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In Future Past, bullets don't go "bang", they go "phfffffft".

Submitted for your approval is the MBA Gyrojet; the first real revolution in firearms since Roger Bacon said "I wonder what happens if I light this."  Where conventional firearms rely on exploding gunpowder or cordite in a metal barrel to drive a bullet, the Gyrojet used bullets that were not bullets.  They were, in fact, tiny rockets and the weapon is actually a miniature launcher.

Manufactured by MB Associates of San Ramon, California between 1960 and 1969, the Gyrojet was originally intended to replace a whole range of weapons from  pistol to carbine to rifle to light machinegun. 

The U. S. Army showed interest in the Gyrojet and two were even used during the Vietnam war, though unofficially as personal weapons.  But, of course, the most famous deployment of the Gyrojet was by the elite Ninja forces of the Japanese Secret Service while aiding James Bond in storming Blofeld's volcano headquarters in You Only Live Twice.

Despite its spectacular nature, the Gyrojet never entered into general service with any military and sold poorly in the civilian market.  For the military, the exotic ammunition raised compatibility and logistical issues.  The Gyrojet had a very light, simple design and its rocket principle meant that it had no recoil and produced an almost flat trajectory.  However, the weapon was slow to reload and unreliable, as the rocket shells had a tendency to refuse to leave the barrel, where they would merely hiss away ineffectually.  Worse, the ammunition was very susceptible to humidity and fouling.

But the greatest problem was that, being rockets, the shells took time to accelerate to full speed.  When a conventional bullet leaves a conventional pistol it's already travelling at its maximum velocity.  A Gyrojet bullet, on the other hand, is still building speed, which not only causes accuracy problems, but made the Gyrojet unique in that it was the only gun you could protect yourself against by sticking your finger in the barrel-- which made the Gyrojet wielder look like a proper fool.

In the end, the Gyrojet fizzled and faded into history, which is a shame because though it scored five out of ten for practicality, it scored ten out of ten for coolness.


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