18 April 2015

The Weapons of Sci-Fi: The MORITA Rifle

In the original 1959 Starship Troopers novel, that became the founding literary classic of military science fiction, the powered armor wearing Mobile Infantry uses Atomic grenades and hand-held flamethrowers. There was no convention assault rifle, let alone the Morita, mention in original text that was prominently featured in the perplexing 1997 film adaptation. However, despite that fact, the Morita Rifle (especially the Mark I) has become one of the most popular and iconic weapons of science fiction. Here is everything and anything you wanted to know about the Morita Rifle.

Why is the Morita called "the Morita" and Was it in the Original 1959 Novel?
Unlike many sci-fi weaponry, the Morita has a proper name and that name is said in the film leaving no doubt about its identity (do you hear me Blade Runner?!). However, unlike many military weaponry, it has a Japanese last name that reminds most people of famed actor Pat Morita. In actuality, the Morita Rifle was named for the co-founder of Sony, Akio Morita. Sony Pictures released SST back in 1997. I've never been able to discover the genesis for the rifle being named for Mr. Morita...perhaps because of his involvement in some weapons development or as some weird tribute. When it comes to the original of the Morita Rifle, it was a complete construction of the 1997 film production and does not appear in Robert Heinlein's book...nor does any real rifle-based offensive weapon systems for that matter. Only weapons close in the SST world before the film was the "sci-fi" looking laser rifle of the 1976 Avalon Hill boardgame and the "standard rifle" of the 1987 Japanese OVA SST called "Uchu no  Senshi".

The Connection Between Total Recall (1990) and Starship Troopers (1997)
In the original 1990 Total Recall film, which is also directed by Paul Verhoeven, there is another bullpup brass-spitting rifle: the Federal Colony Soldiers' Muzzelite Carbine. Both the Morita Mk. 1 and that standard assault rifle of the Federal Colonies are made from the Muzzelite Bullpup Stock kit for the Ruger Mini-14. Both these futuristic firearms are designed based around Ruger Mini-14 rifles, however, both films had different armorers. 

The Morita Rifle Mk. I 
During the 1st Bug War, the Mobile Infantry and the Fleet use the iconic and (in)famous Morita Mk. I rifle that was the progenitor of the entire Morita family of MI firearms. This bullpup full sized assault rifle fires the NATO 7.62mm round from a 50 round magazine with an secondary 12 gauge shotgun with separate trigger for those close encounters. The weapon is over 44 inches long with an barrel length of over 30 inches(!). This science fiction rifle was created by Rock Galotti based on the notes from the studio that they wanted these MI troopers to be outfitted with a weapon to take down armies of bugs and they wanted a "real" weapon not a laser blaster.
Based on that requirement and the massive cinema battles between alien insects and humans that the Morita would be inolved, Rock Galotti used one of the most reliably blank-fire weapons: the Ruger Mini-14 and the AC556. Some of the Moritas on set where live-fire, others were rubber stun props, and most of the background Moritas were fiberglass; and only one had the working shotgun. The live-fire hero props were handbuilt and no two are alike. One interesting design element was the shotgun trigger located under the assault rifle trigger, allowing the user to operate with very minimum adjustment...handy when a bug comes a callin'. This design detail is seen in the real-steel FN EGLM grenade launcher.

The Morita Rifle Mk. II "Advanced Systems Rifle"

This Morita is a bit of a mystery, the Morita at the end of the 1997 film in a FedNet Propaganda segment. The weapon is called the "Morita Tonshi (Japanese for sudden death)" and it was not based on any real-steel weapon. It is on-screen for about 30 seconds, and it never appears in live-action form again. So, what the frak is it? The Morita Mk. II Advanced Systems Rifle was a major update to the individual destructive power of the MI trooper's Morita assault rifle. It is shown bring the hate on a mesa, but it is uncertain which barrel produced that blast or how.
Some sources state that the grenade launcher on the Mk. II ASR is the cause for the explosion. One website says that the Morita Mk.II is: "Microwave Accelerated Particle Rifle". After rewatching that short portion of the 1997 film, I am not certain which barrel is responsible for the landscaping. Either way, we never see the ASR again and it could be that the Mk.II ASR was a prototype that the Federation could not product in any numbers. Or that the ASR was to be heavy support weapon for the MI and not their standard assault rifles. It could also be true that Federation used the ASR as a tool of propaganda. In the 2005 SST PC game, there is a plasma DE rifle called the "PIG-1 Plasma Rifle", which resembles the Morita Rifle Mk. II ASR and could be the same weapon.

