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Do firearms ever become obsolete?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Vegaslaith, Aug 15, 2008.

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  1. Vegaslaith

    Vegaslaith Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  2. cslinger

    cslinger Member

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    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
     
  3. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  4. rondog

    rondog Member

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    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!
     
  5. siglite

    siglite Member

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    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.
     
  6. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

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    You know that certain firearms are obsolete when they give the hunters that are burdened with their use a separate hunting season. :D
     
  7. SapperMapper

    SapperMapper Member

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    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."
     
  8. CJ

    CJ Member

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    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.
     
  9. Big45

    Big45 member

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    All weapons became obsolete the instant Chuck Norris was born. (Someone had to)
     
  10. Monkeybear

    Monkeybear Member

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    Not guns, just the ammo. As the projectile improves new guns we be developed to launch said projectiles.
     
  11. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    No.

    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.
     
  12. brigadier

    brigadier Member

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    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.
     
  13. Matt G

    Matt G Moderator Emeritus

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    What about Tacticality?? :)

    What was effective against body armor at 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.
     
  14. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    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
     
  15. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    21 foot rule.

    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.
     
  16. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    There I fixed that
     
  17. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    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?
     
  18. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    Laser ?

    Hey :
    My laser don't work like that.
     
  19. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Member

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    eventually it will
     
  20. brigadier

    brigadier Member

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    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.
     
  21. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    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. ;)
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    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.

    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.
     
  23. Monkeybear

    Monkeybear Member

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    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.
     
  24. Wildfire

    Wildfire Member

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    new age .

    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.
     
  25. brigadier

    brigadier Member

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    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.
     
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