What is it about Hollywood and guns?
I don’t think there’s any entity out there that can create a desire for a particular firearm more than putting it at the forefront of an awesome movie.
It doesn’t matter if it’s real or not, if it’s awesome enough in the film, it moves to our number one Christmas boutique gift item.
So what about the best movie guns? Every action villain needs a nasty looking gun and every hero needs an equally if not more awesome gun.
These are the guns, real or not, that either make the movie or define the action movie genre altogether.
As I go along, I’ll try to classify each as an either villain’s gun, a hero’s gun or neutral.
Best Movie Guns
10. The Uzi
If there’s a gang involved in the film or some large group of thugs, one of them will be carrying an Uzi. This gun is iconic in so many ways. It defined an era, it defined a classification. When you think “sub-machine gun”, the Uzi is usually the first that comes to mind.
Who remembers that image of the secret service agent protecting Reagan with the Uzi?
Although it’s been the weapon of choice for bodyguards throughout the world, rarely do you ever see a hero using this right off the bat in films.
If the hero is going to wield this 9mm gun, it’s usually because he’s pulled it from a dead bad buy. Preferably one he dispatched with a knife or a neck snap. This is totally a villain gun in the movies.
Honorable mention: The H&K MP5.
9. The .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson 29
Clint Eastwood (real name Cuddles McGee) tends to show up a lot on this site and others like it. Why? Because of one character: Dirty Harry.
Had Dirty Harry been carrying a snub nose .38 or a .22 Ruger Mark III, the movie would have been stupid as hell. In this case, however, that hand cannon essentially became the star of the movie with Clint Eastwood taking the supporting role.
Too bad the Academy Awards requires the best lead actor be human and not an inanimate object. I think the S&W would have been a shoe-in that year. This revolver is totally a hero’s gun.
8. The Zorg ZF-1
The easiest way to describe this gun is just to quote Mr. Zorg:
“It’s light; handle’s adjustable for easy carrying; good for righties and lefties; breaks down into four parts; undetectable by X-ray; ideal for quick discreet interventions.
Titanium recharger; 3000-round clip with bursts of 3 to 300. With the replay button, another Zorg invention, it’s even easier. One-shot and replay sends every following shot to the same location. And to finish the job, all the Zorg oldies-but-goldies.
Rocket launcher… arrow launcher, with exploding or poisonous gas heads, very practical… our famous net launcher… the always-efficient flamethrower, my favorite…and for the grand finale, the all-new ‘Ice-cube System’!”
I’ve never wanted a fake gun to be real so much in my life. This was the perfect gun for the villain in The Fifth Element.
7. The Golden Gun
Scaramanga was an exhibition shooter turned assassin. He used a golden gun that shot a single 4.2mm 23-carat gold bullet.
Many people don’t remember but the gun itself broke down into a fountain pen, a cigarette lighter, cigarette case and a cuff link. Those separate items formed the barrel, chamber, handle and trigger respectively. This made it easier to smuggle through security.
This villainous weapon made it onto the list a) because it was named the 6th most popular weapon in film and b) because the movie was pretty much named after it.
Not many guns have entire movies named after them. Still, it’s most definitely a villain gun.
6. The Noisy Cricket
“I feel like I’m gonna break this damn thing!” This tiny gun, smaller than the average derringer, has been a running gag throughout the Men In Black universe (from the comics to the movies to the cartoons).
Don’t let the size of this gun fool you, it can blow a hole through buildings and propels the shooter backward 20 feet or more when fired.
Used as a kind of hazing in the Men In Black organization, it is given to new recruits as their first weapon for the entertainment of senior agents.
I was such a fan of MIB, starting way back with the comics, that the first time I shot a pocket pistol, in the back of my mind I half expected it to have the highest recoil of any gun I’ve ever fired.
It was only ever fired by the hero so that makes this a hero gun.
5. The Mini Gun
A modern update to a very old design. This electric-powered Gatling gun is capable of blanketing the land with 7.62mm bullets at a rate of 2,000 to 6,000 rounds a minute.
For some reason, this gun tends to show up in movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Who can forget the scene in Predator where they pretty much leveled a stretch of jungle with one of these? This gun is used throughout our military, usually mounted to vehicles, to devastating results. If you want a lot of things obliterated, this is a great gun to choose.
I’ve seen heroes and villains using this thing in movies so it’s pretty much neutral. It is, however, used to establish that someone is “badass” so that makes it a badass gun.
4. The 1911
This gun is used in a lot of movies. Pretty much any period war film is going to be covered with these.
At the same time, because of the unassuming nature of the 1911, you’re almost always going to see someone carrying this in a movie. Heros and villains alike can appreciate the craftsmanship and ergonomics of this 100+ year old gun.
The character Dean from “Supernatural” has a beautifully engraved Colt and Walter from “The Big Lebowski” uses a 1911 to enforce bowling rules.
3. Desert Eagle .50
If you want to instantly establish someone as a force to be reckoned with, this gun is the one to hand them.
The biggest, baddest mamma jammas are the only ones in film that you will see with this gun. Arnold in 90% of his films and “Bullet Tooth” Tony in “Snatch” are just the first two that come to mind.
If you’ve never held one of these cannons, and that’s the only way to describe it is a cannon, then go find a gun store that carries them and hold it. With its massive size (have I mentioned it’s big?) and its distinctive triangular shape, this gun is instantly recognizable.
This isn’t a hero or villain gun. Like the minigun, it’s a gun for badasses and that’s that.
2. The AK-47
In old western films, the good guys and bad guys were immediately recognizable because of a simple trick: the good guy wore white and the bad guy wore black.
These days, that trick is still used although it has nothing to do with their apparel (good guys have finally realized just how slimming a black outfit can be). If they want to instantly establish someone as the bad guy in an action film, they just hand them an AK-47.
With its menacing silhouette and easily spotted wooden accouterments, everyone knows what an AK-47 looks like even if they don’t know what it’s called. Everyone also knows that if you see someone wielding this, they’re not to be trusted.
Much like the uzi, the only time the good guy typically uses this gun is when he’s stolen it from a baddie. The M16/AR-15 may be the mechanically and technologically superior weapon but style-wise, you’ve gotta give props to the Kalashnikov.
This is the quintessential villain’s gun.
1. The Beretta 92
There is no handgun that has appeared in more films than this Italian made, flashy-looking 9mm pistol.
Seriously, go pick any action film. Chances are you will see one of these guns being wielded by someone before the end of the first action sequence.
This was John McClain’s choice in the “Die Hard” films, it was modified and stylized even more for use by the Clerics in “Equilibrium”, it was carried by Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and I could go on and on.
There’s something about the shape of the slide, the lines, the style that just makes this gun appeal to filmmakers.
Did we miss one? Let us know your picks in the comments! For some more awesome guns in movie action, take a look at the Most Realistic Gun Scenes in Movies!