DiscardedYKTTW Revolving Gun of Justice YKTTW Discussion

Revolving Gun of Justice
Police and detectives are typically associated with revolvers
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(permanent link) added: 2012-12-12 09:00:18 sponsor: Bisected8 (last reply: 2012-12-12 15:01:52)

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Whether or not a revolver will be portrayed as better than similarly sized weapons, they're strongly associated with law enforcement (even when the police use semi-automatics). The association can be symbolic (with police themed characters using revolvers or actual police/private detectives/etc using revolver related imagery) or literal. In cop shows set in the present day, where the police are usually shown with semi-automatics, they'll usually carry one as their backup weapon. Similarly, no Hard Boiled Detective is complete without one.

The association comes largely from the police being armed with the Smith & Wesson Model 10 "Military & Police" for most of the 20th century, but was probably solidified by a certain Cowboy Cop's use of a Magnum revolver.

Compare Revolvers Are Just Better (where revolvers are used because of a perception that they're more effective or Rule of Cool). Subtrope of Weapon of Choice. See Donut Mess with a Cop, for a less flattering piece of symbolism.


  • In Persona 4, Naoto uses them. Although she uses other guns for some of her moves in Persona 4 Arena and a Finger Gun to summon her persona in the anime it's clearly her Weapon of Choice. It doubles as a reference to the fact her arcana card is the Wheel of Fortune.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Togusa uses a semi-automatic revolver. Compared to the rest of the cast (who were mainly recruited into Section 9 from a military background) he used to be a copper.
  • Dirty Harry's use of a Magnum both followed this trope and solidified it (along with Revolvers Are Just Better).
  • In Blue Bloods' Frank Reagan carries a positively ancient Fitz .38 Special revolver (it was issued to his grandfather when he was a cop), despite his father Henry telling him he should switch to a department-issue Glock semiautomatic for more firepower. Despite his own advice Henry is seen using a .357 Magnum, although he also carries a semiautomatic in an ankle holster.
  • In Real Life this is slowly being defied by various police forces, since the smaller clip size makes using revolvers risky. The association remains, though.
  • In the novel (and online graphic version here) The Probability Broach, Lt. Bear sticks with his familiar and trusty .41 Magnum revolver despite it being considered a museum piece by Gallatin standards.
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