By: Stacey A. Purcell
If you get stuck writing your novel, bring in a man with a big gun! – William Simon
How many people do you shoot in your novels?
Since I write suspense, death and mayhem show up on my pages with great frequency. There’s nothing worse than watching a movie or reading a book when you come across something that you KNOW is wrong. It pulls you completely out of the story. We need to avoid this at all cost! If the reader puts your book down, all bets are off as to whether they’ll pick it up again, especially if you just annoyed them.
I’d like to introduce William Simon who is the owner and lead investigator of a professional investigations firm specializing in computer forensics and computer evidence. He is asked to participate on cases across the country and has worked with multiple branches of the law. His fiction has been published in the anthology MURDER BY MAGIC, “Suspense Magazine”, and the forthcoming THRILLER 3 from International Thriller Writers.
Hi Everyone. Thanks for having me here at Muse Tracks.
A couple of months ago, Stacey and Jennifer put together a night trip to a local gun range. Several of the members had never fired a gun before, and everyone had a great time.
Over the course of the evening, we all talked about guns and shooting as shown in the movies and television, and there was enough conversation about it that Stacey asked me to write a blog about it.
Starting off, my all time favorite is the Hero inching his way along a wall to the corner so he can shoot Bad Guys. Almost without exception, he’s holding the gun pointed up, near his face with his finger on the trigger. If he pulls that trigger by accident, here’s what will happen: he’ll get gunpowder and shrapnel in his face, possibly his eyes, he won’t be able to hear properly for a while, if ever again. If it’s night, he’ll be night blind for a considerable amount of time, not to mention disoriented. Bad move, all the way around. Professional law enforcement officers know better, and hold a drawn weapon pointed downwards and way from themselves.
Snatching a pistol from someone’s hand is a wrong move. Period. It always makes me cringe to see that. When a pistol is loaded and the hammer’s back, it takes very little force to move the trigger. And once the trigger moves, we know what happens next.
Tucking a just fired weapon down the belt right above the crotch area…. YEOUCH! First off, firing a full cylinder of six or a clip of eight or more, and the barrel of the gun is almost hot enough to light a cigarette. Sure, people have done that, just jammed a gun down their waistband. It’s happened often enough, there’s a name for it: “testicide”. Use your imaginations, you can guess what happens!
Holding an automatic pistol sideways is a guarantee that hot cartridges are going to smack you in the face. Just what you want in a serious situation.
Here’s the really big one: Guns MUST be reloaded. Revolvers usually hold six shots, although some of the newer models can hold seven or eight. Okay, fair enough, but that’s nowhere near enough to cover some of the gunfights in the movies. Automatic pistols can hold more, usually between ten to sixteen. The famous Beretta 92F does have a specially made clip that can hold thirty-two rounds, but it sticks out from the butt a good inch or so, making impossible to conceal, and adds substantial weight.
A fully loaded pistol is heavy. Specially made belts are needed for a comfortable concealed carry; clipping the holster to your beltless pants doesn’t work in real life. Neither does shoving the gun into a back pocket.
Holsters are a different matter altogether. Shoulder holsters look cool, but are awkward to draw from. Simple physics: in an emergency, using your strong hand, you have to reach across your body, pull the gun, then reverse the move to be on target. It may not seem like a long time, but in a crisis, that half a second can make the difference.
If you’re writing a scene where there’s a gunfight, be sure and do your research! Gun collectors can be fanatical about spotting errors, and they won’t hesitate to let you know you got it wrong!