The Regrettable Necessity for Violence

Roger Bell_West

1 Guns

Guns are all over the place in modern England. Some of this is fallout from the increasing militarisation of the police, some is from American companies applying their own laws, and some is simply the result of companies seeing a commercial opportunity and taking it.
All but the cheapest guns will come with a built-in multispectral laser sight, a HUD link, a palm recognition grip or transponder ring, and a built-in diagnostic computer.
The same basic weapon design is often available from a range of manufacturers, maybe even out of the same Chinese-owned African factory, with greater or lesser quality of materials and attention to design tolerances. This mostly manifests as changes to cost and reliability.
My Happy Luck if you’re really that desperate. Think of it less as a gun, more as a vaguely directional hand grenade. But when it jams, or you run out of ammo, chuck it in the bin and get another one (free bonus, it’ll have different ballistics). If by some miracle you get through three magazines, they’ll probably throw a party for you. The Fortunate Seven Dragons comes in seventeen designer colours to match your outfit. Also known as My Great Lucky.
Trichy is short for the Indian firm Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli, slightly higher in the market than My Great Lucky: they actually want repeat custom. Export sales are a sideline from their main work of supplying the Indian Army, and rumour has it that if you can fake the authorisations well enough they’ll ship you stuff out of their full-price military hardware range. Still not what you’d call good quality, though.
Freedom Arms specialises in handguns, from concealable to oversized. American, as one would expect from the name.
Glock is mostly in the conventional handgun market, but their Wirbelpistole was the first vortex pistol to see widespread use.
Heckler & Koch is often the pros’ choice (at least outside the USA), and their lightweight MP11 Urban Assault Weapon defined a new market. Their pistols are a bit over-rated and over-priced for what you get, mostly sold to forces that want to get all their weapons from the same maker.
Lexmark has moved from laser printers into laser dazzlers and microwave weapons.
It’s is fresh from the salons and firing ranges of Paris, specialising in stylish weapons for the fashion-conscious killer (or people who want to look like him), which is a larger market than one might have expected.
Electron Concepts makes high-end high-tech weapons, but nothing that uses ammunition.
Valmet is for when you care enough to kill with the very best. Binary propellant or even electrothermal, all the chrome, and a cost to match.

1.1 Sprayers and Air Guns

You probably only carry these for special occasions, but a one-shot pocket aerosol full of something nasty isn’t too hard to hide about your person and can be a lifesaver. In the “cool name” category, the Vortex Pistol can throw a stabilised ring of gas up to fifty feet on a good day, and there are bigger models you can sling under a rifle barrel.
And don’t forget the humble tangler. Legal practically everywhere. Which is more than you can say for a black market 25mm armour-piercing ammo clip to fit it.

1.2 Beam Weapons

Yeah, they’re real. Lasers can cause temporary blindness, and juries are remarkably hard on people who do that. Electrolasers have essentially replaced tasers, though if you’re really unlucky can cause a heart attack. Microwave disruptors are the hot new thing, shutting down electronics with a EMP-like blast from a safe distance (but don’t forget they throw a cone, not a tight beam); there’s a pocket version too. Microwave Area Denial and sonic nauseators are mostly a police thing, but if you want to embarrass someone in public…
All these come in varying sizes up to tripod-mounted. Or, as we like to call them, Steadicam-mounted.

1.3 Pistols

Starting with the small stuff, you’ve got your wrist needler, pocket pistol, four-barrel derringer, holdout autopistol and snub-nose revolver. None of these is going to do serious damage, but they can get you clear of a bad situation in a pinch. (Needlers are strictly for drug delivery.) Concealed holsters are your friend, or build them into an otherwise innocent-looking cyber arm or hand. They’re horribly inaccurate, inevitable with the short barrel, so invest in targeting aids.
Moving up the scale, you’re looking at medium and heavy pistols and the heavy revolver, picking up a bit more stopping power. At the top end of handguns is the magnum pistol. Expect to be asked if you’re compensating for something.
Revolvers are kind of passé, but maybe you’re old school.

1.4 SMGs

With stronger and lighter materials, your basic subgun is functionally the same thing as a machine pistol: a pistol-style frame, beefed up a bit for greater reliability. If you’re not worried about armour and want to fire lots of small nasty bullets, a small-calibre PDW may be the thing for you. The pros use an Urban Assault Weapon, canonically the H&K MP11 though lots of others have copied it, an SMG mated to a semiautomatic shotgun.

1.5 Rifles

Back in the 2010s things had settled down, and pretty much every military used some variant on the 5.56mm rifle. With better armour, and the need to shoot down drones as well as people, designs have fragmented, and nobody knows yet what’s going to become the new orthodoxy.
That said, the Storm Carbine is emerging as an early favourite, a reasonably light weapon firing a large-calibre rifle bullet at up to 600rpm cyclic rate. (Yeah, recoil’s a bitch.) The Valmet Hyväily Sniper Railgun is what everyone wants for Christmas, with the ability to reach out and touch someone five miles away, but a more conventional Anti-Material Rifle will go nearly as far and do rather more damage to a soft target. If you’re into custom ammunition, the 25mm Payload Rifle lets you pack strange things into a bullet.

1.6 Shotguns

Not much to say here: a shotgun is a shotgun, and there are a lot of them in people’s cupboards, especially once you get out of town. Underbarrel shotguns are popular among people carrying long-range rifles, and you can load them with stranger things than shot. A shot pistol is an unusual weapon, and unusual means surprising (and loaded with a slug it’ll break your wrist, but that may be worth it). Grade A military bang-bang is a full-auto close assault weapon.

1.7 Gyrocs

A weapon that never really found its niche, the gyroc fires a solid-fuel rocket round. This makes bullets expensive and inaccurate, but gives a pleasantly flat damage curve, and even the basic holdout weapon will carry over a mile. Oh yeah, you can get IR homing bullets.

1.8 Grenades

Now we’re playing with the big boys. Nobody carries a dedicated grenade launcher any more, but you can get underbarrel models in 25 and 40mm. Go for the 40? Maybe, but it’s lower velocity and shorter range.
Big hand-thrown grenades are usually aerodynamic, and if you’re good you can bounce them round corners. Smaller grenades go down to “too small to find easily” size and can still ruin your whole day.

1.9 Machine Guns

You can get ex-Army LSWs cheap, complete with mobile rig. That’s because they’ve been replaced by the Storm Chaingun. Don’t go up against one of these if you owe me money.

1.10 Mortars

Don’t underestimate the mortar. Sure, it’s heavy, and it’s inaccurate, but indirect fire in a manpack weapon is dead handy when you don’t want to be seen, especially if you can keep a spotter drone over your target. Watch out for high humidity drawing a trail right back to you.

1.11 Missiles

From the lightweight disposable Infantry Missile Launcher to the tripod- or vehicle-mounted Multiple Light Anti-Armour Weapon System and Tactical Missile Launcher family, missiles are one of the main reasons you don’t see so many police helicopters any more. Even if you don’t know how to fire one, pack along one or two for your buddies who do.
Oh, and remember. A cruise missile is just a drone with better endurance and the fingerprints wiped off.

2 Gun Accessories

One of the big ones is a weapon harness. This can as much as double the weight of a weapon, but lets you fire without bracing, and even while you’re on the move.
Upgrade your built-in HUD link to a smartgun rig, and you’ll get faster reactions and less trigger jerk. Remove the manual trigger at the same time, and the guy who steals your gun will have to jack into it to use it at all (and you wouldn’t put something nasty in there to wait for him, would you?).
You may also want to think about a targeting scope, with a compact IR telescopic sight or a larger enhanced IR/UV telescopic.