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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

Gun Fights and Wiseguys

Gun Fights and Wiseguys

Today we take a look at the gun dominated scenes in three of my favorite Mob genre movies. Goodfellas, Casino & Donnie Brasco, all of which are based on true stories. You can find novels for each one of these films in the usual book selling arenas but we're going to focus on the cinematic versions. 

#1 Goodfellas: Released in 1990, this is the feature film adaptation of the autobiography of mobster Henry Hill and was directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring  Ray Liotta as Hill, we follow his life in the mob from a young teenager to his eventual apprehension and subsequent entrance into the federal witness protection program. We meet all sorts of shady characters as the film takes us through the life of a gangster. The two gentlemen that are with Henry through all this are Jimmy "The Gent" Conway and Tommy "Two Gun"  DeVito. We also meet Karen Hill, the wife of Henry and the consummate wife of a mobster. We see several guns throughout the film but some guns seem to pop up more than others. Smith & Wesson is a predominate manufacturer used in most scenes. 

In particular, Jimmy Conway is first seen using a Smith & Wesson Model 36 to fire into the trunk of a car. Henry Hill later pistol-whips Bruce with a snub nosed Smith & Wesson Model 36 with a square butt, which he gives to Karen to hide.Tommy DeVito keeps a Model 36 snub as his personal weapon, notably using it to beat Billy Batts and wounding Spider. During the poker games, both Tommy's Model 36 snub and his M1911A1 can be seen with the Model 36 snub tucked into his left waist band and the M1911A1 hanging from his right side. This is accurate as the real Tommy DeSimmone was known as "Two Gun" Tommy .

                                         Smith and Wesson Model 36 - .38 special - 5 shot


      Jimmy Conway,  first seen using a Smith & Wesson Model 36 to fire into the trunk of a car.

This is how we are introduced into the world of Henry Hill. This opening sequence:

We see this gun make another appearance in the hands of Henry Hill after Karen gets harrassed by a neighborhood friend. Henry makes sure the guy gets the message not to mess with Karen and Karen gets her first taste of what being a Mob girlfriend and eventually wife, will look like. She hides the gun in her mother's trash can.

                                                  Karen is handed a very bloody S&W

She's handed the gun after this scene takes place:

I think the point was made, don't you? 

The next scene with this gun is in the bar between Billy Batts & Tommy. Tommy feels disrespected and we find out at this point that Batts was the one in the trunk in the opening sequence. Mobsters predicate a lot on respect and when they feel someone has gone against that, they have no problem handing out the lesson. Batts is beaten by Tommy with the same gun that doled out violence in the last couple of scenes we've looked at. 

                        Tommy's broken S&W Model 36 snub after using it to beat Billy Batts.

For the scene take a look here:

The dialogue is gritty, the costuming captures the feel of that era and the acting in this film is impeccable. A flawless Mafia flick that I've watched a hundred times and still enjoy. Cocaine was what finally brought them down but it was a hell of a ride. Grab some popcorn and get reunited with this cast of characters next time you need something great to watch over the weekend, 

#2 Casino: Released in 1995 Casino is a crime film directed by Martin Scorsese that follows a mobster and his rise to success while running a mob-controlled casino in Las Vegas. The film was inspired by the events surrounding the mob-controlled Stardust casino in Las Vegas during the 1970's. Considered the spiritual sequel to Goodfellas, the film reunites Scorsese, writer Nicholas Pileggi, and actors Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, who play fictionalized versions of real-life figures Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro. Another one of my all time favorites, we watch this tale unfold with lots of violence and a peek in to the seedy underbelly of Vegas and it's Mob era. Our character focus for this film are Nicky Santoro and our star , Sam "Ace" Rothstein. Ace tries to get himself legitimate but Nicky has other plans. The scenes that are the most gun dominated are the ones towards the end of the film, when Nicky has decided to follow his own rules and  when everyone's been caught and a the loose strings start getting tied up. 

One of the scenes we'll look at is when Nicky's Wiseguys decide to shoot up a police officers house after one too many altercations between them. 

   IMI Uzi with buttstock collapsed - 9x19mm

                      Marino ( Nicky's right hand man)  leads the house-shooting with his Uzi


    One of Nicky's thugs uses a Mossberg 500 when shooting up the cop's house.

                                  A mob thug fires a shotgun as Dominic sprays with his Uzi.

You can watch that scene here:

To find further information on the weapons used in this film go to
This film has everything. It's a love story, it's crime and corruption. Absolutely fantastic cinema with fantastic dialogue, I recite these movie lines all the time. Treat yourself to a sandwich and a beer and watch this one tonight. 

#3 Donnie Brasco: Released in 1997 Donnie Brasco takes us into the world of an undercover cop and how he infiltrates the Mafia in New York. The story is based on the events in the life of FBI agent Joe Pistone and how he befriended Lefty Ruggiero, under the name Donnie Brasco and was able to embed himself in a mafia faction lead by Sonny Black. Ruggiero and Pistone become tight as the group goes about collecting money for their mob bosses. As time goes on, the group become big time when Black himself becomes a boss, all the while Pistone collects evidence. However, the trials and tribulations of the undercover work become more than Pistone can bear. The real dilemma is afforded to Pistone, who knows if he walks away from the mafia, Ruggiero will be the one punished. What we'll look at today is a scene that involves an ambush. You can watch that scene here:

Sonny Black and Lefty Ruggiero each use 12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotguns when killing Sonny Red and his associates.

                                                          Lefty fires his shotgun.

Donnie Brasco has all the elements of any other mob flick but the very different perspective of seeing it through the eyes of an undercover cop who's teetering on the ledge of being the hero or the anti-hero. We watch the rise and fall of Sonny Black, Lefty and Brasco and it is a wild ride. I suggest a meatball sandwich and a bottle of red for this one. I love this film and all of it's lexicon.


To see the guns used in this film go to:

Which one of these films is your favorite? Have you fired any of the weapons featured in these films?

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

Gun Fights and Films - The Matrix Trilogy

Gun Fights and Films - The Matrix Trilogy

Today we have decided to take a look at The Matrix Trilogy. Known for incredible graphics, plot twists and amazing martial arts, The Matrix also features a hail of gunfire in all three films. The first film was released in 1999 and was written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers. In these flicks we watch as Neo has his everyday world shattered as he discovers the truth behind the smoke screen of The Matrix. We are also introduced to Agent Smith, Morpheus & Trinity. Presented with a blue pill and a red pill, Neo must decide if he wants to enter this rabbit hole or walk away. Our hero takes the red pill, finds out who he really is and our adventure in thrilling science fiction begins. This journey takes us through two more films, a dystopian society and reveals Zion. Today we focus on the best scenes featuring gun fights. 

#1 The Matrix: Karate, amazing weapons, bending spoons to realize there is no spoon, fights with Agent Smith, these are the first things that come to mind when I think of this film. In particular I think about the scene in the lobby between Neo, Trinity and tons of guards. A variety of guns are used in this extended scene so we'll look at a couple of them. 

Neo picks up a Heckler & Koch MP5K in the virtual armory.

   In the lobby scene, Neo uses a pair of Heckler and Koch MP5Ks to eliminate the first set of guards.

We see Trinity picking out guns in the virtual armory as well and it gives a glimpse as to just what's in it. 

Behind Trinity: On the top shelf are six Heckler & Koch MP5Ks, six Glock pistols, and six Beretta 92FS pistols. On the second shelf are four M16 rifles (one with a 30 round magazine), three Australian Owen Submachine guns with Late War Camo paint pattern, two M1928A1 Thompsons, an M1928 Thompson with a 30 round magazine, an M1A1 Thompson, another M1928A1 Thompson, and an M1 Garand.

The guards had some intense weapons as well, but that doesn't really help them out since Trinity manages to grab their guns. In the lobby shootout scene, a number of soldiers are armed with Franchi SPAS-12 shotguns, one of which is commandeered by Trinity and used against its original owner. The versions used by the soldiers have a solid fixed stock/pistol grip combination. One of them is seen firing the SPAS-12 in semi-auto mode -- a rare sight in movies. However, quick bursts of M16 fire are mistakenly dubbed over instead of the appropriate shotgun report.

                                           Franchi SPAS-12 with fixed stock - 12 Gauge

               Trinity kicks his SPAS-12, rolls it over his shoulder, and fires it into his back.

