This article follows after the Weapons Locker – Modern firearms – Chapter #1 – Handguns article.
Whereas chapter #1 covered common types of handgun, the longer chapter #2 covers special-purpose ones.
There are more elements of context about realism, stats, etc. on our ever-so-handy guide to Weapons Locker articles. The main bit being that all our Weapons Locker article are about modelling stories, rather than real-world ordnance.
Table of content
Special applications concealed handguns
Special applications medium handguns
Special applications large handguns
- Humongous hand cannon.
- Sniper pistol.
- Shotgun revolver.
- Dual-use shotgun revolver.
- Underbarrel Single-Shot Shotgun (Handgun-Sized).
- Universal revolver.
- High-tech combat pistol.
- Blade Runner blaster.
- SN9 WASP revolver (Avatar).
- 18-shots, triple-barelled revolver.
- H&K P11 Underwater Operations pistol.
- Rocket-launching pistol.
- Superhuman handgun (and cut-down rifles).
- Lancaster guns.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. plasma pistol.
Special applications weapons machine pistols
Special applications concealed handguns
A derringer – but chambered in a much more powerful round. Such as .22 Winchester Magnum or even .357 magnum.
These are not pleasant to fire. But this is the sort of gun a trained professional (such as the Punisher) carries as a last-resort weapon. Other users in fiction include assassins shooting at point-blank and by surprise.
The repliquant Leon also uses one to kill a police officer in the original Blade Runner movie.
DCH Magnum Derringer [BODY 02, Projectile weapons (Diminishing): 04, Ammo: 04, Miniaturisation: 02, R#03, Drawback: Long Reload]
M&M Magnum Derringer [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Diminished Range 3, Feature 1 (Tiny size)]
Credit Card Gun
This is a sound-bite name for a type of derringer – extra-flat and compact, and holding one powerful bullet. It has the height and length of a credit card – hence the name.
DCH Credit Card Gun [BODY 02, Projectile weapons (Diminishing): 04, Ammo: 01, Miniaturisation: 04, R#03, Drawback: Long Reload]
M&M Credit Card Gun [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Diminished Range 3, Feature 1 (Tiny size), Limited 1 (One-shot)]
Black Widow Mini-Revolver
A derringer-sized revolver with five shots, shooting a .22 Magnum round.
It is a single action revolver, meaning you have to cock back the hammer with your thumb before you can fire a new round. But action heroes can do that very quickly and will fire it like a semi-auto.
.22 Magnum is a nasty round doing remarkable damage for its size. It flies way faster than .22 Long Rifle does, even with the tiny barrel.
Between the magnum powder charge and the small barrel, a revolver of this type produces a huge, deafening muzzle flash with a strong intimidation value.
In fiction this gun is almost always associated with female shooters, for the usual Freudian reasons. Hence the “Black Widow” name, I guess.
Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft uses a gun of this type in the second Tomb Raider movie. And it would be odd if the Black Widow (Natalia Romanova) never used one.
DCH Black Widow [BODY 02, Projectile weapons (Diminishing): 03, Ammo: 05, Miniaturisation: 02, R#03, Drawback: Long Reload]. This gun will usually shoot anti-personnel rounds, see the ammunition section.
M&M Black Widow [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Diminished Range 3, Feature 1 (Tiny size), Limited Penetration 1]
Badass Holdout Pistol
A gun of the same dimensions as a basic Holdout Pistol, but performing like a combat-grade piece. This category encompasses two sorts of guns :
- Holdout guns with a mystique. The main example is the Walther PPK (“polizei pistole, kurtz” – compact policeman’s pistol). This was the pistol used by James Bond (in the movies, both Connery and Moore sported it). And Chow Yun Fat has one hidden up his sleeve in The Killer – so it must be badass, right ?
The stats below therefore completely ignore the actual, non-stellar ballistics of the gun.
- Recent, high-quality compact pistols using combat-worthy calibre bullets (9x19mm, .40S&W, .45 ACP and the like) thanks to progress in engineering, materials, etc..
DCH Badass holdout pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 07, Miniaturisation: 01, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, used the listed Range instead, R#03].
M&M Badass holdout pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Diminished Range 1].
This gun looks distinctive and futuristic – which is important for story purposes. But even better, one can tell by looking at it that it is cunningly, innovatively designed and is the sort of thing modern super-spies might use.
This pistol looks sort-of melted and bent. It has no asperities and few flat surfaces. It thus fits very well along the body (waist or ankle), and is optimised for a fast and clean draw.
Being intended for short-range, self-defence engagements it has no iron sights, but comes with an integral laser sight.
It carries 6 rounds in .380, and is smartly designed to deliver them right.
DCH Body pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 02, Miniaturisation: 02, Schtick (Fast Draw), R#03].
M&M Body pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 2, Enhanced Advantage (Quick Draw)].
The name “Body Pistol” comes from my old boxed edition of the Traveller RPG.
This a series of customisations done to a revolver. This were promoted by a famous Colt demonstrateur, John Henry FitzGerald, during the 1920s and 1930s.
A “Fitz Special” features :
- A 2″ (5cm) barrel (though it does have iron sights) with a short ejector rod.
- Everything gets shortened and rounded. Especially the hammer, which gets checkered. This way it won’t get snagged in clothing during fast-draws.
- The front of the trigger guard is removed.
A typical subject for this treatment would be a .38 Special Colt Police Positive. The resulting weapon is easy to conceal, easy to fast-draw, and intended for engagements at very close ranges. Which is what usually happens in non-wartime gunfights.
