Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021 - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY TACTICAL

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

A .44 mag revolver holds a special place among true gun aficionados. It has been the symbol of intimidation, power, and hard-boiled action since the seventies. Anyone who has seen Taxi Driver or Dirty Harry knows what I’m talking about.

And if you want to follow the footsteps of action legends like Clint Eastwood, there’s no better gun to strap on your belt.

So, buckle up. Today we’ll dive into the world of this near-mythical handgun and try to find the best .44 magnum revolver on the market.

Click here to get one for yourself.

Standing The Test Of Time: A Brief History Of .44 Mag

“This is the .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and it can blow your head clean off. So, you got to ask yourself one question – Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”

Nothing describes the sheer awesomeness of the revolver quite like this immortal line from Dirty Harry.

Believe me, I’ve held some much more powerful six-shooters, including the .454 Casull. There’s nothing that threw me into the “action hero” mode quite like this one.

The .44 magnum handgun hasn’t made its mark in the Civil War or the Wild West. In fact, it’s still a relatively new revolver by today’s standards, first appearing in 1955.

Elmer Keith, the famous cowboy and writer of the time, developed the first revolver. It didn’t take long for Remington to develop and release the first .44 Remington Magnum and others to follow.

However, despite being the go-to gun of numerous big-screen protagonists, it never found its place in law enforcement. But it gained popularity in hunting and as the most reliable self-defense weapon. It managed to maintain its reputation over decades as well.

The emergence of the more convenient semi-automatic pistols and even more powerful revolvers didn’t overshadow the .44 mag. Many experts I talked to would still choose it over some newer models.

Through all of that, this revolver has achieved a symbolic status. When you think of a revolver, you picture the .44. If a shooter video game allows you to carry a revolver, it will probably be this one.

So, what else makes it so unique? Let’s find out.

The Benefits Of The .44 Magnum

Do you know what the greatest upside of a revolver is? A first-timer can learn to use it in a minute.

You won’t see a cowboy de-cocking their six-shooter and pulling the safety lever. Instead, you can just lift it up and pull the trigger.

What’s better – you can load your gun and keep it for years without damaging the recoil springs or magazine.

Moreover, it’s easy to holster or conceal and easy to carry around your belt at all times. It makes for a perfect self-defense weapon against both four-legged and two-legged beasts. Especially since it has quite the explosive power.

Still not sure about its capability? Maybe you’ll change your mind when I tell you that one guy took down a 12-foot polar bear using only this gun in 1965. Don’t believe me? Look it up!

What About The Downsides?

I can understand those who move away from six-shooters. First of all, you have a small capacity there. Although five or six rounds could be enough, you may still feel a lot safer with a fully loaded Glock.

Another thing that bugs the gun-friendly people is the reload time. Even with innovative speed loaders, it’s still an extensive process. You have to open the cylinder to drop the empty shells before you insert the live rounds again.

But that’s not all. Handling a mag can be quite an unpleasant experience for some. It’s a sturdy gun with a heavy recoil such that it requires a tight grip. I’ve witnessed people busting their teeth at the drawback of the mag.

And lastly, there’s that controversial revolver muzzle flash that’s dividing firearm proponents across the globe. While some enjoy “seeing what they fire,” some claim that they “may get an epileptic seizure” if they fire two rounds in a row.

Who Should Use The .44 Mag?

This is a tricky question.

Is it powerful? Yes, but not the most powerful.

Is it a good concealed-carry gun? It’s doable, but still not the lightest.

But there’s still something about it that makes it unique and extremely popular.

Throughout the years, I’ve realized that this gun may be the best for the following:

  • Hunting game animals of all sizes: Honestly, a good shot can take out a wild boar with a .44 mag
  • Target practicing at more than 100 yards
  • Safely carrying around a revolver that you can draw quickly
  • Going all Travis Bickle in case your life’s in danger
  • Pricing

The top three revolver manufacturers (Taurus, Ruger, Smith & Wesson) have cut back on production in recent years. On the flip side, the demand has risen. This means you can expect a several-month waiting list to get one directly from the manufacturer.

There are plenty of people who are put off by the price of a magnum. You can’t really blame them; a brand new S&W 69 may cost north of $800. However, you can find Taurus models for $600 or less too.

The real issue lies in the prices of the side equipment. Practice ammo costs $25 for a pack of 25 rounds and the serious stuff can go up to $40 (box of 20). On top of that, there’s also maintenance and additional equipment (e.g. speed loader) to consider.

But you need to remember that you’re not buying just a gun. You’re buying a myth. An artifact that shows its teeth to the zeitgeist.

It’s something that you buy because you love everything it represents. And if you’re one of those people, no price can stop you.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers

Taurus 44 Raging Hunter

I wasn’t surprised when I heard that this gun won the 2019 American Hunter Handgun of the Year award. If someone deserved the Golden Bullseye, it’s them.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

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The Raging Hunter has a large frame with an above-average barrel of 8.37”. This makes it one of the longest revolvers in its class and therefore, the hardest to conceal.

However, I expected it to be much heavier than it is. In fact, I believe it’s one of the lightest pistols. That’s due to the aluminum alloy shroud and angular barrel design. According to Taurus, they first thread the barrel onto the frame and then they coat the cover over it.

This handgun is a next-generation revolver. First, it breaks the traditional ties as it features a seven-shot cylinder instead of the usual six. It’s mostly a double-action revolver, but you can use it as a single-action as well.

The power and accuracy are also top-notch. It’s ideal for anything from home defense to the recreational shooting of tin cans from over 100 yards out.

In the end, the price may put some people off, but there probably isn’t a better mag six-shooter around.

Pros

  • Next-generation design
  • Feature-rich
  • Light-weight yet powerful
  • Perfect precision

Cons

  • The longest and hardest to conceal

Ruger Super Redhawk

This Ruger model is common among big-game hunters for two reasons.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

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For one, it contains devastating explosive power, but it also comes with the best possible scope-mounting system among revolvers. Every hunter wants a clean and quick kill that spares the game unnecessary suffering and this gun makes it possible.

The first thing that impressed me with the Super Redhawk is its smooth black rubber grip. Despite having a heavy recoil, this grip allows you to hold tight and avoid any accidents.

The small air pouch between the grip and your hand softens the drawback so even new firearm users can steady the shot. It’s simply one of the more accurate handguns around.

This six-shooter comes in two models: Super Redhawk and Super Redhawk Alaskan.

The former has a bunch of additional features like a hammer-forged barrel and an extended frame for a scope machine. It comes in both 7.5” and 9.5” barrels.

On the other hand, the Alaskan is a smaller model without the extensions. However, it’s popular among those who want to walk around with more confidence. It’s small, convenient, and easy to conceal.

Although it may fall in the best .44 magnum revolver category, this revolver may be expensive for what it brings to the table. 

Pros

  • Capable of taking out the biggest game
  • Available in bigger and smaller models
  • Extended frame model comes with a mountable scope
  • Rubber grip to control accuracy and drawback

Cons

  • Expensive

Taurus Raging Bull

The Raging Bull is one of the bigger handguns around. However, a seasoned hunter will know that you can determine the gun by the way it “sits” in your hand, and this shooter is impeccable when it comes to fit and feel.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

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The award-winning design consists of a 6.5” barrel length with an elegant matte stainless-steel finish. A soft black grip keeps the gun steady in your hand and enhances accuracy. But you can fire it in double-action to increase precision even more.

Two things about this gun got to my attention.

First, it comes at a much affordable price than most of its counterparts. And you get a big-game handgun in return.

But above all, I appreciate Taurus’ safety mechanism; all the company’s guns have a security system that allows you to lock/unlock the revolver with a unique key. If you don’t have the key, you can’t fire or cock the gun at all.

On the other hand, the only downside is the monumental size of this revolver. If you prefer carrying it around with you, you’ll have some trouble concealing it. In short, it can defend you from the sharp-toothed beast, but it may prove inconvenient for defending your home (or your life).

Pros

  • Fits in your hand perfectly
  • Great accuracy
  • Affordable
  • Essential security mechanism

Cons

  • Bulky

Smith & Wesson 629 V-Comp Performance Center

The Smith & Wesson is a smaller and more versatile model of the .44 mag. It may not be the best .44 magnum revolver for big game, but it’s definitely one you can conceal.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

>>Check Price Here<<

It has a 4” barrel with stainless steel construction and a shiny chrome finishing that looks beautiful. Although the grip has a captivating design, I found it a bit slippery during my test runs. I’d recommend being extra careful during the recoil.

On the other hand, I found that this small six-shooter can really pack a punch. It combines the power and accuracy of a lighter gun. Although I haven’t tested it on game animals, I think it’s a perfect choice for self-defense. Especially since it’s easy to tote around.

Overall, it’s a cool-looking gun from one of the most trusted revolver manufacturers.

Pros

  • Small and easy to carry
  • Looks real cool
  • Combination of power and accuracy

Cons

  • The slippery grip could be an accident in waiting

Nighthawk Custom Korth NXR

This revolver powerhouse is a co-development project of two companies: Korth and Nighthawk Custom. And boy, did they deliver …

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

>>Check Price Here<<

When I got my hand on this monster, I thought I was dreaming. The design, the fitting, and the overall feeling were out of this world. A fantastic DLC finish makes the shooter always look brand new, while the Turkish walnut grip adds a sophisticated touch.

I immediately noticed the recoil-reducing and balancing weight under the 6-inch barrel, which is great for beginners. You can remove it, but it adds fine detail to the overall design if you leave it alone.

One thing this revolver is notable for is its smooth double-action performance. Furthermore, it has a fast-changeable front sight along with a removable rear sight, too.

But here’s the bad part … It costs a boat load! Is it worth it? It depends on how badly you want it. It’s probably the best .44 mag revolver, but would you pay a used car’s price to own one? I probably would in this case. Guess I better buy a bus pass. 

Pros

  • Stunning design
  • Smooth double-action performance
  • Recoil-taming features
  • One of the best magnum revolvers

Cons

  • Through-the-roof price

Conclusion 

All things considered; the Taurus 44 Raging Hunter is probably the best and most affordable .44 magnum revolver on the market. It’s an award-winning, next-gen revolver that’s equally suitable for entry-level users and big-game hunters.

Of course, I don’t mean to take anything away from the other guns. As I hold this type of six-shooter close to my heart, I’d tell you that you can’t go wrong with any. However, if we’re talking about the price-to-quality ratio, the Raging Hunter would be my choice as best for the money.

Read more at www.GunMade.com

MIGHTY TACTICAL

Russia improving range of feared Kalibr cruise missile

The Russian Navy is apparently developing a new long-range cruise missile, Russia’s state-run Tass News Agency reported Jan. 8, 2019, citing a source in the military-industrial complex.

The weapon in the works is reportedly the new Kalibr-M cruise missile, a ship-launched weapon able to deliver a precision strike with a conventional or nuclear warhead as far as 2,800 miles away. That’s roughly three times the range of the US’s Block III TLAM-C Tomahawk cruise missiles.


The new missile will be carried by large surface ships and nuclear submarines once it is delivered to the fleet, which is expected to occur before the conclusion of the state armament program in 2027.

The Kalibr-M, with a warhead weighing one metric ton, is said to be larger than the Kalibr missiles currently in service, which are suspected to have a range of roughly 2,000 km (roughly 1,200 miles).

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

US Block III Tomahawk cruise missile.

(US Navy photo)

Although state media, citing its unnamed source, reported that the Russian defense ministry is financing the weapon’s development, Russia has not officially confirmed that the navy is working on the new Kalibr-M cruise missile.

Senior US defense officials have previously expressed concern over the existing Kalibr missiles, noting, in particular, the weapon’s range.

“You know, Russia is not 10 feet tall, but they do have capabilities that keep me vigilant, concerned,” Adm. James Foggo III, commander of US Naval Forces Europe, told reporters at the Pentagon in October 2018.

“They’re firing the Kalibr missile, very capable missile,” he explained. “It has a range which, if launched from any of the seas around Europe, … could range any one of the capitals of Europe. That is a concern to me, and it’s a concern to my NATO partners and friends.”

The Kalibr missile, around since the 1990s, made its combat debut in attacks on Syria in 2015.

Russia is, according to a recent report from the Washington Free Beacon, planning to deploy these long-range precision-strike cruise missiles on warships and submarines for Atlantic Ocean patrols.

Featured image by Brian Burnell, CC-BY-SA-3.0.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Articles

DARPA Is Making A Real Life Terminator (Seriously)

The fantasy world of Skynet and the T-100 is inching closer to reality with DARPA’s Atlas program.


Also Read: The 7 Coolest High-Tech Projects The Military Is Currently Working On

Based on Boston Dynamics’ PETMAN humanoid robot, ATLAS will most likely go through an I, Robot puberty stage before reaching Terminator adulthood. The robot is being developed with some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world through DARPA’s Robotic Challenge. The competition’s goal is to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters, according to DARPA.

Inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a robot like ATLAS could mitigate future accidents by sending in a machine where it would otherwise be hazardous to humans. Like in I, Robot, these humanoids should be capable of opening doors, move debris, turn valves, and perform other human tasks.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021
I, Robot (Photo: IMDb)

The fact these robots are being developed to provide relief has done little to mollify the concerns over the threat of killer robots. “At the end of the day people need to remember what the D in DARPA stands for. It stands for Defense,” said Peter Singer, in an interview with NPR. Singer is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century:

Singer argues that if researchers build a robot that can drive cars, climb a ladder and operate a jackhammer that they can also be used for war. “That means that that robot can manipulate an AK-47,” Singer told NPR.

The challenge finals will take place from June 5-6, 2015 at Fairplex in Pomona, California where robots will be judged on their ability to perform semi-autonomous tasks. The winning team will receive a $2 million prize; runner-up will be awarded $1 million and $500,000 for third place.

Here’s a short of video of the robot’s current capabilities:

NOW: This Is The Vehicle Lamborghini Designed For The Military

AND: Here’s Video Of The US Navy Testing A ‘Game-Changing’ New Missile

MIGHTY TACTICAL

This self-driving ship might be a game-changer for Marines

Getting supplies to Marines ashore is growing more complex as new threats reach the space between ships and the beach, so leaders are looking to high-tech self-driving ships to get the job done.

The Navy’s mysterious 132-foot-long autonomous Sea Hunter vessel could move fuel, ammunition, and other heavy supplies from large ships out to small teams of Marines, sea service leaders said May 8, 2019, at the Sea-Air-Space expo outside Washington, D.C.

“If we can do what we’ve demonstrated with Sea Hunter … with logistics, to program that connector to meet that force at a location to sustain them and provide them with what they need, that is where we’re going to have to practice, practice, practice and learn and adapt our structure to be responsive to that,” said Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, director of warfare integration.


Sea Hunter recently traveled from California to Hawaii and back again with hardly anyone operating aboard the vessel.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

Sea Hunter, an entirely new class of unmanned sea surface vehicle.

(US Navy photo)

Marines and sailors recently practiced sustaining ground troops operating at various points ashore during a massive amphibious exercise called Pacific Blitz. During that exercise, it became clear they must leverage the distance unmanned vessels can travel without risk to personnel, Brig. Gen. Stephen Liszewski, director of operations for Marine Corps Plans, Policies and Operations, told Military.com.

“The unmanned piece is the untapped potential,” Liszewski said. “We know that is one way we can get after this ability to operate in a more distributed and lethal environment.”

Ideally, the services would use a mix of drone aircraft and unmanned ships to get the job done, he added. There are times when they’ll need the speed and range of unmanned aircraft, he said, but they can’t carry everything.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

Sea Hunter, an entirely new class of unmanned sea surface vehicle.

(US Navy photo)

“With a surface connector, you’re going to be able to move larger volumes of things, particularly if you’re talking ammunition or bulk liquids like water or fuel,” Liszewski said. “Clearly, aviation speed or range is what you get, but it’s not one or the other. You’ve got to have both [surface connectors and air assets].”

The Navy Department is planning big investments for unmanned technology. Its billion shipbuilding budget request for 2020 included funds for two large unmanned surface ships.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY CULTURE

That time when Green Berets who avenged 9/11 on horseback recreated this legendary WWII jump

Before D-Day, on June 5, 1944, some 90 teams of two to four men parachuted into Nazi-occupied France. They were members of the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessors of both the CIA and the modern-day Army Special Forces. These OSS teams were called “Jedburgh” teams and were highly skilled in European languages, parachuting, amphibious operations, skiing, mountain climbing, radio operations, Morse code, small arms, navigation, hand-to-hand combat, explosives, and espionage. They would need all of it.

The OSS teams’ job was to link up with resistance fighters in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands to coordinate Allied airdrops, conduct sabotage operations, and roll out the red carpet for the Allied advance into Germany. D-Day was to be the “Jeds'” trial by fire.


Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

The Jedburghs preparing to jump before D-Day.

Fast forward to 75 years later: Europe is no longer a fortress and the OSS has since evolved into both the CIA and the US Army’s Special Forces. To honor that tradition, a team of Army Special Forces veterans, including SOF legend and 2017 Bull Simons Award Winner CSM Rick Lamb, are planning to recreate the Jedburghs’ famous nighttime jumps into Europe in June 2019 and those veterans just happen to be members of the ODA that rode into Afghanistan on horseback in the days following the 9/11 attacks — they are Team American Freedom.

If the name “American Freedom” sounds familiar, it’s because they’re also the founders of American Freedom Distillery, a Florida-based premium spirits brand, makers of Horse Soldier Bourbon and Rekker Rum. And it’s not only the Special Forces veterans jumping from the lead aircraft on June 5th, they’re in good company. Joining them in the jump will be retired Army Ranger Bill Dunham, who lost a leg in Panama in 1989, the Gold Star mother of another Army Ranger and some of her late son’s fellow Rangers, and a 97-year-old World War II veteran.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

The American Freedom Distillery Team

“This group will represent every major known and unknown conflict for the past 30 years – every group who inserted early and fought with little recognition,” says American Freedom co-founder and Special Forces vet Scott Neill. “This is the last big World War II anniversary (other than VJ Day) that World War II vets and these generation will share. The very special part is that we will also share this with our families. Our wives who took care of the home front and our kids who watched daddy go away again and again. It’s a way to show our family why we did it.”

For the entire summer of 2019, France and England will be celebrating the D-Day landings and the start of the liberation of Europe. The D-Day airdrop is just the beginning, other events will include parades, military encampments, and showcases featuring World War II uniforms.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

Good work if you can get it.

The team is set to stage out of Cherbourg, France and tour some of the areas where the most intense fighting occurred. On June 5th, they will jump out of a C-47 Skytrain, just like their forebears did 75 years ago, and hit the dropzone at around 11a.m. They won’t be coming empty-handed. They will also be dropping a barrel of their Horse Soldier Bourbon to support the festivities on the ground as 200 more jumpers hit the drop zone throughout the day.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

(Image courtesy of Scott Neil, American Freedom Distillery)

If you want to support Team American Freedom as they remember the brave men who landed behind enemy lines a full day before the Allied invasion of Europe, you can help by contributing to their GoFundMe page. You will be enabling generations of special operators, CIA veterans, and Gold Star Families, many of who have lead insertions into modern day areas of operations attend this historic event.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021
MIGHTY TACTICAL

The Marines’ new heavy lift chopper is performance-enhanced

The United States Marine Corps has, arguably, the best heavy-lift transport helicopter in the world in the Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion. However, the chopper, which entered service in 1981, is getting kind of old. So, the Marines and Sikorsky have teamed up to put the Super Stallion on a regimen of aeronautical steroids.

Here’s what they did:


The cabin of the new CH-53K King Stallion is almost 18 inches wider than that of the CH-53E. Marines are trained to make the most out of what they have, which means that extra 1.5 feet will go a long way. The most obvious effect of this latest round of upgrades to the CH-53 is the amount of cargo it can haul: 39,903 pounds, according to Lockheed handout. This adds almost 4,000lbs of lift capability to the aircraft.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

Three external cargo hooks help the CH-53K haul almost 40,000 pounds of gear.

(U.S. Navy)

The CH-53K is also faster. It has a top speed of at least 170 knots, a significant upgrade to the 150 knots of the CH-53E. But how is this possible? The CH-53K is built primarily out of composites metals, which are much lighter than the materials used in previous iterations of the chopper. By weighing less, the CH-53K doesn’t have to work as hard to haul itself around, allowing it to distributed more lift. The CH-53K also replaces the three T64 engines of the CH-53E with T408 engines. The result is about 22,000 horsepower for the new King Stallion, as opposed to the 13,200 of the CH-53E.

In addition, the CH-53K also features numerous other improvements, including fly-by-wire flight controls, composite rotor blades with swept anhedral tips, a low-maintenance rotorhead, an improved external cargo handling system (with three hooks), and a “glass” cockpit (replacing dials and gauges with multi-function displays). The chopper can still carry as many as 55 troops.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021

A head-on view of the CH-53K in flight – it comes in about 18 inches wider than the CH-53E, but a little space can mean a lot.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Molly Hampton)

The CH-53K is also in contention to replace Luftwaffe CH-53s currently in service. Israeli Defense Forces are also looking into this heavy-lift helicopter. Believe it or not, this bigger Stallion will still fit inside a C-17 Globemaster III transport plane, but can also self-deploy to operating locations and operate off ships.

Currently, the plans are for this helicopter to reach initial operating capability in 2019. When it does, it’ll certainly give the Marines a huge boost.

Articles

This cannon has been in service since WWII

When it comes to weapons, some are just too good to retire. The Ka-Bar knife, Browning M2 .50-cal machine gun and Colt M1911 .45 ACP have all been in service since WWII and even WWI in the case of the 1911. When it comes to bigger weapons, one cannon in particular stands out.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021
A technical manual illustration of a towed Bofors 40 mm gun (U.S. Army)

The Bofors 40 mm gun was designed in the 1930s by the Swedish company AB Bofors. The company specializes in artillery and traces its history back to 1646. Although the German company Krupp purchased a one-third share in Bofors prior to WWII, the Swedes kept the 40 mm project a secret from them. This kept the gun out of German hands and gave the Allies an edge in WWII.

The gun was designed as an anti-aircraft gun but proved effective against smaller ships as well. Although it initially saw limited use with the Swedish Navy, the Bofors 40 mm saw wider use with the Dutch Navy who placed it on their destroyers. Other navies saw the versatility of the gun and followed suit including Argentina, Poland and even the gun’s native Sweden. A towed land-based version was also adopted by Poland, Norway, Finland and again, Sweden.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021
The Bofors 40 mm was one of the Navy’s main anti-aircraft guns during WWII (U.S. Navy)

Crucially, both the U.S. and U.K. adopted the Bofors 40 mm as one of their primary anti-aircraft guns leading up to WWII. The British placed it on ships, towed mounts, self-propelled systems, and even experimented putting it on the Crusader tank. In the U.S., Chrysler built 60,000 guns and 120,000 barrels under license during the war. Twelve Chrysler factories and 2,000 subcontractors in 330 cities were needed to meet the Army and Navy’s demands for Bofors 40 mm guns.

Like the Brits, America used the gun as its primary land and sea-based anti-aircraft gun. The Army mounted a twin mount version of the Bofors on the M24 Chaffee light tank to create the M19 Gun Motor Carriage. The Navy was so pleased with the gun they would telegraph Chrysler with the serial numbers of guns when they shot down enemy aircraft.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021
The Army and Marines used the Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft gun on the M42 Duster as a direct fire gun with great effect in Vietnam (U.S. Army)

After WWII, the Navy continued to use the Bofors 40 mm into the Korean War. It stayed on Inactive Reserve fleet ships into the 1970s. In the 1950s, the Army took the twin mount Bofors from the M19 and placed it on the M41 Walker Bulldog light tank to create the M42 Duster self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. The Duster saw heavy use in Vietnam as a direct fire support weapon and remained in service with the National Guard until 1988. However, it’s the Air Force that continues to employ the Bofors 40 mm in the 21st century.

The AC-130 gunship is one of the deadliest weapons in the U.S. military. Developed from the AC-47 Dragon, the AC-130 is a C-130 cargo plane equipped with side-firing guns. The first AC-130A Project Gunship II was equipped only with 7.62 mm GAU-2/A miniguns and 20 mm M61 Vulcan rotary cannons. However, its successors, including the widely used AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky II have adopted the L/60 variant of the Bofors 40 mm cannon.

Best .44 Magnum Revolvers In 2021
An airman loads the Bofors 40 mm gun on an AC-130 Spectre gunship (U.S. Air Force)

The AC-130 has seen extensive combat use in Afghanistan where its airborne firepower is a welcome sight to US ground troops. Although it’s also equipped with a much larger 105 mm howitzer, the accuracy of the Bofors 40 mm makes it a favorite of AC-130 operators. “This is our most accurate weapon,” said Air Force Maj. Smith on the Bofors 40 mm. “Because of its low collateral damage, it’s the one we get to fire the most in combat.”

In the late 2000s, the Air Force considered replacing the Bofors 40 mm and 20 mm M61 Vulcans on its AC-130 fleet with 30 mm autocannons. However, both guns remain in service to this day. Although the latest AC-130W Stinger II and AC-130J Ghostrider gunships omit the Bofors and Vulcan for a 30 mm autocannon, the AC-130H Spectre and AC-130U Spooky II gunships continue to fly with their Bofors 40 mm guns ready to deliver precise and deadly fire from the sky.

Feature Image: U.S. Air Force photo

MIGHTY TACTICAL

This is the deadliest machine gun in military history

Many military historians argue that the Maschinengewehr 42 – better known as the MG 42 – was the best general-purpose machine gun ever made. It fired up to 1,800 rounds per minute in some versions. That’s nearly twice as fast as any automatic weapon fielded by any army in the world at the time.


But veterans of World War II rarely remember dry statistics about the weapon. They remember its fearsome nicknames – and why the machine gun earned them. American GIs were rightly terrified of the capabilities of the MG 42, so they gave it an apt name: “Hitler’s buzz saw,” because of the way it cut down troops is swaths. The Red Army called it “The Linoleum Ripper” because of the unique tearing or ripping sound it made because of its extremely high rate of fire.

And German soldiers knew they had a weapon so fierce that the Wehrmacht built its infantry tactics around squads of men armed with the Hitlersäge or “Hitler’s bone saw.”

“It sounded like a zipper. It eats up a lot of ammunition and that makes for a logistical problem, but it eats up a lot of people, too,” Orville W. “Sonny” Martin Jr., who was a second lieutenant with the U.S. Army’s 13th Armored Division, said in an oral history of infantry and armor operations in Europe. “When there’s a group of people advancing, you can really rip them up with that machine gun.”

When the war began in 1939, the Germans had a solid, reliable general-purpose machine gun: the MG34.  But like so many German weapons, it was exquisitely – and expensively – made and difficult to produce. But the German high command wanted front-line troops to have more machine guns. That meant a weapon designed to deliver a high rate of fire like the MG34 but cheaper and quicker to produce.

