Make Me (courtesy amazon.co.uk)

For reasons best known to The New Yorker‘s anti-gun editors, they’ve given space to Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell’s love letter to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. Here’s a scene quoted by Gladwell. “It was a through-and-through, obviously, given the short range and the power of the Magnum round. Twenty feet behind the guy’s head the wall instantly cratered, the size of a punch bowl, and a ghastly split second later the contents of the guy’s brain pan arrived to fill it, with a wet slap, all red and gray and purple.” Gun guys recognize the fact that Child’s firearms-related frenzies are often slightly-less-than accurate. For example . . .

for starters, wth? a desert eagle? turns out the gun was just cover for something else the deceased former detective left behind, but still, to me the DE is not a ‘professionals’ weapon. For a handgun it is too big for a handgun’s only purpose, to be kept close at and handy. If you are going to keep a Deagle in your car, just in case, might as well toss a rifle in there. And no, I don’t think jack reacher could consistantly stick one in his waistband and just walk around.

Desert eagle = okay for movies because it is very visual. Desert eagle = okay for fun shooting at the range. I don’t even think much of the Deagle for hunting or hunter backup. I think a standard 44 mag revolver is easier to shoot well thanks to the wonderful single action mode, is less clunky, and you can get one with a shorter barrel for backup, or a longer barrel for hunting…and not supercrazylong like some of the deagle add on barrels.

Seems to me a truely professional shooter would choose a handgun in 45 acp, 10mm, 45 super and either go with a relatively standard sized handgun, be that a glock 20 (15 shots of 10mm!) a doublestack 1911 in 45 super, hell, a good old GI standard 1911 would be great too. You want something ‘unusual’ so it stands out because that is important for the story line? Mateba revolver in 44. Hell, a dan wesson with a bunch of barrels would stand out too.

That analysis – by akodo at thehighroad.org – is one of many where gun guys take Child to town for his firearms choices and descriptions. The movies? Don’t get me started (Jeremy S. did some work on that one, before the diminutive Tom Cruise assumed the role). Does it matter? How about this then [via januarymagazine.com]:

I make a few mistakes … wrong ammo, safety catches in the wrong place and so on. So the real gun nuts get a little impatient. Plus, Reacher makes it clear he doesn’t think guns are toys. Persuader has a line: “Never tell a soldier that guns are fun.” My position on gun control is that the U.S. Constitution forbids it. Simple as that. I wish it didn’t, but if you like the good parts of the Constitution, which I do, you can’t complain about the bad.

Your thoughts?

89 Responses to What’s Wrong With This Picture: Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Novels

  1. Well we have something in common. i don’t think a gun is a toy either but what it IS is the best tool for a variety of jobs. One of those jobs being protecting myself and my own. Which reacher does plenty of throughout the novels.

    • Yep. .460 Rowland, a .45ACP platform with a barrel change out that equals .44 magnum ballistics.

      Or 10mm. Tune the ammo so that it’s effective for a human predator up to a bear. Dosen’t get much better than that.

      • Well Lee Child is British so he does okay on the gun stuff for the most part. Yeah, he wrote in things about switching off the safety on a glock and an HK P7 (.40) and some other technical errors noticed only by a few, but for the most part it’s close enough and the Jack Reacher series is a freaking great read. It’s one of those series of books that I pre-order on Amazon many months ahead of the release.

  2. The “magnum round” described would have to be at least a .300 Win Mag, possibly a .375 H&H. That or he doesn’t know what a punchbowl looks like. My bride likes the novels, tho, I haven’t read one yet.

    • I was thinking .50BMG.

      Also, I believe the meningeal fluid is yellow, so it should be red, gray and yellow, not purple.

  3. Why on earth would anyone analyze a Jack Reacher novel? They are fun reads for when you don’t want to think. No need complicating them by trying to make them literature.

    • I agree it’s pointless. No sense in putting in more analysis while reading than the author did while writing. Child’s formula is straight Knight Errant, all he needs are a setting and an antagonist and the books pretty much write themselves I’d bet.

      • Kinda like Mack Bolan written by I don’t know how many Don Pendletons. And I’d prefer MB’s AutoMag to a Deagle even if it was used by Agent Smith.

  4. The Second Amendment “shall not be infringed” is the bad part?

    And this is why there will NEVER be a place to compromise with such people.

    Because the only choice from them will be slavery or death.

    • Hey at least he accepts it means no gun control. He can understand 4 simple words. Most antis cant. Hell most gun owners think some of this bullshit they push is ok.

      • Like NICS.

        There is a reason tyranny by the few over the many is the norm.

        There’s enough of the many that think tyranny over the many, including themselves, by the few, is nothing less than they deserve.

