As we fast approach the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Embassy Siege that took place in London from April 30 to May 5, 1980, let’s take a look back at the weapons of the era as depicted in the movie “6 Days”. Having been born during this event, I’m fascinated by the firearms and equipment, and how they’ve evolved since. In this two-part series, we’ll first take a look at the guns of the hostage takers from “Arabistan,” then, in Part 2 we’ll look at the weapons of the British Special Air Service (SAS).
With such a well-documented incident, the crew of the film 6 Days had plenty to live up to in keeping the movie accurate to the period and events that took place within the incident, as well as accuracy in portraying those involved. Overall, I felt the film was very well done and kept that accuracy and attention to detail without dragging on and still maintained the brevity and suspense of the situation. To top it off, the acting was well done, especially for a film I’d never heard of until digging through the bargain bin at Walmart last year.
Iranian embassy siege: THE GUNS OF THE “6 DAYS” MOVIE, PART 1
The Polish-made PM63 gets some good screen time during the film; not extensively, but during the scenes inside the Iranian Embassy it’s seen a good number of times. The PM63 is a fully automatic machine pistol that fires from an open bolt and incorporates a collapsable stock and foregrip. It’s a bit hard to see in the photo above, but for those not familiar with the gun, the slide has an integrated compensator that can also facilitate one-handed slide manipulations. In the video below, you can see Ian from the Forgotten Weapons YouTube channel getting some trigger time on the PM63.
Czech VZ 61 Skorpion
The VZ 61 Skorpion probably doesn’t need much introduction as it’s more widely associated with Soviet weapons and more commonly seen in video games than the PM63. Of the sources I’ve read on the Iranian Embassy Siege, most merely suggest that the hostage takers used mostly Soviet-made weapons and leave it at that, although my SAS In Action book specifically mentions the Skorpion as being used by the terrorists. Though it’s understandable that the PM63 was put into the 6 Days movie as it’s still common on the European black market as evidenced by an article I wrote last year.
The Skorpion is capable of semi-auto and automatic fire, and has a crude folding stock. For a front row seat on how the original Skorpion in .32 ACP handles, we again look to Ian’s Forgotten Weapons channel below:
The Browning Hi-Power is another iconic weapon that served on both sides of the Iranian Embassy Siege, both in reality and in the film. The scene above shows the six hostage takers overwhelming PC Trevor Lock with a Hi-Power. While the Hi-Power doesn’t get extensive screen time in the 6 Days film, it’s certainly not neglected. During the scenes inside the embassy, the hostage takers appear to be using the standard 13 round magazines. TFB TV’s Alex C. gives us a great overview of John M. Browning’s handiwork in the video below:
S&W 686 REVOLVER
This last weapon used by the terrorists in the 6 Days movie is a bit of a faux pas. As best as I can tell, the revolver carried by the hostage takers’ leader, Salim, is the Smith & Wesson 686. While the S&W 686 is a very proven and loved design, it was not yet released for sale until the year following the Iranian Embassy Siege. While it’s completely possible that a hostage taker carried a revolver, one thing is certain; he did not use the 686, but it’s also possible that I’m misidentifying the exact model, so if you watch the movie, let us know if I’m right or wrong. Either way, the S&W 686 is no stranger to TFB, feel free to click the photo below for our coverage of the many faces of six (or seven) shooter.
If you’ve already seen 6 Days, did you like it? If you haven’t seen the movie, feel free to check it out. As of the time of this writing, it’s available on Netflix. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll discuss the weapons used by the SAS.