Showing posts with label guns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guns. Show all posts

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Drawing from a Side Holster: Information for Writers

Hi ThrillWriters,

I just watched a movie with hubby, and as you might guess, the
person wielding their weapon was doing a pretty scary job of flagging (letting the barrel of the gun pass over) all the good guys, putting them in danger. 

And I would swear that he shot himself in his own hand  a few times.

But AMAZINGLY every single bullet out of his gun hit bulls eye. WHOOP! LOL

So I thought I'd go over the steps so if you're writing a heroine drawing her gun - that you can keep everyone safe.

BTW I put this picture up here at the top to tell you this little story. In my holster class (regularly required at my gun range in order to use the tactical ranges.) we are required to shoot from this position in one of the drills. It's actually #4   in the progression (we'll get to that in a second). The idea is, the villain is charging the heroine, and she doesn't have time to get her gun into position. So one shoots two bullets from here, then steps back for the rest of the steps.

Can I just say, this is very scary. Not so much for the men in my class, but having a pistol fired right beside the girls that way? Terrifying. Luckily, our instructor is a woman and she taught me how to cant the pistol a bit. Still. . . I close my eyes when I pull that trigger. 'Cause you know, closing my eyes will keep me safe.

written for a right-eyed shooter (not the same as a right handed person) reverse if your heroine is a left-eyed shooter.

1. Decide to draw.
Please note, I'm about to draw from my right side. As my hand descends toward the gun, 
my LEFT HAND isn't waving in the wind.
Your heroine makes a fist and puts it on her chest.

2. Position hand for the draw:

Right hand to grip (the handle) Left hand to chest. 

This is actually really important, how you place your heroine's hand on that gun in this moment will determine how well she's positioned to take the shot and get it on target.

See how far up the webbing between my thumb and forefinger I shove my hand up under the lip?

See that my trigger finger is NOT reaching for the trigger. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. Lay the trigger finger along the trigger cage.

3.) Pull
Right hand pull. Left hand on chest. 

If the heroine is using a safety holster, this is the point where your heroine would release the safety device.

Draw the gun straight up by bending the elbow. 

4) Rotate to Target
Right hand turns the gun toward the target. Left hand to chest.

Release safety in case your heroine needs to shoot from this position.

Putting the gun on target prevents your heroine from flagging and possibly shooting the wrong thing.

If required, your heroine can shoot from this position. That works best, of course, if the target is very close. This is, for example, the position your heroine would shoot from if the target was right up on her. 

This position would also make it much harder for someone to get your gun from your heroine and turn the gun on her.

5.) Extend
This is the first time the left hand leaves the heroine's chest. The right hand extends and the thumbs come together on the grip.

The finger is STILL off the trigger, resting on the trigger guard.

The heroine will then punch out. Her eye is on her target and remains on her target as she brings the sights up. and she can line up her shot.

THE SHOT(S) is taken. If necessary, your heroine has changed magazines (which holds the bullets). The villain has fled or the threat is otherwise removed.

6) Sweep and Assess
The heroine turns her head and looks around her to make sure there are no other threats. 

Being trained, she will have her go-to means of doing this. She may:
a. Sweep with gaze and gun together
b. Sweep with gun held in front ready position
c. Sweep with her hands in low ready position as I am here in this photo.

Once the heroine has decided that the area is clear of imminent danger,

7.) Re-holster
Right hand returns gun to the security of the holster. Left hand returns to chest.

And as E.A. Lake kindly pointed out in the comments, if your heroine's gun has a safety, she'll want to make sure it's reengaged before her hand comes off the gun.

Now, can your heroine do this after reading my blog?
Can she do it after a quick class up at the range?

In order for your heroine to have these movements available to her in a threatening situation, she needs to have committed the moves to muscle memory. Muscle memory is stored in long term storage, yep, that means she needs to have practiced for at least 21 days. My master at TKD says that until you throw a punch correctly a thousand times -- most of that in very slow motion so each movement is correct -- then you cannot throw a punch.