Later on, holdout pistols gained rounded edges, shrouded hammers, etc. to emulate these general ideas from the get-go.
But a fitzed revolver looks more impressive and more dangerous, and that’s what counts.
DCH Fitzed revolver [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03, Range: 02, Ammo: 06, Miniaturisation: 01, Schtick (Fast Draw), R#03, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, use the listed Range instead].
M&M Fitzed revolver [Ranged Ballistic Damage 2, Enhanced Advantage (Quick Draw), Diminished Range 1].
A custom-built pistol that can be assembled from discrete components, all of which look mundane and pass as normal accessories. It is thus undetectable until assembled and fired.
The daddy of these guns is the Golden Gun used in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun. But others have since surfaced in fiction and RPGs. They are especially dear to players who want their character to always be armed.
Except in some cyberpunk settings, this sort of weapon is usually a Gadget (DCH) or a Device (DCA).
DCH Secret pistol [BODY 01, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 01, R#03, Drawback: Long Reload, Advantage: Misc. Secret pistol (5 pts)].
M&M Secret pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 2, Feature 2 (Secret pistol), Limited 1 (One-shot)].
The Golden Gun is assembled from :
- A golden pen (which becomes the barrel).
- A golden cigarette lighter (which becomes the receiver).
- A small golden cigarette case (which becomes the handle).
- A golden cufflink (which becomes the trigger).
- Golden bullets which Scaramanga (Christopher Lee’s character) hid in his belt buckle.
Vélo-dog pocket revolver
Technically, the name applies to a specific brand of French pocket revolvers from the late XIXth century. As the name implies, these were meant as self-defence for folks on bicycles getting chased by dogs.
Bicycles (back then called a “vélocipède” in French) were only just becoming a thing, and were still pretty expensive. And nobody had quite managed to explain either concept to dogs.
In practice the term covers a hazy world of cheap knockoff guns from fly-by-night manufacturers. It also overlaps with the “British bulldog” model of small revolver, also popular back then.
For our purposes, “a vélo-dog” is specifically going to :
- Have been manufactured during the turn of the century (1890s/1910s, give or take), mostly in Western Europe.
- Be a DA (or SA/DA) 5-shot pocket revolver you can just drop in a pocket. Two things help with that :
- The trigger usually folds into the gun’s body, further diminishing its profile (and readiness).
- The hammer is shrouded. This gave these pistols a distinctive shape, nicknamed “the hunchback”.
- Be chambered in an embarrassing calibre, somewhere between .22 and .32. Hopefully, the dog you’re shooting is a bichon. 6.35mm Browning, .32 Bulldog or 6mm Vélo-dog would be typical.
- Be cheap as chips, unreliable, and of erratic accuracy. These things were sometimes given away when you bought a hunting shotgun, if only to clear shady inventory that had remained unsold for years.
This kind of guns is mostly going to be found in crime thrillers (as a concealed murder weapon), and in early noir and “true crime tales from the gritty and lurid streets but yeah okay we just made it up” serials. The sort that Adèle Blanc-Sec writes.
But they stuck around for decades. For instance, they can be useful as close-range varmint guns on a farm, and they’re small enough the gendarmes aren’t going to find them.
Stats and pictures
DCH Vélo-dog [BODY 01, Projectile weapons: 02, Ammo: 05, R#05, Drawbacks – Long Reload Time, and needs a Dice Action to unfold the trigger before actually firing (DEX/DEX vs 01/01 if stressed, one RAP suffices)].
M&M Vélo-dog [Ranged ballistic Damage 1, will often present Complications about unreliability, trouble with unfolding the trigger, erratic accuracy, etc.].
Monster sleeve gun
Action stories sometimes feature subcompact handgun of impossible power – often as an assassination pistol. In most cases it can be handled by the “magnum derringer” stats, but sometimes it’s just absurd.
1988 Schwarzenegger action movie Red Heat had such a pistol, used by the main baddie. It was mounted on forearm ejector, so it’s a “sleeve gun” in that it can be hidden by sufficiently wide shirt sleeves. And gets ejected forward into the hand when needed.
This specific gun featured :
- An absurdly large bore. Perhaps the equivalent of a 10-gauge shotgun.
- Three shots, even though it’s blatantly unable to hold more than one round. In the movie it’s always fired thrice in rapid succession.
- A movie-perfect silencer you just plop onto the barrel.
See the IMFDB page for more.
Workings, stats and photos
Here’s a not especially credible No-Prize HypothesisA made-up explanation to plug a plot hole as to how such a weapon might work. Maybe the barrel + chamber holds three shaped explosive charges in individual silos. These fire sequentially within about 1.5 second with one trigger pull, propelling a strange slug whose frontal silhouette is ⅓ of a circle.
Anyway, it’s something a cinematic super-assassin might use in a sufficiently loose action story.
DCH Monster sleeve gun [BODY 02, Projectile weapons (Diminishing): 06, Ammo: 01, Miniaturisation: 03, R#02, Rec. STR 03, Drawback: Very long reload] with optional silencer.
M&M Monster sleeve gun [Ranged ballistic Damage 5, Diminished Range 3, Feature 1 (tiny enough to be used as a sleeve gun), Limited 1 (one shot before a lengthy reload), Quirk 1 (requires Strength 1+ to maintain accuracy)].
Special applications medium-sized handguns
The P38 was one of the classic pistols of the 1940s… and the 1950s… and the 1960s… and the 1970s. You could still see it in comics during the 1980s.
It is one of the iconic weapons of the Cold War, particularly in Western Europe where 9mm Parabellum (which the P38 fires) is very popular.
Almost everybody back then had a P38, and its shape (looking like the love child of a Lüger P08 and a Walther PPK) was emblematic.
The P38 formed the base of a famous fictional weapon used in 1960s in TV series The Man From U.N.C.L.E..
This weapon received a barrel extension, a detachable stock, an extended magazine and a telescopic sight to become a marksman’s carbine.
Curiously, this “U.N.C.L.E. Special” was later copied as the design of one of the main robots in Transformers.
Similar guns were seen from time to time in fiction, arming hitmen – since the visuals of assembling a precision carbine from a spy pistol are cool.
Stats and picture
DCH U.N.C.L.E. Special [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#02] w/ Attachments [BODY 01, Range: 06, Ammo: 15, Telescopic vision: 02, Note: the Range and Ammo replace the normal Range and Ammo of the main gun when mounted on].
M&M U.N.C.L.E. Special [Array. The first application is Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, the second is Ranged Ballistic Damage Extended Range 1, Senses 1 (Extended Visual), Quirk 2 (must be assembled first)].
There exists a number of pistols built from the ground up to be silent assassination weapons. Integral suppressor, slide lock to prevent the scha-klick noise from the action, special firing pin, etc..
But those are speciality spook stuff, and hitmen without access to those have to make do.
As it turns out, some ’plink pistols’ – small-calibre, easy-to-shoot pistols intended to kill varmint – are an excellent base for a suppressed weapon.
One approach uses a Ruger Mk1 or Mk2 .22 Long Rifle pistol. It is a widely-sold, high-quality, accurate pistol using an ubiquitousThat is present everywhere. varmint round. Then you modify it with an integral suppressor. “Integral” because it is permanently part of the gun – it’s not something you screw on.
This is the “Assassin’s Special”, which is what many people will picture when thinking about a hitman with a silenced pistol.
Given the incredible efficiency of sound suppressors in fiction, an assassin’s special is very quiet. Quiet enough to make the aforementioned dedicated silent assassination weapons unnecessary in most stories.
See the “Accessories” weapons locker article for more about silencers.
Stats and picture
DCH Assassin special [BODY 02, Projectile weapon: 03, Ammo: 09, Thief (Stealth – only to muffle the shot): 03, R#03].
M&M Assassin special [Ranged Ballistic Damage 2, Feature 1 (Silenced)].
Decades ago, Austrian manufacturer Glock innovated by using a lot of plastics for its pistol, including the frame.
While this wasn’t unprecedented (the H&K VP70s, for instance, had a synthetic frame) it triggered a puzzling buzz in US and European media about a “plastic gun” that could defeat metal detectors. It would therefore allow all sorts of bad guys to hijack airplanes willy-nilly.
While this was a complete misunderstanding of just about everything, this created the fictional niche of the “plastic gun”.
Since even in fictional worlds the majority of passenger flights do not get hijacked, it will usually be portrayed as a very special, hush-hush technology. One only available to top-drawer spies and leading international terrorism agencies.
In comic books those also could be issued to agents trying to arrest mutant masters of magnetism, and fire special ceramic bullets.
DCH Plastic gun [BODY 02, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 12, Invisibility (Metal detectors): 04, R#03].
M&M Plastic gun [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Concealment 1 (Metal detection)].
The more recent trend in high-end military handguns is high-capacity, medium-calibre pistols firing ammunition specially designed to defeat body armour. Those usually classify as APHC bullets – see the chapter about accessories and ammunition.
Niches for these weapons include defence against military and paramilitary organisations fielding well-equipped soldiers, and high-intensity tactical operations in confined quarters.
An armour-defeating ammunition is the last thing one would want in most law-enforcement operations, but it has a clear place in some SWAT operations.
DCH APHC Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Ammo: 20, R#03].
M&M APHC Pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Armour-Piercing 2].
These are specially-built pistols used in high-level competitive precision shooting, such as the Olympics.
These are very accurate, and can be adjusted in numerous ways to better fit the hand and preferences of the marksperson.
Almost all target pistols fire light, small rounds like .22 Short or .32 Wad Cutter. While these rounds have excellent ballistics, allow for rapidly engaging multiple targets, have lower noise and recoil, etc. they have very little stopping power. They are not fit for combat use.
Target pistols are sometimes used as movie props (a Hammerli is used in Point of No Return – and a Walther GSP in the original version of the movie, Nikita).
They can easily be used as props for near-future handguns, or even for light blaster pistols. Princess Leia’s gun in Star Wars is based on a target pistol.
A cinematic or comic book marksman might rechamber and reengineer one for a combat-grade ammunition, but that would be a Gadget (DCH) or a Device (DCA) with unique statistics.
Stats and photos
DCH Target pistol [BODY 01, Projectile weapons: 02, Range: 05, Ammo: 05, Drawback: Long Reload].
M&M Target Pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 1, Extended Range 3, Accurate 2].
Here are three models in .22 LR. These are therefore able to wound (or kill under certain circumstances) as per the stats above.
There are decades of mythology around the “Colt .45” (meaning here the M1911 model and variants thereof, not the Old West revolvers). In this view it is the most reliable, most robust, most man-stopping, most virile, most patriotic weapon known to man.
The following stats reflect the exaggerated, mythologised version of the weapon :
DCH Badass .45 [BODY 05, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 14, Advantage: Edge (Projectile weapons)].
M&M Badass .45 [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Enhanced Advantage (Power Attack)].
