Games like Fallout and Quake have made the sight of a Gauss rifle very common. The rifles are available in real life as well but are not quite common as they are very expensive. However, recently, an advanced weapons startup, Arcflash Labs, has come up with an alpha version of a handheld Gauss rifle and you can get it in just $3,375.
The question that arises is that how the Gauss rifle is different from the railgun. Both guns have magnetic accelerators, but their working principles are different. A Gauss rifle is a linear magnetic accelerator that has back-to-back electromagnets that carry a metal rod to the end of the barrel with less energy compared to a railgun. On the other hand, a railgun has two magnetic parallel rails for magnetic acceleration and offers more precision.
This new semi-automatic Gauss rifle’s 10 round magazine is called GR-1 and has the capability of launching 1.2-inch-long (32 mm) metal rods at a speed of 167 mph (75 m/s). This innovative rifle weighs 20 lbs. (9 kg). Arcflash Labs claim that it is the world’s first handheld Gauss Rifle.
The co-founder of Arcflash Labs, David Wirth says that he sees this rifle as a demonstrator more than a viable weapon, as of now. “We’re mainly selling it to enthusiasts and researchers who want to see what the technology can do. It’s just an alpha test.”
The company has also rolled out two other railguns that use Gauss but they realize that it is a long time before these products will be able to compete with a Winchester or a similar gunpowder weapon but is very ambitious. Wirth told Vice that “the capacitors are really the limitation,” and added, “the mass of the GR-1 is more than half capacitors and that’s just dead weight.” About the future of the Gauss rifle technology, Arcflash Labs’ Wirth said that “We expect energy density to exceed that of traditional firearms in roughly 20 years.”