Guns and Gear

10 guns that have shaped the course of American history

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With more than 90 guns per 100 citizens and a constitutional right to bear arms, the United States has a close history with guns.

A new book, “American Gun,” details the 10 firearms that have the biggest stake in American history.

The author is Chris Kyle, a legendary Navy SEAL who died in April as a result of gunshot wounds when a Marine veteran with post traumatic stress disorder turned his weapon on Kyle at a Texas shooting range.

As a Navy SEAL sniper, Kyle holds the record for the most confirmed kills in American military history, with 160, but he perhaps killed as many as 255. The insurgents in Iraq placed a bounty on his head and called him the Devil of Ramadi.

Kyle was working on a book about the guns that defined America before his death, and it has now been published posthumously.

These guns were wielded by revolutionaries, carried across the frontier, and loaded in the trenches. They hold as much of a piece in American history as any other advancement in technology.

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The American Long Rifle — “light in weight; graceful in line; economical in consumption of powder and lead; fatally precise; distinctly American” this rifle enabled the first Americans to outgun the British in Revolutionary War.


The Spencer Repeating Rifle — while most of the soldiers in the Civil War went to battle with muskets, this rifle enabled Union troops to fire as many as 20 rounds per minute.


The Colt Single-Action Army Revolver — designed for the U.S. cavalry by historic gun maker Colt, this pistol defined the Wild West. When people refer to old “six shooters,” this is the gun.


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