The Morita "E-Pulse 44" Directed-Energy Rifle

Okay...this is not completely an "Morita", but it deserves a place here. In the 2004 straight-to-video shitty Z-Rated sequel to the 1997 film, we see our hapless MI troopers locked in a deadly Rorke's Drift scenario. Instead of the familiar 7.62mm Morita Mk. I rifles, we see the MI troopers uses an DE weapon called the "E-Pulse 44 rifle"? SST II: The Hero of the Federation is not a good film and the inclusion of a DEW Morita could be due to budget. Blank ammo costs money and the laser gun flashes seen in the film could have been cheaper than blank ammo. In fact, after seen the film, I believe that the E-Pulse 44's trigger was rigged up to a lightbulb at the barrel of the prop gun to show the visual effects minions were to put in the DE laser flashes. The overall design of the E-Pulse 44 is not bad at all and unlike the Moritas from the 1997 film and 2008 films, this one was not based around a real-steel weapon, it is just a plastic-fantastic snowjob. The E-Pulse 44 rifle was only seen in the second film.

The Morita Rifle Mk. III

In the continuing trend of SST borrowing liberally from ALIENS, we now have a 10x50mm caseless variant of the Morita rifle: the Morita rifle Mark III. As seen in the 2008 not-too-bad 3rd film, the Morita III is similar in overall design to the Mk. I, but sports an traditional layout from the bullpup, an optical aiming system, flashlight, and a grenade launcher. The Mk. III feeds from an 90 round magazine of 10mm caseless rounds with a magazine-fed 30x71mm grenade launcher that has a 4+1 capacity. This allows M.I. and Fleet Marines to engage the bugs for longer and with more tools to cut down the number of incoming hostiles via the grenade launcher and the larger magazine.
During the 2nd Bug War, MI were trained to form firing lines, like 19th century infantry tactics, and concrete fire on the alien phalanx. Unlike the Mk. I, the prop gun was based around an South African R5 assault carbine, an clone of the IMI Galil, and not the Mini-14, however, both are 5.56x45mm. Much like the M41 Pulse Rifle, shell casings of the blank-fire ammunition can be seen despite being an caseless weapon. Some fans of SST believe that the Morita Smart Rifle from the Roughnecks animated series was the inspiration for the Morita Mk. III. IMFDB.org believes that the Morita III was inspirited by the old XM29 OICW. The Morita Ml. III is only seen in the 3rd film.

The Morita Rifle Mk. IV
There are several types of Moritas available in this 2005 PC game, and one being the Mk. IV "unlimited ammo" rifle. According to the in-game information, the Marauder Program MI Special Forces are the only ones issued the Morita Mk. IV and it uses an on-board plasma generator to plasma projectiles. Yes, the Marauders get plasma rifles in the 40 watt range here. While this sounds great, it overheats and it is short ranged. This weapon was designed for the Marauder Program so that the powered armor wearing MI trooper could engage several unarmored bugs at once. For armored targets, the player switches to the conventional ammo Morita Mk. I rifle. Given that the 2005 game connects the first and second films together, the Morita Mk. IV may or may not be another version of the DE weapon seen in Hero of the Federation, the mysterious E-Pulse 44.

The Morita "Invasion" Rifle 
In the computer animated 4th SST film, Invasion, we get yet another Morita rifle, the 5th in the generation of the Mortia. Not much is known or said about this weapon, and even the name is odd. According to my research, this Morita was called "the Mk. I" and may fire the .338 Lapua Magnum round instead of the 7.62mm of the older Moritas. It appears to feed from a boxy magazine in the from of the weapon(?) and this Morita can be fitted with an grenade launcher similar in design to the M203. This Morita has only been seen in the CGI Invasion film.

