Guns of Tom Cruise Movies: 2002 – 2004
Minority Report (2002) • The Last Samurai (2003) • Collateral (2004)
With a new Mission: Impossible film slated for release next year and the Top Gun sequel set for release later in 2020, let’s take a look at the firearms Cruise has used to blast his way to box office success from 2002 to 2004:
Minority Report (2002)
In 2002, Cruise starred as Chief John Anderton in the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of the Phillip K. Dick sci-fi short story of the same name. The film is set in the near future and focuses on an experimental police force in Washington D.C. that utilizes the powers of three people, called precogs, with a mutation that allows them to see the future. They predict severe crimes, like murder, allowing police to swoop in and stop the crimes before they are committed.
Of course, the whole thing falls apart when Anderton, who has commanded the unit from the start, sees a precog vision where he is the one committing a murder. From then on he’s on the run in a future world of self-driving cars and ads tailored to your preferences (wait a second…), trying to prove that the precog system has been manipulated
As you can imagine, guns in a place that would allow such policing are pretty rare. Even police use less-than-lethal weapons most of the time, like “Sick Sticks” that make a person vomit uncontrollably upon contact, and energy pulse devices. Anderton, however, carries and old-school lead and brass loaded handgun.
For Cruise, it’s another Beretta, this time the Beretta 9000S, which it is revealed was given to him by Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow) when the Pre-Crime Unit was established.
The 9000 series is a polymer-framed design that retains the open-top slide style of other Beretta models and is chambered in 9mm or .40 S&W and can be loaded with either 10- or 12-round magazines. Adapters are available that allow the gun to use standard-capacity Beretta 92 magazines as well. It was probably chosen because its ergonomic grip and rounded trigger guard, along with its compact design, give it a futuristic look while still looking like a real handgun, not a toy.
The Last Samurai (2003)
Cruise’s next gun movie was more of a sword movie, but there were plenty of firearms too. The Last Samurai tells the story of Nathan Algren (Cruise), a disillusioned and alcoholic Civil War veteran who travels to Japan to take a job training soldiers in modern weaponry like muskets and cannons to help wipe out the last vestiges of their ancient ways, namely the Samurai, so they can move into the modern age.
The title doesn’t refer to Cruise’s character, but is a reference the the final group of Samurai warriors with which Algren lives, first as a detoxing prisoner, and then as a student and friend.
Colt 1860 Army Richards-Mason Conversion Revolver
At the beginning of the film, Algren is a drunken mess roaming around the U.S. after the war, working for Winchester showing off the Model 1873 at trade shows and gun expose around the country. The gun he displays, and fires in the auditorium, is the Trapper carbine model with a large lever loop. He states it is a ’73 Trapper, which would hold 6+1 rounds.
Algren is seen using the large lever loop to do a one-handed reload of the rifle, a move often seen performed by John Wayne in his Westerns. This is also the first time we see evidence that Cruise was getting into his firearms training for the movie, learning the little extras.
Smith & Wesson Model 3 Schofield Revolver
Algren usually carries a pistol in a shoulder holster and uses it while training the Japanese troops in the first half of the film. When he draws it, we see it’s a Colt Army Richards-Mason Conversion.
The Colt 1860 was originally manufactured as a cap-and-ball pistol. When metallic cartridges were developed, many pistol owners paid gunsmiths to convert their muzzleloaders to cartridge guns, though some work was better than others.
Winchester 1873 Trapper Lever Action Rifle
In 1871, Colt employee Charles Richards was awarded a patent for converting Colt percussion models to breech loading cartridge revolvers. In 1872, William Mason, another Colt employee was awarded a patent for an improvement to the Richards model. Replicas of the Richards-Mason pistols are currently made by Cimarron Firearms.
During the first battle between the Japanese troops and the Samurai, Algren uses a Smith & Wesson Model 3 Schofield pistol. The top-break revolver was chambered in the .45 Schofield, a round made by S&W that was a bit shorter than the .45 Colt. Both the pistol and the cartridge were the U.S. Army’s standard issue sidearm for a time before the Colt Single Action Army was adopted. Regardless, the Schofield earned a reputation for reliability and became popular with civilians. LINK TO ARMY SIDEARMS STORY
In 2004, Cruise doubled-down on the action genre and went full force into his role as the mysterious assassin Vincent in Collateral alongside Jaimie Foxx as a hapless cab driver, Max. Vincent is in Los Angeles for one night only and he has to take out a number of witnesses in a grand jury case before dawn. He enlists Max to drive him around, with the implication he will be done away with when Vincent completes his contract.
Heckler & Koch USP
When he lands at the airport, Vincent is given a briefcase (by Jason Statham in an odd cameo that could be a nod to his role in the Transporter films) with an early tablet computer and a few weapons to carry out his mission, at least until Max throws the case under the wheels of a semi truck.
Vincent’s main weapon is a Heckler & Koch USP in .45 ACP. As with his previous films, director Michael Mann paid particular attention to the weapons and tactics used by Vincent, and Cruise had his first live-fire experience while training for the film with former SAS operator Mick Gould and former LAPD SWAT officer Chic Daniel at the LA Sheriff’s Department shooting range.
During the infamous briefcase scene, Vincent engages two targets in an alley who have stolen his gear, one of whom has a pistol in his hand already.
Smith & Wesson 5906
Vincent draws from a custom appendix holster and fires a total of six shots, putting three in each target. Cruise’s training really shines through in this scene, where he actually double-taps one thug, then triple-taps the second—firing five shots in 1.39 seconds (no cuts, no sped up film). The sixth shot is used to finish off the first target, who was hit with the double-tap. That’s pretty good even for an actor with blanks. Thankfully, he ditched the tea-cup grip from Mission: Impossible.
Later, he uses the pistol to engage multiple targets in a visually unnerving night club scene, firing alternately for accuracy and for suppression, from a variety of shooting positions, while performing reloads and engaging in hand-to-hand and CQB combat.
Ruger Mark II – Integrally Suppressed
The USP eventually ends up in Max’s hands, when he uses it near the end of the film to shoot at Vincent on the train.
Also in Vincent’s bag of tricks is a Ruger MK II pistol with an integrated AAC Phoenix suppressor chambered in .22LR. He uses the black, quiet gun to kill Daniel (Barry Shabaka Henley) in the jazz club, catching his head before it falls on the table.
Vincent later loses the gun along with the briefcase.
Near the end of the movie, Vincent picks up a Smith and Wesson 5906 pistol in .45 ACP from the security guard he kills at the Federal building as he hunts down his final target, Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith). He uses the gun in the final showdown with Max on the commuter train until he has no ammo left.
Throughout the movie, it’s obvious Cruise committed to his training. His movements are crisp and economical without any undue showiness, and his draws and reloads are smooth, clean, and lightning fast.
Cruise, who received training from a British SAS Operator and an LAPD SWAT instructor for the film, has since been praised for his attention to weapons and tactics details in the role, just as members of the cast of one of Mann’s other gun-heavy movies, Heat (1995).
Rumor has it that Val Kilmer’s M4 mag change from the big shootout scene in Heat was used as an example in Marine Corps boot camp training, in the vein of, “See how fast he does that mag change? And that’s a wussy actor!”