With necessity comes ingenuity. When it comes to warfare, innovation is the way to keep one step ahead of your opponents. Countless weapons of all types have made their way into the military over the years.
But amongst all of the great inventions, some are downright strange. Some of them you can’t help but wonder what they were thinking at the time. Others seem as though they’re taken straight out of a science fiction novel.
If you’re curious, keep reading! We’ve collected a whole list of the weirdest weapons the U.S. Military used throughout their history.
1. Pain Rays
Also known as the Active Denial System or even a ‘heat ray’, this weapon would look right at home in any super villain’s dark lair. It uses a powerful radiation beam that, once in contact with human skin, heats the water molecules within the skin. It heats up so much that it causes burns from 500 yards away.
The beam is invisible to the human eye as well, which only makes it seem even more like a cartoon villain’s weapon.
The Active Denial System is best used as a crowd control weapon, helping to break up big groups of opponents.
2. Flux Capacitor Railguns
The U.S. Navy plans to go straight to the future with this weapon known as the 8 Megajoule Electromagnetic Railgun. Instead of the traditional railgun setup, this one uses electromagnetics to its advantage.
Because of this, it fires bullets that go fast enough to launch a spaceship past our atmosphere and into outer space. At about 5,000 miles per hour, that’s 8 times quicker than the speed of sound.
Sound? Where we’re going, we don’t need sound!
That’s right. The mechanism powering this insane gun is the “Flux Capacitor”. It’s an intricate device named after the same device that powered the DeLorean in the Back to the Future movies.
3. Disorientating Rifles
These rifles are at all like your tried-and-true Spikes Tactical rifle. They’re not even equipped with any ammunition. Instead, this weapon is a non-lethal way to disorient opponents and keep them out of the fight.
It’s known as a PHASR rifle, which stands for Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response. This weapon comes with powerful laser beams that alternate in their wavelengths. When an opponent looks at that laser, it disorients them and makes it hard for them to stand upright.
It’s not strong enough to do any lasting damage upon anyone who looks at it, but it does give a lot of aid in a fight.
4. Pigeon-Guided Rockets
In the 1940s, guiding missiles to specific targets was much more difficult than it is today. That’s why, in a desperate attempt to try and bring more accuracy to the fight, the military thought of pigeons.
This used the same homing technique that made pigeons so revolutionary. But instead off delivering messages, these pigeons helped pinpoint a specific target.
Three pigeons sat inside of the rocket itself, each attached with harnesses. Once they found their intended target, their movements to peck that target would help guide the missile to the right place.
The unfortunate part is that the pigeons would not survive the detonation, as there was no way for them to exit the rocket.
This weapon never got off the ground, although there were successful demonstrations of the concept.
5. Vomit Guns
Fighting against enemies is already a cause for nausea and stress. But with this weapon, that idea goes to a whole new level.
Using radio frequencies, this weapon disables an enemy by affecting their sense of direction and balance. As soon as they’re affected by this gun, they vomit without warning due to uncontrollable motion sickness. It does no lasting damage to the person effected but it’s great for helping lessen incoming fire.
It’s pretty similar in function to another gun that uses lights rather than radio waves.
The LED Incapacitator shoots off a barrage of multicolored lights in quick succession. Anyone who sees this display of lights gets an instant headache and motion sickness, which leads to vomiting.
6. Golfball-Sized Grenades
Back in the 1960s, this compact grenade saw big use throughout the military. At only 2.5″ with a 1.5″ diameter, it made it easy to carry many grenades per person.
It still had the same functions that the soldiers knew. It included a safety pull pin and lever like a traditional grenade that made them easy to use.
This grenade still was a powerful asset regardless of its small size, remaining dangerous even 300 feet away from the impact area. If anyone found themselves caught within 5 feet of the detonation, the injuries were almost always fatal.
During the mid-1980s, this little grenade saw its last usage. The size gave the grenade a short fuse time and a small pin that made it far too easy to detonate on accident.
7. Lightning Lasers
This accurate weapon almost seems to work magic, straight out of a storybook. It’s the perfect bizarre weapon for anyone who ever wished to wield lightning.
By using a thin laser beam, lightning shoots through the beam, aiming to kill its intended target. The super high energy beam is thin and accurate, ensuring that there are no mistakes when used.
It looks as impressive as it sounds, with a very intense display that you’d have a hard time forgetting.
8. Bat Explosives
Echolocation is a powerful tool that several species use to their advantage. Back during World War II, the military decided they wanted to try and use the echolocation of bats to aid in the war effort.
They’d attach bombs to the bats, and then have the bats locate the intended target. Their unique way of moving around would ensure that the bomb would end up in the exact place necessary. Of course, the bats would not survive the trip.
Before this plan began, however, the idea of that ultimate atomic bomb began to gain traction. The military put their efforts into that idea instead, leaving the little bats well enough alone.
9. Hallucinogenic Bombs
Forcing enemies to go on a bad drug trip was the aim of the BZ bomb. Instead of filling this bomb with shrapnel or explosives, this one focused on hallucinogens.
The bomb affects the area and makes the victims suffer from strange visions, headaches, and an extreme sense of restlessness. The idea was to keep enemies from being able to keep their focus.
The bomb didn’t go over too well in practice. People experience different effects under the hallucinogen. It all depended on a lot of personal factors, such as weight, gender, and genetics.
As none of that was controllable, it made this particular bomb too unreliable to use in high-stake situations.
10. Ball Shaped Tanks
If you’ve ever had the desire to drive around in a giant armored hamster ball, then this was the tank for you. 1936 saw this innovation come to life. The tank keeps soldiers safe inside and provides plenty of mobility that traditional tanks can’t provide.
But the main problem with this particular weaponized vehicle is the fact that it had a hard time aiming. It did not have enough space to give the gunman any vision. This made it dangerous and not as helpful as they’d hoped.
It didn’t go far beyond being an interesting idea. But it’s seen a new revival as those all-window vehicles seen in the new Jurassic World movies!
11. Robot Dogs
Dogs are the perfect companions, and they’re as beloved by the military as anywhere else. They help with stress-relief, bomb location, and many other things.
But those dogs don’t have anything on the newest member of the military.
Going by the name of Big Dog, this dog-shaped robot made its way onto the field not too long ago. It’s large and walks a little strange, but it gives the soldiers a way to offload the burden of their equipment. Big Dog carries up to 100 pounds for them, freeing up a lot of valuable weight.
12. Iron Man Suits
We all look on in envy whenever Iron Man comes on screen. But no one looks on more than the military.
That’s why they’ve come up with their version of an Iron Man-inspired suit. Known as TALOS (or Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit), soldiers wear these suits straight into combat.
The Suit gives them added strength, protection, and even infrared vision. They’re able to track their vital signs as well, helping to know when best to retreat. It’s an invaluable asset to the 1.3 million members within the military.
These suits are still in their early phases. We hope that one day we’ll have soldiers in full suits capable of flight.
The Weirdest Weapons Are Yet to Come
Even with all of these strange weapons already working their way into the military, who knows what the future holds? With technology advancing all the time, the weirdest weapons are ones still within the imagination waiting to come out.
One day we’ll have to revisit this fact list and see how it changed!
Know of any weird weapons we missed? Let us know in a comment below. Or check out the rest of the blog to see many more kickass facts about all sorts of topics!