Between the Lines – “It’s a kind of Magnet…”
It has the ability to send bullets screaming through the air at six times the speed of sound, doubling the range and accuracy of even the humble 9mm. Available as a pistol, Rifle, Assault Weapon or Machine Gun – The Magnetic Accelerator Gun of the Sunstoppedshining Universe is truly a force to be reckoned with.
But how does such a fearful weapon work and, more to the point, is there the chance of such a thing ever coming into existence?
Coils of Madness
In The Day the Sun Stopped Shining, the MAG Gun uses powerful electromagnetic coils – each one activating in rapid succession – to propel the bullet out of the barrel. Essentially a magnet activates, pulling the bullet toward it.
As you can see, the bullet is pulled toward the active coil. As it approaches, the closest coil shuts down – activating the next, more powerful, coil until the desired velocity is reached.
A powerful battery, using the Oxygen Reaction design talked about in ‘Planes, Trains but mostly Automobiles’, supplies enough energy to the coils to allow the bullet to reach hypersonic speeds. All of this technology has been, over the course of two decades, miniaturised enough that it is built into the weapon’s design.
The biggest hurdle for making an effective coil gun weapon is ‘switching’, which is pretty much what it says on the tin – switching between coils during the firing process. This is achieved using an Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor – a three terminal power semiconductor device capable of handling high power pulses while being extremely rugged.
A simple concept, it took developers decades to overcome the technical problems limiting efficiency. The first commercial MAG Gun was sold in 2061.
Replacing firearms with magnet guns – is it something that can actually be done? Or are we just seeing another piece of Science-Fiction here?
Shockingly, Coil gun technology is something that has been in development for decades. A hobbyist can make a crude example using a low-inductance coil and the flash from a disposable camera (Note – there are other ingredients involved, but I really don’t want to be accused of telling people how to make weapons on here). Various military experiments with this technology have been conducted over the years but no viable weapon has yet been created – that we know of.
For the time being, we lack the technology to overcome limitations in coil gun efficiency and power. However, with enough time and effort, a breakthrough is sure to take place.
Who knows? Maybe our Grand-children will stare at the firearms of today in a museum, shaking their heads in wonder at how we were able to put up with such primitive and unreliable weapons.
The MAG Gun was one of the first things created for The Day the Sun Stopped Shining. I wanted my characters to have access to a weapon that was futuristic, without being something we’ve seen to much of – such as directed energy weapons seen in shows like ‘Star Trek’.
In all honesty, the MAG Gun was the easiest of all the technologies in this series to research, develop and utilize.
So there you have it – one of the weapons of the future. Potent, hard hitting MAG Guns. Next time you go out into the eternal darkness, be sure you are carrying yours.