STEVEN SEAGAL REPRESENTS a strange little corner of the action movie genre. At the time, when his movies were coming out and claiming the top spot at the box office in the late 80s and early 90s, he was pretty freakin’ awesome.

Sadly, these days, he’s more of a joke than anything else—which is a shame, because he has a serious list of accomplishments to his name and made some pretty cool movies, once upon a time—and from some of the footage we saw on his less than stellar reality TV show, he’s a pretty good shot with a handgun in real life. Even in his earliest movies he demonstrated a solid two-handed grip with handguns with none of that teacup stuff that so many actors used during that era (looking at you Pierce Brosnan), and good trigger discipline overall, showing he’d had training at some point.

Born in Michigan, Seagal is a 7th-dan black belt in the martial art of aikido. He began his adult life in Japan as a martial arts instructor and eventually became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in the country’s history.

In the early 1970s, Seagal moved to Japan for the first time. In 1974, he returned to California where his family now lived. That year, he met a woman named Miyako Fujitani, a second-degree black belt and daughter of an aikido master in Osaka. In something out of a movie plot, when Miyako went back to Osaka, Seagal went with her. They were married a year later, had a son and a daughter, and he began teaching at the school owned by Miyako’s family.

Segal first returned to the U.S. and set up a dojo in Taus, New Mexico with one of his students, Craig Dunn, who later became a Hollywood stuntman. Things didn’t work out, and Seagal went back to Japan, returning to the U.S. again in 1983 and opened another dojo with another student, but this time, in North Hollywood and then moved to West Hollywood.

In 1988, being in Hollywood paid off and he made his acting debut as the lead in the pulpy action flick Above the Law, which would begin a string of three-word titled box office smashes.

Seagal’s different looks, the ill-advised ponytail not withstanding, combined with his unique fighting style was something American audiences hadn’t seen before and it was an instant success. The fluid and seemingly effortless motions of aikido with their dramatic results looked great on camera, and were obviously different, even to the layman, from Jean-Claude Van Damme’s karate and kickboxing or Chuck Norris’ Tang Soo Do, Jiu Jitsu, and Judo.

Seagal was the new Hollywood martial arts badass and would duke it out for that title with Jean Claude Van Damme through the 1990s.

His string of hits culminated with 1992’s big budget tentpole movie with an all star cast, Under Seige.

Oddly enough, things started going downhill right after his biggest hit. He didn’t put out another movie for two years until On Deadly Ground premiered in 1994—and it was pretty much a dud.

He reprised his role as Casey Ryback the following year in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, and while it was a pretty decent action movie, it felt gimmicky and forced. The characters were carbon copies of archetypes from a 100 other action movies and instead of being on a U.S. Navy battleship…they’re on a long-distance commuter train. Hardly as exciting. The whole thing feels like a rejected Die Hard sequel script, and it did not live up to the original’s success.

From there it gets kind of rough. He was top-billed in Executive Decision (1996) along with Kurt Russell, the first time he’d be teaming up with another action star—something that was super rare at the time for the genre. But audiences were shocked and disappointed when Seagal’s character died in kind of a crappy way before the story even got out of the first act.

When he starred in the buddy cop movie The Glimmer Man with Kennan Ivory Wayans in 1996, things were fully not OK and by the time the environment-conscious Fire Down Below came out in 1997, most of his fans had fled.

That’s what begins what I like to call his straight-to-video career. His next five movies, ending with The Foreigner in 2003, got limited theatrical releases before heading to Blockbuster, but ever since, nearly every one of his films has been straight to video, and in more recent years, straight to VOD, most of which he has produced. And most of them are made in various countries in Asia.

As an example, the 2016 movie he made called The Perfect Weapon, according to, had an estimated budget of $14M. It had a cumulative worldwide gross of $15,436. Ouch. Though another movie he released that same year, The Asian Connection did slightly better with a $2M budget and a gross of $34,735.

We’re not going to talk about that large spat of terrible, low-budget flicks here, or his law enforcement career/reality TV career. We’re just covering the good and decent movies. And we’re going to try and do it before he comes back around and starts ruining those—Seagal recently announced he’s reprising his role as Nico Toscani in Above the Law 2, which has not yet begun pre-production. Oh my…

Above the Law (1988)

The movie that launched Seagal’s movie career saw him star opposite B-movie veteran Pam Grier as a Nico Toscani, a Chicago detective with a past that involves work done for the CIA and family members in the Mafia. He investigates the murder of a local priest and stumbles into a government conspiracy that he goes on to fight almost single-handedly.

You’ll notice, along with how thin he is and how weird his hair looks, that Seagal obviously got some good shooting and gun handling instruction along the way, or perhaps for this role. He displays some solid training techniques that some Hollywood actors adopted at the time.

Notably, he performs what now looks like an unusual and dangerous press check on his 1911 that was commonly taught and that we can see in other movies. It’s the old school way of doing it by placing the index finger of the support handing under the barrel and pressing back on the slide from there.

1911 commander pistol steven seagal
Seagal performs and old-school brass check with his 1911 Commander pistol.

We see James Caan do the same kind of press check in the 1981 Michael Mann crime drama Thief. We see Al Pacino do it the same way with his 1911 in Mann’s Heat from 1995 and Seagal does it again in Under Siege.

This press check method is no longer taught as it won’t work with many modern, railed semi-auto pistols, and getting your finger that close to the muzzle of any handgun is unnecessarily dangerous, but it was taught for a good while.

CAR-14 XM177

nico carrying a colt car-15 carbine
In the small bit of the movie that takes place in Vietnam, Nico carries a Colt Car-14 carbine. Both actors are displaying excellent trigger discipline, something of a rarity for action movies from the time period.

Early on, we get a flashback of Nico doing covert work for the CIA during the Vietnam War. Both he and his partner Nelson Fox are carrying Colt XM177 Commando rifles as their primary firearms.

The CAR-14 XM177 is also simply known as the Colt Commando. It was part of the CAR-15 Military Weapons System designed din 1966 by Colt in response to the military’s desire for compact variants of the M16 rifle.

The U.S. tested some CAR-15 Model 607 rifles in Vietnam, but it had shortcomings including a huge muzzle blast and an overly complicated and unreliable collapsible stock. Colt addressed these problems with the XM177, which had a number of improvements. The triangular stock was replaced with a two-position telescoping tubular aluminum stock and a round handguard.

After testing, in 1967 the barrel on the Commando was lengthened from 10 inches to 11.5 inches, which helped reduce noise and muzzle flash and also allowed for the Colt XM148 grenade launcher to be fitted to the gun. The chambers were also chrome-plated.

The army purchased 510 Colt 629 Commandoes for use by MACV-SOG, the precursor to the Navy SEALs. The Air Force adopted a similar model without a forward assist. It is said the SOG operators bought their own 30-round magazines on the civilian market as they could only get 20-rounders through channels.

Production of the Commando ended in 1970.

Colt Government M1911A1

seagal carrying colt government m1911a1 pistol
Beginning a consistent trend in his films, Seagal’s main sidearm in ATL is a Colt Government M1911A1 pistol. He also uses a Colt Commander Mk IV 1911 later on. Here he uses a solid two-handed grip.

Nico’s primary sidearm is a Colt Government M1911A1 pistol, but he uses several 1911s throughout the movie. Seagal is known to be a big 1911 fan in real life.

When Nico returns home to get his wife and child out of the house after leaning he has become a target, he grabs a bag containing several firearms. One is a Colt Commander Mk IV 1911 pistol.

In a continuity error, we see his gun change from the Government model to the Commander model several times during the meatpacking district shootout.

beretta 92sb handguns used by Tosccani and Lukich
Toscani uses a Beretta 92SB as he and Detective Lukich go to rescue the priest.

When Nico goes with Det. Lukich to rescue the priest, he is armed with a Berette 92SB that he uses for several scenes. The 92SB was a modified version of the 92S with a difference magazine release and an ambidextrous redesigned safety lever.

The SB had an automatic firing pin block safety and an enhanced grip texture, in addition to a rounded trigger guard. The later 92F and 92FS would use squared trigger guards. These days, the 92SB is one of the more rare 92 variants.

Beretta 87 Cheetah

beretta 87 cheetah used by nico
Nico uses a compact Beretta 87 Cheetah to confront Agent Neeley.

