A new book, American Gun, written by the late Chris Kyle, a legendary Navy SEAL, details the 10 firearms that have the biggest stake in American history. 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. Brian Jones, a writer for Business Insider, listed them all here.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The Winchester Rifle
“The Gun That Won The West” was one of the first repeating rifles and a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt, pictured with the gun below. It fired the same type of ammunition as the Colt revolver, but with a much heftier punch.
5. The M1903 Springfield
This bolt-action rifle was fed by a five-round magazine and really staked its claim in the trenches in World War I. It remained on active service as a sniper rifle through the Vietnam War.
6. The M1911 Pistol
This .45-caliber pistol was the standard issue sidearm for the U.S. military from 1911-1985. Durable and powerful, it’s still in use by Army special forces, and elite units in the Navy and Marine Corps.
7. The Thompson Submachine Gun
Used by World War I soldiers and gangsters, the “Tommy Gun” is one of the most recognizable and versatile weapons on the planet. It is compact, easy to wield, and shoots a large .45-caliber bullet as quickly as 1,500 rounds per minute.
8. The M1 Garand
As the first standard issue semi-automatic rifle, this weapon redefined small-arms combat the world over. It had a huge stake in World War II and the Korean War.
9. The .38 Special Police Revolver
Unlike early revolvers, which were single action — meaning that pulling the trigger performed only the action of releasing the hammer, and the shooter had to pull the hammer back — the .38 special was double action, meaning it did not have to be cocked.
10. The M16 Rifle
Despite its slow start in the Vietnam war, where the weapon was prone to not feed rounds into the chamber properly during moments of intense combat, the M16 has ironed out its kinks and is currently the standard weapon of choice for the U.S. armed forces, where it has performed flawlessly through the first Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.