May 25, 2006

Bad Glock Tricks - Reading List Thus Far

After finishing Double Whammy by Carl Hiaasen, I decided to switch gears and go back to some techno-thriller action.

But Quantum by Tom Grace turned out to be not up to par. I'm usually not the type to give up on novels--I've never walked out on a movie, for example--but I was hoping for more. Grace was doing fine with suspending belief on some big ideas--like breaking the First Law of Thermodynamics.

But I drew the line when he got the combat and gun-handling totally wrong. In the opening action scene, the hero grabs the bad guy's Glock and by firmly grasping the slide prevents it from firing. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME.

Most sensible martial artists won't try this sort of thing anyway, but here's how to do a gun takeaway. Double-action handguns require two motions to occur before they can fire--the cocking of the hammer and the falling of the hammer onto the firing pin. The trigger pull drives both motions.

So if you're a real bad-ass martial artist, you could potentially block the hammer from moving back in the first place by closing your grip over the hammer. Hammer doesn't move? Weapon won't fire. Revolvers rotate the cylinder while moving the hammer, and so if you grasp the cylinder really firmly you can prevent the hammer from going back, even if your hand isn't anywhere near the hammer.

Got all that?

But Grace's hero does this gun-grasp move on a Glock, which does not have an external hammer. It has an internal striker, which isn't grabbable. Try this move on a Glock, or any cocked weapon, revolver or pistol, and the gun-wielder gets at least one shot off. Maybe into your chest.

You might be able to mess up the second shot though--if you prevent the gun's slide from moving correctly, you can cause a jam. So maybe the bad guy doesn't get to do a double-tap. Lucky you.

I was ready to let that one slide (no pun intended), but then a few pages later Grace has a cop confiscating the hero's scrounged Glocks, and then "checking the safeties". Glocks don't have external safety levers, other than that little flange embedded in the trigger itself. Excruciating!

Public service announcement to all fiction writers: There are a number of good resources to learn about firearms and martial arts for when you're writing action scenes in fiction. The NRA puts out a good book, but if that's too Republican for you, check out the book by Writers' Digest, which while still not authoritative, is better than nothing.

So I turned back to Carl Hiassen, and started Basket Case. You know how your Creative Writing professor would always try to tell you the difference between good writers and great writers? Hiassen's work is consistent and inventive, and, great.

Posted by jameshom at May 25, 2006 11:37 AM | TrackBack
Comments are turned off
All content copyright © 1999 - 2010 James Hom