At one point, when Nico confronts an FBI Agent Neeley, he uses a compact Beretta 87 Cheetah that we actually never see again nor do we know where it comes from. Probably that bag of guns.

Heckler & Koch P9S

Nico firing a heckler and koch p9s pistol
Nico using Nelson Fox’s H&K P9S pistol.

When Nico catches up with Nelson Fox (Chelcie Ross), his old CIA partner and ‘Nam buddy, he’s carrying a more modern pistol—the Heckler & Koch P9S. After he’s wounded, Fox hands the P9 off to Nico who uses it for the rest of the scene.

SIG Sauer P220

nico aiming and firing a SIG Sauer P220
Nico switches to a SIG Sauer P220 in .45 ACP.

When a bunch of bad guys turn his car into Swiss cheese with machine guns, Nico draws a SIG Sauer P220 pistol on the men. The P220 makes sense for Nico—it’s a .45 ACP semi-auto that operates much like a 1911, though it’s a DA/SA pistol

Hard to Kill (1990)

This movie is pretty goofy in retrospect, but it was still awesome. Seagal was riding high on the breakout success of Above the Law and audiences were eager fore more. His second movie had a bigger budget, and a bigger story and co-starred Kelly LeBrock, William Sadler, and Frederick Coffin.

Seagal plays a character with an action movie name so severe, it’s painful: Mason Storm—another police detective—this time in Los Angeles, who video tapes some mysterious mob meeting down at the docks. That night, masked men break into his home and attempt to kill him and his family.

His wife dies in the attack, but Storm is shot several times and lapses into a coma for a stunning seven years.

He awakens to find that his wife is dead and the same men who killed her are still after him—and then it pretty much turns into a by the numbers revenge story involving corrupt cops, senators, and all kinds of no good bad guys.

Although he uses a number of guns in this movie, Seagal seems to want to show off his martial arts skills more in this one and they get a lot more attention than they did in his first movie.


Mason Storm aiming a M1911A1 pistol
Storm gets his old sidearm back when he wakes up, an M1911A1 with custom grips. (bottom) He performs another of the old-school brass checks—here you can clearly see the thumb of his support hand on the trigger guard.

When he comes out of his coma, Storm is given his old pistol, an M1911A1 with customized grip panels. He also performs the same press check that he uses in Above the Law.

He uses this 1911 for the rest of the movie.

Browning Auto 5 Shotgun

Jack aiming a browning auto 5 shotgun
Jack using the semi-auto Browning Auto-5 shotgun.

We see Jack Axel (Charles Boswell) use a Browning Auto-5 shotgun with an extended mag tube when he attempts to kill storm in the home where he’s hiding. Storm kills Axel and commandeers the shotgun, using it for a short time. We also see the same gun during the assault on Storm’s family in the beginning.

Side-by-Side Shotgun

man putting a side-by-side-shotgun in someone's mouth
Sadler’s dental work gets messed up by a side-by-side shotgun muzzle.

During the film’s climax, Sen. Vernon Trent (Sadler) tries to shoot storm with a side-by-side sawed off double barrel shotgun, which looks to be a 12 gauge from the bore size. After falling, Storm takes the gun from Trent and shoves the barrels into his mouth, knocking out his front teeth.

Marked for Death (1990)

Seagal was hitting his stride by the time Marked for Death came out, as was his action movie presence. Instead of playing another cop, he gets a promotion to fed and plays DEA Agent John Hatcher, and instead of carrying a fairly standard M1911A1, this time around he gets an upgraded, modernized model that’s actually kind of unusual.

Federal Ordnance PSP-07 Pistol

Peters Stahl Sport Multical .45 ACP pistols
The screen-used Peters Stahl Sport Multical .45 ACP pistol used in Marked for Death.

His main sidearm is a Federal Ordnance PSP-07 and is actually included in the film’s end credits. The “PSP” stands for Peters Stahl Sport, but there isn’t much information about the gun online.