A thousand times. That's a lot. She'd have to draw that gun 48 times a day for 21 days to get this down. See what I mean? It's not an "okay, I've got this" deal. You don't have to write that your heroine knows what she's doing. She could just wing it. But -- you can't make her a novice at one aspect and a master at another. She may be able to make perfect bulls eyes on the range, but doing it from a draw where the hands have to be precise, and the target needs to be acquired very quickly, that's a whole different skill set.

The nice thing about writing is when things aren't easy then the story becomes interesting.

Hope this helps! Happy writing.

And as always, a big thank you ThrillWriters and readers for stopping by. Thank you, too, for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Easy Evil: Interview with Crime Reporter Doug Cummings



Fiona - Hey, Doug. I guess the street lights are just popping on in the windy city.

Doug - ...and the crickets are chirping.

Fiona - I've spent a little time in Chicago - I wish it were more. Can you tell my blog-readers
            how you spend your days and maybe give them a little of your background?

Doug - In reverse order... I grew up in Kansas where I went to college and worked as a deputy
           sheriff for half a dozen years. I got a degree in radio-TV and had interned at a local TV
           station. I was getting tired of cop work, as sometimes happens, and one night I had a
           reporter from a radio station as a ride-along. He was leaving the station to go to law
           school. I asked if his job had been filled, and it hadn' I had the perfect segue.
           I ended up working at the station, and he became a deputy while in law school. I think
           they make TV shows about things like that nowadays. I worked as a crime reporter in Kansas City
           for two years, and then I moved to Chicago and spent fifteen years covering crime and disasters
           in this area.

Fiona - Did you have to go through a police training program to be a deputy sheriff?

Doug - Yes, training is required...more now even than back then. With regular weapons qualification and
            continuing education. I completed about half the work for a Masters in Criminal Justice, in fact.

Fiona - Because I have a lot of international readers, can you explain the differences between a sheriff and a
            police officer? Link to more information about sheriffs

Doug - The differences are mostly in name. Sheriff's are elected officials.
            The name comes from the old English, I believe...shire-reeve. If
            you remember Robin Hood...Anyway the sheriff is the chief law
            enforcement officer of most counties and his deputies usually
            have authority in unincorporated areas of the county.

Fiona - Shire-reeve. Now there's a fun little tid-bit of information that I
            can drop at  my next cocktail party.

Doug - Police officers typically patrol in cities. Having said that, some states countywide police departments
           and the sheriff is relegated to administration of the jail. It depends on where you live.
           In Kansas and Illinois, sheriffs are elected county officials and have police and jail administration

Fiona - So, I know that guns are near and dear to your heart. Have you ever had to use one in the line of
            duty? Or for self-protection?
                                                              This is Doug's Colt Python

Doug - Thankfully, no and I hope I never get into such a situation. I was on my way to a shootout once...
            but  the bad guy was killed before I arrived. I appreciated the timing.

Fiona - No kidding! That must be an odd experience to have the adrenaline flowing and then know that it
            was over - but badly.

Doug - It's not uncommon...I've certainly been in hairy situations that weren't diffused quickly enough for
            me to avoid them.

Fiona - Okay, give me a hairy example, LOL.

Doug - Well, the hairiest was a chase and head on crash. We were chasing a couple of armed robbery
            suspects (we thought), and they turned around and came back at us. It was odd to have the right,
            front fender appear three inches from your head while sitting in the passenger seat.

Fiona - No kidding! YIKES! Was everyone okay?

Doug - My then partner still has back issues but other than that everyone was fine. Yep, wrecked a squad
            car with only a couple of hundred miles and all new equipment tho.

Fiona - I bet that went over big with the budget office. Okay, I'm going to throw out my typical question -
            what in books, TV, movies etc. do you see being portrayed incorrectly, and it ticks you off?

Doug - What annoys me most...when cops are portrayed as bumbling or stupid. While I have met some
            book stupid cops, most of the people I've known in law enforcement are street smart, really care
            about the work and put 100 percent into it. With 500-600 hours of basic training now, and
            sometimes 40-60 hours of in service training every year, they know the business.

Fiona - But they also aren't super-heroes. No one should expect a cop to shoot a gun out of a perpetrators
            hand with eagle vision. They can't take down a whole gang single-handedly. So how can a writer
            write a cop correctly?

