Do firearms ever become obsolete?


PDA






Vegaslaith
August 15, 2008, 11:42 PM
Horse and carriage;obsolete. Catapult;obsolete. While both of the above have modern descendants--cars and artillery respectively--they are in fact useless in modern times. A recent thread about a pistol's effectivness against a modern military got my wheels turnng. Some say bolt guns are over and done with.(not that I'm saying that.) Swords saw thousands of years of use, only to devolve into bayonets and combat knives.

So my question is twofold: Can a firearm (or guns in general) become obsolete; and if so what makes it so? Lack of available ammo? Parts?

Take your best shot:D

If you enjoyed reading about "Do firearms ever become obsolete?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
cslinger
August 15, 2008, 11:44 PM
Obsolescent, maybe...obsolete, not likely.

I personally feel that one day we(humanity) will go to the stars. I also feel that the venerable 12 gauge shotgun will go with us.

Chris

geekWithA.45
August 15, 2008, 11:51 PM
Well, I have 2 definitions of obsolescence.

One is based on sustainability: if critical parts, ammo, etc are no longer commonly available, it's fair to label a device obsolete.

The more useful definition is based on the firearm's fitness for a particular niche in the purpose driven gun ecology. A firearm is rendered obsolete when it is displaced from its niche by something that offers a superior fit to that niche.

For example, in the wide ranging ammunition niche, the brass cartridge rendered cap and ball entirely obsolete.

In the small, concealable defensive handgun niche, the snub nose revolver displaced the derringer. Some would argue that the snub is in turn displaced by the compact 9mm autoloader, but that's a topic of debate, with no clear winner at this time.

In the service rifle niche, the muzzle loader was displaced by the breechloader, which was in turn displaced by the lever, which was then displaced by the bolt, which was then displaced by the autoloader, which was then displaced by the assault rifle.

Examples abound.

rondog
August 15, 2008, 11:56 PM
All 1911 platform pistols are definitely obsolete. PM me and I'll give you my address, so you can send them to me for proper disposal. No charge!

siglite
August 16, 2008, 12:00 AM
I like the "functional niche" angle. And if we boil it down for our purposes, it's the functional niche as the man portable combat arm.

The M16 was an (arguable) improvement on the M14. Which was an improvement on the M1. Which was an improvement on.... etc...

At some point back in the past, deeper under the pile of improvements, modifications, and outright radical changes, there's true obsolescence for that niche.

Very well put geekwitha.45.

Maybe in 50 years, the 40 megawatt plasma rifle and the 10 megawatt plasma pistol will render firearms obsolete.

Or we'll be walking around with force-fields rendering all projectile weapons useless. Who knows.

But there's one thing I'm certain of. Humans have an incredible aptitude for developing creative and effective ways to kill each other. This aptitude dictates that something, one day, will come along and render firearms obsolete.

Floppy_D
August 16, 2008, 12:08 AM
You know that certain firearms are obsolete when they give the hunters that are burdened with their use a separate hunting season. :D

SapperMapper
August 16, 2008, 12:12 AM
Caseless ammo (now in testing) may soon prompt complete redesigns of current weapons.

The great, intuitive, genius, revolutionary breakthroughs are wonderful when it comes to coffee table books, but it's really the incremental and evolutionary changes that advance technology. That applies to a lot more than just firearms, but stories like, "The first modern machine gun" are much more dramatic than "Ruger engineers develop a pistol that is 80% lighter (or smaller, shorter, more accurate, etc.) than last years model."

CJ
August 16, 2008, 12:15 AM
I'd say the duckfoot and pepperbox are examples of being obsolete. Sure, they're still around here and there, but improvements in reloading techniques, revolvers, and on have pushed them into a 'curiosity' status.

A magazine recently had an example of a powder tester...you put a known type of powder in, pull the trigger to set it off, and it would measure the reaction. You would them put a sample of the powder you were considering in and repeat the process to see how it compared. Improvements in powder manufacturing rendered THAT type of test obsolete...so it seems when something is so cumbersome, or simply not needed any more, it heads that direction.

One we get affordable directed energy weapons, or decent caseless ammunition, our current stuff will probably become obsolete within a few centuries too.

Big45
August 16, 2008, 01:12 AM
All weapons became obsolete the instant Chuck Norris was born. (Someone had to)

Monkeybear
August 16, 2008, 01:14 AM
Not guns, just the ammo. As the projectile improves new guns we be developed to launch said projectiles.

Wildfire
August 16, 2008, 01:18 AM
Hey There;
We have come a long ways from chasing big critters with pointed sticks to the gun.
How knows ?
We still have Horse and Buggies on the roads. Atleast in some parts of the country.
Some have even gone back to chasing big critters with pointed sticks.

brigadier
August 16, 2008, 01:23 AM
A weapon that could kill a man 3000 years ago can still kill a man today. Allot of things change with time. The laws of physics is not one of them.

Matt G
August 16, 2008, 01:26 AM
What about Tacticality?? :)

What was effective against body armor at Agincourt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt) would be highly effective against body armor, now. But there are better ways. Note that many of the archers in that battle had backup hatchets.

Frankly, GeekWithA.45 gave a superb answer.

R.W.Dale
August 16, 2008, 01:28 AM
A weapon that could kill a man 3000 years ago can still kill a man today. Allot of things change with time. The laws of physics is not one of them.

The laws of physics may not have changed but you try bringing a pointed stick to a gunfight and see how long you survive.

