History of early firearms: Handgonnes and Matchlocks

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

This essay takes a look at early firearm development up till the 1500’s. It is a fascinating read.

Certainly, the first uses of gunpowder are psychological – loud bangs and sausage-shaped rockets snaking across the battlefield to terrify men and horses. This is the role we can see for the fire lances of 1132. It is a short step from here to the early handgonne. I believe that while the bamboo pellet throwers of 1259 did not use true gunpowder, they certainly were a first application of the principle of using burning gases to throw a projectile…


Serpentine lock firearm, 1411


More here.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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