Nonmetallic firearms

cluttonfred

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Science fiction novels are full of nonmetallic weapons concepts--guns with essentially no metal in them, whether plastic, ceramic, etc. I don't mean polymer frames--those are common today--I mean guns in which the barrel and chamber are primarily made of something other than metal. Does anyone know of any project or prototypes for such weapons, from pocket pistols to artillery?
 

Rickshaw

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Mole said:
Science fiction novels are full of nonmetallic weapons concepts--guns with essentially no metal in them, whether plastic, ceramic, etc. I don't mean polymer frames--those are common today--I mean guns in which the barrel and chamber are primarily made of something other than metal. Does anyone know of any project or prototypes for such weapons, from pocket pistols to artillery?

Fibre (usually carbon fibre) wrapped barrels have been in use since the mid-1980s. The Carl Gustav M3 85mm RCL utilises a carbon fibre wrapped barrel where a steel liner is strengthened through the use of fibre. In concept, it is remarkably similar to the wire-wrapped naval guns of the late-19th-early-20th century. I understand some US firearms manufacturers offer fibre-wrapped barrels for rifles IIRC.
 

Lauge

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The June 1995 issue of "Modern Gun" (a US gun magazine, now defunct, as far as I can tell), ran an article on a "glass gun", supposedly made for the CIA. The weapon had the following main characteristics:

*Constructed of plastics (including the internal springs) and ceramics
*Caliber 9mm
*Caseless ammunition using impact primers and ceramic or aluminium bullets
*Simple blow-back operation
*Select fire (single shot or full auto)
*Integral suppressor

The attached (not very good) image is from the article mentioned, and shows a "replica" of the weapon and a couple of rounds of its ammunition.

I stress, however, that Modern Gun doesn't supply any kind of source for the information in the article, so I would treat the information with a healthy dose of Caveat Emptor.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Denmark
 

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Lauge

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Just call me Ray said:
Full automatic mode? I find that hard to believe.

Well, I would say that depends.

Technically, making such a weapon full-auto presents few problems. Several full-auto pistols have appeared since the first self-loaders hit the scene.

On the gripping hand, of course, is the question of whether it would be a practical (read controllable and accurate) weapon. This would depend on the impulse of the fired round(-s) in relation to the mass of the firearm, combined with the ergonomics of the weapon.

As for ergonomics, the weapon pictured looks about as ergonomic as a wet halfbrick. Being supposedly made of plastics and ceramics, the weapon should be very light weight but then, so should the projectiles.

As a comparison, I had the chance a couple of years back to fire the Glock 18, a full-auto version of the 9x19mm Glock 17. I was definitely coloured sceptical, but the weapon proved surprisingly controllable. At a range of 7 yards, firing 4-5 round bursts (at a RoF of 1.200 rounds/min.) the shots could be kept on a man-sized target. And I lay no claims to being a master marksman.

Having said that: As I stated in the original post, the article gives no sources, and this is the only reference I have seen to a weapon of this type. I do not doubt for a second that the CIA, FSB, Mossad etc. have weapons like this in their inventories, I just wouldn't attach much credence to the exact details given.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Denmark
 

shaba

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