This week on the Writer's Detective Bureau, Writer's Introduction to Guns, part two, SWAT and missing persons. I'm Adam Richardson, and this is the Writer's Detective Bureau. Welcome to episode number 41 of the Writer's Detective Bureau, the podcast dedicated to helping authors and screenwriters write professional quality crime-related fiction. I'd like to thank gold shield patron Debra Dunbar from debradunbar.com, and gold shield patron C.C. Jameson from ccjameson.com, and my newest coffee club patron, author TL Dyer, and all of my loyal coffee club patrons for supporting me month after month. Find links to their author websites in the show notes at writersdetective.com/41. If you have your own author business, considering joining Patreon. It's free for you, and it allows your readers to support your financially through monthly micro payments. Give your fans a chance to show their support by creating your own Patreon account right now. To learn more, visit writersdetective.com/Patreon, P-A-T-R-E-O-N.
And real quick, I wanted to mention that I just launched a secret invite-only Facebook group for my gold shield patrons to get exclusive live streams twice a month, geared towards getting your stories unstuck. So, a little more help than just answering the police work basics. If this interests you, check out my gold shield tier on Patreon, but do not worry. I am not going all subscription model on you. I'm here to provide as much free help as I can through this podcast and the main Writer's Detective Q&A Facebook group, and then, again, through my APB mailing list, which I send out on the last day of each month.
Last week, on episode 40, I talked about the nomenclature of cartridges, and how a bullet is only part of a cartridge or a round, the most common types of modern handguns, and how rifling inside a gun barrel can create striations on a bullet for forensic comparison. This week we'll start with part two of the Writer's Introduction to Guns, and before I go any further, I want to menton an invaluable resource. It's the reference book Writer's Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction, written by my friend Ben Sobieck. Ben's book is one my two go-to reference books for weapons.
Ben's also the creator of Writer's Block Coffee, which I absolutely love, and also the inventor of The Writer's Glove, for those of you trying to type in a winter or very cold environment. So, if you're interested in Writer's Block Coffee or The Writer's Glove, I will also have links to those in the show notes, which you can find at writersdetective.com/41. I'll also include links to a two-part guest blog I did a couple years ago for Ben's website at crimefictionbook.com, which covered the best handguns for detectives in fiction, and the best handguns for criminal characters.
If you're wondering what my other go-to reference book for weapons is, it's Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's does all sorts of recognition guides for military aircraft, warships, tank and combat vehicles, spacecrafts, civilian aircraft, airlines, submarines of the world, special forces, trains. You name it, there is a Jane's guide. If children's picture book author and illustrator Richard Scarry and author Tom Clancy had ever collaborated on a book, it would have been a Jane's recognition guide. So, I will include links to the Jane's guides as well in the show notes.
What I want to talk about this week is the difference between a rifle and a shotgun, a machine gun and a submachine gun, but first, let's talk real quick about caliber when we're talking about ammunition. .44 magnum, .357 magnum, .38 special, .38 +P, 9mm, .357 Sig, .45 ACP, .40 caliber S&W, or Smith & Wesson, 10mm, .22, .380 Auto. There's so many different types of ammunition. Let's get the magnum stuff out of the way first, and Ben actually did a great job explaining this on his blog, which I'll also link to in the show notes. But real quick, magnum generally means that the round or cartridge that we're talking about carries more of a velocity punch, and by that I mean there's more propellant or powder in the cartridge, and the cartridge itself is usually a little bit longer, making each round a hotter load than the standard round of the same caliber.
Similarly, if we're talking about a .38, where it's a +P round. That is a designation for an overpressure or high pressure load. So, these magnum and +P designations are important to take note of as a shooter, because they produce higher pressure throughout the weapon when fired and can become really dangerous to the shooter if loaded in a firearm that isn't designed for high pressure ammunition. Just because a round fits into the gun doesn't mean it should be used in the gun. For example, a .38 Special round can be fired from a .357 handgun with no problem. But a .357 magnum round cannot safely be fired from a .38 handgun, which brings us to the concept of caliber.
Caliber refers to the diameter of the bullet, or the approximate inner diameter of the gun barrel, usually written in hundredths or thousandths of an inch. So, a .45 caliber round means the bullet is .45 inches in diameter. So, a .50 caliber is literally half an inch in diameter, .5 inches. But then, of course, there's the metric system. A 9mm round has a 9mm bullet diameter, which would technically, if we were talking in the imperial system, be a .355 caliber, but nobody calls it that. It's a 9mm round, or a 9mm handgun... Continue reading...
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