Let’s take a look at the Point Break guns from the 1991 film directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Four guys have been pulling off bank robberies in Southern California. They call themselves the Ex-Presidents because they wear rubber masks of former Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Johnson, and Carter.
Keanu Reeves plays young FBI Special Agent Johnny Utah. The brass partners him with experienced agent Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey) and assigns them to investigate the crimes. Pappas believes the gang is a bunch of local surfers and sends his partner undercover to infiltrate the surfing community.
Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.” – Bodhi (Patrick Swayze)
Utah starts by hiring a surfing instructor (Lori Petty). This leads him to meet Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), the community’s leader, and gain his confidence. While attempting to get information from the surfers, Utah gets drawn into their lifestyle. Soon, he finds himself walking a tightrope of deceit to keep from blowing his cover.
Eighteen handguns, shotguns, submachine guns, and rifles appear in the film, causing a fair amount of mayhem and bloodshed. Although the action seems uncharacteristic for the laid-back beach crowd, somehow it works. The movie is a pleasant surprise based on its setup.
We cover five of the most exciting firearms from the list. This article explores their background, the part they play, and how well they fit into the action.
Point Break Guns
Sig Sauer P226
Swiss-German arms manufacturer produces the Sig Sauer P226. It has achieved legendary status, especially among the police and military. In the movie, Utah carries a 9x19mm P226 as his FBI-issued sidearm. In one impressive scene, Utah empties his pistol into the air while rolling onto his back, reluctant to shoot his friend Bodhi. However, Johnny does take down one of the Ex-Presidents with his P226 after the bad guy pauses to reload his weapon.
When they shot Point Break in 1991, the Sig Sauer P226 and the more compact P228 were just entering service as the FBI’s sidearm. They replaced the 10mm Smith & Wesson 1076, which most deemed too bulky and heavy.
The semi-automatic P226 has a barrel length of 4.4 inches (7.7″ overall). It weighs 2.1 pounds and has a 15-round capacity for its 9x19mm ammo.
Freedom Arms Model 83
You probably know action movies require you to put aside the practical side of your brain for the film’s duration. Scholars call it “the willing suspension of disbelief,” but it’s not always possible. For example, near the end of Point Break, Bodhi jumps from a small airplane wearing a parachute, leaving Utah behind without one.
Utah jumps out after him and somehow corrals Bodhi. The surfer criminal carries a Freedom Arms Model 83 single-action revolver in .454 Casull, the most powerful production revolver in 1991. Earlier, Bodhi covered the bank they were robbing as he wore a Ronald Reagan mask and carried the Model 83.
The Model 83 is available in Premier Grade and Field Grade, with the former paying more attention to cosmetic details like a bright, brushed finish. There is also a choice of 4-3/4″, 6″, 7-1/2″, and 10″ barrel lengths.
Speaking of Point Break guns, Roach (James LeGros) carries a .45 ACP Detonics ScoreMaster during the bank robberies. He threatens one of the patrons with his ScoreMaster while wearing a Richard Nixon mask. It’s hard to ignore the irony of a bank robber wearing a mask with the image of a politician who claimed, “I’m not a crook!”
The single-action Detonics ScoreMaster is a match pistol machined to extremely close tolerances and available in a five or six-inch barrel. It comes with Millett adjustable sights, a grip safety, a seven or eight-shot magazine, and weighs 42 ounces. The ScoreMaster is a superb gun with a light and crisp trigger pull.
Early in the film, Johnny Utah does a one-handed pump with a standard police-model Mossberg 500 shotgun as he prepares to qualify on the range. At the same time, one of the robbers, Grommet (Bojesse Christopher), carries a Mossberg 500AT with a pistol grip during the bank heists. Grommet wears a Lyndon Johnson mask and takes his Mossberg during the last bank heist.
The Mossberg 500 was the first pump-action shotgun to pass the military’s challenging qualification tests, including firing 3,000 rounds of full-power buckshot. Although they went into military service in 1987, Mossberg was already a hunter and law enforcement favorite.
Some of the shotgun’s specs include a 5+1 capacity, ventilated rib, 28-inch barrel (47.5″ overall), and a weight of 7.5 pounds.
The Mossberg 590 also appears in the film, Bodhi and his gang both use the shotgun onscreen. Bodhi himself famously hoists the gun at the film’s climax at the airfield. Mossberg’s has a shorter stock than the 500, but the magazine tube is longer. This allows the gun to hold additional rounds over the capacity of the base 500 model.
The Mossberg 590 features an 8+1 capacity, ventilated rib, 20-inch barrel (41″ overall), and a weight of 7 pounds.
Another gang member, Bunker (Chris Pedersen), holds a 16″ Steyr AUG A1 bullpup rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm during the FBI’s raid. The AUG is easily recognizable by its size and the location of the action behind the trigger, defining it as a bullpup. Bunker fires at Pappas with his AUG but is gunned down by Utah when he stops to reload.
The Steyr AUG was a familiar weapon used by the bad guys in ‘80s and ‘90s action movies. It saw plenty of work in top-notch thrillers like Robocop, Die Hard, and Commando. Designed in the 1960s, the Austrian Army adopted it in 1978, and it’s remained in production ever since.
The 5.56x45mm NATO rifle has a 16-inch barrel, weighs 7.3 lbs., and has three fire modes: safe, semi-auto, and full auto, with 30, 42, and 100-round capacities.
Ride The Wave
Point Break has plenty to offer moviegoers, including a cast of young actors like Keanu Reeves, the late Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty, and Gary Busey. And let’s not forget John C. McGinley, an excellent character actor who has made a living playing jerks.
The movie won a few minor awards — Most Desirable Male (Keanu Reeves) and Best Action Sequence (the jump from the plane) — both from MTV. But much of the action comes from the outstanding array of weapons, adding plausibility and credibility to the film.
For example, there were handguns from Smith& Wesson, Beretta, Colt, SIG-Sauer, and Charter Arms. Also, shotguns from Remington, Ithaca, and Mossberg, an assault rifle from Winchester, and submachine guns from Sterling and IMI Uzi.
All-in-all, it’s a fun movie that will hold your attention, test your knowledge of Point Break guns, and give you a chuckle or two!