Since it generally takes some 40 years for a new firearms-related technology do fully develop, we may assume that one or more of the following prototype technologies will have developed.
- Flechette Ammunition- Super thin, high velocity "arrows". Supposedly (but in the future, factually) offers greater penetration, range and
ammunition counts, while cutting down on ammunition weight. Since Flechettes would ordinarily fail as effective kinetic projectiles (standard bullets) due to
their micro-calibre nature, it would be safe to assume some method of fragmentation (fragments the flechette in the flesh, allowing for greater wounding),
poison, or small-scale HE (high explosive; don't get excited, a tiny flechette cannot hold the power of a pound
of C4) has been perfected, or at least better. Likely it will be the latter; you can have PC's complain about ineffectivity, or compromised stopping
- Caseless Ammunition- Caseless ammunition has been toyed with for the past decade or so by Heckler&Koch and others, but still has not been widely implemented. Basically, the "case" is no longer part of the bullet, but now part of the barrel. This allows for higher ammunition counts because of the reduced ammunition weight. It also makes reloading spent casings (yes, caseless ammunition still has casings.) a whole lot easier. Also, it may allow for horizontal stack magazines, which may slim down the weapon's profile a great deal. Think of it- 30 rounds in a pistol! Unfortunately, Caseless also has compromised stopping power, but not to worry.
- Plastic Cased Ammunition- No one has TRULY implemented plastic cased ammunition yet. Sometimes the casings are too weak, and they fail, but perhaps in the future they have not? Plastic cased ammunition allows for greater ammunition counts due to decreased weight (no bulk reductions), and at potentially no reduction to stopping power- plastic casings can work at sub and standard calibres.
- Electronic Ammunition- instead of having a barrel and a magizine, electronic ammunition marries the two (when you reload, you're actually loading another barrel along with fresh ammunition), and decreases weapon bulk. Although this would add another reloading requirement- batteries (unless your specific weapon has married that to the magazine-barrel, or you have modified it as such). Having electronically fired ammunition can dramatically alter firing rates- it's possible to achieve 10,000 ROF, (but does that really matter when you only have 30 bullets?). Also, it will allow you to easily adjust firing rates with the flick of a switich. In conventional mechanical weapons, ROF can usually be adjusted only with compensators. (but it's not too much of a hassle).
- (added 1.9.07) Anti Material Rifles- for the past 10 or so years, there has been a rising trend in the Anti Tank department. Poorer militaries (like
those of South Africa) have had to invest in cheap anti-tank technologies. AMR's are essentially a cross between rifles and cannons. One particular
rifle, the Barret M82 (and its brothers), weakly characterizes the AMR. It does so in this manner because .50BMG is only the lower end of AMRs. 12.7mm(which
is .50 in mm)to30mm is the range of cartridges AMRs employ. These cartridges were first developed as air-to-air ammunition, used in large scale Autocannons
(a minigun employing a cartridge greater than 12.7mm), but they have proven increasingly effective as anti-tank weapons. Now, originally, .50BMG was
developed as an Anti-tank cartridge in the M2HB, but in modern days, most armour is design to -at least- defeat this venerable round. But newer bullets have
put .50BMG and its bigger brothers, 20mm, the russian 16mm, and 30mm, back on the market. Unfortunately, in the future, they would only be useful against
lightly armoured tanks, but considering the preference of mobility over armour, that should not be any problem.
AMRS can also perform follow-up shots much faster than any RPG. This is useful for long range sniping (AMRs would also work wonders against full cyborgs), or taking down installations- the added payload can make an AMR useful for destroying radio transmitters, light vehicles, radars, or even command centers. Doubtlessly, AMRS would find their niche in the future against Full-on Cyborgs, tanks, and the like. Even for non-cybernetic personnel, an AMR would make short work of whatever armour, or even COVER they are using. 20mm can penetrate through 25 inches of sand, 17 inches of hard wood, 14 of brick, or 12 of hard stone or concrete.
Lastly, a caveat to the wise- unless you are a full cyborg and are backed up against something hard and solid, NEVER fire an AMR standing up, from the shoulder, from the hip... ALWAYS with a bipod and on the ground.(or using a suitable tripod.) Otherwise you risk severe damage from the recoil.
