Everything you require to learn about the FX cable television service series Justified and its protagonist U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is established in the very first scene of the very first episode of the first season. Unable to endure the presence of the murderous gangland punk Tommy Bucks in his jurisdiction, and having no legal factor to arrest him, Givens gets here to Tommy Bucks’ penthouse luncheon and passively goads Bucks into drawing his handgun. Givens out-draws Dollars and shoots him three times through the heart with his SIG P226 from under the table. It’s a splendid scene that contrasts Givens’ crystal clear moral ends with his fairly murky techniques, all made with masterfully intensified stress and propelled with a dialog that is neither terse nor long-winded, but just and naturally what it needs to be. Let’s take a closer look at the Guns of Justified.
While Justified wasn’t the only work of famous and respected author Elmore Leonard to be taken into moving photos (twenty-six of them, with 3 shots twice), it was the author’s favorite, regardless of being based on a single side character in the unique Pronto. Leonard later fleshed out Raylan Givens in the narrative Fire In The Hole on which the first episode of the series was based, and ultimately provided Marshall his book in 2012’s Raylan. From this thin source, product sprang the 6-year story of an old-west design lawman in our contemporary world trying to come to terms with his past and future.
Initially irregular however constantly amusing, the series hit its stride after it deserted the “caper of the week” formula of the very first year and focused instead on season-long conflict arcs, pitting Raylan and his fellow Marshals versus an impressive range of Appalachian crime lords. Justified programs a cocky self-confidence from its writers as they put obvious effort into building up interesting and deep side characters and yet are unflinchingly prepared to eliminate them in the very same episode. Validated would be impressive simply on the writing and acting efficiencies alone, however, the series is fantastically enjoyable for the gun enthusiast. There is a great deal of shooting, and there are a lot of weapons, and they all assist tell the story. Pour yourself a double bourbon and let’s take a look at the Weapons of Justified.
Raylan’s SIG 226 appears because the first scene of the very first episode only, later on, is replaced by the U.S. Marshal Service’s issue sidearm. The 9x19mm 226 was a double-stack advancement of the single-column 225, completing a close second to the Beretta 92 in the U.S. Army’s service pistol competition of the early 1980s. Rejected the widespread popularity that agreement brought the 92, the 226 did see service in the FBI, U.S. Navy, the Federal Air Marshal program, and several state and regional level authorities departments.
Except for a quick scene with a Colt Officer’s 1911 version (showcasing a slick one-handed chamber check), Givens’ continuous buddy for the series is a third-generation GLOCK 17 handgun. Although Givens refers to it as a “forty-five GLOCK” in one episode, the size and shape of the slide and barrel are that of the 9mm design, which is what the U.S. Marshal Service is concerned about anyway. It’s primarily seen riding around in a Bianchi Model 59 tan leather paddle holster with a thumb strap, permitting not just easy and quickdraws but likewise the unsnapping of the retention strap as a remarkable replacement for the hero cocking the hammer of his handgun as an indication that he’s serious.
While not a flashy sidearm for the lead character of the series, Justified makes up for that with Givens’ remarkable, effective and precise gun handling. Givens, like his literary ancestors, the legendary predecessor lawmen of the Old West, is quick on the draw and unhesitatingly ready to put a male in the ground. The series repeatedly downplays his high body count, as employer Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) complains to Givens when needing to fill out post-incident documents after he’s shot a bad guy: “Do you have to go through this every time? It’s tiring.”
In a couple of episodes, Givens is seen carrying the compact sibling to the GLOCK 17, the GLOCK 26, as a backup pistol. Introduced in 1995 and marketed to the blossoming domestic U.S. hid carry market, the 26 is not just substantially shorter in length and height, but likewise includes a dual-spring recoil system and a revised locking block. The petite ten-shot pistol quickly became popular with law enforcement officers searching for a backup to their full-sized GLOCK task pistols. The 26 also sees usage as Marshal Rachel Brooks’ (Erica Tazel) main sidearm. It’s a frequent Hollywood technique to put a smaller-sized pistol in the hands of more petite stars; the cam can make a slightly statured person managing a full-sized handgun look ludicrous.
