Women Who Wield: Movie Edition

When it comes to movies, the armed characters typically have a male majority. However, thousands of armed women have been on the big screen. A few of those stand out among others, whether for the style of the guns they carry or their general badassery in defeating their known enemies. Examples of armed women in the movies go back to the classics and continue through more recent movies. Some of these women may have been the star of your tactical childhood in video games, too. Let’s look at a few of the best-armed women in movies and video games. 

Lara Croft — Tomb Raider

Lara croft dual wielding her H&K USP Match pistols in the movie, Tomb Raider
Lara Croft and her classic dual-wielded Heckler & Koch USP Match pistols. (Photo Credit: Tomb Raider, Warner Bros.)

“Tomb Raider” is a media series consisting of books, comics, movies, and further games and spin-offs. You could say it’s an entire treasure-hunting dynasty. They are all based on the original action-adventure video games (if you had a PlayStation, you know this game), the first movie being “Tomb Raider” released in 1996. Lara Croft (played by Angelina Jolie in most film adaptations) is the main character known as the only heir to the Croft family, seeking out artifacts around the world. She is not only athletic but also multilingual, adventurous, and determined. Of course.

Lara is known most for sporting twin pistols, specifically Heckler & Koch USP Match pistols. Created in Germany, these pistols were originally made for sport shooters, using a semi-automatic rate of fire. It comes in a variety of calibers including 9mm, 45 ACP, and 40 Smith & Wesson. Though realistically dual-wielding any pistol in real life isn’t usually a very good idea—or at least not a way to shoot accurately and safely—Lara makes it look like an effective shooting style. In her make-believe world full of magic totems and artifacts, who knows if she has the magic ability to make dual-wielding work. It’s definitely possible. 

Either way, she has been a staple in the action-adventure genre, many being able to recognize her just based on her long brown braid and blue tank top. She shows her true skills on screen, being an impressive example of an armed woman for more reasons than one. 

Trinity — The Matrix

Trinity aiming a handgun in the movie the matrix.
Trinity is a great shot and aid to Neo in his journey to save the human race. Even the chosen one needs help. (Photo Credit: The Matrix, Warner Bros)

“The Matrix” is a cult-classic film series that sparked several conversations about how far technology may go one day. In this Sci-Fi universe, machines have taken over the world to enslave the human race, which seems fairly plausible, if you think about it. They’re basically farming humans to harvest their energy. The ‘crop’ is distracted by being plugged into “the matrix” of simulated reality stuck in 1999. 

Our main character, Thomas Anderson (played by Keanu Reeves), also known under the alias of Neo, is a computer programmer who discovers the true world. His companions in the real world believe he is the ‘chosen one,’ and he goes through many adventures trying to save humanity. Trinity (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) plays a big part in the film, eventually becoming Anderson’s love interest. 

Trinity is another example of an impressively armed woman. It is worth noting, however, that in “The Matrix” things like laws of gravity don’t exist once you’ve taken the red pill, and entered the matrix with an awareness of your abilities. Trinity definitely uses it to her advantage, and it makes her fighting even cooler. Wouldn’t you take advantage of the ability to levitate?

In combination with martial arts, Trinity is seen most often using firearms such as the Beretta Cheetah, Micro Uzi, and a Beretta 92FS Compact among others throughout the series. She is, of course, portrayed as a skilled shooter, taking out entire rooms of enemies seemingly effortlessly. As a highly trained individual, she stands out as a fierce combatant and a great aim (do you think the matrix also gives her the ability to control precisely where those bullets impact?).

Alice — Resident Evil

Alice dual wielding handguns in Resident Evil.
Alice raids one of the Umbrella Incorporations’ bases in an effort to survive the apocalyptic world they created. (Photo Credit: Resident Evil, Sony Pictures Releasing)

“Resident Evil” is a classic series largely made up of video games that led to a movie series. Though each form is slightly different, the overall idea is that a virus spread and turned many into zombies. However, some are so mutated they are nearly invincible monsters. In the movie series, Alice (played by Milla Jovovich) is the main character who survives the apocalypse as somewhat of a superhuman, fighting against both the T-virus and its creator, the Umbrella Corporation. 

Alice is an amnesiac, who seems to be immune to the zombifying effects of the T-virus. She is mutated by the T-virus to have super-human powers (of course, she doesn’t know that in the first movie). She uses her powers to absolutely obliterate anything that comes across her path. To survive the apocalypse, she remains heavily armed. She doesn’t seem to have a favorite firearm, she’s more of a gun enthusiast willing to shoot anything she finds. However, throughout the series, she uses firearms such as:

  • Beretta 92FS
  • Springfield Armory Mil-Spec M1911A1
  • High Standard K-1200 Riot Deluxe
  • ​​Heckler & Koch MP5K
  • Mossberg 590 “Compact Cruiser”
  • 12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun
  • Smith & Wesson Model 460V
  • ​​SIG-Sauer P226R
  • Glock 17
Alice fighting a zombie in Resident Evil: Retribution.
Alice uses both martial arts and her firearm skills to defend herself. That’s some crazy skill. (Photo Credit: Resident Evil: Retribution, Sony Pictures Releasing)

Alice is endlessly undefeated. She uses just about any gun she comes across, showing her skill as she seamlessly makes trick shots and otherworldly kills. She defends herself well and deserves her rightfully earned spot on this list. 

Sarah Connor — Terminator 

Sarah Connor in The Terminator 2, holding a rifle outside.
Sarah Connor is of the original skilled armed women to be seen on film as she works to save the world. (Photo Credit: Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Tri-Star Pictures)

“Terminator” is another classic film series exploring just how far technology could go if it were to turn its back on us (it’s really just a matter of time). In 2029, the terminator (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton). The reason for the mission to kill Sarah is that she will inevitably have a son who saves the human race from a bloodthirsty AI called Skynet. Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn) is sent back to protect her, and (spoiler alert) ends up being the father to her son. What a crazy coincidence! 

Throughout the rest of the series, Sarah becomes a fugitive and a terrorist to the uprising Skynet. She transforms, gaining carry skills and uses a full artillery of firearms such as the Glock 17, M4A1 Carbine, and Heckler & Koch VP9. She sacrifices everything for the future of her son and humanity itself. Sarah Connor is one of the greatest female movie badasses of all time, at least according to some.

Who are your favorite armed women in the movies?

Grace Ainsworth Stevens is an outdoor writer and political cartoonist who writes for a number of industry publications including The Truth About Guns and Breach Bang Clear. She's been hunting everything from deer to feral hogs since grade school and started honing her handgun skills at the age of 13. Grace's art is Second Amendment focused and speaks to current events and gun world cliches. She's also a college sophomore and will fight you over robotics and early education issues.

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