The Guns of The Tomorrow War

    It’s 2022, the Covid-19 pandemic has passed but humanity has another crisis to face – future aliens. This 4th July weekend Amazon dropped a major new military sci-fi movie, The Tomorrow War, starring Chris Pratt, Yvonne Strahovski, J. K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Sam Richardson and Edwin Hodge. The premise is interesting, future soldiers travel back in time to save humanity (very Terminator) and lead conscripts in a last-ditch fight against a marauding alien menace. Chris Pratt is a former SOCOM operator turned high school science teacher who travels into the future to help his daughter save the world.

    Without too many spoilers, let’s take a look at some of the weapons used in the film!

    Future Soldiers arrive during the World Cup…

    The first we see of the future is the arrival of some soldiers from the future to announce the fact humanity is on borrowed time. Cool premise but it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine Chris Pratt and family would be watching the soccer World Cup Final during what appears to be a Christmas party.

    The soldiers from the future are armed with what is apparently the standard issue weapon of the future – a CQB-length carbine with Hera Arms accessories and Trijicon ACOGs.

    The Hera Arms CQB Carbine introduced by Sgt. Diaz

    During boot camp draftees from the present are introduced to their new weapon before they head into the fight. There appears to be little hands-on training or weapon variation amongst the soldiers sent to the future.

    According to Xtreme Props, who provided the weapons for the film, the carbines, known as ‘MkIIIs’, had 8in barrels and the Hera Arms CQR thumbhole grip and buttstocks – they certainly give the desired effect of looking a little futuristic. The ACOG appears to be a TA31RCO and there’s also a small red dot positioned at a 45-degree offset but I couldn’t make out what it was (if you did, let us know in the comments below). There’s an Inforce WML weapon light mounted on the HERA IRS Sport handguard, which has some sections of Picatinny fitted. One thing that seems to have improved in the future is magazine capacity, because while the carbines appear to feed from standard PMags their capacity has increased to the point where reloads are rarely necessary!

    Carbine come flamethrower

    While the Hera Arms-outfitted MKIII might seem like an odd choice, I suppose the future top brass thought conscripts from the past would be familiar with or able to become quickly adept at using an AR-based weapon. The 5.56x45mm chambering isn’t ideal for going up against ravenous, tough to drop, aliens but at least it’s controllable while you’re putting a lot of rounds down range and with that stubby brake you’re certainly going to dazzle the space lizards. I think I would have preferred a Milkor rotary 40mm grenade launcher given the aliens’ primary weak spot is their underbelly. Dropping a 40mm grenade in front of them might have been easier than waiting for a lucky shot!

    Pratt faces down a White Spike with a 1911

    What sidearm do you pick for taking on an unstoppable alien foe? Pratt’s character, of course, chose a Kimber 1911, and in the couple of scenes where his carbine finally did run dry, he put his Kimber to good use and it seemed to do the trick.

    Chris Pratt and Edwin Hodge’s character Dorian clear a corridor

    In the screencap above, we can see the outline of the carbine’s offset red dot for those closer encounters, not that anyone ever appears to use it. Next to Pratt is Dorian, Edwin Hodge’s grizzled veteran character, who has wisely tooled himself up with a Beretta 1301 Tactical. According to Xtreme Props Dorian’s setup includes an Aridus Industries stock adapter, Aridus YT-1301 bolt release, a Nordic Components mag tube extension and an Aridus 1301 Zhukov handguard.

    Dorian’s Beretta 1301 with a Primary Arms Microdot

    I’m pleased to report that John Browning’s .50 calibre heavy machine gun is still in service in the 2050s. The M2 is seen in numerous scenes, including a pretty cool alien car chase sequence (beat that Fast & Furious franchise).

    Future-proof .50 cal

    The other most interesting and arguably futuristic piece of tech is a rotary gun-armed drone. The VSTOL drones guard the perimeter of a research base in the middle of the ocean. They’re armed with GAU-19.


    The 3-barrelled, .50 BMG GAU-19 was originally designed by General Electric in the early 80s before it was then produced by Lockheed Martin, and currently by General Dynamics – though who is making them in the 2050s remains to be seen. They’re effective pieces of kit in the movie and a cool inclusion.

    During one part of the movie, there’s a scene where some futuristic harpoon guns are put to good use, they look a little like can cannon uppers – what do you think?

    Now, one of my favourite characters in the film is Pratt’s estranged dad, played by J.K. Simmons. Simmons is arguably the best armed character of the movie – going with some weapons that you would hope might stop an aggressive alien lizard.

    Simmons and his Deagle

    Simmons’ sidearm is no less than a chrome .50 Action Express Desert Eagle – an absolute classic movie gun, which he puts to good use late in the movie. But it’s his choice of rifle which is inspired.

    Simmons bringing the punch

    Knowing what he was going up against, Simmons chose an F&D Defense FD338, chambered in .338 Lapua, bringing the necessary firepower to the fight. Not only does he put this to solid use at close range but he even stretches its legs out making some impressive long-range shots. While not known for action roles, Simmons puts in a great performance.

    I wonder if we’ll see Pratt with a similar setup in the upcoming The Terminal List show

    Towards the end of the film, Pratt swaps out his ‘MKIII’ carbine for what appears to be an AR with a Geissele URG-I upper, a Trijicon MRO and an AN/PEQ-15.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the movie was along with some interesting and conversation-provoking weaponry choices. If you enjoyed Independence Day, Starship TroopersEdge of Tomorrow or Aliens, then there’s probably something in The Tomorrow War for you. Have you caught the movie yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]