J Thomas on August 16, 2009, 11:28:37 pm
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I imagine that if gun silencers had not been invented then we might be using small hand held crossbows.

Definitely. There was a secret WWII program to make small crossbows for that purpose, and then after all the secrecy FDR put up a display in the white house to impress his friends. In 1948 israeli terrorists used small crossbows to take out british sentries, which to my mind says that maybe their access to US military secrets goes back that far.

This is all hearsay. I read it in a book.

I can imagine that one of the advantages of small silenced handguns (extremely accurate -- they shoot the direction you point them) for spy-type things is that they are more common. If by some unlikely accident a small handgun is found you might be able to talk your way out. "My wife is nervous and I got it for her, I forgot I had it." It might work. But if somebody finds you with a concealable high-tech crossbow they will be *interested*.

SDGrant on August 17, 2009, 01:43:04 pm
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If by some unlikely accident a small handgun is found you might be able to talk your way out. "My wife is nervous and I got it for her, I forgot I had it." It might work. But if somebody finds you with a concealable high-tech crossbow they will be *interested*.

You might have a bit of trouble if someone finds you with a silenced pistol, since pistols don't come with silencers and have to be specially tooled for them, meaning even if you manage to ditch your silencer the pistol will still have pretty noticeable grooves for screwing the silencer on.  If the silencer doesn't attach tightly it won't muffle the sound enough to matter.  Matter of fact, silencers aren't all that silent, certainly nothing like the popular "puh" of film and TV.  It sounds more like the sound you get when you slam your bare palm hard onto your bare chest, loud enough that if you're going up against several people the others will notice when you whack the first one if they're anywhere near.  It doesn't sound like a gunshot - a silencer soaks up reverb and volume - but it's far from silent.

But if your pistol is ridged for a screw-on silencer, it's a pretty good indicator you had a silencer, and you'll be assumed to be engaged in murderous criminal activity no matter what your rationale, since, last I checked, silencers are illegal almost everywhere.  Even in wartime, they don't exactly hand them out; only very special details will have them.  By the way, in most jurisdictions if you have a gun where you're not supposed to be carrying a gun, unless you're in your own home, authorities don't really much care what your excuse is, unless you're rich or famous but not a rapper.

- Grant

SDGrant on August 17, 2009, 01:50:38 pm
A properly constructed silencer doesn't throw off the bullet as much as you seem to think  S.D.  Remember we're not talking about hundreds of yards, we're talking about feet.  9mm pistols (but not 10mm to my knowledge) are used to eliminate sentries and such but since the bullet is leaving the barrel at supersonic speed it becomes much more difficult to properly silence it.  The H&K subgun has a variant in 10mm but I doubt if it's ever been commerically equipped with a silencer because it also is a supersonic round.  There are 9mm rounds that are subsonic and are used largely for  "wet work".

A professionally tooled silencer won't affect aim all that much, but an amateur job, even a good one, increases odds of deflection.  If you're close enough to ensure a good shot you're close enough to use a combat knife, which is more silent, more accurate and generally less bloody.

There are no commercially available silencers, are there?

- Grant

J Thomas on August 18, 2009, 06:42:56 am
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By the way, in most jurisdictions if you have a gun where you're not supposed to be carrying a gun, unless you're in your own home, authorities don't really much care what your excuse is, unless you're rich or famous but not a rapper.

Sure. But despite everything, you have a decent chance. People who don't trigger alarms often don't get a close look, and when the gun is the first alarm they have a good chance to get by with a warning. It happens a whole lot.

Particularly for women, and if you're doing that sort of thing and you don't have a woman to carry the weapon most of the time, what's wrong with you?

A small handgun is less conspicuous than a knife, and often it's visually less conspicuous when used. With underpowered bullets and used at point-blank range it isn't loud. If you have to use it at any distance then things have gone seriously wrong already. Sure, a good knife is just about as good. Probably better in places where handguns aren't that common, outside the USA and colombia and warzones.

Wouldn't you want a silencer on a sniper's weapon, something with a telescopic lens and maybe a laser sight, to make it harder for people nearby to notice that something is happening? I don't see that silencers are all that useful or important for small handguns, and on the other hand the accuracy shouldn't be an issue for them. "An accurate handgun is one that shoots in the direction you point it."

Anyway, I'm very happy for all this to be a theoretical issue for me. I don't currently own any firearms of any sort, being married to a woman who doesn't trust herself to have one available. I don't miss it. I noticed that -- speaking only for myself and my own life -- each situation I got into where it seemed wiser to carry a gun, it seemed wiser still to just stay away.

SDGrant on August 18, 2009, 01:43:52 pm
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Sure. But despite everything, you have a decent chance. People who don't trigger alarms often don't get a close look, and when the gun is the first alarm they have a good chance to get by with a warning. It happens a whole lot.

