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Character Illo Help: Military Holsters and Stances


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#1 DShomshak

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 05:40 PM

Hello, all! I want to draw a couple characters who with U.S. military backgrounds, and I'd like to keep a few details plausible. I know nothing about this, so I hope the Forum includes people who do. I don't consider movies and TV shows adequate "research."

 

(Well, they are actually Champions characters, but I still want to avoid having them look ridiculously wrong to anyone who knows about such things.)

 

One character is Army, the other Air Force, if it matters.

 

Both characters carry handguns. Modern soldiers do still carry pistols as backup weapons, yes? It's part of the training? (This shows the depths of my ignorance.)

 

Is there any preferred form of holster? I know of regular around-the-waist gunbelts and shoulder holsters.

 

Finally: Is there a preferred shooting stance? It's easy to find reference pictures of target shooting stances, but that sort of set-and-brace might not be feasible in a firefight. I also want to avoid "cool" but possibly impractical action-movie poses. I'd like to show one of the characters actually shooting a gun (through a dimension warp, but never mind about that), and I'd like him to look like a soldier who actually knows how to shoot someone who is moving around and trying not to get shot.

 

Thanks to all for any guidance. Later, maybe I'll bring up grenades.

 

Dean Shomshak



#2 Hyper-Man

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 07:51 PM

I am no expert but I did find information on several shooting stances when researching my HERO version of John Wick (Keanu Reeves movie).  C.A.R. (Center Axis Relock), Weaver Stance and Isosceles Stance are the only ones I am aware of. Google and Wiki are your friend here.

 

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#3 Nolgroth

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 10:02 AM

The Weaver and Isosceles stances were basically the ones taught to me during my training. We also practiced with our non-dominant hand, though you might guess that for most of us, accuracy was not as high. Keep in mind that most relatively realistic shoot 'em up movies are based on real gun techniques. Watch Collateral (Tom Cruise), Heat (Robert De Niro and others), and even John Wick to get an idea of shooting stances and techniques. Burn Notice showed a lot of good pistol stances, as I recall.

 

This might help: https://www.shooting...ooting-stances/

 

EDIT: Holsters. This is the one ( https://www.midwayus...lus-m12-holster) we were issued back in the day. I understand that more tactical holsters are issued these days. Just do an internet search and you will see examples of all your options.



#4 bigdamnhero

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 01:44 PM

I got out of the Army in `95, so hopefully those with more recent service will chime in if my info is outdated. And of course I can't speak for the other services.

 

Modern soldiers do still carry pistols as backup weapons, yes?

Not really. "Backup weapons" aren't really a big thing in the army (unless you count your bayonet/knife). As a rifleman, for the same weight as a pistol & ammo I'd much rather carry a few extra clips of rifle ammo. In all the units I served in, the only people who carried pistols were those who didn't have rifles or other primary weapons: senior officers, mortar crews, artillery forward observers, tank crews, helicopter pilots, and so forth.

 

There is (or was) a fair amount of debate over just how effective pistols really are in combat situations. One bit of "conventional wisdom" held that the M1911 Colt .45 over its many decades of military service accounted for more friendly fire casualties than it did enemy casualties. Whether true or not, the fact that it was widely believed gives you some indication of how much use sidearms actually got. The exception of course would be in very close-quarter situations like the Vietnam tunnel rats, and some urban warfare scenarios. (I'd be curious to hear what any Iraq/Afghan vets have to say about that?)

 

Also keep in mind that's in a combat zone. The US military is expressly prohibited from performing law enforcement activities in the US, so on the home front the only time you'll see soldiers walking around armed is if their Military Police or pulling some kind of guard duty. That's something that movies/TV always get wrong, and it always makes me laugh. Even when they're on maneuvers or training, you only get issued live rounds when you walk onto the live-fire range, and it's carefully controlled. However since you said this is a Champions campaign, those rules might work differently in a world where the military more often responds to superhuman threats on American soil. (Tho how much use a pistol is going to be against such threats is another matter.)

