Guns of Blade Runner

Check out the blasters, and the guns they were made from, in Blade Runner and the upcoming sequel Blade Runner 2049.

Back in the late 1970s and early 80s, director Ridley Scott was the director when it came to bringing starkly unique visions of the future to the big screen.

In 1982, he released the sci-fi epic Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford and adapted from a novel by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

Tomorrow, Scott (this time acting as producer) will drop the long awaited sequel, Blade Runner 2049, starring an aged Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard, and Ryan Gosling as Officer K.

In addition to a visually stunning future world, Blade Runner also featured a distinct pistol that was Decker's companion through the story while he acted a member of a special police squad tasked with eliminating "replicants" on Earth, which are humanoid androids designated for different tasks offworld, but are illegal here.

So let’s take a look at the famous Blade Runner pistols, old and new.

Blade Runner (1982)

In the original film, Deckard is armed with a unnamed blaster pistol throughout. In the movie, the gun appears to fire some kind of explosive projectile, and one shot does a lot of damage when it hits a replicant.

Deckard (Harrison Ford) with his blaster in *Blade Runner* (1982).
Deckard (Harrison Ford) with his blaster in Blade Runner (1982).photo from imfdb.org

The prop gun is an interesting Frankenstien of a pistol, including parts from a Steyr Mannlicher .222 Model SL bolt action rifle and a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver.

If you take a look at the Steyr's receiver with the stock and barrel removed, it's obvious it was the base for Deckard's blaster, including the distinctive double trigger. On the rifle, a single trigger can be used to fire the gun, but the second trigger can be used to set the first, meaning it requires a very light pull to activate.

A good profile shot of the blaster.
A good profile shot of the blaster.photo from imfdb.org

The blaster is finished off with the barrel, cylinder, and grip profile from the Bulldog and a shroud covering the sides (including the cylinder) and the top of the receiver. The bolt handle on the final prop gun has also been flattened and locked down against the side of the pistol.

Some LED lights have also been added to give the blaster a more futuristic look, but perhaps its design has been so enduring because its not a complete fabrication.

Another Blade Runner, Holden (Morgan Paull) is seen with a similar blaster at the beginning of the film and LAPD officers have black resin casts of the gun in their holsters, though they are barely seen.

In this photo of the prop gun, you can clearly see the bolt action hiding under there.
In this photo of the prop gun, you can clearly see the bolt action hiding under there.photo from imfdb.org

One of the only other guns given any prominent screen time was a four-barreled COP 357 Derringer used by Leon Kowalski (Brion James) in the first act. The real gun fires one barrel at a time in sequence, but the prop gun was modified to fire two barrels at once for a more dramatic look. A sound effect was added to make the small pistol sound more blaster-y.

Leon Kowalski (Brion James) fires his quad-barreled COP 357 Derringer.
Leon Kowalski (Brion James) fires his quad-barreled COP 357 Derringer.photo from imfdb.org

Blade Runner 2049

In the sequel, Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Deckard looks to use the same blaster from the original film, as we get some really good looks at it in the trailers.

Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in *Blade Runner 2049* holding what appears to be the same blaster from the original movie.
Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) in the trailer for Blade Runner 2049 holding what appears to be the same blaster from the original movie.photo from imfdb.org

At some point, Officer K also carries and uses Deckard's blaster, as he's seen with it in a couple different shots in the trailer.

However, Officer K, seems to have a new blaster of his own that looks similar in profile to Deckard's, but is quite a bit different from the composite blaster.

A shot of the new blaster carried by Officer K (Ryan Gosling).
A shot of the new blaster carried by Officer K (Ryan Gosling).photo from imfdb.org

In the trailer, we see K use the blaster to threaten Sapper (Dave Bautista).

Blade Runner 2049 hits theaters October 5.

Officer K holding Deckard's blaster.
Officer K holding Deckard's blaster.photo from imfdb.org

Meanwhile, take a look at these shorts from Blade Runner 2049, which were released online ahead of the film's release as supplemental materials.

Update 10/11/17

Well, Blade Runner 2049 is out, and while it's box office take hasn't been as much as some predicted, it's met with some favorable feedback from fans of the original film.

Adam Savage, best known as the co-host of MythBusters, posted a video recently that covers a lot about the Blade Runner blasters, old and new.

It's definitely worth checking out, and they confirm that the new blasters use an LED light and CGI blasts created in posts, while the original blaster from the 1982 original was a Charter Arms Bulldog in .44 Special set inside a Mannlicher .222 Mdoel S rifle receiver, that actually fired blanks on set, according to guns.com.

Below is a video Adam did on the original Blade Runner prop blaster: