This is a page that lists the numerous types of weaponry found on the battlefield, whether a modern one or not. Many of these weapon types are actually quite old, even the assault rifle dates back to the 1910s and was first widely issued in World War II, and the sniper rifle even further back, at least The American Civil War, if not further; the actual concept of sniping was invented in the Revolutionary War.
As expected, significant overlap with Standard FPS Guns. Game designers had to get the ideas from somewhere.
Here's the list:
Firearms and Explosives
- Assault Rifle: Common infantry rifle of the modern military. Defining characteristics: Fires an intermediate caliber round (round in power between handgun ammunition and full power rifle ammunition), select fire, and feeds from detachable magazines. Designed, or at least optimized for fighting within 300 meters. Most examples have two fire modes: semiautomatic and fully automatic. Examples include the M16, AKM, Steyr AUG, AR18, F2000, Vz 58...
- Battle Rifle: Rifles which fire cartridges of full rifle power, such as 30-06, or at the top end of intermediate, such as 7.62x51. Fed by magazines. Some were select fire. Some were semiautomatic only. Some fed from manual actions. Early Battle rifles from before the Cold War were usually bolt-action or otherwise manually cycled; later ones were fully automatic or semi-automatic. Largely replaced by lighter-caliber assault rifles in the '60s and '70s, though they serve as the basis for many designated marksman rifles (see below). Older bolt-action battle rifles are typically used today for hunting; not surprising, given that a number of such designs were based off of civilian hunting rifles. Full-auto battle rifles were almost always used semi-automatic by competent troops — accuracy with full-auto fire is typically abysmal due to recoil, wasting the range and power that are the battle rifle's strong suits. In fact, the British/Commonwealth battle rifle of the Cold War era, the L1A1 SLR, was semi-automatic only for this exact reason. Examples of early rifles include the British Lee-Enfield, the Russian Mosin-Nagant, the American M1903 Springfield and M1 Garand (one of the few semi-auto examples from before the Cold War), and the German Mauser series; later rifles include the H&K G3, the American M14 and the Belgian FN FAL (the aforementioned L1A1 was an FAL variant).
- Some of these are being reintroduced onto the frontlines as rifles for designated marksmen, who are not snipers and they do not carry sniper rifles; they're part of a normal infantry unit, but they have a more powerful rifle to give them reach to provide limited enhanced range precision fire support. The concept originated in the Soviet armed forces, but has since been copied by NATO countries, including the United States. DM rifles are not as accurate as sniper rifles. Examples: PSL, M110, SVD, M14 EBR.
- Carbine: A carbine is a smaller, shorter and lighter version of a rifle. Carbines are mainly used for troops who have to operate in confined spaces or otherwise would only be impeded by a larger rifle, such as paratroopers, mounted infantry, support troops, and REMF's at forward bases. Examples: AK-105, M4...
- Light Machine Gun: Squad level support weapon. Some models use the same ammunition as assault rifles, while others use full powered rifle ammunition. Some of the smaller caliber designs, like the RPK, feed from service rifle box magazines, and may even be adapted from the service rifle mechanism. In addition to the RPK, the MG 36, L86A1 LSW, and Type 95 are examples of this type. There are also heavier, purpose built light machine guns, which typically feed from longer belts. This family includes the FN Minimi, the MG4, and the RPD.
- General Purpose Machinegun / Medium Machine Gun: The LMG's big brother. Uses a large rifle caliber, such as 7.62x51mm or 7.62x54mm. Almost always uses a belt-feed. These guns are often called general purpose machine guns, because they are light enough to be carried by normal infantry, but have the power to kill more than just men. Examples: MG42, FN MAG, PKP, M60, MG3, HK21.
- Heavy Machine Gun: A step up from the general purpose. These things are almost always mounted on vehicles or emplacements rather than carried, on account of the lightest of them starting at about 75 pounds before ammo and mounts. These things can destroy cover, men, and lighter armored vehicles from hundreds of meters away. They used calibers such as 12.7x99mm (50 BMG), 12.7x108mm, and 14.5x114mm. Examples: Browning M2, DShK, KPV, Kord, NSV.
- Sniper Rifle: Extreme range weapons for specialized troops. Many are modified civilian hunting rifles, fitted with higher-quality scopes and using good-quality ammunition. They are chambered in full power rifle calibers and have optimum ranges of between 600M and 1KM. Examples: M24, SV-98, Mosin-Nagant 91/30
- Anti-Materiel Rifle: Distinct from sniper rifles, these heavy weapons use larger-caliber rounds, usually starting at around .50cal (12.7mm) and going all the way up to around 20mm. They are generally used to take out enemy materiel, punching holes in fuel tanks or engine blocks to disable important enemy vehicles from a distance, or taking out things like communications infrastructure; they can be used against people, but this isn't their intended purpose - though they're still very good at it. Their larger, more powerful ammunition also tends to be deadly at longer ranges than regular sniper rifles. Examples: Z93 Black Arrow, GM6 Lynx, Barret M82
- Submachine Gun: Small light weapons generally only effective to one hundred meters. Essentially machine guns which fire pistol rounds. SMG's have fallen out of favor since WW2 on account of assault rifles being able to do everything they can and beyond while not requiring doing logistics for more weapons and calibers. Example: PPSh-41, PPS-43, Uzi, TMP, MP-5, Bizon, L2 Sterling.
- Personal Defense Weapon: The PDW is an attempt at giving new life to the SMG by creating new rounds to defeat armor in a bid to appeal to militaries with non-combat personnel who nevertheless might need to fight, such as truck drivers and artillerymen. The PDW concept has been a commercial flop for several reasons. Firstly, compact assault rifles are just better and easier for militaries. Secondly, everything about them is proprietary; proprietary magazines, ammo, parts... the mass-production capacity required for widespread adoption just doesn't exist in a lot of cases, whilst also making them too expensive for private ownership where that's allowed. Thirdly, PDW rounds (5.7x28 and 4.6x30) are both tiny and lack stopping power. Fourthly, armor-piercing ammunition for the already long-established calibers such as 7.62x25, 9x18, and 9x19, all of which are far more lethal and economical and versatile than the newcomers.
- Shotgun: Large bore weapon firing buckshot or solid slugs. Generally effective to the same range as SMGs, but have greater spread. Some models have rifled barrels, but this is uncommon; it doesn't help much with shot (or can even be actively detrimental) even when it does help with slugs. Pump action is the most popular, examples of this type include the Remington 870 Modular Combat Shotgun and Winchester 1200 of America; but semiautomatic models are becoming more popular, examples of this type include the Saiga series of Russia. Their larger caliber allows for more unusual payloads than smaller firearms, such as taser darts, miniaturized grenades, or pyrotechnic 'fire-breathing' rounds, though many of them are of questionable effectiveness and even more questionable aerodynamics.
- Fully-automatic Shotgun: Just what it sounds like, a weapon that takes a simple shotgun and turns the dakka factor up to eleven. Sadly, this type of weapon didn't quite take off, simply because there aren't enough situations were you'd NEED a full-auto shotgun—unfortunately, you always need your weapon to be cheaper and more reliable, both of which automatic shotguns are less spectacular at compared to their slower firing cousins. Example: USAS-12, AA-12.
- Semi-automatic pistol: Magazine-loaded and can be held in one hand. Small and light, but very low power. Usually only good to fifty meters, although given normal human marksmanship, seldom effective past ten. Examples: Colt M1911, TT-33, Makarov PM, Browning Hi-Power, Walther P38, HK USP, Sig Sauer P226.
- Machine pistol: A fully-automatic pistol. Pretty much the poster child for Awesome, but Impractical. Of only extremely specialized use; their effective range tends to be abysmal due to a combination of factors like short barrel length, high recoil, and low weight. Examples: Stechkin, Vz 68.
