I've just been working on this post-apocalyptic setting and was wondering what level of weapons technology it would be able to support. Essentially a combination of land degradation, global warming (due to stuff like changed rainfall patterns and the spread of pests) and the depletion of resources like oil and rock phosphate (not to the point where they have been completed used up, but to the point where the easy to access deposits are mostly gone and what remains is much more expensive) led to a gradual but significant decrease in global food production. Exacerbated by increasing droughts, natural disasters and the emergence of new diseases (as habitat loss brings humans into contact with animals), our globalised, industrialised society collapses as billions die in a series of wars, famines and plagues.
Now it has been almost a century since society as we know it ended, and about 90% of humanity once again makes a living from hunter-gathering or subsistence agriculture (largely in the form of pastoralism or shifting agriculture due to poor soil quality and climate variability). The rest of humanity lives in small market towns or some larger cities that have popped up along major trade routes or near areas with some rare and useful resource/asset (like an old hydrolectric dam). While many of these cities have some degree of industrial manufacturing and some more modern technologies like electricity and wood gasification, the lack of resources and loss of more technical knowledge mean that they are pretty primitive by modern standards. Mining would be fairly limited as most easily accessed mineral deposits have been mined out and few groups would have the technology or resources to access the deeper deposits, so most metals would have been scavenged from the ruins and/or recycled over generations by survivor communities.
While day-to-day survival is the main concern of most people, various conflicts still occur ranging from tribal cattle raids to major wars between city-states. And I was wondering what sort of weaponry would likely be used. Of course this would vary based on what groups we are talking about (the army of a large city state would obviously have more advanced weapons that some isolated hunter-gatherers), but I imagine that even the most advanced groups would be limited on what they would use due to a lack of resources. The question is less what they could produce (as many cities probably have have the technical knowledge to make weapons of at least a WW1 level) and more what they would produce (as these cities would lack the population and industrial capacity to supply a WW1 level army, with the various market towns and nomadic tribes being even more limited).
I personally imagine that the advanced cities would maintain a limited stock of bolt/lever action rifles (that use black powder cartridges and mercury fulminate firing caps) with some Girardoni style air rifles (the setting would remove many of the disadvantages associated with them historically as modern materials that have been scavenged/reproduced in limited quantities would make reservoirs less likely to crack, while electric pumps powered by water/air/biofuel would make filling them easier than with hand pump). Most other peoples would use black powder flintlocks, that the more advanced peoples manufacture and the less advance trade for, while some more isolated peoples rely on bows and spears. Of course, I'm really interested to hear what other people have to say. Would the weaponry be more or less advanced than what I've described? Are there any technologies that I've forgotten? Thanks for any feedback