Doug - I think research can be as easy as finding a real cop in the town or area the author is writing about.
            Going on ride-alongs or enrolling in a citizens police academy are good resources too. Another
            thing that annoys me is when I read a book and can tell the author has done his research watching
            cop shows, not talking to or even reading about real cops.

Fiona - How can you tell the difference? What is wrong in the shows that a cop would relate differently?

Doug - Cops aren't fashion models for one.

Fiona - Hahahaha! (I think they should be.)

Doug - And not every case requires chases and shootouts... but for
            dramatic effect, nothing beats a good  fight or shootout.

            Also, seldom do you arrest someone and immediately give
            them their rights. I only read folks their rights if I needed to
            question them. Most often I was telling them to shut up!

Fiona - Hahahaha! Okay, Doug, at this point of the interview
            you have a choice -
           A) Tell me about your favorite scar
           B) Tell me about your newest book  - or-
           C) both.

Doug - I have a tiny knife scar on the pointing finger of my left

Fiona - How did that happen?

Doug - Domestic dispute...lady swung a piece of broken glass at me.

Fiona - So, not a knife-scar a glass-scar. That sounds like a gang name. Victor Glasscar.

Doug - Ha! Writing that down as a character.

Fiona - Okay, I picked "C" for you. Tell us about your book.

Doug - Easy Evil, yes.

Fiona - I think evil is darned easy.

Doug - You have the point of the book right there! My new
            protagonist  is a deputy police chief in a wealthy
            Chicago suburb...he's got a checkered background as
            an ATF agent. He thinks the PD job will be rubber
            chickens and golf, until someone shoots a
            judge and her daughter in their driveway. The task
            force that's called in takes off in one direction, but
            Harry Cork sees evidence that they're wrong, and the
            real culprit may be a professional killer. As he follows
            his theory, others die, and he discovers a money
            laundering scheme run by some nasty
            international thugs, and his past comes back to bite
            him in the tookus.               LINK

Fiona - In the tookus no less!                                              

Doug - Indeed

Fiona - And Reno Mc Carthy is your protagonist?

Doug - No, Reno was the lead character in the first two books...he appears in Easy Evil, but Harry Cork
            is the protagonist. Reno has a walk-on as himself.

Fiona - That was nice of you, otherwise his feelings would have been hurt. Well, Doug, thanks for
            playing along. It was great chatting!

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Firearms, Self-Defense, and the Law: Information for Writers Plotting a Gun Scene


Image found publicly on Facebook
Your heroine is in a spot she could never -
would never - imagine finding herself. Sure, when she bought her gun  it was with the thought that it was for self-protection - but it was a distant thought, one that didn't comport real conviction. Now here she was loading her ten precious silver bullets into her magazine, sliding it into place, ready to take out the werewolf pacing outside her bedroom door.

In your fictional work, laws don't just go away. You will need to research the area in which your heroine lives and have her come to some decisions about her own conduct. In Janet Evanoviche's Stephanie Plum series, Plum disobeys the law by carrying a concealed gun - that she has no intention of shooting or even brandishing. Plum relies on the fact that she has dumb-luck (and a hunky police investigator boyfriend) on her side to keep out of jail.

What choices will your heroine make? 

Legal or Illegal? How does your heroine get a gun in her hand?
 * If she is buying a gun she must  fill out BATF form 4473. 
    This form includes information about the buyer, the serial
    number, and a description of the firearm. (Not applicable to
    private sales - obviously, if your heroine is getting it from 
    Crud Murphy in the back alley, she won't be filling out a form)
 * There are legal reasons why your heroine may not be able to
    follow the straight and narrow. It is illegal for her to buy a gun if 
    she :
     ^ Was convicted of domestic violence
     ^ Has ever had a court ordered restraint
     ^ Was a United States Citizens then renounced their
     ^ Was discharged from the armed forces dishonorably
     ^ Is addicted to a controlled substance
     ^ Is illegally in the U.S.
     ^ Is fugitive from the law
     ^ Was convicted of or under indictment for a crime that carries
        over a year in jail.

Legally possessing and legally transporting a gun are two different things.

