Do you like airsoft?
Do you like movies?
Then boy do I have the article for you!
There’s just something about guns in films that audiences worldwide go crazy for.
Whether it’s the hero or the villain, there’s an enormous list of characters and scenes that have become iconic because of the use of a particular firearm.
And if it’s available in real life, I’ll bet a fistful of dollars it’s available in airsoft.
Not only that, but in some productions, airsoft replicas have been used in place of prop guns.
In this lighthearted article, we take a look at airsoft guns in movies, and movie guns you can find in airsoft.
Come with me if you want to live.
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- Movie Airsoft Guns – in Short
- Why Use Airsoft Guns in Movies?
- Airsoft Guns in Movies
- Airsoft Replicas Inspired by Guns from Movies
- Star Wars – Mauser C96 and Stormtrooper Blaster
- Aliens – Pulse Rifle and Hicks’ Shotgun
- A Fistful of Dollars – Single Action Army
- Saving Private Ryan – M1 Garand
- Dr No. – Walther PPK
- Snatch – Desert Eagle
- Terminator 2 – 1887 Winchester
- Die Hard – HK Heckler & Koch MP5
- Predator – Minigun
- Robocop – Auto 9
- Dirty Harry – Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum
- Scarface – M16
- Mad Max – Sawed Off VG Bentley Shotgun
- The Deer Hunter – Remington 700
- John Wick – Heckler & Koch P30
Movie Airsoft Guns – in Short
This article is something of a labor of love, but if you really don’t have time to read it, here’s a brief summary of the movies and guns that are covered:
- Star Wars – Mauser C96 and Stormtrooper Blaster.
- Aliens – Pulse Rifle and Hicks’ shotgun.
- A Fistful of Dollars – Single Action Army.
- Saving Private Ryan – M1 Garand.
- Dr No. – Walther PPK.
- Snatch – Desert Eagle.
- Terminator 2 – 1887 Winchester.
- Die Hard – Heckler & Koch MP5.
- Predator – Minigun.
- Robocop – Auto 9.
- Dirty Harry – Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum.
- Scarface – M16.
- Mad Max – Sawed off VG Bentley shotgun.
- The Deer Hunter – Remington 700.
- John Wick – Heckler & Koch P30.
Why Use Airsoft Guns in Movies?
For decades, movie production companies have used “prop” guns whenever firearms were called upon for a scene.
But don’t let that fool you – a prop gun is actually just a real firearm that uses blanks.
At least, it’s supposed to.
Unfortunately, as rare as they are, accidents can happen when using prop guns for productions. The most famous of which led to the death of Brandon Lee in The Crow (1994).
Lee was killed when a squib round hit him in the abdomen, which is why anyone using real firearms should be aware of the dangers of squib load.
(You should also carry an IFAK kit (Individual First Aid Kit) if you’re shooting – and a good first aid kit is highly recommended when playing airsoft, too.)
More recently, a similar incident has led to the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the now suspended 2021 movie, Rust.
A renewed call to ban real firearms from movie sets has surfaced, and as such, more companies are turning to airsoft and replica weapons on safety grounds.
But here’s my two cents.
While airsoft guns can look and feel like the real thing, they don’t act or sound like the real thing – and it’s obvious.
(Take a look at this article on the differences between “real” military gear and airsoft.)
I don’t believe we should be giving up the use of real firearms on set, properly managed by a professional armorer, with decades of safe blank use, over the course of thousands of movies.
The overwhelming majority of which wrap without incident or accident.
A little perspective is required, and the show, as they say, must go on.
Airsoft Guns in Movies
The following movies and TV shows are just a few examples of productions that have been known to use airsoft replicas.
As mentioned, expect this to rise in the future, as airsoft gun use becomes more widespread for safety and entertainment purposes.
Take a look at this article on the different types of airsoft guns, to see just how many options are available for movie armorers.
The Walking Dead (2010-2022)
Everyone’s favorite zombie TV show is jam-packed with firearm use, and eagle-eyed viewers have spotted that not all of them are real.
The Walking Dead’s airsoft gun use is arguably one of the more famous examples, and gas blowback guns (GBBG) can be seen regularly.
GBBG are some of the most realistic airsoft weapons you can buy. Check out this article on the types of gas used in airsoft guns.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013-)
While the Avengers have superhuman powers they can rely on, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are not so lucky.
Still, they get to pack cool things like replica M1911s (link to Amazon.com), and the production inventory list features numerous airsoft replicas used over the course of their seven seasons and counting.
And you can find more of the best replica airsoft pistols at that link.
28 Weeks Later (2007)
Another zombie-infested entry, 2007’s 28 Weeks Later – the sequel to 28 Days Later (2002)- sees such a copious amount of firearms that it would make any gun enthusiast’s mouth water.