GLOCK 17s and the mid-size GLOCK 19 are popular sidearms in the Marshall’s office, and modern-day law enforcement staples like AR-style carbines put in appearances, however noteworthy is the Remington 700 PSS (Police Sniper System) bolt-action sniper rifle of Marshal Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts). Presented as a brochure item in 1986, the PSS offered as standard several adjustments gunsmiths had been applying to custom service sniper rigs, consisting of a heavy barrel, bedded artificial stock, and extra action tuning. Gutterson uses this precise tack driver and his ability to conclude more than a couple of conflicts over the run of the series. “I can’t carry a tune, I do not know how to shoot a basketball and my handwriting is, uh, hardly understandable. But I don’t miss.” he keeps in mind after being questioned about a particularly tough shot.
Givens’ foil throughout the series is childhood-friend-turned-outlaw Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), who is a fan of Southern eloquence, collared t-shirts buttoned up all the way, and the Beretta 92FS service handgun. A veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, which was among the 92FS’s (M9 in U.S. military service) very first American disputes, Crowder avoids a holster and shows zero hesitation in using it to daunt or perform.
The pump-action shotgun looms big in the tradition and practice of both American law enforcement and outlaws, and the characters in Justified are indeed partial to them. I didn’t keep a precise count, however, the Ford vs. Chevrolet of the 12-gauge shotgun world– the Mossberg 500/590 and the Remington 870– are most represented in the series.
Introduced in 1951, the Remington 870 was a revamped Remington 31, itself a renovation of the John Moses Browning-developed Remington 17 (the design of which was acquired by Ithaca and marketed as the Model 37) and was an instant best-seller, acquiring two million sales by 1973 and ten million by 2009. 870s are seen in many variations from a fully-stocked Authorities Magnum with corncob fore-end, folding stock variations, and short-barreled “surveillance” guns with only a handgun grip. Givens participates in the shotgun action in Season 2 when he retrieves a synthetic-stocked 870 from the trunk of his vehicle as hit men pursue him. Gutterson is also seen with an 870 in Season 4, another authority Magnum 870 with a Guaranteed flashlight fore-end, and a Speedfeed pistol grip stock.
10 years later, the Mossberg Design 500 struck the marketplace as a lower-expense working male shotgun. Utilizing a cheaper aluminum receiver and a single action bar (although the 500 was redesigned to utilize double bars in 1971 after Remington’s patent ended), the 500 damaged the 870 in both rate and weight, making it popular with frugal shooters along with hunters out in the field for hours at a time. Mossberg’s advertising highlighted the cost savings, comparing the 500 to more expensive “Fancy Dan” guns.
The 500 was readily available from the factory in a stockless, pistol grip just setup named the “Cruiser”, as its shorter overall length made it ideal for usage out of confined authorities police car. One of these Cruisers functions in Givens’ first confrontation with perennially hapless scoundrel Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman). Rebuffed by Givens, Crowe obtains a black 500 Cruiser with dual handgun grips and side saddle shell provider from his cars and truck and aims it directly at the Marshal’s face. Givens properly bets that Crowe isn’t mentally ready to use it and eases him off it in a great scene.
A heavy-duty variant of the 500 intended for military contracts was developed in the 1970s and offered for sale as the 590. This shotgun featured a more powerful receiver, upgraded extended publication tube and cap, and a parkerized finish on the steel parts. The 590 went on to win several military and law enforcement agreements, and features in numerous Justified episodes. My personal favorite is a stainless “Mariner” Cruiser packed with less-lethal beanbag rounds that Givens takes to a confrontation with a hard prizefighter. “Not my thing, ordinarily,” Givens states, “An associate of mine believed non-lethal force might come in useful. I figured what the hell, I ‘d offer it a shot,” after laying out the criminal with a single beanbag to the chest.