- Revolver: For a time the revolver was the sidearm of choice for many people, used in the times of The Wild West up to World War II, eventually being replaced by semi-automatic weaponry. Put simply, it features a solid metal cylinder with several separate chambers for each bullet, with the chambers arranged in a circle so the cylinder can simply rotate to ready the next round. Revolvers have been out of favor with most world militaries for more than a century now, their only real domain being large bore big game handgun hunting. The vast majority hold six rounds in the cylinder; models with particularly large calibers or small frames might hold as few as five, whilst larger frames and smaller calibers can go up to eight or nine rounds. Examples: Smith & Wesson Model 500, Colt Python, Mateba Model 6 Autorevolver.
- Grenade Launcher: Large bore (usually 40mm in diameter) weapon firing a large, typically explosive projectile (though a variety of payloads exist for most of these devices, such as smoke, incendiary, etcetera). Militaries have experimented with more advanced smaller-diameter grenades (20~25mm) that can do fancy things like detonate after a set time in flight (such as just after passing through a window or over a wall) to increase their lethality, but the costs, complexity, and size/weight of the tech involved have made it so that they haven't really caught on yet. Many are attachments used on other weapons; examples of this type include the M203 and M320 used by American forces and the GP series of Russia. Others, like the Milkor MGL and the M79, are used as standalone weapons systems.
- The earliest versions consisted of a muzzle attachment and special ammunition, used to launch a grenade that was fixed to the barrel of the infantryman's weapon. These rifle grenades were heavy, awkward, and could physically damage the barrels of the weapons they were used in to the point of making the weapon uselessly inaccurate for practical combat usage. As a result they fell out of favour in the decades following World War II, being replaced by either underbarrel or standalone launcher systems, or shoulder-fired weapons.
- Grenade Machine Gun, also referred to as an Automatic Grenade Launcher. Someone realized you could combine the belt feed system of a machinegun with grenades, so here we are. They are not subtle weapons, but when you want to indiscriminately blanket an area with explosions and shrapnel without flat-out levelling the target as a more powerful explosive might, look no further. As demoralizing and disorienting as they are deadly, they can even rattle vehicles and potentially damage external components even if they can't meaningfully harm the vehicle itself.
- Rocket Launcher: Very large, very heavy weapon firing rockets. Usually only used against tough targets like tanks, though some do have high-explosive, incendiary, or other more exotic warheads, they can either be reusable or disposable. This type includes the AT4 of
AmericaSweden, a one shot disposable system; the ubiquitous RPG series of Russia; and the Shoulder Mounted Assault Weapon, or SMAW, of America. Some models (such as the aforementioned AT4) are actually 'recoilless rifles', which operate a bit more like cannons and offset their recoil by ejecting material from the back of the launching system, but they both serve the same general purpose so the distinction is generally academic in the heat of battle.
- Missile Launcher: Usually even bigger and heavier than a Rocket Launcher due to the added targeting hardware required, these weapons are used when you need to be sure of a hit. Guided missiles can track targets via several means, with most being either infrared or electro-optically guided, though some use manual guidance. Depending on the design, they can be used against aircraft (such as the FIM-92 Stinger) or against ground targets (such as the FGM-148 Javelin). The largest models consist of a standalone launcher and connected guidance unit (or are even mounted to a vehicle), allowing the operators to place the (relatively disposable) launching unit somewhere and then launch from a different location, making it much harder for their enemies to react effectively; even if the enemy figures out where the missile came from, the team who fired it were nowhere near that spot to begin with and are long gone by the time a thorough search can be carried out. More advanced models can also follow an indirect flight path and strike targets in more vulnerable locations such as their weaker top armour, further increasing their anti-tank capabilities.
- Flamethrower: A pressurized tank of flammable liquid, connected to a directable nozzle with an ignition source that allows burning liquid to be sprayed up to fifty meters. Meant for clearing trenches and bunkers, but they also have a pretty horrible effect on infantry. Portable flamethrowers usually have the fuel tank carried on the user's back with a harness; stationary and vehicle-mounted models also exist. However, flamethrowers are possibly the least stealthy infantry weapon ever; lighting one up immediately guarantees every enemy in your vicinity now has it out for you specifically, which is a major problem coupled with the flamethrower's short range and heavy weight. Because of this, flamethrowers have fallen out of favor in recent years, thanks to improvements in other incendiary and cover-negating weapons like rocket launchers that can do the flamethrower's job without requiring the user to expose himself to enemy fire.
