The Gun That Killed Abraham Lincoln
On April 14, 1865 U.S. president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a single shot to the back of the head. The American Civil War had ended just days before with Southern general Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox when John Wilkes Booth, a well-known stage actor, shot Lincoln as the president... Read more
The Gun That Killed John F. Kennedy
On Nov. 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald fired two 6.5-millimeter rounds from an Italian Carcano Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 91/38 rifle and killed U.S. president John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the fourth American president to be assassinated. Oswald, a 24-year-old former Marine, fired from the sixth floor of... Read more
The Guns That Killed Malcolm X
On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X, leader of Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, was assassinated during an Organization of Afro-American Unity meeting at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Malcolm X had been a civil-rights activist and leader of the Black Muslim community in New York City... Read more
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
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
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
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
American Weapons Cause Chaos All Over the World
American weapons makers have dominated the global arms trade for decades. In any given year, they’ve accounted for somewhere between one-third and more than one-half the value of all international weapons sales. It’s hard to imagine things getting much worse — or better, if you happen to be an... 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
Converted Prop Guns Are Assassins’ Weapon of Choice
This story originally appeared on Feb. 25, 2015. Blank-firing guns make for fun movie props and nice showpieces. But with the right tweaks, they can be just as deadly as the real thing. According to a new report by Small Arms Survey, a non-governmental research project based in Switzerland,... Read more
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