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The future of firearms

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by monotonous_iterancy, May 19, 2013.

  1. monotonous_iterancy

    monotonous_iterancy Well-Known Member

    For centuries firearm technology had been improving. Yet by the early 1900s, most of the current technology we use was in place. Semi-autos, DA revolvers, hammer blocks, center-fire cartridges, magnums in the 1930s, polymer stocks in the 60s.

    Now we seem to have hit a wall. The AR-15, the most popular rifle in America, is a 50 year old design. Almost all semi-automatic pistols work off the design John Browning invented over 100 years ago.

    What do you see in the future of firearms? Who are the innovators today?
  2. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    The most useful innovations these days are in materials, not mechanisms.

    The future? Firearms designers are few and far between for a good reason--there's no profit in new and unproven designs. The profit potential lies in making guns incrementally smaller and lighter and making ammo incrementally faster or better at expanding.

    Pushing a hunk of lead through a tube using chemically induced gas expansion has quite likely reached its pinnacle. The future of small arms probably lies in some completely new (for personal arms applications) technology. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on either magnetic propulsion of a projectile or directed energy with no projectile at all.
  3. Solo

    Solo Well-Known Member

  4. Vampire Bears

    Vampire Bears New Member

    Firearms are a mature technology, and I suspect that we won't see much of a change until a fundamentally new type of cartridge is developed. I can imagine electronically fired caseless ammo being released commercially in the not-too-distant future. But I can't imagine it catching on with the military due to the 'electronically fired' part.

    On the other hand, I expect that electronics will continue to be integrated with firearms to the point that within the next 100 years guns won't work without batteries. This kind of exists, I mean this rifle decides on its own when to fire after you pull the trigger, so it's not too much of a stretch to imagine a firearm programmed not to fire at its owner...or one that tweets every time it's used or that can only be programmed to shoot at people after its owner takes a mandated safety course/psych evaluation.
  5. steven58

    steven58 Well-Known Member

    Flintlock muskets were a "mature firearms technology" that remained relatively unchanged for several hundred years before the invention of the percussion cap. The British Land Pattern Musket (AKA "Brown Bess") were a standard British service arm for over 115 years.

    Some change is evolutionary, some revolutionary. At this time self loading cartridge arms are at a plateau in development until the next great leap in technology occurs. Currently there is no small arms system more suitable for storing energy and imparting it on a target than those using the metallic cartridge.
  6. General Geoff

    General Geoff Well-Known Member

    The next big leap in small arms (and weapons in general) will be some sort of directed energy weapon. Battery technology is not mature enough to support such designs yet, but since much other new technology relies on batteries as well (especially electric cars), that hurdle is being well-researched and funded.

    Electromagnetically propelled projectiles are on the cusp of being implemented as crew-served platforms, but require a nearby powerplant to supply power.
  7. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    We're in a pretty good place with materials development.

    The next step will be in propellant and/or sighting (my guess, anyway)

    NFA prevents some developments in the PDW field from being practical, as well as sound supression.
    A magnetic launch would be quiet, wouldn't it? Something to think on.
  8. SabbathWolf

    SabbathWolf member

    Phased Plasma Rifle - 40 watt Range.

    I really want one of these though......

    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  9. monotonous_iterancy

    monotonous_iterancy Well-Known Member

    Would energy weapons be fun at a range? For some reason, I can't picture them being so.

    About them being used for defensive or hunting purposes, would they be allowed, or banned as a "dangerous and unusual weapon"?
  10. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Well-Known Member

    I imagine that we will soon see self contained "brass less" ammo. There are a lot of "hobbiest" out there playing with magnetic guns, the main limits now are their batteries, so I expect to see thing happen in that area soon. I think we will see new designs in ergonomics. Perhaps more guns like the Kriss, and Rhino, with the barrel dropped to reduce recoil and improve accuracy.

