Guns and Science Fiction

I am in the process of writing a Scfi novel. It takes place about 300 years in the future.

I plan on having a few main characters that are very well armed. I am trying to figure out the the features that my guns will have.

I may describe caseless ammo. Rounds that are solid and all propellent or projectile. No casings to eject.

I will also have them suppressed. Suppressors preserve the hearing when you need your hearing most. They also suppress flashes very will.

Sights on small arms would work like the HUDs in attack helicopters. Cross hairs in your vision.

They would be made from light polymer materials and simple. As few parts as possible.

--What other ideas?


Bob S. said...

hmmm, how about instead of sights on the rifle they are incorporated into the face shield/glasses of the user?

Combined with IR/night vision.

Old NFO said...

Pulsed laser... Just sayin...

Anonymous said...

If it happens in space ships LASER weapons and anything that penetrate the hull would be bad.

Make the mags super high capacity.

Nathan said...

You should think about how actual bullet technology will have progressed. Now-a-days we have a multitude of rounds: FMJ, wad-cutter, hollow point, polymer ballistic tip, penetrator, and a whole host of others.
My favorite is the .50 BMG Raufoss round (combo incendiary/explosive/penetrator.) A lot of these rounds are only possible with new technology. Just think what cool ballistics we will have in 300 years.

Geodkyt said...

1. Stuff breaks. Batteries run down. Suggest a few mods for "milspec" stuff such as a full unpowered "battle short" mode, including BUIS (energy weapons, if part of the setting, can use cartridges that contain all the juice needed to fire one shot, plus a little extra to recharge sights, etc. - good for grunt guns), some form of waste energy reclaimation (if nothing else, a heat to power cycle will get juice; there is ALWAYS waste heat) to feed back into housekeeping requirements (sights, etc.), and some kind of "free" power creation system (kinetic generators powered by normal movement, super-advanced solar like one of the Zeiss sights has today, etc.)

Geodkyt said...

2. Even if the sight system has an "active" designator (which, even on an infantry rifle, could be useful in a military setting -- you can paint targets for bigger projos), it should have a "full passive" mode to avoid detection. This includes the ability to shut off or avoid ANY wireless connection to any other piece of kit -- if it emits, it CAN be detected, even if it cannot be decrypted, interpreted, and disseminated to end users in tactical real time.

3. Sights that CAN interface with a helmet display and/or be jacked straight into teh visual cortex are cool. What's also cool is the ability to use the gun without access to your helmet or neurosurgery.

4. There's a reason self-contained cartidges rule the roost in grunt guns, even though things like liquid binary propellant and railguns hooked to fixed capacitor banks and a generator are being explored for artillery and naval guns. You seem to grok that, talking about caseless slug throwers. But the point goes farther -- a "gauss gun" that has a magazine of inert projos AND a seperate battery (even if part of the magazine) is just a highly sophisticated Springfield 1863. Likewise "plasma guns" that have seperate batteries and plasma making stuff are closer to either the aforesaid musket or a WWII flamethrower, depending on how they are depicted. You do not want to be the grunt how has plenty of "A" but his gun is still useless because he is out of "B". Also, most SciFi guns I've seen designed with seperate componants CANNOT cross-level the individual componants between shooters, or often between magazines! David Drake's "powerguns", with seperate power input needed, a seperate wafer of "fuel" (the plastic-copper matrix disks), and a seperate bottle of nitrogen come to mind as violating all of these issues. . .

To imagine avoiding this with energy weapons, think of a "plasma gun" cartidge that has a one-shot capacitor (charged at the factory), one shot fusion bottle & lasers, a pellet of material to be exited, AND a small highly pressurized tank (like a CO2 cartidge) of liquid noble gas (nitrogen comes to mind) for coolant and primary extraction. Make the case shaped roughly like a modern cartidge, complete to extractor groove. Coat case in Handwavium(tm) (something like Shuttle tiles) with a "plug" that the nitrogen gas slams shut into the emitter hole after the gas purge, so the Hell-hot internal temps of the case don't cause forest fries every time someone fires a single shot. Now you have a gun that is mechanically very similar to a modern cased round gun, but it's an "energy weapon". Gun doesn't fire? Apply immediate action, and try again with another totally independant case. Parts breakage? You don't need a cybernetic engineer to PMCS the gun -- just replace the broken "firing pin", dead return spring, or whatever, and drive on with a hard on. Og the Infantryman can handle something that works like an Kalashinikov and shoots lightning bolts. You can also do this with "pure" energy weapons like lasers -- either the cartridge is all capacitors, or it is a fuel cell -- and he fuel cell version can even include the chemical mix for a chemical laser as opposed to a crystal based laser. (Plus, you get a fresh batch of chemicals with every shot. Of course, chemical lasers fart a Superfund site every time they shoot, so exhaust may be an issue for infantry use unless you shove it back into the fired case. . . )

Even with "battery powered" ray guns (whether it is a fixed internal battery or a removeable battery like a box mag), it would be really, really nice for military use if you can drain one battery to top off partially full batteries, just like we can consolidate rounds now. Being able to do this without going, "Hey! Didn't any of you apes remember to bring a friggin' USB cable?!?" would be another really nice milspec requirement.

Geodkyt said...

5. For slug throwers (ESPECIALLY "gauss guns" and ETC [Electrothermal-Chemical] guns), projos can be made explosive or solids on a round by round fashion, simply by whether or not they get hit with a particular "arming" jolt. Likewise for activating latent tracer elements on a round by round basis. Literally "dial a round", set by flipping a selector switch on the gun. Want straight "ball"? Want "straight strace"? Want explosive (could be manufactured as HE, HEAT, or HEDP -- but THAT choice is a manufacturing one)? Want an automatic 1-in-4 tracer/ball mix? It's all shooter selectable, right on the gun. . .

6. Google ETC (electrothermal-chemical). Keep in mind it (and liquid binary propellant rounds) CAN be manufactured as single use, self contained (including the capacitor) cartidges. Note that one advantage of them is the ability to better tailor the pressure spike for maximum efficiency whilst also stretching out the "uncork" pressure peak; thus reducing felt recoil and muzzle signature for a given muzzle energy. They'd look pretty much like modern cartidges, too, and could be activated with a solenoid that looks like a modern primer. . .

I threw in the stuff about energy weapons in case you decided to go to energy weapons for cool factor, or decide they would be nice as support weapons.

Daddy Hawk said...

The Zorg ZF-1. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

How about a counter in the HUD that let's the shooter know how many cartridges are left in the magazine? I believe I saw that in one of the Alien movies.


wandering neurons said...

You've got several options in 300 years of development.
1. Continue down the path of self-contained cartridges and bullets. Simple, effective, inexpensive, reliable.
Better barrels and stronger chambers, better propellants allow smaller cartridges, more cartridges per magazine. Caseless is nice but complicates things.
2. Change the propellant for something more exotic such as a sub-scale nuclear charge? Lots of hand-waving required for that one.
3. Improvements in micro-electronics allows smart bullets. See afore-mentioned ZF-1.
4. Go with "ray gun" concept. But as also mentioned, requires an external power source.
5. Go with a self-contained high-tech charge and projectile, such as Reagan-esque Star Wars x-ray pumped lasers. Micro-scale single-use charge that's part of each round, smart projectile.
Whatever you do, it's gotta be GI-proof. If it's easy to break, it's not fieldable.

Stretch said...

Or you could be realistic.
1911s will still be in production. OK, printed out on demand.
Asteroid miners will defend their claims with AK-47s.
And everyone will still be saying "The 5.56 is not a serious combat round."