Instead of gunpowder as a propellant, it uses electromagnetic pulses, and the projectiles hit with such overwhelming force that they don’t need to be armed with explosives. The impact from traveling at such amazing speeds is enough, thank you very much. Lasers sizzle rather than go boom, as some have said. The rail gun definitely has one heck of a boom.
One top Navy official recently likened the impact to “a freight train going through the wall at a hundred miles an hour.” The lack of gunpowder and explosive warheads eliminates some significant safety hazards for Navy crews, officials say.