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.


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.

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  • Blunderbuss

    Blunderbuss, a type of flintlock firearm introduced into England from Holland in the 17th century. See more »

  • Boomerang

    Boomerang, a curved throwing stick. The word “boomerang" originated in Australia, where it was used to describe the wooden throwing weapons Australian Aborigines used for hunting and warfare. See more »

  • Caliber

    Caliber, the diameter of the bore (inside) of the barrel of a firearm. The term is also used to refer to the diameter of a bullet or shell. See more »

  • Carbine

    Carbine, a lightweight rifle with a short barrel. Early models were designed for use by cavalry, but in modern armies carbines are used mostly for self-protection by troops whose principal duty is not infantry fighting. See more »

  • Dumdum Bullet
    Dumdum Bullet

    Dumdum Bullet, a soft-nosed bullet that flattens out when it strikes its target. See more »

  • Firearms

    Firearms, hand-held or small mounted weapons from which projectiles are discharged by an explosive. See more »

  • Flame Thrower
    Flame Thrower

    Flame Thrower, a device used chiefly in close combat in war. It is particularly effective against enclosed defensive positions, such as pillboxes, blockhouses, and caves. See more »

  • Flintlock

    Flintlock, a firing mechanism used on early firearms. It was first used on muskets about 1650, later on pistols. See more »

  • Musket

    Musket, any firearm used by infantry in the line of battle during the period 1600-1855. See more »

  • Shotgun

    Shotgun, a shoulder weapon used primarily for hunting birds and small game. Shotguns are also used in hunting deer, in the sports of skeet shooting and trapshooting and, to some extent, in police work. See more »

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