Guns of The Terminator — Will They be Back? By: Kat Ainsworth

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The Terminator film series is a classic, one that keeps coming back, decades after the first movie was released in 1984. The guns in the movies are interesting because there’s a fair bit of artistic license used in an attempt to make them look futuristic, and some of those future designs have already come true in more streamlined ways. Interested in the coolest guns from The Terminator movies? Check out our list.

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AMT Hardballer Longslide

Arnold Schwarzenegger with AMT Hardballer Longslide in The Terminator
That giant gun in the first movie was an AMT Hardballer Longslide. (Photo credit: imfdb.org)

The oversized handgun that makes its appearance early on in the first Terminator movie is an AMT Hardballer Longslide. The Terminator picks it up at a gun store and uses it to start taking out Sarah Connors (granted, not the correct ones).

It’s a gun that really is that big, and it was being used during a time when lasers weren’t yet a thing. The flashlight-looking laser mounted to the top of the AMT was designed by none other than Ed Reynolds, back when his company was known as Laser Products Corporation. You know it today as SureFire.

AMT Hardballer laser from The Terminator
The helium-neon laser designed by Ed Reynolds needed 10,000 volts to turn on, and another 1,000 volts to maintain its brightness. The cables ran up Arnold’s arm to a battery in his M65 field jacket. He then activated the laser with his other hand. (Photo credit: imfdb.org)

This particular handgun was in production from 1977 to 2002. It’s chambered in 45 ACP and available in a number of variants, including the Longslide the Terminator uses in the first movie. That gun has a seven-inch barrel so, yes, it really is that large, and the laser Ed Reynolds created is as long as the entire slide.

Franchi SPAS-12

The Terminator shooting Franchi SPAS-12 one handed
The Franchi SPAS-12 makes a memorable appearance being fired one-handed by Arnold. (Photo credit: imfdb.org)

The Franchi SPAS-12 is an interesting semi-automatic shotgun that could also be used as a pump. It was made from 1979 to 2000 as a 12-gauge shotgun featuring a fascinating folding stock design that includes a butt hook. This is relevant because the hook can be moved to either side to rest under the shooter’s forearm, making it far easier to fire one-handed.

When the Federal Assault Weapons Ban went into effect in 1994, the SPAS-12 was among those banned. By the time the ban ended in 2004, Franchi had already stopped producing the SPAS-12 to focus on newer models.

The SPAS-12 pictured at the top has the folding stock and butt hook while the one at the bottom of the picture has a fixed stock.
The SPAS-12 pictured at the top has the folding stock and butt hook while the one at the bottom of the picture has a fixed stock. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the first Terminator movie, the Franchi SPAS-12 is used to murder the owner of the gun store where the Terminator went to acquire firearms. There’s also an error in the gun store scene where they added the click of the shotgun being dry-fired even though the bolt was locked open at the time.

Winchester 1887 (Sawed-Off)

Arnold takes aim with his sawed-off Winchester 1887 shotgun.
Arnold takes aim with his sawed-off Winchester 1887 shotgun. (Photo credit: imfdb.com)

The use of the Winchester 1887 shotgun for the second Terminator movie was a challenging idea because it meant using a gun that had been out of production for around 85 years at that time. They did manage to find some, though, and customized two Winchester 1887s to make prop guns. That’s right, those weren’t replicas or toys, they really did cut up original 1887s for the movie. The third version used as a stunt gun was made from rubber.

The pictured shotgun is one of the prop Winchester 1887s used for Terminator 2.
The pictured shotgun is one of the prop Winchester 1887s used for Terminator 2.

The Winchester 1887 was among the first truly successful repeating shotguns and was, indeed, a lever-action. This gun sees a lot of use in Terminator 2. Arnold takes the shotgun away from the owner of a biker bar early on and continues to wield it for a while until better options are available. 

In Terminator 2, the variant used is a 10 gauge, but the gun was also produced as a 12 gauge. It’s also the gun we see the Terminator flip-cock, and there’s a story behind that. Apparently one of the Winchester 1887s had a large loop to make it possible to flip-cock, and Arnold grabbed the wrong one at first, nearly breaking his fingers in the process.

Detonics Custom 1911

Sarah Connor aims her Detonics Custom 1911 in a surprisingly good grip, considering how Hollywood tends to mess up proper firearm use.
Sarah Connor aims her Detonics Custom 1911 in a surprisingly good grip, considering how Hollywood tends to mess up proper firearm use. (Photo credit: imfdb.org)

1911s make appearances throughout the Terminator franchise. The Detonics Custom 1911 was, as its name suggests, custom-made for the movie. Well, sort of. It was actually made for Tom Selleck to use in a different 1984 movie and ended up being used quite a bit in the 1991 movie, Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

According to Detonics, the gun was created based on their Scoremaster model, although it utilizes their Combat Master slide. The unique forward-mounted rear sight can be clearly seen in the movie, making it a little easier to identify this one.

Detonics Custom 1911 used in Terminator 2
The Detonics Custom 1911 was made by the gun maker for another movie and ended up being famous for Terminator 2. (Photo: Heritage Auctions)

Sarah Connor uses the Detonics Custom 1911 when she decides it’s up to her to take Miles Dyson out of the picture because Dyson is destined to be the guy behind the creation of Skynet. She also uses the gun later in the movie during a standoff at the Cyberdine building.

Browning M1919A4

The Terminator firing a Browning M1919A4.
The Terminator firing a Browning M1919A4. (Photo credit: imfdb.org)

In the third Terminator movie, which came out in 2003, there’s a Browning M1919A4. It’s perhaps most famously seen in the part of the movie where the Terminator retrieves the coffin full of weapons.

The model shown in the movie has a few alternations including being fitted with a belt drum and having a side-mounted trigger. A sling is used to stabilize the machine gun as Arnold walks, and as he fires the gun, a readout tells him it’s shooting 760 rounds in the span of a few seconds. Of course, if we can suspend reality enough to believe in a robot from the future assassinating and/or protecting people, we can somehow swallow the concept of a gun with that rate of fire (even though it’s pretty ludicrous). In this movie, the Terminator only shoots the police cars with his Browning. Somehow not a single officer is harmed.

An example of the Browning M1919A4.
An example of the Browning M1919A4. (Photo credit: imfdb.org)

The Browning M1919A4 is a medium machine gun chambered in a variety of calibers with the original being 30-06 Springfield. It’s been in service in the United States military since 1919. With a 24-inch barrel and overall empty weight of 31 pounds, it is not an easy gun to tote around like we see the Terminator do in Rise of the Machines.

What are your favorite guns from the Terminator movies? Tell us in the comments section.