We owe it all to one country...


June 26, 2003, 04:53 PM
In regards to modern military smallarms developement, this country's R&D contributed more than any other.

If you enjoyed reading about "We owe it all to one country..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 26, 2003, 05:55 PM
Has to be Germany, WWII era... first assault rifles, first medium-velocity cartridge, first double-action semi-auto pistol, most successful squad machine-gun, first recoilless weapons, first rocket launchers (Panzerfaust - slightly predates US Bazooka), etc.

June 26, 2003, 05:57 PM
Voted for Germany, I just finished watching "Tales of the Gun" on the history channel about their small arms in WWII

Marko Kloos
June 26, 2003, 06:07 PM
Germany has been very influential in modern small-arms design. They developed the first intermediate-cartridge automatic rifle (StG44), the general purpose medium machine gun for squad use (MG34), and the first general issue DA/SA autopistol (Walther P38).

No country alone is "owed it all", but Germany had more than its fair share in the development of modern small arms as we know them today.

June 26, 2003, 06:08 PM
Not even Germany uses German small-arms designs any more; toggle-link (of course, even Hiram Maxim was an American...;) )guns are gone and roller-locked guns are on the way out. ;)

Their current rifle uses a modified Browning operating system and an American cartridge, while their pistol uses a Swiss modification of a Browning operatng system and a German cartridge. ;)

June 26, 2003, 06:25 PM
The only military weapons that were invented in the 1920's or before which is still around today is the Ma Deuce and the 1911, courtesy of John Browning.

Sure, the 1911 might not be issued to regular forces here, but the action has been copied and in slightly modified form, is the basis for most of the world's pistols today.

There are those who have tried to replace the M2HB, but nothing really has taken there.

If you want to go way, way back, take Dr. Gatling's invention and spin it with an electric motor and call it a Vulcan.

What we haven't invented here, we have improved on greatly with our own R&D, from the Harrier to the nuclear aircraft carrier, the M-1 Abrams, submarines and MLRS systems.

We didn't invent it all, but I'd say we have the most toys on the block.

June 26, 2003, 06:28 PM
Isnt the harrier English? Or maybe an american company developed it and it's used by the English.

June 26, 2003, 06:34 PM
The Harrier was an English development-which McDonnell took and greatly improved on to where it flys faster, farther and with a much higher load carrying capacity than the English version.

Aircraft carriers were invented by the Brits, as well as the angled flight deck and the steam catapault, which we greatly improved and powered ours with a nuclear powerplant.

Other examples of things invented elsewhere and improved by US R&D is the turbojet engine-we have taken Sir Frank Whittle's design and now we have, in the F-22, an aircraft which will fly Mach 1 plus without afterburner.

June 26, 2003, 06:43 PM
I voted other because...

Italy - Beretta

Austria - Glock & Steyr

June 26, 2003, 07:49 PM
Germany I think.:confused:

June 26, 2003, 07:57 PM
Of course it's France. They developed and were the first to use smokeless powder, the advent which allowed all subsequent innovations to firearms. It all started with France.

June 26, 2003, 08:14 PM
I had to go with the USA:

Barrett (provisional placement as the .50BMG sniper weapon is gaining wider military acceptance but it is still too early to tell if it is a fad).

I'd put up our A-team against anybody's. Gatling owes nobody as does Maxim. Browning's pistol designs were a force on two continents and the DA/SA pistol is an "improvement" of dubious worth. Browning's MGs didn't prove as elegant as what became the MG42 and its successors, but the M2 has outlived them all on the front line as the Heavy MG par excellance. The Thompson SMG is iconic in a way that only the HK MP5 might ever be again. Garand made the first combat worthy semi-auto rifle. Stoner brought us the lightweight, light caliber AR that even the folks at Izmash responded to.

Again, when one looks at "modern military small arms" what does one see? The 1911 is still going, as is the P-35. The Beretta 92 owes the Walther P-38. The British service rifle and other wierd bullpups are likely an evolutionary dead end, the Russian one an AK variant, the US one dates back to the late 50s early 60s, the SAWs are mostly beefed up ARs of various action types, the Heavy MGs are mostly derivatives of WW2 or earlier designs. The SMGs owe little to anything in the past or are variants of ARs. Some of the sniper weapons are exotics and many are not.

The only constant is that everything adopted indigenously everywhere owes something to a successful design in the past except the Japanese, whose guns have always been funky but lethal with no discernable descendants. France pretty much sucks too, though they had promising military revolver designs once upon a time.

