22 January 2018

FWS Armory: METAL STORM by Yoel

Weapon development and its history are largely a multi-nations and decades long endeavor, it's rare that some unique weapon category and type be developed by a single company and single nation. However, for two decades an Australian company named Metal Storm Limited were that rare event of a single company  set to deliver the first fully electronic firearm the world was yet to gaze upon. With superposed projectiles and charges stacked in the barrels the gun would have eliminate the need for reloading mechanism and electronic ignition redundant the need of mechanical trigger the Metal Storm system seemed could be what the company was promised and advertised: "a gun where the only moving parts were the bullets". Sadly, that didn't happen though and when Metal Storm Limited went under in 2012 that promised and vision was shelved for later years. While in reality, the Metal Storm concept weapon system never caught on with any military organization or law enforcement agency military science fiction did get the memo and during those two sterile decades’ different Metal Storm guns both real and fictional were incorporated into novels and video games. In this latest installation of FWS Armory we shall peer down the barrel of this truly one of a kind technology.

I would like to thank two individuals for their role of helping with the research:
-John Brooks, former president of Firepak Oil and Gas Industries.

-Philip Alpers, Adjunct Associate Professor Sydney School of Public Health.

What was Metal Storm Limited and the Metal Storm Weapon System?
The Metal Storm Limited Company and the Metal Storm technology were the brainchild of a single man: James Michael O’Dwyer. In 1991, at age 47, Australian native O’Dwyer sold his food wholesale business to dedicate his brain, time, and money for developing the gun he imagined would change the world and revolutionize firearms. According to O’Dwyer, part of his motivation to create such weapon system was his own family’s history. O’Dwyer father was one of the last Australian soldiers to fall in World War II. O’Dwyer believed that had his father and his comrades had better weapons, he might survived to return home to his 10 month old son. In 1993 O’Dwyer establish Metal Storm Limited (MSL) based in Brisbane Australia, the company research and developed the Metal Storm key technology of electronic ignition of stacked projectiles. The initial investment to get MSL off of the ground came from O’Dwyer selling everything, betting it all on the power of his idea of this futuristic firearm technology.In 1996, Lockheed Martin reviewed and validates the  Metal Storm technology and concept provided the tail wind needed to drive MSL from weird techno-gimmick to a real and serious game changing option in the realm of military firearms. Following Lockheed Martin’s report, MSL enjoyed a steady stream of governmental research funds from both sides of the Pacific, both American and Australian defense departments and militaries along with number of American defense industries funneled US and AUS Dollars toward MSL.
Given most of MSL business, been source of funds or potential customers, were in the USA; MSL establish a United States branch in Arlington, Virginia.
However, although many Metal Storm weapons were developed and tested over the years, no major purchasing order was ever made for any number of products, short of very small batches for evaluation.
Without any buyers standing in line and with dwindling research funds in July 26th 2012 MSL announces it suspending their shares from trade and the company has been placed under voluntary administration.
The latest develop in the MSL story to date happened in August 12th, 2015. An Australian defense company named Defendtex from Melbourne, Victoria announced it have been acquired all of liquidated MSL patents, intellectual property, trademarks and weapon prototypes to further try to fulfill O’Dwyer day dream of a better weapon system. Judging from their website, Defendtex is focused on 3 of the many MTL weapons: 3GL, MAUL & Firestorm. Currently, it has been two and a half years since Defendtex acquired the MSL technology and  there hasn't been any new news on MSL products and their website is also dormant. It seems that the promise of Metal Storm maybe also dormant.

The Progenitors of the Metal Storm
The Metal Storm concept can be trace back to two interesting, but at the end, failed gun concepts/layouts from which the concept of Metal Storm was drawn from.

Superposed load
In the days of black-powder firearms, your next shot was 10 seconds away at best if you missed your target and that’s if your opponent wasn't shooting back at you. Gunsmiths were attempting to find a way to enabling their customers to way to Spray & Pray…which given the lack of metallic cartridges at the time, wasn't an easy task. The first attempts were the Volley guns, if one loaded barrel takes too much time to reload simply then have a gun with many barrels.
Those barrels still needed extra hummers with extra flint stones or precaution caps, but only one pistol grip and trigger required so it was lighter and cheaper than having several single barrel guns instead, but not by a large margin.The superpose load arrangement was a volley gun, rather to have the hummers and ignition ports side by side at the rear of multi barrels bundle the hummers were to line sequential with sequential ports in one single barrel.
The balls and black-powder charges were stacked in the barrel alternatively, charge-ball-charge-ball-etc. with precise charge volume required for the balls-charges array be match with the ignition ports of the barrel. Firing the gun was as tricky as loading it, the first charge to set in action had to be front most in the gun to propel single ball out. Cocking the wrong hummer and the next trigger pull you set the wrong charge that need to push more than one bullet, which can results in an explosion. The danger of chain reaction where one charge ignites the one behind it and one after it was always lingering whenever firing such gun.
Not something that inspirits a great deal of confidence for the user. To add to the list of disadvantages, it important to remember that in the case of misfire, the shooter can't simply cock next hummer and squeeze the trigger. The gun still has a ball and its dud charge in front of the next ball and firing could lead to damaging the gun and shooter.The superpose load idea exist for centuries, both at the flintlock and precaution caps eras but never caught popularity/ The introducing of harmonica guns and later revolvers sealed the superpose fate for good though as a side note, there were ball & cap revolvers with superpose chambers with two balls and two charges for every chamber in the cylinder and with double precaution caps nipples at the back face of the cylinder and with two hummers.

Electronic ignition
The idea of electric ignition is very simple, instead of igniting the propellant using mechanically sensitive primer it possible to ignite it using cartridge with a built-in spark-plug, fed from on-board power source.
Electric ignition have many advantages: first eliminating the lock time between trigger pull and start of ignition improving the gun accuracy
Secondly, providing tunable trigger pull force and trigger displacement needed for firing according to shooter need with no restrictions from a non-existing mechanical trigger unit.
Third, makes computerized the gun much ease task as there is no mechanical part to block for prevent unauthorized use or trigger actuation in the case of say Tracking Point firing computer.The down side of course is the need for electric power source and in the case of small arms that is usually a battery. While the necessity of spare batteries for gun operation is not something to brush a side it is not the main reason why militaries and other don't switch to electronic.
The main reason is that while all of those advantages are valid they aren't enough for a full paradigm change that any large organization have to do, and when considering electric ignition there is the need to replace the entire stockpile of guns and ammunition which is too much to ask for ammo that might be better than standard primer but only might, and not by much margin. This concept was put into production with the Vocere VEC-91 caseless ammunition rifle produced around 1991 and was not a commercial success. It was also incorporated into Jame Cameron’s concept of the 10mm caseless M41A1 Pulse Rifle used by the Colonial Marines in the film ALIENS. 
Feeding the Beast – Reloading Metal Storm
MSL developed two distinctive method to load ammo into their guns:

Removable Tubes
The earliest method was a smooth bore short barrel with projectiles and charges line alternately inside with wire cords built to lead current into the charges for ignition. Those tubes act as a self-sustain units, built thick enough to hold the charge explosion and provide traction surface for the projectiles to cling to when the charge in front of it detonate. The wires run to a quick attach – detach connector. The tubes could either be attached to the rear (breech) of the gun's real barrel, or serve as storage place and barrel in guns where longer and/or rifled barrels isn't needed.

