By special request!
The post on melee skill levels in GURPS broke my previous record for number of views in a day, so I guess people liked it. Enough so that the “but where’s the ranged stuff?” came as a special request, and a natural follow-on, to boot.
Ranged weapons are difficult in GURPS. Oh, sure, they’re the same skill levels. And Tactical Shooting even tells you what the typical range of skills are for guns: from “default” up to Guns-18 for “Exceptional hostage-rescue operators and snipers.”
But ranged weapons have a neat “yeah, but” to them – they stack on penalties faster than just about anything else in GURPS. The penalty for hitting a dude in total darkness with a stick? -10. Typical difficulty “just wing it” for an “impossible” task? Yep, -10, say for using a meditative skill in a combat environment. Hitting someone in the “center of mass,” the vitals in the chest, from 100 yards away? -10 for range and -3 additional for target size. The famous “head shot,” which in GURPS is the skull hit location, which contains the brain? It’s -10 at a range of 7 yards. Seven. Yards.
Note that the fact that these penalties are large doesn’t mean I disagree with them. They actually work pretty well.
Additionally, many weapons of the typical fantasy crowd can take a while to reload and re-ready for use. Even if you look at the battle with the Uruk-Hai from Fellowship of the Rings where Legolas is going all, well, Legolasy on the orcs he’s shooting about once per second. That’s roughly half the rate of a good melee guy with Skill-22 (again: starting DF Knight level), who can lay down a Rapid Strike for two shots per second at a net of Skill-18, or even less with key advantages. His range penalty is zero for melee, and always will be.
One thing about the size-speed/range table: it’s logarithmic, meaning every -6 to skill is 10x farther away, or 10x smaller in size. So a +1 bonus is actually a big deal in context – it means you can hit the same exact target the same amount of the time 50% farther away than you used to.
But the real kicker here is that there are comparatively few ways to boost your skill.
Key Maneuvers and Attack Options
Many of the options that you get for melee weapons don’t translate 1:1 into the ranged arena. For one thing, one of the more important stats you have for ranged weapons is Acc, the bonus you get to hit when you take an Aim maneuver (more below).
So, what are your options:
Your only option here is Determined, and it gives you +1 rather than the usual +4 for melee.
. . . and that’s all, at least as far as things you can do without spending extra time to do it. You can give up all your defenses for +1 with a ranged attack, but you can get +4 for AoA(Determined) and another +4 for Telegraphic Attack for melee. So given the same amount of defenselessness you are +7 to hit advantaged in melee.
The key bit is the Aim maneuver (p. B364), which adds the weapon’s Acc, plus if you use a long-arm sling or a pistol in two hands, you can claim another +1 for your weapon being Braced.
This doesn’t help you put a projectile on target, but this optional rule (found in a few books) which allows Deceptive Attack to reduce your foe’s defenses Dodge on ranged attacks helps a successful hit stay that way.
Some GMs and/or players do not find this realistic. So if your GM says no, you’re out of luck on this one. GURPS is a Rule Zero game.
But by and large, you are at a severe disadvantage with a ranged weapon in terms of available bonuses, and you can rapidly stack up some major penalties on your butt: most of p. B548 is one line of bad news after another.
The only other thing that might help is Suppression Fire (p. B409-410) where you can hose down a two-yard area if you can apply RoF of 5+ to it. Hit chance is 6+RoF bonus with handheld and bipod-mounted weapons, and 8+RoF bonus for vehicle-mounted and tripod-mounted ones. See below for further comment on suppression.
Alternate Rapid Fire Rule: Right now, you get a bonus to hit if you fire five or more shots (p. B373). I don’ t like that as much, because the militaries of the world have shown that firing three or four shots is a pretty good way to increase hit chances, and right now, there’s no reason to use that number. I like to change the progression so that 1-2 shots gives +0, 3-4 gives +1, 5-8 gives +2, and 9-16 gives +3, and every x2 gives +1 after that. Really, this is just shifting bonuses around, but it gives a +1 to hit for semi-auto fire at RoF 3-4, which I like. This progression also works if you use it up to 16 shots, and then revert back to the rules-as-written past that.
Second Alternate Rapid Fire Rule: Use the Speed/Range table, either giving +1 at 3-4 shots, +2 at 5-6, etc., or add 1, so a double-tap gives +1. Thanks to +Mark Langsdorf for the full suggestion, found in the comments below.
Certain advantages are key where ranged weapons are concerned, if you can get them.
