"THIS IS MY RIFLE, THIS IS MY GUN. THIS IS FOR FIGHTING, THIS IS FOR FUN." That's the mantra R. Lee Ermey hammered into his young soldiers as sadistic Sgt. Hartman in the 1987 classic "Full Metal Jacket." Now as host of the History Channel's "Lock 'N Load With R. Lee Ermey" the actor and former Marine is surrounding himself with just about every gun imaginable. Each episode examines the historical progression of a specific weapon with lots of explosions along the way. Hand cannons, tanks, machine guns, bow and arrows...you name it, Ermey's playing with it.

"I don't mess around with video games because I do it for real," the actor said of his constant gunplay. "It's fun. I'm having a great time." Despite living the dream life of any sugar crazed 8 year-old boy, Ermey emphasizes the fireworks are all done for the sake of education, and he's continously amazed by advancing defense technology.

Image © History Channel

"The people are the same. Our military is top notch," he says, "but the stuff we worked with in Vietnam is just ancient history. Nowadays we're saving people's lives wounded in combat that years ago we wouldn't even had a chance. We don't knock down doors anymore to clear a house. We have robots that do that. We can mount cameras on them. We don't have to send a pilot in harms way to find a bad guy. It's pretty amazing stuff."

However, even with tech developments, Ermey and the show's crew always need to stay alert.

"I had a machine gun blow up in my face the other day," laughs Ermey. "These old weapons are very unstable, you have to be a little careful about them. This one did a nasty thing right in my face, but it's just part of the hazards of what we do. There is a certain element of danger but we try to be as safe as we possibly can."

"Lock 'N Load…" airs Friday nights on the History Channel.

Story by Michael Mellini

Starpulse contributing writer