History Of Firearms

The history of firearms begins in China in the 9th century AD.

Timeline

  • 9th century - Gunpowder is invented in China
  • 12th century - Gunpowder first used to fire projectiles from barrels.
  • Early 1400s - Matchlock invented
  • Circa 1470 - Shoulder stock invented
  • Circa 1500 - Leonardo da Vinci produces a drawing of a wheellock.
  • 1503 - Firearms play a role at the battle of Cerignola in Italy.
  • 1526 - Beretta is manufacturing firearms in Italy. They are still in business.
  • Mid 1500s - Handguns begin to come into use.
  • Mid 1500s - Rifling in use.
  • Mid 1500s - Sights first applied to rifles.
  • Circa 1560 - Snaphaunce lock in use. This was a primitive type of flintlock.
  • Circa 1580 - The Miquelet system improves upon the Snaphaunce.
  • Circa 1610 - Flintlock perfected.
  • 1700s - Pennsylvania Long Rifles, AKA Kentucky Rifles and Ohio Rifles, made in America.
  • 1794 - U S Government establishes arsenals.
  • 1795 - Production of firearms begins at Springfield Armory in Massachusetts.
  • 1800 - Production of firearms begins at Harper's Ferry West Virginia.
  • 1807 - Percussion ignition invented by Alexander John Forsyth.
  • 1808 - Self contained (but not entirely metallic) breech loaded, "pin fired", cartridge and firearm invented by Samuel Johannes Pauly, AKA Jean Samuel Pauly.
  • 1822 - Percussion cap invented.
  • 1826 - Gunsmith Eliphalet Remington produces gun barrels for the government.  Remington Arms is still in business.
  • 1828 - Casimir Lefaucheux invents pinfire metallic cartridge. (Patented in 1835)
  • 1833 - Hall Carbine becomes the first caplock and the first breech loader adopted by the US Army.
  • 1835 - Samuel Colt patents his first revolver.
  • 1839 - Percussion Cap widely adopted by US Army.
  • 1841 - German military adopts the Dreyse Needle Gun becoming the first army to field a bolt action rifle.
  • 1845 - First "modern" metallic cartridge produced by Louis Nicolas Flobert
  • 1849 - Claude-Étienne Minié invents the Minié Ball allowing fast muzzle loading of rifled bores.
  • 1866 - US Army first issues center fire cartridge, the 50-70 Goverment

National Firearms Museum