Federal law prohibits guns in federal buildings such as
   post offices, some military installations, some public lands.
* The area your heroine lives will determine if she can open carry,
   conceal carry, whether she can only have her gun in her home or
   if she can have it in her yard/on her property.
* Gun safety laws are important to how you lay out your plot line.
   If your heroine's jurisdiction requires her to have a gun lock - can
   she get access to it in time? Especially under high-stress 
   circumstances? Remember that violent acts usually happen close 
   and quick. Did she prepare for that by having her bedroom set up
   like a safe room with steel doors? Does she decide to ignore the
   law and keep the gun under her pillow? You might just have her
   shoot the serial killer and have her butt dragged to jail. Isn't that 
   an interesting twist?

Image found publicly on Facebook

The Use of Deadly Force in Self Defense

The "Reasonable Man" Standard - What would a reasonable man (or heroine) do in a given situation. This is the standard that is placed before a jury. What seems reasonable to a person in the heat of the moment - with tunnel vision and other physiological and psychological factors running amok - may not seem so reasonable to those 12 who are rendering a verdict.

Reasonable Force -  The amount of force your heroine uses to defend herself can't exceed what is called for to get out of the situation. If the heroine hit the guy on the noggin with her fry pan, she can't pull out her gun and shoot the unconscious villain in the head to have it over with. While she may feel it's a reasonable response after all the heartache he's caused her, the courts would disagree.

Use of Deadly Force 
Image found publicly on Facebook
- In order to lawfully use deadly force. Your heroine must be the innocent victim of an imminent attack that threatens her life or the lives of those around her (her children for example). The threat has to be deadly and not about property. Sometimes other responses are requires by law - living outside of D.C. I would be required to attempt a retreat prior to using force, for example.

Brandishing - Is when your heroine displays her firearm in a threatening or aggressive manner; this action is illegal for the most part. Let's assume for a minute that your heroine is confronted by her crazy ex who hisses in her ear, "I'm coming after you. I'll toy with you then kill you and laugh as I burn your body." YIPES! Your heroine cannot pull out her gun and point it at him and say, "I'll be waiting." 1) that's brandishing and 2) that's provoking which means that if he does come after her, she is not an innocent party. So if anyone heard that exchange, she's in deep doo-doo if his body is splayed across her kitchen floor.

Castle Doctrine - "a man's home is his castle" and he has every right to defend it. This is the law in many jurisdictions such as Texas. In your home you are not required to retreat from an attacker. Also, in some places this law protects you wherever you are staying such as a hotel or friend's house.

Cessation of Threat - Your heroine is entitled to use deadly force against the attacker as long as she is still being threatened. If the zombie fled, surrendered, or collapsed in a pile of entrails, lethal force must stop.

So Your Heroine Shot the Bad Guy, Now What?

* In all jurisdictions if a shooting results in injury or death it will be
   investigated by the police.
* Anything your heroine says can be used against her
* She has the right to be quiet - though she may not have the right
   mental state to exercise her right. But sometimes less is more
   until she talks to her attorney. Yes, she is going to need one.
* If your heroine knew the person or quarreled with the person
   even if she was protecting herself - she may have acted illegally.
   (though many will say they'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by
   6) your heroine needs to think about that in advance and take
   precautions. In the trial was her only precaution to buy a gun and
   take one-on-one classes in quick draw? Uh-oh. Putting in a
   security system, getting a dog, putting up lights, filing for a 
   restraining order all of the OTHER steps she took to harden her 
   surrounding against attack will go in her favor.
* Your heroine is not going to get a pat on the back and a 
   handkerchief handed to her. She will probably be arrested, 
   booked, fingerprinted, and photographed. She will be put in a
   cell where she will wait until charges are dropped or bail posted. 
   This could take several days.
* The police may take the heroine's gun and any other gun in the 
   house since she is a suspect in a homicide (or if the villain lives
   she will have committed assault with a deadly weapon). And if
   the villain lives, his side of the story might be vastly different
   than your heroine's. (ballistic forensics LINK)
* They will probably fire her guns for ballistic impressions if they 
   are trying to make a case against her.

* An area where a shooting took place may (probably will be)
   treated as a crime scene. As the police run through their normal
   evidence collection (crime scene 101 information), they will
   cordon off the area and only the police will have access. This can
   go on for days or even weeks. Does your heroine have someplace
   else to stay?

