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Science | Military | Firearms

Firearms are one of the oldest and most evolved weapon systems. From flintlocks to automatic weapons and flamethrowers, learn how firearms have been used to wage wars and save lives.

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How Guns Work

Guns permeate society -- police officers carry them, wars are fought with them, normal citizens own them. These articles will show you how different types of guns function from trigger to barrel.


What's the world's smallest gun?

 What's the world's smallest gun?

The world's smallest gun isn't just the smallest gun in the world: It's a debate topic among law agencies and collectors. Read about the world's smallest gun. See more »

How Shotguns Work

 How Shotguns Work

To do its job, a projectile must both make contact with the target and hit the target in a critical spot. With a wider stream, a shotgun is like using a can of spray paint if a rifle is like using a felt-tip pen. See more »

How Guns Work

 How Guns Work

Guns permeate society -- police officers carry them, wars are fought with them, normal citizens own them. These articles will show you how different types of guns function from trigger to barrel. See more »

How Revolvers Work

 How Revolvers Work

The revolver turned shooting a round into a one-step process, forever changing the face of crime, law enforcement and self-defense. Find out what goes on inside a revolver. See more »

How Flamethrowers Work

 How Flamethrowers Work

When humans discovered fire, they learned to cook their food in a controlled environment. What came next? Flamethrowers, of course. Learn about these weapons and their civilian counterparts: fire breathers! See more »

How Machine Guns Work

 How Machine Guns Work

Machine guns changed the way we wage war. Learn about machine guns, machine gun systems and machine gun loading mechanisms with animations and explanations. See more »

What would happen if you fired a gun on a train moving as fast as a bullet?

 What would happen if you fired a gun on a train moving as fast as a bullet?

Reference frames can help explain how a bullet fired from a gun behaves on a moving train. Learn more about reference frames and Newton's first law. See more »

How does a gun silencer work?

 How does a gun silencer work?

A gun silencer reduces the loud sound the rapidly expanding gas makes when a gun is fired. Find out how a gun silencer is able to muffle a gunshot. See more »

 Where do bullets go when guns are fired straight up into the air?

Bullets that are fired straight up in the air can actually be lethal as they fall back to Earth. Learn more about bullets and bullet trajectory. See more »

How Flintlock Guns Work

 How Flintlock Guns Work

Flintlock guns were extremely important weapons in the American Revolution; they also formed the foundation of all modern guns. Learn about the gun that started it all. See more »