Will a Gun Go Off If It’s Dropped?

Just for the record: That's moss, not the carpeting in my house. (Shutterstock photo)

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)

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

What’s the Difference Between a Pistol and a Revolver?

pistols and revolvers

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.

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Do Revolvers Have Safeties?

Smith Wesson Model 40

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.

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Writing Fiction: Handguns for Criminal Characters

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.



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Best Handguns for Detectives in Fiction

It’s my pleasure to host the first of two posts from “Adam” of Writer’s Detective. He’s an active law enforcement detective in California, hence the quotation marks. When he’s not on duty, Adam offers advice to writers about police work on his website and Twitter handle.

He graciously accepted my invitation to talk about the handguns he uses. Watch for an upcoming post on the firearms criminals use. I think you’ll enjoy them both.


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