by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

You’ve all heard of airguns that are used as military trainers. We know about the aerial gunnery trainers from WWII and more recently the Daisy Quick Kill BB guns used in Vietnam, but airguns have been out of the military eye for several decades. Or at least that’s what everyone thought.

Last week, I learned that Crosman has developed an airgun trainer for the recently declassified implant gun that was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the late ’90s. The military declassified the “arm rifle” after it was shown on the evening news last year. Some of you may have seen it on the special Fox News report just last week, when the Pentagon officially declassified it.

What they’ve done is replace a major portion of the radius bone in a man’s forearm with a breech and rifled barrel. The barrel extends through the index finger of the subject’s hand, though it]s not visible or even noticeable to anyone. When the subject is thus “armed” (a term that has a renewed meaning), he simply points his index finger and commands the gun to fire a caseless cartridge. The body’s own electrical impulses are sufficient to fire the cartridge. A .30-caliber bullet exits out the tip of the finger, going to wherever the shooter pointed.

All commands to fire the rifle are linked to the subject’s brain, so all he needs to do is think and the gun fires. The caseless cartridges feed semiautomatically through a tandem tube embedded in the subject’s forearm, and 3 rounds are available before a reload is required. The subject has a port in his forearm through which fresh magazines are inserted, though partial reloads are not yet possible. All 3 rounds must be fired before he can reload.

There are no sights, yet; because of human binocular vision, a shooter can be trained quickly to acquire and destroy a target. Within the first week of training the subjects are hitting 6-inch targets at 50 yards on the first shot. And that was before the advent of the new trainer. The training program should now speed up considerably, plus the possibility for more refresher training means higher proficiency levels will be maintained.

A rumor has spread that the subjects all have reticles etched into the lens of their eyeballs. There are no details about this or even confirmation that it’s true.

I’ve used the masculine pronoun in this report intentionally, for all subjects thus armed (a number that’s classified) are men. When signing up for the program, they must sign a release of liability, for their arm bone can never be replaced. Once implanted, the gun must remain until the subject dies. According to the Fox story, the subjects receive hazardous duty pay of up to 30 percent and, best of all, they’re excused from paying federal income taxes for the remainder of their lives. Of course, given the kinds of jobs the subjects are asked to do, lifetimes may be abbreviated.

The gun was designed for covert operations such as assassinations, security operations and those times when it’s impossible to carry a firearm into the area of interest. The “barrel” that replaces the arm bone is made from a composite of synthetic and ceramic that is constructed at the molecular level on a very specialized 3-D printer. Each shooter receives an implant that’s custom-fitted to his body. The index finger of the shooter is covered by a realistic soft flesh-like cap that blends with the natural skin. As a result, the gun is undetectable by any electronic means and without direct examination by a jeweler’s loupe. The fingertip can be shot off or simply removed, if there’s time.

The arm is actually strengthened by the installation of this weapon. It is not known if there is any pain associated with its use.

Naturally, the flexibility of the index finger is lost, so the subject must be trained to mask this fact by clever posturing. In the beginning it is said there were difficulties, such as losing the ability to scratch certain spots on the body, and the extreme necessity for the mind to be trained not to shoot inadvertently — like when shaking hands. There were some accidents before the importance of this was realized — which is where the Crosman training adapter comes in. Now, for the first time in over 15 years, it’s possible for those with the gun implant to train without firing live ammunition.

Crosman hasn’t released any technical details but I’ve been able to learn that the trainer operates pneumatically, and the number of rounds carried is greatly increased. My guess would be that a pneumatic tube is inserted where the cartridge magazine would go, and that the pellet magazine and firing mechanism are somehow included in this insert. Therefore, I’ve deduced that the caliber of the implant trainer remains at .30. My guess is the air supply stays outside the arm, which is no problem for a trainer.

This isn’t Crosman’s first rodeo in the black world (slang for the super-secret world of espionage). During WWII, they supplied the OSS with thousands of model 101 pneumatic rifles and one million .22-caliber round lead balls. The cover story for that sale was that they were given to the chiefs of remote Asian tribes to win their loyalty, though rumors of covert assassinations have always surrounded them.

Just when you thought airguns were for fun, something serious like this comes along! And the California school ruling that a person can’t make a gun with the fingers of their hands now makes complete sense.