SIG Pro semi-automatic pistol
Battleship USS Iowa fires a full broadside from its nine sixteen-inch naval guns
A 'flying-cloud thunderclap-eruptor,' a proto-gun firing thunderclap bombs, from the Huolongjing.
The first firearm (a "proto-gun"), the fire lance, from the Huolongjing.
Hand cannon from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368)
Western European handgun, 1380
A breech loading matchlock with a plug bayonet from the Binglu, 1606.
Depiction of a musketeer (1608)
The Henry rifle and Winchester rifle
Gatling gun
Rifling of a 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 tank gun.
The Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun is widely used by law enforcement tactical teams and military forces.

Ranged weapon designed to use a shooting tube to launch projectiles.

- Gun

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Rifle cartridges: from left: 50 BMG • 300 Win Mag • 308 Winchester, 7.62 × 39 mm • 5.56 × 45 mm NATO • 22 LR
A 45 ACP hollowpoint (Federal HST) with two 22 LR cartridges for comparison
Side view of a Sellier & Bellot 45-cal ACP cartridge with a metric ruler for scale

In guns, particularly firearms, caliber (or calibre; sometimes abbreviated as "cal") is the specified nominal internal diameter of the gun barrel bore – regardless of how or where the bore is measured and whether the finished bore matches that specification.


A US Navy sailor fires a Mk 18 Mod 1 carbine at a target.
A Colt Single Action Army revolver, with hammer cocked back
A Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol
Springfield Armory M1903 rifle
A US Marine firing a Mossberg 500 shotgun
MG 42 general-purpose machine gun with retracted bipod
The Accuracy International Arctic Warfare series of sniper rifles is a standard issue in the armies of several countries, including those of Britain, Ireland, and Germany (shown).
Czechoslovak 7.65 mm submachine gun Škorpion vz. 61 designed in 1959.
Suomi M31 submachine with a 70-round drum magazine attached, 20- and 50-round box magazines.
The AK-47 is one of the most widely produced and used assault rifles in the world.
Belgian FN SCAR-H
Hand cannon from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368)
The istinggar, a result of Indo-Portuguese gun-making traditions
A) The matchlock gun with button for trigger, which came to Lisbon from Bohemia, used by the Portuguese until the conquest of Goa in 1510. B) The Indo-Portuguese matchlock gun resulted from the combination of Portuguese and Goan gunmaking. C) The Japanese matchlock gun appeared as a copy of the first firearm introduced in the Japanese islands.
A musketeer (1608)
Hand cannon being fired from a stand, "Belli Fortis", manuscript, by Konrad Kyeser, 1400
Percussion cap and early bolt action form
Various Japanese (samurai) Edo period matchlocks (tanegashima)
A wheellock pistol mechanism from the 17th century
Flintlock mechanism
(From left to right): A .577 Snider cartridge (1867), a .577/450 Martini-Henry cartridge (1871), a later drawn brass .577/450 Martini-Henry cartridge, and a .303 British Mk VII SAA Ball cartridge.
The French FAMAS, example of a bullpup rifle
The M4 carbine, a modern-day service rifle capable of being fired automatically. It is in service by the U.S. military and has a wide ability for customization.
Gun-related homicide and suicide rates in high-income OECD countries, 2010, ordered by total death rates (homicide plus suicide plus other gun-related deaths).

A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual.

Air gun

A collection of spring-piston air rifles
Break-barrel air rifles
Kunitomo air gun developed by the Japanese inventor Kunitomo Ikkansai,
Kunitomo air gun trigger mechanism
Variety of different types & models of spring piston & gas ram air guns
An example of a Benelli Kite pre-charged pneumatic air pistol, as used in 10 metre air pistol ISSF shooting events
Airforce Condor, one of the most powerful PCP air rifles on the market
CO2 pistol and disposable Powerlet cylinders
A Pure Energy N2 tank with a remote line attached
Walther CP 88 CO2 pistol with adapted silencer
Crossman 2240 CO2 one shot pistol, (.22 pellet caliber)
Wadcutter or Flathead pellets
A .177 (4.5mm) caliber "Wadcutter" pellet next to a stick of chewing gum
Steel BBs coated with copper and nickel
Darts for an air gun

An air gun or airgun is a gun that fires projectiles pneumatically with compressed air or other gases that are mechanically pressurized without involving any chemical reactions, in contrast to a firearm, which pressurizes gases chemically via oxidation of combustible propellants that generates propulsive energy by breaking molecular bonds.

Muzzle velocity

A projectile being fired from an artillery piece

Muzzle velocity is the speed of a projectile (bullet, pellet, slug, ball/shots or shell) with respect to the muzzle at the moment it leaves the end of a gun's barrel (i.e. the muzzle).


Large-caliber gun classified as a type of artillery, and usually launches a projectile using explosive chemical propellant.

Bronze cannon with inscription dated the 3rd year of the Zhiyuan era (1332) of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368); it was discovered at the Yunju Temple of Fangshan District, Beijing in 1935.
A bronze "thousand ball thunder cannon" from the Huolongjing.
Earliest picture of a European cannon, "De Nobilitatibus Sapientii Et Prudentiis Regum", Walter de Milemete, 1326
Western European handgun, 1380
The first Western image of a battle with cannon: the Siege of Orléans in 1429
Cannon from the 15th century at Šibenik city walls
The Dardanelles Gun, a 1464 Ottoman bombard
Malik E Maidan, a 16th-century cannon, was effectively used by the Deccan sultanates, and was the largest cannon operated during the Battle of Talikota.
A cannon found from the Brantas river. Made of bronze, with a triangular embossed touch hole. The wooden parts were recently made for display.
Various 16th-century artillery pieces, including culverin, falconet and mortar
36-pounder long gun at the ready
Illustration by William Simpson shows action in a British artillery battery during the Crimean War with cannon firing and being loaded and men bringing in supplies.
A 3-inch Parrott rifle from the Battle of Chancellorsville
Armstrong gun deployed by Japan during the Boshin war (1868–69).
The 1870s de Bange 90 mm cannon on the yard of Eastern Finland military office in Mikkeli, South Savonia, Finland
Comparison of 1888 and 1913 German cannon
Royal Artillery howitzers at the Battle of the Somme
USS Iowa (BB-61) firing her 16 in guns
A large bore Maxim on USS Vixen (PY-4) c. 1898
Side elevation of a typical 18th-century cannon
The parts of a cannon described in John Roberts' The Compleat Cannoniere, London, 1652
Firing of a 6-pound cannon
The Tsar Cannon, the largest howitzer ever made, cast by Andrey Chokhov<ref>{{cite book|title=Guinness Rekordbok|year=1996|isbn=978-91-37-10723-3|page=204|language=sv|author=översättning och bearbetning: Folke Günther ... |publisher=Forum|location=Stockholm}}</ref>
Remains of a post-medieval cannon battery, mounted on a medieval town wall, although without carriages.
Contemporary illustration on how a cannon could be used with the aid of quadrants for improved precision.
The use of gabions with cannon was an important part in the attack and defence of fortifications.
Fort Bourtange, a bastion fort, was built with angles and sloped walls specifically to defend against cannon.
Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter with 37mm C.O.W. gun mounted to fire upwards
Supermarine Spitfire with 20 mm cannon protruding from the leading edge of the wing
GSh-23 autocannon mounted on the underside of a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23
The GAU-8/A Avenger rotary cannon, mounted in a Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II

The word has been used to refer to a gun since 1326 in Italy, and 1418 in England.

Ranged weapon

Any weapon that can engage targets beyond hand-to-hand distance, i.e. at distances greater than the physical reach of the user holding the weapon itself.

A period illustration of the Battle of Crécy. English longbowmen figure prominently in the
foreground at right where they drive away the French crossbowmen.
Reconstruction of a post-Marian pilum
Trebuchet at Château des Baux, France
155 mm M198 howitzer
Exocet missile in flight

After the invention of gunpowder and the development of firearms, gun-type pneumatic ranged weapons became the dominant weapon of choice in armed conflicts, even in close combat.

