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Ranged weapon

Ranged weapon

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A ranged weapon is any weapon
Weapon
A weapon, arm, or armament is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm to living beings or artificial structures or systems...

 that can harm targets at distances greater than hand-to-hand distance. In contrast, a weapon intended to be used in man-to-man combat is called a melee weapon
Mêlée weapon
A melee weapon is any weapon that does not involve a projectile — that is, both the user and target of the weapon are in contact with it simultaneously in normal use...

.

Early ranged weapons include thrown weapons such as javelins, slings
Sling (weapon)
A sling is a projectile weapon typically used to throw a blunt projectile such as a stone or lead "sling-bullet". It is also known as the shepherd's sling....

, darts
Dart (missile)
Darts are missile weapons, designed to fly such that a sharp, often weighted point will strike first. They can be distinguished from javelins by fletching and a shaft that is shorter and/or more flexible, and from arrows by the fact that they are not of the right length to use with a normal...

, the bow and arrow
Bow (weapon)
The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.-Description:A bow is a flexible arc that shoots aerodynamic projectiles by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord...

, and medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 siege engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s like stone throwers, catapult
Catapult
A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during...

s, ballista
Ballista
The ballista , plural ballistae, was an ancient missile weapon which launched a large projectile at a distant target....

s and trebuchet
Trebuchet
A trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of...

s. These ranged weapons were extremely effective in combat in comparison to close-combat weapons, as they gave the wielder opportunity to launch multiple projectiles before an enemy armed with melee weapons or shorter ranged missile weapon posed a threat to him. Siege engines were also used for passing or hitting obstacles like fortifications.

After the invention of gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 and the development of firearms, ranged weapons became the weapon of choice. In modern warfare
Modern warfare
Modern warfare, although present in every historical period of military history, is generally used to refer to the concepts, methods and technologies that have come into use during and after the Second World War and the Korean War...

, ranged weaponry is used in the form of cruise
Cruise missile
A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

 and ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

s. Maximum effective range of a weapon is the greatest distance fired and able to produce casualties or damage consistently.

Pre-modern missile weapons




  • Atlatl
    Atlatl
    An atlatl or spear-thrower is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing.It consists of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The atlatl is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup...

  • Bagakay
  • Banda (weapon)
  • Ballista
    Ballista
    The ballista , plural ballistae, was an ancient missile weapon which launched a large projectile at a distant target....

  • Blowgun
    Blowgun
    "Blowpipe" and "blow tube" redirect here. For other uses of the terms, see GlassblowingA blowgun is a simple weapon consisting of a small tube for firing light projectiles, or darts....

  • Bolas
    Bolas
    Bolas are a throwing weapon superficially similar to the surujin, made of weights on the ends of interconnected cords, designed to capture animals by entangling their legs...

  • Boomerang
    Boomerang
    A boomerang is a flying tool with a curved shape used as a weapon or for sport.-Description:A boomerang is usually thought of as a wooden device, although historically boomerang-like devices have also been made from bones. Modern boomerangs used for sport are often made from carbon fibre-reinforced...

  • Bow
    Bow (weapon)
    The bow and arrow is a projectile weapon system that predates recorded history and is common to most cultures.-Description:A bow is a flexible arc that shoots aerodynamic projectiles by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord...

  • Catapult
    Catapult
    A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the aid of explosive devices—particularly various types of ancient and medieval siege engines. Although the catapult has been used since ancient times, it has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms during...

  • Chakram
    Chakram
    The chakram , sometimes called a war quoit, is a throwing weapon from India. Its shape is of a flat metal hoop with a sharp outer edge from in diameter...

  • Crossbow
    Crossbow
    A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts or quarrels. The medieval crossbow was called by many names, most of which derived from the word ballista, a torsion engine resembling a crossbow in appearance.Historically, crossbows played a...

  • Dart
    Dart (missile)
    Darts are missile weapons, designed to fly such that a sharp, often weighted point will strike first. They can be distinguished from javelins by fletching and a shaft that is shorter and/or more flexible, and from arrows by the fact that they are not of the right length to use with a normal...

  • Hunga Munga
    Hunga Munga
    The mambele is a bladed weapon used by African cultures south of Lake Chad. It consists of an iron blade with a curved back section and rearward spike. It can be used in close combat, or more typically thrown....

  • Javelin
  • Kestros
    Kestros
    A kestros or kestrophedrone, also known as a cestrus or cestrosphendone, is a specially designed sling that is used to throw a heavy kind of dart....

  • Knobkierrie
  • Mbanja
  • Nzappa zap
    Nzappa zap
    The Nzappa zap is a traditional African weapon similar to an axe or hatchet. It has an ornate wrought-iron blade connected to a club-like wooden handle, often clad in copper, bronze or brass. In practice, it is used much like the American tomahawk, both thrown for short distances and as a melee...

  • Rungu (weapon)
    Rungu (weapon)
    For the Zambian tribe , see Rungu A rungu is a wooden throwing club or baton bearing special symbolism and significance in certain East African tribal cultures. It is especially associated with Maasai morans who have traditionally used it in warfare and for hunting...

  • Shuriken
    Shuriken
    A shuriken is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was generally used for throwing, and sometimes stabbing or slashing...

