Reader Philip M. Greeley writes:

So, I’m thinking about two of my favorite topics, guns and space. The latter as in human space exploration, which we’re really, I think, on the cusp of some really big stuff. But more than just exploration is in the offing. Some may call it “exploitation”, but I call it living and working. “Humanization”, if you will.

But if humanity starts living and working in space in any significant numbers, our myriad human flaws will, eventually, come to the fore. It’s inevitable. Wherever you go, there you are.

As humans go into space and stay there, we’ll bring our laws, institutions, customs, and entertainments. Among these will be our rights – to life, liberty, property, self-defense among them. As well we should. Because inevitably, there will be bad actors out there. But more fundamentally, rights go with the humans; wherever humans go, their rights go with them. Responsibilities, too. Which should go without saying.

Which brings us to guns. We have a right to keep and bear arms, and a right to self-defense. I posit that guns will make their way into space and they should. Think about it: even if guns on space stations and lunar and Martian colonies, for instance, are outlawed… well, we all know how that ends, right?

All together, now: “Only outlaws will have guns!” Which we find intolerable.

Think also of this: hardware and tooling, and technical know-how. Space is maybe the pre-eminent frontier for technical fields and those who practice in them. It’s challenging. We’ve got to make or bring everything with us, at least to start. And there’ll be all sorts of people with all sorts of skills going. Who will make the first pneumatic zip gun on an L5 orbiting colony, I wonder? It will happen.

Which brings me to other thoughts: what forms might guns take in space? What will be the predominant technology? Compressed air weapons? Taser-like tools? Will there be specific developments for expanding bullets, or non-toxic smokeless powder or primers? Because on a space station, in a pressurized environment, you really don’t want to breach the hull. And the environment is small, self-contained, and recycled.

Other considerations will be recoil in a zero-g/low-g environment. Low-power, low-recoil rounds will probably predominate. Will there be advances such as shock absorbers on guns, or on-board gyroscopes for stabilization? Compressed hydrogen- and oxygen-fueled firearms? Those who know something about rocket engines will recognize a well-known combination of fuel and oxidizer, whose byproduct is water. Could be one approach.

There is, of course, the manufacturing and machining, too, which is a big consideration and beyond the scope of this post. But we all know about 3-D printing, and that may well be how the early guns in space get there.

Your thoughts?

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96 Responses to As We Move Into Space, Guns Are Sure to Go With Us

  1. I’m actually kind of curious as to whether space combat wouldn’t be more likely to involve edged or blunt melee weapons rather than projectiles due to the risk of atmosphere and pressure loss. At least aboard spaceships as we currently know them. That would also necessitate new fighting techniques in the same way that effective use of firearms in space would require changes to firearms technology.

    • No real changes necessary.

      The Russians had a modified piece of AA artillery mounted on on one of their Mir space stations in the old Reagan-era cold war…

    • Guns in space? Good grief if anybody’s been reading science fiction for the past 70 years or so, space weaponry and military conflict has long been a settled issue. Rail guns are perfect space weapons. Think we won’t mount them in a future generation of space vehicles?

  2. projectile guns in space will be more trouble then they are worth. Unless the attached to vehicles with independent propulsion, they will be more useful AS propulsion, than a weapon.

    By the time we are rolling around in space, lasers will be a much better option.

    • Lasers are not much of a weapons option. The cooling and focusing issues are physical limitations that keep them from being very efficient. Gauss weaponry, on the other hand, only requires high density energy storage and some magnets.

    • We’ve been using “recoilless rifles” since the Korean Police Action, although they’ve gone out of style for some reason. Mostly they’ve been replaced by the like of the infamous RPG, the LAW, and any number of other portable rocket delivery systems that have essentially zero recoil to the operator.

      Except for the problem of the back-blast from launching the projectile there is no reason this concept could not be miniaturized to create personal weapons such as pistols or rifles.

      • The Army is bringing the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle to infantry platoons. It’s making a comeback because people found out its useful again.

