Saturday, September 30, 2023
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Guns of Pop Culture: “Cowboy Bebop” & the Jericho 941 R

Anime…just can’t get into it. I mean, I liked Pokemon and Dragonball Z as a kid, but those shows are mostly geared towards kids.

However, one adult-themed anime I do enjoy is Cowboy Bebop

There are no large exposition dumps, and the story’s subtle with great music and a neo-noir style to it. Plus guns…real guns, and lots of them. 

But, with Cowboy Bebop, I can’t go much further without mentioning the main hero’s gun — Spike’s Jericho 941 R. 

Cowboy Bebop Jericho
Spike’s Jericho 941

The Jericho 

The Jericho is a semi-automatic, DA/SA, double-stack fueled pistol designed by Israeli Military Industries.

Jericho 941
IRL Jericho 941

They designed the pistol for export and domestic security and police forces. Israel wanted a domestically produced pistol and decided to use the CZ 75 as its North Star. 

Arguably the Jericho 941 is a CZ 75 clone with some slightly different aesthetics. Israel did ensure standard CZ mags will work without issue in the Jericho.

The pistol came to be in 1990 and has worn several names. 

Jericho 941 is the O.G., and the 941 stands for 9mm and 41 Auto Express. The original 941s came in two calibers, and I mean two calibers in one box.

Users could swap between the famed 9mm and the new school (for 1990) 41 AE. 

.41 AE was a .40 S&W competitor that was a high-pressure, slightly larger projectile that didn’t succeed.

Jericho 41 AE Rock Island Auction
Jericho 41 AE sold at Rock Island Auction

However, the 941 did well in 9mm, enough that it eventually became a .40 S&W and later .45 ACP.

On top of that, they introduced “semi-compact” and compact models as well. 

The R in Jericho 941 R means the gun has a combination safety and decocker. It comes in both polymer and metal frames and with or without rails.

The model in Bebop is the metal frame without a rail. 

Real life replica of Spike's Jericho
Real-life replica of Spike’s Jericho

I love the Jericho. I own one, and it’s part of my favorite generation of pistols. It’s part of that group that contains the CZ 75, the Beretta 92, the S&W 3rd gens, and more.

It’s a perfectly competent pistol and one with a great screen presence. Heck, it’s the Miami bad guy gun of choice, according to the series Burn Notice. 

Jericho Burn Notice
One of many in a series of bad guys toting a Jericho on Burn Notice

“Whatever happens, happens.”

“You know the first rule in combat? Shoot them before they shoot you.” Wise words from one of Spike’s fellow gunslingers, Faye Valentine.

Spike certainly wields the Jericho well for an animated fellow anyway. 

Honestly, it’s one of the better anime for realistic gun handling. It’s over the top, but not absurdly so.

Spike actually uses a two-hand hold, with his thumb forward. 

This particular scene is actually an homage to a John Woo film, The Killer

He seems to be a fan of the Weaver stance and is a great shot. Spike makes a hostage-saving headshot and takes on multiple enemies more than once. Not to mention, he also uses covers, ducks, hides, and moves to avoid getting the long goodnight. 

His own Jericho is rather tame, with a set of custom grips and what appears to be a laser aiming device. However, I don’t remember him ever using the laser. 

Sidenote, if you want those grips, a company called LOK Grips makes replicas for all you space cowboys. 

LOK Grips Cowboy Bebop replica
LOK Grips Cowboy Bebop replica

We get a few gratuitous shots of the weapon, and it looks fantastic. It’s realistically rendered down to the always-present serial numbers. 

Final Thoughts

Does the gun nerdism of Cowboy Bebop make up for the silliness of it being an anime? No, it stands on its own.

Jericho Cowboy Bebop
That serial number is not only visible, but also consistent throughout the series

The guns are just extra cheese on the pizza that is Bebop. It’s an anime for people that don’t like anime.

Check it out, if not for the cool style, the cool guns.

What do you think? Is Cowboy Bebop for you? Let us know in the comments below. For more Guns of Pop Culture, check out last week’s look into Scarface!

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