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Red Dragon is the 2002 feature film prequel to 1991's The Silence of the Lambs. Directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour), the film stars Edward Norton as former FBI Special Agent Will Graham and Anthony Hopkins, reprising his Academy-Award winning role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Red Dragon is the second feature film adaptation of the Thomas Harris book of the same name - which was actually the first to feature Lecter, as Michael Mann had previously adapted the material into the 1986 film Manhunter.
Like its predecessor, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon features exceptional gun handling and accurate weapon choices. All of the FBI weapons in the film are correct to what the FBI was issuing at the time this film takes place.
The following weapons were used in the film Red Dragon:
WARNING! THIS PAGE CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Smith & Wesson 459
The Smith & Wesson 459 is the sidearm of FBI Special Agent Will Graham (Edward Norton) at the beginning of the film. He is seen drawing it from a shoulder holster as Lecter stabs him. He does not fire the gun for the rest of the film but is seen carrying the S&W in his holster for the rest of the film. Graham is also shown checking the load on the pistol when he is on his way to Dolarhyde's house. The FBI purchased 803 S&W 459's and issued it to agents in the early eighties. The second generation 459 was manufactured from 1979-1987. Since the film begins in 1980, Graham's 459 would be consistent. Additionally the F.B.I. authorized agent to carry privately purchased handguns from a list of pre-approved handguns. The agents would have to have the handgun checked out by an Bureau armorer and any repairs or modifications would have to be done by one of the armorers. It isn't implausible that Graham's Model 459 is his property.
Smith & Wesson Model 49 Bodyguard
Graham (Edward Norton) carries a Smith & Wesson Model 49 as his backup gun in an ankle holster. He draws it when Lecter continues to come after him. The Model 49 Bodyguard was authorized by the FBI for carry in 1972. (See American Rifleman September 2011; Draw & Fire: A History of FBI Handguns by Bill Vanderpool.)
Colt Detective Special
A post-1972 (3rd Generation) Colt Detective Special is used by Will Graham (Edward Norton) at the end of the movie when he engages in a shootout with Francis Dolarhyde aka The Tooth Fairy (Ralph Fiennes) after he invades the Graham home. Graham's wife Molly (Mary-Louise Parker) also is seen taking target practice with it.
Another weapon Graham keeps in his home is a blued Walther PPK. He grabs it along with the Colt as he locks himself and his son in his bedroom. Molly is seen using it as well.
The primary weapon used by Francis Dolarhyde (Ralph Fiennes) is a Glock 17, which is sometimes equipped with a suppressor. After the opening scene, which takes place in 1980, the rest of the movie takes place in 1986. Glocks were first imported into the United States in 1986, so while it wouldn't be very likely that Dolarhyde would have owned one, it would have at least been possible. The real mystery would be how exactly Dolarhyde located a threaded barrel for the brand-new Glock in 1986, as drop-in barrels did not exist yet. It is possible that Dolarhyde purchased a longer barrel for a Glock 17L and then had a gunsmith cut it down and thread it for a suppressor, but it's more likely that the filmmakers didn't intend for anyone to think about it this much.
Ted Williams Model 21 Deluxe (sawed off)
A cut-down Ted Williams Model 21 is used by the Tooth Fairy (Ralph Fiennes) when he is contemplating suicide, and later, when the FBI arrive at his house. The same gun or one very close to it was used in The Punisher (2004). He mentions that it is "a 12 Gauge Magnum Shotgun," which would suggest that the shotgun in the film is rated for 12 Gauge magnum shells. However, this is unlikely given that it is an older and cheaper brand.