Loading one by one
Simply as it sound, the cartridges are entered breech side one by one to the barrel similar to the way tabular magazine guns are loaded from the rear. The difference is the rounds aren't loaded into a magazine placed parallel to the barrel, the “magazine” is a part of the barrel; the smooth bore rear section of the barrel is housing the cartridges and the front section is the “real” barrel of the gun.

Ignition System
Igniting the powder charges stacked in the barrel is the job of the electronic ignition system and MSL developed two different types for their various weapons.

Electrical Contacts
At a similar fashion as its black powered ancestors, the early system MSL implied to ignite charges was through a piping holes drilled along the barrel. Instead of firing ports for furcation caps or flint hummers, electric wires run into spark plugs built in the barrel. Later models had built-in wires run to the propellant charges along the tube length with single connector to interact with the gun electronic to send and receive signals from the gun. The electrical contact approach is suited for the pre-stacked munition tubes only, when the cartridges are loaded one by one there is no way to command their ignition through electrical wires.

Induction coils
Second approach is to place coils around and outside the barrel, spaced along the barrel with intervals identical to the length of the cartridges the gun was designed for. Each of those cartridges have its own coil with its axis collinear with the barrel and gun's coils axis and each of those cartridges coils is place more or less in line with its own barrel's coil. When firing the gun sent AC current to the designated coil and the coil produce magnetic flex, the flex induce current in the cartridge coil and ignite the cartridge charge.
Since the ignition current can be induce through the solid wall of the barrel in is unnecessary to drill holes for any spark-plugs and the gun can be loaded individual cartridges and not pre-stacked tubes. 

Preventing Chain Reactions
The danger of chain reactions plagued the superpose charge concept of Metal Storm from day one and it was item no. 1 on the list MSL engineers needed to solved. MSL come with two arrangements to tackle the problem:

Deforming bullets
The first solution MSL tried drawn its origin from one of the first spin stabilized bullets, the Minié ball. Back in the days of muzzle loaders barrels were usually smoothbore, it was difficult to cram bullet down a rifled barrel, the bullet have to be small enough to enter the bore easily and large enough to seal against the bore diameter and engage the rifling.Then came the Minié ball, with hollow rear side the ball was small when dropped muzzle end and when the black powder ignited under the pressure slightly deformed and expand to fit the rifling. MSL utilized the design as sealing plug as well, instead of the bullet deformed and expanded when the charge behind it ignited it deformed and expanded under the pressure of burning propellant in front it, the bullet is effectively seal the barrel as a lid and fix against the barrel to prevent it move backward.

Bullet "skirts"
For applications were the rounds needed to be load separately a different system was applied. The rounds have sort of “skirts” behind as a part of the projectiles with a close end at the back not so different from some of the current Russian grenade launchers where the entire grenade is launched from the launcher without leaving empty shell behind. MSL design create longer path the burning charge in front of the cartridge have to pass before reaching and igniting the next round in the line.

The Cultural Context of  Metal Storm
When Metal Storm came to be in the mid-90's as the all world seem to be crazy about the promising new computer technology nirvana around the corner. It was the dot.com era and many believed (and advocated) in this brave new world of information age, post-industrial revolution riches awaited any smartass by going public with his innovative start-up company. In such environment, Metal Storm Limited was born to and, fair enough, its PR department knew the correct tune for the time. The Metal Storm technology was branded and sold using the same jargon and with the same mindset as any electronic gadget or software of that period. The guns were described as "solid state" based technology, clearly a comparison with the solid state electrical components replacement of the old mechanical relays or brushes of the electric motors. Another market tool, although a bit disturbing, was comparison was the idea of aerial platform, like air fighter or UAV, armed with pods of Metal Storm firing projectiles downward at ground targets, like an ink printer spewing ink droplets on a clear sheet of paper. MSL also emphasis the similarity between the flying platform to the printer head: both are controlled by computer where the printer head drop ink in the right time to form the desirable images on the flat paper and the metal storm pods release theirs “droplets” at the precise moment to hit the enemy formations along a 3D terrain.           

Advantages of Metal Storm

High ROF and Low-Time-to-Fire
By far, the most notable performance of the Metal Storm technology are its insane rate of fire and its low “time to fire” – the period of time a gun need to reach its maximum ROF. Metal Storm’s lack of mechanical chambering, ejecting spent cartridges along with the presence of the projectiles, and gunpowder readily placed within the barrel gives the gun superb fire power that is unmatched by any gun. In fact, MSL bragged that they had to limit (electronically, of course) the gun ROF to provide just enough time for one bullet to leave the barrel before launching the next one preventing a bullet traffic jam.

Mechanical Reliability
As the gun is as simple-as-can-be with no moving parts to jam or break, making the Metal Storm gun more mechanical reliable than any gun could ever be, as there is no need for maintenance or even oiling. This solid characteristic was heavily advertised by Metal Storm Limited as the “Solid-State gun”. 

"Smarting” Up the Gun
Many of the proposed advantages of electrical ignition are borrowed into the Metal Storm technology. The ability to control via electronically precisely when and even if the gun will fire could be of great use for any attempt to “smart up” the firearm. A personalized gun will emit the electro- mechanic safety blocking unauthorized firing while computer-controlled trigger like the Trackingpoint systems actuate firing with virtually no trigger lag. Another benefit of this fined tune firing was demonstrate with the Redback anti-RPG tests where several airbursting grenades were ,with a blink of an eye, fired with precise intervals after been fused to detonate at the right times and distances. Redback capacity to control its firing rate to the right millisecond results in calculate and successful row of explosions between the protected vehicle and the racing incoming rocket propelled grenade!
When considering a handgun, the most popular layout nowadays is the box magazine in the pistol grip. The need to house the magazine in the grip and house the grip in the palm leaves little room to add any electronics or sensors, such as biometric or RF receivers. This are essential for personalized and securing the gun. Metal Storm technology removes the ammunition storing space from the grip and into the barrel eliminating this problem, allowing the grip to be used packing in the tech and would allow only the authorized user to unleash the deadly force.       

Slender Layout
Metal Storm have no spent casing to eject nor any feeding system hanging outside of the barrel, all lead to a very compact and slender weapon system. The gun is basically just a barrel and could be arranged and stacked together with either other metal storm barrels to form a multi-barrel volley gun or slung under regular firearm as a secondary gun, similar to the M203 grenade launcher. When clustered in formations, it is possible to assemble different barrels with different calibers, mixing lethal with non-lethal etc. all controlled electronically and could be switched from one type of ammo to anther and back in a split of a second. Flexibility is the keyword here. MSL was pushing, as they claimed, the technology ability to be tailor-made according to the customer needs and endless of different stacking arrangements are possible. This would allow the Metal Storm firearm to be like a Star Trek Phaser, with a “Kill” or “Stun” setting in the same compact firearm package.

Weight and Size
As stated, the Metal Storm gun is little more than a tube with no overhead feeding and ejecting systems. This mechanically simplicity lowers the weight and volume compare to other equivalent guns with similar firepower. This was a major selling point for the system. With the lowering of the weight and size, meant that the Metal Storm platform was punching well above its weight class and could allow the system to be used more settings and situations.

Easily Programmable Projectiles

Several proposed weapon systems in recent years were based around programmable projectiles, the most famous be the air-bursting grenades in the XM25 system. The idea is that a munition could be programmed and even re-programmed after entered the chamber following the dynamic situation the shooter encounters.To program the round, even while totally encapsulated in the firing chamber, the programming weapon using the same technology MSL used for ignition – induction coils. Regular guns are require additional coils on top of the chambering-ejection system, which Metal Storm weapons don't have, and firing system, which Metal Storm is already use induction coils. Metal Storm guns can use the coils both for projectile programming and charge ignition instead of having two separate systems, lowering cost and complexity.