Originally, magazines for semi-automatic pistols had the ammunition stacked atop each other. By contrast the high-capacity handguns, usually firing 9mm rounds, had two stacks.
For this niche we went with an exaggerated version of the real-world Kel-Tec CP33. The real version is a plink gun chambered in .22 LR. The made-up version here uses 9mm, or a similar combat round.
The CP33 was picked since :
- It’s large and with a distinctive silhouette, and thus is easier to film, to draw and to recognise.
- It has a huge rail on top, so you can easily mount something to make it look meaner. Even if it serves no apparent purpose, like the optics on Han Solo’s heavy blaster.
- Speaking of whom, you could use this pistol as a prop for a Star Wars blaster without anybody batting an eye.
DCH [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 33, R#03]. As discussed in the Ammo Drawback rules, the capacity is high enough to not bother counting.
M&M In DCA it’s an ordinary medium pistol, since there’s no ammunition count.
Folding stock Pistol
Handguns, under most circumstances, have poor accuracy at medium range. But with modern calibres, this is more a matter of aiming ergonomics than ballistics. Adding a stock therefore markedly improves performance.
Pistols with removable stocks have therefore been a thing for more than a century. Frex, Manhunter (Paul Kirk) sometimes used his Mauser C96 with a removable wooden stock, and Misty Knight sometimes uses a distinctive Luger Artillerie.
This was especially true of burst-capable pistols and machine pistols, though we discuss these separately.
In more recent years, chassis in which you slot your pistol to turn it into a carbine have been a thing. This is more intended for recreational shooting, though in some countries it is more intended to make do with laws restricting available calibres for private security guards.
But here we’ll use as our example a late 2010s stab at the concept. The B&T USW is a robust 9mm pistol with :
- An integral folding stock.
- Extended 30-rounds mags as an option.
- A specific, larger holster to carry the pistol with its stock folded alongside.
- An integral Aimpoint sight.
- A tactical flashlight. See the Firearms accessories article for more discussion of the later two.
It was primarily marketed for police tactical response in Europe, after a number of terror attacks. This didn’t take, though. Instead, most countries went toward further militarization of their police and thus assault weaponry. A reaction that was an explicitly stated terrorist goal – but I digress.
Stats and photo
DCH Folding stock pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Range: 05, Ammo: 19, Flash: 04 (Steady illumination only, but will act as normal Flash in nocturnal conditions ; Flash has no AV, use the Weaponry score for the arm it’s mounted on), R#02, Limitation: Projectile Weapons has No Range, use the listed Range instead]. Using this mostly makes sense in games where optional accuracy-at-range rules are in play.
M&M Folding stock pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Extended Range 1, Feature 1 (built-in flashlight)].
Special applications large handguns
Humongous Hand Cannon
Weapons in this class are enormous hand cannons, with a huge barrel, and generally weigh more than two kilos apiece.
They fire a special-purpose, niche round such as .500 S&W, .454 Casull, or .480 Ruger. Some even fire a rifle round like .30 carbine or 5.56mm.
These are chiefly collector’s pieces, though they can actually be useful in some extreme circumstances. Maybe as protection in an area with undead mutant bears. Or if attempting to hunt huge animals with a handgun.
Howbeit, such justifications do not really matter in fiction. And we have the niche of gunmen with superhuman strength (such as the typical cyberpunk operator with a full cybernetic arm) or who are cinematically insane (like Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman).
Vash the Stampede’s revolver in Trigun can also be considered a Humongous Revolver. But it has other peculiarities.
Some video games feature an Humongous Revolver as a Magnum pistol that is more powerful than most rifles, can kill most enemies in one shot and for which you can never find more than a handful of ammunition. Resident Evil games in particular feature this sort of absurdly powerful pistol.
Stats and photos
DCH Humongous Hand Cannon [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Range: 04, Ammo: 05, Rec. STR 03, R#02, Advantage: Edge (Projectile Weapons)].
M&M Humongous Hand Cannon [Ranged Ballistic Damage 4 Linked w/ Ranged Ballistic Affliction 5 (Limited Degree Dazed/Prone, resisted by Fortitude), Quirk 1 (Requires STR 1+ to be used)].
A huge, long-barrelled handgun shooting a rifle round and sporting a large, precise-looking scope.
This pistol holds only one round. It’s thus not a combat piece, but more of a one-shot-one-kill affair, hence the “sniper pistol” monicker.
Most models are reloaded by break-open breech-loading action, like old-school hunting shotguns. You manually insert a new round in the barrel.
In the real world this is a very specialised hunting weapon. In fiction it gets used by badass assassins.
Stats and photos
DCH Sniper handgun [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 06, Range: 05, Ammo: 01, Rec. STR 03, R#02, Drawback: Long Reload].
M&M Sniper handgun [Ranged Ballistic Damage 5, Limited 1 (One-shot), Senses 1 (Extended visual)].
A large revolver-action smoothbore handgun that fires shotgun rounds. A revolver that is a shotgun. A buckshot magnum !
The idea is to have a close-quarter handgun with superior firepower and that can use speciality rounds (such as armour-piercing slugs) when needed. It uses modified 32 gauge shells (12.5x40mm, in metric). Between that and the short barrel it is only useful at close ranges.
A loaded shotgun revolver weights about 1.2Kg.
DCH Gnom [BODY 03, Shotgun blast (Range 02): 06, Ammo: 05, R#03, Recommended STR: 03, Limitation: Shotgun Blast is Diminishing (on top of the normal Limitation for Shotgun Blast, so it loses 2 EV per AP of Range), Drawback: Long Reload].
