Is The ‘Ribbon Gun’ The Army’s Next Rifle?

Army's new rifle ribbon gun

courtesy gazette.com

Could the Army’s next service rifle be something with four vertically stacked barrels that was invented in a Colorado Springs man’s garage?

(Martin) Grier, a self-described inventor who has worked at a local bed and breakfast, built the new “ribbon gun” with a hobbyist’s tools. It looks like a space-age toy drawn by a fifth-grader.

But goofy origins and cartoon-looks aside, this could be the gun of the future. The Army is studying Grier’s gun and has ordered a military-grade prototype.

Here’s how this thing is said to work:

The specifications are incredible, four 6 mm barrels cut side by side within one steel block. New ammunition blocks fired by electromagnetic actuators that could theoretically give the weapon a firing rate of 250 rounds per second.

TTAG got the low-down on this gun at SHOT Show back in January. In the video above, one of the company’s reps attempts to walk us through the features and functionality of what they were calling the L5 Caseless Ammo Rifle.

Here’s a close-up of the receiver:

Army's new rifle ribbon gun

courtesy gazette.com

Grier’s design has bullets encased in four-round blocks rather than cartridges. But they’re still reportedly launched with gunpowder.

Army's new rifle ribbon gun

courtesy gazette.com

In a block with four rounds, each round is aligned with a barrel. Grier prefers to call them “bores,” because all of the barrels are in a single piece of metal.

The second invention is behind the bullet. In other rifles, the trigger is connected to a mechanical trigger pin, which fires the gunpowder and sends the bullet flying.

In his weapon, the trigger is an electronic switch that sends a signal to an electromagnetic actuator behind the block of bullets. The four bullets in the block of rounds each has its actuator. That means you fire the rounds individually or simultaneously.

Selecting the “power shot” option fires all four bullets at once.

Some of the “bullet blocks” seem to have a five-round capacity in the image above for some reason. And it’s not clear if you’d have to reload after each four-round block is empty. Which would seem to be a step backward from 30-round magazines.

On the plus side, rounds travel at over 3600 feet per second, if this report is accurate.

Grier’s been granted a patent for his design and the Army’s ordered a prototype model to test.

Grier said he finds motivation for the weapon in every attack on U.S. troops overseas. While the U.S. owns the skies and has satellites and missiles that are beyond compare, American troops have few advantages in a stand-up rifle fight.

“Our guys have the same junk weapons as our adversaries,” he said.

But Grier’s ribbon gun, which can work even if one of the four barrels fails, will change that, he said.

“I want to give them a Clint Eastwood kind of edge.”

comments

  1. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    you never know…pretty cool concept, though

  2. avatar Ken says:

    ” . . . American troops have few advantages in a stand-up rifle fight.
    “Our guys have the same junk weapons as our adversaries,” he said.”

    May be an interesting concept but the quotes above are simply marketing BS.

    1. avatar Jeff O. says:

      I mean let’s be honest, all small arms are junk and suck compared to using your radio to call in artillery or an air strike.

      1. avatar Excedrine says:

        Mortars, artillery, and air strikes are fun, but still nothing compared to Project THOR (“Rods From God”).

      2. avatar CarlosT says:

        Yes, but small arms and infantry generally are about taking, holding, and managing territory with selectivity. If you just want to destroy a target, there are plenty of great options for that. If the person standing six feet away from the target needs to live, then only boots on the ground can have a hope of accomplishing that mission.

        Starship Troopers (the book, much better than the movie) has a good passage on this:

        There are a dozen different ways of delivering destruction in impersonal wholesale, via ships and missiles of one sort or another, catastrophes so widespread, so unselective, that the war is over because that nation or planet has ceased to exist. What we do is entirely different. We make war as personal as a punch in the nose. We can be selective, applying precisely the required amount of pressure at the specified point at a designated time—we’ve never been told to go down and kill or capture all left-handed redheads in a particular area, but if they tell us to, we can. We will.

        1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

          Robert Heinlein is all well and good, but “The only good bug is a dead bug!”

      3. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Arty won’t be available unless preplanned, and Airstrikes will get there, maybe, one day, eventually.

  3. It’s not up to the US Army to Fund the “Ribbon Gun” concept. Because the US Army is not the Exchequer of the Purse, the US House of Representatives IS. DARPA will evaluate the merit of the concept, and find a suitable manufacturer to R&D the concept for production…

    1. avatar Rob says:

      Correct. DARPA would be involved as the first step. And like many news reports there is a major factual error here. This exact concept was first invented by an Australian company Metal Storm in the late 90’s (Google the name and read all about it).

      Lots of work with DARPA and patents up the wazoo. For whatever reason the technology was not commercialized and the company went bust.

      So I hold little hope for this “invention” (not).

      1. avatar LwbClark says:

        Probably not of DARPA interest, as there’s nothing particularly “cutting edge” here. It’s just an interesting engineering solution. The Army money is probably coming from the PEO Soldier / PM Soldier Weapons. If the velocity claims are true, it might be of interest to them.

  4. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Nope. Nope. and Nope. Don’t want some “electromagnetic” anything in a rifle.

    1. WHAT! You “Don’t” want to Implode you’re Deer Kill…

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I agree with GunnyGene: anything electric or magnetic is susceptible to jamming, electromagnetic pulse failure, and battery failure. I will stick with good and reliable chemical processes.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        What’s the failure rate? What’s the failure rate of modern mechanical systems? This might not be the version that replaces mechanical, but eventually the failure rate will be lower, and it will happen.
        If you’re really worried that electrical systems are less reliable than mechanical ones, then I suggest you never board an aircraft or get in a car.

        1. The effects of shock and g-force acceleration in a firearm are more easily and reliably mitigated by mechanical systems than electrical. I believe you’ll find few electrical components inside automobile or aircraft engines where the temperatures and accelerations are most extreme. The reliability of the electrical and electronic control systems in those vehicles are admirably reliable but they’re generally not within an inch or a fraction of an inch of the heart of the matter.

        2. avatar barnbwt says:

          You’d be very wrong about that; the hottest parts of jet engines have pyrometers and other sensors that make sure the flame is lit. Sensors subject to enormous G-forces inhabit nearly all modern automobile tires. The military is one step removed from no longer teaching iron-sights as anything but a basic marksmanship technique in favor of ACOGs and red dot sights. Every month sees new red dot pistol sights that are ever more practical compared to irons.

          Guns are often compared to sewing machines, and at one time they were very similar, mechanically. Modern sewing machines all use servo-controlled timing systems, and are more reliable than the old Singers could ever dream of being. Same for machine tools, engines, and practically every other piece of technology…besides firearms.

        3. avatar Cloudbuster says:

          I believe you’ll find few electrical components inside automobile or aircraft engines where the temperatures and accelerations are most extreme.

          Spark plugs say hello.

        4. avatar Draven says:

          I believe you’ll find that spark plug react pretty negatively to getting water splashed on them.

        5. avatar JP says:

          Uncommon sense said nothing about the failure rate; he was speaking to the sensitivity of electronics to some external disruptive effects.
          It is true that electronic systems can be very robust, as much so as mechanical systems. Take fuzes for example, An artillery projectile fuze safe and arming mechanism, whether mechanical or electronic, must withstand upwards of 40,000 (forty thousand) G’s of setback acceleration and somewhat less that in Spin acceleration on launching, as well as the effects of projectile balloting in the tube and still function. They reliably do so.

        6. avatar Kenneth says:

          ” Modern sewing machines all use servo-controlled timing systems, and are more reliable than the old Singers could ever dream of being.”
          I don’t think so. My sister’s serger breaks down, on average, once a year or more. And off to the shop it goes…
          Meanwhile my mother’s Singer from 1940 had a part break once. No shop, just replace it. Back in the 50s someplace. Been fine ever since, and still works perfect, assuming I can remember how to put thread in the damn thing. I’d say lasting for decades is quite a lot more than one single year, but what do I know? Perhaps a year is longer than a century in the new “common core” BS.

        7. avatar drunkEODguy says:

          many vehicle mounted weapons already use electronically primed and actuated weapons. The GAU-8 and M61a1 Vulcan cannons are good examples. Reliability and power source become an issue with man-portable sized weapons however. Its not so much a problem inherit to the technology, but solving the problems inherit to downscaling and miniaturization.

      2. avatar Cloudbuster says:

        I believe you’ll find that spark plug react pretty negatively to getting water splashed on them.

        The poster I was responding to wasn’t talking about water. However, motorcycle spark plugs experience heat and pressure on one and, and extreme weather conditions on the other end, protected only by a snap-on rubber hood. They seem to do fine.

      3. avatar Retrocon says:

        Mechanical hard drive vs. silicon flash memory.

        You can easily harden semiconductors against EMP or External RF hacking.

        Not sure where it’s going, but it will be fun to watch.

        My only concern is government backdoors or overrides, so I do not advocate mandated Electronic safeties.

        1. Some pre-1990 VHS VCR’s can be converted into Make Shift Computer Hard Drives for Computers! There are Conversion Kits available on various Websites, but requires some Scavenger Hunting to find them. Also Floppy Disk’s are still available to those that are willing to endure the Slower Processing Times…

    3. avatar How_Terrible says:

      some sort of magnetic handheld firearm will eventually happen, but it is decades away from being truly practical. I’m only 32, barring death by accident or disease I can expect to live at least another 5 – 6 decades. I don’t expect EM guns to become viable in that time frame. We’ll still be using chemical propellants to send round down range for the foreseeable future.

      1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

        20 years ago the CD player was high tech, 15 years ago, MP3 players, 10years ago, iPhones… you have little faith in the progress of tech and science.

        Nobody can predict the future, but I would bet future firearms develop faster than you predict.

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          Apples and oranges. Materials science hasn’t come nearly as far in that time as electronics. The reason is that materials science is a mature and developed field. There’s not a lot there that can be scaled up to industrial production levels. Electronics is starting to hit the same asymptotic portion of the curve. There is a finite limit of how many gates you can burn on a chip.

          The big threshold of moving away from chemical powered weapons is the upper limit on rapid charge / rapid discharge energy storage. There’s a physical limit on how much energy density anything we are even playing with can contain. Chemical energy storage is incredibly weight efficient. It’s why the gas in your car weighs a fraction of what the batteries in an electric car do despite a comparable total energy storage.

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          “20 years ago the CD player was high tech, 15 years ago, MP3 players, 10years ago, iPhones…”
          And the only one that might be, in any way, considered “mission critical” is the iPhone, in the unlikely case you need to call 911. And if your iPhone is in an area with no coverage (or the wrong coverage), or you forget to charge it, or (less likely) it actually fails, then you’re SOL.
          A gun you must rely on for your life, OTOH, should really be failure proof, or as much so as we can reasonably get (which just isn’t the case with the iPhone, not was it meant to be).
          Comparing a battle rifle with a CD player is not really something we should be doing.

        3. avatar EnDangerEd says:

          “Comparing a battle rifle with a CD player is not really something we should be doing.” I disagree, because both can “Bring the music”. Not as well as an A-10 but at least hummin a few bars.

      2. avatar jakee308 says:

        What is mainly required is adequate electro emissions blocking. Until your weapon is completely isolated and cannot be interfered with, the concept will remain a specialized tool.

        Then there’s the failure of the weapon’s system.

        Better might be to have a self contained igniters that can be set off mechanically if necessary. This would provide a fail safe aspect and still give the flexibility of select fire from 0 to 4.

        The main problem is reliability and vulnerability. The same reasons why electronic safeties won’t work in the long run.

        When the system is developed that makes them as reliable as mechanically fired weapons then they will sweep the field literally as they will be simpler and cheaper to build and an individual’s weapon will only be able to be fired by them.

