Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gun In The Machine

SCI-FI, living up to his moniker, sends in a great topic for discussion:
Japanese artist Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell, et al) likes to add realistic -if somewhat fantastic- projectile guns to his work. In his storytelling, he usually has some consistent fictional manufacturers in his works.  I got pictures of two of his most famous, attached here.

For fun and education, could you look these over and let me know if there is any possibility of these being real? Is he a plausible designer, or are the fanbois full of feces?

The oddball "banana" thing behind the grip of the Seburo CX is, in fact, the mag; a bullpup pistol, in other words.  The slide encompasses the entire top of that mag.
Here's the CX:

(picture from here)

Hoo, boy, where to start...

Okay, as a disclaimer: Yes, I understand this is a fantasy firearm. I'm critiquing it as though I'm seeing it rolled out at SHOT or something. With that said, the idea of a bullpup pistol is, well, I'm hesitant to say "stupid" but, well, stupid. If you want a longer barrel for accuracy, you're going to lose that by putting the rear sight basically on top of the trigger guard there rather than at the back of the firearm.

I'd have serious concerns about both the muzzle rise during rapid fire as well as how point-of-aim changes from full mag to half-empty mag to nearly empty. With a good portion of the weight behind the grip, that pistol is going to rise like crazy. With the grip acting essentially as a fulcrum, I'd be concerned about needing to make sight adjustments as the weight of the firearm changes.

And then there are secondary concerns - what's the mag change going to be like on that firearm? Does the magazine drop free? With that curved magazine it looks like getting it firmly seated could be tough to accomplish, especially under duress. Having the magazine release behind grip looks like it could be difficult to master as well.

All that critique said, I'd shoot one if you handed it to me...

The second one (Seburo Bobson) looks pedestrian enough, except what the hell is that atop the slide (amidships, sorta)?  
And here's the Bobson:

(picture from here)

This one looks pretty normal; I believe what SCI-FI is referring to in the middle of the slide is the rear sight. Why on earth they'd move it that far forward and sacrifice sight radius is beyond me, but then again it is a fictional, stylized handgun. It's supposed to be from a future that involves renegade cyborgs - while we all know that G-d's own pistol caliber out of the 1911 as John Moses Browning (PBUH) intended will take care of cyborgs, this is Japan, where they have different thoughts on firearms...

The only other comment I'd make is that the slide looks awkwardly tall. It looks like a pretty significant offset between the sights and the bore axis, although that's certainly not insurmountable - my Smith & Wesson model 422 has a similarly odd arrangement, and it shoots just fine. The only change I'd make would be to put the rear sight at the back of the slide where it belongs, and that's pretty minor. Well, that and I'd make it a fixed sight - the gun appears to be DAO, meaning it's a defensive sidearm, so no need for adjustable sights.

So, any other thoughts out there now that I've deconstructed these fantasy firearms?

That is all.


Wolfman said...

On the first, the CX- that magazine, with the gnarly hook in it 1/3 down, looks like a jam waiting to happen, but if we take that as written, it's still pretty large- this could be a carbine caliber pistol. You can see the 2 1/2" ejection port above the grip. That makes a little more sense, bt it would be odd to shoot. Imagine the reciprocating mass of that slide, and it's rear heavy balance. Also, if it is a full slide carbine caliber bull pup pistol, don't get too close; I bet that slide could really bite you.

Dave H said...

I agree with your take on the Bobson. In fact, I kind of like the way the grip is sculpted. That'd look nice on my LC-9.

I think Wolfman's right about the CX magazine. That kink is going to cause trouble. I have mixed feelings about having it behind the grip too. On the one hand, it would rest against the inside of the wrist, adding another point of contact for stability and better accuracy. But on the other hand, it causes the bore to not be lined up with the shooter's forearm, which could hurt if you're shooting something with a lot of recoil.

lee n. field said...

Why on earth they'd move it that far forward and sacrifice sight radius is beyond me,

The old Detonics micro-1911 style .45s had their rear sights at about that same place. I don't know if there was a technical reason they were made that way.

On the second, the trigger guard looks painful, front and back.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I'd be worried about the magazine on the first one pressing against my wrist/forearm and pushing the muzzle to the right. It's neat looking, though.

One thing worth noting: In Ghost in the Shell, one of the the characters (Togusa) uses a Meteba Autorevolver.

Phssthpok said...

My first instinct on the first gun (the Bullpup) is that the magazine would interfere with a proper grip (as mentioned by others). The kink in the magazine, while much more pronounced, is in fact similar to that of the typical AR style 30-rd magazine (owing to the AR's straight mag-well design).

Were I to design a pistol of that nature (and bearing in mind this *IS* science fiction and I haven't worked out ALL the engineering), I would incorporate an inverted 'Y' style magazine which would address many of voiced concerns.

In my mind the top of the magazine would have a block visually similar to the Ruger 10/22 style, though narrower and taller, and rather than rotating it would alternate from side to side, feeding evenly from each 'branch' of the inverted 'Y'.

Added benefits of the inverted 'Y' magazine include a return to proper grip angles, greater capacity, and improved gun stability as well as eliminating the 'rear-heavy/barrel climb' issues as the crook of the 'Y' would rest on the forearm in much the same way as the brace on a 'wrist rocket' style slingshot does.

Mag changes would be accomplished by sliding the block of the magazine onto rails from the BACK of the frame along the axis of the barrel, with a retaining mechanism being integral to the magazine (spring loaded slide-latch?). Tip your gripping hand down at the wrist slightly to raise teh 'crook' off the forearm, grasp the short vertical portion of the inverted 'Y' while drawing downward on the retaining latch with your thumb, and pull the magazine straight back toward you/away from the frame. Insertion is the reverse, only with the exception of not needing to manually retract the retaining latch.

With regard tot eh other pistol... the sight-line vs. bore axis doesn't seem any worse than that of the Chiappa Rhino... and those seem to hit what they are aimed at just fine (from what I hear).

Dan F. said...

The bend on that magazine reminds me more of a 30-rd AR mag in 7.62x39- I'm imagining this CX could use a tapered cartridge like 7.62 Tokarev.
So basically, a bullpup Boberg in an already 'hot' round. Do want.

Wally said...

The bobson, well the sights remind me of the Detonics sub micro 1911. They moved the sight forward to allow you an easy method of cocking the hammer with your thumb, without catching it on the rear sight.
(Those of us who saw Weerd leave most of his hand on my AMT know what I speak of)

First pistol, I think it would be possible for a magazine to feed *almost* that far rearward, but the ejection port is too far forward to work. The magazine makes an ungodly bend that would prove unworkable with ammunition present. Sight radius is disproportionately short, but not exactly a fatal flaw.

Will Brown said...

About the rear pistol sights; depending upon when these were first "developed" for the anime story they each appeared in, they well could be reflections of Jeff Coopers thoughts on the nature of rear sights on pistols. His emphasis on the front sight and proper grip alignment relegates the rear sight to a secondary reference point at best and a distraction to the shooter at worst.

I think both concepts would benefit immensely from the substitution of "iron" sights with both holographic sights atop the gun and grip-type [cough!]Crimson Trace[cough!] laser sights.

Spider Elliott said...

"this is Japan, where they have different thoughts on firearms..."

Considering that most Japanese civilians have never seen a firearm in person except in a policeman's holster, design challenges are understandable.

Ritchie said...

That CX-deformed spawn of thumbhole stock laws.