All About History
Regarded as the first true gun, the hand cannon was a heavy, cumbersome beast consisting of a barrel, a handle and more than enough space for gunpowder and flesh-searing projectiles. The weapon could be held in two hands but two people were often called upon to operate it — one lighting the gunpowder using red-hot iron rods, matches, coal or wood, and the other being careful to aim it in the right direction. This was important because the firearm’s aim was rather poor due to typical imperfections in the gun and the volatile nature of gunpowder. It caused rocks, arrows and metal bearings to scatter wildly, accompanied by an ear-busting bang.
“Two people were often called upon to operate it”