I have no doubt that at some point energy weapons will render projectiles obsolete. Quite possibly within my lifetime

Wildfire
August 16, 2008, 01:43 AM
Hey again.
We should have by now all been aware of the 21 foot rule.

Man with knife at 21' / Man with gun. ??????????

In a demo years ago. I was not a believer. Now I am.

Pointed stick at a gun fight could be a draw.

R.W.Dale
August 16, 2008, 01:46 AM
Pointed stick at a HANDgun fight could be a draw.

There I fixed that

General Geoff
August 16, 2008, 01:48 AM
I'm confident that firearms will become obsolete once we invent a better battery. Why use a rifle when you can use a frickin' laser that'll cut down your enemy while requiring no ballistics chart?

Wildfire
August 16, 2008, 01:51 AM
Hey :
My laser don't work like that.

R.W.Dale
August 16, 2008, 01:52 AM
Hey :
My laser don't work like that.

eventually it will

brigadier
August 16, 2008, 01:53 AM
I'm confident that firearms will become obsolete once we invent a better battery. Why use a rifle when you can use a frickin' laser that'll cut down your enemy while requiring no ballistics chart?

We already have the means to do that.
There is a serious reason why we are using bullets over lasers despite the availability of the technology. For a good start at why, point a laser pointer at a mirror and see what happens.
Any army who decides to resort to laser warfare is going to really have their day ruined when their enemies show up with all kinds of reflective armor and tools.

General Geoff
August 16, 2008, 01:55 AM
You would need specialized mirrors and some incredibly precise computer guided variable geometry to effectively redirect a high-output laser beam back at its target past a hundred yards or so. Not to mention any mirror with a high enough refractive index in the appropriate wavelengths would be easily destroyed (or at least greatly damaged) by projectile weapons.



edit: show me a mirror that will reflect (without degradation) an X-ray laser beam. ;)

Cosmoline
August 16, 2008, 01:58 AM
How do you stop a laser? Dust. Clouds. Debris. Rain. You name it. They're an idiotic weapon, though they have some other much more practical uses. Besides, the amount of energy needed to cut through steel, flesh and bone at 200 or 300 meters is far beyond anything we can generate. Not to mention the enormous expense. Why waste that kind of money and energy when you can just shoot the guy?

Of course, smart folks have been spinning these yarns and making plenty of very real money on pork projects to create buck rogers weapons. My hat is off to them. But it ain't gonna happen, anymore than we are going to colonize Mars or fight Ming.

A much more promising line of investigation is with sonic weapons and microwaves. But again there are treaty issues with deploying such devices. Nerve gas could make most artillery and small arms obsolete, but we dare not deploy it. Likewise the neutron bomb. All and all, I think we're stuck with firearms. Though the case may be gone and replaced with some new propellant.

The laws of physics may not have changed but you try bringing a pointed stick to a gunfight and see how long you survive.

A spear is no joke. I would not want to go up against a well versed spear-wielding enemy with anything less than 50 yards of open ground and my best rifle. At close range with a handgun? I'd give odds to the spear.

Monkeybear
August 16, 2008, 02:00 AM
For a good start at why, point a laser pointer at a mirror and see what happens.

Ah, I can see the mall ninja of tomorrow......instead of duct taping titanium plates under their shirts they will be HVAC taping polished aluminum plates over them.

Wildfire
August 16, 2008, 02:11 AM
Hey again:
New age weapons sometimes have a way of back firing.
We have robots that we use in warfare. One turned on our own men and killed them all.
We have weapons (in testing) that produce high freq, sound waves.
Lasers and maybe more.
That bullet is humain and usual .
we have so much coming at us in the future that none of us could even risk a guess at. But I feel the gun will be here way after I am gone.

brigadier
August 16, 2008, 02:12 AM
A spear is no joke. I would not want to go up against a well versed spear-wielding enemy with anything less than 50 yards of open ground and my best rifle. At close range with a handgun? I'd give odds to the spear.

Yep. They proved in the Satsuma revolt that a blade in the hands of a skilled user can easily win the upper hand and ruin the shooters day even in large numbers.

Another good point about all that. Swords don't run out of ammo.
Guns have been around since the 1200s, piratical guns with a trigger and all have been around since the 1400s.
Swords are still in use to this day by various military and security forces. There must be a reason why the sword has yet to be fully replaced by the gun. Even the bayonet on a rifle effectively turns the rifle in to a spear. Hmm? Also, from what I have gathered from WW II vets, having a Japanese man coming after you with a Katana isn't anything to be taken lightly even with an M-1 Garand at your disposal.

When you get a chance, watch the movie: Windtalkers. Kinda stupid on some things but they did a good job of showing how affective a sword can be in the world of guns and artillery.

To be clear about this, a sword is NOT an ideal substitute for a gun. It's a good thing to have in addition to a gun. Our military agrees. When you put a bayonet on your rifle, you turn it in to a poor substitute for a sword/spear.

RP88
August 16, 2008, 02:21 AM
Just about every gun is obsolete in some way.

Bolt guns went from prime combat weapons to second-ine snipers, thanks to semi-auto rifles emerging.

wheel guns went from cavlary guns to collectors or cheap CCW guns, thanks to semi-auto pistols emerging

big-caliber rifles like the FAL/G3, M14, etc. became designated marksmen rifles that are still being slowly phased out if they havent already, thanks to intermediate-caliber assault rifles.

