Weapons: Zip-Guns and Shoukwans

In some areas firearms may be difficult to acquire legally. Not surprisingly, in many of these regions there is a thriving trade in illegally manufactured or smuggled firearms. Some crime syndicates are known to encourage and fund gun control lobbies, well aware that restrictive firearms laws increase their business. Even in areas where firearms can be acquired legally, black-market weapons may be encountered. Many criminals are understandably reluctant to apply for licences and go through background checks and safety courses. Many isolationist groups prefer to arm themselves without creating a data trail.
New technologies such as minifacturing, universal 3D printing and cannibal microbots facilitate the production of unregistered armaments.. The simplest weapons are zip-guns and other improvised firearms that may be produced by an individual or small gang. Even in restricted environments such as high security prisons convicts have produced propellant from match heads and bullets from paper and soap.

Zip Guns

WeaponDamageAccRange (yards)Mass (lb)RoFShotsSTBulkRecoilMalf.Notes 
.22 Zip Gun1d+1 pi-0 70/8000.5/0.007711(10i)8-1212[1]
9mm Max
Zip Gun
2d pi0 70/8000.75/0.02211(10i)9-1212
12-Gauge Zip Gun1d+1 pi0 40/8003/0.131 x 91(10i)9-2116
The simplest zip gun is a tube containing a striker bolt with a spring behind it. A second tube containing a cartridge screws onto the front of the assembly. When the bolt hand is flicked out of the safety notch the bolt hits the cartridge and fires it. Such weapons are easily made and concealed. Having neither sights nor stock they are very limited in capability, however.
A barrel assembly such as described above can be mounted on a pistol grip stock. Alternately a pipe with a baseplug and a nail through it may be used instead. The latter design will probably use a hammer tensioned by springs or rubber bands. Many such guns do not have triggers, firing being accomplished by pulling back and releasing the hammer. Single action revolver skills such as fanning may be used. Another design uses a sprung plunger, rather like a pinball machine. This may be held cocked by a mechanism or simply pulled back with the other hand and released.

Small-calibre zip guns have been constructed from such materials as car aerials. Many guns use metal pipe and connections and in 2100 the latter are often called “plumb-guns”. A sub-class of plumb-guns are slam-guns. These are simply two tubes, one of internal diameter sufficient to take a cartridge, the other large enough to fit over the smaller. The larger tube has a firing pin at the bottom. The inner tube is forced rearward so the cartridge meets the firing pin and fires. This mechanism can be used in boomsticks.


One example of the slam-gun system is a punch-gun where the rear tube is a T-shaped piece and the barrel protrudes between the fingers. The muzzle is punched into the target, the impact firing the cartridge. A similar device is just two tubes that are held like a kubotan. A hammer-fist strike against the target fires the round. Punch-guns are melee weapons. The noise of the shot will be somewhat muffled by the target’s flesh.
To use a punch-gun, the user has to strike the target with his fist in hand-to-hand combat, firing the bullet at zero range into the target. Use Brawling, Karate or DX skill: the shot automatically hits the same body part as a successful punch. The shot doesn't go off if the punch is dodged or there is a malfunction.
If the punch is parried, the shot may still hit the parrying arm or weapon; the attacker should roll again at Brawling-4 to see the shot hits. Treat a fired gun or one that hits but does not fire as Brass Knuckles so damage Thr Cr. The kubotan-style weapon is slightly easier to conceal or disguise. Hammer-fist strikes are -1 to hit but do Thr+1 Cr if it hits but fails to fire. Counts as a Yawara stick, so gives +1 to follow up rolls with judo holds and locks. (p.74, p.226, MA(4e)).
WeaponDamageAccReachMass (lb)RoFShotsSTRecoilMalf.Notes  
.22 Punch Gun1d+1 pi-0C 0.5/0.007711(5i)-214  [1]
9mm Max Punch Gun2d pi0C0.5/0.02211(5i)-214
.410 Punch Gun3d pi0C0.5/0.041 x 31(5i)-214  [1]
[1] Assumes that a round equivalent to the .22 rimfires or .410 shotshell is available or can be constructed. Use these profiles for “prison-made” ammunition.