        1. avatar Draven says:

          Only fireable by ‘their side’? sure, i can see it. By an individual soldier? Not gonna work in any military we currently have on Earth.

        2. avatar napresto says:

          I’m thinking the main issue would be making this infantry proof, dust and dirt proof, etc. more than defeating any kind of jamming, etc. Sounds like a potentially fragile design, at least at this current stage. Smart people will undoubtedly make progress on all these various issues if the essence of the idea has merit…

        3. avatar Kelvin says:

          You could use a quantum entangled ID system in each gun. Entanglement doesn’t allow for FTL comms, but it does make for physically unhackable networking. Since half the data goes through “the in-between” and the other half is RNG scrambled only the linked transmitter can ever receive or send data to its counterpart, the best you can do is try to jam the electrical half of the data, but if you set the gun up to be unlocked if jammed then it won’t affect the soldiers using it on your side; it will only make the gun extremely unreliable for the enemy.

  5. avatar LarryinTX says:

    The troops would certainly appreciate having a four shot rifle to replace their muzzle loaders, huh?

  6. avatar Jeff O. says:

    I’m confused as to what the purpose if this weapon is.

    Isn’t 250 RPS a slower ROF than an M-16?

    I guess the rounds go faster and you can fire 4 at a time, big whoop. Seems like an odd step back using blocks you load in to that side magazine.

    An M-4/M-16 is pretty dang hard to beat which is why the replacement programs keep failing to get anything better.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      M16 ROF = approx 800 rounds a minute
      Ribbon gun technically equals = 15,000 rounds per minute.

      1. avatar BLAMMO says:

        Yeah, I think that’s a typo, misprint or just a buncha bullshit.

        He doesn’t explain how but he’s saying the gun can feed, fire and eject 50 of those steel blocks every second.

        1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          Agreed. The feeding alone is a problem, with regards to moving that amount of size (ammo blocks) in a single second. There’s a lot of moving parts/actions that can’t possibly be concluding a second.

        2. avatar JasonM says:

          An M-16 can’t fire 800 rpm, because you’d need to perform 26 mag changes (with standard mags). The 800 rpm rate is an extrapolation of how quickly it can dump a 30 round magazine.
          This rifle can likely fire its five-round magazine in 20ms (an easy feat with five chambers and electronic ignition), which would extrapolate to 250 rps.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Ah! I see! Pray tell, how much do 15,000 rounds weigh? If you shoot someone with 100 boolets, is he more deader than if you only shoot him with 10? And how much do the 4-round steel firing blocks for 15000 rounds weigh?

        1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          Way to miss the point. Would you make the same argument about a mini-gun? Those 15,000 wouldn’t be unreasonable on a mounted Calvary vehicle, for instance. You’re being intentionally myopic. And just because this prototype may have that ability, it’s also select fire and can be utilized much like a traditional rifle. Who knows, maybe in a more traditional configuration for soldiers carrying them in the field might yield just 2 barrels. And then, mounted examples could have more barrels.

        2. avatar MSq'dI says:

          At nearly 15,000 rounds/minute, you esscentually do have a Plasma Rifle! At “Hypersonic Velocities” any projectile would turn into Plasma upon impacting the Target…

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      What’s being missed (other than the arguments about weight, etc) is the difference between the cyclic rate of fire (so many rounds per minute) and the capability to actually fire so many rounds per minute (or sustained rate of fire).
      The former is the cyclic rate; how fast the gun can fire.
      The latter is how fast the gun can fire while maintaining reliability; this means letting the barrel/action cool down so rounds don’t cook off, barrels don’t melt, etc.
      While an M16/M4 may have a cyclic ROF of 700-900 RPM, it’s sustained ROF is considerably less, or the barrel will simply melt (not quite true, the gas tube will melt first).
      On this gun, while the chamber(s) are replaced with each block, the barrel(?) will remain, and get very hot, so the sustained ROF will still be lower than the cyclic ROF.

      1. Bofors of Sweden developed “Monobloc” Steel Gun Barrels back in the 1880’s. It’s a type of Liquid Cooling of the Barrel without using a Waterjacket. And uses “Ballistol” lubrication as a Barrel Coolant…

    3. avatar El Duderino says:

      You can have a 250RPS firing rate without having 250 rounds loaded. The two are not related any more than the flow rate of your gutters and the average annual precipitation in your area are.

  7. avatar Jeff says:

    Looks heavy, and like a manufacturing nightmare. How you make the cartridges, I can’t figure out. Modern cartridges are extruded brass. These would need to machined with a blind chamfer. Looks a lot heavier than 4 individual cartridges, too much excess material. 3D printed maybe? The whole thing looks bulky and heavy.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Beat me to it!

      Looks heavy. Looks like carrying magazines is going to be heavy. Looks like carrying extra rounds is going to be heavy. Looks like storage of those extra rounds are going to be complicated. They aren’t going to fit in a mag pouch because they are shaped like a cube. If you carried 4 – 30rd ar15 mags, that’s 120 rounds. Looks like 120rds of this stuff is going to be really … really heavy.

      Also – it looks expensive. Instead of some cheap disposable cartridges (brass), you are dropping chambers out of your gun. Your gun ejects chambers, precision machined chambers. Costly… precision machined chambers.

      BTW… sorry to be a buzzkill.

      1. avatar Kelvin says:

        “The first rifle, which weighs about 6½ pounds.” Dunno how he did it, but it weighs less than an M16.

        Prototype is expensive, final one, probably not so much. They thought brass cartridges would be expensive back in the paper-cartridge days but we use em now; and these blocks are just steel. Common dirt-cheap steel.

        Brass is a buck a pound, steel is thirty cents. Get a computer and a cnc doing the cutting all day and night, you could mill out blocks just about as fast as you punch out brass.

  8. avatar Draven says:

    o.o

    Like everyone talking about how awesome the Metal Storm weapons were going to be in 1999…

    but I dont see electrically primed small arms working for… awhile. it’s been tried…

    1. The Australians bought “Metal Storm” in June 2003, and was “Shelved” in 2012 as a Semi-Active weapons system with possible “Future” merit (i.e. MIA, whereabouts unknown)…

  9. avatar Pilot says:

    It seems like the magazine for these ammo blocks are on the left side of the rifle. I may be wrong though.

