Guns of Pop Culture: “Kingsman: The Secret Service” & the Tokarev By: Travis Pike

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A movie that surprised me in 2015 was a little action film called Kingsman: The Secret Service.

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For me, this movie came out of left field and was an enjoyable and fun action romp. It’s a bit crazy, high-paced, and took inspiration from a comic book series called The Secret Service

Eggsy (Taron Egerton) with his Kingsman pistol
Our main character, Eggsy (Taron Egerton), with his Kingsman pistol

What’s best about this film is that they weren’t shy about their comic book inspiration and the film was delightfully campy with lots of fun to it. It defies expectations with the characters. 

The bad guy, Richmond Valentine, is a combination of those James Bond-style villains combined with a tech bro CEO type.

Richmond Valentine Samuel L. Jackson
Played by the always stellar Samuel L. Jackson

His main henchmen is a woman named Gazelle with two prosthetic legs that double as blades in a fight. She cuts a man in half vertically at one point.

The good guys are suave James Bond-type secret agents who also perform Jedi-like martial arts feats. They wield an arsenal of gadgets but also have their signature sidearm, which is a very interesting choice. 

The good guys wield heavily customized TT-33 handguns. 

The Kingsman Pistol 

James Bond popularized the use of the Walther PPK as THE spy pistol, but Kingsman went in an entirely different direction.

Russia’s TT-33, occasionally known as the Tokarev, is a duty-sized handgun developed as a sidearm for the Soviet military. 

Tokarev TT-30
An actual Tokarev TT-30 (Photo: Askild Antonsen)

The TT-33 uses a short recoil system similar to the M1911, and also, like the M1911, it’s a single-action-only firearm. As a product of its generation, the TT-33 utilizes an 8-round single stack magazine. One of the big standouts of this gun is the 7.62 Tokarev round. 

7.62 Tokarev

This fast-flying little projectile penetrated deep and cruised through most hardcover, was flat shooting, and could even pierce early forms of body armor. While the TT-33 is a neat gun, it’s a weird choice for the Kingsmen. 

Why use a pistol designed in the 1930s in a niche caliber with an all-metal frame, tiny sights, and a low capacity?

Well, that’s because it looks cool. It provides a neat look and an appearance that lets it stand out from the polymer frame, striker-fired crowd. 

The Gun In the Movie 

Tokarev TT-30 Kingsman
The version of the Tokarev TT-30 used in Kingsman. Notice how modified it is from the original.

In the film, the TT-33 is unlike any other TT-33 in the world. What grabs your attention most is the under-barrel device. That little tube is a shotgun that fires a single round for those messy close-quarter applications. 

Where is the trigger for the device? Where do they fit the firing pin and internals? I don’t know, and it’s never shown or explained and only used once. 

The wood grips are a nice touch and make the weapon look quite classy in design. The hammer is seemingly gone too. It’s certainly more prop than an actual firearm. 

Lancelot (Jack Davenport) with a suppressed Kingsman pistol
Lancelot (Jack Davenport) with his suppressed Kingsman pistol

The gun isn’t used a ton in the film, and the church fight is where it really gets its due. We see the shotgun used here, and we learned of some internal consistency that defies historical fact.

Galahad fires the weapon 10 times, reloads, and fires 10 more times. 

This establishes the magazine capacity at 10, even though the TT-33 only holds eight rounds. In this very scene, we see that the Kingman are quite well trained with their firearms. 

Does this training come from the real world? Oh no, this isn’t a John Wick-type action flick. It’s pure gun-fu. 

Galahad (played by Colin Firth) mixes kung fu and MMA with shooting. He makes shots behind his back, and his reload is effortlessly stylish.

Final Thoughts

That’s the reason the TT-33 works in this film: Kingsman isn’t trying to be painfully realistic. It’s a comic book film that plays fast and loose with the action.

Who doesn’t love a little action and a little combat that’s over the top? 

What did you think of The Kingsman? Let us know in the comments below. To see more Guns of Pop Culture, head to our Fun Archives.