He'd have heard of Colt. He'd have asked a cop or security guard, what would you get? A Colt?
Either a cop or a security guard would have probably ttaken one look at him and thought: Colt Police Positve Special; (38 Special. cal.); 4 inch barrel. He could have picked up a used one in excellent condition for a song in the 1970's.
WhyColt PPS? Because it was the same gun as a Colt Detective Special but with a 4 inch barrel instead of 2". Because it was a rugged double-action gun favored for many years by cops and security guards and anyone else who needed a reasonably powerful, but also reasonably lightweight service revolver that they might have to defend themselves or others with over distances that might be too far for accuracy with a snubnose. In its day it dropped many a bad guy. But it was on its way out then, a victim of the cop craze for high capacity 9mm autos. (How gauche.)
Still for the guy who didn't shoot a lot, but needed a handgun that he could learn to really shoot well with a minimum investment of time, money, and effort, it was the perfect fit.
The Colt PPS was smallish but not too small to give good sight plane; light, but heavy enough to absorb most 38 Special recoil. Very accurate weapon; held 6 .38 Special rounds; instant recognition from movies, etc., as a serious gun. Could be loaded and carried with 6 in the cylinder instead of 5. Easy to pack in a suitcase, take out and lay on the night table. Reasonable concealablity in a shoulder holster under a jacket or in insidethe waistband carry.
A Humphery Bogart kind of gun. That kind of says it all. Check out "Colt Police Positive Special" on a search engine.