Cool Guns/Handguns/Revolvers

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Colt Python

One of Colt's most popular revolvers, along with the Single Action Army. Chambered for the powerful .357 Magnum round, this gun was still hand-fitted and assembled up until it was discontinued by Colt, instead of by machine, making them very expensive to produce compared to equivalent Smith & Wesson or Ruger revolvers. The Python can be distinguished by the "rib" on top of the barrel (which, unlike a ventilation rib on a shotgun barrel, actually serves no purpose). In addition, the cylinder rotation (clockwise) and barrel rifling (counter-clockwise) are the opposite of every other major revolver maker; the latter is a big red flag to ballistics labs. Colt also released several other "snake" guns (King Cobra, Diamondback, Anaconda), but these were production weapons and did not enjoy the same degree of hand-fitting that the Python did.

  • Cool Action: the 'reload flick', a trick seen in films with all revolvers with the cylinder on a swingarm, the shooter hits the cylinder release latch and ejects the casings like one normally would but after reloading he flicks the gun to the right with his wrist, the momentum sending the cylinder swingarm back into postion, NEVER try this in real life, it puts unnecessary stress on the cylinder swingarm and can actually bend it, putting the cylinder out of alignment with the barrel, which can and does have explosive consequences. Spinning the cylinder first only makes it worse, and is likely to result in you being shot a filthy look by any wheelgun fan who sees you do it.
  • One of the more powerful weapons in the Half Life series, with the power equivalent to that of two shotgun blasts up close.
  • Quincy Archer of Survival of the Fittest fell in love with this gun from playing the above game, so naturally it was assigned to his hated enemy, Warren Pace. Quincy himself got stuck with boxing gloves.
  • Ryo's constant companion in the City Hunter series and movies. His is supposedly "One in a thousand" (which was a special rating for Remington Rifles, also "one in 10,000", never applied to Colt Pistols).
    • Don't know about the anime, but in the manga the 'One in One Thousand' was a .41 Magnum Smith & Wesson which he used to pull off an impossible shot in one particular story arc.
  • Barry Burton's weapon of choice in the original Resident Evil. Jill or Chris can also get one, though it's not as powerful as Barry's (handwaved by stating that Barry customized his).
  • Able Team. Ex-cop Carl Lyons carries one with a Magna-Ported six-inch barrel, among his many other guns.
  • Tommy Vercetti gets one of these in Grand Theft Auto Vice City. It's the most powerful hand gun in the game, capable of killing any unarmored enemy in one shot (and armored enemies in two), but you can't move while aiming it, and it has a slow fire rate.
  • General Shepherd uses a .44 Magnum Anaconda in Modern Warfare 2
  • Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. Killed when he cocks it before firing, giving away his position in the dark.
  • The 37mm revolver cannons used by the police Labors in Patlabor are scaled up versions of the Python.
  • Gene Hunt from Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes carries this as his sidearm.
  • Rick Grimes uses one in The Walking Dead.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops, usable in multiplayer, and shows up sporadically in singleplayer; it's apparently Mason's sidearm of choice.
  • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 uses one as his default weapon.
  • Daiskue Jigen from Lupin III uses a Python exclusively.
  • A very powerful weapon is 7.62 High Calibre, but hampered by slow reloading times and a slow rate of fire.
  • Dan "Hellion" Smith from Killer7 uses this for half the game until he gets his Demon Gun
  • Used by one of the vigilante cops in Magnum Force. Harry is able to match the ballistics thanks to a Batman Gambit.
  • Appears in Perfect Dark, where it's called the DY357 Magnum. It's one of the game's more powerful sidearms, although it has a very slow reloading sequence.

Colt Single Action Army

The Single Action Army, also known as the Peacemaker or Equalizer, is Colt's original .45 revolver. Developed in 1873, the Single Action Army eventually became the standard amongst gun-toting citizens of The Wild West for its reliability and high performance. As its name suggests, this gun is a single action, which meant the hammer had to be pulled back after every shot. Also, it had a "fixed" frame, with the cylinder chambers accessible only via a thumb-operated loading gate -- the weapon could only be loaded and unloaded a single round at a time. Typically in real life it would only be loaded with five rounds since the SAA had an unfortunate tendency for the hammer to drop when it was carried cocked (some modern reproductions fix this flaw; the most faithful intentially ones do not); this is usually not shown in fictional depictions. Known among shooters for its "four-click" cocking, with the clicks being said to spell out "C-O-L-T".

