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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Assault on Precinct 13 is the 1976 thriller that was one of the earliest directorial efforts from John Carpenter, as this was his first film after the cult classic Dark Star and preceded his breakout hit Halloween by two years. The film involves a Highway Patrol officer who is trapped along with several civilian workers and prisoners in a soon to be closed down police station in Los Angeles when a band of gang members conduct a murderous siege to avenge the death of their leader, who was killed by a man who then sought refuge in the nearly empty building. The film, which bears a resemblance to the John Wayne film Rio Bravo, was not a commercial nor critical success during its initial run, since American audiences didn't know what to make of it. Eventually it became a huge hit in Europe, and later a cult classic. Many view this film as a classic micro budget thriller. It was made on a shoestring budget, but still is revered by filmmakers all around the world. A big budget remake was released in 2005, but it was not embraced by many film fans as the original has been over the last 30 years.
The following weapons were used in the film Assault on Precinct 13 (1976):
WARNING! THIS PAGE CONTAINS SPOILERS!
C96 Mauser Pistol
Seen originally in a crate of stolen weapons, the Mauser C96 features prominently amongst the gang members, with some of them having 'silencers' affixed on the barrels. (Note: these so called 'silencers' were would only lower the decibels a little bit, being too short and small). The C96 'Broomhandle Mauser" pistol also featured prominently in the most controversial scene of the film, the gunning down of a little girl, which prompts the entire evenings' events.
Smith & Wesson Model 36
A Smith & Wesson Model 36 Chief's Special Snub is seen in a holster under the steering wheel of the Ice Cream truck. The driver has it for self protection and eventually (with his dying breath) tells Lawson (Martin West) about the gun, so that Lawson can avenge the murder of his little girl, Kathy (Kim Richards).
LAPD Sergeant Chaney (Henry Brandon) carries what appears to be a Colt Trooper, though it is hard to determine. The Medallion on the grip (upon several viewings) appears to be the silver Colt Horse, and not the brass S&W medallion. The style of the grip more closely matches the Colt as well. One of the ill-fated Prison Guards at the beginning of the film also carries a Trooper.
Smith & Wesson Military & Police Revolver
A Street Thunder gang member enters with a 'silenced' revolver, though in real life a suppressor would not work on a revolver. He is knocked down and the gun is taken by convict Wells (Tony Burton) and used throughout the rest of the film. The revolver is a Smith & Wesson Military & Police (the precursor to the Model 10) with its front sights removed and barrel tip threaded to take the small suppressor.
Smith & Wesson Model 28
CHP Lieutenant Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) uses a 4" barreled Smith & Wesson Model 28 Highway Patrolman, which he carries as part of his duty belt. The revolver is later used by Leigh (Laurie Zimmer) for the rest of the film. Having been shot in her right arm, Leigh fires the Model 28 in the final battle with her left hand, even though she is right handed. At the beginning of the film, Starker (Charles Cyphers) also carries one before he is killed. Smith & Wesson did not start manufacturing the Model 27 with the four inch barrel until 1979. Before then the shortest length the Model 27 had was 3.5". It's very distinctive looking from the 4" barrel. The movie was filmed in the Fall of 1975; it would have to be the Model 28.
Smith & Wesson Model 15
Brief glimpses of Smith & Wesson Model 15 revolvers are seen. One is carried by the LAPD Precinct Captain (James Jeter) in his holster, but it is never pulled. The Smith & Wesson Model 15 was the standard issue revolver for all L.A.P.D. officers in the seventies. Another Model 15 is carried by one of the ill-fated Prison Guards and by the Motorcycle officers at the end of the film.
High Standard Model K-1200 Riot Standard
High Standard K-1200 Riot Standard Model Shotguns are used extensively by police and Prison guards. They are seen in the first sequence of the movie when heavily armed LAPD officers ambush six gun toting "Street Thunder" gang members, killing all of them. This massacre prompts the "Street Thunder" gang to essentially declare war on the Police and the citizens of Los Angeles.
Winchester Model 1897 Shotgun
One of the last leftovers in the precinct, the Winchester Model 1897 is first seen when the cynical LAPD Precinct Captain (James Jeter) pulls one out of a leftover wooden crate and loads it, foreshadowing that newcomer Lieutenant Ethan Bishop will probably need it before dawn. The Winchester Model 1897 is extensively used by Napoleon Wilson (Darwin Joston).
Colt AR-15 SP1
The civilian counterpart of the first variant M16 Rifle, the Colt AR-15 Sporter-1 is used by the gang "Street Thunder". Colt sold this semi-automatic version of the first pattern M16 for years after the military had already upgraded to the A1 version. Only years later did Colt start selling the civilian rifle with the additional features of the M16A1. In one scene we clearly see that the rifle is an Colt AR-15 Model SP1 rifle due to a nice closeup of the lower receiver.
Adler-Jager AP74 Rifle
The .22 LR clone of the M16/AR-15 rifle is seen in the gang's headquarters after the weapons theft. Normally a film of this time period would use the MGC Replica M16 rifles, however, the round 'doughnut' shape of the hand guard ring indicates that these are the Adler-Jager AP74 rifles.
Winchester Model 70
CHP Lieutenant Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) uses a leftover Winchester Model 70 rifle with scope during the night time siege.
Controversial "Ice Cream Scene"
- When the film was first released, the MPAA at first threatened to brand the film with an "X" for violence if they did not remove the scene where "White Warlord" (Frank Doubleday) callously shoots the little girl, Kathy (Kim Richards), when she goes back for a different flavor of ice cream. This cold-blooded shooting still manages to shock viewers today, however not as much as it did back in 1976.
Trivia: CHP Uniform
- The California Highway Patrol has long maintained that filmmakers must get official approval before showing any actor or character as a member of the CHP. Thus any film that portrays the CHP, must use different insignia and badge emblems, in order to not violate the CHP's copyright of their image. Lieutenant Ethan Bishop (Austin Stoker) wears a generic uniform, that has patches that merely say "Highway Patrol" with no reference to the state of California (also the patches are about four inches too low on his sleeves). His badge is a plain gold badge with no markings whatsoever, again done to appease the CHP. (Trivia note: the television series "CHiPs" was done with the full cooperation and approval of the California Highway Patrol, and even then their uniforms had to be slightly different than the real thing, due to the strict rules of the agency).