Company Offers Light Carbon Fiber Gun Barrels

By Kristen Torres
As carbon fiber technology becomes increasingly popular for the construction of small arms, industry executives continue to push the envelope when using the material for weapon development.  

Proof Research, a firearm developer based in Columbia Falls, Montana, has produced carbon fiber-wrapped barrels to improve accuracy, durability and barrel-longevity. The switch from traditional steel barrels to the carbon fiber-wrapped version reduces the weight of the rifle, allowing soldiers to hit targets with more precision for a longer period, according to Chad VanBrunt, a weapons engineer at the company.

The design is 64 percent lighter than traditional steel barrels, and has improved heat dissipation for cooler and longer lasting barrels and reduced vibration, according to the company’s website.

“Our design methodology ensures the stress state of the barrel is consistent through varying temperature ranges,” VanBrunt said. “With the carbon fiber technology you get weight savings without losing performance.”

The company used customer research to determine what type of barrel development would interest users.

“Carbon fiber technology has been around for a while … but we feel we have a real differentiator and advantage over other products in the market,” VanBrunt said. “We have a lot of design flexibility with composite materials, so whether you want a barrel optimized for stiffness versus one to resist pressure, we’re able to do it.”

The company’s products are created with a variety of consumer bases in mind, including defense, aerospace and hunters. But the materials and development used across the board include similar carbon fiber applications.

The company adjusts individual aspects of its barrels to fit customer needs, but the construction and design doesn’t change much from project to project, VanBrunt said. “We appeal to hunters, competitive shooters and the military segment because of the barrel’s appeal on all characteristics.”

“We have no scaling limitations with the carbon fiber barrel,” VanBrunt said. “We keep working toward the possibility of eventually having the barrels installed in tanks, airframes and cruiser weapons.”

Topics: Land Forces

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