  • Cool Action: Fan firing. Since the SAA is single action, holding the trigger while manually operating the hammer with the palm of the other hand lets the user fire the weapon quickly. A gunslinger will often use this trick to deal with a group of goons. Not good for the long-term "health" of the gun; Don't Try This At Home.
  • Featured heavily in most Westerns, even if they're set prior to 1873. Expect a cowboy to carry at least one and often two or more around with him.
  • Weapon of choice for Revolver Ocelot in the Metal Gear Solid games. In the third game, we find out Big Boss introduced Ocelot to it, and it's available as a New Game+ reward.
  • General Patton famously owned one with ivory handles and silver casting (definitely not pearl handles), alongside a .357 Smith & Wesson.
  • In the novels, James Bond keeps a long-barreled version in his vehicle for when he needs more firepower.
    • Also, Scaramanga uses a gold-plated SAA with ivory grips in the Man With The Golden Gun novel (in the movie, he has a custom single-shot pistol that breaks down into innocuous items like cigarette lighter, pen, cufflink and cigarette case).
  • Back to The Future III had a scene where a Colt dealer gave Marty a Single Action Army (using the "Peacemaker" name) and he promptly demonstrated his videogame-learned Improbable Aiming Skills.
  • Claire can get her grubby mits on one with a Western themed outfit, and yes she does use fan firing.
  • The Buntline Special, wielded by famous lawman Wyatt Earp and showing up in many Westerns with Earp as a major character (Tombstone comes to mind). Sadly, though, he more than likely used a Smith & Wesson top-break at the O.K. Corral, and the story of the Buntline Special is at least partially fictional. But a long-barreled (exactly how long is unknown, as the gun is lost to history and Colt's records for custom orders in that era are spotty) SAA with detachable shoulder stock was among the guns Earp used in his career.
    • Most of the characters in Tombstone use Peacemakers; notably Doc Holliday dual wields one along with a .38 Colt Lightning.
  • It's featured in Red Dead Redemption as the Cattlemen Revolver (anachronistic, as that's the brand name Uberti uses for its modern reproductions).
  • In Burning Water, Diana Tregarde says that her current personal gun is a Colt .45.
  • Roland Deschain's revolvers (and by extension, those of Cort, Cuthbert, Alain and the other gunslingers of Gilead) in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series are clearly based off the Colt. Justified; after all, Roland is The Gunslinger...
  • Two variations on the SAA, the "Peacemaker" and "Buntline" appear in Final Fantasy VII as weapons for Vincent.

Ruger Blackhawk

So along came the Western, and it was good. Suddenly there was a spike in demand for "cowboy" style single-action revolvers in the style of the Colt SAA. There was one minor problem; Colt wasn't making them at that point (having switched over to law enforcement and defense), and neither was anyone else. Along came Bill Ruger, maker of .22LR target pistols and all-purpose gun genius. Having tested the waters with the .22 "Single Six" model, he then offered what was essentially a modernized SAA. Simplifying the lockwork, and using modern coil springs as opposed to Colt-style flat leaf springs, the Blackhawk was strong enough to support the mighty .357 and .44 Magnum calibers, and its success caused Colt to start offering the SAA again. A lawsuit involving a negligent discharge (with a stolen gun; although the jury wasn't informed of that fact), led to the "transfer bar," making the Blackhawk the first single action revolver that could be safely loaded with all six cylinders (and ugly "billboard" labeling on all Ruger weapons from that point forward). The .44 Magnum variant was actually offered before the Smith & Wesson Model 29, and many argue that the single action "spin" grip makes a better platform for the cartridge.

Comic Books

  • Detective John Hartigan in Sin City, as well as several other characters.

Video Games

  • The ".357 Magnum Revolver" in Fallout: New Vegas (the "Police Pistol" in the DLC, however, is based on the Smith Model 27).

Smith & Wesson Model 3 "Schofield"

The Pepsi to the Colt SAA's Coke, the Schofield was one of the first "top-break" revolvers (allowing the entire cylinder to be loaded in a short amount of time, at the cost of structural integrity); rolled out in 1870 for the US Army. Due to the fact that its unique .45 cartridge (shorter than the .45 Colt), despite being specifically told by the Army to chamber it in .45 Colt, could be loaded in the Colt and not vice versa, large numbers of Schofields were pulled from military service and sold on the civilian market. Since it was faster to load and less expensive than the Colt (some things never change), it was very popular with cops and robbers alike in the Wild West. Often underrepresented in period Westerns, due to the iconic status of the Colt.

Smith & Wesson Model 10 "Military & Police"

A .38 Special revolver produced by Smith & Wesson, and an early example of the "swing-out" cylinder used in modern double-action revolvers. For most of the 20th Century, this weapon was practically synonymous with "police gun," replacing older .32 caliber revolvers and reigning supreme until the rise of the double-stack auto. If you see a police officer with a revolver in pretty much any media, it will be this one. Some police departments still use them today, and even the military has used them from time to time to arm sentries, as opposed to a heavier automatic. Smith & Wesson later standardized the M&P frame as the "K" frame, building blued and stainless steel .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers on it. During World War II, it was widely used by the British and US militaries (mainly for real-line duty, but also for pilots and aircrew), and dubbed the "Victory Model".

