Reference Art for Drawing Guns
(Zoe, I made this mostly for you.)
Okay, to start off, I really like guns. I like handling them, shooting them, taking them apart, cleaning them, putting them back together, and just looking at them. (Let’s be honest, there are some really good looking guns out there.) But when it comes to drawing them, I usually fail miserably. So I thought I’d compile a list of some of the more common guns, either in pop culture or in the United States, and provide images of them as well as some information on the guns to give you a better picture(no pun intended)as to whether or not your character would use them. Now I know a lot of people are scared of guns, so I’ll try to make sure to put a trigger warning(no pun intended)in the tags.
Let’s start off with a handgun that you may not have seen before, but is very common in the United States, is very inexpensive, and is VERY easy to draw:
This ugly duckling is the Hi-Point C9. It fires the 9mm Luger cartridge, the cheapest and most prolific handgun ammunition in the country, and it can be had for around $150-$175 brand new. It’s not much to look at, but it gets the job done. Mocked by gun snobs for its relatively cheap construction, this gun represents function over form. This gun would NOT be owned by a character who has a lot of money, and it’s a fairly recent firearm so it wouldn’t be seen anytime before the 21st century. It’s also exclusively civilian owned. No police department or military would ever think of arming themselves with these.
One of the most iconic firearms of the 21st century, the Glock 17 is widely seen among civilians and police alike. Also chambered in 9mm Luger, it is the brainchild of Gaston Glock, an Austrian inventor who revolutionized the firearms industry. This gun is very common and has been around since the late 1980′s, so if you’re looking for a default go-to handgun for a contemporary setting, this is it.
The Beretta 92FS is the current issue sidearm of the U.S. military, and has served several law enforcement agencies for decades since the 1980′s. Favored by the likes of John McClane from “Die Hard,” it’s an elegantly designed 9mm pistol that has become one of the most recognizable firearms in the world. Again, like the Glock 17, very common, prolific, and contemporary.
This blued-steel beauty is the John Browning-designed Colt Model 1911A1 .45 caliber pistol. Firing a powerful .45 cartridge, it served as the primary service pistol for the U.S. military from 1911 until 1985 when it was replaced by the Beretta 92FS. Favored by real-life war hero Sergeant Alvin York and fictional war hero Captain America, this gun is still commonly owned in the United States today by mainly civilian owners, and is manufactured by countless firearms companies in many different finishes and configurations.
One of the most recognizable firearms in the world, the P-08 Parabellum, known more commonly as the “Luger,” was the standard issue sidearm of the German army from 1908 to 1938, and spawned the 9mm Luger cartridge which continues to be the best selling handgun cartridge in the United States. Although officially replaced by the Walther P-38 in 1938, the Luger was still used frequently by Nazi officers during World War II, hence its association with the Nazi Party. Highly prized by firearms collectors, the Luger is a very expensive pistol, often selling for well over $1,000. Characters who would use this pistol would most likely be wealthy.
The preferred pistol of James Bond, Peggy Carter and Sterling Archer, the Walther PPK is a classic, stylish, concealable, sexy handgun. First produced in 1931, the PPK was originally chambered in the .32 Auto(7.65mm Browning) cartridge, but was later re-chambered for the .380 Auto(9mm Short)when the gun was first produced in the United States. To this day, it remains a popular choice for U.S. civilians as a concealed carry handgun. This is a good gun for a character who needs a concealable, yet elegant firearm.
On the borderline adorable end of the scale, we have the diminutive “Baby Browning.” Chambered in .25 Auto(6.35mm Browning), this gun will fit anywhere on your person. While it doesn’t have much in terms of “stopping power,” being able to produce this pistol from a handbag/pocket/vest pocket/shirt pocket/garter belt makes it a very appealing firearm for those who don’t want to commit to carrying a full-sized handgun in a holster. Similar-sized pistols are produced today, but not with the same level of quality and longevity as the original, all-steel .25 pistols.
(Colt Detective Special [.38 Special caliber])
Ah, revolvers. Where would firearms history be without you? Not only are they the oldest surviving type of multi-shot handgun, but they are still alive and well and come in many shapes, sizes, and calibers. Small revolvers, like this Colt Detective Special, were often carried by(you guessed it)detectives, private investigators, and even your average concealed carry permit holder.
(Smith & Wesson Model 10 [.38 Special])
The Glock of its day, the Model 10 was seen in the holsters of thousands upon thousands of police officers and military personnel.
(Smith & Wesson Model 29[.44 Magnum])
“…you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?!” Yes, this was the gun carried by San Francisco’s most (in)famous fictional cop, “Dirty Harry” Callahan. Believe it or not, Smith & Wesson hardly sold any .44 Magnums at all until “Dirty Harry” hit the screens in 1971. After that, the prices on them skyrocketed, and S&W could hardly keep up with production.
(Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum)
This gun is all about dick-waving, pure and simple. An enormous, expensive gun firing a gigantic, almost uncontrollable .500 Magnum cartridge, the only people who use this gun for serious purposes are people who practice handgun hunting. Anyone else who owns one most likely has a phallus smaller than the “i” in this font.
(IWI Desert Eagle[.50 AE])
Created in 1873, the Colt Single Action Army(AKA the “Peacemaker”)was the gun that forever embodied the Old West. Owned by lawman and outlaw alike, the Colt SAA was, and still is, offered in a variety of finishes, barrel lengths, calibers and grip frames. The most common caliber you will find is the .45 Long Colt cartridge, hence the proliferation of the colloquial term for the gun, “Colt .45.”