But it depends on so many random variables - the specific cop, the current security level and whether they know a murder has been committed etc., how closely they look at your weapon and if they choose to confiscate it (which, in most cases, they're supposed to, if it's an unregistered weapon) - that a professional won't leave it to luck if at all possible.

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Particularly for women, and if you're doing that sort of thing and you don't have a woman to carry the weapon most of the time, what's wrong with you?

Could be if you're murdering people in contravention of local law you don't want an accomplice who can sell you out to save her own skin if you're picked up.

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A small handgun is less conspicuous than a knife, and often it's visually less conspicuous when used. With underpowered bullets and used at point-blank range it isn't loud.

You start underpowering the bullets in your .22 pistol and you're back in botched job territory, unless you manage to hit exactly right.  I dunno about conspicuous; I can sheath a fairly large knife to my forearm and if I were wearing a jacket you'd never know it was there.  And you can easily kill someone with a knife much more concealable than that.  A gun's going to be conspicuously bulky no matter where you holster it, unless you're extremely careful about your movements.  It's not difficult to tell when guys are packing heat in a shoulder sling.  I have a nice little belt holster that will keep a .22 pistol (yes, I do have one, a Walther PPKS) pretty neatly hidden in the small of my back under a sports jacket - unless I bend over.

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If you have to use it at any distance then things have gone seriously wrong already. Sure, a good knife is just about as good. Probably better in places where handguns aren't that common, outside the USA and colombia and warzones.

Knives are certainly easier to get in most locales, and at very close range are frequently more lethal than guns.

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Wouldn't you want a silencer on a sniper's weapon, something with a telescopic lens and maybe a laser sight, to make it harder for people nearby to notice that something is happening? I don't see that silencers are all that useful or important for small handguns, and on the other hand the accuracy shouldn't be an issue for them. "An accurate handgun is one that shoots in the direction you point it."

There's accuracy and there's accuracy.  If all you want is to hit your target, sure, the "direction that you point" thing is fine.  But if your intention is to blow apart the vertebrae at the base of your target's skull, putting a bullet through the fleshy edge of their necks an inch west or into their shoulder two inches southeast is a pretty severe lapse of precision, and it doesn't take much variation to alter the path of a bullet.  One problem of silencers is that they screw on and off, so even if tooled properly, and practiced with, if it isn't screwed on exactly as you did it in practice, you're really not shooting the same weapon.  Marksmanship is a precision game, anything that affects precision - even at close range - is dangerous.

As someone pointed out, long distance bullets spend part of their trajectory at supersonic speed, meaning a silencer will be of negligible use, because a silencer only muffles the explosion of the propellant.  An object traveling at supersonic speed will make its own sound, though commonly not until after the bullet has struck.  But that extra sound is enough to determine your general location if someone's paying attention.  And, like I said, silencers aren't nearly as silent as movies and TV make them out to be.  They're like mufflers on a car; they may cut the noise down considerably, but there's still noise.

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Anyway, I'm very happy for all this to be a theoretical issue for me. I don't currently own any firearms of any sort, being married to a woman who doesn't trust herself to have one available. I don't miss it. I noticed that -- speaking only for myself and my own life -- each situation I got into where it seemed wiser to carry a gun, it seemed wiser still to just stay away.

I'd agree with that.  There are a very, very few situations where carrying a gun increases your life expectancy, and generally retreat is the wiser option if it's available.  But "doesn't trust herself to have one available"?  This sounds fascinating, tell me more.  I can see her simply not wanting a gun around, a lot of people don't, but not trusting herself to have one available?  There's a story in there I want to hear.

- Grant

J Thomas on August 19, 2009, 12:26:35 pm
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But it depends on so many random variables - the specific cop, the current security level and whether they know a murder has been committed etc., how closely they look at your weapon and if they choose to confiscate it (which, in most cases, they're supposed to, if it's an unregistered weapon) - that a professional won't leave it to luck if at all possible.

The more often you carry it, the more certain that something will eventually go wrong. Having a chance you might get by after an accident is better than having no chance. It's one of the variables to juggle.

"Particularly for women, and if you're doing that sort of thing and you don't have a woman to carry the weapon most of the time, what's wrong with you?"


If it's spy-type stuff, she's on the team. If it's criminal stuff, after the first successful hit she's an accomplice and she has a lot to lose by
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Could be if you're murdering people in contravention of local law you don't want an accomplice who can sell you out to save her own skin if you're picked up.

If it's spy-type stuff, she's on the team. If it's criminal stuff, after the first successful hit she's an accomplice and she has a lot to lose by turning on you. Of course you want a woman who doesn't get too emotionally reactive....

