U.S. Military Weapons
The U.S. military has used a vast array of weapons since the Revolutionary War. Advances in technology have changed the way our military responds to threats around the world.
During the Revolutionary War, many soldiers used the Kentucky Flintlock Rifle, cannons and mortars. By World War II, the rifles in use were the M1 Garand and M1A1 Carbine, along with bombs, rockets and artillery.
Revolutionary War weapons were crude compared to today’s weapons, and were effective only within 100 yards. Today’s weapons can be fired from hundreds of miles away and guided by GPS or launched from an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound.
Modern weapons range from an infantryman’s M4 rifle firing a 5.56 mm bullet to the $2 billion Stealth Bomber, which is capable of flying around the world and dropping 40,000 pounds of bombs.
Loading and Firing
America’s first weapons were muzzleloaders, meaning that each bullet had to be pushed down the barrel from the front end along with the gun powder to propel it. Twentieth century U.S. military weapons like the M4 rifle or M1 Garand use a self-contained cartridge and can fire repeatedly until their magazines are empty.
U.S. military weapons vary in size, from a 9 mm sidearm to a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, weighing in at 97,000 tons.