After a six-year break, Tom Cruise and some other familiar faces returned to the franchise with Mission: Impossible III, which is often lauded as the best film of the series by fans. Director J.J. Abrams took the series back to its high-tech espionage roots of the original, with more reality based action sequences than those in the second movie. The plot includes a prominent MacGuffin called “The Rabbit’s Foot,” which is something incredibly dangerous and important, and a really bad dude (Phillip Seymour Hoffman giving a great performance as arch-villain Owen Davian) wants to get his hands on it.
Hunt and his new group of IMF agents, including Simon Pegg as Benji, have to find a way to stop him as someone from inside IMF attempts to hinder their efforts. Pegg would go on to have a prominent role in the rest of the series as a tech-savvy IMF field agent.
The movie retains a lot of the series tropes, like the identity switching masks and spy gadgets, but the action is more in the style of the Bourne movies, a bit over the top, but a bit gritty, with a humor and flash that missing from the sequels in that other spy series.
Ethan Hunt – Beretta 92G Elite 1A and H&K MP5K
The beginning of the film sees a retired Hunt (he’s just an instructor now with wife and a house in the burbs) back in action to rescue a former student, IMF Agent Lindsey Ferris (Keri Russell).
Hunt sneaks into a warehouse and has to extract the young IMF agent after she’d been captured and interrogated. He’s armed with a Heckler & Koch MP5K with a folding stock as his primary weapon and a Beretta 92G Elite 1A pistol with a gun light as his backup.
The MP5K is a scaled down version of the MP5, with a PDW-style stock. Cruise must have gotten some odd training for this film, as he can be seen holding the MP5K by the magazine well instead of the vertical foregrip.
Once he revives her, Ferris takes Ethan’s Beretta and helps cover his back as they make their way out of the warehouse, which is teeming with bad guys. The Elite 1A model is basically a Beretta 92FS with beefed up components like an accessory rail in front of the trigger guard, a removeable front sight, and tool-free disassembly.
The model also comes with three 17-round magazines instead of the standard 15-rounders. Another visual cue that a pistol is a 1A model is its rounded trigger guard and a muzzle that is almost flush with the front of the slide.
Hunt also uses his Beretta to fire at Davian’s men during the bridge ambush and uses it to fire at the bad guy’s helicopter as he tries to extract Davian from the armored car.
The one moment when MI3 ventures into Jon Woo territory is during the initial escape when he leans out a vehicle, like really far, to get a better shot at their pursuers with his Glock 17. Apparently Cruise actually performed this stunt…as he has done for many of the insane stunts throughout the series, beginning with the rock climbing insanity in Part 2.
Hunt also uses a modified Glock that fires tranquilizer darts to first capture Davian at the Vatican.
Heckler & Koch G36K
After using his pistol during the ambush on the bridge, Hunt grabs a disassembled Heckler & Koch G36K assault rifle from a case in their disabled Lincoln Navigator, assembles it, and fires at the mercenaries sent to free Owen Davian (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Again, Cruise grips that magwell like grim death.
The G36K is the shorter carbine length version of the internationally popular assault rifle that is fitted with an open-type flash suppressor and shorter forend, including a bottom rail that can be used to attach accessories. The barrel cannot launch rifle grenades or support a bayonet like the full length version, but can be used with the AG36 grenade launcher.
The gun is in service with German special forces, who are issued an accompanying 100-round C-Mag drum. Hunt uses one of two variants, with the integrated optics in the top carry handle. The other version has irons only. Unfortunately, the gun isn’t enough and Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman) makes his escape.
Desert Eagle Mark XIX – Highly Modified
Later in the film, Hunt uses what looks like a highly modified Desert Eagle Mark XIX that fired projectiles like camera disablers and a grappler attachment during the Vatican mission.
The prop for the movie was actually built from an airsoft replica, not an actual firearm, though it does look distinctive.
Hunt is able to remove the grappling hook attachment and fire special rounds that disable various security cameras, making it seem more like something out of a Splinter Cell video game than a Mission: Impossible movie.
Heckler & Koch UMP45
During the mission to rescue Agent Farris at the top of the movie, a newly introduced IMF agent, Zhen (Maggie Q), carries a Heckler & Koch UMP45 submachine gun.
The UMP is a recoil operated, magazine-fed submachine gun that fires from a closed bolt. The UMP was originally designed to fire larger cartridges than the 9mm, like the .45 ACP and .40 S&W, setting it apart from other submachine guns like the MP5.
This was done to provide an SMG with more stopping power against unarmored targets, while slightly sacrificing effectiveness at longer ranges . The SMG was briefly made chambered for 10mm Auto and .40 S&W. Firing more powerful cartridges caused the UMP to be more difficult to control in full-auto. To mitigate this, the cyclic rate was reduced to about 600-745 rounds per minute (.40 S&W) and 600 rpm for the UMP45, making it one of the slower-firing SMGs on the market.