From the point of view of point-efficiency, you’re buying the ability to add Acc to all shots with a handgun, aimed or no, for 25 points. Ahem. 25 points is a minimum of +6 to hit with any one skill. Acc for handguns is usually less than 3. Guns skills have pretty generous defaults, so if you’re only using the Basic Set, think hard about taking this one – it’s not worth the points. If you can convince your GM to lower the price to, say, 10 points, it becomes pretty attractive. Might even be attractive at 15 points, but not for 25. Gunslinger is also considered a cinematic advantage.
For cinematic campaigns, +Hans-Christian Vortisch‘s GURPS: Gun Fu adds some meat to Gunslinger. Ignoring the penalties for move and attack, full skill when shooting when riding or in a vehicle, Bulk penalties on foot, reduced penalties for Ranged Rapid Strike, and a whole host of other options, some of which may be available for realistic campaigns with a benevolent GM. On p. 16 of that book, the real key might be the Accessibility limitations he makes available by limiting the scope of the weapons to which your advantage applies, lowering the cost to get the benefit from this schtick.
Another advantage that is recommended to cinematic games, this one helps with muscle-powered weapons, and the damage bonus it can provide is quite cool if your skill is DX+1 or DX+2. The other real benefit is reduced penalties for Rapid Strike (which you also get with Gunslinger).
This is an explicit variant on Gunslinger for Bows; the Basic Set alludes to it, and it’s spelled out right on on p. 45 of GURPS Martial Arts. For 20 points, it stacks the Rapid Strike benefits with Weapon Master, and gives you the ability to loose arrows from a bow while on the move, and disregard penalties in close combat.
Again, Mark notes that in his DF games, the ability to ignore penalties in CC means DF Scouts simply don’t need a backup weapon. They can use their bows.
Scopes and Sights
Laser Sights and Micro Reflex Sights: These boost Guns skill, not Acc, so they’re recommended acquisitions.
Bow Sights, Telescopic Sights: These add to Acc (as does Bracing a gun) and so will cost you the second required to aim.
The Basic Set restricts bonuses from aiming aids to 2xAcc; Tactical Shooting suggests max skill of 22+2xAcc. I like the second one more than the first. Of course, as Lead Playtester for Tactical Shooting, I’m very biased, but it’s a fantastic book.
Get to it Already
OK, with all that said, let’s take a stroll through the ranged weapon skill requirements. Let’s see what we can do with the same skill levels as melee. I’m not going to discuss defenses. By and large, you don’t parry or block with your weapons. You’re restricted to dodge, which has nothing to do with skill. If you’re All-Out Attacking, you can’t even do that. Note that you can parry with a bow, but it’ll likely ruin the bow. Your best defense is a big guy named Og or something. Maybe a velociraptor animal companion.
TL0 through TL4: Muscle-powered ranged weapons
Here we’re talking bows, crossbows, and slings. Acc ranges from 0-4, and half-damage range is a multiple of ST.
Unaimed Attack: A waste of time for all concerned. Even with AoA (Determined), you have a 16% chance to hit someone at two yards. If you can’t even roll if your skill falls below 3, then your max range is ten yards. Don’t bother aiming for any specific location, please. You’re going to embarrass yourself enough just aiming for “his general direction.”
Aimed Attack: Some of these weapons you really don’t get much help with the Aim maneuver. Acc 0 is pretty pointless, but multiple seconds of Aim still count. Even so, with no special rules, you’ll aim for three seconds in order to get a bonus from +2 to +6, with the +1 for AoA (Determined). That’s a net bonus of +3 to +7, for Skill-8 to Skill-12 (and for that, you need a crossbow, the only muscle-powered ranged weapon in Basic with Acc 4). That gives you a 50% chance to hit a guy at 5 yards. Woo hoo. Maybe 7 yards if you also brace that crossbow, which will probably require some not-too-portable or decidedly anachronistic technology.
The ultimate point here is that the only viable tactic at default skill levels is to mount a crossbow to something solid like a tripod, and start aiming when your foe is at least 22 or 25 yards away, more or less. You’ll hold fire until the last moment, then try and draw a hand-held weapon before he’s on you. You must assume that your one shot will miss, and then you’ll be hand-to-hand. Plan accordingly.
Unaimed Attack: You have a 37% chance to hit someone at two yards or less. You’re still wasting time trying this.
Aimed Attack: OK, with one shot every sixth second (Draw Projectile, Ready weapon, Aim, Aim, Aim, Shoot), the net bonus of +3 to +7 (see above) brings you to Skill-12 to Skill-16. So you can hit a man-sized target 50% of the time at 5 yards for Skill-12 for low-Acc weapons, and 20 yards for crossbows. If you hold your fire with a crossbow, you can hit the vitals 50% of the time at 7 yards. More pertinently, at 5 yards, you have a 90% chance to hit the torso, so “hold your fire ’till you see the whites of his eyes” is legit, but you may not have time to get your hand-to-hand on if you don’t stop him in his tracks – and at low TL, unless you’re very strong, firing special projectiles, or he’s unarmored, the odds of doing enough damage to guarantee incapacitation are low.
Unaimed Attack: You have a 50% chance to hit someone at 5 yards. Meh. Still pointless. If you have time to Draw, Ready, and Shoot, you probably have time to Aim a bit.
Aimed Attack: Your net skill with a longbow will be Bow-17. That’s 90% chance to hit at 10 yards, which might even give you time to drop the bow and draw a sword, mace, or club. You can hit a torso 50% of the time at 30 yards with a bow, or 70 yards with a crossbow. If you have a braced crossbow, you can hit the vitals at 30 yards.
The hit chances here are enough to worry a mass of attackers, but probably not individuals. Recall that if you can see a shot coming, especially a single arrow, you can elect to Dodge, and the defense bonus of a shield helps to protect. So these strike home less often than a hit is rolled.
Unaimed Attack: Geez. Skill-15 and you can hit the vitals 50% of the time at 5 yards, 90% chance to hit the torso at only 3 yards, and 50% chance to hit a man-sized torso at 15 yards.
Aimed Attack: You’ve finally got enough skill, at Skill-18 to Skill-22, to combine targeting with range. You can project point fire to 100 yards with a longbow with 50% hit rate, or hit the vitals with a longbow (Acc 2) 90% of the time, in combat, at 7 yards. A crossbow can do it at 15 yards. The low hit percentages at range are somewhat offset by the fact that with the right perks and skill rolls (Fast-Draw, and a Bow roll for quick-ready, but at -6) you can fire quite a few arrows by the time your foe closes the distance. Still, the warning against dodge holds at all ranges – if you’re shooting at Go Go Gadget Dodge Monkey and he can see your shots coming, you may waste a lot of arrows.
Unaimed Attack: Your 50% chance to hit is now actually somewhat decent, at 50 yards, the average mook will take ten seconds, more or less, to get to you. If you make a (wise) investment in Fast-Draw, you can shoot every other second, giving likely 4-6 shots at your foe. As he gets closer, you have a 10% chance of a critical hit at 5 yards to the torso, which negates even Dodge-Monkey’s last hope. You will essentially stop missing at 10 yards (90% to hit), and be able to snap-shoot the vitals 50% of the time at 15 yards. This tactic will be valid if you are behind a melee skirmish line, providing support. You can get relatively close, and stay close, while providing precision fire.
Aimed Attack: Ah. There’s a reason Hans put this at the top tier, and now we see what it is. Even with low-tech weapons, you’re looking at effective skill of 21 to 25. That’s a vitals shot 90% of the time with a longbow at 20 yards. You can now think about targeting the skull with a crossbow 90% of the time at 10 yards, and two times in three (net skill of 11) at 30 yards. You can project fire with a longbow to a generic man-sized target 50% of the time out to 300 yards . . . so you’re finally testing, maybe, the limits of the weapon. With a crossbow you’re probably not – with reload times what they are, you might as well “fire and drop” these, and have a very high ST crossbow, aim well, and shoot for the vitals or skull at ranges in excess of 100 yards.
Prediction Shot: I’d hold that this is the first skill level where you’re probably better off using some of your “surplus” skill, if you have any after range and location, for a shot that actually lowers the foe’s Dodge. Granted, the GM must allow it, but if he does, you may wind up being better off dropping your foe’s Dodge than keeping your skill at higher than 14. Hard to say.
Cinematically high skill, but accessible for Dungeon Fantasy characters. The prototypical bowman in DF is the Scout, and with a little tweaking, you can start shooting a ST 17 bow with Skill-24 at the start of play, by piling on the full -75 points of disads, taking Strongbow, ST 14, Arm ST +1, and knocking off a point of (say) Cartography. So it’s doable. You’re also sporting Fast-Draw (Arrow)-16 and Fast-Draw (Sword)-14, so you can draw an arrow or two freely each turn. You can also get a sword ready when your foes close on you and fight at Shortsword (or broadsword, spear, or some other skill)-14, which will keep you alive but not for long at DF point levels. Good for mooks, etc. This hasn’t been required in actual play, as noted above, since getting rid of the close-combat penalties with Heroic Archer mitigates that to the point that you don’t need a backup weapon, but you will need high Dodge. Without Heroic Archer, you will want the backup, still.
