Firearms

Guns of Action Stars — Arnold Schwarzenegger

Operator holding clapperboard, studio light with claps on background. Filmmaker background

Some celebrities have made a name with their ability to thrill us on screen with impressive firearm handling and shooting skills. These “Action Stars” have used a wide variety of guns throughout their years in film, but some stand out more than others. Here are some of the best and coolest guns used by the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

The Terminator AMT Hardballer
The Hardballer and laser sight combo is iconic. Image Source: IMFDB

The Terminator

When many think of Schwarzenegger, they think of the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, aka the T-800 Terminator. In The Terminator, the killer cyborg’s main sidearm is the AMT Hardballer in .45 ACP. This is a longslide, 1911-style pistol features a 7-inch barrel and is outfitted with a prototype laser sight, which is quite large due to the technology required at the time. 

Additionally, in the beginning of the movie, we see the Terminator acquiring an IMI Uzi submachine gun, Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, and Armalite AR-18 rifle from a gun store. What a dream, to walk into a gun store with these in stock — especially in California. The AR-18 is shown with two 40-round magazines taped together back to back and is fired without the stock, similar to the SPAS-12. 

Commando IMI Uzi
Can’t make it through an 80’s movie without at least one Uzi. Image Source: IMFDB

Commando

Commando is a classic action movie featuring John Matrix (Schwarzenegger), a former Special Forces soldier now required to work for a South American dictator to prevent his daughter from being killed. During the initial assault at the mansion, we see Matrix grab a stainless MK I Desert Eagle from the armory. This would have been a .357 Magnum model holding 10+1 rounds, as the .44 Magnum version wasn’t introduced until 1986, and the .50 AE in 1988. 

Later, we see Matrix pull a satin nickel Colt Commander off General Kirby after getting the drop on him. This is a classic sidearm for the time and ties in well to the military roots. 

When his home is attacked and his daughter is kidnapped, we see Matrix wield an HK91A2. The semi-automatic version of the popular G3 rifle features the same roller-delayed blowback action and 7.62 NATO chambering. 

Further, would it be an 80’s movie if we didn’t see an IMI Uzi? We see both the full-sized Uzi (used by Matrix when stealing the plane) and the Uzi Pistol (used by Bennett throughout the film) in good use. 

Predator M16
Dutch handles the slab-side M16 well. Image Source: IMFDB

Predator

Predator is another unmistakable Schwarzenegger film that will cement his legacy. He plays Dutch, a Major leading a Special Ops rescue team through the jungle. Everything is going as planned until they realize they are being hunted by an unknown predator. Dutch carries an AR-15/SP1 that has been converted to full auto and outfitted to look like a slab-side M16 with an M203 grenade launcher. The modularity of the AR platform rifle has made it America’s rifle, and the M16 was the basis for this success. Gaining popularity throughout the Vietnam War, the M16 brought improved components, increased durability, and a three-round burst mode. 

The whole team is seen carrying Desert Eagles (chambered in .357 or .44 Mag) for sidearms. Some use a shoulder rig, but Dutch carries his in a holster on the hip, however, he loses it while going over the waterfall. He’s seen reaching for it, but never firing. 

Total Recall Goncz GA
The Goncz GA is unique and futuristic. Image Source: IMFDB

Total Recall

In a dystopian future with memory implantation, we follow Quaid (Schwarzenegger), a construction worker who discovers what he thought was his life is actually an elaborate cover story. Total Recall features a number of interesting firearms, all with a notable “futuristic” style. One of the most prominent is the Goncz GA, a TEC-9 style pistol with a distinctive design. The Hungarian 9mm was an attempt to bridge between the functionality of a rifle and pistol for an all-in-one defensive firearm. In 2023, there was an attempt to try and get more funding for another run of these pistols, but it doesn’t seem to have panned out. 

Additionally, the movie incorporates Calico M950 and M900 firearms used by the Mars Federal Colony troops. These roller-delayed 9mms feature unique helical magazines (50 or 100 rounds) that feed from the top of the firearm. They were originally designed as full-auto submachine guns, but were quickly altered to semi-auto for civilian sale. 

Quaid is also shown using a Muzzelite MZ14 Bullpup conversion for a Ruger AC556. The bullpup design lends itself well to a futuristic setting. The rifle even features a small scope mounted on the carry handle.

Last Action Hero Desert Eagle
A giant pistol (Desert Eagle) for a giant guy. Image Source: IMFDB

Last Action Hero

Despite a relative lack of success, Last Action Hero features a ton of firearms. Schwarzenegger stars as Jack Slater, a fictional action movie hero who encounters a live teenager named Danny who used a magic ticket to enter the show. As with a lot of his movies, we see Schwarzenegger use a Desert Eagle, this time a confirmed .357 Magnum. 

Further, we see Danny open Slater’s glove box and a Smith & Wesson 5906 falls out. It’s an early model with the adjustable sights. We also see a S&W 645 sitting in the glove box when it’s opened. These classic 2nd and 3rd Generation S&W autoloaders are still accurate and reliable defensive pistols. 