Mauser-Werke developed a machine gun that fired a 7.92-millimeter Mauser cartridge fed into the gun from either a 50-round or 250-round belt. What’s more, the company manufactured the machine gun from stamped and pressed parts, welding the components together with a technique that reduced production time by 35 percent. That manufacturing method reduced the cost as well. The result was the MG 42, and German soldiers soon swore by its lethal effectiveness.

The MG 42 had a range of up to 2,300 feet, weighed 25 pounds and possessed a barrel that could be changed in seconds.

True, the machine gun had its weaknesses: It used ammunition like crazy, possessed no single-shot capability and could quickly overheat. But the amount of firepower it brought to the battlefield had ghastly results.

 

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A Waffen SS soldier totes an MG 42 with a shoulder strap. (German Bundesarchiv photo.)

The sound alone of the MG 42 took a psychological toll on troops. The situation became so bad the U.S. Army produced a training film intended to boost the morale of U.S. soldiers terrified of the machine gun’s reputation:

In one of the film’s dramatized scenes, a green replacement is portrayed pinned down by MG 42 fire while the narrator says that nobody else in the platoon seems particularly bothered by the sound – nobody but the raw G.I. who “can’t get over the fast burp of the German gun.”

“Well, so it does have a high rate of fire,” the narrator continues. “Does that mean it is a better fighting weapon than ours?”

What comes next is a “shoot off” between various U.S. machine guns and the MG 42 along with other German automatic weapons. The narrator of the training film soberly describes the accuracy and slower-but-steady rate of fire of U.S. weapons, saying, “The German gunner pays for his impressive rate of fire. But you get maximum accuracy with a rate of fire that isn’t just noise! The German gun is good – but ours is betters. Their bark is worse than their bite.”

But the reality is the MG 42 bit hard, killing or grievously wounding many thousands of Allied soldiers. James H. Willbanks, author of Machine Guns: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, writes that the MG 42 was nearly everywhere on the European battlefield, either in machine gun emplacements or vehicle-mounted on everything from halftracks to Panzers.

In fact, it was so deadly the MG 42 shaped German infantry tactics during the war.

U.S. and British tacticians emphasized the importance of the rifleman, with machine guns tasked to support infantry assaults.

Because of the MG42’s devastating power, the Wehrmacht placed the machine gunner in the central infantry role with riflemen in support. Each MG42 ideally had a six-man crew: a gun commander, gunner, a soldier who carried the weapon’s tripod, and three additional troops who carried spare barrels, additional ammunition, and tools.

When Allied troops attempted infantry assaults against positions protected by the MG42, the German machine gun crew would lay down withering suppressive fire. In most cases, all the infantrymen could do was wait for a barrel change, for the gun to run out of ammunition, or for a tank to show up so it could blast the machine-gun nest to oblivion.

The MG42 survived World War II to continue service in the West German Bundeswehr.  Rechambered so it would fire the NATO 7.62-millimeter cartridge, the Germans designated the weapon the MG3 – but it still kept its blistering rate of fire and basic design.

The MG3 is used to this day, not only by the German army, but also by the militaries of 30 nations.

MIGHTY TACTICAL

Army researchers are experimenting with pearl-like armor

Researchers at the University of Buffalo, working on research grants from the Army Research Office, have discovered a way of layering plastics that results in a material 14 times stronger than steel and eight times lighter. The layering technique is inspired by the way clams make pearls, and the final result is strong, light, but still slightly flexible armor.


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A new lightweight plastic that is 14 times stronger and eight times lighter than steel may lead to next-generation military armor.

(Courtesy University of Buffalo)

The outer coatings of pearl are nacre, a structure of calcium carbonate that resembles interlocking bricks when viewed under a microscope. The researchers took ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene, a souped-up plastic used in orthopedic devices, and layered it in a way similar to nacre.

The results are outstanding. Current body armor can contain up to 28 pounds of small arms protective inserts. The Kevlar plates used are about 80 percent of the weight of a steel plate of similar size. A UHMWPE plate of the same size would be about 12-13 percent the weight of a steel plate. That would put the plates needed for a large set of UHMWPE body armor at about 4 pounds instead of the 28 pounds for ceramic Kevlar armor.

Anyone who has worn 30 pounds of body armor and 50 pounds of additional gear while carrying an 8-pound weapon can tell you that shaving 24 pounds off the total load makes a huge difference. (Even though, in mortar sections, they’ll probably just make troops carry more ammo to make up the difference.)

And the inner layers of the armor deform to absorb the impact suffered by the outer layers, better protecting the target from the impact of the enemy’s shot.

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82nd Airborne Division paratroopers work their way up a short slope while patrolling in Southern Afghanistan in 2012.

(U.S. Army)

The total protection provided by the UHMWPE is so great that the researchers are considering its use in applications beyond body armor.

“The material is stiff, strong and tough,” said Dr. Shenqiang Ren, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, a member of University at Buffalo’s RENEW Institute. “It could be applicable to vests, helmets and other types of body armor, as well as protective armor for ships, helicopters, and other vehicles.”

The wide range of potential applications is partially thanks to the strength to weight ratio. But it’s also more flexible than other materials. This makes it easier to form the material into a variety of shapes for different uses.

“Professor Ren’s work designing UHMWPE to dramatically improve impact strength may lead to new generations of lightweight armor that provide both protection and mobility for Soldiers,” said Dr. Evan Runnerstrom of the ARO. “In contrast to steel or ceramic armor, UHMWPE could also be easier to cast or mold into complex shapes, providing versatile protection for Soldiers, vehicles, and other Army assets.”

And, with the addition of boron nitride, the material becomes a little stronger and much better at shedding heat. This would allow it to more rapidly cool off after being hit by enemy fire, giving it better protection against a second or third hit.

So it’s much lighter, stronger, and more adaptable than any armor you’re currently wearing.

But before you throw your SAPI plates off the roof in celebration, be aware that it will take time to create suitable manufacturing methods and products. The researchers used a 10-step process to create the small samples for their experiments and testing. It will be years before you and your vehicle are rocking this super-light armor.

MIGHTY TACTICAL

This is Russia’s flying ‘tank killer’

During the last years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was debuting two aircraft intended to hit ground targets on a tactical level. The Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot was one of these planes, the Soviet (and later, Russian) answer to the A-10. The other plane was the MiG-27 Flogger, which had some tank-killing power in its own right.

How could the MiG-27, a modification of the MiG-23 Flogger (which was designed to fight other fighters) be such an effective option against tanks? Well, one answer is in the gun — and as the A-10 has demonstrated, the right gun can do a hell of a lot of damage to armor on the ground.


The United States chose the GAU-8 as its tank-killer, pairing it with 1,174 30mm rounds to deliver that sweet, iconic BRRRT. Russia, on the other hand, opted for the GSh-6-30. According to RussianAmmo.org, this gun fires a staggering 5,000 rounds per minute. The only problem here is that the MiG-27 Flogger could only carry 260 rounds for this gun — which is enough for all of three seconds of firing time.

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The GSh-6-30 cannon is the heart of the MiG-27 Flogger.

(Photo by VargaA)

The Flogger didn’t just have a gun, though. The World Encyclopaedia of Modern Aircraft Armament notes that MiG-27 Flogger also could carry missiles, like the AS-7 Kerry and the AS-14 Kedge, for attacking ground targets. This platform could also haul up to a dozen 250-kilogram bombs, six 500-kilogram bombs, or four UB-32-57 rocket pods. The rocket pods were particularly lethal — each pod holds 32 S-5 rockets, armed with one of nine warheads, one of which was an extremely potent anti-tank option.

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A MiG-27 taking off.

(Photo by Rob Schleiffert)

The MiG-27 has retired from the service of Russia and former Soviet republics. India, however, still has this plane in service and there are a dozen more in Kazakh service.

Learn more about this lethal Russian attack plane that could kill tanks in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXUp71rd5q4

www.youtube.com

MIGHTY TACTICAL

Disruptive technology: The quantum frontier

In the race to master and harness advanced technology, the Air Force is making strides in quantum research, bringing “Q-Day” to fruition sooner. Q-Day, or the day all Airmen will have access to quantum technology, is the ultimate goal for the Air Force Research Laboratory. 

Scientists at AFRL are the backbone of these new developments in quantum mechanics and throughout the last year, they’ve partnered with academia and industry leaders worldwide to speed up these advancements in military technology.

The U.S. military is leading the acceleration of quantum research and development as first adopters for this fundamental technology to move the ball forward. Quantum will lead to technologies that will transform the warfighting domain in revolutionary and unprecedented ways. Air Force Video // James Kever

For Dr. Kathy-Anne Soderberg, a research physicist, exploring this field of science consumes her time at AFRL. 

“Quantum information is a relatively young field in the terms of physics,” she said. “But it has the potential to be a highly disruptive technology and that is because it’s not like anything we know about. We have never encountered this phenomenon before.” 

While most of the Air Force’s technology works on classical mechanics, quantum mechanics dictates how single particles work at an atomic or molecular level, according to Soderberg. Air Force researchers are diving into quantum timing, sensing, networking and computing. 

A classic computer tries to navigate its way through a maze by trying each path, one after another. A quantum computer tries each potential path at the same time, dramatically reducing the time necessary to find the solution. Computers utilizing the laws of quantum mechanics could exponentially increase the speed of computation for the Air Force, enabling the warfighter to act more quickly, a key component of success in any conflict.

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Dr. Kathy-Anne Soderberg is a group leader for the trapped-ion quantum networking group, where her teams were the first within Air Force Research Laboratory to successfully trap an ion.PHOTO AND ILLUSTRATION // AFRL

Although she’s only been with AFRL for seven years, Soderberg has more than 20 years of technical experience in atomic physics and quantum information processing, which she uses daily in an effort to accomplish the AFRL goal. Her passion for physics began immediately after learning about atoms in a middle school science class and her interest continued in high school and college. 

“I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I learned later I loved atomic physics,” she said. “I thought it was fascinating there was a whole other world out there that we couldn’t see.”  

“When people ask me what I do, I tell them I shoot lasers at atoms, to make them do fun things,” she laughs. “That is where we can manipulate these atoms and expand their potential to do new things, like create superposition and entanglement.” 

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The ultrahigh vacuum chamber that houses the trapped ion experiment (left). The ion trap (upper right) used in the experiment. It is a surface electrode trap from Sandia National Laboratory. Four trapped Yb+ ions confined in the ion trap (bottom right). The ions are illuminated with resonant 369nm light and the scattered photons are collected on an Electron Multiplying Charge-Coupled Device camera, a device used for extremely low-light video capture, capable of detecting single photons – the fundamental particle of light. The ability to capture multiple ions, used as qubits, could be critical to creating fully functional quantum computers and quantum networks.PHOTO // U.S. AIR FORCE

In 2017, Soderberg’s group was the first within AFRL to trap an ion. Research into harnessing trapped ions will assist in the networking aspect of quantum mechanics. Soderberg also explains this research will develop new platforms to distribute entanglement in greater distances and open the door to emerging technology, such as teleportation, distributive computing and more advancements in clocks and sensors.  

