Heads Up: Your FBI Characters Will Now Carry Different Pistols

Best guns for FBI characters agents writing fiction

The FBI will switch from .40 caliber Glock pistols to 9mm Glock pistols. The rest of the country’s law enforcement agencies, which frequently use .40 caliber pistols, will likely follow suit. (Image via Wikipedia)

TLDR: If your story is set in late 2016 or beyond, depict FBI characters carrying 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistols instead of .40 caliber Glocks.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced a change to its standard issue semi-automatic pistols last month that could impact some works of fiction. The agency will switch over to 9mm Glock pistols, a departure from .40 caliber models standard since the late 1980s. Continue reading

Step by Step: Choosing a Knife for Santa Claus

This is what happens when you don't tip your mall Santa. (Photo by Thomas Ricks via sxc.hu)

This is what happens when you don’t tip your mall Santa. (Photo by Thomas Ricks via sxc.hu)

I don’t know about you, but this Christmas I’ll be getting the shotgun out and leaning it against the wall next to my pillow. Call me paranoid, but ever since I became a father, there’s something exceptionally unsavory about some random creep coming down the chimney. I used to leave out a jug of whole milk and a bale of lard cookies to tempt the oaf into an slow diabetic death, but I don’t have the time to wait around for a case of the sugars any more.

That means Santa Claus needs to go in armed with more than candy canes and reindeer jerky this year. But with what?

Continue reading

Firearms and Knives My Fictional Characters Use

Winchester Model 37

A Winchester Model 37 single-shot shotgun makes an appearance in The Invisible Hand. (image by Gurpreetsihota via Wikimedia)

Despite writing something like The Writer’s Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books), I don’t put a ton of detail into the guns and blades that make appearances in my fiction.

That’s mostly to do with the story. If it needs some extra detail, I’ll stick it in there. But if it’s just another part readers will skip over, I’ll leave it out, as the late Elmore Leonard would say. Boiling firearms and knives down to their most necessary features is something I talk about extensively in the webinar I did for The Writers Store.

Continue reading

Characteristics of a Good Survival Knife

Best survival knives writing fiction

Many knives fit the criteria for a “survival knife,” but I went with the ESEE-5 for one of my projects. (ESEE photo)

TLDR: Forget the bells and whistles. Fixed blade knives built for durability and practicality are the best for getting a character out of a pinch. 

On the surface, a “survival knife” might seem to be any blade within arm’s reach that saves a character’s carcass from certain defeat. But if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know things are never as simple as that. There’s plenty to consider when assigning a character one of these resilient brutes. I even had to gut-check myself with one of my most recent releases, Chase Baker & the Vikings’ Secret. Continue reading

Writing Tips: 10 Ways to Research Weapons Without Touching One

(Image by Eduard Piél via sxc.hu)

(Image by Eduard Piél via sxc.hu)

Rachel Amphlett writes thrillers, most notably the Dan Taylor series, from her home in Australia. You might recognize her from the James Bond movie, The World is Not Enough, where she was an extra. (OK, you wouldn’t have known that without reading her bio, but how cool is that?) In all seriousness, go check out Amphlett’s bio. Guitars, movies, bars, globe-trotting, she’s done it all. How could that not result in some great reads?

Tight regulations on firearms in Australia means Amphlett has to get creative when researching these critical story components. If you live in an area where firearm access is limited, or just don’t feel like putting one in your hands, I think you’ll enjoy her tips below.


~Ben Continue reading