[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Fallout3}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/f3-gauss_4872.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:You do '''''NOT''''' want to be on the receiving end of that.]]

->''"This, Recruits, is a 20-kilo ferrous slug. Feel the weight! Every five seconds, the main gun on an ''Everest''-class [[MileLongShip dreadnought]] accelerates one to one-point-three percent of light speed. It impacts with the force of a 38-kiloton bomb. [[HiroshimaAsAUnitOfMeasure That is three times the yield of the city-buster dropped on Hiroshima back on Earth.]] That means: [[IsaacNewton Sir Isaac Newton]] is the deadliest son-of-a-bitch in space!"''
-->-- '''Unnamed Drill Sergeant''', ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''

Call it a railgun, a magnetic accelerator, a mass driver, a [[Franchise/{{Halo}} MAC]], a Gauss cannon, whatever, they all refer to the same thing: a weapon that uses pressure of magnetic fields instead of an explosive chemical reaction to propel a projectile. This is a fairly common weapon in science fiction. In RealLife they are still [[AwesomeButImpractical impractical]] for military use[[note]]That isn't stopping the United States though. At last check they were constructing a naval mounted railgun to replace heavy cannon. It's actually functional, the only constraint is that they have yet to find a mobile power source for it.[[/note]], but exist as experimental devices and [[MyLittlePanzer toys]]. (but see [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun#Tests this]]!)

Note that there are 2 main types of magnetic weapons:
* Railgun -- projectile connects an even number of conductive rails with a strong electric current flowing through them and through the projectile, which is accelerated along the rails as the circuit tries to expand; essentially a linear electric motor. Not to be confused with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_gun rail mounted artillery]].
* Coilgun -- uses a series of electromagnets (coils) switched on and off to accelerate a projectile. This device is what "mass driver" meant ''originally''.

Railguns have the advantage that they are relatively simple devices and yet are still capable of very impressive muzzle velocities, limited only by the amount of available electric current and the robustness of the gun[[note]]and perhaps relativistic physics in settings where nearing the speed of light is a realistic concern[[/note]]. Their primary limitation after the amount of available power is the direct contact between the rails and projectile moving at great speed under current; the stress on the rails is immense, leading to extreme wear and tear. Heat adding up from friction and imperfect electric contact leaves vapors and plasma trailing after the projectile. Earlier railgun designs (proofs of concept rather than anything practical) often needed to completely replace the rails after each shot. Also, the whole circuit from the capacitor forward is under full current and thus pressure.

Coilguns on the other hand involve far less stress on their components, and therefore don't wear out near as quickly. Instead, they are limited by needing far more complex control systems to activate and deactivate the coils in time[[note]]the classic demonstration is an aluminium ring jumping off a coil when it's turned on. But steady acceleration requires doing this repeatedly, as close behind the projectile as possible[[/note]], and the speed at which the coils can be turned on and off is limited by the coils' inherent inductance[[note]]electromagnetic "inertia" defining how fast energy can get to or from the field[[/note]] (with exotic proposals such as superconducting coils that are laser quenched to turn them off) and magnetic saturation point of the projectile. They are however better suited for launching more massive projectiles at low speeds. The original idea of "mass driver" was to hurl tons of ore from Moon surface for orbital or suborbital pick up.

See also KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter. Compare MagnetismManipulation when ''people'' themselves control magnetism to hurt you. When it's the main weapon on a ship and it's pointed forward, it's a FixedForwardFacingWeapon. It is in no way related to the trope of SticksToTheBack or MagnetHands.

If you were looking for the anime with the name "railgun", please see ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun''.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* These pop up occasionally in the various ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' series. Older series (Universal Century) treated railguns as unique prototypes or curiosities. They were more ubiquitous in the newer series (Cosmic Era) but were pretty much a "filler" weapon added if a unit had extra space left. The newest series (Anno Domini) have these being the most advanced conventional weapons available before AppliedPhlebotinum makes energy weapons commonplace and even then the vast majority of military mecha (being of older make) still use them.
** Also, the launching mechanism for HumongousMecha in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed Gundam SEED]]'' used these: The mecha was given an initial boost of speed via an aircraft carrier-style sled and then propelled forwards by magnetic rails extending from the ship.
** The ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing Gundam Wing]]'' spinoff manga ''G-Unit''/''Last Outpost'' introduces an EnergyWeapon version of this; the Gundam Geminass' accelerate rifle has a spiral particle accelerator lining the barrel, which can turbo-charge its output for "Hyper Burst Mode".
* A railgun was used as a turret against the Amaterasu in ''StarshipOperators'', with an onboard ammunition manufacturing plant to create more ammunitions (it's near an asteroid). Also, since the anime lacks SpaceBasedWeaponHasCutoffRange, it has been shown to fire from extreme range.
** Also the main gun of the Amaterasu herself would qualify, being some sort of particle accelerator it's basically a coilgun accelerating very small projectiles (molecules sized). In one of the latter battles of the series the main gun is used as a sort of massive shot-gun accelerating a very large number of projectiles, presumably rocks.
