The Internet Movie Firearms Database is a great resource and a powerful tool. The brains behind IMFDB recently begun to use its accumulated data to compile a variety of fascinating facts on guns in pop culture and the results of this list — the most frequently used guns on-screen — may surprise you . . .
Number five is the iconic MP40 submachine gun. Popular culture has portrayed the MP40 as the most common weapon in the hands of German soldiers during World War II. This is actually incorrect, as the bolt-action Karabiner 98k was more common, but in films, television, and especially in video games, the MP40 will be seen issued on at least a one-to-one basis with the Kar 98k. We tallied it at 375 individual onscreen depictions.
Number four on the list with 406 appearances is the classic Luger P08. This seems to be one of those firearms that everybody knows the second they see it. Its unique grip angle and toggle-action made it one of the most desirable “trophy guns” for American GI’s to bring back when they came home from the Second World War.
Coming in at number three with 523 screen appearances is the venerable M1911A1. The U.S. military was re-issued the 1911 pistol in 1924, now designated the M1911A1. Changes to the gun included a larger ejection port, a shortened trigger, a longer grip-safety spur and slightly shaved hammer spur to prevent hammer bite, serrated front sight, a curved mainspring housing, simplified checkered grips (although diamond grips still appeared on some), and relief cuts around the trigger guard on the frame.
Our guess is that if you lumped in all the M1911 appearances with this of the M1911A1 it still wouldn’t surpass number two on our list, the Teutonic GLOCK 17. The G17 tallied 713 appearances. That’s pretty amazing with a lifespan of only a hair over three decades compared to the lower ranked guns on the list.
And the number one firearm on our list is the ubiquitous Beretta Model 92FS with 847 appearances. The pistol is also known as the M9 in U.S. military service (there are few actual M9’s seen in movies and TV shows; property masters and armorers almost always use the civilian 92FS, even when the pistols are seen in the hands of actors playing U.S. military personnel).
Four out of five branches of the military issued the Beretta M9. It was all five did until 2006 when the USCG adopted the SIG-Sauer P229. Of course the Beretta’s 30+ years of illustrious service will be coming to an end with the announcement of the Army’s new handgun choice: the SIG SAUER P320.
We were amazed that the Uzi, Colt SAA, Thompson submachine gun or even the AK-47, MAC-10 or AR-15/M16 did not make the list, but the numbers don’t lie.