A few weeks ago I talked about movies for “gun guys” and brought up Miami Vice the TV series. The episode The Hit List and the scene below, in particular, was the moment every serious shooter in the 80s made Miami Vice “must-see TV”.

Jim Zubiena who plays the hitman was a well-known IPSC shooter and champion at the time. He does indeed fire 3 shots but the cameras of the day could not keep up with how fast he was. Luckily for all involved, Zubiena knew more about firearms and how to handle them than Alec Baldwin.

“Zubiena served as firearms instructor on the show Miami Vice, as well as appearing as Ludovici Armstrong, ace hitman hired by Calderone, in the episode “Calderone’s Return (Part I)“.

“In addition to being an accomplished actor, Zubiena has been recognized worldwide as an expert marksman. His abilities so impressed Michael Mann that he hired Zubiena to serve as firearms instructor on Miami Vice and in his movie Manhunter (in which he also took a small role, appropriately, as a police weapons instructor, alongside with Garcelle Beauvais, Bill Cwikowski, Chris Elliott, Dennis Farina, Kim Griest, Michele Shay, Bill Smitrovich and Michael Talbott). When Don Johnson began his Nash Bridges series, Zubiena was brought on to play a hitman. Zubiena has been recognized for the speed and accuracy in which he handles a 1911A1, showing the Mozambique technique in “Calderone’s Return (Part I)“. His handling of firearms in the episode was NOT rehearsed, but rather a demonstration of his actual abilities, and the footage has been used for training in law enforcement and intelligence officer firearms handling.”

“He has appeared in other TV shows including, the Mini-series “Drug Wars: Camarena”, the MOW ” Long Road Home” Doogie Howser, MD and Falcon Crest and approx. 48 commercials for various products. His stage career included Natl. tours of Godspell and a 14 month stint with Les Miserable in San Francisco during the early 90’s. Currently he is retired on a 29 acre horse ranch in northern LA county, but still shoots with the Single Action Shooting Society as the “Singin’ Cowboy”From the Miami Vice fan Wiki

I’m sure someone will point out that he clears the pistol and dumps it. Zubiena explained it during an interview with the now defunct website, The Gunzone.

That video is on the PACT timer webpage. It explains that he is not unloading and showing clear. He is dumping the weapon, rendering it harder to be picked up and used as he walks away. He mentioned in the interview that it was a character choice. That once he left it clear and harder to be used against him, it was also a way to mentally distance himself from the crime. I don’t know about all that, so I will take his word on it.

Don’t trust a chauffeur wearing shooting glasses.

Pictured below are some guns used in the episode in a friend’s private collection.

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  1. LSWCHP says:

    My favourite TV scene of all time.

    That man is good with a gun.


    1. Shawn says:

      yeah, best moment in TV history


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