16 Detective Heroes and Their Signature Firearms

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

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