IMFDB.org: The Complete Resource for the Firearm Movie Buff

Blade Runner 1982 Blaster
Blade Runner 1982 Blaster
Mike Searson
Mike Searson

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)- Have you ever watched a movie and wondered what specific type of firearm was used onscreen?

Sometimes it’s something exotic and new that you are not familiar with, other times it can be an antique historical piece, but most often it’s something not captured in the best light or the best angle and it could be either a SIG or a Glock.

If you need a resource to clear that up or even win a bet you may want to check out the Internet Movie Firearm Database at imfdb.org.

IMFDB is basically a Wiki dedicated to firearms used in movies, television shows and video games and while it has the spirit of a Wiki in that anyone can edit; it is superior to resources like Wikipedia that are edited by people with little to no knowledge of the subject matter at hand.

There are genuine subject matter experts at work here.

The Internet Movie Firearm Database site was created by Chris Serrano in 2007 following that tried and true formula for success: Build something for which people have a need.

FNC REM Sporter
FNC REM Sporter

Serrano was simply trying to find out information concerning some of the guns used in the Matrix movies and discovered there was not a lot of reliable or credible information out there.

So he built Internet Movie Firearm Database or imfdb.org and nearly a decade later, IMFDB boasts hundreds of contributors and in 2015 began publishing a weekly newsletter that reaches thousands of readers every Friday morning.

“What rifle did Al Pacino use in Heat?” : FNC REM Sporter
“What rifle did Al Pacino use in Heat?” : FNC REM Sporter

Serrano still puts in several hours a day on the site whether it is working on articles, welcoming new users or optimizing performance of the software or servers.

Many of the folks who edit IMFDB are armorers or prop masters from the various movie studios, so in many cases you do not just see a stock photo of a particular firearm, but an actual piece that was used in a film.

We discovered the site by accident a few years ago and it has quickly become one of our favorite sites to read for hours at a time.

And despite being the consummate gun nerd, it actually corrected our perceptions of onscreen firearms more than once.

Henry Arms Mare’s Leg Lever Action Pistol from the movie Zoe
Henry Arms Mare’s Leg Lever Action Pistol from the movie Zoe

It may have been the release of the film Silence of the Lambs occurring close to the first time we saw a Colt Anaconda and were watching in a movie theater while getting engrossed in the story, but we thought for sure that “Buffalo Bill” was carrying one and assumed that for years.

That is not exactly a film you watch over and over, but a few years later we did and noticed a few firearm details that seemed off to our memory.

Low light shot: What pistol is that? Check IMFDB. Mystery pistol from 'Silence of the Lambs'.
Low light shot: What pistol is that? Check IMFDB. Mystery pistol from ‘Silence of the Lambs'.

We consulted IMFDB to confirm and lo and behold, we were wrong for almost two decades. The revolver in question was a Colt Python (image above).

Still a great revolver, just not the one which we incorrectly thought was used in the movie. We have honestly lost track of hours on there while looking something up and just clicking away to other links

I know what you’re thinking. “Big deal it’s just an online repository of lists of guns.”

No, it is much more than that. On the surface it seems like pages of different firearm models and their associated films, with some pretty pictures and basic text.

However, there are actual user guides integrated into the site to help users out.

For example, there are a plethora of pump shotguns that have been made over the past 130+ years. Whether a movie is set to take place in the 1916 or 2016, chances are a pump shotgun may be onscreen. Not just the typical action movie, war movie or mob movie, either.

IMFDB Shotgun ID User Guide
IMFDB Shotgun ID User Guide

Firearms are a part of the American way of life and art reflects that. It’s reflected in the number of shotgun manufacturers that have come and gone over the years as well as the ones who remain.

So with all these variants out there, how does a novice tell one make and model from another?

Simple, check out the user guide about identifying pump shotgun.

It has side by side pics of forends, barrels, stocks, etc. so you can verify whether the character in a particular film was holding a Stevens, Ithaca or a Mossberg as opposed to a Remington.

Check out the site and test your own powers of observation or simply just find out once and for all: “What rifle did Al Pacino use in Heat?”

 

About Mike Searson

Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.

Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

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  • One thought on “IMFDB.org: The Complete Resource for the Firearm Movie Buff

    1. From Nelson Jarnagin, A Black Powder Man
      Has a Firearm/Gun identification been written or reported on concerning the black powder weapons used in the movie THE LEGEND OF BEN HALL? I am particularly seeking the identity of those guns because of the wide variety of guns that were available in the 1864-65 period.

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