The SCION "Smart" Morita Rifle
 In the short-lived American animated series that was based on the 1997 film, the CGI Mobile Infantry troopers carry yet another variant of the familiar Morita: the Smart Morita Rifle. This interesting version of the Morita was more akin to the Colonial Marines M41A1 Pulse Rifle than what we saw on-screen in 1997. This seems to fire caseless rounds and is still bullpup, but the dense boxy magazine is loaded into the upper rear. The overall size of the weapon is more compact the Mark I, and this one, like the Mk. III, is equipped with a pump-action grenade launcher that also feds from an magazine as well. Oh, one of the bullshit grenade types is anti-matter. Fuck me that would be expensive to lob at some bugs.
In the series, the Smart Morita is used in all types of environments and  appears to more SMG/PDW than assault carbine, and could even fire a smaller high-velocity round, like the Pulse Rifle or even the FN P90. This is all based on the report of the weapon and a general feeling. Fleet uses a carbine variant as well. Of course, the Smart Morita was inspirited by the ALIEN Pulse Rifle and possibly the HK XM29 OICW. To me, this is a very cool Morita rifle and is more realistic for future soldiers to carry than the Morita Mk. I, however, the "smart" portion is never explained. Some websites have called this Morita the "pulse rifle Morita". This Morita was seen in the series, the Mongoose RPG games, and seen in some comics.

The Morita Rifle Variants

The Morita Carbine
In one of the cool real-world touches that the 1997 film uses in their firearms was the inclusion of an carbine variant and who uses them. In the film, Fleet personnel, Marines, Special Forces, and NCOs are seen with a cut-down carbine of the Morita Mk. I. The film gets the issue of who gets to use the carbine variant correct (to my surprise) and that the carbine is devoid of the shotgun attachment. During the climax of the 1997 film, we also see that the escape pods of the Roger Young have Morita Carbines stowed inside to fend off nasty bugs.

The Morita DMR
In the 1997 film, we see an interesting variant of the Mk. I Morita: the "sniper rifle" in the hands of badass Sugar Watkins of the Roughnecks. There is only one sniper variant of the Morita Mk.I seen in that film. This weapon is wrongly called a "sniper rifle", instead it is an Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) because it is using an existing assault rifle foundation for a more accurized weapon.
Of course, in the tongue-in-cheek SST universe, this is a fully automatic DMR with a massively oversized optical system AND an shotgun attachment is considered an "sniper rifle". We clearly see Watkins banging away with this Morita DMR on fully auto, spray bugs with no regard for the advanced futuristic scope system. The only time that the DMR Morita is used in the manner of an DMR is when Lt. Rasczak takes Watkins' rifle to kill a captured trooper. Other than that, it is spraying time. There is not another DMR/Sniper Rifle with the Morita moniker until SST: Invasion. 

The Morita Mk. III "Survival Rifle"
Much like the first film, Federal personnel are forced to abandon their starship and take to the escape pods in the 3rd 2008 film. Inside these escape pods are Morita IIIs. In the first film, they were the carbine variant, in the 3rd film, Marauder, they are an "survival rifle" that simply has the stock deleted. That's it. There is still the oversized optical system, the grenade launcher, and without the stock, it is wonder that anyone could fire it accurately.

The Force-on-Force DE Morita Trainer
Today, force-on-force training is done via IR MILES (laser tag) gear, simunition, and good ole paintball. In the future, as predicted by SST, there will be another options: laser beams. During the boot-camp scenes in the 1997 film, we see our fearless recruits of the MI battling in a force-on-force training ground at Camp Currie with "Training Beam" Moritas. These very Star Wars laser beams are blue and red and are highly visible to the naked eye. They operate similar to current MILES gear, but these training beams activate a violent shock feature in the MI vest. Much like MILES, the real-steel Morita are fitted with a training beam tip attachment, allowing for the real Morita to be used, allowing troopers to train-like-you-fight.

The Morita Mk. III SAW LMG
Well, it only took three movies for the Mobile Infantry to get an frakking light machine gun! The Morita SAW is an LMG variant of the Morita seen in the CGI Invasion film and the handheld phone game. There is nothing on this gun save for it being in the film. It is heavily dotted with barrel shroud for heat ventilation/air cooling and has a bipod. I'm guessing that if the Morita rifle calibers the .338 Lapua that the SAW would be firing the same round which seems completely insane and you would need powered armor to deal with the recoil of that package. 

