A Brief History of Guns, The Early Years…

Here’s an excerpt from our brand new book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s part of the Insanely Practical Guides series and is loaded with light-hearted education, lots of helpful photos and some comedic relief. Hope you enjoy!

Before there were guns...

Before there were guns…

Guns have been annoying politicians longer than you might think. Before we jump into modern day firearm knowledge, let’s take a look at the long and winding road of gun history…

1,100 BC

Legends of the earliest known uses of guns have been passed down through generations of Zoran women. Historians believe that many women folk of Zorah, then near Philistine, gushed and swooned at the sight of Samson’s guns. According to the folklore, Samson had two guns, of exceptionally large caliber. Also according to history, he used those guns on more than one occasion – smiting at least one lion and many Philistine warriors. Sadly, the Zoran Congress, led by Senator Delilah of Timna, Philistia, soon enacted an assault hair ban and Samson was stripped of his guns.


1250 AD

Most historians believe that the key ingredient required to make all those useless guns work was invented around this time. In fact, NRA National Firearms Museum Director Jim Supica claims that Franciscan monk Roger Bacon wrote of the mixture shortly before 1250 A.D. That was an awfully long time ago – just after the birth of Joan Rivers.

Anyway, according to Bacon’s ancient texts, the lute and dulcimer trio of Guns and Roses discovered gunpowder while searching for better ways to wow the crowd at outdoor concerts. The forward-thinking band found that a mixture of charcoal, sulphur and salt peter provided plenty of noise and flash for bitchin’ stage theatrics. Salt Peter, Saint Peter’s long-lost stepbrother, was not at all happy about this recipe and he immediately started work on development of smokeless powders that did not require any of his bodily parts. Progress was slow as smokeless powder was not invented until the late 19th century.



The earliest cannons appeared on the scene. After all, what good was the newly invented gunpowder without something to shoot it from? Early cannons were quite simple – nothing more than a tube open on one end and closed at the other. A small hole near the closed end allowed cannoneers to light a powder charge inside. Crudely constructed from iron, wood and sometimes Mighty Putty, these weapons applied the same basic principles used by guns today.



While loud and impressive, early cannons did little to meet self-defense requirements. Since gun holsters had not yet been invented, concealed carry was not feasible. Hunting with the newly invented firearms was also problematic as many animals were reluctant to stand in front of cannons long enough to be converted to SPAM. In response to complaints of supermarket butchers everywhere, the “hand-gonne” was invented. Simply a downsized cannon mounted on a pole, the hand-gonne struggled for popularity mainly because no one knew how to pronounce the word “gonne.”


1400 to 1639

Clearing up name confusion, people stopped making “hand-gonnes” and replaced them with matchlocks and wheellocks. Matchlock guns featured an exposed flash pan filled with fine – and easy to ignite – priming powder, which would light the main charge to fire the gun. A dangling, and lit, fuse was suspended over the flashpan. A mechanical linkage was used to lower the smoldering fuse into the highly combustible flash pan. Occasionally, the matchlocks would fire when the user wanted, but usually before, after or not at all.



The gun company Beretta is founded in the Foccacia region of Italy, in a town called Brescia. Having made guns prior to this date, company founder Ben Cartwright achieves his first commercial success with production of 185 Arquebus Matchlock barrels for the Arsenal of Venice. The British Secret Service, Double-0 branch, is issued the 186th Arquebus. England quietly canceled the Double-0 program when it was discovered that matchlock rifles concealed poorly under dinner jackets.



The first kinda, sorta reliable flintlock was built. Some astute marketers even guaranteed their flintlocks to be 31% reliable, 67% of the time. Offering major advancements in luxury and comfort, such as heated drivers-side seats, the flintlock allowed shooters to carry their guns pretty much anywhere, except schools and government buildings, of course. As the flintlock features a covered flash pan for priming powder, users could even take their guns into rainy conditions. No longer would major World Wars endure rain delays, thereby minimizing network television scheduling challenges.

As a side note, the phrase “keep your powder dry” came into vogue during the flintlock era. As guns of the time relied on ignition of two separate powder charges – one in the flash pan and one in the barrel – keeping powder dry and flammable was a requirement of guns going bang instead of fzzzlpphhtt.

Stay tuned for the the next phase in firearm history…

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition is available on Amazon.com now!

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition from Insanely Practical Guides

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition from Insanely Practical Guides

New Book: The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

If you’re thinking about buying a gun, are new to shooting, or have had a gun forever but just want a refresher, this book is for you. Heck, even if you know a lot about guns, it’s still entertaining – to read yourself or give to a friend.

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition from Insanely Practical Guides

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition from Insanely Practical Guides

In light-hearted style, it will give you easy-to-understand and insanely practical tips about topics including:

  • Types of guns
  • Gun safety tips
  • Things to consider when choosing a gun
  • How to buy a gun
  • How to handle a gun
  • Getting started: A fistful of shooting tips
  • What to expect at the shooting range and what to bring
  • What you need to know about ammunition
  • How to clean your gun
  • Cheat sheet resources to help you find training, ranges and local gun stores

We’ll help you make sense out of all that complicated gun stuff while having a laugh or two. From the chapter “Gun Holsters – Do It Right!”

