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 theĀ International Defense Pistol Association (IDPA). This resulted in some interesting insights forĀ 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

Laser Sights and Snipers: Don’t Mix ’em

A SWAT team uses red laser sights in this still from the movie, "3,000 Miles to Graceland." (Image via

A SWAT team uses red laser sights in this still from the movie, “3,000 Miles to Graceland.” (Image via

TLDR: Laser sights are best suited for quickly aiming over short distances, not the precision shooting fiction sometimes likes to portray with them.

Laser sights are basically glorified laser pointers your teachers used back in school (or what you used on other kids when you were supposed to be paying attention). The difference, as explained in detail here, is that they’re mounted on firearms. This makes aiming in intense, close-quarter or low-light situations easier.

Fiction sometimes takes that a step further by popping them onto guns for long-distance shots. And that’s where things head south in a hurry. Continue reading

Yes, Virginia, There are Gun Scopes that Aim Themselves

How you decide to use this technology in your stories is up to you, but gun scopes that aim themselves are real and they’re on the consumer market. Not only that, but they can sync up with a pair of Android-enabled goggles looking the other way. Which means, “OK, Google, take out the sentry at the guard post, then tell Chipotle to make my burrito for pick up,” isn’t that far off in the future.

The accuracy rate still isn’t 100 percent, but it’s better than half. The manufacturer is only set up for a handful of rifles, but a little creative license should allow you to stick this tech onto whatever tank-tipper you feel like lighting up. In your stories, of course.

Continue reading

Red Laser Sights vs. Red Dot Sights: Is There a Difference?

Nothing says “you’re screwed” like an electric viper pit of red lasers snaking across a character’s body in fiction. These beams of light preview right where a shot would hit, a reminder of the few seconds the character may have left to live.

It’s a nice effect for writing showdown scenes between the damned and double damned, but what exactly are these devices called? Continue reading