Many newcomers to handguns have erroneous views about handgun barrel lengths. It is widely believed that long barrels are the most accurate and that extremely short barrels are best for carrying for self defense. In both cases, these assumptions are not necessarily true. Longer barrels are generally best for hunting and target shooting. Advantages of the longer barrel include more precise sight alignment because of the greater sight radius (distance between the front and rear sight). Longer-barreled handguns are steadier and offer greater stability on the target.

Matters of balance and sight radius can be very subjective, however. Many older shooters find that they can see the sights more clearly if the sight radius is shorter. For example, when Ruger first brought out the Target Model of the popular .22 pistol, the initial barrel length was 6 7/8 inches. However, in response to popular demand, a 5 1/2-inch bull (heavy) barrel version was introduced shortly thereafter. Today, variants of this pistol can also be had with four-inch or 10-inch bull barrels.

Pistolet It is commonly believed that the longer the barrel, the greater the velocity from a handgun. As a general matter, this is true. The longer barrel permits more complete combustion of the powder, with greater velocities resulting. However, many variables govern velocity. Among these are barrel-to-cylinder gap (in revolvers) and barrel dimensions and internal polishing. Thus, it is by no means uncommon for a revolver with a four-inch barrel to equal or even surpass the velocities attainable from a similar gun with a six-inch barrel.

It is also largely a myth that longer barrels are intrinsically more accurate. In fact, bullets are stabilized after a very short amount of barrel travel, and short-barreled handguns can be remarkably accurate.

An undeniable advantage of longer barrels, especially with powerful Magnum calibers, is that by placing weight toward the muzzle, they help reduce the punishment of recoil. They also do a lot toward muting muzzle blast. A 7 1/2-inch .44 Magnum revolver is much more pleasant to shoot than one with a four-inch barrel.

Shorter barrels are customarily considered handier to carry, but careful holster selection can often make it just as convenient to carry a longer handgun or nearly so. The vertical shoulder holster or a canted crossdraw holster is particularly useful with long-barreled handguns.

The trend in defense guns has been toward shorter barrels. In the days of the old West, many a peace officer favored a 7 1/2-inch Peacemaker. A couple of generations ago, six-inch revolvers were widely issued to uniformed police. In later years, police revolvers for uniformed carry were almost invariably four-inchers. Today, most pistols intended for police duty have barrel lengths in the vicinity of four inches. Thus, the barrels on Ruger Centerfire pistols range between 3.9 and 4.5 inches.

Pistol Browning Many people believe that a very short barrel is best for concealed carry. For certain situations this is true. If the firearm is to be carried in an ankle holster or in certain shoulder holsters, then the short barrel is preferable. If the revolver is to be carried in a belt holster, a three- or four-inch gun can be carried just as well and offers more power and practical accuracy. An advantage of the short barrels is that they make it harder for an adversary to wrest the gun from your hand.

Most revolvers are available in a wide range of barrel lengths. The same holds true for Ruger .22 pistols. The Ruger Centerfire pistols are available in several barrel lengths within the range that has proven most practical and versatile for guns of this type. Balance your needs and your personal preferences in choosing a barrel length carefully, and you should come up with a very satisfactory personal firearm.

The Glock pistol, sometimes referred to by the manufacturer as a Glock "Safe Action" Pistol or colloquially as a Glock, is a series of polymer-framed, short recoil-operated, locked breech semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. It entered Austrian military and police service by 1982 after it was the top performer on an exhaustive series of reliability and safety tests.

Despite initial resistance from the market to accept a "plastic gun" due to durability and reliability concerns, and fears–subsequently shown to be unfounded–that the pistol would be "invisible" to metal detectors in airports, Glock pistols have become the company's most profitable line of products, commanding 65% of the market share of handguns for United States law enforcement agencies, as well as supplying numerous national armed forces, security agencies, and police forces worldwide.

Glocks are also popular firearms among civilians for recreational/competition shooting, home/self defense, and concealed or open carry.

Operating mechanism

The Glock 17 is a 9 mmP, short recoil–operated, locked-breech semi-automatic pistol that uses a modified Browning cam-lock system adapted from the Hi-Power pistol. The firearm's locking mechanism uses a linkless, vertically tilting barrel with a rectangular breech that locks into the ejection port cut-out in the slide. During the recoil stroke, the barrel moves rearward initially locked together with the slide about 3 mm (0.12 in) until the bullet leaves the barrel and chamber pressure drops to a safe level. A ramped lug extension at the base of the barrel then interacts with a tapered locking block integrated into the frame, forcing the barrel down and unlocking it from the slide.

This camming action terminates the barrel's movement while the slide continues back under recoil, extracting and ejecting the spent cartridge casing. The slide's uninterrupted rearward movement and counter-recoil cycle are characteristic of the Browning system.

Glock Features /Components

A subcompact Glock 30 field stripped to its main parts with a .45 ACP round

The slide features a spring-loaded claw extractor, and the stamped sheet metal ejector is pinned to the trigger mechanism housing. Pistols after 2002 have a reshaped extractor that serves as a loaded chamber indicator. When a cartridge is present in the chamber, a tactile metal edge protrudes slightly out immediately behind the ejection port on the right side of the slide.

