10th century: The first known gunpowder formula is developed in China.
13th century: The first firearms, known as “fire lances,” are invented in China.
15th century: The first European firearms, including handguns and arquebuses, are developed.
17th century: Flintlock firearms become the standard military armament in Europe.
1836: Samuel Colt patents the revolver, a handgun that can fire multiple rounds without reloading.
1861-1865: The American Civil War sees the widespread use of firearms, including the introduction of repeating rifles such as the Henry and the Spencer.
1886: The first successful automatic pistol, the Borchardt C-93, is invented in Germany.
1903: John Browning invents the first successful automatic rifle, the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR).
1939-1945: World War II sees the development and use of a wide range of firearms, including machine guns, submachine guns, and assault rifles.
1960s-1970s: The United States sees a surge in gun ownership and the emergence of gun culture.
1980s-1990s: Gun control measures are implemented in many countries following mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence.
21st century: Firearms continue to be a controversial and divisive issue around the world, with debates over gun control, mass shootings, and the right to bear arms continuing to dominate public discourse.