- Hand Grenade: Only goes as far as you can throw it, and many can create blast effects much farther than that (so Take Cover! after you toss). Comes in two types: stick grenades, which are more or less bombs on sticks and can be thrown a fair distance, but have mostly fallen out of service; and regular hand grenades, sometimes referred to as "pineapple" or "lemon" grenades, which can't be thrown as far. Create blast and shrapnel clouds, which can cause injuries at up to fifteen meters. One example is the M67 "pineapple" grenade of America. In the Russian military, standard hand grenades are called "offensive grenades", and heavy hand grenades with a burst radius greater than their throw range are "defensive", meant to be thrown from cover. There are also plenty of other kinds, such as smoke grenades (for when you need to Smoke Out), tear gas and flashbang grenades (though these are generally only used by law enforcement), incendiary grenades for when you want to set something on fire, and more. Some can be easily improvised using household supplies, such as the infamous Molotov Cocktail.
- Land Mine: One of the best ways to deter an enemy from chasing you, or to simply deny access to an area (or route, or etc.), land mines are either manually-detonated or sensor-triggered. The most basic version is simply a hand grenade with the pin removed or loosened but the grenade's activation lever held in place by a line or cord under tension. When something disturbs the line, the lever is released and the grenade is free to detonate. Certain types can use pressure plates or other triggers, but the end result is the same. Larger ones might only be triggered by a sufficiently high weight (such as a tank's treads, but not an infantryman's boot) and pack a commensurately powerful charge. Notably illegal under most of The Laws and Customs of War, specifically the Ottawa Treaty, as a retreating army rarely has the opportunity (or inclination) to disarm and retrieve their own mines, and they can very easily cause civilian casualties - unfortunately the highest-profile cases often being children. Crude, homemade versions are usually referred to as an "improvized explosive device", but the end result is the same.
- Bounding Mine: A type of anti-personnel mine which, when triggered, uses a small explosive charge to launch itself into the air and then detonates the main mine, spraying shrapnel horizontally at belly height. The most infamous type, the S-Mine or "Bouncing Betty", was used by the Germans in WWII.
- Directional mine: A type of anti-personnel mine that's meant to be stood up on the ground or fixed to a wall. When detonated, it sends the majority of its shrapnel in a limited arc in front of it, creating a shotgun effect that leaves whatever's behind the mine relatively unharmed (though you still wouldn't want to stand immediately behind one going off). Examples: M18 Claymore, MON-50.
- Flame Fougasse: An incendiary mine that consists of a tank of flammable fuel with an explosive charge to launch it towards the target area. Flame fougasses were invented by Britain in early WWII when the threat of German invasion loomed; they were to be set up in concealed positions (such as behind garden hedges, giving them the nickname "Hedge Hoppers") and manually detonated from a distance when the Jerries entered the target area, dousing them in burning fuel.
- Off-Route Mine: A type of anti-vehicle mine that sits next to the target route instead of on it. Upon detonating, it either fires an explosively formed penetrator at the target at stupendous velocity, or lobs an anti-tank round at it like a miniature cannon. Examples: MPB, PARM-1.
- Anti-Handling Device: A dirty trick used to kill enemy minesweepers—a second, hidden detonator meant to trigger the mine (or sometimes a separate explosive) if it's opened, dug up, or otherwise disturbed. These can be as simple as wedging a grenade with its pin removed under the mine, so that its safety lever pops out if the mine is shifted. (And remember what we said about land mines not discriminating between soldiers and civilians? Yeah, that also applies to these little surprises.)