I love this movie. It's filled with action, adventure and amazing visuals. Futuristic cinematography and great dialogue make this film a slam dunk as it was ahead of it's time in both concept and storyline. The lobby scene can be viewed here  but I recommend watching the whole film again and rooting against Agent Smith with a big bowl of popcorn. To see what other guns were used go check out

#2 The Matrix Reloaded: In 2003 The Wachowski Brothers presented us with this follow up film. This sequel was lighter with the gun fire but is heavily laced with other weaponry and even more intense martial arts sequences. In this film we find that Neo has a limited time frame to save the woman he loves as well as the world he now lives in. Let's not forget that this time he is facing Sentinels and he is still battling the now rogue Agent Smith in addition to the other Agents sent after this group of Sci-Fi vigilantes. 

The scene I'd like to focus on is the opening of the film where Trinity is involved in a fire fight with an Agent.  You can view the opening sequemce here but again, the whole film is worth the watch

Trinity opens the film by diving out of a high-rise office building's window while wielding two IMI Micro Uzis, firing them at a pursuing Agent. While falling Trinity catches a bullet and we see Neo flex his awesome powers. 

 Trinity fires a pair of IMI Micro Uzi's while falling from a window

This movie continues to deliver intense action scenes and we watch Neo and his crew fight bad guy after bad guy. Two of the baddest bad guys are albino twins with dreadlocks, they wield a couple guns as well in a chase scene on the freeway. 

            One of the Twins fires his Heckler & Koch UMP-45 at the protagonists in their Cadillac.

Thrills, kills and spills Reloaded keeps you on your toes. If you haven't seen this film, it's about time to do so. If you haven't watched it in awhile, it's time for a movie marathon. To see the other weapons used go to for more info. 

#3 The Matrix Revolutions: Released only six months after Reloaded, this part of the trilogy opens with finding out Neo is now stuck in between two worlds. The film continues on to reveal that Agent Smith is still lurking and Zion is ready to go to war. Once again, the Wachowski Brothers serve up amazing graphics and tantalizing action scenes that feature skill, precision and gun fights within the first 30 minutes of the film. For me personally, the scene in Club Hell was my favorite in this film. 

Trinity, Morpheus and Seraph ( from the second film) are trying to find out how to release Neo from his purgatory and decide to infiltrate a night club to get answers. You can watch this sequence here The gunfights that ensue happens while guards walk the ceiling and bullets are flying, it's complete chaos. Let's focus on our main characters, though. 

During the standoff at the Club Hell, Morpheus can be seen with a Heckler & Koch P9S which he takes from one of the guards.

             Morpheus holds the Heckler & Koch P9S on a guard armed with a Beretta 92FS.

Trinity begins a standoff in Club Hell by disarming one of the guards of his Beretta 92FS Brigadier Inox and holding it to the Merovingian's head, demanding Neo  be freed from the train station.

                                      Trinity holds the Brigadier Inox on the Merovingian

Neo makes it out of the train station only to be pushed in a million different directions to salvage what's left of his world. It's tough being "The One". For further info on all the weapons used in this movie go to and find out what other guns were used. 

Do you have a favorite scene in these three movies??? Feel free to share in the comments section. 

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

Webster Innovations - Innovations by Law Enforcement for Law Enforcement

Webster Innovations, LLC is a family owned and operated business in Scottsdale, AZ; a suburb of Phoenix. The owners are veteran Police Officers in Phoenix, AZ and go through the trials and tribulations of every day equipment use and confrontations like every officer that patrols a beat. 
This company came about after a confrontation with a subject with a knife. During a struggle with the suicidal subject, the portable microphone became unclipped from the uniform. Luckily, another officer and an air unit were close behind and able to communicate with dispatch. Afterward, the thought came up; what if backup had not been there? What if the air unit hadn't known? The scenario could have played out much differently. 
Necessity being the mother of invention, the Tactical Mic Klip was born. The TMK is now in uniform shops all over the world and it continues grow in popularity with more uniform shops and police departments requesting the TMK on a nearly daily basis.  Since that time, two new products have been added to the fold. The Tactical Electronic Klip and the Tactical Pocket Klipboard.  

 Tactical Mic Klip - Low Price - $9.99 

The TMK - Tactical Mic Klip was invented to solve the problem of how to safely and professionally attach a portable microphone to the uniform so that it doesn't fall off. 

Tactical Pocket Klipboard - Low Price - $13.99

The Tactical Pocket Klipboard, the TPK, is a tool created for you, the first responder, to assist you in organizing your life on the street. We all have that shirt or cargo pocket full of paper, cards, pens or maybe a miniature spiral notebook.

 Tactical Electronic Klip - Low Price - $22.99

The Tactical Electronic Klip, or TEK™, is compatible with most portable radios and walkie-talkies in use today; including Motorola, Harris, Kenwood, and Midland, to name a few. The TEK also works well with many other portable devices that utilize a clip on the back.

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

Spotlight On Guy Ritchie

Gunfights and Films

Spotlight On Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. Ritchie delves into the gritty underworlds of England's crime genre with darkly beautiful cinematography and epic gun fights. Today we are going to take a look at 3 of my favorite films from this director.

#1 Snatch: Released in 2001 this film includes a myriad of shady characters thick with English slang, clever street names and one misfortune after another with an ending that twists and turns like a pig's tail. The film starts with a heist and a barrage of gun fire. This sets the tone for the whole movie. This opening scene will be the first one we look at. The main character in this time frame is a gentleman known as Franky Four Fingers who has a penchant for gambling and ending up in some tough spots. Franky has just pulled off a  heist in Antwerp and our tale unfolds as it follows the path of an illustrious diamond. Franky's weapon of choice to arm his henchman with is second generation Glock 17 pistols.

                                                 A Generation 2 Glock 17 - 9x19mm parabellum.

                       Franky's partners grab the Glock 17 pistols that are strapped to his chest.

As the film continues, we watch as our characters become more enmeshed and we watch their various relationships develop. We are introduced to a gentleman known as Bullet Tooth Tony and he is known to to be someone who is very hard to kill.  Tony ends up in a situation with another gentleman who can't be killed by the name of Boris.  Just like any regular bad ass Bullet Tooth carries guns that have proven themselves in the field. He is most attached to his custom two-toned "Desert Eagle point-five-oh" with a stainless frame and black slide and barrel, with the flat surfaces on the slide polished. Cousin Avi also tries to use the Desert Eagle in a later scene. The Desert Eagle used in the movie is the Mark I model and actually appears to be the .44 Magnum version, judging by the size of the bore. We are first introduced to this weapon in the scene prior to the hallway debacle when three amateur thieves attempt to rob Tony.

Tony lays his Desert Eagle "point five-oh" on the table. Note the teardrop safety found only on the Mark I models, which means that his Desert Eagle cannot be chambered for .50 AE (since the Mark I was never available in this caliber). It also features the stainless steel frame noted by the -S in the serial number.

When Tony finds Boris in the hallway causing trouble he shoots several times but Boris simply won't be put down.

Tony shoots Boris the Blade, who refuses to die despite having an entire magazine emptied into him. Note that he fires a total of 8 rounds in this scene, which suggests that his Desert Eagle is actually a .44 Magnum model rather than .50 AE.

Schematics aside this film has all the action packed frenzy one could hope for. If you haven't had a chance to see this film yet, you will love it. If you haven't watched it in awhile, it's time to refresh the memory. To find a full listing of all the firearms used in this film please go to and read up on the weapons in Snatch.

#2 Lock, Stock snd 2 Smoking Barrels:  Released in 1998 this film follows the wayward adventures of a group of friends that bumble through owing a very powerful man a very large sum of money. We watch them get tangled in sheisty dealings, crazed English gangsters and the journey of two special shotguns. Stylish, quick moving cinematography and a unique dialogue make this film a cult classic. Ritchie delivers a power packed punch of film. The first scenes we will look at is the introduction of the antique rifles and their wild ride through different sets of hands. The first time we see them is as they are being robbed from some elderly folks in a mansion filled with antiques. Our inept criminals manage to score the guns but they have a small price to pay when a butler decides to take matters in his feeble hand.

The two criminals that initallly liberate these guns from their owner are Dean and Gary. Dean and Gary are sent after the rifles for the Alpha Male of the film known as Hatchet Harry. Harry is known for his temper and his lack of patience for excuses. He also happens to love a fixed card game, which is what gets our intrepid group of friends into a lot of trouble later in the movie.

 The butler on his back after the recoil knocked him down.

 Nick the Greek showing Tom the shotguns after buying them from Dean and Gary.

With the introduction of the rifles we must introduce you to Bacon, Soap, Tommy and Eddie. These four are the ones who are the center of this crime comedy. The antique rifles pass through this groups hands initially thanks to Nick the Greek and after some twists and turns end up back in their possession by the end of the film.

Now, the primary gunfight scene actually takes place toward the end of the film when all parties involved realize that Bacon, Soap, Tommy & Eddie are responsible for all of their criminal world's going wonky. As the scenes play out over the course of a few minutes we watch two separate groups of criminals go after each other with a hail of bullets. There are no words for this meley so just give it a watch:

All sorts of weaponry are used in this film but if you'd like more information on what those were please take a look at,_Stock_and_Two_Smoking_Barrels.

#3 Sherlock Holmes: Released in 2009 this film is the Guy Ritchie adaptation of the crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. With brooding film work, dark British scenery and the quick wit of Holmes this movie was a well received remake and had a sequel as well. Everyone has a gun in this film but we're going to take a look at what Holmes and his partner Dr. Watson were carrying.

Several characters in the film employ Webley Bulldog Revolvers. Based upon their short 2.5" barrels and lack of a rammer/ejector, those wielded by Dr. John Watson and American Ambassador Standish are most likely to be No.3 'R.I.C.' models in .442 calibre. These weapons fired a black powder cartridge and were gate loaders, unlike the later and more memorable "top break" Webleys.

    Holmes and Watson with their Webleys.

Another win for Ritchie, Sherlock Holmes is action packed and fun to watch. If you haven't had a chance to see this film, there is no time like the present. If it's been awhile, it might be time to dust it off & give a watch.
For more information on the weapons used in this film go to

What's your favorite scene in a  Guy Ritchie movie???

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

KeyMod - the design concept taking the firearms industry by storm

KeyMod is an open-source design released for use and distribution in the public domain in an effort to standardize universal attachment systems in the firearm accessories market. The KeyMod system is intended to be used as a direct attachment method for firearm accessories such as flash light mounts, laser modules, sights, scope mounts, vertical grips, rail panels, hand stops, barricade supports, and many others. The goal is to eliminate the need for the heavy and often non-ergonomic MIL-STD-1913 accessory rails. The KeyMod system consists of two parts: the KeyMod slot and the KeyMod nut. The slot is distinctive with a larger diameter through-hole combined with a narrow slot. The slot is chamfered on the backside while the through hole is sized for clearance of a quick-detach sling swivel.

We have been adding products to our offerings that emphasize the KeyMod concept. Following are a few that illustrate how forearm rails are now being setup with the KeyMod attachment point and a few products that are designed for that attachment point.

A few of what we are currently carrying:

We have many other parts and accessories that are using the KeyMod design concept.   Best way to see a full list is to use the search function on this page: search Cactus Tactical's web site.

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

A Moment In History With Navajo Code Talkers

A Moment In History with the Navajo Code Talkers

This Tuesday flags are being flown on  Native American reservations at half staff until sunrise on June 12 to honor the death of the last Navajo Code talker used in World War 2. Bahe Ketchum, a member of an elite group of Marines who helped create the only unbroken code in modern military history, died Monday morning. He was 96.  Ketchum served with the 6th Marine Division from 1944 to 1946, reaching the rank of private first class. Ketchum saw combat at Guadalcanal, Okinawa, and Tsingtao and also served in the Ryukyu Islands, Guam and China.The Navajo Code Talkers were invaluable to the Allied effort in WWII, and the Navajo code still remains the only unbroken code in modern military history.

Code talkers are people, who in the 20th century utilized their skill with obscure languages as a means of secret communication during wartime. The term is now most notably associated with the United States soldiers during the world wars who used their knowledge of Native American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. At one point, there were approximately 400–500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret messages. Code talkers transmitted these tactical messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formal or informally developed codes built on their native languages. Their service improved the speed of encryption of communications at both ends in front line operations during World War II. Although the term code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in communications  it was pioneered by Cherokee and Choctaw Indians during World War I. Though most well known for their time in WW2, the deployment of the Navajo code talkers continued through the Korean War and after, until it was ended early in the Vietnam War.

