Over the course of four tours of duty in Iraq, Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was shot twice and and caught in six different IED explosions. The son of a Sunday school teacher and a deacon, Kyle was later awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars, and came to be known as “Legend” among the American soldiers he was tasked to protect. To his enemies, Kyle was called the “Devil of Ramadi,” and there was little question why. By the time he returned home for the last time, the sniper had racked up 160 confirmed kills, making him the most lethal sniper in US military history. Tragedy struck at home when Kyle was murdered at a Texas shooting range.
The 2014 film American Sniper is part biographical war drama, and part tribute to the fallen warrior. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper as Kyle, the critically-acclaimed film touches on Kyle’s experience in Iraq as well as his adjustment to civilian life. Although the film does take some artistic liberties with the life of a man who is now arguably America’s most famous marksman, some critics praised it for its engaging tale of war and its aftermath. One thing the film did take pains to get correct were the guns used by Kyle and the people around him. We’ve compiled a list detailing many of the arms featured in the film below.
This Navy-issue sniper rifle is the rifle most commonly associated with Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, and reportedly bears a close similarity to the rifle he used while serving in Iraq. Chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum or .338 Norma Magnum, this rifle boasts a crisp trigger and standard five-round magazine. According to its manufacturer, the barrel threads and chamber are also cut to critical tolerances and fit by hand. The rifle is superb for competition shooting and deadly in the hands of a skilled sniper. In the film, Kyle’s rifle is fitted with a Leupold Mark 4 scope and a KAC suppressor.
Knight’s Armament SR-25
This semiautomatic rifle based off the AR-10 and chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO was used by Kyle in a scene where he clears a house. The SR-25 is predominantly used in the US military by Navy SEAL snipers and was first deployed in Somalia in 1993.
Mk 12 Mod 1 Special Purpose Rifle
The United States Navy Mark 12 Mod 1 Special Purpose Rifle (SPR) is employed by different branches of the US military, but is most consistently found in the hands of US Army Special Forces and Navy SEALs. The rifle is chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO and makes full use of the cartridge’s flat-shooting capabilities. In the film it is used by Kyle during training and also in the hands of other SEAL members in Iraq.
Kyle is shown using both the M40A1 and M40A3 at different parts of the film. The M40 is the famed bolt-action sniper rifle used by the US Marine Corps since 1966. Chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO, this venerable rifle was first conceived during the Vietnam War when the Marine Corps ordered seven hundred Remington Model 40x rifles and designated them as the M40. Later variants feature fiberglass stocks, upgraded scopes, and other modifications.
This variant of the M16 used by Marines was seen briefly during the film being used by one of Kyle’s fellow soldiers. The M16 and its variants are very widespread around the world—there are an estimated 8 million M16-pattern rifles in existence, which would make it the most widely produced rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm.
The film showcases a M4A1 carbine alongside a Mk 18 Mod 0 CQB during an intense urban firefight involving Kyle. The M4A1s were used to great effect by Kyle and his fellow SEALs. The carbines used in the film featured camo paint schemes, LMT rear sights, EOTech holographic sights, and suppressors.
An honor guard was seen briefly using the M1A rifle to fire a volley during the film’s funeral. Designed in 1974 by Springfield Armory, the M1A is nearly identical to the M14 save for a few changes. This semiautomatic rifle is chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO.
Various machine guns, such as the M240 and Browning M2HB, can been seen mounted on Humvees and M1A1 Abrams tanks in the film. Others, such as the Mark 48 machine gun and M249 SAW, can be seen carried by Navy SEALs and Marines.
FPK/PSL and SVD Dragunov
The main rifles used by the insurgent named “Mustapha,” the FPK/PSL and SVD Dragunov, are both chambered in 7.62x54mmR.
AKM, AKMS, Tabuk
These weapons were found in an insurgent weapons cache. The AKM and AKMS served in the Soviet Army from 1959 to the late 1970s and are still in use in a limited capacity in modern Russian units.
More information about firearms used in the film can be found at the Internet Movie Firearms Database. Did we miss any? Watch the film to find out! You can learn more about American Sniper in this featurette including interviews with Bradley Cooper, Clint Eastwood, and Kyle’s widow Taya.
Except where otherwise noted, all images are screenshots from official trailers on YouTube