Seems like I see lots of author advertising lately for services offering expertise in areas that modern writers need. Two particular standout, one a guide to firearms and then yesterday a guide to bow and arrows. I grew up shooting both and it seems to me that if one is not familiar with a weapon they should, head out to a range and try it out, or leave it out of the story. Or in my case, drive out in the country and shoot away at a target on BLM land.
It reminds me of the old author advice, write what you know. If a writer does not know anything about guns or bows, write it simply. “the bad guy raised the gun or bow and shot him.” In many cases it depends on the reader, will they need to know the caliber, model, and manufacture of the gun? As a reader, I have never found it to be something I could not live without. As an avid target shooter, I don’t mind reading stories that go into some detail about weapons, but if the story is good, the word gun is okay, as far as the weapon, for me.
In my own writings, over the years, I have referred to both Army and Navy Colts, made a simple reference to handguns of .38, .22 and .45 caliber and rifles of .306 and 30/30 caliber. All simple stuff, and all guns that I own and shoot. I also own several shotguns but have not, as yet, hey, I’m getting an idea here, worked one into a story. In some cases like my Historical Fiction novel, Commitment, I get a bit more specific, but it’s not a required, must know, for the story, but it will be fun for gun buffs and those knowledgeable of historical weapons.
Tell a great story, use details in things you know, write the rest of the story in a simple and straightforward manner and let the story carry the day.