What Do Those Morita Rifles Fire?
That question largely depends on what movie we are addressing. In the originally 1997 film, the Mortia rifles are said to be firing 7.62x51mm rounds. This round is mostly found in battle rifles, LMGs, and DMRs. In actuality, the prop gun under the plastic-fantastic covering is firing 5.56mm blanks. In the 2nd "film", the DEW Moritas fire some sort of directed-energy pulse beam, and the effect is mostly post-production. In the 3rd film, the MI troopers 3rd generation Morita fires an 10x50mm caseless round (similar to the M41A1 Pulse Rifle). The prop South African R5 under the plastic fired an 5.56mm, which spent brass can be seen in the frames of the film. In the last entry in the SST world, Invasion, those CGI Moritas are rumored to be firing the deadly .338 Lapua Magnum round. This round is mostly seen in sniper rifles in today's military and I am not sure how the .338 would perform in an assault rifle platform.

What Does the Morita Rifle Say About the Federation?
Actually, quite a bit. The 1997 film takes place in the 23rd century, but the Mortia Rifle seen in the film is very 20th century technology. We have to remember that there is nothing stopping you from constructing a Mortia Rifle today that is the same technological level as the M.I. Troopers have in the film. Hell, there was nothing futuristic about the Mark I Morita Rifle back in 1997 when the prop armorers constructed the weapon. In the 23rd century, the Federation's elite troopers, the Mobile Infantry are outfitted with a primary weapon that is three centuries out of date technologically speaking and lacks the most basic aiming system: iron sights.. Weapons of today are more advanced with more features than the Morita Rifle of the 1997 film. This may speak to how the Federation views the Mobile Infantry due to giving them rifles without iron sights and spray-and-pray tactics observed in the field. The Federation may view the MI as meat for the grinder and that numbers are more important than individuals. The more MI, the greater the volume of fire. This is similar to the thinking of Soviet-era commanders.

Under the Plastic: the Morita Rifle Blank-Fire Weapons
During the film of Starship Troopers, over 300,000 blank ammunition were fired. Most of the live-fire Moritas were Ruger Mini-14s and AC556k rifles due to their proven track record with blank-fire and given the script and the requirements, Rock Galotti knew that the Mortias need to be up to the task of firing blank ammo on full auto. Interestingly, the caliber that the Morita Mk. I are suppose to be firing, the 7.62mm. Not one of the real-steel gun under the plastic casting fired that caliber. When it came time for the sequel to SST, the Z-rated Hero of the Federation, no real-steel weapons were used under the plastic. However, that trend was ended with the 3rd film, Marauder, when the South African carbine variant of the Vekotr R4 5.56mm assault rifle, the R5, was used surrounded in a bulky plastic casting. What happened to the blank-firing Ruger Moritas? Due to firearm laws, the nearly trashed Mini-14s and AC556s were returned to the prop master, and any in private hands are void of the action. The shotgun attachment on the Morita Mk. I was an cut-down ithaca Model 37 12 gauge and according to sources, there was only one working Morita prop gun with an working shotgun, the others were visual fabrications.

Why is the Morita Rifle So Popular?
The Morita Mk.I has become one of the most popular science fiction weapons of all time, ranking up there with the M41A1 Pulse Rifle, the Lightsaber, and Deckard's PKD. Today, it is easy to find live-fire Moritas, even ones that fire airsoft, paintball, and display props littering the internet...but the question is why is the Morita such a popular sci-fi gun? One reason could be that the Morita rifles in SST films bang harder on-screen than pornstar Gianna Michaels and the bolt can be seen cycling away as brass flies in a nearly pornographic display of firepower.
More than 300,000 rounds of blank ammunition was used on SST and it says something about how hardcore the Morita is...this is no "phasers on stun" sci-fi weapon system! This more realistic hard-edged reality of the Morita over raygun laser sci-fi weapon could be another factor coupled with the spitting brass and huge muzzle flash. Also, SST is a cult favorite and a guilty pleasure, and combined with the coolness factor of the Morita itself, could be another source of the gun's popularity. To the fans of SST, the Morita is their Lightsaber or phaser, you cannot have a cosplay MI trooper outfit without the Morita.

