Indestructable. Reliable. Simple. Ubiquitous. The AK-47 has often been described in these terms. It can be abused and never cleaned, and still work. And it's cheap. However, it is wildly inaccurate, and many users just point and shoot, hoping to hit. What could this say about the many cultures who use it?
The M4 rifle is the standard rifle of the US Army. It is a precision weapon, but requires special treatment and care. Compare it to other US weapons, such as precision bombs and artillery. Contrast it to low-maintenance, scattershot Soviet-style weapons. Does that tell us anything about modern cultures?
Surrounded by the sounds of heavy machinery, a worker ensures parts are kept to standard as M4 rifles are produced around him. In the modern world, the era of mass manufacure has replaced individual craftsmen. Does that mean weapons can no longer tell us about those who made them?
Historians of the future will look back on the present day and analyze us by all our digital and written records. Some will undoubtedly study our objects. Until then, can we analyze current cultures by looking at our weapons? Or are we not far enough removed to see without bias?