+Peter V. Dell’Orto helpfully notes the following with respect to some of the gymnastics I went through to get Bow-24 out of our starting Scout:
. . . it’s a real stretch to make a starting Scout with bow-24. It’s easy to get a net 24 skill, though – Heroic Archer and Weapon Master, Weapon Bond on the bow, all 8 points from Background skills to get Bow-20, 4 points from quirks for Bow-21 (and 1 on Weapon Bond.) Buy an Acc 3 bow (longbow for 200, composite for 900) and you are shooting at a 25 skill, 22 if you Move and Attack.
You’re just focusing on also getting a ST 17 bow, which is a terrifically hard combo to do on 250+50+5 using the Scout template and $1000 in starting cash. If you built a custom archer, you could. I’d say just worry about the skill – you’re concerned about hitting, not damage, otherwise you’d also need to start talking fine arrows, poison, bodkin points, etc. It’s kind of a departure from the point.
So I’d just let the ST 17 bow thing go, and say a straight-up Scout from DF can get a new skill 25 if all he cares about is shooting bows, 24 if not (spend 4 quirk points on something else, or 4 background skill points on actual background skills). You don’t need to even tweak the template to do that. You only need to change stuff if you want raw skill and lots of damage, too.
At this skill level, though:
Unaimed Attack: You can snapshot the vitals (-3) 90% of the time (effective skill 14) at 30 yards. You can shoot for the eye (-10) and hit 50% of the time at 10 yards (and a miss by 1 hits the face). If you have a target 100yds away, you have a 90% chance of hitting him even without aiming. You can Fast-Draw an arrow and absorb the -1 penalty to draw and shoot a bow (two skill rolls, with the -6 halved twice for Weapon Master and Heroic Archer) at Skill-23 every round (hello, Legolas . . . where have you been all my life), which means you can do this to the vitals at 20 yards every second at a 90% hit rate, or even the brain (-7) at 5 yards. This is pretty much exactly what our favorite pretty elf was doing in Fellowship, and this is more or less the skill level to do it (note he was being attacked effectively one at a time with conveniently staggered foes). With only a few more points, perhaps +2 to +4 to skill, you can do this to the eye, like he did.
Note that Skill-24 is the cap on a weapon with Acc 1, with or without aim, using the optional rule from Tactical Shooting!
Aimed Attack: With Aim bonuses that take raw skill up to, or past, the max-skill cap suggested in Tactical Shooting (and which you should probably throw right out the window in Dungeon Fantasy), this is an effective skill of 28 to as high as 32 depending on what you’re doing. At this point, eye shots and brain shots are your go-to, since you can eat that -7 or -10 at a minimum of 5 yards, and maybe as far away as 50 yds. You can menace a foe with a 90% chance to hit with a longbow farther than the bow can shoot, so you need to start always picking your targets. For a ST 17 composite bow, you can hit the vitals (-3) 90% of the time (Bow-14) to 300 yds, which is still within your 1/2D range with 1d+4, and with the proper arrows, that could be 1d+4 (2) pi, putting 1d injury even through DR 8.
At close range, if you’re allowed a Prediction Shot, you will have plenty of skill left over to drop Dodge. At 20 yards (-6) to the vitals (-3) with a composite bow and plenty of aim (Bow-30), you can take a -6 to hit and inflict a nice -3 to Dodge and still roll vs. Bow-15, increasing your chance of a critical hit to on a 5 instead of a 4.
TL5 through TL9-ish: Firearms and railguns
There’s not that much different with unaimed fire for any sort of weapon, with a few important exceptions:
Targeting Aids: Any aids that add to Guns skill, instead of Acc, will help you here. Most of the fancy-schmancy targeting aids are only good for +1 to Guns (though occasionally much more to Acc).
Rate of Fire: You don’t have to get your full-auto on to make this count. With a pump-action shotgun, fully legal nearly everywhere in the USA, you can put 18 pellets into the air at once firing two shells filled with 00 or #1 buckshot. Even with the standard GURPS Rapid Fire rules, this is worth +4 to hit, and will do something like 1d+1 pi damage per pellet that hits. Not much against any sort of body armor, but that’s a huge chance to hit. Even so, typical full-auto weapons can rock out +2 or so (+3 using my alternate rule suggestion above) in spray-and-pray mode.
