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Samuel Colt's perfection of the previously overlooked pistol in the 1840s forever changed the course of firearms development. With the advent of the revolver came the rise of military use and individual ownership of handguns, altering the course of arms development on a global scale.
Thanks to Colt and a number of later pioneers in the firearms industry, especially prolific gun designer John M. Browning, millions of people around the globe succumbed to the lure of the sidearm. The end-of-the-century handgun craze helped grease the gears of industrial production and technological innovation as manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe devised new ways to speed up and standardize production, making handheld weapons more accurate and efficient.
Since the modern design of semi-automatic pistols more than 100 years ago, they have become embedded in the fabric of the United States. Pistols are now as representative of American culture as the universally recognized stars and stripes of Old Glory.