The striker firing mechanism has a spring-loaded firing pin that is cocked in two stages that the firing pin spring powers. The factory-standard firing pin spring is rated at 24 N (5.4 lbf), but by using a modified firing pin spring, it can be increased to 28 N (6.3 lbf) or to 31 N (7.0 lbf). When the pistol is charged, the firing pin is in the half-cock position. As the trigger is pulled, the firing pin is then fully cocked. At the end of its travel, the trigger bar is tilted downward by the connector, releasing the firing pin to fire the cartridge. The connector resets the trigger bar so that the firing pin will be captured in half-cock at the end of the firing cycle. This is known as a preset trigger mechanism, referred to as the "Safe Action" trigger by the manufacturer. The connector ensures the pistol can only fire semi automatically.

The factory-standard, two-stage trigger has a trigger travel of 12.5 mm (0.49 in) and is rated at 25 N (5.6 lbf), but by using a modified connector, it can be increased to 35 N (7.9 lbf) or lowered to 20 N (4.5 lbf). In response to a request made by American law enforcement agencies for a two-stage trigger with increased trigger pull, Glock introduced the NY1 (New York) trigger module, which features a flat spring in a plastic housing that replaces the trigger bar's standard coil spring. This trigger modification is available in two versions: NY1 and NY2 that are rated at 25 N (5.6 lbf) to 40 N (9.0 lbf) and 32 N (7.2 lbf) to 50 N (11.2 lbf), respectively, which require about 20 N (4.5 lbf) to 30 N (6.7 lbf) of force to disengage the safeties and another 10 N (2.2 lbf) to 20 N (4.5 lbf) in the second stage to fire a shot.

The Glock's frame, magazine body, and several other components are made from a high-strength nylon-based polymer invented by Gaston Glock, called Polymer 2. This plastic was specially formulated to provide increased durability and is more resilient than carbon steel and most steel alloys. Polymer 2 is resistant to shock, caustic liquids, and temperature extremes where traditional steel/alloy frames would warp and become brittle. The injection-molded frame contains four hardened steel guide rails for the slide: two at the rear of the frame, and the remaining pair above and in front of the trigger guard. The trigger guard itself is squared off at the front and checkered.

The grip has a nonslip, stippled surface on the sides and both the front and rear straps. The frame houses the locking block, which is an investment casting that engages a 45° camming surface on the barrel's lower camming lug. It is retained in the frame by a steel axis pin that holds the trigger and slide catch. The trigger housing is held to the frame by means of a polymer pin. A spring-loaded sheet-metal pressing serves as the slide catch, which is secured from unintentional manipulation by a raised guard molded into the frame.

The Glock pistol has a relatively low slide profile, which holds the barrel axis close to the shooter's hand and makes the pistol more comfortable to fire by reducing muzzle rise and allows for faster aim recovery in rapid firing sequences. The rectangular slide is milled from a single block of ordnance-grade steel using CNC machinery. The barrel and slide undergo two hardening processes prior to treatment with a proprietary nitriding process called Tenifer. The Tenifer treatment is applied in a 500 °C (932 °F) nitrate bath. The Tenifer finish is between 0.04 and 0.05 mm (0.0016 and 0.0020 in) in thickness, and is characterized by extreme resistance to wear and corrosion; it penetrates the metal, and treated parts have similar properties even below the surface to a certain depth.

The Tenifer process produces a matte gray-colored, non-glare surface with a 64 Rockwell C hardness rating and a 99% resistance to salt water corrosion (which meets or exceeds stainless steel specifications), making the Glock particularly suitable for individuals carrying the pistol concealed as the highly chloride-resistant finish allows the pistol to better endure the effects of perspiration. Glock steel parts using the Tenifer treatment are more corrosion-resistant than analogous gun parts having other finishes or treatments, including Teflon, bluing, hard chrome plating, or phosphates. After applying the Tenifer process, a black Parkerized decorative surface finish is applied. The under laying Tenifer treatment will remain, protecting these parts even if the decorative surface finish were to wear off.

A current production Glock 17 consists of 34 parts. For maintenance, the pistol disassembles into five main groups: the barrel, slide, frame, magazine, and recoil-spring assembly. The firearm is designed for the NATO-standard 9×19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge, but can use high-power (increased pressure) +P and +P+ ammunition with either full-metal-jacket or jacketed hollow-point projectiles.

Barrel

Standard sighting arrangement of a "first-generation" Glock 17

The hammer-forged barrel has a female type polygonal rifling with a right-hand twist. The stabilization of the round is not by conventional rifling, using lands and grooves, but rather through a polygonal profile consisting of a series of six or eight interconnected noncircular segments (only the .45 ACP and .45 GAP have octagonal polygonal rifling). Each depressed segment within the interior of the barrel is the equivalent of a groove in a conventional barrel. Thus, the interior of the barrel consists of smooth arcs of steel rather than sharply defined slots.

The method by which Glock barrels are rifled is somewhat unusual; instead of using a traditional broaching machine to cut the rifling into the bore, the Glock process involves beating a slowly rotating mandrel through the bore to obtain the hexagonal or octagonal shape. As a result, the barrel's thickness in the area of each groove is not compromised as with conventional square-cut barrels. This has the advantage of providing a better gas seal around the projectile as the bore has a slightly smaller diameter, which translates into more efficient use of the combustion gases trapped behind the bullet, slightly greater consistency in muzzle velocities, and increased accuracy and ease of maintenance.

The Safety

Glock pistols are designed with (3) three independent safety mechanisms to prevent accidental discharge. The system, designated "Safe Action" by Glock, consists of an external integrated trigger safety and two automatic internal safeties: a firing pin safety and a drop safety. The external safety is a small inner lever contained in the trigger. Pressing the lever activates the trigger bar and sheet metal connector. The firing pin safety is a solid hardened steel pin that, in the secured state, blocks the firing pin channel (disabling the firing pin in its longitudinal axis). It is pushed upward to release the firing pin for firing only when the trigger is actuated and the safety is pushed up through the backward movement of the trigger bar.

The drop safety guides the trigger bar in a ramp that is released only when direct rearward pressure is applied to the trigger. The three safety mechanisms are automatically disengaged one after the other when the trigger is squeezed, and are automatically reactivated when the trigger is released. This passive safety system omits the manipulation of traditional on-off levers, hammers, or other external safeties as found in many other handgun designs.

In 2003, Glock announced the Internal Locking System (ILS) safety feature. The ILS is a manually activated lock located in the back of the pistol's grip. It is cylindrical in design and, according to Glock, each key is unique. When activated, the lock causes a tab to protrude from the rear of the grip, giving both a visual and tactile indication as to whether the lock is engaged or not. When activated, the ILS renders the Glock unfireable, as well as making it impossible to disassemble. When disengaged, the ILS adds no further safety mechanisms to the Glock pistol. The ILS is available as an option on most Glock pistols. Glock pistols cannot be retrofitted to accommodate the ILS. The lock must be factory built in Austria and shipped as a special order.

Feeding the rounds

The Glock 17 feeds from staggered-column or double stack magazines that have a 17-round capacity which can be extended to 19 with an optional floor plate or optional 33-round high-capacity magazines. For jurisdictions which restrict magazine capacity to 10 rounds, Glock offers single-stack, 10-round magazines. The magazines are made of steel and are over molded with plastic. A steel spring drives a plastic follower. After the last cartridge has been fired, the slide remains open on the slide stop. The slide stop release lever is located on the left side of the frame directly beneath the slide and can be manipulated by the thumb of the right-handed shooter.

Glock magazines are interchangeable between models of the same caliber, meaning that a compact or subcompact pistol will accept magazines designed for the larger pistols chambered for the same round. However, magazines designed for compact and subcompact models will not function in larger pistols because they are not tall enough to reach the slide and magazine release.

For example, the subcompact Glock 26 will accept magazines from both the full-size Glock 17 and the compact Glock 19, but the Glock 17 will not accept magazines from the smaller Glock 19 or the Glock 26. The magazines for the Glock 36, the Glock 42, and the Glock 43 are all unique; they cannot use magazines intended for another model, nor can their magazines be used in other models.

The 9 mm Parabellum, most commonly referred to the Handgun, e.g. what 9mm do you have? this is very widely used and should be correctly named and referred to the Firearm manufacturer and the calibre of what that firearms fires.

Abbreviated 9 mm, 9 mmP, 9×19 mm or 9×19, cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for their Luger semi-automatic pistol. For this reason, it is designated as the 9 mm Luger / 9 mm Luger +P by the SAAMI, and the 9 mm Luger by the C.I.P. (differentiating it from the 9 mm Makarov and 9 mm Browning cartridges). Under STANAG 4090, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

The name Parabellum is derived from the Latin words, Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you seek peace, prepare for war"), which was the motto of DWM.

According to the 2006 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9×19 mm Parabellum is "the world's most popular and widely used military handgun cartridge." In addition to being used by over 60% of police in the U.S., Newsweek credits 9×19 mm Parabellum pistol sales with making semiautomatic pistols more popular than revolvers. The popularity of this cartridge can be attributed to the widely held conviction that it is effective in police and self-defense use. Its low cost and wide availability contribute to the caliber's continuing popularity.

Origins

Georg Luger developed the 9×19 mm Parabellum cartridge from his earlier 7.65×21 mm Parabellum round, which itself was derived from the original 7.65×25 mm Borchardt cartridge in the Borchardt C-93 pistol. Shortening the length of the cartridge case used in the Borchardt pistol allowed him to improve the design of the toggle lock and to incorporate a smaller, angled grip.

Luger's work on the Borchardt design evolved into the Luger pistol, first patented in 1898 and chambered in 7.65×21 mm Parabellum. Demand for larger calibers in military sidearm’s led to Luger to develop the 9×19 mm Parabellum cartridge for his new pistol. This was achieved by removing the bottleneck shape of the 7.65×21 mm Parabellum case, resulting in a tapered rimless cartridge encasing a bullet that was 9 mm in diameter.

In 1902, Luger presented the new round to the British Small Arms Committee, as well as three prototype versions to the U.S. Army for testing at Springfield Arsenal in mid-1903. The Imperial German Navy adopted the cartridge in 1904 and in 1908 the German Army adopted it as well. The ogive of the bullet was slightly redesigned in the 1910s to improve feeding.

To conserve lead during World War II in Germany, the lead core was replaced by an iron core encased with lead. This bullet, identified by a black bullet jacket, was designated as the 08 mE (mit Eisenkern—"with iron core"). By 1944, the black jacket of the 08 mE bullet was dropped and these bullets were produced with normal copper-colored jackets. Another wartime variation was designated the 08 sE bullet and identified by its dark gray jacket, and was created by compressing iron powder at high temperature into a solid material (Sintereisen—"sintered iron").

Popularity

After World War I, acceptance of the 9×19 mm Parabellum chambering increased, and 9×19 mm Parabellum pistols and submachine guns were adopted by military and police users in many countries. The 9×19 mm Parabellum has become the most popular caliber for U.S. law enforcement agencies, primarily due to the availability of compact pistols with large magazine capacities that use the cartridge.

Worldwide, the 9×19 mm Parabellum is one of the more popular pistol cartridges where it is legal, some countries ban civilian use of weapons that chamber current or former military service cartridges, and cartridges in this caliber are generally available anywhere pistol ammunition is sold.

From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, a sharp increase occurred in the popularity of semiautomatic pistols in the U.S., a trend foreshadowed by the adoption of the Smith & Wesson Model 39 by the Illinois State Police in 1968. In addition, the Beretta M9 (a military version of the Beretta Model 92) was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1985. Previously, most American police departments issued .38 Special caliber revolvers with a six-shot capacity.

The .38 Special was preferred to other weapons such as variants of the M1911 because it offered low recoil, was small and light enough to accommodate different shooters, and was relatively inexpensive. The 9 mm is ballistically superior to the .38 Special revolver cartridges, it is shorter overall, and being an autoloader cartridge, it is stored in flat magazines, as opposed to cylindrical speed loaders. This coupled with the advent of the so-called "wonder nines" led to many U.S. police departments exchanging their revolvers for some form of 9 mm semiautomatic handguns by the 1980s.

In 2014, the FBI released a report detailing the potential combat effectiveness of the 9 mm cartridge when compared to other calibers such as the .45 ACP and the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge that was specifically developed for use by the FBI. The report indicated that the new powders and more advanced bullet designs used in current 9 mm defensive loads allowed for the caliber to deliver comparable performance to other calibers, like the .45 ACP, and .40 S&W.

In addition to this, the lower recoil, less wear, and higher capacity were all reasons that the report cited for the recent surge in orders of the ammunition from various police agencies. With a wider selection of officers being able to shoot handguns chambered in 9×19 mm, many departments choose this caliber so they can standardize around a single firearm and loading, making logistics and supply easier. Due to all of these factors, law enforcement orders of 9 mm ammo from all major ammunition manufacturers have spiked dramatically.

In 1816 Eliphalet Remington was confident he could make a flintlock that was as good as or better than any he could buy. His confidence was well founded. The barrel he handcrafted set a new standard for firearm accuracy and spawned generations of products that have made Remington® Arms America’s leading gun maker. While performance and style are certainly hallmarks of Remington firearms, one factor ultimately drives their performance, Safety.

Eliphalet Remington never lost sight of the fact that his rifles were potentially lethal and could kill someone if handled improperly. And after more than 180 years the same holds true for any firearm, including your own firearm.

Eliphalet Remington’s first flintlock launched a proud tradition of accuracy and responsibility.

A superbly crafted Firearm is only as good as the hands that hold it. You can never be too careful. Shooting accidents are often caused by careless oversights such as failing to control the direction of the muzzle, keeping your finger off the trigger, failing to fully engage the safety catch if the firearm has one, forgetting or leaving ammunition in the chamber, and the list goes on.

Firearm respect or firearm etiquette is essential for your own safety and everyone around you. The improper use of cartridges also has a dangerous consequence, make sure you understand the required cartridges that will be able to safely fire in your firearm.

These oversights can result in the destruction of life, limb or property. There’s no calling back a bullet once it’s been fired, so it’s critical that you know the principles of safe Firearm handling and storage before you ever take your firearm out to use.

Four safety rules to live by, whether you own firearm or use a firearm for self defense, sport shooting, recreational or hunting.


  • Always point the firearm in a safe direction, if the firearm does fire, it will do so in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
  • Always treat the firearm as if it were loaded, use un-loading procedures for that firearm.
  • Always know your target and what is behind that target, identify your target and know where the bullet will end up.

The first fundamental is stance, it must start from the bottom and it’s your feet. The isosceles stance forms triangles with your legs and arms when you face your target head on and toes pointing forward, knees slightly bent to give you balance and quick movement if necessary, arms locked out and punching towards the target.

Weaver stance would be used when you want to blade yourself and make use of cover, if you are right handed you would have your left foot forward and right foot slightly to the rear, your right arm would be pushing out towards the target and left arm bent and pulling the grip towards the body.

Gripping the firearm is most important, for the Handgun; make sure you have both hands on the grip of the Firearm and thumbs facing towards the target. Cover the grip with no gaps and keep your fingers around each other and not on the trigger guard. The Long guns are slightly different where you need to grip the long guns in a four point weld. You start off with the strong hand grip, and then the support hand on the forend of the stock, the butt of the stock must be firmly secured in your shoulder and then lastly the cheek on the stock so you can align your eyes through the sights.

Sight alignment is important as you need to align the rear sight with the front sight to make them level with each other. They must have equal height and equal light between the two sights.

Sight Picture is what you see when you are about to fire the firearm, the rear sight and target must be blurred and you must be completely focused on your front sight, most shooters make the mistake of focusing on their targets rather than the front sight. If you want to win the fight, you must see the front sight.

Make use of both your eyes as they are needed to find ‘depth perception’, this is how far away your target is from you. Try to drive a car for a second or two with one of your eyes closed; it’s very difficult to judge how far away the car in front of you is. Peripheral vision is our natural ability to survive an attack from the sides, so if you have one eye closed you are disabling yourself. If you need to close one eye while practicing your fundamentals to master them and achieve satisfactory results, then do so, however you will never be in a gun fight with one eye closed.

