Kill the Dead

I just finished reading Kill the Dead, by Richard Kadrey. I enjoyed the book, but it must go onto the wall of shame. There are several things to call out.

My main beef has to do with his over-the-top selection of the .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum for his protagonist in this book. It’s a very powerful cartridge, and a very big gun. Kadrey wouldn’t be the first author to use a comically excessive firearm in a story (see Dirty Harry, which I should probably write about also).

There’s no doubt that such a gun would be effective. Of course, Kadrey uses all the tropes, including knocking people down and vaporizing heads. However, a gun like that would be very impractical because of its recoil, and the time required to get the gun back on target. One does not rapid fire such a gun. The purpose of this cartridge is for hunting large, dangerous game.

The gun only holds five shots. Kadrey describes a melee with zombies, and the protagonist definitely fired it more than five times, and definitely didn’t stop to reload.

And he wears this gun where? Inside his pants? Like I said, it’s very big, and depending on the model, it weighs somewhere between 3½ and 5 pounds.

Also, the character raids the ammo supply of someone’s panic room, and he finds ammo for this gun. .460 S&W Magnum is fairly uncommon. Right now, there’s probably less than a 50% chance that if you went into a random gun store, they would have ammo for it in stock. No one would have this in their panic room unless they had a .460 S&W Magnum there, and why would they? (The story is set in Los Angeles, where there is no large, dangerous game.)

Kadrey also makes fun of a “little” Sig P232. A P232 is compact, and certainly smaller than an X-frame revolver, but it is certainly not the smallest or least powerful handgun out there, and it’s no joke to be shot by one.

I probably wouldn’t have written a post about all this, except that he also wrote about the smell of cordite.

Why Technical Accuracy is Important in Journalism

If the purpose of journalism is to inform, then the information provided should be accurate.

Additionally, an unspoken goal of any information source is to be valuable, and an information source is only valuable if it is trustworthy. Thus, the information provided should be credible. Information is only credible if it is accurate and unbiased.


Accuracy is challenging for any technical field, particularly one practiced largely by laypersons. It is common to discuss firearms with casually ambiguous or even incorrect terminology. When repeated out of context, or in a new context, that information is often misunderstood or simply wrong.

For example, there are more than twenty common .22 caliber cartridges, so when someone says, “a twenty-two”, do they mean the .22 Long Rifle caliber, or could they be referring to one of the others? And if you ask them to clarify, they may lack the precise terminology needed to clear up the ambiguity.

Another example: A police officer may refer to a magazine as a “clip”. Though this is incorrect terminology, it is common. Should a publication repeat this incorrect usage as their own? Much of the audience will take note, and some will log feedback. Should correct terminology be substituted? Certainly, but probably not in a quote. However, “clip” can actually have a valid use, so how does one know which is the case?

It seems to me that the solution here is to understand what has been communicated, rather than simply trying to repeat it back. Certainly, one should try to avoid paraphrasing within a topic that is not understood.


It is a well-understood phenomenon that news reporting media is heavily biased when reporting on gun-related topics. It’s outside the scope of this site to advocate for less bias, but if you’re interested, I recommend John R. Lott, Jr’s The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You’ve Heard About Gun Control Is Wrong.

However to some extent, the way you write about guns can inadvertently introduce bias, or the appearance of bias. Technical inaccuracies, conflation of facts, incorrect assumptions, and simply demonstrating a lack of understanding all work to erode your credibility.

Status of the Site

Welcome to Gun Credibility, a resource for people who want to write about and portray firearms without seeming like a rube.

I am presently building out the primary content of the site, working mainly on the glossary.

So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding a theme for the site that fits the site’s structure. I may be forced to develop my own.

I have been wanting to create this resource for some time, but only recently did it dawn on me that it should be a web site. I have already done much brainstorming about what terms need to be included in the glossary and what other topics need discussion.