Top Guns of Tom Cruise

Though Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone arguably remain the biggest action stars of all time, Tom Cruise has proven to be quite the Hollywood icon as well. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, as he is officially known, has become one of the world’s highest-paid actors while his films have grossed more than $4 billion at the North American box office.

Now 59-years-old, Cruise actually broke out with the leading role in the 1983 “teen sex comedy” Risky Business, and later showed his ability to do drama in such films as The Color of Money (1986) and Rain Man (1988), but it was Top Gun in 1986 that proved that he could be an action star. He has since gone on to star in the Mission Impossible film series, and despite being just 5’7″ he starred twice as Jack Reacher, including in the 2012 film and its 2016 sequel.

Cruise Control

As with most Hollywood A-listers, Tom Cruise has had a few “misfires” over the years—and we’re best not to think about Knight and Day (2010) or The Mummy (2017), but he’s back in top form in Top Gun: Maverick, which opened over the Memorial Day weekend and has already grossed more than $300 million worldwide, making it the seventh highest-grossing film of the year to date.

Cruise could be seen in the cockpit and at the controls of the Boeing F/A-18/F, a two-seater multirole twin-engine fighter that is capable of flying at Mach 1.6. It is also the U.S. Navy’s aircraft that replaced the F-14 Tomcat that was featured in the original Top Gun.

Though he has now starred twice as U.S. Naval Aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, he never was actually seen with any small arms in either film. Yet, in over his 40-plus-year-long career, he’s shown he’s ready for some serious “gunplay.”

The Young Gun

Cruise had an uncredited cameo in the 1988 western film Young Guns, but it was actually seven years earlier in his first major supporting role that the young actor had his “baptism of fire” on the big screen when he starred as Cadet Capt. David Shawn in Taps.

Tom Cruise in Taps
Tom Cruise showed reasonable trigger discipline in his first starring role in 1981’s Taps.

 The 1981 drama, which focused on a class of young cadets who took after their military academy after it was threatened with closure, was hardly an action film yet it was a sign of things to come for the young actor. Starring alongside Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn as a truly over-the-top—even sociopathic—cadet he is the only character to actually fire a weapon with hostile intent.

Tom Cruise as a cadet in Taps
In Taps, Cruise nailed the part of a sociopathic military school cadet who longed to die in combat.

Cruise could be fittingly seen with a number of weapons including an M16 rifle, an M1911A1 pistol (actually a Spanish Star Model B), and an M60 machine gun. It is doubtful that even in the early 1980s that any military school for teenagers would be equipped with such weapons, yet Cruise looked confident and comfortable handling the various small arms.

Throughout the 1980s, Cruise’s career went in another direction and it wasn’t actually until 1989; in his Golden-Globe-winning performance as Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July that the actor was next seen in a starring role with any firearms. As a United States Marine, Cruise’s character was fittingly armed with the M14 rifle, yet it still wasn’t actually what could be called an action film.

Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July
In Born on the Fourth of July, Tom Cruise played Ron Kovic, a United States Marine who was paralyzed during the Vietnam War and subsequently became involved in the anti-war movement.

That would finally come in the 1990s.

Mission Impossible Franchise

As Impossible Mission Force (IMF) Agent Ethan Hunt, Cruise proved he could do the “impossible,” even if the film franchise is far more action-packed than the TV series on which it is based. The long-standing rumor is that Cruise had wanted to play British secret agent James Bond, but since that was unlikely to happen he was sought out to star in the film Mission Impossible.

Fans of the original series—not to mention most of the original TV cast—didn’t care for the more action-packed tone of the first film, or the fact that Jim Phelps was revealed to be a traitor. Yet, the series scored with audiences and has spawned six sequels, while two more are scheduled for release in 2023 and 2024 respectively.

Tom Cruise with Beretta Cougar in Mission Impossible
Tom Cruise’s first played IMF agent Ethan Hunt in 1996’s Mission: Impossible and was seen carrying the Beretta Cougar.

Cruise was a natural with the firearms he’s handled in the franchise.

Tom Cruise with Beretta 92FS in Mission Impossible 2
The IMF’s Hunt later used a Beretta 92FS Compact in Mission: Impossible II. And he could use it while riding a motorcycle.
Tom Cruise aims Beretta 92G Elite 1A
Ethan Hunt didn’t stick with one gun as a field agent. In Mission: Impossible III he could be seen with a Beretta 92G Elite 1A.

The Beretta Cougar had been Hunt’s first gun of choice, but the agent later opted for the Beretta 92FS Brigadier and Compact models. As IMF agent Hunt, Cruise has also carried such handguns as the Glock 17, Desert Eagle, and Sig Sauer P226.

Tom Cruise with Sig P226 in Ghost Protocol
In Mission: Impossible – GhostProtocol, Cruise’s character favored the Sig Sauer P226 E2. He stuck with the Sig Sauer in the subsequent Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Historic Firearms

Whereas the aforementioned Schwarzenegger and Stallone have largely stuck to modern action films—Conan excluded in the former’s case—Cruise has dabbled with some period films. He appeared in an uncredited cameo as a “Cowboy” in Young Guns armed with a Colt Single Action Army revolver. He had been visiting the set, and as he had never been in a western, asked if could have a role as an unnamed character in one of the film’s shootouts.

