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?

Longest-range gun ever built

During the First World War, Germany built the longest-range gun ever. Its 100 kg projectile travelled 122km, and left the muzzle at 1500 metres per second reaching a height of about 40 km. This is higher, and about 6 times faster, than a transatlantic jet