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I am writing a character for a tabletop rpg campaign in an high fantasy world which is starting a magitech revolution. She is a secret service operative and I was thinking of giving her this hybrid weapons to give her some personality. Since she is famous for her stealth capabilities, in a first moment I gave her both a pistol and a knife, but then I started wondering if it could be possible to have them both.

For now in my mind I have two options, both using the knuckle knives as a base:

  • The first has a derringer-like gun on top, making - at least in principle - possible for the user to access also to the knuckle part of the knife
  • The second has a more standard handgun, but I have doubts on its practicality

One further note: I know that a problem with guns is that they are made to work in a standard orientation, but this could be easily "corrected" with magic, at least in this world. For the bullet part, instead, since the rpg has a strong elemental system, maybe we could conceive some elemental bullets which wouldn't require cartridge and all.

Basically what I am trying to understand is how practical it would be for a stealth operative to use weapons along those lines.

PS: Sorry for any mistakes, english is not my main language.

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    $\begingroup$ Games are for fun. Gadgets are fun. In an RPG, they work as well as you want them to. It’s more about balance. Most will have very narrow use anyway. There’s a reason 007 had new gadgets every movie that somehow always found a use. People will play with the toys you let them have. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Commented Apr 21 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ finalfantasy.fandom.com/wiki/Gunblade_(weapon_type) $\endgroup$
    – Clockwork
    Commented Apr 21 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Are gunswords feasible? $\endgroup$
    – Trang Oul
    Commented Apr 23 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ This isn't really a duplicate of the linked question, which asks "are these ridiculous contraptions generally useful" whereas this question asks "are these ridiculous contraptions useful these specific, limited circumstances" which the other question does not consider. I think you can guess my opinions on the subject, but covert derringer-daggers are quite different things from gunswords and gunaxes. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW: You might think of a bayonet as an accessory that you add on to a rifle, and today, that's pretty much true, but back when bayonets first appeared, it really was more a case of adding a rifle or a musket to an infantryman's spear. The "Special Reconnaissance Knife" in SPavel's answer adheres to that spirit by augmenting an assassin's knife with the ability to fire a shot. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 19:30

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This is a real weapon in use today, by the Spetsnaz: the Special Reconnaissance Knife, adopted in 1986. It resolves the contradiction of "a good gun can't also be a good knife" by being a good knife first, and then being as good a gun as possible within the remaining performance parameters.

What the Tula Arms Plant came up with was a close-range (25 meters) pistol embedded into the hilt of a knife that looks perfectly ordinary to a casual observer, and is well-balanced for ordinary knife tasks such as cutting, stabbing, and throwing.

enter image description here

The boffins in Tula even managed to squeeze in a silencer and flash-suppressor. It only fires one shot though; the long black piece next to it is the sheath (with embedded bolt cutters) rather than a magazine. To reload, you have to unscrew the bottom of the knife, remove the spent casing, insert the next round, and screw it back in, giving you a rate of fire more comparable to a musket than a Glock.

This is perfectly fine for its role as a special forces weapon, however. You're not going to be bringing this as your main weapon (or even sidearm) for a full-on shootout. But it's perfect for stealth missions where, when bullets fly, something's already gone wrong, and an emergency "boom" button can make all the difference.

This is not a knife you bring to a gun fight, but rather a gun you bring to a knife fight. In a firefight, your only chance is going to be using this to shoot someone with a better gun, so you can use their gun instead.

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    $\begingroup$ If I'm interpreting this picture correctly, the muzzle of the gun shoots out the back end of the knife - meaning when you're using this object as a knife, the gun is pointing directly at you. I would be very nervous about using that. Seems like it'd be all too easy for it to misfire and shoot the wielder... $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ @DarrelHoffman, even better to aim the gun you have to point the knife directly at your face, so it solved by being a mediocre knife and a horrible gun. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 22 at 20:17
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    $\begingroup$ I'm fairly certain the point of the knife is to make Special Reconnaissance Forces feel extra Special by being different (and Special) for its own sake. Any decently constructed knife will get the job done - even if it weighs an extra few ounces and is more expensive than it needs to be. But a Special Reconnaissance Force that can't attract recruits and maintain morale won't get the job done at all. $\endgroup$
    – g s
    Commented Apr 22 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ @John I'd assume that when using it in gun mode, you'd leave the sheath on so as to avoid stabbing yourself in the eye with the kick-back. But realistically, you're probably using the gun feature at relatively close range because I doubt it's easy to aim this accurately. Though at that point, that kinds of defeats the entire point of having a gun in the first place. This might have value as a sort of assassin's weapon, but if you're going to hide a gun in something, you want something that's not another weapon, which you might have to check at the door. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe it's for one of those movie moments where 2 people are fighting both grapsing around one knife pointed at the other - boom. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23 at 14:32
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Not Very

