The movie HEAT is notorious. It had a huge effect across the USA. Because of this movie, cops are now wearing heavier levels of body armor and carry rifles more often than shotguns in many departments around the country. This is because the bad guys saw this movie too… and decided to do it like that did. Especially 2 fellows who held up a Bank Of America in LA. This flick also had an effect on Hollywood. Since then many movie makers have strived for more realistic gun fight scenes. The reason is because HEAT has the best gun battle in it. Ask any group of gun nuts about celluloid fire fights, and HEAT will always come up. Always. Enough has been said about he movie by me and every other critic out there, so I’ll just do what I do and talk about the guns.
The first gun you see in the film is Al Pacino’s. His character as you are watching him, tends to be very commanding, very charismatic, and very stylish. Note the nice big ring, fancy shades and his silk ties. His gun is the same way. A perfect choice by the film makers here. It’s a Colt Officers ACP, flat black with ivory grips and some custom work. Very business like, but with some pizzazz. This is a compact version of the classic 1911 chambered in .45ACP holding 6 rounds. He packs it in a cross draw rig that puts the butt of his gun in a good position for a fast draw, yet comfortable for wearing sitting in a car on a stake out all day. It also puts it in a position to be easily observed by anyone looking at him and says very clearly “Don’t fuck with me”. This also tells the Firearms Aficionado that “Vincent” Pacino’s character, likes to have everything his way. Listen to his dialog. He has some great lines too.
The next gun scene that comes up is the armored car hold up. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t tell who is who here. There are a lot of guns flashing across the screen and I don’t know who is holding what gun, but I can talk about the guns that we see.
Two of the villains are packing Shorty M-16s with the 4 position stocks. These are full auto short barreled rifles chambered for 5.56MM NATO. Or good old .223 to you country folk. (read about why I don’t like it here) Exactly who made the ones on the screen is impossible to tell. There are a number of different outfits that make a rifle exactly like shown, and all have slightly different model names for them. Bushmaster, Colt, Armalite just to name a few. However these are A1 variants as you can tell from the rear sight. It has a little flat wheel on the rear sight, not a nice dial like the A2 rear sight.
Tom Sizemore’s character “Slick” is packing an FN FAL. The FAL rifle is a true battle rifle in every sense of the word. It’s chambered for 7.62MM NATO (.308 Winchester to you long brown gun guys) and uses 20 round magazines that Tom is packing more of. This guy is armed to the teeth. If you look carefully at the corpse when the Detective is talking about the shooting, you will notice the victim’s head is misshapen. The back of it is squashed out as if it was a smashed melon. That is a pretty accurate yet grisly representation of what a .308 can do… if it doesn’t blow the head apart completely. I’ve seen headshots like that before and it isn’t pretty. But it is definitely final. No witnesses there.
If you watch carefully you get a glimpse of an automatic pistol carried on the chest of one of the villain’s tactical vests… the pistol is a Ruger automatic, and which model is hard to tell with only seeing the butt end… but it is indeed a Ruger. I think it’s a P90.
The scary looking Latino guy is packing an AK-47 variant of some sort with a folding stock. You can see the stock extended for a second in one cut and in another it’s folded. I think because of the profile of the muzzle that it’s the AKM variant. Heavy firepower, 30 round magazine of 7.62X39MM… a very nice choice.
Now, the crew’s “New Guy” is a really slimy villain named “Wayne Grow” or something like that. He is armed with a big ugly pistol that you never really get a good look at. At least not on VHS. But after rewinding, playing, and rewinding a few more times… I’m thinking this is Star Megastar. (update: DVD stills were taken for me and they confirmed my ID, it is without a doubt a Star Megastar) This is an interesting choice that says something about the character that is using it. It’s a .45 Automatic that didn’t get too much attention in the US. I’m not sure how many have been imported or any of that, but I do know they are fairly rare here. Not rare as in collectable or anything because if I remember correctly, you could get one for only 350. At least I think that was what the price was back in ’95. I have only seen two of them in person, and they were both cheap. Kinda like the character… cheap, rather pedestrian, second rate, less intelligent. The pistol is better than the villain holding it, that is for sure. If I am incorrect in giving this pistol’s ID, please let me know. This gun is taken away from him when they escape the scene in the ambulance. Later in the film we see Wayne Grow in a hotel room armed with another pistol. This one is nickel plated or stainless, not sure which… but after reviewing DVD stills, we have ID’d the gun as another Star Megastar. So this guy buys an upscale version of the cheap gun he had before. Curious. Or is it? We see this guy as being a less intelligent low brow thug who pleasures himself with killing hookers, tattoos, and wearing a mullet. None of the other “bad guys” are like this. They are more clean cut in comparison, more intelligent, have wives and girlfriends and enjoy a finer level of living. So maybe him going back for the same gun, but an upper scale version is an insight that he thinks he is stepping up in the world, but at the core would rather beat a hooker to death in an alley… in essence he is truly slime and has no real desire to change. It’s an interesting gun the Megastar. Even more interesting is that they are hard to find yet this guy went and got 2 of them.
We see one of the guards going for a small revolver in an ankle holster. This scene also illustrates why I don’t like ankle rigs. They are slow and awkward. The guard doesn’t even get off a shot. It’s a S&W Chief’s Special with an aftermarket hammer shroud. They are common ankle rig passengers. I like little snub .38’s and consider the Chief’s Special to be a worthy gun deserving a better ride than on the ankle. (Notice how slow it is to get to…. and that he doesn’t even get a shot off? Ogre frowns on ankle rigs.)
After the armored car holdup the old crew tries to take out Wayne-Grow. We see Robert Deniro’s handgun here. Ah, good choice again by the movie makers. It’s a SIG SAUER P220. 8 rounds of .45ACP. This is my favorite .45 in terms of a double action .45 handgun. It’s called “The Thinking Man’s .45” by the gun rags. I would tend to agree with that. It’s accurate, reliable, smooth… everything you would want in a full sized .45. It’s a no frills fighting gun. There are no bells and whistles here, its all about getting down to business. This shows some insight to Deniro’s character as well, because he is exactly the same way. He wants to be more, we can tell this because of his relationship with the woman from the book store. Too bad he is too set in his way and reverts back to his ultimately no frills way. She was cute. I don’t think I could have picked a better handgun for this character. He is smart, blunt, plans ahead… doesn’t want to deal with unknown issues. SIG P220.
Later on in the film we see a station wagon in the middle of a drive in theatre. Robert Deniro is sitting in there about to get ambushed by a fellow armed with a Steyr TMP. This is a viscous submachinegun chambered in 9MM with a very high cyclic rate. You see this gun better in the James Bond flick “The World Is Not Enough” with the guys in the flying snowmobiles. There is a civilian version you can buy that is semi automatic and without the vertical forward pistol grip. The guy tries to use it correctly, as Steyr intended. Since there is no shoulder stock you stabilize the gun by pushing it forward against the shoulder strap/sling
Of course this guy didn’t have any chance in hell because on the roof of the drive in joint was Val Kilmer armed with an HK 91 variant. I’m not sure which variant it is specifically. This is HK’s semi auto civilian version of the G3 battle rifle. A full sized fighting rifle chambered in .308. What is that caliber in mil-speak? 5.56MM NATO? Nope, 7.62MM NATO baby. A real caliber.
While Val is sniping the gunman and Deniro is running him over, the driver of the Dodge pickup truck is removed from this life by Tom Sizemore with a 12 gauge shotgun, a Benelli M3 Super 90. This a a formidable weapon and it’s used to good effect here. We get the impression that Tom Sizemore’s character is a true gun-nut. More on him later.
I’m not sure what handgun Val Kilmer has. You only see at odd angles or in a holster… but I think it might be an HK USP, but I am just guessing based on the profile of the rear of the gun, the grip, and the hammer.
Now we get to the big gun battle in the streets. We see the cops running around and the bad guys being the bad guys. We see a lot of M-16 Shorty action here. Right off the bat we observe one detective put down by a rifle armed villain. Let’s talk about this for a second. Cop Killer Bullets. There is no such thing. No cop has ever been killed by a bullet fired from a handgun that penetrated the ballistic panels of his vest. It has just never happened. Most handguns don’t fire with the force required to defeat a vest. I say most because there are a couple that can. The CZ-52 was designed to do this from the start. It can zip through a vest with little problem. Just like a bullet fired from virtually any rifle. This unlucky detective was hit several times across his vest and the vest wasn’t able to stop them. Just like in real life. The film makers are true to reality here. I remember after the Bank of America robbery a lot of thugs picked up SKS rifles. Some time later two thugs cut down a Trooper and a Sheriff’s Deputy in the Carolinas using an SKS rifle. After that happened you couldn’t find an SKS for sale. All the thugs snatched them up. This escalation in arms lead many of the good guys to retire the shotgun in favor of a rifle. I myself went from a Mossberg 590A1 to a Bushmaster XM-15 to ride patrol with me. Rifles are so much more deadly than handguns, and this is illustrated. They are also thunderously loud. The movie makers show this as well. The blast from a rifle can rip your eardrums. Notice how loud the scene is? When I saw this in the theatre, many people were plugging there ears. The badguys also fire from inside a car. In real life, without earplugs, this would cause you to bleed from your ears and you may never be able to hear again. I still have hearing damage from firing rifles in tight spaces over 10 years later. Tom Sizemore is armed with a Galil. This is Israel’s upgraded version of the AK-47. It’s heavier than an AK, with much greater accuracy, reliability, and stability when fired rapidly. This is a damn good gun that let’s you put your rounds into the target quickly and easily. Good choice Tom. I love the Galil. I wish I picked up that one I saw for only 600 bucks… they are now worth a mint.
The police respond with Beretta 92FS pistols. A common PD issued pistol. Not as common as a Glock, but they are around. I think they are still being issued to LAPD today, but I might be wrong there. They also break out a couple Remington 870 pump guns. The detectives are armed with Mossberg 500 shotguns. A more robust gun than the Remington 870s and one of my favorites, especially with a Butler Creek folding stock on it, but these coppers are using the stock, uh, stock.
Pacino shows his flair again with his rifle selection. An FN FNC, a 5.56MM fighting rifle. I’ve only seen one here in the state of Utah, the asking price was over 2500 bucks. Very expensive, but probably well worth it. They are accurate, reliable and all that jazz… and better yet they resolve many of the M-16’s problems. It’s also a good looking rifle isn’t it? Indeed. It comes with a device that allows the quick mounting of rail for mounting optics. Pretty versatile isn’t it? There is only one 5.56MM rifle that can compare to it in terms of quality, and that is the SIG 550 series. The only real downside to the FNC is the caliber. Oh well. Can’t have everything.
Well, here we are at the end. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments, feel free to send them to me.