 Four Winds Shotgun

The “Four Winds;” shotgun is a larger type of slam-gun. At its simplest, it is just two pipes and would be unlikely to be identified as a firearm if disassembled. (The name is from the idea that the parts can be disposed of by “casting to the four winds”).
Unlike the punch-guns, the Four Winds can be used for ranged shots. The simplest versions are braced against the body (padding recommended to avoid tell-tale bruising!). More elaborate examples have a shoulder stock and a vertical foregrip or side-handle to pull back the barrel. The basic mechanism can be adapted to booby-traps.
WeaponDamageAccRange (yards)Mass (lb)RoFShotsSTBulkRecoilMalf.
Four Winds 12-Gauge1d+1 pi0 40/8003/0.131 x 91(5i)9†-3116
Slam-Fire Shotgun with Stock 12-gauge1d+1 pi1 40/8006/0.131 x 91(5i)10† -61/516
First recoil value is for shot, the second for slug.
Most plumb-guns do not actually look like real functioning weapons, which can be a disadvantage in certain situations. It is difficult to try and hold up a store with a Four Winds when the cashier is convinced you are threatening him with a tent pole!

9mm MAX

Organized crime operates hundreds, possibly thousands of workshops producing illegally fabricated weapons. These range from a single workbench in an apartment to small factories. In order to compete with home-made weapons, the designs offered have become reasonably sophisticated. One of the more interesting aspects of illegal arms manufacture is the wide adoption of a standard cartridge. The “9 MAX” round and a number of other standardizations in manufacture have been attributed to an underworld figure known as “Lu Mycroft”. The 9 MAX is a 9 x 20mm semi-rimmed round that will chamber in automatics, revolvers and single-shot or double-barrelled improvised weapons. Power level is optimized for use in light blowback actions. It is a cased round, so casings may be left at the scene of a shooting. Standard loading is a flat-nosed FMJ bullet weight from 100 to 130gr mass and with a velocity from 900 to 1100 fps. (The round would ballistically be identical to a 9x18mm Marakov or 9mm Browning Long) The development of a unique round secured a profitable monopoly in ammunition for organized crime.

Shoukwan Pistols

Probably the most common black-market weapons are shoukwans. Shoukwans pistols are simple blowback semi-automatics that are cheap to produce but are compact, light and easy to operate. They come in a variety of barrel lengths and styles. Most are single action and their only safety is the half cock position of the hammer. Some users carry their shoukwans “Condition 3” and only cock the slide when they expect to be shooting. The majority of shoukwans also lack slide hold-open devices, so inexperienced shooters are often unaware their weapon needs to be reloaded. The best quality shoukwans are high-capacity double-action weapons. While some users prize and look after their weapons, in general shoukwans are low-quality and often cleaning and maintenance is neglected.
WeaponDamageAccRange (yards)Mass (lb)RoFShotsSTBulkRecoil
Shoukwan 9mm MAX2d pi2110/1,2001.8/0.338+1(3)8-22
High-Capacity Shoukwan 9mm MAX2d pi2110/1,2002/0.4313+1(3)8-22
Mouse gun .221d pi-050/9500.9/0.23 6+1(3)5-12
Shoukwan .221d+1 pi-290/1,4001.8/0.4311+1(3)8-22
Nearly all shoukwans are chambered for 9mm MAX rounds. Shoukwans may also be encountered chambered for .22 rimfire ammunition (if .22 rimfire rounds are still available in 2100! They may have been replaced by weapons such as the Garden Gun.) Some .22 Shoukwans are very compact “mouseguns” designed for easy concealment, while others are .22 versions of full-sized pistols. The latter are invariably found with threaded muzzles for the attachment of a suppressor and are favoured by hitmen for short-range “low mess” eliminations.