        What I don’t get is why so many hate themselves so much that they feel being controlled by the few with guns is what they deserve.

        Did they not get enough hugs from their parents growing up?. Or is it just a perversion of some basic human instinct that served when we were hunter/gatherers and now is used by the tyrants in the world to allow them to try to control us all?

  5. Where can I get a .45 super? My ol’ .38 Super has lost its luster. Also, a Mateba? Three problems with that; #1, they are extremely rare, #2 More people, even non-gun people, know what a desert eagle is, where a Mateba is pretty abstract, and #3, Mateba autorevolvers are just as big and bulky, if not more so, that Deagles.

  6. Could be worse, I read a Dean Koontz story a few years back where revolvers ejected their empties as they were fired like a semi-auto. There were many other firearm flubs in the book but that was the one that threw me right out of the story.

    • “Lone Survivor” ghost-writer wrote that Marcus shot a man between the eyes but the (shot) man ‘screamed as he fell off the mountain’.

      GUNS ARE (also) TOYS. So are (sometimes) BULLDOZERS.

      Don’t mess with my toys.

  7. Like Tom Cruise or not, he made the movie enjoyable. His other movie where he’s a hit man forcing Jamie Foxx to drive him around, I didn’t see but did read how he did a lot of handgun training, especially for a scene where he’s walking towards 2 thugs an does a slick quick-draw with an auto

    • Collateral – great movie. The move on the two slimeballs who had heisted his briefcase looked like a very slickly-executed IPSC stage. He looked quite authentic in it.

      • I suppose–but I still see thug #2, who had his hand inside his jacket, presumably on his pistol, to start with, needlessly fiddling around while Cruise shoots thug#1. Outside of Hollywood the best that could really be expected would be a tie with thug#2, who never even cleared leather in the scene IIRC (now I’ll have to go to youtube and look at it again)

      • Yep. The director, Michael Mann, is a shooting instructor himself and has his actors trained until they are expert shots. I remember reading somewhere that a Marine drill instructor would play a clip of Val Kilmer’s mag change from Heat and tell the recruits that if some actor can swap magazines that fast, they have no excuse not to.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9fnVtz_lc (6:20)

    • The movie Jack Reacher is a great watch. It starts with closeups of someone handloading — the only time I think I’ve ever seen that in a film — and the mystery revolves around whether an army marksman sniped a bunch of people from a bridge. As far as I saw, all the gun stuff was solid. The fights were superb and the car chase is one of the best in recent years — even the cars were well cast. It’s also a strangely old-fashioned mystery like something Bogey would have done. My wife and I were both pleasantly surprised.

      • Jack Reacher did something else I haven’t seen before in live action: No-dialogue scenes that just WORKED. Scene at the beginning, car chase scene. Good stuff.

      • Completely agree! Jack Reacher the movie was one of the best action movies I’ve seen, with regards to firearms. Tom Cruise may be a half-midget who believes in aliens, but he makes movies I consistently enjoy.

        • He’s nuttier than squirrel shit, but I think that probably helps make him a great action actor. Plus he does all his own stunts. The only other actor I know who does that is Jackie Chan.

    • Tom Cruise made the movie enjoyable? Maybe I will see it.
      There were so many outraged comments on the Amazon book blog about how he would ruin the movie, and that Lee Childs must have gotten a truckload of cash for Cruise to play the title role.
      I can think of other actors that would make the movie more believable.

      Bill

      • I was on that “little guy will ruin it” bandwagon. Jack Reacher is a big, big guy in the books, but it takes all of about 5 seconds of watching the film to forget about that. Cruise does a great job.

  8. Dessert Eagle as a ‘professional’s gun’? Seems like all those .50AE casings with your fingerprints on them bouncing around on the ground might be a bit of a problem. I think I’d go with a revolver.

  9. —“Never tell a soldier that guns are fun.”—

    Why not? As a Former Airman – guns are fun. As a person who worked with Soldiers, past & present – They think guns are fun. Hell, guy down the hall from me right now is former Artillery. He says there’s nothing quite like some 155 going downrange.

    • Every one I knew in the Army agreed that “fun” could be defined by the Ma Deuce running full throttle – not to mention popping off rounds from an M-79, or opening up with any of the Gatlings. And an 8″ SP Howitzer? Sweet.

  10. My favorite for gun illiteracy is still The Last Praetorian by Mike Smith, in which we have rail guns (not man portable it seems) Star Wars blasters (which have a slow rate of fire), and firearms (which have a high rate of fire but can only be used in an oxygen rich atmosphere because THE POWDER WON’T BURN in space.)

    Details like that are a pity, as the book is a fun read, and you can get it free on Kindle.

    • Modern guns actually CAN fire in non-oxygenated environments since the powder contains it’s own oxidizer. The problem you’d run into, though, is overheating, since there’s no air or other conduit to carry the heat away.

