ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writers and Firearm Mistakes

Updated on September 14, 2014

I’m a gun owner and a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I own five firearms and have my permit to carry concealed (which anyone living in California can tell you is not easy to come by in this State). Still I’m more than willing to admit that I’m no expert. Whenever I have a character using a firearm with which I am unfamiliar, I do research and/or to the range or a gun store and ask questions.

The problem I see is that many writers seem not to bother. Because of this they often make glaring errors. I don’t mean simple incidents of editing mistakes such as having a character put out their cigarette twice in one and a half pages (happened in a book I’m reading now). I mean things that are physically impossible like thumbing back the hammer on a Glock. The hammer on a Glock is encased in the slide (see photo) and can’t be thumbed back.

My Glock 17. No visible hammer.
My Glock 17. No visible hammer.

These types of mistakes can easily pull a reader with even basic gun knowledge out of the world of your story and into a “Seriously? You don’t know FILL IN THE BLANK” moment. The worst part of it is that the vast majority of these mistakes could be avoided with a simple Google search. I’ve listed some of my pet peeves below.

The Click of An Empty Semiautomatic: When you fire your last round from a semiautomatic, the slide locks back( see photos). The chamber is wide open and obviously empty. Heck a big part of the barrel is exposed. Unless your character is blind there’s no way they can’t tell the weapon is empty before the dramatic “click” moment so many writers have used. If you feel you MUST have this moment in your story, at least have the character use a revolver. You can click on the chamber of one if it is empty or the round has been fired.

Glock 17 with the slide forward (loaded position)
Glock 17 with the slide forward (loaded position)
Glock 17 with an empty magazine (slide locks back) Pretty obvious, right?
Glock 17 with an empty magazine (slide locks back) Pretty obvious, right?

On a side note: Filmmakers please stop adding a muzzle flash and gunshot sound FX to your scene when the slide on the weapon is locked back. It just looks stupid.

The Smell of Cordite After a Gun Fight: Cordite hasn’t been used in gunpowder for several hundred years. It will not be heavy in the air after a gunfight. Black powder, or gunpowder, is a mixture that contains potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulfur. Have the smell of sulfur in the air. At least it’s actually used.

Clicking the Safety Off of a Glock: The Glock, love it or hate it, is a popular firearm. As such it is often used in stories. The thing is that the safety is built into the trigger. When you put your finger on the trigger, you’re “removing” the safety. There isn’t one to flick off prior to this. It's just one of many examples of firearms without an external safety to "flick" off, but, since I own two and could provide pictures, I used it as my prime example.

The "extra" piece on the trigger in the picture below is the safety on a Glock. Once your finger is on the trigger the safety is off. There isn't anything to flick.

Carrying An Unlimited Supply of Ammo: Bullets have weight and mass. A single bullet is not heavy, but having a character carrying so much ammunition that they could start their own store isn’t plausible.

You Won’t Find a Spent Casing In The Wall Near Your Victim: A bullet and a casing/cartridge are not the same thing. I once read a book where the M.E. dug a “spent cartridge” from a victim. I’d like to know just how the murder managed to fire the casing from their weapon rather than the bullet? I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t think it’s possible.

These are just a few of the common mistakes made in writing. A few that I seem to catch a bit more often than others. Based on these I think it’s important for every writer to at least make a trip to a gun range and/or gun store. Even if you are honestly too afraid of firearms yourself to fire one, you can ask questions of people who are very, very qualified to answer them. Feel free to list any I’ve missed or that bother you in the comments section.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)