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Talk:The Terminator (1984)

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This section contains information slightly related to firearms, but never the less interesting in its own way in context.

Future Bomb

A custom prop was used in the scene where Kyle Reese blows up a HK tank in the future. Original design was drawn by James Cameron himself.

Original prop, used in the movie.
James Cameron's Storyboard.

Pipe Bomb

While at the motel, Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor can be seen assembling pipe bombs from components Reese purchased during a shopping trip, which look like a rough version of a future bomb. These bombs are then later used during the final car chase of the film with Reese throwing pipe bombs out the window of the commandeered pickup, trying to hit the Terminator pursuing them on a motorcycle, though he fails to score a hit. One pipe bomb is later used to blow up the tanker truck the Terminator hijacks, and the last one is used to blow off the Terminator's lower body, fragments from the blast killing an already-wounded Reese and injuring Sarah Connor.

Kyle teaches Sarah how to assemble a Pipe Bomb.
The row of completed Pipe Bombs lie on a dresser.
Kyle Reese tosses a lit bomb at the pursuing Terminator.
A closeup of one of the pipe bombs placed in a tanker's storage pipe for a fuel hose.
The Terminator is blown apart after Reese places a pipe bomb in his abdomen. Interesting note: In the story, the endoskeleton is supposed to be blown in two (with one half continuing to pursue Sarah), but the prop endoskeleton is clearly obliterated in this shot. The severed head is visible flying off, though it is 'reattached' later when chasing Sarah.

James Cameron's Concept Art and Storyboards

Apart from having Terminator's AMT Hardballer replaced with M1911A1 concept art and storyboards drawn by film's director James Cameron give us different view on plasma rifles, which were on that stage planned to be similar to AK-47, M16 rifle series and Uzi.

T1 007.jpg
T1 009.jpg
T1 014.jpg
T1 016.jpg
T1 015.jpg

Gunshot sounds

The original soundtrack for the film was only recorded in mono for the film's initial release and early video releases. In more recent video releases (including Blu-ray), the film was re-mastered to "state of art" (according to the DVD trailer) Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Along with this re-mastering, many of the sound effects (notably the sounds of the firearms used) were re-recorded in order to bring the film's audio quality up to the standards expected of more recent releases (notably the Terminator sequels). The new sound effects have changed considerably from the original film's release, and there are arguments of which soundtrack is superior. Many fans prefer the original mono track (which was not included on any Blu-ray release) to the re-mastered Dolby 5.1 version.

As is common for film trailers, the Infiltrator Terminator's RSB-80 plasma cannon sounds different from the final release. The teaser has the weapon sounding like a regular machine gun, while the original theatrical trailer has beam sounds, but different to what is heard in the finished film.

Metal Gear

The original NES game Metal Gear featured a soldier on the cover that looks remarkably like Reese.

Metal Gear.jpg


Not a T-600

On screen the Series 600 Terminators were shown for the first time only in Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles TV-show. They had a visibly unnatural latex skin. An alternate bulkier and damaged version was shown later in Terminator: Salvation. The terminator with RSB in The Terminator is a T-800, just like the one played by Schwarzenegger. Fixed it. Kylljoi 12:34, 15 March 2012 (CDT)

Sound Effects

It seems, with the recent DVD releases of this movie, they remastered the sound as well. Though I've yet to see the police station shootout scene in full, there are several points where I've done double takes trying to reconcile watching it now with my childhood memories of VHS. --Clutch 03:47, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I noticed that too. I own the VHS and when I saw it on TV, they used better gunshots and got rid of all the ricocheting sounds. I didn't really mind too much though. - Gunmaster45

- I actually preferred the original (VHS) sound effects, though in some parts the new sounds are somewhat better. They still didn't fix the screwed up effects during the police station shootout where the SPAS sounds like the AR-18 though. StanTheMan 01:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

I can't begin to tell you how irked I was at the remastered edition for changing the sound of the gunfire. Suddenly all the pistols sound like a silencer is used on them? I'm just thankful the DVD has the original audio as an option. Ballistics_Expert2

