Guns of Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day
“The twelve-gauge autoloader. The .45 long-slide with laser sighting. Phased plasma rifle in a 40-watt range. Uzi nine millimeter.” The Terminator robot sure knows how to rack up a tab in a gun shop! The Terminator and its sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day feature an excellent collection of firearms and some of the most iconic bits of movie dialog. “Hasta la vista, baby” became the catchphrase of an entire generation; and Arnold make swing cocking a lever-action shotgun cool again in T2. While the franchise may have gone downhill with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator: Salvation, we’re going to focus on the first two films and all the excellent firearms they contain. Take a look below at our rundown of the Guns of Terminator and it’s sequel.
Guns of Terminator: Handguns
Handguns are a staple in the first two Terminator films. Perhaps the most famous is the AMT Hardballer used by the Terminator in the first film. This pistol is the “.45 long-slide with laser sighting” from the gun shop scene. The AMT Hardballer Longslide was a variation of the classic 1911 pistol that featured a 7-inch slide and barrel combination. The extra weight would help mitigate .45 ACP recoil, and the additional sight radius made the gun easier to shoot. Of course, the sight radius is negated by the enormous, primitive laser mounted on the film’s AMT pistol.
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In T2, the handgun that stands out the most is the classic Beretta 92FS. The Beretta 92FS was the king of the late 80s and early 90s action films, starring in Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and as the gun of choice of the killer liquid metal T-1000, played by Robert Patrick. It could be argued that the main reason for the Beretta 92FS’ popularity in films of the era is that it was (and remains) the standard issue pistol for the Los Angeles Police Department. In fact, the T-1000 in T2 acquires his 92FS by slaying an LAPD officer who responds to the disturbance created by the robot’s arrival in the “past.”
A neat piece of gun history also in T2 is Sarah Connor’s (Linda Hamilton) Detonics Custom 1911. According to IMFDB.org, the gun was a custom build for Hollywood and also appeared in Runaway as Tom Selleck’s gun of choice. The Detonics 1911s can be spotted by the way the rear sight is positioned on the slide; it’s much further forward than you’d expect on a traditional 1911.
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Guns of Terminator: Shotguns
The real star of T2 isn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s not Linda Hamilton, and it’s certainly not the twerp that plays a bratty little John Connor. It’s the T-800’s weapon of choice for the film’s first two acts – a vintage Winchester 1887 lever-action shotgun chambered in 10 gauge. Every fan of the film series remembers the T-800 flying down the streets of LA on a Harley Fatboy, spin-cocking his 1887 one-handed while engaging in an epic “semi vs. Harley” duel. The 1887 in the film was played by two different real 1887 Winchesters and one rubber prop gun. The reason two different guns were used was simple: one had a large loop on it to allow the spin-cocking technique, and the gun used in other scenes had the standard lever on it.
T2 features another famous shotgun scene, as Sarah Connor uses a Remington 870 with a top folding stock to blast the T-1000 robot to the edge of a pit full of molten metal. With a disabled arm, she pumps the shotgun one-handed and fires at the robot over and over again, running out of ammo just before she knocks the liquid metal Terminator into the pit. This isn’t the only appearance by an 870 in T2, but it is certainly the most memorable.
The Terminator also featured another memorable shotgun – the Franchi SPAS-12. The SPAS-12 was a Hollywood mainstay, and remains popular in films to this day despite production ceasing in 2000. Although the SPAS-12 can be switched between operating as a pump-action shotgun or a semi-automatic shotgun with the press of a button, in The Terminator the T-800 refers to it as the “12 gauge autoloader”. During the film, he removes the stock from the shotgun and proceeds to use it alongside an AR-18 during the police station shootout scene.
Guns of Terminator: Heavy Weapons
Rifles don’t play a significant role in the first two Terminator films, except for the aforementioned AR-18. The selection of rifles is a fairly standard mix of AR15-style rifles in various configurations. However, the heavy weapons do stand out. In T2, the T-800 uses his advanced targeting system and a handheld GE M134 Minigun to destroy several LAPD cars while leaving the officers alive on the orders of John Connor. The minigun used in the film is the same prop that was used in an earlier Arnold film, Predator by Jesse Ventura.
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During the same scene, the T-800 also uses a pair of grenade launchers. One is an MM1 revolving grenade launcher used to fire CS gas at the LAPD officers, and the other is an M79 40mm grenade launcher. While the use of the M79 is definitely “Hollywood” as the grenades do things in the film that certainly wouldn’t do in real life, the launcher itself with its massive muzzle and odd appearance lends a certain air of menace to it that other guns just don’t have. It’s a squatty, ugly weapon, designed with the serious intent of putting a major hurt on the enemies of its user.
The guns of the Terminator series don’t end with T2, as the film series has two more installments of dubious quality, as well as a television spin-off that featured Firefly’s Summer Glau as a female model Terminator tasked with protecting John Connor. While the films made without James Cameron aren’t as good as the originals, they can still provide a couple of hours of mindless fun, and some decent firearms action as well.