Question of the Day: What’s the Best Gun to Take Out a Robot?

The time to fight the machines is now. Once they get up and running, become self aware, that’s when it’s too late. Or so figures a new group called The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. I, for one, will welcome our new lethal mechanical overlords. CSKR, though, has looked around the modern battlefield — with its predator drones and ground-roaming TALONs — and decided the time to nip the evolution of deadly autonomous automatons in the bud is now. As always, has the whole story: “The campaign’s leader is Jody Williams, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for helping to ban anti-personnel landmines,” . . .

Jody, the Paulette Revere of the coming android invasion, sees her group attracting plenty of grass roots support:

“As people learn about our campaign, they will flock to it. The public conscience is horrified to learn about this possible advance in weapons systems. People don’t want killer robots out there.”

Her little collaborative is ostensibly OK with weapons where a human has to make the kill/no-kill call. It’s leaving the life-or-death decision up to an algorithm that has them concerned. So, a Roomba is OK. Robocop, not so much. Well, maybe not this Roomba.

One of the CSKR member organizations is Human Rights Watch, who released a report on the as yet non-existent problem.

“Fully autonomous weapons do not yet exist, and major powers, including the United States, have not made a decision to deploy them. But high-tech militaries are developing or have already deployed precursors that illustrate the push toward greater autonomy for machines on the battlefield. The United States is a leader in this technological development. Several other countries – including China, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom – have also been involved.”

So whether they’re made by Cyberdyne or General Dynamics, CSKR is against ’em. Time to tool up to fight the death machine onslaught? If so, with what?


  1. avatar Ralph says:

    Keep the robot soldiers, get rid of the robot Senators.

    1. avatar Mr. Pierogie says:

      Robots are people too you know.

  2. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Oh, I think any long gun would do nicely. Adjust your caliber to your target size, just like with live game.

    1. avatar Jim Barrett says:

      Robo-hunting for the animal rights crowd! Hunters get the thrill of tracking and shooting a robo-animal without the unpleasantness of animal whacking. Plus, for the more advanced hunter, the game can shoot back!

      1. avatar Todd says:

        We can all just go on pretending you didn’t say that 🙂

  3. avatar dwb says:

    i dont want killer robots. But I do want to know how to “kill” robots.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    I’m sorry, I want one of the tracked ones. I wonder if the gun mount could be modified to AA configuration? Make a handy drone swatter.

    1. avatar chuck says:

      +1 best home defence weapon ever just need a safe room and night vision

  5. avatar ready,fire,aim says:

    plasma rifle in a 50 watt range

    1. avatar Jeong says:

      As a lab tech in an actual Plasma Research Facility, 50watts won’t do shit. Not even through an EMP.

      1. avatar Andy says:

        How can we become friends?

        1. avatar Ben in UT says:


          Should I do your laundry for a week, or what?


      2. avatar Sean says:

        What about a terawatt? and how would I go about producing that kind of power output?

        1. avatar 16V says:

          Just 1.21 gigawatts. As plutonium’s rather hard to come by these days, wait a couple of years and save up for a Mr. Fusion.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      “phase plasma rifle, in the 40 watt range” … is a line from the original Terminator movie.

      I like the idea though!

      1. avatar Adub says:

        Any one of these is ideal for home defense…

    3. avatar C says:

      It’s what i always use.

  6. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:


    1. avatar Human Being says:

      Thus again speaks the voice of wisdom.

  7. avatar Dave says:

    The one you really need against them killer robots is about to be banned in NJ.

    1. avatar Pyratemime says:

      They are outlawing ion cannons in NJ? Who knew.

  8. avatar Augur says:

    Best gun for dropping a robot?

    A pilotable skyscraper-sized tank, of course.

  9. avatar KevinMA says:

    Just buy a shotgun. Fire 2 blasts through the front door and you’ll be fine.

    1. avatar mike says:

      I’m pretty sure that will only scare it away. Didn’t uncle Joe said that a random shot off your balcony would kill the bad guy?

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Well, as much as you’re funnin’ on Vice President Hairplugs, your suggestion does have weight if you use rounds filled with flechettes of hardened steel or tungsten. You could start down the latter road by simply breaking a bunch of TIG electrodes down to size, then grinding them on a greenwheel to get a razor-sharp tip.

      You’ll want to make sure that the shot cup keeps those projectiles fully contained while the round is in the barrel. These hardened projectiles would rip out the guts of the barrel within a few shots.

