Long Arms
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Basic Information

A generic term for firearms designed to fired from the shoulder … generally used to separate them from pistols, which in context are called sidearms. Weapons such as the submachinegun blur the distinction a little but would generally not be thought of as a long arm.

This category definitely includes shotguns and rifles, even cut down versions (carbines are usually included out of courtesy) and by extension similar, older weapons such as muskets, hand cannon and arquebuses, but does not usually stretch to support weapons - even light machine guns which might otherwise be included.

Generally long arms have significant benefits in terms of accuracy and ease of use (due to their braced firing position and natural aim characteristics) which are balanced to some degree by their size and mass.

Not to be confused with or opposed to small arms - in fact, long arms are arguably a subset of small arms.

Some Types of Long Arms

Some Notable Examples


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • In many places long arms are subject to less oppressive legal restrictions than handguns.
  • On the other hand, places where the carrying of handguns is relatively common may still look askance at people carrying longarms.
  • Context is important here - even in the UK, someone carrying a single action shotgun down a country lane might not raise too many eyebrows, nor a hunting rifle in some parts of the US, whereas any handgun is likely to cause hoplophobic panic in the UK whilst some states of the US allow free open carry of handguns.
  • Pre-black powder, and for direct comparison, consider polearms to be the cold steel equivalents (there's a spear counterpart joke in here somewhere), with swords and the like as contemporary sidearms.
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