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I recently received this one from a friend of mine who is a retired marine. He also did a stint in law enforcement in his “civilian life”.

“Hey, about what TV cops do wrong, how about the way the main guy on (TV show omitted, but you can probably guess) hunches over his 9mm when he thinks he’s sneaking up on someone? (Ahem. Looks like a monkey <aheming> a football.) He fires it like that, he’ll need stitches in the middle of his forehead.”

I receive quite a few police pet peeves about the way fictional characters, whether on T.V. or in a book, handle firearms. If you are going to write about a cop using a particular type of firearm, go to your local shooting range and take some lessons. At the very least, ask some intelligent questions.

A writer friend of mine told me about a very embarrassing chapter in his *already published* book where he actually had his character “Pull back the hammer on his Glock.” For you non-gun people, a Glock is a semi-automatic weapon that never did, doesn’t now, and never will have a hammer. He can pull back the slide, charge the weapon, or, if the weapon is already charged, shoot the bastard, but he’ll never “pull back the hammer.”

And speaking about “stitches in the middle of the forehead”, add some color to your book by having the rookie cop tear up the skin between his thumb and index finger in the slide of his Glock because he had his hand in the wrong position when firing, or have the hammer of the bad guy’s Smith and Wesson snap down on the cop’s fingers as she’s trying to disarm said bad guy.

Remember, a poorly educated writer is a great inspiration for hysterical stories at a dinner party, so if you’re writing about guns, get out there and learn from the best.