The Guns of Lawless
Period films sometimes struggle to maintain historical accuracy when it comes to firearms. How did the Prohibition Era Lawless stack up? Find out.
September 19, 2012
Most firearm owners can spot the silver screen's mistakes when it comes to guns. It's just a part of cinema—your average film is meant to entertain, not educate. That said, period pieces like the recently released Lawless can actually provide an opportunity for you to test your firearms knowledge by playing a simple game: Did it exist?
Lawless—set in the early 1930s, just before Prohibition ended—had its characters wielding more than a dozen different firearms over the course of the movie. How'd the film do? You can find out with the guide below. Keep in mind that this guide doesn't address the likelihood of whether or not any of these guns were actually in Franklin County, Va. during the Prohibition era—it just states whether or not they existed.
Smith & Wesson .38 Special
Foremost among the film's guns is the Smith & Wesson .38 Special. Wielded in multiple scenes by one of the leads, the .38 Special was around long before the early '30s. A 4" barrel version and a 2" barrel version make appearances in the film.
Remington Model 1911 .45
There were a couple 1911 sightings in the film, one of which the press materials have said is Remington's model. A WWI-time product, the Remington M1911 certainly could have turned up in the Virginia in the 1930s.
Colt Government Model .45
A name the Colt M1911 has used when sold to civlians.
Winchester Model 1897 Shotgun
Another gun that frequents period films, the 1897 is pictured here being wielded by the movie's lead antagonist.
Winchester Model 1912 Shotgun
Served as the successor to the 1897.
Webley & Scott .38 Mk IV
A gun that's been featured in many movies over the years, Webley & Scott's .38 version of the Mk IV makes an appearance in Lawless.
Colt Detective Special
One of the first short-barreled revolvers produced with a modern swing-out frame and a gun that would have a long history ahead of it, the Detective Special was very much available during the film's era.
Colt Police Positive .38
Another popular Colt model that's seen its share of films.
Rossi Overland Model
Though the Rossi certainly looks like something that might have been around in the 1930s, it wasn't produced until the 1970s. In all likelihood it was selected to fill in for some of the other side-by-side shotguns that did exist at the time. It also gives the film a subtle connection to one of the most famous Prohibition era films ever made: The Untouchables, where it was carried by Sean Connery.
Remington Model 514 .22 Lever-Action
Remington's Model 514. 22 Lever-Action didn't start production until 1942, but its similarities to older models make it another candidate for a "fill-in" situation.