- Satchel Charge: When you really want to blow a big hole in something. These essentially started out as a keg full of gunpowder, then 'evolved' into a bunch of hand grenades (and/or whatever other explosives might be handy) packed into a suitable bag, and either way secured on/against whatever needed blowing up with some kind of (usually timed, but sometimes remote) fuse to give the user time to get to a safe distance so as not to be Hoist by His Own Petard. As technology and war has advanced they've gotten a little more refined (shaped cutting charges, more powerful explosives, and similar improvements), but the basic principle remains the same. Rarely useful against a moving or alerted target, but perfect for sabotaging a bridge you know the enemy needs to use to keep their troops supplied. Distinct from a land mine in that mines are usually a defensive or area-denial measure, whereas a satchel is usually for offensive purposes.
- Sword: Numerous variants exist, from the Japanese katana to the European rapier, but one thing is common: a short hilt, followed by a long one or two edged blade. Swords can be either straight or curved. Curved blades like the katana or scimitar serve as cutting weapons. Normally used against lightly armored or unarmored opponents. Cutting swords were ineffective against metal armor, but thrusts could break through mail and slide between plate gaps. Swords required better and more materials and superior craftsmanship compared to polearms or blunt weapons, and so were more often the preserve of the elite, upper-class, or simply professional soldiers (where the sword would hopefully pay for itself).
- Combat Knife: Usually kept as the last resort for any soldier. Short, light, nimble, easy to use and capable of almost anything, although their main use is as tools; some are designed to be used in conjunction with their sheath or scabbard for tasks like cutting through wire. One example is the American KA-BAR knife, which used to be in service with the Marine Corps.
- Bayonet: A knife you can fit onto the front of your rifle, thereby giving you a short spear. Bayonets have been used for centuries, and were decisive weapons in the days before repeating firearms. The earliest 'plug' bayonets simply got shoved straight into the barrel, preventing the gun from being fired whilst it was installed; later ones use special lugs to affix the bayonet under the barrel, aligned but not impeding.
- Daggers and Dirks: The more ancient equivalent of the above, used as a back up weapon by those who can afford it, a concealed weapon by assassins, or even as a primary form of armament by a poor man which would have had difficulty getting his hands on a larger weapon. Unlike the single edged knives, suited for both slashing and stabbing, these double edged blades were instead optimized purely for stabbing, typically to allow them to pierce armor, which they did quite well assuming one could get close enough to make use of the dagger's limited reach.
- Punching Daggers: a somewhat silly-looking weapon, the basic idea is a blade that is held such that the user, well, punches with it. They could be held like brass knuckles or strap to the forearm, and could be slashing or stabbing weapons.
- Axes: Contrary to popular belief, a weapon made for slicing and dicing, not chopping and cleaving. They do it just as well as a sword, for less than half the price, materials, and training (and, consequently, significantly less prestige). Extremely reliable, cheap to fix, and works wonders as a combat hook to trip enemies or control their weapons. May serve double duty as a tool, in some cases. Ranges in size from "throwable" to "this counts as a polearm." Affix the top of the axe with a point for stabbing, and you essentially have a sword that doubles as a hook. Though media loves to portray them as double-headed, this is a rare configuration exclusive to the Labrys of the Bronze Age, and was largely a symbolic thing rather than a practical weapon.
- Hatchet, tomahawk, keteriya, boarding axe: Smaller axes made specifically to serve as tools in the off-hours, hunting food, whittling wood, cutting branches or ropes, and skinning animals. Often depicted as being dual wielded but this was less than practical, although some Native American martial art styles involve dual wielding a tomahawk with a knife. The only axe that still sees limited modern military use, for it's survival utility.
- One-handed axe, Ono, Yue: With less prestige than a sword, most regular axes go unnamed. Such is the most common variant, which can only be called one-handed more often than not. Often found accompanying a shield, and the two are extremely effective when combined. Was also extremely useful against shields; where spears and swords get stuck, an axe breaks wooden shields with gusto.
