Weapon Technology

"Do you want state of the art, cutting edge or bleeding edge technology?"- Raleigh

There is a wide variety of weapons technology in the 'Verse, from Zoe's lever action carbine to Russ Burgess' laser pistol. The rules system talks about different levels of Newtech and how weapons of higher Newtech do more damage, have more range, hold more ammo, etc. So here are a few examples:

Standard- typical modern day style weapons using gunpowder filled brass or plastic cartridges. Also includes caseless round firing weapons.

Newtech(x2) Liquid propellant or electrothermal cartridge rounds. A liquid propellant weapon has a store of fuel that is injected into the chamber behind the bullet and ignited like the gas in a car's engine. An electrothermal weapon uses cased rounds, but instead of gunpowder, the cartridge is filled with a liquid that is vaporized by an extremely high amperage electric current to generate the pressure driving the bullet. Since both of these types of weapons use an electric ignition system, that would account for the "Bzzz" hum that many weapons in the show make when armed; its the capacitor charging. And they still have an "explosion" driving the rounds, so they make gunshot noises. LP weapons do not have a case to eject either, the magazine contains a fuel cylinder and the projectiles.

Newtech (x4) Common examples are railguns or other electromagnetically accelerated projectiles. Again, they may make a capacitor hum when armed, and the supersonic bullet leaving the muzzle may still make a gunshot like "bang". Railgun projectiles are usually armor piercing. The magazine contains a disposable battery and the projectiles so again there is no case to eject. Also binary fuel guns, the propellant is two stable chemicals that explode when mixed in the firing chamber. Magazines contain bullets and two gas reservoirs.

Newtech (x10) are very rare, the only example we have seen for hand weapons are lasers. Six Shooters and Spaceships introduced vehicle and starship scale plasma guns, but I'm hesitant to introduce personal weapons like that, they have not shown any in the show or movie. There are also plasma grenades. Some of the Alliance ships at the end of the movie are firing plasma weapons at the Reavers and the Reaver ship that pursues the Serenity fires an EMP particle beam.

Vehicle and spaceships use these weapons and a few others as well. Missiles are the primary long range weapon in space, with a variety of warheads/payloads ranging from simple high explosive to decoy/jammers to plasma bombs.