Metal Storm MAUL 12 guage launcher

About 6 months ago Metal Storm was awarded AU$1.4 million in development contracts from the US Navy to develop a 12 guage (.729″ caliber, not the 12 gauge shotgun cartridge) multishot weapon that mounts under an M16 and M4.

The MAUL has no moving parts and weights just 2.75 pounds.

Picture 11-17

All four rounds can be loaded into the chamber at once and are electronically ignited. It can fire lethal rounds, such as grenades, and non lethal rounds.

The weapon system was exhibited at AUSA Expo this year and should be in production next year.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • I thought MS was going out of business?

  • caposkaw

    … I don’t like it.
    the guns must work always, and the electronic circuits isn’t totally sure…
    the old M79 always worked!

  • dm

    M79 didnt work when out of ammo. Even traditional guns dont always work.

    There’s a few russian weapons (rockets, i think) that have a small dynamo attached to them for charging before electric firing.

    I can picture an ultracapacitor and dynamo next to a battery, and i can picture the loading action (pump, break, whatever) charging the capacitor enough for a few hours standby. If the battery is dead, you always have the dynamo.

    I can also imagine using the firing of the weapon to charge the battery – some coil around the barrel and a small magnet in the base of the ammo – and hey presto, you have a gunpowder powered generator. One shot would be enough to power quite a few more afterwards.

  • dm

    It was the RPG-16 that has electric fired ammo – there’s piezoelectric generator in the trigger.

  • dm, I would still call a piezoelectric system electronically fired.

    Do you know how the system works in the MAUL? Does each primer have a piezoelectric “firing pin” behind it?

  • EJ

    Does anyone have any comment on metal storms viability/ status..? They keep saying they are going to be commercialized by the end of year.. but they have almost no new information public ally released within most of 08.

  • EJ, my understanding is that most (all?) of the money they are getting is R&D.

  • EJ

    So any thoughts on if they will be able to make the company a success? Or out of business?

  • dm

    Steve: I dont know much about how the metal storm firing system works.

    From the wikipedia page, it appears they initially used physical contacts to send electrical pulses to the primers, but they now use induction coils around the barrel (contactless) to send the firing pulse to the primer.

    The induction system would be the most reliable, but would also be the least energy efficient, i.e. I doubt that piezoelectrics would be able to provide enough energy to inductively fire a primer. That said, I dont know how the primer works, so I could be completely wrong.

    Still, a hand cranked dynamo on the weapon should be able to charge it up enough for a fair amount of firing.

    This MAUL system would make a great combat shotgun on its own – a pair of them side by side or over-under would give you a short, light, easily reloadable 10-shot semi-auto shotgun with 2 switchable choices of ammo. Hell, you could even go to 3 or even 4 barrels if you wanted more ready-to-go shots. The trick would be keeping the barrels light enough, which for shotguns and their relatively low pressures wouldn’t be too hard.

    If the ammo was cheap and simple enough – a plastic cup plus ‘special’ primer – you’d have a winner.

  • charles222

    The Germans were using electrically fired guns in WW2. This isn’t really new technology; it’s actually rather proven, as aircraft guns aren’t exactly clearable by hand. :p

    Interesting concept. The Masterkey & LSS systems disrupt good shooting position ALOT; this is a good deal less bulky and clumsy.

    • Novus Collectus

      Charles, there is a difference, the Germans may have used electronically fired weapons, but the first electronically fired rifle dates to about around 1900 or so, but that was one shot cartridge for both. The O’dwyer system uses stackable rounds in the barrell…..which was first concieved of in the 1800’s (a flintlock). O’Dwyer was the first to combine electronic ignited rounds with stackable ammo in a barrel though. It is very new technology (well, last 20 years I mean).