As much as humanity proclaims that they don’t like wars and wish there would never be another, there always seems to be a new one right around the corner, historically speaking. We all desire what is best for our servicemen (and women) to use in times of war and military engagements to defend our country and help maintain peace around the world. Future Weapons, the latest book by the former military sniper Kevin Dockery, is an engaging look into what weapons America’s military forces might utilize in future conflicts. It covers the types of weapons that could conceivably be used by individuals in battle, such as future rifles and pistols, and energy weapons such as ray guns or otheers that can direct laser beams at their targets. A history of the use of each type of weapon provides the reader with helpful information to follow the chain of thinking that has led up to the development of both today’s weapons and future ones, and specs on several of the weapons Dockery discusses are also included.
I consider myself to be a pacifist, in general, but I am realistic enough to know that despite what the ideal state of affairs for the human race ought to be, there will always be war happening somewhere in the world. There will also always be the need to develop ever-improved weapons, to try to outdo the other side in battles and to better defend our forces and our country, no matter what our personal feelings about war might be. That in mind, even I found Future Weapons interesting and insightful. Someone who is in the military or is more hawkish will likely enjoy this book and want to add it to their reading list.
In addition to the history behind each of the weapons discussed and possible future ones being planned and manufactured, Dockery writes about some weapons that were prototypes and for whatever reasons never made it into wide-scale production. Some obstacles involve the caliber of the weapons, the cost of their manufacture, and their ease of use in the field. Objections by government officials the author refers to as “gravel-bellies” have also played a large role in determining which weapons our forces have used and will use in the future.
Who are “gravel-bellies,” and what does the term mean? I confess I did not know until I read the book. They are government officials who might also be called “bean counters,” who want to limit the costs of war by limiting the amount of ammunition soldiers use. For instance, according to Dockery, they believe that a soldier will, in the heat of battle, fire his weapon excessively, and that “the only sure way to control the excessive firing of his weapon during the heat of battle was to mechanically limit its ability to fire.” Despite research done that disproves this belief, it was a widely held one, and remains a factor in weapons development to some extent today.
Whether you are a history buff, a former or present member of the military, or a pacifist interested in the current state of our military and who wants the people who lay their lives on the line to serve our country have the best weapons available, Future Weapons will definitely be a book you’ll want to check out. Kevin Dockery is the author of Navy SEALS: A History Series and Weapons of the Navy SEALS, and he knows his stuff backward and forward. I would have liked to read about knives that might be used in future conflicts, but a section on edged weapons isn’t included in the book. I can see why, in a way - though knives are often crucial and can mean the difference between life and death for a soldier, unless you can throw them accurately, other weapons are more effective from a greater distance. Regardless, Future Weapons is an excellent look into the types of weapons that may be used on the battlefields of the future.