* Misaka Mikoto of ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' is a [[ShockAndAwe master manipulator of electricity]], well-known for her signature "railgun" attack (with coins as ammunition). Eventually she got a spinoff series of her own, aptly named ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun''. Despite the lack of actual rails for her to use, this is theoretically feasible because she doesn't just ''emit'' electricity, she ''controls'' electricity. She can create virtual rails out of thin air simply by running electric currents in that direction. The rails aren't important except as a conductor, but when you have free control over electricity you don't need a conductor at all; you just need to "push" the electricity in the right direction and thus generate the appropriate magnetic fields.
* In ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars'' the Gosroth had four very large "electromagnetic guns" that appeared to launch missiles.
* The titular starship of ''InfiniteRyvius'' comes equipped with two detachable railguns referred to as the "Barge Cannons". They can be used by the ship itself as offensive weapons, or picked up and used by the ship's resident HumongousMecha, the Vital Guarder as twin rifles.
* Firearms in ''CodeGeass'' developed in different ways than in our history. From their [[http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100111133658/codegeass/images/b/bb/Fire_arm.jpg earliest iterations]], actually, they seem to all be what amounts to a small coilgun; gunpowder as we know it either came later, or not at all. That giant silver pistol that everyone and their dog is seen totting? Look closely; it's got a revolving cylinder around the middle, and the rest of it is just coil bearings inside.
** If our world had [[{{Unobtanium}} naturally-mined non-cooled superconductors]] around, we'd probably have dispensed with gunpowder soon after we figured out magnetism too. Though strangely enough given [[ShortRangeLongRangeWeapon the short range of their cannons and handguns]] that don't penetrate all the way through the body cavity they may be significantly weaker than chemical fire arms.
* ''Manga/BlackCat'': the aptly-named Railgun, which is actually just Train Heartnet's [[RevolversAreJustBetter Hades six-shooter]] electric-powered.
* The [[SpiderTank Spider Gun Platforms]] that defend Olympus in ''Manga/{{Appleseed}}'' have a massive railgun as their main weapon. In the 2004 film, we see it charging up a shot in the finale but is stopped before it fires. Another railgun appears in ''[[{{Prequel}} Appleseed Alpha]]'', [[spoiler: when the SGP prototype does fire it and takes out a skyscraper in New York which is miles away.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The experimental railgun is used in [[Film/{{Transformers}} Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen]], and manages to do pretty MassiveDamage to [[CombiningMecha Devastator]].
* The hand-carried railguns from ''Film/{{Eraser}}'', which brought the concept to popular attention and influenced the games of the time.
** Arnold's character also mentions that the Navy already has ship-based large-caliber versions of these.
* The Meteor Gun used to destroy the Starfighter staging base in ''Film/TheLastStarfighter'' is one of the most overlooked, forgotten, yet freaking awesome railguns in sci-fi movie history.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Harry Harrison's ''TheStainlessSteelRat'' series had Gauss pistols in ''The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge''.
** In another Harrison novel, ''Starworld'', LaResistance develops coilguns as their secret weapon and use them to obliterate the Earth fleet. Prior to that, all space combat was fought with missiles. The ammo for the big guns that ran through the spine of the ships was regular old cannonballs, while the ammo for the smaller, turreted versions was explosive bullets. The main character even plays a crucial role in resolving the bugs with the magnet timing system thanks to his skill as a computer engineer.
* In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TheMoonIsAHarshMistress'', the inhabitants of Luna used their electromagnetic catapult (normally used to send grain to Earth) as a weapon to drop steel-coated rocks on Terran targets.
* Creator/NealStephenson's ''Literature/SnowCrash'' has Reason, an arm-mounted [[GatlingGood Gatling]] railgun.
* Neal Stephenson's ''Literature/TheBigU'' also uses a railgun, used to defeat [[spoiler: the giant mutated rats in the sewers]].
* The "[[PoweredArmor Tin Men]]" of DaleBrown's novels can use an anti-tank railgun.
** On the other hand, they use them on more than just tanks. The Tin Men have used those railguns on everything from tanks to bombers to ''cruise missiles.'' About the only thing they haven't used them on is a human-sized target, and that's mainly because the Tin Man suit is [[ImmuneToBullets able to ]] NoSell [[MadeOfIron anything smaller than an anti-tank weapon or a tank shell.]] And comes with a [[ShockAndAwe "auto-bugzapper feature" for dealing with uppity infantry.]]
* In ''Revelation Space'', the Demarchists have the space equivalent of a musket: enormous railguns that fire huge chunks of metallic hydrogen out at high speed using thermonuclear bombs as a boost phase. One shot weapons, but really, [[NoKillLikeOverkill do you need another shot after that?]]
** Well, [[spoiler: yes. The Conjoiners still kick their butts.]]
* ''Literature/{{Bolo}}'' supertanks use magnetic weapons as part of their secondary armament from time to time.
* In Fyodor Berezin's novel ''Ash'', automated orbital magnetic weapons are used by Earth forces as the first line of defense for the base against their former colony. They come in handy when the latter launch thousands of nuclear missiles. Additionally, there are large variants that fire first type of magnetic weapons.
* The ''Literature/StarCarrier'' series uses both small and large versions of this. One scene in ''Center of Gravity'' has a Confederate Marine sniper using a railgun rifle, and the weapons are a staple of space combat.