The roles of stealth

There is no one "stealth operative" archetype, but rather many different roles which might use stealth as a tool in their arsenal. Your classic espionage agent might sneak into a cocktail party where they shouldn't be with nothing but a stylish dress and charming attitude to steal some information. Meanwhile, a strike team using stealth might interpret this as "we don't leave any living witnesses".

I don't see how your hybrid weapon would be particularly practical in either situation: for the cocktail-party role, you want any weapon you bring to be maximally concealed and small, and for your full-on stealth assault, you want to be heavily armed equipped with the right tools for the job.

The failure of multitools

I feel that, particularly with tools, the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none" applies very well. Especially when the tools/weapons being used need to be reliable, simple to use, and effective, it is probably best to bring purpose-made tools for the individual tasks.

For example, can you use a pocket knife to defend yourself? Sure, it's still a knife, but if you knew you would end up in a situation where having an actual combat knife would be useful, why not bring one?

Multitools fundamentally compromise some functionality, and only the very rare tool is actually enhanced by being able to complete multiple discrete tasks. If you are going for realism, I would expect your gun-knife hybrid to work, but the gun part wouldn't work as well as a regular stand-alone gun and the knife part wouldn't be as practical as a regular stand-alone knife.

The place that multitools shine is when space, volume, or mass are at a premium and if the chance they will be used are very small, to a point where working with a sub-optimal tool is acceptable. For example, I take a pocket knife hiking because while I don't expect to need the knife, saw, or tweezers, I would rather carry this instead of a dedicated knife, saw, and tweezers because I know I probably won't need them.

You are the author

It's high fantasy, and you are creating the world and characters. You are literally the ultimate supreme power in the world you are building, so if you want your character to have a kickass and highly effective handgun/knife combo thing, nobody's going to stop you

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    $\begingroup$ @Xenophile The conclusion that "because we have them" to "yes, it is practical" is just not logically sound in any way. We have plenty of wildly impractical things, and most of the historical accounting for the use of the weapons you listed (and weapons like them) is questionable at best. Additionally, most of the things you list like the glove gun, briefcase gun, or pen gun aren't actually multi-tools, but rather concealed weapons, something completely different than a multitool. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Apr 21 at 11:05
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    $\begingroup$ @Xenophile Take the breifcase gun: it is both a worse gun than a regular MP5 and a worse briefcase than a regular one. As a gun, it's not designed to be reloaded and it can't really be aimed. From a briefcase perspective, since it is full of "gun", it is impractical for carrying documents. Nobody who is standing in front of an armory thinks to themselves "Well, I need a submachine gun and some way to carry my documents, so I'll just take the briefcase gun!" Instead, this gun was made for a specific purpose (armed bodyguards that don't scare civilians). $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Apr 21 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Xenophile I think you're not getting the point I'm trying to make, at all. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Apr 21 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Xenophile Yes, the Swiss army knife is bad at almost all of those things, but it manages to be good enough for it’s intended purpose that it’s still useful. Same for repeating shotguns, same for pike bayonets on long muskets. But a bayonet on a pistol is not actually any good at anything other than looking either cool (to those who don’t really understand how guns or knives work) or stupid (to those who do understand how guns and knives work). It either is horribly unbalanced as a punching dagger, or runs into the same durability issues you have with axe bayonets. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21 at 17:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Xenophile: The Swiss Army Knife is explained in the answer. It's a suboptimal knife, a suboptimal scissors, and a suboptimal lockpick. But a solider is not expected to need a knife, scissors, or lockpick very often, so it's a compromise: very little weight/bulk, in exchange for rarely needed suboptimal tools which are still better than no tool at all. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22 at 11:47
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No it is not practical.

Can it exist, Yes, is it practical, No.

Combining guns and blades has been thought up and tried many times in history and always abandoned just as fast. they always end up as limited run gimmicks or impractical show pieces for people who will never use them. The main reasons is when you try to combine them you make something worse at both jobs. You make a heavy bulky hard to aim gun and a bulky heavy hard to use knife. An individual pistol and an individual knife work better at being a knife and gun, are lighter, easier to use and are easier to hide.

