Guns of Sci-Fi
Guns frequently play the co-star in science fiction movies and television shows. In some shows, one could make a credible argument that a particular gun deserves the award for best supporting actor.
So, in no particular order, here are a few of the guns that you will find in a few of the popular science fiction shows.
The Battlestar Galactica series rebooted in 2003 and featured a wide variety of firearms. Some of the guns are heavily stylized versions of modern weapons while others are seemingly factory-stock guns.
Probably one of the most seen firearms was the handgun used by military personnel. In the first season, that firearm was a significantly modified revolver that bore a resemblance to the Hero Gun used in Blade Runner (see below for more information on that gun.)
A slightly modified FN Five-Seven pistol replaced the original sidearm in the second season. This pistol was easily recognizable even with a small, box-like attachment to the accessory rail.
Another frequently seen handgun was the Vektor CP1, a futuristic looking pistol made in South Africa. The Vektor sold in limited numbers in the United States, and after a recall, few of them are believed to still exist inside the country.
Several largely unmodified Heckler & Koch guns make an appearance including the UMP, G36 and MP7A1. I suppose these guns look sci-fi enough without modification.
As one might expect, space cowboys travel well armed. More guns than I can count were used in this TV series, but two of them stand out: the Mare’s Leg and Vera.
The Mare’s Leg, a pistol version of the Winchester 1892 lever-action carbine, was first made popular in the late 1950’s TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive. Zoe, one of the main characters in the show, used the gun to good effect. Firefly returned the Mare’s Leg to popularity, and some would argue, was responsible for spawning modern versions of the gun from Chiappa, Rossi and others.
In contrast to the understated charm of the Mare’s Leg, Vera was a heavily modified Saiga 12 shotgun that supposedly fired large caliber bullets. The gun was owned and carried by Jayne, the ship’s resident troglodyte who believed firmly in the peace through superior firepower theory.
You might not be able to get a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range, but you can certainly appreciate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s complement of weaponry that he uses in his quest to terminate Sarah Connor.
One of the most interesting guns he uses is the AMT Longslide 1911-style pistol. When the film was released in 1984, laser sights were a rarity and required a lot of juice to keep running. According to the Internet Movie Firearms Database, the laser used on the movie gun required 10,000 volts just to turn on. Schwarzenegger had a battery pack inside his jacket that powered the laser through cables hidden in the coat’s sleeve.
Considered by many people to be the best science fiction movie of all time, Blade Runner features few guns including the four barrel COP 357 derringer (also seen in Battlestar Galactica above) and the Hero Gun.
The Hero Gun was the heavily stylized handgun used by the lead character who is hunting down replicants. The Hero Gun, also known as the “LAPD 2019 blaster” was a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver with a Steyr-Mannlicher SL receiver mounted on top of it. Depending on who you ask, the gun is either a sci-fi masterpiece or evidence of an unnatural and criminal mating of two firearms.
It should be mentioned that the Hero Gun sold at auction for more than $258,000 in 2009.
The Omega Man
“From my cold dead hands…” may have been the most famous thing Charlton Heston ever proclaimed, but when you are the last man on earth, those words might be more prophetic than inspirational.
In The Omega Man, Heston plays the role of a survivor after a deadly plague wipes out the earth’s population. Some of the plague victims survive as mutated, light-sensitive psychotics, which necessitates Heston’s reliance on firearms for self-defense.
Heston has a broad selection of firearms at his disposal, and is seen using everything from a BAR to a M3 with a (then) state-of-the-art infrared scope. Watching this movie can be a fun gun-spotting game.
One of the guns Heston uses early on is a relatively uncommon Smith & Wesson M76 9mm submachine gun. The M76 was a clone of the Carl Gustav M/45 SMG made for the Navy SEALs in the late 1960’s. The firearm saw limited use in the military and civilian markets, and production was cancelled in 1974.
There are a multitude of science fiction films and television shows that feature firearms. What are some of your favorites?