Heat Loadouts in 2021 – Updating Cops and Robbers

I recently wrote about a vest from the 1995 film, Heat, which is easily one of the best gun guy movies ever. Like most Michael Mann movies, the guns used in Heat are co-stars to an already awesome cast. The flick was made in 1995, and the original guns used in Heat reflect that era. Today I’m asking, what if Heat was made in 2021? What guns would they use? What gear would they use? Well, let’s explore that.

Guns from the movie HEAT: what would they be if it was filmed today?
The guns used in Heat reflected many of the trends of the time. What if it had been filmed today, however? What would the loadout of Heat weapons look like in 2021?

Heat Weapons

The Guns Used In Heat, Recast


Hanna’s Handgun — Beretta M9

Detective Hanna wields a Colt M1991A1 Series 80 Officer ACP in the film. In the film, we learn he was a Marine, and as such, he likely used a 1911. Even in 1995, a 1911 pistol was an old-school option for a police officer. I kept this is in mind and decided on the Beretta M9 for our 2021 Hanna.

Heat detective Hanna with Colt M1991A1 series 80 Officer ACP
Hanna’s 1911 is old school in ’95.

By modern standards, the Beretta M9 is an old-school all-metal pistol, and a modern Hanna would’ve used one during his time as a Marine. It matches his grizzled detective style and still remains one of the best service pistols ever.

Beretta M9
The M9 would be old school in 2021 and also in use by the Marines.

McCauley — Staccato P and SIG P320

In Heat, we see McCauley wield an HK USP and later a Sig P220, both great guns. Heck, I was tempted to leave the USP for McCauley as it’s still a great gun and in 1995 was very modern.

McCauley with Sig P220 in Heat.
“Look at me!”

As such, I’ve picked the Staccato P. An optics-ready 2011 from STI that packs plenty of firepower with an excellent SAO trigger with all the modern features and details you’d expect from a high-end gun.

STI Staccato P, an optics ready 2011
The Staccato is certainly as cool as the HK USP, if not cooler.

If we follow the plot of Heat, we know that McCauley loses his Staccato and goes and picks a secondary pistol. In 2021 it would likely be the Sig P320 in 45 ACP.

Sig P320 in 45 ACP
Let’s keep it Sig and let’s keep it 45 ACP.

In 1995 it was the Sig P220, and the P320 provides the same firepower plus double-stack capacity. The P320 is super well made and currently serves in 9mm as the M17 and M18 series with the United States military. It’d provide him that 45 ACP option in a modern fighting pistol.

Waingro — FN FNX-45 Tactical

Waingro, the eternal asshole, wielded a Star Megastar in the 1995 film. These well-made Spanish pistols were somewhat odd but reportedly very reliable and capable weapons. With that in mind, I chose another underrated but robust and well-made pistol. The FNX-45 Tactical from FN provides the same DA/SA action as the Star Megastar in a modern package.

FNX-45 Tactical handgun
The FNX-45 Tactical fits Wiangro’s style of big guns.

The Megastars were hefty pistols, and the FNX-45 Tactical is no lightweight or little fella by any means. It’s a hefty beast that packs 15 rounds of 45 ACP, is optic ready, and wears a 5-inch threaded barrel. It’s a big gun, and Waingro clearly uses it to overcompensate for his small brain.

Cheritto — CZ SP01

At the beginning of Heat, we see an armored car robbery, and the character Cheritto has a Ruger KP90. That’s a big, hefty handgun that’s also a DA/SA pistol. A modern example of a heavy DA/SA gun would be the CZ SP01. Cheritto is the resident gun hipster as we see through his weapon’s selections through the movie.

Big, Metal, DA/SA Check!

The SP01 fits that hipsterish persona while remaining an outstanding pistol. The SP01 packs 18 rounds of 9mm, an all-metal frame, a wonderful DA/SA design, and of course, a rail for all your modern accessories.

Guns in Heat: Scattergats!


Cheritto — Benelli M4

Cheritto remains a hipster in 1995’s Heat with a Benelli M3 he uses in pump-action mode. However, it’s 2021, and the Benelli of choice now is the M4. The Benelli M4 is a gas-operated, semi-automatic shotgun that would be perfect for dealing with bad guys trying to escape via vehicle.

Heat movie, Cheritto shooting a Benelli M3

Cheritto could deliver eight rounds of buckshot in mere seconds and, with the right loads, drop over a hundred pellets through the windshield. He would do so knowing his gun is extremely reliable and very easy to handle. Plus, the M3 looks a little long in the LOP department, so the adjustable stock of the M4 would be appreciated.

Benelli M4
Cheritto likes Benellis so let’s keep it Italian.

Casals/Drucker/Hanna’s Shotgun — Beretta 1301 Tactical

Throughout the 1995 film, we see three different Detectives wielding the Mossberg 590. The 590 is an excellent shotgun, but in 2021, the Beretta 1301 rules. The light little gas-operated gun spits lead rapidly with its Blink gas system. The 1301 has quickly become a favorite of shotgun aficionados and would be perfect for a modern police force.