I thought originally the sound effects were right in the police station and then it was screwed up in the remaster. --cool-breeze 12:10, 10 June 2011 (CDT)

I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice or be irritated by this. Frankly most gunshots in movies today sound very weak compared to 10 or 15 years ago. Sound more like knocking against a wall or a firecracker (like the handguns in the "remastered" edition of this Terminator movie.) They did the same thing with the gunshots in all the early Dirty Harry movies. If it isn't broken, don't fix it.--Doug.38PR

Laser Sight

I always wondered why the Terminator needed a laser sight on his gun, besides making it look really cool.

It was new technology at the time, and director James Cameron wanted the visual impact of the red dot glowing on Linda Hamilton's forehead. Prior to the early 1980s there were few scenes of Laser dot sighting systems, of course, NOW they are a cliche, but back then they were fresh. MPM2008

Of course, no Terminator would need a laser sight. PLUS no Terminator would ever miss, not to mention waste 9mm ammo with an Uzi, like in the scene at the "tech-noir" club. But on the other hand, it's just a movie. --Lastgunslinger 18:14, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

  • He's a robot, not a wizard. You think no computerised system has ever missed? Vangelis 13:05, 7 March 2011 (MSK)

For those of you who want to know more about how the laser sight and gun were designed, I found an article where they a few guys at the Game Developer Conference (2010) talk to the person who designed and built the gun. This is a bit redundant due to the link on the main page already, but I believe it gives more background info. http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/03/just-what-you-see-the-story-behind-the-45-long-slide-laser-siting.ars --Gunkatas 15:02, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

The Uzi

I have read in a biography of Arnold that the Uzi used in the film was borrowed from a federal agency as they were the only ones with full auto Uzi's in those days. Would anyone care to confirm that information? Rockwolf66

Baloney. Federal Agency Uzis would NOT be "Hollywood blank adapted", i.e. barrel tapped and a BFA screwed into the barrel interior for hot movie blanks. I've seen Federal Law enforcement train sometimes with commercial 'weak' blanks, and I've seen those military 9mm blanks, but they're nothing close to full flash movie blanks. Also military and Law enforcement tend to use external 'attachable' blank firing adaptors so that the weapon can be quickly rendered back into active service. Also the film was made in 1984. The movie industry had no problem getting Uzis by that time. The Movie Stripes shot in 1980, released in 1981 has MAC-10s disguised as Uzis and some legitimate Uzis as well. MPM2008
Actually the weapon Arnie used was directly provided by Action Arms which, at the time, was the primary provider of the full auto Uzi, and its' semi-auto siblings, during the 80s in the US. In addition, and if memory serves, Schwarzenegger was presented with an Uzi by the owner of Action Arms after the success of the film. Action Arms also provided him with the training in the weapon's use and maintenance. A clearer history can be found here.
Part way down, and next to a pic of Mitch Kalter, AA's spokesperson at the time, is a summary of the Uzi's use in the film. --Charon68 09:08, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Was there not a ban on Uzis in California at the time?--Maxman (talk) 23:26, 16 November 2014 (EST)

Nope, at the time you could own just about any firearm you wanted. I'm not sure when California restricted the ownership of machineguns to those "with need" but Nationally the manufacture of civilian machineguns was not until 1986 when William Hughes put his little amendment into an otherwise good firearms law.In 1989 California passed its bullshit "assault weapons" ban that did nothing to control crime but meant that one could no longer own an Uzi in California with out it being registered with the state. I used to live there and I am glad I live in a state where I can own any firearm I can afford. Rockwolf66 (talk) 04:53, 17 November 2014 (EST)

Pipe bomb pics

Uzi870, despite the practices of some of the other users, it is not necessary to put so many pics of the pipe bombs, especially shots where we don't see the actual weapon, but only the aftermath. At this point it is just RETELLING the movie rather than identifying the weapon. As an admin I tend to delete images which belabor the point and don't even show the weapons in the section. Please try to use some discipline when doing screenshots. Pipe bombs, like IEDs, are not standard enough weapons to merit a page on the gun category, and no viewer would 'wonder what make and model' pipe bomb was used. Thanks. MPM2008


I agree about the G3 being a good choice. If someone were to put one into the Terminator's head they could maybe kill it.- S&Wshooter

I think most of the guns the rebels use in the terminator movies could destroy terminators.Oliveira 21:00, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Unless the G3 was supposed to be some sort of plasma rifle, it would serve little purpose other than to chase off unwanted survivors.

Well in Terminator Salvation we see that the T-600s are vulnerable to 7.62mm rounds as Connor kills one with an M60 and another shoots it's own leg off with a Minigun. Hell in the opening scene, John puts one down point blank with 5.56mm rounds, which do nothing against the T-800 later in the film, or the one from the first film.

In Salvation, the T-600 he put down point blank with 5.56mm rounds was already damaged. Since it was pinned down by the Huey he could get a straight shot right where the CPU was located. The one he shot with the M60 it's legs where gone, but otherwise functional. The T-800 at the end of the film, maybe it had better steel? But it was most likely for dramatic effect, the rounds having no effect. --Predator20 14:48, 12 March 2010 (UTC)
The T-600s are primitive compared to the later Terminators, and their cybernetic cortex is actually exposed to damage, which is a design flaw Skynet later corrected. And T-800s are made of "hyperalloy," not steel - what hyperalloy is depends on the terminator in question; earlier models were made of titanium alloy, with later models are supposed to be constructed of coltan, which doesn't make sense since a) coltan is black, while terminators are very shiny like chromed steel, and b) coltan is an ore, not an alloy, from which one can extract niobium and tantalum. Kyle Reese describes the T-800 as being "fully armored" and "very tough;" T-800s are regularly demonstrated completely shrugging off small arms fire. It's not so much that the T-800 was suddenly invincible for dramatic effect, since three movies (along with video games and comics and novels and so on) have demonstrated that most small arms do little to the infiltrator cyborgs beyond slowing them down. Atypicaloracle 11:42, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Poorly trained police officers

Sarah Conner was shown body armour in the police station. But when the Terminator began his killing spree, police officers were seen passing out M16A1 assault rifles but no body armour. Why's that??

Also you're assessing their police tactics with what police do ... TODAY. Heavy duty body armor was NOT common practice back in the day. And in the early 1980s many cops had only the lightweight Threat level II undershirt vests and only at certain times. The 1980s and 1990s changed A LOT of police tactics (some for the better, some for the worse (like how they treat suspects even if they are cooperating))MoviePropMaster2008 18:22, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

It was unexpected attack so they only had time to grab rifle. by the time they got the vests on it wouldn't matter becuse the terminator would have find. the body armor police have are probably not military grade so they wont stop round form the AR-18.

The body armor that Lt. Traxler gave Sarah looked pretty good. It didn't look like it was handgun rated only. He did commented in the film that "it will stop a 12 gauge round", he didn't say anything about rifles though. But as the second poster said it was an unexpected attack, I mean who attacks a police station? Only the terminator. --Predator20 14:37, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

I also recalled that there were 30 police officers in the station and that 17 of them were murdered by the Terminator, were the rest of the officers were hiding throughout the entire killing spree??

The other 13 may have just been wounded. Det. Vukovich showed up in an early draft of T3, wheelchair-bound. --Funkychinaman 21:55, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing it out.

Something that always bothered me was how Traxler and Vukovich talked about Body Armor but were apparently killed by the Terminator. I assumed they were wearing it under their shirts.

In a Deleted Scene, Traxler briefly survived his wounds and handed a 6 shooter to Reese. And as Noted above, Vukovich was to survive his wounds too but was bound to a wheelchair.

Though I suppose the writers thought it was a little far-fetched, considering he received some 5.56 rounds and some 12 gauge buckshot from the Terminator.

Trigger Discipline

In the screenshot in which Kyle is playfully aiming his Valmet M82A at a child, shouldn't it be mentioned that he still has his finger on the trigger? 02:38, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

No, http://www.imfdb.org/index.php/Rules%2C_Standards_and_Principles#No_sarcastic_or_insulting_Commentary Also in the screenshot where he does it, I'm not sure if the gun goes up any further. If that's the case he's pointing at the floor, the weapon could be on safe too.--Predator20 10:38, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Bullets on the counter at gunstores

I went to my local Cabela's and apparently they started to put SOME, like small stacks of pistol ammo on the counters now Excalibur01 04:27, 9 October 2010 (UTC)

Never understood why the Terminator bothered to load the weapon at all while the gunshop owner just stood there protesting like a nimrod. The thing is freakishly strong (I wonder why it didn't cart off the gigantic anti-tank rifle... maybe they don't keep 20x138mm shells in stock...) and could have just punched him in the head and it would have been fatal. Hell, it could have just crushed his windpipe - Terminators don't seem to care about being very subtle anyway. Atypicaloracle 11:47, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Quite likely the Terminator wasn't loading the shotgun to specifically kill the store owner - after all it doesn't eliminate everything it sees - but rather to have its newfound arsenal immediately ready for action. Only after the store owner protests said action does he become a perceived threat to the mission, conveniently neutralized with the now-loaded shotgun already in its hands. -- Fin- 14:24, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Or he just wanted to be sure it worked. Vangelis2 03:02, 22 March 2011 (CDT)

Police Station Attack

The Terminator is shot by Police and sometimes reacts to the shots by flinching slightly, probably the bullet impacts. However, He doesnt respond at all to the M16 fire by Traxler and Vukovich. Would the .38 Special be more powerful than a 5.56mm?

simply said...No. A .38 spcl only have about 200 foot pounds of energy and the 5.56 has 1,300 foot pounds of energy.--Spades of Columbia 00:39, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Story incongruencies

Anyone else note how the short bit of story on the cover doesn't match completely up with the in movie story? The bit on the cover makes it seem like humans in the future thought John Connor a threat and therefore created the Terminator for the sole reason of going back in time to kill Sarah Connor. T.H.M.Christensen 01:10, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

In terms of story,the Rulers in question are the machines. 01:19, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Also bear in mind that the people who write the tagline haven't necessarily seen the movie. Vangelis 12:26, 7 March 2011 (MSK)

Gun Store

In the Gun Store, The Terminator is looking down at something when naming his Guns, probably a Catalogue? I just wondered why The Terminator would pick the AMT Hardballer with a Long Slide and Laser Sight? Surely The Terminator could calculate the angle of his arm and shoot on target from the hip, right?

I remember reading something similar to this somewhere. Basically, it was answered in the fact that the Terminator will take any advantage he can get. If, without the laser, he's accurate 99% of the time, but with the laster he's accurate 99.1% of the time, that's what he'll use. Also, it could be possible that simply putting the laser on the target is faster than calculating the angle. -SasquatchJim

  • This assumes the Terminator is actually designed to use ballistic weaponry even though Skynet's standard issue weapon for them is a line-of-sight energy gun. A fire control computer isn't much use if it doesn't have data for the weapon in it already, and the laser as an aiming aid would mean he didn't have to waste time firing off rounds at a wall to calculate the trajectories as a baseline. One imagines he's gathering practical data on any given weapon while he's using it. A lot of people assume Terminators are magic, but they don't really show any super-human aiming skills aside from the T-101 in T2 deliberately not killing anyone with the M79 and minigun. Vangelis2 03:00, 22 March 2011 (CDT)

Or maybe because lasers were not well known of at the time they wanted something cool and futuristic looking? Also it helps build up the tension in the Tech Noir scene where you see the laser dot on Sarah's head. --cool-breeze 16:23, 3 April 2011 (CDT)