* If your heroine carries in a state that requires a gun permit, she
   may have that permit suspended. Uh-oh. She killed the villain 
   and now his brothers are after her in retribution. Now what 
   choices is she going to make? 

* Criminal Trial - is possible

* Civil Suit is almost inevitable - as the family steps forward and
   tries to sue your heroine for killing their sweet baby. Just the
   legal bills will be thousands. (Check state law.)

I hope everything turns out great for your heroine and she gets to live happily ever after. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

As always, this is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.
Information for this blog article comes from NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home, (2000) National Rifle Association of America

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Home Invasions: Information for Writers With Anti-Terrorist Expert Rock Higgins


English: A photo of S&W Mountain Gun M625-6 .45 LC
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fiona -
This week, I posted an article on FB/Twitter about a recent home invasion, and Rock Higgins and I thought it would be an excellent blog topic.

Although I have written on this subject in my book, Meditations of a Modern Warrior, LINK there is more that can be discussed on this issue and here, Fiona Quinn and I will shed some more light on the subject of home defense.

Fiona -  
Let me say that my remarks are geared towards writers who are trying to write their scenes right, and Rock is the professional who will keep real humans alive and well. To learn more about Rock and his book go to this  LINK 

Let's take a minute first to explain the difference between a burglary and a home invasion.

A Burglary -

* Happens when there is no one home.
English: A door lock broken during an attempte...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Usually happen during the day or when you
   are out of town. (So please don't put your
   fab plans for going to Paris out on social
   networks or make your plans generally
   known - you can share afterwards when
   you have the photos.)
* While some burglaries are done by
   opportunists, typically they are planned and
   the criminal knows quite a bit about you,
   your set up, your schedule, and your
* If you get home and find something off - do
   not go in and investigate it alone. Call the
   police. Maybe you think one of your kids
   just accidentally left the door open.
   Minimally, you can get a neighbor to hang
   outside with your kids and the phone ready
    to dial 911 while you go do a 

Home Invasion - 

* Happens while someone is home. 
* A criminal who is coming into your home
   at night will assume that there is going to be a confrontation.
* Confrontations are to be avoided when possible. So it is important
    to be a HARD TARGET.
* Reason they might choose a home invasion:
   `Their plan may be to get someone to open safes or give pin
   `They plan a rape
   `They plan to inflict harm/kill the people inside

Being a hard v soft target

English: The "YL88 Digital Lock Adjustabl...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Lock your solid-core doors with quality
   locking systems.
* Drill peep holes at your level and the
   children's level so they can see who is
   there, too.
* Lock your windows on all levels of the
   house not just the ground floor.
* Plant thorny bushes under your windows -
   and trim other bushes so that the criminal
   can not use them as a shield to hide behind.
* Motion detection lighting covering the 
   whole yard.
* Dogs 
* Consider a security system especially one
    that includes cameras. But if you can't afford a whole house
    system that is monitored, you can purchase the stickers and yard
    signs to put up. There are also portable alarms, designed for hotel
    stays, that are very inexpensive and can be used where alarms are
    not allowed (a dorm room, and apartment). 

    Remember noise and light make you a hard target. dark and
    quiet make you an easy target.  Link - this link takes you to a
    security store so that you can see the wide range of options. 
    (not an endorsement)
* A safe room set up. 
   `Simply a designated area to retreat to in an emergency. 
   `The children are taught to go there. 
   `The hinges are placed so the door swings out. 
   ` Some things that you might include: 
      A land line phone.
      Fire extinguisher
      Escape rope ladder

Our Home Invasion Stories:


      I was a young boy before my teenage years, my dad worked a shift system. My mom hated the night shift. At certain times when my dad was at work, someone would ring the front door bell or bang on the front door. As my mom went to answer the door, someone would climb over the rear wall and bang on the back door. When my mom went to the back, the front door bell would chime again and so on. This went on for quite some time. The local police were unable to catch whoever it was, and the neighbors never saw anything.

