Covert Weapons and Camouflage
During many forms of covert or stealthy mission there may be a need for shooting out small targets such as security cameras or lightbulbs. The mission parameters might also involve the killing of sentries or guard dogs, which will require an accurate shot to the CNS if the target is not to raise the alarm while dying. Best way to maximise your chances of hitting a target is to use a round with a very flat trajectory.
The usual strategy to achieve this is to increase a bullet's velocity, but on a covert mission this is not possible. If the velocity exceeds the speed of sound there will be a supersonic crack. In fact bullets become quite noisy as they approach the speed of sound, so in practice you do not want velocity to exceed c1070fps.
The solution to this dilemma can be seen with round such as the .300 Whisper®. Like many good ideas, the solution is obvious once someone else thinks of it!
If one can't increase the velocity of a bullet, the only other way to increase its energy is to make it heavier. It also makes sense to minimize the rate at which a bullet loses the energy it has. The .300 Whisper rounds mount 165-250gr .30 calibre bullets in .221 Fireball casings. If you compare these to subsonic loads for rounds such as the 22LR or 9x19mm you will see the .300 Whispers® have more weight, higher sectional density and superior ballistic coefficients, which means they fly flatter. The long bullets also tend to tumble on impact, so terminal effects are better too.
Two types of weapon in .300 Whisper® are of interest.
The first is the .300 Whisper® SMG. This is based on AR-15/M16 components and resembles such weapons as the Colt Commando and La France M16K. Unlike the Commando, M16K and HK36C the .300 Whisper® SMG uses a round that IS effective from a short barrel, and is easily silenced. Control and accuracy of this weapon are said to be excellent, making it both an effective combat and close range sniping weapon.
The .300 Whisper® SMG is obviously a good choice for a combat orientated covert mission. Other types of mission may preclude the carrying of such a mission.
If a .300 Whisper® SMG is not carried it is still likely that an infiltrator will carry a silenced .45 pistol or machine pistol for self-defence. There is also a good case for him carrying another firearm for more exact shooting. As well as the obvious roles such as shooting sentries or watchdogs, there are also the less glamorous but often as important tasks such as shooting out lightbulbs or security cameras. The latter such targets are often quite small, and may be armoured against vandalism. This requires a flat shooting round with good penetration.
Obviously the .300 Whisper® is the best choice for out covert camera killer gun, but what form should the weapon take?
The .300 Whisper® is offered in T/C Contender pistols. These are designed with frames that can handle powerful loads, so a version specifically designed for the .300 Whisper® might be lighter. These weapons are also single shot, and it would be nice to have a few follow up shots available.
I toyed with numerous ideas. One resembled the Remington XP100 pistol, but had a magazine mounted behind the pistol grip and would have been an ambidextrous straight pull action a manual action bullpup.
JD Jones, inventor of the .300 Whisper® suggests a manual action assault pistol built from AR-15 components. This would probably look something like the Olympic arms pistols, but without the gas tube and hopefully with cleaner lines. So far I've thought of this as a manual action weapon, but there is, of course, the option of a semi-automatic with a bolt lock to allow manual cycling for minimum noise. Presence of such an option would depend on how it effects the weapon's bulk and weight.
The illustration below is an impression of what such a pistol may look like. For clarity I've not shown any scope or laser aiming module.
Another configuration worth looking at was that of the Bushmaster pistol.
- The Camera-Killer would need to have a suppressor, and end cap should be concave, as was done on the Welrod, allowing the weapon to be fired if pressed against a target.
- Since the CK has a lower rate of fire than a .300 Whisper® SMG the suppressor can be more compact. The suppressor can be easily detached for more convenient carry
- Since this weapon may be used against small targets, it should be fitted with a laser aiming module (LAM) capable of projecting both visible and infra-red spots. An infra-red laser will probably be the best way to aim this weapon if using night vision goggles, while a visible laser can be used to dazzle CCTV cameras. Diffuser lenses would allow the laser system to also act as a visible or IR light source when needed.
