I have long awaited the release of “Justified: City Primeval.” I was a huge fan of the original series, and I love Elmore Leonard’s novels and stories. I’m happy to say Raylan Givens is back. He’s tough as nails, witty, and still wears the hat. The special has come and gone with an excellent cliffhanger that certainly left us wanting more. I can’t say I loved the show. It was a little dull, and honestly, it made me realize that Raylan needs Kentucky and Harlan County, and its characters were critical to the show’s success. Raylan remains interesting, and so does the Oklahoma wild man, but everyone else falls flat.
“Justified” was a fairly gun-heavy show with a lot of action and quick-witted heroes and villains. Throughout six seasons, we watched Raylan and his fellow marshalls deal with all sorts of criminals, from the Detroit mob to the cartel, and to the homegrown intelligent and fearsome Boyd Crowder.
The Guns of Justified
To celebrate the return of “Justified,” let’s dig through the original series and look at some of the best blasters we saw throughout the original series run.
Glock 17 Gen 3
The Marshal’s service weapon is the Glock 17, and it’s used by Raylan, Tim, and Art throughout the series. Raylan does tell a judge at one time he’s carrying a Glock 45, implying it to be a Glock 21. However, throughout the series, we see over and over that it’s a 9mm weapon with its markings, magazines, and more. The gun remains the weapon of choice for the Marshals throughout the original six seasons. Raylan carries his in a Bianchi 59 Special Agent, and Art Mullen uses a Galco Miami Classic.
Glocks are the most commonly selected firearm amongst American law enforcement, and it makes sense that Marshals would carry it. The Glock 17 is a full-size, 9mm handgun that’s incredibly reliable, well-made, and easy to shoot. It’s modern, and these days, the 17M and 19M are the standard sidearm of the US Marshal’s Service. While it’s plain and far from fancy, it’s effective and easy to use.
Glock 26 Gen 3
Raylan’s backup piece is a Glock 26, the littlest brother to the Glock 17. He surrenders more often than he uses it, notably twice in season one. Deputy Marshal Rachel Brooks carries the Glock 26 as her primary handgun throughout the series. She uses it several times, quite successfully.
The Glock 26 is a subcompact 9mm handgun. It is a smart, reasonable choice as a backup piece. It’s ultra-small and easy to conceal, but it can share mags and ammo with the Glock 17. They handle almost identically minus the significant size difference. While it’s harder to shoot, it’s much easier to stash as a backup.
Tim’s Remington 700 PSS
One of Raylan’s fellow marshals, Tim Gutterson, is a former Army Ranger and veteran of the GWOT. He was a sniper, and when the Marshal’s Service needs a sniper, he fills in that role. His rifle of choice throughout the series is the Remington 700 SPS. He uses it several times in several seasons to put precision fire on the bad guys and beyond. As he says to Art, “I can’t carry a tune, I don’t know how to shoot a basketball, and my handwriting is, uh, barely legible. But I don’t miss.”
The Remington 700 is a classic bolt action rifle employed by dozens, if not hundreds, of police forces, generations of hunters, and the US Military. The PSS, or Police Sniper System, uses a tuned action, a heavy barrel, and bedded synthetic stock to squeeze out as much precision as possible. The Remington 700 PSS is a fantastic rifle, and it is a logical choice for a sniper.
Dewey Crowe’s Mossberg 500
Dewey Crowe might be a giant idiot, but he’s certainly loveable. Maybe it’s because he’s a Florida man as well. Dewey Crowe is seen in the first episode wielding a shotgun befit for a Florida redneck. It’s a Mossberg 500 Cruiser with an 18.5-inch barrel and both a front and rear pistol grip. It also wears a sidesaddle so Dewey can pack a few extra rounds, which he needs because he apparently doesn’t keep it loaded.