“Far too many new gun owners purchase a really nice gun, but then skimp on the quality of their holster. Seriously? You wouldn’t drink a Louis Roederer, 1990 Cristal Brut from a red Solo cup. Unless of course you’re attending a Real Housewives of Yulee, FL baby shower. If you’ve been invited to carry the Dubai First Royale MasterCard, you certainly wouldn’t whip it out at the Monte Carlo Van Cleef & Arpels from a velcro wallet. Unless you’re total nouveau riche like Justin Bieber. So why do people think it’s no big deal to buy a $9.95 holster from K-Mart for their brand new gun? It’s not like it’s a life and death investment. Or is it?”

Why do you need “The Rookie’s Guide To Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition?” Go to any shooting range and observe what happens when folks show up without knowing the first thing about their new gun. Not only will you be safe by comparison, you’ll look like a seasoned pro.

The editors at MyGunCulture.com have painstakingly documented all the experiences, mistakes and learnings we’ve seen over the years. In other words, we’ve tried just about everything. We’ve had great successes. We’ve experienced colossal failures. We’ve listened to so many gun show huckster sales pitches that the late Billy Mays would be impressed. And the result? “The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition.”

Loaded with pictures and the comedic illustrations, this book will tell you just about everything you need to know to get started with the shooting sports.



Book Review: The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

If you could buy just one book to introduce someone to guns and self defense, this might be it.

We’ve enjoyed reading Massad Ayoob’s articles in various publications like American Handgunner and Combat Handguns for years. It’s clear that he has amassed a wealth of knowledge of all things shooting and self-defense related during his law enforcement, training, and writing career.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Ayoob’s work is the variety of topics that he covers with authority.

  • Equipment
  • Shooting techniques
  • Competition
  • Self defense tactics
  • Legal issues related to owning and using a firearm for self defense
  • Criminal behavior
  • Ammunition selection and performance
  • Accessories
  • And so on…

The sheer variety of information covered in The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery makes it worth the purchase price.

We read this book several years into our never-ending learning experience and found it to be useful at the advanced intermediate stage. The content and style of the book lends itself to a broader audience than gun enthusiasts however. We think it’s a great starting point for someone just thinking about buying a gun for self defense. It covers handgun styles, ammunition basics, realistic defensive strategies, legal issues, and more.

If you had to pick just one book to introduce a potential gun owner to shooting and self defense concepts, this one would be high on the list. Not only is it chock full of relevant information, it’s a fun and easy read – a credit to Ayoob’s communication style.

Pick up a copy for yourself and an extra for a friend who might be thinking about buying a gun. It’s well worth it.

AVAILABLE HERE: The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery by Massad Ayoob

Book Review: GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell

Gun Digest Shooters Guide to the 1911 by Robert CampbellThe GunDigest Shooter’s Guide to the 1911 by Robert Campbell is a biased, one-sided,  total fanboi-ish, and ridiculously positive review of the 1911 pistol platform.

And that’s exactly what makes this book such a joy to read.

If I choose to read a book about the 1911, I sure hope it’s written by a true and unabashed fanatic – and Mr. Campbell is bursting at the ‘rails’ with passion and knowledge about 1911 pistols. I loved the enthusiasm evident in each of the 26 chapters. If I wanted a neutral overview of 1911 pistols compared to other designs, I would have purchased a book titled something like “The Milque Toast Review Of The 1911, But We Don’t Mean To Degrade Other Designs That Are Less Fortunate.”

The book covers history of not only the 1911 platform, but the .45 ACP cartridge which made it sing. Early combat actions are covered as are fears of ‘cocked and locked’ carry from some in law enforcement administration.

Campbell dedicates six entire chapters to examining different classes of 1911’s, such as GI, aluminum framed, top end, target grade, and Commanders, Officers Models and Defender models.

Other topics include ammunition types and coverage of dozens of specific makes including accuracy and combat drill performance.

Things I did not know about the 1911 before reading this book:

  1. In World War II, the pilot of an Allied Piper Cub observation plane downed a German Storch observation plane with a 1911 pistol.
  2. Colonel John T. Thompson (yes, THAT Thompson) was instrumental in adoption of the .45 ACP cartridge as it allowed an auto-loading pistol to approximate performance of the .45 Colt in a revolver.
  3. One 1911 frame in the MEU/SOC rebuild program was found to have over 500,000 rounds through it. Some might refer to that as reliability.

Things I already knew, but are always fun to read about again:

  1. The Army accepted the 1911 as its standard sidearm after a 6,000 round torture test with no failures. When the test gun got hot, it was dunked in a bucket of water.
  2. The automatic pistol submitted by Savage for the same trials looks surprisingly like Buck Rogers’ ray gun.
  3. In World War II, 2nd Lt. Owen Baggett, parachuting to safety after his plane was destroyed, shot down a Japanese Zero trying to strafe him by hitting its pilot with a 1911 shot.

The GunDigest Shooters Guide to the 1911 is a gun geek’s delight and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Available at Amazon.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas… Four Written Words


On the fourth day of Christmas, I hope my true love gives to me…
Four written words…


What’s a gift list without some great shooting books? Here’s what’s on our ‘to read’ list.

ultimate sniper

The Ultimate Sniper by Major John Plaster. The ultimate guide to long-range shooting. This just looks like a fascinating read.


Shooting the Bull by Guy Smith. A libertarian’s take on how the other side attacks the Second Amendment. So there. Infinity.


Shooting to Live by William Fairbairn. A classic written in 1942 which draws on Captain Fairbairn’s experiences from the Shanghai Municipal Police Department. Oh, and that little tussle called World War II.

guns bullets gunfights

Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter by Jim Cirillo. Lessons learned prevailing over numerous gunfights in Gotham.




Three tactical pens…
Two shooting gloves
And a Smith and Wesson M and P

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