  • Sling
    Sling (weapon)
    A sling is a projectile weapon typically used to throw a blunt projectile such as a stone or lead "sling-bullet". It is also known as the shepherd's sling....

  • Sling shot
  • Spear
    Spear
    A spear is a pole weapon consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a pointed head.The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be made of a more durable material fastened to the shaft, such as flint, obsidian, iron, steel or...

  • Swiss arrow
    Swiss arrow
    A Swiss arrow is a weapon similar to an arrow but thrown rather than shot from a bow , with the addition of a small notch close to the fletching....

  • Throwing axe
    Throwing axe
    A throwing axe is an axe that is used primarily as a missile weapon. Usually, they are thrown in an overhand motion in a manner that causes the axe to rotate as it travels through the air. Throwing axes have been used since prehistoric times and were developed into the Francisca by the Franks in...

  • Throwing knife
    Throwing knife
    Throwing knives are knives that are specially designed and weighted so that they can be thrown effectively. They are a distinct category from ordinary knives....

  • Throwing stick
    Throwing Stick
    The throwing stick or throwing club is one of the first weapons used by early humans and cultures all around the world. In essence, it is a short stave or wooden club thrown as a projectile to hunt small game such as rabbits or waterfowl. In flight, it rotates rapidly cracking the target with one...

  • Trebuchet
    Trebuchet
    A trebuchet is a siege engine that was employed in the Middle Ages. It is sometimes called a "counterweight trebuchet" or "counterpoise trebuchet" in order to distinguish it from an earlier weapon that has come to be called the "traction trebuchet", the original version with pulling men instead of...

  • Woomera
    Woomera (spear-thrower)
    A woomera is an Australian Aboriginal spear-throwing device used for when there is a greater distance to be overcome. It is highly efficient and made of wood. Similar to an atlatl, it enables a spear to travel much further than by arm strength alone...


Modern missile weapons




  • Air-to-air missile
    Air-to-air missile
    An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

  • Air-to-surface missile
    Air-to-surface missile
    An air-to-surface missile is a missile designed to be launched from military aircraft and strike ground targets on land, at sea, or both...

  • Anti-ballistic missile
    Anti-ballistic missile
    An anti-ballistic missile is a missile designed to counter ballistic missiles .A ballistic missile is used to deliver nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional warheads in a ballistic flight trajectory. The term "anti-ballistic missile" describes any antimissile system designed to counter...

  • Anti-satellite weapon
    Anti-satellite weapon
    Anti-satellite weapons are designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Currently, only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China are known to have developed these weapons. On September 13, 1985, the United States destroyed US...

  • Anti-ship missile
    Anti-ship missile
    Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type, many use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing...

  • Anti-submarine rocket
    ASROC
    ASROC is an all-weather, all sea-conditions anti-submarine missile system. Developed by the United States Navy in the 1950s, it was deployed in the 1960s, updated in the 1990s, and eventually installed on over 200 USN surface ships, specifically cruisers, destroyers, and frigates...

  • Anti-tank guided missile
    Anti-tank guided missile
    An anti-tank missile , anti-tank guided missile , anti-tank guided weapon or anti-armor guided weapon is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles....

  • Ballistic missile
    Ballistic missile
    A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

  • Cruise missile
    Cruise missile
    A cruise missile is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and is propelled, usually by a jet engine, towards a land-based or sea-based target. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high accuracy...

  • Cannon
    Cannon
    A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

  • Grenade launcher
    Grenade launcher
    A grenade launcher or grenade discharger is a weapon that launches a grenade with more accuracy, higher velocity, and to greater distances than a soldier could throw it by hand....

  • Gun
    Gun
    A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

  • Mortar
    Mortar (weapon)
    A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

  • Rocket artillery
    Rocket artillery
    Rocket artillery is a type of artillery equipped with rocket launchers instead of conventional guns or mortars.Types of rocket artillery pieces include multiple rocket launchers.-History:...

  • Surface-to-air missile
    Surface-to-air missile
    A surface-to-air missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles...

  • Surface-to-surface missile
    Surface-to-surface missile
    A surface-to-surface missile is a guided projectile launched from a hand-held, vehicle mounted, trailer mounted or fixed installation or from a ship. They are often powered by a rocket motor or sometimes fired by an explosive charge, since the launching platform is typically stationary or moving...


See also

  • Projectile
    Projectile
    A projectile is any object projected into space by the exertion of a force. Although a thrown baseball is technically a projectile too, the term more commonly refers to a weapon....

  • Trajectory of a projectile
    Trajectory of a projectile
    In physics, the ballistic trajectory of a projectile is the path that a thrown or launched projectile will take under the action of gravity, neglecting all other forces, such as friction from air resistance, without propulsion....

  • Siege engine
    Siege engine
    A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

  • List of artillery
  • List of missiles
  • List of missiles by nation

Further reading

  • Gray, David (2002) Bows of the World. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-478-6
  • (1992) The Traditional Bowyers Bible Volume 1. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-085-3.
  • (1992) The Traditional Bowyers Bible Volume 2. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-086-1.
  • (1994) The Traditional Bowyers Bible Volume 3. The Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-087-X.
  • The ballistics of the sling, Thom Richardson, Royal Armouries Yearbook, Volume 3 1998.

External links