Of course, in the Old West, once you got past 10 yards, things started to get a little harder to hit. Which is why lever-action rifles are just as prominent in Western folklore. Rifles like the Winchester 1873 and Model 94(pictured above)are some of the more common.
Of course, what discussion on the Old West wouldn’t be complete without the(arguably)most effective of the bunch: shotguns. Double-barreled “coach guns,” like the one pictured above, were extremely effective at close range. In fact, stagecoach drivers would often have a “shotgun messenger” sitting next to them in case the coach came under attack, hence the origin of the phrase “riding shotgun” when sitting next to the driver in a car.
The “Baby Browning” of its day, “Derringers” were small pistols utilizing multiple barrels to fire anywhere between one and four cartridges, depending on the caliber. The popular image of Derringer pistols is often that of a scantily-clad showgirl, prostitute, or femme fatale producing a Derringer out of their undergarments. Derringers are still popular among concealed carry permit holders today, and are offered in much more powerful cartridges, such as the Bond Arms Defender(pictured above)chambered in .45 Long Colt and .410 bore shotgun cartridges.
Bolt-action hunting rifles are the Bread-and-Butter of American hunting. Every fall, thousands of Americans chase trophy deer with a bolt-action hunting rifle slung over their shoulder. Often seen with a scope mounted on top, these kinds of guns are extremely common and can be found in pretty much any household that owns more than one gun.
Pump-action shotguns are just as common as bolt-action rifles. Available with easily interchangeable barrels and magazine tubes, pump-action shotguns can be used for anything from duck hunting to skeet shooting to home defense to military and police service depending on its configuration.
One of the most misunderstood firearms by the anti-gun lobby, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of the M-16/M-4 pattern military rifle. Owned by countless firearms enthusiasts and law enforcement agencies, the AR pattern rifle typically has a 30-round magazine that fires a .223 caliber cartridge which, while loud and powerful, produces very little felt recoil, and is thus very popular among female shooting enthusiasts. While the rifle alone produces images of crime among those with anti-gun sentiments, high-capacity semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15(often dubbed incorrectly as “assault weapons” by the media)are only used in a fraction of a percent of violent crime.
The Soviet Union’s counterpart to the M-16, the AK-47 also has countless semi-automatic variations in civilian hands in the United States. Mocked by many AR-15 enthusiasts for being comparatively crude, the reliability and proliferation of the AK pattern rifle is undeniable.
Another one of the most recognizable firearms ever made, the Thompson Sub-machine Gun(AKA the “Tommy Gun,” the “Chopper,” the “Chicago Typewriter”)was a fully-automatic beast that fired anywhere from 20 to 50 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition at a rate of around 850 rounds per minute. Popularly seen in the Gangster era of the 1920′s and 1930′s, the Tommy Gun has since been relegated to museums and private collections of Class III firearms following the establishment of the National Firearms Act of 1934 to limit the spread of fully-automatic firearms. If your character has one, they’re either in the 1920′s, or they’re RICH. Like REALLY RICH.
This is nowhere near a complete list, but these were some of the more common examples I could think of. Happy drawing!
How to Choose a Defensive Handgun, Part V: Caliber
The next consideration is the caliber of your handgun.
The bigger the caliber, the greater the muzzle blast and recoil, and the longer it takes to get the muzzle back on track in between shots. At typical self-defense ranges, you can usually shoot faster and more accurately with lower calibers. On the other hand, the bigger calibers offer slightly greater stopping power.
In ascending order of power and recoil, the common defensive calibers are the .38 Special, the 9mm Parabellum (also known as 9mm Luger), the .40 S&W, the .45 ACP and the .357 Magnum.
There is an endless debate over which caliber is the “best.” For example, the 9mm is a fast and light bullet, while the .45 is heavy and slow. Theoretically, the speedy 9mm would penetrate obstacles like car doors or windows better, while the .45 would hit with a heavier punch.
In fact, there is little practical difference among these rounds, which are all proven killers. Before making your purchase, you should personally experiment with each (by renting or borrowing guns) to see which works best for you. For example, even if the .45’s recoil is “heavier,” some people prefer the feel of the .45’s thumping recoil to the .40’s snappy and sharp recoil.
I don’t recommend the use of any caliber smaller than the .38 Special (such as the .380 Auto and the .22 LR). If you want to push the envelope, the .380 Auto would perhaps be marginally acceptable at close ranges.
Rounds more powerful than the .357, such as the famous .44 Magnum and the .50 AE for the Desert Eagle, are not practical for self-defense. With these monster rounds, the recoil is so great that you lose precious time getting the muzzle back on track.
Pictured above is a Colt King Cobra .357 magnum, which was intended as a less expensive version of the high-end Colt Python. It’s not made anymore, but it’s still possible to snag one from collectors.
A small semi-auto pistol chambered in .380 ACP, the Sphinx AT-380 originates from Switzerland. They’re commonly considered to be very high quality with tight tolerances and many owners and sellers often refer to the Swiss precision in their manufacturing. The .380 ACP models are no longer imported into the U.S but KRISS USA is the current importer for the newer models. (GRH)
The new Glock 42, in .380 AUTO, is a slimline subcompact pistol engineered with the Glock Perfection promise and able to withstand the rigors of routine training. Made in the USA, the G42 is the smallest pistol Glock has ever introduced, making it ideal for pocket carry and shooters with smaller hands. Years of requests across market groups for a super-concealable, reliable single-stack .380 Glock pistol prompted extensive research and development to bring the Glock customer the G42.