Trigger control is the most difficult fundamental to master, the trigger finger must not come through the trigger to much; just the tip of the index finger placed on the trigger and squeezed back towards you in a rearward line. Do not jerk the trigger or snatch as this will affect the front sight of the firearm. While squeezing the trigger the firearm must take you by surprise while you are holding your sight picture, for every shot you must have a sight picture.

Do not anticipate the shot going off as it will cause you to flinch and pull the firearm off the target, simple you no longer have a sight picture. Dry firing exercises are valuable to master the trigger control; you can do this at home with an empty firearm and no live ammunition in the firearm. Insert a “dummy round” or snap cap in the firearm to protect the firing pin, find a target in a secure room and practice your sight alignment, sight picture and then squeeze the trigger nice and slow.

Breathing is a normal fundamental, when you are applying all these fundamentals, you need to breath as you need air, most shooters hold their breath while shooting, this will affect your grip and start to tremor. Breathe in and out normally and when you get to the middle of your exhale then you should be ready to fire. However in life threaten situations, breathing becomes a natural process and cannot be controlled while in a heated gun fight.

The seventh fundamental and last fundamental is Follow through. You must apply follow through when the firearm fires, you must keep doing what you have been doing for a few seconds after the firearm has fired and gone through its recoil, unloading and loading process if it is a self loading firearm like a semi-auto pistol.

A shotgun also known as a scattergun or peppergun, or historically as a fowling piece, it is a firearm that is usually designed to be fired from the shoulder, which uses the energy of a fixed shell to fire a number of small spherical pellets called shot, or a solid projectile called a slug. Shotguns come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 5.5 mm (.22 inch) bore up to 5 cm (2.0 in) bore, and in a range of firearm operating mechanisms, including breech loading, single-barreled, double or combination gun, pump-action, bolt-, and lever-action, semi-automatic, and even fully automatic variants.

A shotgun is generally a smoothbore firearm, which means that the inside of the barrel is not rifled. Preceding smoothbore firearms, such as the musket, were widely used by armies in the 18th century. The direct ancestor to the shotgun, the blunderbuss, was also used in a similar variety of roles from self defense to riot control. It was often used by cavalry troops due to its generally shorter length and ease of use, as well as by coachmen for its substantial power.

However, in the 19th century, these weapons were largely replaced on the battlefield with breech loading rifled firearms, which were more accurate over longer ranges. The military value of shotguns was rediscovered in the First World War, when American forces used 12-gauge pump action shotguns in close-quarters trench fighting to great effect. Since then, it has been used in a variety of roles in civilian, law enforcement, and military applications.

The shot pellets from a shotgun spread upon leaving the barrel, and the power of the burning charge is divided among the pellets, which means that the energy of any one ball of shot is fairly low. In a hunting context, this makes shotguns useful primarily for hunting birds and other small game. However, in a military or law enforcement context, the large number of projectiles makes the shotgun useful as a close quarter’s combat weapon or a defensive weapon. Militants or insurgents may use shotguns in asymmetric engagements, as shotguns are commonly-owned civilian weapons in many countries. Shotguns are also used for target shooting sports such as skeet, trap, and sporting clays. These involve shooting clay disks, known as clay pigeons, thrown in various ways and speeds.

Shotgun use

The typical use of a shotgun is against small and fast moving targets, often while in the air. The spreading of the shot allows the user to point the shotgun close to the target, rather than having to aim precisely as in the case of a single projectile. The disadvantages of shot are limited range and limited penetration of the shot, which is why shotguns are used at short ranges, and typically against smaller targets. Larger shot sizes, up to the extreme case of the single projectile slug load, result in increased penetration, but at the expense of fewer projectiles and lower probability of hitting the target.

Aside from the most common use against small, fast moving targets, the shotgun has several advantages when used against still targets. First, it has enormous stopping power at short range, more than nearly all handguns and many rifles. Though many believe the shotgun is a great firearm for inexperienced shooters, the truth is, at close range, the spread of shot is not very large at all, and competency in aiming is still required. It’s a myth that you do not need to aim with the shotgun, point and shoot is all that is required. If you don’t shoulder the shotgun correctly, not only will you miss your target but you will feel the recoil.

A typical self-defense load of buckshot contains 8-27 large lead pellets, resulting in many wound tracks in the target. Also, unlike a fully jacketed rifle bullet, each pellet of shot is less likely to penetrate walls and hit bystanders. It is favored by law enforcement for its low penetration and high stopping power.

On the other hand, the hit potential of a defensive shotgun is often overstated. The typical defensive shot is taken at very close ranges, at which the shot charge expands no more than a few centimeters. This means the shotgun must still be aimed at the target with some care. Balancing this is the fact that shot spreads further upon entering the target, and the multiple wound channels of a defensive load are far more likely to produce a disabling wound than a rifle or handgun.

Nothing since the dawn of time has influenced our lives more than the firearm, well, maybe the automobile. For over 500 years, it has provided us with protection and food.

The exact date of the development of gunpowder is unknown, but is believed to be early 11th century in China. The earliest record of the use of gunpowder in the western world was in the mid 11th century. Roger Bacon was one of the greatest scientists of the middle Ages. He was born in 1241 in Somerset, England. Between 1257 and 1265, Bacon wrote a book of chemistry called Opus Majus in which he included a recipe for gunpowder. The earliest picture of a gun is in a manuscript dated 1326 showing a pear-shaped cannon firing an arrow. Crude cannons were used by King Edward III against the Scots in the following year.

