for the bank robbers in Heat.

    McCauley muzzle flash Heat
    Another shot of that muzzle flash, this time with McCauley

    Rarely are the guns in films so well chosen and their features so accommodating to the user’s mission.

    Mann knocked it out of the park, and the Colt 733 was likely the best choice possible for the year Heat was filmed. 

    What’s your take on the Colt 733? Let us know in the comments below. For more on your favorite movie guns, check out “John Wick” & the HK P30L

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    4 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Carlos Reyes

      Exact same one used by Danny Archer (Leo DiCaprio)in Blood Diamond.

      September 21, 2023 3:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I was 14 or 15 when Heat was released. I remember wanting one of those rifles so bad. They seemed so out reach that I might as well have been wishing for a ride to Jupiter. The assault weapon ban was still in effect, so the idea of getting my hands on an AR was just inconceivable. It's weird to read about that rifle now like it's old and dated. It was just the coolest thing ever when I saw the movie.

      May 21, 2022 10:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Excellent write-up and perfect movie clip links. Michael Mann definitely had good taste with the firearms and cars he chose to use in his productions. Ben Affleck said Heat was an influence when he directed The Town. Another treasure trove of very cool weapons in that one too.

      May 18, 2022 2:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      matty b

      still my favorite movie of all time.

      May 18, 2022 1:50 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    By unsubscribing, you will not be able to access exclusive training courses in your profile. You will still be able to save and access your products and articles.
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments