How Would Guns Work In Space?


As a follow up to my Science of Infinite Warfare video I address the scientific and engineering problems posed by firearms in space. Regular guns will fire in space, but they’re likely to be less reliable unless built with vacuum operation in mind.

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  1. Korgon2013

    What about the freezing temperatures and potential to fracture steel, as in WW2 Germans in Russia?

  2. Benbot16

    Yes… Get into cover. Get down or get dead.

  3. Benbot16

    Gunner! Load SABOT!

    Sir, the barrel is depressurized! I can't open the thing!

    Well **

  4. thesunexpress

    How do guns work in space?
    Like guns.
    Full stop.

  5. Chandler Sleziak

    Newton's second law is not equal and opposite reaction, that is actually Newton's third law. Newton's second law is actually the formula for force, F=ma.

  6. Juste un trou d'eau

    Just use a fucking crossbow

  7. Eric Patterson

    Firing a gun with "blanks" in space would still have a notable recoil due to the gasses being ejected, i think that was missed when calculating the recoil effects.

  8. Kumquat Lord

    I do love how the Expanse series even has the teeny detail of self-propelled projectile weapons just for zero-G combat

    Also, Gyrojet ammo, anyone?


    If all you need to do is puncture the suit, then why not use a high capacity .22 heavy machine gun. If the weight has less of an effect, and the weapon itself is heavy, then the recoil would probably be close to nothing. This would also let you have more ammo with equal lethality to a more manly caliber, because all you need to do is breach the suit. .22 also travels really quickly, and it will retain that velocity in a vacuum for a while

  10. wcharliewilson

    Imagine your MOA at a parsec?

  11. Biff Roberts

    You would just to worry about being struck by a bullet that was fired in war 300 years earlier.

  12. gulasd3025

    Graphite based lubricant wouldn't evaporate.

  13. That Meme

    so crossbow is best weapon in space.

  14. Mitchell

    I was hoping you'd talk about the R-23M, 23mm canon mounted on a rut
    Russian spy satellite and test fired in 1975 in space.

  15. The Uberhunter

    Tethering and magnets solve the recoil issue according to the USSF.


    Reheat issue can be ameliorated buy multi barrel configurations since that's zero g weight is not going to be significant issue except for getting it to there.

    As far as ammunition ambient temperature you can build the ammo storage to be insulated from the effects of space fairly easily as you have the one best insulators available a vacuum double wall in magazine with as little thermal conductive material between the two walls and the temperature of the ammunition should be relatively stable.

  17. W. McMaster

    jeeze scott… treading into sketchy youtube waters… I watch tons of videos like this and love them.. but youtube loves to cuck the hell out of them… you seem to have hit enough of the bad words because I didn't see a single ad. thanks youtube. good video though — thanks scott!

  18. NetVoyagerOne

    All you would need to do is pierce a space suit or crack a helmet. A full power conventional cartridge might not be needed.

  19. DuckLord 2000

    Ya you can buy guns everywhere here but it’s a very long and frustrating process to get the gun and if you have a criminal record you can’t even get it

  20. Uri Gressel

    They'd send the gunmen in the opposite direction he's firing.

  21. Med Otaku

    If I was in an earthbound ship I'd want some kind of gun on board just in case you need it.

    You may not need it for long. But a few good meals would be well worth the weight of the weapon if you had to wait for extraction.


    just throw a grenade. . . they have their own oxidisers and blast generation. . . FOR WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY HAVE TO KILL EVERY MOTHER****ER IN SPACE. ..

  23. jorogan4ev

    You spelling wrong "Vostok" ?

  24. Tarquin The Rotter

    2:17 Not Newton’s 2nd Law, but his 3rd. Also recoil/reaction will be the same if the muzzle velocity is the same. You’ll feel it the same. Your mass is all important. Your weight comes into it only to the extent you’re in contact with a surface due to some gravitational field (such as when you’re standing on the surface of the Moon) and then your ability to resist the recoil (i.e. in not moving uncontrollably backwards) depends on the frictional force between you and the surface which in general depends on the nature of the surface, the soles of your boots (assuming you fire in a standing position) and your weight. Your weight is just your mass times the acceleration due to gravity (32ft/sec² on Earth).

  25. loser face

    Just use pump action stuff and single action weapons

  26. Mark Harvey

    Guns and ammunition at any old sporting store.. DAMN I love being an American!

  27. BeoZard

    Apollo 14 as part of the Active Seismic Experiment had a device called a "Thumper" . This fired a .22 cal blank cartridge when pressed against the lunar surface.

  28. Greg Humphreys

    2:16 Newton's 3rd law**

  29. izphuzzy

    Not space, but I have shot a G3 clone from a jonboat and the recoil pushes it back better than rowing.

  30. Jacob Staten

    2:30 a vector or Glock chambered in 9mm or .380 would be pretty low recoil. Put a camera under the barrel that shows a display on your visor and you can shoot from the hip.
    5:00 Taofletermaus shot one in a video.
    You could add a bicycle brake to a firearm to make it easier to fire.
    12:16 Why would you want it to stay that way?

  31. Tarma

    Out of pure curiosity, what state does Scott Manley live in?? All this time (2 yrs) I thought he was overseas but now I'm curious on how close he is (state wise)

  32. 77gravity

    "Meanderings of a weapon oriented mind when applied in a vacuum such as on the moon. "

  33. Junaid Mustafa

    Gravity Suit with magnetic boots ??

  34. Dominick O.

    Uses a nerf gun because he lives in the UK and his communist government disarmed the people ?

    God I am grateful I grew up in America.

    Don't you need a permit or license just for knives? ?

  35. Curtis Densmore

    Equal and opposite is Newton's Third Law. I'm sorry.

  36. pjd412

    Scott M's is a native of the USA? His accent does not sound like any American English I've ever heard…