M&M Gnom [Shotgun Blast 4, Diminished Range 2].
An even stranger weapon, this revolver is chambered in such a way as to indifferently fire large .45 rounds or .410 shotgun shells.
The usefulness in real life is debatable. But in fiction “shotgun” and “power” are synonymous, turning this sort of weapon into a redoubtable hand cannon.
DCH Judge [BODY 03, Ammo: 05, R#03, Drawback: Long Reload. Can be loaded with either bullets (Projectile weapons: 05) or .410 3” buckshot (Shotgun Blast (Range 03): 05, Limitation: Shotgun Blast is Diminishing as with the Shotgun Revolver above].
M&M Judge [Array. Shotgun Blast 3, Diminished Range 1 — or Ranged Ballistic Damage 3].
Underbarrel Single-Shot Shotgun (Handgun-Sized)
A single-shot, break-open .410 shotgun that can be fitted under a large, long-barrelled handgun.
Such a contraption is usually installed under a magnum revolver. It would also fit under a humongous revolver, but the weapon would look impossible to use.
As per the Dual-Use Shotgun-Revolver above, that .410 is a small bore mostly fit for birdshot is ignored in favour of Hollywood Shotgun depictions.
More compact, high-tech versions of this (with an electric trigger) could be used for some firearms that are depicted has having a single-shot underslung weapon. For instance when loaded with a Dragon Breath pyrotechnic round as a one-shot “underbarrel flamethrower”.
DCH USSS [BODY 01, Shotgun Blast (Range: 02): 04, Ammo: 01, R#02, Drawback: Long Reload, Limitation: Shotgun Blast is Diminishing as with the Shotgun Revolver above].
M&M USSS [Shotgun Blast 3, Diminished Range 1, Limited 1 (One-shot)].
In the vast majority of stories, gun-using heroes do not have a problem with ammunition supply. However, in some environment (especially post-apocalyptic ones) ammunition can become a critical matter.
A type of weapon that could shine in such a context are multi-calibre revolvers. These have a specially engineered cylinder that can accept a startling variety of rounds.
Realistically, these rounds all have to fit the barrel and thus work with rounds around the 9mm calibre – .38 Special, 38 Long, 9mm Kurtz, .357 magnum, .380 ACP, etc. etc.
In fiction, such a weapon could be truly universal, firing all possible handgun rounds without a hitch. Perhaps the barrel uses memory metals or similar techno-babble.
Stats and photo
DCH Universal revolver [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03 to 05 depending on bullet, Ammo: 06, Drawback: Long Reload, Advantage: Misc.: Multi-calibre].
M&M Universal revolver [Ranged Ballistic Damage 2 to 4 depending on bullet, Feature 1 (Multi-calibre)].
High-Tech Combat Pistol
A large, intimidating, futuristic pistol full of gizmos. This “Cable gun” is imaginary. It was probably built by a some secret organisation with comic-book technology, like A.I.M..
It represents all sorts of huge pistols drawn by comic book artists without being based on any real-world weapon, and which are implied to be very powerful and sophisticated.
Some High-Tech Combat Pistols use special ammunition as a matter of course.
Stats and examples
DCH HTC Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 15, Rec. STR 02, R#02].
M&M HTC Pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 4].
Blade Runner Blaster
The strange pistol used by Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) in the landmark movie Blade Runner is a mystery.
Its specs remain unrevealed. But the looks of this gun are so iconic that we couldn’t resist throwing it in.
In the movie it performs much like a magnum revolver, and seems to be a heavy and powerful weapon. It can harm and kill even Replicants, which are visibly stronger and tougher than a human. But it’s hard to tell how powerful it makes the gun.
From the two triggers it’s tempting to hypothesise than the blaster has two magazines, and both presumably fire different speciality ammunition – see the ammunition chapter. A possible loadout for Deckard was four badass bullets and four anti-personnel bullets (see the ammunitions weapons locker).
The most powerful handgun in the first Fallout video game looks exactly like the blaster. And the handguns in the 2004-2009 Battlestar Galactica series deliberately resembled Deckard’s piece.
Stats and photo
DCH Blade Runner blaster [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 08, R#02, Rec. STR 02, Advantage: Ammo is two separate, swiftly selectable pools of 4, Drawback: Long Reload].
M&M Blade Runner Blaster[Ranged Ballistic Damage 4. Will often be an Array firing two different types of ammunition].
SN9 WASP Revolver
Another futuristic firearm, this one from the movie Avatar. Since everybody has seen it and the SN9 WASP has a remarkable appearance and performance.
The is an autorevolver (like the Mateba) firing hypervelocity 9mm saboted rounds. Essentially of super-bullet of superior stopping power, range, penetration and accuracy.
The one used by Colonel Quaritch was huge since it had both an underbarrel laser sight/tactical flashlight and an electronic scope mounted over the receiver with magnification, computer-assisted aiming, thermal imager and movement detector (!).
DCH WASP [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Range: 06, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 01, Flash (Stdy illum.): 05, Telescopic vision: 03, Thermal vision: 06, Detect (Movement): 06, Ammo: 06, Rec. STR 02, R#02].
M&M WASP [Ranged Ballistic Damage 4, Extended Range 1, Armour-Piercing 1, Feature 1 (Flashlight), Senses 11 (Extended Visual, Extended Infravision, Extended Ranged Detect (Movement), Counters All Concealment].
In most milieux such a weapon would be considered a Gadget (DCH) or a Device (DCA). Even in Avatar this wasn’t a standard issue pistol. The Colonel had bought it with his own money.
