Meta: Americans love guns. It’s woven into our identity to love firearms and the industry that creates them, and today, we’ll look at the 10 most American guns.
The first gun on our list is perhaps the most famous one, and it is the most recognizable weapon of the Wild West. Along with the Model 3 revolver, the Colt Single Action Army was a favorite of lawmen and outlaws alike, and its reliable nature and reasonable price made it incredibly common.
While the romanticized view of the Wild West that we enjoy in movies and TV may be a little optimistic, the ubiquity of this single gun was one thing that they all got right. Today, you can get your hands on plenty of reproduction Single Action Armies, though originals can fetch thousands at auction, depending on the original owner.
America’s first rifle of worldwide renown was the Winchester Rifle, and this gun was available in many models, though two of the most famous were the Model 1873 and the Model 1895. The former was known as the “Gun That Won the West,” as it was one of the most popular repeating rifles of its time.
On the other hand, the Model 1895 saw widespread use during World War I, as it was fielded by the American, British, and Russian armies. The Winchester Rifle featured a lever-action mechanism that was far quicker than the breach-loaders that were common during its time, making follow-up shots far simpler.
The M1903 Springfield was the answer to a few decades of stagnation in American firearms development, particularly in the field of long rifles. This gun would go on to see service in two World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, making it one of the longest-serving weapons in US military history.
The M1903 started off as an infantry rifle, though it would go on to play a more specialized role as a marksman’s rifle as time went by and it was surpassed by new equipment. However, during World War II, most soldiers who weren’t equipped with an M1 Garand had a trusty Springfield at their side.
The Colt M1911 is still going strong after over 100 years of production, though the design is admittedly starting to show signs of aging. This was one of the world’s first and most successful semi-automatic handguns, and it has served in countless wars as a trusty sidearm for American soldiers.
A lot of Americans can boast that their first ever handgun was an M1911, and we believe that every red-blooded patriot should feel the reassuring kick of the .45 ACP cartridge at least once.
Speaking of the .45 ACP cartridge, the Thompson submachine gun is another famous American gun that fired it. Also known as the Tommy Gun, this firearm has cemented its place in American history.
The Thompson has been used everyone ranging from American paratroopers storming the beaches of Normandy to Chicago gangsters in back-alley brawls. This is probably one of the best-known submachine guns in history, and even people who don’t know firearms can recognize the Tommy Gun.
Despite being born in Canada, John C. Garand was the son of American parents, and he went on to design one of the most influential rifles in history. The M1 Garand was the first semi-automatic rifle that was issued to line troops en masse, and it drastically increased the firepower that American soldiers could bring to bear.
In World War II, most squads were equipped with bolt-action rifles, and they couldn’t hope to match the output of the faster-firing Garand.
Using the M1 as a basis, the M14 was the next step in US firearms development, and it was one of the first battle rifles of its time. The M14 competed with the FAL as the weapon that would go on to arm NATO armies, and while it lost at that, it would go on to serve in the Vietnam War and beyond.
There are variants of the M14 that are still in use today, namely the EBR, which stands for Enhanced Battle Rifle. This version of the M14 is used by designated marksmen who need the superior accuracy and range that is offered by the full-power rifle-caliber round that it fires.
Of course, we could never forget to mention Eugene Stoner’s famous design that would go on to arm a generation of American soldiers. Still in use as the primary infantry rifle of the American soldier today, the M16 has been going strong since the Vietnam War, where it endured some unfortunate teething issues.
What has made the M16 such a famous weapon is its success on the Civilian market as the AR-15, as it’s one of the most popular rifles in the country.
Sticking to Vietnam-era weaponry, we can’t forget the M60 machine gun, which has been made famous by movies like Rambo. While you won’t see plenty of soldiers hip-firing this monster of a light machine gun in real life, there was, in fact, a lightweight variant made for use in the jungles of Vietnam (the M60E3).
The M60E4 variant is still in use by various militaries today, and it features various aspects that have been rebuilt to make the gun more reliable.
The final gun that we’re going to look at is the M2 Browning heavy machine gun. Firing a .50 caliber projectile, the M2 has seen use on vehicles, with heavy machine gun crews, and even as the primary armament of American fighter aircraft in World War II.
Designed in 1918, this is still one of the most popular heavy machine guns in the world. The M2 has also seen plenty of use as a coaxial machine gun in tanks due to its favorable ballistics for ranging shots. Overall, this is perhaps the most versatile weapon on our list.
As you can see, America has plenty of famous firearms, and this list has only scratched the surface. While a lot of other nations have a history of building guns, most of them can’t hope to match American industrial muscle.