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Pumps vs. Charging Handles

Posted on November 18, 2014 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Not every shotgun or rifle uses a pump, right? Right. So what's that thingy (for lack of a better term for now) worked back and forth that's sort of like a pump when characters use fully automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns?


That thingy is called a charging handle or cocking handle. They're worked manually to load the first round into the chamber when ammunition is initially inserted into the firearm. After the first shot, the firearm automatically reloads a fresh round. They're present on the following firearms (yes, some of these terms mean the same thing).



  • Fully automatic rifles
  • Submachine guns
  • Machine guns
  • Assault rifles
  • Semi-automatic rifles
  • Fully automatic shotguns
  • Semi-automatic shotguns



There's no need to work the charging handle again if the character pauses during a shootout before the ammunition runs out.


Make sense? This is only a quick overview without getting into the nitty gritty. Leave any questions in the comments.


If you enjoyed this article, sign up for my free e-newsletter. Be sure to check out my book, Weapons for Writers, when it's published by Writer's Digest Books in summer 2015.

Pick Up the Latest Issue of Crimespree Magazine

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Hey hey! You'll want to pick up the latest and greatest issue of Crimespree magazine. In addition to the usual reviews, interviews (including one with Benjamin Whitmer) and short fiction, you'll find my article, Enough Dicking Around: How a Private Detective Solved the Mystery of 21st Century Publishing. It centers on Vincent Zandri's approach to his Dick Moonlight series.

Click here to get the issue for the Kindle.

Review - Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer

Posted on November 7, 2014 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Is this a biased review? Oh, my friend, your naivete is cute. Of course it's a biased review. Because not only is Cry Father one of the best crime novels of 2014, but I sent my hardcover copy off to the author, Benjamin Whitmer, for a signature. He even sent it back, imagine that. This is after I won the copy from Goodreads. Life is peachy sometimes. Check it:


On the surface, Cry Father is about Patterson Wells, who works in disaster response following the death of his son, visiting an old friend for a fishing trip. Only the friend is snorting a heap of crystal meth the size of "a shrunken head" when Patterson shows up. Patterson goes to take a leak in the friend's bathroom and finds a woman tied up inside. Things get worse from there.


Underneath the crushing weight of all that violence and drugs is a story about the legacy fathers leave their sons. Many of the novel's tamer moments, if you could call them that, focus on Patterson dealing with his grief. A few lines at the very end sum up this motif (non-spoiler alert):


"She wants to think of grieving as a journey, your mother. A mapable line that begins with loss and ends with resolution. Or, as she put it, a hole that we're trying to fill with our conspiracy theories up here on the mesa."


That's answered a few paragraphs later with:


"Nothing ends, nothing heals."


That pair is one of the few of the many, many quotable lines in Cry Father that doesn't involve the word "fuck." Still, its significance is apparent throughout this meth lab explosion of a novel.


Call it literary fiction minus the sanity, noir for the "Breaking Bad' generation or crime fiction stripped of its genre veneers, Cry Father is as haunting to its readers as it is to its characters.

Coming Soon - Gun Safe Lights

Posted on November 5, 2014 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Product reveal time: My pet project at work this year has been developing a line of universal gun safe lights. After many months, the lights are finally coming to our online store, These will mount inside any safe in about two minutes, run on AAA batteries, use LED lights and - best of all - turn on/off with a built-in motion detector for hands-free operation.

It costs less than $20 for two. I'm unreasonably excited about this product. Will post a link when I have one.

UPDATE: And they're live now. Click here to go to and pick up a two-pack.

Video - Emily Stone, Serial Killer Hunter

Posted on November 4, 2014 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Holy cats, now this is how you do a book trailer.

Today’s guest blog post comes courtesy of writer bud Jennifer Chase. Her Emily Stone crime novel series recently made the transition to screen with this vignette. Check it out, kids, this really well done. And pick up a book while you’re at it.





Crime has a new nemesis and her name is Emily Stone. She will continue to hunt serial killers and child abductors as long as they are out there.


This is her life. Tag along with vigilante detective Emily Stone in a first time ever “live action” novel short film. Be sure to watch it full screen, turn up the volume, and enjoy.

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Check out the Award-winning EMILY STONE THRILLER SERIES available at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, and most online and book retailers.

You can find Jennifer Chase and all of her books at: