At Kill Zone Blog, a post by John Gilstrap about some of the mistakes writers make when they include guns in their fiction.
As a side note, I’ve heard that the two things that will get you the most little notes from readers are mistakes about guns and mistakes about swords. I don’t doubt it. Thinks that bother me: mistakes about horses or other animals. Do I write to authors about it when they call an animal a “mink” when they absolutely mean “least weasel?” No, because I am not a gun- or sword-nut, and thus apparently by definition less likely to point mistakes out to the author.
Notice that I may make snide comments about your zoological illiteracy for DECADES, though.
Anyway, Gilstrap says:
I watch those scenes and wonder what kind of moron searches for a bad guy without a round in the chamber, ready to fire? Why walk into a gunfight with your gun unloaded?
Good question! It reminds me of someone saying, “Maybe next time we shouldn’t shout as we go through the door.” Something like that. Where is that from? Was that from a Vorkosigan book, maybe?
“But John!” someone shouts. “Everybody knows there’s no safety on a Glock!”
Not so, I reply. There are actually three safeties on a Glock. They’re internal. There’s a trigger safety, a firing pin safety and a drop safety. You can throw a chambered Glock against a concrete floor as hard as you want, and it won’t go off accidentally. Yet, if you pull the trigger intentionally, it will fire every time. And that’s the point. When someone is about to kill you, you don’t want a lot of intermediate manipulations to get in the way of returning the favor.
Interesting! I didn’t know that, because even if I have read about Glocks before, that kind of trivia does not stick with me, unlike trivia about, say, nine-banded armadillos always having identical quadruplets and things like that.
If you are interested, here is a post about guns from Terrible Minds.
This is the kind of post I would look for if I was putting enough gun details into a story that I was worried about getting those details right.
And, you know, if you ever want to include the right kind of dog in your fantasy novel, with the right characteristics for the breed, drop me a line. I will be happy to tell you about the characteristics of the Tibetan mastiff or the Finnish spitz.
One (two) writers who get their dogs right: Ilona Andrews. Nice job, guys, keep it up!