U.S. Firearms HistoryGun Library ArticleU.S. Firearms History


American Firearms and their Deeply Interesting Stories

Guns represent one of the most important inventions that mankind has ever been capable of. They’ve offered us better protection, especially during the war and at the same time they’ve been precious help when the time for attack had come. Throughout time, a wide variety of guns and firearms have been manufactured and then consequently improved. Today, guns have a major use in wars but they have also became an important part of the sporting industry.

Firearms have always relied on the burning of a propellant in order to provide high velocity and increased firepower. If in older models that substance was black powder, modern firearms have seen the use of smokeless powder and other explosive compounds such as cordite. Firing single or multiple projectiles, firearms can be split into multiple categories based on their features and characteristics included. There are handguns, shotguns, field guns, tank guns and even anti-tank guns. Also, they can be classified depending on their size. Being smaller in size, they can be hand-held and that includes rifles, carbines and pistols. Bigger firearms that also fire large-caliber ammunition are called machine guns, a large percent requiring the operation of more than one man.

The history of firearms has been written for several centuries now. People have started to rely on firearms and guns in general, particularly in wars and revolutions. The war history had been deeply influenced by the advancements of the firearm manufacturing industry, when battles started to enter the modern era of fighting. Today, both handguns and long guns use as a projectile the bullet, fired on the same propellant mechanism. As for when it comes to artillery guns, the projectile is this time a shell and it contains a fair amount of explosive itself. During war and not only, arms have started to provide enhanced protection due to the fact that they’ve had bayonets attached them. Before deciding if it was time to fire, the soldier could attack with the end of the gun, saving his life.

Still, with every firearm that is made there is a lot more room for improvements. Firearms have undergone enormous changes throughout the time and they are far from being perfect today. There is still the problem of metallic residue from the bullet or the accumulation of residue from the partial burning of the propellant. It is more than obvious that such waste products can and will certainly affect in the end the normal functioning of the firearm; this is why it is common knowledge that firearms must be taken apart, cleaned thoroughly and greased. These are essential steps for any firearm or gun to function properly.

While small firearms can be used by a single individual, being chambered for a cartridge of 15mm caliber at most and having a rather limited range of accuracy, artillery guns are larger, heavier and use bigger calibers. Their range of accuracy can rise up to 25 miles, as opposed to smaller firearms that can hit a target accurately at a maximum distance of 1 mile.

And if we were to talk about the smallest firearm, then we would definitely have to consider the handgun. Handguns have made the history of American firearms even more famous, giving the fact that were many inventors and handgun manufacturers constantly coming up with new designs and adding their improvements. There are three types of handguns known today and they’ve have all taken a part in history: single-shot pistols, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Single-shot pistols have contributed to the first major developments in the gun making history, remaining as pioneers of today’s modern handguns. Revolvers have developed extensively under the name of Samuel Colt and semi-automatic pistols are part of the modern handgun manufacturing industry. If revolvers based the firing process on a revolving cylinder, with several firing chambers and one cartridge per chamber, semi-automatic pistols have a single chamber for firing that is also fixed. Their innovation comes in the form of the magazine that can be removed so as to fire more than once.

Handguns are not a lot different from other firearms such as rifles or shotguns but they do have certain specific characteristics. They are of course small, they do not have a gunstock and the cartridges they use do not offer an increased firepower. However, they represent important firearms and manufacturers are perpetually trying to improve them. The 19th century was the defining moment for the handguns, given the fact that it took a man like Samuel Colt to come up with one of the most ingenious revolvers ever designed. The next century found handguns to be mostly semi-automatic but revolvers were equally popular. The sporting firearms industry started to pay attention to modern handguns, being interested in revolvers with powerful hunting cartridges. They were especially attracted by the accuracy, the power and the ease of use that forward-looking handguns offered. At the same time, more and more people started to wear small handguns for protection purposes.

The ambition and persistent determination of many famous men have made handguns to come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Starting with the famous 19th century derringer, that was a short-barreled handgun and continuing with single-shot pistols that became famous for being used in duels, handguns have certainly played an interesting part in history. As far as the 20th century is concerned, manufacturers have started to rely on machine pistols that were completely automatic and could be easily held out of sight, such as the Beretta 93R. Used for both personal protection and for military purposes, handguns have started to compete with other existing firearms on the market such as the carbine, a small size rifle. The police have also started to carry small handguns, considering them as more effective and easy to use.

As for the sporting firearms industry, handguns are used with enhanced pleasure by hunters and other sporting purposes. There are certain controversies about the use of handguns for hunting as they have a limited range of accuracy, but handguns have other advantages that hunters are particularly interested in. They are small and they do offer easier handling. As for those who are fond of target shooting, handguns are some of the popular firearms used, especially the ones with a 22 rim-fire caliber. Sporting competitions with firearms have increased in popularity over the past few years and today there are a lot of people who have set true records.

History recalls a few good men to have been inventors of some of the most used handguns and these are: Samuel Colt who invented the famous Colt Revolver, Richard Gatling and his renowned Gatling gun, extensively used before and during the war, and John Browning. These represent just three names of the many incredible men who have contributed to the development of the handguns, always maintaining their belief that development was in constant progress.