Sometime in Season 4, Reid changes his standard carry piece from a semi-automatic pistol (like all the other agents) to a revolver. I found plenty of speculation as to why, but nothing solid.

Is there any indication - either on-screen or word-of-god - for why the character made such a change?

  • Hopefully someone can provide an answer that suits what you're after, but I don't think either exists sadly. It just seems to have been a random prop change, whether for coolness, or handiness, or fitting some theme in the show. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 15:59
  • 2
    Have you tried tweeting the actor or production?
    – cde
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 23:06
  • Not all the characters use a glock. (Rossi with the Springfield TRP 1911, Gideon with the P226 and Reid with the Model 65)
    – cde
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 10:49
  • @cde Is there a deleted comment I missed? I didn't say anything about Glocks, I said "semi-automatic pistol".
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 19:05
  • @T.J.L. yes, the semi-automatic pistols almost everyone uses are Glocks of various models. But the point of the comment is that some of the agents have their own personalized gun.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 23:10

5 Answers 5


There doesn't seem to be any official answer online but there has been lot of speculation and theory. I was in the process of adding a comment of my own opinion when I found the following from IMFDb.org which seems to be a copy and paste from a message board but brings up some possible answers.

I won't paste the text here but in summary it mentions two possible reasons for the switch. Namely that it may be a nod to Silence of the Lambs in which Clarice Starling has a similar weapon, and it also may have been a decision by Mathew Gray Gubler to choose a weapon that he felt better suited his character's tastes, which he also uses on his personal life.

My personal thoughts were along the same lines. The best I can do is speculate but based on what I know about the character and his history is that he was at first uncomfortable carrying a service weapon and there was a story arc dealing with him becoming comfortable with his weapon and being confident in using it when needed. Based on this I would say that the revolver was likely a weapon that he ultimately became most comfortable with. They are more reliable and require better precision due to the limited amount of ammo they can hold.

  • 3
    Unfortunately, this doesn't answer the question at all; it collects and repeats the same speculation I mentioned in the question itself.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 19:08
  • Your question was "is there any official indication" and my answer was that after attempting to find any, it doesn't appear that there is. In other words "No it doesn't appear there is any official indication. Here however is what I did find when doing my own personal search into this question in case any of it is of value to you."
    – sanpaco
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 4:11

When Reid carried the semi-automatic in its ridiculous position, an unsub told him someone would take it away from him. Maybe that little gem stayed in the character's mind, and he made a wise switch. He does look a little like Wyatt Earp now with the revolver.

  • Do you know the name of the episode?
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 12:34
  • An unknown subject told him someone would take it away from him? Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 19:44
  • @T.J.L. - That would be the episode "Identity", from a militia member.
    – JohnP
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 15:10

It could be a number of things. I am a 5'2 stout female with small but square hands. I don't have willowy fingers and narrow hands as with most women. Though my weight is adequate to hand a .45 semi auto, the two times I test fired one it a) few out of my hands and then b) the recoil cause me to punch myself in the forehead. Reid has long hands and long fingers. Maybe he needed a gun with grip that he could hold onto but was still powerful. As for myself, I was great at archery as a kid so I will be sticking to a Mongolian Horse Bow and my trusty fireplace poker.


I'm a firearms instructor with some law enforcement experience and keep track of what the typical duty weapons are for major LEAs (law enforcement agencies).

I don't believe the FBI has a grandfather clause for approved firearms. Once the FBI changes approved firearms, agents are required to turn in their service sidearm for the new approved service sidearm. The fact that Gideon, Reid and Rossi are allowed to carry something other than a Glock in .40 S&W is a technical error; a major one to a firearm savvy person such as myself.

Revolvers have not been approved for use by FBI agents since the Miami FBI Shootout of 1986.

On the alleged competition shooter who stated revolvers are reliable. Wrong. All you have to do is to bend the crane or extractor rod and the revolver will not function and will require a gunsmith to repair. If the cylinder ceases to rotate on a revolver for any reason, it will no longer function. A tactic to disarm someone with a revolver before the hammer is cocked and the cylinder has rotated is to grab the cylinder. It does not take much grip strength to disable someone with a revolver by grabbing the cylinder before the cylinder has rotated to fire the next chambered round in the cylinder.

The advantage the revolver has over semi-auto pistol is that an experienced shooter such as Jerry Miculek can empty a revolver cylinder faster than someone can empty the magazine of a semi-auto pistol.

  • While this is good information in a general sense, it doesn't actually address the question asked.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 3:41

I think everyone is missing the most obvious reason...Reed is the smartest person on the team and knows that a revolver is the most reliable weapon in the world. As a competitive shooter for many years I can tell you that I used to shoot semi autos and had too many jams...that's why I stopped carrying them and started to carry a revolver - they NEVER jam. You need reliability at the moment of truth or you're done.

  • Welcome to movies.SE! The reason may be obvious to you, as a competitive shooter, but it's less obvious to the rest of us. Do you have any evidence from within the series itself that this is why Reid chose the weapon? For example, a scene in which Reid's old pistol jams?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 15:41
  • 2
    Pure guesswork.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 15:51

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