      • Sheesh. We all know that, which is why he pointed it out.

        And not just “modern” guns. All of ’em. That’s what the 75% component of black powder is there for… oxygen.

        Doesn’t everyone learn this stuff as kids?

        • Minor science correction: It’s the radiation that passes the energy along. Heat can’t conduct in the absence of a fluid or solid medium. Sorry to be terrible!

  11. In his first novel Jack briefly carries a Desert Eagle with a 14″ barrel and latter worried that the shotgun he was using might kill a woman that was about 45 degrees off his target.

  12. Writers advise from many respected professionals – “Write what you know.” And i would add, “Know what you write.”

    Could I expect to be taken seriously if when writing a novel set around racetracks I kept refering to the horses fifth leg? When the protaganist hands someone a revolver and reminds them, “Don’t forget the safety.” I check out.

        • I have a Webley revolver with a safety lever, I believe it was added to import it though.
          Glock says its guns has three safety systems on them, still looking for all three levers.
          “Black Hawk Down” quote “This is my safety” finger in air

  13. People that analyze Reacher novels for firearms accuracy are like people that analyze 50 Shades of Grey for sexual accuracy.

    I read them because they are good stories, the morality that Reacher embodies is lost in todays world. Somehow, 5ft9inch 180lb Tom Cruise made a reasonable 6ft3inch 250lb Jack Reacher. I can’t figure it out (except for platform shoes and inflatable pecs), but the movie was enjoyable.

    I think Stephen Hunter spends a lot of time and effort making sure his firearms scenes are accurate.

  14. I’m a Scot Harvath fan, myself. I personally think Brad Thor is a neocon, but I enjoy the character. I saw the Tom Cruise Reacher movie on Netflix or cable on demand or something. It was entertaining, but not enough to search out the books.

  15. “Never tell a soldier that guns are fun.”

    Ummmm…. when I read that, what instantly came to mind was many videos where I’ve seen Larry Vickers (former Delta Force) giggle his pants off after shooting. There are various other popular veterans with youtube channels (combat and non-combat vets) and they still all seem to giggle in their vids.

    • As a veteran I can say that “fun” in regards to firearms has it’s conditionals; sitting out on a hot/muddy/freezing range all day (with weapon draw being at oh-dark-30), and then waiting for an entire company of fobbits struggle all day just to zero/group, generally pegged my fun-o-meter thoroughly in the red.

      Going outside the wire, riding behind my M2, and taking/returning fire was terrifyingly deadly-serious fun.

      Spending a day on my own time, busting clays & ringing steel at my own pace, with my own chosen company; that’s just plain ‘ol good fun.

      That being said; guns are not toys, they’re tools. But whoever says that you can’t have a good time using tools (safely!) is just a negative-nancy, and likely has never used them either.

      • Wow, that brings back some memories. We mobilized at Ft. Riley… Because nothing prepares you for the desert like Kansas when it is 10 below zero…

        Full auto is fun when someone else is buying the ammo. And some weapons are fun to shoot because they are so good (M240) others because they are so bad (my Nagant revolver, or M249 + magazine + blanks).

  16. I too groan when a desert eagle makes an appearance. Jack does occasionally pick up a Steyr GB though., that’s pretty cool.i think writers pick up a couple gun mags or a Shotgun News on the writing desk. Like the author of the Kinsey Milhone series who had her private eye heroine wander through a few books with a .32 Davis!

  17. I saw the jack reacher movie after being totally disappointed by the James Bond movie that came out the same time. The movie was great and inspired me to read the books.

    The books are fun, the earlier ones had great internal narration. Recent books are being churned out too fast, all talk and action, less detail. Still, they’re good, and I like how Reacher is always willing to beat somebody to death with his bare hands because it’s more satisfying. Lol

  18. The Reacher books are fun. The movie might have been better if only they hadn’t cast a five foot tall circus midget in the lead.

    Well, I guess that Tom is 6’5″ (like Reacher) when he stands on Oprah’s sofa.

  19. “For a handgun it is too big for a handgun’s only purpose, to be kept close at and handy.”

    At least you did not say “a guns only purpose….”. I do not understand all of the anti-Desert Eagle bigotry. I have been carrying and shooting .44 magnum Desert Eagles for 30 years. I also own single, double and lever action .44 magnums with a variety of barrel lengths. I do not claim to be a “professional”, whatever that means, but I do have a great deal of confidence in the caliber, the gun and my ability with it.

