A popular term referring to the use of aggressive chemotherapy (or any other aggressive therapy) as in, to hit a metastatic melanoma with heavy guns–i.e., with multiple agents and/or therapeutic modalities
Heavy guns is obviously a military term. The exact definition of what constitutes a heavy gun and its metaphorical opposite, a “peashooter” or “flyswatter” depends on the gun’s terrain and what vehicle is holding it. The original heavy guns were mounted on railroad cars and could fire shells from up to 65 miles away. While such guns haven’t played a part in any decisive battle, they are very effective in terrorising the general population: shells arrive with no warning and leave death and destruction in their wake. The heaviest railroad gun was Dicke Bertha–Big Bertha–who fired shells a whopping 420 mm in diameter. Both sides kicked the crap out of each other in Verdun with heavy guns in 1916.
But I digress. The heaviest heavy guns have been seaborne, were mounted on the Japanese battleships Yamato and Musashi in the Pacific theatre in World War II, fired armour-piercing shells measuring 460 mm in diameter and weighed 1460 kg each (that’s big). For army tanks, a heavy gun is considerably smaller–e.g., 120 mm, a medium gun 90 mm and a light gun 76 mm. In military aircraft, 37 mm is considered a heavy cannon and 20 mm more run-of-the-mill (don’t get me wrong, each can kill, but did you want an open or closed casket?) In law enforcement, a 44 magnum is a heavy gun…Now you know.
Synonym Big guns