Worse for your story, you loose any ability to hide the weapon. You can hide a knife fairly easy, you can hide a pistol with some effort, combine them and you end up with something too bulky to hide. the closest anyone ever got was making folding things that were worthless or hiding a gun IN a knife which is not really hiding the fact you have a weapon just the type of weapon.

Its a common idea, it just does not work well in practice That said it is your story you decide how much rule of cool you are willing to accept.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ are those AI ideas about what a gun knife would look like? $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 24 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Michael: Not at all. They are very real weapons. The first one comes from that page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_revolver $\endgroup$
    – breversa
    Commented Apr 24 at 14:39
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It depends on the magic.

I concur with John and Dragongeek's answers, but since we have "an high fantasy world which is starting a magitech revolution", I think there's a contrary answer available as long as you have a combat situation in which the knife can do things that the pistol can't, like special resistances and vulnerabilities to different kinds of harm.

Since you mention fantasy tabletop RPG, here are some reasons that come to mind why it could be practical, if we apply rules slightly different from physics and human physiology.

  • Magic item Prices. Enchanting a magic weapon is extremely expensive but really effective. In real life, if you want a pistolknife, you have to spend more money than a knife and a gun and you get a weapon that's worse than a knife and a gun in every way. But in fantasy life, if you want a +2 Flaming Pistolknife, you have to pay for a regular pistolknife one flaming enchantment. Your weapon is still worse in every way than a +2 Flaming Pistol and a +2 Flaming Knife, but it costs half as much. And it's better than a +2 Flaming Pistol and a regular unenchanted knife.

  • Unique Personal Item. Like the first reason, but this enchantment can't be duplicated at any price. For instance, the character may sold their soul to the demon which inhabits a weapon in order to access magic powers when using that weapon. You only get to sell your soul once.

  • Some magic systems also have a limited number of magic items that a person can use. For instance, the character may have to choose between having two magic weapons and a magic ring, or one worse magic combination-weapon, the ring, and a belt.

  • It transforms, but the matter is conserved. So you can't get a stock for your pistol, but you can turn your pistol into a fighting knife or vice versa. Lighter and easier to carry than both.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some of these can also be translated to non-magical settings by replacing magic with legalities. Maybe each person is only allowed to carry one weapon within the city, or maybe the law says "the right to carry knives shall not be infringed" and after a couple of hundred years of legal interpretations, that covers anything with a knife blade. (Though these might not be as good a fit to OP's scenario which seems to be more about an illicit weapon.) $\endgroup$
    – G_B
    Commented Apr 24 at 5:34
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In RPG fantasy setting, the rule of cool trumps the practicality.

Is Guts' dragons slayer in Miura's Berserk practical? Nope to the 10th power. Is Legolas endless supply of arrows practical? Nope. Are they cool? You can bet your retirement savings on it!

And you are also open to sprinkle magic on top...

Go for the cool, just avoid jumping the shark.

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  • $\begingroup$ gut's gun arm prostetic was used in real life by a real mercenary called gotts....he lived to retirement after a life of war and duels... what more does something need to fulfill to be "practical" $\endgroup$
    – Xenophile
    Commented Apr 22 at 11:50
  • $\begingroup$ except the OP is asking if it practical. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 22 at 20:21
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in real history we had sword guns, knife guns, punching glove-gun, suitcase-guns, boombox-guns, pencil-guns, walking-cane guns, oh and also umbrella-guns... and so on and they have been used in wars and in assasinations or duels.

did the weapons sometimes fail or were hard to use? yes but so it's true for any weapon ever.

did those weapons kill politicians, soldiers or duelists? Yes.

were those weapons used by spies, mafia, soldiers, rebels and other criminals, yes they were.

So is it practical? the answer is yes.

more on the list of hybrid weapons:

  • spear guns

  • vambrace guns

  • shield guns

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    $\begingroup$ were they far worse to use than each tool individually, yes, did it ever get produced in large numbers because it worked well, no. can it exist yes, is it practical no. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 21 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ @John There is one exception to that: pike bayonets on long muskets. Those were produced in large numbers and worked well enough for the role that they were intended to fill that they would be considered practical for their intended purpose. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AustinHemmelgarn yes a removable pike for a single shot weapon that turned it into a spear, something impractical to carry by itself. it demonstrates why combining a knife and pistol is pointless. you are not getting a spear just a less useful weapon than the knife by itself. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 22 at 0:17
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    $\begingroup$ @AustinHemmelgarn to expand: the reason was that guns were, at the time, not very good at being guns. Reloading and continual use of the firearms was a huge problem. So, when the enemy rushed you you could not shoot them. Hence why you'd need something that can put holes in an enemy when you couldn't shoot. Bayonets were extra helpful because you get to use them at some range (since muskets were long). A knife on a pistol is an entirely different matter. $\endgroup$
    – VLAZ
    Commented Apr 22 at 6:30
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Yes, for punching daggers

An Indian Katar can be used for stabbing and slashing and a pistol could be integrated either above the fist or perhaps in-line with the blade. Perhaps magic could keep the barrel from fouling with blood.