June 26, 2003, 08:35 PM
The Belgian MAG is a direct line descendant of the venerable Browning Automatic Rifle with belt feed. Arguably the most popular GPMG in the world.

June 26, 2003, 08:43 PM
The question is NOT who's firearms are the best, but who's R&D contributed the most to military small arms. Again, that has to be France, with Germany a close second.

Dave R
June 26, 2003, 08:52 PM
Three words. John. Moses. Browning. He out-invented any other country on the list by hisself.

Now if he doesn't count toward the USA's R&D, then I don't understand the rules and will retract the comment.

June 26, 2003, 09:47 PM
A couple other American designs: the Volcanic repeating pistol , the Colt 'potato digger' machinegun, and the .22 rimfire cartridge.

Most innovations came from the country with the least regulated economy - surprise! :)

George Hill
June 26, 2003, 10:08 PM
Cosmoline - FRANCE?!


Freaking FRANCE. :cuss:

June 27, 2003, 12:00 AM
Ahem. George, whether you like France's politics now or not does not change the fact that they invented smokeless powder, which was (and still is) very signifigant.

June 27, 2003, 02:13 AM
I voted germany, but browning would win the owe it all to person.

June 27, 2003, 03:30 AM
for the standardization of small-arm parts was pioneered in New England in the late 17th/early 18th Century. IIRC the idea was adopted by the Brits for their 1853 Enfield and a commission was sent to the U.S. to buy Pratt & Whitney machines for the new Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock.
It's pretty hard to get more fundamental than the concept of interchangeable parts!:)

June 27, 2003, 05:41 AM
Actually, the first assault rifle was developed by Fedorov in 1916.

June 27, 2003, 05:43 AM
It should be noted that the French only developed smokeless powder so they could see which direction gave the fastest retreat.

June 27, 2003, 07:34 AM
Leave it to Russia, and Wolf ammo, to put the smoke back into smokeless powder

Missouri Mule
June 27, 2003, 08:20 AM
As the song goes...."Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue".

John Moses Browning was a god amongst firearms designers.

That deep enough fer ya yet? USA all the way Baby!!!!:neener:

June 27, 2003, 09:21 AM
"Red, White and Blue - colours of the russian flag too" :D :D :D

AK's rock. Nobody will ever surpass Kalashnikov.

June 27, 2003, 09:50 AM
While I agree that Germany has been very influential, the fact remains that the US lead the way in the development of automatic weapons with Maxim and Browning. I'd have to say that the only thing Germany really pioneered was the hand held rocket launcher.

If smokeless powder was invented in Fr*nce, then it at least deserves honorable mention. Auto weapons would not be able to function reliably using black powder.

Basically speaking, there has really been nothing truly new and revolutionary in over 100 years in the firearms field. If someone can ever work out the bugs in caseless ammo, that might be the next big advance. After that......who knows? Rail guns? Energy weapons? Something we've never even imagined?

22x9 wrote:I voted other because...

Italy - Beretta

Austria - Glock & Steyr

Pistols define the cutting edge in military weapons? Oh brother.... (I know that Steyr makes the AUG, but that's just another auto weapon.)

And remember....Remington was the first to use polymers in mass production guns, predating Glock by almost 20 years.

Monte Harrison
June 27, 2003, 09:54 AM
Ahem. George, whether you like France's politics now or not does not change the fact that they invented smokeless powder, which was (and still is) very signifigant.By that logic, the answer should be China, since they invented gunpowder. Or whoever it was that invented steel. Or whoever got the notion that a device could be used to throw a rock harder than a human arm. When you look at the big picture of small arms development, all roads lead back to the USA, baby!

June 27, 2003, 12:17 PM
Like it or not , the development of the first successful smokeless powder by the French in the 1880s made possible most modern small arms.

Also: the Germans did not invent the 1st successful antitank rocket launcher, they copied and improved the American "Bazooka" used against them in North Africa.

June 27, 2003, 12:34 PM
It has to be the USA and Germany. Nobody else even comes close.

June 27, 2003, 01:32 PM
Red White and blue, is also Frances, Cuba, North Korea, Netherlands, the Uk and a few others.

June 27, 2003, 01:40 PM
The fact that no "arms", nor high power explosives were mentioned by the Polos as late as 1299, yet Arabic works exist describing Black Powder prior to their journeys, strongly suggests that Black Powder was of Arabic and not Chinese invention.

June 27, 2003, 09:28 PM
but here's a twist for ya! During WWII, the German forces were issued a handgun known as the "Pistole 640b". This 9mm semi-auto SA only gun was made by Fabrique Nationale in Belguim while the Germans were in occupation there. The Pistole 640b was simply the German designation for a gun that the Belgians had been manufacturing for years, prior to the war, under licence. The gun we're talking about is the ole tried and true "Browning Hi-Power". Go figure ...

June 27, 2003, 10:05 PM
Another odd one is the Germans loved to use captured M1 carbines. I have alway wondered why the M2 carbine isn't considered the first "assault rifle". Relatively "light" cartridge, selective fire, large magazine capacity, small and handy. What is it missing that prevents it from being considered the first mass issued assault rifle?

June 27, 2003, 10:16 PM
The M1 carbine doesn't fit the criteria as an assult rifle because it doesn't fire a rifle cartridge.

Definitely the United States and John Browning no question about it. During WWI, WWII, and Korea, every machine gun used by the US Military was designed by John Browning.

June 27, 2003, 10:43 PM
U.S. and Germany. Other countries had their contributions but the U.S. and Germany made the best of their own and those of other contributors.

June 28, 2003, 05:15 PM
Mikhail Kalashnikov is an R&D lab all by himself. There's Simonov, Degtyarev and Makarov, too. And the PPSh,etc etc. The Russians weapons are famous for being just "good enough",crudely finished but generally work just fine.
Edit: Ian Hogg and David Hackworth agree with me.:)

June 28, 2003, 07:32 PM
German small arms often have a sexy contour here and there and elements of space gun styling ahead of their time
Lugers, MP40 etc

American small arms are just plain brutally hansom
1911, HP, Thompsons, 50 cal Browning MG

did I mention the 1911



June 28, 2003, 08:47 PM
He basically developed and perfected one single carbine which was simply a variation of existing technology. That's it.

Dave R
June 29, 2003, 01:38 AM
Yeah, Kalashnikov was a "one-hit wonder". There are some fine derivatives of his work but no other successful original designs.

There were lots of "one hit wonders". Stoner, Garand, Simonov...

Now Mauser had a couple, right? Turnbolt and semi-auto pistol. Or did that pistol only have his name, and not his design?

JMB, on the other hand, worked in almost all firearm genres. He even developed quite a few of the cartridges in use today, including .32acp (aka 32. Browning) and also the .380 auto, I believe. Shotguns, rifles, handguns, machine guns...

June 29, 2003, 05:41 PM
What about Walther? Love?:(

June 30, 2003, 12:04 AM
I voted for the U.S.A. but that was before I read the entire question.:o I would like to change my vote to Germany. I don't think there is any debate that Germany has contributed more to the MODERN military small arms than any other country.

If the question was: "What counrty has contributed the most to the gun world" I would have voted for the U.S.A. We invented the revolver, pump action shotgun and the Hi-Point.:neener:

June 30, 2003, 12:36 AM
....I don't think there is any debate that Germany has contributed more to the MODERN military small arms than any other country."

How so ?

June 30, 2003, 04:26 AM
Just look at all the modern weapons that were German designs. The Mauser bolt action rifle is probably the most popular rifle action of all time. Most countries had a bolt action service rifle based on the Mauser at one time and some nations still use Mauser type bolt actions for certain duties, i.e., sniper rifle.

The Walther P-38 and PP/PPK introduced the decocker and the DA/SA trigger system on semi-auto pistols which is still the standard type of action on many military service pistols (Beretta M9 is almost a P-38 clone on the inside).

Also the Luger was the 1st "really" successful semi-auto pistol. The Germans had the first assult rifle.

Flying V
June 30, 2003, 12:07 PM
1: USA
2: Russia
2: Germany (tie)
4: France

-rotating-bolt gas operated autoloading rifles
-the nigh-ubiquitous Browning autopistol operating principle
-the machine gun

-gas operated tilting bolt autoloading rifles
-the intermediate cartridge "assault rifle"

-Double-action autopistols
-the general purpose machine gun

-The metallic cartridge
-smokeless powder
-the smallbore rifle

June 30, 2003, 12:12 PM
Really a tough one between USA and Germany. I think that the Garand and 1911 Colt were way ahead of their time. Our M-1 carbine while not quite a medium powered rifle round, did fill a niche and is also worth of mention.

Bartholomew Roberts
June 30, 2003, 01:07 PM
Just on the basis of JMB designs alone the United States would have to be a serious contender... the fact that we have designers other than JMB puts us over the top in my book.

If you enjoyed reading about "We owe it all to one country..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!