Firing automatic weapons from a Segway: good idea, or not?

A Chinese news site features a picture of anti-terrorist forces on Segway-back. Is this totally nuts, or a really good idea?

A Chinese news site features a picture of anti-terrorist forces on Segway-back. Is this totally nuts, or a really good idea?

The People's Armed Police during an anti-terrorism drill in Shandong Province. China Daily
    Three questions in the Segway versus no Segway debate:
  1. These guys should be in pretty good shape. Shouldn't they be able to run faster than one of these? Well, according to the Wikipedia entry for a Segway PT, the vehicle has a top speed of 12.5 mph. That works out to roughly a five-minute mile. With riot gear on, yeah, that's pushing it.
    Winner: Segway, if you're willing to be standing really tall all the time in a terrorist situation.
  2. Lots of police use considerably cheaper tools for patrolling and even chasing people on foot. Bicycles are pretty good, and they definitely go faster than Segways. Horses have the added bonus of being pretty scary when they come galloping after you. Walking and running can be hard on the feet, but so could standing on a Segway.
    Winner: Bikes and horses. And since bikes are cheaper, I'm going with the old fashioned two-wheeled vehicle.
  3. And here's the big one. Shooting guns accurately takes considerable practice to begin with. Now put yourself on a continuously mobile platform and give yourself a rifle with a good kick and that fires many rounds per second, and you may just find yourself falling into the line of your buddy's fire.

    [I]f the rider standing on an initially balanced Segway PT leans forward, therefore offsetting the balance, the PT moves forward to regain balance just as in walking a leg moves forward to retain balance. ... This process occurs about 100 times per second, so small adjustments to maintain balance occur almost immediately after the balance is offset by the rider.

    For my ammunition money (which is none, as I'm quite unarmed, especially in China), I'm going to get off this awkward mobile pedestal and fire from a reasonable stance.
    Winner: Get out and walk.

That's 2-1 against the Segway.

As always when I speculate about science and machines I haven't tried out, feel free to correct me. That's the fun part. I would especially love to hear from anyone who has fired weapons from a Segway.

h/t Imagethief

About the author

    Formerly a journalist and consultant in Beijing, Graham Webster is a graduate student studying East Asia at Harvard University. At Sinobyte, he follows the effects of technology on Chinese politics, the environment, and global affairs. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network, and is not an employee of CNET. Disclosure.


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