    1. avatar Steve says:

      It is, and it appears to be integral to the rifle. They hide it well in the marketing photos, but there’s a giant Sten/Sterling style magazine on the side. As others mentioned – looks heavy.

  10. avatar neiowa says:

    Umm NO. The volleygun was invented a few centuries ago. Of course progs also believe in coal powered battery operated Muskmobiles as “technology” (but are just restyled Edisons).

    Rock Island Auction recently auctioned some VERY nice Nock Volleyguns.

  11. avatar Bllinoteeth says:

    Click, Click, Click, DAMN! Battery out!

    1. avatar Kelvin says:

      It’s a low-power system, the prototype battery lasts 15,000 rounds.

      Click, click, click, click, click…. (49,993 clicks later) …… click click click. Damn, out.

      1. avatar Draven says:

        ‘lasts 15,000 rounds’

        in U.S. normal weather and humidity, according to the math, and assuming there has been no charge loss from, say, sitting in the arsenal for four months….

  12. avatar BehindEnemyLines says:

    Heavy and pointless. What can’t you kill with one bullet traveling at 3,600fps that four bullets will? Also, this thing is either going to be very expensive or very inaccurate since drilling four near perfect parallel bores is not a cheap proposition. The ammunition blocks are a step backwards in size and weight efficiency.

    1. avatar Kelvin says:

      “Getting this to work requires a new kind of machining to get the four rifle bores lined up. In a traditional weapon, this is accomplished with technology that would be familiar to 19th-century blacksmiths — a drill.

      With Grier’s gun, the barrels are cut by electricity that runs between a pair of electrodes through a thin wire. The high-tech method offers an incredible degree of precision thanks to computer control.”

      Just wire, data, and juice. No milling required.

      And the prototype weighs 6.4 Lbs. That’s 1.5 less than an M16 sans mag. However that thing is built, it’s a slim bitch, blocks and all.

  13. avatar Tim says:

    250 round per second vs. 680 round per minute for the M4

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Even shooting four at a time, I’m having trouble imagining a cyclic rate of over 60Hz.

    2. avatar Rick says:

      For a firefight, you only need to carry 21,000 rounds instead of 210. But of course, accurate fire in a carbine is semi auto, so the firing rate means something between diddly and squat.

  14. I remember some guy turning a Nail Gun into a Rapid Fire Firearm back in 2014 or 2015, what ever happened to that Zombie Frankenstein Gun…

  15. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Nope. AR will be the last rifle, and last projectile weapon the US uses. Projectile/rifle technology has peaked. The AR will be in service for a minimum of another 50 years, perhaps longer. Eventually energy weapons will eclipse firearms, but battery technology needs to take another huge step in terms of contained energy before that happens. Either way these silly concepts like this, the OIWC, and metal storm are just wastes of time and money in search of a weapon that will at most only equal current technology.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      I can see something replacing traditional fixed cartridge rounds. Armor technology is rapidly catching up to small arms technology and can go even further with smaller advances in energy storage technology. Powered combat armor is maybe 2-3 decades out if we get the power issue solved. At that point, you’ll need something a bit beefier than 5.56×45 to seriously inconvenience the grunt with the equivalent of a modern LAV wrapped around him. Maybe 75 Caliber rocket propelled micro-grenades with a variety of warheads? (Shaped charge, fragmentation, etc…)

      1. Barnes “Varmint” Grenade/Bullet MPN: 30789, 22-caliber (.224 Dia.). Unfortunately it’s not programmable …

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          I don’t see that punching through a 1/2″ steel / ceramic laminate plate. You’re going to need a lot more punch.

        2. Current CerMet (Ceramic Metallic) composite Armor “Alon” (Al3O3N5) Aluminum Oxnitride will stop a .50-caliber AP round at Point Blank Range. Unfortunately the Wearer will STILL be Killed, because the Kinetic Energy has to go somewhere (i.e. the Wearers Body)…

        3. avatar pwrserge says:

          Not so much of a problem when the armor is affixed to an exoskeletal frame rather than directly to the wearer’s body. The energy will be distributed across a few hundred pounds of suit rather than a dozen pounds of plate.

        4. Is the “Exoskeleton” worn by the wearer Over or Under the Clothing?/! Because I suspect the Exoskeleton still has to have Personal Bodily Contact to function properly. If so, Kinetic Energy is STILL going to propagate through the Exoskeleton to the Wearer. Unless an Impact Suit is worn between the Armor and the Exoskeleton…

        5. avatar pwrserge says:

          The scary part is that we have all the tech we need to build reliable power armor except for the power source. (A power source that would only need to be 10% as efficient as any source required for EM driven projectile or directed energy weapons.)

          Frame
          Aerospace grade titanium will work just fine. Titanium would be preferable for weight considerations, but you could probably get away with steel.

          “Muscles”
          Electroactive polymers are getting to the point where they could easily provide the force necessary to move such a suit. You could even braid multiple “strands” of EAP to minimize the effects of damage or wear and improve the overall power to weight ratio.

          Controls
          Nerve impulse sensors are getting to the point where they can, in real time, pick up the signals sent to your muscles and feed back to a central control unit to reinforce the motion. You could even use piezoelectric pressure sensors for a slower response time which may be sufficient for gross motions. Stabilization is similarly possible with modern gyros. Crunching all the data is the easiest part as the processing power required is easily found in modern electronics. You just need to harden them.

          Power
          That’s the hard part. Until we get something with a lot better energy density, the operational time of these suits will be incredibly limited.

          For a civilian example, there are already medical assist exoskeletons going through FDA approvals.
          https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/devices/cyberdynes-medical-exoskeleton-strides-to-fda-approval

          The tech would not be drastically different, just an evolution. (again, power permitting)

        6. AiP (Air independent Power) Unit. Uses a Fuel Cell (i.e. Hydrogen) and a Stirling, virtually silent in operation and can crank out Lots of Power. I have a Solar/Stirling AiP in my Sprinter as a Back-Up APU power unit…

        7. avatar pwrserge says:

          Think sci-fi power suit worn over something like a modern wetsuit that would handle life-support and interfacing. The energy dissipation can be handled by generously padding any points of contact between the wearer’s body and the suit. Basically, the energy would transfer from the plate, to the frame, and then from the frame to the other plates and the wearer. Sure, the combination of wearer and suit would probably weigh in at at least a quarter ton (probably closer to a half), but all that mass makes impact energy distribution all the easier. Basically, you’re avoiding the Newton ball effect by not having the plate directly coupled to the wearer like you would with traditional worn body armor.

        8. A “Wetsuit” is a Wee Bit constricting! I was think more on the lines of a Motorcyclist Impact Vest and/or Suit…

        9. avatar pwrserge says:

          If you’re having a hard time visualizing it, here’s a sci-fi example.

          https://goo.gl/images/gTo5j3

          The suit, not the guy with the rifle.

        10. Guardian Suit worn by MRCN in “The Expanse”…

        11. avatar pwrserge says:

          The advantages of a wetsuit is that it would keep all the required sensors in fixed contact with the operator’s body and allow a medium for other life-support functions. The two biggest ones I can think of is a pumped-fluid heating / cooling system and bladder catheterization. (You don’t want to be getting out of this thing to take a piss in a potentially hostile environment.)

        12. Disadvantages of a “Wetsuit”, Bodily Functions (i.e. having to take a Pee and/or Crap). Without spending more than 10-minutes Stripping It off…

        13. avatar Draven says:

          It would actually need to be closer to the liquid cooling and ventilation garment worn by astronauts.

        14. avatar pwrserge says:

          Sadly astronaut suits don’t have included nerve impulse sensors. To work effectively, those would need to be very precisely attached to the user’s body and then calibrated. A wetsuit would allow much more repeatable fit which should minimize wear-to-wear calibration. Urine can be handled via a simple catheter. Not a pleasant experience, but definitely better than having to get out of your suit in an environment possibly filled with chemical or biological weapons.

        15. I didn’t make the comment, Sir. “Draven” did…

        16. avatar Draven says:

          The nerve impulse sensors can be woven into the LCVG, the operator will NEED the temperature control, and theres far less sensors needed than you seem to think. Also body-motion-following sensors (aka pressure switches) and things like that will work just as well for most gross body motion.

        17. avatar pwrserge says:

          On a side note, while I love The Expanse, the prop department cheaped out on the portrayal of MCRN power armor. It looks like a bulkier version of the unpowered armor, which is just silly. The books describe Draper “getting in and out” of the suit rather than putting it on.

        18. But consider that in the Show they never actually show Draper getting In and/or Out of the Guardian Suit. It’s speculation on how its actually put on. Remember it;s at least 150 plus years in the Future, so Donning and Doffing may be simplier then, then it would be now…

        19. avatar pwrserge says:

          It’s still too slim and latex looking to have a proper exoskeletal structure, which would be the major advantage of such a suit when it comes to damage resistance. Basically, unless your hit manages to penetrate or seriously accelerate a half ton suit of combat vehicle strength armor plate, the worst the wearer will get is a few mild bruises.

          Back to my original point, however. When these sorts of suits become commonplace, even .50 BMG ain’t going to do much more than cause mission kills on those suits.

        20. We also don’t know what the Composite Armor of 150-years from now consists of. For all intent and purposes, they could “Polarize” the Armor like in “Star Trek Enterprise” to strengthen the Armor…

        21. avatar pwrserge says:

          Unless the entire suit goes rigid to distribute the force at the moment of impact, the energy transfer issue you brought up will still be a problem. The advantage of an exoskeleton is that such a suit would not need to go rigid.

        22. You’re thinking in 21st century terms to a 23rd century product. That’s like 1st Century BC Roman Republic Legion trying to figure out how 4th Century AD, Japanese Samurai Lacquered Iron Armor worked, just by looking at it…

        23. avatar barnbwt says:

          You’ve been watching far too much Eva, serge

        24. avatar Bob Jones says:

          By the time an exoskeleton is fully developed and practical, might as well get rid of the “weak link” human and let a robot do the killing. Robots aren’t impaired by conscience or booze consumption or dope fix orconstipation.

        25. They already are! The Germans produced a Human Form Robot, to augment in the Construction of Buildings. By doing the Heavy Lifting in Confined Spaces, that in the past required a Small Army of Human Laborers. Able to Lift and Carry in excess of 10 times there weight…

        26. avatar Kelvin says:

          “Current CerMet (Ceramic Metallic) composite Armor “Alon” (Al3O3N5) Aluminum Oxnitride will stop a .50-caliber AP round at Point Blank Range. Unfortunately the Wearer will STILL be Killed, because the Kinetic Energy has to go somewhere (i.e. the Wearers Body)…”

          A karate punch is about 150 joules. A .50 bullet is about 18,000.

          A chest diameter of 32×24 inches yields a surface area of 768 in squared.

          18,000/768= 23 joules an inch. That doesn’t sound lethal even with just cotton padding. And we’re not even factoring in energy lost to give if the guy falls over instead of just absorbing the entire energy of the shot.

        27. Exactly where in my comment did I say the Wearer would Survive…

  16. avatar Nanashi says:

    “they’re still reportedly launched with gunpowder.”

    Can’t even mail order one. What’s the damn point then?

  17. avatar Rocketman says:

    I see a 2 major problems with it right off the bat. It uses a battery to fire the gun. What if the battery gets depleted or damaged in combat? If there is a nuclear exchange then does EMP fry the battery meaning that the gun won’t work at all because it’s circuits are fried? Back to the drawing board I think.

  18. avatar DaveL says:

    This thing basically creates a half-dozen engineering problems in the process of solving one problem, that didn’t exist.