There are also a few more guns that are still (for some reason) not on the page, including several R.870s (including one with black furniture in the background), some AR variant with a ribbed forend, another SPAS-12 just behind by that, what looks like some weird .22 autoloader with a banana magazine and a wide forend with holes on the bottom, and an even weirder thing with a drum that I can't identify. Hints are appreciated. --Slon95 (talk) 12:52, 3 October 2021 (EDT)


The last image on the page (pipe bomb section) is an awesome spoiler. I really think it should be removed. - bozitojugg3rn4ut 15:54, 9 June 2011 (CDT)

And it doesn't actually show the pipe bomb, which you can argue doesn't belong on the page anyway. The code is below. --Funkychinaman 16:03, 9 June 2011 (CDT)
Also, I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations on spoilers about 30-year-old classic action movies runs out when the sequel is released.


Given its size relative to the gunner and Franco Columbu (one of Arnold's body-building buddies) the RSB-80 looks more like an M2 Aircraft. Anyone mind if I change it? --Funkychinaman 14:06, 31 October 2011 (CDT)

Franco is only 5'-5". But looking at the screenshot, it appears to have spade grips, which the 1919 doesn't have. --Predator20 16:19, 31 October 2011 (CDT)
You can get after market modification to give the M1919 spade grips, and there was also the flexible mount aircraft version that had spade grips, which is confusingly called the AN/M2. I don't think it is an M2, as the actual receiver of the gun is only about as long as his forearm, it just has a very thick and long barrel shroud. Also, from the way he is swinging it around so quickly and accurately I would be very surprised if it was an M2HB, no matter how strong he is. Im not 100% it is a real gun, as I don't think it is actually firing in the scene: no cases are ejected and when he pushed the trigger there is absolutely zero recoil. --commando552 16:51, 31 October 2011 (CDT)

I'm offering Chuck Bronson as a comparison. Chuck is listed on IMDB as 5'10". Franco is listed at 5'5". It still looks substantially bigger, IMHO. Columbu had been Mr. Universe two years prior to filming, so I think he could've pulled it off. --Funkychinaman 17:49, 31 October 2011 (CDT)

Charles Bronson with an M1919.
Franco Columbu with the RSB-80.

To me the only size difference appears to be the barrel in those screenshots, so they could have just put a barrel extension. --cool-breeze 02:04, 1 November 2011 (CDT)

To my eye the reciever looks a fair bit larger compared to Columbu's torso than the M1919 looks compared to Bronson's. Evil Tim 02:15, 1 November 2011 (CDT)
And Columbu would have a larger torso as well. --Funkychinaman 09:56, 1 November 2011 (CDT)

More shots:


Is that a cocking handle? --Funkychinaman 09:56, 1 November 2011 (CDT)

No, that's the underside. Looks more like a pintle rod. There's a big cocking handle on the right-hand side, you can see it in the image above. Evil Tim 10:11, 1 November 2011 (CDT)

You can see some flashes that don't look added coming from the muzzle (as in that first shot), but I think it's probably just a "gas gun" rather than actually firing blanks. He's really just waving it around and shaking it slightly to act like the recoil is affecting him, it's very obvious the gun itself isn't doing a lot. Also, watching that scene a lot of times has made me spot another Uzi. Evil Tim 02:47, 1 November 2011 (CDT)

Incidentally, going back through the history an older ID was that it might be a Vickers gun. Fairly sure the barrel is in the wrong place for that, though. Evil Tim 06:26, 1 November 2011 (CDT)

1991 DOS game and others

I'm wondering, is it possible to write about all the videogames, based on this movie? Each of them has realistic firearms, even the hand-held game from 1988. 1991 Dos game is still pretty unique, though and I wanted to ask for opinion - is it possible to write different articles in different versions (especially since they were released ad developed separately by different companies)? --Kloga (talk) 13:50, 1 December 2013 (EST)

