FYI – Gun Stuff for Writers

I thought I’d post a few relevant things about guns. No, I didn’t know all of these and a couple I had to check on. The internet is a cool research engine. The characters in my first series (The Wildblood) carry a lot of weaponry. Hell, there’s been the mention of artillery, which I know nothing about other than it’s loud. So, here’s a few things I’ve noticed over the years. I hope this will help if you’re writing characters with guns.

At no time should a real gun be used as a toy or thought of as anything other than a potentially deadly piece of equipment. Now on to fiction.

The above picture is a Kimber 10mm semi-auto. It is a big gun, reasonably comparable to a .45. (One of my main characters carries this.)


I learned to shoot when I was 6 (a .22 rifle with blanks), so I’ve been around various weapons always. Note – I don’t pretend to be an expert on any firearm. If you need exacting details, please use the internet and look it up. The NSA won’t visit – or at least, they haven’t dropped by my place, so far. If they do, I’ll offer to send them a copy of my book!

All right, let’s see what’s next.

Guns are loud. Even little guns are very noisy and large guns can literally make you deaf. The person getting shot at gets a louder report than the person shooting. Also, silencers? No. They don’t ‘silence’ a gun, they merely make it a little less loud. (They are also illegal in the US.) In the middle of a shoot-out, or whatever your character is involved in, they may not notice their ears are ringing. Later, they may be temporarily deaf.

Picture above – This is a revolver, a Ruger .357 to be precise. Revolvers don’t have a safety.

Guns run out of bullets. Revolvers generally carry 6 rounds. Magazines for semi-autos can hold 16 (Glock). No one in their right mind runs out of bullets then throws the empty gun at their target. Why oh why would they? There’s always a chance to reload. An old military saying comes to mind – If you’re not shooting, you should be loading; if you’re not loading you should be moving; if you’re not moving, you’re dead.

Another is – cheat if necessary. Someone that carries a gun doesn’t tell people this fact.

If your semi-automatic pistol runs out of bullets, the slide pops open and stays there. You know it’s empty, you don’t have to guess. So does the person you’re shooting at. Never let someone get close enough to grab you.

Above picture is a Beretta Police Special 9MM – and it’s empty.

Semi-auto means you can fire quickly by repeatedly pulling the trigger quickly. Auto means if you keep the trigger pulled, it will keep firing. Which brings up . . .

Recoil. The bigger the gun, the more ‘kick’ it will have. A .357 can jump right out of the hands of someone not prepared for that. Same for any firearm. If your character is shooting a sniper rifle, (s)he would use a bipod, a tripod or something to support it and be leaning against something or lying on the ground. Sniper rifles are heavy; ammo for sniper rifles is heavy. The recoil from these is serious. The recoil from an automatic is going to make your aim crap. You see what I’m saying.

If your character has never used a gun before, don’t expect they will be able to hit what they want to the first time they shoot. Guns need calibrated so they are accurate. People need to become familiar with a particular gun in order to shoot it accurately. Pick it up in the heat of whatever, for the first time and your character likely won’t know if it’s loaded, how to reload it, or how to make it go ‘bang’, let lone hit their target.

Never ever ever have a character put a handgun in his/her waistband when they aren’t using it. Guns are heavy, even little ones. It would fall out or down the pants, which makes the character look inept at best. Also, dropping a gun won’t make it go off.

Holding a gun sideways is just for movies. You can’t aim, and let’s just admit it, you look pretty silly.

Walls, tables and car doors don’t stop bullets. There are many types of bullets, but these things don’t stop any of them.

There is no such thing as a gun that can pass through a metal detector, undetected. No plastic guns, no ceramic guns, no paper guns. In a future setting, this may not be true. It’s your world, invent a plastic gun, but explain why it doesn’t explode when a round is fired.

Unless you are firing tracer rounds, you can’t see bullets flying away from guns. Bullets don’t spark when they hit things. Nor can you make their trajectory curve. Again, movie stuff not facts.

No one can tell the caliber of a gun by looking at a bullet wound or a hole in a target. Some different calibers are really close too the same. Forensics can tell, but not standing around on a street corner.

And finally, people that carry guns very seldom have to actually use them, at least in Real Life. People that own guns aren’t anti-social loons, out to do damage. If you’re writing a book, this may or may not be a fact as well.

I’m sure I’ve missed things. Ask me and I’ll tell you what I know.

And now, a plug for my books.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Backlash is only 99¢ now! All retailers.

Before Team Three became Team Three, there was The Blackout.

Vista Security is used to the feral bands of human wandering the landscape since a brief and devastating war wiped away civilization. Sixteen years later, they’ve adapted to dealing with the challenges facing their safe haven.

That is, until a new threat appears, one they never expected and one they have little defense against. Security throws in everything they can muster; it quickly takes a toll. Their advantage – an untested team of officers barely more than children themselves; officers with dark secrets and a hidden agenda.

In a free-for-all battle to preserve one of the last sanctuaries of man, Team Three discovers their secrets are their strength and that their future will take them far beyond what they’ve ever known.

Action, a bit of romance and a good splash of sci-fi set the scene for Backlash, the prequel novella of The Wildblood series.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Team Three is The Vista’s top security officers. They are children of the last generation pre-World War 3, and they are different. It’s a secret they struggle to contain.

Problem is – there’s something dangerous out there, just beyond The Vista, watching them.

The Vista: Book 1 of The Wildblood series takes place in the near-future where the Earth has been mostly emptied of human beings by a short and devastating world war. Venturing beyond the safety of their valley may be the best move Security has ever made; it’s absolutely the most dangerous.

3 thoughts on “FYI – Gun Stuff for Writers

  1. Nice round up of basic gun information. 🙂 I’ve always enjoy plinking cans with a .22 but am not much for larger calibers.

    One bit of information I’ve always wanted to include in a dystopian story is that a .22 is a good choice for a survival situation if you can only grab one gun. They’re relatively light when compared with larger caliber long guns. Even though they’re not center-fire, in the right hands, a .22 can bring down game, or pick off an enemy. And the ammo is much lighter than larger calibers. You can carry considerably more of it. (Ammo is really heavy–for anyone who hasn’t handled guns.)


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