Nested Barrels
One of the least known and most unusual features Metal Storm technology offered is the possibility of nested barrels. Where into an existing Metal Storm barrel instead of inserting similar bore size rounds an adaptor barrel, filled with smaller diameter projectiles, is inserted. To be fair, to my knowledge, this concept never evolved outside of 3D modeling but it is improved the gun versatility which allowed the user to quickly decrease the weapon caliber. Some regular guns have such limited ability but the necessity of replace both the barrel, bolt, magazine, etc. limits the convertibility to closely sizes cartridges in terms of diameter and length. A metal storm gun isn't limited by those factors.
One specific application could have been a spotter/training round. When training rookies how to operate, aim and fire big caliber guns, especially those with explosive projectiles, it is more economically sound and safer to use spotter/training rounds. Those rounds are designed to have the same ballistic trajectory as the real large rounds so aiming the gun correctly and fire the spotter/training will results with round hit where the real deal should have hit with a bang. Some recoilless guns have a fake dummy shells stacked in the tube with its own barrel, spotter/training cartridge and firing mechanism connected to the gun firing mechanism.
Those fake shells are single shot while the Metal Storm spotter/training tube could have been multi-shot. After being lined into the insert barrel, the rounds were to be activated by the surrounding barrel induction coils without the need to install different firing mechanism.       

Proprietary Ammunition and Hardware
One aspect of good marketing is selling your disadvantages as advantages, for example: when you asked at a job interview to list bad habits always start with workaholic and perfectionism!
If your guns you are selling could only be fed by the ammo only you can make, and that ammo could be used only by those guns, your clients will be reluctance to commit to both the guns or ammo alike; you may be out of business and the client be stacked with fancy guns with dwindling ammunition stocks with no way of resupply, or the guns maybe crappy and the client may be left with stocks of ammo boxes no gun in his arsenal could use.]How do you turn the problem into good selling point? MSL actually tried to sell this trait as an advantages to law enforcement agencies as a way to deter criminals or corrupt police officers from selling those guns at black market. As MSL is by all definition, cornering the market for all Metal Storm guns & ammunition and there is no easy way to “hand-load” spent cases or tubes every stolen metal storm gun is as good and operational as the number of rounds in the barrel. The other way, is also true as any stolen crate of Metal Storm ammunition won't be useful with regular guns.

Gun built-in Round Counter and Identification Electronics
Since Metal Storm weapons are fully electronic firearms, in order to shoot the correct ammunition in the barrel, the gun's computer have to identify electrically the number and also the type of the rounds placed inside. Such information could easily be presented to the user via digital counter, head display etc. regular guns on the other hand the user have no info about the amount and composite of the cartridges left in the magazine. This has been one of those futuristic firearm features promised by science fiction for decades made into a hard reality.       

Small Ammo Capacity
There is a good reasons why many years ago firearms with tubular magazine were replaced by rectangular magazine, The main reason being that storing long cylindered cartridges nose-to-tail isn't volumetric efficient as storing them parallel side by side. The stored rounds in the Metal Storm weapon system are similar to the shotgun tubular magazine's rounds and as such share the same overall low ammo capacity. Which quite rendering down any high ROF gun applications. Having small gas tank coupled to a powerhog V8 engine is never a good combination and any Metal Storm machinegun had to overcome the barrel short of ammo with stacking great number of barrels tougher; all spike the size, mass and cost of the gun though the roof.     

Low Velocity Projectiles
Nearly all of MSL guns were low pressure guns, firing low-velocity projectiles, from 9mm pistol to 12 gauge shotgun to 40mm grenades; Metal Storm weapon system seemed limited to slow slugs.What crippled the guns and lock them away from the realm of high velocities as 5.56 NATO and such? The problem lay in the propellant-to-projectile ratio, all of the high velocity cartridges are neck down casing where the case diameter is bigger than the projectile diameter does results in large volume for storing propellant relative to the size and mass of the projectile. In Metal Storm guns, both the projectiles and the propellant charges are stacked in the same uniform diameter barrel and have the same diameter for projectiles and the propellant. The only way to increase propellant to projectile ratio is placing unreasonably long charges which will reduce the number of rounds each barrel can hold. Combines the low ammo capacity and the low velocity shortcoming and the gun is disqualified from CIWS jobs, when taking down fast moving target other than massive ROF the gun need to take a maneuvering target at a long distance as possible which can't be done with slow slugs.

Reloading Time
One of the Metal Storm Limited weaponry selling point is the lack of complex mechanical parts, however, given the low ammo each gun can hold reloading stops could be frequent. When considering unmanned platform, such as aerial or ground drones, there need to be an automated feeding machine and the problem of mechanical bottle neck weren’t solved but simply diverted to the magazine reloading mechanism. Even when the gun is placed on a manned platform or is handheld, manually reloading be it one shell after the other or replacing all barrels with fresh ones would be time consuming activity.

Clearing Dud Rounds from the Barrel
One of the many handicaps the Metal Storm technology inherent from the superpose load method is the clearing of dud from the barrel. If for whatever reason one of the cartridges in the line fails to ignite that projectile, the charge are deep buried inside the gun and cannot be easily extracted like normal firearm. There is the possibility of sending an electrical signal to the charge behind the dud to ignite and push out the two projectiles and unfired charge out of the barrel, but results may be catastrophic. The barrels are designed to handle certain pressure curves associated with single load firing. If the barrel/s weren’t designed to handle such excess pressure the gun will fail.  Designing the gun with barrel strong enough would result in heavy and expensive barrel and if the gun is loaded by munition tubes, these are also heavy and expensive tubes. Clearing dud manually is a pain too, either replacing half-loaded (on average) good tube in case of munition tubes or removing manually one-by-one the rounds of the barrel. 

Electric Unreliability
The additional reliability the Metal Storm gun platform gained from eliminating its mechanical complexity is offsets by the added electrical components and the need for a power source. Every electrical device has its glitches and the super-advanced guns of Metal Storm are no different. The needed power source, along with the ammunition, is yet another headache any military logistic have to consider when deploying troops behind the wire and the possible EMP sensitivity of the gun is also something to be considered.   

Mass and Cost of Munition Tubes
When the Metal Storm tubes are stored and ship from factory to frontlines, the weight and cost of those metal tubes are factures to bear in mind. Unlike the regular cartridges that have thin skin of the brass shells to hold the gunpowder, primer and bullet while the firing chamber takes the toll of containing the high pressure of firing, the Metal Storm tubes have to be thick and robust to hold the explosion. Those tubes are essential short barrels and as such have to be construct out of the same heavy and costly materials barrel are made. That overhead of deliver metallic pipes sometimes all around the world isn't cheap both in time of delivery and money. If the tubes are expendable, the logistic routes ends at the gun, if those empty tubes are to be ship back to factory refill those routes are now doubled. 

Variable Barrel Lengths and Muzzle Velocities
One unavoidable difficulty every superpose-load weapon have is the fact that sequenced firing will be shot from continually longer and longer barrels, each bullet will have longer barrel to travel from firing position to muzzle from the previous bullet and shorter than the next one. The result is different muzzle velocities for different bullets, when consistency in muzzle velocities is vital like in sniper rifle, artillery or CIWS such handicap is catastrophic.

