New, and I come with questions
Introduction, I'll be brief (I tried to be brief, then looked back and realized it was anything but brief). My name is Jack Reafman, and I'm an aspiring author. Working a piece of fiction (and hopefully many pieces to follow). As I'm currently just "aspiring" I have to do all my own research. For the most part that isn't much of a problem. I'm working in the realm of fantasy fiction, but set in modern times. With the "fantasy" element, I can take certain liberties. That being said, things which are wholly grounded in reality should stay as real as possible. I have a fairly varied background, so there are many things I'm versed in well enough to be able to cover on my own. However, guns aren't a part of my background. I've done some very basic "hands on" research (I spent a bit of time at a local shooting range getting a feel simply for what firing felt like, and the difficulties of aiming, moving targets, etc, though when I said very basic, I mean very very basic) just to have some vague idea of what I'm talking about. That being said there is a wealth of information that you can't understand without the years of experience I see in the posts in this forum.
My hope is that the group here won't mind too much if someone like myself poses questions from time to time in order to more accurately portray the use of firearms (and specifically handguns) in fiction. It's a pet peeve of mine when I see an author use something, anything, from the real world in a way that simply could not happen in the real world. My goal is to avoid doing that. No one should be reading anything I write and come away from it feeling like it was just too unreal. That being said, it is fantasy fiction. So keep that in mind if you choose to provide an answer. Just because you personally wouldn't use a handgun to stop a werewolf doesn't mean that isn't what the protagonist got stuck with.
The last line of the above paragraph is actually my first question.
The protagonist in my current story is coming face to face with a werewolf about three chapters from now. He's carrying a handgun, he should really be carrying a rifle, or at least a shotgun, but that would make things too easy, and lower the tension of the moment. If it turns out that a handgun is simply too unbelievable, I can make that change, but I'm going to go with the opinions of the folks here. If it's possible for him to use a handgun for the encounter, I'd rather go with that. The question however is this: If you had to use a handgun to stop something like a polar bear (about 650-1000lbs, thick fur, thick hide, thick layer of fat over dense muscle before getting to the gooey bits -- The werewolf doesn't have the layer of fat, but the polar bear is the closest animal I could think of as far as size, aggression, and difficulty to kill) what gun would you use? It should be noted that the bullets will be coated in silver. Silver being poison to a werewolf, however, it's not a fast acting poison. You'll have to slow the werewolf down enough to survive at least several minutes. You'll want to incapacitate the werewolf before it can get to you. The protagonist is about fifteen feet away from the werewolf when the confrontation begins, and due to circumstances it'll be a second or two before the werewolf can react.
What handgun would you use? What kind of rounds/load? Why?
Thanks in advance folks for any advice you can give. Also, the more I know about your choice, the better.
The "introductions" section may not be the best place to post a question, to gain the answers you seek.
Of course, reality has never stopped me before. Why should I let it stop me now?
I feel that you have posed an impossible-to-solve problem.
You have set up a situation in which your protagonist will necessarily suffer a great deal of damage, and may even be killed—or converted into a werewolf himself, by means of death.
Fifteen feet is no distance at all, to an animal which can spring at a potential victim. If the fight is not stopped instantaneously, the werewolf wins. But your parameters require that the werewolf take minutes to become incapacitated. Thus, your protagonist must necessarily lose.
So the choice of which handgun in what caliber becomes a meaningless one. No matter what the final choice, the werewolf still wins.
Why are the bullets merely to be "coated in silver"? It is much, much easier to make solid-silver bullets in the first place. Just ask The Lone Ranger—or Tonto, who, presumably, did all of the scut work for the racist oppressor of the long-suffering Red Man.
Silver melts at a temperature low enough to permit bullet casting with the normal equipment we've all used to make lead bullets. Any ammunition-reloader could do it easily.
Would use of solid-silver bullets make a difference?
Let me start with the first part of the reply. The silver poison is what will eventually kill the werewolf, in the mean time he can be incapacitated enough to let the silver do it's work. Ignore for a moment the healing/regeneration factor of the werewolf and focus on the polar bear side of the question.
