(Toni here… I have been wanting to have Nancie guest for a long time, and this weekend turned into a fantastic opportunity for our Murderati readers. Huge thanks to Nancie, who is doing her dead level best to keep me from making mistakes in the current work-in-progress.)
by Nancie Hays
Guns & Ammo continued:
Are you asking yourself the following questions–what do you
mean "continued" and who are you anyway?
Allow me to clear up the small bit
o’ confusion I’ve already created before I get into the meaty mystification
portion of this blog. This is a continuation from yesterday’s blog I wrote for
The Lipstick Chronicles, so you can pop on there for the back-story on today’s
blog. Go head, we’ll wait for you to return and while we’re waiting for you to
come back, we’ll hum a jaunty tune. [note from Toni — that is an extremely informative blog and this one picks up and adds to it — you’ll be glad you read both!]
I am a gun nut, but I make no claims to being an expert on
everything gun related. I do have quite a bit of knowledge about those things
that go bang, as my job requires me to know this info. I do work for a
government agency, as noted in the previous blog, and I’ll leave it at that. My
job is not considered top-secret and my level of security clearance won’t even
get me access to public Government documents.
One common thing I’ve discovered about the numerous writer’s
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is getting the facts right is a real big deal
to them and their stories. As a reader, I greatly appreciate the effort for my
benefit when it comes to guns. I have no idea what happens to that extensive
research done for other sections of the story, but sometimes, gun information
still gets mangled. While there is a lot to learn, the gun world isn’t a secret
society with complicated handshakes, code words for access or a special tattoo
revealing your membership status. The information is out there and in most
cases easily accessible, so I’m very flummoxed by the basic errors I
continually run across.
The following sentence makes my brain seize and implode
every time I read it:
detective drew his 39 millimeter Desert Eagle automatic revolver, pulled back
the clicker and looked in the nozzle to make sure there were nine deadly
bullets in the wheel.”
If this line were entered into a contest for the most
outrageous inaccuracies crammed into one sentence, we would have our winner.
I’m going to attempt to break this down and decipher the
bizarre code without the special ring:
- Drew it from where? He couldn’t hide a gun this big on his person anywhere unless he
was surgically altered with a kangaroo pouch that hung down to his ankles. (Or had a holster. Give your audience some visual help here.)
- I’m not even sure what the heck the clicker is supposed to be in this scenario.
- A 39 millimeter round will break the detective’s arm upon firing it once, if not tear it from the socket, leaving him with a useless dangling limb—keep in mind that a small light weight mortar round is 37 millimeters. You could blow the bad guy threw the wall with this round, well, if you didn’t blow him into numerous piles of sticky paste. Oh wait; maybe that’s what the clicker is for, to detonate this atrocity from minimum safe distance and keep that dry-cleaning bill within budget.
- Desert Eagle automatic revolver… egad. Which one is it? This hybrid goes against all rules of man and nature. The Desert Eagle is a semi automatic, not a revolver. Plus, this is a very large handgun and not easily concealed, so not a good choice for any detective to carry unless the secret hidey spot was installed-see pouch reference above.
- Nozzle. Uh huh. I’m going to say they meant chamber, but at this point I’m completely speculating cuz I don’t speak this language.
- Thankfully, they clarified they were using deadly bullets, otherwise I could’ve assumed they loaded the mini howitzer with those life giving bullets and I really would’ve been confused.
- The bullets are in the wheel and this is a good thing?!? Wait! Eureka, I think I finally figured this out. This is one of those new fangled science fiction guns, right? If the bullets are loaded into the wheel, then you press the clicker and it starts rolling and firing from the wheel at the same time. Never mind, I was wrong. This is a brilliant design!
And here are a few other tasty morsels for ya:
A spent casing and
a spent bullet are two completely
different pieces of the cartridge and mixing them up is bad. Spent means it was
fired, so the casing is empty of powder, the primer is dead and the bullet was
discharged out of the business end of the gun, or muzzle.
A spent casing will
remain in a revolver, unless the shooter manually ejects it, but the casings
will automatically ejected by a semi-automatic for each shot, unless it jams.
(And that’s a whole different set of problems.) The spent casing from a
semi-auto isn’t going very far from the point of ejection and can usually be
found within a yard radius of where the shooter was standing when the shots
were fired. You blew the top of the cartridge’s head off so it doesn’t have any
brains to even think about wandering off.
A spent bullet is that wondrous thing dug out of whatever
jumped in the flight path used to solve many crimes by matching it to the gun
barrel it was intimate with for a fraction of a second.
Loose ammunition and fire (flames): combining these two for
a scene has the potential of excitement and danger, when the detonation of
thousands of rounds has everyone within a hundred yards running for cover as
bullets whiz everywhere threatening to take out all the good guys…in the movies. Come over to that place I
try not to visit very often, called reality, and see what really happens when
we play with fire and ammunition. Loose ammunition left in a car, building or
even tossed into a fire will not explode or shoot and/or kill everyone in the
area. The barrel–which is the containment factor necessary for the buildup of
pressure when the powder burns—is missing from this picture, so the bullet
can’t get propelled anywhere. The
bullet pops off the cartridge and rolls a few inches; or maybe it’s one of
those overachiever bullets and manages to tumble and hop a couple feet before
it is forced to stop due to lack of momentum and its energy is drained. The
bullet can’t even wander about aimlessly; it has been severed it from its body
and fuel supply so it dies quickly, and in an extremely confused state.
Another place for potential mistakes: If you have two people
in a fight over a semi-auto handgun and one party releases the magazine from
the gun, odds are there is still a round in the chamber, or at least I would
hope so, but that’s not the point. Depending on the specific model of gun
you’re using in your scene the gun may or may not fire without the magazine.
You need to know how each specific gun operates to avoid shooting the
Is everything as clear as the Federal Tax Codes?
The best piece of advice I can offer is get yourself a gun
nut or two to decipher the terminology and help with scenarios you want to put
in your story. We’re friendly people, really we are. The biggest challenge
you’ll have is getting us to shut up once we get going on the gun thing.
Gun questions? From readers / writers? Nancie will be here to comment. Or share the mistakes you’ve seen (without humiliating the writers, some of us are delicate flowers).
(Again, big thank you to Nancie for taking her time this weekend!)