Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Toys

New Rifle Tech Offers Variable Muzzle Speed 443

Posted by kdawson
from the set-phasers-to-stun dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "A gun that fires variable-speed bullets that can be set to kill, wound, or just inflict a bruise is being built by a Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio that makes toy rockets powered by burning hydrogen obtained by electrolyzing water. The company is being funded by the US Army to adapt the technology to fire bullets instead. The new weapon, called the Variable Velocity Weapon System or VWS, lets the soldier use the same rifle for crowd control and combat, by altering the muzzle velocity. It could be loaded with 'rubber bullets' designed only to deliver blunt impacts on a person, full-speed lethal rounds, or projectiles somewhere between the two. Bruce Lund, the company's CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet. 'Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 meters, to lethal at 100 meters or more, as desired,' says Lund. The existing VWS design is a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rifle weapon, but Lund says the technology can be scaled to any size, 'handgun to Howitzer.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Rifle Tech Offers Variable Muzzle Speed

Comments Filter:
  • Set rifle to stun! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @08:58PM (#24297713) Journal

    Great, a rifle with a stun setting!

    I would not want to be the guy that tests the low setting (or the high one for that matter) to make sure it isn't fatal!

    • Oh, good. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:08PM (#24297825) Homepage Journal

      More 'non-lethal' force options - to use against 'undesirable' expressions by the domestic populations of 'liberal democracies' - that have lawfully assembled against the wishes of their 'representatives'. [guardian.co.uk]

      This is worse than the sub-harmonic puke-ray, or the microwave brain-fryer.

      Welcome to the movie, "Brazil."

      • by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:37PM (#24298047) Journal

        I would bet I still have to spend a good long time in the hospital if I'm hit from the Howitzer, even if it is set on 'stun'.

      • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:46PM (#24298107)
        Eh, almost all manufacturers and professional groups in the US now refer to them as less-lethal not non-lethal. This is in acknowledgment that anything propelled by a non-trivial amount of powder has the power to kill, even bean bags and rubber bullets or tasers. You still don't point them at someone who is complying with the law and you only use them after other tactics have proven in-effective and there is a significant risk of injury to the officer or others. I don't think the VAST majority of officers are any more likely to pull their gun just because it has some half-assed stun setting, though I guess they might pull it in the same type of situation where they would pull a taser today, one less piece of equipment to carry.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          This is in acknowledgment that anything propelled by a non-trivial amount of powder has the power to kill, even bean bags and rubber bullets or tasers.

          Tasers propelled by gun powder? Shit, that would ruin anyone's day.

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:41PM (#24298535)

          You still don't point them at someone who is complying with the law and you only use them after other tactics have proven in-effective and there is a significant risk of injury to the officer or others.

          Oh, of course not. What shit -- anyone "compliant" who doesn't meet a cop's standard of humanity will be met with taunting or other abuse designed to escalate the situation to one where the cop can call "resisting", then all bets are off. They can afford to pick a fight with anyone at any time and come out "clean".

          And in California, our idiot voters a few years back voted in a law that allows taking your DNA as part of "processing" if you're arrested for anything (yes, the bastards think we're anything more than meat or vegetables), this without even being indicted or convicted.

          Of course, if you're eventually not convicted of anything, you can "apply" to have your sample destroyed. Note -- you can "apply", not "fucking force the shits to verifiably destroy". What are the odds they'll really do so. Of course, in the meantime, they'll have used it to see if they can connect you to anything else, even the gumball you might have stolen fifty years ago.

          • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by maypull (845051) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @07:00AM (#24301621)

            Oh, of course not. What shit -- anyone "compliant" who doesn't meet a cop's standard of humanity will be met with taunting or other abuse designed to escalate the situation to one where the cop can call "resisting", then all bets are off. They can afford to pick a fight with anyone at any time and come out "clean".

            You don't know what you're fucking talking about, and I find you offensive. Maybe this happened to you, or somebody you know, and it's gotten you irked. But I guarantee that I know more cops than you do, and *never* -- not once -- has this happened in my personal experience as an ex-police officer.

            I'm not suggesting that it doesn't happen in the whole wide world, but using words like "anyone" and stating definitively that the defacto method for police of dealing with people is to trick them into resisting arrest, is ignorant and frankly tin-foilish.

            As a rule (and I mean that -- rule), you use the least force necessary. If they are being arrested, you want to get them into the van/car and off to the station quickly and cleanly, and with the least paperwork. Resisting arrest entails additional paperwork, and if there's one thing cops hate, it's that.

            So shut your stupid fear-inciting mouth, and start commenting on "facts" that you actually know something about.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by splatter (39844)

              Then as someone who was unjustifiable beaten by the cops in their own home I can safely say you hang out with scum who should never have been given authority and the right to hurt another person on a wim and their illustrious word that the perp deserved it.

              If you don't like it well tough put your head back in the sand and keep hanging out with the vermin, but if you lie with dogs.... well you know the rest I'm sure.

              DP
               

              • Re:Oh, good. (Score:4, Insightful)

                by GauteL (29207) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @09:27AM (#24303157)

                Then as someone who was unjustifiable beaten by the cops in their own home I can safely say you hang out with scum who should never have been given authority and the right to hurt another person on a wim and their illustrious word that the perp deserved it.

                Great... you can use this method of thinking for absolutely anything. Examples:
                1. A police officer does something wrong means they are all scum.
                2. One jew does something wrong and this means they are all scum.
                3. One child does something wrong and so they are all scum.
                4. One human being does something wrong and so they are all scum.
                5. One organism does something wrong and so every organism on the Earth is rotten to the core.

                See how this works?

                Anyone that had an iota of sympathy with you after being unjustifiably beaten would have lost that sympathy halfway into your first sentence, because you are a cretin.

            • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jahudabudy (714731) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @09:20AM (#24303039)
              It's funny, but I just read this [cnn.com] ON CNN.com. Obviously, one dude is not "all cops", but the really interesting part is the departmental response. Can you really wonder why the average citizen might hate/fear cops when the balance of power is so completely skewed, and it is obvious that cops protect their own? I mean, I can at least try to protect myself against the average asshole who assaults me, but not a cop. My word against his 2 cop buddies that he was illegally tazing me? Uh huh. And while you say you have never seen a cop behave inappropriately (and throw out some weak "we're too lazy to do the necessary paperwork" bullshit as a reason!), it's obvious some do. So every time I encounter a cop in a less than friendly setting, I am encountering an armed person that can kill or severely injure me and most likely get away with it. And any attempt to defend myself will, again most likely, screw up my life completely. And all I have to do is somehow piss off this stranger that is already predisposed to distrust and dislike me.
              • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by FiloEleven (602040) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @11:21AM (#24305011)

                Your exchange with GP brings to light an interesting issue. The biggest difference between you, "jahudabudy", and GP "maypull" is that maypull knows a bunch of cops and you apparently don't. I think that has a lot to do with your differing perspectives. Maypull has seen police officers in all sorts of situations other than that of an arrest, traffic stop, questioning, etc. (let's ignore that he was a cop for illustrative purposes), whereas you have not. More importantly, the cops know maypull and have seen HIM in all sorts of situations other than that of an arrest, traffic stop, questioning, etc.

                I guess what I'm saying is this: as long as police officers are nothing more than law enforcement whose main interaction with the public is when a call goes out or when they see something they don't like, the image you have (of a power imbalance that can screw up your life on first contact) will be the prevailing one. If the police officers are active members of the community who get to know the citizens in their jurisdiction, the uniform becomes much less of an unwelcome presence--you see instead a friend (or acquaintance) who can help you out when you need it, and they see someone they are familiar with and are less likely to need to bring their authority to bear.

                There is undoubtedly resistance to the idea of just walking up to an officer and having a chat, at least where I live. Some of that, I think, stems from the fact that the cops are usually in their cars rather than on foot. More comes from our modern lack of community where we live surrounded by strangers. I don't think there's an easy answer to uprooting the mistrust in police, but I'm betting that what I described above is the biggest part of the problem.

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Cruciform (42896) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:42PM (#24298539) Homepage

          You still don't point them at someone who is complying with the law...

          Once you have enough laws you can point them at anyone.

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by catmistake (814204) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:00PM (#24298651) Journal

          There's a problem with "non-lethal." The problem is that, such as with Tasers, they are used far more often than philosophically intended. If Tasers were only used as proscribed, (i.e. as a substitute for a gun) they'd be great, but because of the "non-lethal" label, they get overused in situations when a gun would never be appropriate (such as when escorting a political protester from a public gathering, or shutting up a smart mouthed and cuffed suspect).

          • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by atamido (1020905) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:05AM (#24299061)

            Tasers are also intended to be used as a substitute for nightsticks. Shocking someone is generally considered quite a bit safer than beating them into submission using a heavy stick. Considering the wide range of uses they cover, I believe they're use is a good thing.

            This compares in stark contrast to these new VWS. They sound significantly more dangerous than a taser, and the chances of shooting someone with the wrong setting or ammunition is quite a bit higher.

            Pick up a taser and you know the result. Pick up one of these and the results may be quite a bit different.

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:4, Informative)

          by LM741N (258038) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @02:00AM (#24299749)

          What a bunch of BS. Here in Oregon, the cops outright murdered a number people by using excessive force. One was just peeing on the sidewalk and ran away. Officers chased him, caught him, and beat him so severely that it killed him. Several others were mildly psychotic and instead of just tackling them or using a taser, they shot them dead.

          A few years ago a person known to the police to be unarmed was fired at by 21 rounds of bullets as he ran away. Amazingly none of the bullets hit him. And if you are in a car and try to get away, the officers will later say that they were afraid that they were going to be hit by the car and killed, so they sprayed 50 rounds of bullets into the car as self defense.

          This kind of stuff goes on all over the US. Its not just local to here.

        • Eh, almost all manufacturers and professional groups in the US now refer to them as less-lethal not non-lethal.

          So, I guess that if I used a paper tissue instead of no condom at all, my girlfriend would get less-pregnant, eh? :-) But then, again, I'm a slashdotter, so why the worry...

      • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jarjarthejedi (996957) <christianpinch.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:08PM (#24298275) Journal

        Or, more realistically, more force options, to be used properly and improperly as befits human beings who are far less than perfect.

        Something abused != Something bad. That is the more tired and idiotic argument of the 'all weapons should be lethal' crowd.

        This is going to be an interesting innovation if it works as advertised. Should especially make the more dangerous situations (capture alive and hostage) easier to deal with since the soldiers will have guns that can shoot to kill or injure, allowing them to fire into situations they normally couldn't.

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jesterzog (189797) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:55PM (#24298621) Homepage Journal

          This is going to be an interesting innovation if it works as advertised. Should especially make the more dangerous situations (capture alive and hostage) easier to deal with since the soldiers will have guns that can shoot to kill or injure, allowing them to fire into situations they normally couldn't.

          You might be right for soldiers since they tend to have different objectives and priorities, but I'm not as sure about this for civilian police forces. Most police forces which I know of are trained that if they're going to shoot at all, they should be shooting to kill. There's generally good reasoning behind this too, because you probably shouldn't be shooting someone at all unless you or someone else is in immediate and serious danger from them. If that's the case, why put the outcome in doubt by trying to be non-leathal about it and making it much harder to avoid screwing up?

          Irrespective of the mode, you're still propelling a projectile at someone. It's either going to kill them, hurt and stop them, hurt them without stopping them, or not affect them at all. If you're trying to tune things to get a specific outcome (hurting and definitely stopping) instead of one of the extremes, it'll be much harder to get it right and you're at a higher risk of screwing things up. The speed of the projectile certainly won't be the only deciding factor.

        • Too many variables (Score:4, Informative)

          by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:23AM (#24299171)
          A .22 can kill. Equally, people have been known to survive being hit by a .50. There are too many variables in the kill/injure equation and this is certainly not something you'd be able to control with a dial.
      • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:11PM (#24298305) Homepage Journal
        Yeah. Our military is moving from war fighting to crowd control.

        Which means our military is increasingly seeing it's own populace as being the target, not an enemy nation.

        It's even reflected in operation names. Used to be operation names were designed to mislead (or not lead, at least) the enemy should the enemy become aware of them - Operation Market Garden, Operation Overlord. The point was that the operation name was chosen with its impact on the target of that operation in mind.

        Now we have names like "Operation Enduring Freedom."

        Just who is the target of that name? Just who is it intended to mislead?

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by qbzzt (11136) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:47PM (#24298567)

          Which means our military is increasingly seeing it's own populace as being the target, not an enemy nation.

          Either that, or they expect to fight enemies that embed themselves in civilian populations and use human shields. You know,

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "Yeah. Our military is moving from war fighting to crowd control.
          Which means our military is increasingly seeing it's own populace as being the target, not an enemy nation."

          That's a pretty big leap to say that because you think the military is moving away from war fighting and towards crowd control, that the military is seeing it's own people as the target. If you look at the past couple of conflicts/wars/skirmishes that our military has been used in, the time actually fighting is starting to decline, and

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Dun Malg (230075) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:54PM (#24298993) Homepage

          It's even reflected in operation names. Used to be operation names were designed to mislead (or not lead, at least) the enemy should the enemy become aware of them - Operation Market Garden, Operation Overlord. The point was that the operation name was chosen with its impact on the target of that operation in mind.

          Now we have names like "Operation Enduring Freedom."

          Just who is the target of that name? Just who is it intended to mislead?

          Actually, the names are chosen by PR jackasses to "sell" the operation to the american public (and, to a lesser degree, encourage the participating servicemembers to be more enthusiastic about the op). I was with the 7th Light Infantry Division in December 1989. Most of us were sitting around planning for xmas leave, when we were put on alert. We packed our gear, drew weapons, ammo, bayonets, and E-tools*, and sat around in the assembly area waiting for something to happen. After 36 hours or so of being "ready" , we were trucked over to the air force (to wait AGAIN), and flown in to Panama to back up the initial assault force for what we had been told was operation BLUE SPOON. But a funny thing happened on the way to the air force base--- it had suddenly become operation JUST CAUSE. I can tell you that we, the grunts with the rifles, had a serious case of the eye-rolls when we heard about that. Fucking stupid-ass political hack generals.

          * the infantry was sometimes a rough place, even in the all-volunteer 80's. Bayonets had been taken away from the infantry after a few incidents of them killing one another in drunken altercations. Infantrymen, being a strange combination of thickheaded and resourceful, switched to fighting each other with E-tools (entrenching tool = folding army shovel, with a serrated edge). This prompted them to confiscate the E-tools and lock them up with the bayonets and rifles. I'm not sure if all this helped, as guys just resorted to whatever deadly personal items they had handy, but at least it introduced some variety to the infantry murder rolls.

          • Re:Oh, good. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:30AM (#24299215) Homepage Journal
            Thanks for the comment, that's exactly what I meant. In the past operation names were given so that people inside the op had something to refer to, but if the enemy got wind of it, the name would disclose nothing to them. So the name was chosen with the enemy in mind.

            Now the names are bullshit PR things, meaning the names are now chosen with the American public in mind. WE are now the people being manipulated by the name.

          • by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:18AM (#24300463)

            But a funny thing happened on the way to the air force base--- it had suddenly become operation JUST CAUSE.

            Are you sure there wasn't an apostrophe there? E.g: "Operation Just 'Cause".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EdIII (1114411) *

        Your talking about conspiracy theories, fascist governments, totalitarian regimes, etc.

        THAT is not even the biggest concern with a weapon like this. No really. Not even close.

        A weapon like this relies on *mechanical* means to vary the amount of force. Add the user's responsibility to check which setting it is *supposed* to be on and you have a recipe for disaster.

        I guarantee you it will be LESS than a year after this is put on the streets that you will have the first case of an officer swearing up and do

        • Re:Oh, good. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by tftp (111690) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @12:40AM (#24299269) Homepage

          A weapon like this relies on *mechanical* means to vary the amount of force. Add the user's responsibility to check which setting it is *supposed* to be on and you have a recipe for disaster.

          Even beyond that. If you fire a bullet on "stun" speed and hit someone in the breast bone the guy will be uncomfortable. If you fire the same bullet at the same guy and hit him in the eye, chances are the bullet will go all the way to the other side of his skull. Can the LEO guarantee the aim under pressure, when everyone is running like crazy and shots are fired? If not then he becomes a deliberate killer.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by EdIII (1114411) *

            Excellent point. I was also thinking about the forensic aspect of this as well. How could you prove that such a weapon was set to X level when the round was fired?

    • by jayveekay (735967) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:17PM (#24298345)

      Plastic bullet hits woman in eye, she dies:

      http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2004/10/22/postgame_police_projectile_kills_an_emerson_student/ [boston.com]

      Set this variable speed bullet to "slow" and I bet it more than stings if it hits you in the eye.

  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @08:59PM (#24297727)
    This could prove interesting for various sports that use guns such as trap shooting, skeet and general target practice. Because a slower bullet could mean less accidents, for example, if you somehow managed to shoot your foot you would only suffer a small fracture rather than having a broken busted-up foot.
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Broken scope (973885) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:04PM (#24297779) Homepage

      It would be useless for trap shooting. You need higher velocities so you don't have to lead the clay as much, and so you break it when you hit it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @08:59PM (#24297733)

    So... hopefully no one forgets to flip the switch from kill to stun.

    • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:20PM (#24297929) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, this kind of gun is an accident just waiting to happen.

      So much for "don't point your gun at something you don't intend to kill."

  • Overuse again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neapolitan (1100101) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:00PM (#24297741)

    We had those growing up -- we called them BB guns.

    4 pumps would not hurt a girl.

    10 pumps to use on family members.

    15 pumps for neighbor's kids

    20 pumps for the kill.

    Seriously though, I shudder with all of the implications of "nonlethal" technology in police hands. It rapidly leads to overuse. Remember the bean bag to the head that killed the girl celebrating the Red Sox victory? The current rash of taser (over)use?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Remember the bean bag to the head that killed the girl celebrating the Red Sox victory?

      That wasn't a beanbag. It was something like a compressed pepper bullet. It's less than lethal when it hits something a hard, a little less so when it enters through the eye socket and splatters over the back of the skull.

      Sort of like, say, the bullets fired from the gun this article talks about.

      Ever wonder why you have to wear a face mask when playing paintball?

      A nonlethal shot to the gut can become a lethal shot to the eye.

    • This worries you? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jberryman (1175517) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:42PM (#24298079)

      That gun is nothing. Take a look at this clip of Raytheon's latest toy. It's a pain-ray that when used properly will leave no permanent damage or marks of any kind:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1w4g2vr7B4 [youtube.com]

      I wish I could find the entire 60 Minutes segment on this technology. What is incredibly disturbing is the angle 60 Minutes chooses to take; they do not address EVEN BRIEFLY the controversial implications of the existence of a weapon like this: the potential for physical harm (trampling in crowds), the possibility of it's use as a "perfect" torture device, philosophical questions about authority, etc.

      Instead they immediately side with the proponents of this technology and frame the Pain Ray as the victim of a lot of governmental bureaucracy: "the soldiers/police are dying every day while this tool sits behind a lot of red tape".

      • Re:This worries you? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:39PM (#24298523)
        and people wonder why i got sick working there.

        there was (may still be) a lot more information about this online, especially as a bunch of civilians rather joyfully volunteered to subject themselves to it at a "non lethal weapon fair." of course the device was only set to its lowest setting and it was a prototype. the people got a nice sunburn and i believe they all worse eye cover and stood facing a certain "safe" angle.

        this device doesn't worry me, it keeps me awake at night. imagine being disabled and in a crowd somewhere when a riot breaks out and this device is used. it is scary enough being in a crowd when a riot breaks out...you factor in the people being fried and "compelled" to run by that sensation to their skin/eyes and i consider that inhumane on many levels. i've been on crutches and in a wheelchair for a bad injury. in a crowd, here in the US i almost got knocked down and there wasn't a riot or anyone frying my skin. falling down in a mosh pit at a concert and getting trampled is pretty scary...i'll pass on this "non-lethal" device and just take a real damn bullet to the head any day. i even signed a piece of paper saying i would so i have to shut up and do the i can neither confirm nor deny now.
    • Still Have Them... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maz2331 (1104901)

      It's called a "shotgun" and shells are available from blank to bean-bags, to birdshot, to buckshot, to slug, or even to HE Grenade for military users.

      This looks like a solution in desperate need of a problem.

  • Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:00PM (#24297747) Homepage Journal

    While this may seem like a great idea, I think the concept encourages the use of weapons in crowd control more. When that weapon used in crowd control can become lethal through carelessness, you're just waiting for disaster.

    There have to be better means of crowd supression rather than using weapons that can be lethal.

    • Re:Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kylemonger (686302) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:12PM (#24297875)
      Yah, but at least there can be accountability with weapons like these. This is preferable to the agony ray [slashdot.org] that has no lasting physical effects, allowing cops/soldiers to plausibly deny using it to make some poor saps dance and scream for their amusement. What I'm worried about is a handheld version of that.
  • by joe_n_bloe (244407) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:02PM (#24297761) Homepage

    Why exactly would I want to fire a 155mm projectile slowly?

    Firing rubber chickens. That must be it.

  • Sorry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KevMar (471257) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:08PM (#24297827) Homepage Journal

    Opps, my bad

    I thought I had it on stun...

  • by lazycam (1007621) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:11PM (#24297867)
    It seems to me that having such a variable weapon option will empower a future officer or national guardsman to exercise a bit less restraint when engaging criminals or rioters (specifically peaceful ones). I can already hear in my head the following court defence: "Well, see your honour...The gun was set to crowd control. Not to kill. So it really was not my fault right?" When you point a weapon at someone, you have to be conscious of the fact that that individual could die. Anyone with gun training know that, or should anyway. I feel very uncomfortable with people relaxing that view. I know they mentioned the Army was interested, but I am just looking forward into future issues. Just my two cents...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by avandesande (143899)

      Actually I don't think the military cares about using this gun for crowd control. It has been pursing caseless ammunition for years because of cost and logistical advantages. I think the 'variable force' is just icing on the cake.

  • by WannaBeGeekGirl (461758) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @09:19PM (#24297917) Journal
    if you're in a situation where you need a gun, do you honestly have time during your reaction to mess with setting it once it gets so fancy? good grief, you'll be fussing with the interface and making up your mind while your attacker prevails.
  • I can't wait to see the Howitzer that leaves a bruise.

  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:07PM (#24298265) Homepage

    With such a weapon the supposed target would never be able to distinguish between lethal and non-lethal attacks, and any mistake can turn out deadly -- you will either have a cop unknowingly shooting lethal bullets, or fleeing person returning fire with a regular gun, believing that cops are trying to kill him. Or both at the same time. The right thing to do is to go into the opposite direction -- making lethal and non-lethal weapons so different that it will be impossible to take one for another even from a distance. Like the difference that exists now between a gun and a club, or between uniforms and equipment of soldiers (who always shoot to kill) and riot police (that is expected to never use anything deadly).

  • Spud gun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davidc (91400) <{ude.klas.imcc} {ta} {cdivad}> on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:08PM (#24298283)

    So essentially it's a fancy potato launcher?

  • Nothing new here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobandMax (95054) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:24PM (#24298413)

    Liquid and gas-propelled projectiles are not new and have been used in a variety of weapons for over ninety years. The drawback to this scheme is hydrogen's energy density. It is not even remotely close to single or double-base smokeless propellants. This is unlikely to go anywhere.

  • by Butisol (994224) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:34PM (#24298475)
    Do not aim your rifle at anything you do not intend to kill. All it would take is a misfire or accidentally putting it on the wrong setting and you've got brains splattered everywhere. I don't think these fascists thought this the whole way through. Then again, maybe they did :(
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trespass (225077)

      It's PR spin. I really think they're hoping to get a contract to develop this technology for tank and naval guns, but are finding it a hard sell since the navy has a hard-on for rail guns for their future ships.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by blindseer (891256)

        I think I know why the military, specifically the Navy, is interested in rail guns. A nuclear powered ship is never short on electrical power. They are always short on storage. Take out the need to store gunpowder and you gain storage space. The reduced fire hazard is a major bonus.

        Anything that wishes to compete with the rail gun must be able to run on electricity (or perhaps steam) to be compatible with the "electric navy" plan. Have selectable power/range. Also have size/weight/cost comparable with

  • by Trespass (225077) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @10:37PM (#24298511) Homepage

    This technology really doesn't see best suited for hand weapons. A single external pack of liquid or gaseous propellant really doesn't seem like a good idea for an infantry weapon. At best it adds a further degree of complication to cleaning and maintaining the weapon, and at worst makes it more dangerous to use than current designs.

    Police use? The money would be better spent on more training, I'd suspect.

    Now a tank or naval gun might be a very interesting environment for a system like this. Because the propellant would be pumped separately from the projectile, shells would be smaller/lighter than conventional shells of a similar caliber. The autoloader could be smaller and lighter, thereby making the turret smaller. Likewise, it would be easier to compartmentalize the propellant separately from the fighting compartment. The tanks could conform to available space, taking up less interior room. Guns could fire in either a flat or arcing trajectory as well, making them more flexible.

    The problem of having the propellant under pressure could be a serious fire hazard, of course...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by icegreentea (974342)
      Artillery shells and naval guns (or at least the larger naval guns that no one uses anymore), all do this. Since you manually load your powder charge separately from your shell, you can vary your trajectory at will (along with actually just moving the gun). This is how they achieve the multiple impact effect where one gun fires a bunch of shells (say 6) and they all land on the target at the same time. By changing your gun angle and powder charges you can time everything nicely.

      As for the use of liquid prop
  • by rbanffy (584143) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:21PM (#24298809) Homepage Journal

    I wonder how that one would work.

  • by rwyoder (759998) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:25PM (#24298831)
    Where the bullet strikes a person is just as large a determinate as muzzle energy in whether the wound is fatal or not.
  • by djmoore (133520) on Tuesday July 22, 2008 @11:56PM (#24299005) Homepage

    I'm going to assume that the military is looking into this simply because they look into everything, not because they actually plan to deploy it. It's a terrible idea.

    1. See the incident [google.com] a few weeks ago where a soldier was firing machine gun blanks into a crowd during a demonstration. He swapped mags--but unfortunately, the fresh mag was not filled with blanks.

    2. A tactical shooting instructor I once had, a cop, told us about the bean-bag shotgun he kept in his patrol car. The barrel was wrapped with blue tape, and there was a strict policy, as "leave without pay and a reprimand in your file", against ever loading it with anything other than beanbag rounds. In a crisis, if you grabbed the blue barrel, you had to be certain you would be firing beanbags, not lead.

    3. When you point your gun at a person and pull the trigger, you must be very certain about what the gun will do. This adds a whole 'nother level of complexity to what should be a simple, reliable design. Not only will soldiers and cops inadvertently fire this thing on "kill" not "stun", but there's also a question of whether or not it will fire at all--just as bad if the cop needs to make a bad guy stop.

    4. When a bad guy sees a gun pointed at him, he needs to be certain that if he doesn't do as he is told, he will die. I don't want bad guys to see this gun, and decide to take a gamble that it's only set to stun.

    5. Americans have, and should have, a deep suspicion towards inappropriate force being exercised under color of law. The way to deal with this is through the Second Amendment, which properly exercised results in soldiers, cops, and civilians[1] regarding each other with mutual respect and caution. If you can't trust your military or police, the answer isn't to give them weak weapons--the answer is to disband them, by force if necessary, and organize trustworthy forces.

    [1] NB: Technically, the police are civilians (see for example Robert Peel #7 [magnacartaplus.org]), but I hope this gets my point across. I wish I knew a word for "out of uniform, unbadged civilians", but nothing comes to mind.

  • Just great . . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @09:15AM (#24302963)

    Now, instead of "I didn't think it was loaded!", or "I thought the safety was on1", it will be "I thought it was on the non-fatal setting!". Better to keep standard guns and non-lethals completely separate IMHO just for simplicity's sake. An actual firearm (regardless of what you think is in the chamber or what safeties or settings you think are on) should always be treated as if loaded and ready to kill whatever it's pointed at. When people failed to do that, there are always consequences.

It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?

Working...