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Three Kings

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Three Kings (1999)

Three Kings is a 1999 Gulf War film set during the waning days of Operation Desert Storm. In the film, three US Army reservists, Sergeant First Class Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), Staff Sergeant "Chief" Elgin (Ice Cube), and Private First Class Vig (Spike Jonze), find a map while searching Iraqi POWs that may lead to an Iraqi bunker filled with captured Kuwaiti gold. A retiring Special Forces Major (George Clooney) gets wind of the discovery and leads them on a search for the gold.

The following weapons were used in the film Three Kings:




The M16A2 can be seen throughout the movie in use by the various US soldiers including SFC Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), SSG "Chief" Elgin (Ice Cube), and PFC Vig (Spike Jonze). In one scene, Barlow notably seems to lift up the rear sight of his M16A2 to reveal some sort of magnified optic that he uses to determine if the surrendering Iraqi is armed, a feature that the A2 rear sight does not have.

M16A2 - 5.56x45mm
Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) takes aim with his M16A2.
Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) adjusts the sight on his M16A2 as he spots an armed Iraqi soldier.
A soldier stands around with his M16A2. (I'd be careful, as a senior NCO or Officer would chew him out for holding his weapon like that).
SSG "Chief" Elgin (Ice Cube) stands with his M16A2.

Colt Model 727

MAJ Archie Gates (George Clooney), the former Delta Force Operator and now soon-to-be-retired Green Beret, is seen armed with a Colt Model 727 in the film and in promotional pictures. This is accurate for a Special Forces soldier during the time period of the film to carry, because the M4 carbine had not yet been adopted. It should be noted, however, that in real life, SFOD-D operators actually used the Colt Model 723 (which is nearly identical to the 727, but featured an A1 rear sight) up until the issuance of the M4 Carbine in the mid-1990s.

Colt Model 727 - 5.56x45mm
In a promotional photo, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube hang out on set, Model 727 in tow.
MAJ Gates explains to the Iraqis of their intentions, Model 727 slung.
When they come back, MAJ Gates takes a much more serious approach.
MAJ Gates runs through the bunker with his Model 727.
Gates meets with the Iraqi Officers, bringing his Model 727 to a fire-ready position.


An AKMSU carbine can be seen in the hands of the Iraqi officer in the "moving of the gold" scene at the Karbala bunker. He is later shot in the leg with his own weapon during a struggle with Major Archie Gates (George Clooney), the incident leading to a shootout between the protagonists and the Iraqis.

AKMSU Krinkov - 7.62x39mm. This is a blank adapted full auto transferable AKM (7.62x39mm) pistol that was converted into a Krinkov via parts kit.
An AKMSU carbine is carried by the Iraqi officer.
MAJ Gates grabs the barrel, then pushes it down and the officer gets shot in the leg.


The Lee-Enfield rifle is seen being carried and fired by one of the Shiite refugees.

Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III* - .303 British
SMLE on the left. It appears that he unloads two cartridges while cycling the action of the rifle.
The SMLE is seen on the left.

Mauser Gewehr 98 / Mauser Karabiner 98k

Many of the Shiite refugees are seen armed with Mauser 98 bolt-action rifles - both the Gewehr 98 rifle and the Karabiner 98k rifle. The brother of the Shiite refugee with the SMLE is armed with a K98k.

Mauser Gewehr 1898 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Karabiner 98k - German manufacture 1937 date - 7.92x57mm
The rifle on the left.

Lee-Enfield No.5 "Jungle Carbine"

A fighter is shown carrying what appears to be a Lee-Enfield No.5 "Jungle Carbine".

Lee-Enfield No.5 Jungle Carbine - .303. This is not a chopped down No. 4 conversion (like many jungle carbines are) but an original No.5 carbine.
The rifle on the left.

Mosin Nagant

Many of the Shiite refugees and rebel Iraqi troops can be seen armed with Mosin Nagant M91/30 rifles and M1944 carbines. Most notably in the scene where a child rebel uses a scoped version to shoot an Iraqi soldier shortly before the gas scene. He was then killed by the Iraqi tank in the village. It appears that the Mosin Nagant rifle has a folding bayonet. Some inconsistencies are present with the rifle in the scene (Notably the boy has the rifle seemingly stuck out too far in some shots). It appears as if a scoped M44 was used in the scene and the sequence was then filmed again with a M91/30 Sniper and shots were mixed together.

Mosin Nagant M44 Carbine, with attached side-folding bayonet - 7.62x54mm R. Note, slightly longer barrel ahead of the front sight to accommodate locking in the bayonet, brass reinforcements around the sling holes and an integral bayonet attached to the barrel.
Full-length, Mosin Nagant M91/30 Sniper Rifle with Russian PU 3.5x sniper scope (this example is one of the repurposed SVT-40 scopes, 91/30 PU scopes had consistent tube diameter as the mount rings were shorter) and down turned bolt handle - 7.62x54mm R
A young boy takes pot shots at the Iraqis, but is outgunned by the tank's cannon.
The boy fires the rifle.


