By Marc Kelley
Syndicated by: Montana News
For many a firearm enthusiast, Hollywood's representation of firearms is at best, a mixture of confusing and contradicting messaging. On one hand, todays movie stars make millions of dollars, using all manner of firearms, in action packed scenes, depicting horrific acts of violence and carnage. Yet, in their personal lives, many of these same people, feel they must deliver their egocentric opinions, on the 2nd Amendment and the Peoples Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Rather than simply entertaining us, we must now endure their self-righteous, albeit mis-informed perceptions. A firearms success or failure, is often based on perception, and is fueled by either the positive or negative connotations associated with it. Guns are a tool, with a specific use, they are neither good nor bad in and of themselves; yet, for over 250 years, firearms have been both celebrated and vilified by political ideology.
Just one such weapons system was developed by a company named MBAssociates, in the early 1960's. This weapon system represented, the forward thinking of the time, when everything was all about the "Space Race" and the "Cold War" Our cars looked like rocket ships, every child dreamed of growing up to be an astronaut and the firearms engineers could not resist looking to the future and producing the next big thing, to defeat the "Red Menace".
The new firearms must be totally different and uniquely American. They must represent cutting edge technology and embrace our fascination with space exploration; but most importantly, they must outpace and out perform the Soviets.
Just such a pistol born from this thinking, would be the, The Gyrojet, Rocketeer. The Gyrojet would be produced in three configurations; the first, produced in the mid 1960's would be called the MKI and would not fire conventional ammunition; but rather, a proprietary, gyroscopically stabilized, .51 caliber rocket, fondly referred to as the "Microjet." Unlike conventional ammunition which leave the weapons barrel at maxim muzzle velocity and slows over distance, the Microjet projectile, exited the barrel at a relatively slow speed and gained velocity over the first thirty feet, reaching a speed of approximately1,250 feet per second, before gravity began to slow the round, giving it an effective range (a relative term) of about 55 yards. While the MKI and successive Gyrojet models, would encounter a host of negative issues, two features on the positive side were: a virtually nonexistent recoil and a report which was only slightly louder, than the Red Ryder BB gun.
Like many weapons of the time, The Gyrojet, fell victim to the 1968 Gun Control Act. Following the assassinations of JFK, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, it did not come as a surprise, when Democrat Senator, Thomas J. Dodd from Connecticut, introduced, "common sense" gun legislation; which would in his eyes, stop gun violence.
The problem with the 1968 GCA, is the same problem which remains unsolved and unaddressed by our politicians today. Senator Dodd was admittedly, anti-gun and anti Second Amendment, and had no qualifications which would place him in a position to understand firearms or regulate their ownership.
The truth of the matter is Senator Dodd, was a "deep state" lawyer with a focus on Civil Rights issues, who would go on to serve as Ambassador to Uruguay and Costa Rica. Yet, under Dodds legislation, the MKI Gyrojet, and its .51 caliber projectile, would be described and reclassified under the new legal term, of a "Distractive Device". This new classification would require all existing owners of Gyrojets to register their pistols under the 1934 National Firearm Act and pay a $ 200.00 tax, to legally own the weapon.
Yet despite their best efforts, the new legislation did not spell the end of the Gyrojet, it would simply be reconfigured by its designers as the MKII Gyrojet, and modified to fire .49 caliber Microjets, thus changing its classification from a "Destructive Device", back to that of a firearm. With the new classification in place, the engineers at MBAssociates set their sights on expanding their market and increasing their product line.
The next Gyrojet to make its way into the market, was the "Gyrojet Assault Rifle." This beauty was presented to the US Government, as a variant of the M16 rifle. This Gyrojet, was full auto capable, featured an increased ammo capacity, a removable magazine housed in the pistol grip, and was chambered for 6mm Microjet projectiles.
After initial testing the rifle was rejected by the Army for its profound lack of reliability and abysmal accuracy.
Unwilling to give up on their weapon, the engineers and marketing specialists at MBAssociates, turned their attention to the civilian market, and the development of the "Gyrojet Carbine." The carbine version of the Gyrojet, set about to address some of the reliability, as well as, accuracy issues common to previous designs.
To improve the weapons accuracy, the carbine utilized a longer, 18" barrel which allowed a fired projectile to gain increased velocity before clearing the muzzle. This design change, while intended to increase the accuracy of the weapon, served only to make it harder to hold on target. Much like a Flintlock, slow ignition of the propellant, requires the shooter to hold steady on their target until the projectile actually leaves the weapon.
In Flintlock weapons this time delay, is referred to as "lock time", and requires a very skilled shooter, to achieve good accuracy. While the longer barrels of the Gyrojet rifles and carbines did increase muzzle velocity, groups of 4.5" at 25 yards, were still considered to be, unacceptable. Once agin the product failed to excite the buying public, and as few as 250 Gyrojet Carbines were ever produced.
Long ago, production of the Gyrojet line of firearms would cease and like many other weapons with a storied history, they would become coveted by collectors and command outrageous prices, when they would be placed for sale at auction.
The Gyrojet is yet another example of how, by their own incompetence, politicians created a market for a firearm, which without their meddling, would be relegated to the scrap heap of products, no one wanted and no one would buy.
However, the Gyrojet was not a complete disaster, and this firearm concept, would find a welcome home on the silver screens of Hollywood. Several versions of the weapon can be seen in films including: the 1966 spy movie entitled, "Murderers Row", staring Dean Martin and Karl Malden as well as, a gold plated version of the pistol, seen in the 1967 James Bond film, "You only live twice", staring Sean Connery.
Continuing its success, CNN recently reported, they have an unnamed source, telling their hard news reporters, the Gyrojet Rocket Pistol will soon be making another appearance. Touting the anxiously awaited sequel, set in Washington DC, the next chapter in the John Wick Series, Return of the Baba Maga, is scheduled to be released November 3, 2020.