The Mossberg 500 series is a barebones shotgun that’s been used in a number of roles. The Mossberg 500 is a tactical shotgun, a hunting shotgun, and has served in the hands of tons of police forces. It’s fairly affordable and is easily one of the most common shotguns on the planet. Dewey isn’t great with the gun, but he has a heart. It leads Raylan to ask, “Can you rack in a load before I put a hole through you?”
Boyd’s Beretta 92FS
Boyd Crowder wore a lot of hats throughout the series. He starts the show as an explosive-obsessed white supremacist, becomes a priest and vigilante, a gun thug for the coal company, and finally, a crime lord. Throughout the series, he carries a number of different guns, but his main sidearm is the Beretta 92FS. Boyd was a Gulf War vet, so it makes sense he has some familiarity with the Beretta series.
While the classic 92FS is showing its age these days, it’s still a fantastic firearm. The weapon really helped popularize the 9mm and double stack magazines with American police forces. It’s a classic, all-metal DA/SA handgun that will always appeal to me. As someone who carried an M9, I appreciate the design and Boy’d affection for it.
Robert Quarrels was quite the villain. He was cunning, charming, vicious, and an absolute psychopath. He was a good foil to Raylan and terrifying in general. His weapon of choice was attached to a special rig that was hidden up his sleeve. On command, it deployed, and he had a small gun ready for action.
In reality, the gun is an 8mm blank gun from a company called EKOL. It’s an EKOL TUNA specifically. I imagine there are some real concerns with putting a real gun up an actor’s sleeve, plus outside of a Seecamp, there aren’t many pistols small enough to pull this off.
In a 5th-season episode called “Shot All to Hell,” Raylan and Art face off with a hitman named Elias Marcos. He’s quite fearless of the Marshals and fearless in general. After a few tense entanglements, Raylan, Art, and Marcos get into one helluva gunfight. Marcos is wielding an AA-12 fit with a 32-round drum. The AA-12 is fired in full auto from the hip, and it’s supported with a sling. Marcos even reloads the gun with a second drum carried in a satchel.
The AA-12 is a full auto-only, open-bolt shotgun designed originally in the 1970s. It was adapted into the modern era in the early 2000s but never picked up any serious military or police contracts. The AA-12 is a bit silly of a gun, but if anyone is going to carry it, then it’s gotta be Alan Tudyk in his guest appearance.
Boon’s Colt Single Action Army
Finally, in the last season of “Justified,” Raylan faces off with quite the rogue’s gallery. One of these rogues is a gunfight-obsessed cowboy wannabe named Boon. He carries a Colt Single Action Army and is quite skilled with the weapon. Boon can’t wait to face off with Raylan like the Cowboys of old. Boon’s choice is odd but fitting for someone obsessed with being a cowboy.
The Colt Single Action Army fits the cowboy persona well because it’s likely the most famous of the Old West 6-Shooters. The Colt SAA starred in all the big Hollywood movies, but it wasn’t as common as Hollywood would make you think. In its era, it was quite expensive, but admittedly these were well-made guns that stood the test of time. It was a fitting gun for Raylan’s last villain.
Justifed: City Primeval
There isn’t a ton of gunplay in “Justified: City Primeval.” It’s often violent, but there isn’t a ton of gun fighting. Even in the end, it’s rather interesting. The gun that stood out was the bad guy’s Walther P38. At first sight, I thought it was bizarre, and seemingly out of place in the series. However, the show used the fact that it was ancient to make a plot point.
The Walther P38 and P1 by extension, is a WW2-era 9mm handgun used by the German military officers under the Nazi regime. Mechanically, it’s a fascinating pistol. It was the first pistol to use a locked breech in combination with a DA/SA trigger system. A lot of the features we see in the P38 are still seen in modern handguns.
It Was Justified
Justified doesn’t get talked about much these days. During its era, there were tons of great shows, and it’s easy to see how it got somewhat forgotten. It’s a show that deserves a rewatch or an original watch if you have the time. The new season was okay, but I can’t help but feel disappointed. If a second season is made from the cliffhanger then I am quite excited.