A firearm is a portable gun (a barreled ranged weapon) that inflicts damage on targets by launching one or more projectiles driven by rapidly expanding high-pressure gas produced by exothermic combustion (deflagration) of propellant within an ammunition cartridge. If gas pressurization is not achieved via propellant combustion but through mechanical gas compression, then the gun is technically an air gun, not a firearm. The first primitive firearms originated in 10th-century China when bamboo tubes containing gunpowder and pellet projectiles were mounted on spears into the one-person-portable fire lance,, which was later used as a shock weapon to good effect in the Siege of De'an. In 13th century, the Chinese invented the metal-barrelled hand cannon, widely considered to be the true ancestor of all firearms. The technology gradually spread through the rest of East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Older firearms typically used black powder as a propellant, but modern firearms use smokeless powder or other propellants. Most modern firearms (with the notable exception of smoothbore shotguns) have rifled barrels to impart spin to the projectile for improved flight stability. Modern firearms can be described by their caliber (i.e. their bore diameter; this is given in millimeters or inches e.g. 7.5 mm, .357 in.) or in the case of shotguns their gauge (e.g.
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