Lawman Steven Seagal keeps his hand on the heat.
Steven Seagal knows many things: kicking ass, making movies, the best hair ties to keep your ponytail up while doing the first two (among countless others). He also knows guns, as well he should—he's starred in dozens of action movies in his 25-plus year career, and he also serves as a Reserve Deputy Chief in the Jefferson Parish, La. Sheriff's Dept. (as seen in the awesome A&E reality series Steven Seagal: Lawman).
Today marks the season two finale of Lawman, so we're revisiting a conversation we had with Seagal for the DVD release of his flick A Dangerous Man,, in which he plays an ex-special forces agent recently released from prison (for a crime he didn't commit!) who proceeds to shelter (and make love to) the innocent, while reigning righteous destruction on the evil. Keep reading for his thoughts on the guns that he uses on set and in real life!
Complex: So we hear you have a lot of custom guns made, both for your films and for yourself.
Steven Seagal: I used to have a gun made every month; I would get another pistol made that I would design. I'm very into the military and police stuff like that. Gear and technical gear is something that's changing every day and every day you're trying to be on the cutting edge and improve your stuff more and more because your life depends on it. And so, the guns and the gears are changing constantly.
Complex: When you say "your life depends on it," you actually mean it, given your work as a sheriff.
Steven Seagal: When you're clearing houses, sometimes there's the "Oh shit" factor, situations where you go "Oh fuck, man, that guy could have got me."
Complex: What kind of customizations do your gunsmiths make for you?
Steven Seagal: The entrances I make now, when we kick in the door of a high-risk warrant, eighty percent of the homes we're kicking into, it's dark in there for some reason. That's just the way the bad guys are doing it now. So now all of my sights are night sights; I've also put special light rails on the bottom of all of them so I can put a special light on them that's combination white light/laser. I also have, on all my pistols, ambidextrous safeties, because with the technique and technology changing, whenever I enter a home now, I'll clear a doorway that's righthanded with the right side, and the left door I'll switch to my left hand. So I now have righthand/lefthand safeties.
Complex: When did you start doing that?
Steven Seagal: Three years ago.
Complex: Was there an incident that prompted you to get that done?
Steven Seagal: You just realize that you can't turn a lefthand corner in a right posture without exposing some part of your body, and so it was really me just noticing the exposure I had, and it made me start doing and practicing the switching.
Complex: Do you have a favorite gunsmith?
Steven Seagal: [Terry] Tussey has been my favorite gunsmith, but I'm also using other people for other things and giving other people chances because there's only so much Terry can do. He knows me to be the best shooter and the most finicky, so I'm really a pain in his ass. [Laughs.]
Complex: What are some of your favorite guns?
Steven Seagal: To take with me for what?
Complex: [Quivers.] Well, for somebody who's never had...
Steven Seagal: For battle it's one thing; for clearing out the house it's another; for sniping it's another. My favorite sniping rifle would be the .338 caliber, and I'm using a Surgeon. I'm using a POF battle rifle now, and for the .45 John Browning 1911 model I'm using mostly Terry Tussey. I just met with a guy named Les Baer and I'm developing some stuff with him now.
Complex: All those are sniping rifles?
Steven Seagal: No, no, no. As I just said, one is for sniping, one is for battle, and handgun.
Complex: [More quivering.]