This is the second of two posts from “Adam,” an active duty law enforcement detective in California. Adam offers writers advice about depicting police work on his Writer’s Detective website and Twitter handle. You may want to read Adam’s first post about handguns for detective characters here.
How Criminal Characters Get Their Guns Determines What They Use
What about the bad guys? Again, there are factors to consider.
The first is access. Reality is that a bad guy will carry whatever gun s/he can access. This usually means the gun is one of two things:
- Cheap (i.e. inherently unreliable)
- Stolen (usually in a burglary and then traded/sold on the street for cash/drugs)
Depending on the criminal history or sophistication of your antagonist, s/he may purchase the firearm from a gun store using a “straw purchaser.” A straw purchaser is a third party that poses as the gun buyer in order to conceal the identity of the person actually buying the firearm, usually to get around the background check.
What this all means is selecting a handgun for a criminal character doesn’t need to follow a set of guidelines as it would with one in law enforcement. The options are wide open given the variables of procurement. If the firearm is to fall on the cheap side of things, you might look up inexpensive models for sale online to get a better idea.
What About Holsters?
For some reason, criminals are far less likely to carry their handguns in holsters. Their weapons are usually tucked straight into their waistbands, shoved in a pocket or hidden in a fixed location within arms reach. Another tactic amongst gangsters –especially those subject to search and seizure terms– is to have their girlfriends hide the weapon in their purses or on their bodies.