Thursday, April 28, 2016


As April draws to a close, we wrap up the 2016 A to Z Blog Challenge with a glimpse into the future of the Stone Soldiers universe.

XM-82G Assault Rifle 

XM-82G assault rifle and multishot grenade launcher 

Description:  Experimental .50 caliber Assault Rifle

First Appearance:  Shadow Raiders (Summer, 2016)

Current Status: Currently being Field Tested by Detachment 1039

Summary: Developed for Detachment 1039's Stone Soldiers, the XM82G is a modified Barrett M82A1, with a shortened barrel. The rifle can be outfitted with custom drum magazines or triple-stacked straight magazines carried in leg holsters or on a special backpack, extending the normal 10 round capacity to 120 (drum) or 60 (magazine). The rifle further comes with an improved "China Lake" grenade launcher or a twin-barrel mortar launch tube, enabling the user to engage targets at tremendous distances and behind conventional cover. Further, the polymer pistol grip has been replaced with a cast-iron grip for increased durability. 

The XM82G is a semi automatic weapon, not capable of automatic fire in its current configuration. However, the weapon will fire as rapidly as the user can squeeze the trigger--testing has produced six shots in one second. The rifle has a maximum effective range of 1800m and weighs slightly more than 43 pounds empty. 

The underbarrel grenade launcher (UBGL) or mortar tubes (UBMT) are electronically fired--by means of dual-mounted switches; one on the forward grip of the rifle and another on the left side of the weapon, ahead of the trigger. 

The UBGL uses a standard shotgun tube action, similar to that found in the M870 shotgun, storing three 40mm grenades in the ammunition tube and another in the firing chamber. A variety of grenade types can be chosen and reloading the weapon is done through the bottom of the weapon. 

The double-barreled mortar tubes fire standard US 60mm mortars, enabling the user to engage distant targets behind cover, or to direct fire the rounds into obstacles for demolition. 

Equipped with picatinny rrails, the rifle will accept most standard rifle accessories, including a variety of optical and thermal imaging sights, laser designators, and illuminators. 

With each Stone Soldier able to carry up to four spare straight magazines (one each leg and two in a harness on the back), it is hoped the XM-82G will offer a distinct advantage on the Preternatural battlefield well into the mid-21st Century. 

Author's Notes:  When you fight monsters, you sometimes need a big gun. When it comes to big, the Barrett M82A1 Anti-material rifle definitely fits the bill. Firing the same .50 caliber rounds as the venerable M2 machine gun, the M82A1 is capable of taking out vehicles--the Browning .50 round was designed to be an anti-armor round, as Burt Gummer so eloquently told us in Tremors 2: Aftershocks. But But was firing a L.A.R. Grizzly, single shot, bolt-action rifle. The Stone Soldiers need something a little more combat ready...

In my ongoing quest to find off-the-shelf weapons suitable for superhumanly strong soldiers, I've come up with many a find: the USAS-12, the OA-93, the Desert Eagle in .50... but a true assault rifle has always been at the top of my wish list. Not that the M60E2 used thus far is bad. A heavy squad-level light machine gun, the M60E2 with its belt-fed, 7.62mm ammo is more than a match for many monsters--Burt wished for something "belt fed" in the Tremors franchise for dealing with Shriekers and 'Blasters. But a 7.62mm, or rather a volley of them, while capable of stopping unarmored vehicles and most natural wildlife, seems a bit light when hunting dragon, giants, or Fellish superhumanoids. I wanted something with more punch... and a grenade launcher. 

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