The design of the firearm components has remained almost unchanged since the first hand-held weapons were built; with the exception of the firing mechanism. The earliest guns had a simple hole in the barrel, called a touch-hole, where the powder inside the barrel was exposed. The gun was fired by touching either a burning wick, called a match, or a red-hot iron to the exposed powder in the touch-hole. Over the centuries, the development of more sophisticated and reliable firing mechanisms marked the progression of firearm development from the earliest crude cannon to the modern cartridge fed firearms we have today.

Early cannons were prone to bursting and, in many cases; convicts were released from prison for the purpose of loading and firing cannons. The first rifled gun barrels were made in the 1400s. This early date may be surprising, but makes perfect sense when one considers that arrow makers had learned to angle the fletchings on an arrow's shaft to make it spin as it flew through the air, giving it greater stability. This technique carried over to firearms. Rifled barrels were rare until improvements in manufacturing techniques in the 1800s made them easier to fabricate.

The hand-held firearm has its roots from large crude cannon which caused mass casualties to amassed foot soldiers. These soldiers quickly learned to avoid the gaping maw of the cannon and the fusiliers realized they needed a more mobile "Hand Cannon" to provide more accurate fire at the dodging forces. The earliest 'hand Gonne', as it was called, was developed in the fifteenth century, but was not a great influence in battle. It was small cannon with a touch-hole for ignition. It was unsteady, required that the user prop it on a stand, brace it with one hand against his chest and use his other hand to touch a lighted match to the touch-hole, and had an effective range of only about thirty to forty yards. It surely must have taken iron nerves to use one of these against a charging knight, nearly within his lance's reach, when the powder might not even ignite.

Users of primitive cannons and 'hand gonnes' came to realize that a more reliable ignition system was needed. It was just too difficult to use one hand to touch a lit match to an open hole in the gun barrel in the heat of battle while trying to hold the gun steady with the other hand. Also, there was often not enough gunpowder exposed at the touch-hole to ignite reliably. So, the gun designers had to come up with a more reliable system to get the gunpowder lit in a hurry.

Eventually, a clever invention was devised to solve the problem. The touch hole was moved to the side of the gun barrel, and a cup was placed at the opening with a lid on it. This cup would hold a small amount of gunpowder which could be easily ignited. When the powder began to burn, some of the fire would go through the touch hole and ignite the gunpowder inside the barrel, thereby firing the gun. This cup was called the "Flash Pan". The cover on the flash pan prevented the powder from blowing away in the wind or from getting wet in fog.

All the later ignition systems on guns with a flash pan were designed to automatically ignite the gunpowder in the flash pan at the press of a lever or trigger. This was accomplished by either putting the end of a burning wick into the flash pan or using a flint and steel combination to throw sparks into the flash pan.

The Matchlock was a welcome improvement in the mid-fifteenth century and remained in use even into the early 1700s, when it was much cheaper to mass produce than the better classes of firearms with more sophisticated ignition systems. The Matchlock secured a lighted wick in a moveable arm which, when the trigger was depressed, was brought down against the flash pan to ignite the powder. This allowed the musketeer to keep both hands on the gun, improving his aim drastically. The gun had its weaknesses, though; it took time to ignite the end of the wick, which left the musketeer useless in case of a surprise attack. Also, it was difficult to keep the wick burning in damp weather, for the most part; longbow men were more effective in battle than the musketeers.

The one real advantage the musketeers possessed was the intimidation factor which their weapons provided. The first important use of musketeers was in 1530 when Francis I organized units of Arquebusiers or matchlock musketeers in the French army. By 1540 the matchlock design was improved to include a cover plate over the flash pan which automatically retracted as the trigger was pressed.

The matchlock was the primary firearm used in the conquering of the New World. In time, the Native Americans (Indians) discovered the weaknesses of this form of ignition and learned to take advantage of them. Even Henry Hudson was defeated by an Indian surprise attack in 1609 due to unlit matches. The matchlock was introduced by Portuguese traders to Eastern countries around 1498, particularly India and Japan, and was used by them well into the 19th century.

The Wheel Lock was the next step in firearms evolution. It is said to have been invented by Johann Kiefuss of Nuremberg in 1517, and the idea probably came from the spring driven tinder lighter in use at the time. The idea of this mechanism is simple, similar to a modern lighter which has a flint pressed up against a roughened metal wheel. When you spin the wheel with your finger, the flint pressed against its surface throws off sparks. The same system was used in these firearms to create sparks as needed to ignite the gunpowder to fire the gun. No more waiting to get a wick lit, and no more stressing about it going out when it rains. The wheel lock design was eventually improved with more durable springs, their main weak point, and a cover over the wheel mechanism to protect it and keep it dry. The wheel lock was an expensive gun to make and a matchlock cost less than half as much, so it was impossible to equip a complete army with the more costly mechanism. Only a person of substantial wealth could afford one for himself.

In 1530, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who ruled over Spain and Austria, imported the brothers Marquarte to transfer their workshops from Augsburg to Madrid. They brought to Spain unsurpassed knowledge of firearms production. By around 1560, German gunsmiths were using wooden stocks and adorning them with inlays of ivory and horn. At about this time the metal parts were fire-blued to add extra beauty and to protect against corrosion. Also, metallurgy had improved to the point that gun barrels were no longer bursting very often. The strongest barrels were of damascene manufacture. In this process, strips of metal about the thickness of a man's finger are wand together. Then, another strip is wound around them for the full length of the piece, and then the whole thing is heated and welded. It is hammered and forged into the final shape, then bored out. The damascene barrel was the only one that could survive being packed for its full length with gunpowder then fired. Other gun barrels were at risk with only a quarter of their length packed.