        • and a hell of a lot more bang for your buck, pardon the pun. The Army has budgets to streamline, just like everyone else in a shrinking economy.

  3. I’ve always wondered what effect Newton’s third law would have firing a gun in near zero gravity.

    • You wouldn’t have to worry about trajectory, but otherwise not much different, after all if you shoot a 9MM it doesn’t knock you down now does it?

    • A rough calculation for a shooter weighing 150 lbs firing a 9mm 124 gr round. The velocity it would impart to the shooter would be 4.3 cm/s. Another way of putting that would be, it would take you 24 seconds to travel 1m (1+ yard) at that speed. I didn’t factor in the escaping propellant gasses, so that would be a low estimate, but should be in the ball park.

  4. Gyrojet weaponry maybe? No worry about recoil then.

    There is a good series of books by Harry Harrison called To the Stars. It’s about a future Earth run by socialists and a man that gets hooked up with the resistance.

    One of the best parts in my opinion was the space battle at the end where the vessels use magnetic mass drivers to launch what are essentially cannon balls at each other but the resistance vessels also have a bunch improvised turrets that fire small arms gyrojet ammo. The rounds are too small to track or do much damage but they launch so many at a time that they break a good portion of the enemy vessels sensors and antennas off giving them the edge in the fight.

    There is also an interesting part where he shoots another man in the head from across the distance of a truck cab only knocks him out with a concussion because the round didn’t have time to fully accelerate.

  5. Crossbow bean-bag/blunt darts to incapacitate but not puncture any structure or pollute the breathable air.
    And lasers. Lots of LAZORZ!!!!!

    • Biggest problem with lasers is building the zero-g aquatic life support environment for the sharks they are mounted on.

  6. When I get my flying car and meal in a pill, I will begin to think about life in space. Oh, and I need to those damn fusion power plants first too.

  7. Perhaps the silliest article written and posted on TTAG. Human space flight hasn’t progressed 350 miles above the earth since Dec 14, 1972, nor will we return to space exploration anytime within the next 50 years.

    • Actually, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is now designing rockets for Mars space exploration.

      In 2018 he is launching an off-the-shelf Dragon capsule to do a soft landing on Mars.

      He fully intends to put humans on the surface of Mars.

      But what would he know? They laughed at him when he announced he would cut the cost of getting into space by fully re-using boosters by, get this, *chortle*, flying them back to the launch site (or a ship at sea) and soft-landing them vertically.

      He’s done that 5 times now.

      The Chinese expect to have a lunar colony of some sort in 20 years or so…

      • I wouldn’t worry about the Chinese. They lack the systems engineering to do anything like that. I mean seriously, they can’t even build a working super carrier. (A far less complex system when compared to their objective.)

        The problem is that we’re talking about two things that are orders of magnitude in difference. Space exploration and space development. The latter requires orders of magnitude more energy and materials than the former.

        • The USA has lost the political will to publicly fund manned space exploration. The private sector will, and already *has* picked up the slack. (The heaviest-hitter there is SpaceX)

          The Chinese will do it as a matter of national pride. They *desperately* want to be seen as a competent first-world nation. They will throw a massive and tenacious effort to do it, quite frankly, much the same way the USA did with project Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo…

        • Yeah… Not really the issue. Getting their carrier fleet up and running is also a priority and they have yet to do that.

          It brings to mind the old Russian space command joke.

          Yuri Gagarin was not the first man in space. Unfortunately, the first man was not patriotic enough to hold his breath.

        • Segei, Wasn’t Gagarin number 3, as Ilyushin was 2? But yeah, I remember that joke.

          I do think you are selling the Chinese a bit short. They have stolen everything they need for a space program, and they will go to the moon before we go back.

