Ahhhhh, the word just gets me misty eyed
, yes I admit, I probably do have a gun addiction
but nevermind that
we are here to talk about firepower, glorious firepower
What is firepower?
Is it the caliber of your guns?
No, not really.
Is it the velocity at which your guns throw your bullets at then?
Let me take a stab at it.
Simply put firepower is the amount of damage you can deal per any given unit of time. Effective firepower is a combination of equipment, ammunition, and most importantly gun handling skill.
Firepower can be computed in many ways though I have come up with a formula that, in itself, may not provide figures that are really relevant in the real world but it does give you a fair and standard point of reference.
The formula takes into consideration the weight of your projectile, the velocity at which you fire them and the rate at which you can deal them.
The formula goes like this: weight of bullet in grains * muzzle velocity in feet per second * magazine capacity / number of seconds it takes you to deliver all the projectiles to the target
Let's take for example a Beretta 92F pistol, aka the M9. If we load it with 15 rounds (its full capacity, silly handgun magazine capacity bans notwithstanding) of 9mm ammo which each has a 124 grain projectile which it will push at 1024 fps (giving a power factor of 130696 per shot) we have then a total of 1960440 power factor. An experienced operator can easily deliver all the bullets onto a 4 inch circle at 5 yards distance inside of ten seconds. So with that combination (of guns, ammo and handler) the said pistol has a firepower rating of 196044.
Let's compare what figure we will get using the exact same ammunition but now being fired from an Uzi submachine gun. A full sized Uzi has a 32 round capacity magazine and fires at about 10 rounds per second. To make things simpler, we'll just load this theoretical smg with 30 rounds which means it will go through the entire magazine in just three seconds and assuming all the rounds make contact with a human sized target at 5 yards we would have delivered a total of 3920880 power factor to the target, dividing by three we get a figure of 1306960 fire power.*
This though is mostly academic. There are so many factors one needs to take into consideration that in the end the firepower rating is dependent on the operator as well as the equipment making the rating different for every person/gun/ammo combination.
What this can help you with though is to visualize and compute how much firepower you think you will need on a day to day basis. Do you need a few shots of extreme devastation or would you rather have double the number of shots but half the devastating power per shot? This choice is up to you.
*This has been quite simplified, some might even say oversimplified as submachinegun length barrels will typically give more velocity than pistol length barrels even when using the same ammo and usually smgs are loaded with hotter ammunition, meaning ammo loaded to higher pressures.