The Tippmann Armory
Gatling 9mm Gun

Beware Of Naked Gun Guys!
22

My fingers twitched nervously above my laptop. My breath came in furtive spurts. The intrinsic import of the moment threatened to cloud my vision. I was about to send an email to my bosses Brent and Roy I had waited a full three decades to draft. After a bit of brief introspection, I distilled my message down to a single concise sentence, “Guys, the Gatling gun is here.”

At first brush this thing looks like Rooster Cogburn’s infantry support weapon had a baby with a lawn mower. There are eight stubby barrels, a heavy carriage with an inimitably cool mechanical traverse and elevation mechanism along with a big honking crank on the side. Despite all of this undeniable historical cred, the gun is still nonetheless small enough to move around without a pack mule or a Jeep. Simply put, after a lifetime spent squeezing triggers for fun and money, I think the Tippmann Armory Gatling gun may be the coolest firearm I have ever seen.

Origin Story

The beating heart of this dream-machine spawns from Dr. Richard Gatling’s 19th-century tactical paradigm-shifter. Richard Jordan Gatling was a physician who never technically practiced medicine. He was a professional inventor who made and lost several fortunes before dying at his daughter’s home at the age of 84. In addition to the multi-barreled firearm bearing his name, Dr. Gatling also invented a screw propeller for steamboats, a rice-sowing machine, an improved toilet, a novel type of bicycle, a device for steam-cleaning wool and several other fascinating contrivances.

Oddly, Gatling imagined his fast-firing weapon as a life-saving response to the horrific scourge of disease during the American Civil War. He once opined, “It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine — a gun — which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent, supersede the necessity of large armies and, consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished.” How sweet. I doubt he had any idea how far his eponymous 19th-century death-dealing whirligig might go.

Gatling based his gun design upon that of his mechanical seed planter. The Gatling gun first drew breath in 1862, but the weapon only saw very limited service during the Civil War. George Armstrong Custer famously left three Model 1866 .50-caliber Gatling guns in the rear when his 7th Cavalry got wiped out at the Little Big Horn. In 1893 Dr. Gatling affixed an electric motor to one of his guns and coaxed a 3,000-round-per-minute rate of fire out of the thing.

In 1963 General Electric revived the idea with the 7.62x51mm Minigun, so named because it fired a rifle-caliber round much smaller than the 20mm version feeding the M61 Vulcan aircraft cannon. The U.S. military consumed some 10,000 Miniguns during the Vietnam War. In 1990 Dillon Aero began work on an improved version of the design that is now a common fixture across all American armed services as well as dozens of foreign militaries.

Is the Tippman Armory Gatling Gun practical? Nope! It’s simply 62 lbs. of pulse-pounding,
melon-murdering shooting pleasure!

Modern Civilian Treatment

The magwell on the Tippmann Armory Gatling Gun sprouts at a jaunty angle about the 10 o’clock position and accepts standard GLOCK magazines. Unlike some of the rare cartridges driving the originals, this modern Tippmann version runs on cheap 9mm Parabellum. The whole shebang rides atop a pair of pneumatic wheels apparently borrowed from a furniture dolly. The synergistic result is cool beyond the capacity of the language to adequately describe.

I have no idea what kind of gun this is. It’s clearly not a rifle. There’s not a human being alive who could fire this gun from the shoulder. It’s also not a pistol. You couldn’t conceal this rascal underneath a proper parachute. The design dates back to the American Civil War, so even Chuck Schumer could not hallucinate this piece into becoming an Assault Weapon, whatever that really is. The BATF has looked it over and said they don’t really care. All I can tell you is that it is pure unfiltered awesome.

“I have no idea what kind of gun this is. It’s clearly not a rifle. There’s not a human being alive who could fire this gun from the shoulder.”

Background

This 9mm GLOCK-fed Gatling gun is the product of the fertile mind of one Dennis Tippmann. Dennis and his sweet wife have 11 kids and enough grandchildren and great grandchildren to populate a small town. You probably don’t know them but you might have seen one of Tippmann’s other babies — he used to build super-cool belt-fed rimfire machineguns. He built about 1,400 copies total, some 400 of which were registered machineguns papered before the 1986 ban.

This guy really has a gift for building cool gun stuff. His SMG22 is a belt-fed, CO2-powered full-auto .22-caliber air rifle that can obliterate empty Coke cans faster than Democrats destroy the economy. If you’ve ever seen a Tippmann paintball gun, it’s a Dennis product, too. Now, the 9mm Gatling gun design is his latest weapon of mass recreation.

How Does It Work?

The action is drawn from Dr. Gatling’s original design, thoroughly upgraded. Each of the eight barrels has its own dedicated bolt and striker-fired ignition mechanism. There is a heavy steel receiver cover which pivots out of the way for access to the gun’s entrails. The contraption fires at the 4 o’clock position just like the originals.

