One of the most striking images from The Terminator was the weapon he carried and used in his first attempt on Sarah Connor’s life: the .45 Longslide, with laser sighting. Who can forget the scene in the gun shop? The gun was likewise such a striking presence on screen it was used on the film’s poster. There are T-shirts dedicated to the gun.
Terminator was released in 1984, and while laser sights on weapons are common now, when the film was first shown the red laser was able to communicate something subtle and powerful to the audience: this is a machine, deadly accurate and futuristic. It made the Terminator seem other-worldly and terrifying. At a party during CES, Deputy Editor Jon Stokes and I bumped into some representatives from SureFire, a company that specializes in tactical flashlights. We talked about some of our favorite moments with technology in cinema, and The Terminator came up.
“We created that laser!” I was told. They told me the gentleman who built the prop was named Ed Reynolds, and he was still with the company. More than a little jazzed about bumping into a fun part of film history, we knew we had to get the full story behind the Terminator’s gun.