          Geoff, Musk is kinda busy merging cash furnaces into one that will eclipse old GM for it’s ability to vaporize capital – Tesla and Solar City. Because why have two billion dollar fires, when you can have one huge one! All for the empty promises of Tesla that will never be profitable. Ever. If he’s lucky, he can take SpaceX public and liquidate his holdings in that to pay the lawsuits that will happen when investors finally quit drinking Musk’s flav-r-aid and Tesla collapses.

          But yeah, he might get to Mars. That could be the only place it’s safe for him.

        • I think most people have forgotten that the Chinese have landed a probe on the moon… And couldn’t keep it running for more than a few days. Twenty years to a manned landing, maybe. A colony? Not seeing it.

      • Musk’s parlor trick of landing a used rocket on a barge is showmanship at its best. Walk the length of a Saturn rocket and relay how he’ll pull that trick with that mass. Switch to smaller boosters and multiply the barges needed to recover components.

        The biggest lie in the space program and sold to Congress, is reusability of spacecraft.

        • Ahh, the Saturn 5.

          One big-assed rocket, for sure.

          In this diagram, Saturn 5 it the far left image. The second and third image are the currently flying Falcon9. Falcon Heavy (the fourth and fifth from the left) flies in December this year.

          The rocket replacing Falcon 9 is the Falcon X. Note the size of it to the Saturn 5. Falcon X is the test bed for second stage reusability. The same way Falcon 9 was a test bed for first stage reusability.

          The one on the far right is conceptual, but based on what SpaceX says it intends to do. It will be 100% reusable.

          http://cdn.phys.org/newman/gfx/news/hires/2016/1-will2016beth.jpg

    • Just another sign of the de-evolution of the American republic, down to empire, then to collapse as we beg for rides to space from Russia.

      How soft, corrupt and degenerate we have become.

      • Tell me about, We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, Now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.

        We have wasted 22 Trillion on “The war on poverty” and what do we have to show for? Hordes of moral bankrupt, unskilled, useless eaters who will gladly vote away your rights, future and that of your posterity for a “free” welfare check.

        We waste more then 140 Billion a year giving welfare to the hordes of the 3rd world that are able to walk into this nation or dumped on to us by the “refugee resettlement” scam, never mind the burden of mass legal immigration.

        We waste more then 60 billion a year paying the 3rd world to screw, create more mouths to feed, and then whine about how they need to come to the 1st world and ruin everything countless generations have created in the name of moronic idealism.

        We have the money, we have the skills, we have the desire, we have the will, we are about to remove those who stand in our way, put in real leaders and in sure the hordes of 3rd world are never again able to drag us back into the grave they are ordained to reside in, never again to endure their mental limits, never again endure their tyranny.

        Time for America to leave behind the lesser groups of this world, and insure and secure the blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our Posterity on this world and worlds beyond….

  8. The biggest problem with doing anything in space is getting there. Unfortunately, our current launch systems are horribly inefficient and require massive (and expensive) infrastructure. By the time we solve the loft energy problem, we’re probably going to be long past the “phased plasma rifle in the 40 Watt range” phase of weapons development. It’s that massive of a problem. Until we have reliable and portable fusion power it’s just not economically feasible to put enough humans far enough out of the gravity well to actually accomplish anything beyond purely scientific objectives. Once portable fusion reactors and high energy density / rapid discharge energy storage are a thing, chemical reaction weaponry will go the the way of arbalests and blowguns.

    • “The biggest problem with doing anything in space is getting there.”

      Yep. 100% correct. Good thing we have ‘top men’ doing something about it. Like designing and building fully reusable first-stage boosters, like this:

      Is that cool, or what? 🙂

      • Cool, but not scalable. The entire lift capacity of the planet doesn’t even come close to 1% of the requirement for any practical space based industry.

        The problem is cost of fuel. Right now, it costs ~$16k to launch 1 kg into geostationary orbit. When you’re talking about launching TONS of material on a weekly basis… Yeah, far more problematic.

        • Just need to go ahead and build the space elevator. Of course, something that large built by the lowest bidder is kind of scary.

