The Guns of Oblivion
Released earlier this year, Oblivion is a post-apocalyptic film that is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Joseph Kosinski. Starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman, it takes place in the year 2077 after a great war has occurred during which an alien race of invaders has destroyed the moon and ravaged the earth. Setting aside the guns for a moment, this film has some amazing scenery as Jack Harper, played by Tom Cruise, is seen riding a futuristic motorcycle through the remnants of what used to be New York City. Think the post-apocalyptic desolation of I Am Ledged mixed with the invasion of Independence Day. In fact, Oblivion contains many subtle homages to the latter film.
The film features a little over a half dozen different firearms. Most of them are, as is the custom in science fiction films, real weapons that have been modified to give them a futuristic look and feel. There are a select few, however, that are completely fictional; props that were made specifically for the film.
It is never really made clear in the film whether these futuristic weapons still fire regular bullets, or whether by the year 2077 we have developed laser guns a la Star Wars. One thing is certain however, at no point in the film is anyone ever seen reloading a weapon.
The main pistol that Jack Harper uses throughout the film is one such example of a fictional weapon. It was created via 3D printing, and then outfitted with electronics and a futuristic paint job. The weapon has a thumb safety but seems to have nowhere for a magazine to be inserted into it, as there is no magazine well in the grip. There is also no action that cycles, which leads me to believe that perhaps this is a laser gun of some sort.
Sergeant Sykes, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, is seen wielding a Heckler & Koch USP Match as his main sidearm throughout the film. The Match variant of the Universal Self-loading Pistol, or USP, differs from the standard USP most notably by the large barrel weight that is located at the front of the slide. The first appearance of this weapon in film was when Lara Croft, played by Angelina Jolie, used it as her signature pistol in the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Sticking with Heckler & Koch we move to the submachine guns where we see two different H&Ks. First, the Heckler & Koch Universal Machine Pistol, or the H&K UMP as it is more commonly known, is seen being used by multiple characters including Julia. The UMPs in the film are outfitted with reflex optics, folding stocks and custom foregrips which house a flashlight. Initially developed in the late 1990s, the UMP is a blowback operated submachine gun that was designed to be a lighter and cheaper successor to the ubiquitous MP5.
This brings us right to the second submachine gun, the Heckler & Koch Machine Pistol Model 5 (MP5). In the film, the MP5s are seen being carried by some of the resistance fighters. The weapon, however, has been somewhat comically converted into a sniper rifle. Placed inside of a skeleton that makes the weapon much larger and elongates the barrel, the MP5s are also outfitted with modified Aimpoint optics.
The main rifle that is used throughout the film by main character Jack Harper is a highly modified Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle (ACR). Outfitted with a shell that surrounds the stock and upper receiver, the rifle has a very futuristic look to it. Integrated into the shell and situated just above the barrel is a TorchLAB weapon light. The weapon is also seen with a 10-round magazine, (which never runs out), and futuristic scope that includes a significantly enhanced display that includes coordinates and target identification. Finally, the ACR is outfitted with a custom white Magpul MS-3 sling.
Originally designed in 2006, the Adaptive Combat Rifle was created by Magpul Industries to be entered into the United States Army’s Individual Carbine Competition in 2010. The Competition was planned to be used to locate a successor for the M4 Carbine. Other entrants to the competition included the Fabrique Nationale Adaptive Carbine (FNAC), which is a variant of the FN SCAR, and the Heckler & Koch HK416, the gun widely believed to have killed Bin Laden. In June of 2013, however, the competition was canceled when it was determined that it was costing too much money for too little improvement. After striking a deal with Bushmaster and Remington Arms, Magpul licensed the rights to manufacture the ACR to these two companies. The former produces a civilian version while the latter manufactures a variant for military use.
Many of the resistance fighters are seen carrying highly modified AKMs. (Don’t ask me what AKM stands for; the rough translation from Russian is “Kalashnikov modernized automatic rifle.”) The AKM, which was introduced in 1959, is essentially an upgraded version of the classic AK-47. These weapons are mostly seen in the background so few details are known. They all have had their stocks removed and have been given oversized grips. Like the ACR, they are housed in a shell that gives them a futuristic look while also adding picatinny rails to the top and sides of the rifle.
During one pivotal scene, a resistance fighter is seen with a customized Barrett M82A1. To make the Barrett look more futuristic, it was given a skeleton shell as well, though not as extensive of one as those seen on the ACR and AKMs. The shell added top and bottom bars to the rifle and to complete the look, a ridiculously oversized scope was mounted on top. The Barrett also features a custom muzzle brake that is similar in design to the brake on the M107A1, except in the film it has five chambers rather than the standard four.
In the climactic battle that ends the film, we see Malcom Beech, played by Morgan Freeman, making a heroic last stand while firing twin mounted Browning M2s. First produced in 1921, the M2 has been in constant use ever since. Capable of firing at more than 800 rounds per minute, the M2 is the go-to machine gun for countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe.
Originally published in the October 2013 issue of GunUp the Magazine.