What do they use in guns to make them smoke after they’re fired?

Tina McGinty

Sun City, Arizona

Blackpowder, consisting of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulfur, was popular before the late 19th-century introduction of smokeless powder. Just a few rounds of blackpowder would fill a barroom with smoke in no time. American soldiers fighting in Cuba during the 1898 Spanish-American War often used blackpowder; when one fired his weapon, the puff of smoke gave the Spanish snipers a good target for a head shot.

In June 1899, members of the Wild Bunch won a shoot-out with lawmen in Montana while using smokeless powder. The next month, fellow Bunch rider Will Carver held off a posse at Turkey Creek Canyon, New Mexico, by firing smokeless cartridges. The lawmen—armed with blackpowder weapons—couldn’t tell where the shooters were located, so it was tough for them to fight back.

Related Articles

  • Guns-of-Outlaws-Weapons-of-the-American-Bad-Man

    Famous outlaw and lawman firearms have always been captivating. Gerry and Janet Souter’s Guns of…

  • They called the Arizona town Two Guns—supposedly after one of the early settlers, a crotchety…

  • The Seven Rivers Warriors started off as a group of small ranchers around Lincoln County,…