The invention of the hand cannon.

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“A firearm is a portable gun (a barelled ranged weapon) designed for use by a single individual. It inflicts damage on targets by launching one or more projectiles driven by rapidly expanding high-pressure gas produced by exothermic combustion (deflagration) of chemical propellant.”[1]
The hand cannon is the first true firearm.


The hand cannon was invented in China in the 12th century, some time before 1128. Here is a depiction[2] of a hand cannon on the Dazu Rock Carvings in China (the sculptures were created around 1128):

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Here is a labelled photograph[3] of the Heilongjiang hand cannon which is the world’s oldest confirmed surviving firearm and it was manufactured around 1287-1288:

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