The Tower of London’s Golden Guns

Jesse emailed in these photos taken by his brother at the Tower of London. I have never seen photos of these guns before. My favorite is the revolver.

SIG P220 P226 (incorrectly labeled by the museum)
Smith & Wesson Model 586 . Note the diamonds on cylinder, cylinder release and front sight.
Sterling submachine gun
Browning Hi-Power

It is sad that some of these guns were confiscated by the police from enthusiasts.

[ Many thanks to Jesse and his brother for the photos. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Love the SIG P220. quite disco 😀

  • guy

    The Sig in the first photo is a P226, not a 220

    • Gentlemen thanks, I changed it to P226. I guess the museum got it wrong.

  • The top photo is a P226. You can see where the frame increases in width behind the disassembly lever.

    The second photo is Model 586.

  • Jon Mac

    The Tiffany revolver and Raven gun were both on display in Leeds for many years. The other exhibits are new to the public.

  • With the full underlug on the barrel, my money is on that S&W revolver being a 686, the intermediate L frame.

  • AK

    those look like they came straight out of the Army of Two video other words…terrible.

  • Joe

    With the full under lug the revolver looks more like a model 686 to me.

  • Bandito762

    Its also sad that they were probably “deactivated” after confiscation

  • Jim

    Funny, I was there just 2 years ago and saw none of those. They must be new.

  • West

    Wow, those are spectacularly ugly.

    Are these the weapons of choice for a duel between Elton John and Cher?

    Its a little sickening that for the price of these “bedazzled” guns I could buy a new house.

    Rich people, what are you gonna do?

  • bp

    “Smith & Wesson Model 27 (Correct me if wrong). Note the diamonds on cylinder, safety and front sight.”

    I don’t see any safety on that S&W. 🙂
    The auto-pistol shooter in you probably saw the cylinder release as a safety?

  • Ryan

    I’ve never understood women’s obsession with making useful tools into pretty accessories. I assume that this was done by a woman because I can’t imagine a man with any self respect doing this to a weapon.

    My wife would look pretty hot with that Sterling slung over her shoulder.

  • DarrenS

    “Note the diamonds on cylinder, safety and front sight.”


  • Clint1911

    Smith & Wesson Model 27 (Correct me if wrong). Note the diamonds on cylinder, safety and front sight.

    It’s a cylinder release, not a safety.

  • The revolver doesn’t have a safety; I think you mean the cylinder release.

  • George

    I don’t mean to question, but where exactly is the safety on a Model 27 Smith & Wesson? Were we speaking of the cylinder latch?

    And it’s abyssmal any firearm is confiscated from any law-abiding person.

  • John C.

    So is that what the Queen takes to the range along with the royal Jewels?

  • Veeshir

    Shouldn’t that Sterling be in silver?

  • TL in OR

    The S&W pictured appears to have a full lug barrel, so if it’s a .357, it’s most likely a Model 586.

  • MrSatyre

    We ARE talking about the Tower of London in England, right? Why are there guns there at all, unless they were (bizarre) gifts to the royal family? I thought the Tower was for holding and showing national treasures like the crown jewels. As nifty as those guns might be, they hardly qualify as national treasures. What am I missing here?

  • I did not know that the British Royalty were exempt from the handgun ban. Groan!

  • Martin (M)

    Ahh, the Hall of Violence at the museum.

  • Shane Broussard

    The revolver is a Smith and Wesson 586 with a 6 inch barrel not a Model 27.

  • Steve

    The revolver is listed as a “Model 29” in the last picture with the write ups. It also appears that the barrel has a full underlug, which model 27’s do not have.

    I also must point out that there is no safety on Smith and Wesson revolvers, what I believe you meant to refer to was the cylinder release latch.

    • Thanks guys. I have updated it to Model 586. I don’t know my S&W revolvers very well.

      LOL, yes, I meant cylinder release 😉

      Steve, The Model 29 refers to a gun not pictured.

  • SIG Lover

    That’s a P226, not a P220………..

  • Lance

    Thats a S&W 586 not a 27 it has a full barrel lug.

  • 50 Cent

    I like all of them!

  • Matthew Walker

    I want to see a gold-plated, engraved, diamond-studded Sten. Putting that crap on a Sterling (or an AK-47) just isn’t incongruous enough. And it’d look better on a Hi-Point than a Hi Power, too.

  • William O. B’Livion

    Shouldn’t the sterling be silver?

    I’m just askin’.

    • William, good one 🙂

      “Yes, I just got my Sterling silver’d”

  • sumyunguy

    Confiscated from enthusiasts. Let us never allow this sort of thing happen here.

  • KillerRaccoon

    Love the Browning.

  • Steve: Even Jane’s Infantry Weapons has gotten it wrong. I sent them a long list of corrections after receiving the 2006 edition.

    For clarification, the 586 was blued while the 686 is stainless. Starting in 1989, there were a few small runs of 627 made with a L-Frame style barrel, but these had unfluted cylinders. These predated the current eight-shot variant.