If you were confronted with a polar bear, at a distance of fifteen feet (in the time you blink once a polar bear can cover 25 feet, if properly motivated) and you had time to fire one shot before it charged you (so we're in pre-blink time), and your goal was to keep it from charging you, what gun would you use?
Since we are talking about a werewolf, that shot won't kill it, it will temporarily incapacitate it at best. The protagonist isn't going to come out of this unscathed, and he's going to need as much of an advantage as that first shot can give him. Something that would possibly kill a polar bear would (depending on how cruel the writer decides to be when he gets to that point) put down a werewolf long enough for the silver to do it's job.
As far as the silver coating vs solid silver.... silver has a density comparable to that of lead, in all honesty the difference between making solid silver bullets and making lead bullets is simple. Lead is (comparatively) cheap. Unfortunately our protagonist doesn't have much to spend, and didn't inherit a sterling silver dining set he can melt down. A couple of rings, a tie pin. He has enough silver that he could come up with several silver coated bullets, or one, MAYBE two solid silver bullets. He's opting for being prepared in case he misses the first shot. (And unlike us, he doesn't know he'll be right on top of the thing when he's firing... though, I still don't know how accurate his first shot is going to be...)
Also, thanks for the questions! Extra perspectives help.
There are two handgun type possibilties for polar bear, neither of them adequate, but either could work, given a lot of luck and great marksmanship abilities.
The most popular is a heavy caliber magnum revolver, like the .500 S&W, .454 Casul, etc. But the possibility of having to shoot a bear is about the only practical reason people buy them. Quite a few more people buy .44 magnums, because they are less punishing and have more hunting applications. Any of them could kill a polar bear if the bullet were to find a sweet spot, with it being questionable as to whether the bear would be incapacitated soon enough for the shooter to survive.
In your scenario, if the hero is not actually a hunter, he might still have a reason to already own a 10mm semi-auto pistol, since it is a good self-defense type round with the proper bullet. What might make it attractive for your character's needs is that it will also safely fire hot ammo with heavier bullets (in the Glock G20 platform) by simply replacing the recoil spring with a heavier one. This gives the shooter 16 rounds of .41 magnum (or close to it) power....and a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Interesting. Is the protagonist a warrior/superhero of some sort who would be carrying a suped-up, customized potentially werewolf-killing weapon or is he an average guy who just happens to have a gun on him? And how did he come to confront the werewolf - did he know he might face the werewolf and arm himself appropriately or did he just happen upon the werewolf carrying his everyday carry pistol?
So let's start with superhero guy, he might have a Smith & Wesson 629 Mountain Gun in .44 magnum or a Dan Wesson SuperMag .445 if was not a "high technology" user. If he was a tech-head he might have a tricked out .50 Desert Eagle. If was just a guy who thought he might need a gun, a more commonly available gun, to confront a werewolf with, he might get an H&K Mark 23 in .45ACP. If he was a regular guy who normally carries but had no idea he might happen upon a werewolf, he might have a Glock 30, or some type 1911, maybe an older relative's old army-issued Colt perhaps if he was a "stopping power" believer and liked .45 ACP. Or maybe he was into concealability and cheap ammo thus had a popular 9mm like a S&W M&P9 or a beretta PX4 storm or a ruger sr9. All depends on the context of the confrontation.
Welcome to the site!
Interesting situation you have set-up. I'd agree with Bisley's analysis, above, but I also think that goNYG's comment is pertinent; what kind of person are you talking about? Although the larger caliber magnum revolvers are very potent, they are so large and cumbersome that most folks would not be wearing/carrying one without darn good reason -- and concealment would be difficult, if not impossible, depending on the circumstances. For a true "just-in-case" handgun, but still being more powerful than normal and a little bit unique, a short-barreled .44 Magnum revolver or a Glock 20 or 20C would be much more believable, IMO.
"Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
(RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)
I agree, the Glock 10mm is much more believable, and a powerful firearm indeed.......
Me? I'd want at least an RPG.
Silver-coated, of course.
To the quetion above. he's an average guy. An EMT actually. The fictional city he lives in is something of a cross breed of all the worst attributes of major cities. gang violence, corruption, hate crimes, you name it. There have been a series of killings, brutal slayings, he was first on the scene at one of them and (due to circumstances that would take entirely too long to explain here) the only one who has come to the realization that the attacks are from a werewolf. He's armed himself with the silver coated bullets. The bullets were made for him by a gunsmith who is the only person who knows what this guy is actually hunting. The gun was provided by said gunsmith. Unfortunately, the guy providing the gun has a wide assortment of handguns, but nothing as far as rifles (that'll be explained away in the story, but most of the reason is because the author is mean) He has been trying to track this menace, and finally comes across a piece of information that leads him to the werewolf's human home.
Originally Posted by goNYG
So he's an average guy, who knows what he'll be facing, and is arming himself as appropriately as he can.
H&K Mark 23 then.
Or, on an EMT's salary, maybe a CZ-97, which is the .45acp version of one of the most popular handguns the world over, the CZ-75.
Or...come to think of it, this guy could be carrying an FNH Five-Seven. The 5.7x28 cartridge was designed to penetrate body armor, so this could be exactly what a werewolf hunting dude might want to shoot in order to get the silver into the werewolf's vitals. Our protagonist could load a 20rd mag of these babies into his FNH Five-Seven and be ready for a showdown with even the baddest werewolf. Got my excited just thinking about it!
Re: New, and I come with questions
Something to keep in mind is that EMTs are in most cases prohibited from carrying, so if the protagonist is to be carrying on the job the gun will need to be concealable, now if he's going out hunting there's a little more lee~way.
Is opt for a Glock 20 or 29, both being 10MM pistols, the 29 if it needs to be concealed. The 20 if it doesn't need to be hidden.
Since the comparison of the werewolf is with the polar bear, maybe some research on killing polar bears might be helpful. I would imagine that many polar bears have been killed by Eskimos and .22's. Once again, bullet placement is everything. So the 5.7 x 28 might be a good choice for a werewolf hunter on a budget. The silver coating should be cheaper and the caliber is strong enough for penetration and small enough for precise handling.
Originally Posted by goNYG
This is my suggestion you could replace the picture with that of a werewolf and make the case an awesome wood one or something. If he can only have a few bullets I would want them to pack as much punch as they could to hopefully put the werewolf down for as much time as possible.
for this picture just google image "smith and wesson emergency survival kit"
again scroll engraving of a werewolf instead of a bear would be pretty awesome. here is a link to this gun.
X-Large Frame (X) - Smith & Wesson Any of the handguns on this page should do the trick. The S&W 500 only holds 5 bullets in the chamber which sounds like the number of bullets this guy may be able to put together. If not it gives you 5 shots then the suspense moment of can he reload it fast enough?
Also check out this video this could be a secondary reason the bullets are only coated with a layer of silver or have a hollow point filled with silver. Watch from the 6min mark to 7min20sec.
Might I suggest sci-fi type, yet totallyreal gun.
AF2011-a1 double barrel PiStol | Arsenal Firearms
Welcome to the Forum from N.E. Florida
Polar Bear are ten feet tall standing and around 3 feet thick. The typical Werewolf, to date,is closer to man or Timber wolf size. Given that the Silver is what kills itrather than massive tissue damage you need to hit it severaltimes breaking bones such that limbs don't function normally. Also given that the bullets are of custom manufacture and we are talking fiction, they can be backed by plus power powder charges (+P+P+).
I would opt for a S&W M&P 45ACP using +P+P+ powder charge behind asilver plated cast SWC bullet. The Semi-wadcutter bullets will cut veins better than full metal jacket while yielding extreme penetration resulting in massive bleeding and big holes through bones. Massive bleeding alone will not kill but will slow it down significantly for a few minutes.
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all the awesome suggestions. I think I'm going to end up using a combination of several answers.
Ponzer - I love the idea of a kit like that, and since the gunsmith providing our protagonist with his gun is "in the know" it's entirely possible he might have something like that. Kooky, but it can be made to work.
Holly - I like the sci-fi gun in real life idea. The double barrel .45 seems just fantastical enough to be a weapon of choice for werewolf hunting, while being firmly grounded in reality. I love it.
And finally, TOF - I'd been curious about ammunition, and I think you solved that pretty easily. Thanks!
Just want to thank everyone who provided some input. The next time I have questions, I know where to go.
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