The shotgun went from being the prime jungle/entry/CQB weapon to being just an entry/specialized munitions shooter, thanks to SMGs

ball rounds are being exchanged for spitzer types in even the smaller-caliber SMGs and pistols.

aluminum and steel alloys are being replaced by plastic-oriented polymers

traditional gas systems are facing a challenge from HKs new piston design

bullpups are coming out more and more, although they still havent shown any edge over the traditional styles

even the current M16s, AKs, etc. are obsolete, given the new designs under testing recently.

but the Winchester 30-30 will still drop a deer. The AK's simplicity is still compared to even the most advanced rifles in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The 7.62x54R is still around, as is alot of other calibers, and they're still killing alot of people. seeing an M14 in field use isnt uncommon, despite it being 60 years old.

and for the love of God, how long has the Browning .50 been around again?

whosyrdaddy
August 16, 2008, 02:36 AM
Technology will enable non lethal alternatives to become more effective than conventional firearms. This will occur to meet the demand of the European Union. Eventually the use of these non weapons will be required of all members of the United Nations.

The citizens of the United States will demand the use of such non weapons by Police and citizens alike. It will become increasingly difficult to convince a jury that deadly force is reasonable. Conventional firearms will fall out of favor for SD/HD applications. The courts, citing Heller, will rule that conventional firearms are no longer in "common use" and as such are not protected by the 2nd Amendment.

Guns an ammo used for hunting/target shooting will be heavily regulated.

jakemccoy
August 16, 2008, 03:15 AM
Your premise contains a lot of false statements. It's hard to have a meaningful discussion from a false premise.

theotherwaldo
August 16, 2008, 03:31 AM
Obsolete for what function? Hunting deer? Urban self defense? Shooting reluctant recruits in the kidneys to encourage the others? Using a knife to get a pistol that gets you a shotgun that provides you with a rifle? Please define your terms.

Obsolete, in this case, is a probably being used as a technical term referring to tactical situations that change constantly, depending on the battleground, applicable laws, branch of service, and a number of other variables. The M-14 is a good example. It was appropriate for battle in Korea, Europe, and most of the hotspots of the early and mid-1950s. It was inappropriate for the short-range jungle warfare of the 1960s and 1970s, so it was termed "obsolete".
Now, in the long-range mountain-and-desert battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, the M-14 is in demand again.

Is it still obsolete?

myrockfight
August 16, 2008, 05:16 AM
Apparantly, the 1911 is seeing a good resurgence also - from what I hear anyway. I haven't exactly had to clean sand out of my shorts lately due to any kind of strategic assaults conducted in a sandy eviroment.

sprithitler
August 16, 2008, 07:48 AM
That some weapons become obsolete for common military use is quite apparent, we dont see many musketmen companies anymore.
But which weapons do become totally obsolete? I would say that no (or not many at least) brass cartridge weapons has become obsolete so far. Compare brass cartridge weapons to cars, the oldest brass cartridge weapons are like cars from the forties, a hassle to drive in todays traffic, but quite serviceable for a knowledgeable user. Most older brass cartridge weapons are like sixties or seventies car, not as sleek and easily operated as the best modern cars, but really no hassle to use in everyday traffic either.
What i want to say is that there has been few really big leaps in firearms technology (or automotive technology) in the last onehundred and twenty years (fifty years) and though there have been steady progress it havent been in such a way as to render older designs useless in modern conditions. A disciplined well trained Squad using M1s or even model 1896 Mausers can still stand a chance of defeating or at least seriously harming a suad using the most modern available infantry technology. Quite unlike what a Squad of musketmen would manage to do on the modern battlefield.
A gunman with a Peacemaker is still as much of a threat to a swatforce as a Desperado with a Glock is, unlike a gunman with a fifteenth century one shot blackpowder pistol.
A Garand or a doublebarreled shotgun is still a good homedefense weapon and to most homeinvaders as intimidating (and lethal) as an AR-15 or semi auto Shotgun, unlike a sixteenth century blunderbuss or crossbow.

In conclusion, my opinion is that brasscartridge firearms dont become obsolete, unless everyone starts wearing forcefields that stops every projectile, they have been good enough at least since the introduction of nitrocellulose gunpowder.

everallm
August 16, 2008, 08:14 AM
With firearms, obsolescence is almost exclusively a military usage term and is really about what is on the Table of Equipment and can be supported by the supply chain.

Items can be added or removed dependent upon doctrine or required use, the M14 being a good recent example.

Rendered "obsolete" by the M16. brought back in to supply chain due to doctrinal changes and alteration in specific needs and requirements, will probably be re"obsoleted" again in the next 5 years.

For civilians, the obsolete tag is usually changed to "collectible".....Usually when either parts or ammunition become unavailable in practice.

memphisjim
August 16, 2008, 08:21 AM
why use a gun when they invent laser guns?
because mirrors dont block bullets

Eric F
August 16, 2008, 08:28 AM
Some guns become obsolete due to lack of amunition as a shooter. As a collectors item they carry on. Take the origional spencer rifles for example. With a lack of manufactures rimfire ammo they are worthless as shooters. As a collector item they fetch a decent price. They can be modified to shoot centerfire rounds and regain their usefullness as a shooter again.

FCFC
August 16, 2008, 09:38 AM
There must be a reason why the sword has yet to be fully replaced by the gun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qXlFNYoyQg

NukemJim
August 16, 2008, 09:46 AM
We have robots that we use in warfare. One turned on our own men and killed them all.

