Gunpowder Burning Weapons

Contained in the list of Standard Offensive Equipment (Weapons) [section 3.3] of the Lochac Rapier Combat Handbook Version 3.0 (22 December, 2008) is Rubber Band Guns. Historically it was included into the Handbook as part of the weapons inventory in Version 2.0. Perhaps a curious thing you may thing initially for a Current Middle Ages group to have? Let's investigate further...

Further into the handbook appears:

Italian Snaphaunce - Circa 1560"
2.3 Use of Weapons and Parrying Devices
2.3.1 Blows will be struck by: thrusting with the point of the blade (thrust); sliding the edge of the blade by drawing (draw cut) or pushing (push cut); or by placing the tip of the blade upon, and then drawing it across an opponent (tip cut: see 2.4(a)); or by discharging a simulated gunpowder-burning weapon (RBG) so that the rubber projectile hits the target (shot).


[Pictured right: Italian Snaphaunce - Circa 1560]

Continuing along the search for 'gun' in the .pdf document locates:

2.3.8 The following rules shall apply if a combatant is using the specified equipment:
Brescian Wheel Lock - Circa 1575c) Rubber Band Guns (RBGs):
· RBGs may only be used in a melee scenario.
[Pictured right: Italian Brescian Wheel Lock - Circa 1575]
· Where RBGs are to be used in a scenario, they shall not be loaded until the combatants are directed to do so by the supervising marshal. Anyone with a loaded RBG off the melee field who is not under Marshallate supervision at the time will have their RBG authorisation suspended immediately. Once the supervising marshal has permitted RBGs to be loaded in a combat scenario, reloading may be performed until an event that would stop the scenario occurs, including but not limited to the end of the scenario or a hold call being made. RBGs may not then be reloaded until the supervising marshal gives a new direction to do so.
· There is no minimum range at which a RBG may be discharged at an opponent.
· The back of the opponent’s head shall not be deliberately targeted.
· A shot hitting the weapons or rigid parrying devices of a combatant will be considered to have destroyed that weapon/device for the remainder of the scenario.
Thuringian Wheel Lock - Circa 1570· A shot will be considered to be able to penetrate through any cloak to the body.
[Pictured right: German Thuringian Wheel Lock - Circa 1570]
· If any event occurs where participants may need to remove rigid or penetration resistant armour or if a person not wearing rapier armour is required to enter the scenario, all RBGs shall be unloaded, or safely discharged in such a manner as to prevent the ammunition leaving the immediate vicinity of the wielder (eg discharging the weapon with the muzzle pressed to the ground). This applies whether the RBGs are holstered or not.

So, what we discover is that

French Wheel Lock - Circa 15502.5.7 If a melee scenario includes the use of Rubber Band Guns, all marshals must be wearing full rapier combat armour.
[Pictured right: French Wheel Lock - Circa 1550]

Furthermore, in specific detail of its design....

3.3.5 Rubber Band Guns Rubber Band Guns (RBGs) must resemble a period muzzle loading pistol dated prior to 1600AD. RBGs may not have a barrel length exceeding 45cm. RBGs must be made of sturdy, lightweight materials able to withstand the stresses of their operation and of normal combat. All edges or corners must be smoothed off and they must be free of splinters or cracks. Rubber band shot must be made from commercially available rubber tubing only. Ends may be joined together using plastic zip locks or plastic wall-plugs glued into the end of the rubbing. Shot must not contain any metal parts or any rigid materials beyond the minimums required to join the ends together. Any hard plastic on the outside of the band should be covered and smoothed by vinyl duct tape or plastic shrink wrapping. Filling bands with sand or liquids is forbidden. The band must be marked to identify the owner. All guns and bands should be checked and tested by an authorised marshal before being used in combat. Testing should include an impact test, where the bands are discharged at the inspecting marshal at a range of one metre to test the force of the shot. Combatants may only use the bands that have been tested with the weapon they are using. Gleaning of used bands is not permitted during a scenario. Parrying with an RBG will not be seen to impair its effectiveness as a gun. RBGs may only be loaded with the supervising marshal’s permission and only on the combat field. This includes loading for inspection.

So, who gets to have all the fun?

4.1.12 Authorising Marshals must hold the same combat authorisation being sought by a candidate in order to grant the said authorisation. The Rubber Band Gun authorisation is excepted from this rule and may be granted by any melee authorised Authorising Rapier Marshal.

So, authorisation is included in the Rapier Melee, as seen in:

4.2.7 The authorisations that rapier combatants may earn are:
(b) Rapier Melee (includes the use of Rubber Band Guns)

of which the detail includes:

4.2.8 Requirements for each category of authorisation:
(b) Melee:
· Demonstrate knowledge of the consequences of being struck by a rubber band gun ‘shot’ on themselves or their equipment.

So, where might a Rapier find a simulated gunpowder weapon?

BandGuns.Com, one of the only websites online selling rubber band guns designed for use with Society For Creative Anachronism. The images that you see on this webpage are from and a kind thanks is extended to them for their permission.