Top 10 Women with Guns: Movie Edition

When it comes to strong female leads in movies, the characters Hollywood comes up with can be a little hit or miss. Some characters stand up to scrutiny, though, and it’s those badass leading ladies we’re interested in highlighting. This isn’t just above one genre, either. It’s about decades of movie history and all manner of actors. Check out our list of the coolest women with guns in the movies. You might be surprised by a few of them.

newt and ripley in aliens
Ripley is nothing short of an iconic character and a seriously tough woman. (Photo credit: Geek Girl)

Ripley from the Alien series

You can’t put together a list of women with guns in the movies without mentioning Ripley. The character of Ripley is portrayed by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movies. She seems to strap up with better arms as the series goes on, but regardless of the weapon at hand, Ripley gets the job done (usually in epic fashion). We all remember her line in Aliens: “Get away from her, you b—-!” In that scene, Ripley uses a P-5000 Powered Work Loader, which is basically a weaponized exosuit, to go hand-to-claw with the Xenomorph queen. Yes, there are plenty of instances of firepower being used as well.

linda hamilton in terminator
Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton, is an often underrated character in the Terminator movies. (Photo credit:

Sarah Connor in the Terminator series

In the first Terminator movie, the character of Sarah Connor is more dependent on outside help than she is as the series continues (Sarah is played by Linda Hamilton). In that first movie, she gets her hands on a Ruger Security Six and is a somewhat hesitant character, but she definitely undergoes a metamorphosis. By Terminator 2: Judgment Day, she’s far more hardcore. Her weapons in that movie include a Remington 870 and a 1911 that was designed specifically for the movie as a hybrid of the classic Colt Series 70 and a Detonics frame. Throughout the series, Sarah proves she really doesn’t need help because she’s a force to be reckoned with all on her own.

princess leia star wars
You can’t deny that Princess Leia is a cool armed character. (Photo credit:

Princess Leia in Star Wars

Although Princess Leia might not be quite the same as many others on our list, she’s nothing short of an iconic movie character. Leia is portrayed by actress Carrie Fisher in the original Star Wars movies and does it all from wielding firearms to delivering snark. It’s pretty awesome. In the first movie, which came out in 1977, Leia fires what the show calls a Drearian Defense Conglomerate Defender sporting blaster pistol.  What it is, is a Vostok Margolin in 22 LR that’s been modified for the movie. She also shoots long guns like the BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle, which was another gun created specifically for Star Wars.

harley quinn
She might be a bit of an anti-hero, but Harley Quinn is an awesome woman with a gun in movies. Look at that trigger discipline! (Photo credit:

Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad

But wait, you’re thinking, Harley Quinn isn’t exactly a good guy. She’s crazy. Sure, she might be a mentally unstable criminal, but she’s a hero…or anti-hero…in her own right in these movies. Not only that but her choices of guns are nice to see. In the original Suicide Squad she wields a customized Chiappa Rhino 60DS and in the sequel, she’s seen with a pair of Beretta 92FSs. Oh, and she delivers on trigger discipline, which we can’t help but love.

miss congeniality
FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart is both a fun character in Miss Congeniality and an effective one. (Photo credit:

FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart in Miss Congeniality

The Miss Congeniality movies deliver on both humor and action. The character of FBI Special Agent Gracie Hart is played by Sandra Bullock and is a seriously funny yet incredibly effective person. When Gracie goes undercover in the pageant world, she does so without much grace or style, but she does have guns. The result is enjoyable and the way she also teaches the women in the pageant to learn to fight back is fantastic. In the first movie, Gracie has a Glock 26, which makes sense given how she has to conceal it.

underworld selene
Selene in Underworld has some fancy moves that include extensive dual-wielding. (Photo credit:

Selene in Underworld

There are currently four movies in the Underworld series with vampire Selene being a leading character. Selene is played by Kate Beckinsale, and she uses firepower rather often. Don’t believe in vampires? You don’t have to, but you can believe the dual-wielding of two Beretta 92FSs is pretty cool. The guns Selene uses in the movie are modified for the show to fire full-auto and have barrel weights on them (no, they aren’t compensators, not in reality). If you want to see some awesome fantasy world gun work, check out Selene in Underworld.

Kill Bill Vol. 2
The Bride in the Kill Bill movies doesn’t only have swords, she has guns. (Photo credit:

The Bride in Kill Bill

Although the character of The Bride in Kill Bill is best known for her swords, she does use guns as well. The Bride is portrayed by Uma Thurman, who does an excellent job playing a violent, well-trained woman hell-bent on revenge. Her weapons are many but her focus is laser-like. One example of her gun use can be found in Kill Bill Vol. 2, where she uses a Star Firestar chambered in 45 ACP that’s been customized with a longer barrel. There are a lot of guns used in these movies, and while their exact deployment might stretch reality a bit, isn’t that exactly what the movies are for?

quick and the dead movie
Sharon Stone plays The Lady in the 1995 movie The Quick and the Dead. (Photo credit:

The Lady in The Quick and the Dead

Not to be confused with the first movie starring Sam Elliott, the 1995 The Quick and the Dead stars Sharon Stone as The Lady. This is yet another vengeance movie, and it’s a lot of fun to watch. The Lady is a gunslinger determined to avenge her father’s death, and to do so she must enter a dueling competition. There are a lot of recognizable faces in this one, and Sharon Stone does a nice job as The Lady.

the long kiss goodnight
The Long Kiss Goodnight is a vastly underrated movie about an assassin with amnesia. (Photo credit:

Charly in The Long Kiss Goodnight

If you’ve never seen The Long Kiss Goodnight, you’re missing out. Charly, the star of the movie, is a housewife suffering from amnesia. As luck would have it, she’s an assassin, and of course, that means she’s going to be discovered and forced to fight for her life (and the lives of her family members). The role of Charly is played by Geena Davis. Throughout the movie, Charly uses all kinds of weapons, and during one memorable scene where she’s being tortured underwater, she gets her hands on a Walther PPK/S.

atomic blonde
The movie Atomic Blonde stars Charlize Theron as Lorraine, an MI6 operative. (Photo credit:

Lorraine in Atomic Blonde

When a list of agents must be retrieved from Berlin, MI6 sends operative Lorraine Broughton to get it. Lorraine is played by Charlize Theron and uses some of the expected weapons for the era in this spy movie. A Makarov PM is used extensively, including with a suppressor. There’s also a Tokarev TT-33, a Manurhin MR-73 Defense, and a SIG P226. This is a fun movie that isn’t quite as explosive as some, but still worth watching.

Who did we miss? Drop your ideas 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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