        • Hey, if you know where I can get a few million miles of microfilament unobtanium cable, I’ll get right on that.

          A space elevator is, for the moment, beyond the reach of our technology base. We lack any material that is light / strong enough.

        • That 16 thou per kilo figure is based on making the entire rocket disposable. Imagine how expensive it would be to buy a brand-new Boeing 777 and fly it just *one* time on a New York to LA flight and then crush the aircraft. how much would each ticket for a seat cost? That’s what most space launch companies like Airiane, United launch Alliance, the Russian Proton, ect. do right now.

          SpaceX’s Musk claims the fuel and oxidizer for his complete Falcon 9 runs about $200,000 per orbital launch. SpaceX’s current partially reusable booster hardware cost is something like 30 million. He’s proven the first stage and capsule can be fully reusable, his next step is to do the same with the second stage.

          Launch costs will really start to drop the more times you re-use the booster. It will not in the foreseeable future be as inexpensive as a current transcontinental airline flight, but is getting there.

          An interesting note, the head of the Eu’s Arianne launch provider recently stated, to the effect of, “If we don’t pay attention to what America’s SpaceX is doing, we won’t be in business in 10 years.”

        • Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary orbit require vastly different amounts of fuel. Good luck recovering a booster that has to make unpowered reentry from Geostationary orbit. The $16k figure I cited was ~40% below current technology to account for the reusability factors of getting into LEO in the first place.

        • The video of the one landing? That was a GeoSych launch, that’s why it landed at sea instead of returning to launch site. No spare weight available for fuel for boost-back.

          Musk is doing it. He is making real, substantial technology to cut the cost of launch. Nobody, not even NASA famed engineering, is doing that.

          Arianne has recently announced their reusable rocket. After staging, the rocket engines separate as a module, and are parachuted down to be snatched in mid-air with a helicopter. The main mass, the fuel tank(s), fall to the ocean to crash and sink.

          The engines, that’s it. That’s the best the competition has to currently offer. SpaceX will soon be the cheapest provider *by far*, and with the profits they make by effectively cornering the launch market, will develop even more sophisticated vehicles.

          It really is a neat time to watch the progress in spaceflight…

        • Get the cost per kg of geo-stationary boost down to under $1k and everything we discussed becomes practical. Until then, it’s just bar napkin engineering.

        • $1,000 per kilo is the target Musk is shooting for for low Earth orbit.

          1 rocket to geosync is not currently doable, that’s why every current rocket is at least two stages. One of the things SpaceX is looking at for second stage reusability include making the top bulkhead double as a heat shield for re-entry.

          I’m no Musk FanBoy, he’s pretty much a prick of a person, but what he’s doing with SpaceX is undeniable.

          And yeah, 16V, he has a real problem with the Tesla – Solar City mess. But tell me this – for how many years was Amazon *heavily* cash negative?

        • Geoff, The difference is that Amazon made money and was re-investing. Tesla simply can’t be profitable. Ever. There’s a bunch of reasons I’d lay out, but this isn’t TTAC, and that place has turned into a bunch of hipsters who couldn’t change their own oil, yet somehow feel qualified to comment on cars. It’s like one of us who didn’t know how to slam a mag home. But I digress….

          Just a bit of my perspective on Musk and SpaceX – (trying to) removing other cash furnaces from the equation…

          Musk is not a “genius” (well ‘technically’ he may be, but Mensa is filled with electricians and plumbers, so there’s that). He’s a South African carnival barker that has conned his way from one “success” to the next. He was ‘pushed out’ of PayPal long before the sale to eBay – he just kept his stock grant to go away. Here’s what Musk did with SpaceX – he leveraged what every NASA (or JPL) engineer drunkenly said in a bar about ‘what we could really accomplish if it weren’t for all these rules! Hiccup!’. That’s it. I was in the Bay Area and had friends through the ’90s in the JPL/NASA/LarryLivermore crowd. Musk has done nothing but turn these guys sorta loose with their ideas that have been simmering since the ’70s. He’s got no special vision, people have been playing with pneumatic tubes since the French used them to deliver mail since the 1860s, and every kid I knew in the 70s talked about putting a train in one. Not a genius idea.

