Michael Mann’s HEAT (1995) immediately gained a cult following on release. Its unique gritty and grounded approach bucked a decades-long trend of formulaic action films, exposing audiences to realistic military and police tactics. A combination of great direction, talented actors, and qualified technical advisors (ex-SAS) made the film’s climactic bank heist one of the most memorable scenes of the 90s.
This nearly 15-minute-long sequence made HEAT a cinematic legend. Shot in downtown LA, an easy score quickly escalates into a claustrophobic mess of a shootout. Expert gun-handling, booming on-location audio, and a huge cast of supporting firearms all help to make an unforgettable impression. This short sequence would inspire popular culture and media for generations to come.
One of the things that helped HEAT feel authentic were the props. The ex-SAS advisors employed by the production had quite literally been there and done that, and this prowess was reflected in the improvised equipment and tactics featured on screen.
This includes the single most iconic prop of the film, the ‘Heat’ rig; an improvised vest capable of hiding 8 STANAG magazines underneath a suit jacket. Being inconspicuous was important to the characters in HEAT — to pull of their plan, they needed to waltz into a busy, guarded bank with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and rifles without anyone batting an eye.
The first question most people are going to ask — what kind of magazines fit in the rig?
The movie depicts standard USGI STANAG magazines for the AR-15 platform, and we built our elastic retention system around that. Nearly all standard capacity AR-15 magazines should fit without issue, inducing popular polymer mags from leading brands.
However, we can’t guarantee fit of magazines from other platforms. You’re welcome to try of course, but we can’t provide any guidance there.
Each mag cell features two thick straps of elastic for retention and nylon straps on either end to ensure magazines stay in place. On one end of each mag cell, there’s a small hook & loop fastener to access magazines. Simply twist the magazine and pull out, and you’re ready to reload.