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A breakthrough so important that it alters the course of an industry is rare indeed. But it happened in 1871, when Gilbert H. Harrington invented the top-breaking, shell-ejecting revolver. For the first time, handgunners had a firearm that was not only durable and accurate, but easy to load and unload as well.

In 1932, an H&R pistol was used to set a new U.S. pistol record, and would go on to become the most famous firearm of its kind-the U.S.R.A. single-shot target pistol. This pistol was so accurate that it was adopted by the U.S. Army Pistol Team.

In wartime, H&R answered the call to duty. During World War I, H&R was an important producer of shoulder-type flare guns. In World War II, the company was a major producer of military firearms, earning many commendations from the U.S. armed forces. It produced the U.S. M1 Garand rifle, was the largest single manufacturer of the M-14, and one of the major producers of the M-16.