Beretta 1301 Tactical Shotgun
The 1301 is the tactical shotgun to beat in 2021.

It’d add more firepower to the cops fighting guys who are armed with assault rifles and would be quicker to breach with those slugs that Casals uses to rip a door down. A 1301 outfitted with some Aridus industries gear and a good red dot would be a tough shotgun to beat.

Heat(ed) Long Guns


Trejo — FN P90

In the armored car robbery, we see Trejo wielding a Chinese AK as he dispenses a spike strip and works in and out of a vehicle. The unfolding stock helps keep it compact, but a better gun would be some form of SMG. Specifically the very modern, easy to wield, and capable FN P90.

FN P90
The FN P90 in Trejo’s hand makes more sense than an underfolding AK.

He could wield it one-handed while deploying the spike strip, and it’s easy to work with inside a vehicle. It doesn’t offer the same range as an AK, but does Trejo need it in this situation? The 5.7x28mm round offers more range than a standard 9mm and does better against body armor while remaining lighter, lower recoiling, and packs a 50 round capacity.

Trejo weilding a Chinese AK in Heat.
AKs are great, but not optimum for this role.

Cheritto — (Armored Car Robbery) SCAR-H

In the armored car robbery, we see Cheritto wield the very cool FN FAL Para in 1995’s Heat. In 2021 one of the best battle rifles out there is the SCAR 17. Its folding stock and short barrel keep it compact, even more so than the Para FAL.

Heavy Belgian rifles for all of us.

The SCAR 17 gives Cheritto that 7.62 power with a little more grace and modernity. Plus, it keeps things Belgian for the robbery. The SCAR 17 has served well with special operations forces and allows for modern optics, lights, and similar options.

Shiherlis (Drive-In) — MR762

Shiherlis wields an HK91 rather well for having to take an iron-sighted sniper shot. Wouldn’t it be better to use a modern rifle with a modern optic? The HK MR762 keeps things Teutonic, semi-automatic, and in 7.62 NATO. Toss on an LPVO, maybe a Vortex 1-10X, and now Siherlis will easily dispatch thugs with TMPs.

HK MR762A1
A real sniper rifle would be easier to handle than an HK91.

The MR762 forms the core of the Army’s G28 DMR rifle. The rifle is very accurate, more so than the HK91, and is much lighter and more adaptable. Toss on a bipod to finish things out, and your Shiherlis will be more than lucky.

In Heat, Shiherlis wields an HK91
Iron sights work, but an optic would be better.

Shiherlis/McCauley (Bank Robbery) — SIG MCX LVAW

In the armored car robbery, we see McCauley wielding a Colt 654, and later both he and Shiherlis wield Colt 733s. These AR-type carbines were short and light for 1995. In 2021 they are just average at best. These guys want small rifles that offer lots of firepower, and the SIG MCX LVAW variant fits the bill.

Heat movie, Colt 733
Would an LVAW fit better here?

The LVAW model of the MCX is a military-only variant, and LVAW stands for Low Visibility Assault Weapon. This short-stroke piston-driven rifle utilizes a short 6.75-inch barrel equipped with a suppressor. The short build is complemented by a folding stock for even more portability.

LVAAW model of the MCX
The LVAW would be lethal, but quiet and improve communication.

In Heat, McCauley and Shiherlis often communicate as they shoot, move, and reload. The addition of suppressors would make this communication much easier. Toss on a modern red dot and light, and you’re ready for anything.

Hanna — Beretta ARX 160

Detective Hanna famously wields an FN FNC during the bank robbery shootout. It’s an odd choice for an LAPD detective, but not a bad rifle by any means. Since Hanna likes rather odd rifles, I’m giving him the Beretta ARX 160. This 5.56 caliber rifle comes from the world’s oldest firearms manufacturers.

In Heat movie, Hanna with FN FNC
Hanna and the FNC are a perfect pair…in 1995.

The ARX 160 offers mostly ambidextrous controls, and if they aren’t ambidextrous, they are reversible. The rifle uses a short-stroke gas piston system and allows for a folding stock much like the FNC. The short-stroke gas piston is unique in the fact that it follows the bolt for about two inches.

ARX 160
This unique gas piston system reduces recoil and makes the ARX 160 a smooth shooter. It’s an odd duck, but a well-made and reliable odd duck.

Cheritto (Bank Robbery) — Tavor

In the original Heat, Cheritto carries a Galil during the bank robbery. He famously gets separated from the group and is pursued aggressively by Hanna. While the Galil is great and modern Galils exist, I’m giving Cheritto the Tavor. I’m keeping it Israeli but moving to a bullpup format.

In Heat, Cheritto carreis a Galil
Galils are cool, but Tavors are shorter.

Honestly, it would work better for the way Cheritto uses the gun. No need to fold the stock with a Tavor. It’s easier to shoot inside a vehicle, and later when he takes a hostage, the Tavor would be much easier to use one-handed.