One aspect of superpose ammunition stacked in a barrel stacked with several other barrels in a tight cluster that is oddly never addressed is the danger of cock-off.
When a cartridge is loaded into hot firing chamber heated from previous shots, there is the danger the heat will transfer into the propellant through the case and spontaneously ignite it and shot the round without human involvement. Which is very bad if the gun ain't pointing at that moment toward whoever you want dead.
The problem of cock-off hinder every caseless weapon program as the lack of case around the propellant mean that there is no barrier between the hot metal of the chamber and the round's propellant.
Caseless are also sensitive to cock-off as there are no spent cases taking a chunk of heat every shot as a small expendable heat sinks. Even H&K ran across this issue when attempted to bring the G11 caseless weapon system to the West German Army.MSL guns have projectiles and charges align in the tube, each shot dispense heat to the tube, the tube is presumably made of steel which have relatively good thermal conductivity.Therefore each shot may inflict thermal energy that could spontaneously ignite the following rounds in the tube. The problem only get more severely when stacking those tubes/barrels in tight arrays, one intended shot may trigger ignition in neighboring tubes/barrels as well and if that accidental ignited charge isn't belong the forward most round in the chain the all complex is going to go south of the border.     

No Way to Estimate to Number of Rounds Left in Munition Tubes
The gun electronics are good at counting the number of rounds left in the halved fired tube while it in the gun, halved depleted tubes removed from the gun is a different story. If a shooter remove a tube before clean it dry or in the case of battlefield pickup save than flag it to the gun or try to estimate from its weight the shooter can't figure the tube remaining capacity. Regular box magazine the user can press his thumb against the upmost rounds to compress the spring for better estimate, you can't do that with tubes.
List of Metal Storm Limited Guns

The first prototype MSL release to public eyes was the Bertha, an box mounted on tripod of 36 barrels of 9mm. Each barrel contain 15 bullets and charges, each barrel could deliver 5 rounds burst in one hundredth of a second long thus having the theoretical ROF of 500 rounds-per-second or 30K per minute for only one barrel… with 36 fully arm and operational barrels the Berta theoretical ROF would be ludicrous 1,080,000 shots per minute! The Bertha won the Guinness World Record for the world fastest firing machinegun ever invented. With ROF over a million rounds per minute MSL easily popularized their technology as the “one million RPM” gun although to be fair, at that rate the Bertha be run dry after only three hundredth of a second. 

VLe pistol
The VLe, acronym for Variable Lethality, was a fully electronic handgun MTL developed in partnership with New-Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and Taurus USA.
The gun were meant to house several barrels with different types of ammo both lethal 9mm rounds and larger less-than lethal bean bags. This volley pistol could be switched from lethal to less-than lethal and back with a flip of a switch, hence its name: Variable Lethality.
Another feature the gun supposed to have is recognizing pistol grip to identified the gun wielder and prevent unauthorized use. Early version were integrated with RF receiver to identified small RF transmitter embedded in user ring or watch. An unauthorized user without those personal items could not activate the gun. NJIT part in the pack was developing the “Dynamic Recognizing Grip”, an array of 16 pressure sensitive sensors around the pistol grip. When a user primly hold the gun the system recognize his/her unique palm signatures which according to NJIT are unique enough to distinguish friend from foe. Taurus USA, the United States branch of the Brazilian gun company part was the actual manufacture and sells the the complete gun.
Several prototypes were developed and built including single barrel, double twin barrel with upper and lower configuration and quadrille barrels in diamond shape configuration. To my knowledge, the four barrel gun never existed beyond CGI and mock-up stages and only the two former types were built and tested. The development was founded by US justice department and New Jersey funds, 2002 New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law prohibit the sale of “dumb” gun without authorize user recognition sensor 3 years after such 'smart gun' become available to purchase somewhere in the US. Problem for the NJ legislatives that no one seem to want to make or buy smart guns, so both NJ and the federal government set to funnel tax dollar for those who are willing to develop those guns. Unfortunately for MSL the law and the government efforts rages many gun-rights groups like the NRA to threats with a costumers' boycott against any manufacturer or retailer who get involved with placing a smart gun on American gun store shelves. Those threats bear fruits and gun manufactures pull back and either freeze or terminate their research, Taurus USA was no exception and without it, the VLe fate was sealed. 

The MAUL, acronym for Multishot Accessory Underbarrel Launcher, was ordered by the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) for evaluating the Metal Storm technology for the Marine Corps' breaching shotgun tests. Most of the multi-shots autoloader shotguns used for door breaching are bulky, heavy, and unsuitable for fast entry as a standalone gun, let alone, as a secondary gun underslung to M4 Carbine. ONR contact to developed and deliver a weapon attachment to M4 cable of firing explosive fin-stabilized Frag-12 shotgun shells as well as regular shots and non-lethal.
The result was MAUL, a light-weight shotgun (1 Kg empty) capable of firing 5 shots in fast semi-auto firing from a preloaded 5 rounds tubes. The gun could be fitted under M4 or as a stand along model. The gun lack of mechanical loading process enable different types of munition to be used indifferently when regular auto loading shotguns don't takes kindly different loaded like non-lethal as those are underpowered to cycle the gun. 

For the 3GL system, Metal Storm Limited ditched the preload tube concept of the MAUL in favor of manually loading cartridges with their 3GL grenade launcher system. The 3GL, as implied by its name, holds three 40mm grenade shells stacked in the barrel. The gun is loaded from the rear when opened and like the MAUL it can release its entire three shells as fast the shooter can pull the trigger three times. This could deliver a massive savlo of firepower downrange and could be a useful tool in Law Enforcement riot control operations and infantry urban combat operations. Like the MAUL both under barrel and stand along options exist. Unlike the MAUL the cartridges aren't ignited by direct current from the preloaded tube lines but from inductions coils in the barrel. The issue with the 3GL for underslung use, the weapon needed to be more of a full-sized assault rifle due to the bulk of the 3GL. This would present an issue with armed forces, like the US, that was moving towards carbines. In the test videos released, the weapon system is impressive especially when compared to the common single-shot 40mm grenade launchers.   

The Advanced Infantry Combat Weapon (AICW) developed by Australia Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) with conjunction with Tenix Defence (Australia's largest defense contractor) and Metal Storm Limited as a prototype and demonstrator for an infantry rifle capable of direct and indirect fire. The AICW was based on the iconic and long-serving F88 Steyr AUG, Australia's main infantry bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, coupled with 3GL as upper slung secondary barrel and massive integrated optics and computing module on top.
The AICW was supposed to be Australia response to American XM29 OICW project, to develop a portable grenade launcher with air-bursting capabilities that could be used by an infantryman. As with the OICW project, the AICW hit major problems concerning weight and cost. The AICW weighted in close to 10Kg (22lbs) fully loaded and any infantry gun fitted with smart optics and an fire control computer onboard firing programmable shells will be too much on any military budget for fielding to nearly every infantryman. Given these concerns, despite the 2005 Australian military testing the AICW (without live-fire grenades), the project was never advanced and never fielded.

Area Denial Weapon System – ADWS
The Area Denial Weapon System was founded by the DSTO as replacement solution to anti-personal and anti- vehicle minefields. Mines are problematic weapons, they stayed buried in the ground long after the conflict, armies or even the nations are long cease to exist and still endanger civilians decades after. The ADWS was supposed to provide an alternative, a stationary gun pre-placed at the right direction and elevating to cover the expected enemy formation paths. The gun would to automatically fire when a movement detected. Basically, it meant to be sort of long range smart climagor mine that could be deactivated and removed once the conflict ended. The ADWS prototypes were four 40mm barrels, each pack 4 grenades.         

