While going back into the Matrix to save Morpheus, Neo and Trinity are sent to a huge room with lots and lots of guns, but in terms of technological level, they are all the same types of guns that agents or the military would have access to in the simulated world of the matrix.

In the 'real world', there are a few scenes before that where we see Cypher using a huge futuristic laser to take out two of his collegues.

Why don't Neo and Trinity take something like that into the Matrix? Even the agents don't have a gun like that.

From my understanding of the story, when Morpheus and his team enter the Matrix, they are not entering through the regular channel that the machines use to keep the humans in the simulated reality, rather they are hacking into the Matrix, and so are able to track their position from Morpheus's ship as well as obtain as much guns and ammunition as they want. Why can't they take a more advanced futuristic gun with them?

6 Answers 6


Matrix is a world with rules. There are laws of nature written into the simulation.

Those weapons on the racks are nothing more than programs written by the Zion rebels. As such those programs exist within those rules and laws of nature imposed by the operating environment where they function (Matrix).

  • As an example: I can use a nuke to kill everyone in a city in real world. But when I play World of Warcraft, I cannot - because WoW designers didn't provide that functionality to me with my level of access (however, THEY can write a WoW spell or back-end script to do that! which explains the advanced bug technology that you indicated was anachronistic).

  • To bring the example more ontopic - imagine that Matrix programmers wrote the OS such that nuclear fission is impossible. Or even simply that there are no fissionable materials in the Matrix in the needed amount. Then - even if it's possible - and Morpheus knows it's possible - they can not create a Nuke to use in the Matrix.

Yes, some well trained people are able to bend those rules a little (Morpheus seems the most capable). But only a little. They still mostly follow the rules of the Matrix.

The only exception is The One (Neo) - he could theoretically create any weapon he wanted. But by the time he grabs the guns he hasn't even learned to jump between buildings like Morpheus, or to do bullet time (yet). He only realizes his power after the gunrack scene, on the building roof.

Bending reality by wielding a fictional weapon is entirely beyond his ability in that specific scene.

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    @Richard - Architect can bend his own rules a lot easier than Neo or Trinity could. Jun 7, 2014 at 13:40
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    The physics of the Matrix reflect the physics of the real world. Since the lightning gun works in the real world, there's no reason to assume it wouldn't work in the matrix. The Architect/Agents don't need to bend the rules to get the bugs to work
    – Valorum
    Jun 7, 2014 at 13:46
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    @Richard - those weapons are nothing more than programs written by the Zion rebels. You can't write a program to shut down your computer if you have no specs and no APIs to shutdown functionality. But the creator of the OS can. Jun 7, 2014 at 13:59
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    @user13267 - Morpheus' team doesn't know either - you'll notice that they aren't all THAT well armed from the start of the movie. The reason I brought up Neo specifically is that, as The One, he could theoretically have made any weapon he wanted. But not yet at that time. Jun 7, 2014 at 14:01
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    Yes. But he didn't understand the rules by the time of the scene you're asking. I will restate the question here using slightly different words: Why couldn't whoever sends the guns to Neo in the Matrix, send him advanced futuristic weapons in the Matrix's simulated reality, instead of the normal types of late 20th century guns as used by the agents and military?
    – user13267
    Jun 7, 2014 at 14:13

The "huge futuristic laser" you've described is better known as a Lightning Rifle. It appears to be the only advanced weapon that the Zionese rebels have access to.

Since we see various anachronistic technology working inside the matrix (the bugs, for example) the decision not to use them must be an operational reason which seem to boil down to 'higher tech doesn't equal better':

There are some pretty good reasons not to use them inside the matrix;

  • They're cumbersome
  • They require two hands to operate
  • They need an enormous, heavy power supply
  • They evidently need time to recharge
  • They only seem to work at short range.

The Lightning Rifle is useful as a weapon of last resort against machines but they're only peripherally effective against humans. Tank survives a blast from point-blank range where a well-aimed submachine or shotgun blast would have undoubtedly killed him.

