Gyrojet Rocket Pistol & Carbine from the 1960s in Action

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
MBA Mark I Model B Gyrojet Semi-Automatic Pistol with Box (RIA)

Taofledermaus, perhaps best known for their experiments with various types of shotgun slugs and their great high-speed footage of those slugs slamming into things, have shared something much rarer. Shooting footage of not just a Gyrojet pistol but a Gyrojet Rocket Carbine too!

If you’re not familiar with the Gyrojet, it is up there with some of the more unusual, ambitious and ill-fated 20th-century firearms designs alongside its contemporary the Dardick. The Gyrojet was developed in the early 1960s by Robert Mainhardt and Art Biehl, who formed MBAssociates (MBA). The Gyrojet essentially fires a gyroscopically stabilised rocket projectile.

A week or so ago Taofledermaus’ Jeff posted a short teaser for the feature-length video that was to follow:

The full video has now been posted featuring both the Gyrojet pistol and the Gyrojet carbine firing. The 50-year-old ammunition is worth its weight in gold so getting to see firing four rounds fired is something special.

The video has some excellent high-speed footage showing the travel of the bullet and how it stabilised. In some of the shots you’re able to see the projectile’s propellant jet out of the rear of the round and distinctly make out the fire exiting the angled ports. This creates a centrifugal force which stabilises the projectile by causing it to spin – much like the spin imparted by conventional rifling. Jeff explains that the Gyrojets have very little recoil and are hearing safe.

The pistol and carbine have a retro-futuristic aesthetic and are unlike any other contemporary design, with extremely simple actions and smooth bore barrels. Taofledermaus’ video shows how the projectile leaves the barrel fairly slowly and only reaches maximum speed when the rocket burns out fully. In the full-length video, Jeff takes us through the history, operation, and design of the Gyrojet before test firing both the guns. Some problems with the 50-year-old ammunition are experienced and the pistol malfunctions but 3 out of 4 manage to hit their target.

MBA attempted to interest the US military in the Gyroject, even developing an assault rifle variant but the rifle was rejected. Today Gyrojet firearms and their ammunition are increasingly rare and highly collectible fetching between $3,000 and $7,000 at auction.

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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