The Redback system, named after one of Australia's (many) deadly spiders, was a four barrel turret designed to shot down incoming anti-tank rockets and missiles. Four barrels packed in a diamond shape bundle, each load with four 40mm airburst grenades. Electro Optic Systems (EOS) develop the sensors and acquiring system and Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) the airburst grenades.The system developed under contract by Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) for protection against RPG. The Redback fire programmable airburst grenades to the direction of the incoming rocket, before firing each grenade would set to explode at a specific time and distance from the protected vehicle. Following grenades would set to explode at shorter distances effectively create a line of charges between the rocket and the vehicle exploding when the RPG pass near.

If Redback is the shield that Firestorm is the sword, MSL took the basic structure of the Redback turret and retooled it as offensive weapon, designed primarily for armed Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV). The air-bursting ability is either been rejected or at least not mention again. The same configuration of four barrels diamond shape bundle remained, so is the caliber remain 40mm.
The Firestorm turret was install on top of iRobot's Warrior UGV for demonstrations. Other unmanned platforms to include Firestorm derivate are Foster-Miller Talon with four 40mm barrels placed side by side and Dragonfly Pictures Inc. DP-5X UAV with two barrels installed, each in the one of the UAV two pylons.Those barrels based on the standard 'block-stone' of four 40mm grenades stacked in a rear loading barrel.

Firestorm Fury
The last of MSL weapon system developed was the Firestorm Fury, the Fury is a modular box pod contains between 4 to 30 barrels per pod with up to six 40mm grenades. The weapon developed for US Marines Mission Payload Module (MPM) Program for both lethal and non-lethal usages. The pods were to be mounted on sides of HUMVEE turrets, only motorized elevation was needed. Later conceptual design indicate what MSL would have produce – a streamlining of the Fury as a standalone turret system similar to its little brother with more firepower and versatility. 

Advance Sniper Rifle?
Among all of Metal Storm Limited  weapons none one is more enigmatic then the MSL Advance Sniper Rifle.  MSL partnered with US Company called SAIC and enter to USSOCOM Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program with the goal to capitalize Metal Storm rapid fire capacities for generating very short very fast bursts with light recoil effects the sniper aim after the salvo left the barrel. To this day, no photos of the gun or its ammo have surfaced and there is little known about. One reported claim that there were two models built, one smoothbore the other rifled, both in 0.45 inch diameter. Both fired sabot projectile, the smoothbore projectiles are fin stabilized and the rifled version regular slug. MSL sniper rifle failed the tests very quickly, likely before any official USSOCOM trials were ever conducted. It is impossible to find any further data about the gun, the tests or the failure. In one annual letter to MSL shareholders, one of MSL top excites briefly mention the sniper rifle failure and blame some unstated and unnamed third sub-contractor hired by SAIC for construct the "barrel assembly" with the failure.

A handheld Metal Storm Machinegun?
Given the awesome power and futuristic nature of the Metal Storm platform, the idea of portable automatic Metal Storm based handheld gun enters into the mind of any Sci-Fi writer/creator. Could this Metal Storm firearms technology and concept overall concept of Metal Storm tech helped increase soldiers' firepower on the near-future battlefield? Sadly, while a totally cool idea, in the real world it doesn’t hold a merit. There is simply no real world need to have such a high ROF weapon systems in the hands of foot soldiers to be worth all the troubling followed by carrying such an over-kill gun into battle. For starters, the recoil would be crushing to any holder, unless they are a SPARTAN-II. Unlike belted machineguns that holds their ammo in a separate boxes all the weight of the ammo had to place in the gun itself. Having a substantial fire power will require great number of barrels making the gun weight like hell and so on… although fascinate to toyed with the idea there is no place to such weapon in the real world.
Metal Storm Limited Foreign Appearance
Mostly, the Metal Storm venture was an American – Australian venture, the company HQ based in Brisbane, Australia with American branch in Arlington, Virginia. Founding and contracting by government agencies such as DARFA and DSTO or as sub-contractors for bigger American weapon companies, most of the team-ups were with American companies too, as with the potential customers. However, MAL did have several interactions with other nations. 

MSL - Chinese fiasco stated at 2006 when the retired founder and owner of MSL Mike O'Dwyer claimed he been contact by a “Chinese government agents” who offer him not less than $100 million to relocate with his family to live and work in China for the government to establish their own Metal Storm weapon program. O'Dwyer notified the Australian defense department about the Chinese approaches.
Simultaneously, an Australian-Chinese businessman name Jun Yang (楊軍) claimed he been contacted by government agents in one of his visits in the homeland to establish a contact with MSL to purchase technologies on their behalf. A mountain-sized grain of salt should be taken with both of these men’s claims
O'Dwyer by then was retired and out of the loop so acquiring him for $100 million sound unreasonably Ludacris expensive for a technology that at 2006 already all acknowledged as a dead horse.As for Jun Yang it turn up that the man was and still is a member of the Falun Gong movement (法轮功) which opposed the People’s Republic of China central government. Meaning that no sane military intelligent agent will trust someone like Yang and Yang himself was every reason to lie and made false accusations against the much hated Chinese government. Nevertheless, it appear the Chinese did spent some effort into study and developed the technology themselves. A few academic articles involving Metal Storm concepts surface on the web, last one being from 2016, reveal that some research is done by Nanjing University of Science and Technology with the focus on Metal Storm naval applications similar to the  CIWS.       

MSL team up with Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) to develop and produce MSL line of 40mm stacked grenades which become the keystone to many of MSL products and armed drones. The single grenade shell was divided between the two companies, MSL designed the tail with the propellant and ignition coils while STK focus on devolve several warheads to be matched with the tail segment. STK list of warheads include high explosive (HE), enhanced blast explosive (EBX) and air burst (ABM). Less than lethal (LTL) heads was considered for future development but never fulfilled. STK faced herculean task of hardened to munition nose tip to sustain the explosive force the firing of the previous round will inflicted without damaging the explosive charge or the munition's electronics.   

Papua New Guinea
In 2010, Metal Storm Limited announced it been contacted by the Papua, New Guinea correctional service to supply 500 units of MAUL shotguns and 50K rounds of non-lethal ammunition. The deal was worth a reported 5 million Australian dollars (3.365 million in US Dollars) signed by Minister of Correctional Service Tony Aimo and the Acting Correctional Service Commissioner Henry Wavik.
PNG preferred the MAUL as they offered the ability to suppressed jail riots without casualties and the incompatibility of MAUL and its ammo with regular shotguns and regular shells insured the likelihood of gun stealing be minimal. The deal never materialized as Tony Aimo faced opposition back at PNG parliament, members of the opposition questioned him about the extent and necessity of the deal been a large amount of money for yet, unproven gun. Aimo claimed that MSL announcement wasn't correct, as only a small number of 50 units were ordered for evaluation and planned purposes for a delivery date of February 2011. No further news from MSL or PNG media had appeared since and most likely the deal terminated without any MAULs being delivered. Philip Alpers of Sydney University, an expert of PNG small arms status, conform this assumption but can't exclude the small possibility that very limited number of MAULs had delivered as “gifts” or “souvenirs” to high official officers in PNG correctional service as it is a common practice at such places in the world.   