Still, it lies *just* at the outer periphery of what can be considered a modern firearm for the purposes of this article. Since some super-special agencies might equip their top agent with a weapon like this in a comic book world.
18-shots, triple-barelled revolver
This improbable XXth Italian weapon did exist, albeit in minuscule quantities.
The inner circle of chambers holds 6 rounds, and the outer one 12. The hammers can apparently be set to fire 1, 2 or all 3 chambers at once. And the weapon comes with a fast loader – a perforated metallic disc in which all 18 cartridges can be placed so they can all be loaded at once.
Realistically this large, complex weapon firing an underpowered round (.25 ACP) is probably not the greatest idea ever. But in sufficiently cinematic fiction à la Wild Wild West it could certainly be a signature weapon.
Thus, the game stats below are *particularly optimistic* as to the ballistics of .25 ACP, the reliability of the action and the ability to set the number of active hammers on the fly. As always, it’s the fantasy version of the gun.
Stats and photos
DCH 18-shot wheelgun [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 18, Rec. STR 02, R#04, Dart Bonus].
M&M 18-shot wheelgun [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Power Attack].
Heckler & Kock P11 Underwater Operations Pistol
This specialised weapon is one of the few firearms that exist for underwater combat. Each sealed barrel holds a 10cm (4″) steel dart and a charge of propellant.
The dart has a range of about 30 metres on the surface and 10 to 15 metres underwater – depending on depth. Which is *well* beyond the underwater range of even a high-powered rifle.
It is relatively quiet, but not cinematically so.
In a fictional context, replacing the projectile by a similar one in hardwood and adding a laser sight makes for a redoubtable vampire-staking weapon.
The heavy, unusual-looking pistol could also serve as a prop for a number of imaginary weapons, such as a micro-missiles launcher.
Our Weapons Locker : Half-Life article also uses its mechanism to explain the impossible underbarrel grenade launchers in these games.
Note that one doesn’t simply reload a P11. One buys a new five-barrels block, loaded and sealed, from the factory. Not having seawater flood a barrel until it has been fired is rather important to the working of the gun, hence the necessity of only firing factory-sealed barrels.
Stats and photo
DCH P11 UOP [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 05, Range: 02, R#02, Bonus: Projectile weapons can use the listed Range when used underwater, and uses its normal Range above the surface].
M&M P11 UOP [Ranged Ballistic Damage 1, Feature 1 (Useable underwater].
Yes, really. Worse, those actually existed during the 1960s, and were viable combat weapons. Though the earlier models of rockets were less than reliable.
Having few moving parts, rocket-launcher pistols can operate under almost any conditions. That includes underwater and in space – they’d be great weapons for XXth or even XXIst century space marines.
They produce no recoil and emit a duller, less distinctive sound than a firearm. More like a fwoosh than a bang.
The Japanese commandos working with James Bond in You Only Live Twice had them.
Some 1980s science-fiction role-playing games postulated similar guns as the standard future armament before energy weapons became fully viable.
That’s about it for the footprint of this sort of weapon in contemporary fiction, though you can find a lot of advanced versions in science-fiction stories.
In a comic book environment, rockets with specialised warheads would definitely be used. There are curiously few examples of comic book characters with rocket pistols, though. Perhaps the idea of a rocket pistol sounds stupid and unrealistic, even though they actually existed.
Stats and photo
DCH Gyrojet pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 06, R#03, Drawback: Long Reload].
M&M Gyrojet pistol [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Feature 1 (Useable in space].
Based on a commercially unsuccessful submachinegun, this pistol was meant to look big and intimidating. It evoked the larger, automatic weapon it was derived from – with a shrouded, perforated barrel and a big magazine.
This brought the manufacturer both commercial success (as people who wanted to have a scary gun, including many street criminals, got one) and legal troubles (as its scary looks drew attention to the fact it was easily converted back to automatic fire).
In the US, the TEC-9 became widely associated with gangs during the 1980s and 1990s. Its archetypal use was being fired gangsta-style (held to the side) by several men inside a powerful car in a drive-by shooting. TV series like Miami Vice reinforced this image – a large pistol facilitates cinematography, especially when having to film quickly.
The TEC-9 is usually depicted as being inaccurate and not terribly effective. Even when used by a good guy — like Kurt Russel’s Jack Burton in the classic Big Trouble in Little China — it seldom hits.
Stats and photo
DCH TEC-9 [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 03, Ammo: 32, R#04]. If converted to automatic fire, becomes [BODY 02, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 06, R#06, Advantage: Autofire].
M&M TEC-9 [Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Inaccurate 1. Alternate effect Ranged Ballistic Multiattack Damage 4, Inaccurate 3].
Cut-Down Rifle / Superhuman Handgun
Some fiction shows superhuman gunmen using firearms that are only workable with superhuman strength. Even in a context where human strength can go rather high and man-portable gatling guns are unremarkable.
Such weapons are essentially cut-down, one-handed rifles as far as the ammunition and receiver are concerned. Though they may look like absurdly large pistols.
The stats for such superhuman handguns vary enormously, but here’s a baseline :
DCH Superhuman handgun [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 06, Range: 04, Ammo: 10, R#03, Rec. STR 06, Limitation: Projectile weapon has No Range – use the Range given next instead, Drawback: Long Reload].
M&M Superhuman handgun [Ranged Ballistic Damage 5, Quirk (requires a Strength of 5+ to use)].
A “pepperbox” pistol has several barrels, each holding a bullet. The striker rotates between the barrels.
