If you write crime fiction, at some point, you’ll need a weapons resource for mysteries. If your knowledge of guns and knives only consists of guns take bullets and knives are usually sharp, then The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck is for you. Like the title says, this book doesn’t just report and explain weapons. It was written for writers to give them a better understanding of how to use weapons in their fiction.
Treasure Trove of Information
The book is divided into three main sections: firearms, knives, and must-know weapons info. There’s also a glossary as well as a bibliography. Along with descriptions of particular weapons, the author lists its advantages and disadvantages and then provides a brief example of how the weapon could be used inaccurately and accurately in a story and an explanation of “what went wrong” in the inaccurate story.
In both the firearms and knives sections, Mr. Sobieck lists must-know laws involving those weapons. The copyright is 2015, so more research will be needed if you think a specific law affects your story. What I found most helpful was the author’s explanation of the “stop the threat” rule. A person has a right to defend themselves as long as the other person is a threat. If your main character knocks out the bad guy, who was threatening him with the knife, he can’t go over and kick him. The bad guy is no longer a threat. The kick is a crime.
I also loved the sections in part three. “Top Weapons Myths” dispels 25 false ideas about weapons, such as the reality of shooting a padlock or how ridiculous or mechanically impossible it is for a shooter to repeatedly click a handgun when it’s out of ammunition.
Another section I found especially interesting is “True Crime Stories from Real Crime Writers”. These are eyewitness accounts of what it’s like to be shot, stabbed, in a gun fight, or attempting to shoot a gun from a criminal’s hand. For example, a friend of the writer’s was stabbed in the back. Although the back of her shirt was soaked with blood, she didn’t realize it. It didn’t hurt.
The list of websites in the back give you a good starting point for even more research.
If you write mysteries, what kind of research have you done or are planning to do?