The Snaphaunce first appeared around 1570, and was really an early form of the Flintlock. This mechanism worked by attaching the flint to a spring-loaded arm. When the trigger is pressed, the cover slides off the flash pan, then the arm snaps forward striking the flint against a metal plate over the flash pan and hopefully produces enough sparks to ignite the powder. This mechanism was much simpler and less expensive than the Wheel Lock. The German gunsmiths, who tended to ignore the technical advances of other nationalities, continued to produce and improve upon the wheel lock up until the early 18th century.

The Flintlock was developed in France around 1612. A key contributor to this development was Marin le Bourgeoys who was assigned to the Louvre gun shops by King Henri IV of France. The Flintlock's manufacture slowly spread throughout Europe, and by the second half of the century it became more popular than the Wheel Lock and Snaphaunce. The main difference between the Flintlock and Snaphaunce is that in the Flintlock the striking surface and flash pan cover are all one piece, where in the Snaphaunce they are separate mechanisms. This made the mechanism even simpler, less expensive, and more reliable than its predecessor. This simplicity allowed for more creative gun designs, such as guns with multiple barrels and miniature pistols which could be concealed easily inside a garment. By 1664 experiments with rotating-block repeating firearms were under way (like a revolver which holds a number of shots in a rotating cylinder) but such weapons were dangerous to operate and would have to wait for another century and a half to be made a standard weapon.

In the early 1700s the Brown Bess Flintlock made its appearance, it suggested that it got its name from the acid-brown treatment of its barrel. By this time, the flintlock was accurate up to about 80 yards but nobody could aim at a man and kill him at 200 yards. A shooter of average experience could load and fire two to three rounds per minute. Going through several incarnations, it wasn't until the 1760s that the Brown Bess was standardized.

In the late 1740s, the first Kentucky rifles began to be produced in America. Several gun makers in the colonies made them, the most famous being those made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The Percussion Cap ignition system was developed in 1805 by the Reverend John Forsyth of Aberdeenshire. This firing mechanism was a great step in advancement from its predecessors because it does not use an exposed flash pan to begin the ignition process. Instead, it has a simple tube which leads straight into the gun barrel.

The key to this system is the explosive cap which is placed on top of the tube. The cap contains fulminate of mercury, a chemical compound which explodes when it is struck. This is the same stuff as is used in the paper or plastic caps in a child's cap gun. When the cap is struck by the hammer, the flames from the exploding fulminate of mercury go down the tube, into the gun barrel, and ignite the powder inside the barrel to propel the bullet.

This firing mechanism provided a major advance in reliability, since the cap was almost certain to explode when struck. This mechanism is almost immune to dampness, though in a rainfall one must still be cautious to avoid getting water in the gun barrel or into the ignition system while loading the weapon. The percussion cap was the key to making reliable rotating-block guns (revolvers) which would fire reliably, and in the early 1800s several manufacturers began producing these multiple-shot sidearms in mass quantities. The percussion cap firing mechanism gave an individual soldier a weapon of precision and reliability which was used to devastating effect in the U.S. Civil War.

The .30-06 Springfield cartridge pronounced "thirty-aught-six" or "thirty-oh-six", 7.62×63mm in metric notation and called ".30 Gov't '06" by Winchester, was introduced to the United States Army in 1906 and later standardized; it remained in use until the early 1980s. The ".30" refers to the caliber of the bullet in inches e.g./ .300 inch, and the "06" refers to the year the cartridge was adopted—1906. It replaced the .30-03, 6mm Lee Navy, and .30-40 Krag cartridges. (The .30-40 Krag is also called the .30 U.S., .30 Army, or .30 Government.) The .30-06 remained the U.S. Army's primary rifle and machine gun cartridge for nearly 50 years before being replaced by the 7.62×51mm NATO (commercial .308 Winchester) and 5.56×45mm NATO(commercial .223 Remington), both of which remain in current U.S. and NATO service. It remains a very popular sporting round, with ammunition produced by all major manufacturers.

Many European militaries at the turn of the 20th century were in the process of adopting service rounds loaded with pointed spitzer bullets which included France in 1898, Germany in 1905, Russia in 1908, and Britain in 1910, so when it was introduced in 1903, the .30-03 service round loaded with a 220-grain (14 g) round-nose bullet and achieving a muzzle velocity of 2,300 ft/s (700 m/s) was quickly falling behind the ongoing technical evolution.

For these reasons a new case was developed with a slightly shorter neck to fire a spitzer flat-based 150-grain (9.7 g) bullet that had a ballistic coefficient (G1 BC) of approximately 0.405 and achieved a muzzle velocity of 2,700 ft/s (820 m/s) and muzzle energy of 2,428 ft-lbf (3,292 J). It was loaded with Military Rifle (MR) 21 propellant and its maximum range was approximately 3,409 yd (3,117 m). The M1903 Springfield rifle, introduced alongside the earlier .30-03 cartridge, was quickly modified to accept the new .30-06 Springfield cartridge, designated by the US military as the M1906. Modifications to the rifle included shortening the barrel at its breech and resizing the chamber, so that the shorter ogive of the new bullet would not have to jump too far to reach the rifling. Other changes included elimination of the troublesome "rod bayonet" of the earlier Springfield rifles.

