Part two in our series spotlights firearms from war movies in the 2000s. Used by well-known actors including Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid, these guns tell stories from Vietnam, Iwo Jima and Baghdad, as well as here at home.
This M16 is a fully automatic Colt that is chambered in 5.56 NATO and has been adapted to fire blanks. In 2002’s “We Were Soldiers,” Mel Gibson portrays Hal Moore, who leads his troops through the Battle of Ia Drang—one of the first American military engagements of the Vietnam War. During the film’s combat scenes, this M16 is with Gibson every step of the way.
American icon Davy Crockett was always prepared for the worst. In the 2004 film “The Alamo,” Crockett (played by Billy Bob Thornton) exhibits that same readiness with this prop collection of 19th-century battle accoutrements. Included are a custom-made flintlock rifle, powder horn, possibles bag, belt and Bowie knife. The .52-caliber flintlock pistol was used by actor Dennis Quaid in his portrayal as General Sam Houston.
This pistol is a “Baby Nambu” that was carried by an extra playing a Japanese soldier during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the 2006 Clint Eastwood-directed war film, “Letters From Iwo Jima.” Used by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy during World Wars I and II, the Nambu is a semi-automatic pistol that fires a 7 mm round. Less powerful than most (if not all) of the handguns used by the Allies, the 1902s were eventually replaced by Nambu Type 14. But it is the 1902 Modified—aka “Baby Nambu”—that collectors seek most.
In the 2008 film “Gran Torino”—featuring Clint Eastwood in his second role as a Korean War veteran—his character, Walt Kowalski, uses this .30-06 caliber M1 Garand with great effect to rid his yard of undesirables in a Detroit neighborhood that has changed around him. This particular Garand was also used in the acclaimed ABC television series “Lost,” which aired 114 episodes between 2004-2010.
The Academy Award-winning film “The Hurt Locker” (2009) told the story of an ordnance disposal unit braving the harsh realities of a war-torn Baghdad. When engaging enemy troops in a shootout, this Barrett semi-automatic sniper rifle was used by Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) to take out the hostile insurgents.