The Cas-Vak Mass Assault Weapon is the most heavily produced weapon in recorded history. Technically almost a century more modern than the runner-up Venator ICR, the MAW was introduced en masse a decade after the end of The War for the Seas to replace the T2, T2A, and T2E families of Era of Silence rifles, as well as the still-extant pre-Collapse T1. Production has steamed on since, with tens of millions of older rifles smelted down and forged into new MAWs, their core mechanics unchanged for over three centuries.
At its heart, the MAW is a long-stroke gas-piston operated open-bolt automatic rifle. Abandoning the great technological pretenses of the T2E and fully embracing the modularity of the T2A and reliability of its ancient T1 ancestor. Its four moving parts feed and fire 7.8mm granular propellant cartridges our of necked metal cases at 2100-2700 feet per second, with a sluggish 670-850 round per minute cyclic rate. The equally ubiquitous MAW-B, introduced mere years after the original, brings the moving part count up to six with allowance for a broader array of recoil mitigation systems via and expandable buffer as well as more thorough toolless disassembly. This is the rifle issued the world over today; a system that can be securely installed in a hundred thousand barrel, furniture, and magazine configurations with no tools or specialized parts beyond a single live cartridge. Caliber conversions are also produced in massive quantities, some of which can be installed in less than thirty seconds by an experienced operator. The original MAW is more rarely seen, but is believed to exist in numbers exceeding 80 million in reserve and conscript armories as well as criminal stockpiles. Combined the MAW accounts for some 270 million units, roughly 65% of the firearms on Arcatia.
The most common MAW variant is a conventionally arranged carbine with an alloy wireframe stock and fourteen inch barrel. It’s automatic-only fire is fed from somewhat oversized gently curved 50 round magazines. One of the few modern firearms made mostly of metal, the MAW is heavy for its size, ranging from seven to nine pounds loaded. But MAWs are as varied as the people who use them, from bullpup pistol-caliber submachineguns built around the same action to light machineguns replete with pintle mounts, heat shielding, and extended magazines.
It is worth noting that while the MAW’s mechanical lineage is firmly rooted in the T2 family, it’s spirit is much more closely in line with the ancient and largely forgotten People’s Hand project.