I’m an action/thriller writer with an emphasis on the spy and assassin subgenres, so most of my scripts have guns. Scratch that: ALL of my scripts have guns. That’s why my research brought me to the largest indoor gun range in the country, where I got to learn all about firearms from one of the experts in the industry. (You may also want to read — more ways to write about things you don’t know)
Here are some of the rules I learned when putting firearms in the hands of your characters:
- DON’T confuse “magazine” and “clip.” When loading a handgun, the section that holds the bullets is called a magazine because it encases all of the bullets so that you can only see the top one. 90% of the time you will use the term magazine. “Clip” only refers to the kind of ammunition holder that has exposed bullets, and clips are commonly used with rifles or guns from World War numero dos. So please, use the term “MAGAZINE” or else the gun-toting community will walk out on your movie and write you off as somebody who doesn’t care enough about their script to do the research.
- DO know what type of gun your characters would carry. Police units prefer Glocks not only because they’re nearly indestructible and have a passive safety, but also because standardizing on firearms means that during intense or prolonged shootouts, they can easily trade *magazines* if one of the officers gets hit and is unable to use his gun. Glocks are also lighter and more practical, whereas something like the 1911 is more showy and has the greatest number of possible accessories and add-ons because it’s design hasn’t changed in over one hundred years. Berettas, despite their mystique and position as the oldest firearm out there — the Beretta has been around for the past five hundred years — they aren’t as reliable as Glocks when it comes to certain parts breaking or not working properly. The HK (aka: the Jack Bauer gun) has a cult-like following and people who use HK’s often refuse to use anything else. It is more on the expensive side, but it’s one of my favorites because the kickback isn’t as intense as the Glock because the Glock is made out of plastic, and the HK I used is steel. (See photo below.)
- DO know the standard technique for firing a gun: Is your character firing the gun sideways, holding it with one hand, and yelling “KILL SHOT!” as they run around, trying to hit a moving target? [Read more…]