By: Warren Gray

Copyright © 2023

“Tom Cruise is back, and doing his own stunts, in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One…as the last of the great, Hollywood stars…(who) still insists on risking life and limb…doing his own outrageous stunts in action scenes…riding a motorcycle off a cliff…(and) hanging on for dear life after a deadly train derailment…a lot of characters, double-crosses, chases, fights, escapes, and explosions…(and) the movie never loses

its grip…like a marvel of old-school craftsmanship, just with niftier gadgets.”

 —  Justin Chang, for, July 13, 2023

“Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One” is the seventh film in the “Mission: Impossible” action series, starring Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, an Impossible Mission Force (IMF) agent, released in U.S. theaters on July 12, 2023. Hunt must team up with a wily, mysterious, and elusive thief, Grace, expertly played by British actress Hayley Atwell, to track down a terrifying new weapon that threatens humanity, before it falls into the wrong hands.

Filming began in Italy in February 2020, with other filming locations including Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The very first sequence to be shot was the highly dramatic stunt in which Hunt drives a Honda CRF450R motocross bike at 130 mph off a 4,112-foot-high cliff in the Swiss Alps (actually filmed on Helsetkopenin Mountain, near Hellesylt, Norway) and opens a parachute to safely descend to the valley floor, in what has been called the greatest stunt in cinematic history.

Honda CRF450R motocross bike. Photo credit:

Tom Cruise bravely performed the stunt himself, four times, at age 58 (he’s 61 now), with an orange, AS350B/H125 Écureuil (“Squirrel”) helicopter flying alongside at the top to film the daring sequence, camera drones overhead, and a skydiving cameraman beside him. The remainder of the filming began in Venice, Italy, on September 6, 2020, as the first movie in the franchise to be shot with digital cameras.

Hollywood films like to display very modern, unusual, or even exotic weapons, so let’s take a brief look at the various firearms used in “Mission: Impossible 7.”

Early in the film, a group of hostile bounty hunters on horseback in the Arabian Desert (actually filmed in the UAE) is storming an abandoned building to kill or capture a former British MI6 intelligence agent, Ilsa Faust, played by Rebecca Ferguson. In the still photo above, sharp-eyed observers can detect an FN FAL rifle in 7.62mm NATO, a Colt M4A1 carbine in 5.56mm, with ACOG optical sight, an HK416 carbine in 5.56mm, with EOTech holographic sight, and a CSA Sa vz. 58 Compact carbine in 5.56mm. This latter weapon was previously used in the 2021 James Bond spy thriller, “No Time to Die.”

FN FAL (Photo:

Jackolmos, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

HK416 Photo credit: Dybdal., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

CSA Sa vz. 58 Compact (Photo: Czech Small Arms)

Ilsa Faust also uses an M4A1 carbine while fending off the bounty hunters, and an HK416 carbine is later used by an Italian police officer, until it is seized by a female French assassin named Paris, aggressively played by French actress Pom Klementieff. In addition, one bounty hunter rushes inside with a SIG SG 552-2 Commando carbine fitted with a C-More optical sight, until Ethan Hunt takes it and uses it amid the blazing shootout.

SIG SG 552-2 Commando (Photo:

During the fast and furious battle sequence in the desert, Ethan also uses a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle, possibly a Romanian WASR or SAR-3, and an M1911A1-style pistol with an elongated, Wilson-Combat-style, skeletonized hammer. Ilsa Faust fires a suppressed, Accuracy International (British) AX308 sniper rifle in desert tan to eliminate several of the anonymous bounty hunters in the desert.

Accuracy International AX308 with suppressor (Photo:

Other weapons employed throughout the film include a Browning Hi-Power pistol in 9x19mm, used by the brother of a ruthless, female arms dealer, played to perfection by Vanessa Kirby, a Walther PPK pistol in .380 ACP, used by the lead villain, Gabriel, played by Esai Morales, and by a henchman on the Orient Express train sequence, and a large number of SIG Sauer P226R pistols in 9x19mm, mostly carried by U.S. intelligence agents constantly tracking Ethan Hunt and his roving, IMF team.

SIG Sauer P226R (Photo:

The SIG Sauer P226 is one of the most widely-used military or police pistols in the world, in active service with at least 36 nations worldwide, including France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, and therefore readily available for filming in Europe.

Walther PPK (Photo by Walther Arms)

Also, I’ve written an entire article for Gunpowder Magazine on “The Walther PPK: A Timeless Classic,” published on April 26, 2021, explaining in detail the popularity of this excellent handgun, usually associated with the James Bond 007 film series.

This has just been a quick look at the guns of “Mission: Impossible 7,” as Hollywood features the “coolest” weapons it considers to be state-of-the-art, for the action/spy thrillers that we all love to see. Part Two of “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning” premieres on June 28, 2024, so we’ll just have to “hang on” for another year to see the exciting conclusion!

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Warren Gray is a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism. He served in Europe and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author and historian.