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Q: How did the rifle then become a military tool? A: Eighteenth-century armies relied on massed, synchronized broadsides to demolish the foe's formations in short order, a tactical task that required fast-loading muskets rather than rifles, which were much more fiddly and needed no little training to master. That meant that rifles were essentially restricted to specialists. They were a kind of niche interest. During the War of Independence, for instance, the Americans mobilized small bands of backwoods riflemen, but not for very long and to very little practical effect.

The vast majority of Revolutionary combat between the armies was conducted by musket, not rifles. It wouldn't be until just before the Civil War that the two competing types of weapon — rifle and musket — merged to form what was known briefly as a "rifle-musket," soon shortened to just "rifle.

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Since then, rifles have been a staple of every army in the world. Q: When did rifles become controversial? A: Depends on what you mean by "controversial. Within military circles, there were polite and intellectual debates over the proper employment of rifles and muskets on the battlefield and, later, between advocates of single-shot rifles and repeating ones. There were also debates concerning the appropriate caliber of ammunition, the use of magazines to feed cartridges into the chamber, the introduction of semiautomatic mechanisms, and so forth.

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But this is par for the course with any form of technology. Within military organizations, there are always ongoing, evolving debates between contending factions or schools of thought. The central debate of the last few centuries has concerned the relative importance of firepower and marksmanship in warfare, the quantity and quality question I mentioned before. Pretty much everything gets back to that issue somewhere along the line.

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Q: When and how did rifles become something that people wanted to limit or ban? Is that a late 20th-century development? A: Guns, not rifles in particular, have always been subject to bans or restrictions, but such attempts stem from diverse motives and vary from culture to culture. Thus, in the Greek and Roman era, there was an aristocratic suspicion of projectile weapons bows, spears , because the cowardly killed from afar rather than up close. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this snobbery was applied to bullet-launching weapons. Shakespeare , in "Henry IV," Part 1, mentions a "certain lord" who claims that "but for those vile guns, he would himself have been a soldier.

There were, accordingly, efforts to suppress their use on the battlefield, partly for reasons of noble prestige and partly for reasons of economy armor did not come cheap, after all. In seventeenth-century America , the various powers England , France , and Holland made sure to stop guns reaching hostile Indian tribes but freely traded with those allied with them. In this instance, limitations were imposed for purely geopolitical reasons. During the Indian Wars of the late nineteenth century, there were strenuous efforts to restrict the supply of gunpowder and ammunition, if not weaponry, to Indians in order to suppress what we would probably call guerrilla warfare and to make them more reliant on Washington and more willing to sign treaties in return for gunpowder.

So, here we see gun restrictions being used for military and strategic gains.

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Over in Japan , on the other hand, the Tokugawa shogunate used firearms to instill order and then banned them outright even its own for the sake of stability and the preservation of its sword-based samurai hegemony. Meanwhile, the ruling Mamelukes in Egypt forbade guns, not because they feared uprisings or loved swords, but because they thought them suitable only for Christian infidels. Q: When did the rifle become a "sexy" weapon, one that people prized for its sleekness, its beauty, and so on? Was that an early development or a modern one?

A: I'm not entirely convinced that "sexy" is the correct way to describe a rifle. I think "aesthetics" is probably more useful in this context.

Magazine vs. clip

Soldiers have always liked beautiful weapons. Look at any display of medieval arms, Japanese swords, or Enlightenment dueling pistols. The rifle is no different, for the most part. Probably the most classically elegant rifle was the eighteenth-century Kentucky, but one could also argue for the M16 — a product of the Space Age, using futuristic materials, based on a visually striking design — as a leading contender for the crown.

In sum, rifle aesthetics tend to reflect their environment and the culture that produced it. It's striking, I think, that the Soviet AK , certainly the world's most notorious rifle, is, to my mind, also starkly ugly. It's a characteristic product of a Stalinist culture and brutalist mindset. Q: What's next for the evolution of rifles?

A: The end of the rifle is always nigh, so it has been traditionally proclaimed. One hears this sometimes nowadays, as robots and advanced technology increasingly dominate the battlefield. Perhaps, but I don't think so.

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  • The rifle is here to stay, if only because it is the most useful object issued to soldiers. Its future form, however, is an interesting question. Some analysts predict that there will be a Great Leap Forward in rifle technology that will render current models instantly obsolete. Again, I'm not so sure. For most of the rifle's history, change has been gradual and incremental, mostly because genuine technological "revolutions" are rather infrequent, but also because the old, tried-and-true technology "just works," whereas the flashy, new stuff has not been tested in the field. And who wants to be a guinea pig when the bullets are flying? Personally, I think the rifle of the future will look a lot like the rifle of the past and of the present.

    Already a subscriber? This website uses cookies to improve functionality and performance. It resembles the Winchester Model This knock-off of an iron curtain rifle has a large magazine that holds 18 bullets. A second rifle, an Assault Rifle , is both powerful and very reliable. Ammunition for the assault rifle is scarce but can be found if one takes the time to look for it. It can be found in Andy's Books. The weapon resembles a Norinco Type 84S , due to its unusually long barrel, yet it is chambered for 7,62mm ammunition like a Norinco Type The weapon fires 7.

    The fact that Travis can acquire such a weapon is a blatant anachronism since civilian AK type rifles entered the US market after , and Silent Hill: Origins is presumably set in , although Travis reflects the rifle is indeed an imitation from the Communist bloc. The Tesla Rifle harnesses the power of moonbeams to dispense unlimited electric death.

    Rumor has it the gun was developed using alien technology. The weapon looks very futuristic and shoots unlimited electricity from its barrel in opposition to actual ammo. It serves a similar role to that of the Hyper Blaster from the first Silent Hill. In exchange for devastating damage, the Tesla Rifle possesses a horrid effective range, resulting in the possibility of being easily overwhelmed or even killed while using it.

    As such, this weapon proves to be an extremely dangerous choice of firearm when confronted with enemies that have charging attacks, such as the Caliban and the Carrion. Individually-named, two rifle-type weapons can be found in Silent Hill: Homecoming. Like its predecessors, Homecoming employs a rifle that is very potent for long distance combat, the only weapon that can outclass it in terms of damage at close range being the shotgun. In this particular case, it's not named "Hunting Rifle" as in past iterations and it is semi-automatic rather than bolt-action. The weapon can be found in Dargento Cemetery in Silent Hill but can only be acquired after solving the optional Janus statue puzzle.

    Nonetheless, he is never able to pick up the weapon. The Police Marksman Rifle is found on a desk in Room of the lair. It is the second-tier rifle in the game, being more powerful than the M14 Assault Rifle and having a 7 round capacity. It is possible that this weapon belongs to Deputy Wheeler , as he is held in the adjacent room and its name confirms its use by police.

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    It resembles the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare rifle. Using a special code , the player can obtain a Rifle resembling a Winchester Repeater albeit missing a trigger guard and lever.