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The Guns Of John Wick: Chapter 4

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Photos by Mad Pig Customs, Melissa McMinn, Haley Press, and Akita Yasunari

Hollywood is notorious for flubbing details on firearms. We’ve all seen suppressed revolvers, repeated “hammer falls” on Glocks, handguns being aimed with the slide to the rear, and magazines that never need swapping. It’s enough to make any semi-knowledgeable firearm aficionado want to throw up their hands and say, “Can’t they ever get it right?”

Every now and then, they actually do. Especially when you have an armorer like Rock Galotti working on the film, and guys like Taran Butler building guns and training actors for it.

To be fair, most errors are caused by poor editing, inexperienced artists or sound people, or firearms randomly chosen because they look cool to the director. However, when they do get it right, we tend to notice. This is especially true when the firearms in question are custom or exotic, like they were literally ripped from the pages of RECOIL. 

John Wick: Chapter 4 is a perfect example of getting it right, while tempering what’s essentially a fantasy film. These exotic guns aren’t the tools of the trade for real assassins or hitmen, but in a world of make believe, they’re on point. Below are some of our favorites, and you can thank Galotti for the effort.


At the start of the film, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) uses a Glock 34 pistol that has been customized with the Taran Tactical Innovations Combat Master Package. It includes a grip reduction with a single undercut, a full wrap stipple on the frame, and a TTI Full-Size Carry Magwell. 

The barrel is coated in a bronze Ionbond finish, and the slide is finished in a TTI Black DLC Coating, for a two-toned effect. A Timney Alpha trigger with TTI competition trigger job is installed, along with a TTI MOS standard height sight set with green fiber optic insert.

It makes for a serious-sounding build sheet at the very least. And it’s actually one of the more affordable firearms from TTI, costing a little over $2,000 on a customer- supplied Glock.


Later in the film, Wick receives a Pit Viper from the Bowery King, who describes it as a “9mm Pit Viper, 21-round capacity magazine with a built-in compensator for virtually no muzzle flip. Fiber optic front sight, ambidextrous safeties, flared magwell for faster reloads, 2-pound extreme trigger.”

This is another TTI build that was created specifically for JW4 as the ultimate fighting pistol. Not only is this gun one of the most badass handguns in Hollywood history, but Taran sent it (incognito) to take the overall title at the first-ever USPSA 2-Gun Nationals in 2021.

With a static fiber-optic front sight, large single-port compensator, DLC-coated match-grade barrel, ghost profile adjustable rear sight, Extreme Engineering LiteSpeed fire control group, Aftec Extractor, TTI carry magwell, extended slide release, extended and checkered mag release, DLC coated steel mainspring housing, and seamlessly blended beaver tail grip safety, it delivers reliability, accuracy, and ergonomics like no other. It has a traditional, full-wrap stipple rather than silicon carbide on the grip, along with a black DLC coating on the frame mated to a highly polished slide. 

Lastly, it features a built-in bladed stand-off, or fangs.

There’s a 12-month wait for one of these, and the cost is $6,000.


A pair of engraved Thompson/Center Arms Encore pistols are used by Wick and Caine (Donnie Yen) in a duel. The engraving was performed by Melissa McMinn and encompasses over 1,000 hours of work on these two pistols.

Galotti, the master armorer on the film, came up with the idea for the base receiver of a Thompson/Center Encore with a bull barrel and gold bead front sight. Steve Parker of SAP Fine Furniture created the exquisitely figured walnut presentation boxes, as well as the trays in which a single round could be served to the duelists. 

Troy at Bullberry Legacy Barrel Works crafted the bull barrels with the gold bead front sights, rough cutting the grips and forends from the same museum-grade, figured walnut the boxes were made of. Rick at Fickle Pelican Woodwork helped to provide the finishing of the grips and forends, sanding, polishing, and oiling them to perfection. McMinn designed and drew all of the artwork and executed the engraving by hand, in deep relief. 

This included the baroque scroll and skull on the receivers, the custom designed fleur-de-lis grip medallion inserts, barrel engraving, and finally the round casings themselves.

The artwork design was extensive and took well over 100 hours of drawing, brainstorming, changes of direction, and revisions before ultimately settling on a design to execute in steel, using that art in the two variations to differentiate the pistols slightly. 

A story old as time, good and evil, yin and yang, which is why one pistol features deep relief engraving inked in black, and the other a polished background for the skull and scrolling and hammered texture surround. 