      Also, double guns used to have fixed chokes at the end of the barrel. You’ll need to ream out the chokes to cylinder profiles to prevent pressure spikes down where the barrel thins out.

      1. avatar Redleg says:


        A question, would you use a teflon wrap with that load too (like many of the BPI custom loads use) or do you think the teflon would not hold up? Inquiring minds want to know.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Do you have a specific round in mind for me to examine?

        2. avatar Redleg says:

          No, I was referring to your “sharpened TIG electrodes” load where you said “You’ll want to make sure that the shot cup keeps those projectiles fully contained while the round is in the barrel” and was pondering whether or not a Teflon or Mylar wrap would be a good additional precaution? If so, would those wraps even hold up to the hardness of TIG electrodes since they are usually intended for steel shot (not sure how TIG electrodes compare to steel on the hardness scale)?

          Something like these:

          Just curious. Thanks!

        3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Unless the teflon is coated over the tungsten rods, I think it wouldn’t matter that much. If the teflon wrap didn’t peel off the rods quickly after the shot cup/buffer pulled away from the payload, then you’d have some very non-useful flight profiles of the darts.

          There are buffering compounds (that are like “sand”) that go into shotgun loads that would be useful to pack into the flechette loads once you’ve packed the number of darts you want in the load into the cup.

          It would be better yet if the tungsten rods could be ground with a wasp-like “waist” to them, and you could grind slight “fletching” onto the tail to help stabilize them, but now we’re limiting this discussion to those who have tool & cutter grinders (or a very good eye and lots of patience on a cupped grinding wheel).

  10. avatar Gyufygy says:

    Ion cannon.


  11. avatar Steve in MA says:

    OK Kent, how long until I can buy one?

  12. avatar Jason says:

    12 gauge pulse slug obviously

  13. avatar NWBob says:

    Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum of course. Feel lucky robot punk?

  14. avatar Matt from Idaho says:

    I’d go for the hk91, even better would be a g3k.

    The Valmet m82A would seem appropriate too.

  15. avatar Jean says:

    I do believe Robocop dropped the ED209 using a Barrett 50 cal. Probably would work in real life, too.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      That sounds about right – at 12,000-14,000 ft pounds, the .50 BMG dwarfs pretty much every other firearm out there that fires from the shoulder. These robots look pretty robust – hand gun rounds and 5.56 don’t look like they would stop one very quickly.

      I’m thinking .308 / .30-06 / .300 Win Mag or .338 Lapua / .416 Barrett / .50 for these. If they were equipped with their own guns, I wouldn’t want one close to me.

    2. avatar In Memphis says:

      It was a Barett for real but in the movie it was the “Cobra Assault Cannon”

      1. avatar KevinMA says:

        Now we know why they keep pushing to ban .50BMG’s.

    3. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The .50 BMG was designed as an anti-material round, rather than the modern idea of a long-range precision shooting round.

      A .50 BMG round with a tungsten or carbide penetrator wrapped in a copper or brass sabot could penetrate at least a half-inch of hardened steel at close range. No mobile robot small enough to be pulled into position in an urban environment will be sporting such thick armor, so you could likely obtain the same results with far less than a .50 BMG round. Something from .338 on up, with a gilding metal sabot, will likely do anything needed.

  16. avatar Pwrserge says:

    How about a Harkonnen II air defense system? For your dirigible driving vampire nazi robots?

  17. avatar DrewR55 says:

    I’ll take a gauss rifle, please? Even a BB sized pellet moving fast enough would be sufficient.

  18. avatar Jon R. says:

    EMP cannon? “I’d buy that for a dollar!”

  19. avatar Dale says:

    In the movie “Runaway” they used a laser of some sort against a home robot
    In “Screamers” they seemed to be using a rifle-ish thing
    In “I-Robot”, Will Smith mostly used a car.

    I’m figuring mostly on some sort of EM-Pulse weapon and a can-opener.

  20. avatar Tim U says:

    Depends on the kind of robot, and what kind of armament/armor in question.

    I would think a 7.62 NATO will do good for most devices. Some may need a more anti-material type rifle.

    Good luck figuring out how to take on the aerial drones though.

  21. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    “Time to tool up to fight the death machine onslaught? If so, with what?”

    Paint ball guns and paint grenades. Seriously. A robot has no way to wipe its “eyes” (camera lenses). A robot’s “eyes” (camera lenses) do not produce tears to help wash away paint that blinds them. An autonomous robot cannot operate if it cannot see.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      You would have to be pretty quick with the paint and follow up immediately with a sledge hammer to disable firing mechanisms and locomotion.

