Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The future of firearms

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

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. monotonous_iterancy

    monotonous_iterancy Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    889
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Tidewater
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    838
    Phasers.
     
  4. Vampire Bears

    Vampire Bears Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    603
    Location:
    PA
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    5,060
    Location:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,961
    Location:
    Near Camp Perry
    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

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,086
    Location:
    Eastern Kansas
    Phased Plasma Rifle - 40 watt Range.
    :D


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


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  9. monotonous_iterancy

    monotonous_iterancy Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    889
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,938
    Location:
    Middle, TN
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    720
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Tidewater
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Messages:
    12,665
    Location:
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    838
    Just do your training in the holodeck.
     
  15. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,789
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    Tulsa , Oklahoma
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    Southwestern Illinois
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    6,808
    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)

    TCB
     
  19. Bruno2

    Bruno2 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    885
    Location:
    Tulsa , Oklahoma
    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 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    5,060
    Location:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    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.
     
  21. Zardaia

    Zardaia Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Maybe somebody'll come up with an altogether new and better form of powder. More powerfull/efficient yet still cheaply mass produced. That'd open up possibilities. I don't see energy weapons or rail guns being miniaturized to the personal weapon lvl in my lifetime, much less cheaply enough to were mass civilian ownership would even be an issue. By energy weapon I mean actual burn through lasers, not just blinding.
     
  22. monotonous_iterancy

    monotonous_iterancy Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    889
    I don't picture energy weapons as disintegrating things, I picture them as being lasers, or bursts of focused energy that can burn or blast a hole in a target similar to bullets, but without the hindrance of things like gravity or wind on point of "impact".

    I don't see them as being any fun recreationally because they seem too "perfect". I can't imagine there being much of a challenge in hitting a target.
     
  23. barnbwt

    barnbwt Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    6,808
    That's funny; when I picture them that way (i.e. realistically) they seem even more horrific than firearms in their function--3rd-degree-burn cannons :what:

    Yup, just like the laser cutters used for metal work; operators in the vicinity have special tinted/polarized lenses that protect their eyes. What are the odds you'll have your eyes on when things go south in a dark alley, though? Or is vision-damage going to replace the hearing damage we're so willing to accept as a consequence of unexpected self-defense?

    Lasers can also be reflected (regardless of spectrum); maybe not enough to completely protect the shootee, but enough can be thrown back at the shooter to injure or disable them, as well. Imagine body-armor that throws your bullets back at you; would you be inclined to draw down on such a person? ;)

    I wonder if such a wound would bleed as profusely, due to cauterization. Or if it would be as jarring to the system, due to the burning away, as opposed to severing of nerves. 3rd degree burns often are painless, as the nerves are destroyed before they can transmit to the central nervous system. A laser-shot person may not go into shock as easily. Obviously, if the wound is grave enough it won't matter, but still, for guys who fret over .40 vs .45 caliber cross sections, a 10 micron laser hole is gonna be a tough sell :D

    If I had enough power on hand to shoot a laser, I'd want a rail-gun. Proven projectile tech, without the mess. Get a 10gr pin going Mach 7 or thereabouts, and you no longer have to worry about penetration (or cleanup :D). A high-speed railgun is the closest thing we have to a video-game style plasma gun at the moment (the projectile is actually encased in plasma when fired at that speed). I'm still not comfortable with having 40kwh in my hand, but hey, we hold a couple hundred grains of gunpowder in a magwell, so why not?

    Oh, yeah, it's gotta somehow be EMP proof, too, or your battery will "chainfire" in your pocket when subjected to such an impulse :eek:

    TCB
     
  24. justice06rr

    justice06rr Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,574
    Location:
    Florida
    As they say, if it ain't broke don't fix it...

    Nothing wrong with the current technology now. Manufacturers will just improve them (better materials, lightweight designs, etc) but I doubt introducing anything new and revolutionary will come out and replace current guns and ammo.

    Sure, rail guns and lasers/phasers are great. But realistically they are very expensive and would depend too much on electronics and battery life which is the biggest downfall.
     
  25. macomb2013

    macomb2013 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    naperville il.
    In next 10 years, probably polymer ammunition. I would imagine bullup eventual replace m4,maybe ak at least in America,since now days the trend is making your rifles as compact as possibles for close quarter combat.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page