Warning: heavy spoilers ahead. If you have not finished Season Three, CLOSE THIS ARTICLE RIGHT NOW and buy some guns.
Like most of America, I spent the Fourth of July weekend captivated by season three of Stranger Things. While the first two seasons were thoroughly enjoyable this season really grabbed my attention. Why? The guns, of course. Season three featured some great guns, especially Com Bloc ones. I combed back through the show in an attempt to accurately identify firearms to the best of my ability.
The Russians invaded Hawkins in true 80s fashion and brought classic Soviet weapons with them. Can you say, “Wolverines!?” The first gun to appear on screen is a shortened 7.62x39 AK (often called a “Krinkov” in American slang) carried by Soviet guards outside of Starcourt Mall’s shipping dock. Although the scene is dark thanks to the stormy weather, the firearm appears to be a Zastava M92 PAP. The M92 is commonly used in Hollywood to mimic the harder to obtain AKS-74U chambered in 5.45x39. Since most viewers aren’t gun nuts like me and you, the swap goes unnoticed by most casual viewers.
The M92 appears again when Grigori, the imposing Spetsnaz operator, confronts Hopper. While Hopper certainly takes a beating, he’s lucky Grigori didn’t utilize his M92 to really injure Hawkins's Chief of Police during their violent encounter. As Dustin and gang make their way into the secret facility under Starcourt Mall, we see rank and file Soviet soldiers carrying milled receiver AK47s in 7.62x39. The Soviet military standardized on the AK74 in 5.45x39 by 1985 making the AK47s in 7.62x39 just slightly incorrect.
Hopper’s Wheel Gun
Many American law enforcement officers carried revolvers in the mid-80s. Chief Hopper of the Hawkins PD is no exception. We see Hopper go head to head with Grigori wielding what looks like a Smith and Wesson Model 66 in .357 magnum. The Model 66 is a powerhouse, but the six-shot revolver comes up short against Grigori's fully automatic rifle in terms of firepower.
After Hopper and Joyce snatch Alexie, the Soviet scientist, they make the trek across state lines to see Murray Bauman. Murray, an original member of the tinfoil hat society and is apparently the only Russian translator in the midwest, meets the unlikely trio at his door with a Stevens 12 gauge side by side double-barrel shotgun. We will forgive Netflix for the pump shotgun “racking sound” as this double-barrel shotgun would not pump. Racking sound excluded, the simple double-barreled shotgun remains a classic, dependable home defense tool used today. This CZ coach gun is very similar to Murray's shotgun.
Grigori’s Suppressed Tokarev TT33
In episode seven, we find Grigori, our least favorite Soviet operative, on the Hawkins fair grounds hunting Hopper. But before he finds Hopper he runs into Alexie first. I think we all shed a tear when Grigori kills Alexie and nobody hears it over the sounds of the fair. The assassin’s tool appears to be a suppressed Tokarev TT33. Ignorant of the scientist’s death, Hopper enters the fair’s funhouse to take shelter only to run into another Soviet henchman. This unnamed bad actor was outfitted similarly to Grigori with a suppressed Tokarev TT33. It seems unlikely that the older TT33 (a 1930s design) would be used in this suppressed role. A Makarov pistol in 9mm Makarov seems more accurate for the era. However, special forces soldiers usually have the option to carry nonstandard firearms depending on mission requirements. In this case, I’ll give Netflix a pass. The Zastava 57 pistol is very similar to the TT33 itch.
Trapped in Hopper’s house with the Mindflayer’s monster quickly approaching, Hawkins’s wannabe reporter Nancy chooses the shotgun sitting in Hopper’s unlocked shed. (Quick gun safety note here: always keep your firearms locked in a safe place.) The scattergun she picks comes in handy when the monster’s terrible tentacles come crashing into the cabin. This shotgun is particularly hard to identify because the scene is dark, however, it appears to be Remington 870. The Remington 870 is a classic pump shotgun well known for its rugged simplicity. Nancy’s 870 benefits from incredible magazine capacity. Honestly, I stopped counting how many rounds she actually fired into the monster. Hurrah for movie magic!
The Cavalry Has Arrived
Heliborne US troops storm Starcourt Mall in the final episode after the Key opening up the gate to the Upside Down is destroyed. The American soldiers appear to carry an M16A2 with a white light affixed to the handguard. These flashlights appear to be taped to the handguard, which is a period-correct field expedient solution. Depending on who the troops were that invaded Starcourt determines the accuracy of the rifle they used. The M16A2 was adopted by the US Marine Corps in 1983, but it wasn’t circulated in the US Army until 1986. If those were Marines, then the Netflix prop department picked perfectly. We can get you close to the M16A2 with the Colt AR15A4 The AR15A4 is the semi-auto variant of Colt's newest M16. The M16A4 is basically an M16A2 with a removable carry handle with a flat top receiver underneath.
Overall, season three did a great job showcasing period correct firearms. While I'm usually quite the stickler regarding the accuracy of firearms' accuracy in movies, Netflix managed to be spot on in creating a Cold War-era with the firearms they included.
Did I misidentify any firearms from the show? It’s a possibility due to the low light cinematography of this season, which created the dark ambiance. Was there a particular scene that you saw your favorite character carry a certain firearm? Let me know in the comments section below!