I was watching Pawn Stars last night (yeah, I know) and a customer brought in an old 1800’s repeating rifle. At its time, it was such a huge leap in firearms design, that it basically made any rifle before it useless (in a head-to-head type environment). It really got me thinking about weapons design and advancement.
The repeating loader mechanism that was on that rifle was actually first made for a pistol by Smith & Wesson. But, that pistol was a dog. No one was interested. When the design was added to a rifle though, it became a massive improvement in contemporary design. Having the ability to shoot a round and then reload within seconds as opposed to minutes was definitely a force multiplier.
The next step after that would have been automatic reloading, or a semi-automatic type weapon. I actually think this is a smaller jump then the jump of the previous line, like the repeating loader rifle. However, it was a natural progression.
I also find it interesting how some design advancements are so misunderstood. Take fully-automatic weapons as an example. So many people assume that a weapon like the M-60 is an offensive beast of death and destruction, while in reality it is mostly a defensive gun. Automatic beasts like the M-60 were made to stop larger numbers of soldiers from “zerging” smaller forces. If the smaller group had a automatic gun, they could cut down soldiers as they attempted to swarm them. Like the repeating loader, this was a huge advancement.
I am not totally sure where I am headed with this post, but I just think it’s interesting to see how design evolves. We have seen a lot of advancement over the last 150 years. I am curious to see what happens over the next 15.