Ah, the gold old days

I’ve been kind of rolling back some early-to-mid 90’s gun nostalgia recently, primarly because they’ve been showing Lethal Weapon and Reservoir Dogs on TV a bunch lately.  Man, those were the days.  Everyone’s running around with DA/SA autos, Berettas and 3rd Gen S&W guns are just all over the place.  In Lethal Weapon, Mel’s packing his Beretta 92, and in the third installment of the series, even Danny Glover is seen with a 3rd Gen S&W.

Of course Reservoir Dogs is notable in that everyone is packing monster 5906 semi-autos around, back when S&W made them with the giant winged rear sight.  Other “great” (term used subjectively) 90s action movies primarily featured DA/SA autos as well.  This list is by no means inclusive, but that’s what comments are for!

  • Die Hard 1, 2, 3 – Bruce Willis is packing a Beretta 92 in all three of the original Die Hard movies.
  • Bad Boys – Will Smith carries a Sig P226 as his “main gun”, with a P232 in .380 as a backup gun.  His partner spends the movie lugging a 3rd Gen S&W auto around as well.
  • While not a 90’s film or show, in The Shield Michael Chicklis’ character carries an S&W 4506 for the duration of the first few seasons.  It’s a monster of a horse pistol, but it looks SOOOO COOOOOL.

There really isn’t a rational explanation for why I get all sized up for DA/SA autos – maybe it’s because I cut my teeth in the shooting sports when the DA/SA gun was the gun for law enforcement, and you couldn’t visit a major metro area PD without seeing holsters full of Berettas, SIGs, and stainless 3rd Gen S&W autos.  These days, law enforcement has by and large switched to striker fired guns, with Glocks running away with the market.

The advantage to that is if you’re looking for a reliable defensive pistol, you can find police trade ins and lightly used 3rd Gen S&W autos and Beretta for ridiculously low prices.  Summit GunBroker has stacks and stacks of 5906s for $315 a piece, which is a phenomenal price for that gun.  The neat thing about the 3rd Gen Smith guns is how fantastically accurate they are.  BJ Norris shot a 5906 at Bianchi Cup in Production Division because the gun locks up at both the front and the rear of the barrel, making it very inherently accurate.  If you can find one of the TSW series guns, those will produce mechanical accuracy much better than the $400-500 they usually command used, because the slide and barrel went through the machining process as a unit at the factory.  That means that instead of making 100 slides and 100 barrels and just grabbing whichever, the TSW guns had “barrel x for slide x”, providing another mechanism for enhancing accuracy.

Maybe I just think Glocks are soulless, or maybe I’m pining for the heady days of the Wondernine Wars, but for whatever reason, I still get all tingly over Berettas, Sigs, and those stainless 3rd Gen autos.


  1. That’s why I got a ’92…Glocks are soulless and, at the time, the Sig 228 and USPs were too expensive 🙂

  2. “an S&W 4506 for the duration of the first few seasons. It’s a monster of a horse pistol, but it looks SOOOO COOOOOL.”

    I still have my 4516 and it works and looks great. It’s basically just the compact version of the 4506.

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