The Ithaca 37 begat both the 500 and the 870, and one appears in Season 3, a nickel-plated pistol grip-only design that bartender and Givens enjoy interest, Lindsey Salazar (Jenn Lyon) obtains from behind her bar. While never reaching the sheer sales varieties of either of its descendants, the 37 has some unique functions, such as ejecting empty shells downward through the filling gate and high-quality all-steel construction, that keep it in production to this day.
Even older than the 37 is a Winchester 1897 that appears when in Season 3. An external hammer pump action shotgun, 1897 was likewise a John Moses Browning style and was rather popular in all the marketplaces the 870 and 500 later interested. While Winchester struck it from the catalog in 1957, the style is still in production in China as the Norinco 97.
In Season 5, Detroit hitman Elias Marcos (Alan Tudyk) ambushes Marshals Givens and Mullen in a storage facility and attempts to eliminate them with an AA-12 fully automated shotgun, complete with shoulder strap and several 32-shell drum magazines. Developed in 1972 by Maxwell Atchison, the AA-12 utilizes a sophisticated high-reciprocating mass bolt and gas management system to lower felt recoil to the shooter and enables surprisingly accurate automated fire. Despite early interest from the military and law enforcement, no orders materialized and the style bounced around from company to business for many years. The heavy weight of the weapon (15 pounds filled) and minimal range and penetration of 12 gauge ammo are the biggest downsides to the system and would seem to doom the weapon to looks on television and computer game.
Validated likewise consistently includes another favorite of the blue-collar shooter, the Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle. Closely looking like a scaled-down M-14, Costs Ruger’s “little rifle” was marketed in 1973 as a less expensive option to Colt’s AR-15 and soon became popular with budget-minded shooters who were willing to trade precision for sturdiness and rate. Initially seen in the hands of the Pork Brothers, a couple of Crowder associates in Season 1, all manner of Mini-14 variants include in every season to date. Variants were targeted at the police market, consisting of the folding stock AC556 and the short-barreled AC556K, and scope installs were also offered as aftermarket parts. A scoped synthetic-stock Mini-14 features greatly in the Season 4 face-off between Crowder’s thug Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard) and Tim Gutterson, and an AC556K is consistently put to work by Dewey Crowe’s more proficient cousin Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport).
Some Warsaw Pact hardware shows up occasionally in the form of AK types, but special case flights in the “go bag” of Constable Bob Sweeney (Patton Oswalt). In a confrontation with several gentlemen reluctant to take him seriously, Bob pulls out a completely automated AKS-74U carbine and enters into a funny exchange of fire with the two, which ultimately blows over when Givens gets here on the scene to see that no one was hit. An aggressively reduced and lightened AK-74 in 5.45 x39mm, the AKS-74U features an eight-inch barrel, triangular folding buttstock, and an extended rear sight that gives the stubby carbine a usable sight radius.
Givens is shown an unpleasant look at his present and future when he quickly teams up with Memphis DEA Representative Alex Miller (Eric Roberts), whose roughshod approach and wreck of domesticity seem all too familiar. Miller is likewise a shooter at heart and carries a stainless Ruger GP100.357 Magnum revolver. Evolutionary development of the earlier Security 6 revolver, the GP100 was designed to be strong enough to stand up to a lifetime of full power .357 ammunition without damage, a diet which Smith & Wesson’s K-Frame revolvers were not able to deal with. The price for this toughness was weight as the GP100 could weigh as much as 45 ounces, and hence Miller carries his in a full leather shoulder rig.
Elmore Leonard died in 2013, and while he included less and less in the writing of the series as it went on, producer Graham Yost and lead Timothy Olyphant chose to end the series on a high note after his death. The sixth season of Justified will be the last, and much like its developer, it will be sorely missed and yet will constantly be with us. Season 6 of Justified will premiere on FX this January, and I’ll be planted on my sofa for it. If you’re at all a fan of shooter cinema, you will be too.Published in