Nowadays in movies and in life, the semi-automatic pistol is
the handgun of choice. Revolvers, sometimes referred
to as "wheel guns," are still manufactured
but are not carried often as sidearms by the military
and law enforcement agencies of the world. At
the turn of the century however, the old wheel
gun was all we had. From cowboys to colonial British
troops, the revolver was the weapon of choice.
By World War I,
significant improvements had been made to the
An actual Webley
The revolver carried by Indiana
Jones has changed from film to film, and in some
cases from scene to scene. In Raiders,
Indy carries a Smith
& Wesson Hand Ejector II. This was
a revolver chambered for .45 caliber rounds and
introduced a few years before World
War I. Normally made with a five or six
inch barrel, the two examples used in Raiders
had barrels cut down to four inches in length.
This gun can also be seen in the 1985 film, The
Aviator, starring Christopher Reeve.
Briefly in Raiders,
during the Raven Bar scene and the Bantu Wind
scene, Indy can be seen using a Browning
HP semi-automatic pistol, common in Europe
in the late 1930s.
In the brief moments that Indy has
a gun in Temple of Doom,
he carries the same Smith
& Wesson revolver. Although there are
sources that say this gun changes immediately
once it plummets from the car window. The dropped
gun has been argued by some to be a Colt
New Service M1917, another World
War I era revolver, but this has been debated.
Crusade, Indy trades up the American makes
for a British weapon. The massive revolver he
carries is the famous Webley
MKVI. Webley revolvers were used extensively
throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Besides being used throughout the British colonial
campaigns in the Middle East, Africa and India,
the pistol was heavily used in World
War I in its final major incarnation, the
Mark VI. In World War
II, many Webley
MKVIs, officially deemed too large and
heavy for use as a sidearm, still found service
in the war against Hitler.
While officially the pistol was
replaced with a much smaller Webley, known as
the .38 caliber MKIV, the hefty MKVI was still
favored by some soldiers and Royal
Air Force pilots. This is because its very
sturdy construction meant it was easily re-chambered
for the more powerful .45 ACP round and pilots
bailing out over Nazi-occupied France wanted to
pack some serious heat. It wasn’t a very
accurate pistol at long range, but heaven help
anyone who took a round from the Webley
MKVI at closer ranges.
Left, 2 shots
showing the Smith
& Wesson Hand Ejector II.
On the right, a screenshot from Last
Webley pistols of all makes have
made it into a variety of films, especially British
colonial adventures like Gunga
Lives of a Bengal Lancer
and The Four Feathers.
The MKVI is arguably most famous for its appearance
in Lawrence of Arabia
as Lawrence’s personal sidearm.
Crusade, Indy’s Webley
changes from time to time rather subtly. In some
scenes, it is the traditional Webley
MKVI, while in other scenes such as the
Grail Temple, it is a variant known as the Webley-Green
with a more rounded grip.
A true British
holster used in
All of these pistols, the Smith
and Wesson, the Webley
and even the Browning
HP are all over 70 years old now and are
sought by collectors and firearm enthusiasts.
Finding them at all is rare. Finding them in useable
or close to perfect condition is even harder.
Incidentally, the holsters Indy
wears in the films are traditional leather flap
holsters commonly used by European military personnel
for their revolvers during the late 19th and early
20th centuries. These holsters can be found replicated
by a number of firearms accessory dealers. Supposedly,
the Raiders holster
was custom made, while the holsters in Temple
of Doom and Last
Crusade were true British Webley