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Old 03-08-2017, 12:36 PM   #1
jeanpaul
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Default What type of Gun for petty criminal?

A small time drug dealer carries a gun. What is a good entry level handgun? Something that is small and easy to get? and what is the correct way to word it in the script? For some reason a .22 caliber handgun comes to mind but I have zero experience with firearms. Thanks.

Last edited by jeanpaul : 03-08-2017 at 12:36 PM. Reason: clarity
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Old 03-08-2017, 04:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: what type of Gun for petty criminal?

You can get smaller caliber rounds, but they are mostly for rifles for hunting varmints. A .22 is really the smallest handgun you can buy. They are very common and easily obtained. They don't have much impact, but if someone wanted a cheap gun to scare people with for robberies, a .22 would fit the bill.
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Old 03-08-2017, 05:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: what type of Gun for petty criminal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanpaul View Post
A small time drug dealer carries a gun. What is a good entry level handgun? Something that is small and easy to get? and what is the correct way to word it in the script? For some reason a .22 caliber handgun comes to mind but I have zero experience with firearms. Thanks.
They used to call them "Saturday night specials".
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeanpaul View Post
A small time drug dealer carries a gun. What is a good entry level handgun? Something that is small and easy to get? and what is the correct way to word it in the script? For some reason a .22 caliber handgun comes to mind but I have zero experience with firearms. Thanks.
A .22 would sting, but most people would survive a shooting from a .22 cal. pistol. A small-time drug dealer would be embarrassed to have to show a .22 cal. pistol; his adversaries would say it was “for children or sissies, and which are you?”

Most women carry a .380 automatic for protection, The rounds are short and stubby — they have not much brass — which translates into not having a lot of gunpowder. The bullets (the lead head of the round) are the same size as that of the .38 or .38 special, and almost the same size as the .357 round.

Most drug dealers likely would carry an automatic pistol, too, but also more than likely they would carry a 9mm pistol or maybe something as large as a .45 cal. automatic. They could also carry the less common .40 cal. S&W (Smith & Wesson).

Last edited by TigerFang : 03-10-2017 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 03-08-2017, 07:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

I don't know if it still is or not, but the .22 used to be the preferred caliber of mob hit men.

It is lethal, but it's definitely not something you want to use for self-defense or for using in a gun battle. For flashing and robbing people, sure.
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Old 03-08-2017, 08:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

i would guess that a small-time drug dealer would carry a handgun he/she probably knows very little about except that having it on their person or near makes them feel safer, etc. probably something small and cheap. the weapon may not even fire when tasked. however, it may be a nice handgun (revolver or pistol), loaded with good ammunition, etc. a .22 is not a popgun or pea shooter. but of course they can carry whatever you want them to in your story.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

A HiPoint 9mm or 380 would be cheap and disposable. They're simple and effective. A .22 is more of a purse gun. The 9mm or .380 caliber are semiautomatic rounds. Calling them automatics would lose your street-cred. A small time revolver would be 30, 32, or 22 magnum caliber if you want to go that route.
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

People usually learn on a .22 because the guns are cheap and, more importantly, the bullets are both cheap and widely available. So newbie target shooters like them. An experienced gun user or gangster would probably scoff at it for being wimpy/small, though. Not to say they won't get the job done (it's still a gun, after all), but they're less impressive about it.

It wouldn't surprise me if hit men favor them, because they're easy to conceal and will still kill someone pretty handily if you're an accurate shooter.

If this is an important detail for your character, it's worth thinking about the character and figuring out what they'd go for. If they're buying on the street, will they hold out for a bigger/fancier gun (even if they don't really understand it)? Or are they just grabbing the first thing they can afford?

If it's a really minor detail, you can probably get away with just saying "a handgun," to be honest.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

The summer before I went off to college, I worked on a paving crew building the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. Good at math, my job was to keep track of how many tons of asphalt we laid down as well as to keep track of the hours for each man on the crew.

The crew was made up of a varied cast of characters. One guy was just back from Vietnam and still very nervous. You couldn't come up from behind him (to ask him about his hours) and tap him on the shoulder. If you did this, as I did once, he would involuntarily swing his shovel at your head, as he did at me once. Another guy had been a “professional wrestler” back in the 1960s, in the days when portly local construction workers donned masks and tights for a fast buck when construction jobs were scarce in the wintertime.

One guy — nicknamed “Rat” if that gives you any idea of his character — who was not too bright and didn't always show up for work, either, once accused me of shorting his time and thus his pay. A substance abuser and an alcoholic, too, Rat forgot that he didn't show up for work more than once the previous week, so his paycheck was considerably lighter than normal.

Convinced he was correct and angry about it, too, he pulled a loaded .380 semi-automatic on me in broad daylight beside the Capital Beltway and placed its muzzle against my forehead. I thought the gun wasn't loaded and said as much. He pointed the little pistol down at the soft, hot pavement we had just laid down and fired a round. The pavement swelled up in a hump around the hole where the bullet entered.

