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"As the rate of technological development speeds up, the gap between science fiction and what we’re living now is getting narrower all the time."
- Richard Morgan

Reaction Pistol  
  A hand-held device for maneuvering in zero gravity in a space suit.  

Before venturing untethered out of your space ship to rendezvous with a planetoid, or perhaps rescue a floating comrade a few dozen feet away, you'll want a way to maneuver in zero gravity. Perhaps help lies in Newton's third law of motion - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

"...Miss Wingate, watching at the port, saw you drift away from the ship, and when we turned about to get you she insisted on going out after you. She slipped on a space suit, grabbed a reaction pistol and found you floating unconscious. Plucky girl."
From Martian Guns, by Stanley D. Bell.
Published by Wonder Stories in 1932
Additional resources -

Gordon A. Giles also mentions this idea in his 1937 story Diamond Planetoid:

He... shuffled toward the lock. In another minute he had passed out of Welton's sight, to reappear a moment later from the side port. Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail to the planetoid thirty feet away.

Compare this method of moving between objects in space with the spring-loaded broomstick from Arthur C. Clarke's 1952 story Islands in the Sky, Personal Jet Thrust from Robert Heinlein's 1948 novel Space Cadet and Electrical Tether from Garrett P. Serviss' 1898 story Edison's Conquest of Mars.

Compare also to the metal solvent ray thrower from Lost Rocket (1941) by Manly Wade Wellman and the Pistol 'Rocket' (1931) from Buck Rogers: 2430 AD (1931) by Nowlan and Calkin.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Martian Guns
  More Ideas and Technology by Stanley D. Bell
  Tech news articles related to Martian Guns
  Tech news articles related to works by Stanley D. Bell

Reaction Pistol-related news articles:
  - The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story

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