The 10 Weapons That Changed Everything

As the battle over the 2nd Amendment rages on in America, it’s easy to forget how we got to where we are today.

No, I’m not talking about the history of background checks, restricting the purchase of AR-15s, or the soaring prices of brass. I’m talking about ancients weapons and how we’ve been developing more efficient killing devices for millenia.

Self-defense isn’t a joke. But neither are some of these nasty weapons. Check out what it meant in the “old days” to defend your home.

Read what our native veteran John teaches about How To Shoot A Gun.

Abel, stop wrastling with your bro naked.

Abel, stop wrastling with your bro naked.

10. Bone

Aside from the original ancient weapon–an inefficient and fragile fist–a bone, stick or shaft of some sort is likely to have been one of man’s first weapons.

No longer would fights be limited to our primal instincts. Long gone are the days of teeth, claws and fists. Ish just got real.

9. Spear

We don’t know when someone first attached a jagged rock or sharpened edge to a stick. But we know it invented mid-range combat. The ability to keep your enemy at bay proved useful. Creating distance meant a bit of reprieve and safety for the one holding the weapon.

Or, they could just throw it and make the spear into the first projectile weapon (rocks excluded).

8. GladiusGladius

It was the Roman Legionary’s sword. Double-edged blades pre-dated Rome’s use of the Gladius. But the Romans mastered the standardization of the blade. This short-bladed sword was part of every Legionary’s load-out, to go along with their dagger, spear and shield.

The Roman Empire made sure their soldiers had an arsenal ready for numerous encounters. The versatile Legionaries, with their trusty Gladius in hand, helped created a massive Empire that stretched from the Middle East to North Africa to England.

 7. Bow and Arrow

The original “gun” changed theaters of war just as much as black powder did centuries later.

Long gone were the days of simply charging troops into massive amounts of other troops. The ability to step aside and call a rain of arrows down on one’s enemies saved a lot of soldiers…and wreaked havoc on mere peasants.

6. Cannons and Gunpowder Weapons

Before the invention of gunpowder, battles were typically won by the strongest. Wars, possibly by the smartest. But gunpowder made it possible for the better financed to win a war.

Gunpowder weapons were first introduced much earlier than you may realize–likely in the 8th or 9th centuries. Shooting a cannon through someone not only tore through their defenses, but the first cases of “shock and awe” were recorded.

5. Rifled-barrel Weapons

Muskets were in use for centuries by the time the “rifle” was in major use.

Barrel rifling was invented in the 1500s, but the highly inaccurate muskets were still the weapon of choice for many armies. Without rifling barrels, “bullets” or miniature cannonballs simply flung at an enemy and aiming had to do as much with luck as with skill.Colt

But putting a hard spin on a bullet corrected trajectory and increased speed–making “rifles” deadly weapons by the mid-1800s.

4. Colt Revolver

“God made all men, but Samuel Colt made them equal.”

Although Samuel Colt didn’t invent the “wheel-gun” or “revolver” he did make the first highly successful ones. He effectively leveled the playing field and made vulnerable frontiersman capable of protecting themselves with the “right to bear arms”.

The Colt Revolver also changed how warfare played out. In a time where most rifles required reloading after a single shot, the “six-shooter” could fire six times without having to reload. It’s small size allowed it to be carried anywhere, and even a women or a child could use it.

30 Best Gun Fight Scenes of All Time

Two centuries later, law enforcement and regular citizens still use revolvers to defend themselves. But it was Samuel Colt back in 1836 who brought rapid fire, high capacity, hand-held weapons to the masses–for better or worse.

3. Fully Automatic Weapons

The advent of the belt-fed machine gun, the AK-47, and the M-16 carbine allowed armies to mow down infantries in one squeeze of the finger. Atomic Bomb

Long gone are the days of red-coats lining up in battle formation. Even when swords, arrows and muskets were introduced, soldier battle formations still existed. Once rapid fire weapons were manufactured for war, the way humans thought about using–or wasting–their soldiers has changed drastically.

Modern warfare attachments? When in doubt, use a Grenade Launcher.

2. The Atomic Bomb

By far the least used weapon on this list, it is severely one of the most impactful. The United States decided that by killing many, many more would be spared. And thus an explosion over two Japanese cities changed the course of human history.

The atom bomb meant that war was no longer something that just happened to soldiers, but something that happens to everyone.

Predator Drone1. Drones

Rome said “Hello” to the manufacturing of warfare’s weapons. Bows and arrows brought ancient fighters long distance battles. Black powder brought us the power to instantaneously kill. Rapid fire weaponry removed the personal closeness of killing our fellow humans, and the effort it took to twist the blade.

Today, drones take us toward a final step in the dehumanization of warfare (and spying). You don’t even have to be there. Aiming and firing isn’t that different from a round of Call of Duty.

For better or for worse…

About Todd Mayfield

He's a lover, not a fighter. But he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas.

He works for a series of private schools to advance innovative education to combat ballooning classroom sizes and challenge the status quo of the current public and private education format.

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