  19. avatar Ken says:

    Red button notwithstanding, I’d still rather have the Zorg ZF-1 Pod Weapon System.
    http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/File:5th_09.jpg

  20. avatar Alex Waits says:

    This was covered at shot show, and it’s an awesome concept. Just needs a lot of refinement

  21. avatar Defens says:

    I see a lot of merit in the design, but the caliber obviously needs to be upgraded to 6.6mm. Just sayin’

    1. avatar MSq'dI says:

      Oh please, not another “Creedmoor” moment!

  22. avatar arc says:

    Primitives, only the Westinghouse M-27 Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle, preferably the 40 watt version, is an acceptable alternative… until armor catches up.

  23. avatar RMS1911 says:

    This is a waste of time to distract.

  24. avatar Ing says:

    I saw an in-depth article about this gun some time ago…can’t remember where, though.

    The ammo blocks can be grouped together in fours or fives, so they effectively form a 20-round magazine. When a block is empty, it’s automatically ejected like a stripper clip would be (only out the side, not out the top). And they can be chained together to feed continuously like a belt-fed.

    Overheating under high-volume firing is less of a problem because the blocks work as heat sinks and they drop free. Pretty cool concept.

  25. avatar Sora says:

    This can work well for a crew served weapon or especially CROW turrets on top of vehicles that are remote controlled and hard to clear jams. Too heavy for infantry weapon.

  26. avatar DavidB says:

    It’s a harmonica rifle. Like Browning used to make. No, not John Moses Browning, his DAD. Like, from the mid 1800s. Except with four bores so it’s more heavy out front. This is literally a step BACKWARDS from something we had before the Mosin Nagant was a high-tech weapon of the future.

  27. avatar Robert C Hanlin says:

    Just give me a phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range…!

  28. avatar Zephyr says:

    “it’s not clear if you’d have to reload after each four-round block is empty. Which would seem to be a step backward from 30-round magazines.”

    Each 4 round “block” is essentially a multi-round cartridge, the magazine holds multiple block cartridges, the same way a standard semiauto firearm holds multiple cartridges/rounds.

    Also, for those that seem to have confused this with a railgun, the rounds are chemically propelled. The weapon uses an electronic firing system to control rate/order of fire, seeing as it can fire each round in a block cartridge separately, all at once, or (potentially) in double shot sequence. Trying to achieve that with separate mechanical firing pins would significantly increase the complexity of the weapon needlessly.

    Lastly, from the prototype design shown it seems that this weapon technology could scale up or down. So if it proves to be effective then it may be adapted for use across the entire military, including combat vehicles, aircraft and ships

    1. avatar Draven says:

      And how much, exactly, does a four-barreled rifle with a loaded twenty-round magazine weigh? If you look at the wide picture, there is a giant rectangular box sticking out the side of the receiver , about the size of four AR mags stacked together. I’ll lay you odds that is a 20 or 30 round magazine. How much does each magazine weigh? What is the recoil like if you fire all four chambers at once?

      Judging by the amount of metal, I’m willing to bet that two four round ‘blocks’ weighs the same as an entire thirty round magazine.

      In order for the electric priming to work well, it needs to seal the action when closed. How well is the action going to seal after a week in a FOB in Iraq/Afghanistan/Iraq/wherever we go next? (or god forbid somewhere like Venezuela) “Sorry sarge Hudson splashed water in my action I can’t return fire til my chamber is dry…”

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        The chamber is in that four round block…with three other chambers. So that part is easy to seal. There’d be a gap between the chambers and the barrels, like on a revolver. And the quad-chamber block does have to move through the action, so there’d need to be tolerances and lube on there, but the tolerances could be very tight, or it could push the block into the back of the barrels, somewhat like a Nagant revolver.

        To me the big downside of those blocks is the reloading. After the soldiers empty them, they can’t just sit around reloading used magazines from a crate of ammo like today. They’ll have to ship those blocks from the manufacturing plant to the front lines. Those four rounds take as much space as ten or more rounds of loose ammo. And since that block is solid steel, except for the cartridge sized powder chambers, it probably weighs more than 30 rounds of loose ammo. Military logistics are expensive.

    2. I suspect you’re referring to the “D-Gun” or Impulse Detonation Gun! Application Patent by Rolls-Royce in 1969, which produces as spark of ~5,679F to detonate the propellant of the Ammunition Round. At that temperature, the Propellant is fully combusted to create a Muzzle Velocity in excess of 4,000m/s…

  29. avatar Unlicensed Bozo says:

    Replaces “I’m out of Ammo” with I’m out of Batteries”

  30. avatar Dan Boyd says:

    Firmware upgrades my EM rife to full auto!

  31. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Space Force MF!

  32. avatar Mark-in-Indy says:

    Aren’t most modern weapons, aside from small arms, electrically/electronically operated in some form? And as a fighting unit; radios, laser designators, gps/glonass, vision enhancement, etc can be almost as important as the small arms themselves. Hell, even the Abrams main gun is electrically fired with no mechanical back-up(sorta). Welcome to the future gentleman. Type amongst yourselves.

    On a similar note, a sprung lever is kinda foolproof.

    1. avatar Draven says:

      yes, but on a 40 ton tank, , a few pounds of gaskets and sealants and electrical redundancy to prevent getting shorted by wet is fine. Not so much in a rifle.

  33. avatar DamnCat says:

    Seems pretty far-out to me.
    However – the idea of an electric trigger is very interesting. Why not have the trigger be just a switch that activates a solenoid that releases the firing mechanism? This would make the trigger widely adjustable for weight and length of pull. You could add all sorts of “feel” options.
    May not be a great idea for combat use (possible reliability & power supply issues) but for sport shooting I would think it has real possibilities.
    Has it been done before?

  34. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Ian’s grandkids will be reviewing this on Forgotten Weapons.

