You don’t have to be a firearms enthusiast to recognize one of the most iconic guns in movies, the Smith and Wesson Model 29 revolver.
Smith and Wesson first produced a large frame (the 29 utilizes S&W’s N-frame) revolver for the .44 Magnum round in 1955. Two years later, it was given the designation Model 29. Although there were some handguns with custom/non-standard (or “wildcat”) cartridges, at its inception, and for several years thereafter, the Smith and Wesson Model 29 had the distinction as the “most powerful [production] handgun” on the market.
Caliber: .44 Magnum (and .44 special)
Capacity: 6 round cylinder
Weight: approx. 2.8lbs
Frame material: blued steel (although some runs feature a nickel plated finish)
Barrel length: 6.5in, post 1979 – 6.0in (also variants in 4.0in, 8⅜in, and 10⅝in models)
Price range: $900-$1,200
Where You’ve Seen It
If you’re familiar with American pop culture from the past couple of decades, this one’s just about a “gimme.” Clint Eastwood’s role as “Dirty” Harry Callahan made this lovely blued 6.5″ barreled wheelgun an instant classic beginning with the 1971 film Dirty Harry. Eastwood would revisit the silver screen as Inspector Callahan with his signature sidearm in subsequent films Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), and The Dead Pool (1988), further solidifying the Model 29’s popularity.
Aside from its service dispatching villains in the hands of Dirty Harry, the Smith and Wesson Model 29 has also been wielded by several action movie heros from Roger Moore (as James Bond) in Live and Let Die (1973), to Chuck Norris (as John T. Booker) in Good Guys Wear Black (1978), to Arnold Schwarzenegger (as Ivan Danko) in Red Heat (1988), and Bruce Willis (as Detective Hartigan) in Sin City (2005). The Model 29 also has a presence in several television shows, such as the A-Team and The Sopranos, and video games, including a couple of my personal favorites, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Fallout 3 (and Fallout: New Vegas).
Featured image of the iconic shot of Inspector Callahan with his Smith and Wesson Model 29 from Don Siegel’s film Dirty Harry (1971).