- Horseman/Cavalry Axe, Sagaris: A larger axe generally made entirely of metal, instead of having a wooden shaft. These heavy axes are technically one-handed, made to combine the weight distribution of an axe with the force of a charging horse, or the gravity from high on horseback. One of the few axe variants sometimes made with a handguard, since you won't be doing much choking up on it from the back of a mount. Also the only axe that was wielded how you typically picture a battle-axe to be wielded.
- Dane-axe, bardiche, Parashu, Shepherd's Axe, two-handed axe, etc: The big boys that weren't as big or as heavy as you think. Generally, this was as big as an axe could get without being considered a polearm. Deceptively light with a wide range of combat utility, the two-handed axe is one of the reasons Vikings were thought to be monstrous in combat.
- Polearms: Simply put, Blade on a Stick. This can be a spear, glaive, halberd, naginata or pollaxe. Polearms were the primary weapon of pre-industrial militaries, not swords, contrary to popular belief. Swords require a good deal of metal and time to forge them well, and even more time to learn/teach someone to use effectively. Although intricate fighting systems such as naginatajutsu exist for polearms, the essence of it on the field was "stick the pointy end into the other guy". Much easier to drill. The modern concept of a bayonet essentially allows a firearm to function as one (if by 'modern' you mean 'since someone noticed longarms were long and a wood/metal mix).
- Bludgeoning Weapons: Hammer, mace, morningstar, flail, you name it. If it wasn't meant to cut or thrust, it was meant to deal massive blunt force trauma. Common for European knights, who came to wear full plate, and primarily designed specifically for fighting an enemy in plate. Since you can't get a sword through plate unless it's at the joints, the only other way to damage a fighter wearing it is blunt force - smashing their sternum or skull in, breaking an arm or leg, or just as often simply denting their armor enough that they couldn't move well enough to stop you from taking them prisoner! (Particularly useful if you want to ransom that rival nobleman you're fighting.) If Deadliest Warrior is to be believed, the samurai had their own version of this - the kanabo. Also popular with monks, who were technically not allowed to "spill blood". Of course, smashing somebody upside the head with anything hard and metal is going to make a mess, whether the implement is sharp or not.
- Clubs and Maces: smaller bashing weapons, generally a length of wood, with or without metals bits on the end. More impressive ones were all-metal. Spike(s) on the head optional. Flanges were very popular.
- Flails: like the above, except with a length of chain between the handle and the head, which improves range and makes for a harder strike.
- Quarterstaff: essentially a long piece of whatever material is available; the Blade Onna Stick minus the blade.
- Brass Knuckles: a chunk of metal with holes for your fingers; you hold it tightly and punch people with it. Not great for defensive purposes, but readily concealable.
- Saps, Coshes, and Blackjacks: these cover anything, from bags of sand to purpose-built metal implements, designed for hitting upside the head in an alley. Quiet and easy to hide, but hoping to use one in a fair fight is.. optimistic.
- Guns. If an enemy gets within reach of you, especially when you are trying to reload, your only option might be to club them with your firearm. Many military forces train in the use of a rifle as a melee weapon for this reason, especially as bayonets have fallen out of favour.
Non-Firearms Projectile Weapons
- Bow and Arrow: The Mongol recurve bow, the English longbow, the Japanese daikyu — almost every culture has its own variant. The bow uses recoil tension to shoot an arrow (or volley thereof) at the enemy. Usually made from wood, but the Mongol recurve bow could be made of horn. The string could be made of various materials such as sinew. The bow could be shot from horseback or from a chariot. Training for archers took a very long time, because you both have to train a bowman to be able to make hits, but you also have to condition their body to be capable of using a bow for hours. Skeletons of English longbowmen show that their upper bodies had heavier bones on account of the insane training needed by archers. Despite what anime may make you believe, war bows required far more strength and skill to use than any other weapon in history. It was said that to train a proper bowman, you had to start with his grandfather.
- Longbows: made famous by the English (and, ironically, pioneered against them by the Welsh), this is pretty much what it sounds like: a larger, longer bow (as tall as the user or taller), with a higher draw strength (the force used to pull the string back). All of this makes the longbow shoot greater distances with more force. The weapon of choice for raining arrows in fiction.
