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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Maula Pistol  
  A spring-loaded projectile device.  

Maula pistol: spring-loaded gun for firing poison darts; range about forty meters.
From Dune, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Putnam in 1965
Additional resources -

One of the advantages of this weapon is relatively silent operation, but it is useless against a shielded opponent. Of course, in the desert, a shield can attract a sand worm.

When Paul and his mother are found in a Fremen place in the desert, he escapes when his mother uses her skills to take down the man facing her. This is what a battle with maula pistols would sound like.

At his mothers first movement, Paul backed two steps... A bearded man rose up in his path, half-crouched, lunging forward with a weapon in his hand. Paul took the man beneath the sternum with a straight-hand jab, sidestepped and chopped the base of his neck, relieving him of the weapon as he fell.

Then Paul was into the shadows... the weapon tucked into his waist sash. He had recognized it... a projectile weapon, and that said many things about this place, another clue that shields were useless here.

There came a chorus of sharp spring-clicks from the basin. Projectiles whined off the rocks around him. One of them flicked his robe.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Dune
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Dune
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

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