* All commonly-used kinetic weapons in ''TheHistoryOfTheGalaxy'' books are of this type. Handheld weapons fire magnetically-accelerated tiny steel balls. However, they're not very good against armor. In many novels, this is when the protagonist usually finds some centuries-old plain old assault rifle firing chemically-propelled bullets. While it's justified that those found on derelict hulls in space would still work (no oxygen to rust the weapon or bullets), there's no justification for those found on planets still working even after 1000 years, except an extreme case of RagnarokProofing (this may be justified by many of them being found in or near colony ships sent into the unknown during the early period of space colonization). Space-based kinetic weapons don't usually rely on kinetic energy alone and explode on impact. Same for HumongousMecha-based ones.
* In ''{{Literature/Doom}}: Endgame'', the Fred ship comes under railgun fire when crashing on Skinwalker. This frightens Fly because railguns were experimental in his time, capable of destroying their target but suffering a catastrophic meltdown. If the Newbies have functional anti-ship railguns then they have already surpassed human technology.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Railguns are used on ''Daedelus''-class starships and on the first Earth starship, the ''Prometheus'', in ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Series/StargateAtlantis''. They are also mounted at ground bases to serve as anti-fighter weapons. Eventually, [[spoiler: after the Asgard commit mass suicide and give all their tech to the United States,]] Asgard plasma beam weapons become their primary armament, arguably subverting this trope, though those ships also maintain their railguns and nuclear arsenals.
** For all the good they do.
*** They were effective as anti-fighter platforms. And, given the Wraith's ability to shoot down nukes before they even get close, railguns were occasionally used to great effect against their hive ships, though only when their projectiles caused secondary explosions inside the hive. Otherwise, the hive ships' sheer massiveness prevented the guns from doing any significant damage.
* Mass drivers are classed as "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in ''Series/BabylonFive'' and we see them used to pummel [[spoiler:the Narn homeworld]] [[ColonyDrop with asteroids]].
** There are also less powerful railguns used as ship-mounted weapons on two Earth Alliance warship classes (the old ''Olympus''-class corvettes and the more recent and powerful ''Warlock''-class destroyers), with the expanded universe adding a number of Earth Alliance warships using railguns (most notable being the ''Artemis''-class frigate, extremely cramped due the ammunition bunkers and the reactors to feed ''six'' railguns but devastating in combat) and the entire Orieni fleet using railguns of both smaller and larger scale on ''all'' their warships.
* In a somewhat less militaristic context, ''JoanOfArcadia'' had an episode where Luke and Grace worked together to assemble a demonstration of the principles behind a railgun for the school's science fair. The results were... interesting to behold.
* In ''{{Firefly}}'', railguns and other futuristic weapons appear, but their use is limited compared to [[AnachronismStew good ol' revolvers and shotguns]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''{{Rifts}}'' was king of railguns. Common as dirt in that setting, 'Railgun' was pretty much shorthand for 'Megadamage Machinegun'...to the point that none of them are ever depicted as having actual rails, or even coils for that matter (though it could be argued that the almost always round barrels could have thin coils built into their length)...and often had ejection ports...and were insanely rapid-fire.
** Rifts also introduced wooden railgun ammo for use against vampires. Roll that one around in your head. They try to justify it with iron cores buried in the rounds, but while that might work for coil guns, a rail round has to be conductive edge-to-edge and fit the rails snugly.
*** Fridge logic: it might work (assuming the wood doesn't combust) provided that the core is shaped in such a way that it touches the rails - for example, if it has a [[HolyBurnsEvil cross-shaped cross-section.]]
** Phase World, and other space-heavy Megaverse worlds with ArtificialGravity technology, have gravity-based slugthrowers as an alternative to railguns. Magnetism is of course stronger than gravity according to physics, but the gravity guns can use any material as a projectile.
** Techno-wizards build railguns that use telekinesis magic to throw slugs.
* ''{{Traveller}}'':
** Traveller Classic had the Gauss Rifle and the VRF Gauss Gun (artillery). An adventure in Supplement 6 ''76 Patrons'' had a mass driver being used as a weapon very much like ''The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress'' literature example.
** [=MegaTraveller=] introduced the Gauss Pistol.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', the Tau Empire make good use of railguns, be it in the form of "rail rifles" that some of their infantry carry, or as the main gun for their heavy tanks and battlesuits. Enemy vehicles [[strike:don't stand a chance]] had better hope for some unfavorable armor penetration rolls.
** One short story told of how a Leman Russ, one of the many [[MightyGlacier tough-as-nails]] [[TankGoodness battletanks]] employed by the Imperial Guard, took a direct hit in the front (i.e, the most heavily armoured part) from a Tau railgun. Two neat holes could be found in the vehicle, one in the front and one in the back, with [[LudicrousGibs what little remained of the crew]] being splayed in a cone of {{Gorn}} stretching several feet from behind the tank. [[CruelAndUnusualDeath Yikes]].
** For once in 40K, the physics behind them would actually work and is accurately depicted on the models... Though whether their pulse rifles, coilguns that fire tiny globs of plasma via magnetic acceleration would work scientifically is anyone's guess.
