Guns - History of Guns
For centuries, weapons have been among the most crucial and important tools developed by humankind. Whether used for protection, survival, or enjoyment, the development of firearms, including guns, has greatly impacted past and current societies.
The earliest firearms date back to around 1250 AD, when the Franciscan monk, Roger Bacon, wrote of using an exploding powder. Within a few decades the development of a large metal tube to contain and project this powder was invented. This early gun worked by igniting a small fire near the powder, which resulted in pressure being built within the tube. Eventually, this pressure built up and would throw an object from the barrel forward.
At this time, early guns were quite large, and it wasn't until around 1350 when the first hand held guns were developed. Referred to as "hand cannons" these guns were simply miniature version of larger cannons and could be carried by soldiers for use in battle.
Over the next few centuries, improvements to handheld guns were made in regards to ignition and accuracy. To ignite the gunpowder, a flintlock was developed. This worked by striking steel against a surface to generate sparks that would ignite the powder, saving time otherwise spent hand-lighting the weapon. As for accuracy, alterations made to the shape of the gun barrel and the addition of a sight mechanism, improved target aim.
By the late 17th century, European weapons were traveling with the colonists to the New World. Eventually, improvements on the long rifle made by the colonists were crucial for their survival, as this allowed them to find food and protect themselves quickly and with higher accuracy than the European weapons provided.
Today, one of the most crucial gun inventions was the creation of the semi-automatic gun, which continually loads the weapon each time the trigger is pulled. Further advancements on this model included the development of the machine gun, which fires rapidly as long as the trigger is pulled. These firearms are generally used for military and governmental purposes, although they are available to be purchased and owned by private citizens too.
In modern times, hundreds of designs have been invented to improve and advance gun technology. Today numerous specific guns exist for sport, hunting, and protection, in addition to military and governmental uses. Of course, safety is an utmost concern when owning and using these weapons and many courses on the instruction of firearm use and safety exist. Respect for the history of gun development and usage continues to be common among American citizens, ensuring that the weapon's development will continue for centuries to come.