Kenai Middle School history teacher Bob Summers fires a replica of a flintlock rifle from the 1700s as his class watches from inside the school Wednesday afternoon. The weapon, which was loaded with powder but not a bullet, was one of four Summers showed the students while teaching them about the weapons and fighting techniques of the French and Indian War and Civil War. With a special permit signed by the school superintendent, the principle and the chief of police, Summers said he has been able to teach the lesson for about 18 years. Pointing to a 150-year-old Civil War musket, Summers said that the lesson was a chance for students to both hold and smell a reall piece of history.
Kerri Leavitt gets help sighting the flintlock rifle. In addition to the flintlock rifle and Civil War musket, students also saw a smoothbore trade gun from the 1700s and a Sharps buffalo rifle from the 1800s. Student Chase Feagin said he learned a lot about how advances in gun making changed the way war was fought. "I had no idea of the progression from flintlock, to percussion to metallic cartridges," he said.