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"What I have in my stories is ethics. Ethics and morality are very different cups of tea. I adhere to a very strict rigor of personal ethics and I demand it of those around me as well."
- Harlan Ellison

Needle Gun  
  A weapon that fires thin slivers of metal.  

This is as far as I know the first use of this term in science fiction. This term has been used to describe a hand-held gun that fired flechette rounds. Also, the term was used in the 19th century to denote a rifle that used a needle to fire a paper cartridge containing a round.

“I shall kill you three with the poisoned needle-gun, and my men will immediately give you burial in space. You and your officers. Captain, will watch me with such composure as you may have at your command, and realize that I will brook no interference whatever; that I do not and shall not hesitate to eliminate anyone who annoys me.”

The two Martians returned from the corridor, empty handed. The Planetchief’s countenance hardened. Vic Vincennes saw him lift his needle-gun at pointblank range, and felt an intolerable weight falling upon him, crushing the very life from him. He crumbled to the floor, overcome with nausea. The room seemed to be spinning, the sickness more acute and more horrible. Then unconsciousness.

Technovelgy from In the Spacesphere, by Charles Cloukey.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

From The Empress of Mars (1939) by Russ Rocklynne:

I rammed home the final plunger, and the bee-wing took off flapping up into the thin air and forward with such speed that in a matter of seconds Cammint was a dot of light in the darkness, and the city of Jador was sprawled in fantastic shadows below. I went blind, without lights, never knowing when some similar craft might blunder out of the encircling darkness full tilt into me. I set my course for the Royal Palace, and had my forward needle guns set for any who dared offer me hindrance.

From Slacker's Paradise, by Malcom Jameson, published by Astounding S-F in 1941:

Her armament was so inadequate as never to have given him a qualm. It consisted simply of a 10 mm. needle gun, fit only to detonate a stray mine.

Readers might also check out the needle pipe from Ray Cummings 1928 story Beyond the Stars for an earlier use of this concept, and a bit more detail on other uses.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from In the Spacesphere
  More Ideas and Technology by Charles Cloukey
  Tech news articles related to In the Spacesphere
  Tech news articles related to works by Charles Cloukey

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