Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quest for Believability

The hero in my current WIP is a bounty hunter. He needs a handgun for those occasions when he might find himself in a situation where he must defend himself. I want to make his choice in protection believable, but just how far should a writer go to allow reader's suspension of disbelief?

I happen to have a little knowledge about handguns. Okay, not a whole lot, but enough to make me a danger to myself and others. My limited knowledge of weaponry allowed me to narrow my hero's possible choice in handguns down to three.

The criteria my hero (Joseph Johnson) used for his choice included these demands:

  1. His handgun must be easily available, and common enough to be easily replaced should he lose, or have to dispose of his choice.
  2. His handgun must be chambered for 9MM (9X19 NATO parabellum) so that he could easily find ammo. There's no sense carrying a handgun if it is so unique that you cannot afford to load it. Also, someone in need of such a weapon must be able to possibly use ammo taken from a dead assailant.
  3. The handgun of choice must be within Joe's price range. Joe recently left the Army to take care of his sick mother. His mother has since lost her battle with cancer, forcing Joe to take on work in the only the only thing he knows, hunting others, in order to pay her medical bills.

Have I gone too far already? I hope not. My first thought is to the reader who may read this story. I would hate someone to become completely put off, or lose their suspension of disbelief because of an inaccurate choice in weaponry. After all, I am asking the reader to believe shape shifting werewolves actually exist and live amongst us all in today's world. I need some anchor of reality to help those completely realistic readers make the jump into fantasy.

My research led me to narrow the hero's choices down to three easily concealable handguns, the Czech made CZ-75B, The Argentinian made Bersa BP9cc, and the Australian made Glock 26.

The CZ-75B was the first choice for my hero, because he would have come across this weapon often in his former line of work. The CZ-75 is very common, small enough to conceal, and relatively inexpensive. On the downside, this handgun is rather clunky compared to the others, and it's weight is equal to or greater than the Bersa.

The Bersa is the least expensive of the three choices, but not as readily available. While it holds more cartridges than the CZ, the option requires extensions to the magazine.

The Glock became my hero's handgun of choice (pictured above from the television show "Justified') because it is the lightest, smallest, and easiest to conceal. It is the most expensive of the three, but it's reputation makes in well-worth the cost. It is solid, and holds about ten rounds with no funky magazine extensions. Another reason is because the hammer remains concealed, minimizing the possibility of cocking it while pulling it from concealment. Most of all, the Glock has a safety in the trigger which makes it easier and quicker to shoot.

I can tell you from experience, there is not a more terrible feeling than pulling a weapon in a hurry, only to realize when you try to shoot, that the safety is still engaged. That gives a whole new meaning to the term "The quick and the stupid."

So, Joe Johnson will carry the Glock 26, although he remains impressed with the utility of the CZ-75. Who knows, he may keep a CZ in a hide somewhere as a back up.

So, again, have I gone too far? All this research was done so I could form one sentence stating that Joe slipped his Glock 26 into a concealment holster in the waistband of his pants. I'm not even sure if he'll have occasion to actually use this handgun throughout the story.

But doesn't it make you feel better knowing that Joe Johnson made an informed choice in what handgun he carries?


  1. The BP9CC isn't available yet in the US.

  2. Thank you for posting. Yes, the availability of the BP9CC was an issue I considered. While Joe, with his particular military background, would have access to to BP9, my biggest consideration was: If he lost it, or had to dispose of it, would he be able to find another readily? I (or rather, Joe) Thought that would be important, and you are so correct. Of course, given the right resources, nothing is ever really NOT available.

    I also considered the load. While the 9mm is not as readily available as, say .38 cal or even .45 cal, I wanted to stick with it because it would something that would have been very available to Joe when he was in the military. People tend to stick with what they become accustomed too. Besides, I personally like the 9mm because of its versatility. Sure, it may not have the knockdown power of a .40 or .45 at close range, but it sure beats a .22.


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