The Things that Piss Me Off About the Morita
One of the things that really pisses me off about the Morita Mk. I is that it was a bullpup layout. Real world bullpup assault rifles are designed that way to take advantage of the mechanics being in the rear stock assembly over traditional layout. Thus, bullpup assault rifles can have traditional length barrels (16-20 inches) with the overall rifle length being similar to a carbine. That's the big advantage of bullpups over traditional assault rifles and SST is doing it wrong...very wrong. The Morita Mk. I is 44 inches long, about the same as FN FAL with the fixed stock and the 21 inch barrel. A weapon similar to the Morita Mk. I, the bullpup Steyr AUG is 31 inches in length with a 20 inch barrel. While I could not find the exact barrel length, it seems to be over 30 inches long!
So, why is the hell is the Morita a bullpup then? Simple answer: bullpups are future cool. That is my only answer. The armorers used the Muzzlite kit for the Mini-14 and being that the Muzzlite has a long history of being in science fiction films, allowed the Morita Mk. I to have a foundation...hence it is a bullpup. If the Morita Mk. I was the carbine, I wouldn't be bitching or if the full-length Morita Mk. I was the LMG variant...but it isn't. Another element that pisses me off is that the Morita Mk. I has no iron sights. That is bad tactics. Always have a backup rule and the KISS rule apply here, but not in the SST universe apparently. Of course, we are talking about the future starflung military organizations that offers no support to their infantry once they are dirtside. Lastly, there is the bulk of the Morita Mk. III seen in the 3rd SST film. That weapon was based around the HK XM29 OICW concept. Surely, in the 23rd century, firearms companies can construct something smaller and more compact that the bulky Morita Mk. III? And why is the "caseless Morita Mk. III fire a 10mm round that is longer than the regular cartridge round? The 10x50mm is longer than the 5.56x45mm round...does it need that much propellant or is someone not paying attention? Okay, rant over.

Where Else Have We Seen the Morita?

The Starship Trooper PC Game (2005)

Before Strangelite was bought by Rebellion, they gave us the 2005 SST PC video game. This had the player take the role of a powered armor equipped elite member of the Mobile Infantry's Marauder Program. Marauder Zero Six is tasked with a number of missions on planet Hesperus too tough for the regular troopers, and besides the powered armor, Marauder Zero Six has an entire armory of weapons, including two Moritas. The Morita Mk. IV is the endless plasma DE Morita and the Morita Mk. I is featured and is to be used against armored bugs. This game was raped at the time in reviews due to errors in the programing and a lackluster experience overall. However, it was cool to take on massive amounts of bugs with cool SST universe weaponry.

The Galoob SST film Action Figures

It is hard to believe that SST had a toyline and that said toys were marketed to children considering the hardcore gore and nudity in the first film. Galoob's line of SST toys did feature some of the core characters from the film, however, much like the Kenner ALIENS toyline, the characters are mere shadows of themselves. Some figures were packaged with the standard infantry Morita Mk. I. As you can see, the Morita is close to the film's and is just as long as the film's as well. This toyline sold poorly and was quickly forgotten. FWS will be explore and tying to explain the Galoob SST toyline in a future Military Sci-Fi Toys blog article.

IR "Laser Tag" Morita-like Rifles
Oddly, the Morita Mk. I rifles have been created for an IR laser tag game by a company called Battlefield Sports that operates international. These IR beam guns are called "Moritas" and are available in either "sniper rifles" or "SAW". The company states these IR laser tag guns are for more long range laser tag experiences and realistic battlefield experiences with the mess or pain of paint. They resemble the Morita Mk. I assault rifles in a more boxy format.

The SST Comics
There have been a number of SST comics over the years with some being published by Dark Horse and other smaller presses. Some are set the world established by the 1997 film while others are based on the 1999/2000 Roughnecks: the SST Chronicles. The SST comic follow some of the gear and weapons seen in those works, while some artists take liberties with the weaponry and design new Moritas. I contacted a few friends that have the SST comics, and they informed me that during the Dark Horse run, the Moritas were front and center with additional variants. They could not provide me with scans of those other variants,

The SST Minature Game 

In 2005, Mongoose Publishing released a miniature RPG wargame based on the Verhoeven SST universe. The game liberally borrow from heavily from the 1997 film, while other elements were culled from the Roughnecks animated series. The United Citizens Federation armies miniatures for sale had MI troopers from both the film and animated series with Moritas to match. The game was disconnected in 2008.

Next Time on FWS...
 Here it is...the blogpost I've been wanting to write since I started FWS way back in 2010: the complete the Forever War Graphic Novel series. After finally getting my hands on Volume 2, I now have the complete collection and it is time to write. Join this next time when FWS will be diving into a true Forgotten Classic of military science fiction comics!


  1. Borrowing... This shows the impact of Aliens on science fiction

  2. The RPG book, in its one data page on the Scion ver, states that the rifles have "gauss" propulsion. I think that is just a future weapon identity tag. The game book claims the grenade launcher holds 26+1 rounds, which seems overboard if the shells are 20mm or more.

  3. On the issue of .338 Lapua magnum in an "assault rifle" role, powered armor would be necessary for not only recoil compensation but to enable the trooper to carry any decent amount of ammo. I'm sure the reasoning behind switching to .338 LM is increased stopping power, which is not actually what .338 is designed for although it does offer greatly increased performance versus 7.62 NATO. .338 LM is a sniper rifle round, as such is optimized for long range performance above all else, tests claim that it can penetrate military body armor at 1,000 yards, with kills against soft targets beyond 2700 recorded. Most infantry rifles are designed around combat inside 500 yards, but only offer marginal performance much beyond 200. As such, regular infantry are not trained at long range shooting as its considered a specialized situation, and is only occasionally necessary. Additionally assault rifles typically lack features conducive to long range shooting, like bipods and adjustable stocks. Obviously, .338 LM is the wrong round for this role, and wrong even for the designated marksman role.

    If the goal is increasing stopping power, the best place to look is dangerous game cartridges, such as the famous .375 H&H, although that round is poorly suited to magazine fed rifles due to the rimmed case. An option is .416 Rigby, which has a rebated rim designed for being fed from magazines, although this too runs into the issue of excessive recoil and heavy, bulky ammo. Another place to look is cartridges like .458 SOCOM and .50 Beowulf, both designed to function in the AR-15 platform. The manual of arms of rifles chambered in these cartridges is different from a standard assault rifle, but not as different as a rifle chambered in a true big-game round. Even 7.62 NATO rifles have a different role that smaller caliber rifles, and the drawbacks increase with the level of energy delivered.

    Something like a 10x50mm is a step in the right direction, especially if combined with caseless or polymer-cased technologies to reduce weight and bulk. If the cartridge was telescoped, with the casing extending forward and surrounding the projectile, this could explain the long case length (x50mm) while keeping the overall length of the cartridge relatively short. A 10x50mm could very well be slightly shorter than a 5.56 NATO. Another issue relating to cartridge dimensions is the actual width of the cartridge, which affects how far the magazine extends down from the rifle. The narrowest this round could be is 10mm, but this would entail a limited case capacity (the limitations of which could be addressed by using advanced propellants) as well as reducing feed reliability. Even with a straight-walled cartridge, a stated capacity of 90 rounds is extremely optimistic, my own measurement of a standard AR magazine loaded with a round with a case width of slightly over 10mm (used a .357 Sig cartridge, which shares it's rim size with .40 S&W and thus also 10mm Auto) leads me to believe a magazine with the external dimensions of a 30 round STANAG would hold approximately 24 rounds of 10mm in a staggered column layout, 48 with a twin-staggered-column casket magazine. To accommodate this capacity, the magazine would have to be made slightly wider. Another drawback of larger-bore cartridges is long range performance. Larger diameter bullets must be made longer and heavier in order to maintain the ballistic performance of smaller diameter rounds. By comparison, a 62 grain 5.56 NATO has approximately the same Ballistics coefficient (a measure of aerodynamic performance) as a 300 grain .458 SOCOM (neither of which are great BC's for long range performance), at almost 5 times the weight. It's worth mentioning that early black powder loads of .45-70 government, which was proven out to and beyond 1000 yards, offers only marginally superior performance to .458 SOCOM, although to reach this distance special sights with a massive range of elevation adjustment were required.

    1. The BDC reticles (Bullet Drop Compensation) common to modern optical sights would likely only have space enough to accommodate shooting out to 600 yards or so, depending on the sights field-of-view. Obviously, 600 yards would be perfectly adequate to most infantry combat situations, although poorly suited to precision work in the designated marksman role.

      Perhaps all these issues, balancing benefits and drawbacks are why so many science fiction works use established cartridges like 7.62 NATO, which is also used by the MA5 series in Halo. I've always found this to be relatively mundane and unimaginative, and also limiting the performance of an exotic weapon to established standards. My personal favorite rifle is chambered in 7.62 NATO, yet I don't believe the cartridge is the best option available in terms of performance even today, let alone in the distant future (the reason I chose that cartridge was balancing it's performance against the cost and availability of ammunition). I also have experience shooting a .338 Lapua Magnum, and would compare it's recoil to that of a 3 inch 12 guage shell, give or take some given the fact the rifle I was shooting was fitted with a muzzle brake. Even if recoil was further reduced by using a semi automatic action versus a manual bolt, I still can't imagine recoil being reduced adequately unless the rifle was made extremely heavy with a large degree of bolt over-travel during cycling.

