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Army Assessing a Four-Barrel Rifle

Dubbed the Ribbon Gun, it can fire four rounds at once and theoretically up to 250 rounds/second.

When I was going through Basic Training, our M-16A2 rifles had a setting for a three-round burst. This was thought to be more practical than the fully automatic functionality of their predecessors. My drill sergeant said this change was made to help preserve ammunition. 

Well, it looks like that mindset has changed. 

It’s being reported that the Army is currently testing a new rifle design capable firing up to four rounds with a single trigger squeeze. Dubbed the Ribbon Gun, its inventor calls it the first multi-bore, single barrel rifle in the world.

The rifle features four vertically stacked firing tubes and is the brainchild of Colorado Springs inventor Martin Grier, the owner of Forward Defense Munitions. In theory, because of the rifle’s unique loading system and automatic electric firing mechanism, it could pump out as many as 250 rounds per second. 

And while the rifle’s ability to spray a target with four rounds traveling up to 2,500 mph from 300 yards away is … unique. What’s equally innovative is the rifle’s ammo delivery system.

The rifle is loaded with aluminum blocks that hold four 6.0 mm rounds, which provide a longer range and greater punching power than the 5.56 mm rounds currently used. Numerous blocks can be attached and fed through the rifle horizontally – kind of like a belt, but as the blocks move through the loading chamber, they take the associated heat with them. This reduces jams and improves the weapon’s efficiency. 

Also, instead of a traditional trigger that requires a mechanical action to fire a single round, each bullet is sent down range by an electric switch and electromagnetic actuator unique to each bore. This allows for firing one or four rounds at a time. This electrical firing system not only provides more firing power, but reduces the rifle’s weight by eliminating carrier bolts and other metal components. It actually weighs eight ounces less than the standard issue M4. 

While Grier has high hopes for a weapon that he’s spent an estimated $500,000 developing, he’s not waiting on the Army. 

Also, you’ve probably noticed, many of the video clips show an ammo loading system with room for five rounds. That’s because the company has since rolled out a five-shot version of the prototype currently being vetted by the Army.

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