          I will grant that he is likely the best con-men of the 21st century, and in the pantheon of the greatest of all time. He somehow has gotten normally very intelligent people to do what they did with Old GM and Enron – ignore the fact that the numbers are incontrovertible, and that the hole can only get deeper. I get that what he is doing is “good” – (though BYD outproduces him, and has made as much money as he has lost in the process). I get that he sells the brighter future, the problem is that he guaranteed won’t be the one to deliver it. From PayPal, to the Model S, SolarCity and everything else PT Vorster has ever been involved with, the actual delivery will be brought, for a change, on time, on budget, and in spec, by others who do know their ass from a hole in the ground, and do the work to make it happen.

      • “The biggest problem with doing anything in space is getting there.”

        No the biggest problem with space is humans living in space. We’re not built for long term space habitation either physically or emotionally. Continued failure of components on both Mir and international space stations is the holdback as well.

        The future of cost effective space exploration, within our solar system, is one way robots…armaments not needed.

        • That would be because all our current platforms are mass limited. Take a NEO asteroid and use it to build a large habitat, and most of those problems go away.

          It’s like saying that the biggest problem with living on the ocean is that humans don’t tend to last very long in rowboats.

    • There are much more efficient ways of getting to the upper atmosphere and beyond than just rockets. Some of us might be working on those ideas now.

      As far as weaponry is concerned, I see a mash-up of venerable HALO-esque and Mass Effect weapon systems.

      The more interesting question is what awaits us out there? Arthur C. Clarke has two answers…

      • Besides using a type of rail gun to put raw materials like water into orbit, what other ways are possible?

        • Variable density aerostat lifts and/or aero-electric lift generators (think an Ionic Breeze on steroids) to get things into the upper troposphere or higher for one. This removes much of gravity’s influence (square of distance to body of mass) and greatly reduces air resistance and distance to getting things out of orbit. Think of a high-altitude staging area or port.

          SCRAMjets and RAMjets also help close the gap to getting things first off the ground, then into orbit.

          Of course the golden ticket is a unified field theory in physics that allows anti-grav as a real technology.

          Rail guns, as you mentioned would work well for acceleration-insensitive cargo. The biggest cost as Serge explained above is the cost of getting material out of the atmosphere, so a simple solution is to start extracting it from space in the first place.

          As with nearly all engineering problems, there is no ‘silver bullet’, but there is ‘silver buckshot’.

    • ‘…it’s just not economically feasible to put enough humans far enough out of the gravity well to actually accomplish anything beyond purely scientific objectives.’

      Here’s the real problem with space colonization. What is there in space that we need so bad and is so hard to come by on earth that it would warrant the astronomical cost of not only getting there but staying there. I’m sure we could develop the technology to create some sort of dome that would allow us earthlings to walk about the surface of Mars without concerns about cosmic radiation, atmospheric conditions, etc, but the costs of building such a structure would be many, many times what it would cost on earth. What’s on Mars that would be worth the expense?

      • Terra has a finite amount of resources. We will eventually have to expand, or we will die/ regress to cavemen.

        • What resources are we running out of? And what resources do we expect to find on Mars or the moon? Nothing but piles of rocks. It would be far easier to settle Antarctica or make floating colonies out in the middle of the Pacific than to settle Mars.

          Eventually perhaps, but that eventuality is a long, long time from now.

        • Eventually is the key phrase here. Just because we are not in peril now does not mean we will never be. The time to explore is when we have the means to, not when we are desperate. It won’t be easy, but it needs to be done.

          And I would argue that there is one resource we *are* definitely running out of that may yet force us to look to the stars: freedom.

