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Guns of Pop Culture: “Red” & the Smith & Wesson Model 629

We take a look at "Red" -- a spy flick featuring John Malkovich and a Smith & Wesson Model 629 revolver with...an under-barrel shotgun?

I miss silly, fun little action movies like Red. They’re like comfort food to me — I always know what’s going to happen but in a charming way.

Red stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous, with the film centering on a series of retired spies played by Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and fan-favorite John Malkovich.

Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, and Morgan Freeman in Red
Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, and Morgan Freeman in Red (Photo: Frank Masi, SMPSP/Summit Entertainment LLC.)

Retired Spies

While Red isn’t about superheroes, it is loosely based on a comic series. 

In the film, a corrupt CIA boss orders some of the Red agents killed. It’s all tied to a mission from the 1980s.

Overall, the flick is good fun with lots of guns…and Ernest Borgnine.

Earnest Borgnine and Karl Urban in Red
Ernest Borgnine and Karl Urban in Red (Photo: Frank Masi, SMPSP/Summit Entertainment LLC.)

John Malkovich plays a crazy paranoid former agent named Marvin Boggs.

He’s an “old-timer” in an action movie, so of course, he likes revolvers. This trope has been carried on since Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon and continues to this day.

However, Boggs tends to prefer large-caliber powerhouses, including the Smith & Wesson Model 460V, which he uses to shoot an RPG out of midair. 

John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs in Red
John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs in Red

However, that’s not the subject of today’s article. Nope, today we are talking about a very special S&W Model 629. 

The S&W Model 629

One of Bogg’s revolvers of choice is a Smith & Wesson Model 629. The 629 is a stainless variant of the famed Model 29. Fun fact: when S&W puts “6” in front of a model number, that means the gun is stainless. 

The Model 29 is most famous for being the Dirty Harry gun…a big, heavy .44 Magnum designed for hunting, long-range shooting, etc.

Smith & Wesson Model 29 in Dirty Harry
Smith & Wesson Model 29 in Dirty Harry

According to film and television, it’s also a capable fighting revolver. 

Dirty Harry Approved
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

In real life, it’s rather large and heavy, with too much recoil to be a good fighting gun. You can’t say it lacks power, though! Well, Boggs might have in the film. 

at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Not only did Boggs carry powerful revolvers, but he also equipped this particular model with an under-barrel shotgun.

How do you fit a shotgun under the barrel of a revolver — even if it’s a big one? 

Well, you pick the right revolver and the right shotgun…specifically, a 629 with an 8-inch barrel and a Cooey single-shot shotgun. Then you have the armorers at Movie Armaments Groups hack it up, and put it back together. 

The Smith & Wesson 629 used in Red
The Smith & Wesson 629 used in Red

The Cooey single-shot is trimmed to be incredibly short with a barrel that’s more chamber than barrel. A custom trigger seemingly fires the contraption.

And, heck, since we are going big, we might as well attach a Surefire to the side. 

What we end up with is a rather massive and seemingly unwieldy cannon. I’m betting the addition of a single-shot 12-gauge to the bottom of the gun makes it easy to shoot.

The extra weight helps tame recoil and certainly tames muzzle rise. 

The Smith & Wesson 629 used in Red (2)
The open Cooey gives you a better idea of its proportions

I’d hazard to guess shooting the shotgun would be a bit trickier. I don’t think the mount or revolver barrel would withstand the recoil of a few loads of buckshot. Barrels would be bent, mounts broken, etc. 

Plus, it’s likely not very comfortable to handle and fire. It looks cool, and looking cool is half the battle. 

In the Hands of Boggs 

We see it on full display when Helen Mirren and Brian Cox enter the film.

Though Boggs carries it, I can’t seem to find a scene where he actually uses it. And the flick sadly isn’t streaming anywhere.

Boggs aiming his Smith & Wesson 629 in Red
Boggs aiming his Smith & Wesson 629

When he does wield it, he does so with his support hand holding the Cooey.

That grip makes sense due to the weapon’s weight distribution. But once he pulls the trigger on that .44 Magnum, the gap between the barrel and cylinder will fill with fire and gas…and that fire and gas will give that support hand a good sting. Actually, it will be quite painful, and he’ll hate his life.

The S&W 629 from Red isn’t a practical revolver or practical fighting weapon, but it sure looks cool.

This is part of a weekly series on Pew Pew Tactical dedicated to the guns of TV and film. If you’d like more of this content, drop us a comment below. In the meantime, check out last week’s pop culture dive with “Collateral” & the HK USP 45

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2 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Does it not look like there are actually three barrels plus the light in the picture of 'Marvin' aimingthe gun? I thought maybe i was seeing the cylinder but that's not it. The gun in the picture of him aiming does not look like the same gun the studio sent pictures of, like something was remove?

    March 22, 2023 7:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr. Mark

    One of the best movies ever with a permanent spot on my DVR list, but I don't recall this particular revolver after seeing the show many times. You gave me a good excuse to watch it again!

    December 1, 2022 9:32 am
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