Gilboa Snake: Is the Double-AR Really so Dumb?

The Gilboa Snake is an Israeli rifle (from the same designer behind the Cornershot) that essentially combines two standard ARs into a single unit. In its civilian configuration it has two of every part – barrels, bolts (mirrored, so one ejects left and the other right), triggers, buffers, etc. In its military setup, the triggers and recoil system are combined into single units, and this makes the gun arguably practical. With a single trigger, a person fires two rounds simultaneously, resulting in either two simultaneous hits at close range, or the potential for one hit at longer range instead of what might be a miss with a regular rifle. This is a concept that has been experimented with by pretty much all major militaries over the past decades; the Russians, French, and Americans all had rifles like this. Other approaches to the end result included duplex and triplex ammunition (multiple bullets in one case) and hyper-burst firing mechanisms (like the Russian AN-94 and German G11). Ultimately all of the different systems were deemed poor compromises compared to normal rifles, but it’s not as bizarre of an idea as it might first appear.

Unfortunately, the civilian Snake has to have two separate triggers to avoid machine gun classification in the US. It’s difficult to fire both triggers simultaneously, and this limits the practical military applications of the gun.

Oh, and don’t miss the unique elements in the Snake to allow for the barrels to be zeroed before mounting sights!


    • For the same reason they went with gas tubes and buffer tube. Bolt carriers with serrations, even left handed are far more common, hence cheaper than without.

      • Different Mike (regular-ish commenter) here. I don’t disagree, but I also think that on this (civilian) version, the different recoil systems mean you wouldn’t have FA function on one bolt by pushing on the other. Apologies if I’m missing something.

  1. What an entertaining concept. The use of multibarreled firearms goes back possibly to the earliest development of hand cannons, and early firelock systems. There was at least one two barreled rifle used in the American Revolution by an American frontiersman/soldier recorded. Then there are the various iterations of the Nock Volley Guns-what was the recoil and reload time like. This is a modern improvement for no special reason.

      • Was Leonardo’s design ever actually produced, if only for testing? Or was it just another concept he put into his notebooks?.

        • Leonardo was Jules Verne of its time, hahaha

          If there was a patent system at that time, that could be dangerous, as in 20th century there have been notorious instances where some managed to patent a mere idea, without any technical merit behind it (iirc it was something about camcorder and some other stuff, like “a device that could record images” but with reserve that in the future somebody would actually invent how the device functioned, yet merit should be anyways given to first idea patent). It was very unjust and bizzare

          • Even earlier, George Selden tried to hold up everybody from Henry Ford to Ransome E. Olds by claiming that he held the patents on the piston engine.

            He unfortunately came a cropper when he tried the same stunt on John P. Holland regarding the gasoline engines in his early submersibles. Thereby incurring the wrath of the United States Navy- and President Theodore Roosevelt.

            clear ether


  2. In reference to the military version, if I were really short of squad automatic weapons, I could get these instead and add bipods. The gunner’s assistant would keep replacing the magazines on each side. The gunner would use up each magazine before switching barrels, giving them time (but not much) to cool. The empty weight of 10.9 lbs and cost of $2500 is very competitive with current SAWs. The payoff would be the use of an advanced sighting system becoming common on light machine guns even though it’s more expensive than the gun. Better to buy one of those sights to put on something like this than on a single rifle.

  3. This just makes me ponder why? Presumably one hit from the 5.56 bullet is not good enough. Yes I know that soldiers are taught to double tap. That is not the point. I also know that body armour is prevalent everywhere. I also know that it works. So what does two 5.56 arriving together get me? Two more broken ribs behind the armour? And? The system empties the magazines at the same rate as a single barrel weapon. So there is no ammunition saving and more weight to carry plus an overly complicated and time consuming reload procedure.
    Personally (And yes this is subjective) Duplex would be a better engined option. Or, drills that teach putting a round into the body armour and as they target falls shoot them in the thigh.
    The Gilboa Snake looks cool and that is about it…

    • you are carrying two rifles in one packet basically. Plus two full magazines. Which is also one of the downsides of the recently presented by Desert Tech quadstack magazine M16 lower receiver. Ammunition gets heavy fast.