    1. avatar Anymouse says:

      The only reason that it should not be forgotten is so someone doesn’t try to do the same stupid thing again.
      It’s not caseless – the 4 or 5 round loading block is the case and replaceable chambers. It has none of the advantages of caseless ammo. A big, steel, rectangle weighs more than conventional rounds. Instead of cycling an empty case, you have to cycle an empty chamber block.
      The magazine of chambers hangs off the left side and would make it difficult to aim. Turning the barrels sideways and feeding the chambers up would help, but then he’d need a way to eject them. It looks like spring pressure and an actuator is all the moves the block. Have you gotten brassed before? Imagine it’s a hot, thick ounce of steel flying your way instead of a few grams of thin brass.
      Maybe the rate of fire is increased by loading 4 rounds at a time, but that’s not useful. Full auto is fine for supression, but not useful to hit a target with a rifle. Firing all bores at once might increase the chance to hit with aimed fire, but the aiming is made more difficult by the stupid magazine.

      1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        Actually the blocks remind me of the Pancor Jackhammer’s drum in an odd way.

        ED:That said, if you had true caseless ammo a replaceable chamber may actually be a really good thing just due to the head dissipation that has traditionally been an issue with caseless ammo.

  35. avatar Gralnok says:

    Hmmm…
    I’m intrigued. I think this might be a game changer. As long as the unit isn’t prohibitively expensive to produce, it might actually be a viable platform. Currently, my main concern are those ammo block things. They might have a superior life over the brass and steel cases of today’s cartridges, and they might even be easier to reload since they won’t deform as much. However, I’m also thinking about weight. With this system, you’re no longer carrying cartridges, you’re carrying chambers. Still, this might have a future as a something mounted on a light vehicle. You could fire one at a time, fire automatically, or a new option of firing five rounds at once automatically, unless I’m reading into this wrong.

    1. avatar David says:

      TLDR; blocks are ass; how will partials be reused; not ergonomic form factor; loading rounds into blocks can’t be done practically by infantrymen given all 3 parts need (pin, powder, and round) to be placed individually, stack seems to be not reusable like mag

      For real, the weapon concept is new and if the army is able to run it through its paces and give it a green light than this will become a exciting generation of weaponry with many more improvements overtime. I am not concerned about the battery (estimated 15,000 rounds are plenty per charge, it would hold for at least 2 weeks of extreme combat assuming you had a equivalent load out of 29 5.56 mags per day and went black on all that munition every day; with potential for a simple solar trickle charge to extend combat use) or other mentioned, potential electronic kinks since they all can be worked out to deliver a more reliable/simple system than the current standard.

      That being said, does “revolutionary charge blocks” will ground this concept in not time. They have a combat viability of 10%, lol, very revolutionary. I was going to shit on the weight of these things but it actually looks manageable looking at the marketing material 30 rounds (6 stack of the 5 rounders) appears to put you at a stack height of 4 inches. Block metal type can also reduce the weight over over traditional stainless steel mag given their design. I can also see potential for a skeletonized variant of the block.

      What makes these 10% viable is the ergonomics with these things. For one, assuming you would want to reuse theme like a mag they can not truly eject as was mentioned in the video. They have to stay linked or else you would need to run around with a catcher and once that gets full where the hell you can put them then. Also if there is no ejection/separation of a block from the stack, how the hell are you going to reuse a partial stack. The stack form factor would also need new carry rig slot dimensions (not too bad). Everything else so far was manageable given a correct design is chosen, but the worst part I don’t think can be solved simply is the loading of the blocks. The video makes it sound like they will be shipped loaded and indeed it looks like it would be a complete nightmare for a standard infantryman to load one of those. It looks like to load one simple round you need to put the round, powder, and charge in separately which there is no chance of that happening. This would mean that the blocks are disposable only and that is just not logistically/financially viable.

      But idk, I don’t know enough about actual deployment and more specifics about the gun to give more pros/cons

      1. avatar Draven says:

        naah, those mags are going to weigh a ton because those blocks are going to weigh a ton. to put it simply, a thirty round mag means you’re carrying thirty firearm chambers with you….

        So, thirty firearm chambers, five barrels… not going to be lightweight at all.

        1. Barrel could be Lightweight, by Thin Walling the Barrels, them wrapping them in a Titanium Outer Barrel Liner. An 18th Century Trick to a 21st Century Problem…

        2. avatar Draven says:

          In existing examples. walled/layered barrels haven’t held up well in military trials.

  36. avatar Kap says:

    this is another POS M16 clone want a be any thing too get the Gi killed in the field, especially with Democrat socialist leader ship

  37. avatar Sian says:

    Headlines that ask a question can usually be accurately answered with: No.

  38. avatar arc says:

    Nothing wrong with current rifles, Would like to see new alloys made, higher pressures and maybe even an EM rail along the barrel to accelerate a projectile even faster than chemical means. Slap that bitch on a cyborg with a few nuclear batteries and vroom vroom it goes. Would have to make the batteries A LOT smaller though, given current tech. IIRC, the biggest nuclear battery is only 300 watts output.

    1. Apparently so would the US Navy at the Dahlgren Naval Artillery Range in Virginia. Testing the New Naval Rail Gun, which has seems to have a Conductivity Problem in meeting the US Navy’s requirements of ~3,000-rounds Barrel Life. Current system usually fails at the 400 round level because of excessive barrel wear…

  39. avatar adverse5 says:

    No.

  40. avatar Juice says:

    So the HK G11, combined with Metal Storm. I have a feeling *this* rifle will not be the next, but possibly some of the ideas will eventually see mass production. The AR15 family won’t be the last word in small arms.

  41. avatar DavoMoto says:

    Forget all the marketing bullshit, think of the ammo weight.

  42. avatar Jeff Hoser says:

    Shades of Steven Dardick’s ” Tround ” !! This design addresses some of Dardick’s manufacturing and reliability issues but I’ll wait on the field results re the heat issues . Yeah I know what I’m seeing is a prototype but I’m already wondering how “soldier proof ” this thing will turn out .

