Guns of Die Hard 2: Die Harder

The poster for *Die Hard 2*.
The poster for Die Hard 2.photo from imfdb.org

Filmmakers tried to get lightning to strike twice by recreating the formula of the first Die Hard by setting the sequel in an airport and again having the action take place at Christmas. It wasn't quite up to par with the first one, but it was a foul-mouthed, big budget, big explosion roller coaster with tons of fake snow that was still pretty fun.

While the movie's theatrical title was simply Die Hard 2, by the time it got to home video, it had been amended with the oft mocked subtitle Die Harder.

Beretta 92FS
McClane reloads his Beretta 92FS pistol.
McClane reloads his Beretta 92FS pistol.photo from imfdb.org

John McClane is now a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department instead of the NYPD (we assume he moved to LA with his family after the first movie), but that doesn't matter since the whole movie takes place at Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport. Why?

Well, they're in town to be with Holly's parents for Christmas, but John got there first and Holly is flying in from somewhere else—the script sets it up so Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is in a plane circling over Dulles and John inside waiting for when terrorist take control of the airport's instrument landing system during a heavy snow storm.

They then hold the planes that are circling in the air hostage until a deposed military dictator is allowed to be freed when he lands at Dulles. The movie came under fire in the press after its release because of its incorrect characterization of a Glock pistol, which we're get to later, and because of its particularly horrific depiction of a fiery passenger jet crash.

Glock 17
A young Robert Patrick as one of Col. Stewart's henchmen, holds a Glock 17 and an MP5SK.
A young Robert Patrick as one of Col. Stewart's henchmen, holds a Glock 17 and an MP5SK.photo from imfdb.org

In the first film, McClane carried a Beretta 92F pistol, but in the sequel, he carries the improved Beretta 92FS as his sidearm in a brown leather shoulder holster. The Dulles Airport Police also carry the same pistol, along with U.S. Army Major Grant (John Amos).

In the first film, McClane's Beretta had an extended slide release and a reversed magazine release to accommodate Willis, who is left handed. This pistol has a stock slide release, but a reversed mag release.

According to imfdb.org, the Beretta 92FS used by Willis in this movie was purchased by Cinema Weaponry for Lethal Weapon 2. After that, it appeared in the next four Die Hard movies.

One of Stewart's henchmen in the luggage room with a Glock 17.
One of Stewart's henchmen in the luggage room with a Glock 17.photo from imfdb.org

Now we get to it, the infamous Glock pistols of Die Hard 2. Col. Stuart (William Sadler) and the mercenaries he employs (who pose as terrorists taking over the airport) carry Glock 17 pistols as their sidearms. Marking one of the earliest appearances of the handgun in a Hollywood movie, having just been released a few years prior. It's also one of its most infamous.

When McClane encounters two mercenaries planting gear in a luggage room at the airport, he gets into a shootout with them, killing both. He takes one of their guns and informs Chief Lorenzo that it's a "Glock 7" and proceeds to use a string of innacuracies to describe the gun, saying it's a "porcelain gun made in Germany that doesn't show up on your airport metal detectors and costs more than you make in a month."

MP5
McClane with a mocked up MP5.
McClane with a mocked up MP5.photo from imfdb.org

Of course, the Glock 17, which is made in Austria, is not porcelain. While the frame is made of polymer, 83 percent of the gun by weight is made of ordnance steel. The entirety of the gun are visible in x-ray machines. Nobody has ever made a porcelain, ceramic, or entirely plastic firearm that can't be detected by security screening devices. Even if there were such a gun, the ammo inside is still brass and lead.

The quote from the movie built on fear at the time of Glocks being plastic, and people thinking therefore they could be concealed from metal detectors.

Col. Stewart with an MP5. The red tape denotes that the magazines have live ammunition instead of blanks.
Col. Stewart with an MP5. The red tape denotes that the magazines have live ammunition instead of blanks.photo from imfdb.org

"I remember when we did that scene, I tried to talk them out of it. There's no such thing as a gun invisible to metal detectors, and there shouldn't be, but they wouldn't budge. They had it written into the script and that was that."Armorer Mike Papac, who worked on the movie, said according to imfdb.org.

MP5SK
A young John Leguizamo as another of Stewart's henchmen armed with an MP5SK.
A young John Leguezamo as another of Stewart's henchmen armed with an MP5SK.photo from imfdb.org

Garber (Don Harvey) carries a Heckler & Koch MP5A3 fitted with a scope and a number of Stuart's men carried MP5 variants with two magazines taped together with colored tape. The ones with blue are loaded with blanks (that apparently cycle in the MP5s without blank adapters) and the ones with red are live ammo.

McClane gets his hands on Garber's MP5A3 and "shows" Lorenzo it's loaded with blanks.

He also uses MP5s taken from bad guys at various points in the movie.

M16A1
The M16A1 is used by the Dulles Airport SWAT team (above) and is also carried by the Army terrorist response unit led by Maj. Grant (John Amos)(bottom).
The M16A1 is used by the Dulles Airport SWAT team (above) and is also carried by the Army terrorist response unit led by Maj. Grant (John Amos)(bottom).photo from imfdb.org

As a bonus, see how many times a doctor says McClane would have died if Die Hard 2 were real life: