Created By: Bisected8 on December 12, 2012 Last Edited By: Bisected8 on December 12, 2012
Nuked

Revolving Gun of Justice

Police and detectives are typically associated with revolvers

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I apologise sincerely for the pun.

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.

Examples:

  • 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.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • December 12, 2012
    StarSword
    ^IIRC the other reason American police in particular are ditching revolvers is because of incidents like the North Hollywood Shootout where the suspects were wearing body armor. Semiautomatics have a higher chance of penetration due to their higher muzzle velocity.

    Also, this may be discarded for being too much like Revolvers Are Just Better, though I won't be the one to throw the first stone, mind.

    • 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. Near the end of "Re-Do," Frank demonstrates pretty conclusively that he doesn't need to. And despite his own advice Henry is seen using a .357 Magnum, though he also carries a semiautomatic in an ankle holster.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    RAJB is more revolvers being used for Rule Of Cool or portrayed as the best possible firearms. This trope's more about symbolism/association with law enforcment.
  • December 12, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    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.

  • December 12, 2012
    StarSword
    ^^ That works. Like I said, I don't personally think it's the same thing.

    Also, I'm not seeing the pun you mention in the description.
  • December 12, 2012
    Treblain
    If the pun is on "revolving door" then it's a bad snowclone title. No reason why it can't be Revolver Of Justice.
  • December 12, 2012
    nielas
    I would definitely focus on the symbolism of the revolver as a police weapon. Otherwise it overlaps too much with Revolvers Are Just Better.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    Yeah, it's a pun on "Revolving Door of Justice". I thought a bad pun would help it stick in people's minds better.

    Any other title ideas?
  • December 12, 2012
    shimaspawn
    I see more cop shows use semi-automatics than revolvers. In fact, I can't recall ever seeing a cop use a revolver that wasn't in a Western. I'm not sure this is as much of a trope as you think it is.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    The trope isn't "cops use revolvers", it's "cops are associated with revolvers". A modern show trying to reflect reality with use semi-autos because that's what the police use in the real world (as it notes in the OP; their backup is usually a revolver). A stock policeman or detective character who isn't supposed to be "realistic" is far more likely to carry a revolver.

    If you google "cartoon policemen gun", you'll see that most of the examples which come up involve revolvers (in fact, glancing through the first page or so of results, it seems to correlated to how realitically the cartoons are drawn).
  • December 12, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^ Er, no, they aren't. Semi. Semi. Semi. Semi. Semi. Semi. Semis and Assault Rifles. Assault Rifles. Semi. Taser. Semi. Semi.

    Yeah, I'm not seeing it.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    Are you sure? I'm counting at least 7 revolvers (not counting repeats of the same image).
  • December 12, 2012
    shimaspawn
    I'm not finding them, and I'm finding a lot of Semi-Automatics. I don't think there's a trope here.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    OK, I didn't think that point through. I still think there's an association between the police and P Is with revolvers over other types of handgun though.
  • December 12, 2012
    Fighteer
    I am not sure that this is a trope. Cops use handguns, and their choice of handgun tends to be standard-issue for that particular police department. This is in turn reflective of the era in which they work (or worked). PI's using Saturday Night Specials is something you associate with the Noir genre. In short, I'm not seeing a distinct, unique pattern.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    Hmm, maybe I was mistaken then....

    Does anyone think anything here can be salvaged, or should it just be discarded?
  • December 12, 2012
    shimaspawn
    I think just discarded. We have "Revolvers Are Just Better." The only other actual pattern I can see here is "Old School Cop." I.e. the sort of cop who refuses to be anything but an anachronism.
  • December 12, 2012
    Bisected8
    That would probably be part of a broader trope (probably one we have anyway). Oh well, saves the effort of launching.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=kv7qdxilpdt3u0l8io4loyvg&trope=DiscardedYKTTW