12 July 2019

Nine Years of Future War Stories!

It has been nine years since the founding of FWS way back in 2010, and it is only because of your support that we have reached that milestone. Since its founding, FWS has growth to be one of the largest military science fiction websites in the world that helps writers and creators with developing military sci-fi projects. That's all well and good, you might be saying...but, just what the hell has been going on for the past few years? It is true that since 2016, FWS has experienced a number of issues with production and all I can say is that I am very sorry. I feel that I have not be the fair to the readers of this site. There were promises made and not delivered. Once again, for that, I am sorry. I feel ashamed. The last few years have a hard road and there were times, including recently, that I thought of closing down FWS. I thought I could not create anymore and I nearly turned it over to someone else to continue the work. But, I could not give up on FWS and how important it became to me. At the moment, I am attempting to balance everything in order to push out the bigger blogposts. I have been pleased with the new "Guns from the Future" series and the strong reception to "Future War Stories from the East". I just want to say thank you for your support of FWS and its mission...which will continue as best it can. Stay Frosty. 

23 June 2019

FWS Top 10: Forgotten Military SF Games (Vol. 5)

FWS is continuing down the rabbit hole of the "lost" and forgotten military science fiction video games, with part five of the ten part series. In this installment, FWS will be looking at some titles that were born from well-known military sci-fi franchises, like BattleTech and ROBOTECH.

1. Incubation: Time is Running Out (Blue Byte, 1997)
Strategy games have been a time-honored genre in the realm of PC gaming, and there a ton of them. Lost in the sands and the technology of time is the 1997 military SF “bug-hunt” RTS game: Incubation: Time is Running out. Made by a German developer, Blue Byte, the game sold poorly in the United States, but was one of the first RTS games to use 3D graphics. This can be seen in the blocky graphics that appear horribly dated today, which could be one reason for Incubation being a lost title. That and the complicated control input system that cause gameplay to be a labored affair, sucking the enjoyment.


2. BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception (Infocom 1988)
Way back in the pivotal year of 1984, Chicago-based FASA developed a mecha combat game using designs from Japanese sources without permission. Coming at the perfect time, FASA had a true hit on their hands, and the BattleTech empire was founded. While originally, BattleTech was a tabletop wargame, today, BattleTech is also a successful series of video games that all started in 1988. Infocom, that gave us Zork!. The first BattleTech game, The Crescent Hawk's Inception, was released for a variety of PC machines like the Commodore 64 and the ATARI ST. Featuring an amazing cover, it was sadly not as dynamic as the cover art would lead you to believe. This turn-based RPG game looks more like The Legend of Zelda than MechWarrior, and had you play as a Mechwarrior cadet named Jason Youngblood in the service of the Lyran Commonwealth during the 31st century. During the game, Jason will be thrust into a war, finding LosTech, and the fate of this lost father. From videos and articles, the game is complex and lengthy, that proved successful enough to warrant a sequel in 1990 called BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Revenge. The reason for these early BattleTech games becoming LosTech was that the kinetic nature of mech combat was not expressed in the gameplay like later titles, and the fact they were released back in 1988 media.

3. Citadel (Arrakis Software 1995)
This Polish shooter was made and released in the era of DOOM and some consider Citadel a DOOM clone game. Being released for the UK PC gaming market for the Amiga, this FPS title was also known as "Cytadela", and it was the one of three title developed by the Polish Arrakis Software company that was based in Gdansk. After releasing three games from 1993 and 1995, the company folded after Citadel failed to be a commercial success. Being set in a off-world prison, the character was there to put down a riot via two different paths, one being harder than the other. While a solid title by most modern reviewers, it was credited for being the first DOOM-like game to be playable on British home computers. Given that the game was not released in other markets, only on the Amiga, and at a time where gamers were awash in DOOM clones, it is easy to see why Citadel is widely unknown today.  


4. ROBOTECH: Invasion (Vicious Cycle Software 2004)
Over the course of the nine year history of FWS, we have covered ROBOTECH repeatedly, and it is high time we examine this 2004 title because of its uniqueness with in the realm of ROBOTECH itself and anime-based video games. As many of us know, ROBOTECH was cobbled together from three separate anime series with similar art styles and production staff. For the 3rd Robotech War series, Harmony Gold used the 1983-1984 series Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. Much like Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, MOSPEADA was not has successful as Macross, and has not enjoyed the continued popularity of Macross in Japan. However, both MOSPEADA was incorporated into the titan that is ROBOTECH and for many, including myself, it was a favorite of the three stories of the Robotech Wars. After the success of ROBOTECH: Battlecry, another title was begun, and it was decided to set the next game into the second most popular ROBOTECH stories: The New Generation. This was exciting news for fans of the 3rd Robotech War until the game came out in 2004. This game is a total and complete mess both in a visual presentation and in a gameplay sense that was lightyears away from the much more solid Battlecry
The reviews were not kind and Invasion  was a commercial failure which caused it to be mostly forgotten by the general gaming public and even by some ROBOTECH fans. What Invasion represents is something more impressive the lazy game presented here. Much of ROBOTECH merchandise and spin-off material is focused on the 1st Robotech War, but here we have a game set into something else besides Macross. Despite being a fan of The Next Generation,  I bought this game quickly, then was horrified by the results and returned it for my money back within 48 hours. On interesting note, some fansites  theorized that if ROBOTECH: Invasion had been a success like Battlecry, that we would have gotten an Masters set video game. Pity. 

5. DUNE (Cryo Interactive, 1992)
At the opening of the the 1990s, DUNE was not on anyone’s radar. While it was a legendary novel series and an oddball 1984 film with even stranger merchandise, the 1990’s would have been a quiet point in the total history of DUNE if it was not for Cryo Interactive and Virgin's excellent RTS set that was a sort of merging between the book and Lynch film. When released in 1992, it was a game that spanned the era of media between the 3.5 disk and the CD-ROM, along with generating interest in the DUNE universe.
At the time, I was deeply into DUNE and the game was a happy converges of my interest and a great product. While the game was celebrated and beloved at the time the gaming press and by some of us original fans of game at the time of release, there was never a formal sequel to the Cryo/Virgin DUNE game. There was other RTS games set in the DUNE universe, but they were done by other companies. Cryo Interactive would revisit the DUNE universe in 2001 for a game tie-in to the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries. While there are still others that discuss the phenomenon of the DUNE RTS fad and its impact, there is less chatter on the French 1992 game. For me, this was the definitive DUNE game.

6Star Trek: Voyager – The Arcade Game (Game Refuge 2002)

It always surprises me that this arcade machine exists at all. There are only Star Trek arcade game titles in existence, and one of them is based on one of the most divisive Trek shows in franchise history: Voyager. This is odd anyway, but then to make this Trek arcade game an on-rails-shooter, with light guns that in no way look like a phaser is just criminal. Another odd thing is that it was relativity popularly at the time, but it since has disappeared from arcades and movie theaters, along with the collective gamer memory. The gameplay was centered around liberating Voyager from attacks by the standard enemies of the series, and the it was rated as an okay game with Trek elements nailed on.

7. Zillion and Zillion II:The Tri Formation (SEGA 1987 and 1988)
During the Golden Age of Anime, Tatsunoko Production would develop and air yet another action/sci-fi anime about characters during a time of war. This show, called Zillion, was not that remarkable for the time and it was not a success, causing the TV show to be wrapped up early. What does make Zillion interesting is its connection to the SEGA Master System and its light gun. Some of the Zillion Weapon System blasters seen in the series were based on the SEGA Light Gun, the "Light Phaser", and in turn, the Light Phaser design was used for a home market IR laser tag came called "Zillion".The laser tag system actually worn by the main characters of the series, much like the Lazer Tag Academy cartoon series. In addition to these works, two SEGA Master System games were released in 1987 and 1988 involving the anime Zillion setting and characters. The games are more or less standard side-scrollers with military science fiction elements and even mecha that is compared to the maddening Impossible Mission.

8. Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem II (Apogee Software 1991 and 1993)
I played Duke Nukem 3D on a friend's brand new Gateway Computer at around 1996 and loved it deeply (this game caused me to say "groovy") and I would buy the PlayStation One port in 1998. For me, Duke Nukem 3D was beloved title that continues to be a good time to the point that I currently replaying it on my Xbox One. It was not until I bough a strategy guide for very cheap from a book store that was closing that I learned that Duke Nukem 3D was actually the 3rd game in the series.
Later on, it was only when I googled the first two Duke Nukem games did I learn the odd truth. I think for a vast majority of players of the 1996 game, they believed that Duke Nukem was a the first entry due to the radical change in format and exposure. The original two games came out at very different time in PC gaming, but would lay the ground work for the idea of "shareware" and the character of Duke Nukem. Developed by one of the early titans of PC gaming, Apogee Software, it would released Duke Nukem 1 and under the Apogee name, while the 3rd game was developed under 3D Realms. The extremely successful and beloved 3rd game completely obscured the original two games, due to the fact that Duke Nukem 1 and 2 were side-scrollers, along with lacking in Duke's big "personality" that made the character and the game so memorable.       

9. ALIENS: A Comic Book Adventure (Cryo Interactive Entertainment 1995)
Another Cryo Interactive title that came to us in 1995 would have a link to something that changed my life: the Dark Horse ALIENS comic books. With the massive success of the Dark Horse ALIENS comics and the lukewarm reception to ALIEN 3, and that seemed to be the best plan for any future ALIENS titles. Being the mid-1990's, advancement in optical media allowed for a new gaming frontier to be opened up. There is very little information available today on just how this title got developed or why...but it was connected to the Dark Horse ALIENS universe, specifically, Labyrinth. This point-and-click adventure was graphically impressive with a solid story, but it was buggy and crashed often. It sold poorly and made many "the worst games of 1995" lists. Even being a massive fan of the Dark Horse ALIENS universe, I did not know this existed until after I started this blog and kinda wished I didn't.

10. ALIENS Versus Predator: Extinction (Zono Incorporated 2003)
There few promises that sci-fi has made to fans that held such power and excitement as pairing up the ALIENS and Predator franchises into a shared universe of fangs, blood, and hunting. Fans started laying the groundwork for the ALIENS vs. Predator concept since first witnessing the hunters of men in the 1987 blockbuster, and 20th Century Fox gave their blessing with a series of products in 1990. FWS will be exploring and explaining the broken promise that is the AVP franchise in a upcoming article, but we will discuss on of the misfits of that maligned franchise: AVP: Extinction.Coming out in 2003 on the PS2 and original Xbox, this single player RTS focused on a battle royale between the Xenomorphs, the Yautja, and various human factions (normally Colonial Marines). Most of the AVP video games were more direct combat, like a side-scroller or a shooter, not an RTS. It seemed out of place in the AVP realm, and it could have been an attempt to steal some of the Starcraft thunder. From most retrospectives on the EA title say that is is just okay for an RTS with bugs throughout with being an odd concept. AVP: Extinction sold poorly and was not released on PC nor was there, mercifully, a sequel. I used to see this game on the GameStop Xbox wall for cheap and I passed on it due to it being an RTS.


27 May 2019

Future War Stories From the East: Armored Trooper VOTOMS

Many of the more famous anime and manga is often defined and remembered because of a certain iconic character, unique setting, or piece of machinery (which is often Mecha). Some imported Japanese animations or comics are lucky enough to be imported wholly to the West along with other associated products like models, video games, or toys. Others were not so lucky and came over to our shores in pieces and over a great length of time, forging fans along with way. Both statements above directly apply to one of the most mecha-based military science fiction animes of all time: Armored Trooper V.O.T.O.M.S (装甲騎兵ボトムズ Sōkō Kihei Botomuzu). After many requests by the loyal readers of FWS, it is high time to suit up and explore VOTOMS!

What is “Armored Trooper VOTOMS”?
VOTOMS is the brainchild of Fang of the Sun Dougram creator Ryōsuke Takahashi and despite being developed in 1983, VOTOMS is still an on-going Japanese military science fiction franchise encompassing anime TV series, OVAs, video games, models, and toys. At about the time that Fang of the Sun Dougram was ending its run on Japanese television, Takahashi and Nippon Sunrise animation studio would continue the mecha-centered war stories with the VOTOMS 52 episode television show that aired on TV Tokyo from April 1st, 1983 through March 23rd, 1984. The 52 episode epic is normally divided into four somewhat equal parts detailing the misadventures of former elite armored trooper Gilgamesh Confederation soldier Chirico Cuvie. Much like Fang of the Sun Dougram, Takashasi would work with the same animation studio and the same mechanical designer, the famed Kunio Okawara, who also worked on Mobile Suit Gundam and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Since the original TV anime series aired on Japanese airwaves in 1983 to 1984, VOTOMS has become one of the most iconic military science fiction animes of all time. This status as an anime legend resulted from VOTOMS being set in a great, more realistic war scenario, with a traumatized ace mecha combat pilot as the main character, and a kick ass mecha design to wrap in all up.     

The Plot and Setting of VOTOMS
Armored Trooper VOTOMS takes place in another galaxy called Astragius that had been relatively at peace for over 500 years with the two major galactic powers: the Balarant Union and the Gilgamesh Confederation since the end of the 2nd Galactic War. That was until 7113 AC, when the need for colonial expansion to provide for its large population forced Balarant into bitter and bloody conflict with Gilgamesh over the possession of a single star system on their border. The war (called the 100 Years War or the 3rd Galactic War) would be fought with soldiers, starships, and a new type of armored power suit: the Vertical One-man Tank for Offense & ManeuverS or V.O.T.O.M.S. Developed in 7118 AC, the “machine trooper” rapidly became the primary weapon in this long war and soon after being improved, these one-man powered armor become known as the "Armored Troopers".
In 7198, the most famous Armored Trooper mecha model of the 3rd Galactic War was put into the field: the ATM-09-ST “Scopedog” of the Gilgamesh Confederation. Just a few years prior to that, the main character of the VOTOMS universe was born, Chirico Cuvie on planet of Melkia. In the original 1983-1984 TV series, the former elite Red Shoulder Battalion pilot was questioned, tortured, imprisoned due to his unique nature and involvement in an off-the-books mission. As the 100 Years War ends in an uneasy treaty, Chirico breaks out of prison and is on the run in the ruined city of Uoodo on Melkia. Throughout his journeys and the new people he meets, Chirico learns his destiny and a hidden force controlling current events. With the success and loyal following, the original 1983 TV series formed the spine that the rest of the VOTOMS titles are centered around. Most of other titles in the vast VOTOMS franchise focus on Chirico or other people during or around the 100 Years War era.           

