Re: RARA-AVIS: drugs, sex and other stuff & other stuff

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 07 Jun 2002

Rene wrote:

"On this topic, I recently read something (I think maybe a short story in a Black Mask anthology but I'm not sure) where somebody is described as carrying an automatic with a silencer. As I've just said, I don't know from guns (or pistols) but I thought you couldn't use a silencer on automatics, at least not the automatics available in the 1940's & 1950's. I know there are at least a few people on the list who could clarify that for me."

I don't know much about weapons either, but I thought it was the other way around, that only automatics could use silencers, or at least use them effectively, as sound would still come out of the exposed chambers in a revolver, thereby making irrelevant any sound dampening from the barrel. I seem to remember Elmore Leonard noting this mistake was a pet peeve of his.

If you want to see gun-handling that looks far more authentic, even to someone as unknowledgeable as myself, check out Way of the Gun. There's just something different about it, even beyond showing the reloading.

Someone else can probably explain this much better, but as I recall my brother's explanation, drilled into him by drill sergeants (who would make those who screwed up hold their rifle over their head in one hand, hold their cock with the other and chant this is my rifle and this is my gun, one is for killing, one is for fun), a gun is a stationary weapon, usually requiring more than one person to fire it (machine guns on tripods or guns on the deck of a ship, for instance; there are probably certain caliber requirements, too), while rifles are rifles and pistols are sidearms. Can anyone with more knowledge tell me if I'm even close to remembering correctly? (And as they always note at the beginning of books, any mistakes are mine, not my brother's.)


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