As anyone with their finger on the pulse of our former transatlantic colonies knows, yesterday was Thanksgiving: a traditional American ritual in which families come together to celebrate the fact that they have plenty of food for the year ahead by eating most of it in one day, the while watching enormous men crashing into one another on TV.
Today is of course Black Friday, in which the memory of yesterday's gluttony is rinsed away by a cleansing draught of rampant consumerism. This custom, courtesy of Amazon UK, has now spread across the pond - plainly we must yield and accept a USA theme as the weekend approaches. But what could be more American than a colossal slap-up feed and then buying a lot of stuff?
We'll tell you what could be: guns, and plenty of them.
Think about it, after all. The USA and indeed the American colonies before them - being rather recent as countries go - have only ever existed in the era of the gun. No knights in armour or legions of bronze for them.
The trusty flintlock enabled early colonists to establish that mutual bond of chumship with the native Americans that later became such a byword, and subsequently permitted Mel Gibson to liberate oppressed, taxation-averse American plantation owners from the dominance of evil British forces; the still-trustier sixgun allowed him to plug shifty Alfred Molina during a disagreement over cards in a different movie.
The Springfield rifle-musket allowed the Union to finally make the USA into something loosely approximating a land of the free, just 57 years after the evil British forces began actively fighting the slave trade. The .50 Sharps and similar weapons permitted the noisy, pooping, delicious menace of the Plains buffalo to be wiped out.
Bonnie and Clyde had their Browning Automatic Rifle1; Al Capone had his tommy-gun; Dirty Harry his .44 Magnum. Various modern-day movie stars have joined pesky can't-get-rid-of-him Mel Gibson in documenting the modern, long-delayed rise of the 9mm automatic as the classic American sidearm (the argument for nines being perhaps best summed-up by Christian Slater in the misunderstood 1992 classic Kuffs: "I'm looking for a really big gun that holds a lot of bullets")2.
Truly, then, the history of America was written by trigger fingers rather than sword arms as in Europe. But what of the future? What amazing new shooting irons and gizmos will appear and amaze the world in the hands of iconic criminals, heroes and movie characters, the way sixguns and BARs and tommy-guns and magnums and nines and laser sights and the rest have done?
Well, here's our selected top five: we have tried to confine ourselves only to weapons and gadgets suitable for individual carry and only ones which actually exist or will do soon - otherwise we'd be here all day.