Set Rifles to Stun?

A NewScientist article reports on the work by the toy design company Lund and Company Invention, funded by the US Army, to adapt their hydrogen-burning toy rocket technology to create a new weapon for which the speed of the bullets fired can be varied by the wielder.

The new weapon, called the Variable Velocity Weapon System or VWS, lets the soldier to use the same rifle for crowd control and combat, by altering the muzzle velocity. It could be loaded with “rubber bullets” designed only to deliver blunt impacts on a person, full-speed lethal rounds or projectiles somewhere between the two.

Bruce Lund, the company’s CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet as it leaves the gun. “Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 metres, to lethal at 100 metres or more, as desired,” says Lund.

It’s an interesting idea, though execution may prove more difficult.

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