It is estimated that there are 90 firearms for every 100 citizens of the United States. Just as the Constitution of the United States is unique among the nations of the world and the history of civilization, the right to keep and bear arms is one of the things that makes Americans stand out internationally. Of course, with that right and those liberties comes responsibility, just as freedom of choice comes with responsibility of accepting the result of one's individual choice.
American Gun is a newly published book that provides detailed information of the ten firearms that made it big in the history of the United States and its constitutional amendment that guarantees that right.
The book is written by Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who was tragically shot and killed by a Marine veteran with post traumatic stress disorder that the ex-SEAL was helping to rehabilitate at a Texas shooting range. Kyle is famous for holding the record for the most confirmed sniper kills in military history of the United States at 160 confirmed kills. It is estimated that he put down as many as 255, which the Islamic Jihadists gave him the name Devil of Ramadi, adding a price on his head.
Kyle's first book is entitled American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.
American Gun was published after Kyle's death.
The ten firearms Kyle covered in his book are:
- American Long Rifle … Sometimes referred to as the Kentucky or Pennsylvania rifle, it coincides with the birth of the United States and the American Revolution that led to it. It was the firearm that become abundant in the American colonies for hunting and defense of the frontier settlers. It died out after the production of cartridge rifles, but a Colonial Revival movement began in the 1920s-1930s when firearm manufacturers began to make replica percussion rifles. Today, you can own this historic rifle through purchase or in a kit where you built and custom your own piece of American history.
- Spencer Repeating Rifle … The design was created by Christopher Spencer in 1860 for the Union Army fighting against insurgent rebel soldiers of the Confederate States of America. It did not replace the muzzle-loading rifle of infantry soldiers, but was issued to cavalry units in a short carbine version. It was chambered in .56-56 caliber with a rimfire cartridge of the early cartridge design. Later the longer barrel model would be used by frontiersmen, mountain men, and buffalo hunters. It was a lever-action repeating rifle that fed cartridges from a tube magazine. The Spencer Company would later be sold to Winchester, who made the lever-action repeating rifle famous with its boast as the rifle that won the West.
- Colt Single-Action Army Revolver … Also known as the Peacemaker, this revolver model was probably sold more than any other in the United States and used by armies of other nations during its period. The Colt SAA revolver is also an icon of cowboys, used extensively by them in the Old West. Colt engraved about one percent of the revolvers sold in its first generation of production, but engraved revolvers became more popular and soon such beautiful pieces of artwork would be engraved by European immigrant artisans like Gustave Young, Cuno A. Helfricht, Rudolph J. Kornbrath, and Louis Daniel Nimschke who inlaid gold, silver and previous stones for their customers. Engraved revolvers had stock-grips made of ivory or pearl that also were engraved and inlaid.
- M1903 Springfield … This rifle had a long history with the US military up to World War 1 and, until after the Vietnam War, a favorite of military snipers customized for that use. It was replaced by the M1 Garand. Theodore Roosevelt had an M1903 in his firearm collection taking it on hunting expeditions.
- M1911 Pistol … This innovative pistol invented by famous gunsmith and inventor, John Browning, has a long history of military and law enforcement use. It's only drawback, to modern shootists, is it is a single-action semiautomatic; making it not as popular as the double-action models found in the market today.
- Thompson Submachine Gun … Popular with troops in WW2, especially fighting in the Pacific Theater, it was also made infamous/famous by gangsters and “G” men of law enforcement of the 1920s/1930s. It also remains a coveted part of collectors' inventory. Thompson still produces them in semi-automatic configurations, available to the public.
I would personally include the M14 and the Remington 770, which are also choices of sniper units in the US and foreign military; only surpassed by the Barrett .50-caliber semiautomatic sniper rifle system in Model82 and M107 configurations.
Before Kyle's death there was controversy over Kyle claiming he had a physical confrontation with Jesse Ventura in Coronado, California in 2006. Ventura filed a lawsuit against Kyle for defamation in January of 2012, which was not decided until after Kyle's death in October of 2014. No motion for a retrial has been filed by Mrs. Taya Kyle and the Chris Kyle estate. Following the verdict, HarperCollins publishing announced it would pull the Ventura story from all future editions of the book American Sniper.
Tara Kyle provided a moving speech at the Annual Meeting of the National Rifle Association in 2013. She also has contributed a foreword and afterword for her husband's book in the new book entitled American Gun. William Morrow and William Doyle are collaborating on a film adaptation of Kyle's book American Sniper. Taya Kyle is working on her own book.
Chris Kyle joins the Hero Hall of Fame of Old Glory Gunsmith Shoppe.