Are guns the final evolution of standard battlefield weapons?

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,175
Sydney
several possibilities
instead of Lasers which are a bit of a dead end , use particles weapons ,
Gamma rays spring to mind but alpha particles would be possible or even metal plasma
another would be tiny drones zooming on programmed target or small size robots hunter killers with a dog analog brain ,
those could work in swarms
 
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Dec 2014
448
Wales
Of course it's possible to argue that a gun is simply a projectile weapon with the physical energy used in a bow or crossbow being replaced by the chemical energy of gunpowder. This would mean that in fact the gun is simply an evolution of the bow and not really a new type of weapon at all.

On the other hand a laser (or any other type of energy weapon) does not use any sort of projectile, instead using raw energy directly upon the target to cause damage. A perfect example of this would be a microwave weapon, which uses microwaves in much the same way as a modern microwave oven. Therefore a laser weapon would be a completely new evolution of weapon.

As for guns being replaced - neolithic man used spears and bows, so it took something like 4,000+ years to replace them with guns. Guns have been around in some shape or other for maybe 650 years, so they are very much still the new boys on the block.
 
Mar 2018
839
UK
Off the top of my head, a few potential replacements for guns:

1) Electro-magnetically propelled projectiles: essentially a gun, but using electrical currents rather than explosions for propulsion (so as much of a step as going from crossbow to gun). The advantage is *much* higher muzzle velocity. Disadvantage is the huge power requirements making it bulky, and the lack of materials that can survive the heat generated by the currents.

2) Direct energy weapons. A ray gun, something that uses light to transfer energy and damage the target. Advantage: quasi-instantaneous hit so no need to lead the target when aiming, reacts very differently to target than a projectile weapon, so potentially good against armour that would stop bullets. Disadvantage: shortish range due to the difficulty in keeping the beam focused, power requirements make it bulky.

3) Self propelled ammunition: like a gun, but shooting tiny missiles/rockets rather than ballistic bullets. Advantage: much longer range and the ability to be guided and follow a target, or to go around corners. Disadvantage: miniaturisation of missile engines/guidance to be used in a personal weapon.

The disadvantages of all of these are strong enough at the moment that they're not replacing guns. But who knows when those purely technological hurdles will be overcome?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,891
Australia
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,580
Dispargum
Something that would seem difficult to improve upon is the pistol grip and finger activated trigger that are both extremely ergonomic. I almost added the sights along the top of the barrel would be hard to improve upon, but now I'm thinking about a remote control system that allowed the shooter to find his target and aim at it while hiding from behind some kind of shelter. If we remove line of sight for aiming, then perhaps the same technology could be used to solve the shooting around corners problem.

What if we combined the hand grenade, the radio-controlled drone, and a live video feed into a single, one-time use weapon? You could launch it, maneuver it around corners, find your target, then detonate it, perhaps killing/ wounding multiple enemies. There's still the problem with having to transport only a finite number of weapons onto the battlefield. Once you run out of flying grenades, you're screwed. Technology might reduce such a device down to the size of a baseball or even smaller, but you still can only carry so many.
 
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Mar 2018
839
UK
There are functional prototypes for self-propelled bullets already.

Reading the articles, these seem to both be self guiding bullets, but not self propelling. They get their initial speed from gunpowder in the barrel of a gun and afterwards can tune their direction, but not speed up.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,175
Sydney
" seem difficult to improve upon is the pistol grip and finger activated trigger that are both extremely ergonomic "

in pistol competition the use of electric switch activated from the non aiming hand is forbidden
it is used to avoid the trigger pull unbalance , as a safety requirement , the rules state that the trigger must not activate at less than one kilogram force
the shooter aim and press the switch with its free hand
 
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aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,794
USA
The gun is the current evolution of rock throwing.
This. A firearm is a projectile launching weapon using gunpowder for energy. Other means of launching projctiles are momentum (sling) or torsion (bows).

In the future, magnets might be used to create man portable rail guns, or smart but tiny missile and launchers might be used, or energy weapons/laser guns might replace projectiles mostly or altogether.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,891
Australia
The bayonet is the final evolution.
So why could not a future enhancement involve some kind of mimetic alloy that forms itself into a blade when needed? What about an energy-based or chemical-based cutting device? What about an advanced taser that disrupts organic matter at the cellular level upon contact? What about an existing taser with the current turned up to lethal levels?
 
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