What’s YOUR Favorite PI Packin’?

Throughout the long history of the private investigator, the weapons they carry (or don’t) tell a fascinating story. In today’s post we’ll take a look at my very own humble PI, Mac McClellan, and his choice of weaponry.  Let’s do some snooping and see what we can turn up. Hmm, where to begin? Ah, the obvious—

Arm & handlaughing-teeth

Mac is armed to the teeth!  

S&W .357 Mag. #606

Given his background as a career Marine with extensive combat service, Mac doesn’t take weapons lightly. He wants something reliable and that packs a punch. No pea-shooters for him. That’s why his carry weapon of choice is a Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. Why a revolver instead of a semi-automatic? Jamming problems. During combat deployments to Iraq, Mac observed many jamming issues with the M9 Beretta, the current standard handgun of the USMC. Kept cleaned and lubed, it’s a fine weapon. But in the dust and grit of desert warfare, that’s not easy to do. The M9 semi-automatic also lacks the punch of the .357 Mag. When Mac is forced to shoot at another armed human being, he wants to make sure the bad guy stays down.


“But semi-autoloaders are much quicker to reload,” you say. “Isn’t the ability to quickly reload a worthwhile tradeoff?”


S&W .357 mag and quickloads


Well, yes and no. It’s true the semi-autos can be loaded faster. Just click the magazine release and snap in a fresh magazine (or clip, if you prefer). Quick and simple. However, most revolvers (including Mac’s S&W .357 Magnum) have speedloaders available which can quickly replace an empty cylinder. Open the cylinder, dump the empties, line up the speedloader containing the fresh cartridges, and twist the knob. Voila—all loaded and ready to fire. Mac carries a couple of spares in his Tundra, but he rarely packs one on his person. He’s not in a war zone situation with numerous bad guys. If he ever does find himself in such a pinch, he has a backup weapon near at hand.


Mossberg Maverick 88


Allow me to introduce you to Mac’s badass backup for when things really get dicey: the Mossberg Maverick 88 pump shotgun. It’s an inexpensive, no frills, and reliable weapon. Mossberg makes good stuff. You can load this baby with eight double-ought 2 ¾” shells. That’s seven in the tube magazine and one in the chamber. With its 20” barrel, flat black color, and synthetic stock, it’s one helluva whoopass weapon. Mac carried a similar shotgun in Iraq which came in handy while clearing and securing buildings during the close-up combat in Fallujah. Don’t leave home without it.


Up close and personal!




There are times and circumstances when a firearm might be unavailable, out of reach, or stealth is called for to take out a “baddie.” Introducing the USMC KA-BAR combat knife, the choice of fighting knives by Marines since World War II. Mac owns a fancy engraved KA-BAR given to him by his last command during his retirement ceremony at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Although a true KA-BAR with deadly capabilities, it’s for show and memories only. He also has the KA-BAR he carried into every combat situation since he was an eighteen-year-old lance corporal in the First Gulf War. A knife he’s used to survive on more than one occasion. Mac doesn’t routinely carry it, but when called for he won’t hesitate to strap it to his belt or his ankle. It’s a down and dirty weapon, and not for the feint of heart.


S&W Model_642_11_350


So, there you have it, a brief look at Mac McClellan’s personal arsenal. Of course he’s always on the lookout for additional weapons, just in case. Right now Mac’s got his eye on a S&W Model 642 .38 Special revolver. With its small frame, short barrel, and internal hammer, he thinks it would make a perfect hideaway piece to back up the Mag.

What’s your favorite PI packin’?


13 thoughts on “What’s YOUR Favorite PI Packin’?

  1. Oh, I like that little S&W. No hammer, so nice!

    Mac is my favorite PI and you’ve just displayed his charms to everyone. Is he considering the MC ankle knife? Those things, although probably not general issue, are deadly looking,and so much smaller than the KA-Bar on the ankle.

    My favorite civilian investigator, Hayden Kent, packs only brains and sometimes a scuba tank. She’s also been known to attempt defense with the antique umbrella stand in her hallway. Catherine Swope, on the other hand, is a former cop. She’ll slip her Glock into her handbag for an especially meaningful accessory when the occasion calls for formal attire!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeez, Mac is blushing! Nah, he’ll “stick” with his trusty KA-BAR. Might be a bit hefty, but he’s grown quite fond of the thing. Did you ever consider arming Hayden with a speargun? Might come in handy some day! Or, get her one of those S&W 642s. She can easily pack it in her purse. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is really interesting! And it’s helpful, too, for writers. My sleuth doesn’t pack a weapon. But I really do respect authors who do choose their weapons carefully and after doing ‘the homework.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Margot. Writers have to do their homework these days or a savvy reader will call them on a mistake. It just so happens I own the exact weapons Mac packs. And my wife has that S&W .38 Special. Who would’ve thunk it? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t care about the particular type of weapon, but I do dig it when a character obsesses or is really proficient with weapons. Quinn Colson in Ace Atkins’s books is one example of this. As a former Army Ranger, Colson is incredibly resourceful (and, when morally appropriate, lethal) with all weapons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a big fan of Atkins’s Quinn Colson series. In fact I have a new one sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. I think Quinn and Mac share many of the same values. Mac has a few years on Quinn, but brotherhood trumps age.


  4. That was a hilarious and informative write-up on Mac’s weapons. I really enjoyed the writing. Considering he is a former Marine I was not surprised at his expertise or that YOU also own these weapons. Naturally you have a great fondness for these lethal objects and good reason for it. I hate to confess in this group that I know nothing about guns and knives but they do interest me. I am armed only with my Doberman (he’s armed to the teeth) and perhaps a (hair) barrette. I did create a character in my next book who is proficient with guns and carries a small one in her purse. Now I’m wondering what gun that should be.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. My advice, unless the person is very experienced with handguns, is to stick with a revolver. Much less chance of shooting yourself by failing to clear the weapon properly. Careless people remove the magazine (clip) but forget to eject the round (bullet) which might have been left in the chamber. You don’t have that problem with a revolver.


  5. Thanks for the comments, MJ. I used to have a Doberman too. Believe it or not, his name was Magnum. Big guy, around 110 pounds, all muscle and bone (and teeth!). He once grabbed a rat snake over six-feet long, swung it around above his head, and then cracked it like a bullwhip. I saw and heard it. Amazing! I was playing tug-of-war with him using a hoe handle. He bit it in two. He would grab me by the forearm and “play fight” but he’d never break the skin. I sure miss my Magbud!
    About that weapon in your upcoming book: do your homework. That S&W pictured would make a great purse-carry revolver.

    Liked by 1 person

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