Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Gun-Friendly Tidbit for Authors

No, this is not a threat. No, this is not specific to any book that I've read recently but something I've been noticing in books where characters use guns that I've read within the last year. Really I'm more aware of this because I've been trained and have been actively using firearms for the past year.

Now that I've thoroughly scared people, I'll point you all to this diagram -

Let me draw your attention to the part labeled "trigger." More often than not, I've been seeing characters cock this part of the gun. That is wrong. Now draw your eyes up and slightly to the left, to the part labeled "hammer." This little part is often neglected in non-dominate fiction gunplay (read: where the story isn't gun-filled, you just have a character that happens to use a gun in a scene). This, folks, is what gets cocked. When one cocks the hammer, it makes the trigger a single action pull that requires far less weight to fire. The trigger isn't cockable. It's cockless.

I don't know if this is the author or the editor or just a socially acceptable fallacy but every time I read about a character cocking a trigger it's like scraping a fork against a plate. And this statement is handgun-neutral. It's said regardless of whether the gun is a revolver or semi-automatic, exposed hammer or shrouded. Apparently characters always find something to cock when it comes to a gun. It just sound so western, I guess. Total badass . . . ? Except when it doesn't fit the gun it goes kind of . . . limp . . .

So I beg of you, authors, when you insist on giving your characters guns, make them use them properly. If you have them cock triggers, you might as well have them pull a slide on a revolver too. It helps, too, when you get all fancy with your gun-telling, to not have them cock a gun when the hammer is shrouded on that particular model. You're just having them do extra work for nothing.

Let's keep the cocks away from the triggers, shall we? Triggers get pulled, hammers get cocked. Cock hammer, pull trigger, in that order. That is all.
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