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It is not known when the first gunpowder charge exploded, sending a projectile down a barrel, to a distant target. But since that moment, firearm designers and manufacturers have been driven to make guns more accurate, with greater stopping power - to increase their rate of fire, improve reliability, ease of operation - to extend their range, portability... and finally, make guns more beautiful. No country has contributed more to the improvement of firearms than America.
The evolution of guns began when European explorers set foot on the Eastern shore of what would become Florida in the 16th century. With a single shot - fired from a smoothbore musket - guns and America were born and would forever be linked together. This 13-part series shares the history of firearms - which began as a survival tool and became part of the American experience.