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The History Of Guns In America

1769 words - 7 pages

The History of Guns in America

What is the importance of the gun? The gun is one of the most important tools in the defense of our nation. Guns are responsible for a lot of death and injuries, but these things were going on before the existence of the gun. Guns aren't the reason for the death and injuries, they are just a means to it. They are tools and an engineering marvel of our age. The gun has evolved from a simple weapon that caused limited destruction to the modern gun that is so fast and powerful it is capable of mass destruction. Through the evolution of the gun, it has become a political tool.

The first guns used in America were a simple machine where the person did most of the work. The user measured and put the powder down the barrel of the gun. Next some shotgun pellets were put in the same way. This was then all compacted and the gun was ready to fire. This reloading took over a minute before each shot could be fired and the guns weren't very accurate by today's standards. If too much powder was used then the gun could explode or if the powder were wet then the gun wouldn't fire. One of inventions during the Revolutionary War was a way to reload faster. The powder was already pre-measured and kept in little sacks. This made reloading faster because the user no longer had to measure the powder between each reloading. These guns were crude but in that day was a powerful modern invention that was considered very useful. The American Revolution was a political war to obtain what the people of that era wanted. By today's standards the destruction of gun was minimal so war was used to obtain political objectives.

The next real step in the evolution of the gun came during the Civil War. Rifles were invented that could be loaded from the side without stuffing anything down the barrel and these were called breechloaders. Early bullets were designed to be placed in this new loading system. The classic way of having the powder and pellets separate was too slow and messy. This early design of the bullet is very similar to the simple modern one. It had a metal casing with powder placed behind the pellets or in some cases one large pellet (Hogg 54). With these being loaded from the side on the new rifles they were capable of firing a shot much faster then the gun of a hundred years earlier. Even though the gun had become more powerful the Civil War was still a political war.

Next, the first truly automatic gun was invented and that was the Gatling Gun. It was built back in the late 1880's and was capable of firing hundreds of shots per minute. Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling took the ideas others of a fully automatic gun to the next step and made it work well. His gun had a constant feed of bullets that did not stop firing until its cartridge was empty. The gun used several barrels so that none of the barrels would overheat from constant use (Hogg 85-86). It was however a stationary gun. His gun was a great success. It was the first...

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