In short

  • Lightning guns are bulky and a bit crap
  • Classic guns are light, effective and deadly.
  • Those custom designed weapons are essentially like Tommy guns, they aren't some futuristic laser gun... Since The Matrix's simulation is pretty much set in the New Millenium the program wouldn't really allow futuristic laser weapons to exist. It's much more feasible to create some sort of Tommy Gun esque weapon because those existed in Human History. Jun 7, 2014 at 17:51
  • @DoctorWho22 - Laser guns are perfectly feasible with current technology; youtube.com/watch?v=RY5RYb14mIE
    – Valorum
    Jun 7, 2014 at 17:55
  • Richard current technology NOW yes... but back when this movie was made that sort of technology was not readily available... Like I said Mouse's custom weapons are pretty much enhanced Tommy Guns.... Plus why would The creator of the Matrix allow the ability to create weapons that are THAT powerful? Imagine how different the movie would be if they were just allowed to create whatever because hey it's feasible. Jun 7, 2014 at 18:01
  • @DoctorWho22 - As per the comment chain below, if the physics of the matrix are analogous with the physics of the real world, there's no reason to assume a lightning rifle wouldn't work. The question then becomes "why wouldn't they use one" which is neatly answered by my answer "because they're pretty useless".
    – Valorum
    Jun 7, 2014 at 18:09
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    The Matrix is a computer simulation, there's much more than just mere physics being used in the Matrix. Let's say to me it seems that the code of the Matrix only allows technology that is common in the era that is being simulated to be created / used, that would mean that they wouldn't be able to create Lightning Guns. Just because they have the capability to create it because they know how, doesn't mean The Matrix would allow them to even be able to create one. Which is I believe is evidenced considering there's no futuristic weapons shown being used within The Matrix. Jun 7, 2014 at 18:16

There are no futuristic weapons shown within the movie The Matrix while people are inside The Matrix.

The only shown example of a created weapon inside The Matrix that is different than what is natural to it is Mouse's Automatic Weapon.

The Internet Movie Firearms Database

enter image description here

The unusual pair of large guns that Mouse (Matt Doran) uses are custom-built cam-operated electric driven automatic 12 gauge shotguns with 25-shell cylinders and a fire rate of 900 rounds per minute. They were crafted by John Bowring, lead armorer of the film. As an inside joke, Bowring named the guns "Andy" (serial no. A1169 - Leetspeak for Andy) and "Larry" (serial no. L2779 - Leetspeak for Larry) after the Wachowskis, the writers and directors of the film. It can be assumed inside the Matrix, Mouse designed these shotguns for himself like he designed the woman in the red dress.

As far as evidenced in the movie and that particular website which shows pretty much every single firearm in the movie (while inside The Matrix) there is no evidence of any actual truly Futuristic Weapons.

We know that The Matrix is coded itself to be a Simulation of the Real World. As such the weapons and gear that is used within the Matrix would most likely be restricted to what era the Matrix is simulating. All the weapons in the movie are based on real life weapons that are common within the late 90's / early new Millenium.

The only evidence of "high tech" stuff would be the bug remover and stuff that the agents use.

enter image description here

It looks pretty much like some sort of sonogram machine with a tube that sucks stuff out. This is an example of a "jerry-rigged" device, though I don't feel that it would be considered futuristic.

Also since Agents work for The Matrix itself it's entirely possible that they have access to stuff that others do not. Like the drug used on Morpheus.

Overall I think that if we use Occam's Razor, the principle that among competing theories the one with the least assumptions will most likely be correct, that they can't really create truly futuristic weapons. Sure there's evidence of jerry-rigged stuff, but there's no evidence of weapons that would be considered truly futuristic. As opposed to the assumption that there are people who are knowledgeable enough who can hack / create weapons that are considered futuristic, are capable of doing so, but then choose not to for whatever reason.

The only person who is capable of ACTUALLY creating whatever thing he wanted would be Neo because he can bend reality within The Matrix. Though there is no evidence of him willing anything into existence or having the knowledge of being able to create such advanced things. I believe his powers would be more like The Green Lantern, his powers are pretty much limited by his will / imagination.

  • Very very speculative this. And not backed up by canon.
    – Valorum
    Jun 7, 2014 at 23:09
  • Not backed up by canon? I've shown pictures and stuff that's inside the matrix as far as guns, do you see anything that's futuristic? May 27, 2016 at 16:36
  • When do you see Neo magicking stuff out of thin air?
    – Valorum
    May 27, 2016 at 16:46
  • I would assume that Neo can do stuff that most people can't... You know like flying around? What makes you think that he can't simply create weapons? Jun 21, 2016 at 17:51
  • Because we don't see him doing it. If he could do it, there are ample opportunities (and compelling reasons) for him to have done so, especially when facing overwhelming odds.
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2016 at 17:58

He brought a minigun.

enter image description here

Specifically, a GE M134 Minigun. It is capable of firing 6,000 rounds of 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition per minute, although the prop guys apparently said Neo is only firing at roughly half that rate, or about 3,000 rounds per minute.

Is this as advanced as the crazy lightning gun Cypher uses, and is then killed with? No. But it is far better suited for the task at hand.

