Thursday, 14 January 2016

Weapons: Police Armgun.

           We are told very little about the police armgun in the original book (TS3e p.155) or “Changing Times” (p.62). We are told it holds four 15mm micro-missiles and an electolaser. The electrolaser is described as a pistol but its profile suggests something between an electrolaser pistol and rifle. The “Assault Pod” containing a 4mm PDW and four micro-missiles may or may not be a similar device. My impression was that this latter system was more commonly mounted on RATS and battlesuits.

           It could be that the police armgun is also intended for battlesuits and cybershells. I am going to make the assumption that in most neighbourhoods the police do not need to wear battlesuits and that the armgun is a weapon system worn strapped to the forearm.

           The police armgun has a number of advantages. One of these is that the weapon cannot be dropped and would be very difficult to wrest-off an officer. Unlike a pistol in a holster the gun does not need to be drawn to be used. The armgun would also provide some protection for the forearm, acting as a vambrace when parrying or blocking club or knife attacks.

           The electrolaser might include a lower-powered “sting” setting for situations where the officer needs to discourage an aggressor rather than disable them. The four 15mm launchers might be loaded with different forms of micromissile. A typical loadout might be two non-lethal tangler rounds, a homing anti-personnel round and a HEMP. The HEMP is the officer’s last resort and can be used against vehicles, cybershells and heavily armoured targets.

           It is very likely that a police armgun would incorporate some means of illumination, equivalent to a standard/ “heavy” flashlight (HT4e p.52 or UT4e p.74). The flashlight includes an extra bright setting that can be used for signalling in daytime or dazzling a suspect at close range. The flashlight also includes infra-red and ultraviolet LEDS. Ultraviolet light can be used to detect blood and bodily fluids. Some drug residues are visible under UV light and it is also used to detect some forms of counterfeit money or marked stolen property. Infrared light sources can be used to detect blood splatter, fibres and gunshot residue. This will be a useful capability for cops on the beat. Forensic specialists have more sophisticated multi-spectral light systems, of course. TS-era cops will probably have some form of helmet camera and it is likely this will have a near-infra-red capability that can be used to give the officers night vision via their HUD visors. IR output from the armgun flashlight will be useful in places where there is very little light of any kind.

           The electrolaser component of the armgun will include a visible aiming laser. Putting a laser spot on someone can intimidate or deter a potential aggressor and reduce the likelihood of actual violence.

           Another device that an armgun assembly may include is a pen-sized pepperspray projector.

           It occurs to me that firing an armgun would be somewhat different to using a pistol, SMG or rifle. If you point at something with your finger or a toy gun you will notice that the line of your forearm tends to point inward of this. TS-era police doubtless use their HUDs or aiming lasers so this is seldom an issue for them. If these aiming systems fail, or the user is more used to more conventional weapons this may have an effect. A case can be made for making the use of an armgun a new speciality, either Beam Weapons (Armgun) for a police armgun or Guns (Armgun) for an assault pod.