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You start underpowering the bullets in your .22 pistol and you're back in botched job territory, unless you manage to hit exactly right.  I dunno about conspicuous; I can sheath a fairly large knife to my forearm and if I were wearing a jacket you'd never know it was there.  And you can easily kill someone with a knife much more concealable than that.

True. I was thinking about being conspicuous when you use it, but that's potentially manageable.

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If ... your intention is to blow apart the vertebrae at the base of your target's skull, putting a bullet through the fleshy edge of their necks an inch west or into their shoulder two inches southeast is a pretty severe lapse of precision, and it doesn't take much variation to alter the path of a bullet.

When it's all your own initiative, and you decide whether to go ahead or wait for a better chance, look at the choices here. Get in very close and manage with a knife or small handgun, versus try to get them from a distance. At pointblank range your first shot with a handgun is as accurate as your first thrust with a knife. You touch them with the barrel where you want your entry point to be and you pull the trigger.

Try for a larger distance and it's louder, and less accurate, and a silencer makes it less accurate still, and you have a whole lot of tradeoffs. When somebody is shooting at you and you want to shoot back you get no choice about the range. When it's entirely your hit, you do. Then the advantage of a gun over a knife is less, and likely sometimes the knife is better. For example it's easier to get a ceramic knife than a ceramic gun. (My sister's ex-boyfriend had one. He said he had it because he worked for the Department of Agriculture. I didn't understand why a government-issued ceramic handgun wouldn't have a serial number but he assured me it was standard.

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But "doesn't trust herself to have one available"?  This sounds fascinating, tell me more.

No big story. PTSD. She says she has lots of violent fantasies. That's been true of every woman I've ever known well so it doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but she doesn't want to think about what she might do if she had a gun handy. She thinks about suicide sometimes too, which she doesn't admit to anybody but me since it's legally actionable. I've never heard of a mother with three children who didn't think about suicide sometimes....

wdg3rd on August 19, 2009, 06:00:42 pm
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I imagine that if gun silencers had not been invented then we might be using small hand held crossbows.

Gun silencers haven't been invented yet.  The correct term is suppressor.
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Definitely. There was a secret WWII program to make small crossbows for that purpose, and then after all the secrecy FDR put up a display in the white house to impress his friends. In 1948 israeli terrorists used small crossbows to take out british sentries, which to my mind says that maybe their access to US military secrets goes back that far.

This is all hearsay. I read it in a book.

I can imagine that one of the advantages of small silenced handguns (extremely accurate -- they shoot the direction you point them) for spy-type things is that they are more common. If by some unlikely accident a small handgun is found you might be able to talk your way out. "My wife is nervous and I got it for her, I forgot I had it." It might work. But if somebody finds you with a concealable high-tech crossbow they will be *interested*.

My own small crossbow is not concealable, but if I was caught with it in New Jersey, (not even concealed, just in my house), it's as bad as having a firearm not listed in Trenton.  New Jersey brags of being the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they certainly don't respect it lately.  Gotta get my ass up to New Hampshire.

Being quiet, my crossbow would be really useful (late at night) if my backyard garden was effective bait.  But we're in the only county in Jersey that isn't overpopulated with antlered rats.  And I really do prefer venison to eggplant.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

D.Inife on October 29, 2009, 06:43:45 pm
So from what I hear AoD appears to be going for realisticness as much as possible. If thats true, why would I want to use melee weapons katana, saber, crowbar, etc if my pc will get shot to smithereens before he can close to melee range?

Also, how many shots form a pistol does it take to kill your pc? 2? 4?

ravi80k on January 23, 2010, 08:54:55 pm
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My own small crossbow is not concealable, but if I was caught with it in New Jersey, (not even concealed, just in my house), it's as bad as having a firearm not listed in Trenton.  New Jersey brags of being the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but they certainly don't respect it lately.  Gotta get my ass up to New Hampshire.

Being quiet, my crossbow would be really useful (late at night) if my backyard garden was effective bait.  But we're in the only county in Jersey that isn't overpopulated with antlered rats.  And I really do prefer venison to eggplant.

I would really like to see a picture of the small crossbow that you are talinkg about.
But in many self defense cases the enemy (or anyone) comes to near, so it is better use a knife or gun (it is too much risky). Crossbow will do good if the target is somewhat far away.
And in addition to crossbow talk, there are crossbow arrows with chemicals/poison, if you want to be the attack lethal then go for poisoned arrow, or else go for a arrow with sleeping drugs or something :)

Sean Roach on January 24, 2010, 12:13:53 am
You know...Hercules was quite happy with his poisoned arrows...
I think he said something about it shortly after his last visit with one of his drinking buddies.  Some six limbed sage fellow.  Immortal.  Got a patch of starlight out of the deal.