Revolvers in 1867

It seems pistols in 1867 had no safety catches. Apparently, lots of guns still don’t. My source is the great and infallible internet, so it must be true.

I’m writing about Reconstruction days when the Knights of the White Camellias and the Ku Klux Klan were gearing up to commit mayhem. And crime. My heroine, Lily, a woman with no experience with firearms, is learning how to shoot a pistol because raiders have already besieged the house once and burned a cross in front of her house.

But. There are two little girls in the house. It’s not safe to walk around with a loaded gun. Lily is busy working around the farm and the house all day so that the gun could easily be bumped or fall out of her apron pocket and go off. I haven’t figured out a way for her to have a holster, but, really, now I think of it, I as master of that universe, can give her one. Well, that’s what revisions are for. (Maybe it magically appears in the mail like presents from Amazon.)

So I’m thinking, to be safe, she’ll leave chambers one and two of the revolver empty. That would mean she has to pull the trigger twice, nothing happening, before the revolver would put a bullet behind the hammer. So not until the third squeeze of the trigger would she have a bullet actually fire and kill the bad guy.

This morning, this is the writing process at work. Not thinking about plot, character development, motivation, historical accuracy (got that covered — no safety catches in 1867). Stuck on how the stupid revolver works instead. If I have it wrong, I hope to hear about it. Hopefully before I write the final draft.

About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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