Hey, that last post reminded me of something that pisses me off. Yes, I know it’s hard to imagine anything pissing me off…
I mentioned my trunk was full of wadcutter bullets. Are you familiar with the term?
“Bullet” proper refers to the slug — that ball of lead at the end of the doohicky. The whole enchilada — bullet, case, gunpowder and primer — is called a “cartridge”.
Most bullets are rounded. This tears a star-shaped hole in a target, which kind of closes up after the slug passes through. This isn’t very good on a firing range; from way down at the shooter’s position, you can’t really see where your shot went on the paper. (Or, in my case, whether it went on the paper. I’m a pretty average shot).
A wadcutter bullet is flat. This punches a nice, neat, round hole in the target, which can be seen much more easily from a distance. You wouldn’t choose it for a self-defense round, but it’s great on the range. (A semi-wadcutter…oh, guess, Einstein).
In the world of ammunition, wadcutters are pretty benign. But they sound so dadblasted evil. Wad and cutter — two ugly words made uglier together.
So I was watching this crime program. I think it was one of the CSI’s — yes, we’re coming to the “pisses me off” part. Those programs never get things 100% right, particularly when it comes to guns.
The clue in this case was that the victim had been shot with a .38 wadcutter. Now, that’s a fairly interesting clue for a deepstupid program like CSI. And I think, as a nod to their subject matter expert, there was some mention that the round was used on firing ranges.
But the writers were so in love with the sound of the word “wadcutter” that they never explored what it meant. Like, what would the implication be in helping prove or disprove premeditation in a murder case? Instead, the word was simply repeated for effect.
“The lab says it was…a …a…wadcutter.” <gasp!>
Now, a Safety Slug, on the other hand, is a kind of an an evil fucker. It’s a handgun cartridge with pellets in the nose instead of a single slug. A shot-shell, basically. The “safety” part comes in because it doesn’t have much penetrating force — it won’t go through the target or the wall and hit Grandma in the parlor. It doesn’t ricochet or do much damage to solid objects. It will, however, chew a big ugly hole in meat at close range. Weasel reminds readers that we are made out of meat.
I had to take a basic firearms safety course when I joined a firing range. The instructor recommended that we buy a Ladysmith for self defense and load it with Safety Sugs. He speculated that this would be a nicer-sounding thing to explain to a jury after chewing big ugly holes in some two-legged, VCR-boosting meat one dark and stormy night.
As opposed to, say, a Laughing Assassinator loaded with Molten Slugs of Butchery.