The Iconic Mecha of VOTOMS: The ATM-09-ST “Scopedog”
In the bitter interstellar war between Balarant Union and the Gilgamesh Confederation, the war was mostly waged with smaller CLASS-II Armored Powered Suits known as: Vertical One-man Tank for Offense & ManeuverS or V.O.T.O.M.S and it immediately became an iconic of anime mecha design.  One of the most often cited iconic elements of VOTOMS was that the primary mecha and it was not some massive transformer war machine like those seen in Macross or a towering pilot robot like Gundam, but more like the Marauder suits from the Starship Troopers novel. That was not by not chance, but was the vision of smaller combat mecha (about four meters in height) was laid down by both Takahashi & Okawara. This combat mecha, the ATM-09-ST “Scopedog”, would become the overall symbol of the VOTOMS universe and a longtime favorite among modelers and collectors. Even if you did not know the original source of the Scopedog mech suit, you knew intrinsically how good the design was. This was true of me when I would see the Scopedog model kits in the comicbook store in the 1980s. I knew of the Scopedog APS mech long before knowing the name of the source.
It would not be until an early issue of Animerica Magazine that I learned of VOTOMS. According to the source material, the Scopedog was developed in 7198 AC, nearly in the middle of the 3rd Galactic War, and it became the primary foot soldier of the war. To counter the Gilgamesh Confederation new Armored Trooper, the Balarant Union developed the lesser B-ATM series that was an attempted copy of the Scopedog. Some of the Scopedog CLASS-II armored power suit would fall into the hands of private military contractors during and after the war. Often these mercenary suits were painted a different color to differ themselves from the military issue mecha. According to technical data, the standard Scopedog was just under four meters and weight in at 6.7 tons when loaded for combat. While the powerplant is unknown, mecha of this type rely on “Polymer ringers” as a mecha muscular system that requires a liquid that needs to be recharged. The Scopedog has an operational range of 218 hours of the polymer ringers before needing refueling. When it comes to armaments, the Scopedog has a vast array of offensive systems that can be mounted and in-hand.
Classically, the Scopedog is pictured with the GAT-22 30mm heavy box-fed machine gun and shoulder-mounted, magazine-fed grenade launcher. What gives the Scopedog its odd name comes from the tri-camera lens turret system that is slaved directly to the pilot's helmet HUD. While these bipedal walking one-man tanks were impressive, they could be taken out easily by several clean shots and due to this, the Scopedog used rollers in the feet to increase movement speed as defensive maneuver. Since the original series ran in 1983, the Scopedog mecha has been a daring of the Japanese modelling industry and mecha fans alike.         

The Historical Context of Armored Trooper VOTOMS
VOTOMS would be developed and broadcast in the Land of the Rising Sun during an interesting time in the history of anime that began in 1972 with Mazinger Z, but came into full bloom with Mobile Suit Gundam and Macross. This anime forged the long running passionate love affair between anime and mecha that bore many offspring and endless plastic statues attesting to the idol worship of the adoring masses that included me very much back-in-the-day. This was also a time when anime studios and creators took more chances with regards to subject matter and more of these titles were being condensed into OVA format rather than lengthy and expensive TV series. Of course, it helped titles like VOTOMS to be funded due to the titanic success of Star Wars that injected new fans and cash into the genre of sci-fi. Helping VOTOMS specifically was the success of Ryōsuke Takahashi’s previous work, Fang of the Sun Dougram, along the popularity of those mecha model kits. Also at the time of VOTOMS release was that the United States market for anime and related products was heating up with the US going through their own Giant Robot Craze fever. While Japan had a developed system for retail sales of anime on VHS and LaserDisc, the market for home media in the United States was still waiting to boil.
This brings about an interesting element of imported anime titles in the US market during the late 1980’s and 1990’s. Before the advent of DVD, anime was sold on VHS or the rarer LaserDisc format. For anime in the typical TV series format, like VOTOMS, the US import companies like US Rendering would package two episodes of the anime on one VHS tape and sell it around $20 at various retailers like Hastings and Suncoast. For smaller series, like Bubblegun Crisis or even the compact OVA titles, the retail anime market in the US was more agreeable rather than the full TV series that would cost the consumer hundreds of dollars to collect.
These mammoth VHS series would also eat up a great deal of shelve space at the local Suncoast Video store, which could have been used for more OVAs. And it never failed that you would trip down to the local anime-friendly video retailer and they were sold out of the very tape you needed and then you would have to order it and it would take fucking six weeks to get it! That happened. Given the time and the state of the internet, it was extremely difficult to preview these series to see if they were worth the cash commitment. At times, you could rent a few of the episodes at your local Block Buster, as I did with Bubblegum Crisis. However, that varied greatly from region-to-region and store-to-store. These were some of the challenges that were overcome by the advent of DVDs, anime on cable, and the improved technology of the internet.                         
Armored Trooper VOTOMS in the West
When it comes to what anime titles were imported to the US back during the 1st and 2nd Wave of Anime in America, it was often more subjective and frankly odd than one might think. After all, the only reason Voltron is the Voltron that we know is due to a mistake made by Toei Animation resulting in World Events Productions receiving the tapes for Beast King GoLion rather than Future Robot Daltanious. Oddly, we did not get a dubbed Mobile Suit Gundam TV series, but somehow, we got Star Musketeer Bismark?! As we discussed in the article on Fang of the Sun Dougram, it almost does not seem fair to us fans of mecha anime that Dougram was never brought over to the western market and I think that same about the various VOTOMS titles that were never imported. For some reason, titles like Beast King GoLion, Macross, and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman were brought over to the shores of America, dubbed, altered for American media consumers, and then aired, feeding the Giant Robot Crazy. However, on the flipside, iconic military sci-fi mecha anime series like VOTOMS and fucking Mobile Suit Gundam were not given the same treatment. Much like Takahashi & Okawara other production, Fang of the Sun Dougram, VOTOMS would never be given the ROBOTECH treatment, but unlike Dougram, the original 1983-1984 VOTOMS TV show would be released for the home video market on VHS tape by Central Park Media’s US Manga Corps at around 1996 as the market for anime on VHS was heating up.
According to scans of the 1996 US Manga Corps one-page ads in publications like Animerica, the original VOTOMS TV show was being sold on the common format of two-episodes per tape. This made owning the *complete* Armored Trooper VOTOMS TV series comprised of 52 episodes an expensive venture, especially considering that each tape retailed at $24 or the boxset of each “stage” (example: the Kummen Jungle Wars) at a lower price point of $99. I did see some of the VHS tapes for Armored Trooper VOTOMS TV series at Suncoast stores in the DFW area, but they were not the complete collection and I did not take the plunge despite my love for military sci-fi mecha-based anime. Video tapes were not the only arrow in the VOTOMS quiver, there was the manga, video games, RPGs, and model kits to draw upon. With US Manga Corps rolling out the VOTOMS TV series on VHS, they also attempted to also print a VOTOMS limited comic book series via their “CPM Comics” imprint. I say, “attempted”, because it seems that only one issue was printed by CPM Comics and any information is extremely limited and/or conflicted.
According to the cover of CPM’s “Armored Trooper VOTOMS #1”, it was intended to be a limited four-issue series, but the only the first issue seems to exist. No online retailer or comic book data site has anything other than the first issue. This seems to me that it is highly likely that only one issue was printed. Then in July of 1997, CPM published a tradepaper back graphic novel collection called “Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Supreme Survivor” which is a prequel to the 1983 TV series that might have originally printed in Japan and then exported to the west via US Manga Corps. Today, this 112 page trade paperback commands a heavy price of nearly a thousand damn dollars and speaks to the rarity and popularity of VOTOMS in the US. But just the hell is it? From the Amazon preview of this expensive graphic novel, new information is presented inside via editorial by Tim Eldred. It seems that this was Supreme Survivor graphic novel was indeed a collection of the aborted comic book series with some nice extras thrown in, but VOTOM superfan Tim does not inform us why the limited series was halted at issue#1. Also from the limited preview on Amazon, I can safely assume that Tim Eldred and CPM Comics developed this VOTOMS work wholly in the United States and is not an translated manga. Given the subject matter of mechs battling one another, the MSF universe of VOTOMS lends itself easily to a video game shooter. At present, about 20 videos have been released with a VOTOMS theme for the Japanese market, with the majority of titles being released on the original PlayStation and PS2 consoles.
As far as I know, none of the VOTOMS games were officially released in the States. Now, there can be no real separation between the iconic mecha of VOTOMS and the fictional universe itself (just like Dougram). The Okawara designed  Scopedog served as the ambassador to the Takahashi’s military sci-fi franchise, and to this very day, model kits and display pieces are made in lovely detail of the Scopedog APS at all price points. Since 1984, imported model kits of the mecha of the 100 Years War have been for sale in the US, and for many, this is how they learned of Armored Trooper VOTOMS (as the same was for Dougram). For more 12 years, the models were the only real product of VOTOMS in the US. In this new era of information and commerce, Armored Trooper VOTOMS has finally been able to be enjoyed in the west…just some 30 years late.

Why is VOTOMS Considered Military Sci-Fi?
At times, the label of military science fiction is loosely applied to a work to jazz it up or it is debated by the fan base, as the case is with Star Trek. However, it is amazing to read how many times the label of "military science fiction" is applied to the entire VOTOMS franchise by many sources. All of the titles, across all media types, are firmly rooted in military scenarios, military sci-fi tropes, and packed with service personnel, along with cool combat mecha. In addition, VOTOMS includes the cost of war on both society and the individual as we have seen with pilot Chirico.

The Impact and Legacy of VOTOMS
It did not take long during researching the subject of Armored Trooper VOTOMS that its impact and legacy are repeatedly praised in the genre of military sci-fi anime and mecha-centered anime. The majority of mecha in Japanese media were similar to metal giants like the Veritech, the RX-78-2 Gundam, and the prototype Combat Armor Dougram. However, the powered armor suits used in VOTOMS were only about four meters in height, did not tower over urban centers like the mechs from Battletech. Instead, they were on the ground and in the thick of battle, like normal infantry and the Scopedog APS were cranked out of factories like Ford Model Ts and were NOT customer one-off rare mecha, like the Dougram.
This set Armored Trooper VOTOMS apart automatically from the herd of giant-armed-robots-piloted-by-teenager trope populating anime and manga along with the main character. The adult Chirico is deeply affected by his actions during combat, he is haunted by the horrors of war, and he is in search of some sort of peace from his talent. This reintegration back to civilian society for a warfighter is a very topical issue today and it was rather refreshing in an anime of the time, but not isolated as some have claimed. VOTOMS had similar themes as Fang of the Sun Dougram, Space Cruiser Yamato, and even Macross. The themes and more realistic mecha design influence a whole generation of creators on both sides of the Pacific, including Dynamo Joe creator Doug Rice and the creation of the Heavy Gear Canadian mecha combat RPG.

The List of VOTOMS Anime:

VOTOMS: The Last Red Shoulder (1985)
On August 21st, 1985, Sunrise would immediately go back to the VOTOMS universe after the end of the original VOTOMS TV show and tell the tale of the time between Part 1 and Part 2 of the original anime series via this hour-long OVA. From the comments made about this OVA, it seems to be a critical and important part of the overall story of the central character of Chirio as well as VOTOMS universe as a whole. I do not believe that this was imported into the USA.












VOTOMS: Big Battle (1986)
Released in July 5th, 1986, this hour long OVA took place just after the events of the 1983 TV series, but before the epilogue of the original series and further develops the “Perfect Soldier” program. From the comments made about this OVA, it seems to be regarded as just another VOTOMS episode. Once again, I do not believe that this was imported to the Western market. 











The Red Shoulder Document: Roots of Ambition (1988)
Airing in March of 1988, the Roots of Ambition OVA was a story taking place while Chirio was in the service of the Special Operations Red Shoulders unit. This was a much requested storyline by the fans since the original TV series. Chirico and others new in the "Red Shoulders" Special Operations unit were pitted in a virtual battlefield to test their abilities. Again, it was likely this was not imported and some have written this off as just okay.












Armor Hunter Mellowlink (1988)
This 12 episode OVA that aired from November of 1988 to April of 1989 and the first VOTOMS title that did not include the character of Chirio. Instead, the OVA focuses on Mellowlink Arity, soldier blamed for taking military equipment on the path of revenge. This OVA has positive reviews and it does not look it was imported due to an interesting developed. According to the translator for the fansub of Mellowlink, the masters of this VOTOMS entry were destroyed in a flood. It is hinted that US Manga Corps was eyeing this for release and may have done some work on it prior to the flood. 


Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Brilliantly Shining Heresy (1994)
This marks the only entry into the VOTOMS franchise in the 1990s, and continues the story of Chirio and Fyana after they went into cryo to avoid a new war. They awake some 32 years after the events of the original series to take on the Church of Marteal. This was imported to the west just this year. Some have claimed online that this entry failed and prevented anymore VOTOMS anime projects until the 2000’s.







Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Pailsen Files (2008)
To somewhat save VOTOMS, the original production crew of the original TV series developed an entry of Chirio during the 100 Years War, but with then “cutting edge” CGI effects. Yeah…I'm sure that aged well. The reviews are all over the map on this 12 part OVA series, and many criticize the dated and hated CGI effects. However, many have praised the story and what the OVA shows of the universe of VOTOMS.












Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Phantom Chapter (2010)
I’ve always been surprised by the lack of the overall cohesion in the VOTOMS franchise and the six-part OVA only reinforces that. This has the three friends of Chirio reuniting and yeah…that’s not why I would want to watch VOTOMS. A number of reviews speak of nostalgia and an semi-ending to the original VOTOMS storyline, but that was replaced with the 2011 entry: Alone Again












VOTOMS Finder (2010)
This is an odd entry into the whole of the confused VOTOMS universe. Finder could take place in an alternate universe of VOTOMS, we are not 100% sure, and it does not involve the typical players in VOTOMS works. The main character is a mecha junk finder and deal, but when he is tapped to rescue a kidnapped girl, the plot thickens. This has yet to be imported and it is a stand-alone, spin-off title one hour long OVA.




Case: Irvine (2010)
There have some bold experiments within the VOTOMS spin-off media and Case: Irvine was one such attempt. The story was centered around mech technician Irvine Lesterand and those much featured gladiatorial mecha games. While somewhat interesting from the review, it was never imported in the west and it never led to another work based on the character. 



Alone Again (2011)

This is a OVA love letter and goodbye to the main character of the VOTOMS series, Chirio. In this hour-long OVA from 2011, Chirio visits his friends for the first time in over 30 years in a dusty western town. Of course, some violence gets kicked up. From what I read, this ends the Chirio character in VOTOMS and allows for a new beginning. At the time of writing, this was not imported to the west and is the last/current VOTOMS title in the franchise.











The VOTOMS Video Games
In the west, we are often not treated to a vast collection of Japanese video game titles on many of the home consoles and for one reason or another, they were never imported. One of those was the entire VOTOMS video game catalog. It seems almost natural that the VOTOMS universe would translated into mech shootin’ video games!  The first three titles on the VOTOMS video game library are confined to Japanese PCs like the Sharp X68000 Computer, which were not imported to the western market and that makes sense. It wasn’t until the fourth title that the VOTOMS video games came onto a system that we know and love: the SNES.
The apex of the VOTOMS mecha-combat centered video games came on the Sony PS and PS2 systems. The odd thing is that a full 11 titles featured some element of VOTOMS, likely the Scopedog APS, as a guest character. After reviewing gameplay footage of the VOTOMS games on YouTube, the majority of games are centered on a third-person POV mecha combat, while other titles (like the SNES title) are focused more on  gladiatorial style arena game. After watching the footage, I wished that some of the PS2 titles had been given the western treatment and imported so that they could have been sold alongside works like ROBOTECH: Battlecry and MechaAssault series (FWS needs to talk about these titles!).

The Models and Toys of VOTOMS
When VOTOMS came on to the airwaves of Japanese TV in 1983, it was a time that some of the most iconic mecha was designed and developed and then recreated in plastic and metal. It would be impossible to catalog and explain each of the Scopedog (and other mecha) kits that the Japanese model industry pumped out and this speaks to the popularity of the VOTOMS brand. Muddling the waters much like Macross and Gundam, is that the VOTOMS franchise is ongoing to this very day, allowing for the demand to keep pushing more product into the market place. This market place also includes the west as well. What it is interesting is that VOTOMS, like Dougram, had their Takara made model kits and even some of the diecast toys come over to American shores without the show airing here. In VOTOMS case, it was more than a full decade before US Manga Corps released the original TV series on VHS and Laserdisc in 1996. This was not a full-on assault like the Revell ROBOTECH Defender model line, it was more a local effort by importers. Today, you can buy the iconic OD green Scopedog APS in all shapes, sizes, and price points both in Japan and in America.

The VOTOMS RPG
Another nearly organic product evolution of the VOTOMS was into the realm of tabletop mecha combat game in the same vain as BattleTech or MechWarrior. After all, Dougram had no less than two mecha 3D combat tabletop boardgame made for the Japanese market. The first was Armored Trooper VOTOMS: Battling that released by Tsukuda Hobby in 1992 and was rooted in the gladiatorial mecha combat featured in the original series. This hex-and-counter game was noted for being very complex and not released in the USA. In 1997, Washington state based R. Talsorian Games finally developed and release an official VOTOMS RPG using their own mecha Fuzion system and under license from Central Park Media. There are no sources on how popular the game was, but it seems to have only had a single game released with no addition modules or miniatures (some 10mm VOTOMS mecha miniatures were released in Japan though). This was likely an marketing strategy on the part of Central Park Media as this was the time with the VHS tapes were released along with the comic book “series”. One of the things that the R. Talsorian VOTOMS RPG is known for today in VOTOMS circles is that game manual is packed with tons of information on the VOTOMS universe. Until the release of the R. Talsorian gaming system, the Canadian mecha RPG game, Heavy Gears, was developed in the image and influence of VOTOMS in 1994.

Is VOTOMS Worth Watching Today?
Many speak of the legacy and impact of the original 1983 series along with the many VOTOMS OVAs, but it is important to take those praises with a grain of salt. The original series is very good in parts and does often earn its legacy…however, it is also muddled, wandering, and the focus on “prefect soldiers” is a well-worn trope of military science fiction. The majority of the OVAs were not imported and the fansub on these is hit-or-miss, but the OVAs containing more about the 100 Years War seem to the better of the lot. I think if you are a fan of classic mecha anime, it is worth checking out on a streaming serve first before making the investment in the hard media. One of the elements I was not expecting in the 1983 TV series was the quality of the animation was not as good as other anime titles of the same time or even before. This was true of Dougram as well, though…maybe it has something to do with Sunrise? Another element I found odd was the mecha combat. Some of the scenes were dynamic and compelling, but some lacked any energy or assumed realism. Anyway, there is something in the vast VOTOMS universe to satisfy your mech cravings that was developed by one of the masters of mecha-centered anime. 

Next Time on FWS...
From the castle sieges of the 15th century to the modern battlefields of the 21st, one of the few remaining weapon systems used then and now is the mortar. Today, the mortar is a critical infantry support indirect fire weapon that is deployed and improved. However, this important weapon system is poorly represented in science fiction, making one of the rarest weapon systems in all of science fiction. In the next installment of FWS Armory we will be diving into the mortar!

14 May 2019

FWS Armory: Pressurized Environments Firearms by Yoel

Ever since humans left Africa, we began the process of exploring and colonizing this world.  We altered the environments that we encountered to suit the needs and requirements of our species and in some ways, the altered environment shaped us as well.  When high-altitude air travel become a reality, the developers of those planes bottled surface-like atmosphere to encompass the plane's crew and passengers. The same will be true with the deep spacecraft and space habitats of our future; they will also need a pressurized breathable air bubble in the deadly vast of nothingness.In such delicate environment it might be wise not to conduct any violent acts that might endanger the integrity of the bubble walls or taint the air with gunfire shootouts. But given that the dwellers of those bubbles are essentially the same apes who march out of Africa that ain't likely to happen. In this installment of the continuing Armory Series, we will be looking at Firearms and cartridges designed for such pressurized environments: the Pressurized Environments Firearms (PEF)                   

Acknowledgment
Due to the fragment and multidisciplinary nature of the topic, the making of this article become a joint multi-national project involved researching and questing numerous individuals worldwide. From retired Sky Marshals to James Bond experts, all were drafted for the cause. With much gratitude, these are the peoples who made this article possible:

  • Retried Sky marshals- Stephen Rustad & Mordechai Rachamim.
  • Cartridge manufacturers: Jim Maltenieks president of American Ballistics (ABS)
  • Peter Pi, CEO of CorBon, 
  •  Cameron Hopkins, CEO of Super Vel
  • Cartridge collectors- Pete deCoux & Mel Carpenter
  • Weapon experts- Hrachya Hayrapet & Maxim Popenker
  • Mel Zaid- founder and former CEO of Technik Inc.
  • David Louis Buehn, CEO of Rough & Ready Inc.
  • John Edward Shields kin.
  • Jeff Wybo of James Bond Canada.
  • Grant Hutchison of Oikofuge for his Coriolis Effect trajectories' diagrams.  

The Misconceptions of Firing inside a Pressurized Airliner or Spaceship
The common conception of pressurized vessel hull breaching has been polluted by Hollywood “science” for decades resulting in numerous misconceptions regarding the vulnerability of aircraft or spaceship to gunfire onboard along with over-dramatized the outcomes of such bullets' holes.   

The Integrity of the Hull Materials
First, it might be wise to remember that airliner or spaceship walls aren't much more than thin tinfoil. Terrifying as it maybe, all it takes is a few millimeters thick aluminum to be sufficient to hold sea level pressure gauge against outer-space hard vacuum or near vacuum of high altitude. But holding atmosphere in is only one of the properties aircraft or spaceship skins (or hulls) have. Both air or space vessels operate in an environment with extreme temperatures which need to be thermally isolated to maintain cozy room temperatures inside. Aircrafts hulls are also used to moderate the external noise while spaceships hulls have to shields the inhabitants against deadly radiation, both natural and from the ship nuclear engine (if exist).All of that means relatively thick external walls of our spaceship or space station.  The wall's lining are likely serve as energy absorber in case a bullet breach the inner wall, similar to a Kevlar-like armor material. Not only may such filling stop a bullet before it pierces the outer shell, if the bullet manages to drill its way all through the lining material, then the lining usually will compresses between the inner and outer walls, due to its tendency to expand and thus, sealing the hole quite effectively.           

The Minute long Hurricanes
One common trope of poplar media and Sci-Fi is that a breach in the hull will produce a mighty airflow that lifts people like tree leaves from whereabouts they were and throw them through the hole into the void. Such hurricane -like flow, as usually depicted, are long enough to have dramatic scenes where the protagonist/s have ample time to grab some static lifebuoy or each other and if the breach is an airlock door, enough time to climb against the air stream to push on the “close-the-airlock-now” button.
However, the reality is very different…sorry, Hollywood. Any hole in the hull big enough to create an initial flow with initial velocity similar to a hurricane ought to be major explosive decompression. Given this, the room where the breach accrues, the unlucky inhabitants will be killed from violent acceleration before been thrown to space. Any hole big enough to create such airflow will decompressed the airplane or spaceship very quickly, as the pressure drops so does the airflow so a minutes-long howling stream is partially impossible.     

Suction through a Bullet Hole
Inspired by Mr. Bond’s remark about being sucked into outer space by or thrown through a bullet hole, it been a common misconception that the pressure gauge between the pressurized cabin to the near vacuum outside has enough force to squeeze human body out of this small hole. That misconception is manifested in the visual media with the following generic steps: an individual (usually the antagonist) is picked by the none-realistic flow and throw against the wall, plugging the hole, after a short moment of silence the unfortunate victim start to compressed and vented out through the small hole like a human toothpaste tube until the whole body drained out and the outer shell of the victim is blown out too. That is complete rubbish. The maximum pressure difference between the cabin and outdoor is 1 Atmosphere (ATM) which equal to 1 Kg force to each 1 square centimeter of hole or 14.7 pound force to each 1 square Inch of hole. Such low force can't possibly break the human body into a paste; human skin is fairly durable and elastic. There were many examples both planned experiments and accidents where humans and animals were subjected to full or partial vacuum exposure and they confirm that the skin can stretch and hold body interior without bursting.
Several experiments done in the 1960's on dogs shown that even after the “guinea pigs” were subjected to rapid decompression to near vacuum conditions, those dogs die off quickly and their body were swell to approximately double their normal size without any damage to the skin. (Poor dogs!).  It is safe to say that any bullet holes won't be sufficient enough to force to tear down human skin if placed to seal the hole. Unlike the American tale about the little Dutch boy who save his hometown of Harlem by plugging a leaking dike with his little finger, in the case of leaking spaceship that boy could actually close the hole using his bare finger without any risk to the boy or the finger! Such finger partially exposed the 3 Kelvin coldness of space will be rapid cooled down by thermal radiation. My back-of-the-envelop calculations show that the heat loss via radiation to the 3K of space is equal to -60°c / -76°f heat loss in still air so frostbites are due, hence - more serious measures are needed to fix the leak after the initial plugging.     

Unrealistic Short time to Full Decompression
As with the hurricane force flows and the bone crashing suction, the time left to the inhabitants of a leaked craft is overly underestimate by popular media. Generally, symptoms of hypoxia will appear when the cabin pressure dropped to quarter of atmosphere.  So, conservative calculations will mark that threshold as the minimum pressure allowed for estimating the time left for crew and passengers to take action to save their lives. It also important to understand that such time calculations are totally irrelevant to an airplane, only for a spaceship. Airplane isn't operate in a total vacuum and its life support system isn't close system. Airplanes are venting out air regularly through many small holes and cracks in the fuselage and the indoor pressure is controlled by outflow pressure valves. Fresh outside air is routinely compressed, cooled and filtered and introduce to the pressurized cabin onboard an aircraft. If a bullet hole or other holes punctures the hull, the plane's pressure control system simply closes one or more of the outflow pressure valves to compensate the added leak source to the already leaking cabin. Unless some major hole was formed, regular pressure control system can handle pretty much any gun spree aftermath.
Same isn’t true for spaceships; due to spacecraft carry their own air onboard in a form of either liquefied or high-pressure gas tanks (usually oxygen and nitrogen). As the case with airplanes, spaceship can't be totally 100% leak-proof. Some very slow leakage will be always presence and it the duty of the life support system to monitor and supplement those losses from those stored tanks. Now you might ask yourself what if the rate of those life support systems fill up the loses be enough to counter the air leakage cause due the some bullet hole, does the crew or passengers have ample time to patch the hole before run out of air?
Well, consider the worst case scenario that the life support system been damaged in the cross fire or deliberately, the time to fix the leakage is confined to the air reservoir in the cabin. A very simply equation of cabin decompressing assume a sonic flow (Mach 1) at the hole opening and isotherm (constant air temperature) will results for room temperature 21% oxygen-79% nitrogen mix and factor of four in air pressure drop the following solution: t(sec)=2*V(m^3)/A(M^2)Where t is the time that will takes to air pressure to drop to a quarter of initial pressure, V(m^3) the cabin volume and A(m^2) hole or holes combine cross area.
Example:  the International Space Station (ISS) Pressurized volume is 931.5 m^3, if one of the Russian cosmonauts had been using their Makarov PM pistols that was carried up until 2008 in their Soyuz spacecraft to disable the life support system and then put a hole in the ISS wall, how much time the other crewmember have to plug the hole? A Makarov PM is chamber to 9x18mm Makarov round will leave 9mm circular hole of 0.000063585m^2. Craning the number in the equation to find it will take 29,299,363 seconds or 339 days. A far cry from an urgent problem as depicted in popular media.         

Why Catastrophic Result of Airliner Indoor Shootout isn't a Catastrophe
Above are listed several reasons why gunfire onboard airplane or a spaceship won't result in catastrophic loss of the ship & crew and any passengers. But what if such a loss in on of itself isn't the worst possible outcome?
In many of the cases of commercial airlines hijacking, the hijackers' goal was to divert the plane from its course towards a landing site sympathetic to their cause from where the hijackers could blackmail the government/s for the release and wellbeing of the passengers. A cold heart and cool headed decision could be made in advance by the government in charge for the safety of its people that a loss of an airplane along with its passengers is slightly better result of a hijacking attempt than a nation brought to its knees and comply with the hijackers' demands.
A nation allowed or mandate an armed security guard (like the US Federal Air Marshals) onboard airliners or spaceliners chose to take such risk with the hope that their decision will act as a deterrent to future attempts as the would be future hijackers factor in the fact that their hostages lives won't shields them.
The stakes were raised even higher after the September 11th attacks when it became obvious that religious zealot hijacker motive might be substantially different than just release of his comrades from Asian Dawn Movement, New Provo Front, or the Liberte de Quebec of out of prison, more like convert the plane into a gigantic Kamikaze aim at heavily populated buildings. In such scenarios, it isn't the lives of the passengers' weight against national security, it is the lives of both the passengers and thousands of civilians on the ground that at stakes if the hijack attempt won't stop ASAP. After the September 11th terrorist attacks the dilemmas of onboard armed personal have been almost disappeared as the cost of failure at stopping a hijack outweigh the sum lives of crew and passengers.
                     
Challenges and Options designing Pressurized Environments Firearms

Not Shooting
It sounds odd to consider the option of not shooting as something weapon designers should factor in when sketching a new gun...but that isn't a wrong move at all. The purpose of a weapon, any weapon, isn't to kill per se but to impose the wielder will upon other. If that purpose was served without firing or even withdraw the gun from the holster then the gun severed its owner well. Thus, bestowing nearly all firearms the title of a “psychological weapon”. Douglas Adams, in his novel Restaurant at the End of the Universe, introduce such a gun, the "Kill-O-Zap" carried by Golgafrinchan ship's first officer. The features and appearance of the gun were explained: 'The designer was clearly not instructed to beat about the bush. “Make it evil,” they’ve been told. “Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sorts of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, this is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.”'.When consider scenarios where armed agents of the state are facing unarmed civilians and those arms aren't meant to be concealed it pay off to have those guns of intimidating and menacing as possible.   

Not Missing the Target
Again, this is a no brainer. No one designs a gun to miss, but one should tune the design of the gun to be more suitable for fewer accurate shots rather than burst mode. In the densely packed spaces of airplane or spaceship, there is a heightened he danger of hitting bystanders. It is more desirable to have a gun with a small ammo capacity forcing the wielder to count any shot as it was the last. These questions were bedrock during the formation and training of the premier US Army Counter-terrorist unit, DELTA Force. One of the original operators, Eric L. Haney writes about the challenges of CT operations onboard aircraft in his excellent 2002 book Inside DELTA Force. He discussed that airplanes are “crammed with people” and even the founder of DELTA, Colonel Beckwith, said that terrorist-held airplane would be their toughest tactical environment.
The Unit would have to adapt (or train like you fight) to the special conditions of storming airliners packed with hostages and a few hijackers. The then handgun of DELTA back in the late 1970’s was an improved accuracy Colt M1911 .45 ACP and these original operators were trained to fire one round at a time during such engagements to maximize actually hitting the target not missing the target and creating a worst situation. Another option for today’s high-speed, high-tech door kickers is to mount fancy optics like red-dot and holo sights alike to increase hit probability of each shot.

Not Over-Penetrate the Target
Even after a precious shot hit the target, there is the danger of over-penetration.  In this scenario, the projectile could exit the other side of the tango and further travel, sometime in different direction, and endangering the bystanders and the vehicle itself. A common solution is to use ammunition that deform, tumble or break inside of the target body and dissipate its kinetic energy completely without emerging out. Ammunition types such as hollow point, soft-nose, fragment etc. exist and use or used by various air and sky marshal programs and armed pilots worldwide. Citing again Eric L. Haney’s Inside DELTA Force book and Colonel Beckwith's own book on the CT unit he founded, the original operators of DELTA selected use of the .45 ACP round over 9mm due to lower velocity and less risk over-penetration back during the late 1970’s spin-up of the Unit. 
However, very shortly, DELTA would adapt the 9x19mm H&K MP5 SMG for general CQC environments (which included airplanes) very much like the vast majority of Special Operations CT units at the time. While online firearm forums and videos are filled with people discussing the use of certain calibers for airplane engages, 9mm vs. .45 vs. 5.7mm vs. .357 SIG, we have to remember that the US Federal Air Marshals use SIG Sauer P229 in .357 SIG (the first gun I ever bought! -William) and that most Counter-Terrorism units back in the day of the apex of airliner hijackings used the rock-solid MP5 SMG platform for storming planes. Take that for what you will.     

No Penetration of the Hull
In case the shooter missed the target, it is important that the bullet will not penetrate the airplane or spaceship inner and outer walls. This will require calibrating of the ammunition's penetration performances to be lesser than normal ammunition loads, so that the walls resistance capability will ensure that any stray shots won't go through and through. As stated above, this deteriorates rapidly into a caliber debate online, but in the realm sci-fi there is often customized designed weaponry or settings for VBSS style boarding operations.   


No Ricochet
Once a bullet leaves the gun, you cannot take it back and this regret could be made the worst that could be managed by yet another desirable feature needed in PEF ammunition: that the bullet won't ricochet after hitting the wall and bounce back to endangering any innocent bystanders or the endanger the structure of the artificial environment. Many of the bullets developed with low over-penetrate in mind will likely be engineered to break inside the target are also likely to break when hit the hard surface of the wall and not ricochet.   

Bullet Disintegration and Shattering
In any future scenarios of shootouts in various freefall environments such as the familiar spaceship or even your local space station, it would be very preferable that the bullets won't break or shatter into free-floating tiny fragments that might be inhaled by the crew or clogged inside some vital piece of futuristic machinery like life support or the warp core.  After battle cleanup procedures in these types of environments could be a real pain in rear if any missed gun resulted in hail of debris. 




Not to be Misused
In many of the plausible scenarios where Pressurized Environments Firearms (PEF) are or will be present and used, the PEF will be the only gun on the scene.  In addition, the PEF's wielder, likely a member of the “authorities”, will face an unarmored opponent with inferior weapon among scores of non-involves. As such, various methods of preventing the PEF misuse by the opponent or bystanders might apply to the weapon system. The easiest will be mechanically constrained the gun to the user, tether it to the user belt or issue holsters design to prevent the gun to be surprisingly drawn by other than its user (like a current pistol lanyard). Other options include personalized guns via technology, AKA: Smart Guns, which enable the use of anyone but the gun authorized user/s.
This technology has been seen in Star Trek and in the Bond universe with the Walter PPK from Skyfall. Another thing to consideration, when the PEF is concealed and the user travel in plain-clothes, as is the case with air/sky marshals. The passengers and crew will automatically assume and identify the current wielder of the gun as the marshal and any other individual on board that try to wrestle and fight the wielder as the bad guy. The last thing a marshal needs while fight one terrorist is to repel several John Wayne wannabies. If the gun is tethered to the marshal or the smart gun alarm screams "unauthorized user" the passengers will be less incline to regards the man with the gun as the de-facto marshal.

Hearing Protection
Firing inside the cumbersome corridors and bunkheads of spaceship, the gunshot blasts will echo back from the metal walls around you. Without ear protection, the PEF user and any non-involves could suffer permanent/temporary hearing loss. Even a temporarily hear loss in a tactical situation might be fatal in the middle of combat as it could reduce the user situational awareness. Wearing ear protection is optional, but it too might reduce the user's situation awareness and not a real option if the plain-clothes user carries the PEF as concealed gun. To reduce the gun blast decibel level, all the technologies currently used here on Earth could be used such as silencers, which are a good option as well as more exotic such as totally enclose piston cartridges and captive bolt guns. For more in-depth analysis on the topic of silence firearms check my past FWS Armory article.


Free-fall and Low-Gravity Scenarios
The lack of gravity or even a low-gravity environment would influence many aspects of gunfights inside the pressurized cabins. It is gravity that mount foots to the floor, braced against the gun's recoil and its gravity that grab and pull the hot spent brass down.

Recoil Management
Recoil is the most over-appreciated problem people might associate with firing a gun in freefall. The truth is that gun recoil, in terms of momentum, is pretty minuscule compare the combine mass of shooter and the gun. It is easy to calculate the backward velocity the shooter acquire by multiplying the bullet mass with its muzzle velocity dividing by the sum mass of the shooter, gun and yet unused ammo. For example: a 38 Special has a mass of 9.5gr and muzzle velocity of 900m/s, divide the multiply by 80Kg of fully armed security guard will results in one guard slowly drifting 0.1m/s backward when fired.
All of this, of course, is purely theoretical scenario where someone in zero G caught in midair when bullets are flying and tries to return fire. There is no tactical advantage for such indoor space fighting leap of faith maneuver, giving the confine space those spaceships and station are likely to have the smart move is try to take cover by held one of the many handles the walls are covered with one hand and brace yourself to the wall similar to a military prone position while using the other hand to shot at your enemy. Such position the shooter present a much smaller target to hit while the anchoring keep him in place and not drifting away from the recoil. In such scenarios, a handgun will preferable compare to long gun as it could be used one handed. An revolver is better than a traditional autoloader handgun since it could be easily used by either hand without spent cases ejected in the shooter face and with the ability to clear dud round by pulling the trigger again while autoloader will required both hands.

Spent Casings
The problem of hot brass spewed at one own face or your comrade face isn't anew, it is one of many factors tested in any new gun trials especially back in the days of packed soldiers line and volley fire. One consideration the developers and users of territorial gun never had to trouble about is their spent cases floating all over the place! Such luxury isn't the case with hot brass in weightlessness, a case will be ejected from the ejection port and keep on going till it hit something or someone where it bounce and continue floating randomly across the room as Newton said when he laid down the law.  Such cases are more than just a nuisance to be cleaned up after the gunfight, the metallic cases could be wandering and be caught into and inside some important machinery or short circuit some electronic.
Depending on how hardened the space habitat support technology it might be wise to contains the cases from leaving the gun. Brass catcher came to mind as an ad hoc solution till you realize that the catcher relied on Earth gravity to settle the cases in the catcher bag, I leave it to the reader ingenuity to think of some one direction value that allows the cases to be ejected to the bag but prevent the floating cases to return back toward the ejection port. Caseless ammo could pull the trick if such technology could ever be reliably and cheap back on Earth which at the moment doesn't seem to be the case (pun intended of course).
The answer may lie in rather ancient tech – the wheel gun. Empty cases and dud rounds aren't ejected after each shot but discharged at reload and it possible to configure revolvers to have quick removable and replaceable cylinder that could be swapped the empty with fresh one. The cylinder could be reusable with chambers for regular cartridges or disposable cylinder with factory preloaded bullets, charges and primers. Either way an empty cylinder is easy to grab and return to the vest pouch or find during the aftermath clean-up when six or more empty cases aren't.   

Bullets' Fragments 
As stated in the “Not to Disintegrate” segment above, it be wise NOT to use any ammunition that tends to break and shatter into fragments if the round misses its intended target. When consider both the requirement of not over-penetrating and the need for the projectile not to fragment into pieces most of the frangible ammo is off the table with the exception of bean bags rounds that in essence a small load of buckshot enclosed in a small flexible material.



Thermal Convection
One of main mechanism of heat removal and cooling is the natural convection. A warm body in a cooler surrounding fluid will warm the closer layer of the fluid via thermal conduction.  The slightly warmer layer will be less dense than the rest of the ambient fluid and thus lighter and by bouncy will rise upward taking with it the body energy and exposing the body to new cooled fluid to continue the process once more.
Such phenomena is greatly depended upon gravity, the weaker the gravity the less heat is removed by convection and at freefall heat can removed from object only by slow conduction and thermal radiation. The absence of gravity is a factor in everyday life aboard the ISS, from compatible ambient temperature for the inhabitants to force convection fans for electronic racks. It will also be a consideration when choosing what guns to use in such environments. Whenever gun is fired it will heat very fast and very hot and it will takes a considerable longer to cool down.
Naturally Null-G gun users will gravitate toward low rate of fire and small ammo capacity guns as any repeatable fire will dangerously heat up the gun. Any expose metal parts will be covered with heat shielding and barrel shroud. This means that your portable mini-gun or reaper gun is ruled out. The danger of cartridge cook-off in the firing chamber will be worry at any case of close bolt firearm. This could eliminate the use of caseless weaponry due the much higher danger off thermal cook-off as H&K found during the development of the G11. The natural candidate again for such constrains is, once again, the revolver. The cartridges are kept in the cylinder and not waiting in some firing chamber to cook, it has low ammo capacity and low ROF, but likely more than enough to end the fight before the gun's parts start melting and it much more resilient to high temperatures and rapid heating than its autoloaders counterparts.
                             
Coriolis Effect
Currently there are only two methods of generating artificial gravity.  The first one is to constantly accelerate your spaceship toward your destination about half of the way, then flip turn the ship 180 degrees and constantly decelerate the craft to a halt at the destination. Whatever acceleration the ship performs is the amount of artificial gravity the inhabitants will experience onboard. Such vessels are call Torchships and their drive is calls Torch drive. Sadly, while the technologies that allows a ship drive to produce constant acceleration close to Terran 1g level are within known science they are still appear to be off the table for a long way to come. Of course, it couldn't applied to space stations or terrestrial colonies on the surface of low gravity bodies, like an asteroid mining facility.
A simpler approach is to spin a segment or all of the spaceship or space station around an axis at a constant spinning rate to make, via centrifugal force, an artificial gravity on the inner walls of the rotating canister where the “up” direction is toward the axis and the “down” is away from. The magnitude of the gravity is determined by two factors: the spin rate, which is uniform everywhere in the spinning segment of the ship or station and the distance one is from the axis. Therefor to produce uniform value of gravity that is identical to the inhabitants and perpendicular to the floor, a spin gravity dictate the habitat to shape along circular geometry: ring, cylinder and torus. 
Mostly, the spin gravity is identical to the real one. Sure, you have variation in the gravity if change your distance from the axis when you climb a ladder and such but since the living space is arranged circularly that usually unnoticed. Another thing that difference from real gravity is the influence of the Coriolis Effect. Whenever a body moves in the rotating set of reference perpendicular to the spinning axis it will experience strange drift aside perpendicular to its velocity. The magnitude of the force for a given spin rate will be determined only by the body velocity in the rotation plane which mean that a stationary body won't feel it.
The direction of the force will always be perpendicular to velocity and pointing to the opposite side of the rotation direction. In plain terms, any object traveling in the rotation plane: up(toward the axis), down(from the axis), Westward(spinward) or Eastward (counterspinward) will seem to be caught in unfelt tornado winds, one that its axis parallel to the ship or station rotation axis but reversed in direction. For upward movement the body will drift spinward, for downward movement a drift counterspinward, for spinward it be downward and for counterspinward it be upward.
Moving objects parallel to the spin axis will drift too, the motion parallel on be effect but the object still fall down to the floor cause by the artificial gravity and will drift counterspinward like an object dropped down. Normally here on Earth we neglect Earth rotation and the influence of Coriolis Effect when it comes to firearms' ballistics since Earth complete a revolution every 23 hours, 56 minutes & 4 seconds. When launching projectiles inside a rotating can which revolve several time a minute such force couldn't be written off. The key factor determine the bullet curved trajectory is the ratio between its velocity relative to the surrounding (muzzle velocity initially) to the shooter velocity relative to observer outside of the spinning set of reference. Since the shooter is traveling with the rest of spinning ship or station his speed is the rim velocity. If the shooter is facing toward the spin direction, spinward, the bullet will suffer greater bullet drop than the felt gravity should inflict. When the shooter turn back and fire counterspinward the bullet will gain a 'lift' thank to Coriolis, for a velocity ratio of 1 the bullet will fly in a close circle around the rotation axis with constant distance from the floor till eventually air drag will rob the bullet's energy and it slowly decent to the floor. Shooting upward toward that ladder climber the shooter ought to aim slightly counterspinward or keep missing as the bullets drift spinward. In contrast, the climber need to aim spinward to hit the shooter at the bottom of the ladder. Such drift could create some bizarre circumstances:
If the ladder is inside narrow tube as one inside the station's spokes the drift will drive the two shooters' bullets hitting the tube walls instead each other.
If the station designers bless it with circular corridors and you have a tango up spin barricade you could shot counterspinward and your bullets will complete a full round and bite the enemy in the rear! If an enemy is placed on a platform directly overhead a shooter at ground level can aim spinward to land bullets on his head, the enemy can also hit you by fire spinward too. Such opportunistically trajectories greatly depends upon that velocity ratio and clear field of view and firing that doesn't really exist in small space stations and always never in spaceships. For the rim velocity to be in the magnitude if typical gun bullets, which are in the hundreds of meters per second the space station should be in the range of couple hundreds meter in radius, for a O'Neill Cylinder 8km in diameter rotating once every two minutes the rim velocity is 200 m/c, comparable to slow sub sonic-pistol ammo, if the bullet is very aerodynamic and fired counter spinward it will cruse a significant path above the ground before falling. Every shot against a tram running parallel and close to the axis or shot down one slowly falling Captain John Sheridan will have to account this drift too. 
   
Pure Oxygen Atmosphere
Here on good ole Terra, we breathe an atmosphere compose of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and less than 1% of additional gasses in one atmosphere pressure or 1 Atm. Such a breathing mix might be apply to future space station, planetary basses and spaceships as it currently used in the ISS previously used onboard the American Space Shuttles and all of the Soviet/ Russian spacecrafts and space stations. But, other atmospheric mixes had been used by NASA: all of the spacecrats prior to the Space Shuttle were pressurized with 0.2Atm pure Oxygen and the Skylab station used 0.3Atm with 25% Nitrogen and 75% Oxygen.
An Oxygen-rich low pressure reduce the mass of the air carried to orbit and the reduce pressure allows reducing the craft structural integrity, further lowering its mass.
A lower pressure also minimize the pressure leakage and reduce the mass losses overtime.
The use of pure oxygen atmosphere have additional advantages, using one component atmosphere eliminate the need to carry and store two separate gas tanks on-board and eliminate the need of complex gas mix regulator and sensor constantly measuring the atmospheric make-up.
Since current soft spacesuits use pure oxygen, any EVA will require the astronaut leaving a Nitrogen-Oxygen breathe mix to preform long pre-breathing to purge the Nitrogen from his/her blood or risk suffering the decompressing sickness (also known as diver sickness or the 'bends'). Astronauts aboard ISS or the Shuttle need more than an hour of pre-breathing. When using pure Oxygen inside the habitat that all pesky pre-breathing is unnecessary.
Another advantage, Nitrogen is very rare outside of planet Earth, only Saturn's moon of Titan is known to have large quantities of it. Oxygen, on the other hand, is abundant everywhere, Lunar regolith is half by mass Oxygen and easy to extract by baking the regolith to high temperatures. Shipments of Oxygen from Lunar surface or asteroids to replenish ships' and stations' accumulated slow air losses or provide ever-grow space civilization is much easier than pull Nitrogen from Earth gravity well or hauling it from distant Titan. With those great advantages come serious disadvantages, first among them is the flammability issues of even barely flammable material socket inside such a pure Oxygen bath.
The fanatic over exaggerate fear of pure Oxygen atmosphere is rooted in the horrible 1968 Apollo 1 accident where while ground testing a fire broke in the pure Oxygen environment of the capsule burning the three astronauts alive. It is a common misconception that NASA switch to Nitrogen-Oxygen mix as a result of the accident, in fact the Apollo Program continued to use pure Oxygen air till the last mission, Apollo 17 and use mix on the ground, switching to pure oxygen on the rocket ascend to orbit.
Another misconception is that the Apollo 1 inferno is solely the fault of the pure oxygen atmosphere, the reason the fire break out and burned the astronauts alive is caused by the ground testing conditions. The lunar command module was over-pressurized to 1.2Atm in order to check the module tolerance to 0.2Atm pressure gauge it will endure in space. The combination of 1.2Atm of pure oxygen and the full gravity of Earth that induce convection currents feed the flames with oxygen and remove the carbon dioxide created the perfect storm that consume the module and the astronauts. A low pressure pure Oxygen is still dangerously flammable though, the air contains as much Oxygen molecules as Earth atmosphere but without the damping effect of the inert Nitrogen any flame ignited have the potential to evolve to major fire. A future spacefaring civilization might chose to switch back to pure Oxygen environment cause of all those listed advantages and bite the bullet of greater flammability. Speaking of bullets; the nature of the atmosphere will shape the requirements and specification the firearms will design to operate in such conditions.
In such an atmosphere, the danger of muzzle flash, the unburned gunpowder residues, will force the installation of silencer mount to any gun. Hot brass pose anther ignition source and brass catcher have to be attach to any autoloader or use of revolvers instead. The lower air pressure will reduce the natural convection heat transfer, the guns will heat up very fast and will takes longer time to cool down. Any expose metal part should be cover in the equivalent of full body barrel shroud that prevents any contact between the hot metal to any flammable material if the gun dropped or fall down. Two unexpected perks of the lower pressure; firstly sound transfer reduced by the lower air density and with combine with the obligatory silencers eliminate the need of hearing protection. Second; the lower air density, a fifth of Earth sea level, meant that the air drag is also approximately fifth of what the bullet face in normal Earth air. Most if not all of the special purpose cartridges designed for reduced hull penetration and reduce over-penetration have terrible aerodynamic properties. A lower pressure cabin will allows such types of ammo lower velocity drop and larger ranges beyond their Earth bound specification.
                     
Gunpowder contamination of human and life support
The living in closed life support environment mean that the inhale one takes was previously been someone else exhale (better brush those teeth! In such circumstances, polluting the air with gunpowder burning byproducts or unburned gunpowder residue could endanger the habitat's dwellers or the air recycling systems. The most dangerous of gunfire products is carbon monoxide (CO), a small amount of the gas is enough to poisoning human by bounding with blood hemoglobin. Several incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning in closed indoor firing ranges have reported and at least one report of battle field carbon monoxide poisoning is known during the Korean War when the accumulate CO produced by American bomb shells on North Korean bunker results in death from CO poisoning.
There is little to no available information about CO effect on the common air replenish systems used for space applications. It is likely that expendable chemical carbon scrubbers could scrub carbon monoxide as effective as they remove carbon dioxide. More advance systems like Sabatier reactor might be sensitive to CO and other gunfire products and may require to flash out the air to space after the gun firing was over as standard protocol onboard modern spacecrafts and stations when dealing with fire scene clean up. Minimize the air contamination will be prime necessity when designing the firearms, the best solution will be the totally enclose piston cartridges as any gunpowder product will be bottled inside of the spent case. Those spent cases will be later remove from the scene for safe disposal. In other cases, a suppressed revolver with special silencer shape filter mount on the muzzle will filter out the dangerous components from the muzzle flash while allows the bullet to exit at the other end. Those filters, like the spent totally enclose cartridges, will be disposed of after the battle.
         
The Colt Shields Revolver
From 1968 to 1972, there were no less than 130 American airliners were hijacked and routed to foreign airfield by individuals armed with hidden knives or guns with often fully loaded passenger planes. This time period was called the "Golden Age of Hijacking".The reasons various for the hijacking varied from political stance to ransom money. Cuba was the destination of choice for most of them as it was the nearest hostile to US landing site and it was pictured in the dazed minds of many of the hijackers as the “perfect social worker paradise”.
The airline company that toke the lion share of those hijacks was Miami-based company named Eastern Airlines. Eastern had no less than 45 of their aircraft hijacked, 27 in 1972 alone. The company launched expensive and extensive security program and the manager of operational security, a man name John Edward Shields, was instated to provide full corporation with the FAA and their newly Sky Marshal program. Mr. Shields wasn't supportive to say at least, he believed that the best place to stop a evil-doers was on the ground with security screening stops rather than a high altitude shootouts. Shields was also vocal regarding the quality of the men drafted to the Sky Marshal roles or more precisely their lack of quality… listed reports of Marshals dropping their revolver or even forget their service weapons in the plane or airport restrooms. Eventually, the FAA pressured Eastern Airlines, like other airliner companies, into cooperative understanding and Marshals boarded Eastern planes.
Mr. Shields, however had a plan B, he made while trying to hold the FAA Marshals out, if armed men are needed on the planes, they be Eastern finest: the aircraft's pilot and co-pilot, not the FAA Marshals. He turn to Colt firearms company in a request to develop a specialized handgun to arm the two crew members with specific requirements for the gun. Mr. Shield’s laid out that ammunition should not penetrate the plane fuselage, ricochet or over-penetrate the target(s).
To avoid any malice use on board, on the airport grounds,or at pilots’ houses, the gun and ammo would be separated; one pilot carry the revolver without the cylinder and the other the “revovlerless” cylinder. The gun would have been assembled at the cockpit when the two crew members were together and then locked in a onboard safe to be used when if ever needed. The revolver couldn't be loaded with a regular cylinder from a similar firearm and vice versa - the cylinder is useless without its revolver, das if any of them is stolen or taken from either of the pilots they can't be used.
Colt directed the interesting requests to one of their subsidy companies: Colt Technik of Jericho, New York. Colt Technik converted small number of Colt revolvers to test prototypes mules.
 While firm numbers are unknown, at least three prototypes are known. Trooper MK III and Lawman MK V were modified to accommodate a black six shot cylinder made out of plastic called Zytel. In each cylinder were six stainless steel inserts, each one of those inserts contain primer, gunpowder, sabot and a brittle projectile made of a kind of gypsum called Plaster of Paris (PoP). The projectile is too brittle to engage the barrel rifling so it rest on plastic sabot which latch to the rifling instead. The inserts are firmly placed in the cylinder and can't be replace individually, loading and reloading the gun was done by replacing the all used cylinder with fresh one. Among the changes made the most notable is the absence of the ejection rod, as no spent cartridges are needed to be ejected the rod was trimmed completely. That trimming is even more distinguish in the case of the Lawman MK V conversion as it had a nice under barrel rod cavity left empty. The guns were tested and indeed, the brittle PoP projectiles found to be suited to the task, they could easily penetrate into human body and fragment without over penetration and stray shots shuttered when hit aircraft aluminum walls. Technik submitted their designs, manufacturing drawing and test results to Colt. However, Colt never delivered any of those guns to the airline. The Eastern Airlines board of directive, after convinced to allowed sky marshals to board Eastern airplanes, found no point in arming and training their pilots to prevent hijacking when the airline company already paid the marshal salary while losing the price ticket of the chair he sit in.
Colt latter tried to sell the concept of designated swappable cylinders as a less-lethal weapon for Law Enforcement and civilians, with the PoP bullets were replaced by rubber “riXng” bullets. Colt’s attempt, however, never bear fruit and the all idea of swappable cylinders revolver was scrapped. Number of converted revolver and cylinders were later sold to private gun owners and retailers. One interesting plot twist is that whenever one of those guns surface for sell it is labeled as “Sky Marshal” or “Air Marshal Revolver”. To the best of my research efforts, I doubt if Colt ever proposed the gun to any air/sky marshal program domestic or foreigner.
It is likely that the name was part of creative gun retailer marketing strategy to associate the strange gun with the well-known Air Marshals.
John Edward Shields pass away a few years ago and it is almost certainly that he was aware of the name attached to “his” gun. It is likely that John wasn't pleased with the idea that the gun that he set the develop and deploy to keep the Sky Marshals out of Eastern Airlines planes had been rebranded as “sky marshal” or “air marshal” revolvers. According to Technik founder and CEO, Mel Zaid, the gun or project never had a proper name, only number designations. There is also no clear reason to believe Colt ever gave it a name after their client turn their back on further funding. I propose a proper name to this interesting Colt revolver and I hope it will somehow stick. I'm suggesting that the name “Colt Shields” be the honoree name to these revolver, since I think Mr. Shields, a decorated USMC aviator, who serve in both WW2 and Korea, and his initiative are deserve to be heard and remembered.
                                 
Pressurized Environments Cartridges
Under that loose term of “Pressurized Environments cartridges” every cartridge that either issued to or developed for armed individual to be used inside a plane, either air/sky marshal or armed airliner crew member, in order to deter or stop mid-flight violent behavior be listed below.

Super-Vel
The first US Air Marshals, or Sky Marshal as they called back then, were drawn from the ranks of the Treasury Department and U.S. Customs and Border Protection with the guns and ammo of those newly minted Marshals would carry the same guns: the then new snub nose .38 Smith & Wesson Model 60. The cartridges that were loaded into the S&W Model 60 was also new stuff, the .38 Super-Vel. The Super-Vel was the invention of one man, Lee Jurras, who combined the finest gunpowder available with light weight hollow point aluminum bullet. The result was the handgun projectile with a muzzle velocity of 1200 fps, slightly above the speed of sound, and with conjunction of the expandable nose tip provided great stopping power with minimal risk of over-penetrating of the target. The stray bullet, however, had no difficulty to cut a hole thru the plane skin or interior partitions. So much so, that the co-pilots, according to Stephen Rustad, jokingly suggest that if the need arise to shot toward the cockpit direction to keep missing to left side of the cockpit where the pilot set.
The Air Marshals nicknamed the Super-Vel cartridges as” Jets” but not just because they boarded and defended jet planes. During the lone and extensive training in that the range, the Marshals noted the distinctive sound of the new cartridge. As if the supersonic crack the potent .38 Super-Vel made sound like a jet engine make when an airplane lifts off.



Glaser Safety Slug
The Glaser safety slug is a frangible bullet. The bullets hollow head contains small birdshots plugged by polymer ball at the bullet tip. Several calibers available and the two possible sizes of the birdshots are indicated by the color of the bullet's tip: blue or silver.
The frangible structure of the bullet is deigned the break and fractured inside the target body deliver its full kinetic energy without over penetration.
In case of miss, the Glaser Safety Slug is less likely to ricocheting when the round hits a hard surface.For such reasons, the Glaser is ideal for operation in tight and crowded spaces and conditions as the danger to bystanders is minimal. Although not developed in mind for air marshal usage, the US Federal Air Marshall adapted and carries those rounds during the 70's & 80's. The preferred caliber was .38 special as back then the Marshals still carry those compact revolvers.
The cartridge was replaced sometime in the late 1980's with some unknown conventional hollow point round as those were much cheaper than the Glaser.

Speer Gold Dot .357
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, the US FAM program ranks were dwindle down after decades of stillness to as low as 33 Air Marshals. Their guns and ammo were basically unchanged since day one of service, a snub nose revolver in the .38 Special. And then came the events of September 11th, came and change everything. The FAM was pumped with more expansive budget, manpower, and new management. The FAMs were issue a new gun, the compact Sig Sauer P229 that was paired with the SIG developed and unusable .357 SIG caliber. This may seem like an odd choice that is made clear if you examine who was task with this rapid built-up of the now-vital Federal Air Marshal program: Thomas Dewey Quinn…a former Secret Service agent. Quinn was assigned the job of FAM director and the influence of his the years under Secret Service are fully on display with, among other things, in the weapon selection: the P229 was the standard handgun of the Secret Service. The cartridge used by the Marshals in their P229s is Speer Inc. Gold Dot .357 SIG 125 grain bullet.

The Bingham Ltd; Devastator 22LR
The Devastator was a cartridge produce by a small cottage manufacturer named Bingham Ltd from Norcross, Georgia. The mostly forgotten company specialized in drilling bullets heads and filling them with miniature canisters of explosive lead Azide making them to explosive bullets. The Devastator was the name of their explosive tip 22LR. The round was intended for vermin control and small game, the tiny explosive purpose was to fragment and mushroom the bullet upon entry into the target inflicting damage similar to larger calibers, or so Bingham Ltd ammo was advertised. The company and the round were almost totally forgotten if not one incident. On March 30, 1981, John W, Hinckley Jr attempt to assassin President Ronald Reagan using a Röhm RG-14 .22LR loaded with six Devastator rounds. Hinckley fired all the six rounds at President Reagan, but he was hit by a ricochet bullet that didn't explode.
Only one of the rounds explode, the one that hit White House Press Secretary James Brady, who survived a head shot from that so called Devastator round (albeit Brady remained permanently disabled from the shot). When interviewed days later, Sandy L. Brygider, head of Bingham Ltd, he claim among other things that the Devastator was designed for “Sky Marshals”. There is no evidence supporting Brygider claim and it appear that it was more of Brygider's attempt to whitewash the fact that Bingham Ltd products were just used in attempt to take down a president. Brygider claim, however, did forge the myth that FAMs were issued Devastator rounds.

The MBA; Short-Stop
 MBAssociates is best known and remembered for their Gyrojet weapon system, a revolutionary small size rocket ammo. Less known are their less-lethal family of products. One member of this family is the Short-stop, a miniaturized beanbag compressed and loaded into .38 Special cartridge. When fired, the bag is engaged with the barrel's rifling that spins it up, when leaving the muzzle, the centrifugal forces unfold the bag and increase its diameter and the air drag, the increased air drag slows the bag very rapidly. As result the Short-stop bullet have effective lethal range of 15 meter ( 50 feet) with further sharp decline in velocity and energy and the bag extended size and plasticity prevent it from penetrating wall or ricochet, the bag also wasn't intended to penetrate the target rather than deliver its kinetic energy as a deadly punch.
Although the Short-stop weren't developed with the Air Marshal market in mind, it become its only buyer. MBAssociates combine with Speer Inc. participant in U.S. Air Force trails in early 70's against Super-Vel (and maybe American Ballistics XAL?).
The Air Force specifically tested the cartridges penetration abilities against various airliner materials to evaluate the safety of using them in airliners. The Short-stop picked as the winner of the trial surpassing Super-Vel in accuracy and safety and chosen by the USAF to be issued its Mobility Airlift Command (MAC) aircrew members.
It isn't known what type of revolver the MAC aircrews were using.
When MBA decide to terminate their line of less-lethal armament in 1976, the Short-stop production was ended as well. There is no available information what cartridge the MAC was replaced the Short-stop with. It is also unknown if the current Air Mobility Command (AMC), which inherent MAC roles, aircrews are armed too and if they are, with what.         
   
American Ballistics; XAL
In the Early 1980's, American Ballistics, an American ammunition manufacture, produces and delivered an experimental hollow point cartridge for testing and evaluation trial for the US Air Force. The name of this cartage was XAL, an acronym for eXpanding Aluminum, reveals the material from which the bullet was made. Like the Super-Vels used by the Federal Air Marshals, the XAL were also a .38 Special caliber round and like the Super-Vels they relayed upon their low mass projectile to achieve supersonic muzzle velocity. Combined with the bullet large front cavity, the bullet would deform and flatten inside the body target and deliver all of its kinetic energy without the risk of over-penetration. About 1000 round batch delivered Eglin Air Force Base for testing. The relations with the former cartridge of the list, the MBA Short-stop, as well of the time table is a bit iffy. Both cartridges were .38 Special and the MAC was under the authority of the Air Force. Did the Air Force initiate a separate program parallel and separate to arm the pilots of other commands of the USAF? Did the XAL tested as a replacement to the Short-Stop? There were no clear answers to those questions. Whatever USAF intend was, the XAL was never adapted by anyone.     

Extreme Shock; Air Freedom (AFR)
Shortly after the September 11th Attacks, some companies rushed to capitalize the tragedy as with the given example of Air Freedom (AFR) cartridges, manufactured by the company called Extreme Shock. The AFR line of cartridges was based entirely on the idea of providing ammo that could take hijacker down without endangering the plane hull. All AFR bullets were hollow point filled with powdered Nytrillium and plugged with plastic cup. The powdered filling branded by Extreme Shock as Nytrillium was claimed to be sintered tungsten. The bullet is appeared to be frangible bullet similar the Glaser with different filling. The company went out of business in 2011, not before deployment of various calibers including some, like the 5.56x45mm NATO, that are most unlikely to be ever used onboard any airplane.         

The SP-8
The SP-8 (СП-8) was the only known cartridge specially designed for commercial airliners.
The cartridge was developed by КСПЗ, a Russian cartridges manufacture, by the order of the KGB in the early 80's. Back then at the long-range flights the pilots of Aeroflot, USSR national airliner, carried a Makarov PM locked in a safe in the cockpit, and onboard some international flights an armed plainclothes KGB agent was added. The cartridge is mostly hollow bullet variant of the standard 9×18mm Makarov PM cartridge. The projectile low mass and tendency the fragment upon impact was to insure no over penetration of airplane walls. Not much else is known of the cartridge, as far as my research went. Oddly, the current Russian government, like the previous one, still does not possess a dedicated Air Marshal program like the US and the question of whether or not the pilots of civilian Russians airlines are still armed is unknown as well. This is very odd considering the threat of terrorist aimed at Russian commercial airliners.

The Case for Space Boarding and Armed Boarding Parties
It is a common trope in many space Sci-Fi for an armed boarding party to breaking into an enemy spaceship or space station from the airlock or by cutting thru the hull. These space boarders are carried to battle by specialized small vessels called “boarding shuttles” or “breaching pods”. Common as the trope is, it is very difficult to justify it when consider the realities of space travel and space combat. Space is big…really-really big, and any fire exchange between spaceships will be conducted at a mind blowing distances. In such distances, even light may take seconds to minutes to cross the gap, making positioning the other ship uncertain. Any weapon used, be it missiles, railgun slugs or DE beams, ought to be fast to hit the target without been dogged by target ship’s evasive maneuvering or intercepted by point defense system. In this scenario, boarding parties that lack teleporter technology, are expected to cross the gap between the two battling warship rapidly and safely traverse the gap while carry the human payload back AND expected to slowly decelerate to halt when nearing the enemy ship, who shooting and maneuvering the entire time. Open season much? On top of that, if the target spaceship propulsion drive is nuclear, the ship’s own reactor is a deadly point defense system. Approaching that ship from anywhere other the nose direction will dose the boarding team with danger amount of radiation.
There are three possible scenarios of spaceborne boarding: brazen, stealth & or-else. The first is the most common in Sci-Fi, the brazen boarding is the space equivalent of brazen robbery, in mid-combat, when missiles flying around the daring ship ram its opponent, breaching the way for space marines to step and board the enemy ship (as seen in Arcadia of My Youth) . Sometime the ramming is done by the ship dispatching several small shuttles or pods each carry a small number of marines to achieve the same goal.
The second method is the stealth boarding tactic. The ship is quietly approaching the target without alerting anyone and latches on to the target vessel. The boarder will then start to cut into the ship skin to open their way inside. The problems with those two methods are clear; space is a sensor-friendly environment as well as weapon friendly. There are no obstacles like rain or horizon to block line of sight or line of fire. Making through the gap between the two warships without noticed is nigh impossible, so there is no change of stealthy docking. The brazing closing pods are also not good. Any ship in combat worth its salt, could track the incoming pods and either maneuver away from them or blowing them out of the water, or likely both. Bye-bye space Vikings.
Before unveil the third approach to boarding, it is important to examine the reasons one might need to board another spaceship. Destroying the enemy ship is the least plausible reason, there is little an armed space marine could use to damage a warship than a nuke or kinetic slug couldn't do better, faster, cheaper and without danger human life (other than the humans in the ship you shot at, obviously). If, at the end of the space battle, the enemy ship is too damaged to repel boarding pods, it can't protect itself from other types of weapons either. If you want to destroy the crippled enemy just spare one more round and close the deal, or paraphrase Eli Wallach: "If you want to shot, shot! Don’t board!"
Stealth boarding for destruction purpose also doesn't make sense, if a ship can close the distance to its enemy undetected it can also leave without notice. If the ship can latch itself to the enemy, it could also latch a remote detonate nuke to the enemy ship body and sneakily get out of the blast radius before pushing the bottom. Second reason is to cripple the enemy ship without destroying it and/or kill its crew. If for whatever reasons the objective is to damage enemy ship so it couldn't fight or change trajectory, it is possible to do so: damaging the engine heat radiators or puncturing propellant tank etc. None of those methods need any boarding parties involved. If the enemy ship could defended itself from boarding pods it isn't crippled enough and required more shots to pound it to dust and if it is so damaged it can't stop boarding pods that ship could be marked as disabled and mission accomplish, and in such case why sent anyone there?
If a stealth ship objectives is disabling the enemy it could do so by placing small explosive charges instead of a big nuke next to the enemy ship's crucial parts before sneak out, achieving the objective without messy boarding.
The third reason is to grab hold on the ship itself or something valuable the ship carries, be it may some important HVT or data in the ship's memory banks (has seen in the Wing Commander film), but all boiled down to this: the ship should not be harm (too much) and someone have to board into it to retrieve that something or someone. The problem begins as the first major step prior to boarding is crippling the target so it couldn't resist the boarding, if the motive for boarding is the value of the boarded ship and the boarder value the ship more than its scrap metal price any damage inflicted to the target to make boarding possible also diminish the target value and the justification for boarding in the first place.
Also, if the ship crew is dedicated to defend whatever the boarder desire and ready to fight to the last man standing and  they will not hesitate to push the self-destructed bottom to take the boarding team down with them; depriving them of their prize. No matter how fast and efficient your boarding party is - you will never outrun someone hand to the red bottom. And of course, some of the potential boarder's prizes could be eliminated without blowing your own ship: shot the hostages or prisoners; delete the top secret data from the computer memory and such.
Last motive for space boarding is tidally locked to the third method of boarding. Stealth in space is almost impossible, everyone sees everyone… up to a point or more accurate up to a ship hull. Studying ship engine output emissions will reveal the engine thrust and couple with the ship acceleration reveal the ship approximate mass. That data for itself is useless; a space hauler might carry its declared cargo of iron ore or weapon grade Uranium. The properties of inanimate cargo are difficult to tell from a far and when it comes down to the identity of the people on board or their motives, save some magic Star Trek sensors the content of a spaceship could be a mystery unless it will be boarded and inspect. A space fleet place a blockade on enemy planet or space station might allowed some humanitarian aid arrived to that planet or station but need to block any weapon or troops shipments, without a boarding team inspecting the vessel there will be no way to tell. Atomic Rocket has a great webpage devoted to future quasi-military organizations, the outer space equivalents to coast guard, customs, etc. All basically relays on boarding civilian ships for search and inspection, similar to modern coast guard day-job activity.
That is the last method of boarding, the or-else approach, and armed spaceship part of “the authorities” either standard military or quasi-military is in the interest of board and inspect a civilian vessel. The armed spaceship contact the civilian one and demand, politely first and shot across the bow if needed, that the civics are to be boarded and resistance is futile at best or disastrous at worst. Such or-else scenarios are the most plausible spaceborne boarding might take, when two ships one outgun and out-maneuvering the other and by threat of brute force convey the would be boarded ship to match trajectories and quietly let a space equivalent of ship boat to dock to the airlock and allow the boarding party enter in.
Such party ought to be armed, if a ship dispatch men to examine a ship is suspected of been hijacked which its passengers are hostages sending those men unarmed might confirm that suspect by providing the hijacker/s with additional hostages and a fully fueled runway shuttle. Even if the ship captain and crew cooperate at (ship mounted) gun point they might play with the idea of taking the boarding party members hostages and negotiate with the sending ship for their release if the think the boarder ship captain value his people life high enough. A gun must be holster to every member of the party to remind the boarded ship crew and passengers who's the boss and a peaceful corporate with the law and author is preferable. In such circumstances, a weapon designed to operate in spaceship pressurized cabins is desire as the boarder don't want to inflict any unnecessary damage to the ship and any non-involved bystander.
                                                                   
