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!
Just for the record: That’s moss, not the carpeting in my house. (Shutterstock photo)
TLDR: Despite how it might benefit a fictional scene, it’s extremely rare for a gun to off accidentally, even when it’s dropped. It’s far more likely the “accident” is due to negligence.
Pictured: Life. (GIF via giphy)
I have great luck with my push lawnmower. It’s old, missing a few bolts and requires just the right touch to operate, but it gets the job done. If I’m lucky, it’ll start before pull number three. If it doesn’t, I know there’s a mechanical error. I might not know exactly where, but I follow a logical path to find it. Is there gas in the tank? Is the spark plug throwing a spark? Is the throttle adjusted correctly? Is there grass preventing the blade from spinning? Continue reading
Don’t use “pistol” and “revolver” interchangeably when writing fiction. Pick one and stick to it. (Photo via Gun Digest)
TLDR: Pistols are handguns with one or more stationary chambers. Revolvers are handguns that use multiple rotating chambers. Don’t use them interchangeably.
Aaaaaand I can already hear my inbox filling up after posting the TLDR up top. But before you fire off a sternly worded letter through the contact form, give me a chance to explain.
This is a Smith & Wesson Model 40. It’s one of the few revolvers to use a safety. Instead of a switch or button, it uses what’s called a “grip safety.” It sits behind the grip, and must be pressed (i.e. palmed) before the gun can fire. This is the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of revolvers do not use safeties. (Smith & Wesson photo)
TLDR: Assume that revolvers don’t use safeties unless you can prove otherwise through research. Mention that specific model in the story.
Here’s an easy one. The short answer is no, revolvers do not have safeties in the same way some semi-automatic pistols do. There isn’t a switch or other device to press before the revolver can be fired. Usually.
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.