The ’80s were jam-packed with some of the hottest action movies ever made. These Bad to the Bone flicks featured some radical guns and stellar action heroes. From pistols to rocket launchers, here are some of the best guns from ’80s action movies. So with that, let’s motor…
One of the most prevalent pistols you’ll see is the Beretta 92. Check the holsters and hands of every movie cop or security guard, and you’ll find the 92’s familiar silhouette. It is no surprise to see it featured in popular films such as “Lethal Weapon” and “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
The Beretta 92 is a 9mm double-action/single-action pistol with a double-stacked magazine that held 15 rounds back in the day, and 18 rounds today. The open-top slide design makes for excellent reliability and quick malfunction clearance. This wondernine helped pave the road for the popularity of today’s semi-automatic, double-stack pistols.
Featured in popular films such as “Die Hard” and “Commando,” the HK MP5 certainly makes its appearance on the big screen. This roller-delayed blowback 9mm submachine gun is known for its extreme durability and reliability. The iconic HK slap and a good catchphrase is the secret sauce for an action movie hit.
HK is known for making some of the most durable, reliable, and downright bad ass firearms for some of the world’s top operators. The MP5, or Maschinenpistole 5, is without a doubt one of HK’s most popular firearms. This lightweight and accurate firearm is incredibly easy to shoot and an absolute blast at the range.
Uzi and MAC-10
Submachine guns were all the rage back in the ’80s. Both the Uzi and MAC-10 made their way into a ton of different movies and still do to this day. These direct-blowback, open-bolt subguns are compact and lightweight options that provide a ton of firepower.
Movies such as “The Delta Force” and “Big Trouble in Little China” helped make these guns famous, but there were countless others. Whenever Hollywood needs a ‘spray-n-pray’ scene, they turn to these classic gats.
The M16, along with other AR-15 variants, made their way into a host of movies. The most loved — or hated — rifle in America appears in classics such as “Scarface” and “Predator.” Obviously, hundreds of others have followed suit.
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. Though the original AR-15 came about well before the M16, the improvements made to the rifle (for the development of the M16 for the U.S. military) paved the way for the modern iteration we have today.
Action movies love 12-gauge shotguns because they blow people back several yards when hit… at least they like to pretend to. One of the coolest shotguns featured in movies during the ’80s is the SPAS-12. This shotgun is capable of firing in both semi-auto and pump-action modes. This makes for great reliability with different types of loads. It also incorporates an iconic folding stock that folds across the top for more compact storage and carry.
“Robocop” and “The Terminator” both feature this incredible scattergun, and I’m sure you’ll spot it in a number of your other favorite action movies.
M60 Machine Gun
When action heroes need some serious firepower, they turn to the M60. The M60, or the “Pig,” is a full-auto, belt-fed 7.62 NATO machine gun that fires 550–650 rounds per minute. It earned this nickname from American soldiers because its report sounded like the grunt of a barnyard hog. Weighing in at around 26 pounds loaded, the M60 is about as heavy as three fully-loaded M4s, so it has some muscle to wield.
Paired with a seemingly endless supply of ammunition, this makes for some excellent heavy-duty firepower. Movie classics such as “Rambo: First Blood” and “Platoon” feature this behemoth, but the M60 often shows up on screen whenever GIs are present.
Although it’s not really a “top gun,” it wouldn’t be an ’80s action movie without explosions, right? One of the most iconic explosion producers is the RPG, or Rocket Propelled Grenade. The RPG produces a lot of smoke and a big bang, making it a Hollywood favorite. The RPG appears in several war/military movies, but most notably shows up in hits such as “Red Dawn” and “Red Scorpion.”
The shoulder-fired weapon launches a rocket equipped with an explosive warhead. The RPG-7 was developed as an anti-tank weapon in 1958. Today, the RPG is used by military units in over 40 different countries and a number of terrorist organizations.
The ’80s may have had its drawbacks, but it certainly had some hard-hitting action movies with eye-catching firearms. Whatever the movies lacked in realistic gun handling, they certainly made up for in movie magic. In the end, I could watch these hits every day.