Rail Mounted Power

This is a neat idea that doesn’t seem to actually solve the problem it’s designed to. The Firearm Blog brought to our attention the Rifle Integrated Power Rail (RIPR). It’s pretty simple, a battery that provides power to rail mounted accessories through the rails. It seems like a novel idea since you’d no longer be required to carry additional batteries for every accessory on your rifle.

Of course there’s also the major downside; if the RIPR fails all of your accessories go down. This seems to eliminate and advantage considering the following:

We’re not that worried about a RIPR battery going tits up. You would of course carry spares with you. We’re more worried about the plug-in unit/rail (into which the RIPR battery is inserted) failing. If that goes down, you’re done–unless you have spare batteries for the individual accessories, of course.

So now you carry additional RIPR batteries as well as batteries for your individual accessories. That seems to add weight to both the rifle and your load out. Convergence is good in some situations and not so hot in others. Having a small portable computer in your pocket that can make phone calls, listen to music, browse the Internet, and act as a GPS navigator. The reason such devices work well is because losing all of those functions is a nuisance.

Convergence doesn’t work so well when redundancy is critical. For instance a RAID 5 array on a server prevents a system from dying if any single hard drive fails. RAID 0 on the other hand means your entire server will die if any single drive dies. The reason servers generally use RAID 5 is because having the entire system go down if a single drive fails is not acceptable. Once the system is down anything that relies on that server is now useless. The same would go for the RIPR, if it fails every power-using accessory on your gun dies. If these accessories include a flashlight or some kind of night optic requiring power your rifle is now pretty useless in the dark. Personally given the size of the RIPR and the fact that you would still need to carry batteries for individual accessories I feel it’s a solution in search of a problem.

One thought on “Rail Mounted Power”

  1. Dear Geek With Guns:

    The RIPR isn’t a solution in search of a problem, it’s an answer to an urgent NATO and US DoD requirement. You should be able to get your hands on one soon, it’s the only rail going to AEWE. It looks like this for Expeditionary Warfare…there are other incarnations coming.

    To answer some of your questions: The Army said use L-91s since they are superior to whatever else is out there according to Belvoir…they work when it’s cold and last up to 8x longer under load than CR whatevers.
    They said they wanted to live off the land, and that means a broadly available battery (any AA) you can take off people you shot while they were struggling to change their individual cells in the dark. You can also fire the RIPR up with external power…but that is another story.

    It’s located on the top rail since there or adjoining that location is where the power is used. We might like the battery elsewhere, but you can’t reliably wire a weapon that breaks open for clearance and maintenance…so we armored it into the rail. Also teeny, hard-to-find and proprietary batteries in pistol grips need not apply…these guys are wired with NVDs, IR illuminators, IR pointers, comms, navs and other serious night commando power consumers.

    Also the main way we convert a military product is a battery adapter to the rail which is a solid Aluminum hard anodized and completely waterproof connection. You can pull them and go back to the original cells by screwing on the stock battery door, so maybe a squad might carry one or two rescue sets in the remote possibility something protected by 3/16″ of 6061 and 700+ degree solid potting compound might break. RIPR is way tougher than whatever they attach.

    A LOT of weight comes off the gun in the form of battery tubes and mounts, more comes out of your pack from the fewer, higher performance cells the Power Packs require and even more you can leave behind when you consider you can always find AAs…even in Mogadishu.

    Finally, it’s not just a power rail…it’s a data bus that also gives power in military form. Lase a problem building, GPS your position, push a button and the red engagement blows it up so you can move on…switch modes and it leads or lags moving targets…if it’s captured, it informs fighter ground attack aircraft even if disassembled.

    That’s what Uncle Sam wants…the very “Fist of God” mounted on a rifle. Want one now? Give us a call…


    Howard Kent

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