“Working alongside the group and enterprise of AFRL has been incredible; every day is exciting here,” she said. “I continue to look forward to conducting great research and to advance the technology to somewhere it’s not today.”

In addition to Soderberg’s personal and team research and successes, she worked alongside her peers at AFRL to stand up the Innovare Advancement Center, located in Rome, New York. This facility is a central location for domestic and international collaborators to conduct further research on quantum networking and computing. 

Q-Day is the finish line, however, passionate scientists at AFRL are persistently doing what they enjoy, pushing the Air Force closer to its objective.


This article originally appear in Airman Magazine. Follow Airman Magazine on Facebook.

MIGHTY TACTICAL

This suit would allow humans to breathe like fish

I’m not a scientist, but I feel confident about this statement: Humans require oxygen to live. The thing is, we don’t necessarily need the oxygen to come from air, though that is how our lungs are designed to receive it.


When submerging underwater for extended periods of time, humans have devised ways to bring oxygen with us so we don’t drown and stuff, but there’s a problem. Breathing air while under the enormous pressure of deep water makes nitrogen in our bodies dissolve, creating air pockets in the blood and organs and causing decompression sickness.

Retired heart and lung surgeon and inventor Arnold Lange has a solution: liquid breathing.

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Lange has a number of patents for designs that would allow a human to essentially breathe like a fish. His scuba suit would allow a human to breathe “liquid air” made of a formula that has been highly enriched with oxygen molecules.

Lange’s inventions would allow divers to descend to deeper water depths without getting the bends.

Also read: Here’s the science behind how submarines dive and resurface

This isn’t a new concept. In the medical field, liquid ventilation is used for premature infants, whose lungs haven’t developed to safely transition from the liquid environment of the womb.

Navy SEALs reportedly experimented with liquid ventilation in the 1980s, and the need for safe evacuations from submarines has been a high priority ever since men submerged ships. Today, the U.S. Navy recruits deep sea divers for search and rescue missions, diving salvage operations, and even performing ship maintenance.

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That moment when you realize it’s called gillyweed because it gives you gills. (Image via Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | Warner Bros. Pictures)

Liquid breathing is by no means a perfected science (and not just because in order to dispose of the CO2 humans normally exhale, deep water liquid breathing requires an artificial gill in the femoral artery *shudder*), but its medical — and military — applications urge scientists on.

And mermaids, I guess?

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Fun fact: Christopher Columbus legit thought manatees were mermaids when he first saw one and he was disappointed because he thought mermaids would be hotter. (Image via GIPHY)

MIGHTY TACTICAL

President compares crucial new icebreaker to border wall

President Donald Trump on Dec. 25, 2018, renewed his pledge to fund a new icebreaker for the Coast Guard, comparing its necessity with his effort to build a wall on the southern border.

“It’s like the border wall. We still need a wall,” and the Coast Guard needs an icebreaker to replace the 42-year-old Polar Star, Trump said in a series of Christmas Day phone calls to service members around the world.

In a call to the Coast Guard’s District 17 in Juneau, Alaska, he said the new icebreaker will be fitted with the latest technology, but its defining feature will be the thick steel in its hull.

“With all of the technology, it still needs very thick steel,” Trump said.


Following the partial government shutdown that began at midnight Dec. 21, 2018, over billion the president is seeking to fund the wall, Trump said the new sections of the wall he proposes would consist of “steel slats.”

Technology would be no substitute for the wall, despite what House and Senate Democrats claim, he said. “They can have all the drones they want, all the technology they want,” but the wall is essential to border security, Trump said in the call to Alaska.

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President Donald Trump.

(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

“I call it bells and whistles,” he said of the technology, “but if you don’t have the wall, it doesn’t work.”

The new icebreaker will have capabilities “the likes of which nobody’s seen before. The bad part is the price,” Trump said, apparently referring to the Coast Guard’s estimate of 0 million.

“The good part is it’s the most powerful in the world,” he said. “The ice is in big trouble when that thing gets finished. It’ll go right through it. It’s very expensive, but that’s OK.”

Trump called the icebreaker a Christmas present for the Coast Guard and suggested that a contract had already gone out, although Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz said earlier this month that he expected an announcement on a contract award in spring 2019.

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The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, with 75,000 horsepower and its 13,500-ton weight, is guided by its crew to break through Antarctic ice.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley)

In addition to the phone call to the Coast Guard, Trump also called Task Force Talon at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; Marine Attack Squadron 223 and Navy Forces Central Command in Manama, Bahrain; and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid Air Base, in Qatar.

The overall message: “There’s no greater privilege for me than to serve as your commander,” Trump said. “I know it’s a great sacrifice for you to be away from your families.”

In his own Christmas message to the troops, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned Dec. 20, 2018, in a dispute with Trump over his order to withdraw troops from Syria and other issues, said he was proud to serve with them.

“To those in the field or at sea, ‘keeping watch by night’ this holiday season, you should recognize that you carry on the proud legacy of those who stood the watch in decades past. In this world awash in change, you hold the line,” Mattis said in the message prepared before his resignation.

“Far from home, you have earned the gratitude and respect of your fellow citizens, and it remains my great privilege to serve alongside you,” he said.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

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