It is not known when the first gunpowder charge exploded, sending a projectile down a barrel, to a distant target. Since then, firearm designers and manufacturers have been driven to make guns more accurate, improve reliability, extend their range, and ultimately make guns more alluring. Nearly 400 years has passed since European settlers traveled across the Atlantic, carrying a wheel-lock carbine single-shot musket, now known as the Mayflower Gun, to the new world. From that moment on, guns and America would be forever linked. This 13-part series explores the history of firearms - which began as a survival tool and became part of the American experience. This documentary chronicles how American firearms innovation propelled the nation to the pinnacle of the industrialized world while designing and manufacturing the most effective and beautiful guns the world had ever seen.
S01:E01 - The Kentucky Long Rifle and the Revolutionary War
The early history of the United States, and a look at the Kentucky Long Rifle and it's use during the Revolutionary War
S01:E02 - U.S. Armories and the War of 1812
Early US arms manufacturing relied heavily on federal funding and armories as customers
S01:E03 - Breechloaders and Jacksonian Democracy
As manufacturing in the US grew under Andrew Jackson, the gun became an essential tool for settlers in the western territories
S01:E04 - Trouble in Texas and Samuel Colt
The Battle of the Alamo, the weapons used, and American innovator Samuel Colt's rise as a titan in the gun industry
S01:E05 - Prelude to War and Increased Fire Power
As the Civil War loomed, American Guns were only becoming more powerful, more accurate, and easier to reload.
S01:E06 - Guns of the American Civil War
The Civil War brought with it the Gatling Gun and the Sharps Rifle, while after the war, Smith and Wesson introduce the revolver
S01:E07 - The Six Shooter and America's New Industrial Age
Smith and Wesson, Remington, Colt, Winchester, and Parker Bros all experience a gun manufacturing golden age during America's Guilded Age
S01:E08 - The Long Gun
The spirit of innovation kept the major gun manufacturers trying to outgun one another, and even some non-competition agreements. But one such agreement between Colt and Winchester would not last, as the rifle became too big of a market for Colt to ignore.
S01:E09 - Dawn of Modern Firearms: Browning and the Spanish-American War
Modern style hand guns and semi automatic rifles begin to enter production around the time of the Spanish-American War
S01:E10 - Guns of World War I and Gangsters
Bolt actions, repeaters and machine guns take center stage during the War to End All Wars. But once the war is over, the guns land in the hands of the criminal underworld as tools to carry out their bidding.
S01:E11 - Guns of World War II
The M1 rifle and M1 Carbine were the American guns that did most of the heavy lifting during WWII.
S01:E12 - Guns of Korea, Vietnam and 21st Century Warfare
As war evolved, the weapons did as well - with the M1 Garand, the Browning Automatic Rifle, fully automatics, and advanced sniper rifles.
S01:E13 - Guns for Hunters, Sport and Protection
The ownership of guns in America for hunters and enthusiasts has been a long standing tradition, and gun culture continues to be part of the fabric of American life.
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