Experience gained in World War I indicated that other nations' machine guns far outclassed American ones in maximum effective range. Additionally, before the widespread employment of light mortars and artillery, long-range machine gun "barrage" or indirect fires were considered important in U.S. infantry tactics. For these reasons, in 1926, the Ordnance Corps developed the .30 M1 Ball cartridge loaded with a new Improved Military Rifle (IMR) 1185 propellant and 174-grain (11.3 g) bullet with a 9° boat tail and an ogive of 7 calibers in radius that had a higher ballistic coefficient of roughly 0.494 (G1 BC), that achieved a muzzle velocity of 2,640 ft/s (800 m/s) and muzzle energy of 2,692 ft·lbf (3,650 J).

This bullet further reduced air resistance in flight, resulting in less rapid downrange deceleration, less lateral drift caused by crosswinds, and significantly greater supersonic and maximum effective range from machine guns and rifles alike. Its maximum range was approximately 5,500 yd (5,030 m). Additionally, a gilding metal jacket was developed that all but eliminated the metal fouling that plagued the earlier M1906 cartridge.

Wartime surplus totaled over 2 billion rounds of ammunition. Army regulations called for training use of the oldest ammunition first. As a result, the older .30-06 ammunition was expended for training; stocks of .30 M1 Ball ammunition were allowed to slowly grow until all of the older M1906 ammunition had been fired. By 1936, it was discovered that the maximum range of the .30 M1 Ball ammunition with its boat-tailed spitzer bullets was beyond the safety limitations of many ranges.

An emergency order was made to manufacture quantities of ammunition that matched the external ballistics of the earlier M1906 cartridge as soon as possible. A new cartridge was developed in 1938 that was essentially a duplicate of the old M1906 round, but loaded with IMR 4895 propellant and a new flat-based bullet that had a gilding metal jacket and a different lead alloy, and weighed 152 grains (9.8 g) instead of 150 grains (9.7 g). This 1938 pattern cartridge, the Cartridge, Caliber .30, Ball, M2 achieved a muzzle velocity of 2,805 ft/s (855 m/s) and muzzle energy of 2,655 ft·lbf (3,600 J). Its maximum range was approximately 3,450 yd (3,150 m).

Performance

The .30-06 cartridge was designed when shots of 1,000 yards (900 m) were expected. In 1906, the original M1906 .30-06 cartridge consisted of a 150 grains (9.7 g), flat-base cupronickel-jacketed-bullet. After WWI, the U.S. military needed better long-range performance machine guns. Based on weapons performance reports from Europe, a streamlined, 173 grains (11.2 g) boat-tail, gilding-metal bullet was used. The .30-06 cartridge, with the 173 grains (11.2 g) bullet was called Cartridge, .30, M1 Ball. The .30-06 cartridge was far more powerful than the smaller Japanese 6.5×50mm Arisaka cartridge and comparable to the Japanese 7.7×58mm Arisaka. The new M1 ammunition proved to be significantly more accurate than the M1906 round.

In 1938, the unstained, 9.8 grams (151 gr), flat-base bullet combined with the .30-06 case became the M2 ball cartridge. The M2 Ball specifications required 2,740 feet per second (840 m/s) minimum velocity, measured 78 feet (24 m) from the muzzle.

M2 Ball was the standard-issue ammunition for military rifles and machine guns until it was replaced by the 7.62×51mm NATO round in 1954. For rifle use, M2 Ball ammunition proved to be less accurate than the earlier M1 cartridge; even with match rifles, a target group of 5 inches (130 mm) diameter at 200 yards (180 m) using the 150-grain (9.7 g) M2 bullet was considered optimal, and many rifles performed less well. The U.S. Marine Corps retained stocks of M1 ammunition for use by snipers and trained marksmen throughout the Solomon Islands campaign in the early years of the war.

In an effort to increase accuracy some snipers resorted to use of the heavier .30-06 M2 armor-piercing round, a practice that would re-emerge during the Korean War. Others sought out lots of M2 ammunition produced by Denver Ordnance, which had proved to be more accurate than those produced by other wartime ammunition plants when used for sniping at long range.

With regards to penetration, the M2 ball can penetrate 0.4 in (10.16 mm) of mild steel at 100 yards (91 m), and 0.3 in (7.62 mm) at 200 yards (180 m). M2 AP can penetrate 0.42 in (10.67 mm) of armor steel at 100 yards (91 m). These figures come from army documents. However, a test done by Brass Fetchers shows that M2 AP can actually penetrate up to 0.5in (12.70 mm) of MIL-A-12560 armor steel from a distance of 100 yards (91 m). The round struck the plate at a velocity of 2601 fps, and made a complete penetration.

Commercially manufactured rifles chambered in .30-06 are popular for hunting, current .30-06 factory ammunition varies in bullet weight from 7.1 to 14.3 grams (109.6 to 220.7 gr) in solid bullets, and as low as 3.6 grams (55.6 gr) with the use of a sub-caliber bullet in a sabot. Loads are available with reduced velocity and pressure as well as increased velocity and pressure for stronger firearms. The .30-06 remains one of the most popular sporting cartridges in the world. Many hunting loads have over 3,000 foot-pounds (4,100 J) of energy at the muzzle and use expanding bullets that can deliver rapid energy transfer to targets.

Some of the information on this page was sourced from Wikipedia