What Kind of Gun Did Alec Baldwin Use on 'Rust' Set?

Alec Baldwin has said he did not pull the trigger on the prop gun that misfired on the set of the movie Rust, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, but that the gun went off when he cocked it.

This week the actor gave a television interview for the first time since the incident, speaking to ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

Explaining how the tragedy occurred, the 63-year-old said he was discussing the action of cocking a gun in a scene with Hutchins, and then demonstrated with the prop firearm.

"I'm holding the gun where she told me to hold it," he said, before explaining how he pulled back and later released the hammer of the gun.

"I said to her, 'In this scene, I'm going to cock the gun, do you want to see that,'" Baldwin continued. He confirmed Hutchins told him to cock the gun.

"I let go of the hammer and the gun goes off. I never pulled the trigger," he said.

Baldwin added that he "would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them."

What Type of Gun Was Used by Alec Baldwin?

According to Reuters, the gun used on the set of Rust was a .45-caliber Colt revolver.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza confirmed that the firearm was an Italian-made Pietta Long Colt revolver.

So, can this type of gun go off in the way that Baldwin described?

The Reload—a publication that focuses on the analysis of firearms policies, reporting the details of big gun stories and about aspects of gun ownership in America—shed some light on how such a misfire could happen.

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin speaking to reporters after the 'Rust' shooting and a stock photo of a Colt .45 Pistol, Peacemaker. Getty Images

The publication said the gun firing without the trigger being pulled "is not as far-fetched as it sounds at first."

It explains: "A single-action revolver usually requires the hammer to be manually cocked, and the trigger be pulled for a shot to be fired. That's why it's referred to as a single-action: because the trigger performs just one action. It drops the hammer. In a double-action revolver, on the other hand, the trigger can both cock and release the hammer."

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin appears in Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on January 23, 2019. Baldwin pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment related to an altercation he had with another man over a parking space in 2018. Alec Tabak-Pool/Getty Images

The publication goes on to say that a single-action revolver with the old-style firing mechanism can fire without either the hammer being cocked or the trigger being pulled but if there is a live round, a "sharp jolt" can lead to a shot.

"When the hammer is down on that kind of revolver, the firing pin protrudes and, if a live round is loaded in the chamber underneath, a sharp enough jolt can cause the pin to strike the round's primer with enough force to set it off," it explains.

Alec Baldwin
Signage indicating the location of the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set, near where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot, seen on October 28 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

However, ahead of the ABC interview airing, an armorer disputed Baldwin's claim that the gun went off without him squeezing the trigger.

Richard Howell, owner at prop provider Foxtrot Productions in the U.K. told Newsweek. "That's a Colt 1880 type firearm, you have to squeeze the trigger."

"It's not up to the actor, in this case, Alec Baldwin, to check the firearm or to check anything. He's just got to do what is being learned in dry rehearsal then the firing position, but with his experience, he should certainly know you don't discharge a weapon anyway, in front of anybody," Howell said.

In the ABC interview, Baldwin also spoke about the future of his career, saying he doesn't "give a s***" if he stops acting.

Update 12/03/21, 11:50 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add new pictures.