According to World Book Online, "a firearm is any device that uses gunpowder to fire a bullet or a shell."
A firearm, or gun, refers to rifles, machine guns, shotguns, and pistols. Also, light firearms are sometimes called small arms. Heavier firearms are also referred to as artillery.
The Chinese invented gunpowder before 900 A.D. According to World book Online, gunpowder "is an explosive that burns rapidly to form high-pressure gas." When the gas expands inside the barrel of a firearm, the bullet will go faster than without the use of gunpowder. Gunpowder is used as a propellant in a variety of bullets and shells. It is also used in explosive devices like, dynamite, fuses, and fireworks. Eventually after a few decades, travelers started to bring gunpowderfrom Asia to Europe around the 1200's. The Europeans developed cannons in the early 1300's, and they kept making the cannons get smaller and smaller until they turned into handheld firearms.
The invention of firearms assisted greatly in wars. The powerful, yet accurate, cannon could bring down castle walls, and bullets could go through armor. The early handheld weapons were very heavy and the firearms had to be loaded from the muzzle. (The muzzle is the end of the barrel.)
Now guns are a lot lighter and easier to use. People use them to hunt, for protection, and a lot more. Guns played and still play a very important role in history. Gun technology is still advancing as we speak, but we need to remember to use gun safety at all times, no matter how advanced the gun.
Samuel Colt invented the first revolver, a gun named after its inventor "Colt", and after its revolving cylinder "revolver". In 1936, Samuel Colt was granted a U.S. patent for the Colt revolver, which was equipped with a revolving cylinder containing five or six bullets and an innovative cocking device. Before the Colt revolver only one and two-barrel flintlock pistols had been invented for hand held use. Colt revolvers were all based on cap-and-ball technology until the Smith and Wesson license on the bored-through cylinder (bought from Rollin White) expired around 1869.
According to www.midwestgunshows.com: "Horace Smith & Daniel Wesson formed their second partnership (S&W) in 1856 for the development and manufacture of a revolver chambered for a self contained metallic cartridge.
During this development period, while researching existing patents, it was found that a Rollin White had patented a bored through cylinder for a paper cartridge some time earlier."
A licensing agreement was arranged between Smith and Wesson and Rollin White. In 1855, Rollin White patented the bored-through cylinder.
According to www.armchairgunshow.com: "The Rollin White patent covered the right to make a revolver cylinder bored-through end to end - an obvious requirement for an effective cartridge revolver. This fact didn't slow down some firms, who proceeded to make the highly popular cartridge style revolvers. Some used their own designs, and some just produced outright copies of the Smith and Wesson pattern. Smith and Wesson pursued redress in court, resulting in several US makers being required to mark "Made for S&W" or words to that effect on their revolvers."