Philip Johnston, a civil engineer for the city of Los Angeles, proposed the use of Navajo to the United States Marine Corps at the beginning of World War II. Johnston, a World War I veteran, was raised on the Navajo reservation as the son of a missionary to the Navajo. He was one of the few non-Navajo who spoke the language fluently. Due to it's complex grammar, Navajo is not nearly mutually intelligible enough with even its closest relatives within the Na-Dene family to provide meaningful information. It was still an unwritten language, and Johnston thought Navajo could satisfy the military requirement for an undecipherable code. Navajo was spoken only on the Navajo lands of the American Southwest. Its syntax and tonal qualities, not to mention dialects, made it unintelligible to anyone without extensive exposure and training. The Navajo language was perfect to use for code.

Early in 1942, Johnston met with Major General Clayton B. Vogel and his fleet. Johnston staged tests under simulated combat conditions which demonstrated that Navajo men could encode, transmit, and decode a three-line English message in 20 seconds, rather than the 30 minutes required by machines at that time. The idea was accepted, with Vogel recommending that the Marines recruit 200 Navajo. The first 29 Navajo recruits attended boot camp in May 1942. This first group created the Navajo code at Camp Pendleton in California.

The Navajo code was formally developed and modeled on the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet that uses agreed-upon English words to represent letters. It was determined that phonetically spelling out all military terms letter by letter into words—while in combat—would be too time-consuming, some terms, concepts, tactics and instruments of modern warfare were given uniquely formal descriptive nomenclatures in Navajo (for example, the word for "shark" being used to refer to a destroyer, or "silver oak leaf" to the rank of lieutenant colonel). Several of these portmanteaus (such as gofasters referring to running shoes, ink sticks for pens) entered Marine Corps vocabulary. They are commonly used today to refer to the appropriate objects.

A special codebook was developed to teach the many relevant words and concepts to new initiates but it was used only for classroom purposes. Uninitiated Navajo speakers would have no idea what the code talkers' messages meant; they would hear only truncated and disjointed strings of individual, unrelated nouns and verbs.

While the war progressed, additional code words would be added on and incorporated through out the program. Often times informal short-cut code words were devised for a particular campaign and not disseminated beyond the area of operation. To ensure a consistent use of code terminologies throughout the Pacific Theater, representative code talkers of each of the U.S. Marine divisions would meet in Hawaii to discuss shortcomings in the code, incorporate new terms into the system, and update their codebooks. These representatives in turn trained the other code talkers. For example, the Navajo word for buzzard, jeeshóóʼ, was used for bomber, while the code word used for submarine, béésh łóóʼ, meant iron fish in Navajo.The last of the original 29 Navajo code talkers who developed the code, Chester Nez, died on June 4, 2014.

These men were great warriors, we will always be grateful for the incredible impact they had on winning wars. For more information on Code Talkers and the Navajo Nation go to:

For a brief  history, watch this:

Do you have family or friends that knew any Code Talkers? We would love to hear your story! 

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

Guns & The Godfather

Gunfights in Cinema

Guns & Godfather's

Today we look at firearms in the Godfather Trilogy. Adapted for film, it was based on the crime novel written by Mario Puzo. The first film featured Marlon Brando and won an Academy Award for both best picture and best actor. The Godfather was released in 1972 and had a distinct impact on mafia films for decades following. The second film in the franchise was released in 1974 and delivered a look into the origin story of both Vito Corleone as well as it looks into the life of Michael.

The second film was also heralded, but did not have the same impact as the original. The third film was released in 1990 and has met with much criticism but shows our anti-heroes ( Michael Corleone) trying to repent for his past sins. This trilogy covers a spectrum of themes and dynamics of family, friends, business and loyalty. We see the careers of Vito, Michael and then Vincent Corleone and their effect on their family, friends and neighborhoods. A myriad of firearms were used in these films but we're going to focus on the most iconic gun scenes in these movies.