        • Sure, but then we’re back to ‘purely scientific objectives’. The search for technology for technology’s sake, not economic gain. I could certainly see a small lunar colony to be followed by a small Martian colony, but these would be akin to our ‘colonization’ of the south pole. We went to the moon more or less as cover for the development of ICBMs. Any purely scientific exploration will be strictly a luxury purchase unless another more pressing reason for technological development comes about.

        • And what is wrong with expanding tech for its own sake at times? Necessity may be the mother of invention, but curiosity is often the father. Economic developments can follow technological ones as much as the latter is brought on by the former.

          The internet was not invented to make ordering pizza easier… 😛

        • No, the internet was invented to make the distribution of porn easier.

          But you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with taking a little of our spare cash and spending it on scientific discovery. But these expenditures will never result in whole extraterrestrial societies that will have to determine their own balance of the right to self defense vs. public safety. We already have a scientific station at the south pole and in orbit. Mars and lunar stations seem to be the logical next steps (perhaps deep sea as well). But I venture to guess that there are no guns at the south pole or on the international space station and the the controversy has never occurred to any of their inhabitants.

        • Governor, You’re generally right, until you’re very wrong…

          http://www.jamesoberg.com/russiangun_tec.html

          Though, to be fair, I believe the Russkies removed them a few years ago.

          As to Antarctica, scroll down to number 11…

          http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/frequently_asked_questions.php

          Not to mention that McMurdo is run by the gov, and if there’s one thing you can be sure about, if there’s a bunch of people, there’s someone ‘in charge’ to “manage” them if things get tense for whatever reason.

      • The big ones are rare earth minerals.

        Things like the platinum group are much easier to extract from asteroids than from Earth in useful quantity. For example, if you took one metallic asteroid, towed it into geostationary orbit and then smelted it, it would provide enough raw materials to run most of your planetary based industry for decades. (Gold is a great example, as a single good sized asteroid has enough gold in it to more or less crash the value of the metal.)

        Smelting it would be fairly simple. Get it rotating at a good clip, then heat it up with solar array mirrors. The densities of the components could cause them to settle in very nice onion shaped layers that you can then peel off and further refine.

        Now all of this is dependent on having a cheap source of orbital power and lift capacity, but once you have those, metal mining on Earth would become rapidly obsolete. The only real problem with manufacturing complex equipment would be getting hydrocarbons in useful quantities, but the same power source could be used to create said materials from the raw materials found in carbonaceous asteroids.

        As I said in my first post, once you have the power and lift issues solved (the latter becoming easier with the solution of the former) exploiting the raw resources of the solar system would quite easy.

        The Troy series gives a very good example of this. True, they have the phlembonium of “graviton drives”, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the exact same things with chemical rockets provided the chemicals are generated using electricity provided by ample fusion power. (Or even ion drives if you can get the energy generation and storage issues resolved.)

        • Funny as it sounds, rare earths are not all that rare. Platinum group metals, transition metals, and actinides/lanthanides are the ticket though.

          What we will inevitably have to also consider is the possibility of hostile alien life. Respective to their level of technology compared to ours, it could be a massive heft to create any sort of viable defense/offense.

          We need not confine ourselves to always thinking our understandings of science will be the way they are now. We will learn many new things that may radically reshape our perceptions of energy and matter.

        • ‘…a single good sized asteroid has enough gold in it to more or less crash the value of the metal.’

          You’re kind of making my point for me. The cost would be so astronomical that any metal mining enterprise would have to produce enough ore to crash the price. Add to that the fact that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s on earth. If our technology advances to the point of making extraterrestrial mining economically viable, we’ll probably be able to dabble in alchemy and actually produce these metals out of other materials. At the very least the level of technological advancement would be such that what we consider modern firearms would look like pointed sticks. And it would still be more economically viable to explore Antarctica or the deep sea for these metals.

        • “The big ones are rare earth minerals.”

