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# Arm-aligned pistol barrels

Prevents torsion that throws aim off
 (+5, -4) [vote for, against]

As you know, most pistols are L-shaped. This leads to an accuracy problem with respect to hitting a target. In Physics, we would be discussing stuff like "the center of mass".

Basically, if you have a rock and push on it, it will move exactly in the direction pushed ONLY if the force of the push passes through the "center of mass" of the rock. Apply that force so that it doesn't pass through the center of mass, and some of the applied force will cause the rock to start to rotate around its center of mass, a twisting or "torsional" effect.

Well, when shooting a pistol, the force of the explosion pushes the bullet one way and the gun the other way, but that force does not hardly pass through the center of mass of the pistol! It causes a torsional effect that, due to the way the gun is held, leads to an upward overall motion of the gun. That is, the force is applied to the person as well as the gun, so the rotational center becomes the person's shoulder joint(s).

The accuracy problem thus comes from the fact that as the gun starts to move upward, the gun-barrel starts to move upward, even before the bullet has left the barrel. IF INSTEAD the force of the explosion could push the gun directly backward, by being applied to the center of mass of the pistol, then the barrel would stay better-aligned with the target.

In this Idea, the gun isn't L-shaped. In ASCII art, it would look something like this:

---\
| |\-----
---

Ignore the two backslash-lines for the moment.

The left-most vertical line represents the handgrip, and the rightmost horizontal line represents the barrel. Definitely the force of the explosion that shoots the bullet also gets applied to the center of mass of this gun! You can also see that as you hold this gun, the barrel is pretty much aligned with the direction your arm is pointing, not just parallel to it as with an ordinary pistol. That means your arm gets pushed, by the force of the explosion, in a manner that you can more easily resist. Accurate shooting should be much easier to achieve.

Now, as for aiming, it has been pointed out that the hand is in the way of line-of-sight down the barrel of this gun design (and other arm-aligned types), so it could be that having that sight may be the main reason the average pistol is L-shaped. This is where the two backslash-lines come in. They represent a periscope-type sighting system, allowing you to view above your hand normally, yet see along the barrel.

 — Vernon, May 04 2005

Target pistol http://64.177.205.5/martini/toz4.jpg
Arm aligned barrel. What you describe is nothing new at all in the world of competitive shooting. [bristolz, May 04 2005]

Hämmerli FP60 http://www.haemmerl...ndex.php?id=191&L=1
Close to center of mass setup. Note how far the sights are displaced above the bore. Not very practical for a tactical weapon. Also notable is the trigger, a small diameter cylinder rather than a blade. This helps to prevent inadvertent pulling of the pistol off-target as the trigger is used (and the trigger pull force is highly adjustable and measured in tens of grams rather than pounds). [bristolz, May 04 2005]

Super V sub-macheingun http://www.military...tech_KRISS,,00.html
is .45 acp big enough? [my-nep, Nov 04 2005]

Super V (again) http://airbornecomb...riss_super_v_4.html
Because the older link seems no longer valid. I see that this page appears to have a 2006 date, not affecting the originality of this Idea. [Vernon, Feb 25 2009]

 Interesting. I'm wondering if putting the barrel at the top was just to make easier sighting and construction or if it also helps the body to absorb the recoil buy throwing the arm up rather than pushing the force straight along the bone.

[later][pushes and twists own arm until he gets funny looks from co-workers.] Nope Can't see how putting the barrel at the top lessens injury. If anything it puts more stress on the wrist.
 — st3f, May 04 2005

 I am in favor of developing hand-held laser weaponry instead, eliminating all recoil problems, at which time we would arrive at the dawning of the age of point and click marksmanship.

In the short-term, however, I think your idea has merit. [+]
 — Soterios, May 04 2005

 — po, May 04 2005

 [st3f], a lightweight sight could be added parallel to the barrel and extending from the uppermost horizontal line in the sketch. It could also be counterweighted at the bottom part of the pistol, to ensure center-of-mass remains unchanged. I do understand that holstering it with such a sight might be problematic.

 LATER-- have better idea, posted to main text. Enjoy!

[po], I'm thinking force of shooting will mostly be applied to the "heel" part of the hand, which has bigger bones.
 — Vernon, May 04 2005

 Much competitive shooting, except for combat and center-fire competitions, use very light recoil rounds, including the most accurate of all: air. Further, if you look at a competition target pistol you will see that the bore, relative to the overall position of the hand, is much lower. Also the hand is rotated forward, relative to a conventional pistol, which also brings the bore closer to "arm-alignment," or center-of-mass. The Hämmerli FP 10 is a good example of a shallow angle grip.

 Sighting systems become ever more difficult as the barrel is lowered relative to the top of the hand, though.

My husband is a competitive pistol shooter and the stuff he uses is very exotic looking, often with large sliding weights near the muzzle used to counteract the recoil twist, or rise. This is particularly important in timed-fire events where the reacquisition of the target needs to happen in as little time as possible between shots.
 — bristolz, May 04 2005

 [bristolz], thanks for the link. At least so far the particular design described is different, and I'm actually not surprised that that arm-aligned barrels are old hat. It's just that -- have you ever seen them on serious weapons like a .45 caliber? Why not?

Regarding what you wrote about adding extra weights, that should make fast targeting LESS easy, due to having to push more total mass around, from one target to the next. I think that designing in the first place for nontorsional firing would be the superior way to go.
 — Vernon, May 04 2005

 Because aiming the with the barrel obscured by the hand is a bad thing in a risky situation.

 Actually, the weights prevent, or greatly reduce, the pistol from moving off target at fire time.

I think you might have an argument about which type of pistol is the more "serious." ;-)
 — bristolz, May 04 2005

 For the barrel to be below the height of the index finger, it will be necessary that the entire mechanism (including the cylinder or magazine for a revolver or autoloader) be located forward of the index finger. This will tend to result in a rather long weapon. Fine for target shooting, but not so good for discrete carry.

There are some revolvers that fire from the six o'clock rather than the twelve o'clock position. This can improve recoil management, but increases the distance between the sighting plane and the barrel, which generally makes parallax a problem.
 — supercat, May 04 2005

Bristolz, that hammerli pistol looks incredible. I've never seen anything like it. Supercat, got a link?
 — david_scothern, May 04 2005

 Okay, I just modified the main text to deal with sighting problems, including the parallax thing mentioned by [supercat].

 [bristolz], I was referring to aligning the weapon with the target in the first place. More mass means more effort. I do agree with the keep-it-aligned thing you wrote, though. Except it is just a different way to try to deal with the center-of-mass problem. I will continue to promote an initial-design solution, and not an added-on-patch. Also, what you originally wrote about light-recoil rounds does not square in my book with "serious weapon", which wallops the target and willy-nilly packs a kick.

[supercat], isn't the length of an ordinary revolver cylinder something like two inches? And isn't it already located a bit forward of the heel of the hand? Are you sure that "rather long" is really a correct description, when moved completely in front of the hand? Somehow I thought that long-barrelled pistols were longer-than-average by rather more than a couple of inches.
 — Vernon, May 04 2005

I'm in awe. Bun.
 — froglet, May 04 2005

 The weights are not really an added-on patch. The designs are ground up with the provision for the sliding weights and with the goal that the weights provide an easily field-adjustable method of compensating for the specific ammunition and shooters preferred balance.

 Any of these target weapons could be chambered for center fire rounds were there a demand. Calling a .22 a non-serious weapon is silly. Ever heard of a .220 Swift or Rocket? I'll bet more deaths result from .22 than any other caliber.

In any case, I suppose you can stick to your guns but I can't see where this idea is original. It's been thought about before because it's obvious and it's been done enough to have reached highly refined states.
 — bristolz, May 04 2005

[bristolz], I don't mean to imply that a .22 is not dangerous, but I see it more as a practice-using-guns and learn-why-we-have-safey-rules thing for kids, than the kind of thing that adult hunters and cops and soldiers use. (Yes, I know that .22s are often used on small game -- again mostly by kids.) I suppose we're working with different definitions of "serious" here.
 — Vernon, May 05 2005

 The .22 is also the preferred handgun for executions, because the bullet has enough power behind it and mass to puncture the skull, but not enough to exit it. The things tend to bounce around and turn the brain into oatmeal.

 That's why they're against the law in many states for large-game hunting - they'll puncture the abdomen and rattle around a bit, causing the animal to slowly bleed to death internally - truly inhumane.

EDIT: I should note that using .22s for executions is also against the law.
 — shapu, May 05 2005

 The bottom line for me is that, yes, arm-aligned (or as near as practical) handguns have been built for accuracy and, due their size, cost and specialized nature, tend to be used only for target shooting and, even then, only for the most serious free-pistol events where the diameter of the bullseye is the same size as the bullet.

Such a narrow range of application may not mean that the idea is widely-known-to-exist but it is undeniable that they do exist. That they are not commonly chambered in a warfare caliber is secondary to the central idea.
 — bristolz, May 05 2005

Bah, one of my older ideas... *wishing I had posted it*.
 — EvilPickels, May 05 2005

[my-nep], thanks for the link! Yes, .45 is plenty serious!
 — Vernon, Nov 05 2005

not having the barrel climb would be pretty spooky.
 — FlyingToaster, Feb 25 2009

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