However, many of the non-firing M4s that were used were actually airsoft replicas. You might find a few good examples in this review of the best airsoft AEGs on the market.
Mediocre Angelina Jolie vehicle in which she plays Evelyn Salt, a CIA operative accused of being a Russian sleeper agent.
She looks good and kicks ass (as always), and her SIG Sauer P229 in a number of scenes is actually an airsoft replica, made by Japanese manufacturer KJW.
The Kingdom (2007)
Hard-hitting anti-terror flick The Kingdom features Jamie Foxx as an FBI agent investigating a bombing in Saudi Arabia that takes the lives of several US operatives.
With a gun property list as long as your arm, many of the on-set weapons were, in fact, airsoft replicas, like the SIG 552 which were made by Tokyo Marui.
And the Japanese company that started it all will need no introduction, given they continue to be one of the best airsoft brands in the world.
Airsoft Replicas Inspired by Guns from Movies
Let’s get to the good stuff.
There’s an excellent resource out there called the Internet Movie Firearms Database (IMFDB), which is an extensive encyclopedia of guns used in movies and TV shows.
Type in any firearm you can think of, and it will give you a list of the productions it’s been used in, the year, and the character who used it – among other useful information.
And if it happens to be an iconic or famous weapon, then it’s likely made the transition to its airsoft counterpart.
Below you’ll find a selection of the best airsoft replica guns from movies.
Disclaimer – most of the links I’ve included to the guns aren’t necessarily recommendations, and it’s more a point of reference.
As such, I can’t guarantee they’re all going to be top-quality airsoft products.
Instead, look for links to Riflepal articles for genuine reviews.
Star Wars – Mauser C96 and Stormtrooper Blaster
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”
In Star Wars (1977), Harrison Ford’s cocky Han Solo is one of the greatest characters ever committed to celluloid, but did you know that his iconic blaster was based on the German Mauser C96? (link to Amazon.com)
Now, if only they could somehow invent an airsoft lightsaber, although I’m not really sure how that would work…
Aliens – Pulse Rifle and Hicks’ Shotgun
“I like to keep this handy – for close encounters.”
Corporal Hicks’ family heirloom happened to be a pistol-grip version Ithaca M37 sawed off shotgun, which – in spite of all the futuristic firepower – he still keeps slung on his back, just in case.
But as cool as this is, Aliens (1986) is far more famous for its iconic pulse rifles, which someone has actually made into a working, limited edition airsoft replica.
But you’ll have better luck on a bug hunt than you will finding one to purchase.
A Fistful of Dollars – Single Action Army
“When a man with a .45 meets a man with a rifle, you said, the man with a pistol’s a dead man. Let’s see if that’s true. Go ahead, load up and shoot.”
Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964) is just one of hundreds of classic westerns that made use of Colt’s legendary Single Action Army (link to Amazon.com), otherwise known as the Peacemaker.
The six-shooter might not be the most effective weapon for airsoft CQB, but if you have one on your hip, you’ll almost be as cool as the man with no name.
Saving Private Ryan – M1 Garand
Much like the Single Action Army, it was hard choosing one film that features the prestigious M1 Garand, as it’s been in everything from Gran Torino (2008) to JAWS (1975) to The Third Man (1949).
But given that it was the standard issue rifle to the US military in WWII, it’s fittingly most associated with Spielberg’s masterpiece – Saving Private Ryan (1998).
WWII MilSim reenactors will be very familiar with the airsoft version.
Dr No. – Walther PPK
“Walther PPK. 7.65 mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.”
Although James Bond had been using a Beretta 418 for 10 years when we’re first introduced to him (on screen at least) in Dr. No. (1962), his superiors decided he needed an upgrade, and a legend was born.
The Walther PPK has been Bond’s signature weapon of choice since, and has featured (in various forms) in 20 films in the franchise, all the way from Connery to Craig, up to and including No Time to Die (2021).
To date, it is the only gun that has been used by every actor to play Bond – a trend I imagine will continue, whoever is assigned to be the next 007.
Snatch – Desert Eagle
“…And the fact that you’ve got “replica” written down the side of your guns…and I’ve got Desert Eagle, point five-O…written on the side of mine…”
A beast of a hand cannon, the Israeli-made Desert Eagle features in so many movies, TV shows, and video games it’s hard to keep track.
Not least because of how intimidating it looks with its striking finish and bore size. It’s the gun of choice when you want to add a bit of bling to the BLAM!
But one scene in particular comes to mind, in Guy Ritchie’s hilarious crime caper Snatch (2000). Eloquent thug-for-hire Bullet Tooth Tony sports one in a memorable exchange in a British pub.
The Desert Eagle is certainly capable of shrinking some balls.
Terminator 2 – 1887 Winchester
“I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.”
