90 Miles From Tyranny : U.S. Army might have found its new rifle in Colorado Springs garage

Saturday, November 24, 2018

U.S. Army might have found its new rifle in Colorado Springs garage



The Army adopted its battle rifle in 1963 and has spent 55 years looking for a replacement for the M-16 and its variants.

They might have found it in Martin Grier’s Colorado Springs garage. Grier, a self-described inventor who has worked at a local bed and breakfast, built the new “ribbon gun” with a hobbyist’s tools. It looks like a space-age toy drawn by a fifth-grader.

But goofy origins and cartoon-looks aside, this could be the gun of the future. The Army is studying Grier’s gun and has ordered a military-grade prototype.

The specifications are incredible, four 6 mm barrels cut side by side within one steel block. New ammunition blocks fired by electromagnetic actuators that could theoretically give the weapon a firing rate of 250 rounds per second.

And then there’s the feature no soldier would turn down. “It’s called a power shot,” Grier said.

That’s the shotgun feature of this sniper-shot, machine-assault gun that can send four bullets simultaneously whizzing toward an enemy at more than 2,500 mph.

It isn’t science fiction. He’s built the gun and patented the technology behind it. Now his garage-based company, FD munitions, is hoping the Army will buy it.

“A multibore firearm, with several bores within a single barrel, could potentially exhibit many of the advantages of a multibarrel design, while reducing the size, weight and complexity disadvantages,” Grier wrote in his 2016 patent application.

The “ribbon gun” can fire multiple rounds at once.








The “ribbon gun” can fire multiple rounds at once.Courtesy photo

He got the idea in the 1990s after a day of shooting a .22-caliber rifle with his kids.

Modern weapons aren’t that far removed from the ones used by George Washington’s army, Grier says. They use a mechanical firing mechanism that’s prone to failure. And from muskets to the AK-47, they fire one bullet at a time.

“What if a rifle could fire more than one bullet at a time and be tied to the tools of the electronic age?” he wondered.

His first invention changed the ammunition. Rather than a single shell casing, his bullets are encapsulated in blocks.

In a block with four rounds, each round is aligned with a barrel. Grier prefers to call them “bores,” because all of the barrels are in a single piece of metal.

The second invention is behind the bullet. In other rifles, the trigger is connected to a mechanical trigger pin, which fires the gunpowder and sends the bullet flying.

The “ribbon gun” includes a new style of ammunition with bullets encased in a four-round block rather than individual casings. 

In his weapon, the trigger is an electronic switch that sends a signal to an electromagnetic actuator behind the block of bullets. The four bullets in the block of rounds each has its actuator. That means you fire the rounds individually or simultaneously.

Selecting the “power shot” option fires all four bullets at once.

Getting this to work requires a new kind of machining to get the four rifle bores lined up. In a traditional weapon, this is accomplished with technology that would be familiar to 19th-century blacksmiths — a drill.

With Grier’s gun, the barrels are cut by electricity that runs between a pair of electrodes through a thin wire. The high-tech method offers an incredible degree of precision thanks to computer control.

The first rifle, which weighs about 6½ pounds, slightly less than the M-16, hasn’t been cheap. Grier has poured more than $500,000 of his savings and investment by...
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2 comments:

  1. I've seen it up close and personal, about a year ago.

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  2. Cool, but it would dramatically impact the "long tail of logistics" New ammunition manufacturing, lots of new parts to stock, there's a ton of costs beyond coming up with a new way to shoot ammunition already in inventory.

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