Throughout our history, guns have been used for hunting, fighting wars, and the overall protection of our homes and belongings. Starting out in with the first recorded use of a firearm in 1364 to now, the gun has taken several turns for the better, as far as precision, accuracy, and rate of fire. It has also grown in number of uses since then, as well.
Now, we shoot for fun, to relieve stress, to get rid of pesky rodents, and if you are lucky enough, you get to test shoot new and upcoming firearms. Thanks to technology, we no longer rely on matchlocks and muskets, which were innovative, but dangerous to the user. Below are a few ways that advances in technology have made going to the shooting range or on a hunting weekend more safe, enjoyable, and efficient.
Most of the time, when people consider the advancement of firearms, they stick to things such as the scope, recoil, flash, and stock, but one of the major advancements in guns has been in the ammunition it fires. In the beginning, gun owners were reduced to using the basic chemical formula for gunpowder, or deflagration, to propel a plug. This was your bullet. Over time, with other advancements in metals, explosives, and the needs produced by war, the bullet transformed accordingly to what we have today.
For example, before the 1800’s, everything needed to fire a bullet was separate from each other. The fire a musket, you had to put some gun powder in the firing pan, then some in the barrel and then add the ball. Shortly after the beginning of the 1800’s the bullet cartridge was invented. This combined all those steps into one, thus making the firing of the weapon much quicker. Later, because the power and heat behind the discharge of a gun, the cartridges became full metal jackets.
Precision And Accuracy
There are really only two general advancements in this category. In 1498, guns received their first upgrade in accuracy when archers discovered it was the slant in the feathers on their arrows that made them hit their mark. This technique was applied to the barrel of their guns. This was called rifling.
Later, it was found that if you placed a notch in the end of the barrel, you gained better aim than if you just pointed and hoped for the best. Over the centuries, we have developed some pretty powerful scopes, as well. The best on the market, for hunting, is the Nikon P-Rimfire.
Guns were anything but safe to use when they were first invented. With an open flammable source of gunpowder, questionable aim, and constant difficulties locking up, using a firearm long ago was like playing Russian Roulette even without the gun pointed at your head. Through the centuries there have been some wonderful upgrades to the modern firearm that make using them much less worrisome.
There are two that stick out. Besides the obvious evolution of the bullet, the gun safeties and the newest smart gun tech are making the handling of firearms much less dangerous. The safety was introduced in 1880 by Smith and Wesson. They “child proofed” the weapon by making it so you had to pull the grip safety at the same times as the trigger. Later on, trigger guards were introduced. In 2017, there is now the option of smart gun, which is encoded with with thumb print and will not fire unless you are the one using it.
Guns are a necessary tool for survival, work, and play. Thanks to technology, we can use them more often with a feeling of confidence in the work and thought that has gone into making them what they are today.