Muskets were essential weapons during the Revolutionary War. These long, smooth bore guns were not accurate beyond 100 yards, so armies often fought in lines, shooting at enemies at close range. An army fired volleys, when all members let loose at the same time to improve their chances of scoring hits. After several volleys, many soldiers had been struck, and there were gaps in the lines.
Holes in the enemy's line prompted an attack with bayonets, which were sharp blades attached to the ends of the muskets. This close-up assault often led to one side to retreating or surrendering.
Some long rifles were also used during the Revolutionary War. These had grooves inside the barrels that made them far more precise than muskets. Trained riflemen were able to hit targets 300 yards away. Scouts and snipers often used these weapons. Rifles were slower to load than muskets and did not have bayonets attached.
Small arms, such as pistols and sabers, were sometimes carried, but they were primarily carried by sergeants and officers. Spears called spontoons and halberds were also used by individual soldiers.
Larger guns and artillery were mounted so several soldiers were able to move them, directing their fire during battle. The field cannon was important on the battlefield, while howitzers and mortars typically attacked forts or ships.