Magazine Capacity: The ability for a shooter to take 1-3 shots per second until his magazine runs out is a bigger deal for the low-skilled than high. Each roll of the dice is a chance to get lucky (and at low skill, that’s what you’re hoping for) and put a bullet on target.
What does this mean?
Default Guns skill is Easy, so you get a quick boost there. Mostly, this means “you miss” even at close range, as with low-TL weapons, but with a shotgun, that +4 to hit from Rapid Fire means you have a 50% chance to hit at 2 yards, which is not as uncommon an engagement range as people might think. You can, even without the shotgun, look to try and claim the +1 for All-Out Attack (Determined), and the additional +1 if you can buy a gun with a laser sight (most likely for a pistol) or collimating/reflex sight (pistols and longarms). That’s one chance in four of a hit from two yards, or about one chance in ten or fifteen at five yards . . . which happens to be the average hit chance of real-life encounters at the same distance. Note that full-auto fire from even a good SMG at this skill level will still mostly punch holes in things other than your target. Volume of fire does not make you not suck, it only makes you suck slightly less.
One point in Guns gets you DX, which is Guns (Whatever)-10 for Joe Average. Five to ten yards distance is -2 to -4 to hit, which our putative shotgunner can offset through volume of buckshot. So with a little training, you’re hitting 50-75% of the time, and a good roll can put a bunch of pellets on target (with Rcl 1, you hit with 1+Margin of Success pellets).
Why am I focusing on shotguns? At low skill (and in this case low is probably “12 or less”) that buckshot bonus is your ticket to actually accomplishing something. Even full-auto weapons of normal output (600-900 rounds per minute, or RoF 10-15) aren’t enough to get out of this hole.
You’re 90% to the torso at 7 yards with the shotgun with an AoA; 10 yards with the proper boost to Guns with the right sight. This is close-in nastiness, but for unaimed fire where you’re just banging off rounds, it’s likely your best tactic. Spray-and-pray with an SMG or full-auto carbine is a 3-5 yard game, though a collimating sight is more likely on those, so this is the first time SMGs/rifles equal shotguns for hit rate, and both will surpass in damage. At Guns-12 and higher, you’re looking at preferring rifles and submachine guns over shotguns, finally, as offensive weapons.
One trick not mentioned yet is suppression fire, which pours fire into an area and rolls at 6+Rapid Fire bonuses to hit. This is a good way to utilize relatively low-skill fighters, though I’d probably limit the roll to 6+Rapid Fire bonuses or real effective skill+Rapid Fire – as long as your net skill to put bullets into a range is larger than the 6, use rules normally. That might even be the real rule.
This gets loving attention in Tactical Shooting, with the key bit being that near-misses can trigger Fright Checks. This is a darn good way to deny movement and keep heads down. Go read the book. It’s worth it.
Unless, of course, you want to slow down and try . . .
TL5-9 adds a lot of oomph to what you can do when you Aim, since you can get some pretty appreciable bonuses thrown in, in addition to the larger accuracy of longarms.
Targeting Aids and Scopes: This is where the real impact is made, though it can take many seconds to get there. Your typical 10x scope is a +3 bonus to Acc, and I believe that stacks with rangefinder bonuses.
Inherent Weapon Accuracy: While handguns are in the Acc 0 through Acc 2 space, much like bows (this isn’t too much a cinematic convention – a modern olympic super-expensive target bow can be Acc 4 based on shots I’ve seen myself – like putting one 8mm arrow through another at 10 yds), SMGs and rifles can push Acc 6.
Precision Aiming: GURPS High Tech introduced the Precision Aiming technique, which can exceed the usual +2 for additional seconds of aim. You still can’t, in reality, exceed the suggested cap of 22+2xAcc for any reason – that’s the mechanical accuracy of the platform in a bench-rest. But with an Acc 6 firearm, that cap is Skill-34.
Bracing: You can claim an extra +1 using a two-handed pistol stance or using a sling with a long-arm. In TL7+, this is likely “how you learned,” with that being especially true at TL8, where the odds of needing that other hand to swing a sword or control a horse’s reins are pretty low.