     My mom took to sleeping with a large carving knife under her pillow. My younger brother and I had no idea what was going on. Would I have liked to have been forewarned of events? Yes, definitely. Anyway, one night, my mom had had enough. When the front door bell rang (remember this is in the early hours so no one was coming round for a visit), she went to the front door and waited. When the back door was banged, she waited by the front door with the nib off so the door was open. On the next ring, she threw open the door; with  knife in hand she lunged. The guy had already taken a couple of steps back, and as he was confronted by a screaming woman wielding a blade, he legged it and would have been an Olympic sprint champion according to my mom.

     They never did come back after that and were never caught. When I learned of this story from my parents years later I asked my mom what she would have done that night, ‘I would have killed them’ she said and left it at that.

Are you trained in the weapons you have and are you mentally prepared to kill if it comes to that?

Fiona -

One day, I was home with my four small children when the bell rang. I went to the door and looked through the peep hole to find a man in a phone company uniform. I went to the window and saw that there was a company vehicle parked in front of my house. This was odd because we weren't having an issue with our phone. 
     So I called through the door, "May I help you?"
     "I'm here to fix the phone line..."
      My radar was up - something wasn't right. "We're fine. No issues with the phone. Thank you, anyway."
      He explained to me that it was my husband who had called, and he told me my husband's name. My instinct was that something was not right. I used my cell phone to call hubby to ask him what the issue was with the phone. My husband explained that he had switched our phone service, and we didn't even use that company anymore. My next call was to the police. I yelled through the door that the guy should get off my property, and he started kicking the door in, cursing at me, and ordering me to let him in. I had one of my children go press the panic button on our alarm. With the sirens wailing and whole house flashing red lights, I announced that the police were en route, and I had my gun aimed at the door, one more kick and I would shoot. He sprinted away, and the police congratulated me on not becoming a statistic.

So here I would caution you to  (or if you are writing this into a scene, then apply this to your character) premeditate a strategy. Know the applicable laws in the area you are staying and make decisions. Many of my friends will say, "I'd rather face 12 than be carried by six." My plan: I walk away, and my family is safe.

So Rock, what sparked this whole blog article for us was the story of the home invasion where the mother protected her family by firing at (and missing) the three teens who kicked in her door. Can you talk a little bit about guns and home safety?

English: Picture of a standard 'K Bullet' as m...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Firearms and Home Defense

Fiona has done a great piece on choosing a firearm for a heroine in a novel, and you can see it here: Choosing a handgun link

There is an inordinate amount of literature on firearms for home defense: rifle, shotgun, pistol. With the amount of choices, how do you really decide what is right for you? Well let me say this from the start, stick with a pistol, or a short barreled pump action shotgun at the most. Why? Well the tactics and the training to use a ‘Long’ effectively is 
far more complicated than using a ‘Short’. 

In this post I am going to ask more questions than give advice. This is because I do not know your circumstances. It’s your life, your home, your family. I can help point you in the right direction with questions you can answer.

Before you purchase your firearm get down the range and have a go with a few different types. Your hand size, strength and where you live (I will explain this a little later) all have an effect on the weapon of your choice. Also, take into consideration weak hand drills, that’s your none dominant hand, the weapon should feel comfortable for use in both hands with mechanisms that suit both dominant and none dominant hand firing.

But as you will see you may need to purchase two weapons, one for home defense and one for personal defense while out of the home.

Once you have chosen your weapon and are comfortable firing it on the range, the next step is to plan how you are going to defend your home.

Where you live will have some way to go in your weapon of choice and the rounds you use. Do you live in a block of flats, a house on a street, a semi or detached house? 

What are the walls like in your house, solid brick, plaster board, wooden or other? I ask this because if you live in a block of flats with thin walls, you don’t want a round hitting your next door neighbor while they are reading Virginia is for Mysteries, do you?  LINK

So two firearms: home defense may need .22 or a subsonic frangible round where as a CCW (concealed carry weapon) would employ a standard round for your weapon of choice. Bullet turorial

I have planned homes and night clubs for violent encounters. Why? Most home invasions happen at night and night clubs are dimly lit.

What is the first thing most people do on hearing a noise either outside, downstairs or in another room? You guessed it. They put the light on. This has now put the home owner on an equal footing with the intruder. You must get used to fighting in the dark. In the house it may be pitch black, or there may be ambient light coming in from outside. Either way, this is where the combat must take place, here you have the advantage.

