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Everything You Need to Know About the History of 12 Gauge Shot Glasses


We see 12 gauge shot glasses lining the shelves in many patriotic American stores. Companies that support the second amendment are enthused to add a bullet shaped shot glass to their product collection. Old Southern Brass is a small business that supports first responders and military veterans, and this company is also making strides with its unique 12 gauge shot glass gift sets.

Customers are enthused with their image, calling them “absolutely sick,” “nice,” “excellent,” “beautiful,” and even “very cute!” Users of these shot glasses appreciate their deep discussion-starting qualities, stating that they are conversation pieces on their bar. People have bought our thin blue line shot glasses for their beloved police officer family member and our traditional set for their favorite hunter. They love them, but do our customers know the history of 12 gauge shot glasses? Let’s explore what the historians have to say about this novel product.

Brief History of the Shotgun

One of America’s most popular firearms is the shotgun, also called a blunderbuss, flintlock, fowling piece, and scattergun. The shotgun is a versatile weapon that was first used by the Germans in the 1600s. A short musket called the blunderbuss was first crafted by the Germans, then this shotgun-like weapon transformed into the fowling piece, which was used by the British to hunt large birds in the 1700s. In 1776, the year the Declaration of Independence was issued, Americans in the south started using the term “shotgun” to differentiate between a rifled musket and a smoothbore shotgun. The shotgun played a vital role in the Civil War and Wild West due to its versatility and impressive efficiency. 

Today, shotguns are commonly used to hunt birds and other fast-moving game, to shoot skeet, trap, and clay for sport, and they are also used by the U.S. military. Shotguns have an effective range of 35 meters with buckshot, 45 meters with birdshot, 100 meters with deer slugs, and over 150 meters with sabot slugs in rifled barrels.

History of the 12 Gauge Shotgun Shell

Now, onto the shotgun shells. A shotgun shell or shotshell is a cylindrical cartridge that is loaded with many tiny pellet projectiles called shot. After being fired through a smoothbore barrel with a tapered muzzle, the shot is scattered. This scattering method creates a higher likelihood of hitting the target, which comes in quite handy when you're trying to hit a flying bird! Shells are also referred to as a slug, which is a solid projectile that is typically fired through a rifled slug barrel. The slug’s shell is usually made of paper or plastic tubing mounted on a brass base. 

Shotgun shells from the early days used brass cases that looked similar to rifle cartridges when it came to their head, dimensions, and primer portions. In the 1870s, the brass hulls started to be replaced by paper hulls, and these paper hulls were popular until the 1960s. It was in the 1980s when plastic hulls took over the paper hulls, and now we commonly see plastic shotgun shells lining the shelves.

The Bullet Shot Glass

Did you know that shot glasses were around back when George Washington was in office? In 1795, our first president toasted his troops with a shot glass on New Year’s Day. The term “shot glass” wasn’t coined, however, until the 1940s in a New York Times article. The bullet shot glass came around even later than that.

Today, you don’t just see shotshells in shotguns. You see bullet shaped shot glass after bullet shaped shot glass lining the bars and on display at home. These bold shot glasses make statements about gun rights and are loved by military veterans, hunters, first responders, trap shooters, and others who respect the shotgun. Inspired by the history of our shotgun shells, we’ve adopted plastic 12 gauge shot glasses to mimic the real things. We also carry brass shot glasses for a golden glowing look that highlights the 50 caliber bullet. 

Gifted as a set of 4, our 12 gauge shot glasses represent your American patriotism and your right to bear arms, as stated in the second amendment. From 2nd amendment shot glasses to thin blue line shot glasses, you can find a wide range of patriotic glassware made just for you, fellow shot-taking American.

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