Thursday, January 26, 2017

Firearms Part I - Handguns

Oh, this gal...
There are more types of firearms throughout history than you can shake a stick at. Each culture has altered them to fit their lifestyle, climate, desired effect and materials on hand. I will cover the three basic categories: handguns, shotguns, and rifles, excluding military grade and all those in the Star Wars catalog. This week is devoted specifically to handguns and their ammo.

Bullets, caliber and recoil, OH MY!
The caliber of a bullet is the measure of it’s diameter. It must match the caliber of a gun’s barrel(s).
Recoil is how much backward velocity a gun produces after a shot is fired. Recoilless "rifles" do exist but are not sold commercially. The quotes are because although technically a rifle, they are not what you picture with the word rifle. Definitely not for deer hunting unless the deer is 50 feet tall! They are for military/government use. However, if you absolutely MUST have one you can build it yourself! The first video is a "redneck recoilless." The second is the real deal.

Handguns - a gun designed to be held in one or both hands such as a pistol or revolver. They generally fire bullets not shells although in the last decade there have been a few developed that do hold shells.

Bullet - single projectile firing from a firearm

Shell/Cartridge - a casing that holds bullets or tiny projectiles often called “shot” 

Pistols - small firearms designed to be held in one hand. They can have one or more barrels.

Single Shot - Exactly that, one shot. Used during the musket era, early 1800s. It was loaded with a lead ball and fired with a striker.
Single Shot Pistol

Revolver - Any gun using a chamber that revolves to line bullets with the gun’s barrel. You do not have to pull back the hammer in all of them. But, when we think of revolvers, we often think of Westerns. In those movies you see the shooter pull back the hammer of the pistol with his thumb or whole hand (think wild West showdowns) before pulling the trigger.  

Revolvers can be single or double barreled. They can hold as many as 9 bullets but generally 5 or 6. The revolver we most often think of is a 6 shooter often seen in cowboy movies which is capable of shooting 6 bullets. Although it was best to load only five. (The gentleman in all my videos today is hickok45. Before you write a gun scene, watch his videos that relate to the firearm your character is using.)

Six Shooter

Before you pick up any gun and commence to shooting, you need to know how to hold it! Here's how NOT to hold a revolver. 

Semi-Automatic Pistols - Rather than needing a revolving chamber, a semi-automatic uses the energy of one bullet to reload the next. After a round (bullet) is fired, the gun will eject it. A single pull of the trigger fires one bullet. And, like a pistol, you need to know how to hold it! Otherwise you might lose a thumb or destroy a perfectly good hotdog!

Gun Clip - holds the ammo in the correct sequence in order to
efficiently load the gun’s magazine. Clips are inside magazines.

Gun Magazine - holds the ammo under spring pressure to feed the gun’s chamber. In other words, as puts it: clips essentially feed magazines, magazines feed firearms.

Automatic Pistols - A pistol with automatic capabilities. More than one bullet released with a single trigger pull.

Automatic vs Semi-Automatic - An automatic works in the same way a semi does in that the gun reloads itself. The only difference is the amount of ammo released on a single trigger pull. Semi-auto releases one round per trigger pull. Automatic can release multiple with a single trigger pull.

Do not assume that an automatic rifle will hit the target. Quantity doesn't override aim!

REMEMBER, you must first and foremost serve your story. Do not use terminology that will exclude a portion of your audience. At the same time, be accurate.

Until the next round at, get blood on your pages!

BONUS VIDEO! Rambo annihilates aggressive assailants. They'll not be breathing down his neck again! (I feel the same about computers.)

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