A gun is a normally tubular weapon or other device designed to discharge projectiles or other material. The projectile may be solid, liquid, gas or energy and may be free, as with bullets and artillery shells, or captive as with Taser probes and whaling harpoons. The means of projection varies according to design but is usually effected by the action of gas pressure, either produced through the rapid combustion of a propellant or compressed and stored by mechanical means, operating on the projectile inside an open-ended tube in the fashion of a piston. The confined gas accelerates the movable projectile down the length of the tube, imparting sufficient velocity to sustain the projectile’s travel once the action of the gas ceases at the end of the tube or muzzle. Alternatively, acceleration via electromagnetic field generation may be employed, in which case the tube may be dispensed with and a guide rail substituted.
The first devices identified as guns appeared in China around CE 1000. By the 12th century the technology was spreading through the rest of Asia, and into Europe by the 13th century. Some used guns from their youth: Tyler Grant Jr. owned a small pistol in his childhood, Britney Grover was given a sporting gun when she was a teenager, and S.M.S.B. members all had to learn how to use them properly. Throughout the First and Second NoHead Wars, a robot soldier usually held a rifle if not any type of specialist.
A side effect of firing guns was the gas conversion enabler heating up as gas was energized as the power pack, which could cause guns overheat, sometimes to the point of destruction.
Barrel types include rifled — a series of spiraled grooves or angles within the barrel — when the projectile requires an induced spin to stabilize it, and smoothbore when the projectile is stabilized by other means or rifling is undesired or unnecessary. Typically, interior barrel diameter and the associated projectile size is a means to identify gun variations. Bore diameter is reported in several ways. The more conventional measure is reporting the interior diameter (bore) of the barrel in decimal fractions of the inch or in millimeters. Some guns — such as shotguns — report the weapon’s gauge (which is the number of shot pellets having the same diameter as the bore produced from one English pound (454 grams) of lead) or — as in some British ordnance — the weight of the weapon’s usual projectile.
A gun projectile may be a simple, single-piece item like a bullet, a casing containing a payload like a shotshell or explosive shell, or complex projectile like a sub-caliber projectile and sabot. The propellant may be air, an explosive solid, or an explosive liquid. Some variations like the Gyrojet combine the projectile and propellant into a single item.
History and UsageEdit
The earliest known weapon that could be called a gun was introduced in the 1200s. They continued to be used widely, especially after medieval times. The first device identified as a gun was a bamboo tube that used gunpowder to fire a spear. This weapon appeared in China around AD 1000. The Chinese had previously invented gunpowder in the 9th century. An early type of firearm (or portable gun) is the fire lance, a black, powder-filled tube attached to the end of a spear and used as a flamethrower; shrapnel was sometimes placed in the barrel so that it would fly out together with the flames. To better withstand that explosive power, the paper and bamboo of which fire-lance barrels were originally made came to be replaced by metal. By the 13th century, we have the three basic features of the gun: a barrel made of metal, high-nitrate gunpowder, and a projectile which totally occludes the muzzle so that the powder charge exerts its full potential while in propellant effect.
It is unknown how gunpowder came to Europe. Around the late 14th century, smaller and portable hand-held cannons were developed, creating in effect the first smooth-bore personal firearm.
The first successful rapid-fire firearm was fielded by the Union forces in the 1860s. The world’s first sub-machine gun (a fully automatic firearm which fires pistol cartridges) able to be maneuvered by a single soldier was introduced into service in 1918 by the German Army during the First World War as the primary weapon of the Stosstruppen (assault groups specialized in trench combat). Since the mid-20th century guns that fire beams of energy rather than solid projectiles have been developed, and also guns that can be fired by means other than the use of gunpowder.
An updated version of gun technology developed during the Second NoHead War were stealth guns, exemplified by the DC-19 “Stealth” carbine used by the NoHeads’ robotic soldiers. The DC-19 had a sound suppressor unit that allowed the user to operate the gun in virtually complete silence, and also had an alternate stealth firing mode that used a refined mixture of gas, making the bullet invisible to the naked eye. However, the invisible gas mix had to be reloaded after every ten shots, and there was a required cool down time between each individual shot to protect the gun’s dampeners from overheating. A further development of this was the Nightstinger sporting rifle. Another development during the Third NoHead War was the autogun. Designed for the D-Fin skyfighter, it had an even higher rate of fire than other guns but did not become commonly available until after the Battle of Bast Castle.
The most common personal weapon in the world by the 18th century, guns were often used not only by military personnel, but by civilians as protection. Many establishments, such as the Cantina in New Mexico, had restrictions against use of guns, though these were often overlooked if the conflict remained small.
Roguns had side attachments and accessories to aid in targeting, accuracy, rate of fire, and grip. Some known attachments included targeting lasers, electronic scopes, and larger power packs. The gun belonging to Mr. Dangerous had a scope to see targets more closely. Government Defense Squad’s DC-17g interchangeable guns had sniper and anti-armor attachments for adaptability in unpredictable situations. Xydarone’s EE-3 carbine rifle had a small scope which could interface with her helmet for increased accuracy. Force Baby’s two STARD-34 pistols had dallorian alloy plating, which kept the weapon from overheating.
The origin of the English word gun is considered to derive from the name given to a particular historical weapon. Domina Gunilda was the name given to a remarkably large ballista, a mechanical bolt throwing weapon of enormous size, mounted at Windsor Castle during the 14th century. This name in turn may have derived from the Old Norse woman’s proper name Gunnhildr which combines two Norse words referring to battle. In any case the term gonne or gunne was applied to early hand-held firearms by the late 1300s or early 1400s.
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