To start the project, each receiver had to be surface prepped for the engraving, taking a bead-blasted receiver and finishing it, by hand, to 800-grit on all surfaces. Once the preparation was up to quality standards, McMinn sized her hand-drawn artwork to the proper dimensions and printed transfers of the art to apply to the metal.


The story of the lever gun seen in JW4 has some interesting turns. The production company needed rifles, and Marlin had recently gone out of business. Ruger bought the company but was nowhere close to being able send product to a movie.

Galotti was able to source 13 Marlin 1894 Dark rifles in .44 Magnum. Why so many guns? Filming is expensive. When guns go down, it burns time, so multiple guns were needed for each location. Since this gun was used by Mr. Nobody throughout the movie, it also was needed in multiple filming locations, including Paris and Berlin. International permits and such required that each location have a set of guns to ensure filming could be done effectively. 

Mad Pig Customs reached out to Wild West Guns to perform the takedown conversions on the rifles. Midwest Industries supplied the Marlin M-LOK handguards, and SilencerCo provided both actual and inert Octane 45s with ASR mounts. The barrels were cut down to 14.5 inches and the top of the handguards scalloped. They had to permanently attach the ASR muzzle brakes; the .44 Magnum barrel is too thin for a shoulder, so each barrel was cut to fit a specific brake by indexing off the muzzle.  

For a tactical look, XS Sights extended the optic rail all the way to the end of the barrel. It’s sandwiched between the front sight and the barrel to hold it in place, and even the screws used were one-offs. The front sights weren’t just standard XS 1894 sights either, they were prototypes supplied by XS with luminescent stripes. Slate Black Industries provided the Slate Stop hand stop and rail covers that covered the entire handguard.

The process of turning these into takedown models was its own endeavor. Due to the compressed schedule, there wasn’t time to build all 13 guns into takedowns, so only four were made — the other nine were conventional guns that externally looked nearly identical to the others. Wild West Guns was asked to make quarter-turn takedowns, requiring the use of interrupted threads. That isn’t the best idea on these guns for longevity, so two were made with interrupted threads, and the two used for prolonged firing were fully threaded. 

The extended top rails on the takedowns were wire EDM’d to ensure the tightest possible fit. 

Wild West Guns uses a large aluminum block to support the magazine tube and affix the Midwest Industries Handguard on their takedown conversions, which needed to be slightly modified. Since there were rail panels on nearly every M-LOK slot, each slot needed holes drilled and tapped to allow the panels to be screwed directly into the block. 

The stock and trigger were Ranger Point Precision items. Even the Grim Hunter Tactical Gear stock cuffs with 10-round ammunition cards were modified for the film. Normally, the elastic webbing is 1.5 inches wide, but the brass ammo needed to be more visible, so they used thinner elastic. 

Speaking of ammo, there was an interesting issue with blanks and the guns. According to Mad Pig’s owner, Steve Tyliszczack:

“One of the most interesting challenges with this project was the feeding and function of the rifles. Lever guns are complex, and they are designed to function in a very specific way. What we learned is that the .44 high flash blanks didn’t want to function in the guns. 

The blank has all the weight in the rim, as opposed to the bullet up front so they sit rim down instead of nose down. This change in orientation of the round significantly affected how the rifles fed, and each gun had to have the actions tweaked for feeding until we were able to get them to feed reliably.”

Unfortunately, during the process of filming, some of these rifles had other issues and a few of the parts were discontinued and are no longer available. So, as of this writing, it’s not possible to get an exact copy of one of the movie guns, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see something special in the future from Mad Pig Customs.


TTI bills the Dracarys Gen-12 Shotgun as the ultimate CQB weapon, and they’re probably not too far off the mark on this one. A 10.5-inch barreled magazine-fed semiautomatic 12-gauge is nothing to sneeze at. 

The build includes a Hipertouch 2.5-pound Genesis Trigger by HiperFire, Battle Arms Pro ambidextrous safety selector, and Battle Arms lower parts kit. BCM supplies the QD KeyMod sling point, endplate, Gunfighter grip, and a unibody stock with a Kick-EEZ custom butt pad and cheek pad. 

Other features include a KeyMod rail and a QD muzzle device to accept a direct thread JK Armament 12-gauge suppressor. Lastly, it’s topped with an EOTech EXPS3-1 holographic sight, which is exclusive to TTI.

Price on this build is $4,600, plus tax stamp. If that’s a little rich for your blood, you can shoot the full-auto version for free at RECOIL’s CANCON event in Georgia this fall. 

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