So, you're creating a character, and not sure what they should use in weaponry. This little guide is meant to help with that. First off, the bad news: it's 1957, and the Foundation are a relatively small and underfunded organization. This means you won't likely see many exotic prototypes or limited-production items (1957 is also just a few years early for the long line of Cold War experimentation like the Special Purpose Individual Weapon and Advanced Combat Rifle). With that out of the way, a Psi-7 agent would still have access to a number of quality and battle-proven small arms suitable for most purposes.
The most important thing to remember is that a character's weapons should fit with their backstory and purpose. A character specializing in stealth and covert operations would find a machine gun less than ideal, and an American agent wouldn't be familiar with the AK-47.
For the most part, Foundation agents come from NATO-aligned nations, and the mid-'50s era was a time of transition in small arms. The M1 Garand, No. 4 Lee-Enfield and Mauser K98k were being phased out for the new NATO standard, the 7.62x51mm battle rifle. Despite having only seen limited use in combat as of 1957, the most widespread was the FN FAL, the "Right Arm of the Free World". Other options include the M14 (brand-new in 1957), the Spanish CETME and the very common but increasingly obsolete WWII-era service rifles.
|Name||Weight||Capacity||Chambering||Country of Origin|
|M1 Garand||9.5lbs||8-round en-bloc clip||.30-06 Springfield||USA|
|FAL||9.5lbs||20/30-round box magazine||7.62x51mm NATO||Belgium (used by many others)|
|M14||10lbs||20-round box magazine||7.62x51mm NATO||USA|
|AK-47 Type 3||8lbs||30-round box magazine||7.62x39mm Soviet||USSR|
On the subject of rifles, the purpose-built sniper rifle wasn't a widespread concept until the late 1960s, and as such most nations used derivatives of their bolt-action service rifles selected for accuracy. Examples include the M1903A4 Springfield and the No. 4T Lee-Enfield. Also worthy of note would be the Winchester Model 70, widely regarded as the best sporting rifle ever made.
Going down a step from the rifles, the submachine gun was still in widespread use in 1957 as a short-range, handy weapon capable of rapid fire. The most common examples of the era would be the M3 "Grease Gun", the ubiquitous Thompson gun and the MP40, as well as the British Sten and Sterling. Performance-wise, most are fairly similar.
The next logical one is the covert agent's best friend, and the most easily-carried weapon in history: the handgun. Not (usually) a primary weapon, the handgun is still an invaluable item to keep handy for any agent with shooting experience. Revolvers were still a very common choice, with the Colt Python and Smith & Wesson K-Frame standing out in particular. On the self-loading side, the .45 Automatic M1911A1 is widely considered the best pistol ever made, with the Walther P38/P1 and Browning Hi-Power enjoying similar reputations. Of course, for covert use, the Walther PPK made famous by James Bond is a great choice, along with the Beretta M1934/M1935.
Melee weapons? Those are…something of a difficult subject. While effective in the right hands, things like swords are less than ideal when your enemies (and for that matter, your friends) all have guns. That said however, a good knife is as much a tool as it is a weapon, and makes a great addition to any field kit.
Other general-purpose gear is fairly character-specific, and depends heavily on their intended role, but a good basic field kit might include the following:
- 75-foot 550 paracord bundle (lightweight rope rated for 550lbs load)
- Notebook and pen/pencil
- Water bottle or canteen
- Basic first-aid kit
- Short-range radio
- Sturdy backpack to carry it all in
The above is by no means an exhaustive list, and characters will of course also carry things more relevant to their specialty (an engineer might have a tool kit, or a medic could bring an expanded first aid bag), as well as mission-specific items at GM discretion.