Rat placed the pistol against my forehead a second time and assured me the gun was indeed loaded and directed toward me the added epithet of “one who has incest with one's mother.” The muzzle of the gun was still pretty damn hot.

Rat's best and only friend Richard — a large, heavyset man who liked to gamble and roll the dice too much —came up and calmed down Rat and convinced him he had indeed been absent more than once the previous week and that his paycheck was correct.

That was the end of the conversation over proper payment. Rat returned to doing his job, and I returned to doing my job. When I got home, there was a red circle branded on my forehead that took a day or two to fade.

Another time I met an unexpected pistol was when I was going home on leave from Okinawa by what was then known as a Military Airlift Command flight. We landed in Anchorage, Alaska at the Air Force base in the dead of winter and there were several feet of snow. It was beautiful. We who were traveling free of charge went into the terminal to check in for the same flight out but were told the crew needed rest and wouldn't be refueling to continue the trip.

We signed up for the next flight out down to the lower 48 states and hoped one would come soon. We were told it would be at least four hours before another flight would come through we might catch.

Laden with 35mm film photography gear and equipment and a big Jack London fan, I opted to call for a taxi and have him take me “out into the wilds of Alaska” along Route 1 toward Chugach State Park. We stopped whenever I called out, and I would make a photograph now and then.

The conversation was normal, and everything was fine until the taxi driver stopped far from civilization where the road overlooks Turnagain Arm across from Hope, Alaska. He turned and pointed a .38 Special revolver at me and swore I was out to rob him. I told him it appeared to be exactly the opposite of that and told him that he seemed determined to divest me of my significant amount of photography equipment and possibly more than that.

This retort seemed almost humorous to him and quelled his intensity for a moment. After he cogitated on my comeback remark, he again introduced me to the business end of his pistol, only closer this time. He claimed that I was yet one more military person passing through and out to rob a taxi driver.

On this I assured him I had signed up to be on the next flight out, it was true, but because I was going home for Christmas. I had never been to Alaska, but had read about it plenty — including Jack London stories — and wanted to see as much of Alaska as I could see in a four-hour time span for the photography.

He contended that I had weapons in my photography bags and cases. I countered that I was traveling on a military aircraft where rigorous screenings were mandatory, and no such weapons were allowed for passengers. The whole time, the taxi driver kept the pistol pointed at me. My previously described gun-pointed-at-my-head experience as a teenager had taught me to presume that men who pulled and pointed pistols generally kept them loaded when doing so. I didn't question whether or not the pistol was loaded, but instead remained calm and never made any sudden moves.

The taxi driver tried to fit several premises to the occasion of taking his pistol out for an airing and in each one, I was a taxi robber. For every nefarious scenario he painted, I used reason to take its color from it.

The thing that convinced him to put away his .38 Special revolver was that I said my name was on the aircraft manifest. If I didn't show up for my flight, the military would eventually go looking for me. I told him that the U.S. military bases — especially military airports — had video surveillance cameras, and they would see me getting into his cab.

That last statement from me was completely unfounded, for I did not know whether or not there were any video cameras. It sounded plausible enough, though, and the taxi driver put away his gun. We drove back to Anchorage and exchanged chit chat. When we returned to Elmendorf Air Force Base, he helped me get out my camera bags and gear. I tipped him.

I suppose I could have just said, “These are the types of pistols bad men have pointed at me." That would allow you to decide which type of pistol to give your character for your story, but at the time I wrote this, it seemed to me a little backstory was necessary to enlighten the reader and add a wee bit more color.

Back on topic, the .22 cal. pistol, whether it's a semi-automatic or revolver, could be ideal for gangsters and hit men (alluded to earlier), particularly at close range, if only because the bullet loses practically all traces of rifling when it hits bone (skull). That makes it difficult for a Forensics team to match the bullet to a specific pistol.

The downside, though, is getting blood spatter on clothing. Sometimes a fine mist of blood goes undetected to the criminal's eye. Enter the police. Fluorescein is used to locate traces of latent blood on clothing, even after it goes through the laundry several times.

The better caliber weapons for your story will be more powerful — such as the .32 cal. or .38 caliber pistol revolvers, or 9mm or .40 & .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols — because they will offer a greater distance-to-victim for the shooter.

If you give your character a .38 Special revolver or 9mm semi-automatic pistol, that'll do the trick no matter what until you sell the screenplay.

On another note, I would think this is precisely the kind of information that gets the ATF out and about following around a writer as “a person of interest.”

Last edited by TigerFang : 03-11-2017 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: What type of Gun for petty criminal?

Technically, handguns that use .380 and 9mm cartridges are semiautomatic, but they are still commonly referred to with terms like auto and automatic.

It is generally unnecessary to get technical about guns and specific about calibers in stories and scripts. Someone has a handgun, and that is really enough.
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