      I realize this comment is long enough it could be an article in itself, and apologize. It's a complex subject that u have some amount of insight into, and thought I'd share. I really enjoy this blog, and will probably make a profile and comment properly, eventually.

  4. "What Does the Morita Rifle Say About the Federation?"

    F**K The MI!! Would you like to know More?
    Of course MI really did the Dying.
    When MI hit the Ground all they had was Body armor of Dubious protection, Mini Nuke RPG, Hand Grenades, Moritas and Throwing knives.
    Against Arachnids and other bugs there Armor might as well have been paper.
    The Nuke RPG probably left more then one Trooper who wanted "to have babies" Sterile.
    Over sized Hand grenades that might have worked...
    The Morita
    The Morita MK1 Rifle and Carbine Lacked any Sights at all. Other then the DMR It seemed as if other then Index aiming MI troopers were more or less Spray the Target.and hope it dies politely
    And A throwing knife Which had one good use otherwise a waste.

    "Remember your Training and you will make it back ALIVE"
    Famous last Words.
    The MI training in SST was at best basic infantry on Infantry in the WORST LIVE FIRE EXORCISES EVER!!.
    I mean there was either a Invisible Force field around there training range or A lot of dead recruits. Because if you watch the live fire training part the fact that only one recruit ends up in a body bag is a miracle There are Training squads Doing PT right next to the Firing range. The Targets are posted next to the observation tower.
    The throwing knives against flying and charging armored exoskeletons who's 4-6 limbs are all 2 meter long BLADES.
    No artillery, not even light mortars and howitzers no armor or crawlers not eaven infantry support weapons or just a Morita with a drum magazine.
    And Then Surprise when they start taking massive casualties.
    Add to this "Future" no NOD or IR or advanced sensors just the Mark 1 eye ball.
    All MI had was numbers but there enemy was a near literal hornets nest.

    There are only two fighting Arms in the SST movies until Marauders,.

    In a battle between a company of the USCM and a battalion of the FMI my money is on the Colonial Marines.Mi as seen in the SST films was sent out to die. the second they signed the paper work for MI was the second they should have been told to write there Last Will and testament and asked what kind of funeral they wanted.

    SCION at least thought about the gaps. They used other some artillery forms and Vehicles powered armor and tech.

    That all said SST despite it's flaws was popular and it's props are loved Mobile infantry armor was used and reused even Power Rangers wore it.The sets and concept art was great it's a visually stunning movie

    1. Just want to point the mini nukes used did not produce any fallout

  5. USCM is much better. Better in everything. But FMI has lots of soldiers who wants to die in first enconteur and shoot bullets everywhere

  6. I just watched the trailer for cyberpunk 2077, which got me thinking about the ethics of cybernetics and was wondering if you could post something about cybernetics and the effects of a real cyborg. Also watch the cyberpunk 2077 trailer it's awesome.

    1. You should watch cyberpunk 2077 with music by Mitch Murder. This game will be surely released at end of this year, after the Witcher 3. A lot of time...
      Sorry for my English, because i'm not english, and good luck CD Projekt!

    2. P.S And it should be nice thing the blogpost about cyborg supersoldier, and... Or flamethrowers anyone?
      Sorry for my English because i'm not english
      Well done work William!

  7. I disagree with your point on bullpups. A longer barrel gets a more powerful shot from the same ammo. If you need a short rifle, a bullpup layout gives you one with a long barrel. But if conditions are appropriate for a long rifle, then it can give you one with a VERY long barrel. It's just more efficient use of space.


    1. Yeah, but longer barrel gives you something more like sniper rifle, not like assault or battle rifle
      Sorry for my English

    2. It's now known there's a point of diminishing returns on accuracy and muzzle velocity (not to mention handling) when using a barrel that's excessively long.
      There's a myriad of reasons to list, but one of the most salient is that shorter barrels are stiffer than longer ones, thus less flex and more repeatable accuracy results.
      Hence, one of many reasons why barrels are overall trending towards shorter length in modern small arms.