While it looks like a longslide 1911, It actually has a barrel-mounted compensator with the front sight mounted atop that adds significant length and covers a somewhat extended barrel. The pistol also appears to have an extended magazine in some scenes, a squared trigger guard, and an adjustable rear sight.

steven seagal and john hatcher in marked for death
Seagal with the PSP-07 as DEA agent John Hatcher.

On screen, the longer silhouette of the black pistol with silver accents looks impressive and imposing, and it was something different at the time for a movie cop to carry.

Glock 17

gangster in the movie marked for death
Hatcher turns the tables on a gangster with a Glock 17.

Being a DEA agent, naturally Hatcher is targeted for termination by a violent cartel of Jamaican drug dealers. A lot of them carry Glock 17 pistols. At one point Hatcher takes one away an mangles the dude’s hand with his trademark wrist twisting move.

Armsel Protecta Shotgun

an armsel protecta shotgun used by hatcher in marked for death
An Armsel Protecta Shotgun (top) with a 7-inch barrel. Hatcher (bottom) uses the revolving shotgun.

For a change, Seagal uses guns bigger than a handgun in this movie, one of the bigger ones being an Armsel Proteca revolving shotgun with a laser sight which he uses to assault the Jamaican gang’s hideout. You might know it as the Armsel Striker, a popular shotgun included in many movies and video games. The Protecta is actually and improved version of the Striker with a simplified operating mechanism and improved reliability.

The 12 guage shotgun was first designed in 1981 and had a removable rotary cylinder. In theory, it worked like a giant 12 gauge revolver. Though it looked cool in the movies, the rotary cylinder was bulky, heavy, and difficult to reload with shells.

Because a double-action trigger that revolved the massive cylinder would have been very heavy, a pre-wound clockwork type spring in the cylinder was used to revolve it, which contributed to the slow reload time, as the spring had to be wound. This was done in exchange for a shorter and lighter trigger pull. The mechanism was less than reliable so in 1989, it was stripped down and redesigned.

In the Protecta, the revolving mechanism is removed and a cocking lever on the right side of the barrel was added to rotate the cylinder. At this point, you may be asking, why not just use a pump action shotgun that can be reloaded in a moment? And that’s why the Protecta didn’t really gain any more traction in the tactical world than the Striker. But they’re awesome in video games.

It also doesn’t help that in 1994 the Striker was declared a “destructive device” under the NFA, so civilian ownership is extremely limited in the U.S. and highly regulated by the ATF.

Remington 700

Hatcher with a remington bolt action rifle in Marked for Death
Hatcher and his “silent partner.” He uses this suppressed Remington 700 bolt action rifle as a sniper rifle.

In one scene, Hatcher uses a classic Remington 700 bolt action rifle with a large scope as a sniper rifle. The gun is fitted with a suppressor, so of course he refers to it as his, “silent partner.”

Fleming HK51K

Hatcher using a Fleming HK51K submachine gun in Marked for Death
Hatcher tests out the custom built Fleming HK51K submachine gun.

When Hatcher starts rocking the old-school yellow shooting glasses and a submachine gun with a silver suppressor, you could be forgiven for thinking it was an MP5 variant, and it sort of is.

The compact full-auto firearm is actually a custom designed gun. A Heckler & Koch G3 was converted, which you can see in the magazine well area, by Bill Fleming, a registered gun manufacturer. It was fitted with a custom suppressor and a laser sight for the movie. We also see Hatcher fill the tips of the hollowpoint ammo he loads in the gun with a gunpowder pixture, supposedly making them into “exploding” bullets.

According to, Seagal personally chose this custom firearm to be in the movie. Hatcher tests the gun and it is later used by the Jamaican Chicago cop Charles (Tom Wright) during the attack on the gang lord’s mansion.

Palm Pistol

Hatcher repairing a chicago palm pistol in Marked for Death
Hatcher repairs a Chicago Palm Pistol.

In one scene, we see Hatcher disassembling and repairing a small and unusual looking firearm known as The Protector or the Chicago Palm Pistol, which he takes from a framed display of antique firearms hanging in his old room. He doesn’t end up using it, which is a shame, because this is a really interesting personal protection device.

