In an interview with an American broadcasting network in the 1980s Patrick Macnee was very angry about what he called "the disgusting violence in film". He also said "you shouldn't feel saver behind a gun".
However, John Steed is not a choir boy when he needs to overpower dangerous opponents.
And in Double Danger Steed said: " I'm not fighting a revolver with an umbrella".
He is willing to die for his country and also to kill, but he finds no pleasure in it, what distinguishes him from Ezdorf in Get-A Way:
"I kill when I have to. You because you like it".
Although Steed can be extremely merciless and brutal. The way he interrogates Borowski in Man With Two Shadows proves witness too that. Yet he is not cruel.
But is a myth that Steed carries no firearms or that he did not use guns.
For example, he used in series 2 several times weapons: Mr Teddy Bear, Propellant 23, The Decapod, Death of a Great Dane, The Sell-Out, Death on the Rocks, Traitor in Zebra, Death Dispatch, Intercrime, Box of Tricks, School for Traitors and The White Dwarf. Sometimes the gun is his own, sometimes it's the gun of another person.
He often threatens someone with the gun, but does not often use it to fire at a person, but most people who definitely got kill by Steed were shot:
Steed's double in Man with Two Shadows, Abe in The Gilded Cage, "Napoleon" in Dressed to Kill, Beardmore in The Little Wonders, Brandon Storey in Too Many Christmas Trees, Henry in How to Succeed....at Murder, Z Z Von Schnerk in Epic, Becker in Death's Door (single bullet), Farrer in Legacy of Death, Osaka in Homicide and Old Lace, Mark Crayford TNA Dead Men are Dangerous .
But most of the time Steed uses whatever is in hand for a weapon: from a shoe to the telephone, he's pretending to have an explosive cigarette, a giant bridge card, a comic posters, a pot of hot coffee, dust wiper, the hood of a car, a pot of boiling oil, a book or a spear...