Not familiar with the above mentioned incident. Can anyone supply details ?

And please no Skynet/Terminator/SciFi references please.

NukemJim

ranger335v
August 16, 2008, 09:47 AM
"Your premise contains a lot of false statements. It's hard to have a meaningful discussion from a false premise."

Would you perhaps mention one or two of those "false premises?"

Anything can become obsolete, that doesn't mean it's useless and won't work any longer. Obsolete certainly applies to matchlock muskets but one can still kill so I doubt the OP meant that. He was just (correctly) pointing out the progression of materials and technology in firearms.

leadcounsel
August 16, 2008, 10:18 AM
The only thing that will make firearms obsolete against humans will be inexpensive bullet resistant everyday wearable clothing or energy fields or something of that nature where bullets are just ineffective against people - or at least people in scientifically advanced nations anyway.

Think of it in the reverse as to what made armor obsolete - the gun. Well, what will make the gun obsolete. Better armor.

Old Grump
August 16, 2008, 01:14 PM
Not to sure a bladesman wanting to kill him would have been going through a pretty sword spinning demonstration. He would have rushed him and from that distance by the time Indiana turned around, recognized the danger and drew his gun he would have been chopped into kabobs ready for the spit.

A 30-40 Krag will still put down a deer or a man but was put to pasture by the 1903 which I carried in boot, okay so I am old. The M1 and the 03 both had range in their favor and the 14 had more rounds with a lighter recoiling round but was designed for urban warfare not jungle. Stiff necks and pencil pushers keep the 16 going through many changes and improvements but it should have been replaced while we were still in Nam. I am prejudiced because I was there and no matter how good they make it its still a ..............never mind. My back up deer gun is a single action revolver in 44 magnum, modern technology makes it safe to use and more accurate than my beloved colt 45 SAA.

Its not obsolete until it can't do the job as well as its replacement in my opinion. Keeping in mind that I am a dinosaur predisposed to dance with what I brung to the party. Don't tell me I am not dangerous in the woods with my 45 and M1 Garand to an invading enemy, I don't care what he is armed with. If he isn't in a plane, attack helicopter shooting rockets or in a tank he is in trouble. Lasers won't do it because they can't replace artillery that can shoot over the horizon or through a door. Need to come up with something a lot better than that.

Dookie
August 16, 2008, 01:22 PM
a projectile weapon will not become obsolete. no matter what it shoots, how it shoots it, you still have to be able to hit the target from whatever distance.

And a laser, really? Lets all use a weapon that will cauterize the wound as it creates it, therefore letting the person shot KEEP SHOOTING!!!

theotherwaldo
August 16, 2008, 01:35 PM
The primary function of laser weapons at this point would be to blind or dazzle the target, not burn or perforate it.
A blind rifleman is helpless and probably doomed.
A blind pilot, even more so.

TIMC
August 16, 2008, 03:08 PM
Here is one that is obsolete.
Bulldog pocket pistol in .320 revolver. No ammo to be found. Nice conversation piece but that's about all it can do.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v369/timc/Belgianpocketpistolcomplete.jpg?t=1218913693

sprithitler
August 16, 2008, 03:42 PM
Still, TIMC if someone start cranking out ammo it is a serviceable short range SD weapon. it isnt techologically Obsolete, just logistically obsolete.

Defensory
August 16, 2008, 04:06 PM
Certain types of firearms most certainly become obsolete.

It's safe to say that the flintlock, matchlock, wheellock etc. are obsolete.

Quiet
August 16, 2008, 04:22 PM
Firearms will be around for a long time.

Man-portable laser weapon systems will not be viable for a long, long, long time.

In the next 10 years, viable vehicle based laser weapon systems may be deployable.

The YAL-1 Airborne Laser is still in the development stage.
The current prototypes (2 made so far) are currently flying and missile intercept testing is to being in 2009.
It carries enough fuel for the megawatt class COIL (Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser) to fire 20 shots.
http://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/abl/images/ABL_8.jpghttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Airbornelaserturret.jpg

Currently, the only successful directed energy weapon is MIRACL (Mid Infrared Advanced Chemicl Laser) based out of White Sands Missile Range in NM. It generated over a megawatt of energy for 70 seconds. In 1997, MIRACL successfull targeted, tracked and disabled an USAF satellite at a distance of 432KM. Data from MIRACL was used to create the COIL, which is being used in the YAL-1.
http://www.cnn.com/US/9710/20/pentagon.laser/laser.lg.jpg

Vegaslaith
August 16, 2008, 04:33 PM
Think of it in the reverse as to what made armor obsolete - the gun. Well, what will make the gun obsolete. Better armor.

I agree. But then the question would be; What defeats the better armor? And so on...

blackcash88
August 16, 2008, 04:33 PM
I'm confident that firearms will become obsolete once we invent a better battery. Why use a rifle when you can use a frickin' laser that'll cut down your enemy while requiring no ballistics chart?

Yeah, right up until the EMP burst shuts it down.

Surprised nobody's mentioned bows and arrows yet. People still use those all the time, but not normally for self-defense.

blackcash88
August 16, 2008, 04:35 PM
We have robots that we use in warfare. One turned on our own men and killed them all.

I, too, would like to see a link where this happened in the REAL world.

