Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Firearms History

firearms_historyThis is a first-time, never-before thing: a second shot at W4 for the same website.

Why? Because Firearms History at has spent most of 2016 doing a deep dive into the history and technology of black powder, starting with the raw materials, and working their way up to industrial production.

A look at as much of the archive menu as we could screencap shows you what we mean. Open up these archives, go to the bottom and find “What is a Saltpeter Man?” and work your way up, if you’re at all interested in how gunpowder — original, black, gunpowder — was and is made.


It’s a priceless resource. There is no other place where all this information is available in one place. It’ll be even better if he follows up with the early history of smokeless powder, which saw simultaneous development of multiple technologies in multiple industrial nations.

5 thoughts on “Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week: Firearms History

    1. Simon

      What we need are a couple of international flights. That is the only way we will get this much spare time.

  1. Light Dragoon

    One of the best books out there for an in-depth discussion of black-powder weapons development is “Weapons and Warfare of Renaissance Europe” by Bert Hall. Do check it out. He goes into “Smoothbore Ballistics” using Robbin’s data from the 1760’s and Rodman’s information from the 1850’s and ’60’s for a basis, as there just hasn’t been a lot of such experimentation done since then. But it is a VERY well researched and written book, getting into such details as, yes, saltpetre extraction, “corning” powder, the tactical application of firearms and their effect on warfare in general. REALLY a good book.

    Also, check out if you can “Von Alten Handfeuer Waffen” by the staff of the Landzughause Museum in Graz, Austria. They have at their “disposal” arms from the 15th through the 19th Centuries, and proceed to test them out on each other! The experiment where they shoot the 1574 breastplate with the 1600 wheellock pistol is VERY cool indeed! Plus, they give velocities (in meters-per-second of course) of lots of interesting stuff. Also well worth the read, and since you read German, not too difficult a task for you, I would imagine!

    Now to go check out that website…


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