Drop Gun
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Basic Information

A drop gun is an illicit backup weapon carried by someone (typically a police officer) who has a primary weapon in their possession to which a ballistic match can easily be made. The drop gun is generally used in cases where the user feels that someone needs shooting, but using their registered weapon would generate too many inappropriate questions.

Obviously the drop-gun cannot be one that can be traced to the user - there's no point simply holstering your service pistol and pulling out something you bought down the local gun shop. Such things are usually acquired either on the black market or by outright theft (or at least skimming): police officers in particular are prone to acquire their drop guns from surplus weapons seized from criminals and intercepted before being logged as evidence. Military users are likewise prone to use captured enemy weapons - although since military adventures in this sphere tend to be organised at a higher level there are more opportunities to exchange "scrapped" weapons with foreign allies and suchlike.

In police work in particular some of the best drop guns are those that already have a ballistic "footprint" … that can be linked to other crimes, thus obfuscating the trail and introducing the possibility that the target was killed by another criminal. In an emergency drop guns can also be planted on a target and/or exchanged for their actual weapon … if one or bother weapons were fired some efforts may be needed to prevent incongruities1. Or not, depending on the competence and commitment of those investigating the shooting.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Where any sense of stringency applies, PCs will probably need these sort of weapons unless they have worrying levels of legal immunity.
  • The military version is better used for plausible deniability or outright false flag operations - and some degree of (misleading) traceability is actually quite useful for false-flagging.
  • Speaking of which, its also possible for police users to be issued "non-standard" weapons, but if the issue is official, it will usually be for undercover work so that the officer is not carrying a standard police issue pistol, complete with armourer's stamps and serial number (and possibly "property of Keystone Police Department" engraved on the side).
    • Of course, police standard issue sidearms can be stolen or otherwise acquired, but having one is a greater obstacle to passing as someone who is "not a cop".
  • This reinforces the role of weapons as treasure.
  • You can also play this backwards when the PCs are the investigators.
  • Note the tendency to use guns that already have a "footprint". This might cause trouble for someone who was released but had a weapon confiscated2, and no end of problems sorting out who had a stolen gun at what time.
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