As early as 1938, American military planners were seeking a light rifle with which to arm mortar crews, signals personnel, truck drivers, and command and staff officers. They initiated this quest based upon empirical observation and analysis. During peacetime exercises, it was found that the M1 rifle (we call it the Garand, but troops of
If ever there was a quantum advance in Infantry weapons, it was the M16 rifle. The StG44 and AK-47 were undeniably revolutionary. These two rugged combat weapons ran scaled-down versions of standard rifle rounds that pushed relatively big, heavy bullets to modest velocities. They put automatic-fire capability into the hands of individual Infantry soldiers, while
How many ways might there be to extol the virtues of the 1911 pistol? To hear guys like me describe it, John Moses Browning was smarter than Einstein, more enlightened than Gandhi, more innovative than Edison, tougher than Chuck Norris, and more influential than Thomas Crapper (the guy who popularized the flush toilet). Browning’s 1911
On 22 June 1941, the German Wehrmacht launched an offensive into Russia with 139 divisions across an 1,800-mile front. Operation Barbarossa was the largest military offensive in human history. Around three million German troops took part. The German war machine was then justifiably thought to be invincible.
Have you priced a hand-built precision rifle lately? I am part owner of a small company that builds them, and I cannot yet afford one of my own. A tricked-out top-end minute-of-gnat’s-butt precision rifle costs as much as a family vacation to Australia. But for those willing to sacrifice maybe a quarter inch downrange, markedly cheaper options exist.
Mendelian Genetics is a fascinating field of study. By carefully manipulating breeding patterns, scientists can produce orange roses, grain that is resistant to blight and foul weather, the fastest horses in all of human history, and carp that will eat the weeds out of my farm pond while remaining unable to reproduce.
The submachine gun was birthed in the blood and filth of World War I as a compact combat tool optimized for trench clearing. Typical infantry rifles were cumbersome bolt-action monsters that could reach out past a kilometer and serve double duty as a proper pike with a bayonet attached. But when the engagement distance was close enough to smell what your opponent had for breakfast that morning, something handier and faster was needed.
Elemental lead is an integral part of modern life. There are untold tons of lead in our car batteries. Lead was in the paint used in most American houses up until 1978, and it remains in contaminated soil pretty much forever. The CDC estimates that about half a million American kids between the ages of one and five already have dangerously high blood lead levels.
Starting in the 1950s, Eugene Stoner began unconventionally applying modern manufacturing techniques adapted from the aerospace industry. In so doing, he shaped the complexion of the world’s small arms even into the Information Age.
Lieutenant Waverly Wray was an officer in D Company of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment in June 1944. He dropped into Normandy on D-Day with the 82nd Airborne Division. A former Mississippi state revenue agent whose combat exploits were the stuff of legend, Lt. Wray grew up right down the road from where I currently