Firearms

Guns of Action Stars — Keanu Reeves

Operator holding clapperboard, studio light with claps on background. Filmmaker background

Some celebrities have made a name with their ability to thrill us on screen with their impressive firearm handling and shooting ability. These “action stars” have used a wide variety of guns throughout their years in film, but some stand out more than others. Here are some of the best and coolest guns used by the legendary Keanu Reeves. 

Glock 34 John Wick 2
The G34 in the second movie is TTI’s debut in the series. Image Source: IMFDB

John Wick 1 and 2

Of course, we can’t talk about Keanu Reeves and guns, and not mention the John Wick series. His realistic firearm handling and impressive loadout skyrocketed the popularity of the film. In the first movie, he mainly uses two HK P30Ls with muzzle compensators. The P30L is an incredibly durable and reliable double-action/single-action pistol used by military and law enforcement units. The German company is known for making some of the most dependable firearms in the world.

In the second movie, Wick upgrades to a Glock 34 longslide that has been upgraded by Taran Tactical Innovations with the Combat Master package. This takes the Glock, a pistol known for durability and reliability, to the highest level of performance with key upgrades such as improved sights, grip stippling, extended controls, and a match-grade barrel. He also picks up a Glock 26 customized by TTI in Rome, but it is replaced with a standard model in a continuity error when fighting Cassian. 

TTI Pit Viper John Wick 4
The TTI Pit Viper is made for the best of the best. Image Source: IMFDB

John Wick 3 and 4

In the third movie, Wick runs a TTI Combat Masterpiece 2011 chambered in 9×19 Major in the climactic shootout in the Continental Hotel. It features aggressive slide cuts for easy manipulation, a 5.4-inch match-grade bull barrel, and an impressive stipple job on the grip. It’s hard to do better than a custom 2011. 

When Wick requires something with more power, he turns to the classic Benelli M2, this version of course upgraded with all the bells and whistles from TTI. The Benelli M2 is a semi-auto 12-gauge shotgun that utilizes the simple and reliable inertia-driven recoil system. 

In the fourth movie, he receives an upgraded 2011 with TTI’s Pit Viper model. The redesigned slide gives it a nice, futuristic appearance and the integrated compensator makes for “virtually no muzzle flip.” Only the best of the best for John Wick, right?

Skorpion The Matrix
The Scorpions in The Matrix are quite intimidating. Image Source: IMFDB

The Matrix

The Matrix is one of the most gun-packed movies ever. Keanu Reeves stars as Neo, a computer hacker who discovers his entire reality is actually a simulation created by a computer intelligence.

There are more guns than you can count — none of which are used in a realistic manner at all. It’s just a guns-blazing action movie. But we can let that slide, since technically, they’re in the Matrix. 

Neo is given a CZ99 when escaping the attack by agents, after seeing the oracle. This Yugoslavian-made pistol is based on the SIG P226/P228 design, but it is a bit less refined. Later, in a continuity error, this pistol turns into a Glock 17 when Agent Smith grabs him through the wall.

A ’90s action movie wouldn’t be complete without some spray and pray from fantastic submachine guns. Of course, it features the classics — the Micro Uzi and HK MP5K. These are standard fare for a successful action movie. Neo also fires a pair of Sa vz. 61 Skorpions that have been customized with muzzle shrouds, pistol grips, and 30-round magazines for the movie. These blowback .32 ACPs look great on screen. 

1911 with light Speed
Here we see Traven’s 1911 with early mounted light. Image Source: IMFDB

Speed 

Speed is another classic Keanu film in which he plays Jack Traven, a LAPD SWAT officer who winds up on a bus that is set to explode if its speed drops below 50 mph. In accordance with the times, all the SWAT officers have .45 ACP 1911s as their sidearms. Traven’s pistol is outfitted with an early SureFire 310R light mounted to the frame. These early tactical modifications paved the way for the modern handguns we have today. 

Later in the movie, he is shown using a Smith & Wesson 6904 as his off-duty firearm. This subcompact 9mm incorporates a 3.5-inch barrel and features a bobbed hammer and rounded trigger guard for easy concealment. These double-action/single-action Smiths were some of the best for the time. 

Early SIG P226 Point Break
This early SIG P226 does not feature an accessory rail. Image Source: IMFDB

Point Break

Point Break stars a young Keanu Reeves as Johnny Utah, an FBI agent going undercover in the SoCal surfing scene to investigate a notorious bank robbery crew. Utah utilizes a SIG P226 as his duty pistol throughout the film, which reflects the times, as the SIG P226/P228 were just coming into service as FBI-issued sidearms.

His early-model P226 features the classic lines of the German-made pistols, with no light rail and the ‘folded steel’ slide. This is easily seen in one of the film’s most famous scenes, where Utah shoots his gun into the air as he is unwilling to shoot his friend, letting him escape. 