      • Heavy, most certainly. May be more useful for mounted patrols, over slogging around all day on foot. It sounds like it will never happen, but I do hope Ian can get hold of the military version of the Snake. That sounded better engineered than the civilian model and might be useful in the right situations.

  4. I think something like this would be excellent drone defense in a lighter package than a mini gun. if each barrel fired at 800, that’s 1600 total rpm. even if mag fed, that’s a lot of firepower in a cheap and light, sub 10 lb., package. it’s niche, I could see it fulfilling that role nicely.

      • This is mathematical logical fallacy, as round dispersion and firing time from one gun with 1225 rpm is NOT the same or near as 2 rifles firing 800 rpm side by side.

        • Yes 1225 is lesser than 1600, but it was done using Cold War-era technology, without much effort, therefore I suspect 1600 to be feasible using 21th century technology.

          • The MG42 hit 1300 rpm in some variants, firing a full power 8mm Mauser cartridge; the Ingram M10 with a simple blowback operation pegged around 1200 rpm in .45/9mm and 1500 in the .380 M11 variant. So some high ROF is attainable, as with the Bradley variant of the M16. Whether 1600 is materially more effective than 1200 is questionable, especially given twice the weight and complexity, beyond the special case of an anti-aircraft gun.

            If this needs or wants played with, perhaps the revolver cannon concept might have something to offer, as in the Soviet ShKAS:

            But these are all getting far from what can be done with a handful of AR parts.

          • @Nichevo,

            Depends on how you’re using it. The Germans felt that the high rate of fire was a necessity, basing their theories on the idea that you wanted to saturate the beaten zone as far out as you could, with as much as you could, in the shortest time possible.

            The reasons for this are to do with the idea that if you see one guy at 1200m, there are probably more… If you fire at that area around your one spotted target with a slow-rate MG, then the enemy has the opportunity to get down below the line of fire. If the rate of fire is 1200rpm, well… That burst is going to saturate that beaten zone before anyone can react. That was their theory, and judging from the exchange rates when we were strictly fighting with small arms, I think they got it right.

            The successor to the MG42 was specified to be designed to achieve no less than 1500rpm. They didn’t do that by accident, and they knew the logistic costs. They still wanted that “too high” rate of fire…

  5. If drone defense is the excuse for this, it’s a poor one at best. A better idea would be something like the USAS-12 firing flechette loads. Better yet, a dedicated anti-drone system that fits on to of a Humvee; UV laser might be a good choice. (Heat lil’ droney up, fry his lil’ insides, no more lil’ droney.)

    It all seems to go back to people having doubts about 5.56 x 45mm lethality; they shouldn’t. Within its 250 meter effective engagement envelope, 5.56, even with M193 ball, is a staggeringly nasty man-killer, making holes inside the target that are larger than either 7.62 x 39 or 7.62 x 51 achieve.

    The problem is the idea of “taking back the infantry half-kilometer”. Which (1) the infantry never “had” to begin with, and (2) would require substantial alterations to the laws of physics, which ain’t happened in the last 14 billion years and sure as Hell ain’t gonna happen anytime in the near future.

    Increasing hit probability was the whole point of the weird “three-shot burst control” cam on the M16A2. I have yet to see that thing actually work as advertised. But everybody adopted three-shot-burst as standard. Why? Was it combat tested? No. Did anyone do range tests under realistic conditions to case it? No. Everybody just decided they “liked” three-shot burst.

    As near as I can tell, it first surfaced in the SF novel The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith in 1978. I’m not saying everybody in the arms trade read it (it was and is a pretty obscure work) but it seems like the idea was “in the air” back then. Before that, the only “three-shot-burst” gadget around was in the shoulder stock of the HK VP70 “Volkspistole”- and it apparently never worked right, either. (And Smith applied it to a self-loading pistol with no stock firing basically a 10mm Magnum load. Hurray for dispersion!)

    It might be a good time for the “designers” to stop coming up with “tacticooled” gadgetry and go back and do some basic research as to what bullets do and what the client(s) want them to do. Odds are the results would be two different things entirely.

    As it is, we seem to be right back where we were with SPIW in the 1960s.

    And now as then, we still don’t seem to have any idea what really happens “when the bullet hits the bone”.

    clear ether


    • I thought flechette 12 gauge loads were considered more of a novelty (I know they worked well in artillery though)? that and I thought a higher rof would be preferable but I’m not in the military so Im just thinking out loud.

      • I think of drone defense as being like wingshooting geese. You don’t use a rifle for that.

        The major problem is time of flight and dispersion. The drone can “duck”.

        The ideal system would probably be one with zero time of flight, high impact, very high rate of fire, and no ballistic drop to be compensated for. To me, that’s spelled L-A-S-E-R.



        • “(…)zero time of flight(…)L-A-S-E-R.(…)”
          Wait… latter is throwing light, which has limited velocity, so how you propose to get infinite velocity without breaking laws of optics?

          • Oh how cute, a literalist. Energy weapons operating at light speed with little or no gravitational, Coriolis, etc., effects to be considered are not perfectly perfect, as you observe, but are fairly perfect, in concept. Issues like heat exchange, thermal bloom, generation/storage/switching capacity, and atmospheric distortion are far more consequential in reality than whether MV=c or MV=∞.

    • “(…)first(…)in 1978(…)”
      No, it could be found inside actual 1930s fire-arm namely Breda M1935 PG
      …7mm select-fire version was developed under contract from Costa Rica, and about 400 automatic Breda PG rifles were produced for Costa Rican government. Breda M1935 PG rifles were somewhat heavy, of complicated design, and expensive to make. Historical importance of these rifles is that Costa-Rican Breda PG automatic rifles were probably the first weapons to incorporate burst limiting mechanisms, which, when engaged, automatically cut the bursts of automatic fire after just 4 rounds, in an apparent attempt to conserve ammunition.
      Though not all Breda M1935 PG did so and some were self-loading rifles.

      • A lot of questionable statements there.

        “Breda M1935 PG rifles were somewhat heavy”.
        The Breda PG was an automatic rifle weighting 5,25kg, so it was lighter than the lightest iterations of the BAR for the same job. Lighter than that, it would have hardly fired controllably the 7X57mm Mauser round. The Costarican government bought it as a LMG, so a particularly lightweight one. At 910mm lenght for 18″ barrel, it was also pretty compact.

        “of complicated design”
        The Breda rising bolt design of the PG is one of the simplest breechlock designs ever (the bolt is made of five parts, charging handle included). So is the trigger group. The annular piston is unusual, but hardly complicate. The only “complicate” part of the rifle is the burst mechanism.

        “and expensive to make”
        I tend to esclude the Breda PG being more expensive than any pre-war automatic rifle or LMG. There were machined parts, like in any of them,but the machining itself was pretty simple.

    • I agree with your comment about designers not concentrating on tacticool. To expose my Luddite inclinations, I really don’t see any real improvements to firearms or ammunition these days. The post WWII move to intermediate cartridges and the AR/AK platforms are the end of what I see as real improvements. Okay, better optics are good, considering me and my eyes are getting real old. And accessory rails help a lot. But these are not core, true improvements to the base technology.

        • I have shouldered a Tavor and I did not like it. Granted, I have long arms and bullpups do nothing for me. But — something is going on to take the shine off the Tavor.

        • The bullpup is a lousy idea, ergonomically. You can’t get around that. Learning that is probably why they’ve pushed it to second-line units, the same way they did with the Galil.

          Much as it pains me to say it, the AR-15 family got an awful lot right, from the start. Particularly with ergonomics; you are way better off in a firefight with the M4 than you’ll ever be with any of the bullpup rifles. This is generally agreed-upon by all the world’s special forces in the West: Ain’t none of the armies fielding bullpups that have their special ops guys carrying the standard bullpup. There’s a reason for that… The ergonomics suck in a gunfight. If you’re just going to carry it around and maybe shoot a magazine or two in a leisurely manner, then a bullpup can work for a lot of your troops. If you’re pushing guys into contact, up front and personal…? The ergonomic dumbf*ckery of a bullpup is going to get men killed.

          Sorry to say that, but that’s the case. Tavor may have a lot of nice things going for it, but that action by the ear and the magazine up where your armpit is aren’t ever going to provide better results than the standard traditional layout.

          A lot of it comes down to situational awareness; I can run and clear an M4 without ever taking my eyes off the environment around me. A bullpup? Yikes… You’re almost forced to give all your attention to the rifle during a reload and a clearance drill, with the effect that has on your odds of survival, and the risk to everyone else around you.

          I shudder to think how many blue-on-blue casualties have happened with bullpup-armed forces due to the guys losing the bubble during reloads and clearing. It’s all too easy to do, and when the rifle design requires your full attention to focus on it for something as simple as reloading? Bad design. Stupid design.

    • @eon,

      I’m impressed that you read that book, but… I fear that L. Neil Smith cribbed his ideas from Small Arms of the World, because my copy shows a three-round burst implemented by FN for the CAL going back to the late 1960s…

      I want to say that there were earlier iterations of the idea, but I don’t have access to the necessary research materials at this time. I may be mistaken, but I think that there were some early CETME prototypes and some by HK and another German outfit with burst-fire triggers.

      They were certainly around before 1978, that’s for sure.

      • How does this solution provide superior controllability? What kind of a cheek weld or a fit in the shoulder (with armor?) are you going to get with a pair of AR buttstocks? As noted in Jurassic Park, the scientists here are more considered with whether they could than whether they should. Nobody in the realms of the decision makers seems focused on cyclic rate in modern land warfare anymore than they seem focused on top speed in air warfare.

        If the idea is maximum suppressive fire without lethal and accurate effect, then why not slap a pair of American 180s together or else a high speed simulator? Again, if this was really desirable, exists, and there was a siamese UltraShKAS which doubled that rate. So if you’re crazy in love with the idea that this matters, get the TDP and scale it down to 5.56 mm from 7.62x54R.

  6. If drone defense is the excuse for this, it’s a poor one at best. A better idea would be something like the USAS-12 firing flechette loads.

    What would be better, that or a proximity fuze concept in either a 12 gauge or larger shotgun, or perhaps something like a grenade launcher? How much would it cost to replicate the functionality of the World War II VT fuze with microelectronics today?

    • Probably dirt cheap and in a package about the size of a U.S. dime. Something that could easily be “stuck” on the business end of a 30mm fragmentation round, in other words.

      Something like this might end up being a useful role for the OICW/XM26 technology, probably as a vehicle-mounted, belt-fed weapon in an M153 CROWS type mount.



      • Muzzle velocity of that round might not be ideal for this role in a crewed weapon (maybe it could be produced for AGS-30/Mk 19 class weapons), but on the other hand, it can be fired by an individual soldier, which is nice. And even that smart optic could be upgraded to something more like that “brilliant” sniperscope, optimized for high-angle, high-deflectoon shooting at fast-moving aerial targets.

        Addendum: the Mk 47 exists so maybe the smart grenades. just have to get slightly smarter.

        The Mk 47 or Striker 40[2] is a 40mm automatic grenade launcher with an integrated fire control system, capable of launching smart programmable 40mm air burst grenades in addition to various unguided rounds.[3]

        Thanks for thinking back at me, and power to your tubes!

    • Also the Billinghurst-Requa “battery gun” of the American Civil War.

      Billinghurst was a maker of high-quality target rifles; several of his were used by Union snipers during the war.

      Dr. Requa was a dentist, a profession he shared with Dr. Edward Maynard and Dr. Richard Gatling.

      Their patent only covered the breechloading system. As they pointed out, similar muzzle-loading “organ guns” had been used as far back as the 15th century, and had been described by da Vinci in his Codex Atlanticus in 1519.



