If you want to look at the history of firearms you need to go back and look at the invention of gunpowder. The invention of gunpowder can be placed in China a really long time ago. The first things that were ever shot with gunpowder were cannons. Cannons can be made by more primitive means than rifles. Bigger things are easier to make than smaller things if you think about it. After someone realized you could make tiny cannons that you can hold in your hand. Hand grenades were already widely used by this time as well. The first weapon were matchlock rifle. Which used a burning piece of rope on the end of the gun. This made these firearms really unreliable. That is one of the reasons that the introduction of firearms did not make knights and armor obsolete as soon as they were introduced. It is a complete rumor that guns made knights obsolete. Actually it was the fact that it took an observed amount of money to keep knights functioning. A knight did not just go around on their own. They had a huge support unit with them and also their arms and armor cost in today’s money hundreds of millions of dollars.
The later implementation of flintlock rifles made firearms much more reliable. Reliability is one of the most important things regarding rifles. Once flintlock was the time of napoleon. These weapons were later made obsolete by cap and ball rifles. This is the time of the American Civil War. Cap and ball rifle were way more reliable and way more accurate. That is one of the reasons the American Civil war was the bloodiest war America was ever involved in and also one of the bloodiest conflicts that ever occurred. Battle tactics had not caught up with the modern firearms the the modernizing of industrialization. The modern industrializing of weapons made warfare way more deadly as more artillery pieces could be built and more modern transportation methods were available to help get weapons and men to the battle field. Cap and ball made the weapons fire way more frequently and could hit targets from much further away more accurately. This was at a time when battles were still fought with soldiers standing in lines and walking towards each other on the battlefield. Eventually meeting in the middle and fighting with bayonets. Guys didn’t want to stab each other so they would usually stop walking at a certain point and just keep shooting at each other until one side retreated.
The next evolution was rifles that fired shells which made guns more reliable and more accurate. At first rifles that fired shells were single shot. Then bolt action rifles came in wide use from World War One and World War Two. During World War Two the Germans invented the first assault rifle. It completely changed the game, every country after that came out with a rifle that was a medium caliber that could be fired effectively on full auto.
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