Very little makes me toss a book aside faster than firearm or ammunition inaccuracies. If the story is good I’ll read past the erroneous info, but chances are I won’t buy another book by that author.
The trouble with researching firearm information is that it’s labor intensive. The reading can be confusing, and what sounds cool may be inaccurate for your purposes.
The best thing for you to do is to go to a shooting range, rent a pistol or two (or rifle, depending on your needs) and shoot 50-100 rounds. (This sounds like a lot, but it isn’t.) Most semi-automatic pistols have 10-rd magazines–unless you’re in a state that doesn’t have a law against high-capacity magazines–so if you fire 100 rounds, that’s ten magazines-full. Actually, you may find that 50 rounds is enough, but you may find it so much fun that you want to shoot another 50. 😛
Errors that I’ve found in my reading or on TV shows/in movies:
- Calibers that don’t exist (Dan Simmons did this in Darwin’s Blade, I think) *I’ll give the book and pg # when I find it again.
- Features on guns that don’t exist (Janet Evanovich’s character, Stephanie Plum, flicks the safety off her Glock. Glocks don’t have standard safeties.)
- Characters don’t carry their pistols ready to fire (a round in the chamber) (on TV and in movies) Ex: Burn Notice. I love this show, but their gun handling makes me nuts. The characters make a show of racking the slide back to put a bullet in the chamber–this makes a dramatic sound, and oooh, we know they’re really armed now–but any bad guy worth his salt could put a bullet in them before they had a chance to rack the slide.
- Not using a pistol properly. A Special Forces guy on Dexter pulled a 1911 on a cop, and the cop took the threat seriously–but the 1911’s hammer wasn’t back, so there’s no way he could’ve shot the gun. Period. It’s a single action gun: you have to pull the hammer back or rack the slide before you can shoot it.
- Presenting gun dealers as slipshod bad guys. Crash, one of my favorite movies, shows 1) the dealer allowing a person other than the buyer to pick up the firearm; 2) the customer taking the pistol without the dealer having secured it in a container and sealing it. Both actions are against the law. The fact that the guy behind the counter was obnoxious was, I’m sorry to say, accurate. (My customers have told me about how horribly they were treated in various gun shops in California and other states.)
I invite you to post your research questions here. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does, and post the answer here. 🙂