          As Krog said, not rare at all. After China pulled it’s latest stunt cutting off rare earths to Japan about a year or so back, an assay of seafloor muds near Hawaii turned up vast quantities in the areas surrounding deep-sea geothermal vents. Just suck it up off the seafloor, relatively weak acids will dissolve it out. Vast quantities of manganese nodules are there as well…

        • There’s also the fact that when one commodity becomes rare we usually develop another to replace it. When whales became rare we discovered/invented kerosene for example. Extraterrestrial mining would be a long term proposition that would likely become obsolete before any yields could be seen.

        • The big draw of orbital mining is to provide raw resources for orbital construction. After all, it’s a lot easier to bring an asteroid DOWN into a gravity well and smelt it for raw structural materials than it is to bring the same volume of materials UP from a gravity well. Then there’s certain alloys and composites that can only be produced in microgravity. Add to the sheer volume that these alloys could be produced in, and it would make planetary mining practically obsolete in a generation.

        • Geoff, Manganese nodules? That was the cover story for the Glomar Explorer, that nobody believed even back then…

          :chuckle:

  9. I refer you to Robert Heinlein’s “Beyond This Horizon”, complete with a colony on the moon (what else?). The hero of the book, in which the famous “An armed society is a polite society” phrase was born, believes that to be a man you MUST go armed in public. He is an iconoclast, however, and a self-made millionaire, so he has a pistol custom made as a copy of a museum piece – a Colt 1911! This is somewhat disconcerting to all the neighbors who all carry ray guns similar to lasers. Quite an amusing story in its own way.

    • I adore The Expanse. I’ve been rewatching the show on Blu-ray and reading the books. I’m on the third, Abaddon’s Gate. Awesome portrayal of space travel, physics, and combat, but too bad Epstein drives are still fantasy.

  10. “Six men came to kill me one time. And the best of ’em carried this. It’s a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun … This is the best gun made by man. It has *extreme* sentimental value … I Call Her Vera.”
    -Jayne Cobb, Firefly

    • I thought somebody would probably throw in a Firefly reference.

      The presence of regular firearms was one of the things that I appreciated about that series. I know many of the guns were modified to some extent (I think Vera was a Saiga or VEPR of some sort, and Mal’s revolver was a highly modified Taurus 85). Still, they were projectile weapons rather than phasers/blasters/lasers.

      Another thing that I appreciated about that show was the existence of a “Christian-ish” religion. Five hundred years in the future (if our society still exists), Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, etc. will all still likely exist. Furthermore, 500 year old Ruger firearms (I recall a GP100 in one episode, and a Mark series .22 in another) will still be running just fine.

  11. Well…Mythbusters “proved” boo-lits can fire in a vacuum. So I don’t THINK a whole lot is required to shoot that gat. As far as actually getting humans to Mars and sustaining life(little Matt Damon not withstanding) I’m in the not in my lifetime-or my kids. Mars is a perilous world with none of the qualities that makes our world a “miracle”. Well maybe water…ideal for our future android overlords.

  12. In an outer space environment, pistols and rifles will work for one shot as the powder and primer have an oxidizer in them.
    The extreme cold and heat of the space environment will make the oil stop working and the gun will freeze and stop working
    Inside the space station guns will work perfectly
    However, you will float backwards with each shot
    If your bullet breaches the wall, the air will leak out
    If it shatters a window, you will decompress the station and everyone will die
    A cannon mounted inside, firing at other stations, would work, but the station would recoil with each shot and the station would need to burn fuel to reposition itself.
    In space, guns are not a good choice

    • Don’t forget heat dissipation, that is much, much slower in vacuum, making barrels and other components potentially very dangerous.

    • I’m still a fan of Metal Storm tech, regardless of its financial woes. No moving parts. Not even springs for mags. About the only thing that would need adopting is the oxidizer bullet setup. Done and done.

    • They said the same thing about America.

      They said the same thing about winning our freedom fro England

      They said the same thing about creating the Constitution

      They said the same thing about building the Transcontinental Railroad

      They said the same thing about powered flight.