** Tyranids use [[OrganicTechnology biological variations]] on these for some weapons. For example, a Venom Cannon fires toxic crystal shards which are covered in a conductive metallic-mucus and launched by a powerful bio-electric jolt. Likewise, bio-plasma [[BreathWeapon vomited up]] by some large Tyranid organisms, using their esophagus as a living PlasmaCannon, with a bio-electric field containing the plasma as it builds without melting the creature spitting it.
** According to Battlefleet Gothic, Imperium also uses railguns on some starships (macrocannon is a catch-all term for any starship weapon that isn't a lance, torpedo or a [[WaveMotionGun nova cannon]]. This includes giant conventional guns, laser-batteries and railguns, among other things).
** Also the Necron's Gauss weaponry... [[DisintegratorRay is no such thing]].
*** Technically it's not one of those either, necron weapons pull matter ''towards'' the gun, they are essentially weaponised vacuum cleaners.
*** Also, in every sourcebook describing the things, the 'Gauss' weapons are stated to be entirely NOT Gauss Guns, but that an early theory as to how they operated involved some Gaussian equations. That was wrong, though; we have no idea how they work. And no armor can really withstand them...
*** In French, they are called 'Fission' weapons instead.
** The Nihtgane, low-tech partisans from the GauntsGhosts series, use big bows powered by twin magnetic generators. They're ludicrously effective compared to lasguns, for some reason.
*** Helps that the arrows are coated in a immensely lethal poison.
*** And that a pea shooter is more effective than a lasgun
* ''{{Battletech}}'' features coilguns (termed Gauss Rifles) sized for both combat vehicles (including [[HumongousMecha BattleMechs]]) and people. The first 'Mech-sized version introduced into the game is still universally respected for being one of the few weapons in the game that can take a 'Mech's head clean off (killing the pilot) with a single shot from a considerable distance. Later versions include the Hyper Assault Gauss Rifle which is basically a magnetic shotgun, the Anti-Personnel Gauss Rifle (essentially a magnetic machine gun), the Light Gauss Rifle (scaled-down version), the Magshot (even more scaled-down), the Silver Bullet Gauss Rifle (also a magnetic shotgun, though less sophisticated than the HAG), the Heavy Gauss Rifle (bigger, heavier, and so powerful, it needs to be installed in a side torso since the recoil would ''rip a 'Mech's arm off''), and an ''Improved'' version of that. The [[MachineCult Word of Blake]] later introduced mass drivers for [[CoolStarShip WarShips]], which is basically a Gauss Rifle that shoots [[{{BFG}} 30 to 90 ton metal slugs]], [[FixedForwardFacingWeapon spinally mounted]] onto a ship.
* ''{{GURPS}}'' places railguns as superior to coilguns in terms of damage but they're otherwise the same. The defining characteristic of both is their armor piercing ability and high rate of fire. They also have variable power, you can overcharge them to punch through thick armor or undercharge them to save energy.
* All of the ordinary kinetic guns in ''EclipsePhase'' are available in railgun versions. They deal more damage, have better armor piercing ability, longer range, but are more limited in the types of ammunition they can use (as they need metallic rounds and the EM fries the electronics in smart rounds) and need power as well as physical projectiles.
* ''TabletopGame/StarsWithoutNumber'': standard TL4 handheld projectile weapons include the mag rifle, the mag pistol, and the spike thrower, which is basically a rail ''shotgun''; the only non-laser handheld TL4 weapon that doesn't rely on this is the void carbine, a gyrojet weapon. Full-scale railguns are available as gunnery weapons, which require tripods or vehicle mounts, and when you get up to a cruiser you can pick up the mag spike array.
* FASA's less well known (as compared to BattleTech) tabletop game ''RenegadeLegion'' was replete with Gauss and Railguns, to the point of them being far more common (and, frankly, more useful) than the various energy weapons.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The [[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]] has Mass Drivers, which are basically giant [[GatlingGood miniguns]]. They shoot their ammo (metal balls) at such tremendous speeds that they go [[ArmorPiercingAttack straight through shields and impact on the hull of the ship]]. Players quickly learn to hate Pirate ships equipped with these with all their heart. ''X3: Terran Conflict'' introduces the Gauss Cannon, a Teladi capital-ship weapon which does tremendous hull damage, and instead of relying on the ship's generators to fire, uses crates of ammo. ''Xtended Terran Conflict'' adds the Meteor Cannon a Split-exclusive mass driver which fires refined asteroid fragments at ships.
* ''{{Halo}}'' has its [=MAC=]s (Magnetic Accelerator Cannons), which are the main armament on UNSC ships and orbital defense platforms. Rather more down-to-earth weapons include the M68 Gauss cannon mounted to some stationary defenses and some Warthog transports. Later novels set in the Haloverse include coilgun sniper rifles capable of reducing targets to a cloud of LudicrousGibs.
** The [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale quoted powers]] of the [=MAC=]s and coilguns indicate that some details of physics were skipped over. For example: one super-[=MAC=] can fire 3000 tonne projectiles as 150,000km/s. Their relativistic kinetic energy is therefore equivalent to a ''10 teratonne explosion''. For comparison, that's equivalent to about 200,000 times the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated.
