Muskets and bayonets aboard the frigate Grand Turk.

A musket is a muzzle-loaded long gun that appeared as a smoothbore weapon in early 16th-century Europe, at first as a heavier variant of the arquebus, capable of penetrating heavy armor.[1] By the mid-16th century, this type of musket went out of use as heavy armor declined, but as the matchlock became standard, the term musket continued as the name given for any long gun with a flintlock, and then its successors, all the way through the mid-1800s.[2] This style of musket was retired in the 19th century when rifled muskets (simply called rifles in modern terminology) became common as a result of cartridged breech-loading firearms introduced by Casimir Lefaucheux in 1835,[3] the invention of the Minié ball by Claude-Étienne Minié in 1849,[4] and the first reliable repeating rifle produced by Volcanic Repeating Arms in 1854.[4] By the time that repeating rifles became common, they were known as simply "rifles", ending the era of the musket.


According to the Etymology Dictionary, firearms were often named after animals, and the word musket derived from the French word mousquette, which is a male sparrowhawk.[5] An alternative theory is that derives from the 16th century French mousquet, -ette, from the Italian moschetto, -etta, meaning the bolt of a crossbow. The Italian moschetto is a diminutive of mosca, a fly.[6]


The first recorded usage of the term "musket" or moschetto appeared in Europe in the year 1499.[7] Evidence of the musket as a type of firearm does not appear until 1521 when it was used to describe a heavy arquebus capable of penetrating heavy armor.[1] This version of the musket fell out of use after the mid-16th century with the decline of heavy armor;[8] however, the term itself stuck around as a general descriptor for 'shoulder arms' fireweapons into the 1800s. The differences between the arquebus and musket post-16th century are therefore not entirely clear, and the two have been used interchangeably on several occasions.[9]

Other Languages
العربية: مسكيت
asturianu: Mosquete
беларуская: Мушкет
български: Мускет
brezhoneg: Mousked
català: Mosquet
čeština: Mušketa
dansk: Musket
Deutsch: Muskete
Diné bizaad: Beeʼeldǫǫh
eesti: Musket
Ελληνικά: Μουσκέτο
español: Mosquete
Esperanto: Muskedo
euskara: Moskete
français: Mousquet
Gaeilge: Muscaed
한국어: 머스킷
հայերեն: Մուշկետ
hrvatski: Mušketa
Ido: Musketo
Bahasa Indonesia: Senapan lontak
íslenska: Framhlaðningur
italiano: Moschetto
қазақша: Мушкет
kurdî: Huske
Latina: Mosquetum
lietuvių: Muškieta
magyar: Muskéta
македонски: Мускета
Bahasa Melayu: Senapang lantak
Nederlands: Musket
norsk: Muskett
norsk nynorsk: Muskett
occitan: Mosquet
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਮਸਕੀਟ
Picard: Mousket
polski: Muszkiet
português: Mosquete
română: Muschetă
русский: Мушкет
Scots: Musket
Simple English: Musket
slovenčina: Mušketa
slovenščina: Mušketa
کوردی: عوسکە
српски / srpski: Мускета
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Musketa
suomi: Musketti
svenska: Musköt
Türkçe: Misket tüfeği
українська: Мушкет
Tiếng Việt: Súng hỏa mai
中文: 鳥銃