As we see in the scene where Cypher kills Dozer and gets blasted, the crazy lightning gun takes some time to recharge between shots. Neo is going to take on three agents at once. Agents are known for their ability to dodge bullets and move with superhuman speed. In this scenario, the crazy lightning gun would actually be a liability, not an asset, because it would leave Neo almost defenseless while the gun was recharging. A minigun is actually a much better option for Neo's purposes here, because it produces a virtual wall of projectiles, and being belt-fed, reloading/recharging is not an issue.

When a body is hit by a burst of fire from a minigun, it isn't just riddled with holes; it is literally torn apart. It isn't a matter of getting hit a few times. It is a matter of being cut in half, having limbs severed, and having chunks of your body blown across the room. There is no possible way that the agents could have been so effective in avoiding being hit for so long (and it is worth mentioning that Neo is an incredible shot, because he somehow managed to avoid hitting Morpeus, which is also very unlikely).

Again, the crazy lightning gun might have been more advanced than a minigun, but not by much, and in any case, the minigun was a much more appropriate weapon for what Neo was trying to do. He needed to generate a massive amount of fire, and no other weapon in the world is better at doing that than a minigun. He made the right choice.

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    No, they commandeered the helicopter that the minigun was mounted on. That's why Trinity asked for a program to train her to pilot a B-212 helicopter.
    – Null
    Jun 23, 2015 at 20:01
  • @Null - he still brought it to the party, regardless of whether he brought it in from outside the Matrix.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 23, 2015 at 20:04
  • The bold part of the question asks "Why don't Neo and Trinity take something like [the lightning rifle] into the Matrix?" They did not bring the helicopter and minigun into the Matrix. The Agents and their SWAT helpers brought it to guard Morpheus. What would they have done if the helicopter hadn't helpfully been there? Why didn't they bring their own minigun into the Matrix?
    – Null
    Jun 23, 2015 at 20:08
  • @Null -Your point is a good one. As for why they didn't bring a minigun with them: I don't know how Neo's oneness would affect this, but in real life, miniguns don't work the way they do in movies. You can't just walk around with one, unless you are a bodybuilder muscle mutant. And you certainly couldn't conceal one, or carry anything else while also carrying a minigun. They are huge, heavy, and the rotating barrels and massive amounts of fire make them very difficult to control.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 23, 2015 at 20:13
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    I'm pretty sure that Neo knew about the helicopter before he started out. They all watched from outside the Matrix as Morpheus was taken there (in the helicopter). Otherwise, how would they even know where to go to rescue Morpheus? This also explains why the army guys in the lobby were already in full battle dress when they showed up - they came with the Agents in the first place.
    – Ernie
    Jun 24, 2015 at 18:37

The answer could be as simple as practicality.

  • Since the Matrix is coded to resemble the late 20th/early 21st century it stands to reason that the firearms tech that was coded in was of the same era. Rather than take the time (which they didn't have ) to write code for futuristic weapons they simply chose to go for the "off the rack" option. This would have allowed them to jump straight from the Construct to the Matrix, and also to allow for resupply of ammunition should they need it without further coding.
  • The weapons they chose were all easily concealable under their trench coats, whereas something like the Lightning Rifle would have required an external power source, and would have been bulky and cumbersome.

Matrix was not really a world per se but rather a world emulated in software. This means that everything they use on their ventures to Matrix has to adhere to certain rules -- i.e. whatever they got had to be compatible with the operating system. I'm pretty sure that whoever designed the Matrix made sure that there were no subroutines that would allow existence of nuclear weapons.

Another possibility is that writing software that allows one to start thermonuclear reaction in Matrix is so complex that it's beyond abilities of Zion folks. Because of that they created devices that use simple newtonian physics to function (one can't just disable combustion functionality used in cartridges as it would also disable internal combustion engines).

  • This would be a compelling argument, if there was a scrap of evidence to back it up.
    – Valorum
    Jun 8, 2014 at 17:40
  • This is the good place to start looking for evidence: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulator
    – Pronto
    Jun 8, 2014 at 17:49
  • Both lasers and electricity work inside the matrix.
    – Valorum
    Jun 8, 2014 at 17:51
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    Well Neo has the power to bend reality and pretty much break the system... Hell Neo can FLY in the Matrix and jump into agents and explode them... Creating weapons out of sheer will depends how far his powers go. Jun 8, 2014 at 18:34
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    Well, think you keep forgetting that it's relatively inconsistently written fictional story. Personally I still don't understand why he didn't make the whole things crash in the first place. It would have saved us from those horrible sequels.
    – Pronto
    Jun 8, 2014 at 18:50

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