A company called ArcFlash Labs has started accepting pre-orders for its electromagnetic Gauss rifle GR-1 described as the “world’s first and only handheld Gauss rifle”, which the company revealed last year.
The rifle shoots iron-rich metal slugs, with diameters less than half an inch and at a speed of up to 240 feet per second (75 meters per second). The slugs are contained in a magazine that can hold up to 10 slugs. The rifle can shoot 40 slugs per charge and it can shoot up to 100 slugs per minute.
Even though the Gauss rifle can not pack a punch as a conventional rifle, it does not make it any less deadly.
A small-arms expert Ian McCollum, who is also a researcher from Armament Research Services and the owner of the blog Forgotten Weapons, has tested the rifle on Forgotten Weapons’ YouTube Channel, where he tests obscure, experimental, and prototype small arms.
The GR-1 is powered by a 25v lithium-ion battery and features an “advanced capacitor charging system” that allows it to rapidly charge the coils and fire at full charge nearly every three seconds, and even more rapidly at weaker charge levels. The sensitivity of the weapon's trigger system allows it to pre-charge the coils with a half-pull on the trigger before firing.
Most parts of the rifle are 3D-printed, while some of it appears to be acrylic plastic. The rifle has a small LCD screen that displays the charge level, the charge of its capacitors, coil temperature, and “post-shot diagnostics,” according to ArcFlash Labs.
What is an electromagnetic gun and how does it work?
Electromagnetic guns use electrified coils to generate a magnetic field that accelerates ferromagnetic projectiles, which are rich in iron, to high speeds, instead of using explosive chemicals.
There are three types of electromagnetic guns, gauss cannons, coil guns, and railguns and they all use the same principle: propelling a slug using a magnetic field.
Gauss cannons and coil guns use a series of solenoids (or coils of wire) as the barrel, and when a magnetic projectile is in the barrel, the current passes through the selenoids, making them electromagnetic and the electromagnetism accelerates the projectile. Rail guns use a similar but distinct concept: they consist of two rails and a conductive projectile. When the current passes up one rail through the projectile and down from the other rail, it makes both rails and the projectile magnetic, thus pushing the projectile down the rails.
The key difference is Gauss cannons and coil guns current flows around the projectile, and in rail guns, the current flows down a rail and then through the projectile.