HBO’s “Barry” follows Barry Bertmen (played by Bill Hader), an ex-marine currently employed by Monroe Fuches (played by Stephen Root) as a hitman. His next job is in LA for the local Chechen mob. While tracking his target, he follows him into an acting class and coincidentally gets pulled on stage by him. After ‘acting’ out a scene with his target (largely by just standing there, shocked at the situation), the class claps and cheers. This affirmation flips a switch in Barry’s brain, making him crave stardom as he stays intertwined in his secret life.
The combination of director and actor Bill Hader, known for his comedic performances in SNL, a stereotypically embarrassing group of wannabe actors, and his murderous career surprisingly creates a hilarious show. Not only that but the use of firearms — for the most part — is well done. Bill Hader even discussed how he practiced extensively for the show to be able to pull off the persona of a skilled marine.
It’s important to note that even though this show is packed with firearms, it’s nearly impossible to identify all of them with complete confidence. Only one is merely referenced by name throughout the show, so many of these are speculations based on identifying features amongst the action on-screen. This show has four seasons, which I highly recommend watching, especially because — of course — there will be spoilers ahead.
The Glock 19 seems to be Barry’s gun of choice throughout the series. He uses it the most often, whether that be by choice or by coincidental finds. More often than not it’s also fit with a silencer to keep a low profile while he works. Some speculate if it’s actually a Glock 17, but regardless, he’s definitely using a Glock 9mm handgun.
Barry has some impressive skills with his gun. In Season 2, Episode 8, the Bolivian and Chechen mobs go from enemies to partners with the help of Fuches. Long story short, Fuches betrays Barry (as he does several times during the show). The Chechen leader NoHo Hank (played by Anthony Carrigan) texts Barry that Fuches is with him, sending Barry into a rage-driven killing spree to go after Fuches. At the time of his killing spree, there happens to be a celebration between the two mobs which quickly ends as Barry nearly kills the entire group with just his Glock 19 and a few spare magazines. Of course, Fuches gets away, but if you haven’t seen this episode, realize the entire mob was heavily armed with firearms of their own but were no match for Barry’s skill.
After a slew of events, Barry is imprisoned. In Season 4, Episode 3, Barry manages to get an apparent Glock 19 which he uses to break himself out of prison. His luck and resourcefulness bring him a long way throughout the show, even in the toughest binds.
.38 Special Pearl Gripped Revolver
The only gun mentioned by name, as such with great plot significance, is a .38 Special revolver with a pearl grip. This gun was gifted to Gene Cousineau (played by Henry Winkler) by his ex-roommate Rip Torn. Cousineau teaches the acting class that Barry accidentally became a part of. Throughout the show, he boasts about his few appearances on the screen and brushes with famous actors and directors. Some doubt some of his stories actually happened, but that one relationship is proven to be true.
In Season 2, Officer Janice Moss (played by Paula Newsome), his girlfriend, disappears. Cousineau then says, “In my bedroom, under my bed, there’s a mahogany box, and in that box, there’s a pearl-handled .38 Special – screen-used – from the movie Flashpoint, given to me by my former roommate Rip Torn. Do you know how many times today I’ve actually thought about going in there, and loading it, and giving it one last kiss?”
During season 3, Cousineau opens the box to show the gun for the first time. The box includes a note, stating:
“From the desk of Rip Torn
try not to blow your dick off with this.
(Dictated but not read)”
This detail may just fly over viewers’ heads as another detail of Cousineau’s life, but this gun is actually a huge part of the plot. In Season 4, it ends up being the gun that kills Barry. As a much older Barry seeks out his wife and kids in Cousineau’s home, Cousineau comes up behind him and shoots in in the chest. Barry falls to a chair and sees his killer, casually remarking ‘Oh wow.’ before Cousineau shoots him in the head. Cousineau actually tried to kill Barry with it before in Season 3, but the cylinder comedically fell out of the gun and rolled to Barry’s feet after delivering an ominous monologue.
The gun’s context seems to be alluding to a real-life crime (obviously, on top of the movie “Flashpoint” already referenced). In 2010 actor Rip Torn broke into a bank whilst intoxicated, carrying a loaded gun. This can be seen as a connector between the two worlds Barry has been strung between, and the true darkness lying beneath. Some fans have really dug into this detail, and it turns out to be at least interesting if not important to the plot.
The M40 rifle is commonly used in the US Marines, fitting Barry’s previous experiences. This gun appears when Barry tells the story about his first kill. It’s nice to see that the creators did their research to find a realistic rifle for this scene.
In the first episode of Season 2, Cousineau angrily demands that Barry discuss his first kill when asked about his missing wife. Barry, who as the audience knows, is the actual killer of his wife, gives in and tells his story. Barry says that during his first tour, he was put on fire watch where 700 yards out he saw ‘suspicious activity.’ Though it was only one man seemingly just walking around, his friend encouraged him to shoot. Barry kills the first man, and as two other men come to see the deceased, Barry shoots them immediately without hesitating.
As Barry tells this story on stage in front of the class as his foolish classmates try and reenact the situation beside him at the request of Cousineau. The way they try and act out what he says is painful to watch, especially with the context of Barry’s life that the viewer is aware of.
The AR-15 is scattered throughout the series and used by just about anyone who picks up a gun at some point. It’s seen heavily among the mobs, frequently carried by members or taken from trunks packed with rifles during an attack.
One notable appearance is in the series finale, when Barry storms into a Walmart and only mutters “Guns!” to the poor employee, who then asks what kind. The screen then clips to show Barry walking out of the store through toy aisles with two rifles strapped on his back, one appearing to be an AR-16.
Nemesis Arms Valkyrie
Early in the show, the Chechens order Barry to murder Paco (played by Geo Corvera), a member of the Bolivian mob, in exchange for Fuches’ safety. So, Barry sets up on a hill across from Paco’s home and aims his rifle patiently waiting for him to come outside while he reads Cousineau’s acting book.
However, NoHo Hank calls and tells him to wait on murdering Paco because he sent a bullet to the Bolivians (which of course, he wants to be delivered before killing Paco). At this point, Paco is practically taunting Barry as he stands casually outside his home stretching and looking around. Angry, Barry aims a few times and cusses Hank out before putting the rifle down. The rifle Barry uses in this scene is one of the harder ones to identify, however, in this scene, it appears to be a Nemesis Arms Valkyrie with potential customizations.