Meanderings of a Weapon Oriented Mind When Applied in a Vacuum Such as on the Moon
The Aerospace Projects Review Blog uncovered a great July 1965 report from the U.S. Army’s Directorate of R&D Future Weapons Office about the realities of using firearms and other projectile weapons in space.
Conventional firearms would work just fine in space… at least for a while. A vacuum would cause most lubricants to outgas and turn to waxy solids or hard rubber-like crud. The extreme differences in temperatures between sunlit and shaded would cause many metals to warp and mechanisms to seize up. And there’s always the possibility of vacuum welding, where two similar metals will simply stick together, fusing into one. And recoil that gives a shooter a good kick on Earth might knock them over on the Moon, or send them tumbling in freefall. The authors described these problems and pointed out potential solutions. Additionally, they provided a number of notional concepts for hand-held weapons, ranging from modifications to the normal sort of firearm, to guns powered by springs (with, it must be said, rather optimistic muzzle velocities) to gas-guns and handheld mini-rocket launchers.
Such as the Sausage Gun!