Black Hawk Down
Black Hawk Down is the 2001 feature film adaptation of the non-fiction Mark Bowden book that recounted the events surrounding the ill-fated US mission to capture a Somali warlord in 1993. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film was notable for its depiction of modern US warfare. The film received support from the US Department of Defense, who provided extensive training for the actors with members of the US Army Rangers and other Special Forces soldiers to ensure authenticity in addition to allowing access to actual Black Hawk and "Little Bird" helicopters for filming. During the film's production, many of the soldiers and pilots seen were active duty, some of whom were veterans of the actual battle. The film's cast included Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewan McGregor and Sam Shepard as well as Tom Hardy and Ioan Gruffudd in early roles.
The following weapons were used in the film Black Hawk Down:
Rifles / Carbines
Colt Model 727
Many of the Delta Force operators are equipped with the Colt Model 727 fitted with various accessories such as Aimpoint scopes and Surefire flashlights, with some of the carbines also having camouflage paint schemes. Delta Staff Sergeant Daniel Busch (Richard Tyson), Sergeant First Class "Hoot" Gibson (Eric Bana), Master Sergeant Chris Wex (Kim Coates), and SFC Sanderson (William Fichtner) all carry the Model 727.
In real life, the older Colt Model 653 and Colt Model 723 would have been the carbines used by Delta during Operation Gothic Serpent. The Colt Model 727 would have been more common amongst the Rangers and not Delta. In the film, most of the Model 727 carbines are also anachronistically equipped with Aimpoint M68 CCO reflex sights (which was not available commercially until 17 March 1995, and later standardized into the SOPMOD kit in 2000). During Operation Gothic Serpent, some Delta operators and Rangers utilized the Aimpoint 3000 and 5000 reflex sights.
Colt Model 733
Various Delta Force operators and Army Rangers are equipped with the short-barreled Colt Model 733. Some are standard 733's, while others are customized with camo paint schemes and Aimpoint scopes (similar to the aforementioned Model 727s). Some of the weapons have a XM177-style flash moderator instead of the standard barrel with A2 flash-hider. One particular Model 733 used by Delta MSG Gary Gordon (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and later Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mike Durant (Ron Eldard) is heavily modified with a camouflage paint scheme, M68 Aimpoint red dot scope, weaponlight, and a sound suppressor.
In history, Gordon's carbine was actually a Colt Model 723 (like all other Deltas were using at the time) with an OPSINC suppressor sleeved over the barrel.
For several of the sequences that involved stuntwork, a number of non-firing rubber prop M4 Carbines are seen in the hands of the operators. They are recognizable by the knobs on the carry handles which indicate that the carry handles are detachable, which is the distinguishing visual feature of the M4. The use of these weapons - even in rubber prop form - is anachronistic, as the M4 carbine was not adopted by the U.S. military (not even U.S. SOCOM) until 1994, the year after the events of the movie took place.
(NOTE: While prototype versions of the M4 existed at the time of Operation Gothic Serpent, and conceivably might have been available to Delta, all prototype versions of the M4 used fixed carry handle upper receiver assemblies. Further, when the M4 entered service in 1994, the initial standard was the Colt Model 777, which had a fixed carry handle. The flattop receiver Colt Model 920 and Model 921 - the two Colt carbines which eventually became standardized as the M4 and M4A1, respectively - neither existed nor entered service until 1995, after the initial purchase of Model 777s. Photographs of the events leading up to Operation Gothic Serpent, as well as research by enthusiasts, have confirmed that in fact Delta used Colt Model 653s and 723s during the operation - see the Colt Model 727 section above.)
Most of the Rangers, including SSG Matt Eversmann (Josh Hartnett) are armed with M16A2 Rifles. While defending the second Black Hawk crash site, SFC Randy Shughart (Johnny Strong) can be seen briefly using an M16A2, alongside his M14. Also, when CPT Steele tells SSG Eversmann that they have to secure the perimeter for the SAR chopper the Ranger lying prone in the background appears to be working the forward assist on his M16A2.
It should be noted that Rangers weren't just issued the M16A2 during Operation Gothic Serpent - they also used the Colt Model 727, which was then sold commercially by Colt as the "M16A2 Carbine". Despite the movie's portrayal of Delta Force using the M727, it is inaccurate as in reality they used Colt Model 653 and Colt Model 723 carbines; the Rangers would have used the M727 in selected roles such as NCOs, COs, or in the case of the film, radiomen and possibly medics.