…And I’ll take the barkeep’s 1887 Winchester lever-action sawed off shotgun for good measure.
Riding through the storm drains of Los Angeles on a Harley-Davidson, sporting shades, a leather jacket, flip-cocking the Winchester with one hand, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the definition of a badass.
He gave us a cinema icon for the ages, and somehow managed to top the gun store scene from the original film, and his highly accurate use of the Uzi 9 mm (link to Amazon.com) in The Terminator (1984).
To be honest, I could have done a whole article on Schwarzenegger airsoft guns (maybe next time) but I’m waiting until they release the phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range…
Die Hard – HK Heckler & Koch MP5
“Now I have a machine gun, HO! HO! HO!”
With one epic quote, written on the sweater of a dead bad guy, John McClane properly announced his presence to Hans Gruber and his team of international thieves in Die Hard (1988).
And that machine gun was a Heckler & Koch MP5, which all the goons were running when they stormed the Nakatomi Plaza.
But the real question on everyone’s lips has to be – is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
Predator – Minigun
“I know one thing, Major. I drew down and fired straight at it. Capped off two hundred rounds in the minigun, full pack. Nothing… nothing on this earth could have lived. Not at that range.”
Testosterone-fueled 80s goodness with Arnie and chums on peak form, glistening with baby oil and packing just about every gun known to man in the hunt for the Predator (1987).
But the stand-out performer has got to be the ridiculous minigun, which, you’ve guessed it, also exists as a ridiculous airsoft version.
I think it’s probably best if you stick to one of these more practical airsoft rifles, instead.
Robocop – Auto 9
“Look at that f**king gun!”
One officer can’t contain his awe as the part human, part machine, all cop first gives us a glimpse of his shooting skills down the police firing range.
That’s because Robocop (1987) is using an Auto 9 to absolutely decimate the oncoming gallery target, before his telltale gun spin gives away that he is, in fact, deceased officer Alex Murphy.
I wish I had his targeting system for playing airsoft. I’d buy that for a dollar.
Dirty Harry – Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum
“Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, PUNK?!”
The oft misquoted Dirty Harry (1971) line is as iconic as his gun – the inimitable Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum.
Cited by Clint Eastwood’s controversial hard-edged cop as “the most powerful handgun in the world,” you can now add it to your airsoft collection.
Harry Callahan: the definitive poster boy for gun rights enthusiasts. Shoot first, ask questions later.
Scarface – M16
“Say hello to my little friend!”
As far as iconic guns go, the M16 needs little introduction. It’s cropped up most noticeably in several famous Vietnam War flicks, including Apocalypse Now (1979), Platoon (1986), and Hamburger Hill (1987).
But the “little friend” in question is from the 1983 remake of Scarface, where Al Pacino’s Tony Montana uses a modified M16 with an M203 grenade launcher, during the unforgettable finale.
Mad Max – Sawed Off VG Bentley Shotgun
“I’m scared, Fifi. You know why? It’s that rat circus out there, I’m beginning to enjoy it.”
Post-apocalyptic classic Mad Max (1979) as much put Mel Gibson on the map, as it did the sawed-off VG Bentley shotgun (link to Amazon.com) he used when battling the Toecutter biker gang.
It was the perfect sidearm for offing bad-guys in the wasteland, and the airsoft replica makes an impressive addition to a CQB loadout
Take a look at this article for even more of the best airsoft shotguns.
The Deer Hunter – Remington 700
“You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it’s all about. A deer’s gotta be taken with one shot.”
The hunting party in the uncompromising Vietnam PTSD movie The Deer Hunter (1978) all use Remington 700 rifles, and Tokyo Marui’s VSR-10 is based on the flagship bolt-action shooter.
Of course, it was an altogether different gun that was used in the movie’s most harrowing scenes, the Smith & Wesson Model 36.
Take a look at this review for more of the best airsoft sniper rifles on the market, and note that Riflepal does not encourage the use of guns of any kind to play Russian Roulette.
John Wick – Heckler & Koch P30
“You want a war, or you want to just give me a gun?”
This wouldn’t be an article about firearms in movies without mentioning the best hitman in the business – John Wick.
Star Keanu Reeves famously trained with the professionals in the preparation for his now indistinguishable role, clocking times that many experienced shooters would be enviable of.
And it’s the Heckler & Koch P30 that is his primary firearm of choice in the films – which is used to deadly effect in Wick’s hands.
Then again, he’d easily be able to kill someone with a tactical pen…
This has quite possibly been the most fun article I’ve ever written, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about airsoft guns in movies, and movie guns in airsoft, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!
Of course, there are simply hundreds of productions and weapons I’ve missed, so you should let me know your favorite movie firearms in the comments, and maybe I’ll include them the next time.
Hasta la vista, baby!