Usually, these are small weapons in weak, early calibres. You can see an unusual example in our Guns of the Old West article, the James Reid knuckleduster.
However, there was a generation of large and powerful pepperboxes.
That was a bit before and during the American Civil War, so the good revolver designs of the Old West were yet to come. Service sidearms were often slow, with long reloads, and loaded in so-so .36 calibres.
And since rifles were single-shot, there were plenty of opportunities to have to use a sidearm for self-defence.
Lancaster pistols were multi-barrelled affairs with a fast action, firing a big round, and reloaded with a break-open mechanism (like with a side-by-side shotgun).
The bigger Lancasters qualify as “howdah pistols”. A howdah is the kind of small-hut-on-a-giant-saddle you put on an elephant to carry passengers. But if a tiger or a zombie… no, not a zombie… leaps atop the elephant, you want a powerful, fast-firing sidearm to defend the howdah point-blank.
Here we’re going to assume a well-made, well-maintained, four-barrelled gun with 6 or 7″ barrels (15 to 18 cm), chambered with a big round such as the .455 Webley MkII.
Lancaster [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 04, Recommended STR 02, R#03, Drawback: Long reload time].
Here’s a two-barrels (over/under) Lancaster built to be loaded with a *rifle* round, a .577 calibre from the regulation Martini-Henry rifle.
.577 Lancaster [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 02, Recommended STR 03, R#03, Drawback: Long reload time].
And here’s a two-barrel one built to be loaded with 20-gauge buckshot:
20ga Lancaster [BODY 03, Shotgun blast (Range 02): 05, Ammo: 02, Recommended STR 03, R#03, Drawback: Long reload time].
In a post-apocalyptic milieu, it is possible that a large pepperbox design might be easier to build and maintain than a revolver. It’ll depend on the specific metallurgy, machining and gunsmithing ressources available. But it’s good at conveying the feel of a post-apoc sidearm.
I suppose the Bride of Frankenstein could also have one. If you’ve misheard “Lanchester” as “Lancaster”.
S.H.I.E.L.D. plasma handgun
(This weapon was added late since 1/ it feels a bit outside of this article’s bounds and 2/ I’ve hesitate for decades between EV 6 and EV 7 but never had time to research which is more correct. Still, I reckon rough stats and basic data are useful in many Marvel Universe campaigns. So here’s a stopgap entry.)
This is one of the most advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. small arms with a significant production run. A single power pack holds enough plasma (in a “pinch bottle” magnetic field) for 95 seconds of fire. The one-inch collimated beam has a 125 ft. (38 metres) effective range.
This weapon is deployed in high-intensity, close-quarter battle. It is also useful for covert agents who need serious firepower in a compact form. For instance because they’re expected to run into superhumans or well-armoured opposition.
The glory days of this model were the 1980s, before the Deltites conspiracy was exposed. The illustration and specs are for this generation of S.H.I.E.L.D. plasma handgun.
They popped up earlier — Sharon Carter and Valentina de la Fontaine’ Femme Force fire team had them in 1971 at the latest — but I’ve yet to study the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. weapons.
Stats and art
DCH S.H.I.E.L.D. Plasma Pistol [BODY 02, Energy blast: 07, Range: 04, R#4, Limitation: Energy blast has no Range, use the listed Range instead]. The R# is low enough that we don’t see these fail often, but high enough that a conventional handgun remains a reasonable choice for a backup weapon.
M&M S.H.I.E.L.D. Plasma Pistol [Ranged plasma Damage 6, Diminished Range 1].
Special applications weapons machine pistols
A pistol that can fire bursts was something of a dream weapon. Most engagements fought with handguns take place at very close range, are decided quickly, occur in poor visibility, and see the vast majority of the shots missing.
Handgun experts soon designed techniques such as double-taps or 2+1 shooting, where the idea is to quickly pump several bullets into the opponent. Clearly a pistol that fired like a machinegun would be even better.
The quest for bursts
It never quite materialised, due to problems with recoil control and other engineering issues. Past the first two bullets in a burst, the target for most such weapons would become the ceiling.
Some shooters developed specialised techniques. These weapons were one of the very few cases where firing gangsta-style actually caused fewer issues than it solved.
But these guns remained real hard to control. They were thus often used with a removable stock – see below.
On the other hand, fictional gunfighters always were able to fire Burst-Capable Pistols accurately – using just one hand if needed. And the real-world weapons slowly caught up with that, becoming increasingly robust and easy to control.
Stats and photos
DCH Burst-Capable Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 20, Bonus : May use a burst mode increasing EV to 05 – each burst costing three Ammo (5pts), Recommended STR: 02 (03 with bursts), R#03].
M&M Burst-Capable Pistol [Ranged Multiattack Ballistic Damage 3].
Extended Burst-Capable Pistol
This admittedly clumsy term is a variant of the category above. The weapon can be fitted with a rifle-like stock, has an extended barrel (or can be fitted with one, especially in fiction) and accepts extended magazines.
In the real world this was done in order to make early burst-capable pistols controllable despite their terrible recoil. In fiction, these pistols do not have recoil issues – which means that the attachments are here to make a good thing even better.
In stories this is normally a sleek professional’s weapon. The modular nature makes it look precise and technical, and the early weapons in this category were prestigious and highly sought-after.
Thus, the stats below assume that the weapon is, somehow, always in the proper configuration. Stock and barrel for the long-distance shot, extended magazine and two-handed grip for close-quarter battle, pistol configuration when carried, etc.. Such is the way of the professional.