    FWIW: Many years ago, a fellow named Frank Murabito developed a manual safety conversion for S&W revolvers that was based on the thumbpiece. Gunsmith Ricky Devoid still offers the conversion.

    • Daniel, thanks 🙂 I wrote so many blog posts, embarrassing mistakes are unfortunately bound to happen. You guys are my editors 😉

      Interesting safety … although not on my guns 😉

  • Shane Broussard

    Anyone also notice that for the “Jeweled Revolver” they have in the description that it is a model “538-3”. Makes you wonder how many other things in other museums is flat out incorrect, inaccurate, or wrong.

  • This was at the tower of London. They were just showing modern weapons in context with all the old armor and weapons. These are in the armory in the white tower. I took them with intention to share so I’m glad you guys like them. I believe in almost all cases guns are illegal in England so that being said they were confiscated from illegal gun owners.

    • Simon, all pistols are now illegal, although shotguns and rifle can be owned if you have a specific use for them (ie. farming, hunting or sport shooting). When government implemented a “buy-back” where gun owners were forced to sell their guns to the police. So these gun owners were not being unlawful, the law just changed and they were forced to hand them in.

  • Michael

    That is definitely not a model 29, the model 29 is a 44mag. and thus has a much longer cylinder among other easily identifiable features. But we are not all wheel gun freaks like me. That revolver is exactly the same as my model 586, less the jewels and other bells and whistles. It makes me sick to think that anyone would even display firearms in a country that has completely disarmed its civilization, its like saying ha! ha!, you can look but don’t touch, or even think about getting one for your own use of any kind. The police can’t even carry in that country, can you imagine? But you can be sure that the criminals have guns to use against the nearly helpless LEOs. I couldn’t live in a place like that or even visit. I absolutely love my human rights and respect them to the extent I would do most anything to prevent anyone from trying to infringe on them. I’m so thankful I live in a country, and more importantly, a state that openly allows me to own, buy, sell, and use for self defense based on my discretion any firearm of my choice without the need for permits or registration, concealed or not! Arizona folks, its the place to live if you truly desire a non restricted gun society.

  • Johnny

    Actually there are some pistols held by private citizens in the UK.

    In Northern Ireland, some pistols are allowed for self defence purposes on “Personal Protection Weapon” (PPW) permits. A few thousands perhaps, to people such as prison guards.

    In the rest of UK, it’s not actually pistols that are banned but “small weapons.” Which, of course, effectively catches pistols. However, you can in certain special circumstances get a “Section 5” permit for an actual pistol for the purposes of humane killing. These are usually in connection with culling deer in the field. In most cases, such pistols are restricted to two rounds only. Typically a revolver will have all but two cylinders disabled. Two shot derringers are also popular, though “popular” is hardly the correct term given the numbers involved are very small, again in the low thousands at the very most.

    Also, there are “Section 7” historical weapons, deemed of special heritage value. A small number of pistols (and automatic weapons) are held by collectors via this clause.

    The reference to “Section” relates to the 1968 Firearms Act:

    As far as I’m aware (and some research has been done on this by me and others) outside of Northern Ireland currently no pistols are legally held by British citizens in Britain for the purposes of self defence. There are people trying to challenge that in law but, to put it mildly, that’s an uphill struggle.

    • Johnny, thats interesting. Thanks for the info.

  • JonMac

    None of these have been deactivated. The Royal Armouries does not, as a rule, collect deactivated guns.

    The bling pistols were not ordered by women, but I believe male customers from the middle east.

    The reasons for mistakes and typos in museum captions are too numerous and too tedious to relate here.

  • JonMac

    One correction though – the Model 29 referred to in the text is not pictured here on the blog – shame, as it’s my favourite of the pistols.

    The Raven gun’s lovely.

  • I may have a picture of the “missing model 29” I will look tonight.

  • Michael

    I’m also an absolute model 29 admirer, to which I attribute to a good friend of mine who has one in excellent condition. His was purchased by him new in the early 1980s. To handle one and of course shoot one, is to love that model. I recently saw one at one of our local gun shops still in the original box, and by all appearances it had not been fired other than just a few rounds possibly. I’ve shot and owned a lot of 44 mags., mostly Ruger’s Super Black Hawks and the Super Rd Hawks, and granted those are both excellent firearms in every aspect, but nothing seems to appeal to the hand and eye to me more than the 29s of the world.
    What a shame for folks in the UK to not know what it is like to freely own, shoot, and if so needed, use one for the purpose of defending yourself or another. And Johnny, you are sadly correct in that the attempt to restore gun rights in those parts of the world are most likely futile at best. common perception among most individuals not informed or familiar with firearms are under the impression that guns are plain and simple a violent device intended only for the purpose of inflicting death and with no other purpose. A lack of knowledge, more so lack of education in that area, leaves most individuals to form opinions based solely upon a liberal media and the liberal organizations who purpose is to relate that perception.