There is a lot of talk in the media today about automatic weapons, including consternation about the rate at which these weapons can fire.
Automatic rifles often have an effective firing rate of somewhere around 600 rounds per minute — which sounds like a lot, right? That number is only a tiny fraction of the firing rates that you will find on true fast-firing guns. From the anti-tank GAU-8 Avenger to the world’s fastest gun, here is a rundown of some top contenders.
The Anti-Tank Avenger
Even with a cartridge weight of nearly a full pound per projectile, the GAU-8 Gatling gun is able to pump out an impressive 4,200 rounds per minute. The weight of the cartridge isn’t quite as surprising when you realize that the entire weapon — made to be mounted on an A-10 Thunderbolt plane — weighs as much as two small cars. You can only imagine the damage that can be done as this gun throws as much lead into the air each round as 50 standard 9mm bullets.
ShKAS Machine Gun
Considered one of the Soviet Union’s best aircraft-mounted weapons, the ShKAS machine gun was widely used during the early 1930s. The standard ShKAS “only” has a firing rate of 1800 rounds per minute, but the UltraShKAS boasts an impressive 3,000 rounds per minute through a rotary feeding mechanism. The smooth, progressive removal of the cartridges is one aspect of the weapon that allows it to function at these high rates of speed.
The Metal Storm
Just as the name sounds, the Metal Storm is the U.S. Navy’s answer to essentially destroy anything in its path. With a firing rate of 16,000 rounds per second, the Metal Storm has an effective rounds per minute rate of 1,000,000 rounds — a truly staggering number when you consider that it would take another fast-firing weapon several minutes to release the same number of rounds. This Australian-designed super weapon is used on battleships, fast-response units and destroyers, making it the ideal choice for the protection of our country.
Each of these weapons was essentially designed to throw as much lead as possible into the air at once in the hopes of completely disintegrating the target. This is an extremely useful tactic for anti-aircraft guns or slicing through land-based targets such as an aircraft base.
So, the next time you hear someone refer to an automatic rifle as having a rapid firing rate, keep the Metal Storm in mind and realize that everything is relative! Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to enjoy firing these weapons at your local gun range, but you can relax and have an enjoyable afternoon with a more traditional weapon.
~ Ready to Fire News