    2. avatar LongBeach says:

      Truly a nugget of uncommon sense! Good call!

    3. avatar killer99 says:

      Windshield wipers?

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Windshield wipers work with water, not paint. The wipers would just smear and at best the robot would see vague shapes at 3 feet and in.

        And yes, the paint gives you enough time to walk up and smash it with a rock or sledge hammer.

        This is a fantastic strategy as long as there is only one robot. This could get dicey if there were three or four — although the paint grenade might take care of that scenario.

    4. avatar Ben in UT says:

      They tried this in Doctor Who.

      Didn’t work.

  22. avatar Jim R says:

    Were I to design a robot soldier I’d design it with multiple redundant systems so it could continue to function if partially damaged. Critical systems would be behind heavy armor and located deep inside the chassis, where they’ll be difficult to hit. Sensor arrays would be shielded as well as possible. They’d be built to take a beating, so if you want to take one out you’re going to need some pretty serious firepower. A .30-06 rifle MIGHT have enough punch to poke a few holes in the armor and if you’re lucky, you might hit something important. Unfortunately for you, while you’re readying another shot, the robot has already triangulated your position and has opened fire on you.

    No, if you want to take out a robot soldier, heavier ordnance will be required. Grenades and other explosive devices will be your best bet.

    1. avatar Catachanninja says:

      How do you power something that heavy though?

  23. avatar RockThisTown says:

    Star Trek Phaser, with ‘vaporizing’ switch on.

  24. avatar rip_vw32 says:

    The Barrett M82 of course! Also great for blowing up the Pontiac SUX!!

  25. avatar Mark N. says:

    20mm Gatling gun for me, with uranium tipped shells. If it’s good enough for heavy tanks, it’s good for any robot.

    1. avatar rip_vw32 says:

      I thought the A10s were 30mm, with depleted uranium shells?

      1. avatar Dallas Warrior says:

        It is 30mm on the A10.

        Another notable 30mm cannon is Goalkeeper….the 30mm CWIS system, which is totally bad ass.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          I get confused sometimes. Barrett is building a 20 mm rifle. And the M61 was a 20mm Vulcan that was a lot smaller than the 15 foot long 30mm in the A-10.

  26. avatar Roscoe says:

    Self perpetuating *autonomous* robotic weapons are a bad idea whose time has already come and will not be stopped. It’s the old proliferation of new technological advances before the next guy strategy.

    That runaway train has already left the station and I fear that future generations will suffer the consequences of an eventual uncontrollable mechanical onslaught at some future time.

    1. avatar 16V says:

      That’s the funny part. In the article they state that they do not yet exist which is either incredible disinfo, or ignorance. I’m not sure.

      They have existed in labs for several years, and in test environments for more than the last couple. Algos are being refined everyday. Not deployed in theatre anywhere, but if someone wanted to, they could be.

  27. avatar Pulatso says:

    Super Soaker filled with salt water. Biological warfare, as it were.

    1. avatar Human Being says:

      That would be Chemical. It’s biological warfare if you sprinkle them with chia seeds and the roots grow into their circuit boards and bearings.

      1. avatar RKflorida says:

        Do both. Sprinkle them with Salt water laced with sea monkey seeds.

  28. avatar tdiinva says:

    AT-4. Let no robot be left behind.

  29. avatar Roll says:

    Spray paint the cameras, if you can get close enough? Or if you want to be ghetto you could drop a blanket over the top

  30. avatar Jake Franklin says:

    well since it’s a such hard target i think the bullet configuration would be more important than caliber choice. A heavey solid metal FMJ would probably be ideal.

    1. avatar Ropingdown says:

      The Speer African Grand Slam Solid bullet, which formerly (until two years ago) had a tungsten carbide core, was the perfect backup bullet for Cape Buffalo and first bullet for Elephant. It was available in .375 H&H and up. Many safari operators lament its removal from production. Perhaps the growing “oh my god, it’s an autonomous killer robot” market will bring them back? No need for .50 cal.

  31. avatar Hal J. says:

    Here’s an in-depth roleplaying world set in a future which makes that of The Terminator look warm and fuzzy in comparison: GURPS Reign Of Steel:

  32. avatar snipe4fun says:

    Japan has it covered:

  33. avatar APBTFan says:

    Danny Vermin’s .88 Magnum.