Other Potential Users of Pressurized Environments Firearms

Star/Space Marshals
The future equivalent of modern time sky and air marshals, the Star Marshals or Space Marshals will board a civilian spaceliners in plainclothes disguised as regular passenger or crew member to deter spacejackers and if needed, shoot down any hijack attempt. These Space Marshals “guns” will likely be similar those of today's Marshal as well, being a compact concealed handgun with its ammunition will selected to minimize the danger to the crew, passengers and the expensive vessel.

Security and Military Police
Spaceships, space stations, colonies & mining operation bases; all needs some level of armed security force to keep the law and order in check. Even military installations like ships, stations and bases need military police to enforce the order and break all those bar fights between officers. In most cases, those guns will be holstered and carry openly to recognized the man or woman as a member the local law enforcement at the scene and insure cooperation. In some cases, a luxury cruise spaceship for example, the guns will be stored in ship's vault like in modern cruise ship only to be issued to trained crew members in emergency or when Mangalores attack. 

Starjackers and Pirates
The evildoers of the future will their enjoy piece of the action with such purposely build PHF as those guns will enable them to control over (hopefully for them) unarmed crew and passengers of civilians spaceships without endangering their prize ship and hostages, not to mention the shooter’s own life. In the case of starjackers, those guns ought to be easily concealable and able to pass under the scrutiny of the sensors of spaceport security if the hijackers hope to board with the guns in their possession. In case of space pirates, if someone built his universe (like Leiji Matsumoto) in which the common recognized wet navy piracy could exist in outer space those pirates boarding tactics will be similar to the general boarding tactics discussed above and similarly the firearms those pirates boarding teams will likely be similar too.             

Interstellar Repo Men
Many of the advocates of space conquest and colonization, me included, believe that a true human presence in space will be achieved by embracing the principles of the free-market system and the pursuit of wealth. Private companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX and others lowing launch cost and open the door to private companies and individual rushing up to make their lucky strike. In such environment, some of the least pleasant practices of Terra might export to the stars as well. Say you are an individual or part of a small group in the interest of buying your first used spaceship to head on your way to get rich or die trying. Maybe you part of bunch of miners buying a prospecting ship to find that motherload ore deposit in the asteroids belt or maybe half of Maw & Paw business plan on open a hot-dog stand to serve the Mars colonists. Your group don't have enough cash to buy your dream spaceship, what can you do?
Enter the loaner, ranging from respectable bank to back alley loan sharks. There will be those, how are ready to temporary add their money to close that gap between what cash you have and the amount you need, you will return that sum of money with interest cause the loaner is like you… in the business of making money or he’ll break your legs.
Of course, the loaner isn't fond of losing either and that what new businesses and entrepreneurs are best at, most businesses fails and they can't or won't want to pay the lander to repay the loan. This futuristic space loaner, like his counterparts back on Earth, have a way around loses.
When the loan is done, the spaceship will be mortgage and serve as collateral in case of borrower defaults. If the borrower foreclosure, the ship will be repossess and sold by the loaner and if the mortgage is recourse debt type and the collateral sell does not cover the full value of the defaulted amount the borrower is now a debt slave, if not the borrower is “free” to try hitchhike his/her way back home as he or she rot as lurker in the slums sections of the space station. Given such lovely options, some borrowers would simply not turned their ship-home and livelihood back for repossession, but rather turn their transponder beacon off and giving the loaner run for their money out in the black.
For such case,s there are professionals for that task as well: the repossesses or Repo-man. These are the kind who take the efforts to go out and capturing the ship and if possible, its owner and bring them back to the loaner. Repos could be company employees or independent contractor hired by the loaner. Capturing the ship intact is prime objective for the repo-man as the loaner is interest in the ship aftermarket value and pays the repo fixed percentage of the collateral price. There may be ways to kill the borrower, without devalue the collateral, like enhance radiation bomb (aka neutron bombs) or particles beam that will dose the owner, cause he or she to die slowly while the ship hull slowly cool off radiation. Problem is that generally more trouble than it worth. Even if authorities are OK with civilian vessels are armed with death ray and N-bombs, which the likely wouldn't the dying owner of the ship can easily explode his ship to save himself from the slow agony radiation sickness and to have the last laugh as the repo watch his prize blows. A worst scenario is that the owner booby traps their ship to blow up when the landing party break in to the reclaim the collateral taking the prize and the landing team.
A debt defaulter might have the bright idea to avoid the repo ship and the mistakable notion that the repo can't do shit to the capture the ship without damaging the repo reward but that ain't so, there is a little thing that called “reputation”, a loaner might offer the repo a payment for blowing the collateral and the debt runner to dither future potential runner from giving the repos hard work. So, the foreclosed spaceship is going to be boarded similar to the or-else method described above and like the case of inspection boarding the repo boarding party will pack firearms to bring the owner or passengers into submission and cooperation with the repos.

Bounty Hunters
There are many similarities between repo-man and bounty hunters (we don’t need their scum!), both are payed to track and hunt their prize and bring it back with little harm as possible, preferably alive (no disintegrations!). The boundaries between the repos and bounty hunters blur if the debt defaulter sigh a recourse mortgage then the loaner wants both the collateral and borrower back intact as the ship resold in the repossession yard and the borrower have to find somehow a way to pay the rest of the loan. In any case, the bounty hunter ship like the repo ship method of operation is to force the target ship to allow a boarding party to board the ship and capture the target.
 
Explosive Decompression Myth in Popular Media
Tracking the origin of a common misconception or trope is generally not an easy task. Not so in the case of the case of explosive decompression, its potential causes and its outcomes. In 1964, Goldfinger, the epic third movie of the James Bond series (and one of the best in the entire series), hit the cinemas and it became a major cultural and financial successes. Two scenes from that memorable film gave birth to the airplane (and later spaceship) explosive decompression myth. The first occur when Mr. Bond is held at gun point by Pussy Galore in mid-flight, Bond point out that given the fire power of Ms. Galore's Smith & Wesson any bullet fired will go through him and the fuselage "like a blowtorch through butter" and as result "The cabin will depressurize and we'll be sucked into outer space together". The second occur at the movie climax when Bond and Goldfinger wrestling, with Goldfinger holding a gold-plated revolver and in the middle of the two men fight over the gun it fired and the bullet break one of the plane windows. Just as James warn Pussy earlier the rapid depressurized suck out the plane interior through the small window, James is manage to firm hold some of the plane's chairs but Goldfinger, despite his considerable weight, is lifted by the strong sucking and thrown against the window, after a short dramatic pause where Goldfinger's girth plugging the hole he been pressured out to “outer space”. The movie Goldfinger is the sole responsible for that engraved explosive decompression trope and it span and repeated endlessly afterward. The question then becomes is where the movie screen writers got their idea from?
Naturally, one need not look further than Ian Fleming's original novel Goldfinger for answers, the novel publish in 1959 and indeed, the fatal depressurized scene appear there, too. The details are a bit different though, when held on a plane by Oddjob, Goldfinger's Korean handyman, not at gun point but by Oddjob shear strength and toughness Bond contemplate how he could upper handed Oddjob. Bond has no weapon, save the small spring dagger concealed in his boot. Bond remembered an incident were a passenger were blown out of airliner window at 18,000 feet above Persia (now present day Iran) and that in the press conference it was claimed that the poor soul was “sucked out to outer space”. Bond use his small dagger to tear a hole in the window next to Oddjob not before he himself strap in, resulting in Oddjob thrown out of his chair and out of the plane in a rather dramatic fashion. Seem like a pure fantasy, but such an incident did actually happened.
On April 21, 1957 on an Air France Super Constellation flight from Tehran to Istanbul (not Constantinople) an 31 years old American name Jack Rodney Nash, who sat in the window seat, disappeared into the night as the window glass next to him shattered. According to some accounts Nash slept with his head lean against the window when it breaks. Combining with the fact that the seat was near the emergency door and those door's windows tend to be larger than regular plane windows all hint that Nash involuntary exit of the aircraft was more falling and pull of the air moving rather than “sucked out” via the pressure imbalance, but the newspapers did use the term of “sucked” and “outer space”. Fleming, who read those news reports incorporate the actual event into his novel and thus, the myth was born. 

Firearms and Cartridges of Submarine Crews
There are many parallels and similarities between spaceships and submarines; prime among those is the enclosed pressurized environments both kinds of vehicles contain. There is one major difference between those two types, a spaceship have to hold maximum of 1Atm of inner pressure against the vacuum of space, when a submarine is squeeze inward by water pressure of multi-Atmospheres. If the submerge vehicle use regular air mixture and not saturated atmosphere mixture it is the job of the sub's pressure hull to shield the vessel and crew from implosion. And it much worse than just the absolute pressure difference that a sub have to holds compere to a spaceship, the submarine pressure hull loaded with inward force from all directions face the danger of catastrophic buckling, if such thing occur the sub will implode in a mere seconds, the crew won't have the time a spaceship's crew have to take actions to save their live or the craft.
Luckily, the engineering constrains that dictates a thick and sturdy hull that handle the outside pressure can basically shrug of most of small arms bullets without harm. Nowadays, at least from the available information about US Navy submarines, the subs' crew carry various firearms including pistols, SMG & shotguns, for the intended purpose that is NOT to repel boarders or the arm the crew for boarding enemy submarines either or fighting off the kraken…such scenarios are nigh impossible.
Instead the weapons are stored in the sub armory vault and are used to arm the crew when the sub is docked in the harbor, it is the duty of sub crew to guard the submarine when enter, departure and docked in the harbor from any hostile. Another fairly bizarre armament the US subs carries in their armory vaults is older long guns in full power cartridges such as the M1 Garand & M14. It almost like the crew of the submarine go out hunting or something...Well, sort of hunting, accidentally in mid mission the crew enjoy a surface leave – the sub surface in the middle of the sea or break the ice in the North Pole and let the crew members to stretch their legs and breathe fresh air. If the sub surface in the middle of the sea the crew members could jump in for a swim, if it surface the ice for some running and games on the open ice fields. Both cases on the sub watch-tower stands one submariner with the scooped rifle and search for predators around who feels hungry for some Navy snacks, in the mid-sea it is sharks and polar bears in the poles.