  8. A 30 inch barrel on a 7.62 NATO battle rifle is ridiculous, most sniper rifles in that caliber use 20 to 24 inch barrels, while battle rifles are typically 16 to 18 inches. The purpose of a longer barrel is to increase muzzle velocity, but past a certain point the returns are diminishing, then non existent. With 7.62 NATO, the velocity gain is low between 16 and 20, and lower still between 20 and 24. 30 inches is ridiculous, and makes a gun heavy and unwieldy.
    Since we're talking about futuristic weapons, let's say the technology being utilized requires an arbitrarily long barrel, like a coilgun. It is true a bullpup configuration would allow this weapon to be much more compact, but as a general issue long arm it would be likely that militaries would prefer a much more compact weapon, and if necessary would select alternative technologies. As everyone I'm sure knows already, shorter weapons can be more easily manipulated in close quarters combat environments, but are also easier to store in cramped environments like an armored personnel carrier, transport aircraft, or military spacecraft. And in the military, you spend more time transporting and carrying a weapon than you do shooting it, which is why the US army replaced the M16 rifle with the M4 carbine, despite the rifle having superior performance in most areas. If one examines the average size of military rifles over the past 200 years, the trend is moving towards smaller and lighter, not necessarily more advanced or more powerful.

    Despite this, it would be possible for a long barreled bullpup (or perhaps an over-the-shoulder layout like a rocket launcher) to be used as a specialty weapon, for anti armor, anti materiel or payload delivery work, more in the role of a crew-served weapon than an individual.

  9. Yesterday I watched SST Invasionand I noted something It's something I noted in the Roughnecks. MkI Morita seen in the first movie could be built today Infact we can build better. A HK417 or a KAC25 carbine with a Master Key Remington 870 or M26 MASS comes to mind or a Desert Tech MDR with a MASS again.
    MII was DEW which is 23rd century
    MKIII was maybe mid to late 21st century future tech based on Caseless and reloaded barrels.
    But the Invasion and SCION Moritas seem to have something else. They both seem to be using a Electronic feeding and cycling. when jammed or empty they seemed to make a electric Wheer. On the side of the Weapon was a Silver ish cylindrical structure that appeared to be part of the operation and ejection mechanism. This might indicate that these versions Operate more akin to the The Revolver action of some auto cannons.
    Having Watched SSTI There is also a third rifle a sniper rifle used by the Character Trig that strongly resembled a Barret M107 scaled down and bolt action with a smart scope MI Weapons and armor in invasion like SCION were capible of hard vacuum combat. bringing Invasion more inline with SCION and a close hybrid between the Vander SST and the Source material.

    On a side note I loved the Armor used by the MI troopers in Invasion, like Aliens each character was customized and they all had a Digital Camouflage pattern print. The Armor was definitely powered and used enhanced vision standard.

  10. Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.

  11. The RPG book, in its one data page on the Scion ver, states that the rifles have "gauss" propulsion. I think that is just a future weapon identity tag. The game book claims the grenade launcher holds 26+1 rounds, which seems overboard if the shells are 20mm or more

  12. Thanks for the intel. The Moritas from that SST animated series are so not Gauss, and 26+ grenades in the 20mm size is pure fantasy.

    1. Uhh based on what? They eject no casings, produce little muzzle flash, and produce a distinct sound nothing like the report of a powder firearm. A Gauss firing mechanism also explains how they function as a main battle rifle at a compact size since they're firing full sized rifle rounds at high velocity, but can be more compact since they need only the projectile itself in the magazine and the barrel length isn't dictated by containing expanding gases for a certain length of time.

      Actually every single thing about them indicates they're not powder fire arms. So yeah they "so ARE Gauss", despite your baseless snarking. This is just another area the TV show was much better then the movie giving the troopers some actual sci-fi weaponry.

  13. Here's some awesome videos of the Morita rifles used in the first film that are worth checking out...




  14. I think the MI using such an antiquated weapon (by 23rd century standards) could have to do with the fact that, as the military force of a unified Earth solar system, they probably don't face any serious conventional threats. Their most common enemy is probably the odd uprising of civilian rebels with low-capacity hunting rifles and shotguns (I somehow doubt the UCF is all that big on individual gun rights considering its obvious fascist overtones), which the Morita and their standard body armor would be more that suitable for. Without credible foes like the United States, Russia, or China to fuel technology races, it stands to reason that small arms development would stagnate. This seems to be what happened with the Morita.


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