‘A foam firing gun designed specifically for LARP’
The Last Argument of Kings, The First Argument of Scoundrels
“While the large amount of the powder required for cannon meant they fell into increasing disuse, a number of hand gonnes and hackquebus continued in use such was their utility”
– Matthias Corvinus, On the Black Legion. 1472
(Mark 1 LARPquebus in use at Cry Havoc)
“Goes bang when it fires. Ideally makes lots of smoke when it does”
Cry Havoc organisers design brief!
What is it?
At its heart it’s basically the same as a Nerf gun, using a spring to drive a piston which in turn builds up air pressure to fire small foam balls at around 100FPS.
As the LARPquebus is based on real life muzzle loaders, the ramrod is used to both prime the piston, and load the ammo.
While some compromises have to be made (such as the loading order) the LARPquebus is intended to be as authentic as realistically possible.
First off its a matchlock, among the earliest guns available in Medieval Europe, and easily datable to the mid 15th Century.
While the shape of the LARPquebus is based on this Arquebus:
Arquebus (1490) – Braunschweig Museum
This pattern of stock appears in a few places in Europe, and is reliably dated to the mid to late 15th century. It should be noted as well that, in RL, the Hungarian Black Army by the late 15th Century had nearly one in four of its soldiers armed with a weapon like the one above, that is nearly 5000 Arquebusiers!
The LARPquebus has been designed with safety in mind considering its use in LARP.
First the ball, while only 23mm in diameter, is made from a soft coreless foam.
It is also fired with very little energy, less than 1 Joule at the muzzle.
This makes it eye safe, and in compliance with recommended best practices for toys.
The muzzle of the steel barrel is capped with a PVC plastic tip, to ensure that the end of the barrel is less likely to injure should it accidentally clip someone. (The use of the LARPquebus as a melee weapon is strongly discouraged, and melee use is not allowed at Cry Havoc.)
The ramrod itself has a rubber tip on the end, in case it manages to be fired, however the LARPquebus has a catch in the barrel, which acts to retain the ramrod should it be left in, which makes it very hard to fire out.
Videos of the LARPquebus in Action
Where to get one
The LARPquebus is manufactured by Justin Andrews (LARP Arms), and is available from Jim Evans, of Honest Jims Wander In Shop, costing £200.
The owners facebook group.