    1. avatar Human Being says:

      It shoots through schools.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        You shouldn’t hang me from a hook . . . .

        1. avatar Adub says:

          My mother hung me from a hook. Once.

    2. avatar APBTFan says:

      There’s also the .729 Jongmans. A 1,048 gr. solid copper bullet at at almost 2,300 fps has to make a dent.

  34. avatar bastiches says:

    Water cannon and a 220V line.

  35. avatar SeanC says:

    Mosin-Nagant 91/30. With fixed bayonet, of course.

  36. avatar counihan says:

    How about a good old fashioned super soaker?

    1. avatar BnGRacing says:

      …filled with coffee. I’ve spilled water on keyboards with no ill effects. Coffee, on the other hand, shows no mercy. Starbucks reg. tastes like it has something extra nasty brewed into it, makes me think it was designed for robo-warefare. Or maybe they’ll just multiply like gremlins? Obviously this needs to be studied and I’m sure there’s a few billions in grant money available just for this. Who’s with me?

  37. avatar LC Judas says:

    If I had to guess, whoever is building these would account for typical loadouts. Fast pulsing radar and IR sensors would negate simple “blind it” attempts with blankets and paint. That abd basic motion and hearing sensors would let a robot find you in the dark with no need for light at all. Heavy armor, which counts up to about 1/3″ or better of pressed steel us rated to stop .50BMG depending on load and range. Definitely is going to make standard .30 choices a repeat shot game…

    Best ideas I know of are microwave guns. There’s blueprints out there and hitting metal causes feedback, combustion and stuff that fine equipment isn’t likely to stand up to. That or some well placed or extremely thorough explosive ordinance. But one of these has a higher collateral damage chance and has way less room for error.

    Of course, absent those things, I would just go for the firearms ive got at hand and douse things with gasoline. It’s all in how much preparation time you’ve got.

  38. avatar Nomad says:

    Have you people not seen Terminator 2? The best weapon for killing a killer robot is ANOTHER killer robot. Hack one of them and make it turn on its buddies.

  39. avatar 16V says:

    Regardless of where you get your firearm, make sure to get your insurance from Old Glory.

  40. avatar William Burke says:

    RPG-7 or flamethrower!

  41. avatar Scott says:

    I doubt that there would be a ‘best gun’ that you could get now without going through a lot of hoops. .50 is best bet because you know they’ll be armored.

    I’d guess the best weapon against a ground robot would be a couple of cell phone and some explosives.

  42. avatar Mobile Infantry says:

    Light saber or a Gundam beam sword.

  43. avatar Dave S says:

    broad spectrum radio jammer and sticky foam for the optics

  44. avatar jwm says:

    How about a glass bottle with a mixture of gasoline, diesel fuel and laundry soap and a burning rag stuffed down the top?

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Don’t forget the styrofoam.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Check. Not that I would ever mix such a concoction.

    2. avatar Don says:

      lol, just posted the same thing.

  45. avatar Commie IL says:

    A “tactical disappear gun” AKA 10g.

    See that watermelon over there. Now you see it, now you don’t 🙂

  46. avatar Don says:

    A glass bottle with a liquid fuel and a rag stuffed in it.


  47. avatar Robot Engineer says:

    Speaking as one who knows robots, you don’t need a gun. A sock or some underwear on the floor is enough to immobilize most of them. After they are immobilized, my weapon of choice would be a sledgehammer.

    1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      Hmmm… I’m an engineer as well. A thing like a 1/3rd scale tank ain’t a Roomba.

  48. avatar matt says:

    Do you really need a gun? You know these things will have IFF systems, wouldnt be surprised if it wasn’t much more than the flashing IR strobe you see soldiers attach to their helmets. Just walk up to the damned thing with some sockets and a ratchet and take its gun off.

  49. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    Hey guys use your Mossie 500 shotgun-with one of these:

  50. avatar alanhmn says:

    The army fosters technology, and technology breeds anarchy because it distributes the terrible machines of destruction. Even before this Jihad, one man alone could create and apply enough violence to ravage an entire planet. It happened! Why do you think the computer became anathema?
    Serena Butler

  51. avatar My Name Is Bob says:

    To take out robots, in order of preference: AP/API rounds (bigger is better), fire (and lots of it), and of course, saltwater in the circuits (if its not water-proofed.)

  52. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

    Where’s my comment on how to take out these things?

