Here’s a piece of firearm history that you may not know. What you see here is essentially a weapon that fires rocket-powered projectiles. You heard that right. Rocket. Called GYROJET, this futuristic firearm was produced by a San Ramon, California company called MB Associates and exists in a variety of configurations, including rifle, pistol, carbine, as well as sub-machine gun. What made GYROJET “revolutionary” was it uses bullet-sized rocket rounds.
Unlike traditional firearms where projectiles are pushed out of the gun through chambered explosive charge, GYROJET’s bullets are sent downrange by rocket motors. With GYROJET, it is like having a cambered platform that fits in the pocket. And rocket it is as typically exit the barrel at lower velocity than traditional firearms, but quickly pick up speed of over 1,200 feet per second (256 meters per second) at a range of 30 feet (about 9 meters).
It is totally opposite to regular guns where rounds’ velocity peaks in the barrel of the weapon. GYROJET’s barrel is smooth, not rifled. The projectile achieve stabilization through multiple angled exhaust ports that spun the round as it travels downrange. It existed in 12 and 13 mm calibers, but due to several shortcomings, including inefficiency at close range, reported inaccuracy, slow loading and high price per round, it was never adopted.
Apparently, the rocket round could be stop with a naked finger stuck into the barrel. But don’t go trying that if you managed to find a working GYROJET. You have been warned. Anyways, the technology is not entirely forgotten. The technology lived on and can be found being used in emergency survival flares by the US Air Force. Though we are not sure if it is still true today. Well, now you know. You can read more about GYROJET in a short article on Orbital Vector. Also, be sure to catch a GYROJET Pistol and Carbine in action in the video by YouTube channel TAOFLEDERMAUS.
P.S. You may be interested to know that once in a while this now-rare innovative guns do pop up in the market in auction houses, like this Mark II Model C GYROJET Pistol which was sold for $3,450 by Rock Island Auction Company back in December 2016.
Featured image: Rock Island Auction Company.