The Protector was a .32 rimfire revolver that was designed to be fired with the barrel protruding between two fingers and the entire gun was squeezed in order to fire it.

shadowbox of antique guns in Marked for Death
The shadowbox of antique guns in Hatcher’s old room including a couple single-action revolvers, a flintlock pistol, a derringer, the Chicago Protector palm pistol, a Mauser C96 “Broom Handle” pistol, and a 1911 pistol.

The gun was first patented in France in 1882 and was later built in the U.S. as The Protector by Minneapolis Firearms Co. before the patent was sold in the 1890s. The design was abandoned by 1910.

The little gun had a seven- or eight-round capacity and ammo was made for it by Remington as .32 Extra Short and .32 Protector until 1920.

To see how one of these cool little guns functions, go here

When Hatcher takes the gun apart, you can see from this video that the actual revolving circular magazine that holds the ammunition is missing.

Out For Justice (1991)

This is the last movie that feels the same as Seagal’s original spate of successful movies. This time, he plays another cop, NYPD Det. Gino Felino who has family ties to some members of the mob in his old neighborhood.

It’s brash, bright, and needlessly and flagrantly violent as only early 90s movies can be. Also, be warned, there is also a needless and flagrant amount of beret wearing on the part of Seagal. Something about the military beret with the ponytail and the bomber jacket makes him look like a character out of a cheap knock-off fighting game from the late 80s.

William Forsythe plays a hideously violent bad guy named Richie, who is such a slime ball that when Seagal beats the crap out of him for a solid five minutes at the end of the movie with a table leg, a frying pan, pretty much and entire apartment, and a corkscrew, it seems wholly appropriate. Like, it’s not even a contest. Forsythe just falls around this tiny apartment when he’s not being thrown into or through something, and every once in a while falls on an implement he tries to use against Seagal that gets used on him. Its kind of amazing.

Colt Combat Elite

steven seagal in Out for Justice
Seagal uses a Colt Combat Elite in .45 ACP in this movie as NYPD Det. Gino Felino.

In this one, Seagal goes back to a more traditional 1911, but it’s a nice one. The Colt Combat Elite he carries seems to be a custom gun with the frame from a Para-Ordnance P-14. In some shots, you can see the magazine is clearly larger than a single-stack 1911, supporting this.

Ithaca 37 shotgun

Felino loading a Ithaca Shotgun
Felino loads up a 12 gauge Ithaca 37 shotgun.

The only other gun he uses in the movie, and the one he’s pictured holding on the movie poster, is an Ithaca 37 pump action shotgun that he pulls from the trunk of a police car before going to hunt Richie down after seeing Lupo’s crime scene.

The Ithaca 37 has been made in large numbers for the military, police, and civilian markets. Its design is based on a 1915 patent by Joh Browning for a shotgun initially marketed as the Remington Model 17. It uses a combination ejection/loading port on the bottom of the gun, which leaves both sides sealed to the elements and debris. And, its inherently ambidextrous as the spent shells eject from the bottom, not the right side of the receiver.

Under Siege (1992)

Finally, Seagal is playing something other than a police detective! This movie has a few strange beats and its completely corny, but its still pretty damn awesome even nearly 30 years later.

Seagal plays Casey Ryback, a U.S. Navy cook who finds himself on the Iowa-class battleship USS Missouri, which is headed for moth balls, when terrorists take over the ship with the goal of stealing its remaining nuclear warheads.

It has often been described as Die Hard on a boat, and…it sort of is. Only John McClane was an everyday average cop, whereas Ryback turns out to be an ex Navy SEAL commander who was demoted for the remainder of his career until retirement after an incident in which he nearly killed his superior officer.

And, as a little bit of trivia, the movie wasn’t filmed on the Missouri, but rather the South Dakota-class battleship USS Alabama.

Colt Mk IV Series 70 Government Model

Casey Rybak using a colt mk iv series government model pistol
Casey Ryback (top) carries a Colt Mk IV Series 70 Government Model 1911 pistol. We see him use the old-school brass check method (bottom) we’ve seen Seagal use in previous movies in this scene with Erika Elaniak.

It’s back to the military style 1911s again for Seagal as Ryback, who picks up and uses the guns of opportunity. Most of the terrorists and U.S. Military personnel carry the Colt Mk IV pistols.