Games from back then usually aren't eligible because the graphics are good enough to ID the guns. If you really want to do it, please provide a sample first. --Funkychinaman (talk) 16:30, 1 December 2013 (EST)

General Dynamics RSB-80 plasma gun

Late entry, but after going through the movie again I must voice my opinion that the Terminator's and the veichle mounted "RSB-80 plasma gun" is actually a M2 aircraft .50 browning. The main difference between the veichle and Terminator version is that the former has the wooden charging handle at the correct position: meaning up. The Terminator version has it's charging handle on the downside. Since the weapon was obviously modified, and not required to fire blanks, the handle was probably turned loose as not to get in the way of the flame-equipment. That is my best theory. Dudester32 (talk) 12:30, 29 February 2016 (EST)

Comparison: Guns in screenplay vs. finished movie

One of the things that I've always found interesting about this movie (and most James Cameron movies) is that the screenplay actually names the guns that were supposed to be used. Obviously, gun choices change from screenplay to filming, so I think it's interesting to compare the guns that Cameron envisioned in the screenplay vs. what appears in the finished film. There are multiple drafts of the screenplay that have made their way online, but looking over the draft from April 20, 1983, I note the following:

  • The shotgun that Reese acquires from the police car is described in the script as an "Ithaca pump model," which is exactly what appears in the finished film (an Ithaca 37).
  • Terminator's .45 pistol was described in the script as a "Colt K-Model .45 ACP" (no idea what that is, but it's apparently a 1911 variant), rather than the AMT Hardballer that he uses in the finished film. The screenplay does not mention anything about laser sighting; I'm not sure when James Cameron decided that he wanted the pistol to have a laser sight on it (though the story of how Laser Products Corporation, i.e. Surefire, was contracted to build the laser sight has been well-documented).
  • The AR-18 was described as an "AR-180 assault rifle with scope," though I've found some earlier drafts which referred to it as a "used AR-18 assault rifle." Obviously, in the finished film, it has no scope.
  • Terminator's shotgun was a "Remington 1100 Autoloader", as opposed to the SPAS-12 that appears in the finished film. (Interestingly: The Remington 1100 does appear in Terminator Genisys as Arnie's shotgun in the early scenes set in 1984.)
  • Detective Traxler (actually, Vukovich, before the character roles were reversed) was supposed to use a "Colt Python .357 Magnum", rather than the Ruger Security Six that he uses in the finished film.
  • Otherwise, quite a few of the other guns from the script did appear in the final film without notable changes: Terminator's back-up sidearm was "Smith and Wesson .38 four-inch" (same as final film), the "Uzi 9 millimeter" appears in the film, and Traxler and Vukovich use M16s in the police station shootout.

-MT2008 (talk) 10:45, 9 February 2021 (EST)

I wonder if some of the changes were due to Arnold's size and strength. For example, going to the SPAS-12 makes sense if you knew the T-800 was going to fire it one-handed. Same with the AR-18, they probably never considered an actor firing it one-handed, negating the scope. --Funkychinaman (talk) 19:49, 9 February 2021 (EST)
The screenplay mentions him carrying the rifle in one hand (interestingly, it also had him carrying the S&W .38 in the other, with the shotgun hanging on a sling at his side - obviously, in the film, he never uses the .38 in the police station at all). I'm guessing that they decided not to have a scope on the AR because (1.) the Terminator would never need it, and (2.) doing so, along with removing the stock, kept down the weight of the gun for Arnold. (And yes, I know that the Terminator shouldn't need a laser sight on his .45, either, but the difference there is visual only - a laser sight still had a strong visual impact in 1984, which can't be said about a scope on a rifle). -MT2008 (talk) 22:01, 9 February 2021 (EST)

SPAS-12 and AMT Longslide Props on Golden Closet

Just a head's up: The Golden Closet has both the original Spas-12 Shotgun and AMT Hardballer Longslide pistol (Though, it has been sold.) on their catalog, including photos of both. 50AEDeagle (talk) 8:52 PM, 15 April 2021 (EST)

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