Vaarok
August 16, 2008, 05:53 PM
Lasers wouldn't cauterize. Humans are at least four-fifths water. What happens when you superheat water?

And what happens when you use a gamma or X-ray laser instead of an optic or infrared frequency beam? Microwave pulse?

The ugly part of directed energy weapons is the cover-versus-concealment scale gets radically shifted. Line-of-sight sucks when you can kill whatever you can see.

FourNineFoxtrot
August 16, 2008, 07:23 PM
Several posters have made the point, and I think it's a good one, that obsolescence is a complicated idea... and that there's a difference between "obsolete" and "ineffective". People will continue to use the obsolete until it is no longer effective, and maybe still then.

I suspect that firearms will only be replaced when something truly more advanced comes along, probably something we don't even really know about yet... that is, if firearms are replaced at all.

The idea of a chemical explosive propelled projectile has been around for a very long time, and has undergone many generations of reinvention. Some people seem to think that we've taken this idea as far as it will go. I don't assume that... I think it's possible that new generations of yet more advanced firearms may come about. Granted, most of what is being developed today is just refinement of existing technology, or the synthesis of different technologies (such as polymer frames, modularization of weapons, etc.) but technological advancement tends to follow a kind of ebb and flow; there are times when new advances start popping up, and there are times when it's mostly about refining what exists.

I think we're due for a leap forward. I don't know what it will be, or when it will come, but history indicates its probability.

I also think it's safe to say that guns made in the 20th century are going to be used, and used effectively, throughout much of the 21st. I'm not too worried about my Sig Sauer becoming obsolete in my lifetime. Illegal, perhaps, but not obsolete.

jad0110
August 16, 2008, 09:32 PM
Several posters have made the point, and I think it's a good one, that obsolescence is a complicated idea... and that there's a difference between "obsolete" and "ineffective".

I agree as well. I hesitate to call any weapon truly obsolete. Archaic, perhaps. But a big heavy rock can kill you as dead as the latest wonder gun. It comes down to the needs of the user. What won't work for the military (SxS shotgun) may be just fine for a person interested in home protection. And clearly, a knife is useless over long distances, but up close and personal in skilled hands (21' rule) it can be as deadly as any firearm.

Loomis
August 16, 2008, 09:46 PM
Your original question should've been something like...

Will kinetic energy weapons ever be obsolete?

Various models of firearms will become obsolete all the time. But firearms in some shape or form will be around for a very very long time. Someday, the rail gun will replace firearms as the kinetic energy weapon of choice. But not in my lifetime.

Firearms have one trait that makes them valuable in warefare...they don't need batteries or electronics or power to operate. A mechanism that runs entirely off of the projectile propellant is so reliable I don't see the rail gun replacing it any time soon for small arms. For artillery, maybe.

Heartless_Conservative
August 16, 2008, 10:06 PM
I have no doubt that at some point energy weapons will render projectiles obsolete. Quite possibly within my lifetime

But what if the replicators attack?

Sorry, the SG1 fan in me just had to say it :p

sm
August 16, 2008, 11:03 PM
Nope.
Just like old fishing equipment don't die, they just smell like they did.

Some stuff "just are" and it ain't the hardware, instead the person having the Software to run the hardware.


Use Enough Cane Pole

Huddog
August 16, 2008, 11:16 PM
IMHO guns to become obsolete. However, firearms owners are also often interested in history and keep the obsolete alive.

Neo-Luddite
August 17, 2008, 02:11 AM
None have bested Mr. Kipling's grasp of the subject----
and if he were writing today, he might have written of the SMLE.


Rudyard Kipling
1865-1936

Brown Bess

In the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise -
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes -
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear;
And everyone bowed when she opened the ball
On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.

When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks,
And people wore pigtails instead of perukes,
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks.
She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
"Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think I am killing enough," said Brown Bess.

So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid,
And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)

In stubborn retreat or stately advance,
From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain,
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon - no less -
Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.

She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day -
She danced till the dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way,
And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,
"I have danced my last dance with the world!" said Brown Bess.

If you go to Museums - there's one in Whitehall -
Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her upstanding, her back to the wall,
As stiff as a ramrod, her flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers', that arm is Brown Bess.

Harve Curry
August 17, 2008, 02:27 AM
I guess if you are talking as weapons/firearms applied to modern warfare then they become obsolete. But for sporting or hunting they are just as effective as anything else if the user is skilled.

Vegaslaith
August 17, 2008, 03:17 AM
I what other gun warrants a similar poem? Only one comes to mind...

Majic
August 17, 2008, 07:21 AM
Horse and carriage;obsolete. Catapult;obsolete.
Well I guess you have never heard of harness racing as the horse pulls a sulky which is stripped down 2 wheel carriage. As for the catapult being obsolete have you ever wondered what throws the clay pigeons for shotgunners to shoot? Though known as traps they are small catapults. So how do you think the firearm will become obsolete? There are other projectiles besides the bullet.

scrat
August 17, 2008, 11:17 AM
For example, in the wide ranging ammunition niche, the brass cartridge rendered cap and ball entirely obsolete.

In the small, concealable defensive handgun niche, the snub nose revolver displaced the derringer. Some would argue that the snub is in turn displaced by the compact 9mm autoloader, but that's a topic of debate, with no clear winner at this time.

In the service rifle niche, the muzzle loader was displaced by the breechloader, which was in turn displaced by the lever, which was then displaced by the bolt, which was then displaced by the autoloader, which was then displaced by the assault rifle.


