5 Small Pistols for Your Story’s Protagonist

Best handguns for writing fiction

Handguns are some of the most common weapons in fiction. Here are some small selections worth considering that aren’t Glocks. That’s right. Not every pistol in fiction is a Glock. ~Ben (Image by Jon Campbell via sxc.hu)

Following up his post about close quarters combat and clearing rooms, Michael Connick is back with another great guest post. This one is about five small pistols perfect for your story’s protagonist. Enjoy!

~Ben Continue reading

Reader Question: What are the Advantages of Compact Handguns Versus Full-Sized Models?

Writing Fiction: Beretta Pistol Sizes

jennifer chase crime writerThis question comes from crime writer and criminologist Jennifer Chase. If the name sounds familiar to you, you’ve either discovered her terrific Emily Stone series of crime novels or been paying attention to her excellent criminology posts in service of the writing community.

She recently wrote in with this question: Continue reading

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

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

Why Do Characters Blow Away Gun Smoke from the Barrel After They Shoot?

Why do characters in movies, TV shows and (sometimes) books blow smoke from the end of their handguns' barrels after a shootout? The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is because it looks cool. But history shows this trope once served a practical purpose. (Shutterstock image)

Why do characters in movies, TV shows and (sometimes) books blow smoke from the end of their guns’ barrels after a shootout? Also, is this person blowing away the smoke or sucking it in? Is this a hookah by way of a pistol? Is that even possible? Asking for a friend. (Shutterstock image)

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.

Continue reading