Sylvester Stallone has had one of the most varied and explosive careers in cinemas history, during which he’s fired a bunch of guns on screen. Like, a whole bunch. Here are the guns he used on screen from 1995 to 2008.
Judge Dredd (1995)
The other movie Stallone put out in 1995 was a comic book adaptation, long before those kinds of movies were the top grossing films at the box office. Set in a dystopian future where law and order was restored to the masses with the institution of Judges instead of police officers. Judges have the power to literally judge criminals on the spot and sentence them. If the sentence is death, they act as executioners as well.
The primary weapon of the Judges in the film is the “Lawgiver II” handgun. It’s used by Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone), Judge Hershey (Diane Lane), and Rico (Armand Assante).
According to imfdb.org, the gun underneath all that movie prop stuff is a Beretta 92FS, which handled the firing action.
The Lawgiver fires fictional “mission-variable” ammunition, which encompasses rapid-fire, armor-piercing, explosive rounds, signal flare rounds, and a special high-powered duel round that the movie actually calls a “double-whammy.”
And, much like would-be smart guns, the Lawgiver has a security feature that reads the user’s DNA and only allows the gun to fire if the user is authorized. If they aren’t, it electrocutes them. The guns also tag each round and casing fired from the gun with the user’s DNA ID, which is explained during Dredd’s trial.
The site says there were six practical, firing Lawgivers on set, all with slight variations in their casings. There were 2 special effects “Double Whammy” Lawgivers designated as H1 and H2. Both guns had motorized barrels which were servo operated by radio control by off-stage technicians. Sensors built into the front and rear of the Beretta’s external magazine well caused the lit casing elements to operate.
If the rear sensor was released and the front sensor was squeezed, the side elements go out and the red elements on each side of the casing come on, indicating a change of ammunition type.
The site also says the base guns that made up the Lawgivers were later re-cased and reused in Blade II.
Dredd also uses a Security Rifle while in the wastelands, which is an oversized, full-auto rifle of some kind. If you look closely at the ejection port, you can see that the gun was most likely built on an AK-platform rifle of some kind.
Sheriff Freddy Heflin
Smith & Wesson Model 686
After the action adventure flick about the Lincoln Tunnel collapsing and the ensuing rescue Daylight, Stallone went in a different direction and got back to his dramatic roots with Cop Land (he also gained a good amount of weight to help hide his normally impressive physique for the role), a musing drama about corrupt NYC cops living in a New Jersey town that has a lot of secrets and a sheriff who always wanted to be a cop (but couldn’t because of a bad ear) coming to terms with his town’s dark underbelly.
Stallone plays Freddy Heflin, the sheriff of Galloway, NJ, which got the nickname Cop Land because so many police officers, declared auxiliary transit police, were allowed to live there and bought homes there. For an independent film, the movie had one hell of a cast that reads like an old Scorcese poster, with Stallone playing alongside Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, and Michael Rapaport, among others.
While critics praised Copland and Stallone’s performance, it didn’t do so well at the box office, possibly because audiences, long conditioned to expect big action at a Stallone movie, instead were met with a moderately-paced movie about small town life that’s more like a Springsteen song than a Rambo movie. (I’ll tell you a secret. This is one of those rare instances where the director’s cut of the film is far better than the theatrical cut. It’s worth the purchase.)
However, the film does climax with some gunplay. Throughout the film, Freddy carries a Smith & Wesson Model 686 in .357 Magnum with a 4-inch barrel as his duty weapon.
During the big climax, Freddy expects trouble as he prepares to transport Babbage (Rapaport) from his station to the city, picking up an Ithaca 37 pump action shotgun as some additional firepower.
Ithaca 37 shotgun
Rucker (Patrick) surprises him, takes Babbage, and fires his Glock G19 next to Freddy’s good ear, temporarily deafening him.
Afterward, Freddy picks up the shotgun and walks to the house where they’re keeping Babbage and preparing to kill him.
Freddy shoots and wounds one of the dirty cops, Frank (Arthur Nascarella), but the Ithaca jams on him, the slide refusing to budge. But before he can be shot, Freddy drops the shotgun and draws his S&W, shooting and killing Rucker.
He also fires another shot from his revolver through a car window, killing Frank, before being wounded in the shoulder by Leo (John Spencer) who comes out of the house behind him and shoots him with a Smith & Wesson Model 64.
Luckily, Figgis (Liotta) shows up just in time and takes Leo out with an S&W Model 36, allowing Freddy to proceed into the house with his S&W, where he finally shoots and kills the leader of the dirty cops, Ray Donlan (Keitel).
Get Carter (2000)
Beretta 92FS Centurion
Thus begins the rough patch in Stallone’s long career. After Cop Land, he starred in a series of misses and duds.
One of the least terrible of the lot was 2000’s Get Carter, a remake of a Michael Cane classic from 1971 about a mob enforcer who travels back to his hometown to investigate his brother’s mysterious death.
Stallone is predictably Jack Carter, the mob enforcer. While thin on story, the movie does have a few solid fights scenes and chase scenes, even if the shaky-cam style of the time is everywhere.
Jack’s firearm of choice is a bit uninspired: another Beretta 92FS, this time the Centurion model, which features a standard frame but a shorter barrel and slide.
He’s also seen pulling a regular Beretta 92FS at the end of the movie in the parking garage.
Jack also briefly uses a Glock G17, which he takes from a thug who threatens him.
Eye See You / Detox (2002)
Smith & Wesson Model 59
After starring in the failed racing movie Driven, Stallone was top billed in an abortion of a movie called Eye See You.
When it first hit rental stores (yeah, this one didn’t even get a theatrical release) you might have seen it under it’s original title D-Tox. This was changed at some point when the studio realized it was going direct to video. Now, if you see it floating around, it’s as Eye See You.
The movies starts of amazingly with Stallone playing Jake Malloy, an FBI agent who becomes suicidal after the serial killer he was hunting kills his wife in a particularly brutal way. It’s kind of like they used the end of Se7en as the beginning of a movie. Sly even gets a pretty remarkable attempted drunken suicide scene, but things quickly unravel after that.
The plot shifts to Malloy being checked into an experimental substance abuse facility by his friend and former partner Hendricks (Charles S. Dutton) just for law enforcement who have suffered a traumatic ordeal. The place is run by Doc (Kris Kristofferson) and includes a bunch of other damaged cops played by the likes of Jeffrey Wright, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick, Courtney B. Vance, and Tom Berenger.
Malloy uses a Smith & Wesson Model 59 throughout the film, chambered in 9mm. With that cast, it should have been a walk in the park to make a great movie. Instead, the plot is reduced to a cat and mouse plot reminiscent of The Thing because of the setting (where else would you have a substance abuse treatment facility but in an abandoned military base out in a frozen wilderness?). The ending…makes so little sense, we’re not even gonna take a stab at it.
John J. Rambo
After Eye See You there were some more forgettable titles, a few TV roles, and a turn as a villain in the kids’ movie Spy Kids 3: Game Over, until 2006 when he revisited one of his greatest characters and made the widely adored Rocky Balboa.
In a sense, this marked his comeback, and that allowed him to make the fourth Rambo film in 2008.
Stallone returns as the former Green Beret, POW, and Vietnam veteran John J. Rambo, who is a much worse mental place than when we last found him.
Again, he has tried to find a harmonious existence by staying away from violence and working as a river boat captain in Southeast Asia, near the Burmese border, but he’s bitter about how his life has turned out and is tortured over the meaning behind all the killing and death in his past.
The film begins with a group of missionary aid workers hiring Rambo to take them upriver into Burma. After a lot of prodding, Rambo agrees.
On the way, the group is stopped by a gang of river pirates. When they see that she’s woman, the pirates demand Sarah as payment for passage, despite Rambo’s attempts to offer money instead.
When the situation is just about to erupt, Rambo decides violence is the only option, and draws an M1911A1 pistol and shoots all the pirates with blinding speed, before marching onto the enemy’s boat and killing a wounded pirate with a final round
The gun is a slightly customized M1911A1 with an ambidextrous safety and extended slide stop added, as well as a slightly flared mag well attached to the mainspring housing.