Wrong. well i believe. if i look back at cars. The breaker point distributor is obsolete. In that its no longer made for new production cars anymore. However its function is not obsolete as millions of cars, trucks, tractors, farm equipment, lawn mowers. Still rely on the breaker point ignition system. Parts are still being made for them as people still own them. So they are not extinct some day that may happen but they are still beins sold today. Obsolete in the fact thay they do not come on new cars yes.

Now lets look at the cap and ball. Obsolete in that they are not made in new production. False. new ones are being and sold at record paces today. Why because in countries where you can not own brass case cartrdige ammo. These are the guns of choice. I my self own several different ones. Obsolete in technology yes and no. My cap and ball revolvers may be single action however they still shoot the same and are actually better in some ways than one would know. IF there where ever a situation where there was a shtf and you needed to do what ever you could for your family and survival. These old musket guns weather cap and ball or flintlock maybe the way to go. thats why more people are discovering our roots in firearms more than ever. Why one you can still make the powder on your own. people have and do it all over the country. 2. Because unlike a modern revolver that is limited to a certain ammo. I can take my black powder cap and ball shoot cap and ball. Or change the cylinder and shoot cartridge style ammo. in a sence i have two guns in one.


So do guns ever become obsolete. I think we have a few. mostly because of ammo. There are some rare guns that even a reloader cant help you with. Most of the ones i know are the rim fire odd size calibers. Other wise where there is a will there is a way. Give a good reloader a book on load data and case sizes and they will find a case they can make work for just about any gun. We have and do it all the time. You just need the will and then find the way.

BruceRDucer
August 17, 2008, 12:18 PM
A: Never underestimate your enemy


(1) If an enemy is over rough ground, and you don't have a helicopter, a horse could still take you where you need to go.

(2) As a guerilla weapon, a catapult could effectively deliver all manner of lethal effects, even when an enemy assumes that one possesses no weapons at all.

(or...what cannot one do with a POTATO CANNON?)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 17, 2008, 12:23 PM
Simple:

If there are no cars which you can get your hands on, then a horse and carriage is NOT obsolete at all - it gets you from point A to point B more quickly and with more gear than walking.

If there is no artillery which you can get your hands on, then a catapult is NOT obsolete at all - it will kill Al quaeda invaders more effectively than no catapult.

Similarly, if in the future, there are no ray guns which you can get your hands on, then a firearm is NOT obsollete at all - it will kill JBTs, home invaders, and game far more effectively than your bare hands or a spear or a bow.

So, I guess the answer is, "It depends upon how you define the word 'obsolete' ".

MAKster
August 17, 2008, 01:05 PM
Someone asks this question about once a month, and I am always amazed at how defensive people get. I think some people are confusing obsolete with irrelevant or nonfunctioning. Muzzle loaders, cap and ball revolvers, black and white tv, horse drawn carriages are obsolete. That doesn't mean they still don't work or fill a niche. It just means newer technology has surpassed them.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 17, 2008, 01:11 PM
Well, that's YOUR definition of "obsolete". Dunno if you're right or not. Let's look at Dictionary.com for starters:

1. no longer in general use; fallen into disuse: an obsolete expression.
2. of a discarded or outmoded type; out of date: an obsolete battleship.
3. (of a linguistic form) no longer in use, esp., out of use for at least the past century. Compare archaic.
4. effaced by wearing down or away.
5. Biology. imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in other individuals, as of the opposite sex or of a related species.
–verb (used with object)
6. to make obsolete by replacing with something newer or better; antiquate: Automation has obsoleted many factory workers.

I guess under that definition, then yes they will probably become obsolete some day. It will be a looooong time, though. I guess I misunderstood the definition of obsolete. I was thinking it meant essentially "useless".

SCKimberFan
August 17, 2008, 01:25 PM
I just finished watching The Works - Guns & Ammo on the History Channel. I find it interesting that after all these years, even the latest, greatest weapons the military is testing, still use gunpowder & primers. So no, I don't think they will become obsolete, at least until phasers make their actual appearance.

Joe Demko
August 17, 2008, 01:26 PM
Someone asks this question about once a month, and I am always amazed at how defensive people get.

Don't be amazed. It's extremely common among shooters to get all wrapped around the axle if anything is said that sounds even remotely negative about their pet gun or cartridge. If gun enthusiasts put half the energy into fighting the anti's over things that matter as they do to fighting each other over things that don't, I don't think there'd be a gun law left standing in the whole US.

Deanimator
August 17, 2008, 01:39 PM
1. Unavailability of ammunition and the inability to make new. Go down to Walmart and ask for ammunition for your Gyrojet. Apart from that, you can MAKE ammunition for almost any conventional cartridge from something else; the question is it economical to do so? "Handbook of Cartridge Conversions" has some things I never would have imagined. Some of them aren't terribly practical, but if you HAVE to shoot it, there's usually a way.

2. Unavailability of essential components. Again, pretty much any non-serial number component can be fabricated, given enough time, effort and expense. Knowing somebody with a small CNC milling machine and or lathe would be a big help. So would having a drawing or an original part. Need 50,000 of something? Let me know; I can have it made in India or China.

Deanimator
August 17, 2008, 01:46 PM
The ugly part of directed energy weapons is the cover-versus-concealment scale gets radically shifted. Line-of-sight sucks when you can kill whatever you can see.
But I don't have to be able to see you to kill you, with a 40mm grenade launcher, a Gatling gun OR a .450 Maxim gun.

