1960s Gyrojet Concept Reinvented as Less-lethal Gun


In the 1960s, a pair of firearm designers produced the Gyrojet, a unique device that fired—or more accurately, launched—rocket-propelled projectiles. These days, gyrojet firearms are prized by gun collectors, but found little success in the world of defense (be it of self or country). An Ohio scientist named Jeffrey Widder may change that.

Widder borrowed from the Gyrojet concept and designed a similar firearm which shoots miniature 50-caliber rockets. There is one key difference between the two firearms—Widder’s “Pogojet” is meant to be less-lethal.

“It’s like a bee sting. It’ s only over a small area, but it is intense enough to be effective,” the inventor told Popular Mechanics. “The greatest risk of severe injury or death occurs from impacts to the head, face, or neck of the intended target or a bystander. The use of more accurate weapons with disciplined fire can substantially reduce the likelihood of this unintended consequence.”

The firearm shoots rounds with a burning propellant that pushes on a piston inside the bullet, forcing it forward like a pogo stick, hence the name. According to the Daily Mail, the exhaust gases from the burning propellant are vented off to the side and the bottom of the bullet, keeping it stabilized in flight. The concept is a very simple one but Widder says that shots fired from a Pogojet can incapacitate a target at up to 330 feet, traveling with a velocity of up to 300 feet per second. Keep in mind that the average .22 LR bullet has a velocity of over 1,200 feet per second, so as fired projectile, the Pogojet bullets are fairly slow. This is so that close-range shots with the weapon do not accidentally result in death.

Unlike many other less-lethal devices, the Pogojet can fire multiple shots in rapid succession. Due to the design of the round, Widder’s Pogojet can be configured as semiautomatic, although the interior mechanics of the firearms have not yet been explained. Widder did not specify whether each fired round would cycle the next one, or if some other mechanism would allow the gun to fire rapidly. Another point of interest is that the Pogojet can be mounted underneath rifles, which would allow the user to switch quickly between lethal and less-lethal rounds. Widder is currently designing the firearm for police and military use. If the firearm works as intended, it may very well give the traditional bean bag gun a run for its money.

You can see a video of it being fired below:


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