One of the most oft cited arguments against modern firearms is the ‘lethality’ of modern weapons could not be fathomed by the founders, that Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin could not conceive of a rifle like the AR-15.
Washington would have loved such a weapon actually, although given the technology he knew I would bet money he’d fall into the ‘poodle shooter’ camp since 5.56 is so much smaller than a musket ball. But the range would astonish him as a 300 yard capable rifle wouldn’t be standard and prevalent until about 60 years later and repeaters 10 years after that.
For reference, the AR-10 design is 66 years old and has only been marginally improved, mostly for ergonomics, ancillaries, and material QC during that period. Function remains largely unchanged. The time from the Constitution’s signing with smooth bore muskets as standard to the repeating firearm becoming prevalent was 69 years. It was only 25 years after that the Maxim machine gun was invented.
Arguably, we are living in the slowest period of weapons progression in a long time. We’ve refined materials and progressed the things we attach, but firearms aren’t drastically advanced compared to the mid 1900’s. If we broaden the scope a little bit we get the henry repeater in 1860 and repeaters are centuries older than that, but after rifling, the minie ball, and metallic cartridges the repeater began working better. All we’ve been doing since then is keeping those working better, we’ve haven’t changed the function. Even gas operated repeaters were patented only 6 years after the lever action.
Guns are old tech. The gas operated autoloader was only 90 years after the Revolutionary War’s first shot, the belt-fed machine gun of today works about the same as the original Maxim (Maxims have been seen in use in Ukraine). The technology so decried by the anti-gun contingents is all mid-1800‘s invented.