    I put it in, but it didn’t show up. And when I re-entered it, I was informed it was a ‘duplicate’.

    If it’s a duplicate, where’s the original?

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      You got spam filtered.

      1. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

        I don’t think so. I think it’s ‘forbidden knowledge’. See reply to reply below…..

        If it were ‘spam filtes’, I wouldn’t be able to post at all.

      2. avatar Chuck Pelto says:


        ….you are correct. When I edited the later post about thermite, and listed the four other techniques to deal with such robots, I was informed it was ‘spam’.

        Does this system’s ‘spam filter’ not like brackets with numbers in them? E.g., [1], [2]?

        Should I use bullets (•) instead?

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          The spam filter’s ways are mysterious and inexplicable. Occasionally I have messages filtered that neither I nor anyone else who reads them can discern the reason why.

        2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

          This site had damned well BETTER be bullet-friendly.

  53. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

    So I entered it AGAIN, with a slight modification, and IT STILL DOESN’T APPEAR?

    What is it? Am I providing forbidden knowledge?

    1. avatar 16V says:

      Apparently you are today’s lucky contestant! Happens to me about 10% of the time – 30% on anything longer than a para.

      1. avatar Chuck Pelto says:

        It’s probably the mention of the T-H-E-R-M-I-T-E-S…..

  54. avatar SGC says:

    Noisey Cricket!

  55. avatar Trogdor says:

    Wrap cables around the legs until it trips? Smash it’s head between two sequoia logs?

  56. avatar Ensitue says:

    A Tesla Vapo-Riser in the 4 Mega Watt Range would do nicely

  57. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a robot is a good guy with a robot.

  58. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Booby traps, IEDs, and possibly a blink-bomb (explosively pumped EMP grenade). Although the microwave guns might be an idea. RPGs and flamethrowers should also be fun, but use multiples in case one is engaged by the robot.

  59. avatar Catachanninja says:

    I’m just gonna put a sign on my door that says “no killer robots” they’ll see the sign and understand that they can’t do anything.

    1. avatar WA_2A says:

      “Killer Robot-Free Zone: For our children”

      HAH! I love it.

  60. avatar WA_2A says:

    Savage in 338 lapua, backed up with a rifled-barrel 12g pump loaded with Brenneke Magnum Crush slugs (>3800 ft/lbs).

  61. avatar Todd says:

    Elunium pu36 explosive space modulator…..Obviously! Its what Marvin would use.

  62. avatar Bobiojimbo says:

    I recommend the South African Mechem NTW-20. It’s an anti-material rifle chambered in 20mm.

  63. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    Copper vapor LASER delivering 6 KW continuous. Or a Malayan man trap…

  64. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    BTW, Robocop is O.K; human at the core, y’know.

  65. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    Don’t worry; they’d NEVER deploy them here.

    In all seriousness, entrapment and incineration is a good low-tech solution, with a winch-cranked, 700 pound pull ballista firing a 1″x3′ bolt made from an axel shaft as a backup.

    Firearms? Think I’ll be drilling/filling lots of 7.62x54R with phosphorus and potassium chlorate.

  66. avatar Ardent says:

    I’m thinking thermite. Dragons Breath shells, or 37mm homemade thermite grenades. Something to damage sensors, and blackenthe clear armor they might wear over them, as well as incinerating any exposed wires and antennas, cook off ammo, and overheat the innards, and that’s until it finally breaches the hull. Thermal sensors would seem pretty useless mounted to an actively burning chassis, and lubes, greases and such don’t generally perform well so far outside their intended operating temperatures. Nevermind how electronics respond to overheating. I’m definitely thinking thermite ‘dough’. Something that will stick instead of scatter. It all depends on the robot I guess, but anything made to fit through man sized doors I would suspect would suffer badly from globs of thermite blasted all over it.

    Now, if you really want specialized, how about a ‘net’ gun in which the net is copper wire, tethered to a power supply. Some sort of a projectile degaussing weapon. I’m not sure if such could be made to work, or if it would have any effect on a combat robot, but if it does, installing degaussing coils around likely entry points seems like an anti robot mine concept to go with it.

    Also consider the sticky foam laucher/material made for crowd control. That’s ‘bound'(get it?) To gum up the works, literally.

    It would also seem that overweight activated trap doors near entry points would be advisable, the sort of thing that a heavy man could cross without noticing, but an armored robot would crash through.

    Some of these aren’t guns I realize, but the concept got me thinking.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email