13 May 2017

Body Shots

This is, of course, a GURPS post.

The average person has a ST of 10, therefore 10 HP.

Ten points of damage causes the victim to roll to remain conscience.  This is a roll against HT and the average person has a HT of 10.  On average, people make this roll because the average roll on 3d is 10.  More rolling means more chances to fail.

Going to negative HP, or 20 points of damage means the victim has to roll to remain alive, there's an additional check against death for each increment of HP you take, so more rolls at 30, 40, 50...

If you go 5x your HP negative or 60 hits for a 10 HP victim, you're automatically dead.

It's important to remember that the wound/damage system in GURPS is not modeling a specific shot to a specific place in a hit-location but to create a random approximation that approaches the average of injuries to an area.

Also, hits to the torso/body specifically exclude hits to the vital organs and central nervous system.

Are modern rifles and their rounds enough to snuff that bad guy?

Let's start with everyone's favorite: 7.62x51mm NATO.

From a 22" barreled FAL that does 7d pi.  Against the torso, or body, that gives a damage range of 7 to 42 points and an average hit of 24.  On average a torso hit gets a death roll, and has the potential to get three of them.

The 18" barrel of a G3 drops to 6d+2 pi.  Potential damage is now 8-38 with an average roll getting 23.  On average the target is dead and might have to make two death rolls.

Shortening the barrel still further to 16", like a SCAR-H reduces the damage to 6d pi.  Range is now 6-36 points with an average of 21.  Still getting death rolls on average, but only maxes out with two.

The much maligned 5.56x45mm M193 that didn't manage to kill any enemy soldiers in Vietnam fired from a 20" barreled M16A1 does 5d pi.  5-30 points of damage will get one or two death rolls and the average hit of 17 just misses getting one.

The ultra-deadly because it's Israeli, Galil ARM with its 18" barrel slugs out a mere 5d-1 pi doing 4-29 points of damage with the average falling in at 16.

This same round fired from the, very sexy, 11.5" barreled XM177E2 gets 4d+1 pi.  5-25 points just barely gets someone dead with near max rolls and on average, with 15, doesn't kill at all.

The 5.56x45mm M855 which everyone saw as a vast killing improvement in the streets of Mogadishu fired from a 20" barreled M16A2 does 5d+1 pi.  6-31 points of damage still has the potential for two death rolls, but the average still falls short with 18.

Shortening the barrel to 14.5" with the M4 is more humane, doing 4d+2 pi for a spread of 6 to 26.  It's capable of killing with one shot, but on average, 16, it's not going to.

That's disappointing, isn't it?

Let's look at how the Warsaw Pact fared.

7.62x54mmR from a PKM or SVD does the same 7d as 7.62x51mm NATO.  See above.

7.62x39mm from an SKS or the vaunted AKM do 5d+1 pi... hey that's the same as an M16A2!

5.45x39mm, such as from an AK-74 does 4d+2 pi... the same as an M4.

What about new rounds?

6.5 Grendel should do 6d+2 pi giving a range of damage from 8 to 38, just like a G3.

6.8 SPC with a 16" barrel should do 6d pi, just like a SCAR-H.  From a 12" barreled Barrett REC7 it retains 5d+1 pi, just like an AKM... (Hey, didn't I repeatedly read how 6.8 was the same as an AK?)

.300 Blackout, in a supersonic load, should do 5d+1 pi, just like an AKM.

Just for history's sake did the 7.92x33mm Kurz round do any better?  No, it's 5d just like an M16A1 but heavier than a full-length FAL.

The utterly pathetic and unusable in combat .30 Carbine gets 4d+1 pi.  See the XM177E2 for results.

ALL of these rounds, at max damage, will get the average 10 HP to a death roll and all of them, with an average roll, will get that person to check for consciousness.

Multiply all those damages by 3 for a hit to the vitals and even the average hit is getting death rolls with the weakest round.  4d+1 pi does 15 to 75 to the vitals with an average hit getting 45, or three death rolls.


  1. And of course an optional rule from High Tech, if you use it there's a 1 in 6 chance you get a free vital hit on a bodyshot. And also optional bleed rules, even if you don't force a death roll, there's a goodly chance that without immediate medical attention that death roll is not long in coming due to blood loss.


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