MB Associates Gyrojet Mark I Pistol rockets on to NRANews

An experimental, futuristic, space age pistol from the days of Neil Armstrong

The MB Associates Gyrojet Mark I Pistol at the National Firearms Museum


Fairfax, Virginia
– During the early days of space travel, Americans were flush with a need for futuristic products. Flying cars like they saw on the Jetsons, transporters from Star Trek, and ray guns from Buck Rogers. While none of those products have yet come to light, there was one particular item during the golden age of the Apollo astronauts that came out right on schedule. The MB Associates Gyrojet Mark I Pistol.

“An experimental, futuristic, space age pistol that came out right when the space age was getting started,” beamed NRA Museums Senior Curator Philip Schreier. “Back when Neil Armstrong was first setting foot on the moon in 1969.”

While the sidearm may not look all that futuristic by today’s standards, the ammunition surely is. Why do I say that? Because we’re talking about a rocket propelled cartridge.

“If fires a rocket propelled cartridge. This has, at the base of it, a rocket propellant.”

It also works kind of backwards. There’s not a hammer at the back of the gun waiting to smack it into flight. No, with the Gyrojet Mark I, the hammer comes from the front … literally smacking the cartridge on the nose. That sends the round into a firing pin and off it goes down the smooth bore barrel.

The cartridge of a MB Associates Gyrojet Mark I Pistol at the NRA Museum in Fairfax, Virginia

“It’s spinning in the direction of the retro-rockets on the base of the projectile.”

The round wasn’t moving too fast upon departure. In fact, the boys at MB Associates use to firing the gun into a table during demonstrations. Instead of a hole in the desk, all you’d have is a bullet spinning like a top. Until the propellant ran out of course.

“Upon reaching maximum velocity it can penetrate an inch of pine at 50 yards.”

For all the incredibly cool aspects that come with a gun there are some drawbacks. First there’s the ammo. Just think of it. We’re talking about a cartridge filled with rocket propellant. Those have to be pretty expensive. Around $100 a round expensive.

Then there’s the blowback.

“As a little kid I use to watch the Saturn 5s take off with the Apollo astronauts and think, man it’s a bad day if you’re on the launching pad. Now you’re face if part of the launching pad. When I fired it my hand turned completely black.”

If you think this is cool then just wait until you hear the rest. But to hear that, you’ll have to tune in to Sportsman Channel this afternoon around 6:40pm eastern. If you’re a sci-fi fan it’ll be well worth the wait.

Down the side of a MB Associates Gyrojet Mark I Pistol at the NRA Museum lab


Check out the Moses Brothers Self-Defense Engine Frontier Model B pistol and everything else that makse up all collection of the NRA National Firearms Museum collection at nramuseum.com


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