Tom Cruise with a Single Action Army revolver in Young Guns
Yes, that’s really Tom Cruise with a Single Action Army revolver in a cameo in Young Guns. It was his first period-film role.

Cruise later could later be seen with a Snider-Enfield Rifle in the 1992 film Far and Away, and with a Smith & Wesson Schofield in The Last Samurai—before “going native” and donning samurai armor and learning to master a sword of course!

Tom Cruise with Snider-Enfield rifle in Far and Away
Let this scene in Far and Away serve a lesson to anyone attempting to fire an old weapon. Make sure it is safe first, as it is unlikely that Nicole Kidman will nurse you back to health.
Tom Cruise with Smith & Wesson Schofield in The Last Samurai
As a disillusioned American Civil War and Indian Wars veteran who travels to Japan to train the Imperial Japanese Army with modern weapons, Cruise could be seen with various guns from the Old West including the Smith & Wesson Schofield.

And whilst Cruise may not have gotten to play 007, he did carry a Walther PPK as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg in 2008 Valkyrie about the plot by some German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

Tom Cruise in Valkyrie
Cruise showed he could use his “off-hand” in the film Valkyriemuch like the real Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who lost his right hand in combat.

The Sci-Fi Guy

Beginning with 2001’s Vanilla Sky, Cruise has also dabbled in a number of science fiction films. This includes 2002’s Minority Report, which was adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story, where, as a law enforcement officer in charge of the “Precrime” unit he carries the futuristic-looking Beretta 9000Sa compact semi-automatic pistol that has the distinction of being the first polymer-framed handgun produced by the Italian gun maker. Cruise was even the first actor to carry the weapon in a film.

Beretta 9000S in Minority Report
The Beretta 9000S made its film debut in 2002’s Minority Report. It was the Italian gun maker’s first polymer-framed handgun. It is available in either 9x19mm or .40 S&W.

Yet, in his next science fiction outing, Cruise was a bit more “down-to-earth” carrying a Charter Arms Off Duty revolver in 2005’s War of the Worlds.

Tom Cruise with Charter Arms Off Duty Revolver in War of the Worlds
There were quite a few firearms in 2005’s War of the Worlds, which was directed by Steven Spielbergbut Cruise only carried the Charter Arms Off Duty revolver.

In Oblivion (2012), as a warden on Earth charged with protecting the planet’s resources, he could be seen armed with a heavily-modified Bushmaster ACR that is fitted with a futuristic shell. In Edge of Tomorrow, he played an inexperienced military officer who relives the same day over and over, slowly gaining the skills and experience to defeat an invading forceand is armed with an FN SCAR-H, a Benelli Supernova shotgun, and a modified M1911A1.

Tom Cruise with Bushmaster ACR in Oblivion
This Bushmaster ACR was dressed up to look more futuristic in the film Oblivion.
FN SCAR-H in Edge of Tomorrow
A stockless FN SCAR-H is seen in the sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow as the main weapon employed with the “Combat Jacket” to battle the alien invaders.

CruisingOther Standout Guns

Among some of the more notable firearms that Cruise has wielded on the big screen include a Ruger Mk II pistol with an AAC Phoenix integrated suppressor in Collateral, a fitting choice for a professional hit man; and the then newly released Sig Sauer P250 handguns in the 2010 action-comedy Knight and Day.

Ruger Mk11 AAC Phoenix integrated suppressor in Collateral
Tom Cruise rarely plays villains, but he was a convincing hit man, seen here with a Ruger MkII pistol with AAC Phoenix integrated suppressor in 2004’s Collateral.
Sig P250 in Knight and Day
The Sig Sauer P250 is another gun to make a film debut with Tom Cruise when it was seen as a two-tone version in the “action-comedy” Knight and Day.

Finally, while Cruise was arguably miscast as Jack Reacher, the two films allowed Cruise to carry such notable firearms as a Springfield M1A, the semi-automatic only version of the military’s M14a Sig P556 SWAT; and a BCM CQB-11 KMR-A10.  Those are truly some of the top guns used by Tom Cruise to dateand it is doubtful he’ll be hanging up the holster anytime soon.

Glock 19 Jack Reacher
While Tom Cruise didn’t convince the audience as Jack Reacher in the 2012 film, he still handed the Glock 19 with style!
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based freelance writer who regularly covers firearms related topics and military history. As a reporter, his work has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers, and websites. Among those are Homeland Security Today, Armchair General, Military Heritage, Mag Life, Newsweek, The Federalist, AmmoLand, Breach-Bang-Clear, Newsweek, RECOILweb, Wired, and many others. He has collected military small arms and military helmets most of his life, and just recently navigated his first NFA transfer to buy his first machine gun. He is co-author of the book A Gallery of Military Headdress, which was published in February 2019. It is his third book on the topic of military hats and helmets.

Sign Up for Newsletter

Let us know what topics you would be interested:
© 2023 GunMag Warehouse. All Rights Reserved.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap