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Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #1 
My favorite author and favorite character in my favorite fiction genre. He does seem to really know police procedure, customs, tactics etc. and writes very detailed scenarios, giving the stories an air of realism. He obviously knows and likes the LA area and the many fine restaurants located here.
But— for all of his attention to detail, especially dialogue, he is woefully ignorant about fitrearms, and it is painfully obvious. Just for one example, The Black Ice:
-the key scene, the suicide/murder, relies on both barrels of a shotgun taking the guy’s face off. Sorry but there is no shotgun ever made that will allow both barrels to go off at once, they all require two separate pulls of the trigger/triggers. Unless of course, the gun was defective or modified, which would be a key plot point to mention in it’s own right. But then he did it again, different shotgun, different time.
-there is no such thing as a left-handed revolver. Never was, never will be. A couple of key plot points relied on this, too. Nor can they be converted to become one.
-the sniper used a .32 rifle. Again, no such thing. There was a 32-20 at one time in the old cowboy days, but way too underpowered to be serious, and a couple of old cowboy rifles that were .32 caliber, but very uncommon nowadays, and certainly not of sniper quality. Of course, that could explain why it missed, but then why not explore that a little.
- the whole DEA prep scene with the super-duper only-the-DEA-has-this gun is preposterous. Three paragraphs of fantasy.
Colt would not make a custom one-off gun in such limited quantities, it would bankrupt them.
The government buys off-the-shelf weapons whenever possible, maybe slightly modified, but never a totally unique weapon, the bean counters would never allow it!
A suppressor and a silencer are the same thing, and do not in any way suppress the muzzle flash. A flash hider hides it, but it is still there.
A subsonic bullet is just that, subsonic, and as such has very low penetration, maybe 6 inches. No way go through 3 people!
Hollowpoint bullets, by design, expand rapidly in flesh, thus limiting penetration even further.
Colt does not make a 9mm. submachine gun, standard or otherwise. Never has.
Nobody calls them submachines, knowledgeable people use the full word, submachinegun.
Nobody in law enforcement, unless they have a death wish, use extended magazines in pistols. Too apt to malfunction, which is not really desirable.

For someone that is so detail oriented in most other aspects of his books, this is sad.
His knowledge of geography of the Southern California desert area is pretty bad, too. He knows LA but apparently has never left the city.

Still my favorite author, just needs to hire a better research assistant!

Posts: 35
Reply with quote  #2 
Excellent points regarding the firearms. I didn't pay a lot of attention to these points when I was reading because I'm not an expert in guns, but I know enough to recognize that a double barrel shotgun requires the trigger to be pulled twice to discharge both barrels. A handgun of any type could have custom grips that are meant for either right-handed or left-handed shooters, but that is not common. For a sniper rifle, something like .222 or 7.65mm would be far more likely. 

However, we should remember that The Black Ice was only his second book, from 1993. I believe his overall attention to detail has increased since then. Have you read any of his newer ones? It would be interesting to hear a discussion of the firearms from books such as The Burning Room, in which a sniper rifle is used again. What do you think of the use of an empty 2 liter bottle as a silencer? Does that actually work at all? Thanks.


Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #3 
Yeah, good catch on the custom grips thing, that would fit the whole narrative quite nicely, so I’ll have to take that one back. Of course, if somebody gave me a nice revolver with wrong-hand grips, I would have changed them in about 10 seconds flat!
Actually, a plastic empty soda bottle does make a fairly efficient silencer (suppressor), for like one shot. But only for a handgun because most (all) modern rifles fire a supersonic bullet and no silencer quiets the supersonic crack, only the sound of the cartridge explosion. Most handguns are sub-sonic, BTW, except for the 9 mm. and magnum cartridges.
Although, come to think about it, the coke bottle should also work to accomplish what the DEA claimed, since the fireball would be completely contained within the bottle, it should make it possible to be fired in a flammable environment. Hmmmm- now there’s a plot point for somebody to use in the future. No charge.

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #4 
"Colt does not make a 9mm. submachine gun, standard or otherwise. Never has."

That is incorrect...and they still do.

Posts: 52
Reply with quote  #5 
Is that the Colt Model 635, which has been produced since 1982?

Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #6 
My bad! Just goes to show that one should never say never! Yeah, the 635 is a 9mm variant of the m16. I am familiar with such weapons made by others, but I forgot completely about the Colt version

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #7 
Bunch of Colt variations of the 635 subgun.  It's been around as noted...almost 40 years now.

I think when the writers get too involved in the details and specifics of things they have little experience in it tends to go awry quickly.   Easy enough to do on a forum as it is in any novel.   I worked with an author for over a year  advising him on firearms related issues for his first novel.  The author was ex Spec Op military, shoots currently as a hobby and still got it wrong.  I was shocked at the firearms related errors in the book that we discussed many many times over.  

Wilson 10 rd mags for the 1911 have proven very reliable, as are Sigs 226 extended mags and Glocks 33rd extended mags.  All have been used to good effect by both the LEO community and the Military.

This?   "A suppressor and a silencer are the same thing, and do not in any way suppress the muzzle flash."

Might want to rethink that.  Suppressors are kinda like HUGE flash suppressors and very effective on subsonic and supersonic rounds to kill flash. 

One thing for sure, "Still my favorite author, just needs to hire a better research assistant!"    And if the author really thinks the details are important, they need to listen closely 😉

Posts: 7
Reply with quote  #8 
You are of course entitled to your own opinion, but I don’t think any liability attorney would let the usage of a non-standard gun part get by him in a courtroom.
Nor would any PD allow such. Regardless, a longer magazine throws the balance off, adds weight, hinders concealability, and because of the stiffer spring does affect internal friction of the reciprocating mass and therefore reliability. Probably not a whole lot, but why take the chance?
The word “silencer” is considered obsolete nowadays because it doesn’t totally silence the gun report, merely suppressed it, hence the current, preferred usage. Which is all a bit pedantic, I agree.
On the suppressor question, you are thinking of a flash suppressor, which is another thing entirely.

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #9 
Bob..not opinions on the extended mags.  They get used by professionals (cops and military) daily and civilian shooters in competition every weekend.

Criminal Court?  Guns? mags? parts?   I've spent a good deal of time in court.  Good shootings get a clean bill of health even if you use a smuggled chinese cannon.

Bad shootings? you get hung even if you use the fairy godmother's twice blessed golden gun.  

Civil Court?  You can sneeze wrong in civil court or wear the wrong colored shirt and  the jury may take exception to it.  Good luck there.  My experience is most people on a jury, even today,  see through silly attorney arguments looking to beat up the good guys.  

"On the suppressor question, you are thinking of a flash suppressor" 

Nope.  I have used both issued and privately owned suppressors,  "cans", silencers depending on what you want to call them.  Suppressors likely the most common description today.

If you had used one you would know they do act as very effective flash suppressors as well as suppressing the sound.  Noise from a suppressor is  dependent on two things, suppressor design and ammo used.   Subsonic ammo in the right CAN ("can" is typically what a suppressor is called by those that use them) will/can be very, very quiet.  A shot fired from a semi auto handgun or rifle with subsonic ammo can make less noise that the slide or bolt cycling.   That's quiet.

If you can't trust me Wiki might offer an education... Not that I always trust Wiki 😉  But they have this right.

"A silencer, also known as a sound suppressorsuppressor or sound moderator, is a muzzle device that reduces the acoustic intensity of the muzzle report (sound of gunfire) and eliminates muzzle flash when a gun (firearm or air gun) is discharged, by modulating the speed and pressure of the gas ejection from the muzzle and hence suppressing the muzzle blast....." 

You obviously have some firearms knowledge.  Easy for anyone to make mistakes on the minutia.    Didn't come to argue, just wanted to add some reality to the conversation.      
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