I have a question regarding coilguns, but I'm using this knowledge for a specific worldbuilding project. I'll start with my question and some brief constraints, but I'll also include a brief description of my world's setup to give some context.

My world's constraints: Coil guns used by infantry within a planetary atmosphere with no access to modern firearms. Assume that power supply isn't an issue.

My question is would coil gun equivalents to modern firearm types make sense? For example, could a coil pistol be practical? Would the construction of a coil sniper rifle differ from a coil assault rifle, or would the only difference be the addition of a scope? Do coil shotguns work?

Or a shorter version of the question; Which types of modern firearms would have coil gun equivalents, and which coil gun equivalents of modern firearm types would be impractical or redundant?

I'm trying to create a somewhat comprehensive list of weapon categories for this world, so addressing as many gun categories as you can will be helpful. Thanks!

So here's the set up for my world. It takes place on a planet where the people living there left to their own devices would have a technology level approximately similar to Earth's technology during the Roman Empire. But, these people have access to the technology of an advanced alien race and have been taught enough about that technology to re-purpose it for, surprise surprise, murdering each other.

I'm assuming that these people have not yet invented black powder on their own and likely wouldn't have learned how to do so from aliens. My current idea is that they have been able to re-purpose alien technology to create coil guns and portable power supplies to power them.

(Sorry for the lengthy explanation, but I didn't want too many answers that wouldn't pertain to my worldbuilding project. As an added note, I was hesitant to use the science based tag as this isn't a strictly hard-science project, but regarding the coil gun technology I do want to have a basic understanding of how it would really work so I know when I'm deviating from reality)


closed as too broad by dot_Sp0T, L.Dutch, Secespitus, Mołot, sphennings Oct 23 '17 at 11:11

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ The friend of mine constructed his own gauss rifle. This thing has the size of a rifle, but its shot has much smaller power, apparently. This thing can "kill" tin cans and hurts a lot more than a strikeball shot, but compared to a regular rifle it is just a toy. JFYI :) $\endgroup$ – user2851843 Oct 23 '17 at 7:44
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    $\begingroup$ I voted to close this question as, as you state yourself in the body, you are looking to create a list. Questions whose answers produce open-ended lists are inherently malsuited to the format. One possible change to get away from the open list issue might be to include a subset of firearm-types you want explored in an answer. Thus it would become an analysis of feasibilities rather than a wild hunt for the most complete list. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Oct 23 '17 at 7:55

tl;dr: Yes, it would make sense, for exactly the same reason that different types of firearms make sense in the real world.

Firearms and coilguns aren't really all that different. Both have the same function, namely to accelerate projectiles to a high velocity with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The primary difference is the means by which they generate the force used to propel the projectile.

A coil pistol, like a modern pistol, would be useful as a weapon which could be easily worn on your person at all times, sacrificing range and power for ease of handling and compactness.

Sniper rifles, whether conventional or coil, aren't just a scoped assault rifle, they're designed to deliver a single, high-power shot with extremely high accuracy. An assault rifle, on the other hand, is designed to be easier to quickly aim and fire and has the option of automatic (or at least burst) fire.

A coil shotgun would be workable, although it would most likely fire a single projectile which is designed to break up shortly after leaving the barrel (becoming multiple projectiles) rather than being loaded with a cartridge containing multiple projectiles.

Depending on how advanced your technology is, there is definitely room for overlap between these functions - in the extreme case, you could have high-powered automatic pistols able to fire either inert solid slugs (covering the assault rifle's function), flechette rounds (shotgun role), or laser-guided smart projectiles (sniper rifle function) - but specialized weapons would still exist for situations where it's necessary to optimize for a specific set of characteristics, even if a single general-purpose weapon is used 99% of the time.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree about the pistol, since that is never a soldiers primary weapon. However, if coil tech makes assault rifles considerably more accurate (esp at long range), light sniper rifles would be redundant. It's not like any sniper would refuse burst or full auto mode if available. $\endgroup$ – Guran Oct 23 '17 at 9:00

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