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16 Detective Heroes and Their Signature Firearms

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Crime fiction, a perennially popular genre, typically features a protagonist who is either a seasoned police officer or a jaded private investigator (or a former cop turned private eye). While there are a few notable female characters, like Sara Paretsky’s pragmatic V.I. Warshawski, the central figure is often a hard-drinking, tough-talking man who carries his gun everywhere.

To compile a list of the iconic guns used by some of fiction’s most famous detectives, 24/7 Tempo consulted firearms sites including CrimeReads and websites devoted to some of the authors listed below. 

These detectives range from private investigators to police officers, and in some cases, individuals not officially in law enforcement but frequently involved in solving crimes. Some of them remain loyal to a single weapon, while others adapt to different firearms as circumstances dictate. (These are the 50 most popular guns in the world.)

These detectives are known for their unwavering commitment to solving even the most challenging cases, often resorting to morally ambiguous methods and employing firearms.

Many of crime fiction’s famous sleuths are closely associated with specific firearms, with Colt and Smith & Wesson being prominent manufacturers. For instance, Philip Marlowe keeps a Colt Detective .38 Special revolver in his glove compartment in Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep.” Sam Spade, another iconic hard-boiled private investigator, seizes a Colt 1911 .45 automatic from an adversary in Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon.”

Michael Connelly’s relentless cop-turned-independent investigator, Harry Bosch, is also a fan of Smith & Wesson. (These are the most famous guns used in movies and TV.)

Click here to see iconic guns used by 16 famous detectives

Harry Bosch
> Gun: Smith & Wesson 5906 9mm semi-automatic pistol
> Author: Michael Connelly
> Recommended reading: The Black Echo

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Elvis Cole
> Gun: Dan Wesson 8-2 .357 magnum revolver
> Author: Robert Crais
> Recommended reading: The Monkey’s Raincoat

Lucas Davenport
> Gun: Heckler & Koch P7 semi-automatic pistol (and many others)
> Author: John Sandford
> Recommended reading: Rules of Prey

Cassie Dewell
> Gun: .40 Glock 27 pistol
> Author: C.J. Box
> Recommended reading: Treasure State

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Marion “Doc” Ford
> Gun: .41 Colt Thunderer revolver
> Author: Randy Wayne White
> Recommended reading: Deep Blue

Bernhard “Bernie” Gunther
> Gun: Walther PPK pistol
> Author: Philip Kerr
> Recommended reading: Berlin Noir Trilogy

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Mike Hammer
> Gun: Colt 1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol
> Author: Mickey Spillane
> Recommended reading: I, the Jury

Jack Harrigan
> Gun: Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver
> Author: Paul Smith
> Recommended reading: Walk with the Tiger

Travis McGee
> Gun: Škorpion .32 ACP machine pistol
> Author: John D. MacDonald
> Recommended reading: The Deep Blue Goodbye

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Phillip Marlowe
> Gun: Colt Detective .38 Special revolver
> Author: Raymond Chandler
> Recommended reading: The Big Sleep

Kinsey Millhone
> Gun: Heckler & Koch P7 semi-automatic pistol
> Author: Sue Grafton
> Recommended reading: G Is for Gumshoe

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Joe Pickett
> Gun: M14 carbine
> Author: C.J. Box
> Recommended reading: Off the Grid

Sam Spade
> Gun: Colt 1911 .45 semi-automatic pistol
> Author: Dashiell Hammett
> Recommended reading: The Maltese Falcon

Spenser
> Gun: Colt .32 Pocket Model semi-automatic pistol
> Author: Robert B. Parker
> Recommended reading: Looking for Rachel Wallace

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Bob Lee Swagger
> Gun: Cheyenne Tactical M200 Intervention rifle
> Author: Stephen Hunter
> Recommended reading: Black Light

V.I. Warshawski
> Gun: Smith & Wesson .38 revolver
> Author: Sara Paretsky
> Recommended reading: Hard Time

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