Call it a railgun, a magnetic accelerator, a mass driver, a MAC
, a gauss cannon, whatever, they all refer to the same thing: a weapon that uses magnetic fields instead of an explosive chemical reaction to propel a projectile. This is a fairly common weapon in science fiction.
Note that there are 2 main types of magnetic weapons:
- Railgun (not to be confused with rail mounted artillery) - accelerates projectile along 2 conductive rails.
- Coilgun - uses a series of coiled electromagnets switched on and off to accelerate a projectile.
It is in no way related to the trope of Sticks to the Back
or Magnet Hands
- Halo has its MA Cs (Magnetic Accelerator Cannons)
- Along with the Warthog's gatling gauss cannon.
- The Eden faction of Outpost 2 has a railgun as one of its weapons
- The US Navy has tested a 10 MJ railgun.
- They are also planning on equipping a ship with a 64 MJ railgun in 2020.
- Homemade coilguns and railguns are fairly popular among hobbyists.