The Calico light weapons system is one of the strangest designs ever.
Throughout the long and storied history of firearms, people have tried to "re-invent the wheel" many times. Firearms designers are never satisfied. Someone is always looking to build the next big thing. The result has been many intriguing and strange firearms designs over the years. Some of them just never took off like the designers may have originally intended.
A prime example of this is the Calico Light Weapons System. These guns were first introduced back in the 1980s and they look like they came straight out of a science fiction movie. Didn't I see a stormtrooper wielding one of these in the latest Star Wars?
In any case, these guns are chambered for either 9mm or .22 long rifle and have 100-round helical drum magazines. The design features of these guns are truly fascinating. Watch the video below to see Ian of Forgotten Weapons look at the interesting design quirks of a truly bizarre gun.
This is one of the strangest and arguably the ugliest guns ever made. This design may have simply been too radical for military and law enforcement agencies, who are usually looking for simplicity and reliability. The questionable performance of these guns hurt them as much as the legislation that banned the use of those large 50 and 100-round magazines for years. It makes us wonder how these guns would perform if released onto the market today?
The fact that these guns required more maintenance and cleaning on the magazines probably did not help it any. We are glad he opened that strange mag up to show us how it functioned. It really is a clever design and we would have never thought of it as being a double stack.
It is worth noting Ian took this gun to the range later and ran through 150 rounds without a single malfunction. Perhaps people were wrong about this design? He plans to do further testing in the future to find out exactly what the gun is capable of doing.
If nothing else, we at least give credit to the designers and engineers at Calico for trying something totally different and new. One cannot innovate the next big thing in firearms without a little experimentation. Who knows? Maybe the Calico will find new life after being highlighted twice on Forgotten Weapons now.