Fiction, especially the crime and thriller genres, loves hollow-point bullets, but those aren’t the only game in town. Many varieties exist, with unique shapes and construction types, and their properties may spark some new ideas for fiction. Continue reading
Why Do Characters Blow Away Gun Smoke from the Barrel After They Shoot?
TLDR: This trope serves no practical purpose with modern firearms, but it did play an essential role many years ago.
I hate to break it to you, but much of the “cool factor” surrounding guns in fiction is based on what looks cool. Take away the arbitrary cool factor, and firearms are pieces of nerdy metal, square chemistry, dad jean physics and Nickelback designs. On their own, they’re boring. Just try talking to one.
It takes someone or something else to make them “cool.” One way characters in fiction do that is by blowing the gun smoke away from the barrel after an intense volley of gunfire, usually but not always involving a handgun. The website TV Tropes even has a page dedicated to this cliche.
Is there any point to this trope or is it just blowing smoke? Let’s break it down.
.223 vs 5.56: You Say Tomato, I Say Red Squishy Thing
If there’s an equivalent of that kind of nuance in the firearm world, it’s with the rifle calibers .223 and 5.56mm, along with .308 and 7.62mm. If you decide to go down a more technical route in your writing, you might wind up getting mighty confused. And if this is new to you, prepare to learn how to be confused by it. Continue reading
Like Magnum, But Not: What is +P Ammunition?
TLDR: A higher velocity version of a cartridge useful for self-defense.
Following up from a previous post about magnum ammunition, I thought it’d be a good idea to explain +P ammo. This type of ammunition is similar, but not quite identical to, the magnum concept. This post is going to get technical, but bear with me. There’s a good reason to know about +P for writing fiction.
What is Magnum Ammunition?
TLDR: Magnum ammunition comes with extra propellant (gunpowder) and/or a more generous projectile.
Unlike other firearm terminology, “magnum ammunition” is both specific and vague. This can cause some confusion when you need to give a character a firearm with some extra oomph.
Magnum Ammo: The Gist
It’s specific because a “magnum” cartridge will contain more propellant (aka gunpowder) and/or a more generous projectile (aka bullet) than a standard cartridge.
However, it’s vague because that increase in oomph isn’t set in stone. It’s up to the manufacturer to determine what qualifies as magnum and what does not.