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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What Are Ghost Guns and Why Are They So Dangerous?

Ghost guns are guns assembled by the purchaser from parts, including unfinished frames or receivers. This makes the guns untraceable and lets buyers skip background checks.

How Bulletproof Are Bulletproof Vests?

Without question, they save lives — but they aren't 100 percent failsafe.

How Worried Should We Be About 3D-printable Guns?

The debate over the legality of 3D-printable guns rages on, but how big an issue will they turn out to be?

From Military to Mainstream: The Evolution of the AR-15

The ArmaLite AR-15 rifle has become a hot-button issue in the American landscape. Where did the rifle originate and how did it become so controversial?

NRA Insurance Protects Gun Owners Shooting in Self-defense

Self-defense is a hallmark of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But could self-defense insurance policies embolden a gun owner to shoot?

HowStuffWorks Illustrated: Two Legal Gun Modifications

HowStuffWorks explains two ways that gun owners are modifying their semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic ones.

What Is a Bump Fire Stock?

Bump fire stocks enable a shooter like Las Vegas killer Steven Paddock to fire a semi-automatic rifle at nearly the rate of an automatic. How do they work?

Gun Purchases for Self-Defense Skyrocket

A new study shows gun sales in the U.S. for self-defense soars, while sales for recreational shooting and hunting languish.

Thought Experiment: What Would a World Without Guns Be Like?

Would populations boom and violence cease? Or would humans and human nature essentially remain the same?

5 Surprising Facts About Gun Silencers

For instance, gun silencers don't make guns all that quiet.

How Gun Safes Work

Would you believe there are videos showing toddlers opening gun safes? Turns out some of them are not very secure. Why is that, and what should you look for when buying one?

10 Innovations That Led to the Modern Bullet

Firearms get the historical spotlight, but what about the projectiles they hurl at insane speeds? Here are the innovations that gave rise to modern ammunition. Think of it as 10 rounds of ammo info.

Does owning a gun change your behavior?

High-profile shootings often make people wonder if the victim or victims would still be alive if no guns had been available. But is that true? Are people more reckless simply because they have a gun?

10 Hallmarks of Assault Weapons — and What They Do

Do you know which features earn an ordinary firearm the "assault" label in the U.S.? There's more to that definition than just semi-automatic action.

What's the difference between a semi-automatic weapon and a machine gun?

The term "semi-automatic weapon" is used in the U.S. media often. But what does it really mean? Is it just another term for a machine gun?

Gun Pictures

Guns come in all shapes and sizes. Put on your safety gear and take a look at this gallery of revolvers, Glocks, shotguns and even flamethrowers.

Top 5 Most Popular Guns - and Why

Whether they're antique rifles or modern handguns and shotguns, firearms are popular in the United States. So which pieces are people packing?

What's the world's smallest gun?

Sure, G.I. Joe's accoutrements are tiny, but this itty bitty gun actually fires rounds. What is it, and why is it illegal to import into the United States?

How Shotguns Work

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

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.

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.

How Flamethrowers Work

When humans discovered fire, they learned to cook their food in a controlled environment. What came next? Flamethrowers, of course. What do flamethrowers have in common with their living counterpart -- fire breathers?

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.

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

If you could build a train that could travel as fast as a bullet, what would happen if you fired a gun from the back of the train ... or from the front of the train?