TFB Review: Gauss Guns – Arcflash Labs GR-1 Anvil Vs. Coil Accelerator CA-09

    A couple months ago I was offered the chance to check out two different mass drivers: Arcflash Labs GR-1 Anvil and Coil Accelerator CA-09. Both of these guns use electromagnets to drive a ferrous projectile out of the barrel. These two coil guns are similar in function but you can see are very different looking from each other. Even the projectiles are totally different.

    Gauss Rifles @ TFB:

    GR-1 Anvil

    My friend Jerry laughing at how ridiculous this is.

    The GR-1 Anvil is Arcflash Labs’ flagship gauss rifle.

    The Arcflash Labs GR-1 “Anvil” is an 8-stage semi-automatic high voltage Gauss Rifle. It is the most powerful coilgun ever sold to the public, and also (very likely) the most powerful handheld coilgun ever built.

    It weighs 15 lbs without the battery or the magazine of ferrous projectiles. The barrel is 26″ long and the entire gun is 38″ long. The GR-1 is made up of 3D-printed components.

    If you look closely, you can see there are seven cylinders in front of the trigger. The eighth cylinder is partially hidden behind the pistol grip just in front of the magazine. See the slanted piece of plastic under the transparent plate? That is the bottom of the magazine. Here is the magazine. It is a single stack 10-rd magazine that holds 10-12mm diameter steel rods.

    The GR-1 is capable of accepting 3 different standard projectile lengths (32 mm, 42 mm, and 52 mm)

    This magazine is the shorter of the three lengths.

    Arcflash Labs offers magazines that are longer (not taller) to accommodate the longer projectiles.  At the top rear of the GR-1 is a pin with a split ring. Pull up on the ring and you unlock the stock.

    See the section with hexagonal holes? That entire section slides back to fit the longer magazines.

    The 32 mm projectiles weigh 391.3 grains.

    On top of the GR-1 Anvil are a bunch of controls and an LCD screen.

    The two toggle switches are to turn on an aiming laser and two LED flashlights at the muzzle end of the GR-1 Anvil.

    The brass-colored circle is the eye-safe VIS laser. The two orifices below and on either side are for the LED flashlight bulbs. The laser and light are not very powerful. These are not Modlites or even SureFire LEDs. These are much dimmer. The large opening in the center is the barrel.

    At the back left side of the GR-1 is the main ON switch to turn it on.

    Arcflash Labs uses a large 6S lithium polymer battery to power the GR-1. The battery box is hinged and held in place with this plastic tab/catch.

    The battery uses Deans connectors.

    The trigger on the GR-1 has a long pull. That is because the first half of its travel is to send a signal to the capacitors to charge up. When you press the trigger halfway, the screen lights up and a charging bar fills up. Once it is full, you can continue pressing the trigger to fire the projectile. The clear tube just above the trigger is the barrel and you can see the projectile fly through it.

    Remember that eighth cylinder behind the pistol grip? That is what pulls the projectile out of the magazine and propels it toward the other seven capacitors/coils.

    One cool thing about the GR-1 is that it has a built-in chronometer.

    I tried to use my FX Airguns pocket chrono but I accidentally shot it. Whoops.

    So I got a cheap airsoft chrono and got some velocities off it.

    Once in a while, I was getting very high measurements but the projectile did not hit any harder than it normally does with other shots fired so I consider this a fluke.

    Shooting the GR-1 is interesting but it is so big and heavy that it seems impractical. A nearly 400-grain projectile flying over 200 fps is good at breaking things. This feels like a range toy, bordering on air rifle equivalent but with a much shorter range and terrible accuracy. Then add on top that they want over $4,000 for it.

    Coil Accelerator CA-09

    The CA-09 has Picatinny rail molded into the top of the housing so you can attach optics, lights and lasers.

    CA-09

    CA-09

    The buttons on the front of the gun are a little bit annoying. I prefer not to have my fingers anywhere near and in front of a muzzle.

    The CA-09 is a more practical gauss rifle than the GR-1. It is mass-produced with injection-molded plastic and carbon fiber accents. The magazine is a two stacks of 25 rounds. When you empty the magazine you pull the mag out and rotate it 180º and reinsert the magazine for the next 25 rounds.

    The CA-09 shoots metal discs. They are a little bit lighter than the GR-1 projectiles at just 274 grains.

    I was able to measure the velocity of the CA-09 projectiles with my FX Airguns pocket chrono. Ignore the Ft Lbs since I did not enter the correct projectile weight.

    Like the GR-1, there were times when I got velocities that measured higher than normal. I am not sure if that is a fluke in the chrono or some ghost in the machine of the gauss rifles.

    The CA-09 is a lot more practical than the GR-1. It weighs just 7 lbs and while both are bullpup designs, the CA-09 is a lot more compact. It shoots the 274-grain projectile at a similar velocity as the GR-1. What else sets it apart from the GR-1 is the mode selection. You can shoot semi-auto, full auto or shotgun mode. Full auto shoots the metal discs at a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. Shotgun mode shoots 5 rounds in a burst mode at a screaming 2400 rounds per minute!

    Here is a video I shot of the CA-09 in slow motion. The discs are not spun so they tumble rather quickly.

    The GR-1 was anticlimactic. The projectiles would penetrate the bullet trap my friend Jerry had set up.

    Final Thoughts On the Gauss Rifle GR-1 vs CA-09

    The GR-1 is an interesting look into the potential of the gauss rifles. But the weight and cost do not make it seem worthwhile. Add to that the low capacity and that it is semi-auto only. Arcflash Labs has a newer design that shoots smaller projectiles and it is full-auto-capable as well but the person that let me check these out does not have one. Check out Arcflash Labs for more info.

    The CA-09 Coil Accelerator on the other hand is a lot more attractive. It is small enough to fit in a backpack. It has a respectable 50-round (two stacks of 25 rds) magazine and it has a high rate of fire. Everyone who shot the CA-09 was entertained. The only downside is the CA-09 uses a proprietary internal battery while the GR-1 has interchangeable batteries. But at just $1600 for the CA-09 it is more affordable. Check out Coil Accelerator for more info.

    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]


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