  20. Whenever there is a local shooting in the Indianapolis area, one of the main news stations runs the same graphic. An image of a Desert Eagle with yellow crime scene tape. I shake my head and laugh whenever I see it because it’s so ridiculous. It’s gotten to the point where my wife will point it out before I get a chance to see it and she laughs because even she knows how unrealistic it is to show the image of a Desert Eagle for EVERY shooting in the city.

  21. I am confused. The quote in paragraph one (“It was a through and through…”) comes from a portion of the book in which Reacher was using a .357 Magnum Colt Python Revolver: the nightstand gun of a Phoenix doctor. Reacher acquired the gun from Doc’s nightstand and used it on the Ukrainians that invaded the Doc’s house while his family was present. It wasn’t a “professional’s gun”, but a home defense revolver owned by a physician. Not sure where the Desert Eagle reference came from: certainly not the portion of the book quoted. The caliber criticism also makes little sense once one considers that the actual gun in question is a .357 revolver….

  22. I look at this the way I look at science fiction stories and physics.

    If small bits and pieces are needed for background and to provide a basic setup for the story (eg a deus ex machina ftl drive), no biggie if the story is otherwise good.

    If the entire story, or a major twist, is based around stuff that’s quite simply wrong, totally implausible or – IMO worst – inconsistent, then I usually don’t enjoy the read.

  23. I remember at the end of Tripwire where Reacher was saved by his “body armor”. He’d been working in the Keys digging in ground swimming pools by hand and a .38SPL (from a snubnose I think) failed to penetrate his pectoralis major. Much was made of his incredibly strong body throughout the book.

    How much (really solid) muscle can a slow speed .38 go through?

  24. The Reacher novels are fun, but you have to be able to ignore the fact that Lee Child – Britisher resident of NYC – is a complete idiot on guns. My favorite Reacher “idiotic gun description” had Reacher contemplating a revolver (I think it was a .44 mag) that was “set up for left-handed shooters”, and being regretful that he didn’t have time to change it to a right-handed configuration. Actually, that is quite simple – unscrew the barrel and screw it onto a frame that was engineered and machined for the “other- handed” set up. Then discard the rest of the revolver.

  25. I love the Jack Reacher novels. I have rad every one of them and most of them twice. Yes, sometimes they have some inaccuracies but I don’t care. I can get lost in the book and enjoy the characters and enjoy someone just plain doing the right thing. Reacher has clarity in a world where clarity is rare.

    I think people should quit over-analyzing the books and just relax and enjoy them!

  26. The part in the latest novel that really made me shake my head is when somebody goes into a gun store and comes out with fully automatic MP5’s. Two of ’em. That’s a pretty fast turnaround on the ol’ tax stamp, ain’t it?

  27. The thing that always bothered me about the books is that several times Reacher takes a long range sniper shot with NO idea what the zero or the dope is on the rifle and round. Like in One Shot the Robert Duval character has him take three shots at 800 yrds with a rifle he just handed him. It might have a 300 yrd zero and have 125Gr TNTs loaded in a 30-06. no way to tell.

  28. I just love anti-gun/anti-liberty authors (and actors) profiting from something they loathe and know nothing about. Love it.

  29. Lee Childs writes guns like an idiot. The reason why is, instead of writing minimally about guns because of his lack of knowledge, or researching to find real facts about them, he writes long winded descriptions about them that are just dead wrong. I made the mistake of reading his first Jack Reacher novel. I won’t make that mistake again. What a clown.

  30. Worse is his feminism. Apparently women make the best soldiers, military police officers, etc. Women are for the most part useless in law enforcement and the military. In the military they are only looking for a sexual harrassment complaint or a husband.

  31. Quit reading Childs’ books five or six years ago. Got sick of his leftist hypocrisy. Not missed, there are many worthy replacements.

  32. The better slip is the concierge at the hotel buying two weapons because he had a in state ID – weapons aquired that day – they were

    Submachineguns.

    ? Straw purchase nfa items that day?

    I like his books too – but – really?

  33. I once saw the this definition of a firearms buff: ” Someone who can tell you every obscure fact about the M-1 and be able to field strip and reassemble it blindfolded and not have a clue who FDR was.”

    Do you really care about perfect detail if it’s a good story?. I enjoyed the series “La Femme Nikita” despite its thoroughly ridiculous back story and this was when I was at the spookyest stage of my career. No intelligence organization run by sociopaths, employing other siciopaths who could be “canceled”at any time could be effective. The writers had a better grasp of the 21st Century world than most of us real intelligence professionals had.

  34. In the latest “Make Me”, Reacher has a character buy some (2) MP5 submachine guns. Implying that it would be legal for a citizen of the state of Oklahoma to buy across the counter.
    Fact is this has been illegal since 1934. But for the ignorant it sounds like “There oughta be a law”….
    These little disinformation propaganda barbs are very common among the leftists.
    They know better because they’re not that stupid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *