American troops could soon be storming the battlefield armed with rifles equipped with not one but four barrels of firepower.
The U.S. Army has reportedly ordered a military-grade prototype of a new "ribbon gun" designed by Colorado Springs-based inventor Martin Grier and his garage-based company, Forward Defense Munitions.
The weapon reportedly has a "power shot" firing mode that allows operators to shoot four rounds at once with the pull of a trigger. It's structured a little like an over-under shotgun with two extra barrels that fires bullets.
For comparison's sake, at 100 rounds a second, the M134 Minigun holds the Guinness World Record for the highest rate of fire of any service machine gun.
Martin Grier began with developing an innovative new type of ammo and an electronic firing system that doesn't rely on a traditional heavy steel piston or bolt carrier groups.
The Coloardo Springs Gazette has further details:
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.
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.
“Our guys have the same junk weapons as our adversaries,” Grier told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I want to give them a Clint Eastwood kind of edge.”
The Army will undoubtedly put Grier's prototype through the paces over years of testing. But he's also already designed a a similar gun that has five barrels.
It's called the L5, and FDM says it's the "world's first functional 5-bore, single barrel rifle." Like the forthcoming prototype, it can shoot five bullets and hit a target with overlapping groups.
FDM has further details:
The L5's Electromagnetic/Transverse Camshaft action is efficient, safe, and reliable. The battery-powered action can fire upwards of 15,000 shots per battery charge.
FDM has invented charge block ammo, which comes pre-loaded straight from the factory. This design completely preempts the need to load individual rounds, saving vast amounts of time by passing that duty on to the manufacturer. This profoundly increases the effective sustained rate of fire for forces wielding the L5.
The L5 Rifle, coupled with charge block ammunition, represent an entirely new firearm class and directly address the prevalent and dangerous problems of reloading, overheating and jamming, which are inherent to the design of currently deployed firearms
We may be looking at the future of American firepower.