The M9 pistol didn’t begin replacing the M1911A1 until 1985 and it’s possible that in 1992 the guard staff of a ship that was barely used and headed to retirement would still be carrying 1911s.

Some guards, like Pvt. Nash (Tom Wood) who guards Rybeck when he’s locked in the meat locker, carry what look to be actual M1911A1s.

Cobray SWD M11/9

Ryback with an SWD M11/9
Ryback with an SWD M11/9 SMG with a wire stock in one hand and an MP5K in the other as Granger (Troy Evans) provides cover fire with another M11.

Some of the terrorists are armed with Cobra SWD M11/9 machine guns, which look a lot like a MAC-11. That’s because it pretty much is. Of course, Ryback gets his hands on one along with some of the other sailors who aren’t locked with the others.

The M11/9 is an updated that’s based on the MAC-11 blueprints by SWD Industries. Cobray emerged when SWD closed down in 1986. The M11/9 actually stood in quite regularly for the MAC-10 and MAC-11 made by Ingram. It’s worth noting that some of the bad guys in Under Siege are armed with Uzi submachine guns and Micro Uzi pistols while others use actual Ingram MAC-10s, so it’s a real mixed bag.

Heckler & Koch MP5K

Ryback with MP5k modified gun
Ryback with his MP5K modified to accept a suppressor as he discovers Erika Elaniak in the cake from the party turned hostage situation.

Ryback gets a better gun off a different bad guy when he picks up an H&K MP5K submachine gun that he uses for the rest of the movie. He uses it with the stock vertical foregrip and the barrel has been modified to accept a suppressor.

Something about the foregrip and the suppressor on the short sub gun made it look extra badass.

On Deadly Ground (1994)

This movie is…kinda strange. There’s a lot strange about it, beginning with Michael Cane’s presence in the movie, his jet black died hair, and the fact that he’s not playing an Englishman, but is trying…I think…to put on a sort of Texas accent. Although the presence of R. Lee Ermey in the cast does make up for that a bit.

This was the directorial debut for Seagal, who wasn’t content remaining in front of the camera any longer. He decided to add an ecological message to the themes of the movie and it fell pretty flat, like a cut-rate Captain Planet.

It received negative reviews and, more importantly, didn’t even cover it’s $50 million budget.

There’s some convoluted story about an evil oil company that owns oil rights to land leased from Natives in Alaska, but if their refinery isn’t online in a couple weeks, they lose the lease…for some reason. So they cut corners and use crappy equipment just to slap the refinery together.

Seagal plays…are you ready for this?…Forrest Taft, whose job is putting out oil fires. Plus he has some kind of shady hinted at past in the CIA. But now, he just puts out oil fires.

He learns of the oil company’s evil plot and explosions and fights ensue.

Colt Mk IV Series 70 Government

Forrest Taft aiming Colt Mk IV Series pistol
Forrest Taft carries a simple Colt Mk IV Series 70 1911 pistol.

Of course, Seagal carries a 1911, this time a simple Colt Mk IV Series 70 Government. I always thought he made a makeshift suppressor out of a soda bottle taped to his gun in Under Siege, but apparently he does it in this movie.

On Deadly Ground proved things were getting a bit formulaic for Seagal.

USAS-12 Shotgun

forrest taft fires a usas auto shotgun
Taft fires a USAS-12 full auto shotgun during the gun battle on the oil platform.

During the battle on the oil platform, Taft picks up and uses a USAS-12 full-auto, magazine fed shotgun.

The gas-operated, select fire shotgun is designed to provide sustained firepower in close combat. It takes a 10-round box mag like we see in the movie or a 20-round drum mag, both polymer.

12 Gauge Double Barrel

forrest taft holding a double-barreled shotgun
Taft with a side-by-side double barrel shotgun.

Taft also uses a classic side-by-side double barrel 12 gauge shotgun when a few of MacGruder’s men come calling before the big battle. It could be a 1960s Stevens Hammerless model, but it’s hard to tell.

Heckler & Koch MP5K

forrest taft aiming a Heckler & Koch MP5K
Taft with a captured Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine gun.

When some bad guys try to take out Taft at his cabin, he picks up and uses an H&K MP5k submachine gun which has two magazines taped together jungle style.

