Gun of the Silver Screen: V21N5

By Kyle Shea

Pistols of the Expendables

If you lived in the `80s and `90s, it would be hard not to remember all the great action stars like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. Movies like Die Hard, Rambo and Terminator are as loved today as they were back then—as are their sequels. Many fans wanted to see these men, as well as others, star in an action movie together. Finally, in 2010, the fans’ prayers were answered when The Expendables hit theaters.

The Expendables stars Sylvester Stallone as the leader of a tough band of mercenaries that take jobs nobody else will. It also stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews and Randy Couture, with both Willis and Schwarzenegger having uncredited cameos. It was a hit at the box office, leading to a sequel in 2012, and another in 2014.

In all three movies, Stallone uses a pair of Kimber M1911A1 Gold Combat II pistols. Both pistols were customized during the second movie with grips featuring the Expendables’ symbol: a crow sitting on a human skull. One of the knives in the movie has the same symbol and grabs the attention of the film’s villain.

The M1911 pistol was designed by one of the greatest gun inventers who ever lived, John Browning. He was the same man who invented the M1918 BAR, the Browning M1919, the M2 .50 caliber and many other guns, some of which are still in use to this day, including the M1911 pistol. It was first adopted by the U.S. Military in 1911 and was used in WWI. After the war, the M1911A1 was created to solve some of its problems on the battlefield. Both guns would continue to be used for the rest of the 20th century; they saw service not only in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, but even in Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror. Nonetheless, the M1911A1 has slowly been replaced by the M9, to the point that it is only used by a few units in both the military and law enforcement.

The M1911A1 is popular in the private sector and is made by a large number of companies. The company that made the guns for this movie is Kimber Manufacturing. Started in Oregon in 1979, it started out selling rifles, but went bankrupt in 1991. It reopened in 1993 and soon afterwards started making M1911A1s, for which it became best known.

The first Expendables movie was a modest film, and a lot more could have been done. The second movie, on the other hand, is far more fun. Joining the original cast are Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme as the villain. The gun battles are more epic, and the humor is much better. The third movie is not as good as the second, though it does have Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Antonio Banderas, while featuring Mel Gibson as the new villain. All in all, it is an enjoyable film series that is worth a watch, whether you are a fan of these actors or not.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N5 (June 2017)
and was posted online on April 21, 2017


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