- Since the targets against which this weapon will be used will often be small or distant, some form of pistol scope should be fitted.
- Provision for a folding and/or detachable stock should be included.
- Some form of Brass catcher should be mounted.
Although I'd seen this weapon as a tool for infiltrators, it has potential for other applications. It could be used as a sniping weapon, in the manner of the VSK94, a version of the Vichr. The proposed weapon could easily be carried in a rucksac or beneath a coat.
Another interesting device for covert operations is a silent grenade launcher. The Russians have a model called the BS-1 that uses a blank cartridge to drive a piston forward and project a muzzle loaded grenade out of the barrel.
As well as being low noise, the weapon is also flashless. Of course, the detonation of the grenade is neither noiseless or flashless, and given that the weapon's range is 100m you wonder just how useful the weapon is at concealing the firer.
It is perhaps surprising that the captive piston system was not built into the projectile rather than the launcher. The Belgium FLY-K Jet shot, used by the French as the TN8111, uses a spigot system. The propellant charge is held within the tail of the bomb and sealed from the exterior by a piston head. Although sometimes called a grenade launcher the FLY-K looks more like a light mortar. What appears to be the barrel is in fact there to prevent the firer's hand touching a launching grenade.
Scaled down, the same system could also be used on an underbarrel launcher that could fit on weapons such as the .300 Whisper® - a sort of mini-PIAT.
Such an underbarrel launcher would have even more applications if it was capable of firing Less-lethal projectiles such as Sticky-shockers or Ring Aerofoil baton rounds.
Camouflage is another issue. I once wrote a little piece entitled Ninja should be Grey, the implication being that this should be true in both costume and philosophy. An interesting little fact is that the original ninja seldom wore pure black. Their outfits were more likely to be dark grey or have a hint of green, red or blue. This was partially due to the quality of the dyes used then, but also had the practical advantage of being better for the intended purpose. Even on a very dark night a pure black object tends to stand out. Many traditional ninja suits were other colours such as khaki or grey. Grey is a very good choice for many situations. Grey is actually termed a neutral rather than a colour since it blends in with about anything.
Attention to background is as much a factor of successful camouflage at night as it is in the day. A black suit in a night-time snowfield will not work as well as the same snowshirt that was effective during the day. Many day camouflage patterns are suitable for night-time use.
There are several dedicated night patterns in use. One of the most widely used is the green desert night pattern. This has design features to make it more effective against night vision devices. Despite the fact that it is a dark pattern used in an environment with a predominately light background a Gulf War veteran I know tells me that it works extremely well. When I first saw Sky blue camouflage I assumed it was a fashion gimmick, but I've been told that was intended to be for night wear against light backgrounds. The Russians, Ukrainians, Romanians, Indians, Indonesians and Chinese have all issued patterns with blue in them, so maybe there is some merit to the claim. The US airforce is now considering a similar pattern to make its personnel less visible on airfields.
The title of the ninja article, however, was also intended to imply that camouflage was not just about special clothing. In a population centre a grey sweat top and faded blue jeans are a good choice of dress. They are unremarkable and low visibility. A man so dressed can easily blend into a crowd or be difficult to see hiding in an alley or waste ground. In an office building, however, such dress would be noticed and an operative would be more invisible wearing a suit and conservative tie. In a tourist area a loud hawaiian shirt and shorts would actually be camouflage, since you would blend in with everyone else.
There is a case for specialized clothing, and the best choice is probably some form of jumpsuit coverall. This would have a pair of zippers from collar to ankle so that it can easily be donned or removed, and would be double sided. One side would have a light pattern based on khaki, grey or light blue. The other side would have a darker pattern such as woodland, DPM or desert-night green. Such a jumpsuit would be worn over suitable low visibility civilian clothing such as a sweat top and jeans or a suit. The jumpsuit provides camouflage and protects the civilian clothing, but can easily be removed and concealed when the operative needs to move across well populated areas.