3 Common Weapons Mistakes Writers Make – And How to Fix Them

Fiction writing tips for guns and knives

I’m happy to report that my guest post at Fiona Quinn’s excellent ThrillWriting website is now live. I review the three most common biffs fiction writers make when depicting firearms, knives and other weapons. Then, I berate you for making those mistakes as a show of my intellectual superiority without offering any ways to improve. Finally, I suggest that you never write fiction again, divorce your spouse out of shame, promptly renounce your citizenship and move to Antarctica.

Nah, I’m kidding. You’re great, although in all honesty you probably could find a distraction-free writing environment in Antarctica. I just never quite fit into the “know-it-all expert” T-shirt, despite the evidence. There’s always, ALWAYS, more to learn and discover. I see myself more as a communicator of this information than someone on the same tier as Massad Ayoob or Jeff Cooper.

Head over here to read the post, How to Avoid the 3 Most Common Weapons Mistakes Writers Make. I promise you’ll come away with more than just a literary guitar solo.

2 Revolvers, 1 Rifle: Best Guns for Writing a Western Novel

guns used in western fiction

Court Merrigan is a writer I’ve known for a good while, having served as a beta reader for him on some of his work. We connect over Facebook about firearms and all things writing, so I was thrilled to hear his western novel was picked up by Beat to a Pulp for publication. Merrigan’s novel may go down as having the most loquacious title of 2017, pulling double duty as the preface to the rest of the work:

THE BROKEN COUNTRY: Being the Scabrous Exploits of Cyrus & Galina Van, Hellbent West During the Eighth Year of the Harrows, 1876; With an Account of Mappers, Bounty Hunters, a Tatar, and the Science of Phrenology.

How can you not love that? Here’s the gist:

Set in post-apocalyptic 1876, THE BROKEN COUNTRY tracks the scabrous exploits of the outlaws Cyrus and Galina Van. The pair kidnaps a naïve, young scion and head west in pursuit of gold, glory, and respect. Along the trail they met Atlante Ames, a mapper who euthanized her own father and now seeks her twin brother, himself gone outlaw in the ravaged West. In cold pursuit rides the implacable bounty hunter Hal, who takes scalps in the name of Jesus Christ and the science of phrenology, and the contemplative Buddhist assassin Qa’un, paying off the bloodprice he owes Hal … bounty by bloody bounty. Cyrus and Galina’s hard road west comes to a head in a dynamite-tossing, six-gun-blazing shootout at the old train depot in Laramie.

And here’s his piece about the firearms he’s deemed best fit for a post-apocalyptic western novel. Enjoy!


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Alcohol and Firearms: Great for Fiction, Bad for Real Life

using firearms with alcohol

Booze and guns. Booze and swimming. Booze and driving. Booze and burgers. Only one of these options go well together in real life. In fiction, however, these combos can be 100-proof plot lubricant. (Image via Pexels)

Reader of this blog and The Writer’s Guide to Weapons book, Aaron Marshall, is working on a WIP featuring a critical scene involving firearms and alcohol. Here’s the question he wrote to me, as well as my response. Continue reading

Characters Shooting in the Dark: What Writers Should Know

tips for shooting in the dark or low-light conditions

There’s a reason the term “shot in the dark” doesn’t mean “to do something with great clarity.” (Michael Connick photo)

Michael Connick recently completed a nighttime match with the International Defense Pistol Association (IDPA). This resulted in some interesting insights for using handguns in dark or low-light conditions that fiction writers might find illuminating. His guest post is below. Enjoy!


benefits of mouse guns

Michael Connick is the author of “Trapped in a House of Mirrors” and “Funhouse Mirrors.” Both are available at all fine book retailers. (Image courtesy of the author)

According the National Criminal Justice Reference Service of the US Department of Justice , about 90% of police shootings happen in low-light conditions.

Bad things done by bad people tend to occur in the dark. If your protagonist needs to go after some evil-doer at night or in a darkened building, they are going to need to be able to see threats well enough to accurately engage them with their handgun. They are going to need to be familiar with the techniques required to manage lights and handguns in the dark.

This article is going to discuss some of these techniques. Continue reading