Even if not ready, there will be just enough time for the gunperson to swiftly modify their weapon. Because it’s cool and if you use one, it means you’re cool too.
Stats and examples
DCH EBC Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Range: 06, Ammo: 15, Advantage: Autofire, Limitation: Projectile weapons has No Range, use the listed Range instead].
M&M EBC Pistol [Ranged Multiattack Ballistic Damage 3, Extended Range 1].
1930 Pistolets Union machine pistol
One of the forgotten early XXth Century French arms makers were the Établissements Marcel Seytres, who sold their guns under the Union brand name.
One of their model was based on Browning architecture, like the über-popular FN Modèle 1900 that had its own section in the previous article. To the layman, it greatly resembled another Browning design, the Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless.
As often back then it was available in a mess of so-so calibres, though 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP) is the most significant one.
This fairly compact, well-made 1925 pistol also had… an automatic fire mode.
Now, the normal magazine was only 9 rounds, so that’s an obvious problem. But a few years later the Marcel Seytres engineers also offered a distinctive, U-shaped 35-rounds removable box magazine. Plus a loading tool, because pushing against the magazine spring without that would be a problem.
The ForgottenWeapons.com website also suspects that it was meant to be used with the extended barrel version of the pistol. Which does seem reasonable.
This surprising 1930+ machine pistol was a rare weapon. Union pistols were used by various French authorities, and sold abroad, but the U-shaped/horseshoe-shaped doesn’t seem to have been picked up by any sizable organisation.
However, it would fit be a great fit for many pulps characters. Perhaps Judex — a direct ancestor of the Shadow — wielded one during unchronicled adventures ?
Stats and image
DCH Pistolets Union Machine Pistol [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 04, Ammo: 07, R#04, Advantage: Autofire].
M&M Pistolets Union Machine Pistol [Ranged Multiattack Ballistic Damage 3, Quirk (large and U-shaped magazine)].
Multimode medium-calibre firearm
The core part of this weapon is a modern medium-calibre (prolly 9mm para) machine pistol. However, it can quickly be equipped with :
- A robust wire folding stock.
- A full-length, AR-15-ish barrel.
- A shorter variant of this barrel, just long enough to rail on a vertical foregrip.
- Sundry-railed on accessories.
It can therefore be used as a semi-auto pistol, a machine pistol, a submachinegun, an assault-rifle-length submachinegun, or a semi-auto carbine.
This weapon system a bit like an actually existing, more modern and more… tactical-looking version of the U.N.C.L.E. Special of yore.
This is interesting for a story that features a cinematic gunman who always has the right weapon at hand. Especially since we’re going to assume that the ammunition inexplicably becomes more powerful once the longer barrel is on. Because the weapon now *looks* like a rifle-calibre one.
The concept is based on a MPA300DMG machine pistol that was used in the first season of the Peacemaker TV show, starring John Cena. Beyond the real-world options for the weapon, it featured a modified, enshortened SMG-style barrel.
Stats and photos
This weapon uses different stats depending upon the fire selector and the attachments. The simplest approach for this is to borrow from Mutants & Masterminds arrays. So the cost of the Gadget is for the most expensive “mode”, and each additional mode merely add one point to the Gadget’s final cost.
In this case, switching “modes” takes some time, and all “modes” draw from the same Ammunition score. Further justifying this generous costing approach.
- Pistol mode [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 30, R#03].
- Machine pistol mode [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: each attack costs 5 Ammo, R#03, Advantage : Autofire].
- SMG mode [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: each attack costs 4 Ammo, R#03, Advantage : Autofire].
- Pseudo-assault-rifle mode [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: each attack costs 4 Ammo, R#02, Advantage : Autofire].
- Scoped carbine mode [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: each attack costs 1 Ammo, Telescopic vision: 02].
M&M Just do an Array between stock weapons type. And it’s Equipment rather than a Device — since it’s commercially-available in the real world — so it’s gonna end up real cheap, Character Points-wise.
S.H.I.E.L.D. .30 APDU Machine Pistol
This weapon, as you probably guessed, is encountered in the Marvel Universe.
It was a feature of certain S.H.I.E.L.D. stories in the 1980s, though it doesn’t appear to be a standard piece of equipment. It is possible that even S.H.I.E.L.D. has but a dozen such weapons in its armouries.
Like the WASP pistol above, they are at the outer limit of the scope of this article. But they are used by extraordinary agents in comic book worlds.
This .30 machine pistol is fed by clips holding 60 rounds on a disintegrating link belt.
There are several rates of fire (from semi-auto to 600rpm) presumably selectable by a three- or four-positions switch.
It has a floating bolt/receiver and can be fired with one hand by a strong person.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. Machine Pistol is engineered to fire rounds with a spent uranium, high density core that is larger than that of APHC, APSC, etc. bullets. This allows this exceptional weapon to :
- Successfully engage armoured personnel.
- Wound certain superhumanly durable persons.
- Penetrate some kinds of power armoursStrength-enhancing body armour, like Iron Man’s and lightly armoured vehicles.
Stats and art
DCH S.H.I.E.L.D MP [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Sharpness (Projectile weapon): 02, Ammo: 08, R#03, Advantage : Autofire].
M&M S.H.I.E.L.D. MP [Ranged Multiattack Ballistic Damage 5 Armour-Piercing 2].
Helper(s): Roy Cowan, Chris Cottingham, Eric Langendorff, Azraelfl, Max, Blindswordsman, Darci, Pawsplay, Rex Smith and (allegedly) Angelina Jolie. SN9 WASP specs from the Avatar Wiki .