American gunowners lost one of their finest and most passionate advocates when R. Lee Ermey passed away on April 15, 2018. He almost needs no introduction—folks from all walks of life knew and loved the man who played tough-as-nails Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the classic 1987 film Full Metal Jacket(film buffs can recite Ermey’s opening tirade verbatim).
However, Ermey—affectionately known as “Gunny”—will have a particularly special place in the hearts of servicemen and gun enthusiasts. Not only was he a former Marine drill instructor—he reportedly came up with 150 pages of insults for the grunts in Full Metal Jacket all on his own—he was also a GLOCK spokesman and NRA board member for many years. On top of that, he hosted the TV shows Mail Call, Lock N Load and GunnyTime, in which he got to fire off weapons like the M-134 Minigun (nice work if you can get it!).
In honor of the Gunny, here are a few of his favorite guns:
In a 2016 interview with Tactical Life, Ermey singled out this small single stack pistol—which fires 9mm ammo—as “a really accurate little gun, a sweetheart of a gun.” In addition to its accuracy—a special thing in itself among smaller guns—the Gunny noted how nicely the G43 fits in someone’s hand.
GLOCK 41 Gen 4
Ermey was also a big fan of this GLOCK, which has far less recoil than other full-sized .45 automatic handguns. “Somehow they’ve manipulated the springs in the G41 so that it has the recoil of a 9×19,” he told Tactical Life.
The Gunny got to use a bunch of amazing weapons in his life, but when it came to his absolute favorite, he chose this .30cal semi-automatic rifle. The M1 Garand was standard issue for the Army and Marines in WWII and the Korean War. Ermey told TheBlaze that he owned five of them and called it “the greatest weapon we’ve ever invented.”
Incidentally, one of our country’s greatest military leaders agrees with him. None other than General George S. Patton once called the M1 Garand “the greatest implement of battle ever devised.”
But back to the Gunny. Maybe his choice of the M1 Garand as his favorite gun provides a key to the secret of his appeal. R. Lee Ermey was old-school in the best sense—honest, unpretentious, steadfast. As he said in Full Metal Jacket, “I am hard, but I am fair.”
Rest in peace, Gunny.
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