** The brute spiker is a railgun that fires foot-long superheated metal spikes.
** Railguns are available in ''{{Halo 4}}'' as infantry weapons. They take a second to charge up, but they can kill the vast majority of enemies in a single hit. However, their dedicated anti-infantry role means they don't do quite as much damage to vehicles as you'd expect them to; they'll one-shot a Spartan, Sangheili, or Promethean, but a Banshee or Warthog will shrug the hit off with fairly little damage.
* The Eden faction of ''VideoGame/{{Outpost 2}}'' has a railgun as one of its weapons.
* ''[=MegaTraveller=] 2'' (based on the ''{{Traveller}}'' TabletopRPG) had Gauss weapons.
* The Global Defense Initiative first brought railguns to the battlefield in ''CommandAndConquer: Tiberian Sun'' on their [[HumongousMecha Mammoth MkII]]. By ''C&C 3'', all of their main-line tanks came equipped or could be upgraded to fire railguns, while their [[PoweredArmor Zone Troopers]] carry infantry-sized versions. The Snipers have a small caliber long range version while the Commando have a rapid fire carbine version, these modified variants are only effective vs infantry (though still powerful enough to punch through Cyborg armor effectively).
** On the other hand, those infantry-sized railguns (especially the Commando variants) are mentioned to be ''horrendously'' [[AwesomeYetImpractical expensive to build and maintain,]] hence their only being issued to Commando forces.
* ''VideoGame/JediKnightDarkForcesII'' features a weapon called the Rail Detonator. Its actual functions are unclear: [[AllThereInTheManual ancillary media]] states it's a coil gun, but actual in-game usage definitely suggests it's simply a rocket launcher. [[TakeAThirdOption Plausibly,]] it's a rocket launcher that uses a coil launch mechanism to [[MissingBackblast launch the rocket at a safe enough distance for the thruster to kick in.]] For example, when visiting the local BubblegloopSwamp planet in [[ExpansionPack Mysteries of the Sith]], all weapons besides the lightsaber fail, with the rail detonator simply flinging dud rockets into the air which then plunk into the water.
* Besides missiles, the primary direct weapons of the Caldari in EveOnline are railguns.
** Gallente players often use them too, if only because their own Particle Blasters are terrible.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series features a few Gauss (coil) rifles, and even a Gauss pistol. They tend to be in the stop tier as far as weapons go.
** ''VideoGame/{{Fallout Tactics|BrotherhoodOfSteel}}'' has a Gauss [[GatlingGood minigun]].
** The Gauss rifle makes a return in Fallout 3 where it was an InfinityMinusOneSword, limited only by it's VAT's related bugs and single shot capacity. In New Vegas it's still a powerful gun but drains ammo much faster. It also has a unique variation called YCS-186 which has a longer barrel, higher damage output but needs repairs more often. In both games it's beaten only by the Tesla Cannon, Alien Blaster and Gatling Laser as the best energy weapon (all of which have their own issues) and is capable of knocking a Deathclaw down (if not outright killing it)
* In VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis, Jill has to use a gigantic experimental stationary railgun to kill the final boss. It's called "man-portable", but you need a forklift to move the thing.
* Metal Gear REX of the Franchise/MetalGear series uses railguns to fire a nuclear warhead. This has the advantage of subverting most nuclear disarmament treaties and [[YouFailPhysicsForever being undetectable by radar due to the fact that no fuel is used to propel the warhead]].
** VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2 has Fortune, a terrorist leader, use a massive railgun she stole from Lockheed-Martin.
*** The Rail Gun returns in VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4, initially as Crying Wolf's weapon, but later acquired by Snake. A fully charged shot from it will take a Gekko out in one hit.
*** ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker'' has the railgun as the primary weapon of the AI Weapon Chrysalis, from which it can be salvaged for use on Metal Gear ZEKE. A portable version also appears, but, as it requires a separate player to charge up the power to fire, it's a [[AwesomeButImpractical multiplayer-only weapon]].
* The railgun has become ''the'' de facto sniper rifle in the ''{{Quake}}'' series since the second game.
* ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion 2'' has [[KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter quite efficient]] rail guns (called mass drivers) and coil guns (called gauss cannons).
** From the original game, there's the Gauss Autocannon. Each round doesn't do much damage, but it fires 4 times each turn, and unlike the sequel's Gauss cannons, they halve the effectiveness of shields, making them viable for longer than their energy-based contemporaries. FourX, meet MoreDakka.
** In the second game, [[MoreDakka auto-firing]] (3x shots) Mass Driver is the best point defence weapon in early and middle game -- enveloping Fusion Beam hits 4 missiles (or fighters), but due to bad range dissipation is really good only for the last-moment shot at incoming threat. Conversely, non-dissipating Mass Driver is better against far missiles -- ones striking in the next turn or heading to other ships, so you can get 6 shots per weapon instead of 4.
** Gauss cannons are also an option in the third game.
* ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' also features Gauss sniper rifles near the end of the game.
* ''XCom Terror From the Deep'' has Gauss weaponry, which based on the in-game description is a railgun mated to a particle accelerator.
** Specifically, it's a variation on the plasma-based weapons of the first game. Since plasma doesn't do so well underwater (and the amount of power requires [[{{Unobtainium}} Elerium-115]], which goes inert in salt water), they repurposed the magnetic accelerators used to accelerate plasma to accelerate a slug instead.
