Detail of a 16th century painting of the Battle of Pavia

16th Century

By the early 16th century hand-held firearms were being used in battles. They were basic, heavy to carry, slow to load, fired only short distances and were largely inaccurate.

Battle of Pavia

This battle was the first battle in which infantry armed with firearms (harquebusiers) were victorious over fully armoured knights. Metal plate armour proved no defence against bullets.



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Did you know?

Too hot to handle

Before the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver the most powerful handgun in the world was the Mars pistol. It was so powerful that during testing in 1906, the Royal Navy vowed never to fire it again.