Indian Katar, from Wikipedia

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The simplest, most effective knife-gun is this:

  • Take a flute bayonet
  • give it a hollow handle
  • place a shotgun shell inside the handle + a simple pin and trigger mechanism.
  • you effectively combined a shark-stick with a flute bayonet.

The flue bayonet is a long, thin dagger shaped like a steel pipe sliced at a flat angle, with a crescent cross-section. Stabbing someone with it creates a nasty wound that does not close properly, and is guaranteed to lead to massive hemorrhage.

The shell in the handle is a single shot solution to either:

  • make sure the target in definitely going to die, in case they survived the initial struggle, made noise, and had to be finished off no matter what. You simply shoot them at absolute point blank, possibly after or while stabbing them.
  • in case of being discovered by guards etc, blast them with buckshot and flee.

The nice things about your boom-stick-bayonet combo is that it would be easy to make, easy to use, cheap to discard, relatively easy to conceal (it might be quite long but is also rather thin - would fit in a sleeve or strapped to your shin).

It is quite possible that shooting the thing would blast the blade clean off the handle (whole, or in shards) but that is arguably a feature not a bug, as it would send blade shrapnel into the target.

You could also make smaller or bigger versions of this. A much longer boom stick bayonet could be hidden inside a cane,an umbrella, or even a broom. A much smaller one could be disguised as a pen (in this case, use a derringer charge and a small, spring-loaded blade coated in poison). Hell, you can install this thing into an artificial hand or a peg leg, and have a handicapped assassin!

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If we're being silly - They did have a Moisin Nagant Revolver with a bayonet in Belgium, but practically speaking a bayonet converted a rifle into a last ditch spear when you were truely... in deep trouble. A Bayonet Charge was a sure sign you were either ready to win or die, or insane.

You practically need a bladed weapon that would work in the ranges you'd run out of ammunition with a hand gun, and a handgun is a short range weapon. As much as a giant gunblade is cool, and any man who bayonet charges you with a hand gun is clearly crazy - what you need is a slashing weapon.

The wikipedia article both has a cool example of a semi practical one (that polish axe pistol is cool), but also describes the problem...

Pistol swords were not widely used and became uncommon relatively quickly, due to their expense and because instead of getting two weapons in one, one got a heavy pistol and a heavy, off-balance sword, as shown by the poor performance of the Elgin pistol.[15]

A modernised equivilent of the Elgin Cutlass pistol makes sense - its a Bowie attached to a contemporary pistol. Its a slashing weapon, so your charecter can do the sneaky throat slit. If you take into account the length of a silencer, you could have a longer blade.

enter image description here

Ergonomics and art needs a little work but you get the idea.

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Very practical.

Bayonets for pistols already exist.

enter image description here

If there was a major reason for needing melee she could certainly have it. Perhaps the supernatural speed of some enemies means having a separate knife is dangerous. While she's stealthily cutting the throat of an enemy, another monster might charge her. As such, having a gun ready to go loud makes sense.

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    $\begingroup$ Just because "Mall Ninja Shit" exists and you can buy it doesn't make it practical $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Apr 21 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ Never thought I'd see a bayonet more impractical than the one on the Steyr AUG, but here it is! With the shape of the blade and "guard" I cannot imagine a practical holster for it either. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ @WernerCD and how many militaries ever attached one to a pistol? they work on rifles because you make a spear not an unwieldy knife. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 21 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ do you know what the term, "Tacticool" means? It means a weapon made to look cool that is completely impractical. Do you know what else exists for pistols, under barrel grenade launchers, high magnification scopes, and second backup pistols that mount underneath the first pistol. exists is not the same as practical. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 21 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ Just because something exists does not mean it’s practical. Bayonets on most modern rifles are a compromise that is mediocre at best. On a pistol they are USELESS. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21 at 17:13

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