In the first Terminator movie, the supercomputer Skynet sends a T-800 back to the year 1984. Its mission is to find and kill Sarah Connor, the future mother of Resistance leader John Connor. By killing Sarah, John will never exist and will not lead humanity to victory against the machines in the future.
When the Terminator travels through Skynet's time displacement field, it arrives in 1980's Los Angeles naked, since the time vortex will only accept living matter (another reason for the T-800 to be surrounded with living tissue). Upon arrival, the Terminator commands a group of street punks to give it their clothes. The punks attack but to no avail, and one of them is killed when the Terminator impales him through the stomach with its fist. One punk left standing surrenders his clothes, which include grey jeans, a black leather jacket, black gloves and a grey trenchcoat. After acquiring clothes, the Terminator visits a gun shop where it picks up an assortment of weapons. After recieving its weapons (and shooting the shop owner), the Terminator examines a phone book in order to find Sarah Connor. The reason for this is because most records were destroyed on Judgement Day, so Skynet only knew the city that Sarah lived in. The Terminator finds three Sarah Connors in the phone book and hunts down each one of them. Its true target learns of the other two deaths on the news and fears that she will be next.
When the Terminator attacks Sarah's apartment, killing her roommate Ginger and her boyfriend, he listens to the answering machine as Sarah tries to call, who unknowingly tells her would-be assassin where she is: a club called Tech Noir. The Terminator seeks out the club and finds Sarah, but is interrupted by the arrival of Kyle Reese, a Resistance soldier that followed the Terminator through time in order to protect Sarah. The Terminator pursues Sarah and Kyle on the road, but is damaged during the chase. It retreats to a vacant apartment to perform maintenance on its arm, and also cuts out its organic left eye. It resorts to wearing sunglasses to hide its exposed infra-red optic sensor.The Terminator later attacks the police station where Sarah and Kyle have been taken to, killing at least 17 officers. Sarah and Kyle manage to escape undetected and the Terminator is forced to relocate its target by invading the home of Sarah's mother. By this point, its flesh covering has 'died' and is starting to decay. After breaking in and recieving a call from Sarah, the Terminator impersonates her mother's voice and Sarah tells it where she is hiding. The Terminator then travels to the motel that Sarah and Kyle are hiding out in, but they flee just as it arrives. Stealing a motorcycle, the Terminator pursues Sarah and Kyle on the highway until it is blasted off its bike by a pipe bomb. It is then struck by an oil tanker, which then stops to inspect the damage. The driver is knocked out and his partner flees after seeing the Terminator's metallic skull beneath its wounded flesh. The Terminator hijacks the tanker and tries to run Sarah over, but Kyle slips a pipe bomb into its exhaust pipe. Sarah and Kyle take cover in a dumpster as the tanker explodes, the Terminator supposedly destroyed along with it.
However, the android has survived, the flames having destoyed its clothes and flesh, revealing the nightmarish appearance of its metallic endoskeleton. It emerges from the truck's wreckage and continues to pursue Sarah and Kyle into an empty computer factory, walking with a limp as the motors in its leg are damaged. It corners Kyle and savagely beats him, but before he dies, Kyle plants his last pipe bomb in a small gap in the Terminator's mid-section. The bomb explodes, destroying the android's legs and severing an arm. It survives the blast and crawls after Sarah who tries to flee on a conveyor belt. As the Terminator reaches for her, Sarah throws the switch for a hydraulic press, which crushes what's left of the Terminator and destroys it completely.
Though the Terminator is destroyed, significant portions of its wreckage remain, including a damaged CPU chip and a mostly-intact arm. These components are recovered by Cyberdyne Systems, the computer technologies firm that owned the factory where the android met its demise. Studying the salvaged CPU, Cyberdyne are able to reverse-engineer its circuitry and begin to develop their own advanced processing system, which will be dubbed "Skynet", the very computer that sent the Terminator back in time in the first place.
In the fractured timeline of Terminator Genisys, the Terminator that was sent back to kill Sarah Connor in 1984 is intercepted by Sarah herself, along with her elderly T-800 protector Guardian, whom she calls "Pops". With history having been radically altered by Skynet's attempted termination of Sarah during her childhood (which was prevented by Pops), Sarah is now all too aware of the existence of Terminators and has been training under Pops all her life to fight them, leaving her well-prepared for this encounter.
When the Terminator attempts to acquire clothing from a group of punks, it is attacked by Pops. The two T-800s battle it out in the empty moonlit street while Sarah watches from a high vantage point through the scope of a sniper rifle. Pops allows Sarah a clear shot who fires at the opposing Terminator, the round tearing through its torso and knocking out its power cell, disabling it. The duo then take the inert killing machine away in a truck to dispose of it.Along the way to their hideout, Sarah and Pops encounter Kyle Reese who had been sent back from the original Future War on his mission to protect Sarah. This time, however, it is Kyle who is saved by Sarah when the confused soldier is attacked by a T-1000 disguised as a cop. Kyle, Sarah and Pops approach their hideout, but the T-1000 follows them. Shedding a sliver of its mimetic poly-alloy from its body, the T-1000 re-activates the disabled T-800 which then attacks Kyle. Kyle fires a grenade round at the android which destroys its organic sheath, soon followed up by an armour-piercing round that severs the robot's head. After Pops has destroyed the T-1000 by melting it with acid, he and Sarah do the same with the T-800's remains, leaving no trace of it behind and thus preventing anyone from finding it and using it to develop Skynet.
In the original timeline, the Terminator acquired an arsenal of weapons to carry out its mission to assassinate Sarah Connor. These weapons were taken from a Los Angeles gun shop and the T-800 killed the shop owner after loading the weapons then and there. In the Genisys timeline, the Terminator never even acquired its clothing let alone weapons as it was destroyed shortly after its arrival.
- AMT Hardballer - A longslide .45 caliber handgun outfitted with a laser sight, allowing for perfect accuracy.
- IMI Uzi - 9mm machine-pistol.
- Franchi SPAS-12 - 12-guage shotgun capable of pump-action or automatic reloading. The Terminator loaded this gun in the shop with shells from the counter and killed the shop owner with it.
- Smith & Wesson Model 15 - Revolver handgun used as a common police sidearm. The Terminator took this gun from a cop following its first failed chase of Kyle and Sarah.