Explore this exhibit: Guns of the West
Guns That Shaped the Wild Frontier.
For centuries gunpowder weapons had been changing the course of battles around the globe. Each culture that gained the knowledge of gunpowder experimented with ways to improve its efficiency as a tool of hunting and war.
The demand for firearms from settlers moving westward across the plains helped lay the foundation for an American arms industry that would eventually fuel a bloody Civil War.
The competitive demands of the Civil War pushed the technological development of firearms. During the time of the Civil War, the Plains Indians stayed at the same technological level in weaponry. Going into the war, one soldier has about the same firepower as on Comanche warrior. After the Civil War, one soldier was equal to about twelve Comanche warriors.
The development of the “American Western Frontier” by settles from the 1820s through the 1890s was achieved through the ever-increasing power of personal firearms. These weapons gave their holder an advantage over the fierce wildlife and native peoples they would encounter.
The Fort Phantom Hill Firearms Collection on display at Frontier Texas show the progression from early muzzle loading weaponry, all the way through the rapid-fire Winchesters and Colts.
The Fort Phantom Foundation Firearms Collection was gathered over several decades from private collectors and public gun shows to show the varieties of firearms used on the Texas frontier. The foundation owns and maintains the Fort Phantom Hill historic site located north of Abilene.