Since 2009, the Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and Colt Canada have developing assault rifle for the Canadian Armed Forces. The prototype name is Soldier Integrated Precision Effects Systems, or SIPES. The rifle is bullpup configuration with lower barrel firing experimental 5.56 cased telescoped ammunition and upper barrel delivering either three round 40 mm grenade launcher or 12 gauge shotgun shots. The information currently available is scarce, the name Metal Storm isn't mention once, but given the MSL known to cooperate with DRDC up until it went bankrupt and from the few pictures available there is no ejection port or charging handle. Added to this is the similarity between the two SIPES calibers to the MSL products line it stand to reason that the upper segment of SIPES is indeed Metal Storm tech and currently, it is the only known Metal Storm gun that is still actively been deployed and testing.

Metal Storm Civilian Applications
After the September 11th attacks, it become horribly clear that any future event involving large fires in skyscrapers were beyond the conventional means and tools for evacuation and firefighting, not to mention well above the reach of longer ladders. The in years following the attack, many ideas emerged and tested for dealing with the fire-in-the-sky scenarios, one such concept were the Pyrogen–MSL joint program. The system proposed was an airborne helicopter mounted Metal Storm launcher. The launcher would be mount inside the helicopter body and fire horizontally from an open door. The system include long recoil trail and shock absorbers for attenuate the lateral recoil.
Fire extinguishment agent, developed by Pyrogen, was packed as solid pellets in Metal Storm projectiles; the projectiles, or “generators” as Pyrogen name them, were to be release the extinguishment agent as gas shortly after fired. MSL early generators were based on the 40mm shells but later scaled up to the 60mm diameter mortar shells size, a move that increased the mass of the agent from 840gr per round to 1Kg.
Coupled with the generators launcher was a parallel 12.5mm diameter projectile launcher, those smaller rounds were an inert 'window-breakers' bullets for clearing the firing path from any glass window between the choppa and the fire inferno raging inside.
System were developed for legendary UH-1 “Huey” helicopter with minimal installation time needed (up to 5 minutes).
Realistic Designs

Sabot and Squeeze-bore Ammunition
The Metal Storm ammo is limited in power and velocity due to the fact that the projectile's diameter is equal to the charge's diameter and charge length is limited because you have to stack those rounds nose-to-tail. One solution is to decouple the projectile diameter from the bore size das effectively disconnect the charge and projectile diameters.
There are and were two methods to achieve the goal: sabot and squeeze-bore ammunition. The sabot is the more familiar of the two, a tubular sleeve called sabot (“little shoe” in French) is placed around a projectile smaller in diameter than the barrel from which it be fire from, the sabot hold the projectile when the charge is ignited and acts as a piston, driving the projectile down the barrel and if the barrel is rifled latch to the rifling to spin itself and the projectile. After the saboted projectile leave the barrel it damped the sabot and continue with smaller more aerodynamic projectile. The squeeze-bore ammunition is in essence similar to the sabot ammo with the sabot is a part of the slug and instead of separation after leaving the gun the squeeze-bore ammo is collapsing its flange narrower as it move through the ever squeezing barrel. Both technologies used for anti-tank roles with large diameter projectiles and numerous attempts been made to scale down both the sabot and squeeze-bore to small arms calibers but all failed. If in the future someone could find a way to that, scale those rounds down it could favor Metal Storm technology too.Since the charge diameter of the metal storm round is identical to the bore diameter, separating the projectile diameter from the bore will end the projectile to propellant poor mass ratio that crippling to Metal Storm guns.

Tube Quickloader
Loading rounds into the barrel one-by-one like done in regular guns with tubular magazines is time consuming effort, ideally several of the methods and devices currently and past used for quick load rounds to tubular magazine could be implemented for stacked load too. The closest example to Metal Storm system, with its storage barrel located behind the firing barrel is the American Civil War-era Spencer rifle which had tubular magazine behind the barrel nearly collinear to it. Reloading the Spencer done by unplugged the back of the buttstock and its spring and toppling fresh cartridges from metal tubes, each contain 7 rounds, before plugging the buttstock. Even with those tubes reloading wasn't easy, the user had to point the gun down to pour the rounds downward and there wasn't any seal preventing them to fall if not aligned with the magazine. Better and modernized designs will have internal magazine spring to push the rounds and leaf spring magazine lips to holds those in until the tube was push against the gun rear entry which release the rounds from the tube into the gun.   

Ram Rod
The old saying of “Everything old is new again” can be applied to Metal Storm. With loaded each round one-by-one and having no method of extracting dud round out of storing barrel guns might be designed to include old familiar feature: the ram rod. Long rod rests under the barrel and be used to push rounds out of the rear breach. Classic. 

Multi-Round Cartridges
In the second half of the 20th century, the US tried to the improved the lethal power of small arms by maximized the weapons ROF. Both SPIW program in the 60's and ACR program in the 80's focus directly on delivering very rapid and short bursts of small projectiles, the main advantage of such bursts is the felt recoil won't affect the shooter aim before all of the burst's projectiles left the barrel/s das produced tight impact pattern.
Nearly all possible configuration were examined at SPIW & ACR for increase the number of bullets but the relevant to this article is the duplex and triplex cartridges, those were regular cases containing two or three projectiles stacked nose to tail and meant to be shot of the barrel together and separate from each other in midair to form the equivalent of a short burst. The problem that those bullets usually never separate and simply fly on as large unstable un-aerodynamic bullet.
If someone decide to revive those programs Metal Storm could be drafted in. instead of having thick wall tubes the cartridges will be housed in a thin shell cartridge which could be insert and extract from firing chamber like any cartridge do with induction coils around the firing chamber timing the firing of each inner round to achieve tunable burst in the ROF and length needed, for close range shootout, the coils will light the fuses with large intervals to create the necessary spreading. At long ranges, the gun will fire with minimal intervals to ensure minimal bullet spread. Inserting and extracting those multi-round cartridges could be done manually, in the case of some sort of bolt action burst fire sniper rifle or automatically, like what regular autoloader does.

Primer Actuated Cartridges 
An automatic gun loading and ejecting multi-round cartridges do have a problem thought, whether their mechanism is gas operated or delayed blowback, once the first fire of the first round in the cartridge was fired the gun would cycled the bolt and eject the mostly full cartridge away. The only away to fire such cartridges in autoloaders is completely empty the cartridge. To circumvent this trait, a mechanism is needed to unlock the bolt and reciprocate back only when the last round in the cartridge was fired and not the first one. It happen to be such mechanism did exist, John Garand known for his development of the famous M1 Garand battle rifle, few remember that his early attempts with semi-automatic rifle weren't include the nowadays common gas operated system but rather strange primer actuated system. Primer actuated cartridges have their primer sits inside little piston, when the gun is fired this pistol protrude back from the case into a hole in the bolt face pushing the bolt carrier backward just enough to rotate the bolt and unlock at then the residual pressure in the chamber push the empty case against the bolt reciprocating the bolt backward and ejecting from the gun. Metal Storm multi-round cartridges don't have impact sensitive primer at their back end but such small piston that unlock the bolt when the last round been fired could provide the needed flexibility for the user to select number of rounds he want to fire from the cartridge other than all of them.