When planning on low light combat, here you will also have to think about any attachments for your weapon:
* Torch (flashlight)? Not a good idea in my book. Remember you want the advantage, giving away your
   position is not having an advantage. 
* Laser dot light? Good if trigger activated, and you are already on target.

Your home must be planned with combat in mind.

* Can you move around your house in the dark without tripping
   over furniture, kids toys, cats or dogs? You should be able to. 

Fiona - Gosh Rock, and here I've been using the kid debris to make us a hard target. There's no way you could steal quietly through the room - and the thousands of lego pieces and marbles are special bonuses.

Rock - Yes,  toys make great noise traps when placed at points of entry. 
* Can your partner or kids move around in the dark to a safe room or escape from the home? 
* Do you have a plan for where you should meet up to count heads 
   in any emergency be it a home invasion or fire? Not next door for
   obvious reasons. 
* What about those who either don’t like guns or live, as I do, 
   where firearms are illegal? Well you are going to have to train in
   other weapons, knives, sticks, batons... Weapons can be placed 
   around the home either as ornaments or as purposefully located 

Fiona - 
Ha! Don't break in at Rock's house. It will go badly for you. Here's hoping you all stay safe and sound. 

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right, presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way are we advocating any position or personal decision.
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

F.A.T.S. No, It's Not Another Diet, Information for Writers

GLOCK 17 semiauto pistol Image via WikipediaCharacter Designation: Some good guys, maybe a hero, definitely some bad guys…

Character descriptions:
Okay. This is a little tricky. I would love to present a hero figure to you today. I know there were some in the room. I don’t have a clue who they were. I don’t know their names. I can’t even remember if they introduced themselves. Someone was tall-ish; someone was round-ish. There may have been some others, and there may not have been. I was in F.A.T.S. training. It was a simulator to train officers in using firearms, and I had tunnel vision from the second I went through the door.

Writers: If you think a witness is going to be with it and take in bunches of information, I would suggest that this would have to be a highly trained person. I have some training, and I’ve got almost nothing in the way of useful detail.

We went into a classroom, yup - just a normal classroom with a screen and a black plywood cutout. I remember this cutout vividly, because I did a lot of hiding there behind it. Seems that, training or no, my body reflexively wanted to duck. The two people I shot next to didn’t seem to have this reflex and stood square on while they were being shot at. Hmmm. Maybe they're not watching the same movies I am.

Bullets for handloading - Sierra brand in .270...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We were given guns and cartridges. No real bullets. I’m not sure of the technology that allows the screen to analyze your every move, but it does. I was the little number 8 bubble that wavered on the screen when we did the play back. We used Glocks. Now, I shoot a Springfield 9 mm. and a Glock doesn’t feel much different except that we had extended clips. This forced me to change my grip. I broke my wrist punching through concrete at a Tae Kwon Do testing, but that’s a different story for a different day, (Link to the story) and my right wrist never regained all of its strength. I say that with modesty because my right wrist never was very strong. I prefer to kick - I have long legs, and I want to be out of the bad guys reach. Reach in the F.A.T.S. scenario is not an issue. This fight is all about the gun. And my gun was now held slightly to the left of bulls-eye, sandwiched by my hands 

English: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First scenario:
We were shown a scene of an airport. A guy was being patted 
down. Some people were moving through the area. A silver haired man about six feet tall came around a barrier and shot at me. Well, us. But it felt very personal. Someone was shooting at me! I dropped behind the barrier. I was the yeller for the group. “Police! Drop your weapon!” All the stupid lines from the movies came back to me. I’m shooting wildly as I’m yelling absurdities. I don’t know what. It could have been, “No you’re not getting up from the table until you eat your peas.” Really. I knew my mouth was moving. I was yelling. But in my head, I was incoherent.

My bullet took him down. I know this because on the play back the little #8 bubble turned red when I shot him in the head. Red is a fatal shot. And then, inexplicably, when his body draped over the table, I kept shooting him in the leg with a bunch of yellow (non-vital hit) indicators.

