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The Guns (and Ammo) of Die Hard

Yippee-ki-yay! It’s finally that time of year to rewatch your favorite Christmas movie—Die Hard.

Hollywood critics would say it doesn’t fit the Christmas genre… but let’s be honest, we all know it does.

Regarded as an “action masterpiece for the ages,” Die Hard is a leading contender as the greatest action film of all time—thanks to its impressive and thrilling gun lineup. From your favorite lines of “Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.” and “Welcome to the party, pal,” Bruce Willis’s character, John McClane, is a relatable everyman who’s got a few tactical tricks up his sleeve.

When faced with former German terrorist leader Hans Gruber, McClane is forced to do everything he can to survive and stop the bad guys.

If you look closely, many of the franchise’s most iconic moments wouldn’t have been complete without featuring some good ole’ classic guns. So after a recent rewatch of the film, we decided to get in the Christmas spirit and highlight eight of its most memorable firearms.

1. Beretta 92F - McClane’s Go-To

Speaking of classics, the Beretta 92F is detective John McClane’s sidearm of choice. Featured in many other popular action films such as Terminator, Lethal Weapon, and Independence Day, it was the US Army’s standard-issue sidearm for over 30 years.

In Die Hard, the gun first appears in a scene when a fellow airline passenger notices McClane’s concealed Beretta after landing in Los Angeles. A few scenes later, the mighty 9mm is out of its holster as McClane begins battling Hans Gruber and his band of terrorists.

From this moment on, Die Hard's iconic Beretta 92F is never out of action.

2. Heckler & Koch P7M13—The Antagonist’s Heater

Another screen-hogging gun in the film is Hans Gruber’s H&K P7M13. Chrome-plated, with a removable suppressor, this German-made semi-automatic pistol suits Gruber’s villainous demeanor perfectly.

There used to be a variety of H&K P7 9mm handguns on the market; however, they are no longer in production. So, their legacy will live on through the films they were featured in over the years.

Spoiler alert! To see the P7M13 up close, jump ahead to the scene where Gruber aims right at John’s head before falling from a high-rise building to his demise—pistol still in hand. Guns & Ammo from Die Hard graphic 1

3. Heckler & Koch HK94 (MP5)—Famous for the “HK Slap”

As one of the most widely used submachine guns in the world, the Heckler & Koch MP5 has seen everything from special operations to military training, battlefields, and, can't forget, movie sets.

The Die Hard crew modified traditional HK MP5s to create the shrunken versions exhibited in the film. On HK guns, the charging handle can be locked up in a notch. Then, when you “slap” the handle back down, it loads a bullet in the chamber: known as the “HK Slap.”

After stealing one of the HK MP5s from Gruber’s terror squad, John McClane famously delivers the iconic quote: “Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.” What ammo does this powerful submachine gun take, you may ask? It can be fed 9x19mm Parabellum, 10mm Auto, and .40 S&W ammunition.

4. M16A1 (Replica)—Carried by S.W.A.T.

Most people are familiar with the M16 rifle. M16s are a part of a family of military rifles adapted from the ArmaLite AR-15. In other words, we’re talking assault rifles, plain and simple.

The S.W.A.T. teams used the M16A1 during a failed raid on the action site in Die Hard. As the teams strategically maneuvered the situation after arriving on the scene, each officer was armed with an MGC M16A1 rifle.

The M16 brought a lightweight profile with a high rate of fire into its category of firearms. Despite some trial-and-error failures during its early years, the M16 eventually proved to be a revolutionary weapon and still reigns as the oldest continuously serving rifle in American military history.

Clearly, Die Hard didn’t leave out any old-school guns. Guns & Ammo of Die Hard graphic 2

5. Steyr AUG—The OG Bullpup Firearm

Probably the most unusual-looking firearm to movie-goers at the time, the Steyr AUG provided the American public with its first exposure to bullpups.

No, bullpups are not bulldog puppies. Bullpup rifles are notorious for being inaccurate due to their unique trigger design. Although they’re shorter in length, their maneuverability and ease-of-use balance out any imprecision.

The Steyr AUG is used by Karl, Hans Gruber’s second-in-command in the movie. However, as he unloads the AUG at some ceiling air vents in the hopes of blowing out McClane, he ultimately fails at hitting his target.

6. Smith & Wesson Model 15—Known as a Combat Masterpiece Revolver

Another cinematic veteran firearm—the Smith & Wesson Model 15 has been featured in many action sequences, and is one of the most easily-identifiable revolvers around. The Model 15 holds .38 Special ammunition and can fire six rounds. The gun was manufactured and distributed in large numbers by Smith & Wesson between 1949 and 1999. It is still used by police to this day, even fictional ones.

Sergeant Al Powell is an LAPD cop who helps McClane with the terrorist takeover at the plaza. Like McClane, Powell deliver one of the film's most iconic lines:

“I hear ya partner, L.A.’s finest are on it, so light ‘em if you got ‘em.”

Guns & Ammo from Die Hard graphic 3

7. M60E3—A “Show of Force” Against Sergeant Al Powell

The M60, which is regarded as the United States machine gun, is the most provoking weapon included in the Die Hard film. So, of course, it needed to live up to its reputation; and that it did.

Alexander, one of the relentless German terrorists employed by Hans Gruber, is seen firing the M60E3 at Sergeant Powell’s squad car as McClane attempts to flee the vicinity. On top of that, another scene features the powerhouse in a predicament where a soldier in a gunship helicopter is firing a similar M60 at McClane by mistake.

Thankfully, he ended up missing, and McClane survives by the skin of his teeth.

8. Walther PPK—James Bond’s First Pick

Last but certainly not least, we must shed some light on the Walther PPK pistol. Famous for being James Bond’s favored firearm, the Walther PPK is another German-made handgun featured in Die Hard.

According to shooter analysis, the balance of this gun is ideal and carries well. In addition, the Walther PPK is an easy pistol to fire accurately, especially at close range. And, if you decide you’d like it to shoot quieter, you can always attach a silencer onto the barrel, just like Karl did in the film.

The Walther PPK contains a .380 ACP cartridge. Therefore, it performs optimally when fed .380 auto ammunition.

Guns & Ammo from Die Hard graphic 4

A Gun-Lover's Time Capsule from 1988

Die Hard and its firearms will always have a place in the hearts of shooters. I mean, who doesn’t love a timeless American film with endless action, witty dialogue, and some pretty cool firearms?

Never before have guns and Christmas paired so well together.

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