Let it never be said that the world-renowned United States Army isn’t willing to push the envelope when it comes to tech — or to look for it in unusual places. According to a new report, the U.S. Army is testing a prototype four-barrel rifle that’s capable of firing all four rounds simultaneously. With all four barrels housed in one metal sleeve, the next-gen rifle looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Where did it find such a beast of a firearm? The sleek, futuristic-looking “ribbon gun” was designed in a garage in Colorado Springs by inventor Martin Grier, owner of Forward Defense Munitions, who spent an estimated $500,000 making his dream a reality.
While a vertically stacked, four barrel gun capable of firing all rounds at the same time sounds all kinds of deadly, an additional hair-raising detail is that the gun can alternatively fire at a theoretical rate of 250 rounds every second. It can house four-round blocks of ammunition, which are fed into the gun horizontally. Each ammo block is able to hold four rounds of 6mm bullets, a caliber that allows for increased range and penetration. The innovative firing system is based on an electric actuator that’s similar to electrically fired weapons such as the M61 Vulcan 20mm Gatling gun and M134 Gatling gun.
Despite all of these heavyweight features, however, the new rifle is anything but heavy. It weighs just 6.5 pounds, which makes it lighter than the U.S. Army’s 7-pound M4 carbine, the gun used by the U.S. Armed Forces as its primary infantry weapon and service rifle.
“Our guys have the same junk weapons as our adversaries,” Martin Grier told the Colorado Springs Gazette, which first ran the story. “I want to give them a Clint Eastwood kind of edge.”
Based on the footage we’ve seen of the weapon, as shown off at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, the “Clint Eastwood kind of edge” description is about right. And to paraphrase one of Eastwood’s most iconic movie lines, we can’t imagine too many of the U.S. Army’s enemies are feeling too lucky right now. Punk.