The AKM can be seen throughout the movie in use by Iraqi forces. After the accident, MAJ Gates, SSG Elgin, PFC Vig, and several other refugees use these weapons as well.

AKM - 7.62x39mm
The Iraqi holding the AKM is seen through Barlow's 0-200 yards close range sight on his M16A2. The sights are NOT night and day! The bigger peep is for 0-200 yards and the smaller is for 200 + yards. Moreover, the sight has no such zooming function as depicted in the film, instead being a plain old iron sight.
The wounded Iraqi is seen with his AKM nearby. Note the white flag.
Chief dumps two guards' AKMs.
The Hair Brothers watch the standoff, with AKMs behind them.
The camera focuses on a soldier's AKM receiver.
The stand-off ensues.
Gates inspects his new weapon.
Chief holds the AKM.
Guards at the border armed with AKMs.


Amir (Cliff Curtis), a number of Shiite refugees, and rebel Iraqi soldiers are seen armed with the Siminov SKS carbine.

Russian Simonov Type 45 aka the SKS rifle - 7.62x39mm
Amir moves through the crowd with his SKS.
Chief takes cover, a SKS nearby.


Beretta 92FS

The Beretta 92FS can be seen throughout the movie as well. Used by SFC Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg), SSG Chief Elgin (Ice Cube), PFC Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze), MAJ Gates (George Clooney), as well as several other characters. When raiding the Karbala bunker, Chief pistol-whips an Iraqi soldier with his Beretta, causing him to accidentally fire the weapon since he had his finger on the trigger. The stray round thankfully doesn't harm anyone, Gates chastising him for his lack of firearm handling proficiency.

Beretta 92FS - 9x19mm
SFC Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) decocks his Beretta after chambering a round.
He later fires into a metal lock. (Good thing it didn't ricochet. It would've hurt pretty bad.)
Walter Wogaman (Jamie Kennedy) draws his Beretta on Adriana Cruz.
Barlow fires his Beretta.
MAJ Archie Gates fires his Beretta 92FS at Iraqi soldiers in the bunker.

MIL Thunder 5

The MIL Thunder 5 is the peculiar-looking "big revolver" carried by PFC Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze). He uses it throughout the movie, but loses it when he is shot. As the revolver obviously is not Army-issue, in a deleted scene Vig is seen receiving the weapon inside a chocolate bunny from his parents, in which he specifically calls it a Thunder 5 and notes that it shoots .410 shotgun shells.

MIL Thunder 5 used in Three Kings - .45 Long Colt/.410 bore. Note the sand on the grips.
Conrad shows off his new Thunder 5.
In a deleted scene, Conrad inspects the T5 when he unwraps it from his parents.
Conrad puts the Thunder Five to the head of Troy (not exactly the best way to treat your friend).
Conrad hits the dirt with the Thunder 5. If you look close enough, you can see the little .410 rounds in the cylinder.
Closeup of the Thunder 5.

Makarov PM

The Makarov PM pistol can be seen being used by Iraqi Officers. MAJ Gates also disarms a soldier who was carrying one and later gives one to SFG Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) to confront Captain Said (Said Taghmaoui), the Iraqi soldier who was his torturer.

Makarov PM - 9x18mm Makarov
An Iraqi Officer puts a Makarov to the head of Amir's wife.
The Makarov lays in the Officer's hand.
Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) holds the Makarov on Amir after mistaking him for an enemy.

Nagant M1895

An Iraqi officer points a vintage Nagant M1895 revolver in the face of Adriana Cruz (Nora Dunn) to deter her from wanting her video tape back. (The character of Cruz is likely inspired by real-life journalist Christiane Amanpour).

Nagant M1895 - 7.62x38 N
Adriana Cruz looking down the barrel of an Iraqi soldier's Nagant M1895.
The Iraqi officer pulls his revolver.

CZ 52

When Gates is seen working as a Hollywood military adviser, he is seen showing an action star how to disarm an enemy of what appears to be a CZ 52.

Czech CZ 52 - 7.62x25mm Tokarev
Gates retires from the Army and becomes a Hollywood Military Adviser. He is seen here showing the Action Star (Brian Bosworth) how to disarm and subdue an opponent.
Another view of the pistol.

Machine Guns


The M60 machine gun is seen mounted on top of the Humvee, and is fired a few times during the confrontation between the main characters and the Iraqi soldiers at the Karbala bunker. The same Humvee-mounted M60 machine gun struck the windscreen of a van driven by SFC Troy Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) after the Humvee ran over a land mine and exploded.

M60 machine gun - 7.62x51mm NATO
Chief and Gates ride in the Humvee, while Chief mans the M60.
MAJ Gates near the M60.
"Don't make me shoot you Abdul. There'll be no monkey business this time."
Vig levels the M60 at Iraqi soldiers at the Karbala bunker.
Note the barrel plug for firing blanks.

Browning M2HB

The Browning M2HB is seen mounted on a UH-1 Huey Helicopter.

Browning M2HB - .50BMG / 12.7x99mm NATO
The Browning M2HB is seen mounted on a UH-1 Huey Helicopter carrying Colonel Horn (Mykelti Williamson).
The M2HB mounted as a doorgun.


During the mission to rescue Barlow from the Iraqis, one of the Iraqis can be seen with an RPK light machine gun, which he discards when fleeing from the ruse of Saddam's arrival.

RPK light machine gun - 7.62x39mm
An Iraqi soldier runs from "Saddam's" convoy, throwing his RPK away.
An RPK lies abandoned as the helicopter strafes the area.

M134 Minigun

During the rescue, an Iraqi helicopter arrives, firing its M134 Minigun.

GE M134 Minigun - 7.62x51mm NATO
During the rescue, an Iraqi helicopter arrives, firing its M134 Minigun.


A DShK 12.7mm Soviet Heavy Machine Gun is seen mounted atop the Iraqi tank. It should be noted that the T-72 tank, which the vehicle in the film is supposed to simulate, is normally armed with an NSV heavy machine gun, not a DShK.

DShK Heavy Machine Gun - 12.7x108mm
A DShK 12.7mm Soviet Machine Gun is seen mounted atop the Iraqi tank.

Submachine Guns

Heckler & Koch MP5A3

When Gates is seen on a movie set, Heckler & Koch MP5A3's are carried by some of the actors portraying commandos.

Heckler & Koch MP5A3 with "tropical" (wide) forearm with stock extended - 9x19mm
When Gates is seen on a movie set, Heckler & Koch MP5A3's are carried by some of the actors portraying commandos.


Remington 870

A Remington 870 with a sawed-off barrel and stock can be seen in one of the flashback scenes where Conrad Vig is blasting away at objects arranged in a makeshift shooting range during his civilian life.

Remington 870 with sawed-off barrel and stock - 12 Gauge
Conrad during his time as a civilian was spent firing off a short barreled Remington 870 Shotgun - 12 gauge
A massive muzzle flash from the Remington.



Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) can be seen pulling out an M72 LAW in the village when the Iraqi T-72 tank arrives. He later puts it away when Major Gates decides to leave.

M72A2 LAW - 66mm
Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) arms the M72 LAW.

Type 69 RPG

The Type 69 RPG launcher, fitted with a PGO-7 scope, can be seen used by Iraqi soldiers in two scenes; first to blow up a tanker truck full of milk at the Karbala bunker, then to destroy one of the cars in the convoy pretending to be "Saddam’s” entourage.

Type 69 RPG with optical sight - 40mm
The Type 69 RPG at a milk truck.
Preparing to fire his Type 69 RPG.
A Republican Guard soldier fires his Type 69 RPG at "Saddam's" convoy. If you look closely at the actor's left ear, it appears that the actor is wearing ear plugs.

T-72 Tank

An Iraqi T-72 tank is seen arriving at the bunker. Because the production was filmed in Arizona, the tank is the same one seen in the film Red Dawn (1984) and Rambo III that was manufactured by Veluzat Armored Vehicles out of Newhall, California.

The tank arrives at the bunker.
Sideview of the Iraqi tank.


Bullet Wound Description

In a very rare un-Hollywood moment, MAJ Gates (George Clooney) explains what a bullet does when it enters a human body. His finger, which he uses to point at SFG Barlow (Mark Wahlberg) as a demonstration, seems to "shoot" a 9x19mm bullet. Gates explains penetrating abdominal trauma accurately; the abdomen has a number of organs with large blood supplies, and several which accommodate normally benign bacterial colonies that can become severe infections outside them. Likewise, a later scene shows the effects of a 7.62mm bullet from an AKM entering Barlow's chest and perforating his right lung, creating a pneumothorax (a pressure imbalance between the air inside the lung and the air in the chest cavity) and causing the lung to collapse.

"Say that a bullet..."
"... tears into your gut. It creates a cavity in the dead tissue. That cavity, it fills up with bile and bacteria..." MAJ Gates explains.

Military Details

Three Kings does provide some interesting military details in regards to the first Gulf War.

Major Gates' appearance

MAJ Archie Gates (George Clooney) is a Special Forces officer, who appears to have been in Delta Force as well. Also, his patches, skill tabs, and general appearance is exactly what a SF soldier would have. He uses the Colt M727, which Delta uses, as seen in the film Black Hawk Down.

Along with his Airborne and Ranger tabs, Major Gates is shown wearing a Special Forces tab, meaning he completed the Special Forces Qualification Course.

Major Gates' hand to hand combat techniques

MAJ Gates also uses the hand-to-hand combat that is taught to Special Forces as well, as seen here when he disarms an Iraqi soldier who has a knife.

Gates disarms an Iraqi of his knife.

Surrender Card

While it may look unusual, these are accurate representations of the "surrender" cards that the US forces dropped over Iraqi forces during Operation: Desert Storm.

An Iraqi shows the "surrender" card that was dropped during the Operation.

Deleted Scene

In this deleted scene, the characters confront a fake bunker, but they spread out properly, using hand signals and tactics (Clooney and the other actors underwent extensive training in military tactics before filming commenced).

In this deleted scene, the characters confront a fake bunker, but they spread out properly, using hand signals and tactics.

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