The Gun That Killed Martin Luther King, Jr.
At 6:00 P.M. on April 4, 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. stepped onto the balcony outside his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. Seconds later, a single .30-06 round mortally wounded the 39-year-old civil-rights leader. King had arrived at the motel on March 29. He was in... Read more
The Gun That Killed Adolf Hitler
On April 30, 1945, Adolf Hitler, leader of the Third Reich, killed himself with a 7.65-millimeter Walther PPK pistol. Terrified of falling into the hands of the Soviets, who were fighting their way through Berlin, Hitler first swallowed a hydrogen-cyanide capsule and then, at 3:30 P.M., shot himself, possibly firing a round... Read more
The Gun That Almost Killed Theodore Roosevelt
On Oct. 14, 1912, John Flammang Schrank shot Theodore Roosevelt in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while Roosevelt was campaigning. Roosevelt was running for a third term as president at the head of his newly formed Progressive Party. His opponents were Republican incumbent William Howard Taft and Democrat Woodrow Wilson. As Roosevelt was... Read more
It’s a Mystery What British Special Operators Did With This Silenced Pistol
An M1908 Webley pistol sporting an M1929 Parker Hale silencer is part of the British National Army Museum’s firearms collection. The museum’s catalogue entry on the pistol states that it was used by the British Special Operations Executive during World War II. Exactly what the SOE did with the... Read more
Indian Assassins Used a Popular Copy of a British Gun to Kill Their Prime Minister
On Oct. 31, 1984, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was shot dead by two of her bodyguards, Satwant Singh and Beant Singh, both Sikhs who sought revenge for Gandhi’s treatment of militant Sikh religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers. Gandhi had ordered Operation Blue Star, the Indian Army’s storming of... Read more
An Angry Russian Sneaked a Pocket Pistol Into a Book Fair to Assassinate the French President
On May 6, 1932, Russian emigre Pavel Timofeyevich Gorgulov — a.k.a. Paul Gorguloff — assassinated French president Paul Doumer using an FN Model 1910. Doumer, elected in June 1931, was visiting a book fair for World War I veteran authors at Paris’s Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild. After purchasing several... Read more
A Steam-Powered Bike Killed the Designer of the World’s First Successful Pump Shotgun
The Spencer-Roper pump-action shotgun, while not the first shotgun to use a slide action, was the first mass-produced gun of the type.  The shotgun was designed by Sylvester Roper and Christopher Spencer. The latter perhaps was best known for his repeating rifle that was popular during the American Civil... Read more
With His Grenade Launcher, a Lone British Soldier Beat Back a German Tank Attack
On May 6, 1944 during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, Francis Arthur Jefferson, a soldier with the British Army’s Lancashire Fusiliers, engaged a German tank with a Projectile Infantry Anti-Tank grenade launcher, or PIAT. The action made Jefferson famous. But fame wouldn’t spare him a tragic fate.... Read more
As America Mobilized for War, Pres. Woodrow Wilson Fretted Over Silencers
On March 30, 1917, just days before the United States entered World War I, Pres. Woodrow Wilson directed his personal secretary Joseph Tumulty to write to the Department of Justice requesting that the agency look into the threat German fifth columnists might pose if they used Maxim silencers to... Read more
The Remington Nylon 66 Was the First Plastic Gun
This story originally appeared on Nov. 21, 2016. In the late 1950s, Remington took advantage of its parent company DuPont’s expertise in industrial chemistry and developed a revolutionary new firearm. The Nylon 66 was the first mass-produced, widely-marketed polymer firearm. Remington designers requested a synthetic material that had a high tensile-impact... Read more
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