Hugh Pickens writes:
James Simpson has an interesting story about the TP-82 survival weapon that Russian cosmonauts carried into space with them on missions between 1982 and 2006. The TP-82 was essentially a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun with a short-barreled rifle added onto it. Having a gun inside a thin-walled spacecraft filled with oxygen sounds crazy, but the Soviets had their reasons. Much of Russia is desolate wilderness. A single mishap during descent could strand cosmonauts in the middle of nowhere.
In March 1965, cosmonaut Alexey Leonov landed a mechanically-faulty Voskhod space capsule in the snowy forests of the western Urals … 600 miles from his planned landing site. Getting through the ordeal would end up requiring a gun to ward off wild bears, some tricks to staying warm in below zero temperatures and cross country skiing. For protection, Leonov had a nine-millimeter pistol. He feared the bears and wolves that prowled the forest—though he never encountered any. But the fear stayed with him. Later in his career, Leonov made sure the Soviet military provided all its cosmonauts with a survival weapon. For the Soviets, the weapon was a case of “better safe than sorry,” and from 1986, it was a permanent fixture in the portable survival kits of every Soyuz mission. "Astronauts of all nationalities—including Americans—have trained with the TP-82," writes Simpson. "And still today, before they ride the Soyuz to space, they must complete a Russian survival training course in the Black Sea and the Siberian forest."
I though for a moment perhaps the device was for extravehicular activities in case one was cut loose and started helplessly floating away from the space station. One could fire a gun away from the station and the recoil would proper them back to it.
Maybe this space theme does work up our imagination! :)
I thought the same thing at first, but don't these guns need air around them to fire? :)
No, ammunition will fire just fine in a vacuum. It contains oxidizers sufficient for the gunpowder to burn.
Something like a black powder rifle wouldn't, but any reasonably modern (bullet/case/primer) round should fire just fine in space.
Why wouldn't black powder work? As I understand it, saltpeter is the oxidizer, not atmospheric O2.
Examine a round carefully. Note it is hermetically sealed. Everything it needs to be fired is already inside.
Yes, Blackpowder would work in space. Are you happy now? Darn Civil War Re-enactors will probably be on the Moon now.
Besides: ballistics? Projectiles? Betrays gravity-well two dimensional thinking. Hi, Khan! Goodbye!
This was a direct response to MrGuy, to posts above!! How could it possibly be off-topic? Of course this post complaining about my post being modded "off-topic" is definintely off-topic. And just to point out, in the days of break-action firearms, a shotgun with a rifle barrel underneath was not all that uncommon. There are even muzzleloading versions. And for the same reasons, when you do not know what you will encounter, it is always good to be loaded for bear, and wolf, and deer, and rabbit or partridge. Or Xenomorphs.