Gun barrel

The Tsar Cannon with its massive bore and the stacked barrel-looking exterior
A female worker boring out the barrel of a Lee-Enfield rifle during WWI
The barrel of a 240 mm howitzer in use in 1944
A German Army G22 with fluted barrel
A cartridge being chambered into a Springfield M1903.
Illustration of the various sections of a typical rifle chamber. The back end is to the left, and the front is to the right. — body (purple), shoulder (pink) and neck (green).
Closeup of barrel throat area. The chamber is to the left, and the muzzle is to the right. The freebore (cyan) and leade (dark grey) transition into rifled bore (pale grey), and the comparison between freebore diameter vs. rifling groove and land diameter.
The inside of a Rheinmetall 120 mm smoothbore tank gun (seen from the muzzle) of a Leopard 2A4
Muzzle of a SIG 550 rifle, equipped with a birdcage-type flash suppressor
Various types of shotgun chokes
Muzzle blast modulated by an A2-style flash suppressor
Production steps in the cold-hammer forging process to produce the barrels for a double-barrelled shotgun

A gun barrel is a crucial part of gun-type ranged weapons such as small firearms, artillery pieces and air guns.


Object that is propelled by the application of an external force and then moves freely under the influence of gravity and air resistance.

A projectile being fired from an artillery piece
Projectile and cartridge case for the huge World War II Schwerer Gustav artillery piece. Most projectile weapons use the compression or expansion of gases as their motive force.
Ball speeds of 105 mph have been recorded in baseball.

Blowguns and pneumatic rifles use compressed gases, while most other guns and cannons utilize expanding gases liberated by sudden chemical reactions by propellants like smokeless powder.


Muzzle-loaded long gun that appeared as a smoothbore weapon in the early 16th century, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating heavy armour.

Muskets and bayonets aboard the frigate Grand Turk
Flintlock mechanism
Heavy muskets, image produced 1664.
Early matchlocks as illustrated in the Baburnama (16th century)
Various antique Tanegashima.
Large Korean Jochong (Matchlock Musket) in Unhyeon Palace with Korean cannon Hongyipao (Culverin).
Minié balls
An English Civil War manual of the New Model Army showing a part of the steps required to load and fire an earlier musket. The need to complete this difficult and potentially dangerous process as quickly as possible led to the creation of the military drill.
Diagram of a 1594 Dutch musketry volley formation
Illustration of a 1639 Ming musketry volley formation. From Bi Maokang 畢懋康, Jun qi tu shuo 軍器圖說, ca. 1639.
Iron ball mould

However, P.E.P. Deraniyagala points out that the Sinhalese term for gun, 'bondikula', matches the Arabic term for gun, 'bunduk'.

Stock (firearms)

Also known as a shoulder stock, a buttstock or simply a butt, is a part of a long gun that provides structural support, to which the barrel, action, and firing mechanism are attached.

The anatomy of a gunstock on a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle with Fajen thumbhole silhouette stock. 1) butt, 2) forend, 3) comb, 4) heel, 5) toe, 6) grip, 7) thumbhole
An early hand cannon, or gonne, supported by a simple stock
M1 Garand rifle with one-piece wooden stock
SPAS-12 shotgun with a skeletonized folding stock
Different styles of gunstock grips
Variations in gunstock combs
M16A1 cutaway rifle (top) and M16A2 (below) with a "straight-line" stock configuration
An M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle in a chassis system with adjustable buttplate and cheekriser
Gun stock construction on a lathe from the 1850s (photo circa 2015)
M4 carbine with a telescoping stock
An AK-103 with its stock folded
An Uzi submachine gun with a double-articulated folding stock
A bump stock allows semi-automatic firearms to shoot at a faster rate of fire that somewhat mimics fully automatic fire.
The Luger Artillery Pistol with its wooden holster attached
The CZ Škorpion with its folding wire stock extended.
A SIG MPX with a retractable Velcro-strap brace with two slide rods
SIG 550 rifle with folding stock
Colt Army Model 1860 revolver with a wooden detachable stock
Ruger 10/22 International with full length Mannlicher-style stock
AK-47 with a three piece stock consisting of butt, grip and fore-end
Storage compartment inside a buttstock with opened trapdoor

A butt hook, which is an attachment to the butt of the gun that is put under the shooter's arm to prevent the rifle from pivoting forward from the weight of the barrel is sometimes used in competitive rifle shooting.