Space weapons redux

Thanks for many interesting replies.

Tuckerfan, I’ll check that book out. Looks very interesting.

Catch me up on recoiless rifles. They vent the extra gases out he back to cancel out the recoil, right? Does that mean that it’s hazardous to stand directly behind someone who is firing one? What kind of safe distance are we talking about.

And what about the short range problem of gyro-jet weapons? I recall that the ones made in the 60’s needed a little run up space to get to full speed, and that it was actually possible to stop a projectile by putting one’s finger over the end of the barrel. And that they were not terribly accurate, either.

AndrewL, it seems that attacking a ship in the manner you describe would render it hopelessly uninhabitable for the victors as well as the vanquished. Pirates like to capture intact ships, after all.

And plated space suits bring up a whole 'nother issue. For one thing, suits are bulky enough as it is. For another, even though you’re weightless, your heavy suit armor is stil going to have inertia, so it would still be hard to move around in.

It would seem that the biggest advantage one would have in zero g combat would be the ability to move fast and then quicky anchor oneself firmly. So electromagnetic boots would be very helpful.

vibrotronica, Spy Game: Winning Through Super Technology has a good explaination of gyrojet pistols and how one might improve them. Unfortunately, I can’t find my copy so I can’t tell you what it says. Basically, however, they detail an Israeli missile system that works on the same principle and what would have to be done to get a pistol to work in that manner.

On second thought, I think there’s better solutions than rapiers/etc for poking holes in people. I think a more viable weapon might be a vibra-blade of some sort–a rapidly oscillating blade mounted to a hilt. Apply pressure to target, chips of target are rapidly removed, much like a chainsaw…

Even then, I don’t think recoil would be a problem with a rapier–you’re basically pushing against the inertia of the target.

As for suit plating designed to stop rapier hits…

a) with advanced technology it doesn’t need to be bulky. Various plastics can be designed which are hard and lightweight.

b) most advanced space suits will probably have some kind of self-sealing mechanism. Maybe nano-sized packets of goo that work similarly like platelets to clot up leakages…sure, you’re still perforated and feeling under the weather, but you’re not leaking air, at least.

Another amusing tactic might be hacking your target’s comm/computer array. “What do you mean my suit’s life support just reset itself to 120 degrees?! You don’t know why?!”

Yes, it is a Very Bad Thing to stand behind a shoulder-fired missile or gernade launcher - the propellant gasses vent right out the back. Not sure what the safe distance is, folks don’t tend to make a habit of standing behind them no matter how far they are…

I tend to think that bladed weapons would be the best for space combat, mostly because of the fragility of spacecraft and the danger of perforating some important system or causing decompression with a poorly aimed projectile. Small, guided projectile weapons might have some promise…like the missile pistol from the movie “Runaway” with Tom Selleck…

As for forced docking, how about grappling systems? Fire harpoons into the victim’s hull plating (yeah, it might cause unwanted damage, but them’s the breaks…Maybe strong electromagnetic grapplers?) and reel their airlock in toward yours. Maybe use an electromagnetic pulse to eliminate any exterior defense systems and alarms. Force your way through the airlock and storm the ship with hand-to-hand fighting. Now you have two ships, assuming your men are better fighters.

Is there no listing anywhere for underwater combat weapons? I wouldve thought that some country’s armed forces would have a listing of those somewhere. And the conditions to overcome are similar to what youd have in space. (I said SIMILAR, before anyone jumps at my throat). After all astronauts are trained to move around underwater to ready them for space right?

by the way Im refering to hand to hand here not projectile weapons.

I dunno where the myth that gyrojets were inaccurate came from. First-hand reports from soldiers that actually carried them in Vietnam indicated that they were dead-on accurate. These same reports did, however, confirm that if you placed a finger over the muzzle before firing, that the projectile would stop against your finger without injury or pain. The solution to that would be to go with a semi-cased gyrojet, the cased propellant giving the projectile, say, a 150 fps boost, They accellerated so quickly that you’d have a decent velocity within a foot or two of the muzzle. Combine that with explosive bullets, and you have a serious killer, but dangerous to use where you want to maintain air-tight integrity…

rabbit, are you talking about things like “bang-sticks”? I can see where short-handled bang-sticks might be useful, as presumably you’d not be jabbing them against the hull . An alternatitive might be a “boosted” assegai or short spear might work. Put a small combustion chamber on the butt of the spear, mount the blade on a piston, and when the spear is stabbed home, the piston slides back into the shaft, triggering the combustion chamber, driving the blade home vigorously. This should aid in penetrating armored suits. Combine this with a cattleprod device, and you should be able to disable your target with a single relatively low-effort jab.

May I humbley suggest chemical weapons? I mean, if you’re planning on space piracy, I don’t imagine you’d bother sticking to the finer points of the generva convention. Don’t even bother with CS, just go to a fast-acting nerve agent. Colorless, odorless, deadly. :cool:

Or there’s the old Shoot-'em-up game favorite, the aerosol flamethrower. Not a napalm sprayer, some sort of turbine-driven jet of flame. Better fuel economy, and without the napalm sticking to everything (Even though that’s half the charm). There’d still be the problem of recoil, I suppose.

Is there any possibility of having your crew use magnetic boots, MMU’s, or maybe even spiked climbing boots to provide some traction against weapon recoil?
(I love progress)

When I read this I immediately thought of this

These nail guns run on butane. Pull the trigger and a battery sparks in a combustion chamber. Ignites butane driving a small piston forward that drives nails into wood.

Just rig a “spear” with a blade mounted to a piston assembly like these guns use, triggered by pressure against the front of the blade. Tap, Bang!

fixed link, wrong tool

Lends a whole new dimension to “nailing” your foe… :wink: