Watch: Gyrojet Rocket Pistol
Russ Chastain 11.05.16
Developed in the early-to-mid 1960s, this Gyrojet pistol fired rockets instead of bullets.
No, I’m not kidding.
Each cartridge has a central primer and a series of vents on its rear end around that primer. Upon ignition, rocket fuel would begin to burn, exhausting through those vents. The rear ends of some cartridges can be seen in the round thing in the photo above.
The gun’s barrel was smoothbore, and spin was imparted on the rocket/bullet via a slight angle on each of the vent holes–hence the “gyro” part of the name.
While the fuel burns, the rocket accelerates for about 1.2 seconds, up to a speed of perhaps 1250 fps (feet per second). That’s a 180-grain, 13mm projectile.
The gun produced almost no recoil at all.
Oddly, the hammer hits the front of the rocket cartridge, shoving it back against the firing pin — and the forward motion of the rocket then forces the hammer out of the way, thus re-cocking it. In this way, even a no-recoil rocket pistol can be made semi-automatic.
The hammer can be seen in the photo above.
The manufacturer claimed that this odd gun could group within 30 inches at 100 yards, but Ian’s sources indicate that 7 feet was more likely at 100 yards.
And this is no belly gun. The projectile doesn’t begin to be deadly until it’s traveled at least 6 or 8 feet from the barrel, and preferably farther.
This gun sold in 2014 with 15 rounds of rocket ammo for a hammer price of $5500.