  • As stated above, police characters in a work set before 1985 or so will generally be using this. Some notable non-police examples are:
  • Michael Corleone in The Godfather. His bodyguard also uses one to commit an assassination while dressed as a cop.
  • The title character in Goldfinger.
  • Hannibal Smith in The A-Team.
  • A female gang member in The Warriors.
  • Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon franchise carries a .357 Magnum Model 19.

LeMat revolver

Cap & ball revolver used by the Confederate side during the American Civil War. Its claim to Rule of Cool status comes from the fact that the nine-shot cylinder revolves around a secondary barrel which fires a 16-gauge buckshot round. Expect a scene where the Gun Goes Click, only for the user to fire the second barrel at the surprised antagonist. Modern reproductions are available from the Pietta company of Brescia, Italy.

  • Cool Action: As mentioned, firing the middle barrel when it appears you've run out of ammunition.
  • Firefly. Jayne Cobb uses a handgun based on the LeMat.
  • Carried by the title character in Johnny Ringo, a short-lived TV Western airing 1959-60.
  • Bruce Willis is handed one at the airport so he can assassinate the bioterrorist at the climax of 12 Monkeys.
  • Swede Gutzon in the Quick Draw film The Quick and the Dead.
  • Dr. Theophilus Algernon Tanner in the the Deathlands novels, has carried two different LeMat revolvers.
  • Cold Mountain. Carried by the male protagonist Inman.
  • Used by Ezra Justice in the novel The Justice Riders, written by Chuck Norris.
  • The LeMat becomes available to the player late in Red Dead Redemption, but due to the game engine not supporting alternate firing modes, the developers neglected to include the secondary buckshot feature.
  • The LeMat was the Weapon of Choice of Confederate cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart during the American Civil War.

Smith & Wesson Model 29

The Dirty Harry gun. The iconic speech Clint Eastwood gives in that film on the benefits of heads, and the blowing clean off thereof, cemented this revolver and its .44 Magnum round as the Memetic Badass of the gun world [1] and started the action movie arms race that ended with such ridiculous Hand Cannons as Charles Bronson's .475 Wildey Magnum in Death Wish 3. Large-bore revolvers are still the first choice in the field of personal artillery (since the modern choice is typically a Smith & Wesson Model 500), one major legacy is that almost every revolver in a videogame will also be a Magnum. The Model 29 was built on the same frame as the .357 Model 27 "Registered Magnum;" this would later be standardized as the "N" frame. Notably, the actual revolver used in the film is exhibit 86 at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA.

  • One of the best guns added in Fallout 2, complete with reference to above quote in the inventory description. Shows up in Fallout Tactics as well. Also present in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas as the .44 Magnum Revolver.
  • The Firm. Private eye Eddie Lomax keeps one in a holster under the table, kneecapping one of the hitmen who come to kill him.
  • Travis Bickle also used one, with 8-inch barrel (compared to Dirty Harry's six-incher).
  • In the TV series Hunter (in the later seasons) Rick Hunter used a stainless steel version with a short barrel. So did his partner Dee Dee McCall in seasons 5-6, in an elevation from the sublime to the ridiculous (Dee Dee had previously used a .32 calibre PPK).
  • Mike in webcomic Paradigm Shift.
  • Funboy, in The Crow, uses a stainless steel model 629. This is most likely the weapon (due to a combination of blanks and a squib-loaded bullet lodged in the barrel) that killed Brandon Lee.
  • Tackleberry, in Police Academy, carries a model 27 (given to him by his mother).
  • Added to Killing Floor with the Twisted Christmas 2011 update, including an obligatory Dirty Harry Shout-Out in one of the achievements related to it.

Webley Revolver

The Webley top-break self-extracting revolver. Used by British, British Empire and Commonwealth forces between 1887 and 1963 as well as civilians to this day. No, that's not a joke: in various marks, this gun was used from the Colonial wars of the Empire to manning guard posts on the Berlin Wall, with only minor modifications in form. Fired the infamous .455 Webley round, one of the most powerful ever used in top-break revolvers, for when .45 S&W just would not cut it early in its reign. However, many later models used the .38/200 as, after World War I, the British army decided that there WAS indeed such a thing as overkill and that the .38/200 worked well, although many solders at the time felt that the weapon had been nerfed. One of the most widely circulated and reliable revolvers of all time, and its iconic shape and long use means it will be found in pretty much any film, game or series involving British or Commonwealth troops from the Victorian period onwards. The most recent version, still in production today, is a version made in India for civilian sales; it's essentially a shrunk-down version of the .38 caliber version, chambered in .32 S&W Long (as India's gun laws place severe restrictions on the calibers of guns that civilians can own).

Even in the late-2010s, various British Army Officers' Clubs still have a black joke about "the mess Webley".

Film

Live-Action TV

  • Apparently, they are still widely in use in the far future in the Whoniverse, as they appear in the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor's Daughter", amongst other places.
    • And of course, Torchwood Three's Captain Jack Harkness uses a Webley Mk VI.
    • Wilfred Mott in The End of Time gives the Doctor his old service revolver to kill the Master with.
    • The Brigadier used a Webley revolver for his final Who appearance in Battlefield, even though he usually carried an issue 9mm Browning High Power. The fact that he was using custom silver bullets might have had something to do with it.
  • The X-Files. Frank Black is handed one to commit ritual suicide in the Millennium crossover episode. He uses it to kill zombies instead.

Video Games

  • In Dark Sector, a Webley Mark IV is available as the "Hammer 1895;" it's introduced as a Magnum that fires 7.62mm NATO (!).
  • Available in Medal of Honor Spearhead when working with the British (though why you give up your M1911 is anyone's guess). Notable for the use of the "half-moon" speed-loader.
  • Available as the only pistol in BioShock (series), with the Power to the People machines providing various mods such as increased damage or a larger ammo capacity; by the end of the game, a fully modified Webley becomes a glowing sci-fi beast that could easily weigh up to 5 or 6 pounds.

Multimedia

Taurus Judge

A double action, five-shot revolver capable of shooting either .45 Long Colt or .410 bore shotgun shells. The name actually started as a Fan Nickname, after several circuit judges in Miami started carrying the pistol for self-defense. Although popular, it tends to get the same negative rap as the Desert Eagle (bought by people who know nothing about guns) due to its inaccuracy (the cylinders are too long for the .45 cartridge, and the rifling inhibits shot patterning), the usual misconception that one doesn't have to "aim" anything firing shotshells, and the low performance of .410 hunting rounds in a self-defense setting. There's an increasing number of .410 shells designed specifically for self-defense use in the Judge and some of them are pretty effective, but there are plenty of handguns that work at least as well and aren't as bulky. There's also the "Raging Judge Magnum", which is based on the Taurus Raging Bull frame and adds the heavy-hitting .454 Casull (it's to .45 Colt what .357 Magnum is to .38 Special) to the list of cartridges it can chamber. Ordinary Judge revolvers have cylinders specifically to keep some idiot from sticking .454 Casull in them (the chambers are long enough that otherwise this would've been possible), because they're nowhere near strong enough to handle the higher-pressure round.

  • Mark Wahlberg carries one in the film version of Max Payne.
  • Both Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise in Knight and Day.
  • Jack Bauer carries one in 24.
  • Pyrina a.k.a. Chikage Hizaki carries one in Triage X to fire .410 incendiary shells.

Nagant M1895

A seven-shot, gas-seal revolver designed and produced by Belgian industrialist Léon Nagant for the Russian Empire, it acquired fame and glory in the wars of the Empire and then Soviet Union. Nearly unique for a Victorian Age revolver for the vast majority were double-action (the few single-action models were converted afterwards), it used specially designed cartridge forming the seal between the barrel and cylinder and (being subsonic) could make good use of a sound suppressor. So ubiquitous that during the Russian Civil War and the 1920s, in Russian language nagan was the colloquial word for "pistol". People said it was so reliable that it could be dropped in the mud, bashed on concrete, rusted to the core, chewed by a furious bear and it would still fire unscathed. On the downside, the cylinder was not removable, thus reloading has to be done relatively slowly one-by-one, much like with Colt SAA (see above). It was copied for a while, but replaced as a general issue weapon by TT semi-automatic pistol in the 1930's, although it was still a common weapon for paramilitary forces such as the NKVD. Some of them are still in use for security purposes in modern Russia, usually 2 to 4 times older than men who carry them. Today, surplus Nagants are among the most inexpensive handguns that can be bought in the United States, but the same cannot be said of their unique ammunition. Later there were two Soviet target revolvers based on its design - Khaidurov TOZ-36 and TOZ-49 - used in many contests, including Olympic Games. Also, due to its design the Nagant M1895 was one of the few revolvers which could use a sound suppressor effectively (more detailed information in The Other Wiki). The NKVD and KGB noticed this, and since the action of a revolver is quieter than a semi-automatic, this made it well-suited to assassination.

Film

  • Commissars in Enemy at the Gates.
  • All Soviet films featuring handguns set in the times before late 1930s (when TT was introduced)... and sometimes early 1950s (when PM was introduced), and sometimes after that still. As noted above, not too unrealistic, at least as someone's old award weapon, in some sort of special forces who would use it with silencer, or in low-priority forces who got stuck with an old gun.

Video Games


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  1. The filmmakers lampshaded Clint's ability to control the gun in Magnum Force; he fires it using weaker .44 Special rounds