Subtitle: Why it’s important to pick a gun you can handle.
I often write stories with kick-ass heroines who need to use pistols in their line of work. When deciding what kinds of pistols they are going to use, I ask myself the following:
1. Are they big women with big hands? Men can use larger weapons, but women will generally need guns that are smaller, lighter and more compact. Smaller guns will usually also have less recoil (and if you’re wondering why that’s important, take a moment to watch the video at the end of this blog!). In addition, a smaller gun will allow your trigger finger to reach the trigger which sometimes is difficult with a bigger weapon.
2. Is the woman physically strong in general? If the woman is athletic with good hand/grip strength, she might be able to handle an automatic weapon which sometimes requires you to move back a slide on the top of a weapon in order to clear a jam. The slide has a very strong spring and a weaker woman may not have have the strength to budge it. If that’s the case, consider using a revolver for your heroine. It’s easier to load and if for some reason one of the bullets does not fire, a pull on the trigger will advance the chamber to the next round.
3. Where will the weapon be kept? If it is being stored in a behind the back or shoulder holster and your gun has a hammer, that might not be such a problem. If the pistol is being kept in a purse and has a hammer, the hammer may snag on items in the purse. If the gun will be kept in an ankle holster, you will probably need smaller model, like a Glock 26, also known as a Baby Glock.
4. Also consider whether the gun is bulky or has a low profile. When undercover, you do not want a large gun that will be obvious and scream “COP!”
5. You also need to consider the situations in which the weapon will be used. The first situation is one where you will require a lot of take down/knock down power. This refers to how much damage the bullet will do – in other words how efficiently it will take down your attacker so they won’t come back at you. .45 caliber weapons are quite effective at this, but remember #1 above about the size of the gun. It might be too hard to handle.
6. In a situation where there is a risk of collateral damage, your heroine may decide to change out her normal rounds with hollow-point bullets. Such bullets do a lot of damage on a human body, but because the bullet expands upon entering a target, it does not penetrate armor or walls very well. That makes it great for avoiding collateral damage.
Hope this information on picking a hand gun for your heroine was helpful. We’ll discuss rifles and shotguns some other day as well as different kinds of guns you may wish to use in your stories. After all, the weapons your hero chooses will make an impression on your reader.
But now, back to that pesky recoil issue. Sit back and get a gander of what happens when recoil gets the best of you!
If you can’t see the videos below, click on this link or cut and paste this link into your browser: