In honor of our nation’s veterans who have most likely shot at least one automatic weapon about several hundred times on average protecting our Second Amendment rights (among the others specified in the Bill of Rights which we are so fortunate to possess), we will be exposing a few well-known arms for your brief consideration.

5. AK-47: The most popular assault rifle (and perhaps most popular weapon) of all time might very well be this, with over 75 million produced for the world. Known for its cheap, reliable, and rugged design, its firepower takes precedence over accuracy. Its body is resistant to corruption by dirt of any form. This, as well as its ease of maintenance and training, enabled guerrillas, terrorists, and rebels to buy the Russian rifle in great numbers, ultimately contributing to their increased production.

historic-guns-02-1112-lgn4. The Gatling gun: Invented during the Civil War by a physician of the same name, it was first used during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, in 1864-1865. Even though he continued to sell his namesake armament to the Union, he intended the weapon to “discourage large scale battles and thus show the folly of war”, according to the History Channel. The original 6-barrel, .58 caliber version was superseded immediately by a 10-barrel, .3 caliber monster that could fire 50 more rounds a minute than its 350-rounds-a-minute predecessor. It remained in use until the early twentieth century when the single-barrel Maxim machine gun took over the trenches in World War I, though helicopter gun manufacturers improved heavily on the Gatling’s design. Aside from a staggering firing rate of 6,000 rounds-a-minute, the Vulcan minigun was also given the moniker “Puff, the Magic Dragon” for its ability to blow fire and smoke from its muzzle.

3. M18 Hellcat: A huge gun actually sits on something much bigger than you’d expect: a World-War-II-era tank destroyer of the same name. This light-armored beast could travel up to 50 miles per hour in World War II, when the Americans set out to nix Panzer tanks. That speed came naturally at the price of…you guessed it…lighter armor. By design, it was a “shoot and scoot” destroyer whose 76mm barrel made short work of the Panzers. This video illustrates both of the above quite nicely.

2. Colt M1911: Designed by John Browning, this .45 gun came after he designed a cartridge of the same caliber in 1904. Fittingly, the number in the name was the year of its commission as the official standard-issue sidearm of the US armed forces. An average M1911 could fire 6,000 rounds without malfunctioning, even with its automatic mechanics. When it came time for the US to fight in World War II, several other gun manufacturers cooperated to produce more of these to keep up with the high demand. Even after the government decommissioned this pistol in favor of the 9mm Beretta M9, it remains one of the most popular pistols in existence, even though the M9 has twice the magazine capacity and is less prone to accidental discharge.

Colt Single Action Army1. Colt Single Action Army, a.k.a. the Peacemaker: It may not be the first revolver ever, but it was the first firearm to repeat reliably without reloading after every shot and the first to be built with interchangeable parts along an efficient assembly line. This repeating process effectively eliminated the 20-second reload time it took to load some firearms prior to its introduction. It was this breakthrough advance that made General Zachary Taylor order 1,000 of these revolvers. It went on to become the US military’s standard-issue revolver between 1873 and 1892. Cowboys often carried one unique version, the Colt Frontier Six Shooter, which used Winchester’s .44-40 caliber range so that they could use the same ammunition in their handguns and rifles.

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Image Source: David Hambling, Popular Mechanics