That's why Coast Artillery facilities had 14" rifles AND mortars. It's why they made the 155mm howitzer AND the 175mm gun.

Non-line of sight weapons will NEVER be obsolete.

Drgong
August 17, 2008, 02:13 PM
Barring Force feilds that are like the novel "Dune" there will be projectile weapons as a prime source of miltary use. It may very well be that it will be caseless ammo or might be some other type of system, however the brass cases will be still used. Heck, blackpowder is making a comeback..

jlbraun
August 17, 2008, 02:52 PM
I think that the slugthrower is going to be with us for some time. Gunpowder and chemical propellants are 2 orders of magnitude better at storing and releasing energy than even the best batteries, flywheels, or supercapacitors.

I think that slugthrowers are going to advance in four areas:
-Mechanically articulated smart frames for aiming correction, much like the anti-shake technologies in good camcorders.
-HUD scopes that take into account altitude, pressure, load (obtained from an RFID chip on the scope itself), relative azimuth, range, and wind speed at all points between shooter and target. There was an SBIR from the DOD for this just over a year ago. Most of the responses were "You want to fit all that in a SCOPE? Yeah, right!"
-20mm-40mm grenade projectiles are only going to get smarter and cheaper. I think you're going to start seeing off-axis IR seeking correction of 10+ degrees in grenades within a few years.
-Plasma arc steam propulsion has a few things going for it in battleship and tank size guns. Basically, put a liter or so of water behind a projectile, and zap it with a few million amps (again, need good electrical storage way beyond what we have now), and it flashes to 2000 degree steam and sends your projectile on its way.

In order to move away from slugthrowers, a couple things have to happen.

First, electrical energy storage has to improve drastically. Better batteries, supercapacitors, MEMS flywheel arrays, etc.

Second, emitter efficiency has to increase. Presently, one loses 70-99% of the input power in even the best lasers - particle beams, don't even go there. Miniaturizing a several hundred GeV particle accelerator to handheld size? Give it 300 years or so.

Third, even if you go to railguns or coilguns, it's still a slug, but now you need superconducting rails, shaped plasma commutation so you don't burn out your rails, and/or superconducting magnet windings with high high high M-saturation cores that won't complain (explode) if you put several million webers of field through them.

And finally, slugs are actually nice for a few things that aren't possible for beam weapons to do - they can go up over things (plunging fire, artillery) and explode behind things (smart grenades). They'll be around awhile.

DRYHUMOR
August 17, 2008, 05:37 PM
Never obsolete, in general, but perhaps redundant to other weapons yet to be developed.

Area 52
August 25, 2008, 06:30 PM
Popular Science ran an article about weapons of the future way back in june or july of 2004. One of the questions was wether lasers could be deflected by mirrors or not. I thought to myself "What a silly question, or course not! I was right, although a mirror reflects light energy it can do nothing about heat energy directed at it. All a mirror is is a piece of polished metal behind a sheet of glass. It would simply melt/explode depending on the energy of the laser.

blackcash88
August 25, 2008, 06:35 PM
Speaking of lasers, I still want a fully functional light saber. Trivia... What's the only thing a light saber cannot cut through?

Wildfire
August 25, 2008, 09:05 PM
Hey There :
I know I'm getting back in here kind of late in the game, but.
Been working way too many hours.
Anyway. maybe someone can help me out with this one.

Not sure where I heard this . One of our Robots turned on our own men and if not mistaken killed 16 of our own men. Just where or what happen I'm not real sure. But it was very recent. I'm sure we won't here a lot about it.
And I have no way of proving it.

A rock would never become an obsolete weapon, why then would a gun.

boilingleadbath
August 25, 2008, 09:18 PM
"things we haven't thought of yet"

Yeah, at least for lethal tools, in the short term:
* Lasers will require a great deal of power to do anything substantial, so if they are chemical powered (any possible battery, that is) they will not have much benefit over firearms.
* Railguns have little benefit for small arms (as I see it)... their only benefit is muzzle velocity, which could help exterior ballistic performance, but something which corrodes the firing channel like all current high-power railguns do probably won't be conductive to accuracy.
* Microwave band stuff is easy to reflect (metal mesh, ect) and hard to focus (large dishes), as well as having all the problems as lasers.

So I consider some other stuff...

What are the problems with the modern firearm (small arm)?

1) Rate of fire. You can't sweep with it, because you'll probably miss.
2) Hard to hold steady and hit things with.
3) Recoil. (reduces effective rate of fire)
4) Ammo weight
5) Lack of damage. It does not gib people.

#1, #2, and essentially #4 and #5 could fixed by putting some computational power in the standard firearm.
Make it so it recognizes targets, and can be authorized to fire when it is aimed properly... you have fixed number #1 - sweep it over the target while holding down the "authorization switch" ("trigger" would be inaccurate, I think), and it fires at the correct point. The same technology would probably help to some extent with problem #2 as well... especially if ceramic actuators or something were incorporated.
I'd expect this to reduce ammo consumption and actual firing rate, so you could up the cartridge power and still be able to fire more effective shots. Which sounds great for a standard-issue weapon.
This done with more-or-less current technology - cameras, electric primer ignition, small computer systems. Well, maybe give it a decade or two for the computers to get smaller.

But ultimately, it is an incremental advance, probably comparable the differences between the iterations of semiauto weapons.

