Small arms are weapons which are able to be carried and fully serviced in combat by a single individual. They may range from small weapons – like concealed-carry pistols – to large, squad weapons capable of delivering ordnance many kilometers away. Small arms may use kinetic, explosive, or particle-beam/lasers and vary in both the way they deliver ammunition and the type of ammunition they deliver.
Table of Contents
- 1 AMMUNITION & PROPELLANT
- 2 TYPES OF HAND WEAPONS
- 3 CREW-SERVED & SMALL VEHICLE MOUNTED
AMMUNITION & PROPELLANT
Ammunition types can come in a variety of forms, but most require some form of reloading. For “round-propelled” weapons, the ammunition itself must be reloaded while the gun provides the means of activating and guiding the fired ammunition.
With “gun-propelled” ammunition, a battery may be all that is required to reload (as with laser or sonic weapons) the round may need to be reloaded as well as reloading a battery (as with kinetic rounds propelled by GARA). With the latter, common practice is for the loaded ammunition magazine or clip to also include the battery if the propulsion method is particularly energy-intensive.
Laser weapons, while technically the longest in range, have a shorter effective range than a kinetic round due to energy dispersion at greater distances making them ineffective as long-range arms as the user would be required to maintain the weapon aimed at the target for the duration of dealing damage.
Plasma weapons have short effective range due to high energy requirements to both form and shape the plasma beam. Beyond CQC ranges plasma weapons are highly ineffective against armored targets.
COMMON TYPES OF AMMUNITION
In order of effective range, longest to shortest:
- Kinetic round (bullet)
- Solid bullet (various types, i.e. Armor Piercing, Slug, Buckshot, Hollowpoint)
- Payload (i.e. Variable Explosive, Mission-specific, Anti-Matter, Gravitic Detonator)
- Laser and/or Particle Beam
- Sonic Pulse
- Electromagnetic Pulse (Tight beam or wave)
- Kinetic, cased
- Chemical (i.e. gunpowder)
- Gravitic Repulsion
- Electromagnetic Plate Repulsion
- Kinetic, caseless
- Laser (case-based reactant-capacitor)
- Electromagnetic Pulse (case-based reactant-capacitor)
- Kinetic, cased
- Gun-propelled (Battery required)
- Electromagnetic Propulsion
- GARA (Gravitic Alternating Repulsion-Attraction)
- GARAEM (Combined GARA & Electromagnetic Propulsion)
- GRAW (Gravitic Repulsion Augmented Weapon)
- Sonic Pulse
- Electromagnetic Pulse
- Taser (“Aim-able Lightning”)
- Hybrid (Gun-propelled/Round Propelled)
TYPES OF HAND WEAPONS
A pistol, also known as a handgun, is a small, handheld weapon that may be fired with either one or both hands. They are meant for close-range firing, and often have small magazines.
SUBMACHINE GUNS & PERSONAL DEFENSE WEAPONS
A Personal Defense Weapon is often similar to a pistol, but is faster firing and has a larger magazine, and is often inefficient without the use of both-hands. A submachine-gun is typically larger than a PDW, but many PDWs are also interchangeably referred to as SMGs. An SMG is almost exclusively meant to be used with both-hands, and while they may use the same ammunition as pistols, they have better range and firepower, due to usually having longer barrels. They are the weapon-of-choice of vehicle crews as they are small enough to store, but give enough firepower for self-defense should they have to abandon their vehicle.
RIFLES, CARBINES, & DESIGNATED MARKSMEN’S RIFLES
Carbines and designated marksman’s rifles are both technically rifles but differ from each other enough to warrant their own mention. A carbine is a rifle, but is of a shorter-barrel variety, lending it to have lower range and firepower, but is much more maneuverable and is suited to close-quarters and mid-range combat out to one-thousand yards.
A designated marksman’s rifle is a longer-barreled rifle meant to be accurate out to extreme ranges, often over three kilometers, and is usually a squad’s answer to needing a sniper with high-mobility. A soldier equipped with a DMR can easily lock-down a large expanse, such as a city-street, but lacks the ability to easily deal with close-range combatants without a sidearm.
Rifles, on the whole, be they short, mid-length, or long, are the most common weapon to be issued to soldiers in the field. They are able to deliver sufficient firepower without being overly cumbersome.
LIGHT MACHINE GUNS
Light machine guns, sometimes referred to as squad automatic weapons, are large weapons able to churn out a high volume of fire with significant damage. They are often too cumbersome to be used in anything but a squad or platoon, as the user of an LMG is usually unable to maneuver his weapon fast enough to deal with close-quarters foes, and without short, controlled bursts an LMG often has poor accuracy.
Light Machine Guns are essential as they allow for covering-fire to allow allies to move from position to position, or removing a large number of enemies from the field at once, but they often use up so much ammunition that the soldier may require help carrying ammunition for the weapon.
A sniper rifle is a long-rifle with the expressed purpose of firing a large round over great distances to hit a precise target; some snipers are capable of over-the-horizon shots with a proper spotter. Many snipers work in pairs, as the sniper rifle is much too large to be used in firefights or self-defense; the sniper’s partner is often equipped with an assault rifle and spotting equipment, be it binoculars or drones.
An anti-materiel rifle is a weapon, similar to but much larger than a sniper rifle, which uses a kinetic round to cause damage or penetration sufficient to cause significant incapacitation to a vehicle or fortified emplacement. These weapons may be used as light, precise artillery in some cases. Many nations and conventions have outlawed the use of anti-materiel rifles on people, as the level of destruction wrought to a lightly or unarmored human body by an AMR is gruesomely devastating.
LIGHT ANTI-VEHICLE WEAPONS
Light anti-vehicle weapons, or LAVs, differ from anti-materiel rifles in that they are often recoilless and usually shoulder or hip-launched. Most use missiles, but some use gas or gravity-propelled explosives. Light-anti-vehicle weapons that classify as “small arms” are often of limited use, not requiring a partner to carry additional ammunition.
CREW-SERVED & SMALL VEHICLE MOUNTED
A crew-served weapon is a weapon that must be serviced by at least two individuals, such as a heavy machine gun or large missile launcher. Usually one individual carries the weapon while another carries the ammunition or support equipment. Due to the strength-enhancing nature of infantry-powered armors, these weapons can be quite large.
Anti-vehicle launchers of the crew-served variety are larger, or perhaps just use larger munitions, but are for that trade-off are almost always more effective than their small-arms counterparts. Many are capable of downing both air and all but the most heavily armored ground-targets.
A crew-served machine gun is often lethal enough to rip apart small vehicles and lay down devastating volumes of fire in a short period of time. Most machine guns must be mounted in some fashion and are rarely light enough to be used by a single soldier without great difficulty.
SQUAD ARTILLERY UNITS
Squad Artillery Units are non-line-of-sight launchers, such as mortars of old, that are capable of firing over or around obstructions. Most have some manner of guidance, and most are capable of damaging small vehicles, if not larger ones. These units come in many shapes and forms, such as drones, mortars, and anti-vehicle launchers fall into this category from time to time, usually dependent on munitions used.