Slater packs a Colt Mustang in an ankle holster as a backup gun. It is seen clipped inside his cowboy boot in the opening scene with the Ripper. The mini 1911-style pistol can be concealed just about anywhere and offers six extra rounds of .380 ACP. 

Slater’s old friend, John Practice, uses a special edition Bren Ten as his sidearm. The two-tone “Peregrine Falcon” edition 10mm looks as good as it runs. 

Raw Deal HK94
The ventilated shroud on the HK94 looks good on screen. Image Source: IMFDB

Raw Deal

In Raw Deal, a disgraced FBI agent, Mark Kaminsky (Schwarzenegger), must go undercover as a member of the mob to uncover information relating to a government mole leaking classified information about agents and witnesses. 

During the movie’s climax, we see Kaminsky unpack a bag of weapons, including an HK94. The HK94 is a semi-automatic carbine variation of the popular MP5 submachine gun. His A3 version features a collapsible stock and ventilated barrel shroud. The firearm was also used in several posters and photo shoots for the film. 

Additionally, we see Kaminsky pull a Dan Wesson Model 15 .357 revolver out of his bag and check his load. He ends up using it on a truck driver while positioned in the trailer. The DW Model 15 utilized a unique interchangeable barrel system that allowed shooters to easily swap barrel lengths with a specialized wrench. 

During the casino shootout, Kaminsky uses an International Ordnance MP2 machine pistol. The MP2 is a rudimentary design intended to be simple and cost effective to produce. Notably, it featured a foregrip that doubled as a spare magazine holder. It incorporates a compensated muzzle brake to counteract muzzle rise under full-auto recoil. 

Eraser Glock 21
Eraser features a number of suppressed firearms, including a Glock 21. Image Source: IMFDB

Eraser

In Eraser, Schwarzenegger stars as John Kruger, the top agent in a U.S. Marshal witness protection program designed to erase the past and create the future. One of the film’s most prominent weapons is the fictional EM-1 Railgun, which is said to fire caseless ammunition at the speed of light. 

The movie also features a number of real world firearms and plenty of suppressors. Kruger’s main sidearm is a Glock 21 Gen 2, which he routinely fires suppressed. The .45 ACP striker-fired pistol was recently introduced and starting to take off in popularity. Later in the film, we also see Kruger using a suppressed Walther PPK, although it is unclear if it is a field pickup or continuity error. Finally, we see him wield a suppressed HK P7M13SD squeeze cocker. This may be another gun he packed beforehand, but it’s likely another continuity error and supposed to represent the same pistol. 

End of Days Glock 26
Two hidden Glock 26 pistols is good backup. Image Source: IMFDB

End of Days

End of Days is a supernatural thriller featuring Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger), a private security specialist tasked with defending a woman who’s being pursued by the embodiment of pure evil. Cane’s main pistol is a Glock 34, which was brand new to the market at the time. The striker-fired 9mm longslide has only grown in popularity since. He also carries a pair of Glock 26 pistols hidden under his sleeves. 

After losing his G34, he grabs a Glock 17 from the security company armory. At one point, he teaches Christine to use the pistol and we see him demonstrate how to align the sights. Additionally, he grabs an HK MP5A3 with an M203 launcher from the security company’s arsenal before his big face-off with Satan. 

What’s your favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? What about guns he’s used on screen? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (9)

  1. Aren’t they all Anti Gun…!
    Yet they have made millions ACTING with guns as the main Thing in their pics..!
    Sammy Jackson etc

  2. Thanks for the intriguing & enlightening article! With the Schwarzenegger canon, it’s like journeying through the memory lane of great firearms. The scene in Predator, where they empty their guns firing into the jungle around them, cutting down trees & bushes, is a classic. I hope you’ll do more of these articles.

  3. Unfortunatly these same actors go on to bash law abiding gun owners. Arnold parades himself as a conservative but his rants say otherwise.

    2AF

  4. 1984 Terminator: Franchi SPAS-12, “Ah’ll be back…”
    1985 Commando: Valmet M78
    1988 Red Heat: “Podbyrin 9.2mm” aka Desert Eagle and tip of the hat to Eastwood, Dirty Harry.
    1991 Terminator 2: Winchester 1887 lever-action shotgun.
    1994 True Lies: Heckler & Koch P9S

  5. I’m afraid my favorite Schwazenegger movie doesn’t involve guns. It is Conan the Barbarian, IMO, THE defining Swords and Sorcery movie and Arnold was the perfect fit for it despite the fact, or perhaps because of the the fact, that he could barely speak English at the time.

    And while it may not be as iconic as “I’ll be back,” the answer to what is greatest thing in life (“To krosh your enemies, drive dem before you, and hear da lamentations of dere wimmin.”) is certainly one of the greatest movie lines ever.

  6. The best firearm used in his movies is the lever action 12 gauge shotgun. Why? I dunno. But I’m calling it as the best.

  7. The International Ordnance MP2 machine pistol looks a good deal like a SMG that Vito Cellini designed back in the 1970s, only his was called the SM-9 or SM-90. I was living in San Antonio at the time and Vito showed me his prototype. It’s in a private collection now.

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