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device consisting essentially of a straight tube to propel shot, shell, or bullets by the explosion of gunpowdergunpowder,
explosive mixture; its most common formula, called "black powder," is a combination of saltpeter, sulfur, and carbon in the form of charcoal. Historically, the relative amounts of the components have varied.
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. Although the Chinese discovered gunpowder as early as the 9th cent., they did not develop firearms until the mid-14th cent. By that time, firearms, particularly in the form of heavy cannon, were in general use in Europe and Asia Minor. With such firearms, the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople. From the 15th cent., when the matchlock appeared, to the end of the U.S. Civil War, firearms became increasingly important in battle, and military tactics had to adapt constantly to successive improvements in their design. The early matchlocks, which depended on a lit match for firing the gunpowder, were supplanted first by flintlocks (perfected at the turn of the 17th cent.) that used a striking flint for firing, and then by various breach-loading firearms (perfected in the middle of the 19th cent.), which used bullets fitted with shells full of gunpowder that was ignited by the impact of a firing pin. In the 15th cent. firearms also came into use in huntinghunting,
act of seeking, following, and killing wild animals for consumption or display. It differs from fishing in that it involves only land animals. Hunting was a necessary activity of early humans.
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. Firearms were spread throughout the world during the period of European expansion. In some areas they were rapidly integrated into the existing culture and economy. Firearms are generally classified either as large firearms, i.e., artilleryartillery,
originally meant any large weaponry (including such ancient engines of war as catapults and battering rams) or war material, but later applied only to heavy firearms as opposed to small arms.
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, or as small armssmall arms,
firearms designed primarily to be carried and fired by one person and, generally, held in the hands, as distinguished from heavy arms, or artillery. Early Small Arms

The first small arms came into general use at the end of the 14th cent.
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a weapon in which the energy of the chemical decomposition of an explosive (for example, gunpowder) is used to propel a bullet (projectile) from the barrel. Modern firearms are divided into artillery guns (such as howitzers, cannon, mortars, and recoilless weapons), which are designed to destroy targets at considerable distances or in concealment, and small arms (such as pistols, submachine guns, rifles, and machine guns), which are designed for destroying targets deployed in the open.


In a general sense, a gun.
A small arm, as a pistol or rifle, designed to be carried and used by an individual.
References in periodicals archive ?
The gun shop operator even expressed concerns about the way the investigation was being handled.
2 been to several gun shops where they do repairs and two gunsmiths; no one can help.
The man left the Roseburg Gun Shop at 2405 Diamond Lake Blvd.
Gun shop owner Jeff Serdy, of Apache Junction, Arizona, said: "I am selling a ton of ammunition.
But last weekend's spike in business was unprecedented, gun shop owners in California, Connecticut and North Carolina told HuffPost.
The gun shop owner, who lived in the rear of the store, later told investigators that when he heard the loud crash and his alarms blaring, he ran to the front of the store and witnessed three men loading guns into their vehicle.
With no limit on how many weapons one citizen can own there was no suspicion raised in Raleigh, North Carolina when in the first half of 2010 Greenoe trawled gun shops in the town where he was brought up and his mum still lived.
A GUN shop where killer Derrick Bird bought his bullets was open again for business yesterday.
According to recent Interior Ministry rules, prospective gun shop owners should be at least 25 years old with no criminal records and in possession of a bank guarantee of SR500,000.
It amazes me still that the owner of a gun shop carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory would allow some cretin to insult or simply ignore a potential customer in an industry that is so very dependant upon word of mouth, and is such a tight social fraternity.
His arrest then sparked a probe into the Gun Shop in Portglenone, Co Antrim.
But one gun shop owner said he had not been told of the changes to the law, despite requests to the government for clarification.