If you write enough mysteries, thrillers, or horror novels, chances are one of your main characters is at some point going to have their fingers wrap around a handgun. Whenever this happens, it offers two main ways to give insight into your protagonist.

<b>Two Quick Ways the Weapon Can Be Revealing</b>

The first characterization opportunity results from their reaction to the weapon. This is because handguns embody both power and, these days, political statement in a compact package. His reaction to this — comfortable to the point of indifference, intimated as though holding a ticking timebomb, or somewhere in between — says a lot about a character.

A lot of writers get this innately. After all, the former military guy whoメs hired himself out as a merc is of course going to be comfortable with the tools of his trade. For the soccer mom who has stolen a handgun from her father-in-lawメs safe because someone is slowly picking off the sorority sisters with which she years ago accidently killed someone, that handgun is going to be another sign of how far she is from her everyday, suburban reality.

The second, and less utilized, characterization opportunity comes when the character is carrying a handgun of their own choosing. Think about it: what does your characterメs clothes, home, or car say about them? These can tell you how much money they have, whether their lives have been successful for failed thus far, and much more. Youメre already probably putting a lot of thought into these. Why wouldnメt you do the same for your characterメs handgun? It’s their personal Excalibur. This is why a 1911, venerable weapon though it is, would be wrong in either James Bond’s or Dirty Harry’s holsters.

The first opportunity is easy and innate. The second is where some knowledge of firearms comes in handy. It’s also where you can have the most fun tailoring the gun to the hero, and the hero to the gun. We’ll explore ways to do this in future posts.

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