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In the last Rogue Trader session I ran, one of the PC's wanted to use the butt of his pistol in an attempt to 'pistol whip'. This came about because I told him that ranged weapons cannot be used in melee.

I ruled that it was okay, but couldn't find what the appropriate damage would be so I just fudged it and based it on a club attack damage.

Is there a specific rule regarding using ranged weapons in melee? And do different weapons cause different damage (e.g. pisotal whipping as opposed to the butt of a rifle)

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I don't think there are any specific rules for pistol-whipping people, but pistols can be used normally in melee. (Rogue Trader 114: "Pistol weapons are fired one-handed and can be used in close combat. However, when a pistol is used in close combat, the firer gains no bonuses or penalties to hit for range or targeting equipment.")

If a player specifically wanted to hit an enemy with his pistol instead of shooting them, or if he were forced to club someone with his rifle, that would be an improvised melee weapon. (Rogue Trader 132: "Hitting someone with the butt of a basic ranged weapon (such as a lasgun or boltgun) counts as an improvised weapon.") Per the table on p.131, an improvised weapon does 1d10-2I with the Primitive and Unbalanced qualities.

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