Utah is also seen using a Mossberg 500, as he qualifies with a shotgun in the beginning of the film. He performs a neat one-handed pump as he’s headed into the range. 

Holy Shotgun Constantine
The Holy Shotgun is quite a sight. Image Source: IMFDB

Constantine 

Although not a typical “gun movie,” Constantine features some unique and impressive firearms. John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a supernatural exorcist and demonologist, must aid a detective in proving her sister’s death was not a suicide. 

Constantine’s main firearm is a Holy Shotgun that has been crafted out of “Holy Relics.” It fires incredibly elaborate gold rifled slugs in engraved 12-gauge shells — that hurts the wallet… but how much for a box? Based generally on the design of the Armsel Striker, the Holy Shotgun features a redesigned receiver and luxurious refinements. The whole thing is polished, gold plated, engraved, and ornamented to truly fit the part. 

Notably, since most guns in movies tend to have an overabundance of ammunition, it’s interesting that though the shotgun drum holds 12 rounds, he is only shown firing 8 before having to reload. 

Constantine also uses a Dragon’s Breath flamethrower as his backup weapon, which is mounted beneath the barrel of the Holy Shotgun. Just as the name suggests, this thin tube produces a burst of flame akin to a flamethrower. 

S&W 4506 Street Kings
The 4506 produces a big fireball. Image Source: IMFDB

Street Kings

Street Kings is a crime thriller where Keanu Reeves plays a seasoned vice detective (Tom Ludlow) who begins to question his actions in the line of duty after a shootout leads to the death of his former partner. Ludlow carries a classic S&W 4506 as his duty firearm. This all-steel, double-action/single-action pistol is an absolute tank known for its durability and impressive reliability. 

Ludlow also packs a customized Colt 1911 while off duty. His model is a deep-blued MK IV Series 80 with stainless controls and accents. The pistol incorporates a number of modifications to enhance the performance, such as an extended slide release, safety levers, adjustable sights, magazine well, and longer combat trigger. 

Ludlow carries deep, and even totes a Charter Arms Off Duty as his backup gun. This hammerless .38 Special snub packs away nicely and provides you with 5 rounds when you need them most. 

Flintlock pistol 47 Ronin
47 Ronin features some black powder firearm use. Image Source: IMFDB

47 Ronin 

47 Ronin is mostly a sword movie, depicting the age of the samurai. However, it does include some firearm use on the side. Kai (Keanu Reeves) is an orphan taken in by Lord Asano from Ako, who must lead a group of samurai to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of the Shogun. 

Given the time period, the firearms used are all black powder. Along the journey, we see sailors armed with Brown Bess muskets. The Brown Bess was the most popular firearm of the Revolutionary War. This muzzle-loading, smooth-bore, flintlock musket was the standard issue infantry rifle of the British Royal Army and was one of the most popular options for the Continental Army as well. The .75 caliber musket was often used with a smaller .6 caliber ball so it would drop in faster, allowing for quicker reload speeds. 

We also see several sailors using flintlock pistols, and Kai even captures one and uses it. 

Glock 17 The Watcher
The Glock 17 changes from a Gen 3 to a Gen 2 when Griffin receives it. Image Source: IMFDB

The Watcher

The Watcher tells the story of Joel Campbell, a retired FBI agent struggling to deal with his inability to capture deranged serial killer David Griffin (Keanu Reeves). After being baited by another murder, Campbell must aid investigators to end this reign of terror. 

Campbell uses a Glock 17 as his duty sidearm. The Gen 3 model is distinguishable with its accessory rail for mounting lights and lasers. This is later given to Griffin, where it transforms into a Gen 2 model in a filming inconsistency (note the lack of accessory rail). The striker-fired 9 has been in more movies than you can count and is a staple of the firearms industry. 

Griffin also sets a trap using a sawn-off double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun. This is later taken down by Campbell, who uses it later. The basic sawn-off shotgun is an action movie regular, as the large blast looks great on screen. It’s also a good rudimentary option for setting a trap like this. 

Beretta 92F Chain Reaction
Here we see the unmistakable silhouette of a Beretta 92. Image Source: IMFDB

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction stars Keanu Reeves who plays an energy researcher (Eddie Kasalivich) for a green energy project. After it is discovered that his project can be used as a weapon, and he is framed for treason, must go on the run. Eddie carries a Beretta 92F, the precursor to the popular 92FS. It’s comparable to the original M9 that had some slide cracking issues with extra spicy ammunition. 

Because it’s too cool not to mention, the movie also includes the HK33SG/1 rifle, which is used by the agent chasing him in the helicopter. This is the long range variant to the HK33, a semi-automatic 5.56 NATO rifle with a roller-delayed blowback action. Notably, the rifle features a special secondary trigger that allows the main trigger to be manually set before the shot, producing an incredibly light and crisp trigger pull. 