    Of course it could be that there is some other major development in another area that gets integrated into firearms that revolutionizes things. Say a super powerful small compressor that allows for multiple shot high power air guns or the like.....
  11. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Well-Known Member

    Electro Magnetic Pulse Grenade Launchers, Adjustable Band Laser weapons, both rifle style and tactically uniform integrated, Telescopic Vision/ Hearing Headsets, 360 Degree Individual Deflector Shields that automatically adjust to incoming weapons, Universal Language Translator headsets, Jet Propulsion Boots, Helmets with eye activated visor screens, in other words, anything Iron Man. Boy that was fun.
  12. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Well-Known Member

    No, they won't, at least not once the novelty wears off. If you can bring a laser onto a target--and if you can see you can do that--you can hit with a DE weapon. The key will be to hit just the target. The weapon beam will need to be preceded by a harmless targeting beam to facilitate that.
  13. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I agree that as batteries become smaller and more powerful, it is much more likely that energy weapons will be the future. There is much industrial demand apart from weapons driving battery improvement.

    (Caseless ammo kind of came and went already. It really doesn't solve any problems. Even if the whole cartridge burns with firing, you still have to have the full mechanism to eject one in the event of a malfunction. even in the M-1, switching from a 105 brass case to a 120 combustible case wasn't entirely a trade up; with the 105 you could hold the next round in your lap and load it in less than a second after the gun fired. With the cardboard casing, you can't have an exposed round out because it can ignite too easily, you have to leave it in the ammo compartment and wait for the door to open after each shot, bumping the time up to at least three seconds.)
  14. Solo

    Solo Well-Known Member

    Just do your training in the holodeck.
  15. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Well-Known Member

    Nano technology seems like the most promising area to me. I asked a simular question a while back and this was an unexpected answer. Bullets having programing in them.
  16. Bruno2

    Bruno2 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I m with Dave. Probably sighting.

    Then sometime in the near future weapons that don't actually fire a projectile. The less than lethal stuff is going full bore. Which is good and bad. It would be nice to be able to stop a crime effectively w/o killing someone. However, tha doesn't cleanse the gene pool like the old way.:evil:
  17. JTHunter

    JTHunter Well-Known Member

    A couple of you mentioned "caseless/brassless" ammo. I seem to remember some company releasing a proprietary system (rifle & ammo) in the last 5-8 years. It had a "shaped" charge with the bullet partially embedded in one end with an electrically fired primer on the opposite end. I think it was from a European manufacturer and it may already be off the market.
  18. barnbwt

    barnbwt Well-Known Member

    Energy weapons as a shoulder-arm will never work; the energies required will quite literally blind you in an instant as the target is illuminated/disintegrated. Even in a non-visible spectrum, the reflected radiation from a shot would probably mess up you and any bystanders (though not as dramatically as the poor fool who's now a pile of ashes). The energies required will result in the equivalent of gallons of gasoline worth of juice stuffed between your fingers; I don't care how good the battery tech is, that kind of energy density will always be hazardous.

    The next development, I think, will be polymer-based guns and ammunition. Expect lots more additive machining processes (3D printing and laser sintering, as opposed to wasteful milling) and moves away from ever-more-expensive metallic components. We may also see further advances in non-lethal weapons, which result in their carry being more common in lieu of firearms.

    Expect few "tactile" advances regarding weapon function or layout; after all, no one will trust it or like it anyway (see any attempt to improve upon the AR15 for as many examples as you need). The use for our weapons will change, since tactics are already being rewritten from the current conflicts. In short, expect fewer soldiers with rifles, and more guys with various hi-tech comms doohickeys.

    The only "game changing" development for firearms on the immediate horizon is probably an outright ban on their possession by civilians (we're nearly there already; the US is one of only a few hold-out nations who trusts their citizens with real weaponry)

  19. Bruno2

    Bruno2 Well-Known Member

    I would really be surprised if defense distributed hasn't kicked around a plastic cased polymer projectile. If you think about it what would it hurt if the case was plastic? Besides not being able to reload the case I cant see why it wouldn't work.
  20. General Geoff

    General Geoff Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily; a person using a sufficiently powerful laser type weapon would need only to wear protective glasses to filter out whatever wavelength of light the laser utilizes. The majority of the energy dumped into/onto the target would be transformed to heat, which should not pose much of a radiation problem to anyone more than a few feet from the target.

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