Knowledge of the evolution of small-arms systems for sporting and military purposes is important for the student of firearms identification. The individual components of the system—firearms and ammunition—are closely interrelated. Small improvements in one continue to lead to small improvements in the other. Understanding this evolution will make the student a better firearm examiner and witness.
As an evolutionary overview, this discussion follows the significant milestones showing how today’s technology is connected to the past and tracing the key lines of growth. It is a story of constant improvement, of new strengths from old weaknesses, and of the incredible inventiveness of the human mind.