The Tools That Point and Shoot
Today is Gun Appreciation Day. Now, not everyone agrees with their use and even those who do often agree that there are limits to how guns are used. Nevertheless, firearms have a long, storied, and complicated history, and there are many things to know about some of them.
1. Duck’s Foot Pistol
A Duck’s Foot Pistol was known as a volley weapon, which meant that it could fire more than one shot and take out multiple targets at once. Sounds good when you think about it; that being said, try getting four people to stand in front you so the bullets hit exactly where they are aimed.
2. Apache Revolver
The Apache Revolver was meant to be three weapons at once: a knife, a gun, and a set of brass knuckles. Using one was awkward enough, never mind trying to use all three at the same time. There was no trigger guard; there was also no sight and essentially no barrel, and loading it meant removing the entire cylinder. The blade was so loosely attached it risked falling off, and the brass knuckles would only fit on someone with extremely small hands.
Last used by Davy Crockett for the gun he carried at the Alamo Siege, Betsy was the name that Crockett applied to a succession of rifles that he owned in his lifetime; he named them all “Betsy” after his sister. The first was a 48-caliber flintlock rifle. Crockett purchased this first gun in 1803 at the age of 17; it cost him three months’ salary. Two more of the guns he gave the name to were gifts; in 1822, The Tennessee State Assembly rewarded him for services to the state by giving him a 40-caliber flintlock rifle, which he named Old Betsy. He was gifted another rifle by the Whig Society of Pennsylvania that he named “Pretty Betsy”; this rifle’s type is unknown. The name Betsy has since become almost a cliché among gun owners.
4. Colt 45-70 Peacemaker
The Peacemaker was the gun of choice for movie star John Wayne. Sometime in the 1970s, someone got the idea that the Colt needed to be made even larger and more powerful. Thus was developed the 45-70.
5. The “Hand Cannon”
There are variants to the 45-70; some, for instance, feel like a jackhammer in your hand, whereas the “Hand Cannon” feels like a grenade that you’ve pulled the pin on and forgotten to let go of. It should not be fired by, well, anyone. It is more or less beyond practicality; some models over two feet in length, and the gun is impossible to wield with one arm.
Remember, always play it safe when it comes to firearms.