Faster to train that a longbowman, a firearm-equipped soldier of the 1400s wasn’t that badly equipped for the time.
The UK’s Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria typically covers a lot of historical European edged weapons, antique arms, and armor but he does a bang-up job (see what we did there?) on checking out some early Medieval-period smokepoles in the above video.
The event where the demonstration comes from was at Weald & Downland, an open-air living history museum in South East England with the reenactors courtesy of Hartley’s Companie, a late 15th Century reenactment group based in West Sussex who base their representation on the mercenary “free companies” of the period.
The guns shown off are of the type that predated the early arquebus, the literal black powder “hand gun” fired from a slow match or serpentine mechanism with a range of about 45 yards (yes, they did exist).
Of interest is the demonstration starting at about the 6:30 mark showing a group of skirmishers who keep up a decent rate of fire considering what they are working with. A timed test at about the 9:30 area shows that a trained gunner could rocket off four shots inside of a minute (starting off with a loaded hand gun) a common metric that held true for the next three centuries or so– although if you got hit by a gunshot of the error, it was more through tragic coincidence than direct aim.
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