Selecting Firearms for Hunting Monsters

What is the best equip choice for a monster hunter (urban, in modern days)? Such as: shotgun, rifle middle-distance, precision rifle long-distance, handgun?

All of the above, and then some.

Honestly, the distinction between mid-range and long-range rifles is a bit misleading in an urban setting. You’re probably not engaging at ranges where an intermediate cartridge is going to start falling off, but at the same time, you could be dealing with creatures that justify anti-material rounds.

Shotguns are excellent tool for dealing with large creatures (or humans) at ranges up to around 100 meters. These are not the melee range weapons that a lot of pop culture (especially video games) presents them as. They’re also an excellent option for specialized rounds. Shells like Dragon’s Breath (a mix of metals that ignite on contact with air), flares, and FRAG12s all come to mind off hand. Though there’s also things like beanbag rounds and riot slugs, which may be relevant if you’re dealing with something immune to metal bullets.

Shotgun gauge is an archaic measurement system. It’s based on fractions of a pound. If you were to take a 12th of a pound of lead, and form it into a perfect sphere, you’d get the muzzle diameter of a 12 gauge shotgun. A 20th of a pound would get the muzzle diameter of a 20 gauge and so on. There is one hickup, .410 shotgun shells, aren’t 410 Gauge, they’re 11.43mm, and that’s because .410 is actually a caliber, from back before caliber was just fractions of an inch, and was still a ratio.

Assault rifles use intermediate cartridges (usually, 5.56mm NATO, or 5.45mm for Warsaw Pact weapons) and are theoretically effective at up to 300 meters. The two largest families of Assault Rifles are the AR-15 pattern rifles (this includes the American M16 and M4, but also a legion of other rifles by many manufacturers), and the AK family (primarily the AK47, which I’ll come back to in a second, and the AK74, but, again, there are many rifles in this family.)

Assault Rifles are generally the domain of military, police, or similar groups. If your monster hunters are government sanctioned, they may be able to get access to and use assault rifles without issue. However, if they’re not, then these weapons may not be available to them.

There’s another class of Assault Rifles that predate the modern ones. Sometimes referred to as battle rifles, these are high power .30 rifles. They have significantly more recoil, but also have considerably longer ranges. These include the FN FAL, the M14, and the H&K G3. These have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with rifles such as the FN SCAR.

For extreme situations, there’s the anti-material rifles. These are frequently chambered in .50 (12.7mm) or something similar. They’re intended for neutralizing armored vehicles and can deliver a lot of destructive force at over a kilometer. Worth noting that explosive .50 rounds are a thing (but don’t reliably detonate if they hit a person, as the impact is insufficient to trigger the payload.)

Handguns have a much more narrow application. They’re most useful when dealing with humans, or monsters that aren’t much more durable than a normal human.

As for, “what’s best?” That’s going to heavily depend on the situation at hand and what your characters are fighting.

If your monster hunters are basically supernatural vigilantes, the best things they could get their hands on may just be handguns, hunting rifles, and pump-action shotguns.

If they’re professional monster hunters, they may have access to hardware that isn’t readily available, such as automatic rifles, or winch mounted crossbow bolts.

There’s also solutions that may not relate to weapons at all. In the John Steakley novel Vampire$, the hunters preferred method is to roll up in the middle of the day and demolish the vampire’s nest around them, letting the sun actually finish off the creatures inside. (Honestly, I much prefer John Carpenter’s film adaptation, even if it strips out the logistics of monster hunting.)

When you’re writing monster hunters, you can create a lot of tension between what your characters are facing, and the tools your characters can get their hands on.

A zombie outbreak isn’t going to be very threatening if your characters are well trained, well equipped, and have the authority to quarantine and summarily execute any suspected carriers. If anything, a scenario like that, where infections occasionally pop up and are put down, could lend a very mundane quality to something that sounds fantastical. “Zombie removal,” except it’s like animal control, or sanitation workers. (Ironically, this was a major thematic joke in the original 1984 Ghostbusters.)

Conversely, when your monster hunters are underequipped, lack the resources, and the support, necessary to track or deal with something, even a relatively non-threatening cryptid could pose a significant challenge.

Even if your characters gear up for one threat, they may be poorly equipped if they encounter something they weren’t expecting. For example: a group of vampire hunters could find themselves in a very bad situation if they instead find themselves dealing with a pack of werewolves.

In general, “best,” is always going to be situational. Pick the right tool for the right job, and familiarize yourself with the options. In a lot of cases, the answer may be a tactic or strategy rather than just bringing the right hardware.

-Starke

This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you, and come join us on Discord.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.