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How Many Times Garcia Actually Uses A Gun In Criminal Minds

In many ways, Penelope "Baby Girl" Garcia is both the heart and the brain of the Behavioral Analysis Unit on "Criminal Minds." The character is one of a handful who stayed with the series for its entire 15-season run, which allowed the audience to fall in love with Garcia's unique brand of optimism. Her genuine love and concern for her BAU colleagues is apparent in each scene and every episode.

Given the nature of her role, Garcia rarely left the brightly colored confines of her tech room. And why would she? With her impressive hacking skills and ability to find invisible needles in digital haystacks at a moment's notice, Garcia could probably overthrow governments with just a few clicks and taps of mouse and keyboard. As Screen Rant recently noted, there were a couple of instances over the years in which the BAU's cases forced Garcia to temporarily trade her motherboard for a firearm to protect herself and her colleagues.

Garcia used a gun to protect herself in Season 3

The first time Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) used a firearm on the show came in a two-episode story midway through the series' third season. In the first part, "Lucky," Garcia meets Jason Clarke Battle (Bailey Chase) at a coffee shop, where she helps him with his computer. Garcia is quite taken by Battle and agrees to go on a date with him. Of course, this being "Criminal Minds," not all is what it sees. Battle is a police officer who's been secretly killing people so that he can "solve" the case and be a hero. At the end of the date, Battle incorrectly thinks Garcia is on to him, so he shoots her at point-blank range.

In the second part, "Penelope," Garcia is recuperating at home after surviving the attack. When Battle discovers that she still lives, he attempts to remedy that by breaking into her home. Unbeknownst to Battle, Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) had been staying with Garcia to ensure her safety. Upon hearing gunshots outside, Morgan hands his secondary sidearm to Garcia, who tells him she doesn't believe in guns. Still, she accepts the pistol as Morgan heads into the hall and exchanges gunfire with Battle, who escapes (and is later killed at the BAU).

When her team was threatened, Garcia stepped up

The second and last time Garcia uses a firearm in "Criminal Minds" comes in the Season 9 finale, "Demons." The unknown subject, or unsub, is once again a corrupt officer of the law and part of a ring of murderous deputies led by Owen McGregor (Michael Trucco). At the start of the episode, Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot received in the previous episode.

As the rest of the team races to unmask the criminal deputies, Garcia stays by Reid's side, even bringing Doctor Who toys to cheer him up. While refilling her coffee, Garcia receives a text from Morgan that includes a picture of McGregor, who Garcia immediately sees in the hospital hall. With danger close at hand and Morgan guiding her over the phone, Garcia rushes back to Reid's room. Once there, Morgan instructs Garcia to get Reid into a wheelchair and to grab his gun from his belongings. To her credit, Garcia remains relatively calm, managing to get an unconscious Reid into the wheelchair and out into the hall, where she triggers the fire alarm, allowing them to escape safely.

Garcia used a gun to save Reid's life

With McGregor's attempted assassination of Reid foiled, he then sends Sheriff's Deputy Greg Baylor (Potsch Boyd) to pose as a nurse and get access to Reid's room to kill him. Believing the immediate threat is over, Reid and Garcia are slightly less guarded as the nurse enters the room. Reid notices that the drug the nurse is about to inject into his IV is one that will cause him to have a severe allergic reaction. The nurse — Baylor in disguise — ignores Reid and prepares to inject the drugs. When Reid smacks the syringe out of the nurse's hands, Reid notices the nurse is armed. He warns Garcia, who immediately grabs Reid's gun from the bedside stand and shoots Baylor in the chest.

Certainly, if given the option, Penelope Garcia would have preferred to remain safe within her toy and tech room. However, as a member of the BAU, the job sometimes requires departures from the comfort zone. When duty called, despite her own misgivings, Garcia more than rose to the occasion, proving she's got the heart as well as the brains.