The Godfather: Scenes featuring firearms in this film are numerous so we had to narrow it down to two crucial scenes. The first is when Vito Corleone  is nearly assassinated in 1945, Michael Corleone volunteers to murder the man responsible, Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo (Al Lettieri). He also proposes to kill Captain McCluskey (Sterling Hayden), a police captain who removed his father's bodyguards from the hospital, presumably to set up his father to be killed. Although it is normally a hard-and-fast rule in the Mafia that law enforcement officials are not to be harmed, Michael successfully convinces his older brother Sonny (James Caan) that since McCluskey is serving as Sollozzo's bodyguard, he is considered fair game.

 The scene is set up at a restaurant where a gun has been planted in the restroom so that Michael can assassinate the two men. Michael knows they will search him for a weapon at this meeting so the only way they could possibly pull off this coup. The gun is a Smith & Wesson Model 36, a .38 special that is planted behind the toilet so that in the midst of the meeting Michael can maneuver his way to the bathroom in order to shoot the men upon his return. This scene is pivotal in the sense that this is when we see Michael commit to the family and the lifestyle he will now have to lead. Corleone is successful in his mission and proceeds to hide out in Italy for some time. This film is iconic for brilliant gun scenes and story line and is a masterpiece in Frances Ford Coppola's collection of amazing films.

    Smith and Wesson Model 36 - .38 special

  Michael fires the revolver.

If you haven't had a chance to see this film you definitely want to make time to do so. If you haven't seen it in awhile, it might be time to dust it off for a viewing.

The second scene we'll take a look at is the scene with Sonny Corleone and the massive shoot out that takes his life. In this scene Sonny takes a phone call that requires him to leave the safety of the Corleone mansion. When Sonny gets to the toll booth, he realizes he has been set up and is now in a trap filled with continuous gunfire. The primary weapon used in this scene is often called the Tommy Gun.

Barzini's hitmen use Thompson M1928's with drum magazines when gunning down Sonny Corleone (James Caan) at the toll booth.

 One of the hitmen kicks Sonny's head after killing him.

This scene and especially this film, is filled with the riveting action that makes us love a crime drama. The plot line takes us through the Corleone family and it's magnificent legacy. Truly an iconic piece of American cinema.

The Godfather 2: The second film from the trilogy, The Godfather 2 was one of few sequels to earn public praise and a Best Picture award. Released in 1974, this film takes us through the origins of Vito Corleone and we glimpse into the present situations of Michael Corleone. There aren't as many iconic gun scenes in this flick but the plot line is strong and I'm a fan of the cinematography. The most memorable scene is where we have a flashback to a young Vito Corleone in the beginning of his illustrious career taking care of a matter with a gentleman named Don Fanucci.

During the 1921 flashback, Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) uses a Webley Mk VI, wrapped in a cloth to slightly suppress the shots when he confronts Don Fanucci (Gastone Moschin) in his apartment building. Vito is then seen going to a rooftop to break the revolver apart and scatters the part

Vito places the Webley in the mouth of Don Fanucci

This is the beginning of the Mafia lifestyle for Vito, who eventually becomes Don Corleone. The second Godfather film fills in the blanks of the history of the Corleone's and their Mob kingdom. There are many great scenes in this flick but this one really sets the tone for the lives to come of our main characters. 

Watching these films is like peering into the complex history of a dynasty, the stuff of legends. Brilliantly written, Puzo made his mark in cinematic history with Director Coppola. 

Godfather 3: The final chapter in Michael Corleone's life. We follow Corleone as he attempts to legitimize his business dealings. The film also interweaves a fictionalized account of two real-life events into its plot: the 1978 death of Pope John Paul I and the Papal banking scandal of 1981–1982; both are linked to Michael Corleone's business affairs. We are introduced to Sonny's illegitimate son Vincent Mancini. Michael ends up taking Vincent under his wing and shows him the life he has an ambition for. One of the best scenes in the film is a barrage of gunfire from helicopters but another intregal scene feature's Mancini thwarting two would be assassins in his home. 

Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) pulls a Beretta Cheetah when confronted by assassins sent by Joey Zasa (Although the pistol turns into a Walther PP for a close-up).

Vincent aims the Cheetah at the other thug.

We watch the rise and fall of an empire through this trilogy. It's a great way to spend a weekend or a rainy day. Entertaining, gripping crime drama at it's finest these three films capture the heart of the Mafia film genre. Which one was your favorite? 

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Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

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