Firearms

Firearms (small arms, light arms), as opposed to artillery pieces, machine guns etc., man-portable guns. Based on their purpose and design they are designated: long guns for infantry, light infantry (rifles), engineers etc., as well as hunting rifles, firearms with shorter barrels (carbines) for cavalry, foot artillery, transportation troops etc., and even shorter ones for self-defence in close quarters combat (handguns) for officers, drivers, medical personnel etc. (revolver, automatic pistol, earlier smoothebore pistol and terzerol). Depending on how they are loaded, these weapons are called muzzleloaders or breechloaders. The latter are further differentiated as single-shot or multi-shot weapons. Firearms typically consist of lock, stock, and barrel, metal fittings and accessories. Military firearms have a bayonet for hand-to-hand combat.

Medieval hand cannon with battle axe dated 1393

Matchlock of an arquebus

Wheel lock

Snaphance lock

Percussion lock, caplock

Revolving long gun of the early 17th century

Lock of the Dreyse needle-gun (plate I, fig. 1)

Krnka quick loader magazine

Lee magazine system

Source: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6. Auflage 1905–1909

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Military Glossary