17 Prototype Guns Rejected by the US Military

In the realm of military and defense technology, the development of new weapons systems has been a consistent focus of U.S. army designers. Whether it is the development of new aircraft or submarines, the U.S. is on the cutting-edge with the newest technology. Among these different areas are developments in small arms. (Here is the evolution of automatic rifles in the U.S. Army.)

To identify the experimental small arms designed for the U.S. military that were never widely adopted, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Experimental Infantry Arms (X-Guns), cataloged by Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, aircraft, and arms. We ranked these weapons according to when the prototype was first tested. Supplemental data on the type of weapon, maximum effective range, and the caliber used by each gun also came from Military Factory.

One of these experimental designs is the Barrett XM109 OSW, which expands on the Barrett M82/M107 anti-materiel rifle family, combining a sniper rifle with a grenade launcher and is chambered to fire 25x59mm smart grenades. While the body style and range of this weapon are akin to that of traditional sniper rifles, this weapon is designed to destroy whatever it hits. The smart grenade ammunition is also capable of featuring variable warhead loads for different combat scenarios. The XM109 was reportedly folded into a larger anti-materiel rifle program in 2006.

Over the course of the 1990s, the U.S. Army sought to replace its long-standing M16 series through the Objective Individual Combat Weapon program. One of the prototypes was the Heckler & Koch HK XM29, which was a combination assault rifle featuring an under-barrel grenade launcher. Trials of this weapon were underway in 1995, but it would not make the cut and would be canceled for good in 2004. 

It is worth noting about this list that these prototypes and experimental weapons had mixed results in terms of implementation, sometimes inspiring a later, more successful model, and other times failing. However, each played a role in the development and evolution of small arms for the U.S. Armed Forces. One other noticeable feature of this list is that as time has gone on and technology has advanced, these weapons tend to gain longer ranges. (Also see, the guns in the U.S. Navy SEAL arsenal.)

Here is a look at the experimental small arms designed for the U.S. military.

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