 

As for training: in all the units I was in I would say pistol training was perfunctory at best. We'd spend days, weeks on the rifle range, but pistol training was maybe a few hours once or twice a year. Basic Weapon Familiarity, but that's it. When I went to the FBI Academy, it actually took me months to unlearn all the bad habits I'd been able to get away with and learn to shoot a pistol with real accuracy.

 

Holsters: IIRC hip holsters were standard issue; many people preferred should holsters, but they were regarded as something of an affectation.

 

Now all that said: in the superhero genre, soldiers are always heavily armed at all times, so feel to ignore all of the above if it gets in the way of the fun!


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#5 Nolgroth

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:18 PM

Truly depends on your MOS. I was corrections and our focus was on the M9 pistol. One or two soldiers (or none, depending in the risk assessment for a given inmate) carried one and live ammo when escorting a high risk inmate anywhere (to include off post). We did not use assault rifles, machine guns or other heavy weaponry, though our tower guards did pack in a 12 gauge shotgun with #4 bird shot.

 

Now, the old USDB has been demolished. I don't know the procedures for the new one. I imagine escort procedures haven't changed much, but I've heard that the new jail doesn't have towers. All that is aside though. Point was that we spent a lot more time with pistols than rifles. My MOS didn't even need to do annual qualifications with the M16. We did have to do semi-annual pistol qualification and annual shotgun qualification. We also did some very basic tactical shooting exercises. The snipers had to qualify with whatever rifle they used. I sucked at distance shooting so I didn't try for that and thus have no direct knowledge. We also had to do semi-annual self defense and riot control training.

 

Of course, I spent my entire enlistment at Fort Leavenworth, so I wouldn't know what Army life was like outside of the 95-C singularity.


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#6 DShomshak

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 05:18 PM

Thank you, BigDamnHero and Nolgroth! This is just what I hoped for.

 

So, pistols are not a thing for the entire military. Whatever these characters have, they likely acquired on their own and represent their own tastes.

 

Air Force Guy is working in the Pentagon in his Secret ID, so his gun is *definitely* his own purchase. Army Guy is, more specifically, an Iraq-Afghanistan veteran who became a security guard after he decided not to re-enlist, so maybe I should ask a security guard what sort of gear and training they receive.

 

(And I'm aware of Google. But it helps to know something before you search. I mean, I Googled images of "Man Shooting a Gun" and got everything from men shooting guns to ears of corn; and even the Men Shooting Guns included images I felt pretty sure were action movie frivolity. So... ask people who know.)

 

Dean Shomshak



#7 Nolgroth

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

California armed security officers must take a firearms safety course and license each weapon that they use on the job. Technically, all weapons (baton, pepper spray, etc.) require a training course and certification.

Armed security officers need to re-certify on an annual basis.

Again, this is in California. They will also need a California Guard Card, which in Hero terms would be a cheap Perk. Not sure about all other states. North Dakota has almost no restrictions or requirements for security officers, for example.
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#8 bigdamnhero

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 10:20 PM

...so maybe I should ask a security guard what sort of gear and training they receive

Heh, done that too. (For all of 3 months, post-army & pre-FBI - most boring job ever!) Before I was allowed to work as an armed guard, I had to spend a couple hours on the range, basically just demonstrating that I could use a gun without shooting myself in the foot. Tho that may have been partly due to my background; if I'd been a complete novice who'd never shot a gun before, I'd like to think the training would've been more involved. Equipment was a revolver (.38 IIRC?) and hip holster, but I'm sure that varies wildly with different companies.

 

Edit: no idea what the recertification requirements were like; I didn't stay at the job that long.

 

Of course, even if the character only received basic weapon familiarity training as part of their job, there's no reason they couldn't have gone to the range more often on their own if the player wants to justify having a few CSLs.


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#9 Nolgroth

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 12:37 AM

Equipment. Yeah. In California the company is responsible for providing the uniforms. That's about it. Some companies do issue a sidearm, but most of them that I've encountered pretty much require the officer to provide the firearm, duty belt, etc. One of my buddies bought a .40 Cal Glock for his position. His company provided hand irons, but all the rest (including ammunition) was out of his own pocket. They paid like crap too.