Rapid Fire: Well, I suppose you can still push the +2 or +3 for shooting a lot after spending three seconds to aim. It ain’t elegant, but remember that +2 is “same result at double the range,” and a good roll can hit with multiple bullets. So there might be something here. Note I’m not going to talk about it much below. Consider it an Easter egg.
So our notional Aimed Fire case will be looking at +1 for AoA(Determined), +1 for Braced in most cases, +2 for taking additional time without the Precision Shooting Technique, plus Acc and any bonuses you get for the first second of aiming with a scope.
How about our nominal combat rifle. A rifle with Acc 4 (for a carbine) or Acc 5 (for a rifle). Maybe with a x4 scope on it (+2). So with a few seconds of aim, you add +10 or +11 to skill. Higher tech weapons with computerized rangefinders and magnifying scopes built-in can probably increase this by +2 or +3 more. That means that you can (for example) roll against full skill to 100-200 yards against a man-sized target, and if you hit probably do 5d-7d of damage.
At combat distances, aimed fire becomes positively lethal. As it should.
Pistols are in the same accuracy class as low-tech ranged missile weapons (Acc 0-2), but can usually claim the bonus for braced and maybe a laser sight. This means that net Acc is probably 1-4 . . . so you can use the descriptions for Aimed Fire right out of the box.
SMGs push the upper bound of accuracy for muscle-powered ranged weapons (mostly Acc 3-4). They may also mount scopes of typical combat power in the +1 or +2 to Acc, and snipers may well push +3 to +5 for extremes (+3 is a standard 10x scope, which is plenty in most cases). For carbines and rifles, you’re talking Acc 4-5 plus scopes and targeting aids, and likely braced for a sling.
SMGs: you can probably expect to achieve the descriptive results of muscle-powered ranged weapons at 1-3 points of skill lower. So Skill-10 with an SMG is probably as good as Skill-12 with a composite bow or crossbow.
Combat Rifles: Acc 4-5 vs the 2-3 of typical bows. Bracing is easier. Scopes are legion for another +1 to +2. So you can achieve muscle-powered ranged weapon results with skill levels 3-6 points lower than the descriptions. That means a Guns (Rifle)-12 combatant who can Aim (+5), Brace (+1 for Brace, assumes AoA(Determined) for +1), using a x4 scope (+2), and taking his extra two seconds (+2) has an effective skill of Rifle-23 before he starts subtracting for range and target. He’s 90% at 20 yds to the vitals. That’s as good as Bow-18 with a longbow, a +6 advantage over our bowman.
Hunting and Sniper Rifles: Bigger scopes (+3 or more), higher Acc (Acc 6, or even 7 if you want to pay for it). Likely using Match-Grade Ammo (+1 Acc on weapons with Acc 4 and higher) probably gives a +3 advantage in aimed fire over even Combat rifles, meaning Joe Solider with Rifle-12 with all that kit is pushing an effective Rifle-24 to Rifle-26, meaning vitals shots at 90% at 30-70yds. That may not seem like much, but that’s someone with only a few points in the skill.
TL9-ish through TL12: Lasers, Grazers, and Blasters (oh my!)
There’s actually not too much more to say about ultra-tech weaponry. The sights and scopes that are listed in Ultra Tech really aren’t that much better than some of the late TL8 scopes in High-Tech.
The big bad, though, is that lasers and other zero time-of-flight weapons are Acc 6 for a pistol, Acc 12 for most rifles, and Acc 18 for mounted weaponry. That’s a +6 skill level advantage over sniper rifles for your bog-standard laser assault weapon.
Electromagnetic weapons maybe are +1 Acc over their conventional cousins in pistol form, and roughly equivalent to +1 better for longarms.
All fighters are more or less equally ineffective when not pausing to aim. There’s a lesson there.
Low-Tech weapons suffer from poor rate of fire unless proper investment in skill (Fast-Draw is one of the best points or four you’ll spend if you’re an archer, I suspect), and having enough skill to eat the Quick-Shooting penalty of -6 means you go all Legolas on someone only if you’re really very skilled.
Any sort of range penalty (and they stack up fast) makes unaimed fire mostly pointless at any tech level.
You can boost up your chances a bit by using high volume of fire (like a shotgun or full-auto weapon), but a quick analysis of the stats shows this is still a game when you’ve got only a bad guy in front of you at ten yards or less.
The name of the game in ranged weapons is aimed fire. You can even do sequential aimed shots, one per turn, using the Follow-Up Shots rule (Tactical Shooting, p. 14). At this point, high TL matters, since high Acc, scopes, and other devices become telling.