In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 1 episode 5 "Queen's Gambit", Sarah is coming to the school of John and Cameron to take them to a rescue mission for Derek Reese. So when John and Cameron get into Sarah's vehicle their dialog's like below (as per Terminator Wiki):

Sarah: Field trip.

John (jumping in the front seat): I call shotgun.

Cameron: I call 9 millimeter.

What are they talking about in this dialogue?

Here's the clip.


5 Answers 5


"Calling shotgun" is a way of making sure that you get to sit in the front seat of a car, similar to calling "bagsies" in order to secure something for yourself.

From Wikipedia:

"More recently, the term [shotgun] has been applied to a game, usually played by groups of friends to determine who rides beside the driver in a car. Typically, this involves claiming the right to ride shotgun by being the first person to call out "shotgun"."

Cameron then calls "9 millimeter", another word that has connotations to weaponry, specifically guns. I would assume that "9 millimeter" is meant to trump "shotgun", meaning that Cameron would get the front seat.

Another interpretation of this line (courtesy of @NapoleonWilson) is that Cameron simply didn't know what calling shotgun meant, and as such simply named another weapon.

However, I feel pretty confident in saying that the lines inclusion in the show is intended as a reference to a line from this iconic scene from The Terminator.

The line "uzi 9 millimeter" quickly became a popular reference to this movie.

  • 16
    If anything, I'd rather say Cameron didn't really know what "calling shotgun" means at all and just named a gun because John did so. I doubt she did so in order to "trump" his call and sit in the front instead. The joke is that she didn't get what John was talking about and rather was set in the ways of things she does know, actual guns.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 9:46
  • @NapoleonWilson I haven't seen the show and I don't know the characters, I was merely taking a guess based on the quotes presented - is your interpretation based on knowledge of the show? If so, I'll update my answer to include it as a possibility. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 9:50
  • 4
    It's not, it's just the most reasonable deduction from what I do know about the characters and the most reasonable way this could have been meant.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 9:51
  • 7
    @DrRDizzle - Cammeron in case here is the robot. A robot that doesn't care about riding in the front, and has the sense of humor of a brand new Terminator.
    – Davor
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 10:51
  • See also j-f-s-p.livejournal.com/4467.html :)
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 12:08

"Calling shotgun" is laying claim to the front passenger seat.

I saw that line as Cameron A) Not knowing what "call shotgun" meant, and B) Thinking John was saying "I want to have the shotgun" literally (e.g., take a literal shotgun on the "field trip"), and stating her preference for a 9mm handgun instead.

If it were much later in the series you might almost think Cameron was making a joke, punning on the double-meaning (and still saying she'd prefer a 9mm handgun), but certainly not in Queen's Gambit and I'm not sure she ever quite got that far before the series was cut.


Per this wiki article:

The expression "riding shotgun" is derived from "shotgun messenger", a colloquial term for "express messenger", in the days of stagecoach travel the person in the position next to the driver. However, apparently the phrase "riding shotgun" was not coined until 1919.[2] It was later used in print and especially film depiction of stagecoaches and wagons in the Old West in danger of being robbed or attacked by bandits.

Meaning the person sitting next to the driver on the stagecoach would literally brandish a shotgun to protect the stagecoach from robbery, typically as they would be carrying a strongbox.

The character said 'I call 9mm', because the audience would see this as a play on the origin of this phrase.

  • 1
    Yeah, no. If anything the guy (who wasn't a guy at all but a girl and a robot) did not understand anything at all.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:02
  • @NapoleonWilson Ahh, that would be from me not seeing the show, I'll edit my answer. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:05
  • Still, +1 for referencing the origin of riding shotgun.
    – Arluin
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 15:54

According to IGFDB, the Glock 17 is the most commonly used gun on the show. It uses 9mm ammo, as do many of the other handguns.

So this is a brick joke, she's literally calling dibs on the hand gun. It's also an example of http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BluntMetaphorsTrauma as Cameron is a cultural tourist on 2000's slang. She doesn't know the figurative meaning of the phrase as John is using it, likely thinking he called dibs on using literal shotguns.


It sounds more like something like this:

Sarah: Field trip. [with not much enthusiasm as "we're going to adventure"]

John : I call shotgun. [annoyed/sarcastic and as saying "gee... what adventure... I'll need a shotgun"]

Cameron: I call 9 millimeter. [slightly surprised "what are they talking about!?... I'll take that gun, youneverknow"]

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