      They said the same thing about flying across the Atlantic

      They said the same thing about Splinting the Atom

      They said the same thing about breaking the Sound Barrier

      They said the same thing about going to the Moon

      They sad the same thing about the creation of the internet

      They said the same thing about mapping the human genome

      They said the same thing about purging the Globalist scum in the GOP and reclaiming a party as to restore Liberty and exterminate the cultural marxist scum, the agents of evil who have defiled our Republic, and are attempting to steal the greatest inheritance in human history.

      We are Americans, not Americants. We have the win, we have the tools, we have the means, we just need to dump the current agents of decline who try and pass themselves off as “leaders”.

  13. 1.) If the Globalists win the US Presidency through Hillary “Benghazi ” Clinton! You’ll all be lucky to have sticks and stones…Or a group of peasants armed with pitchforks, and torches….Cause by the Hillary ” PRC “Clinton is done, the only scifi fantasy will be from censored books, or tv…..

    2.) As I understand it, according to Internet technology sites…China, PRC : The military already has working “Laser type assault rifles” designed to destroy optics, sensors, electronics…Other variance, or types designed to destroy drones, small vehicles, or aircraft..Or kill a person….Though under international law…The “Laser ” weapons in question can’t maim, or blind soldiers under so called international rules…Killing ok….

    3.) Lasers are limited on Earth due to practical usage…*(Except for the Chinese because they now have Américas manufacturering jobs…So with all that tech for all those cool Toys we play with…)* atmospheric inference —fog, dust, etc…Bullets go through that no problem….
    Batteries, or small power packs to make it go and be more useful than being a pointer, a sight, or a toy to set things on fire , and pop balloons….Safety hazard to eyes!!! Especially, getting flash fried eyeballs from an invisible spectrum of light !

    4.) Yes! A phaser would be cool !!! Yes I’m sure a lot of folks would like to “Heavy Stun ” a home invader…”Blap !” What are you a awake again..” Blap “! Oops… That reminds me about ordering tickets to see Star Trek Beyond opening this weekend! My papa wants to see….Big scifi fan at 72 !

    5. ) I believe it was recently revealed on the history channel, or discovery….That the Russian Cosmonauts carried weapons into space…Some had pistols and shot barrel shotguns…As well as the mentioned AA canons, and I believe a few machine guns…I’m sure “they, and us” did a lot of testing to see if modified versions or normal firearms would work in space…In a super cold vacuum…

    6.) Knowing how Big , Dark and creepy our own monster big government has become…I’m sure they have a few tricks up their Globalist sleeves if there are future citizenry issues…Just my guess….

  14. My thoughts are it is not even worth talking about. We may never move into space. Globally we are de-evolving back into cavemen. With socialism rampant, idiots are breeding like never before.

      • All depends on the intended effect, the desired target, and the effective range. If you want to effectively poke holes in things (or people), you may not need to break into the kilowatt range if you have the proper focus and materials. How big a hole though, is the real question.

  15. Believe it or not, RPG books dealing with space exploration would be a good place to look for ideas. Personally, I recommend the ‘Deep Space’ sourcebook for ‘Cyberpunk 2020’, written in 1993 and and still available in PDF. As far as role-playing games go, the ‘Friday Night Fire Fight’ rules from ‘Cyberpunk 2020’ are amazingly lethal.
    Wow, it just occurred to me that this could also be a post to the forums at rpg dot net. 😁

    • I was thinking the same thing myself. 2300AD was the game I was thinking of, but Traveller has some good thoughts on this topic.

  16. I think it’ll be miniaturized rail guns firing hypersonic, inert projectiles. These are already bein worked on and would be much safer to fly with in space than live ammunition. Anything flammable is typically no go during space flights. Alternatively, we might see more lethal versions of electronic weapons like Tasers take hold, again because of their relative stability.

  17. I wonder if at some point the feds will say fuckit and bring back Project Orion and NERVA. Man-pack Casaba Howitzers sound like a barrel of fun.

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