The M14 Rifle is seen being used by Delta Force Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart (Johnny Strong), most notably when he and MSG Gary Gordon (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) are covering the second crash site. His M14 sports a camouflage paint scheme and an Aimpoint CompM2/M68 reflex sight.
Several M16A1 rifles are seen in the Somali arms dealer's shop and one militia member is seen loading up one. At one point, Rangers can be seen watching a portion of the film The Jerk where a madman is trying to shoot the protagonist using a scoped M16A1.
Heckler & Koch G3A3
The local militia arm themselves with, among many other weapons, Heckler & Koch G3 rifles. Both older variants and newer G3A3 variants are seen in the film. The older variants were previously ID'd as CETME Rifles, which is incorrect - The furniture, magazines, trigger housings and receivers are incorrect for CETMEs. The fixed rear sights, while generally associated with CETMEs, were also used on older-spec G3 rifles; The distinctive (and more commonly seen) H&K adjustable spindle/drum rear sight was only first introduced with the G3A3.
Norinco Type 56
Norinco Type 56-1
The vast majority of the Somali gunmen are armed with the Norinco Type 56-1 assault rifle, which is a Chinese derivative of the AKS-47/AKMS. They are identified by the hooded front sights, which only Chinese Kalashnikov rifles have. At one point in the film, one of the soldiers can be seen removing the magazine from a discarded Type 56-1 and stuffing it in an empty pouch. Whether this was done to take back a souvenir or for some other reason is not known.
Mo'alim (Razaaq Adoti), the Somali militia leader, carries an AKS-74U as his weapon of choice, first seen picking it up and inspecting it before heading into battle, then firing a burst into the air to break up the mob attacking CWO3 Mike Durant before announcing that he was to be taken alive as a prisoner.
Ranger Specialist Shawn Nelson (Ewen Bremner) can be seen carrying an M60 machine gun as his standard weapon. A mounted M60 is also seen and fired from at least one of the Humvees in the extraction convoy. Some of the Somalis can be seen using them as well.
Several Rangers can be seen carrying FN Minimis throughout the film, standing in for the M249-E1 SAW. It is also the weapon used by Specialist Lance Twombly (Tom Hardy) to accidentally deafen Nelson when he fires it too close to his head. The Minimis are also fitted with circular 200-round cloth ammo bags instead of hard plastic drums. At one point a Somali shoots at Twombly and hits one of his ammo drums causing the ammo to cook off and burn him, though he's able to get rid of it before he's seriously harmed.
The Browning M2HB heavy machine gun is fielded by the US Army on their HMMWVs, the U.N. forces on their APCs, and the Somali militia on their technicals in the film. The opening shots of the film feature Somali militiamen slaughtering a gathered crowd at a food distribution center with the powerful .50 cal.
M85 Heavy Machine Gun
The M85 heavy machine gun can be seen mounted in the Commander's cupola of M60A1 Patton tanks providing security at the soccer stadium being used as a base by the UN forces.
GE M134 Minigun
The MH-60 Black Hawks in the film are armed with GE M134D Miniguns mounted as doorguns. Pylon-mounted miniguns, mounted alongside 2.75" rockets, are seen as the armament of the AH-6 Little Birds. The Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters were provided for the film by the US Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the weapons mounted are the actual armaments. One of the pilots seen in the film (Keith Jones) was a veteran of the actual battle.
Several vehicle-mounted Russian DShK heavy machine guns appear in several scenes of the film.
One of the Somalis fires on Mike Durant's Black Hawk armed with an Zastava M72, a copy of the RPK light machine gun, identifiable by the stock and handguard design. Another Somali is seen providing suppressing fire on the Rangers and Delta operatives with one when the Delta operators and Rangers try to reach the first Black Hawk crash site.
A PKM Machine Gun is seen resting on a table in the Somali arms dealer's shop.
Heckler & Koch MP5A3
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Durant (Ron Eldard), the MH-60 Black Hawk pilot of Super Six-Four, is armed with a Heckler & Koch MP5A3 with a slim handgrip and uses it to defend himself after he's shot down. Another MP5A3 is also picked up and used by SFC Randy Shughart before being killed by the overwhelming militia. The MP5 was briefly issued to helicopter crews as a personal defense weapon (PDW), but was discontinued in this role when it was determined its 9x19mm ammo lacked sufficient stopping power against armor-wearing or drug-crazed enemies, as was the case in Somalia. In the book and real life, the weapons were actually MP5Ks. They were referred to as "Skinny Popper", a reference to the men's nickname for the Somalis.
