Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top Ten Most Influential Weapons (throughout history)

Welcome to the first post of the Homemade Defense blog.
I will not be telling you how to construct IEDs and zipguns in your garage. That is illegal, ill-advised, and all that info can be found in your local library anyway.

I watched a show last night on the top ten weapons of all time and I thought I would make a list of my choices for everyone to deride. So in somewhat historical order,

2-Long bow
4-Kentucky Rifle
5-Henry Rifle
7-M2 Browning HMG
8-AK series
10-MQ-9 Reaper


Mankind's first distance weapon, which allowed us to eat things other than frogs and rats and was the beginning of weapon design, after all, it's all about hurting the other guy when and where he can't hurt you. If you don't believe that is the first rule of warfare, then I suggest that you go get in a knife fight. Nice knowing you.


If you thought javelins were fun, wait 'till you see the longbow. With a range of hundreds of yards and power enough to go through a steel breastplate, it shows that it outclasses every distance weapon known to man at the time of its invention. A trained warrior throwing a javelin could probably only hit a man sized target from less than 50 yards away, (and if you think you could do better, I invite you to sharpen a stick and go out in your yard and try. Just watch out for the cat) While bows had been around for centuries the longbow was invented for maximum range and power. Firearms could not be beat it in range and rate of fire until about the 1850's. The power of the English longbow was enough to destroy the cream of French Cavalry at Crecy in 1346, heralding the long decline of cavalry as the most important arm of the military.


For at least a thousand years, the sword was the symbol of war and a warrior's favored weapon.
The Katana is without a doubt the finest sword ever made. The fact that the perfect Katana was only perfected just before the time that the muzzleloading firearms were becoming really effective only shows how hard it is to get something right.

Kentucky Rifle

The TV show picked the arquebus as its early gun entry, but I have to strongly disagree. I'll wait for everyone to tell me of all the battles and wars where the arquebus made the difference.
Yup. I thought so.
The Kentucky rifle was one of the first truly effective firearms. It could be considered reasonably reliable, it had plenty of firepower with a .50 or .45 caliber round lead ball and unlike the smoothbore muskets of its day, could actually be counted on to hit what it was aimed at.
Also, it was instrumental in defeating the British in the American Revolution, showing that marching in lines in a bright coat is an awfully good way to get your ass shot.

Henry Rifle

The Henry lever action rifle represented a huge leap in technology, enabling a single soldier to increase his rate of fire from 3 rounds a minute with a muzzleloader or maybe 10 rounds a minute with a single shot breachloader to almost 30 rounds per minute. In the Civil War, that means your opponent might be able to get off 10 aimed shots to your 1. This would be very bad for you and I think clearly demonstrates the importance of the Henry rifle.


Ahhhh... a classic. The weapon was descended from John Browning's earlier pistols, and was the standard sidearm of the American Armed Forces from WWI to Grenada. If you ask anyone who knows pistols, most of them would pick it ahead of any other (hand) gun in the world.
Reliable, Heavy enough to smash a dude's face in, more powerful than any other semi-automatic pistol of its day.
A few minor tweaks have taken was is essentially a 19th Century design into the 21st. If you hold a 1911 in your hand you can see that Browning understood ergonomics and human factors design before the words were even invented. Also, the tilted barrel/ locking breach mechanism has become the standard of most medium and full sized semi autos. I expect it will be used for many years to come.

M2 Browning HMG

The Browning M2 Heavy Barrel, .50 caliber, Heavy Machine Gun, the Ma Deuce, invented by the master, John Browning, too late for WWI, it has made up for that by serving in every war since then, a couple of minor tweaks and it is still better than the weapon they are seeking to replace it with. It has served as everything from an anti-aircraft weapon to a sniper rifle. Its 709 grain bullet can smash through walls, armor and engine blocks. Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors will not let this superior weapon be taken from them. As a ground weapon, mounted on a Jeep, Humvee, Tank, APC, Helicopter, Fighter, or Bomber it has performed in all environments and conditions, saving our servicemen and women and making some other poor bastard die for his country.

AK Series

There are more AK series rifles on the planet than any other weapon system. That fact alone would probably earn it a spot on this list, but the fact that it really works makes it even more important. The "riflemen" out there are most likely spitting and cussing about the ugly, relatively inaccurate, commie gun being the only modern rifle on the list, but thems the breaks.
In 100 years, the AK will still be killing people on the battlefield. It is one of the most reliable self loading rifles ever made and when actually held in the proper position and aimed, accurate to a good 300 meters, which, is farther than most soldiers who use it can shoot.


Joint Direct Attack Munition
Take a 500lb, 1000lb, or 2000lb "dumb" gravity bomb, bolt on a tailfin assembly and a seeker head for about 30 grand and suddenly, what took 1000 bombers, 10,000 men, and dozens or hundreds of casualties in WWII can be done with a single plane. All weather capability, amazing accuracy, and comparative low cost make this the first 21st century superweapon.

MQ-9 Reaper

When Julius Caesar decided he wanted to kill Vercingetorix, the King of the Gauls (someone who lived far away), he had a long process to attend to. He had to call his slaves, get his army together, get some grain, a bunch of javelins, sling stones, etc and march all the way across France and then fight a whole bunch of battles, then go home have this big parade and have him strangled to death in front of the mob.

Today, diplomacy is a much simpler affair. We can direct an unmanned aerial vehicle to fly around, too high to be seen or heard for the most part, look for your house and then drop a Hellfire missile on it, most likely killing everyone there. Instead of four or five legions, the auxiliaries and camp followers wandering around for years killing and burning, 55 Air Force or CIA personnel, including the 2 operators, work about as hard as I would playing Wii for an afternoon and have about the same destructive effect as Caesar on the command and control of armies of hairy, bearded, smelly guys.

Man, that is progress.

And so ends my first post, I hope you liked it, but since this is the Internet and all, feel free to tell me how stupid I am and attempt to recruit me to your inane ideas and misguided social policies.

More to come.


  1. While I agree with most of the weapons on this list, why not the SSBN? Any of the ballistic missile subs, from Trident II on down would suffice, as the "invisible" counterforce in the MAD equation. These weapon systems helped decide the outcome of the most important war ever: WWIII.



    But seriously, what a really good site. I'll follow for sure.

  2. The reason that I did not include the SSBN or ICBMs to the list is because they have never been used for their intended purpose. While they have influenced military strategists, armies, and nations more than a 3 generations, I felt to confine the list to (warning: ghoulish comment ahead ) "proven" weapons. A good point though.

  3. I think I would actually disagree with the idea that the ICBMs are not used for their intended purpose. Their intended purpose was to bankrupt the Soviets, not to incinerate them - especially by the late 70's. Look at the drastic increases in military expenditures by the US, beginning in the Carter administration and continuing with Reagan. The Soviets followed suit, only their economy was far less capable than ours of building all those bombs! ICBM's have in the past worked exactly as intended.

  4. Also, I feel the catapult deserves to be on this list. First used by the Greeks in I think @200 BC it made the taking of cities possible. It got even better when some asshole figured he could start lofting dead things at people with it.

  5. You chose the Katana as your number 3. See this guy for more on that ;P

  6. the most influential gun in history is the sturmguevyer 44, or more commonly referred to as the STG. it was the worlds first assault rifle, and the ak47 is based off of its design alone,