Unrealistic Future Weapons
- Plasma Weapons- at this point plasma is really only useful in the laboratories. Maybe PC's will hear about it more in the future, but probably not about it being weaponized.
- Laser Weapons- As we can all see today, lasers are showing up more and more, but the only weaponization that I predict in the RPG are lasers- in tank mounts/helicopter mounts as prototype anti-missile systems, but not for personnel use. A laser powerful enough to kill or incapictate would require an ungodly amount of power that is just impractical for personnel use. Maybe on tanks or helicopters (though probably only in prototype form...the idea would still be stupid.)
- Reactive Body Armour- This is a great idea for tanks, and will probably be ready for weaponization in the future on them. Basically, advanced sensors predetermine the spot where a projectile will strike. A few seconds before impact, the computer will blow off a panel/shoot out a laser/detonate a harmless explosion which will incapacitate the incoming target and have thus saved the crew. Great idea for tanks or helicopters, but in all likelihood, probably not even availible in prototype form for personnel.
- Miniature Rockets- You've all seen Bond in action. You may know that at one point, he picks up a Gyrojet. Which is basically a RPG(rocket propelled grenade....FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IF YOU SAY ROCKET LAUNCHER I WILL KILL YOU.) in pistol form. It's a not-so-sucky-as-plasma-weapons-idea. Maybe the prototypes will be better in the future, but I just dont think it would be brilliant to weaponize it.
- Personnel-chainguns/miniguns. GREAT IDEA... for helicopters. It's possible to mount them on boats or submarine-deckguns, tanks, or even a heavy heavy tripod, (and it's very possible to do it today), but there is a good reason why most militaries DON'T. Ammunition Spent vs. Casualites Inflicted! Chainguns are horrible antipersonnel weapons. They're great for dogfighting, when you will only have your target in the cross hairs for about half a second, but they're just STUPID, even on tanks.
Prototypes VS. "Military Standard"
You may have noticed that in the movies, whenever some character is "gearing up for battle", he doesnt pick up the latest prototype fresh from the lab. No. Weapons undergo torturous tests before they are weaponized. What if the thing blows up in his face? What if the engineers made a bloody mistake with the calibres (it's happened before)? What if the damn thing is just too bloody heavy?
While we do endorse theatrical realism, I, for one, seriously plead you not to mock my precious, precious guns. There will probably be, like today, a "military standard", in which militaries favor a certain type of gun.
In all likelihood, the poorest of militaries will have adopted at least Plastic cased-horizontal stack ammunition. It will probably be Armour piercing (no, not tanks. more like bulletproof vests.), and sub calibre to make up for weight.
The richer militaries (America's, no doubt. God Bless the USA!) will have at least adopted Plastic-Caseless-Armour Piercing Sub-calibre-Hyper velocity ammunition for their standard battle rifle.
You may think that because our modern weapons will have more stopping power than these new-fangled ones, militaries will not adopt new technologies. Maybe.During WWII, the "military standard" was a semi-automatic wooden stocked rifle that was still useful as a weapon WITHOUT bullets (bayonets, good stock for bashing) of a calibre greater than 7mm (~.3 inches), but after that, most militaries began to employ fully automatic-lighter weight (no longer wood stocked) rifles that emphasized bursts, not accuracy. Their calibres were LESS than 7mm (many argue that because of this, they had signifigantly less stopping power.)
Though yes, their single round power may have been less than their WWII counterparts, it was no longer necessary to have such great power. the 7mm rounds had more recoil, which would have been greatly uncomfortable and inaccurate for Fully automatic users. They also would be overpowered; since one could get out 3 shots for every one that a 7mm could put out, the 7mm was overkill.
Though, yes, a modern weapon would be more powerful than a subcalibre- AP weapon of the future, it is likely that future armour would better defeat modern weaponry. Have your character stick to the military standard, unless he is an anachronism. And don't pick up the newest-prototype- that would be very OOC for anyone, and would get your character killed.
Thank You, and Happy Roleplaying.