To fully utilize the Metal Storm awesome ROF, a gun need to chamber and eject those multi-round cartridges as fast as possible, shortening the intervals between the rapid Metal Storm bursts.
Unfortunately, chamber and extract such long cartridges require long bolt travel path back and forward. If only there was a way to chamber & extract laterally instead of axially…
Well someone did, in the 1950's a man name David Dardick came up with a novel idea.
Instead of a traditional reciprocating bolt have a rotating cylinder with several triangular shaped axial cuts evenly distribute around the cylinder circumference. A matching triangular shaped polymer cartridges called an “Trounds” are scooped by the rotating cylinder and aligned in front of the barrel rear end and the firing pin, the third rib in this love tringle is the gun frame encapsulate the Tround from all sided. After firing, the cylinder rotations drive the spent Tround and ejectd.
This non-stopping process of scooping, chambering and ejecting is much more fast and continues than the reciprocating bolt and more important it isn't sensitive the cartridge length. Multi-round Trounds could be chamber and eject with very short pauses maximized the net ROF.                   

Different Propellant Charges Sizes and Computer-controlled Gas Valve
Metal Storm is tainted with the fact that following shots are fired from different barrel lengths, as the previous rounds have shorter travel length than the later rounds the muzzle velocities won't be constant. To compensate, that the multi-round cartridges could include different propellant charges, the forward most round will contain more propellant than the one behind it and so on till the last round that will contain the least charge.
When the gun is loaded with rounds one-by-one, the compensate will be done via an computer control gas valve. This valve will vent out a small amount of the propelling gas out of the barrel and slowly, with each shot ,will be automatically closed resulting in a uniform muzzle velocity to the rounds.

Conical Gun
Morris & Browns conical rifle is one strange unicorn indeed; it might be called for lack of better name the “un-revolving” revolver rifle. The rifle have six chambers, like regular revolvers, but those aren't parallel to each other but slightly angled to one another with their axis converge to a common point, a funnel, which placed in the rear end of the rifle's barrel.
This one of a kind gun main merit was to avoided the complexity of the revolving mechanism that couple and decouple loaded chambers to single barrel and used the built it funnel to… well… funnel the balls fired from the different chambers to aligned and continue with the barrel. The disadvantage is that funnel quickly been eroded by the impacted of the ball. Better modern metallurgy could reduce that problem enabling a Metal Storm gun with multiple rounds per chambers and several chambers all fired down one barrel instead of having multiple barrels, each barrel serving one chamber.       

Concealed Weapons
Throughout history, people tried to conceal their weapons, from knives to firearms, to carry them were weapons aren't allowed or unwanted and when the time calls,  pull them out from their hiding spot. One method of concealing is the design and build weapons resemble innocent looking mundane items people are expected to carry.
When it comes to firearms concealing the long slender barrel inside long and slender items makes sense, and many examples of disguised guns as walking cane, umbrella, pen and lipstick were produced for personal defense and espionage work. The basic outline that all of these guns share is they're all single shot devices, you can't have magazine protruding at a right angle and have charging handle and still pass any superficial examination without raise some eyebrows. Metal Storm technology could be used to break that outline, having multiple rounds packed in the single barrel without charging handle or ejection port. Heck, you don't even need mechanical trigger pop out of the cane gun handle!   

Staff Weapon
Leeching on the same idea of having high-end boomstick, staff weapon could conceal very long gun with high number of round. Such gun doubled as a range and melee weapon in the same tight package. It difficult to find any usage for such a gun in any modern or future playgrounds, but if you're setting include an uplifted proud warrior race or techno-hoarding monks in post-apocalyptic world, a Metal Storm staff gun is what you ought to arm them with.

Metal Storm and Science Fiction
As years pass with no real buyer of Metal Storm Limited products, one industry did take an interest: Science Fiction. Metal Storm weapons appeared in several formats of science fiction with almost entirely all of those examples are a near future and/or techno thrillers with Metal Storm guns embedded as anything from pistols to tank mounted turrets. For years MSL uncompromised publicity and marketing ensure the audience that metal storm guns are the next big thing and only just another few years to full fielding. Such promises got the attention of Sci-Fi and techno thrillers writers and others to place the technology in their near future settings, consistent the technology seemed to be the unavoidable trajectory the weapon industry is heading so placing those guns in the novel or video game seemed plausible.
The most prominent example is the Call of Duty franchise that continually capitalized MSL products and technology to serve in their recent near-future settings. The last COD video game set in future, Infinite Warfare, broke this trend. Both here on planet Earth, Metal Storm Limited is no longer in business and combined with the fact that COD franchise itself had been deorbited from the earth campaigns of the near-future setting of previous games in favor of outer-space conflicts as seen in Infinite Warfare. Given the chilly response associated with COD: IW, it is highly unlikely that any upcoming Call of Duty games will be set in the future and/or in outer space. This means that the inclusion of Metal Storm weapons technology is also finished being included. This seems to be the fate for the inclusion of Metal Storm weapons into future sci-fi works given that the company is no longer in business.

The VLe pistol from Soldier of Fortune: Payback
The first appearance of VLe or any Metal Storm gun in video games is from the bloody and messy 2007 Soldier of Fortune: Payback. The pistol in-game ditched the duality of lethal and non-lethal ammunition in favor of single type with greater capacity of 16 rounds stored in 4 barrels with a 3 rounds burst fire mode and reload by replacing complete barrels from rear loading. While the Soldier of Fortune video game video franchise has been around since 2000, it is likely the poor reception that Payback received has possibly ended the series. 

The Bulldog Shotgun from Call of duty Ghost & Advanced Warfare
The MAUL shotgun appears in both of the near-future set COD games of Ghosts and Advanced Warfare as the “Bulldog”. This shotgun has preloaded of five shells in replaceable front load barrel that is clearly shown in the reload animation. The Bulldog appears as stand alone close-quarters weapon or as an underslung barrel version that is only available on MSBS assault rifle. This was a grimly effective weapon in multiplayer, but with MAUL Bulldog appearing in two of the least popular COD games, the Bulldog will be forgotten as the lobbies grow dark.

The Redback RWS UGV from Call of Duty: Black Ops II
In the near-future setting of COD:Black Ops II, there is a heavy use of UAVs and UGVs across the campaign, strikeforce missions, and multiplayer. One of UGVs is the AGR Assault Sentry Drone used by several factions in the game and it incorporates a Metal Storm product: the Redback grenade launcher. However, the Redback is incorrectly depicted as machine gun as it is mounted on the right hand pylon of Assault Sentry Drone UGV. The gun's barrels are arranged as two on two arrangements rather than the diamond shape the real Redback barrels are arranged. This UGV was made into a plastic reality via Mega-Bloks, which maybe the only time an Metal Storm weapon system being made in toy form.

The Storm PSR Sniper Rifle from Call of Duty Black Ops: II
Inspired by the real experimental Advanced Sniper Rifle, the fictional Storm PSR is the most powerful and awed of COD weapons. The gun utilized the metals storm ultra-fast followed shots and enable the gamer to release tight burst with incredible penetration ability to take offends hiding behind walls and cover like it was tissue paper. Couple with this amazing punch is equally amazing scoop, the PSR scope capable of detecting targets behind solid object like weird X-ray scanner for the gamer to aim the gun's tri-barrels at that may have come from the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Eraser. The pentation capacity is determined by the number of shots in the burst, the gun can shot between one to five shots a burst and any additional bullet will increase the penetration depth.       

The Schipunov 42 from Battlefield 4
The Schipunov 42 is a stationary tripod-mount volley gun clearly inspired by the Bertha in appearance and functionality, the gun is used as a heavy machine support weapon to place an overwhelming fire power against anything from enemy trooper to helicopters, the gun however is short ranged as it lethality dropped sharply at greater ranges.

 M320 3GL from Battlefield 4
The M320 is a 3-shot burst grenade launcher loosely based on the actual 3GL grenade launcher. Unlike the 3GL which slide open forward for inserting three grenades one by one and after firing leave an empty barrel the M320 barrel is open tilting to the left and accommodate the three grenades in a single cylinder cartridge to be manually removed when empty. The gun is available as stand along gun only.

