For the April/May 2021 issue of Ballistic Magazine, we spoke with “Karate Kid” star Martin Kove and also his son Jesse. The feature focuses on a custom Cobra Kai revolver gifted to Martin (see it below). The bonus Q&A session didn’t make it to print, so we’re including it for all to read. Below is the intro of the actual story in the April/May 2021 issue, followed by the Q&A. To read the rest, grab the new issue at OutdoorGroupStore.com.
Large-frame revolvers have earned longstanding iconic appeal and a cult following; this is mainly because of their aggressive style, powerful capability, reliability, durability and distinctly classic, yet timeless, Western American aesthetic. In a way, many of these same badass attributes can be said of my buddy: Film and TV’s Martin Kove. Marty gained widespread popularity with the release of 1984’s “Karate Kid” as the mean-spirited sensei of the Cobra Kai dojo, John Kreese.
Recently, an entirely new generation of fans has been turned onto the bad guy in the black gi as Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” series has become one of the most highly watched shows on the platform worldwide. In another aspect of my life, making movies, I’ve had the distinct privilege of directing Marty on screen in a few films, along with his son and fellow actor/star Jesse Kove, who played a revelatory role in Season 3 of “Cobra Kai” as a varsity captain who bullies the younger version of his father’s character, John Kreese. This serves as the catalyst for Kreese’s journey to becoming a no-nonsense ass-kicker who doesn’t back down from a fight and lives by the creed … no mercy.
A Custom Cobra Kai Revolver
Now, I hate to ruin the mystique, but contrary to their on-screen personas, in real life, Jesse and Marty are two of the nicest, most humble, witty, funny and hardworking dudes I know. That’s not polite Hollywood ass-kissing either. These dudes are legit just great guys, who I’ve learned over the course of our time together, like me, love to have fun, love Western films and also love shooting guns—especially revolvers. This is why when the opportunity to create something really special for Marty with some friends in the firearms industry arose, it was impossible not to strike first and strike hard on the chance. This is where Magnum Research and Outlaw Ordnance enter the scene.
Want to read more about the custom BFR revolver seen below? Grab the latest issue of Ballistic Magazine at OutdoorGroupStore.com.
Q&A With Martin Kove
Ballistic: What do you love most about revolvers in general?
Martin Kove: The heritage regarding the manufacturer of revolvers as far back as flintlocks and percussions. I don’t think there were wheel-lock revolvers, but the craftsmanship from the inception of gunpowder all the way through the 1914 and .45 issue was so fascinating, each conflict in various countries was fought with the use of such a variety of weapons, many of them were revolvers and rifles. To study the use of these weapons, you must also study the history of the world; it’s a fascinating way to spend your time.
B: You’re a massive Western film and history buff. What are some of your personal favorite western films of all time?
MK: My favorite is The Wild Bunch. I also love the enormous character development in Red River with John Wayne, along with the multifaceted cinematic creation of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Then we have Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, a buddy movie that has never been equaled, depicting a delicate brotherhood between two outlaws and two magnificent senses of humor. Lastly and certainly not the least, Tombstone and The Searchers.
B: What’s your favorite aspect of the Cobra Kai BFR Revolver?
MK: The attention to all of the minute details that are endless, the imagination to capture so many cinematic scenes and phrases from the series and films all personified in dynamic steel representations. My favorite aspect is the carving on the grip of John Kreese; it’s so effective and creative, especially combined with the Cobra Kai logo and snake skin throughout. It is just brilliant.
B: How has the popularity of Cobra Kai been for you? What’s on the horizon for the series that you can share!?
MK: The popularity of Cobra Kai has been astounding. It is based on the prolific “grey” writing style, meaning there’s a little bit of good and a little bit of bad between everyone, because the original films were basic in a sense, with just clear-cut villains and heroes. But despite what we think of John Kreese, there are no heroes and villains, just people with problems continuing to figure them out to the best of their ability. And everyone can identify with Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai in every aspect of their life, and the world that exists within each dojo.
B: A new generation of fans know John Kreese. What’s that been like?
MK: The whole new generation of fans who were too young to experience the Karate Kid trilogy in the ’80s are now able to relive the genesis of their favorite characters through the Cobra Kai series by reliving and seeing the original films today anywhere. It’s just fantastic.
Q&A With Jesse Kove
Ballistic: We collaborated on this BFR Revolver to honor Cobra Kai and your Pops—and now your legacy in the series. How cool was joining the Cobra Kai cast for you and playing the catalyst for the John Kreese character?
Jesse Kove: This was a huge honor and something I never thought could ever happen, joining Cobra Kai and the original OG Karate Kid universe. Now this is forever on screen and very special to me. For me, this was a very personal piece because my scenes would be with the younger version of my dad’s character and, of course, I wanted this to be memorable and special. At the end of filming that day, it was a very surreal experience. It’s hard to describe these clashing characters and going back in time, it was incredible. Also, in my scenes I drove the original yellow Ford that Ralph Macchio drove in Karate Kid 1 that Miyagi gave him, which was a very cool easter egg!
B: What elements on the gun did you feel were the coolest/most important?
JK: I love the cylinder and the grip. The cylinder has the famous lines (Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy) engraved in it; they change each time the hammer pulls back. Also the silhouette of my father on the grip is truly a defining factor.
B: How often do you train, where do you train and what’s your favorite aspect of firearm training ?
JK: I train several times a month and I’m always practicing in my home—fast draws and reloads, etc. I like to stay sharp. I also train regularly with Taran Butler over at Taran Tactical and also Zack Smith, who is a world champion shooter who also happens to be my girlfriend’s brother. Since I was a kid I would play cops and robbers. I’ve always enjoyed firearms. I even had a Roy Rogers BB gun when I was little. To me, firearms training is an artform and it’s a huge part of my work. So, safely combining the two is a real treat.
B: Tell us about your dad’s cowboy and revolver obsession? Is it his favorite genre and favorite kind of gun?
JK: My dad was born in the wrong century. He is and always has been a gunfighter of the Old West; it’s in his blood and it’s a part of his soul! Maybe he was one in a past life. There is a grit and love of the earth that he embodies and is truly that person. I can’t explain it. His favorite genre is the West, the Wild West. He loves revolvers. They’re attached to the West and the history of the American West and the cult