slugthrower n.

a weapon that fires a physical projectile, in contrast to an energy weapon n.

Specifically science-fictional use of the older colloquial use (as in quot. 1928), where it referred to any firearm, without explicit or implied comparison to other weapons.


  • [1928 D. Coolidge War Paint in Popular Magazine 26 May 108/2 page image

    I’ve looked down so many guns since you pulled that old slug thrower I reckon I’ve got back my nerve.]

  • 1954 P. Anderson Ghetto in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction May 108 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    A hunting marcat screamed in the night. She shivered…. ‘Local carnivore, Freelady. Don’t let it worry you.’ He slapped his slug[-]thrower, obscurely pleased at a chance to show—what? Manliness?

  • 1957 C. Anvil Compensation in Astounding Science Fiction Oct. 60/2 page image Christopher Anvil bibliography

    That thing on his hip was a hand weapon, an explosive-powered slug-thrower if I ever saw one.

  • 1962 P. Anderson Progress in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan. 119/1 page image Poul Anderson bibliography

    Alisabeta crouched in the starboard slugthrower turret.

  • 1965 G. R. Dickson Warrior in Analog Science Fiction–Science Fact Dec. 71/2 Gordon R. Dickson bibliography

    He had been pulling the trigger of his slugthrower all this time, but now the firing pin clicked at last upon an empty firing chamber.

  • 1978 P. Anderson Avatar (1981) 89 Poul Anderson bibliography

    Each had a holstered sidearm: slugthrower, not stunner.

  • 1996 J. L. Nye Ship Errant (1997) 65 Jody Lynn Nye bibliography

    From the confident manner with which she held her long-barreled slugthrower, Mirina guessed that some of the medals were for marksmanship.

  • 2001 J. C. Wright Forgotten Causes in Absolute Magnitude Summer 34/2 page image John C. Wright bibliography

    The blow struck the joint where the slugthrower was coming up out of its cleaning holster.

  • 2015 D. Wexler End of the War in Asimov’s Science Fiction June 14 page image Django Wexler bibliography

    I get a glimpse of the Afterburner from its last moments—definitely a III, not a IV—crawling down the corridor with its muzzle smoking like an old-fashioned slug-thrower.

Research requirements

antedating 1954

Earliest cite

Poul Anderson

Research History
Suggested by Mike Christie (from reading Poul Anderson 1978). There's yet another Anderson example in "Homo Aquaticus" (Amazing, Sept. 1963).

Last modified 2022-05-28 19:43:27
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.