The MAC-10 Submachine Gun Was a Terror in the Movies (Just Not in Real Life)

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It was all hype. 

The MAC-10 Submachine Gun Was a Terror in the Movies (Just Not in Real Life)

For roughly a 20-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-'90s the MAC-10 submachine gun was everywhere. At least that’s what you might think if your only exposure to the weapon is action films and T.V. shows from the era.

The compact MAC-10 first registered in America’s collective imagination when John Wayne wielded one with lethal prowess in the 1974 police thriller McQ.

After that, the MAC-10 became a standard prop gun, often appearing prominently in several feature films and episodes of popular T.V. shows, such as The A-Team and Miami Vice, in a single year. A veritable who’s-who of Hollywood elites, action superheroes and B-movie regulars fired a MAC-10 at someone on screen at some point.

Michael Caine, James Caan, Pam Grier, Rutger Hauer, Kurt Russell, Bill Murray, Chow Yun-Fat, Michael Ironside, Bruce Willis, Lorenzo Lamas, Antonio Banderas, George Peppard, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson and, yes, Chuck Norris have all brandished MAC-10s in movies and on T.V.

And that’s just a sample.

The MAC-10 was so prominent in American culture during its heyday that its manufacturer advertised it—or, more accurately, the follow-on MAC-11—as “the gun that made the ’80s roar.” But by the time the ’80s actually rolled around, the MAC-10 family of guns had already fallen from grace on the commercial market.

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