A US start-up markets a portable semi-automatic magnetic cannon

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The startup Arcflash Labs is offering a real Gaussian cannon for a price of less than $ 4,000. This type of weapon is well known to fans of FPS (first person shooter) video games, but it had never gone beyond the experimental stage in reality. The company claims that its “GR-1 Anvil” is the world’s first portable Gaussian rifle (magnetic barrel).

A magnetic cannon (or Gaussian cannon) is a projectile weapon accelerated by an electromagnetic force. This type of weapon generally consists of one or more electromagnets arranged along a tube. The coils turn on and off in a precisely programmed sequence, causing the ferromagnetic projectile to rapidly accelerate out of the barrel. Like the electric cannon (or rail cannon), it is an experimental weapon widely used in video games (Fallout, Half-Life, Metal Gear, StarCraft, Quake, etc.). These weapons are also the subject of active research within the military.

The interest of such weapons is the extremely high velocity achieved by the projectile. “It is the most powerful magnetic cannon ever sold to the public and also (quite possibly) the most powerful portable magnetic cannon ever built,” states the product sheet. Obviously, this weapon should not be placed in all hands. “The GR-1 is a potentially lethal weapon, similar to a PCP air rifle. [Pre Charged Pneumatic] high power, ”said Arcflash co-founder David Wirth. The first deliveries are scheduled for six months.

A wide range of projectiles.

Last year, the US Navy spent $ 500 million to develop and test a working stun gun; The system, designed to adapt to ship’s guns, was capable of launching a projectile at hypersonic speeds (up to Mach 3). But the project was eventually abandoned due to technical problems.

Meanwhile, startup Arcflash Labs managed to develop the same concept, but on a much smaller scale. His pistol runs on batteries, which avoids the use of explosive chemical propellants, explains Wirth. According to the weapon’s datasheet, the 10-round magazine can launch small 32mm long metal rods at a velocity of 75m / s.

The GR-1 uses the world’s most advanced capacitor charging system, “a quasi-resonant double-pinch inverter”, which allows it to fire up to 20 rounds per minute (at full power) or up to 100 rounds per minute at 50%. . can. Its variable magazine system allows it to accept 3 different lengths of projectiles (32mm, 42mm and 52mm). In fact, the weapon is capable of accelerating any ferromagnetic projectile (approximately 10 to 12 mm in diameter) to more than 60 m / s.

In other words, it is possible to turn almost any metal debris into a deadly projectile, which Arcflash executives consider a definite asset in a military environment: “Imagine a scenario where a squad gets stuck behind enemy lines and stays behind. without ammunition. With the Gaussian cannons, they could mount a solar panel, charge their weapons batteries, and use bolts and nuts found on the ground as ammunition, “says Wirth. Note that the situation described here is completely against of the company’s guidelines, which disclaims all liability for damage or bodily injury caused by firing ammunition not approved by the manufacturer.

A weapon that is prohibited from sale in several US states.

The GR-1 delivers an energy of 100 joules out of the barrel; For comparison, a .357 Magnum pistol can achieve an energy of 786 J. A 9mm pistol can reach more than 400 J and accelerate projectiles at more than 300 m / s. At the moment, the Arcflash barrel is likely to cause much less damage than a conventional pistol and is not really suitable for military applications.

The product is offered for testing, as a simple technology demonstration. Thus, it could arouse the interest of collectors, investors, researchers and all those who wish to own a weapon that does not depend on mass-produced ammunition, explains the leader of the company. But anyone who is interested in this purchase must first sign a disclaimer. The weapon has undergone safety testing with an independent body, but “it is still a dangerous electrical device and it is not a toy,” warned Wirth. This type of weapon is also prohibited for sale in several states and counties (as well as some cities).

Obviously, Arcflash’s ambition does not stop there: it is specially planned to add a rangefinder to the weapon, so that the power of the projectiles is automatically adjusted according to the distance to the target, thus ensuring that the shots are not fatal. A feature that would be particularly useful for law enforcement agencies. “The scalable effects of a Gaussian cannon would allow law enforcement to fire rubber bullets at a velocity proportional to their distance from the target, making them less likely to hit someone if the target is close and closer to hitting the target. expected if it’s too far away, ”Wirth said.

These Gauss pistols still have a long way to go before they can compete with powder pistols, but Wirth remains convinced that they represent the future of small arms.

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