Designing the Perfect PEF
Designing one “perfect” firearm to match the many different conditions and circumstances a shooter/warfighter could face within pressurize arenas is not an easy task and it a great deal a game of compromise between contradicting requirements and specs. As mention in the previous segments of the article, this boils down to a revolver platform. It could be used one handed like any handgun which suits perfectly any CQC situation, especially when fighting in zero-g where it beneficial to have one freed hand to grab a handle or ladder to fix the shooter leaning close to the wall. A revolver can clear dud rounds single handed unlike autoloader, it won't spew empty cases after each shot- only when it time to reload the cylinder.
Since revolvers cycle manually with trigger pulls, the cylinder is indifferent to chamber pressures and could be loaded with wide variety of ordnance various from anti-riots rubber bullets to armor piercing provide greater versatility in different situations and conditions.
Contrary to common believe, it is possible to suppress revolver if a proper gas seal is archived between the cylinder and barrel (known as 'cylinder gap') as in the case of the Russian Nagant M1895 revolver. Another option are revolvers designed for totally enclose piston cartridges. All those techniques used for silenced a revolver could be used to prevent cabin air contamination.
One mostly unknown revolver concept that may be seemly fit for PEF is the Cobray Pocket Friend revolver, a piece of crap gun that nevertheless has an intriguing layout. The revolver is a twin barrel over and under gun, the lower barrel chamber for 22LR and aligned with the lower chamber in the cylinder at 6 o'clock, the upper barrel chamber for .38 ACP and aligned with the upper chamber in the cylinder at 12 o'clock. The gun was sold with two cylinders, the one chamber for .38 ACP had three chambers and the one chamber for 22LR had 5. Both cylinders had a matching curved grooved on the cylinder curvature.
The revolver was double action trigger, per each pull of the trigger the cylinder rotate 120 degrees in the case of the .38 cylinder and 72 degrees in the case of the 22 cylinder. The doubled firing pin hummer hit both cylinders in the 6 and 12 o'clock positions but hit and ignite the right cartridge only when it aligned with it matching barrel. The Cobray is a break open revolver with swappable cylinders, unfortunately the removal and replacement of cylinders is anything but fast, and there were only those two cylinders supplied with the gun. A future design focus on fast ejection of spent cylinder when break open and easy insert of fresh cylinder combined with Shields' preloaded dispensable cylinders could results with the most versatile revolver possible, a handgun that can fire a range of various ammo types in two separate calibers and with the ability to be rapidly switched from one type of ammunition to another with mere swap of the cylinder.           


This is the Outer Space Future – Where is my Ray-Gun?
Some readers might object to the exclusion of Directed-Energy Weapon (DEW) options when designing my perfect PEF and it sure it is odd that any future scenario where deep manned space flight is ongoing and there is human presence off-world exist that the preferred gun of choice to those spaceship boarders are confided to old wheel guns, not so different from their ancestors of the Wild West of beloved Terra. Why an old technology to my mind more likely to dominate the highest frontier at the expense of modern or futurist firearms?

Personal Bias
I ain't gonna lie; I love the aesthetics of old lever action repeaters and revolvers. Something about the manual cycling of the gun have the feeling of more real and intimate connection between the flesh and the steel that the fancy autoloaders lacks. Those guns were also the guns used by lawmen and criminals, the hardened settlers and Native Americans at the conquest of the American West Frontier and I really like the symbolic correlation between the future conquests of space (the last frontier) to the American frontier of the past. Placing a revolvers in the hands of the pioneers who will step out to the stars to make them their own is a much appealing move.









Not all Technologies Scale Down Well
One strong objection to the rejection of DEW is the claim that any future civilian capable of harness the energies required for powering the interplanetary or interstellar spaceships will surely be away pass the weak chemical reaction driven projectile guns of the past in favor of some sort of personal energy weapon. That, however, is a false argument that doesn't consider one key aspect – some technologies are difficult or impossible to scale down from the spaceship level to the compact handgun size. Consider a modern example of nuclear submarine, its power source is the most advanced and compact nuclear electrical power plant that physics and engineering could produce.
However, the officer-in-charge of running the reactor (or 'Nuke' as he or she is called in the US Navy), if armed, would they be armed with plain pistol? Such pistol would most likely patterned after the long serving Colt M1911 .45 pistol or the M9 9mm, a century old gun layout. Its ammo are metallic cartridges, similar in nature to mid-19th century ancestors, which contains gunpowder not so different than the black powder the Chinese used to repel the Mongols with. Why the 'Nuke' not carry an atomic blaster? Thing is that atomic energy doesn't scale down too well, a nuclear reactor is run around the critical mass of the reactor's Uranium pile, reduce the fuel mass by half won't cut the reactor power by mass but simply cut off the nuclear process all together. And there is the shielding concerned of placing enough thickness of dense mass between the fuel and the user, easy to achieve with large reactor as the power output is increase by the cube law while the shielding mass only increase by the square law. Bottom line – even if you are stationed on an atomic spaceship with cutting-edge nuclear thermal rocket engines, that doesn't mean you could holster a ray gun to your belt.

If It's Not Broken…
The principle of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is to keep in mind whenever speculated and extrapolating about future technologies, slow and steady do win races. Many of the concepts we been examine in this article points towards underpowered guns and ammunition as the best choice to those who will carry arms indoors, when common gunpowder is more than enough to tackle threats and not endangering the bystanders or the vessel/station there is no justification to pour in R&D founds to crank up anything as outlandish as a blaster. 
       
Examples of Pressurize Environments Firearms Examples in Sci-Fi

Mr. Garibaldi’s .38 Revolver from Babylon 5 Episode “Grey 17 is missing”
In the Babylon 5 ‘verse there are no slug throwers in sight, all of the guns are plasma pistols or rifles. In 1996 episode "Grey 17 is missing (3x19)", the rationale behind the EarthForce decision to dump old fashion firearms and replace than with DEW is explain by none other than Michael Garibaldi.
Shortly after the station cut its ties with Earth and the Clark Government, Zack Allan noticed Garibaldi marveling his grandmother's Smith & Wesson. 38 Caliber revolver. Allan apparently never saw such antiquity outside of museums and Garibaldi schools Allan that EarthForce preferred the PPGs because those kills by "burn flesh" and won't punch a hole in the spaceships' pressurized cabins. According to Garibaldi, back on Earth, slug throwers are still in use for private security and practice shooting. It is also noted that although the PPGs of Garibaldi and other B5 security members are DEWs their structure and appearance is more street cop service revolver style, a fresh air after the Star Trek sanitized Phaser "Dust Buster" layout.

The TR-116 Rifle from ST: DS9 Episode  "Field of Fire"
In the Star Trek universe, both artificial energy damping fields and natural radiogenic particle environments are disruptive to the function of phasers. To allow its members to operate and fight in such circumstances, Starfleet R&D developed both the TR-116 rifle and later the regenerative phaser. The TR-116 is a rare example of chemically propelled slugthrower for Star Trek, the bullets were made of Tritanium, a fictional metal that been used to build from most of the Federation starships. The TR-116 were rejected in favor of the regenerative phaser which only mention but never seen on screen. 

The Lack of Slug-Throwers in the Star Wars Universe
Many have question the lack of bullets and normal guns in the Star Wars universe, especially consider how lousy those blasters everyone carry seems to be. Those blasted things can't hit anything, the “laser” bolts they fires race to the target slower than a primitive arrow, revealed the shooter where about like tracer and so on. Why the uber advanced species and civilizations of the SW galaxy do not use good old sluggers?! One non-canon fans theory is that, as the case with B5, the various species and societies of SW found that bullets are a hazard to all of the dwellers of the pressurized spaceships and habitats and settled with the blasters which apparently won't danger the cabins. I wonder how Jedi would fare against a hail of bullets?

The Accident with the Hadley’s Hope Weyland-Yutani Atmospheric Processor from ALIENS
The Atmospheric Processor from 1986’s ALIENS presents a unique example of the dangers of using and applying inappropriate ammo in the wrong environment. In an ironic twist, the processor whose purpose is process and convert unbreathable atmospheres of alien worlds to regular good Terran atmospheric standard air and eliminating the need in pressurize cabins is the victim of over-penetration ammunition.
When a platoon of Colonial Marines are dispatch to investigate the radio silence of a colony of Hadley's Hope on LV-426, they found out that the colony was overrun, but found no dead bodies to tell about the event. The Marines tracked the transponder beacons every colonist carry and find that the missing colonist are all gathered inside of the processor, not knowing that the processor was reclaim by the Xenomorph queen and transformed to a Xeno hive as the Marines steps into the processor.
When Ripley point out to the Lieutenant that the Marines' 10mm explosive-tip bullets could seriously damage the processor's cooling pipes that cool the processor's fusion reactor he order sergeant Apone to take his soldiers' pulse units from their M41A1 rifles and M56 smartguns and switch to flamethrowers instead. Both Vasquez and Drake, the M56 gunners, slip in a replacing pulse unit into their guns that they kept hidden in their pouch. When the Xenos assault the Marines, both Vasquez and Drake spray the Xenos with hot loads of 10mm bullets, taking a number of Xenos down, but in doing that damaging the reactor cooling system and set the time counting down to the processor nuclear explosion that would cover an area the size of Nebraska. 

The Federal Marshal Browning 2000 shotguns from OUTLAND
In the mining outpost of Con-Am 27 on the violent moon of Jupiter, there are no other firearms beside shotguns. The outpost Federal Marshals carries sawed off 12 gauge Browning 2000 shotguns and even the hitmen sent to hunt and silence Marshal O'Niel are issued with scoped version of the Browning 2000. The reason that the director, Peter Hyams, equips the Marshals and hitmen of the far-future with simple shotgun isn't a secret. The movie was set as a “space western” theme that liberally borrowed many themes from classic Western movies like High Noon. And if one wants a Western, you ought to have either revolver or shotgun or both.
In-universe explanation is that in the universe of Outland where vacuum cause humans to instantly pop like party balloons it is wise not to have any gun with capability to drill holes and let the evil-evil vacuum enter in. In one incident, when one of the two hitmen where drawn by spacesuited O'Neil to fire throw the greenhouse glass the shot left a single big hole, evidently caused by solid slug ammunition. The hitman didn't live long to regret his ammunition preference. The Outland novelization providers further detailed about those future shotguns. Those guns are similar to modern shotguns but have variable muzzle velocity selector enable the user to set the desirable muzzle velocity and penetration capability needed for the job.     

The Fall Train from Total Recall (2012)
The 2012 remake to 1990 Schwarzenegger movie feature a unique method of transportation between the two left reminisce of human civilization, a gravity train connects the British Islands with Australia via a tunnel that going way down into Earth mantle grazing the core. The Fall, as this train is called, is simply dropped at one end and fall down by its weight to the tunnel and Earth other side where it catches again. At the middle of the track when the train is closest to the core the passengers experience zero gravity for a few seconds.
The Fall and its Null G phase are the scene for a dramatic free fall shootout as Douglas Quaid spray bullets at the bad guys he simultaneously propel himself and Melina backward away of danger.
Quaid is using TDI Vector SMG, likely chamber of 45ACP, and holds 25 rounds with the extended magazine. Colin Farrell mass is 80 kg and Jessica Biel is 55Kg (according to Healthy Celeb website). Factoring in 45ACP bullet mass 230gr and nuzzle velocity 255m/s, a full mag damped should propelled the weightless couple to 10.8m/s. this is over simplify calculation neglecting the mass of the gun and ammo as each shot should propel back the yet fired cartridges but in that scene the two seem to driven by the recoil slower than this 10.8m/s. So, I would declare that as at least plausible if you ignore that such off the center of mass recoil should impart the two with both linear velocity and angular velocity make them tumbling in midair. 

The Limited Range Shotguns from The Forever War
In the final campaign of the Forever War at Sade-138, Major William Mandela task force were issue among many other technological marvels of future warfare with shotgun shells contains thousands tiny flechettes that can instantly kills up to range of five meters and turned to harmless vapor at six. It been used for close quarters ranges where the laser-fingers of the power suits are too dangerous to be used. Those shotgun shells are fired from the standard grenade launchers the UNEF soldiers are carry. 

The Robo Ammunition from Seveneves
All that remains of humanity 5000 years into the future are gathered in space stations orbiting Earth. The spacers replace the old bullets with smart robotic bullets called 'roboammo' that if missed the target it decelerate using little parachutes to prevent collateral damage. Those roboammo bullets don't relays on kinetic energy either, to counter any thick clothing or armor the roboammo can cruel and search to find weak points and latch to target deliver electric shock or tranquiller substance to knock off the target without killing him or her.
     
The Boarding of USS Benedict from ALIENS: Outbreak Dark Horse Comic
The span of time between ALIENS and ALIEN 3, the gap was fitted by Dark Horse Comics’ important follow-up limited Black-&-White series. This told the sad tale of two of the survivors of LV-426 massacre: Newt and Hicks. Due to his personal experience with the Xenos, Hicks is selected as the command staff of a dangerous mission to the Xeno homeworld via the advanced USCMC warship, the Benedict. Hot on the heels of the Benedict is the BioNational corporate ship, the K-104 commander by the psychopathic Massey. Using a traitor, the K-104 overtakes and boards the Colonial Marine vessel. During the briefing, Massey tells the PMCs of the K-104 to use “low-level blasters” for the “soft” targets…like equipment and the crew. He gives the explanation that despite the armored hull, an unlucky shot will rapture the hull. Sadly, Dark Horse Comics retconned this important comic, altering the names of the main characters to not conflict with the events of ALIEN3.

Next Time FWS Armory – Heading to the Black Void…Armed!
A question – what will SpaceX Mars colonists be armed with? A Musk-et! Yeah I know, tumbleweed moment. Regardless, the question of arming Astronauts or Cosmonauts is and will be an issue best think of and prepare for in the here and now. The rigors of outer space, in free fall out of the airlock or on the surface of Mars will stress humans and machinery alike. Designing guns for such daunting battlefields will be the topic of the next FWS Armory article: the EVA Guns!

Next Time on FWS...
In the aftermath of the popularity of Mobile Suit Gundam, came more titles centered around mecha like Super Dimensional Macross and Fang of the Sun Dougram. Each one of the works added more to the sub-genre of mecha and they themselves gave rise to new titles as well. With the success of the Dougram, the creative team and the same studio decided to embark on another wartime mecha anime TV series that became one of the most popular and influencial in anime history: Armored Trooper VOTOMS! In the next installment of Future War Stories of the East, FWS will finally be discussing this much requested title.