* ''UFOAlienInvasion'' has a railgun with disposable rails packed with each magazine called Bolters, and the in-development version 2.3 features coilguns.
* The 1997 {{freeware}} VideoGame/{{Worms}}-esque realtime deathmatch ''VideoGame/{{Liero}}'' (version 1.33) has the Gauss Gun, which fires a projectile so fast, it gouges a deep groove in the soil when you fire and is barely affected by gravity.
** Turn the reload times down to zero and you have a Gauss ''Autocannon'', perfect for chewing up the landscape and jetting around the map as an improvised jetpack.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' FPS ''VideoGame/FireWarrior'' was the first appearance of the Tau Empire's rail-rifle. They already had the railgun as the most powerful long-range anti-tank gun in the game; this was the introduction of the man-portable version.
* The Stonehenge weapon in ''AceCombat 04: Shattered Skies'' is a set of eight railguns designed to launch projectiles into space to destroy incoming asteroids. One of them is hit by debris from said asteroid and rendered inoperable, as seen in the mission where you have to destroy it. It's later used as an anti-aircraft weapon with an effective range spanning practically the entire continent it was built on. FridgeLogic kicks in when you realize that the curvature of the Earth should make that impossible.
** Actually, Stonehenge is only ''partially'' a railgun. The weapon uses an explosive charge to get the slug up to speed, then a rail system takes over and accelerates it to maximum velocity. The reason behind this unique system is that launching the projectiles using only the rails built up too much heat to be manageable.
** Chandelier, a weapon of similar design is seen in ''AceCombat 6: Fires of Liberation''. Like Stonehenge, it was built to shoot down asteroid fragments, however the country that built it didn't complete it in time for when the "big one" struck the planet and the country suffered significant impact damage as opposed to all the other nations with similar operational systems. The fallout from its failure leads to the war that is the focus of the game itself.
** ''Joint Assault'' also features an enemy railgun, used largely as the obligatory altitude-restriction mechanism. You do get to destroy it eventually.
* According to the canon, Marines use Gauss rifles in ''Franchise/StarCraft''. [[RuleofCool This doesn't stop the muzzle flares and "budda budda" sound affect of them firing, though]]. In the sequel, Reapers use [[GunsAkimbo dual Gauss pistols]] and some snipers go for a ludicrously huge railgun with double laser sights ([[RuleOfCool because one isn't cool enough]]).
** The Gauss rifle may actually be a hybrid weapon combining both primer and propellant as well as a coilgun system. This is borne out by the in-game cutscenes, which show the weapon using cartridge ammunition with primers. There's also a sharp whining noise that underscores the report, which also indicate that it probably isn't a conventional firearm either.
** A campaign-only upgrade for the Bunker in ''VideoGame/StarCraftIIWingsOfLiberty'' essentially installs a ''second'' coilgun-type mechanism that speeds up projectiles that pass through it, increasing effective range. [[YouFailPhysicsForever It even increases the range of the Firebat's flamethrowers.]] This isn't even [[AllThereInTheManual justified by the background]]; while the flamethrower-equipped ATV has an upgrade that adds thermite to its attacks, the flamethrower-equipped powered armor is explicitly stated to use pressurized gas as fuel.
* Magnetic weapons show up throughout the ''VideoGame/EscapeVelocity'' series. The Mass Driver weapon in the first game is suggested to be a railgun or coilgun, and in ''Nova'' railguns are one of the primary weapons of the Aurorans. The 200 mm railgun is particularly good, having the best range of any primary weapon and a lot of damage.
* The projectile weapons in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' are essentially small-scale railguns which use the titular effect to lighten the projectiles they fire. This allows the projectile itself to be accelerated to greater speeds, increasing the damage done significantly. The main guns of capital ships use the same principle. Larger ships can mount longer rails, allowing for greater acceleration and damage.
** In a [[Funny/MassEffect hilarious]] instance of ShownTheirWork, the writers slipped in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLpgxry542M this tidbit]] to show what the actual ramifications of space-age railguns with mass-reducing technology would be in military training.
*** This is referenced again later, when [[PlayerCharacter Shepard]] is told about a massive crater on a planet that turned out to be from a rogue shot by a massive, experimental railgun -- located in a completely different solar system.
** In ''Mass Effect 3'' on Tuchanka, there's a battery of three ground-to-space railguns which are easily 100m long.
** And later, there's the massive coil gun in the [[spoiler:Geth Dreadnaught]], which is so massive that every shot sends a huge blast of electromagnetic energy through the mainainance corridors next to it. And then you [[DungeonBypass use the barrel as a shortcut]] to get to the other end of the ship.
** Even the Reapers use them: those {{Wave Motion Gun}}s they like to fire? Not lasers. Not particle beams. They are streams of molten metal moving at relativistic speeds. The firing mechanism involves magnetism, even though molten metal has no magnetic properties. Given the sheer technological advancement of the Reapers, though, it's not out of the question that the metal may be superheated in a tiny fraction of a second after being already launched.
*** By ''Mass Effect 3'', all the Council and allied races have upgraded their main ship guns to these, having reverse-engineered them from Sovereign's wreck. [[InformedAbility Not that you'd be able to tell]], as the visual effects remain the same as if they haven't been upgraded.