Though the gun makes frequent appearances in Seagal’s movies, he only uses it in this one scene.

Hidden Armory

forrest taft in his private armory
Taft’s hidden armory.

As any good ex-CIA agent turned oil firefighter in Alaska does, Taft has a secret armory in his cabin with a number of firearms, including a full rack of long guns and a couple ARs, AKs and pistols hanging from the other. We’re also to assume there’s a full gun rack beneath the camera, so that’s a pretty healthy secret arsenal.

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)

Let’s see if we can count the tropes in this story. Evil computer genius creates evil superweapon that he demonstrates and then uses the U.S. hostage to get what he wants.

Casey Ryback is back, now as a retired cook and ex-Navy SEAL. But guess what? He’s playing dad to a young Katherine Heigl playing his niece Sarah, whom he’s traveling with because apparently his brother, her father, died while he was recently deployed I guess? And he’s trying to heal the relationships he has left…on a long train ride.

Yes everyone is trapped on a moving train that can’t be stopped and goes through a mountain pass known as Dark Territory, where it can’t be tracked.


Ryback has an unremarkable M1911A1 from the beginning of the movie right to the knife fight at the end. And yes that is an Apple Newton PDA in his other hand…which stands for Personal Digital Assistant, for anyone under 30. Ryback uses it to store his recipes and to communicate with the government during hostage situations.

Ryback carries an M1911A1 pistol in the movie that he just has at the beginning. We’re assume he was carrying concealed.

He pretty much carries it through the whole movie. Not a lot of bad guys give Ryback a lot of trouble in this one. He throws them around rail cars with impunity and has a little bit of a tough time in the hand-to-hand fight with main heavy bad guy Marcus Penn, played excellently by Everett McGill. He caries a very cool two-toned Jericho 941 R in this movie. I don’t think he ever even takes off his suit jacket.

Glock 19

ryback holding a glock 19
Ryback makes a few errors when explaining to Bobby how to use a Glock 19 taken from a bad guy.

There’s one other part where Ryback teaches Bobby Zachs (Morris Chestnut) how to use a handgun using a Glock 19 they took off a dead bad guy, and it’s a little embarrassing.

He tells Bobby that the gun is a .45 and that he has to take the safety off before firing. Of course, the Glock 19 is a 9mm handgun and has no manual safety. You might be tempted to think that it’s a Glock 30 or 36, but the gun in the movie definitely has a compact frame, and those are subcompacts——and neither model was around when this movie was made.

That’s pretty much it. He uses a—you guessed it—an H&K MP5K that he gets off a dead bad guy, but not for long.

Executive Decision (1996)

This is another weird move. From the marketing and trailers, which was all moviegoers had in the early 90s, this looked like a movie where Steven Seagal was finally teaming up with another action star in his own right, Kurt Russell. And that’s how it looked like the movie was going to go.

But wait.

In the rising action of the first act, as the SEALs are attempting a dangerous mid-air boarding of a commercial jet from a stealth military jet through an umbilicus, everything goes wrong, Seagal is trapped in the tunnel on a ladder, he tells Kurt Russell and his other guys who made it aboard “good luck killing those terrorists” and shuts the door to the plane just as the umbilicus is torn apart and Seagal goes flying off into the sky!!

He just dies. Just like that. The rest of the movie was good enough and Kurt Russell is awesome, but it left fans thinking Seagal was losing it or stepping back in some way.

Heckler & Koch MP5K-PDW

travis using a mp5k stacked
Travis uses an MP5K mocked up with a folding stock to look like an MP5K-PDW.

This is the first movie where I don’t think he uses a 1911 at all (though all of his commandoes do). He does get his hands on his other favorite, the H&K MP5K submachine gun, though this appears to be an MP5 mocked up to look like an MP5K-PDW.

The one he uses as Lt. Col. Austin Travis has a PDW folding stock with an SEF lower and what looks like a fake suppressor welded onto the existing muzzle instead of threaded onto an extended barrel, which the MP5K-PDW has.

High Standard HDM

forrest taft carrying high standard HDM 22LR pistol
For some reason, Taft carries what appears to be a High Standard HDM .22LR target pistol in his vest.

