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 Machine Guns Work

The invention of the machine gun forever changed the battlefield. While soldiers once had to reload after a single shot, they now can fire hundreds of rounds per minute without a single pause.

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  • Machine Gun

    Machine Gun

    Machine Gun, a weapon loaded and fired automatically, designed to discharge a long-continued stream of projectiles of rifle caliber or slightly larger than rifle caliber. See more »

  • Pistol

    Pistol

    Pistol, a firearm designed to be aimed and fired while held in one hand. It is primarily a weapon of self-defense. See more »

  • Rifle

    Rifle

    Rifle, a shoulder weapon having grooves (called rifling) inside its barrel to improve accuracy; or an artillery piece or naval gun with a grooved barrel. See more »

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

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

    If you've ever watched a gun fired into the air at a celebration, you've probably wondered where that bullet ends up. We've got the answer. See more »

  • Arquebus,

    Arquebus,

    Arquebus, or Harquebus, an early firearm. Several types of firearms were known by the name arquebus during the 16th and 17th centuries. See more »

  • Arrowhead

    Arrowhead

    Arrowhead, or Arrow Point, the striking end of an arrow, usually made separately from the arrow shaft. See more »

  • Battering Ram

    Battering Ram

    Battering Ram, a device for knocking down the walls of cities or other fortified places. See more »

  • Bayonet

    Bayonet

    Bayonet, a short steel blade attached to the muzzle of a musket or rifle. The earliest type of bayonet was the plug bayonet, a steel dagger with a wooden handle that fit into the muzzle of a musket. See more »

  • Bazooka

    Bazooka

    Bazooka, a small rocket launcher designed to be used by infantrymen. During World War II and the Korean War, it was employed primarily as an antitank weapon. See more »

  • Blowgun

    Blowgun

    Blowgun, a weapon used by certain primitive tribes. It is essentially a straight tube, usually about eight feet (2.4 m) long, made from bamboo or hollowed-out wood, and fitted with a mouthpiece. See more »

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