What’s your favorite Keanu Reeves action movie? What’s your favorite gun he used on screen? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. I just love it. … Hollywood just keeps glorifying guns and violence, and when not in la-la-land, rails against violence and guns in the real world.

  2. Anyone with any common sense knows all these firearms in the movies are shooting blanks with much less powder. Just trying to compare actual ammo to blanks is pointless. All the firearms are “cool” to talk about but unless you really practice,practice,practice. The shooting in the movies is not even possible even for a marksman. My suggestion is practice don’t think your good until you shoot 1,000’s of rounds with the same firearm even then shooting is a skill that depreciates with age as does eyesight & steadiness. Ok now I’m ranting so hit the range and enjoy yourself.

  3. I definitely do enjoy Keanu Reeves.

    I also appreciate that off screen he is a humble, considerate, highly competent individual. The kind of person most Cheaper than Dirt “clients” would invite over to dinner.

    His gun handling skills are the product of extensive training and practice. As shooters we can recognize an actor that has actually taken the time to learn, an act that requires realizing that there is something to be learned!

  4. I’m all for guns for fun, home and personal defense as well as collecting. These Hollywood movies depicting action shooting with accurate shooting styles and techniques are all special effects. It takes years of daily practice to be a competitive marksman as well as doing such in a safe nonthreatening environment. Youth today who watch these movies believe that they can do the same. I work with youth felons who idolize the movies n guns. It would be nice to see Hollywood make a documentary with these actors telling the kids it’s all special effects and explaining the consequences of their actions and what happens when guns are not properly stored and used. And NO I’m not anti gun. I’m a a 10yr Army 1st gulf war vet and 25yr active law enforcement officer.

  5. Some films require one to suspend reality in the search for entertainment. Such was Conan the Barbarian: a film involving neither guns nor Keanu Reeves but highly entertaining just the same. Watching it killed some time for me without upsetting me politically. Pure entertainment.

    So it is with these Keanu Reeves movies. I enjoyed all of the John Wick films, as well as Speed and 47 Ronin. I don’t sweat the details as they are neither historically significant nor intended to instruct.

    I once had a chief pilot who railed against Top Gun for being unrealistic. Clearly, he missed the point. I, on the other hand, was thoroughly entertained, which was the point.

  6. I enjoyed the JW films in general and they did very well in creating the story line and people of interest throughout the series. I was very impressed with the training regime and preparation that KR involved himself in and the level of competency he seems to have managed. Is it a set of Real-World skills? Perhaps not, however if viewed from a competition speed shoot POV such a skill set would be considered quite good.
    I have no doubt that somewhere in the world there are individuals with mad skills and abilities, fact is, there are such people with such skill sets. There may indeed even be individuals outside of the common social sandbox who use them for one purpose or another such as are suggested in JW. Although, as I was told many years ago by an instructor, ” There are no Supermen in the world, and if their where YOU aren’t one of them!…. YOU will only be as good as the amount of practice and training you put into learning what we teach you here and the trust YOU have in your teammates.” He was correct of course and the reality is that no matter how good one may become, one is never as good as they could be, and one cannot acquire a skill set to offset that which is unexpected and/or unplanned for. One can only at best learn how to respond to the unexpected in a manner that allows one to survive the encounter as intact and functional as possible.
    If there were, or perhaps are, those with such skillsets as depicted in JW they are likely working for a government agency of one kind or another, Spec Ops of one flavor or another or exist so far outside of the perception of impossible as to be truly ghosts in the system.
    John Wick is just a series movie’s. They are fun and of some real-world interest but in about all. KR brings a valid level of belief and reality to his character and his training and abilities. Platform’s, however “TAC COOL” they may appear, are only as good as the individual, trained and operating them. this is to say that a well built 1911 in .45 or 10MM in the hands of a professional is as deadly as anything that is the likely to be the flavor of the year as seen at the current years Shot Show.

    movies (overall series) ****
    special effects and location staging *****
    Platforms (firearms used or portrayed) ****
    KR’s actual skill sets *****

    moving on ….

  7. If there was ever anything I would have attributed to “Tremors”, it’s certainly not “believable characters, plausible story lines, sharp dialogue, and good acting”. But who am I to judge?

  8. I don’t recall ever watching a Keanu Reeves movie. I generally prefer films that focus on believable characters, plausible story lines, sharp dialogue, and good acting. I think the emphasis on firearms in theatrical releases began with Dirty Harry. And while it may have unintentionally boosted S&W Model 29 sales, it was mainly a well scripted tense thriller. When the guns and special effects become the stars, I quickly lose interest. They have their place, but it’s the characters I’m most interested in. One of the best examples I can think of is the movie TREMORS. It’s a thinking man’s action movie in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock where regular people have to use their ingenuity to overcome seemingly impossible situations.

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