So down here in South Florida, we have been in the celebratory/remembering mood since this month is the 30th anniversary of Miami Vice. Ink and bytes have been spent on the influence that Miami Vice had on TV shows, the use of popular music and modern musicians for its sound track, the effect it had on the economy of South Florida and the resuscitation of South Beach and even the coolness of the cars used in the series. But I have seen nothing about the guns used in Miami Vice.
Michael Mann is a Gunnie. I say so because he is about the only director/producer other than John Millius that does not fall for the Hollywood staples in both guns and usage and because he took classes with Col. Jeff Cooper . Even though for today’s standards and training, the way shootings were portrayed in Miami Vice are bit over the top and still “show-bizzy” for the time they were revolutionary.
Miami Vice brought to TV a real modern shooter: Jim Zubiena. For those with memory, he was the contract killer known as The Argentinian. In the third episode there is a scene in which he draws and mozambiques a cop with such an impressive speed, the thought of many was that it was trick editing or speeding of the film but he was just a very good shooter.
But let’s get it on with the hardware. With very few exceptions, the guns of the TV shows were basically a Smith & Wesson Model 10, a 1911, Colt detective Special or some S&W J-Frame, M-16 for the SWAT guys, maybe a bolt-action rifle and the omnipresent Remington 870 pump shotgun.
Abusing the powers of the Internet Movie Firearms Database, just in the first season, Miami Vice blows every single cop show out of the waters of Biscayne bay. Handguns? From Sonny Crocket’s Bren 10 to a Remington 1866 Derringer were used. Hell, what was not used? More S&W Model 29s than in all Dirty Harry Movies. Imports like the Heckler & Koch P9S, Beretta Cheetah, Walther PPK/S and the SIG-Sauer P220. Even Back Up guns were represented with a Detonics Pocket 9.
The Franchi SPAS-12s taking the limelight over the traditional pumps shotguns with a Browning Auto-5 for flavor, a Blunderbuss Flintlock for old times sake and High Standard Model 10 for sheer weirdness. The rifles went from the good old M-16 and the little brother CAR-15 and the well-known Ruger Mini-14 to Steyr-Mannlicher Sporter to a Ruger AC556.
And let us not forget the machine guns. Uzi and MAC 10 became part of the common vocabulary. An M-60 shooting from the back of a van in the middle of Miami Beach? Check. And you also get your HK94, MP-5, Smith & Wesson M76, Beretta PM12S and the soon-to-be infamous Interdynamic KG-99.
Not enough? How about an FIM-43 Redeye Surface to Air missile?
And again, this was just the first season of the show. By season 2 things get really interesting. If you have a couple of hours to waste, please drop by the IMFDB Miami Vice page and enjoy yourself. And kudos to these people, they do a great job and get little recognition.