I’ve shaved this list down to the most iconic and fashionable of the decade.
The Beretta 92F
The Army chose this one to replace its beloved but largely broken down stock of 1911s. This naturally sparked a lot of interest in the model. Actually the Sig had performed better in the trials but Beretta beat Sig on price and politics.
1980s pop culture appearance: Riggs side arm in Lethal Weapon.
This was the most exciting picture of one I could find.
Well it wouldn't be the eighties without an over rated communist super weapon, would it?
The Czech-75 easily fit that bill.
Eastern bloc economics were fascinating. Normally they would refine existing engineering well past it's sell-by date. But if the commies finally decided an entirely new design was obviously needed they would build an entirely new factory system to support it. The factory where the Czech-75 was
There was a lot of interest in this Gun From Behind the Iron Curtain. Mostly because Col. Jeff Cooper USMC (ret) gave it the thumbs up, which he never did for 9mm. Also it wasn’t that easy to get ahold of, so it had an exotic appeal.
1980s pop culture appearance; Red Dawn, Riding Bean
Please note, Rally has cleared her left arm during the draw.
And her finger is straight and off the trigger.
Gun Safety is no joke when your blood volume runs to 20 gallons
Glock 17 (1st gen)
In 1985 every time you fired a Glock, a hippy cried. That was reason enough to own one. Gentle reminder, in this pre internet world, a ridiculous story about how this “all plastic gun” could get through any airport metal detector, was met with jaw dropping credulity from the gun control loons.
1980s pop culture appearance; freaked out gun control rallies.
The Glock 17 is one on the right.
This one was a little weird. Based on the S&W model 39 and issued initially only to field intelligence officers. It saw a very limited production run in the 1980s for the general public. Only 2000 were made. It had clear lexan handles, so you could see how many bullets you had left. It saw the first use of teflon as a lubricant. It featured an offset trigger guard. And it had a really strange sighting system called Guttersnipe, The designer of the Guttersnipe came up with his own “Quell” marksmanship stance. Quell, would have an agent completely resting his head on his shoulder and aiming with his left eye.
1980s pop culture appearance; John Gardner’s, James Bond used it to replace his Walther.
Piece of shit. Popular with gang bangers. The Assault Weapons Ban didn’t do a lot of good but at least killed this cheap, machine stamped, accurate as a soccer ball, insta-jamming, turd in gun form.
1980s pop culture appearance; Big Trouble in Little China, which is the only thing it ever had going for it.
(*does not rate a picture*)
The Franchi SPAS-12.
Italian autoloader…okay you know this one is the Terminator’s shotgun, right? Anyway only about 1800 were ever actually imported. As pretty as bulldog. It was killed by the Assault Weapons Ban.
1980s pop culture appearance; just about everything after the Terminator.
The 21st century will be a grim, dark place
Particularly for me
Speaking of Terminators
The Astra Terminator.
The regular Astra was the Dirty Harry Cannon’s smarter and better looking cousin who everyone in the family loved more than you. Astra build quality was much better than the standard S&W model 29. The trigger pull was adjustable with the turn of a small wheel. Barrel length on the Terminator, 2.75 inches. Very accurate and still worth buying.
1980s pop culture appearance: Fred Dryer used it in Hunter. (Yeah I know. kinda sad. It deserved better.)
You’ve been waiting for this one.
THE BREN TEN.
Basically a scaled up Czech-75. Firing a nuclear hot 220 grain round. The round was pretty much the equivalent (in those days, if not today) of a .41 magnum. Production of the Bren Ten ran from 1983 to 1986, with a run of fewer than 1,500 total pistols. Single/Double action. Decocker and a switch safety. It’s fans claim it was the best gun of the era. The Bren Ten was the 1980s in one big haired, synthesizer music thumping, sprayed on jeans and red suspenders wearing pistol shaped package.
1980s pop culture appearance: Sonny Crocket’s every day carry for every episode of Miami Vice.