Tavor bullpup
The Tavor heeps things like and short and would be better than the Galil in this role.

The Tavor is a bullpup rifle that’s super easy to handle and one of the more modern options for bullpups. Plus, it uses AR 15 magazines and could be chambered in 300 Blackout. If so, all the bad guys in the bank can share ammo and mags.

Battle Rattle and Loadout

The Bank Robber Rig

What brought this article about was the <Heat vest from Forgotten Weapons, so I thought, what would a modern rig look like? Chest rigs have come a very long way since 1995, and they’ve gotten smaller, and concealable options are aplenty.

The latest from Vertx seems to work. The Vertx Firebase Parabellum can be run as a chest rig, but for concealment, you can run it like a bandolier.

Tactical bandolier Vertx Firebase Parabellum
Under a suit jacket, it could be almost entirely concealed and offers you four magazines for your rifle or subgun, as well as bonus pouches for pistol mags. The HRT Modulus might not be a bad option either. 

Under a suit jacket, it could be almost entirely concealed and offers you four magazines for your rifle or subgun, as well as bonus pouches for pistol mags.

Also, why would they not wear armor of some kind? In 1995 body armor was tough to conceal. In 2021 the Premier Armor Concealable Armor Vest is perfect for bank robbers. These rounds will only stop pistol and shotgun rounds but are way better than nothing. They would take rounds from the bank security guard and most beat cop’s sidearms.

Also, it hides under a coat and shirt.

Premier Armor vest
In 2021 the Premier Armor Concealable Armor Vest is perfect for the bank robbers. And since they’re already going to be wearing hockey masks, maybe a high cut, lightweight brain bucket would be in order. 

Heat in 2021

I would never want to see Heat remade, but I would like to imagine how their loadouts would change in 2021. While Mann’s choices might have been rather cutting edge for 1995, a lot has changed since then. What would you think the tough guys from Heat would pack in 2021?

Let us know below.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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5 thoughts on “Heat Loadouts in 2021 – Updating Cops and Robbers

  1. Heat is already a remake. They made a movie called LA Takedown , which had pretty much the same script but with a different cast.

  2. Everyone complains about Hanna’s Series 80 Officer ACP, which is silly. Sure, he choice may be rooted in his days as a Jarhead, but it is more likely that Hanna spent time in LAPD SWAT… and what were SWAT officers equipped with? 1911s in .45ACP. The irony thickens as this article makes the same noise about Hanna’s “dated” 1911, but in literally the next paragraph, the author gives McCauley an STI Staccato P, because somehow a $2500 optic ready 1911 in 9mm is somehow vastly superior? Really? Then, to make matters just downright laughable, he throws his imaginary 2021 Hanna an M9? Two things… first, as a Marine depending on what he did, Hanna may still have had time on the 1911 platform as the Marines currently use the M45A1 CQBP. To give McCauley an STI 1911 (I know 2011) in 9mm and then a P230 in .45, but then throw Hanna an M9 makes little sense. A Glock 30 or 36 would have been more logical.

  3. If Hannah was a Marine, then was a Detective in 1995, it’s likely he would have been out of the Marine Corps around the time they transitioned to the M9. The M9 was not loved by the troops the same way a 1911 was. Hannah would likely still have carried some form of 1911. Also, LAPD SIS was issued Kimber 1911’s for a time. So there is some precedence for LAPD carrying 1911’s. The Staccatto 1911 is the modern version of Hannah’s Colt.

    McCauley seemed to be a fan of German guns, so he’d carry a full size HK, or Sig. The 320 just doesn’t have the personality that an HK does.

    As for the rest of the crew, they would likely be using guns they could buy on the street, since they would be disposing of them after the job was done. Regardless, the AR with a short barrel is just a capable today as it was in 1995.

  4. The M9 makes sense for Hannah especially if you know LAPD. LAPD personnel couldn’t just carry anything they wanted back then regardless of whether or not they were assigned to SWAT or SIS. In his role as an RHD Lieutenant, Hannah would have likely carried a Beretta back then and maybe even now if he was an old timer. 1911’s including Staccatos are approved now for all personnel and could be an option now. The one handgun left out of the conversation throughout the article are Glocks which are more widely used than all of the other handguns put together. Michael Mann obviously didn’t listen to his LAPD technical advisors anyway or he wouldn’t have used the Mossbergs, Colt Series 80 or FN FNC for those characters. I honestly think most of the firearm choices stand the test of time and would be better than some of these choices in a remake. But I also don’t think they could ever do justice with a remake of this classic.

  5. Cool scenario, but Black market gun attainment doesn’t work that way. They would end up with what is most popular is the AO. In the U.S. that would be AR’s, Remington’s, Mossberg’s and knockoffs. Glocks, Smiths. All very fine firearms. I’ve seen one ARX 160 in the last 20 years, it turning up in local Black market would be 1 in a million.

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