    • claims that
      In 1339 mention is first made of a new type of firearm called the “ribauld” or “ribauldequin.” This was a primitive multibarrel affair that consisted of several iron tubes, so arranged as to be fired simultaneously. Its purpose was to blast an opening in the solid rank of heavily armored pikemen who were supposed to keep the cavalry from the bowmen. In one of England’s wars with France, Edward III used this weapon to good advantage in conjunction with his battle-tested stampede cannon…
      if it was so, that predated Leonardo da Vinci works.

        • That was a small single gun type that showed up at Crecy in 1346.

          As its name says, it was mainly used to frighten the enemy’s horses.

          By Agincourt in 1415, Henry V’s cannon were big and powerful enough to knock down city gates and walls, as they did at Harfleur.

          clear ether


  7. It would interesting to swap out the trigger groups with binary trigger groups. Also add a cross bar that is not attached to the other trigger but maybe like .001” away from it. I’d assume you could achieve a rate of fire near 1200rpm and still be legal.

    • Binary seems sensible but the cross bar, even separated, would still fire two shots with every trigger stroke, plus might possibly complicate the binary trigger action. Perhaps a special glove for firing.

  8. Maybe this could be an ultimate modern LMG, having 2 barrels you would not need to remove one them when it heats up.

  9. Maybe a snow style trigger like off the Swiss Sturmgewehr 57, in conjunction with a normal trigger might be an improved method of pulling both triggers; more practically for the purpose, if legal… I.e. Still two triggers. The military version looks a much more practical set up… Suppose you could bump fire another trigger in a different layout, to try and not get the “One pull of the trgger legal thing” the military version looked quite good, shame really… I like the barrel adjustment for zero thing; seen something similar on… What was it; a Baikal double 45.70 rifle? Something like that.

    • I started thinking Gast gun when I saw this “As I like the principle” still thinking about it… Might be for awhile, he he. But a QUICK notion, a reversed snow trigger as aforesaid “Think grip safety position” that might, bump fire the second barrel; via a different
      trigger, for legal purposes. Just very clunky this gun… Legal reasons etc, but… Still, if you could legally you should; slim it down.

      • Hmmm… Gast gun… You have all the weight of a second barrel etc, surely you don’t really need a second locking bolt. Must be ways… A way…

        • That “A way” is sort of leading me back to my unconventional gas delay mechanism of… A (Non bolt) design, which I sort of arrived at by that WW1 German pistol that was put together via bits I.e. One side of a slide, and the other etc, etc; bolt it all together and bingo a gun. Mine veared of into sort of mechano gas delay Schwarzlose system of er… An arrangement of levers as oppose a bolt per se. The delay by gas; if it had one glaring issue though it may have lacked intital mass before the gas assisted it. So going down that route, but with said mass now provided by the 2nd barrel. Anyway, you have to love a Gast gun… Be ways, ways…

          • Anyway I like this gun/thread, interesting. Must be a way to legally make this… More practical; like the military layout, in the U.S… Must be.

          • Anyway I will be quiet “For a bit” but that has triggered me, ha… The barrel mass, and with a movement much shorter rearwards that a full cycle of a cartridge in conjuction I.e the barrel moving rearwards by 1/4″ max & with said cycling (Bolt) bit weighing much less; increase potentially the cyclic rate overall, have I accidently stumbled on my mythical “Aghast” gun. Take that wood pigeons of Minnesota, people need pies. BANG!!! Barrel 1 = Barrel 2 moves forward 1/4 inch, unlocking via gas “Which is what pushes unlocks” action 1st barrel opens, quick – Reloads. 2nd barrel slam fires on return = BANG!!! Repeats as hammer cocked on barrel one thus and slam fired forward, slam fired back, forth so on. Side mounted actions in the middle, it will look slightly unusual but I bet it cranks out rounds. Semi auto really… Seperate triggers, 4,000rpm out of each barrel – Hot – wee on it. 299 bux, made out of Highpoint material. 7.62x39mm – Feed twin Rpk drums either side. Hee… Veared off slightly as you can see; tripod pigeon pusedo machine gun shooting – The pie maker. Burp, anyway premise
            established; this gun in the video is good in the military version, not great otherwise needs improvement.