Micro rockets/Barrel Launched Adaptive Munitions:
Could be guided (have the spotter train a IR laser on the target... long range stuff indeed!)
Giblets!
...but you have some R&D problems... and it isn't really suitable for standard issue, IMO.

So I don't expect anything to happen soon... but I don't know much about this field.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
August 25, 2008, 10:04 PM
Popular Science ran an article about weapons of the future way back in june or july of 2004. One of the questions was wether lasers could be deflected by mirrors or not. I thought to myself "What a silly question, or course not! I was right, although a mirror reflects light energy it can do nothing about heat energy directed at it. All a mirror is is a piece of polished metal behind a sheet of glass. It would simply melt/explode depending on the energy of the laser.

That is not exactly true. Lasers have no heat. They simply emit light. When the light strikes something it produces heat. The reason why mirrors or any object struck with high energy laser get hot is no mirror is perfect.

The mirror in your house reflects only about 90% of light that hits it. The other 10% is converted into heat due to imperfections in the mirrior. So if you shot your house mirror with a 10w laser it would convert 1w into heat and raise temp of mirror.

The problem with military lasers it is fairly easy to raise the reflective index of the target "enough" to make the laser ineffective.

Take the ABL (airborne laser). It is designed to shoot down enemy short range and medium range tactical missiles. It features a megawatt laser as the kill laser. The laser is so massive it takes up a 747 and requires a chemical reaction to produce the energy needed. Despite that and it's advanced targeting and beam shaping system it only has a range of 300-600km.

That is without countermeasures. A missile is not very reflective (converts most light to heat). Take the same missile and shine it to a mirrored shine and it may take 2x the energy to burn a hole in the skin and destroy it. Want even more protection, have missile dispense and IR opaque gas. With a gas that blocks out 75%-80% of lasers energy it would take 4x-5x more energy. Want even more protection. Rotate the missile. Now instead of burning a single point in the missile you are burning a band around the missile. That will take about 3x more energy. Now if you put all these counter measures together you can quickly require an astranomical amount of energy (more than the ABL) can provide. What can the laser do to overcome it.
1) shorter range results in more energy to target.
2) larger laser (except the ABL already takes up a 747)
3) multiple lasers (except the single ABL has costs billions to develop and is vulnerable to being shot down).

So $$$ is on the side of the defender. Each $ the defender spends make take $20-$30 to overcome.

Militarized Lasers are a dead end in all but a limited niche applications. Even in those applications they may not be useful.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun
August 25, 2008, 10:15 PM
Railguns are one technology that could eventually start replacing firearms. Even if/when they do it will be a trickle down technology going from battleship guns down to fighter planes, and tanks, down to large crew serve weapons and finally down into small arms.

The major 2 problems with railguns are:
a) energy. railguns use a lot of energy. There is no convinent method to carry around large amounts of energy. Second railguns need the energy very fast (in a <1/1000 of a second). A nuclear reactor has enough energy but is delivers it very slow. Designing a system that has a large amount of energy, and can deliver it very fast will be a challenge.

b) damage to the rails. The US Navy has built a test railgun that can fling a 70lb project at 8x the speed of sound. When it impacts it delivers more energy than a 500lb bomb. The problem is the rails are heavy damaged when each round it launched. A large amount of R&D will need to be pumped into material science to deliver rails that can handle the energy without being damaged.

Both of these challenges are beyond current science. They will require some sort of breakthrough which may happen in 10 years or not happen in 50.

Rail gun deliver massive amounts of firepower due to their ability to accelerate objects to amazing velocities. A .50 caliber railgun would not only have the kinetic energy to penetrate a bunker or tank armor it would have no recoil. Even on full auto it would have literally no kick. It could be managed with no more difficulty than a .22LR.

Sistema1927
August 25, 2008, 10:17 PM
While most every weapon system has been made obsolete by improved technology, I can't think of a single weapon ever devised by man that I would want a determined adversary to use against me.

HB
August 25, 2008, 10:30 PM
For example, in the wide ranging ammunition niche, the brass cartridge rendered cap and ball entirely obsolete.

I would say no, it didn't. "Primitive" firearms give you an extra season to hunt, compete, or just play. Maybe for military use but not for many civilians. I thinks front loaders were pretty common up to the 1900's.

I would say no guns become obsolete for recreational use, or even limited military use. A Mosin-Nagant rifle is still a capable killer in the mountains of Afghanistan, but it has a harder time competing against more modern weapons. A rock is still better than a fist and a lot of people are still being killed by brick's, rocks, etc., they just aren't as effective as a gun. I still feel that a pump shotgun is THE best gun for home defense in almost all situations, yet it is out classed in firepower by semi's. Gun's serve particular roles for different people, and as long a people want that gun. And I don't think there is a gun that nobody wants :)

HB

Artiz
August 25, 2008, 10:33 PM
Do firearms ever become obsolete?

Since the shoe is, will it ever become obsolete? No, because we all need footwear to live as the firearm to survive. -Me

boilingleadbath
August 26, 2008, 01:50 PM
Railguns, unless you put some sort of recoil reduction system (rear facing rockets, for instance) most certainly do recoil.
They have to - they make stuff go out the front.

Not very harshly, given how low their muzzle momentum/launcher mass ratio is, but then that's also true of a .223 rifle with a few hundred pounds of lead clamped to it.

If you enjoyed reading about "Do firearms ever become obsolete?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!