*** The WaveMotionGun mounted on the Reapers also runs into another problem when you realize that as massive as they are, the Reapers don't have an infinite supply of molten metal in their interiors to shoot at targets.
* Railguns can be mounted on battleships in the ''NavalOps'' series, though they suffer from low rate of fire and narrow firing angles.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs 2}}'', Brad's most powerful ARM attack is a railgun. Because of its destructive capabilities, it can only hold one or two charges at a time.
* ''SteelBattalion'' has two [[http://lineofcontact.net/loc_weapon.shtml#RAIL-Ga railgun]] variations. They have limited ammunition (8 or 10 rounds), the non-fixed-mount version is very heavy and will limit weapon loadout options in addition to being limited to a few VTs, it consumes a lot of battery charge when firing, and there is a delay before it fires...but it will destroy any VT with just 1 or 2 shots, has a very long range, and the projectile travels too fast to slidestep out of the way once fired. The trick to dodging it is to slidestep just BEFORE it fires so that the [[LeadTheTarget FSS]] overcompensates and misses wide, but that won't do the victim any good if he's the target of TWO railguns, one fired a half-second after the other. Needless to say, it's one of the most feared and used weapons in the game's arsenal.
* As it's an adaptation of ''Battletech'', the ''VideoGame/MechWarrior'' and ''VideoGame/MechCommander'' series have Gauss Rifles as a standard weapon for the mechs.
** In one ''VideoGame/MechCommander 1'' expansion pack scenario, the MacGuffin of the battle is a cache of [[LostTechnology Star League era Railguns]] that dwarf the firepower, range and accuracy of the Gauss Rifles (but carry half as many rounds of ammunition). Fortunately, the Smoke Jaguars have only managed to excavate and mount one of these so far. Unfortunately, the [[BossBattle ace piloting the specially-modified Vulture carrying it]] is good enough to take down most of your forces before you get into targeting range.
** The Behemoth II and Marauder II in ''MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries''' fan-made mektek expansion can both mount a dorsal railgun which is a {{BFG}} by even 'mech standards.
* In ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' all the ballistic weapons are of this sort, from the most basic Gauss Cannons that are rapid-fire and relatively [[ArbitraryMaximumRange short-ranged]] and weak to the massive anti-planet Siege Drivers.
** The latter actually fires large metallic asteroids.
* The Phase Rifle in ''{{Conduit 2}}'' is actually a railgun.
* The Gargoyle's Plasma Lorentz attack in ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4| A Promise Unforgotten}}'' has it generate an electrical current between its arms for use as a makeshift railgun and uses coins as the primary ammunition, [[ShoutOut not unlike]] [[ToAruMajutsuNoIndex a certain other character]]. It launches a treasure chest at the end for additional explosive goodness.
* Every ''RedFaction'' game since the first one has had the Rail Driver, a railgun which can pierce through walls and obstacles, has a scope that can see through said obstacles, and in the first and second games, was a [[GameBreaker one hit kill]]. The third game features the Gauss Rifle, which could inflict collateral damage, and the Gauss Cannon, an upgraded version only available on certain EDF vehicles and in the DLC.
* The ''Forces of Corruption'' expansion to ''StarWars: EmpireAtWar'' introduces the ''Vengeance''-class frigates for the Zann Consortium based on a new [[TheEmpire Imperial]] design that the Empire never got a chance to build (the plans were on the first Death Star when it was destroyed). Their main weapons are four mass driver cannons, which completely ignore DeflectorShields, making them invaluable in fights against Star Destroyers (several of these frigates could quickly take out the SD's shield generator, leaving it vulnerable to the rest of the Consortium fleet, especially if the SD is ambushed with the use of the ''Vengeance'''s [[InvisibilityCloak cloaking device]]. The downside is the frigate's lack of its own DeflectorShields and the ship's slow speed.
* In ''SinsOfASolarEmpire'', the TEC use twin gauss guns on their orbital defense platforms, the Kol Battleship's signature weapon is the gauss railgun, and the Novalith Cannon superweapon is a giant railgun that shoots giant nukes at planets at near light speed.
** It may be firing at FTL speeds, actually, as you can fire the Novalith Cannon at a planet in another star system. If it were traveling at near-light speeds, it would still take years to reach its target, which means the nuke has a phase drive of its own that doesn't use HyperspaceLanes.
* The Farsight XR-20 from ''PerfectDark'', which is essentially a OneHitKill sniper rifle.
* In a rare EasternRPG example, one of the strongest guns you can equip in ''ShinMegamiTenseiI'' is a railgun.
* Mass drivers of different size are the most basic weapon in the ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}'' series, ranging from the aptly-named ''pea shooter'' (weak even for a fighter-sized weapon) to the gigantic and high-powered weapons mounted on cruiser-sized ships.