- Composite Bows: made famous by the Mongols. Composite and recurve bows use different constructions to put more force behind the launched arrows.
- Crossbows: these weapons use the same principle as bows, but crossbows use a trigger mechanism to keep the bowstring taut, ready to shoot, for up to several minutes before firing. Heavier crossbows used winches or similar mechanisms to add to the user's strength. Automatic Crossbows were experimented with by most militaries that issued the normal kind, but never became as widespread outside of China, where they were in use by the military as late as 1895.
- Ballistae/Scorpios: Singular ballista and scorpio. These weapons appear very similar to crossbows but function using different mechanisms. Bows and crossbows are flexion engines (they use the bending of the bow as a source of power), whereas ballistae and scorpios are torsion engines: they use the stretching of a material (usually animal sinew) as a source of power. When the arms of the weapon are pulled back, the sinew at the base of each arm is stretched significantly, creating impressive force. Ballistae were siege engines, mainly used against dense infantry formations and battlements, while scorpios were lighter and designed more for general anti-infantry purposes. The cheiroballistra/manuballista was a later smaller version that did not require a squad to operate: they were even sometimes attached to chariots, where they were called carroballistae, an ancient precursor to vehicular mounted firearms.
- Javelin: A thrown spear. A really heavy one comparatively. Some variants (such as the Roman pilum) had a head consisting of a forged tip on top of a shaft of relatively soft unforged iron. The result was when these were thrown, the soft iron shaft would bend. This served several purposes - one, it made the javelin useless (and unable to be returned); two, the bent shaft would make it near impossible to remove the javelin from a shield, rendering the shield either unwieldy or potentially unusable.
- Sling: Two straps with a pocket to hold a projectile (traditionally a lead pellet or smooth stone) in the middle. The projectile was swung around in the pocket and one of the straps released, causing the projectile to fly forward. Many Roman examples had various taunts cast on their lead pellets (e.g. "Dexa", meaning catch, "For Pompey's arse", a simple emblem or just boring old details of the soldier it was issued to). Typically a poor man's weapon of choice, due to the low cost and ease of manufacture and maintenance of both the sling and its ammo compared to the bow and arrow (even the higher grade lead projectiles were much easier to make than arrows, and when those aren't available, simple rocks would serve well enough).
- Dart: A small projectile, similar to a crossbow bolt, designed to be launched by hand.
- Blowgun: A simple tube (usually made from plants) loaded with a single dart, fired by blowing into it hard. Usually more accurate, faster and more effective than hand-thrown darts. Usually used to launch poison darts.
- Dartgun: Looks a lot like a normal rifle, but uses blasts of compressed air to fire darts. Often used to deliver tranquilizer darts to someone or something, like an escaping prisoner or a rampaging animal.
- Throwing Knife: A knife which is specially weighted (typically using a tang as a handle) to be thrown. Rarely seen on the battlefield, as the most effective way to throw one is end over end, meaning that it took quite a bit of practice to make sure the weapon would strike a moving target blade first. A short range doesn't help.
- Throwing Axe: Like above, but with an axe. The limitations are similar, with the primary difference being that the axe would cause greater damage to a target, while a fighter could carry more throwing knives. An axe has even more precise weight distribution than a knife, so even if it hits the target with a handle or not-sharpened part of the head, it'll still bruise or disorient where a thrown knife might simply glance off harmlessly. Also quite effective at breaking shields in shield walls before charge, and is generally more useful when pressed into melee combat than a throwing knife.
- Shuriken: A bit like a throwing knife. A traditional Japanese concealed weapon, supposedly used a lot by Ninja. Often small and easily concealed. This is an assassin's weapon, a soldier on a field of battle would likely struggle to make use of it due to a poor range and lackluster armor penetration, with the primary advantage of conceal-ability put to waste. Generally not used with the intent to cause a lethal wound (if it was used to kill, it would be poisoned).