  43. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    Any thoughts on the multi-bore aspect?

    One article mentions a novel technique for making multiple aligned bores in the one billett. How does that play out for multi barrel hunting guns, or military modern gatlings?

    1. avatar Draven says:

      Modern military gatlings, the barrels are made separately.

      1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

        Yeah, I’m trying to think through whether multiple bores in one monolithic part would have some kind of operating advantage. Seems heavier, but maybe not? Heat removal? Transitions from piece to piece impede heat flow vs. monolithic.

        I don’t know enough to have an opinion for certain.

        – What about dual-bore, high power hunting rifles, or even tri bores, shotgun, shotgun, rifle?

        – What if the “barrels” for Apache chin gun, or F-35 on-board were one piece?

        The problem, even assembling barrels, is getting the points of aim to line up. Ribbon gun-guy claims a unique boring technique to get his several in one cut, lined up.

        1. avatar Draven says:

          The Apache nose gun is a single barrel, you’re thinking of the 3-barrel 20mm on the Cobra… which is three barrels clamped into a triangle.

          As far as i know, double barrel shotguns and drillings have separate barrels attached to each other.

        2. Apache uses a Chain Gun (i.e. Revolver Cannon), where only the Chamber Cylinder rotates, not the Barrel…

  44. avatar Ark says:

    That’s not “caseless”. It’s a bunch of cases stuck together. Closer to a five round en bloc than anything else.

    Really not seeing any way this isn’t vastly inferior to current technology, unless you’re really salivating over POWER SHOT.

  45. avatar Kenneth says:

    And how do the blocks achieve a gas seal to the bores? This is the primary job of the brass casing, NOT just holding the cartridge together. Paper can and has done that, but it cannot seal the breech to the bore. I am not aware of any sealing material that will withstand the apx. 60 thousand PSI of pressure(more than that for 3600fps) in the bore at firing, to say nothing of the heat.
    Just saying “a synthetic polymer” is no answer. So what is this magic plastic that withstands 60K+ PSI, and why do we not see it on the blocks? Is it that this is a mock up that does not actually fire(accept in “artists renderings”,ofc), but is just a very profitable hoax like solar roadways and Musk’s not so hyper loop? Or is there just no one left in the world(or in the US military) who understands the basic physics of firearms that have been the same since the year 1500?

  46. avatar TS says:

    Pardini target handguns have used e-triggers for several years.

    1. avatar Draven says:

      two points:

      target pistol =/= service weapon

      and

      electronic trigger =/= electrically fired

        1. avatar Draven says:

          I am aware. However, its still not a service weapon.

        2. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

          Most High Rate of Fire Machine/Auto Cannons use some sort of Electric Primer Ignition, like the “Chain Gun”. Which is an Impulse Revolver Cannon…

        3. avatar Draven says:

          Which are not service weapons, as in weapons issued to individual soldiers for them to carry. If you think about it, most of those types of weapons are either enclosed or semi-enclosed , and the electrical firing mechanism is protected from direct exposure to dirt. Weapons that are more commonly issued, where that isn’t possible, still use conventional primers- i.e. Ma Deuces, grenade launchers, etc. If electric priming is so awesome, why didn’t the Mk 47 switch to electrical priming?

          However… I do think electrical priming might work well in small arms , eventually… but that five-round block leaves a GIANT opening in the breech, comparatively, for dust/dirt/schmutz to get into the action and mess up that process. A normal ejection port is the size of maybe two rounds side by side… and the port on this thing is the size of about ten rounds stacked. Even conventional mechanical actions are going to be vulnerable to an action that has an opening that large in field conditions.

        4. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

          The Mk.47 Striker is just an Uprated Version of the Mk.19 Grenade Launcher with a Electronically Programmable Fuse developed by the Israeli’s. The Electronics of the Programming System couldn’t be Retrofitted to the Mk.19, so a New Grenade Launcher was produced…

        5. avatar Draven says:

          sigh.. ok, I’ll bite… then why wasn’t the XM25 electrically primed.

        6. avatar ThisEnd^ says:

          You’d have to ask the Germans that, H&K developed the system. But at any rate the XM25 was cancelled in March or April 2018…

  47. avatar Ken Richards says:

    After reading many of the above comments, have none of you ever heard of an ElectroMagneticPulse? An EMP strike would render every unprotected electrical device completly and utterly …………. Useless. What bloody good is a weapon that uses electrical impulses after such a strike. It would become an extremely expensive club.

    1. avatar Draven says:

      that and, i don’t know how well that rifle could be EMP shielded since the action needs to open… that, and the five-round block is steel and this going to conduct said EMP….

  48. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    “Is The ‘Ribbon Gun’ The Army’s Next Rifle?”

    “Alex, I’d like to take ‘two-letter words that start with ‘n’ and end with ‘o’ for $800, please…”

    The US Army/DOD has been sinking millions of bucks into one “next rifle” project after another, from the H&K G11, the OICW, the XM-8, then various caliber changes on the M-4 and M-15… since the early 90’s.

    None of them have amounted to anything other than millions of taxpayer money poured down a rathole.

  49. avatar mac e. says:

    If the Dems re-acquire control of the congress and the presidency (perhaps under a new Obama – “Mau Mau” Michelle) in 10 years the cops will wield beanbag guns, the drug gang criminals will shoot these 250 round electric actuated rifles and the citizenry, having had their weapons confiscated “Australia style,” will, of course, have nothing.

    1. avatar Ed says:

      There are always bricks and rocks that can be affixed to sticks to make clubs or used without the stick. Such weapons can be effective. Here is one used recently:

      https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2018/07/17/latest-weymouth-shooting-killed-michael-chesna-vera-adams

  50. avatar Radcliffe Cutshaw says:

    The ultimate flowering of John Browning’s harmonica gun.

  51. avatar kanuuker says:

    “Grier said he finds motivation for the weapon in every attack on U.S. troops overseas.”

    Hmm, maybe the troops shouldn’t be overseas? Just a thought.

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