I have a character who lost an arm. How much combat could she realistically engage in? What kind of weapons or fighting style would best suit her?

Handguns. No, really. Losing a limb will make using most weapons, and styles in combat impossible. Your character won’t be as accurate with a single hand, but they could remain functional in combat.

Probably a revolver, specifically. They’re harder to reload, especially with one hand, but I’ve found most revolvers are more comfortable in one hand than semi-automatics.

Reloading is going to involve shoving the revolver into the armpit of the missing arm, popping a magazine out with their remaining hand, fishing a fresh magazine out and loading it. They’d need to chamber it using either the holster (rotating 90 degrees and pressing against the holster will do this with most semi-auto pistols), or by using the armpit trick… which I couldn’t really recommend in the real world.

Reloading a revolver is probably possible, but I’m not sure exactly how that would work.

There are other weapons you can wield with one hand, but in combat, especially in close combat, you really need the other hand, simply for the utility factor.

Knives are out because, once your character’s hand is tied up, their foe still has another hand free to attack with. The same is true with swords. Staves, and polearms can’t be wielded single handed. There are flourishes and exhibition techniques that are one handed, but they’re useless in an actual fight. No hand to hand styles will be able to keep up with someone who has more limbs than you, not really. So we’re left with guns, or a prosthetic replacement limb, if that’s something your setting supports.

-Starke

EDIT:

lastgreatpoolparty said: Seems like the trick with the revolver is not needing to reload. Don’t miss, I guess.

That’s always been my takeaway. Revolvers can be frighteningly accurate (especially when manually cocked) in comparison to semi-automatics, so while shot placement is more important, it’s also easier.

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