While never used on screen, SFC Sanderson (William Fichtner) can be seen with a customized Remington 870 Express Magnum (standing in for an 870 Police Magnum) slung over his right shoulder. A pistol grip (minus the folding stock) is used in place of the full stock. This same setup is used on a short 870 by Charlie Sheen in the movie Navy SEALs. In a deleted scene, SFC Sanderson uses the shotgun to blow the hinges on a door inside the target building. The tail end of this shot is still in the finished movie, although if you haven't seen the deleted scene before it would be hard to spot. In the book, at least one of the Delta operators has an 870 Masterkey attached to his CAR-15.
The M1911A1 pistol is seen used by the Delta operators as their sidearm of choice. The weapon is most notably seen in the hands of Gordon and Shughart as the two Delta snipers attempt to secure the second crash site and are forced to draw their M1911A1 pistols as the overwhelming Somali forces close in on them. Delta Force MSG Wex (Kim Coates) can be seen at the firing range with an M1911A1 near the beginning of the film.
A Somali militiaman uses a Tokarev TT-33 to kill SFC Shughart (Johnny Strong) at the second crash site. It should be noted that the militiaman fires 11 shots, which is 3 more than the TT-33's 8-round magazine.
The Beretta 92FS pistol (standing in for the Beretta M9) is seen a few times in the film in the hands of Rangers, and members of Lieutenant Colonel McKnight's convoy. Mainly it is seen in the hands of Maddox in the Humvee. McKnight himself carries his 92FS sidearm around as a proper means to defend himself. Twonbly also carries a 92FS as a sidearm to his FN Minimi. He never uses it and is mostly seen in a holster.
The Russian-manufactured RPG-7 launcher features prominently in the film as the weapon which brings down a pair of MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. In one scene inspired by an actual event, a projectile from an RPG-7 strikes PVT Kowalewski (Brendan Sexton III), the driver of one of the M35 'deuce and a half' trucks in the convoy commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Danny McKnight (Tom Sizemore). The warhead fails to detonate, impaling the luckless soldier instead. At least one of the RPG-7s used in the film was a rare live and registered example owned by Movie Gun Services.
Norinco Type 69 RPG
Along with the RPG-7s mentioned above, Chinese Norinco Type 69 RPG launchers are also used by the militia. The Type 69's also seem to be loaded with PG-7VL rockets instead of the more commonly-seen PG-7VM rockets, distinguished by the larger warhead.
An Army Ranger, Lieutenant Tom DiTomasso, can be seen taking out a "technical" with an M72A3 LAW. The M72A3 was a post-Vietnam improved model of the M72 Rocket, and the last variation used by the US Army. Upgrade versions (up to M72A7) of the LAW are being fielded by the US Navy and USMC as recently as 2007, as well a variant is used by the Canadian Forces and other NATO nations in Afghanistan.
SPG-9 Recoilless Rifle
At one point in the film, Aidid's militia begin to bombard the building the majority of the Rangers and Deltas have taken cover in with mortars and an SPG-9 recoilless rifle. A group of Deltas led by Hoot soon kill the gunners and then turn the weapon against the militia, killing several with one shot. It's later destroyed by Hoot's team before they join Eversmann's team. Interestingly, according to the audio commentary on the DVD, this incident never happened and was made up for dramatic effect by the writers.
Cobray CM203 Flare Launcher
Many of the Rangers' M16A2s are fitted with Cobray CM203 37mm Flare Launchers, standing in for the M203 grenade launcher. Most notably seen in the hands of SGT Ruiz (Enrique Murciano) of CPT Steele's (Jason Isaacs) unit. See the Cobray launcher page for a guide on telling them apart.
M203 Grenade Launcher
While the Cobray CM203 37mm Flare Launchers are fitted on most of the Ranger's M16A2 Rifles, a couple of actual M203 grenade launchers attached to M16A2s are seen, the most notable of which is Specialist John Grimes (Ewan McGregor) who assists Delta in taking out a "technical" that has them pinned down, missing the first shot before destroying the vehicle with a second High-Explosive Dual-Purpose (HEDP) grenade from his M203.
M67 Hand Grenade
While loading up for the assault, Hoot (Eric Bana) is seen taping up the pins and spoons on some M67 fragmentation hand grenades. SFC Sanderson is later seen throwing one into a window to take out a Somali who has him and the Deltas and Rangers pinned down.
AN/M14 Incendiary Grenade
There are several appearances in the film of AN/M14 incendiary grenades; used by Deltas to destroy sensitive equipment at both Black Hawk crash sites, as well as to destroy the SPG-9 recoilless rifle mentioned above once Hoot and his team are done with it. Another one can be seen sitting on a table when Hoot is loading up.