This encyclopedia of firearms is both an authoritative reference work and a stunning visual directory, explaining the development of arms through the centuries. The chronological survey begins with gunpowder and the first crude 14th-century hand cannons, and continues through handguns and the development of machine and submachine guns. Each gun's features are listed, as are the military, political and technological contexts in which the gun was developed. A full list of manufacturers and a glossary complete this easy-to-use encyclopedia. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in gun manufacture and conflicts of war.