The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon (U.S. Air Force/3rd Wing via Facebook)

After decades with nothing but pistols to defend themselves with in the event of a successful ejection over enemy territory, Air Force pilots are officially rocking compact versions of a rifle that the U.S. military has used since Vietnam.

In the last month, airmen have started receiving the GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon, a heavily-modified version of the shortened 5.56mm M16 derivative that U.S. service members once brandished in the 1960s as the CAR-15 or "Colt Commando"

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The head-to-toe overhaul of Marine infantry arsenals that Commandant Gen. Robert Neller promised grunts last year is the gift that keeps on giving: the brand new M18 service pistol, the Corps' first new standard-issue sidearm since the mid-1980s, is coming to armories starting next year.

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Congratulations, Marines: After years of drama, the long-awaited M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle is finally coming to a platoon near you.

A Marine Corps Systems Command spokesman told Marine Corps Times that the last of the service's 14,000 M27s have officially arrived in the Corps's inventory. But while the Corps's procurement contract with gunmaker Heckler & Koch provides for a maximum of 50,184 weapons, MARCORSYSCOM said that the service doesn't plan on purchasing more than its current arsenal.

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Arizona Army National Guard soldiers with the 160th and 159th Financial Management Support Detachments qualify with the M249 squad automatic weapon at the Florence Military Reservation firing range on March 8, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Laura Bauer)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

U.S. Army modernization officials told Congress recently that the service will begin fielding the 6.8mm weapons that will replace M249 squad automatic weapons and M4/M4A1 carbines in fall 2021.

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In May 2018, President Donald Trump awarded retired Navy Master Chief Britt K. Slabinski the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions while leading a Joint Task Force during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. Now Sig Sauer is paying tribute in its own way.

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There's a scene from Demolition Man that's always stuck with me. Upon fleeing his incarceration in futuristic Los Angeles, the batshit crazy Simon Phoenix (played by Wesley Snipes) goes hunting for weapons at a nearby museum, stocking up on machine guns and pistols when inspiration strikes. "Wait a minute, this is the future," Phoenix smirks. "Where are all the phaser guns?"

Sadly, the world's militaries have yet to field the futuristic firearms we've always dreamed of, but at least movies and television have attempted to make those dreams a reality. Below, an egregiously non-scientific ranking of fictional futuristic firearms based on capabilities, lethality, and real-world practicality.

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