Firearms used in the film Gandhi: Internet Movie Firearms database

Martini-Henry Rifle

Whilst Gandhi is spending some time in a South African prison, guards in the background are seen armed with Martini-Henry rifles. Whilst the exact model of the rifles featured is difficult to make out, the length of the operating leaver would suggest that they are no later than Mk. III variants. The Mk. IV model that followed was characterised by a longer lever which aided the extraction of cartridges.


Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE)

The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE) is seen throughout the film in the hands of British and Indian soldiers as well as Gurkhas recruited from Nepal. Given that the film was shot mainly in India, most of these Lee-Enfields are likely to have been built or at least refurbished in India at the factory in Ishapore. Some examples can be seen with squared-off foresight protectors which confirm this.
.303 SMLE Mk. III.


Reverend Charlie Andrews is confronted by an SMLE-carrying soldier whilst visiting Gandhi in jail.
Gurkhas march through the streets of Amritsar with SMLEs at the port.
Gurkhas take aim at the crowd gathered illegally in Jallianwala Bagh. The bayonets fitted to their rifles seem to be shorter than the standard 17" 1907 pattern bayonet. These are either cut-down examples or one of the many shorter Indian-made patterns.
The command is given to open fire resulting in the infamous massacre that took place on April 13, 1919.
A Gurkha cycles the bolt of his SMLE. A crimp-nosed blank can be seen about to be chambered.
Piles of empty .303 cases build up. Around 1650 rounds were fired causing an estimated 1500 casualties. The estimated number of deaths ranges from around 300 to over 1000.

Lee-Enfield No. 4

Some soldiers can be seen with Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles. Even after the introduction of the No. 4, production of SMLEs continued in India where they can still be found in the hands of police forces. No. 4 rifles were not built in India but were produced in Pakistan post-independence.

Sten Mk II Submachine Gun

A Sten Mk II can be seen in the hands of a Gurkha during attempts to disperse rioters. The Sten provided a cheap alternative to the Thompson submachine gun which the British and commonwealth forces had been importing since the start of WWII. A simple design, although not without issues, the Sten remained in service throughout and beyond. A similar design, the Sterling, would go on to replace the Sten as the submachine gun of the British Army and would be used until the late 1980s.

Vickers Machine Gun

During the scene centered around the Amritsar massacre, a mock-up of a Rolls-Royce armored car is featured. The traditional armament of these vehicles were Vickers machine guns, although later models of the vehicle were given heavier weapons. The machine gun mounted on the car in the film seems to be a mock-up also, as it does not resemble any specific design. It is therefore assumed that this is intended to represent a Vickers. Since the gates of the Jallianwala Bagh garden were too narrow to allow an armored car to enter, the Vickers could not be brought to bear on the crowd.

Beretta Model 1934

Nathuram Godse infamously used a Beretta M1934 on January 30 1948, firing three times at Gandhi at close range. This event is featured in both the opening and closure of the film.



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