Other than the deleted scene in First Blood, this is the first time we ever see Rambo use or even hold a handgun.
While the mercenaries Rambo later guides in the jungle are well-armed with an array of firearms, the titular character doesn’t even use another gun until the very end of the film, instead opting for his bow and a new knife, but we’ll get to those in a minute.
Browning M2 Aircraft heavy machine gun
In an extremely memorable scene that has been burned into action movie history, when the mercenaries and their rescued prisoners are cornered by enemy troops against the riverbank, Rambo gets into position behind an enemy truck with a Browning M2 Aircraft machine gun mounted in the back of it. After beheading the gunner with his knife (yeah, it’s a big knife), Rambo literally liquify’s the truck’s driver with a few point-blank range rounds from the .50 caliber machine gun.
He then turns the gun on the enemy soldiers, unleashing a brutal salvo of machine gun fire that cuts down a large number of soldiers and trees, giving the mercenaries a chance to defend themselves.
Rambo’s efforts are bolstered by the Karen rebels, who use his attack as a cue to begin their own assault.
The Browning M2 in the film has a perforated shroud around the barrel (which makes it an Aircraft model) plus an added muzzle brake that looks a bit like the brake on a Barrett M82A1. It’s in place to diver the flash to the sides, which can be particularly helpful if shooting from behind a shield with your only viewpoint located above the barrel.
According to imfdb.org, the original idea was for Rambo to wield the Browning M2 by hand—sort of like an M60 on a whole bunch of steroids—and Stallone was actually able to carry and fire blanks through the huge 120-pound gun, but they weren’t able to make it look good enough on film, being far too cumbersome.
They then mounted the gun in the back of a truck, but when they fired it, the recoil ripped the gun right out of the truck bed. The mount was reinforced and bolted directly to the truck’s frame for the actual filming.
Bonus: Compound Bow
Rambo again has his trusty compound bow in this film, though it’s obviously a new one since he left the original in the jungles of Vietnam and the previous one in the deserts of Afghanistan.
In the beginning of the film, we see Rambo bow fishing from his boat using an ML14 Mountaneer Longbow with an attached reel, and is clearly different from the bow he uses later, as we can see from the lack of cam wheels.
This time, instead of the Hoyt, Rambo uses another vintage compound bow, a Martin Cougar II. The bow is extremely bare bones, with only a small arrow rest attached and no sights to speak of. Rambo carries his extra arrows in a quiver on his back the way he did in Rambo II.
He only uses the bow in one scene, to stop the Burmese soldiers’ barbaric betting game in the rice paddies, killing several soldiers from ranges of about 60 yards.
Bonus: Combat Machete
After that, Rambo relies on the knife, or more accurately, the small machete he forges in the river camp before heading out with the mercenaries (an idea recycled from a deleted scene in Rambo III).
The knife is crud and looks like it could have been hammered out in a jungle blacksmith workshop from a truck spring, which is exactly how Gil Hibben went about creating the prototype for the film, which was even a bit too refined for what Stallone wanted.
The final products isn’t much more than a brutally shaped, sharpened hunk of steel with wrapped paracord for a handle.
Originally, Rambo has the knife from the second movie in his possession (which makes sense since he still had it at the end of Part II). In a deleted scene, he turns to the pirate boat the morning after the confrontation on his way back down river, uses the knife to punch holes in the boat’s fuel drums, and then sets the whole thing on fire, tossing his knife into the flames. It was meant to show how angry Rambo was with himself for killing again. It was ultimately left out of the theatrical cut, but was included in the Director’s Cut of the film on Bluray.
For a sheath, he improvises one by cutting off the bottom of the sheath for the Part II knife so it can fit the machete.
Apparently, in the original scrip, Rambo still has the Part III knife, which he loses at some point, forcing him to improvise the machete. Hibben made a version of the Part III knife for the new movie, but it was either never filmed or ended up on the cutting room floor.