* ''VideoGame/VegaStrike'' has these as the most efficient (damage/energy ratio) weapons -- as kinetics, they also don't weaken with range and partially bypass DeflectorShields. Micro Driver (light gun, 10,5 kg at 4 km/s), Mini Driver (medium gun, 26,8 kg at 3.5 km/s) and Grand Gauss (378 kg at 20 km/s) weapons. The first two and metal balls for them are dirt-cheap and ubiquitous in Human space (and are weapon of choice for [[EvilLuddite Luddites]]), four of the latter are used as [[FixedForwardFacingWeapon spinal mounted]] weapons on Aera battleship. There's also a lot of "warhead-assisted kinetics", i.e. cannons hurling shells enhanced with various nasty stuff, up to antimatter cells (Reaper).
* The [[LaResistance New Conglomerate]] in ''PlanetSide'' relies on an magnetic assault rifle, the Gauss Rifle, which fires powerful bullets with an odd firing noise - though it actually fires ''slower'' bullets than the more traditional bullet based weapons. The Conglomerate also has a giant rail gun for its [[AMechByAnyOtherName BFR]], which is almost hitscan and does huge amounts of damage.
** Actually, all the [[TheGovernment Terran Republic]] weapons are Gauss-based as well, it's just less-explicitly stated. The only faction that don't use any are the Vanu (whom use plasma-weapons but ALSO use a magnetic-based propulsion agent).
* The game ''Modern War'' by Gree has a railgun turret as its top-tier base defense. In addition, several of the upper-tier units are apparently armed with railguns as evidenced by their name.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsCompact2'' and the ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'' series the Alteisen has two gigantic shoulder-mounted electromagnets that spew hundreds of tiny ball bearings traveling close to the speed of light.
** The ''Original Generation'' games also has the Lion series of mechs, which use railguns as their main weapons, ranging from rifles to artillery.
* One of the guns used in ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' is the mass driver. It has the worst range and second worst damage of all the fighter-mounted guns.
* The ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' series has the Gauss Rifle, which looks almost exactly like ''Fallout'' 2's Gauss Rifle, but with synthetic furniture. It is usually an endgame weapon that far outmatches all other weapons in stats, but counterbalances this for its rarity of ammunition and sometimes half-decent working condition. In ''Call of Pripyat'', however, the gun is essentially an InfinityPlusOneSword thanks to a [[spoiler: mechanic in the first map who can farm you unlimited ammunition at the price of 2000 rubles each. This is available once you show him the rifle after the Pripyat hospital ambush and complete his little side quest concerning about information of the unique weapon.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Peregrine, the Cyborg SpacePirate from ''{{Voices}}'' has an ''arm-mounted'' railgun. He later uses a MiniMecha which has an even ''bigger'' one, though it's [[AwesomeButImpractical only good for a single shot]].
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' has "gauss-gunfoam" pistols that act as coilguns in one of their two modes. It also has railguns as a fairly common armament on warships, although these might use [[ArtificialGravity gravy]] rather than magnetism.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', as an army of [[WalkingTank war-clanks]] is being threatened by [[spoiler: Gilgamesh Wulfenbach]], the soldiers on board try [[OhCrap desperately to kill him]] before he can attack. This included one of the commanders ordering his crew to "fire the coil gun", which is presumably the clank's main heavy weapon. We never see the result, because that particular clank [[CurbStompBattle was scrapmetal]] [[OneHitKill in a matter of seconds.]]
* ''Webcomic/TheWhiteboard'': Roger's [[http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autowb121.html paintball railgun]].
* ''Webcomic/{{SSDD}}'': coilguns are in fairly common use in the future arcs. One arc revolved around the restoration of an old railgun called "Long Tom" that could theoretically launch a bus into orbit ([[http://www.poisonedminds.com/d/20110715.html if they could get it to work]]).
* In ''Webcomic/GenocideMan'' the primary sidearm of the titular characters is a handgun-sized railgun that shoots darts tipped with sarin-m. The darts themselves aren't that dangerous if the target is immune to the neurotoxin. And Jacob's gun is mistuned so it produces arcs of lightning when it fires.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', Vandal Savage uses an orbital rail gun to [[ColonyDrop shoot asteroids down at Earth]], giving him "the ultimate high ground" in his latest attempt to TakeOverTheWorld. It was attached to the ISS disguised as a contribution from Kaznia.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The US Navy has tested a [[http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=34718 10 MJ railgun]].
** In December 2010 they broke their own record with a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBTbhSFfuNM 32 MJ shot]]. The goal is to equip a ship with a 64 MJ railgun by 2020.
** Navy fired BAE systems prototype railgun in late febuary 2012. Unlike previous models, this railgun is the first model that looks like something that might get mounted on a ship. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uV1SbEuzFU]]
** On a more immediately practical, not-directly-a-weapon level, the cutting edge of aircraft carrier technology going out soon involves replacing the steam-powered aircraft launcher catapults with what are essentially low-speed rail guns. By eliminating literal miles of steam and water piping running from engineering to the flight deck, electromagnetic catapults are cheaper, less maintenance-intensive, more compact, have a more gradual acceleration (which means less shock stress on the aircraft being launching), and have a wider range of aircraft weights they can effectively launch.
* Homemade coilguns and railguns are fairly popular among hobbyists.
* Some of the real life nailguns are coilguns, though these are tools and not weapons. Of course, when the purpose of a tool is to blast a large hole, the difference becomes a little [[ImprovisedWeapon Tomayto tomahto.]]
[[/folder]]
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