This poster set features three amazing underwater firearms developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
1 -The Lancejet underwater rocket pistol was developed in the early 1960s by MBAssociates for use by US combat divers. Lancejets themselves were rocket-propelled cartridges in varying calibers and diameters, which were developed with a wide range of applications in mind.
The final design, patented in June 1967, fired a 10mm tungsten-carbide Lancejet which could also be loaded with a small explosive warhead. It doesn’t appear that the Navy ever purchased the Lancejets, and they became one of many unique weapons designs that have nearly disappeared from history.
2 - The AAI underwater revolver was designed and patented by Irwin Barr, the cofounder of Aircraft Armaments, Incorporated, or AAI.
This early design was based on a standard commercially available revolver, likely a Smith & Wesson Model 29, which Irwin Barr had also adapted into the Quiet Special Purpose Revolver sent to Vietnam for use by the famed Tunnel Rats.
The Underwater Revolver fired heavy darts from a sealed, cylindrical magazine which was front loaded into the weapon. The large cylinder surrounding the magazine was a floatation jacket intended to provide neutral buoyancy when carried underwater.
The Mk. 1 Underwater Defense Gun was developed for use by frogmen and SEALS in the 1960s.
The Mk. 1’s double-action trigger and safety switch are both significantly larger than on conventional handguns, due to the thick gloves that the diver would likely be wearing while using firing the weapon. The pistol fired a heavy, finned, spin-stabilized tungsten dart called the Mk .59 Mod 0 which was more than ten centimeters long, and was fed via a six-round cylindrical magazine which could be inserted via a large, hinged, side-opening door.
The Mk. 59 Mod 0 dart itself was accurate to ten meters’ distance at a depth of eighteen meters, and muzzle velocity was about 255 meters per second. The Mk. 59 ammunition was one of only a few US-designed cartridges to utilize a captive internal piston. When fired, the expanding gases would push the piston forward, expelling the dart out towards its target. But the piston also sealed the cartridge at the neck, trapping the expanding gases inside. Thus, there was no visible muzzle flash, no tell-tale gas bubbles rising to the surface, and virtually no sound associated with the shot. Several Russian small arms have employed this concept, but it is comparatively rare in the Western world.
The Underwater Defense Gun was in the Navy's arsenal for several years but was rarely used. It was an unwieldy weapon which was also tightly controlled by each unit to which it was issued, due to its secretive nature. It also suffered from a unique problem not associated with conventional, above-water firearms; after each heavy dart was fired at its target, the pistol’s buoyancy was notably altered, which made fast follow-up shots difficult. It was later replaced by the HK P11 underwater pistol in about 1976.
These posters are 11" by 17" and printed on heavy 65-lb paper for a memorable texture and durability. All printed posters are sourced from a small, local family-owned business. Each poster set is shipped in a 12" x 3" cardboard shipping tube.