One thing that has always struck me as curious in the Watchmen world is the success of the various costumed heroes. Aside from Dr. Manhattan no one has super powers, yet they all, for the most part, seem to be quite adept at busting up crime and remaining healthy and intact. This seems pretty unrealistic to me. Aside from Hollis Mason, Veidt and Laurie, there really is no mention of the training one would have to endure prior to going out in an outlandish costume and bring pain the criminal fraternity. To be able to do such a thing would require endless hours of training at a minimum just to stay alive even one night, much less several years. It seems in the Watchmen universe, just putting on a costume is good enough.
I always looked at it this way in my twisted mind: in the Watchmen
universe, there was an unwritten code of conduct between the costumed vigilantes / costumed criminals. While dangerous, they were still basically engaged in a glorified game of "cops and robbers." That's why we never see anything mentioned about old-time costumed villains being killed... it was almost an "innocent" fantasy game that was being played out between adults. The only glaring exception of a costumed hero being killed while on duty is Dollar Bill, and I wonder if Moore was making a specific cultural commentary by selecting that specific corporate sponsored hero to be killed.
Now for the common thugs, I think we'll just have to suspend our disbelief and ignore the fact that at least some would be packing heat, and that Rorschach and Nite Owl would probably have been riddled with bullets while trying to take down Underboss and the like.