The Metal Storm Weaponry from Act of Aggression
In this real-time strategy game Act of Aggression is set in the year is 2019 after economic collapse the world is split between rival factions, one of them, the properly named Chimera, is a multi-national UN-led origination. Among its vast arsenal there are the battle UGV, simply called metal storm, modeled after the real world Foster-Miller Talon they armed with four MSL barrels grenade launcher and serve the Chimera forces as a stealth scouts with the ability to be used as ambushed and harassment tool as they are stealthy and cheap to make in great quantity   

The DX4 "Vaporizer" from CSI Miami epsiode "Guerillas in the Mist"
I never been keen with CSI Miami TV show and found it the least serious of the CSI franchise and "Guerillas in the Mist" episode is a good example. Three gunrunners are disintegrated into bloody mist (hunch the episode name?) in a Miami port warehouse by what believe to be a new type of gun, the DX4 aka the Vaporizer, the gun later shown as fridge size box mount on a tripod and somehow is light enough for two men to carry it. How could one carry, maneuver and aim such thing to take down three armed men? Why do you even need such absurdly over kill when simple handgun can do the job without alerting Horatio's CSI A-team to investigate?  As I said, the least serious of them all. In additional, even their fancy 3D CGI snapshots CSI screwed as the gun mechanics are presented not with electrically fired superpose bullets but with single bullet per barrel ignite with electric trigger!  What a shame! The DX4 was the first and only appearance of Metal Storm technology in the recorded media save discovery channel and such.

The Perimeter Metal Storm Turrents from the FWS Flash series Custom
FWS in-house flash series Custom features Metal Storm like turrets being used as an automatic perimeter protection gun, blocking the hordes of Nix, a gigantic crab shaped aliens, from Zerg-rush human strongholds and trenches. The Metal Storm turrets, along with other goodies of Earth technology, are what barely hold the lines against the ever advancing legions of the Nix. The inclusion of the Metal Storm turrets was inspirited by William watching the old Discovery Channel show “Future Weapons” and the icon sentry cannons from ALIENS.      

*Pulse: A Chess Team Adventure; full metal storm arsenal
The “Chess Team” is a code name for a special operation team composed of the most skilled and deadliest of US military branched was to offer. In the first novel in the 'Chess Team ' series the team faced against Manifold Genetics private army of mercenaries equipped with the best guns the world most profitable bio-engineering company money can buy. This 'best guns' are Metal Storm guns: from pistols to rifles to heavy machine gun Manifold Genetics mercenaries are giving King, Queen, Knight, Rook & Bishop – the Chess Team members' call signs; a run for their money.

CIWS pods, Remington G4 Assault carbine & silenced VLe pistol from Axis of Time
In the distance future of 2021(!) an Islamic caliphate is rise to power in Indonesia. In response a multinational task force is launch to the islands. Leading the force is the USS supercarrier Hillary Clinton, nickname the "Big Hill"! Named after President Hillary Clinton, Yeah… that's not going a happen…In the arsenal of the task force are some devastating weapons, among them are Metal Storm guns from CIWS to pistols. The ships of the US and UK are protected by Metal Storm CIWS pods, nick by the British sailors as "Daleks" giving their appearance. The US marines are armed with Remington G4 Assault carbine, praised as the first infantry solid state gun and loaded by ceramic caseless strips. The VLe pistol also appear as a silenced assassin gun in the series.

Metal Storm CIWS Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War
Yet another naval techno- thriller (this genre clearly loves the Metal Storm!), in the near future China launch a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor taking the US navy once again unready. A bloody naval war erupt in the Pacific between the superpowers and the metal storm CIWS is drafted to protect the US vessels against the Chinese missile wrath. The novel wisely notice and mention the metal storm poor long range performances as it been used as very close, last ditch protection against the incoming missiles.   

The Metal Storm equipped M1 Abrams and Shiva Self-Propelled Gun from the Posleen War Series 
The Posleen are an aggressive species of reptilian alien bent on the conquering and consume worlds...literally! The Posleen are omnivores, eating clean everything they encounter, they combine advance fighting technology with massive wave attacks of mindless warriors.
Posleen sensor tech is based on passive detection, it can detect accurately and immediately any self-propelled projectile like rockets and smart shells and taking them out of the sky but completely blind the regular dumb shells. Humanity is resort back to heavy cannons bombarding tactics but with a twist, instead of the regular guns a heavy metal storm pods are developed and mount on armored vehicles. The first to carry those pods are retrofitted the American M1 Abrams Main Battle tanks and later, after proved affective, the gigantic Shiva self-propelled artillery. This Self-propelled artillery piece is loaded with many Metal Storm turrets to be used against the Posleen's mass attacks and for taking down the Posleen landings ships.       

The M100 assault rifle from Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly
Scarecrow's author, Australian Matthew John Reilly, shows his national pride as he place the Metal Storm M100 assault rifle at the hands of an bounty hunting organization elite force: the Intercontinental Guards Unit 88 or simply called IG-88 (Wasn't that a Star Wars bounty hunter droid?). In the book, the M100 have an amazing fire rate of 10,000 rounds a minute and it can literally cut the target into half.

The VLe pistol from Those Who Walk in Darkness & What Fire Cannot Burn
The novel Those Who Walk in Darkness and its sequel What Fire Cannot Burn revolved around Soledad O'Roark, a police officer at LA Metanormal Tactical Unit. In this universe the metanormals are gifted superhumans the rest of humanity is waging war against. Task to the job of hunting metanormals O'Roark is armed with VLe pistol, each barrel is loaded with different type of ammo as each "freak" as O'Roark call them was a different vulnerability. In 2003, Those Who Walk in Darkness", a short animated film starting rapper Lil' Kim voice as Soledad O'Roark, released straight to DVD. According to all reviews on line the movie is Z-rated one, don't know if the movie's Soledad service pistol is VLe or not.

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist Aftermath
In this Tom Clancy's novel, the US government is employing a fleet of seemly civilian trailers to transport secret technologies and materials across the US mainland. Those trucks are well arms to encounter any treat with hidden 40mm robotic metal storm grenade launchers ready to unleash hell on any one attempt to heist their cargo.

Next Time on FWS Armory...Poking Holes in the hull 
Stepping onto an airplane and climb to high altitude we take with us a piece of our atmosphere bottled in a thin metal foil of the plane hull against the low pressure of the surrounding air. Civilian airlines transporting millions of passengers every year and in the we could see future private space flight and tourism along with civilian spaceships and space stations adding many more people. These new space tourists will be spending more time travelling and eventually living in environments hostile to human life with only that thin metal foil standing in between and the void. Of course, it likely be wise not fighting and shooting each other in such unappropriated places but again, humans are what they are and it usually not wise or appropriate to fire but yet it happen. Slug feasting in such environments will be the topic of the next Armory article: the Pressurized Environments Firearms.

Next Time on FWS...
There are some enemies that break the mold and became, rightly so, an example of the worst of the worst for generations to come; real-world monsters. They are used to label groups or people or actions taken. These enemies are used by creators to connect their fictional enemies to that of the real-world shitbag monsters. There is no group that "honor" belongs more to the Nazis of 3rd Reich Germany. Creators since the 1930's have used the Nazi to form a template for an "enemy-of-enemies" forging the subject of our next Our Enemies: the Space Nazis of science fiction.