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ArcFlash Labs’ GR-1 Anvil Portable Gauss Rifle

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The GR-1 “Anvil” is a portable, shoulder-fired gauss rifle made by Arcflash Labs. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome to be living in the future where we actually have real gauss rifles, isn’t it?

First, some terminology. This is accurately identified as a gauss rifle, coil gun, or linear accelerator (although gauss “rifle” is a bit misleading, as it is a smoothbore launcher). It functions by using a series of coils energized to produce electromagnetic fields and pull a ferrous projectile down a barrel. Each coil accelerates the projectile faster, controlled by a series of optical gates that shut off a coil as the projectile passes beyond it. The GR-1 uses 8 coils, which use between 4000 and 16000 amps of electricity from 8 high voltage capacitors. These coils are able to accelerate a 1/2″ in diameter steel dowel pin up to about 75 m/s (240 fps). The most novel technology in the GR-1 is the hardware which allows the standard lithium-ion battery (25V) to fully charge this bank of capacitors in approximately 3 seconds.

Fundamentally, the GR-1 is an alpha sort of prototype. It is the equivalent to the first Wright Flyer – a technology demonstrator and a way to gain experience and expertise in building coil guns. As capacitor technology continues to improve, we will see coil gun capability improve from the level of airguns to that of handguns and eventually true rifles and beyond. Arcflash is leading the way in this technology, and I am grateful that they were willing to loan me one of their first batch of production guns for this filming!

Legal details: The GR-1, and coil guns in general, are not federally regulated as firearms. Under the law, “firearms” are specifically defined as propelling a projectile by combustion, and coil guns do not do this. Arcflash treats their coil guns as airguns out of an abundance of legal caution, and as a result there are several places where the GR-1 is not shipped because of state or local regulation on muzzle energy of airguns.

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