Guns of Mel Gibson Movies

Mel Gibson is one of those actors you know no matter your age. He’s been acting since 1976, which is when he starred in an Australian television show called “The Sullivans.” After that, his rise to fame could be referred to as meteoric. His specialty seems to be action movies but he’s shown up in some drama, romance, and comedy as well. Basically, he does it all. But the movies he is perhaps best known for include weaponry of some sort with guns being a frequent weapon of choice.

Mel Gibson has far too many movies with guns to list here, so we’ve narrowed it down to five guns and five movies we think you should see if you haven’t already.

Beretta 92FS in Lethal Weapon

mel gibson in lethal weapon
In the first “Lethal Weapon,” Gibson’s Beretta comes in pretty handy. (Photo credit:

There are lots of guns in the “Lethal Weapon” series of movies, but it’s in the very first movie that Mel Gibson’s character, Riggs, takes down a sniper with his Beretta. The gun in question is a Beretta 92FS, and Riggs uses it throughout the movie. He’s portrayed as a fantastic shot with it in a scene where he shoots a smiley face into a target, and uses it against a sniper at a school. So, was the Beretta 92F the correct firearm for an LAPD detective in 1987?

For once, the movies got it right. The Beretta 92FS was indeed the standard duty gun of the LAPD from the 1980s to 2002. This gun is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, and has a 15 +1 capacity, although there’s now a 10-round capacity model available, too. It’s a full-size gun with a 4.9-inch barrel and an overall empty weight of 33.3 ounces, making it a rather hefty pistol. It has an SA/DA (single action/double action) trigger and has quite a following. It’s worth mentioning it really is a large gun and it isn’t always simple to run for shooters with small hands.

Glock 23 in Edge of Darkness

edge of darkness
In “Edge of Darkness,” Gibson uses a few different firearms. (Photo credit:

Yes, sometimes there are Glocks. In “Edge of Darkness,” Mel Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a Boston PD detective hell-bent on avenging his adult daughter’s murder. This movie is one of Gibson’s better thrillers and has a fantastic plot. A lot of guns show up in the course of the show, but it’s Craven’s Glock 23 that’s interesting. You might think a former cop might have a Glock 17 or Glock 19, but instead, it’s a G23.

This model is chambered in 40 Smith & Wesson and is a full-size gun. Here’s why: because the Glock 23 was actually the standard issue for Boston cops at that time (2010). Basically, when you’re watching movies, try to remember the location and timeframe they’re set in, because if the directors took the guns seriously, there’s probably a reason a certain model was used.

Craven wields his G23 in a lot of great scenes including taking out the bad guy’s henchmen and demanding to know who a shady-looking guy in his backyard is. In the latter scene, Craven is necessarily burning things, and Darius Jedburgh, played by Ray Winstone, shows up. Craven turns around, G23 drawn, and simply says, “Like to know who you are and what you’re doing here.” And just like that, the die is cast, because Jedburgh is about to help send Craven on a quest for revenge and justice.

Smith & Wesson Model 29-2 in “Payback”

mel gibson in payback
In “Payback,” Mel Gibson does a lot of fancy and potentially implausible shooting. (Photo credit:

Revolvers come into play more than you might expect in 1999’s “Payback.” In the movie, Mel Gibson plays Porter, who could probably be described as an anti-hero. Porter isn’t exactly a good buy or a bad guy, but you’re firmly on his side for the duration of the movie. He’s just recovered from being double-crossed and nearly killed, and he wants to get his cut of the money back—and only his cut. He has no interest in extras, which is an entertaining theme throughout.

The Smith & Wesson Model 29-2 is clearly used in “Payback” and shows up repeatedly after Porter gets the gun from a pawn shop. In that scene, prepare to grumble about gun safety, because the pawn shop owner is shown with his finger on the trigger and the hammer of the revolver cocked as he hands it off to Porter. In one memorable scene in which the 44 Magnum is used against some of the antagonists, Porter fires both the revolver and a second gun at the same time from underneath the bad guys’ vehicle. The revolver used in the movie was auctioned off the same year the movie was released.

Colt Walker in Fatman

mel gibson fatman
In “Fatman,? Mel Gibson plays Santa Clause. (Photo credit:

Mel Gibson as Santa? Why not? Not only does he play an awesome Santa, he plays a badass one. In “Fatman,” Santa isn’t just a jolly old man delivering gifts, he’s an apparently experienced gunfighter. Santa is quite matter-of-fact as he defends his life and home from his attackers, and it quickly becomes clear the man is used to being under fire. Among the many guns used by Santa and his opponents is the Colt Walker which we even get to see Santa dual wield during the climactic firefight in the snow.

The Colt Walker is seen in a box right before Santa announces, “I’ll take the Walker, too.” It’s definitely a Colt Walker, too, with the expected nine-inch barrel and overall size and shape. The revolver was originally designed by Samuel Colt in 1847 and can hold half a dozen .44 caliber ball lead balls. It makes sense that Santa would have this antique on hand, or at least it does once you figure out that Santa is used to slinging lead and defending his homestead (usually against adults who feel they were somehow wronged by Santa as children, or so it seems). 10/10 recommend seeing this movie.

XM16E1 in We Were Soldiers

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Mel Gibson ran the era-appropriate rifle in “We Were Soldiers.” (Photo credit:

There were movies where Mel Gibson used rifles, too. “We Were Soldiers” is one of them, and it’s also just a wonderful and well-done movie in general. The movie is set during the Vietnam War with Mel Gibson playing Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore. Moore and other soldiers are seen with XM16E1 rifles, although if you pay attention you’ll notice not everyone has the correct gun.

The XM16E1 was the full-auto rifle issued to the infantry starting in 1965 and is actually rather notorious for first being given to soldiers without cleaning kits or instructions. It was chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO and had a rate of fire of about 700 rounds per minute (when it was functioning). Some viewers complain “We Were Soldiers” isn’t precisely historically accurate, but it’s still a great movie.

Of all the movies Mel Gibson has made where he uses guns, which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments section.

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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