The key to the gun’s Uber-reliable operation is a carefully designed cam mechanism controlling the movement of each individual bolt as the barrel cluster rotates around its central axis. A nifty little shelf activates the spring-loaded striker at just the right moment. The action is designed in such a way it will cycle unfired rounds should the need arise. As a result, this is likely the most reliable repeating firearm in the world.

When I met this gun at the SHOT show, the Tippmann crew had a version with a receiver cut from transparent Plexiglas. Watching all those bolts and firing mechanisms cycle was absolutely mesmerizing. For the drool stains I left all over the thing I offer my sincere apologies.

Accessorizing

Believe me, you will lament the limitations of your magazines. Four 27-round Magpul stick magazines was just barely enough to feed the ensuing addiction. I don’t know what kind of secret sauce Magpul pours over the top of all of their cool-guy stuff, but these mags are the cat’s pajamas. Exquisitely well-executed and utterly reliable, these Magpul sticks kept the Tippmann Gatling cooking as fast as we could get them loaded.

On this subject, a MagPump magazine loader sure helps you burn ammo faster. The MagPump comes with adaptors for six different popular pistol magazines. Just snap in the GLOCK adaptor, feed in the magazine, dump some ammo in the hopper, and pump away. Your thumbs will thank you later.

Black Hills Ammunition was kind enough to send a large supply of 9mm in support. You’ll want a lot of this stuff. Black Hills ammo is reliable as a mother’s love and comparably powerful.

This is a Gatling gun. There are no rails, battery-powered optics, or laser designators. The manual of arms is painfully simple. Point the gun at something you dislike, snap in a magazine and turn the handle. Then get ready for near-spiritual ballistic rapture.

Trigger Time

Okay, I’m just kidding — there is no trigger. The Tippmann Gatling is indeed a massive beast at some 62 lbs. but the wheeled carriage makes it easy to move. You could transport this weapon to the range in the back of a Prius should the need arise.
So, you get the gun all set up, sight it in nicely, try to settle your thumping heart, finally turn the handle, and — nothing happens. Cranking the handle only starts the firing sequence. The gun has to cycle through four barrels before it actually fires. Once this gun gets spooled up, however, hang onto your butt.

The Tippmann Gatling Gun cycles as fast as you want it to. Work the crank at a leisurely pace and the cadence seems sedate and almost soothing. Put your back into it and this thing runs like a gerbil on crack; 600 to 800 rounds per minute is not overly challenging.

The traverse and elevation mechanism includes a threaded wheel to raise and lower the rear of the weapon in its cradle. A geared contrivance controls traverse. Pull a brake handle back and the gun is free to pivot. Lock it down and the thing shoots like a laser. The front sight is fixed. The rear sight includes a small antiaircraft-style ring and is adjustable for windage and elevation.

Dial the T and E in and the gun will shoot a steady arrow-straight stream of 9mm. Loosen up the carriage and you can sweep the weapon back and forth to saturate the backstop with zippy little 9mm bullets. Save your milk jugs, fill them with water, and unlimber the 9mm Tippmann Gatling. You’ll grin until your face hurts.

What’s It Really Good For?

Who the heck cares? It’s a 9mm Gatling gun feeding from GLOCK mags. This gun is so cool just standing next to it will brighten your teeth, lower your cholesterol, cure malodorous feet and reliably land you dates with supermodels. You can’t hunt with it, and employing this weapon in a defensive role would transform your suburban home into one giant screened-in porch. However, I defy you to find something else this much fun that won’t get you thrown in jail or excommunicated from your local church.

Be forewarned, you don’t want to be in possession of a credit card while shooting this thing near someplace selling ammo. If your hypothetical ammo purveyor accepts barter, expect to eventually trade your clothes for bullets. The mental image of a bunch of very happy naked gun nerds jockeying for position behind the Tippmann Gatling is frankly unsettling. However, this is what you should expect when you unlimber this beast at your friendly neighborhood shooting range. I can personally attest the Tippmann 9mm Gatling Gun will reliably draw a crowd.

Drum Roll, Please …

Now the question you’re all asking — what does fun on such an apocalyptic scale actually cost? Simply put, the Tippmann Gatling will set you back a cool five grand. Now breathe into a paper bag for a minute and think this through.

This gun is built like a Rolex watch and is actually eight separate firearms all oriented around a central rotating axis. It cycles as fast as an MP5 yet doesn’t require a tax stamp. The comparable new-made Colt version shoots an expensive obsolete cartridge, weighs 350 lbs. and costs literally 10 times as much.

The Tippmann 9mm Gatling gun is the ultimate range toy for the gun nerd of distinction. It is also probably unlike anything you’ve ever fired before. Just be sure and wear some nice underwear. You’ll likely end up trading your clothes for bullets.

www.tippmannarmory.com

www.magpul.com

www.magpump.com

www.black-hills.com

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