Some stars have made a name for themselves with their ability to thrill us on screen with their physical prowess and shooting ability. These “Action Stars” have used a wide variety of firearms 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 Bruce Willis.
Leading off with one of his most noteworthy films, in Die Hard, Willis’ character John McClane uses his service Beretta 92 most of the time. Notably, in the end of the film, he wins a standoff by duct taping his trusty sidearm to his back.
The Beretta 92 is a 9mm double-action/single-action pistol with a double-stacked magazine that holds 17 rounds of ammunition. 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.
Later in the movie, McClane is able to pick up an HK MP5 from the villains’ supply. The MP5 is a roller-delayed blowback-operated 9mm submachine gun known for its extreme durability and reliability. The MP5, or Maschinenpistole 5, is without a doubt one of HK’s most popular firearms. Lightweight and accurate, this firearm is incredibly easy to shoot and an absolute blast at the range.
Tears of the Sun
As expected, a Navy SEAL movie includes some Navy SEAL pistols. Operators in Tears of the Sun use both the SIG MK25 and HK Mark 23 — popular options for real Special Forces soldiers. Waters (Willis’ character) elects to use the .45 ACP Mark 23.
The Mark 23 is an absolute boat anchor of a pistol, weighing in at an astounding 39.36 ounces (unloaded) with a 9/65-inch overall length. This DA/SA pistol is similar to the more common USP line… only larger, much larger.
HK designed the Mark 23 as an “offensive” handgun, possibly the only one in the world, as most handguns are considered a sidearm, compromise, or backup. This explains the massive dimensions. This .45 ACP pistol holds 12 in the magazine and has a 5.87-inch threaded barrel. This is no slouch in the firepower department. Similar to many of HK’s classic designs, the Mark 23 is a hammer-fired DA/SA pistol with a polymer frame and recoil buffer system.
Last Man Standing
In Last Man Standing, John Smith (Willis) goes old school with a pair of Colt M1911A1 that he frequently dual wields and carries in a double shoulder holster rig. Interestingly enough, these .45s must be boosted with an infinite ammo glitch, because they seemingly never run out of ammo and are rarely reloaded.
These classic Colt 1911s feature the historic bare-bone iron sights, rounded mainspring housing, and lanyard loop. He elects Government model 1911s with 5-inch barrels and a full-length steel grip frame. Of course, they’re single-stack, single-action, .45 ACP pistols. Notably, the left 1911 incorporates an extended slide stop/release for easy activation.
Shhhhh… because this next one is all about the hunt for a hush-hush assassin, The Jackal. Bruce Willis (the Jackal) uses a suppressed Beretta 84FS Cheetah throughout the film.
The Beretta 84FS is a .380 ACP semi-auto pistol that holds 13+1 rounds of ammunition. The blowback-operated FS designation has a DA/SA trigger mechanism, aluminum frame, and frame-mounted ambidextrous decocker that doubles as a thumb safety. The open-top slide design lends itself to extreme reliability, as there is more room to eject spent casings. Additionally, the barrel locking system of the Beretta lends itself to suppressor use because the barrel does not tilt, it stays in line with the slide and suppressor the whole time, so this would be a good choice for the Jackal.
Chief Talley (Willis) uses a Kimber Custom TLE II as his sidearm. This .45 ACP 1911 is definitely an upgrade from the old Colts from back in the day. It features front and rear slide serrations for easy manipulation and a checkered mainspring housing and frontstrap for a firm grip in all conditions. This, paired with the dovetail combat sights and extended controls, makes the Kimber an excellent, no-nonsense defensive firearm.
At one point, we can even see the slide is engraved with LAPD SWAT markings, which makes sense given Talley’s history with the department.
Additionally, Talley carries a Glock 26 with rubber band grip mod as backup. This is a neat detail to include and adds some welcome realism. Of course, the G26 is the company’s 9mm subcompact offering that holds 10+1 rounds of ammunition. This is demonstrated correctly on screen, when the pistol locks back after he fires 11 rounds.
The Expendables 2
Although Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) doesn’t frequently use a firearm throughout The Expendables series — certainly not as much as the other action stars packed in this hit — he is shown defending himself with an HK416D in the airport.
The Heckler & Koch HK416D is one of the most bomb-proof AR-style rifles around. The HK416D carbine is carried by Special Operations soldiers. It features just over a 10-inch barrel and is chambered for 5.56 NATO. Additionally, it runs on a piston-operated gas system for improved reliability in harsh environments. Military/law enforcement versions feature full-auto/selector options, while civilian versions are more akin to replica .22 LR range plinkers.
Looper is an interesting case because it takes place in multiple time periods. However, we clearly see Willis use a Magnum Research BFR throughout the film. This works perfectly with the Sci-Fi/Western theme of the movie.
The BFR, or “Biggest, Finest, Revolver,” is a large — very large — single-action wheel gun designed for, well, making a big boom! It’s available in several calibers and barrel length configurations, but the one used in the movie is likely the flagship .45-70 Govt. model with around a 7.5-inch barrel. It holds 5 rounds in the cylinder and the muzzle blast and recoil are intense to say the least. This is certainly not a beginner’s pistol, and should only be used by those who can handle it safely.
Because I’ve yet to include a shotgun on this list, I’m going to throw in Willis using a Mossberg 590 in Armageddon. Likely the 12-gauge version, this is one of the most popular and trusted pump-action shotguns on the market. His example is outfitted with a heat shield and extended magazine tube, some tactical flair that would be useful in an apocalypse scenario.
What’s your favorite Bruce Willis action movie? What’s your favorite gun he used on screen? Let us know in the comment section.
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