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Like to get some opinions about this passage, speaker is in a situation where only he has a gun (kept in secret so far), but might be forced to reveal his hand soon. Has to deal with the 不良 sooner or later.

(そうだ。何も本当に撃つ必要はないんだ。拳銃がどんなものかは、他の連中も知ってる。こいつは……抑止力としても使えるんじゃないか?)

つまりは脅しだ。

実際に撃たなくても、撃つそぶりを見せていれば相手は最悪の場合を想定せざるを得ない。この拳銃に弾がいくつ入っているかはわからないが、弾がなくなって、さらにそれが周知になるまでは、あの不良どもだって従わざるを得ない絶対の抑止力になるはずだった。

... no need to fire, use as threat/deterence...

i don't know haw many bullets are in this gun, if i run out, even worse, if "that" becomes common knowledge, i expect even those delinquents will be under absolute deterrence as they have no choice to but to comply. - (, the sentence will makes sense, depending on what "that" is )


I think ehe issue in question here is the それ in それが周知になるまでは

At a glance i would expect それ to be [弾がなくなって], but that makes no sense, but because there's no deterrence potential if everyone knows that the gun has no bullets.

So それ seems to be referring to something along the lines of "the fact that I have a gun" for [あの不良どもだって従わざるを得ない絶対の抑止力になるはずだった] to make sense

What exactly is それ referring to here, and if someone only read up to さらにそれが周知になるまでは, would that know exactly what それ is referring to in this situation?

Thank you

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This それ does refer to 弾がなくなったこと, or the fact that the bullets have run out. Judging from your translation attempt, you seem to have failed to notice there is まで ("until").

この拳銃に弾がいくつ入っているかはわからないが、《弾がなくなって、さらにそれが周知になるまでは》、あの不良どもだって従わざるを得ない絶対の抑止力になるはずだった。
I didn't know how many bullets were in this gun, but I expected this gun would serve as an absolute deterrence those delinquents could not but obey 《at least until it would run out of bullets and that (fact) would be known to them》.

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