THE DIE HARD SERIES is an odd one in several ways. The first film was so different and perfect for the action genre, that it established a bunch of tropes and inspired so many imitations and parodies so as to ascend much of the plot to the level of cliché. So much so, that pretty much every sequel is just a vain attempt, some more successful than others, of capturing that originality—but more often than not, they ended up becoming imitations of the original.

Aside from being a classic, the original Die Hard also paid attention to the guns that were used on-screen, giving the otherwise old-school New York City cop John McClane a then state-of-the-art Beretta 92F, showing that he wouldn’t be outgunned.

The extremely European terrorists, led by the incomparable Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, had extremely Euro guns for the 1980s, with most of the henchmen carrying converted HKs that looked like MP5s. Gruber carried the unique looking Heckler & Koch P7M13 and Karl a suppressed Walther PPK—both super European.

What’s even stranger (but not to those of us who grew up with it) the movie has also become a Christmas staple for many. While Die Hard isn’t really about Christmas, it does take place on Christmas Eve, and the holiday is the reason John flies out to L.A. from New York, and the office Christmas party is the reason he ends up in the building where his wife works, so Christmas does help shape the plot and it was part of the story even when it was a novel called Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp.

The story, along with the very holiday soundtrack, score, and setting, have resonated over years of repeated viewing since 1988, resulting in Die Hard being watched more than Home Alone on Dish Network in the weeks leading up to Christmas last year.

After the original Die Hard, there were four sequels—two coming just a few years later, and two more released after more than a decade had passed. They all have different flavors, and everyone has their favorites (though I can’t vouch for that last one).

Get a look at all the guns used in all the Die Hard movies here:

Die Hard (1988)


Die Hard 2 (1990)

bruce willis in die hard 2
See the guns of Die Hard 2 (1990) ».

Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)

die hard with a vengeance bruce willis
See the guns of Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) ».

Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)


A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)