10 of the Deadliest Weapons in History


The arquebus, an early European firearm, was heavy and inaccurate, used primarily as a defensive weapon, and inspired the creation of Arquebuse de l'Hermitage, a French spirit originally used as medicine for those wounded by the arquebus.


Swords, evolving from daggers and dating back to at least 3300 BC, are the most iconic pre-gunpowder weapons and remain in ceremonial use today.


Crossbows, originating in East Asia, provided increased power and accuracy with less training needed compared to conventional bows.

16th-century cannon

Cannons revolutionized warfare by forcing fortifications to adapt and arming themselves with these powerful but difficult to maneuver and inaccurate weapons that dealt massive damage if they hit their target.

Flintlock musket

Flintlocks, front-loading firearms that ignited gunpowder with flint, were popular and effective weapons until the mid-19th century.

Breech-loading rifle

Breech-loading firearms, loaded from the rear and combined with rifling for accuracy, became far more lethal and effective than muskets and are used in almost all modern weapons.

Springfield 1903 sniper rifle

The Springfield 1903, a bolt-action rifle with a five-round magazine, was a highly accurate and deadly weapon adopted by the U.S. military in the early 20th century, seeing action in World War I and to some extent in World War II.

Assault rifle

Assault rifles, featuring detachable magazines and various rates of fire, originated in Germany and are widely used by soldiers today, with the AK-47 and M16 being among the most recognizable examples.

World War I machine gun

Machine guns in World War I were heavy, required multiple operators, and prone to overheating but they unleashed unprecedented carnage on the battlefield and highlighted the gap between weaponry and tactics.

World War I tank

Tanks were created in response to trench warfare in World War I and utilized treads, armor, and various weapons, with Churchill being a key proponent for their development.

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