          • Burp, anyway I am happy; to me that meant mass, my system works with mass – No bolt mass = 2nd barrel mass; thus a gas delay Gast gun. Nice. (Oh it is)

  10. Why? Pigeons aside. Do you know what honestly with A.I etc, I think Terminator robots are going share gun designs with each other and develop exponentially, unlike us matchlocks etc. And I don’t think an Ar will work against them as a consequence. I may be wrong, and apart from the welfare of pigeons etc… Nuclear war, so what; our weapons, our fault.

  11. By the way: I wonder how can it…

    1. …feed from only one double feed double column magazine? How the magazine have to be modified to achive that, the two bolt simultaneously can pick one-one cartridge?

    2. …have over and under barrel configuration?

    • I don’t think either idea would work.
      1:This would mean having to have two cycling events, one for the first round in the magazine, then another one for the second round. Double feed is still one round from the magazine at a time.

      2: Whatever type of magazines that are used, the lower barrel would always block the upward movement of the round destined for the upper barrel. Adding a roundabout mechanism to get the round for the upper barrel would be a nightmare.

  12. Just out of interest & it may not work; my “non bolt” was an arrangement of four rods /\
    \/ one above the arranged, bolted through either apex… With a further /\ above, attached to a | which is the gas plug, this ends in a port above the chamber.

    Upon firing, gas pushes against the | and this pushes the above /\ the lower /\ are rollers between them and the \/ these end in a | with a spring around “In essence” it is above really acts as the cocking handle…

    Point being the gas hits the forward | and pushes the /\ out, bullet exits this | goes forward and thus the rear \/ contract. And the “Bolt” can move back.

    • And that was it meccano. The Gast gun version see’s the upper | being attached to the 2nd moving barrel; which is waiting to move back, but adds mass. Was along those lines, burp.

      Anyway anyone who remembers the ww1 Austrian pistol that had a slide put together in bits, may get why I thought to arrange a “bolt” in bits. Albeit, after hearing about the notion gas delay.

          • Has a bolt face, on front lower /\ firing pin via rear \/ attached to, through to said face fg42 style fires on “Locking” in this case rollers settling behind \/ inserts into frame. Ejector rod from stock, through bolt face at appropriate spot.

            Self contained unit cocking handle forward of bolt face, was quite pleased with it: the lacking intial mass is 7.69×39 up probably.

          • Was thinking last ditch Nazi Germany manufacturing utility overall; so it might not work. But it might, and is interesting in regards Gast gun/Swarzlose applications as in away with weight, it is a sort of Swarzlose. And with the “bolt” being lighter, well that may mean it cycles quicker. Hence the Gast gun version, in larger cals- The bigger the cal more gas, heavier barrel; maybe that would help it work better if anything.

            Cheap, simple; think our future Robot mate “Bender” etc off futurama… Hmm…

          • Anyway I won’t go on, but the basic operating principle is: Until the gas plug | can move forward and thus allowing the middle of the “Diamond” to contract, it won’t open, and to move forward thus; gas in the barrel must be lessened by the bullet exiting.

          • The upper /\ with the | plug attached are angled differently than the lower /\… Quite to allow the bolt face to stay in position, while the plug moves foward.


  13. Yes, so it is not b’locks per se; I Learnt everything I know off you lot, over the past decade.

    Even if it doesn’t work, it might.

    • I’m not making one, carbon capture is the new way to withdraw funds from the public purse not defence. If only I knew anything about how to capture farts.

      Let then out I say… Healthwise.

  14. And if in America… Where you can. In general, compared to England; it is supposed to fit in a Stg45 Gerat o6h type tube body, rotary dust cover lark. But fitted with a cruciform Soviet Bayonet.

    Keep the bayonet = Unscrew robot screws.

  15. I found the Nazi German period of innovation, interesting; shortages etc.

    Other than that I have no interest in it, apart from maybe a dominatrix in S.S cap and I am slightly… A Jew, meh like Jesus mofo’s coveting shit in a temple. I defend Israels right to exsist mind, given if someone is to blame once in Belaraus etc for slightly sour milk. It will be a Jew, a bit Jew, there’s one. So here is to two barreled somewhat impractical Israeli rifles.

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