Strangely enough, what looks like a High Standard HDM pistol with adjustable sights is seen in Travis’ vest in the opening mission to retrieve the chemical weapons, which ultimately is not completely successful.

Why he would be carrying a .22LR target pistol is anyone’s guess.

The Glimmer Man (1996)

And then Seagal went back to playing a cop with some kind of super military past in Glimmer Man alongside a wisecracking Keenan Ivory Wayans, but Lethal Weapon it is not. The duo are an odd couple pair of LAPD police detectives who have to track down a serial killer who has a thing for crucifixions.

This was part of the spat of glossy serial killer movies that rode the wave created by Silence of the Lambs, though other movies like Kiss the Girls and Se7en did it better.


cole carrying m1911a1 handgun
Cole carries a plain M1911A1..and yes, his whole jacket looks like that sleeve.

Can you guess what kind of gun Seagal carried as Det. Jack Cole? Yep, another M1911A1. This one looks to be a plain jane military grade pistol with no customization. In contrast, Wayans’ Det. Jim Campbell carries a Smith & Wesson 910.

Fire Down Below (1997)

I have a hard time keeping this one and On Deadly Ground straight in my head.

This time around, Seagal plays a Marshal named Jack Taggart with the Environmental Protection Agency (they have armed marshals?…OK) who goes undercover to investigate illegal dumping in a small Kentucky town.

Instead of Michael Cane as the old man bad guy, we have Kris Kristofferson as Orin Hanner, Sr., the old man bad guy.


seagal holding a m1911a1 pistol
Seagal yet again carries a plain jane M1911A1 pistol, only this one is a WWII era pistol with an earlier M1911 mainspring housing and trigger.

Yet again, Seagal carries an M1911A1 pistol. We can see when Sarah (Marg Helgenberger) takes the gun out of his truck that it has Colt pre-war commercial rollmarks on the side.

Also, the short trigger and flat mainspring housing are that of an earlier M1911.

Glock 17

jack intimidates the glock 17 pistol
Jack intimidates a corrupt deputy with his own Glock 17 pistol.

The corrupt deputies in the town carry Glock 17 pistols. In one scene, Jack takes on of the corrupt deputy’s pistol away and shoves it in his mouth on the street to make an example of him.

Smith & Wesson Model 29

taggar uses hanner s&w model 29 revolver
Taggart uses Hanner’s S&W Model 29 revolver.

In an on-screen rarity, Seagal uses a revolver for a scene in this movie. Orin Hanner keeps a Smith & Wesson Model 29 with a short barrel under his poker table. He pulls it when Taggart comes in to arrest him.

And, as Seagal is wont to do, he takes the revolver away from him and uses it when Hanner pulls yet another gun, a compact S&W Model 60.

This is the same model made famous in the Dirty Harry movies in .44 Magnum, but with a significantly shorter barrel.

Mossberg 500

mossberg 500 pump shotgun
Taggart with a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun.

During the big shootout in the mine at the end of the movie, Taggart takes a Mossberg 500 shotgun with a pistol grip from one of Earl’s men and proceeds to us it until it runs out of ammo.

And this is where I stop. If you want to dig deeper in the more recent movie catalog of Steven Seagal, you can peruse these titles (or see if you’ve ever heard of any of them), and let’s just hope Above The Law 2 doesn’t happen.

  • The Patriot (1998)

  • Exit Wounds (2001)

  • Ticker (2001)

  • Half Past Dead (2002)

  • Belly of the Beast (2003)

  • The Foreigner (2003)

  • Submerged (2005)

  • Into The Sun (2005)

  • Today You Die (2005)

  • Attack Force (2006)

  • Shadow Man (2006)

  • Mercenary for Justice (2006)

  • Urban Justice (2007)

  • Kill Switch (2008)

  • Pistol Whipped (2008)

  • The Keeper (2009)

  • Driven to Kill (2009)

  • A Dangerous Man (2009)

  • Born to Raise Hell (2010)

  • Maximum Conviction (2012)

  • Force of Execution (2013)

  • A Good Man (2014)

  • Absolution (2015)

  • Sniper: Special Ops (2016)

  • Contract to Kill (2016)

  • Cartels (2016)