 

I imagine the life of a comic book security officer is more glamorous, with all sorts of high-tech stuff at their disposal. In reality, the security industry is poorly funded and has an incredibly high turnover rate. I can rant about that all day though, and it is probably not very important to this thread.


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#10 Tom

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 05:56 PM

The surplus holster above is what I saw when I was still in the service (made by Bianchi, I think), and carrying a pistol tended to be dependent on 'job' and rank.

 

I actually spent time as both Navy and Army (not that long a story, I was active Navy but screwed up on VEAP/GI Bill and joined the Army National Guard to help pay for college and ended up on active duty as part of Desert Shield/Storm).

 

As military I've carried both the M9 and the M1911A1 (in the old leather flap holsters).  I believe I read recently they're going to be transitioning to something by Sig Saur at some point in the future.

 

As private security, that will vary by State and company. 

 

I work in a security field currently, and I've heard of one State which has no specific requirements (constitutional carry state, though I believe my company requires at least a bi-annual qualification if the State doesn't have it's own requirements).  My State, Ohio, requires a 20 hour OPOTC certification which is both firearm type specific and requires an annual 4 hour requalification certification (initial certificate is actually good for 18 months).  The State of Michigan only requires armed security to have a CPL (Michigan's concealed carry permit).  Also, my understanding is that companies who provide armed security at Federal buildings require an additional certification.

 

Issue will vary by company.  Many companies only issue revolvers for liability reasons (they also tend to be less expensive in general and easier to teach).  My company does not issue and requires employees to provide their own firearm (with some, State-based, exceptions).  The specific, hard, requirements are barrel of at least 3 inches and no 'single-action' autoloaders (ie, the M1911A1).  After that it is the branch management's discretion.


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#11 Psillias

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 07:29 AM

Bigdamnhero discussed the Army...so I'll provide the Air Force version, although the military uses various pistols.  Really depends on the role.  For the Air Force, Security Forces (Security/Law Enforcement) carried the Beretta M-9.  Office of Special Investigation agents generally carried the Sig 226.  Special Forces generally carried whatever they wanted (HK, Glock, etc.).  As Bigdamnhero mentioned above, it's also issued for pilots, crew served weapons, drivers, etc.  Again, for Air Force, specifically Emergency Services Teams (think SWAT), we were issued a rifle and a pistol, plus shotguns that we carried on our backs for breaching.  As also mentioned, the military previously issued the M-1911 (.45 semi auto), M-15 (.38 revolver), and the M-56 (.38 short barreled revolver). 

 

Holsters were a matter of preference and/or role.  The Air Force would issue the Bianchi hip holsters and tactical holsters as well as shoulder holsters (again, role driven).  Modern holsters tend to have some type of weapon retention factor built into them as shown here: https://gundigest.co...lster-retention   Please note that there are all kinds of concealed holsters and they, again, come down to preference (inside the waistband vs. outside the waistband; appendix carry vs. lower back carry). 

 

Someone else already pointed out a couple of modern movies with realistic shooting stances.  Again, it all depends on application.  Are you shooting at a stationary target?  A moving target?  Are you moving?  Are you AND the target moving? Do you have cover?  What hand is your primary?  Can you shoot off-hand?  What firearm are you using?  What range are you at?  

 

Send the grenade questions anytime you're ready. :)


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#12 DShomshak

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 05:38 PM

Character and target almost certainly both moving!

 

Here's where the characters are at:

 

* Rigel: former Air Force pilot. Now works in the Pentagon, in whatever department handles security for high-tech research. (Probably DARPA, but he does security reviews, not research.) His origin made him a martial brick. He carries a gun because he has no ranged attack power (and no flight powers, grr). It's just for when he has no other way to attack, or -- since he uses Penetrating ammunition (penetrating frangible; thank you, Dark Champions) -- for damaging vehicles, Foci and other machines. DC tells me that to get 2d6 RKA Penetrating, the appropriate caliber is .40, or 9mm. No Skill Levels, just the WF.

 

I thought of having Rigel use a shoulder holster. For hard, close HTH combat, though, I'm not sure if a shoulder holster for a moderately large gun might impede his arm. So, maybe a straightforward gun belt.

