At some point early on in the writing of Commune Book One, I got the idea that I wanted the weapons used by the characters to reflect their personalities. This became a bit of an enjoyable side challenge for me, as I had the double duty of both deciding which weapons best fit the characters as well as figuring out a reasonable way in which said weapons would come into their possession. You don’t just have a bunch of average folks running around with a diverse array of firearms. Citizens in the United States certainly enjoy the right to keep and bear arms (proudly, I’ll add), however one of the main points of this story is to put average, everyday people into an extreme survival situation and see how they adapt. They must essentially stumble upon their hardware. I like to think I presented this turn of events realistically.
In the case of Amanda, I loved the idea of her lugging around the Israeli Weapons Industries X95 bullpup rifle. I’m personally a big fan of bullpup rifles for close-up work (I can’t bring myself to use CQB seriously in a sentence – I’m just a freaking civy after all).
In case you’re unfamiliar, the idea is that the receiver of the weapon (and therefore the ammunition magazine) is placed behind rather than in front of the trigger. This allows for an overall shorter rifle without sacrificing barrel length (shorter barrel length means less muzzle velocity and reduced effective range). So you end up with this cool little all-rounder that maintains an effective range out to four or five hundred yards yet is compact enough to go room to room in tight spaces.
From Amanda’s perspective, I love the idea of a compact (5’5″) firecracker of a woman who starts out as a resilient-yet-essentially-tame Hispanic mother/wife evolving into a hard-ass that the other people in the story learn to respect or fear (depending on which side they’re playing for). Without giving too much of her evolution up, she ends up being someone I wouldn’t want to piss off.
The X95 was (I felt) a perfect choice for her. A full sized rifle would have been uncomfortable and clumsy just based on her reach alone. The reduced length of the bullpup platform combined with the kind of recoil mitigation common to its sub type makes this weapon the perfect fit for her, indeed.