Amazon Prime’s Series Hits the Target!

by Vern Evans

TV shows based on hit video games have been truly “hit or miss,” with more misfires than bullseyes. But we’re arguably in a golden age thanks to such titles as The Witcher, Halo, and of course The Last of Us. A lot depends on the source material, and how it could translate to a compelling episodic TV show. On the surface, the post-apocalyptic Fallout series didn’t seem so suited to such an endeavor.

Guns of Fallout

The story of a “Vault Dweller” leaving the comforts of underground life and heading out into a devastated wasteland seems a bit light on story, to be honest; at least given last year’s The Last of Us, as well as what seems like a 100-years worth of The Walking Dead and its spinoffs. Yet, by retaining the core elements of the Fallout video game series, focusing on multiple colorful characters, and pulling in facets from other genres, notably Hollywood Westerns – while still retaining all of the dark humor and camp – Amazon Video’s adaptation was able to advance us to the next level.

The new original series, which debuted on April 10, has best been described as a story of haves and have-nots in a world in which there’s almost nothing left to have. The wasteland is an irradiated hellscape ravaged by multiple wars and endless conflict. Even as the first season didn’t answer all the questions, and arguably left a lot of mystery, one point was absolutely clear – the meek didn’t inherit the world, and even the fittest might not survive.

As a post-apocalyptic game based in an alternative timeline, the Fallout series was already noted for having a rather “diverse” arsenal of weapons. The first season of the TV version takes this even further by mixing real-world firearms with guns we might expect to find in the time after Armageddon.

Historic Firearms Carried By the Survivors

Those eking out an existence on the fringes of the wasteland can’t be too choosey when it comes to firearms, and eagle-eyed viewers will spot everything from flintlock muskets to advanced heavy machine guns. The choice of historic weapons may likely be due to what the show’s armorers had available for the production. That point also explains why the same firearms seem to appear in different shots.

Various survivors in the wasteland can be seen armed with such guns as the M1927 Thompson, M3A1 “Grease Gun,” Soviet PPSh-41, Sten Gun, FN FAL, Iver Johnson Enforcer Pistol, M1A1 Carbine, M14, BAR, Ruger Mini-14, and RPD light machine gun. No point is made as to how these firearms, not to mention ammunition, survived the big one, but these would seem to be a selection of reliable firearms that would be in military stocks or surplus from the ongoing war mentioned at the start of the series.

The dwellers of Vault 33 are armed with the British-made Sterling Mk. IV – seen at the shooting range and during (spoilers) the Raiders’ infiltration in the first episode. The Sterling, which was used by the British Army and by various Commonwealth forces throughout the Cold War, does seem to be a fitting choice for the retro-future aesthetics of Fallout, even if it was absent from the game series.

Guns of the Ghoul

The pre-war actor turned “Ghoul” (played by Walton Goggins) lends a Western-noir element to the series, and fittingly is armed with just the type of small arms one might expect a living dead bounty hunter to carry.

While as the living Cooper Howard seen in numerous flashbacks, Goggins employs a Single Action Army revolver and Winchester Model 1873 rifle, yet, apparently neither survived the apocalypse. Instead, in the guise of the Ghoul, he carries a custom revolver that may be based on a cut-down MTs255 revolving shotgun capable of firing a variety of large-caliber finned cartridges that are seen in his bandolier. Though the top-break revolver appears to have a four-round cylinder, the Ghoul fires multiple rounds – a mystery of the wasteland!  

The Ghoul is also spotted with a sawed-off Model 1873, which he uses on a few occasions, but he tends to favor the revolver.

From the Games to the Series

Several fan-favorite guns did make the jump from the games to the Amazon Video series, notably the Colt 6520 10mm pistol. It originally appeared in Fallout and Fallout 2, where it appeared as the primary service weapon of the Squires of the Brotherhood of Steel.

The Colt 6520 Autoloading pistol was the first firearm given to the player in the original game, and was commonplace throughout the wasteland, suggesting it was developed prior to the end of the world. Although its visual inspiration contains a revolver cylinder, the Colt 6520 is actually a semi-automatic pistol that is fed by a 12-round internal magazines, reportedly this was due to miscommunication between the game’s artists and developers.

The redesigned 10mm pistol that appeared in Fallout 4 is also present in the series – but apparently is meant to be a different design. While Vault dweller Lucy Maclean (Ella Purnell) carries the pistol, she is seen with a dart gun as her primary sidearm through much of the first season. As several dart guns are seen in Vault 33, and in Vault 4, it can be assumed that it is the standard emergency firearm – perfect for a society that attempts to avoid direct violent confrontation unless absolutely necessary!

Raider leader/New California Republic official Lee Moldaver (Sarita Choudhury) can be briefly spotted in one scene with the fictional AEP9 laser pistol from Fallout 4, although she is never actually spotted firing it. Its presence is likely meant as one of the series’ dozens of “Easter Egg” callbacks to the video game and other post-apocalyptic settings.

The Not-So-Small Arms of The Brotherhood of Steel

The Knights of the Brotherhood of Steel wear power armor, and while they don’t wield swords, they are equipped with some not-so-small arms. A modified Desert Eagle Mark XIX – fitted with an under-barrel bracket and an extended frame – appears as their primary sidearm. It is never specifically identified by name.

Interestingly, the hand cannons were designed for the series and hadn’t appeared in any games. However, the guns were added to Fallout Shelter as downloadable content to mark the TV show’s debut.

The Knights also carry their ubiquitous “Assault Rifles” that were seen in Fallout 4. The caliber isn’t identified, but the prop guns appear to have taken elements from the First World War’s Lewis Gun and MG-08/15 water-cooled machine gun with an oversized M249 hand guard. Though it would likely be an extremely heavy weapon that would require power armor, it is seen carried and used by at least one squire.

At least one Knight of the Brotherhood of Steel can be seen firing a Minigun from a Brotherhood of Steel Vertibird, their tiltrotor aircraft (likely based on the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey). The fictionalized firearm, which first appeared in Fallout 4 is based on the U.S military’s M134 Minigun and M61 Vulcan. The wasteland of Fallout is a rough place, and clearly, peace is only maintained by superior firepower.

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