 

* Algol: former Army grunt (two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq), then security guard for an Evil Corporation™. As mentioned above, his origin gave him space-warp powers. One of his preferred tactics is to shoot a gun through a little space warp to make his attack Indirect. He has Skill Levels with Small Arms: It would just be rifles from his tours of duty, but his security guarding included more practice with handguns. He also has Penalty Skill Levels vs. Hit Locations, because he can open the space warp right next to his target's head, gut, etc. to shoot from very close range -- which makes a pistol a bit more serious a weapon against supers. His Multipower includes a slot for Penetrating RKA and another for AP, +1 Stun Multiple (Reversed Ogive ammunition); conveniently, these both work out to 2d6 base RKA and, therefore, also .40/9mm.

 

Since Algol carries two kinds of ammunition, I figure he wears a pretty serious tactical belt. A Google image search turned up one with lots of loops and pouches for clips, tools, holsters, or other add-ons. It's possible he can use this for his grenades, too -- I'll check the accompanying article. If not, he'll have a separate belt for grenades.

 

* Vega: I forgot about her before. I was going to give her a backup gun like Rigel, because she also has a military background and has no ranged attack Power. But, her backstory is that her service was as a mechanic in the motor pool: From what people say, she likely had maybe one day of pistol training. As a civilian again, she worked as a driver for the Evil Corporation; so, armed with a pistol but it really isn't her thing the way it is for Algol. Plus, she can teleport, which gives her wider mobility options than Rigel has. So, I'm thinking maybe she doesn't bother carrying a gun in her supervillain identity after all.

 

These characters are, incidentally, part of a group called the Constellation. Two other members do not have military backgrounds. One member, Sirius, wants to carry a gun on missions even though he's a flying energy projector with no need of one, just because. Field leader Rigel won't let him -- not until Sirius passes a gun safety and marksmanship course so he won't be a threat to himself, his teammates, or innocent bystanders.

 

Dean Shomshak



#13 Psillias

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 09:06 PM

Interesting.  For Rigel's backstory, he could work at the Pentagon since they ultimately handle all security review for classified programs (which is where I'm assuming you're going) from all department laboratories (ARL, AFRL NRL, DARPA, etc.) through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). 

 

DARPA does not maintain a presence at the Pentagon but they're not far away either.  They do, however, have a military liaison group that sits on site so that's another possibility. 

 

Shoulder holster would still work.  Remember that pilots wear them and have no issues while performing all manner of maneuvers.  The only thing is that the weapon sticks out butt, or grip, first.  So unless he's using one with a retention level to it, it can easily be stripped and used against him!


<Insert Witty Comment Here>

 

"...or you can find the secret tunnel that leads to the Vaul of Dickish DM which is filled with 10,000,000 copper coins and a 5,000 pound solid gold statue of a middle finger that is too big to fit through the door."


#14 DShomshak

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 05:17 PM

Interesting.  For Rigel's backstory, he could work at the Pentagon since they ultimately handle all security review for classified programs (which is where I'm assuming you're going) from all department laboratories (ARL, AFRL NRL, DARPA, etc.) through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). 

Yes, that's what I was thinking of. Thank you!

 

If pilots do often wear shoulder holsters, that's what he'll do too. (And I love the idea of the butt sticking out like a big, tempting, candy-like invitation to grab it away from him!)

 

I am amused that these little details are taking more of my time and effort than designing the characters themselves. But then, I already know supers; I don't know this.

 

Dean Shomshak



#15 Tom

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:16 PM

Shoulder holsters don't generally get in the way.  I've worn one with a 9mm, but it was in the 'compact' category and I barely noticed it.  Also, shoulder-rigs have 2  general configurations -- vertical and horizontal.  There are also bandolier-style holsters for really large handguns and submachineguns/machinepistols can be used with a shoulder rig which is really nothing more than a strap from which the gun is suspended.

 

(side thought on that last note:  Check out the Heckler & Koch MP7A1 )or A2} as a field weapon for either Rigel or Algol  http://www.heckler-k...1/overview.html)

 

For holsters, you can check out the websites for Galco, Bianchi, and Safariland for references (among others)


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