I had to take off my jacket. It was getting hot in here! Whew! The instructors came over. Okay, now I remember - the guy was much taller than me. 6’2”?   6’3”? Salt and pepper hair. Very calm voice. He adjusted my finger on the trigger to help me straighten out the shot from my floppy right wrist.

Second Scenario: 
Library at the De La Salle College of Saint Be...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We were called to a school. We wound our way through the corridors to the library where a teen-aged boy held two females at the end of a knife. Now, if I were held at the end of a knife with a short bookcase between me and the knife-wielding dude, I wouldn’t just stand there and look frightened, I’d get the heck out of there. Just sayin’. Anyway, in we go. I’m the yeller. “Police. Put your knife down and your hands in the air.” Guy looks over. He's scared. He’s young. All he wants is a way out and to save some face. He knows what he’s doing is stupid - he just can’t think his way through this. He has tunnel vision. I have my gun aimed at him. It’s a close open shot. Of course, I don’t take it. Those girls aren’t really in harms way. They just need to walk in the other direction. 

As a one time Emergency Interventionist, working with people who have homicidal and suicidal ideations, I know I could probably talk this guy down. I need to put on my counselor hat. But no. I have a gun in my hand. I have tunnel vision on top of tunnel vision, and somehow I lost that counselor hat as I was winding my way through all those darn tunnels. There I stood like and idiot screaming, “I said put the knife down!” over and over and over again, until finally I bored the guy into submission.

Scenario three:
Bristol Law School courtroom
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is anyone else getting warm in here? Off came my sweater.

In this scenario we were in a courtroom. The camera panned around the people sitting in rows on the benches. I tried to pick out whom I thought might be dangerous. Turned out to be the prisoner. He clocked the guard that was escorting him, stole his gun, and started shooting at me. AGAIN! I got some rounds off - they only hit him in the arm as he was fleeing - maybe he could have bled out from my hits, but it would have taken hours. Maybe he’d die of an infection... eventually. Good thing my partner shot him in the head as we chased him through the park. That ended things sooner rather than later.

Scenario four:
I am sweating. My heart is beating a fast tattoo. I don’t have any more clothes to shed and still preserve modesty. I look around. There is a man in a red jacket sitting on a seat behind me, chuckling as I fluff at my t-shirt. He has grey hair too. Okay. Maybe I saw a bit more than I remembered having seen. 

      “I’m hot!” I told him. “Are there many more scenarios? I’m going to end up having to strip down.” 
     “Turn up the heat,” Round Guy says to Tall Guy. Tall Guy laughs and walks towards the thermostat. That’s all I saw of them - I was back to tunnel vision.

We were called out to a domestic dispute. As we pull up and get out of the car, a man is staggering up the driveway. He goes down. His back is covered in stab wounds. I chase the woman back in the house. She is obviously up-out-of-her-freaking-mind. Yes. That is the technical term an Emergency Interventionist would use. Yes, inexplicably, I’m the yeller again. I guess they saw what a brilliant job I did back at that library. 

      So again, “POLICE! Put the knife down. Move out into the open with your hands on your head!” Does she listen to me? No! She runs back into the bedroom and shoots at me. My hand comes up. I shoot her BOOM! dead-center in the forehead as I go down behind my little protective panel of plywood. My partners fill her dead body full of yellow #s.

And we’re done.

TAKE AWAY : Tunnel vision is very dangerous. All I could see, hear, feel, touch, think was the person with the weapon IN FRONT OF ME. Everything else, everyone else faded completely away. In a writing scenario this would mean that the bad guys could easily jockey themselves into another position. Hell. They could have walked right up beside me and pistol-whipped me in the head. Yup, that tunnel vision is a bitch and needs to be remembered when writing.

As I read this over, I notice I'm cussing a lot. Yeah - the ticker tape running at the bottom of my consciousness was pure gutter mouth. I was stringing them together like a drunken sailor. Lady-like demeanor be damned. Someone was *&#%ing shooting at me!

Even in a simulation there was a physical response. Every one of your characters should be drenched in sweat. If they’re walking away fresh as a daisy, you’ve written it wrong. They need a shower and a stiff drink.

See this article in action in my novella: MINE

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

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