Repurposing the design of a kid's toy rocket into an innovative gun may sound pretty dark, but it creates a weapon with selectable lethality. Rockets made by Lund and Company Invention of Chicago use a liquid hydrogen variable fuel-air mix to give a selectable-power launch, and now the US Army is funding research to apply the tech to guns. The Variable Velocity Weapon System uses a similar liquid or gaseous fuel-air mix in a combustion chamber to propel bullets from the rifle, which lets you set the bullet speed as non-lethal at 33 feet to lethal at 330 feet, for example. Current research VVWS are .50 calibre rifles, but the design is scalable from "handgun to howizter." Sounds like a useful addition to a soldier's arsenal, though I suspect there'll be plenty of worries of the "I used the wrong setting" type. [New Scientist]


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